Latest Blog Posts

<p>R. Kelly</p>

R. Kelly

Listen: R. Kelly wants to 'Share My Love' with you, in advance of new album

Kells is prepared to populate, disco-style

After today's sad announcement on the passing of Don Cornelius, it's hard not to hear any other news without that shading on it.

But this is a celebratory piece. Because R. Kelly's back, and he's disco, and it's a very specific nod to an era during which Cornelius reigned. Applause all around.

Kells' newest offering is "Share My Love," a track sent to radio today, steeped in 1970s soul and the R&B crooner's plan to help "populate" this big blue earth. It's a lot of familiar instrumentation from his last album, 2010's "Love Letter," with its groovy bassline and warm, flirty guitar, laced with twinkling keys and a humming, sensual orchestra.

Jill Scott and Anthony Hamilton successfully did the feel-good thing last year, so it's great to see that smiling, sexy sex is still popular in 2012.

Read Full Post
<p>The official U.S. poster for &quot;Monseiur Lazhar.&quot;</p>

The official U.S. poster for "Monseiur Lazhar."

Credit: Music Box

Exclusive: The U.S. poster for Oscar nominated 'Monsieur Lazhar'

Could the foreign language film nominee be an upset winner?

If you're looking for an upset contender in your local Oscar pool (or HitFix's Oscar pool where you can win $300 worth of movie tickets) you might look no further than best foreign language film. 

Read Full Post
<p>Don Cornelius</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Don Cornelius

Credit: AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

An Appreciation: Looking back on 'Soul Train' and Don Cornelius

A southern, surburban, white kid's reflections

As a suburban white kid in Raleigh, N.C., I grew up on “American Bandstand,” but when I wanted to feel cool, I’d watch “Soul Train.” Not only was the opening, which involved an animated train coming ‘round the tracks simultaneously iconic and goofy (we all imitated the “Soooooouuulllll Train” announcer, who tried to replicate a train whistle),  the dancing was amazing and the musical guests were often sublime.

So it was with great sadness that I woke up today to hear of "Soul Train" founder/host Don Cornelius’s passing, which early reports are indicating was a suicide.  It always seems especially poignant when someone who brought so much happiness to others’ lives can’t find the same in his own.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are set to rock SXSW&nbsp;in the very funny '21 Jump Street'</p>

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are set to rock SXSW in the very funny '21 Jump Street'

Credit: Sony Pictures

SXSW announces its full feature line-up for 2012 including '21 Jump Street'

We look at each section and pick some early stand-outs

Since joining HitFix, my film year has been defined by the festivals I attend, and of all those festivals, the one that continues to evolve and grow the most is SXSW.  I can't wait for this year's, and I felt that way even before I saw this year's full line-up of features.

One of the things I love about the festival is the way they embrace both the lowest of low-fi films as well as big mainstream Hollywood fare, and somehow, they all seem to fit together thanks to the way the programming comes together each year.  I can't think of any other festival that would have made "Macgruber" a centerpiece film, and they're also the same place that featured both "Kill List" and "Attack The Block" at midnight.  They have diverse taste, and they are inclusive in a way few festivals manage.

Also… it's Austin.  And I loves me some Austin.

This year's line-up looks fantastic, so why don't we take a look at it, section by section?  As we go through, I'm going to bold the titles that I'm planning to see at this point, keeping in mind that the easiest way to make the Festival Gods laugh at you is making a plan of any kind.  I'll also have some wrap-up thoughts at the end of the piece, especially regarding some of the titles I've already seen.

Read Full Post
<p>Katy Perry</p>

Katy Perry

Credit: AP Photo

Katy Perry joins list of performers for Grammys and MusiCares

Is Perry in talks to star in a 3D documentary?

Katy Perry has been added to the list of nominated performers who will appear on the Feb. 12 Grammy Awards. She joins previously announced performers Adele, Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson, Glen Campbell with the Band Perry and Blake Shelton; Coldplay and Rihanna; Foo Fighters, Bruno Mars, Paul McCartney, Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift.

Among the newly-announced presenters are Dierks Bentley, Drake, Miranda Lambert and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Additionally, the Recording Academy released the slew of artists who will honor Paul McCartney two nights prior to the Grammy Awards at the annual MusiCares  Person of the Year dinner. Comedian Eddie Izzard will host the evening, which will feature performances from Tony Bennett, Foo Fighters, Alicia Keys, Katy Perry, James Taylor, Neil Young with Crazy Horse, and Sir Paul himself. Also on the bill will be the cast of the Beatles’ “Love”/Cirque Du Soleil show, Duane Eddy, Diana Krall, Alison Krauss and Union Station and Sergio Mendes.

Given Krall’s involvement and that Tommy LiPuma is the evening’s musical director, chances are McCartney will be performing material from his Feb. 7 album of standards, “Kisses on the Bottom” (Krall and LiPuma co-produced the set).

McCartney will also perform on the Grammys on Feb. 12. Grammy producer Ken Ehrlich told Billboard that McCartney will perform “My Valentine,” one of the two originals on “Kisses.”

In other Katy Perry news, the singer is in discussions with Paramount and Imagine Entertainment to create a 3D film based on her career, similar to “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.

 

Read Full Post
<p>Michael Fassbender in &quot;Shame,&quot; nominated for four Evening Standard Film Awards.</p>

Michael Fassbender in "Shame," nominated for four Evening Standard Film Awards.

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

'Shame' and 'Tyrannosaur' top nominees for Evening Standard Awards

'Tinker, Tailor' maintains its solid UK awards presence

This is rather old news, so forgive the tardiness -- but since the Evening Standard Film Awards released both a longlist and a shortlist last year, when this year's nominees appeared, I assumed they were still going to be whittled down before Monday's ceremony. As it turns out, that was the final nomination list -- and that's just as well, because it's a good crop.

The Evening Standard Awards are limited to British films and talent (British actors in international films are eligible, though it's been a sufficiently strong year for local film that only one nominee falls into that bracket). Determined by a jury of eight leading UK critics (not all of them from paper that gives the ceremony its name), they are one of the more established fixtures on what's becoming a sizeable list of British precursor events.

Read Full Post
<p>Leonard Cohen's &quot;Old Ideas&quot;</p>

Leonard Cohen's "Old Ideas"

Review: Leonard Cohen's 'Old Ideas' reads better than it sounds

Songwriter's first album in eight years is almost too perfect

 

For fans of Leonard Cohen’s songwriting, there are plenty of reasons to love “Old Ideas.” But for those eager for a great-sounding Leonard Cohen album, prepare for some disappointment.
 
At 77, the Canadian songsmith remains one of the most gifted lyricists and folk poets in pop music history. It’s taken eight years for this new studio release, its sites set on eternal bedfellows sex and death, and  it appears the bard is feeling his age advance.
 
“I love to speak with Leonard / He’s a sportsman and a shepherd / He’s a lazy bastard / Living in a suit,” he jokes in the first lines of album opener “Going Home,” an apparent start to that home-bound journey. He published all the lines to the song in the pages of The New Yorker – not Rolling Stone or the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame website – like managing his own expectations.
 
Read Full Post
<p>Emmy Rossum and William H. Macy of &quot;Shameless,&quot;&nbsp;one of three Showtime comedies to be renewed today.</p>

Emmy Rossum and William H. Macy of "Shameless," one of three Showtime comedies to be renewed today.

Credit: Showtime

Showtime renews 'Shameless,' 'House of Lies' and 'Californication'

Sunday night comedies all get to come back for more seasons

Yesterday, HBO continued its pattern of renewing new dramas after a single episode. Today was Showtime's turn on the renewal front, but HBO's pay cable rival actually waited four weeks into the current seasons of "Shameless," "House of Lies" and "Californication" before ordering more.

Read Full Post
<p>(from left)&nbsp;George Clooney,&nbsp;Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ryan Gosling in &quot;The Ides of March&quot;</p>

(from left) George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ryan Gosling in "The Ides of March"

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Oscar Guide 2011: Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

'Descendants,' 'Hugo,' 'Ides of March,' 'Moneyball' and 'Tinker, Tailor' square off

(The Oscar Guide will be your chaperone through the Academy's 24 categories awarding excellence in film. A new installment will hit every weekday in the run-up to the Oscars on February 26, with the Best Picture finale on Saturday, February 25.)

A script is a film’s blueprint, making it unsurprising that most of the nominees in this category have historically also been nominated for Best Picture. This year was no exception, with three of the final five adapted screenplay contenders also chalked up as the year's best films. Room was also made for a particularly challenging adaptation of a classic novel and a star-studded film with no other nominations.

Notwithstanding the Best Picture correlation, Tate Taylor failed to be nominated here for writing “The Help" after landing BFCA, WGA and BAFTA nominations. “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” also appeared solid after a WGA nomination, but, like another Best Picture contender, “War Horse,” it is likely to not be remembered for its words so much as its images. “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” also managed to miss despite a surprising Best Picture berth. While three of the titles will have to be content with the nomination, the other two are in a horserace to win that I expect to remain close until the envelope is opened.

The nominees are…

Read Full Post
<p>Rooney Mara, Mia Wasikowska, Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain on the cover of Vanity Fair's 2012 Hollywood issue.</p>

Rooney Mara, Mia Wasikowska, Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain on the cover of Vanity Fair's 2012 Hollywood issue.

Credit: Vanity Fair

Round-up: 'Introducing' VF's Class of 2012

Also: A detractor defends 'The Artist,' and Bond is unshaven, not stirred

I always look forward to Vanity Fair's annual Hollywood Issue, an unofficial but essential ritual of the Oscar season -- mostly because I'm a sucker for pretty pictures of movie stars, but partly because they're an interesting, not wholly reliable, time capsule of where the magazine editors think the industry is at, and where it's going. This year's newly unveiled cover is adorned by four of the brightest young actresses of the moment -- three of them already Oscar-nominated, while the fourth surely will be soon -- and it's a typically beautiful effort, but my eyebrows rose slightly at the headline: "Introducing the fresh young stars of 2012." Is Vanity Fair really introducing us to 2010 Best Actress nominee Jennifer Lawrence? Or Mia Wasikowska, whom I believe was featured on the Hollywood cover two years ago? Give us some credit, VF. [Vanity Fair]

Read Full Post
<p>Lucy Liu and Michael Cudlitz on &quot;Southland.&quot;</p>

Lucy Liu and Michael Cudlitz on "Southland."

Credit: TNT

'Southland' - 'Community': She rolls on Shabbos

An eventful day for Cooper and Tang highlights an otherwise unmemorable episode

A very quick review of last night's "Southland" coming up just as soon as I get to punch you in the face...

Read Full Post
<p>Isla Fisher, Kirsten Dunst and Lizzy Caplan in the dark comedy &quot;Bachelorette.&quot;</p>

Isla Fisher, Kirsten Dunst and Lizzy Caplan in the dark comedy "Bachelorette."

Sundance Review Roundup: 'Bachelorette,' 'Simon Killer,' 'Price Check'

Mini-reviews for a slew of festival titles

PARK CITY - It wasn't he best of times nor the worst of times at this year's 2012 Sundance Film Festival, but it clearly wasn't the most memorable.  Every festival is likely to have an off year now or then, but it was the lack of buzz among many of the narrative films and even documentaries that was so disconcerting.  There were a slew of fine or mediocre films, but few that were truly godawful (a good thing) or generated hype-worthy passion (a not so good thing).  There was even a lack of controversy or pseudo celebrity around this year's edition that made the whole endeavor seem, well, forgettable.

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME