Latest Blog Posts

Watch: 'Don Jon's Addiction' helmer Joseph Gordon-Levitt says rom-coms are porn
Credit: HitFix

Watch: 'Don Jon's Addiction' helmer Joseph Gordon-Levitt says rom-coms are porn

Julianne Moore mum on her character, but likes the sexy, 'intense' material

PARK CITY, UTAH - "Don Jon's Addiction" is just one of several films at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival with  firmly sexual scenarios at its center; it joins other films like "Lovelace," "Interior. Leather Bar" and "Kink" in the lineup. But as writer, director and star of "Don Jon's," Joseph Gordon-Levitt told HitFix he had a larger picture in mind, beyond his character's addiction to porn.

"I wanted to tell a story about love... people objectifying each other," he said of his film.

"Don Jon's" boasts other talent like love interest Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore, who wished to remain mum on the topic of her character on the red carpet.  But Gordon-Levitt further explains the idea of objectification, and how it turns into a comedy. "My character watches a lot of porn. Scarlett's character watches a lot of romantic Hollywood movies. I think all that stuff is hilarious."

Because to the "Looper" actor, rom-coms  are porn in a way, too.

Moore said the script was "beautifully written," even for subject matter that's "pretty intense,"

Read Full Post
<p>Dave Grohl</p>

Dave Grohl

Credit: HitFix

Stalk talk with Dave Grohl: Nobody said 'no' to Sundance's 'Sound City' - Watch

'Hey, I'm Dave...'

PARK CITY, UTAH -- Nobody says no to Dave Grohl. At least, that was the case when the Foo Fighters frontman started tracking down talking talent for his directorial debut "Sound City," which centers around the California rock studio of the same name.

Grohl corralled artists like Stevie Nicks, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Trent Reznor and others for sit-down interviews, but also for jam sessions on new originals that would eventually make the soundtrack to "Sound City." To make his dream list, he asked the former Sound City principals to give him a list of who all has laid down tracks in their ugly yet esteemed walls.

"They were like, 'Are you f*cking kidding?'," which fulfills the "too many to name" quandary. But once he had his top talent in mind, it was time for some cold calls.

"Like, 'Hey, I'm Dave, I'm making a movie. And everybody said yes."

Watch the video above, for what spurred Grohl's purchase of Sound City's recording console and its importance to his former band Nirvana's legacy.

"Sound City" debuted at the Sundance Film Festival yesterday (Jan. 18).

Read Full Post
<p>Matthew Macfadyen of &quot;Ripper Street&quot;</p>

Matthew Macfadyen of "Ripper Street"

Credit: BBC America

Matthew Macfadyen talks 'Ripper Street' and 'Anna Karenina'

New BBC America drama premieres on Saturday night
Like many a British thespian, Matthew Macfadyen has reliably bounced back and forth between the big screen and television, whether wooing Elizabeth Bennett in "Pride & Prejudice" or battling international intrigue in "MI-5."
Fresh off a well-received supporting turn as Oblonsky in Joe Wright's "Anna Karenina" this winter, Macfadyen is back on TV on Saturday (January 19) night fighting crime in Victorian England in BBC America's "Ripper Street."
During the Television Critics Association press tour this month, I sat down with MacFadyen to talk about his role as Detective Inspector Edmund Reid on "Ripper Street," which was created by Richard Warlow and co-stars Jerome Flynn and Adam Rothenberg. We also talked a bit about Wright's highly theatrical Tolstoy adaptation, as well as his creative process. 
Click through...
Read Full Post
Alicia Keys talks scoring Sundance pic 'Mister and Pete' and maybe playing Lena Horn
Credit: HitFix

Alicia Keys talks scoring Sundance pic 'Mister and Pete' and maybe playing Lena Horn

Could her film cohorts Jordin Sparks and Jennifer Hudson show up on future tracks?

Alicia Keys just scheduled her 2013 tour dates, but this month is marked up with her other, new gig, as executive producer and score composer for Sundance film "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete."

Directed by George Tillman, Jr., the drama is led by two "incredibly" young, fresh actors, in addition to some names that will sound familiar to fans of Keys' music and contemporaries: Jordin Sparks and Jennifer Hudson.

In a cast with other "grown-ups" like Anthony Mackie and Jeffrey Wright, the two singing stars will be stretching out their acting muscles yet again. Keys said "Jennifer Hudson is outstanding" in her role as a heroin-addicted mom from the projects in New York. You can learn more about that transformation in HitFix's interview with Hudson here.

Keys is open to collaborating with those two former "AI" stars on future recording projects. As for the music in "Mister and Pete," she described it as "pulled back" compared to what's on recent albums like "Girl on Fire."

Read Full Post
<p>Dermot Mulroney in &quot;The Rambler&quot;</p>

Dermot Mulroney in "The Rambler"

Credit: Anchor Bay Films

Weinstein, Anchor Bay strike first on Sundance acquistions

'Twenty Feet From Stardom' and 'The Rambler' find homes

PARK CITY - Sundance is well under way and on opening day, acquisitions had already been announced.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;The World According to Dick Cheney&quot;</p>

"The World According to Dick Cheney"

Credit: Sundance

Sundance Review: 'The World According to Dick Cheney' offers no apologies

R.J. Cutler doc will premiere on Showtime this spring
I watched "The World According to Dick Cheney" last week to talk with director R.J. Cutler about the doc, which is set to air on Showtime in March.
I found the film to be informative and compulsively infuriating in intriguing ways. And in the 15 minutes I chatted with Cutler -- that interview will run closer to the Showtime premiere -- it became very, very, very clear that the fascination I felt with "The World According to Dick Cheney" wasn't, in any particular way, in synch with Cutler's perception of his own movie. This doesn't bother me. An artist creates work and puts it out there for interpretation. I've often interviewed filmmakers about projects I actively disliked and that they thought were brilliant, or at least they professed to at the time. This isn't that sort of thing. In fact, I mostly mention the discordance here because it's somewhat less frequent that I get into disagreements with filmmakers over the nature of something that I quite liked.
Realistically, "The World According to Dick Cheney" is, as you might guess, designed to be a litmus test sorta movie and many reactions are going to hinge on your position on the political spectrum and your interpretation of what Cutler was or wasn't able to get from Dick Cheney. 
I rewatched "The World According to Dick Cheney" at its premiere on Friday (January 19) afternoon at the Sundance Film Festival and even watching with Cutler's words in my head -- not necessarily something a critic should normally try to do -- I came away with my opinion -- still positive -- and my perception still intact.
Your perception, like R.J. Cutler's perception, may vary. [Note that Greg Finton is also credited as director on "The World According to Dick Cheney," though it's still called "an R.J. Cutler film."]
Full review after the break...
Read Full Post
<p>I&nbsp;know the feeling.</p>

I know the feeling.

Credit: Sundance Film Festival

Review: 'Escape From Tomorrow' is a surrealist treat that will give Disney's lawyers nightmares

One-of-a-kind film screens as part of the Sundance NEXT category

PARK CITY - Probably a half-hour into "Escape From Tomorrow," I turned to William Goss, another critic who was at the screening with me, and whispered, "How does this exist?"

Perhaps the most unusual thing I've ever seen at a film festival, "Escape From Tomorrow" is a slow descent into madness, told from the perspective of a father who finds out that he has lost his job on the final morning of a family vacation.  As he spends the day with his family, trying to make them happy, his grip on reality seems to come gradually unhinged, leading to… well, I'm not sure I could describe what it leads to even if it weren't a spoiler.  Shot in black-and-white, the film has a strange disassociated vibe to the storytelling, and writer/director Randy Moore has a very clear authorial voice.  It is not an understatement to say that it is one of the most unsettling things I've experienced in a theater in quite a while, and part of that is because, even now, even after seeing the Q&A with Moore, even after talking it over with Goss while we ate dinner, even after going over it in my head, I still don't fully understand what I just saw.

All I know is Walt Disney's lawyers are probably climbing onto helicopters and planning a raid on Park City right now.

Read Full Post
Joshua Jackson in tonight's "Fringe"

Joshua Jackson in tonight's "Fringe"

Credit: FOX

'Fringe' Recap - 'Liberty'/'An Enemy Of Fate'

The show wraps up its five-year run.

“It’s not about fate…it’s about changing fate. It’s about hope. And protecting our children.” September, to Walter Bishop

Here we are, at the end of the “Fringe” journey. It started with a mysterious incident on a plane and ended with a white tulip addressed to Peter Bishop. In between were some of the loveliest, most evocative, most affecting (as well as effective) genre storytelling on television in recent memory. It was far from a perfect show, as even the hardiest of fans would agree. But when it worked, it worked like gangbusters, and there was nothing else like it. Considering how downright strange, how openly earnest, and how narratively demanding it was, it’s no hyperbole to say that television as a whole was better for having “Fringe” in its ecosphere.
But it’s unfortunately also not hyperbole to say that tonight’s final two episodes proved this fifth and final season to be a huge misstep.
Read Full Post


Credit: Fickle Fish Films/Moxie Pictures

Review: Keri Russell and Jennifer Coolidge charm in potential breakout hit 'Austenland'

Who knew Bret McKenzie had a romantic leading man in him?

PARK CITY - As a movie pitch "Austenland" seems like a no-brainer. A devoted and sadly single Jane Austen fan (appropriately named Jane and played by Keri Russell) decides to spend her life savings to visit Austenland, an immersive vacation resort which promise her a personal Mr. Darcy experience. Of course, nothing goes as planned, but our heroine still finds love where she wouldn't have expected it. Throw in some quirky British characters trying to pull off the 19th Century in the 21st Century and you have numerous comedic opportunities.  Based on the novel by Shannon Hale and co-produced by Stephenie Meyer, Jerusha Hess' "Austenland" should quickly evoke a bidding war that will make the numerous studios regret passing on the first time around.

Read Full Post
<p>Amari Cheatom and Trae Harris co-star in the stoner relationship comedy 'Newlyweeds' at this year's Sundance Film&nbsp;Festival</p>

Amari Cheatom and Trae Harris co-star in the stoner relationship comedy 'Newlyweeds' at this year's Sundance Film Festival

Credit: Sundance Film Festival

Review: 'Newlyweeds' is a stoner's riff on the romantic comedy, but how potent is it?

An unven feature debut by Shaka King features some strong performances

PARK CITY - So far, Sundance has managed to get me ruminating on my own personal career of chemical misadventures, purely by coincidence.  Last night's film, "Crystal Fairy & The Magic Cactus and 2012," had me thinking about what it is that draws us to the extreme experiences, the personal tests that we sometimes impose on ourselves out of a drive to see if we are strong enough to handle them, and this morning's movie, "Newlyweeds," left me reflecting on the way certain relationships in my own life were defined by what substance I had in common with someone.

Shaka King's debut feature, "Newlyweeds" examines the dynamic between Lyle (Amari Cheatom) and Nina (Trae Harris), a young couple who have a mutual love of smoking marijuana.  Lyle works as a repo man for a rent-to-own company, and Nina gives museum tours, and the two of them are full of dreams and seem perfectly matched as the film begins.  There are many things to like about the way the film unfolds, and for about an hour of the running time, it seems like it works well.  Cheatom and Harris do a nice job of playing the couple, and Tone Trank also displays real charisma as Jackie, who is Lyle's partner at work.  For a while, there's an aimless quality to the film that works in its favor.  We see how Lyle and Jackie have to find ways to get into the apartments where they're supposed to repossess things, and we see how the weed manages to both bring Lyle and Nina closer together at times while also introducing real problems into their relationship.  It's great to have someone to smoke with at the end of a day when you're relaxing, someone who is on the same wavelength as you are, but when that person ends up smoking an entire eighth while you're at work and they're unwilling or unable to replace it, the strain it causes is very particular and not really like a normal relationship issue.

Read Full Post
<p>Bruno Mars</p>

Bruno Mars

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Bruno Mars' 'Locked Out Of Heaven' remix by M Machine

Would you like a little dubstep with that?

Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven” has taken up residency at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and now he’s going for club domination.

Check out this dubstep remix of the tune by M Machine. The trio’s version is on “Jukebox,” an album featuring remixes of tunes from Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox.” The remix set comes out Tuesday (21), according to Rolling Stone.  Listen to it here.

How do you like it? It adds a nice dimension to the song, but being a pop baby myself, i still prefer the original. This version takes out some of the giddiness out and eliminates Mars’ infectious “Woah, woah, woahs,” but it has a great peppy section around 2:40. Plus, it has "beep beeps." Still, I give the advantage to Mars.

M Machine’s new EP, “Metropolis Pt. Two,” drops Feb. 19 on Skrillex’s label, OWSLA.


Read Full Post
<p>James Purefoy and Kevin Bacon in &quot;The Following.&quot;</p>

James Purefoy and Kevin Bacon in "The Following."

Credit: FOX

Review: FOX's 'The Following' an empty horror exercise

Kevin Bacon chases a charismatic but cliched serial killer in new drama from Kevin Williamson

Kevin Williamson has forgotten more about horror than I'll ever learn. His scripts for both the big screen ("I Know What You Did Last Summer") and small ("Dawson's Creek") are overflowing with a love of popular culture and horror stories in particular. His movie debut, 1996's "Scream," breathed new life into a thoroughly played-out genre by making a slasher movie where all the characters were aware they were in a slasher movie, and of the rules that govern such a story.

His new FOX drama "The Following" (it debuts Monday night at 9) is informed by Williamson's devotion to another kind of horror story: tales of charismatic, omniscient serial killers, particularly as popularized by "Silence of the Lambs" and the other Hannibal Lecter films. But here, the tone is deadly serious throughout. It's a series riddled with clichés, but without anyone to point them out along the way.

Read Full Post