Latest Blog Posts

<p>Jennifer Lawrence in &quot;Silver Linings Playbook.&quot;</p>

Jennifer Lawrence in "Silver Linings Playbook."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Jennifer Lawrence named Outstanding Performer of the Year by Santa Barbara fest

The Best Actress frontrunner will receive a tribute on February 2

In case you were worried that Jennifer Lawrence is going a little under the radar this season, don't worry: the Santa Barbara International Film Festival is taking care of the situation. Festival director Roger Durling announced yesterday that the 22 year-old actress will receive their Outstanding Performer of the Year honor of February 2, in recognition of her 2012 work in both "Silver Linings Playbook" and "The Hunger Games." ("The House at the End of the Street" went unmentioned, though I assume that's an oversight.) 

It's an award that has a reliable habit of going to Oscar frontrunners. Previous recipients Colin Firth, Penelope Cruz, Helen Mirren and Charlize Theron all received the honor en route to their eventual Oscar wins, while Kate Winslet, Heath Ledger, James Franco and last year's recipient Viola Davis were honored in years they were nominated by the Academy. (The only time the SBIFF selectors behind this award haven't seen eye-to-eye with the Academy was with Angelina Jolie in 2007, who missed the Oscar cut for "A Mighty Heart.")

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<p>Dominic West, Romola Garai and Ben Whishaw in &quot;The Hour.&quot;</p>

Dominic West, Romola Garai and Ben Whishaw in "The Hour."

Credit: BBC

Review: BBC America's 'The Hour' turns to crime in season 2

Romola Garai, Dominic West and Ben Whishaw are back in the '50s news drama

When "The Hour," the drama about a BBC news program in the late '50s, begins its second season (tonight at 10 on BBC America), the show-within-the-show has some competition. We're told that rival network ITV has copied much of "The Hour" formula for a new show called "Uncovered," which our heroine, "Hour" producer Bel Rowley (Romola Garai) tries to dismiss as "just news with advertisements." When dashing anchorman Hector Madden (Dominic West) considers jumping ship to the rival program, Bel and others suggest that his work on the new show couldn't be as substantive as on the old one.

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<p>(left to right) Fox chairman Jim Gianopulos, French culture minister Aurelie Filipetti, Ang Lee, Melanie Laurent and Fox 2000 president Elizabeth Gabler at the presentation of Lee's award.</p>

(left to right) Fox chairman Jim Gianopulos, French culture minister Aurelie Filipetti, Ang Lee, Melanie Laurent and Fox 2000 president Elizabeth Gabler at the presentation of Lee's award.

Credit: 42 West

Roundup: Honors on both sides of the pond for Ang Lee

Also: The unveiling of 'The Hobbit,' and Spielberg's missing Bond movie

As if the box-office numbers for "Life of Pi" over the weekend weren't enough, Ang Lee has found himself honored with two very different accolades over the past 24 hours. First, the French Ministry of Culture presented the Taiwanese-born director with the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters for his contribution to the arts -- an honor previously bestowed on such non-French filmmakers as Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg. While that was going on, it was also announced yesterday that Lee will receive that 2013 Filmmaker Award at the Motion Picture Sound Editors' Golden Reel ceremony on February 17. MPSE president Bobbi Banks credited him with "continually break[ing] ground through the use of the latest technology both visually and sonically," adding that in "Life of Pi," "his use of Dolby Atmos guides audiences into the emotional intimacy of the sound experience." Is it one to watch in the sound categories?

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Charlie Hunnam on 'Sons of Anarchy'

Need someone to blame, Jax? Look in the mirror.

Credit: FX

'Sons of Anarchy' recap: 'Darthy'

Someone needs to give Jax a time-out

I'm kinda glad there's only one more episode of "Sons of Anarchy" left this season because I need a break. Not a break from the show, necessarily, but definitely a break from Jax Teller.

I've had enough of his smug self-serving schemes, spoiled child-like tantrums, and stubborn refusal to do anything about the constant threat that hangs over the head of everyone he supposedly loves as long as he remains in SAMCRO.

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<p>Rihanna's &quot;Unapologetic&quot;</p>

Rihanna's "Unapologetic"

Credit: Def Jam Recordings

Rihanna scores her first No. 1 album with 'Unapologetic' on the Billboard 200

Feat comes one week after first single, 'Diamonds' tops Billboard Hot 100

Seven would seem to be Rihanna’s lucky number.  “Unapologetic,” her seventh studio album in as many years, has become her first effort to reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

She scores the feat one week after the album’s first single, “Diamonds,” became her 12th chart topper on the Billboard Hot 100.

“Unapologetic” dropped on Monday, Nov. 19, instead of the usual Tuesday release date, so the title benefitted from an extra day of sales in this week’s Nielsen SoundScan tally (SoundScan measures says from Monday through Sunday). The album sold 238,000 copies, a personal best for the singer, whose previous best week had been with 2010’s “Load,” which sold 207,000 copies in its opening frame to start at No. 3.

All seven of her studio albums had opened on the top 10, including 2007’s “Good Girl Gone Bad,” which peaked at No. 2, according to Billboard.
As Billboard notes, her arrival at No. 1 ends a rather dubious record she’s certainly happy to see end: until today, she was the artist who had scored the most No. 1 songs without having ever achieved a No. 1 album.


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<p>Sacha Gervasi at the New York premiere of &quot;Hitchcock&quot;</p>

Sacha Gervasi at the New York premiere of "Hitchcock"

Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Sacha Gervasi refutes 'Hitchcock' criticism at Fox Searchlight holiday soirée

And Benh Zeitlin aims to be Herzog to Quvenzhané Wallis's Kinski

NEW YORK -- Fox Searchlight Pictures held its annual east coast holiday party this evening at Andaz 5th Avenue with a nice second-floor spread with principals from the studio's awards season hopefuls -- "Beasts of the Southern Wild," "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," "Hitchcock" and "The Sessions" -- on hand. Spirits were particularly high after "Beasts" and "Sessions" combined for six Independent Spirit Award nominations (with one each for "Ruby Sparks" and "Sound of my Voice").

I was glad to finally meet "Hitchcock" director Sacha Gervasi, a charismatic guy who spoke with me about film critics baring their teeth and declaring that he "made up" the events of his film. I would posit that hero-worship may have gotten the better of many -- like, say, Manohla Dargis, whose review basically refuted reporting done by her New York Times colleague John Anderson a week earlier. "It...takes extravagant liberties with the dead," Dargis wrote. "Stephen Rebello, author of 'Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho,' the book on which 'Hitchcock' is partly based, interviewed many of Hitchcock’s collaborators on 'Psycho' and confirmed the film’s version of events," Anderson wrote.

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"Dancing with the Stars"

 "Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

'Dancing with the Stars' finale recap: The winning couple is revealed

Pamela Anderson, Joey Fatone, Kirstie Alley and other eliminated celebs return

So, tonight's the night. One couple will get the treasured mirror ball trophy and two couples won't. It's a big deal, but really, what do you do with a mirror ball trophy? Put it on the mantel? Hang it from your ceiling? Decorate your tree with it? Just wondering. Anyway, this is the night Shawn Johnson, Melissa Rycroft and Kelly Monaco will learn who made the final cut. And has to take that big, shiny thing home. I guess that at least if you get two, they could make nice bookends. 

First off, we see all of our eliminated celebrities, I think. Maybe not. There are a lot of people on the floor. Hey, there's Sabrina! Well, you knew she'd be available.  

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The Top 8 with Carson Daly.
Credit: NBC

Recap: 'The Voice' Tuesday - Top 8 Results

Two more are sent home after tonight's results show.


It’s time for another elimination episode of “The Voice”, or, as I like to call it, the “Carson Daly Puts Hopefuls Through The Weekly Emotional Ringer” episode. Last week’s unintentional fake-out for Sylvia Yacoub might have been the most awkward moment of the season that didn’t involve the one-hit wonder Cupid, so let’s hope the producers of this show have coached Daly on how NOT to impart information tonight.
Two are going home tonight, and last night I predicted those two would be Dez Duron and Terry McDermott. Cassadee Pope and Melanie Martinez enter the episode both still charting in the iTunes Top 10, so mathematically they are all but shoo-ins to continue. (Nicholas David was there for a while, but isn’t there now, which means he’s not eligible for the voting bonus that entails.) We’ll see how this play out over the next hour. Let’s do this, running dairy style. It’s like gangnam style, only with more of a cultural shelf life. 
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<p>Gael Garcia Bernal, Bidzina Gujabidze and Hani Furstenberg in &quot;The Loneliest Planet.&quot;</p>

Gael Garcia Bernal, Bidzina Gujabidze and Hani Furstenberg in "The Loneliest Planet."

Credit: Sundance Selects

Rewinding to surprise Spirit nominee 'The Loneliest Planet'

Julia Loktev's fascinating microbudget indie also scored a top Gotham nod

Every year, the Independent Spirit Award nominations reveal American independent cinema to be a landscape where, to pinch Orwell's well-worn line, some are more equal than others. The awards may idealistically present themselves as a union of Davids standing tall against the hulking big-studio Goliaths, but the cosy we're-all-in-this-together front doesn't ring true when the nominees show up the gaping class chasms that exist merely within the so-called indie sphere.

No one's pretending a shoestring independent like "Middle of Nowhere" genuinely comes from the same stock as a starry mainstream entertainment like "Silver Linings Playbook"; these awards may ostensibly pitch them as fighting the same good fight, but they're doing so against very different obstacles. 

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<p>Skylar Grey</p>

Skylar Grey

Listen: Skylar Grey and Eminem's 'C'Mon Let Me Ride' is dumber than a bicycle

Daddy, what's a banana seat?: Satire in song form

Skylar Grey's collaboration with Eminem, "C'Mon Let Me Ride," contains filthy, unclever and thinly veiled euphemisms for screwing. It's got a playful verse structure and an equally childish lyric video, and a chorus that is as tooth-rotteningly sweet as a Capri Sun jingle. It takes the melodic and lyrical page from Queen's "Bicycle Race" and has it sung by Eminem doing his best Pee-Wee Herman imitation, while the term "banana seat" is beaten (eh? get it?) to it's maxim.

It's a joke.... no, really, it's meant as a joke.

It was written as a satire of “overly sexified music, media and the girls who try and imitate it.” Hence the tossed-off effect of the terms "slut," "bitch" and Em's dragging-d*ck rhymes.

"I've learned from Em I can have more fun," she told Rolling Stone in an interview published in October. "He's very sarcastic and makes me laugh all the time and there are parts of my attitude I have in person but I've never shown in a song. I feel like he showed me I don't have to be afraid to show that side."

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<p>Andre 3000</p>

Andre 3000

Andre 3000 joins T.I. to say 'Sorry' on new track: Listen

Is the former OutKast rapper apologizing to Big Boi?

Former OutKast member Andre 3000 makes a rare guest spot on the new T.I. track "Sorry," from T.I.'s upcoming "Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head." 

Over a sparse track featuring a number of keys and synths and some subtly funky bass from producer Jazze Pha, T.I. brags about his hustle, his money, his college grades and the fact that it's his time to shine. With a line like "Never mind what the blogs say/do what my mind and my heart say," T.I. doesn't sound like he feels the need to apologize for any of his success.

Then the relatively reclusive Andre 3000 arrives and blows the track wide open. The former OutKast rapper intones "I don't even like rapping fast," before slowing it down. In what is no doubt aimed at his former OutKast partner Big Boi, Dre offers this olive branch: "This the type shit that make you call your rap partner and say I'm sorry I'm awkward, my fault for fucking up the tours/ I hated all the attention so I ran from it."

In a strange twist, Big Boi just released the new track "In the A" which features guest spots from Ludacris....and T.I. 

Listen to "Sorry" here:

What do you think of "Sorry"?


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"Here Comes Honey Boo Boo"

 "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo"

Credit: TLC

Why 'Duck Dynasty' and Honey Boo Boo may be good for us

A growing interest in the lifestyles of the less-than-elite is a good sign

When I mention the A&E show "Duck Dynasty" to people, I usually get blank stares and rapid blinking, as if I've suggested a vigorous round of dwarf tossing or a moonshine-and-possum Thanksgiving. Of course, that's still better than the reaction I get to "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo." Lips curl. Eyes roll. "Disgusting," one acquaintance muttered. "I'd never watch that garbage. It's just the lowest of the low."

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