Latest Blog Posts

<p>Leonardo DiCaprio in &quot;Django Unchained.&quot;</p>

Leonardo DiCaprio in "Django Unchained."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Roundup: Is 'Django' dressed up for a costume Oscar?

Also: James Cameron to return to earth, and Seth Macfarlane's Oscar chances

In case you'd never noticed, Quentin Tarantino makes pretty snappily dressed movies. From the monochrome suits of "Reservoir Dogs" to the Bride's mustard tracksuit in "Kill Bill," the man knows the iconic power of a garment. The Academy's costume branch has never shared his taste -- not even, surprisingly enough, when he went all period on their asses in "Inglourious Basterds." Chris Laverty wonders if the jazzy-looking "Django Unchained" wardrobe, designed by former nominee Sharen Davis, could finally break their resistance: he touches on her research for the project, and the relevance of the film's narrowly pre-Civil War setting. [Clothes On Film]

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<p>George Clooney and producing partner Grant Heslov at the New York premiere of &quot;Argo.&quot;</p>

George Clooney and producing partner Grant Heslov at the New York premiere of "Argo."

Credit: AP Photo/Marion Curtis

George Clooney poised to break an Oscar record with 'Argo'

A Best Picture nod would make the star a nominee in six different categories

On a slow news day for awards pundits, my mind got to wandering -- as is the rather tragic wont of awards pundits' minds -- to matters of trivia and statistics. When a colleague asked me to provide him with a list of the 2012 Oscar nominees that can, even at this early stage, be set in stone, one of the few titles I could comfortably jot down for inclusion, of course, was "Argo." Its current, widely perceived status as the Best Picture frontrunner isn't unassailable, but there are no grounds on which one can doubt its nomination: critically and commercially proven, popular in the industry, with no weaknesses in sight, it's officially in the black, as it were.

That means Ben Affleck can add at least one nomination -- well, with Best Director, almost certainly two -- to an Oscar record sheet that has remained unmarked since his joint screenplay win for "Good Will Hunting" 15 years ago. Win or lose, it's a happy turn of events for a career many thought was headed for punchline status a decade ago. But he's not the only major Hollywood star for whom an "Argo" nod would represent a milestone: some guy called George Clooney stands to make history with the film.  

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Charlie Hunnam, Kim Coates and Joel McHale on "Sons of Anarchy"

Charlie Hunnam, Kim Coates and Joel McHale on "Sons of Anarchy"

Credit: FX

'Sons of Anarchy' recap: 'Toad's Wild Ride' (with Gemma at the wheel)

Joel McHale guest stars on another eventful episode

Jax: "She's a goddamn trainwreck."
Nero: "She's still your mother ... Women like your mom, they don't do so good without family."

It's been a very Jax-centric season of "Sons of Anarchy" so far, but Clay and Gemma took the reins tonight while Jax was mostly just trying to keep up.

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<p>Simon Cowell passes judgement on The Lylas</p>

Simon Cowell passes judgement on The Lylas

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' - The Top 16 Revealed

After last week's fiasco, 'X Factor' tries to get past Judges' Houses again

Hey "X Factor" fans! Are you reader to find out which singers made the Top 16?

Doesn't it feel like we've been here before? Why, yes. It was less than a week ago that FOX ran an hour of "The X Factor" in the middle of a baseball rain delay, revealing 10 of the performers in the Top 16.

If you want to skip the first chunk of tonight's strangely timed episode, you can read my recap from last Wednesday

Or you can follow along with my live-blog as I pay minimal attention to the decisions I've already seen and then perk up for the last six announcements...

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<p>Michaela Page of &quot;The Voice&quot;&nbsp;</p>

Michaela Page of "The Voice" 

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'The Voice' Tuesday - The Battles Continue, Part 4

Another night, more Battles from NBC's hit
We’re here at the end of the Battle Rounds, which has yielded as many great moments as headscratching ones for “The Voice”. The introduction of the steal has increased the drama of this phase of the game, but hasn’t solved its inherently odd structure. Building up a solid team only to systematically dismantle it via one-on-one sing-offs really can’t be the best way to narrow the field down to more manageable size. But holding out hope for its removal from the show before the next cycle is probably asking too much.
 
But let’s focus on the present, rather than the past. Only four slots remain. Adam Levine’s team has been filled, but there are spots left for Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, and CeeLo Green. Plus, Aguilera has the one remaining steal left, and something tells me she’ll use it tonight. Let’s get down to business.
 
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<p>&quot;Dancing with the Stars&quot;</p>

"Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

'Dancing with the Stars' recap: It's 'Gangnam Style' on the dance floor

The final four couples perform their guilty pleasure dances

So, this is really Monday part 2 -- four couples will perform and we get the Team "Gangnam Style" dance, too. And it's only an hour! I could get used to this, couldn't you? 

For some reason, Kelly looks mad as the camera pans over the crowd. Or maybe that's not anger, but worry. She was at the bottom of the leader board this week. Or maybe Val made a crack about her age, or the love isn't there when cameras aren't rolling. 

In other news, I'm still looking forward to Team "Gangnam Style"'s performance. I know someday I will get sick of that song, but it hasn't happened yet. 

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<p>James Cameron is signing more than autographs this month.</p>

James Cameron is signing more than autographs this month.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello/Invision

James Cameron signs on to direct 'The Informationist' after 'Avatar' sequels

The book's in stores now, but it'll be years before he can make the movie

I am, quite frankly, surprised by this announcement.

It's a pleasant surprise.  I'm more than happy for James Cameron to make whatever he wants, and adding another film to his development slate can only be a good thing.  But a little while ago, he basically announced that he was done developing new properties and claimed that he was in the "Avatar" business exclusively.

My guess is now that he's deep into the nuts and bolts part of actually writing those sequels and preparing for the sure-to-be-crushing experience of doing part two and part three as one giant production, he's realizing that maybe he doesn't want to spend the entire rest of his life just doing stories about Pandora.  While I agree with him that he's created this fictional planet where he can pretty much tell any story and metaphorically tackle any topic, I also look forward to seeing him try something different because I think he remains exciting and intriguing no matter what the subject matter.

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<p>Tom Hanks and Halle Berry seemed to still be processing 'Cloud Atlas' and their experience on it when we sat down to speak</p>

Tom Hanks and Halle Berry seemed to still be processing 'Cloud Atlas' and their experience on it when we sat down to speak

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Tom Hanks and Halle Berry on race, love, and made-up language in 'Cloud Atlas'

We talk to the two stars of the year's most ambitious film about their work

It seems like the conversation about race in "Cloud Atlas" is heating up in this last week pre-release, and I imagine once people see the film, that conversation will continue.  I think there are a number of potent, interesting ideas to grapple with once you've seen the movie, but unsurprisingly, some people have stopped at "Hey, those people are wearing make-up to look like a different race" and that's all that they see when they look at the movie.

Last night, I got into a fairly spirited back and forth with Walter Chaw, a smart and passionate writer, in which he was adamant about calling the film "yellowface."  While he's technically correct that there are indeed white actors playing Asian roles in the film, what I kept trying to engage him on was the notion that the film has so many other racial ideas in the mix and so much more identity remixing going on that reducing the film to "yellowface" as if that's the driving idea behind the make-up seems inflammatory to me.  After all, in this same film, we've got Doona Bae as a young girl in the American south during the 1800s and Halle Berry playing a white German Jew, complete with a nude scene, and we've got men playing women and women playing men and Keith David playing Korean and on and on. 

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<p>Taylor Swift</p>

Taylor Swift

Credit: Charles Sykes/AP

Taylor Swift's 'Red' on target to sell more than 1 million in opening week

She will be first female to score two albums with million-selling weeks

Taylor Swift’s “Red” is on target to sell at least 1 million in its first week of release.  She reached the half-way mark yesterday, on “Red’s” first day of release, according to Billboard.

Aiding in getting her to the 500,000 tally was a record opening day at Target, which is exclusively selling a deluxe edition of “Red” with three extra songs. The mass merchant sold more than 160,000 copies. 

In addition to moving physical CDs, Swift is also leading sales on iTunes Music Store, where Billboard cites Swift sold 250,000 album downloads  on Monday.  In addition to having the top-selling album on the music site,  Swift has 10 songs in the top 20 of iTunes Top Songs tally.

Should “Red” surpass the million mark, it will be Swift’s second consecutive title, following 2010’s “Speak Now,” to do so and will make Swift the only woman to achieve the feat since the debut of SoundScan in 1991.

The last album to sell more than one million copies in its opening week was Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” However, that included an Amazon MP3 99-cent sale.

Swift's label, Big Machine, has also taken some moves that give "Red" the best possible chance to surpass the million mark: The album is not available on any streaming services, including Spotify or Rdio. Plus, iTunes is the only digital retailer selling the album, which means neither Amazon nor Best Buy could sell downloads as loss leaders (following Lady Gaga's move, Billboard will not count albums sold for less than $3.49 in their first few weeks of release).

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Watch: Enrique Iglesias finds what he's looking for in  'Finally Found You' video

Watch: Enrique Iglesias finds what he's looking for in 'Finally Found You' video

Hide and Seek leads to a different kind of game

The tale of a lifelong love plays out in Enrique Iglesias’s video for “Finally Found You.”

The story starts as a young Enrique plays hide and seek with his young female friend... so he can “finally find” her. Get it? Of course, you do.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Daniel Craig and his very subtly placed Omega watch in &quot;Skyfall.&quot;</p>

Daniel Craig and his very subtly placed Omega watch in "Skyfall."

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Roundup: The selling of 'Skyfall'

Also: GKIDS starts the campaign, and are pundits overestimating 'Lincoln?'

On the one hand, it's totally unseemly and self-serving to put one's own article at the top of the daily roundup. On the other hand -- well, there is no other hand, but I'm doing it anyway. With "Skyfall" hitting UK screens on Friday, I donned my Guardian columnist hat to look into at the film's layered, long-haul promotional campaign, which combines stripped-down marketing materials -- posters focusing chiefly on the 007 brand, scarcely mentioning the A-list names involved -- with a relentless assault of brand placements and tie-ins, ranging from Heineken to Tom Ford to the Queen. (You tell me she isn't a brand.) The approach has box office pundits expecting the biggest-ever global gross for a Bond effort -- will it pay off with audiences? [The Guardian]  

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<p>Krysten Ritter in the title role from &quot;Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23.&quot;</p>

Krysten Ritter in the title role from "Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23."

Credit: ABC

Review: ABC's 'Don't Trust the B' returns for season 2

Interesting pieces, but the odd couple sitcom still hasn't progressed

Comedies often take longer to find themselves than dramas. You can look at “Parks and Recreation,” “New Girl,” or ABC’s “Happy Endings,” which begins its third season tonight at 9, as just three recent examples of sitcoms that didn’t fully understand their strengths and weaknesses until late in their first seasons or early in their second, and are now three of the funniest shows around.

So even though I wasn’t wild about the first season of ABC’s “Don’t Trust the B---- in Apt. 23,” which returns tonight at 9:30 after “Happy Endings,” there was enough interesting raw material there that I had hope for a similar leap forward in season 2. Instead, it’s the same uneven show, full of ideas that seem funny in concept but only occasionally get there in execution.
 
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