Latest Blog Posts

<p>&quot;Bullet to the Head&quot;</p>

"Bullet to the Head"

Credit: Warner Brothers

Notes from a 'Bullet to the Head' set visit in New Orleans

Sarah Shahi and Jason Momoa discuss star Sylvester Stallone
NEW ORLEANS - Sylvester Stallone can't talk.
That's not exactly right. Actually, Sylvester Stallone is an exceptionally good talker and prolific writer. 
However, the "Bullet to the Head" star is unable to talk to the group of journalists gathered in the August 2011 heat in the Crescent City to visit the set of his new Walter Hill thriller. 
Stallone is busy trying to avoid an explosion, which puts the need or desire to speak with a motley assortment of bloggers in perspective. Dodging this explosion requires quick reactions, strong swimming and powerful lungs.
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"The Vampire Diaries"

 "The Vampire Diaries"

Credit: The CW

'The Vampire Diaries' recap: 'Catch Me If You Can'

Rebekah gets Stefan to loosen up - and close his heart

Is anyone wondering if we're really going to see the strange and magical Silas on this show? I realize that his revival is supposed to herald the end times, but I have to say I'm more than a little curious. Of course, not as curious as Professor Shane, and for that reason along I think I can live without seeing Silas ever, simply because I don't want Professor Shane to get his way. On the spectrum of creepy, Shane has turned the dial to eleven, and I'm hoping Bonnie gets wise to him sooner rather than later. After last week's little confession, it was pretty clear he's an Originals groupie in the weirdest possible way. 

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Credit: AP Photo

Coachella 2013 lineup announced: Blur, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Phoenix

The Stone Roses, the Postal Service, the xx, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and more

One of the biggest and earliest festivals in the country has made its lineup known: Coachella has tapped Blur, the Stone Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Phoenix, the xx, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Postal Service as its headlining acts.

The organizers behind the 2013 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival Tweeted their poster for the double-weekend event. It runs April 12-14 and April 19-21 at the Empire Polo grounds in Indio, Calif. Tickets are on sale now.

Among the other big names are Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Jurassic 5, Modest Mouse, Sigur Ros, New Order, Hot Chip, Vampire Weekend, Social Distortion, the Wu-Tang Clan, Grizzly Bear and Lou Reed.

A few notes on this lineup:

  1. Red Hot Chili Peppers headlined a number of big festivals in 2012 -- including Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits -- so it's a little surprising to see them here for 2013.
  2. Looks like the Wu-Tang Clan has found dates that work for everyone. What's the wager that all members will be in attendance?
  3. Modest Mouse's appearance here is a pleasant surprise: they hit a couple of coastal fests in 2011 and 2012, but with no album in tow. This headlining appearance may indicate activity in the months ahead, as far as new material is concerned.
  4. We already knew that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Vampire Weekend and Phoenix had new efforts coming, but how about that La Roux? LA ROUX? Get excited, people, there may be your new summer jam coming...
  5. Both Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds AND Grinderman made the marquee, with Cave apparently pulling quadruple duty over the weekends. It was in December 2011 that the band intimated that "Grinderman 2" and its subsequent tour was the end of that band, but now that assertion is effectively proven wrong.
  6. Sigur Ros announced just today on Reddit AMA that they have a new album coming, so not another Jonsi record. Which is just fine: the solo artist and his band have proven live concert imagination, so this large-scale, large stage show should be beautiful.
  7. Jurassic 5 split in 2007, so this reunion is pretty notable. Cut Chemist was the first to cut ties in 2006, so let's see what he and others bring to the table.
  8. How to Destroy Angels is on here -- not Nine Inch Nails. Not shocking, but we know that Trent Reznor is committed to that project at least through the spring.
  9. I'm kind of surprised that solo electronica/EDM/DJ artists aren't the marquee names. We're so used to AVICII, Skrillex, deadmau5, Calvin Harris, David Guetta and others dominating mainstream festivals, but you have to skip to line 3 (past New Order, past the xx) to get to artists like Benny Benassi, Bassnectar, Paul Oakenfold and their ilk.
  10. Blur were obviously listening. While Pulp made a reunion stop at the fest last year, 2013 is Blur's time to shine on the States, after a couple of short appearances in their native England. They're sharing a double-headline with the Stone Roses, which I have to think is contractual, because, man, just look at those catalogs and you tell me if folks are more excited for Damon Albarn.
  11. Lou Reed was at Metric's show this fall so... there's that.
  12. Johnny Marr's on there. You will note: that isn't the Smiths. We need to drop it.
  13. That Tweet of a rock in field? It's a polo ball, not a Rolling Stone.

Are you going to Coachella now?

Coachella 2013 lineup poster

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"Project Runway"

 "Project Runway" 

Credit: Lifetime

'Project Runway' recap: 'There Is No I in Team'

The new season kicks off with a team twist - for the whole season

So, I guess "Project Runway" has been around so long (this is the 11th season) that the show has to start throwing gimmicks against the wall to see what sticks. This season? It's teams! Not just for one challenge, but to the very end! I can't see this creating a lot of good design. Traditionally, we get plenty of squabbling and whining and mish-mashy looks that suggest no one wanted to waste their really good ideas on an outfit when they're only getting half the credit. I'm sure someone thought this would be good reality TV drama. The problem is, I think most people watch this show because they really like design and they're interested in the process. If we just wanted fighting, we'd be watching "The Real Housewives of Atlanta."

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<p>Andre Braugher in the &quot;Last Resort&quot;&nbsp;series finale.</p>

Andre Braugher in the "Last Resort" series finale.

Credit: ABC

'Last Resort' co-creator Shawn Ryan on the series finale, 'Beverly Hills Cop' and more

Where would the ABC submarine drama have gone if this wasn't the last episode?

"Last Resort" just aired its series finale, and I have a few thoughts on how things ended, and then a long interview with co-creator Shawn Ryan about these 13 episodes — and, at the end, about his "Beverly Hills Cop" pilot for CBS — all coming up just as soon as I ask who Jay-Z is...

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<p>On &quot;Parks and Recreation,&quot;&nbsp;Andy (Chris Pratt) shows off his basketball skills.</p>

On "Parks and Recreation," Andy (Chris Pratt) shows off his basketball skills.

Credit: NBC

Review: 'Parks and Recreation' - 'Women in Garbage'

Leslie battles Pawnee sexism, Ron and Ann babysit Diane's girls, and Tom learns about basketball

A review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I text you about Michael Stipe...

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"American Idol"

 "American Idol"

Credit: Fox

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 12 Live-Blog - Baton Rouge Auditions

The show travels to Louisiana to search for more talent

After the not-very-explosive on-air edit of the Nicki Minaj/Mariah Carey dust-up last night, the search for talent (instead of judges' panel drama) continues tonight in Baton Rouge. However, that doesn't mean there won't be more squabbling, more fake British accents and more big hats. For the record, I am loving the big hats. 

Also, if you're not seeing this, having massive technical difficulties. I am live blogging away, but the Interwebs are refusing to let me share. Stoopid Interwebs. 

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Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Is this really Beyonce and Destiny Child's Super Bowl halftime show set list?

What songs do you want to see her perform on Feb. 3?

In a little over a week, Beyonce will make another very public appearance when she headlines the half-time show at Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3. Us Weekly is reporting that she’ll open her set with “Crazy In Love”  and then halfway through will be joined by her Destiny’s Child bandmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams for a medley including “Bills, Bills, Bills,” “Survivor” and new track, “Nuclear.”

Hmmm. She’ll likely have time to throw in a few other numbers and while the Destiny’s Child songs sound plausible, we’re rather hear “Say My Name” and “Bootylicious.”

As far as other Beyonce songs, there is absolutely no way she is leaving the New Orleans Superdome without playing “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It).”  I may have no clue whether the Baltimore Ravens or the San Francisco 49ers are going to win (actually, I’m calling for the 49ers to win 27-24), but she will play that.  I also expect “Irreplaceable” to show up, although she could have a lot of fun with “Countdown” or “Run The World (Girls).”

If she decides to get all meaningful on us, she may slow things down with “I Was Here,” but I doubt it.

Next week, I’ll post my dream half-time show.

And as for the whole lip-syncing brouhaha over her performance of the "Star Spangled Banner" at Monday's Inaugural, does anyone really care if she sings live at the Super Bowl? Given that she will likely be dancing instead of standing still, I wouldn't be at all surprised if she lip syncs and I don't care.

What do you want to hear her perform?

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<p>As you can see, Tom Lennon is a very, very serious man.</p>

As you can see, Tom Lennon is a very, very serious man.

Credit: HitFix

Tom Lennon discusses the genius of Keegan Michael Key and Riki Lindhome's nudity in 'Hell Baby'

An uncensored video interview also spends a disturbing amount of time on Michael Ian Black in bike shorts

Thomas Lennon and I have several things in common.  We were both born in 1970.  We are both huge fans of Terry Gilliam's "Brazil."  We both look spectacular in tiny shorts.  And I'm pretty sure we both think "Hell Baby" is very funny.

"Hell Baby" is, of course, the film that Lennon co-directed with his long-time co-writer Robert Ben Garant, and I reviewed the movie after its first midnight screening at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.  A few days later, I sat down with Lennon at the Yarrow Hotel for a conversation that covered a number of topics.

For example, you'll hear a lot about Michael Ian Black and his penis and a pair of disturbingly tight bike shorts.

You'll also hear about Riki Lindhome's startling nude scene in the film.  Like, it's the most naked I've ever seen someone appear in a film.  It's the sort of nudity that makes screen caps redundant, because by the time it's over, there is no way you will ever forget it.

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<p>&quot;Narco Cultura&quot;</p>

"Narco Cultura"

Credit: Sundance

Sundance Review: 'Narco Cultura' tackles the drug war with a keen eye

Shaul Schwarz's cinematography is a Festival standout
Subject Repetition Fatigue is always a Sundance Film Festival struggle. 
For several years now, it's been tough on any documentary about post-9/11 terrorism or the wars in Iraq/Afghanistan because the subject had been covered so frequently and, often, so well. How are you gonna keep them on the farm after they've seen "Restrepo" or "Hell and Back"? 
Just this week, I watched Jacob Kornbluth's "Inequality For All" and then, two days later, I found it difficult to stomach the economic flimsiness and sloppy anger of "99% - The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film." Would I have liked the "Occupy" doc more if I hadn't enjoyed those 90 minutes being lectured by Robert Reich? Perhaps.
Heck, Subject Repetition Fatigue is such a serious issue that I've already discussed it previously when reviewing "Manhunt" in the context of the year's various Osama Bin Laden projects.
We've already moved into Subject Repetition Fatigue Repetition Fatigue, wherein I've grown tired of mentioning the repeated topics that I've grown tired of mentioning. [Yes, it's been a long time since I last had a full night's sleep.]
Or maybe I just need a different name for it? Docu-Deja Vu? That sensation that you're hearing a fact or figure that you've heard in previous films? Or that moment you realize you've seen the same talking head discuss the same subject matter in multiple documentaries?
Just as I praised "Manhunt" for finding a different point-of-entry into the OBL field, I was pleased that Shaul Schwarz's "Narco Cultura"   is able to stake its own position within the recent spate of terror-in-Mexico documentaries. While some of the claims and statistics in the documentary are definitely familiar, Schwarz builds his documentary around several fresh and interesting characters and anchors the film with superlative cinematography. "Narco Cultura," ends up being one of the better features in Sundance's US Documentary Competition and its originality ends up being one of my greatest reliefs. 
More after the break...
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<p>Ang Lee and Claudio Miranda on the set of &quot;Life of Pi&quot;</p>

Ang Lee and Claudio Miranda on the set of "Life of Pi"

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Tech Support: Claudio Miranda on effects and 3D photography in 'Life of Pi'

Ang Lee's DP is the frontrunner for the Best Cinematography Oscar

The odds-on favorite to win the Best Cinematography Oscar this year seems to be Claudio Miranda for Ang Lee's "Life of Pi." Why? The Academy tends toward aesthetically pleasing films in the category. "Beautiful pictures," you might say, and sometimes at the expense of perhaps more technically proficient work that may not be as postcard pretty.

But while that may be true, it's been leveled at "Life of Pi" as a criticism in some quarters. This is, after all, a film with a visual scope that is as much a result of visual effects as it is practical photography. But Miranda has a few things to say about that, if you think his work was somehow not as important in the greater scheme than that of the effects artists at the Rhythm & Hues and MPC effects houses.

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<p>Kathryn Bigelow</p>

Kathryn Bigelow

Credit: Time Magazine

Kathryn Bigelow gets Time Magazine cover story

She hits the press trail for 'Zero Dark Thirty' without a Best Director nod in tow

Kathryn Bigelow is out there hitting the PR circuit for "Zero Dark Thirty" at a bit of an awkward time: she was passed over for a Best Director nomination two weeks ago after being considered one of the best bets in the category for a film that is very much driven by her artistic vision. She was on CBS This Morning recently offering a point of view on that, in fact. "To be honest, it was just a couple of years ago that I was standing on that stage with 'The Hurt Locker,'" she told host Gayle King, "and so that might have something to do with it as well."

Meanwhile, she gets a big cover story in Time Magazine this week that serves as part profile, part timeline of the criticism that has been leveled toward "Zero Dark Thirty" for its conflation of circumstances and, some would say, "dangerous" depiction of torture and enhanced interrogation's role in finding Osama bin Laden.

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