Latest Blog Posts

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Credit: Wikipedia

Listen: CulturePop Podcast No. 1

Melinda Newman and Liane Bonin Starr dish on 'Downton,' Chris Brown and more

Welcome to our very first podcast! Melinda Newman and I have been talking about this seemingly forever, and we finally bit the bullet and yapped with GarageBand rolling. We hope you like it, and if you don't, we hope you will at least be kind to our newbie effort. 

Read Full Post
<p>Ezra Miller</p>

Ezra Miller

Credit: AP Photo/Chris PIzzello

Ezra Miller on his disinterest in Twitter and the long road of 'Perks of Being a Wallflower'

It's nice to play a role where people don't think you're crazy

In a perfect world Ezra Miller would be getting ready to attend the Academy Awards later this month.  The 20-year-old actor would be celebrating his first best supporting actor nomination for his role in Stephen Chbosky's "The Perks of Being A Wallflower."  Unfortunately, awards season is a far from perfect animal and Miller joins co-star Logan Lerman, Michael Pena ("End of Watch") and Bruce Willis ("Moonrise Kingdom") as actors who should have received more attention (thank god for the Independent Spirit Awards).  That fact will be increasingly apparent to moviegoers who catch up with "Perks" after its release on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download this week. 

Read Full Post
<p>Michael Haneke at the Golden&nbsp;Globes in January</p>

Michael Haneke at the Golden Globes in January

Credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Michael Haneke responds to 'his' Twitter handle

Have you been following @Michael_Haneke?

Hey, have you heard about the Michael Haneke Twitter account? No, of course the "Amour" director hasn't set up a bit of social networking self-promotion, but someone with a sense of humor sure has.

Yes, in this "Catfish" world of cyber fakery, anybody can be anybody. But I guess it can be particularly hilarious when there isn't much pretending going on, as is the case with the @Michael_Haneke handle.

Throwing around web verbiage you might attribute to a 12-year-old girl obsessed with Hello Kitty (or something) rather than an astute, multi-Palme-d'Or-winning practitioner of the filmmaking form, the account has amassed some 25,000 followers since it was set up on November 12. And it's that very aspect that has the REAL Haneke so bewildered.

Read Full Post
Pink's 'The Truth About Love' tour opens in Phoenix to a few glitches

Pink's 'The Truth About Love' tour opens in Phoenix to a few glitches

Singer has ups and downs during U.S. Airways concert's first night

Pink’s “The Truth About Love” got off to a high-flying start at Phoenix's US Airways Arena last night, but not without a few hitches.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Justin Timberlake</p>

Justin Timberlake

Watch: Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z's 'Suit & Tie' video directed by David Fincher

He'd like to show you a few things

David Fincher got back in the music video saddle specifically for his "Social Network" compadre Justin Timberlake and his new jam "Suit & Tie" featuring Jay-Z. The result is the two superstars all dressed up in black in white -- meaning, their clothes and the shades of the video -- in a gorgeous Old Hollywood setup.

Timberlake appears in scenes from his hotel bedroom to the big stage, with the best scenery taken from the latter as he's flanked by dancers and a horn orchestra.

Let him show you a few things:

Read Full Post
Greg P. Russell tweaks "Skyfall" for IMAX exhibition at Technicolor's post-production facility on the Paramount lot.
Greg P. Russell tweaks "Skyfall" for IMAX exhibition at Technicolor's post-production facility on the Paramount lot.
Credit: Greg P. Russell

Tech Support: Greg P. Russell on finding the nuance in action with Sam Mendes and 'Skyfall'

The oft-nominated sound mixer picked up his 16th Academy notice for the film

HOLLYWOOD - Being in sound mixer Greg P. Russell's shoes at the Oscars must be an interesting experience. He's been 14 times, you see (double nominated in 1998). But he's never heard his name called. He's watched his work on high-octane action hits like "The Rock," "Spider-Man" and the "Transformers" films lose to overall Academy favorites like "The English Patient," "Chicago" "The Hurt Locker" and "Hugo." He's been in the mix (so to speak) consistently since his first nomination, for "Black Rain" in 1989, but hasn't found himself on a project that the Academy at large -- which, whether they know from good sound mixing or not, votes collectively on the Oscar winners each year -- could warm to as worthy of their vote.

That could change this year, however. Nominated for the James Bond extravaganza "Skyfall," Russell finds himself on a production that has clear industry support and sentiment. At the same time, he's staring down Academy favorites once again in "Argo," "Les Misérables," "Life of Pi" and "Lincoln." But that's familiar territory for him.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;5 Broken&nbsp;Cameras&quot;</p>

"5 Broken Cameras"

Credit: Kino Lorber

Oscar Guide 2013: Best Documentary Feature

'5 Broken Cameras,' The Gatekeepers,' 'How to Survive a Plague,' 'The Invisible War' and 'Searching for Sugar Man' square off

(Welcome to the Oscar Guide, your chaperone through the Academy’s 24 categories awarding excellence in film. A new installment will hit every weekday in the run-up to the Oscars on February 24, with the Best Picture finale on Friday, February 22.)

The staggering number of quality documentary features this year has been well-covered here and elsewhere. When the Academy made its inevitable cuts in the finalists stage, as usual, a great many gems were left off. But one couldn't argue with that slate of 15, a truly monumental set of contenders for the most part. And yet, one film has stood out as the frontrunner since it bowed at Sundance over a year ago.

The documentary features were sent to the entire voting membership of the Academy this year, along with the live action and animated shorts. That wider pool could change how one typically picks this race, but it really just means that popularity will reign supreme. And the film leading the charge this year is nothing if not popular.

The nominees are…

Read Full Post
<p>Get over it, people.</p>

Get over it, people.

Credit: Miramax Films

Roundup: What's the best worst Oscar moment?

Also: Oscar-nominated screenwriters get political, and a look at two VFX hopefuls

"No mass cultural event has the capacity to infuriate like the Oscars." A truer line was never written, and so Grantland writer Mark Lisanti launches a "tournament" to determine the most egregious Oscar travesty of all time, rounding up any number of supposed outrages from past Academy Awards ceremonies that people still love to bitch about, and pitting them against each other for you to vote on. Nominees range from contentious winners to infamous onstage moments, many of which I still don't understand the fuss about. I, for one, think it's nice that Angelina Jolie is close to her brother. And I'll never get why it must be a cast-iron fact that "Saving Private Ryan" is a better film than the perfectly delightful "Shakespeare in Love." Then again, I still feel less than sanguine about "Crash": everyone has their Oscar sore points. Perhaps the better question would be: what Oscar "travesties" are you totally okay with? [Grantland]

Read Full Post
<p>Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope in &quot;Scandal.&quot;</p>

Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope in "Scandal."

Credit: ABC

'Scandal' creator Shonda Rhimes on Olivia, Fitz and the craziness of season 2

'Grey's Anatomy' creator doesn't feel much changed between seasons of her new series

Last week, in praising this season of "Scandal," I complimented the show's creator Shonda Rhimes for pivoting directly into the craziness of the show in its second season.

But when I spoke to Rhimes earlier this week, she disagreed with the idea that there had been any significant change at all — that the only difference between seasons has been the length of them, and that seven episodes last spring wasn't enough to do things right.

Last week, the show concluded its first major arc of season 2, in which our every more morally ambiguous heroine Olivia Pope found out who had attempted to murder President Fitzgerald Grant, while Fitz in turn found out that Olivia and several other allies had conspired to rig the election in his favor — and, as a result, spurned Olivia to go back to his crazy wife Mellie.

The series kicks off the second big movement of the season tonight at 10, and I spoke with Rhimes about the changes (or lack thereof) in the new season, where the story will go from here (in the vaguest possible terms), why Olivia and Fitz should not be compared to any of the couples from Rhimes' "Grey's Anatomy," and more.

Read Full Post
<p>Jeremy Irons in &quot;Night Train to Lisbon.&quot;</p>

Jeremy Irons in "Night Train to Lisbon."

Credit: Berlin Film Festival

Berlinale: Jeremy Irons derailed in 'Night Train to Lisbon,' but Arvin Chen charms again

Chen's 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow' a worthy follow-up to 'Au Revoir, Taipei'

BERLIN - Looking at the list of seen films I have yet to write up out of the Berlinale, I'm finding it harder than usual to forge connections between them that would make for a satisfying review roundup. Some have been good. More have been bad. That's about the extent of the narrative at a festival that, while enjoyable as ever, hasn't so far maintained the standard of last year's "Tabu"-"Sister"-"Barbara"-"War Witch"-"A Royal Affair" mini-feast. Only Sebastian Lelio's wonderful "Gloria," meanwhile, seems to have buyers buzzing along with the critics; it'll be a major shock if it doesn't take a significant prize from Wong Kar-wai's jury on Saturday.

So forgive this rather randomly paired duo of reviews, which have little in common beyond their presence in lineup and... well, they're both vaguely Valentine's Day-friendly. I thought I'd at least couch bad news with good, which wouldn't have been the case if I'd opted to pair up two former Best Foreign Language Film winners instead. (More on Danis Tanovic's drab Competition entry "An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker" -- surely a candidate for the most parodic-sounding arthouse movie title of all time -- at a later stage.)

Read Full Post
Bryan Singer says he'll be able to 'correct a few things' in 'X-Men: Days of Future Past'

Bryan Singer says he'll be able to 'correct a few things' in 'X-Men: Days of Future Past'

Does Singer view this as a reset? And who is Hoult psyched to meet?
RICHMOND, ENGLAND - Earlier this week, I was sitting in the drafty, damp, historically epic recesses of the Hampton Court Palace chatting with "Jack the Giant Slayer" director Bryan Singer and star Nicholas Holt.
 
Most of our conversations revolved, of course, around their upcoming 3D reimagining of the classic fairy tale, which opens on March 1 at theaters everywhere. But that doesn't mean that I didn't sneak in a question or two about Singer and Hoult's upcoming work on "X-Men: Days of Future Past," which will begin production in April and will hit theaters in 2014.
 
"This movie's gonna be not only quite epic, 'Days of Future Past,' but it also takes place in completely different times than the 'X Men' movies have taken place," Singer told me. "There'll be new technology, new things we haven't seen before in 'X-Men' films. Certain characters and certain story and certain drama that hasn't be done yet, so it's not so much sequel. It's more of its own kinda thing."
 
I like, however, Singer's reaction to my follow-up using the word "reset."
 
"I'll be able to correct a few things," he hints, with a smile.
 
As for Hoult, making his second appearance as Hank McCoy and Beast, he wouldn't give away details, but he admitted to excitement about getting to work with original "X Men" castmembers like Hugh Jackman and Ian McKellen.
 
"As much as it felt like a real 'X Men' film last time, because we were all a new cast it almost felt like it didn't, whereas doing one with those guys is going to feel very much like..." he said, before adding that he's going to be like a big fanboy.
 
Check out the video above.
 
And stay tuned for more of my interviews from Hampton Court as we get closer to the "Jack the Giant Slayer" release date.
Read Full Post
<p>Andrea of &quot;Survivor: Caramoan&quot;</p>

Andrea of "Survivor: Caramoan"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Caramoan' Premiere - 'She Annoys Me Greatly'

A second 'Fans versus Favorites' showdown begins with familiarity
Welcome to "Survivor: Caramoan." It takes three seconds for me to realize I can't tell the difference between a bushbaby and a spectral tarsier. Based on geography, I'm saying those were spectral tarsiers in the opening. Not that that has anything to do with anything. Oh gracious. What sort of wormhole did I just go down? Oy. Let's start over again, shall we?
 
Pre-credit introductions. Bearded Matt, already a pre-show favorite, calls this surreal. Shamar, an Iraq veteran, says that this game (or his competitors) will be lunchmeat. A blonde, I think it's Allie, says she knows enough about people to make it to the very end. A different, totally indistinguishable blonde, [Laura, I guess?] profiles that because Michael wears glasses, he's going to be a strategist. Michael thinks Laura looks too young to be out there. Or maybe he thinks that about Allie. Or possibly Hope. Come on! It's bad enough I can't tell spectral tarsiers from bushbabies, but differentiating between Hope, Laura and Allie may kill me. Fortunately, speaking of telling people apart, Jeff Probst is reminding us who each of the "favorites" is or was. I remember nothing about two or three of these people and I wouldn't call more than four or five of them "favorites." Adorable Andrea helpfully explains that the theme of this season is people who made big mistakes. But if that's the case, why is CBS calling it "Fans versus Favorites" as opposed to "Newbies versus Ooopsies" or something?
 
Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME