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The TV season is (still) here! The TV season is (still) here! Premiere week's not over yet, which means it's time for more reviews of new shows, plus thoughts on a couple of notable Showtime dramas — one coming off an Emmy-winning season nearly everyone liked, and one coming off a season almost nobody liked.
I'd never be that age again.
Grizzly Bear have debuted their new music video for "Yet Again," one of my favorites from their new album "Shields." In it, a teenaged girl who is a struggling figure skater is put through perilous trials of loneliness, drowning, fear and exhaustion, only to get up in the morning and try to put the skates back on again. It ends with an unexpected blast of emotion, amidst flying sports medals, pages from a tabloid mag and other girlish high school debris.
The New York-based troupe walks that line of noise and easy-listening when it comes to their brand of rock; as I said in my review of "Yet Again," it's the best example of how they flex their pop muscles when they've got a few guitars in the background just dying to make a cacophony. The clip's dark visuals now reflect that aesthetic, of something cold and challenging bubbling just below the four-part harmonies.
I am 100% convinced that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is going to be one of the biggest working movie stars of his generation.
He may not be there quite yet, but he's been acting since a very young age, and by now, it's clear that he's got charisma in spades and that he makes really great choices as an actor. That's both onscreen and offscreen, as it doesn't matter if you're giving the best performance in the world if it's in a movie that no one ends up seeing. He's certainly bet on some very small films like "Hesher" and "Mysterious Skin" and, of course, "Brick," but he's also been able to work in films that made much larger commercial splashes like "Inception" and "G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra" and, of course, "The Dark Knight Rises."
It feels to me like "Looper" lands right in the middle between those two extremes. It's a studio release, but it's a film that feels intensely personal. It's a science-fiction film with some really remarkable moments of effects flourishes, but only in very specific moments and in service to the stories. It's a huge film in terms of ideas, but it's also very small-scale in terms of how many characters are involved. Much of the success (or failure, I suppose, depending on how you react to it) of the film is due to the confident and controlled lead performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
If "The Sing-Off" didn't sell you on a cappella, "Pitch Perfect" should do the trick. A charming, often screamingly funny mix-up of "Bridesmaids" girl power and "Say Anything" romance, this is the story of a "Bad News Bears"-esque group of girls who try to take their college singing group to the top of the cutthroat world of a cappella. Best of all, there's lots of singing and dancing between the punchlines.
The move to HitFix has put us right at the center of some exciting developments on the film awards coverage side of things, and one of those elements was revealed yesterday. We've established a separate Awards Channel that will serve as your hub for all of HitFix's awards coverage, whether it's music, TV or film. We've got your Grammy, Emmy and Oscar fix.
In addition to circulating all of our content in this spectrum, the channel also offers the usual bells and whistles of HitFix: calendar reminders, links to our Contenders section, video interviews and more. There is also easy access to all of the site's festival coverage. So add a new bookmark!
As with most works of high-reaching ambition that critics can't quite agree on -- even those that like it -- "The Master" continues to inspire some of the knottiest film writing of the year. For her part, Stephanie Zacharek admires the film, but suggests a lot of her colleagues feel it's entitled to more thought and attention than it really is. She spins that into an observation of lofty, anti-mainstream festival titles in general: "There’s a danger in erecting false walls around different corners of the culture, of claiming some movies deserve our respect by virtue of who made them and of how they’re made, regardless of whether they arouse any passion in us." [The AV Club]
When is an Oscar Bait picture not an Oscar bait picture? Or, if it meets the qualifications of an Oscar Bait picture should it always be considered one?
On Monday, a colleague pointed out to me that the next Academy Awards were, to the day, five months away. Strangely, he said it in the panicked tone of someone on whom Christmas has too swiftly crept up, whereas all I could think of was how dauntingly far away it sounded. Five months is a long time to parse the possibility of a third consecutive Best Picture from the Weinstein stable, to debate Philip Seymour Hoffman’s category placement, and for Jeff Wells to denigrate Daniel Day-Lewis’s Abe Lincoln accent; this weekly column, meanwhile, will have mulled over more than enough unseen variables before the season is out. Welcome.