Latest Blog Posts

<p>Vampire Weekend on &quot;Jimmy Kimmel Live&quot;</p>

Vampire Weekend on "Jimmy Kimmel Live"

New Music: Vampire Weekend debut 'Unbelievers' on 'Jimmy Kimmel'

New York indie-pop troupe preparing another new release?

Happy Halloween! Here is a gentle new pop song!

It looks like Vampire Weekend are back and in effect, as they took to the stage on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and spooked the audience in the most sane, easy way possible: with boppy piano, Ezra Koenig's square longing and some righteous facepaint. The song is called "Unbelievers."

What's missing here is, frankly, a proper sound mix, but also the electric guitar: I rather miss that hollow-body Gretsch, and chonking acoustic guitar isn't quite filling in those spaces. Still, it's a second solid look into what the band has been up to. Vampire Weekend premiered a fresh track, "New Song No. 2," at a show in July.

If history has any bearing on when we hear more studio material, remember that the pop-rock band's first two albums both came out in January, getting a leg up during the slow post-Christmas period.

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<p>Taylor Lautner of &quot;The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2&quot;</p>

Taylor Lautner of "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2"

Credit: Summit

'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2' Press Conference with Taylor Lautner - Live-Blog

The big screen's Jacob talks imprinting and more

BEVERLY HILLS - Our day of "Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" press conferences has already included Bill Condon, Michael Sheen (no live-blog, because I'm a man, not a machine), Melissa Rosenberg, Stephenie Meyer and Wyck Godfrey and The Cullens (also not live-blogged because, again, I'm only one man).

Up next on the dais...

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Listen: Ludacris, David Guetta and Usher combine for banger 'Rest of My Life'

Listen: Ludacris, David Guetta and Usher combine for banger 'Rest of My Life'

Rap, R&B and dance stars combine for 'Ludaversal' single

Three mega-stars from dance, R&B and rap have combined for one damn uplifting single. Ludacris recruited Usher and David Guetta for "Rest of My Life," a quiet-LOUD-quiet wave of "women, weed and alcohol," extolling the virtues of the wilder side of life.

Despite the declarations, this thing is fairly tame for Ludacris, who leans hard on PG-13 hip-pop lyrics, letting Usher pump up the pre-chorus and giving Guetta the floor for all of the "chorus," which is the sound of top 40 radio programmers (or is it singular, "programmer," now?) positively losing it. The song goes up on iTunes tomorrow and goes wide for adds on Nov. 19, right before Thanksgiving.

This is Ludacris doing ore pop. Do you want the rest of the record to sound that way?

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<p>&quot;Twilight&quot; author Stephenie Meyer</p>

"Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer

Credit: Summit

'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2' Press Conference with Stephenie Meyer and Melissa Rosenberg - Live-Blog

Producer Wyck Godfrey is also on this panel

BEVERLY HILLS - Our day of "Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" press conferences has already included Bill Condon, Michael Sheen (no live-blog, because I'm a man, not a machine)

Up next on the dais...

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<p>Jodie Foster arriving to the Golden&nbsp;Globes in January</p>

Jodie Foster arriving to the Golden Globes in January

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Jodie Foster to receive HFPA's Cecil B. DeMille Award

The seven-time Golden Globe nominee is the first woman to receive the honor in 12 years

It's nice that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association opted, finally, for a woman to receive its Cecil B. DeMille Award, analogous to a lifetime achievement honor. Sure, Lucille Ball, Joan Crawford, Doris Day, Judy Garland, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Shirley MacLaine and Elizabeth Taylor have received the distinction over the years, but the last time a woman received the special Golden Globe was 12 years ago when Barbra Streisand won it.

The stated criteria for the Cecil B. DeMille Award is for individuals who have made an impact on entertainment. And Foster certainly qualifies. Ever since she leaped onto the scene in 1976's "Taxi Driver" (from fellow DeMille-recipient Martin Scorsese), Foster has been a leading force in the industry.  She's won two Best Actress Oscars (for "The Accussed" and "The Silence of the Lambs") and been nominated for one more ("Nell"). She was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress for the aforementioned "Taxi Driver."

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<p>Bill Condon on the set of &quot;The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1'</p>

Bill Condon on the set of "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1'

Credit: Summit

'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2' Press Conference with Bill Condon - Live-Blog

What was it like for the director of the last two parts of the franchise?

BEVERLY HILLS - I'd really thought/hoped/assumed I was done with my "Twilight" press conference live blogs after this year's Comic-Con in San Diego, but I was wrong. Over the next three hours, I should -- PRAY FOR MY WIFI -- be live-blogging "Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" press conferences with Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, director Bill Condon and writers Stephenie Meyer and Melissa Rosenberg. I'm probably going to skip live-blogging the press conferences with Michael Sheen (who I'll be talking to tomorrow) and The Cullens. Sorry. I'm only one man. 

Up first...

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<p>Cheryl Hines as Dallas on &quot;Suburgatory.&quot;</p>

Cheryl Hines as Dallas on "Suburgatory."

Credit: ABC

The Morning Round-Up: '30 Rock' & 'Suburgatory'

Will Jenna decide the election? And how will George and Dallas do on their first date?

It's (very late) morning round-up time, with quick reviews of last night's "30 Rock" and "Suburgatory" coming up just as soon as I own a Fuddrucker's with Scottie Pippen...

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<p>Nature is often just plain disturbing.</p>

Nature is often just plain disturbing.

Credit: Roadside Attractions

Exclusive: Two images of isopods from Barry Levinson's unsettling eco-horror 'The Bay'

The more real a horror film is, the more upsetting it can be

I'll have a review of Barry Levinson's new film "The Bay" later today for you.  First, though, I thought I'd share a couple of images of the Isopods, the creatures that are the primary threat in the movie.

When Levinson was first approached by the producers, they wanted him to make a documentary about the way Chesapeake Bay is dying.  While he decided against doing the documentary because he saw one that he felt did a solid job of covering the topic, the more he read, the more fascinated he became by just how the bay is dying and why.

In particular, he was horrified by what he learned about isopods, and if you want to crank up the nightmares, just run a Google image search for "isopods."  Specifically "giant isopods."  Some of those actual images made their way into "The Bay," and at the Q&A after we saw the film, one of the audience members asked Levinson how much they had to exaggerate the isopods.  "We didn't," Levinson said.  "Those Google images you see are real."

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<p>Keira Knightley in &quot;Anna Karenina&quot;</p>

Keira Knightley in "Anna Karenina"

Credit: Focus Features

Tech Support: 'Anna Karenina,' 'Les Mis' and 'Lincoln' lead the race for Best Production Design

Period, fantasy and contemporary films duke it out in a diverse mix

Ah, Best Production Design. It was about time the name was changed.

Previously known as “Best Art Direction,” the award doesn’t cite a movie’s art director. Rather, it recognizes both the production designer, who is in charge of the set designs and the overall art department, and the set decorator, whose responsibility it is to fill up those environments with accouterment that truly brings them alive.

The Designers Branch, as it is now known, votes for the nominees in Best Production Design. It also contains the costume designers, making the branch responsible for two of the Oscar categories, like the sound branch. And while the category’s name has changed, the rules have not, so branch's past behavior provides helpful guidance in handicapping this race.

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<p>Anthony Hopkins in &quot;Hitchcock.&quot;</p>

Anthony Hopkins in "Hitchcock."

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Will 'Hitchcock' remind the Academy of its own Hitch neglect?

The biopic is set to premiere tonight at AFI Fest

Tonight, Sacha Gervasi's "Hitchcock" will kick off the AFI Fest in Los Angeles, giving Oscar-watchers more to murmur about while critics decide if it's a tribute worthy of Hitch himself or a disposable dress-up piece in the "My Week With Marilyn" mold.

Either way, Fox Searchlight -- who sprang a surprise on the season by moving the film up from its scheduled 2013 bow -- will be aiming to get more awards traction for their starry prestige item than almost any film directed by Hitchcock himself managed.

That tidy irony, meanwhile, could emerge as the chief hook for "Hitchcock"'s Oscar campaign: many voters will be aware of how the Academy neglected the master in the past, so might they choose to demonstrate their latter-day awareness of his greatness by voting for a film in which he's the subject?

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<p>Your friendly neighborhood TV&nbsp;critic hasn't quite been in a &quot;Revolution&quot;&nbsp;situation the last few days, but it's been closer than he'd like.</p>

Your friendly neighborhood TV critic hasn't quite been in a "Revolution" situation the last few days, but it's been closer than he'd like.

Credit: NBC

The week the lights went out in Jersey

Catching up on a strange week in TV in the wake of Hurricane Sandy

How's everybody doing? We came through the storm just fine (we were much luckier than many of our neighbors, whose houses were struck by falling trees), but like most everyone in New Jersey, our house has been blacked out for days. I've found at least a temporary place to work that has electricity and internet, but it's been a strange few days, both inside and outside the storm's path.

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<p>Joaquin Phoenix in &quot;The Master.&quot;</p>

Joaquin Phoenix in "The Master."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Roundup: Phoenix keeps riding the truth train

Also: Gearing up for AFI Fest, and is 'Cloud Atlas' still a Best Pic player?

I have to say, Joaquin Phoenix deserves the Oscar for his interviews alone this season -- whether he likes it or not, he's swiftly shaping up as the most compelling human figure in this year's awards race, and I'm increasingly thinking his sheer unfiltered bolshiness could be more of a help than a hindrance to his reluctant Best Actor campaign. His latest refreshing dose of candor comes in a UK broadsheet interview, and is perhaps more endearing than his headline-making anti-awards rant. The choice quote: "I think the trouble is I'm not very good and I need a lot of help; I need the entire set to be working to help me." Keep going, sir. [The Independent

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