Latest Blog Posts

<p>Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone's chemistry is one of the biggest draws of Marc Webb's new reboot 'The Amazing Spider-Man'</p>

Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone's chemistry is one of the biggest draws of Marc Webb's new reboot 'The Amazing Spider-Man'

Credit: Sony Pictures

A second look at 'The Amazing Spider-Man' only heightens the frustration

We try to sort out our reaction to the divisive new chapter in the series

One thing became clear when we published our second look at "Prometheus" after the film arrived in theaters:  you seem more excited about the conversation when you've actually had a chance to see the movie, and you participate more.

Makes sense.  And on "The Amazing Spider-Man," I feel like there is a pretty wide range of reactions rolling in.  I wanted to take a second look at the film because I'm a little puzzled by some of the wildly positive reactions, and because I'd love to see the movie that other people seem to be seeing, the one that they love so much.

Let's be clear about something:  I don't begrudge anyone their enjoyment of the film.  I'm not writing about it a second time to sway anyone else or to lambast people who feel differently about it than I do.  Instead, I'm hoping to raise some questions here, dig deeper into why I feel the way I do, and try to sort out the reactions I'm hearing from others.

THE REBOOT QUESTION

The most common dismissal of my review so far is "You didn't want a reboot, so your opinion on the film isn't fair."  That's not true, though.  I don't have an inherent problem with the notion of creative solutions to the problems posed by trying to keep a franchise up and running for a decade or more.  I can't imagine any creative team that would want to do the same thing over and over and over and over without eventually getting to the point where they want to move on and do other things.  Something like the "Harry Potter" films come with an ending in mind, so there's always a sense of building to something, and there is a conclusion that means something eventually.

Read Full Post
<p>The Sandman, The Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and the Tooth Fairy all attempt to recruit Jack Frost to face a deadly threat in 'Rise Of The Guardians'</p>

The Sandman, The Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and the Tooth Fairy all attempt to recruit Jack Frost to face a deadly threat in 'Rise Of The Guardians'

Credit: Dreamworks Animation

New trailer for 'Rise Of The Guardians' introduces Chris Pine as the film's lead

From Captain Kirk to Jack Frost, Pine has a way with smart-ass heroes

Okay, now everything's starting to come into focus.

The new Dreamworks animated film "Rise Of The Guardians" is on the radar for the kids in my house in a big way.  We've been enjoying the William Joyce books that are already out there that introduce the world and the characters, and the first teaser trailer was enough to convince the kids that they were interested in a film with the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Sandman.  You don't really have to sell the story at first because you've got such a big high concept idea to play with.

What the first trailer didn't show at all was the main character in the film, Jack Frost, voiced by Chris Pine.  In fact, that trailer actually removed Jack Frost from several key shots, which I found very odd.  My guess is that they didn't want to confuse people until they'd had a chance to explain the big idea.  Now that that's had time to settle in, they've released a second trailer for the film, and this time, it's all about Jack Frost.

In a way, his story arc in the film reminds me of Jason Bourne in the first "Bourne Identity," since Jack Frost has no real recollection of a life before he was Jack Frost.  The movie begins with him waking up in a frozen pond, under the ice, not sure how he got there, and much of his journey in the film involves figuring out who he is.

Read Full Post
<p>Quvenzhan&eacute; Wallis (left)&nbsp;and Dwight Henry in &quot;Beasts of the Southern&nbsp;Wild&quot;</p>

Quvenzhané Wallis (left) and Dwight Henry in "Beasts of the Southern Wild"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'Beasts of the Southern Wild'

The film continues its expansion this week

It's been a while since I caught Benh Zeitlin's "Beasts of the Southern Wild" at Sundance. I've been aching to give it another look ever since and it's been in limited release the past week, so soon enough, I'll do just that. Today, though, it's expanding a bit farther so more of you will be able to get a look for yourself. The film has won awards at Sundance, Cannes and the LA Film Fest and continues to appear formidable this year. We spoke to Zeitlin about it recently (with another chat with cinematographer Ben Richardson still to come) and also talked up young star Quvenzhané Wallis's awards prospects. If and when you get around to seeing the film, come on back here and let us know what you thought. You can also rate it in the tool above.

Read Full Post
<p>Blur</p>

Blur

Credit: Pennie Smith

Watch: Blur's new song 'Under the Westway' gets a performance video

British band bowed two new tracks earlier this week

As promised, Blur delivered two new songs via Twitter this week, "Under the Westway" and "The Puritan." Both now have official lyrics videos, and now one has a performance music video.

Check out Blur's Damon Albarn behind the keys on "Under the Westway," filmed in the studio. It confirms the suspicion that drummer Dave Rowntree need only toms to make a beat interesting, that kid instruments still have a place in "adult" music, and Albarn must have a deep-seeded affinity for Procol Harum's "A Lighter Shade of Pale."

Blur last released new music in 2010 on Record Store Day, a track called "Fool's Day" penned for their Olympics gig. Blur are skedded to perform at the London Olympics closing ceremony on Aug. 12 and are playing two Swedish music festivals this summer. Albarn has been shady on details if their summer gigs are the last of their reunion, but at least there's a 21-disc reissue and retrospective of Blur's efforts, coming out on July 30.

As for Albarn's other major project, Gorillaz, he told the Guardian that he and co-founder and artist Jamie Hewlett were no longer on speaking terms. Yeesh. See you guys at Coachella 2020.

Read Full Post
'Anna Karenina' poster

'Anna Karenina' poster

Credit: Focus

Keira Knightley is center stage in new 'Anna Karenina' poster

Joe Wright's adaptation co-stars Jude Law and Aaron Taylor-Johnson

We've seen the "Anna Karenina" trailer and heard star Keira Knightley talk about the challenges of playing the title role, now take a peek at the poster for the potential award season heavyweight below.

Read Full Post
<p>Hannah Hoekstra (left) in &quot;Hemel.&quot;</p>

Hannah Hoekstra (left) in "Hemel."

Credit: Circe Films

Karlovy Vary: 'Oh Boy' and 'Hemel' offer contrasting takes on young European ennui

A pair of impressive debut features among the festival's highlights

KARLOVY VARY, Czech Republic -- I am typing this in the tastefully toxic orange surrounds of an easyJet flight to Gatwick, which sadly means that my week at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is over.

It’s been, as I think my previous diary pieces have made clear, a most enjoyable one: angry Czech sunshine, a healthy patchwork of films, raucous audiences, parties ranging from the luxe to the pilsner-pickled, my first live Q&A sessions, Thai foot massages, a few more films and my mandatory festival injury – this time, a spider bite sustained on a hike yesterday through Karlovy Vary’s dense, chapel-speckled surrounding forest. That’s what I get for leaving the cinema for one afternoon, I guess. (Incidentally, the only superpower I have yet gained from this experience is a left ankle slightly wider than my right, but I wait patiently.)

My festival coverage, however, is not yet finished. I still have one of the week’s highlights, an interview with Kenneth Lonergan about the upcoming extended cut of “Margaret,” to transcribe and relate, while I have, as yet, only written about a handful of the films I’ve actually seen at Karlovy Vary.

Read Full Post
<p>Muse: bir-nir-nir waaaaaahhhhhh</p>

Muse: bir-nir-nir waaaaaahhhhhh

Watch the music video to Muse's awful Olympics song

Cue the Greek choir

Muse's new song "Survival," to "officially" promote the London Olympic games, sounds like a parody of a Pulp and Queen song, only the British rock band is totally, totally serious.

The music video for the song utilizes approximately the same font Trapper Keeper used for it's "guitars" themed product. I want to write the all the names of my crushes on it.

Read Full Post
<p>Shovels &amp; Rope</p>

Shovels & Rope

Song of the Day Exclusive Premiere: Shovels & Rope's 'Keeper' is just that

South Carolinian folk-country duo is the real deal

Murder fiction and country songs make excellent repeat bedfellows. The themes in country classic "Jackson" have been rehashed and manipulated a thousand times over, and the word "Carolina" (and her low-country cousin "caroline") uttered by every Southern-loving folkie. Whiskey doesn't rhyme with much, but it is a good source of harmony and writing material.

There are certain worthy themes that will always crop up in Americana, some delivered more convincingly than others. There is a required element of authenticity and self-awareness for little country bands now, the ones outlying radio and the traditional Grammy categories. And Shovels & Rope have that Real Deal card.

Read Full Post
<p>The &quot;Deadwood&quot;&nbsp;brain trust gathers to discuss what to do with Wolcott.</p>

The "Deadwood" brain trust gathers to discuss what to do with Wolcott.

Credit: HBO

'Deadwood' Rewind: Season 2, Episode 7: 'E.B. Was Left Out' (Veterans edition)

Charlie picks a fight, Seth makes an offer and Farnum throws a fit

We're into week 6 of our summer trip back through David Milch's epic revisionist Western "Deadwood." As always with this project, we're going to have two parallel discussions going at once: identical reviews, but one where the comments section is just for people who are new to the series and don't want to be spoiled on anything past the events of the episode being discussed, and one for people who know "Deadwood" backwards and forwards, and want to be able to discuss it all at once. This is the veteran-friendly version; click here for the newbie-safe one.

A review of episode 7, "E.B. Was Left Out," coming up just as soon as I apologize for my work with the decimals...

Read Full Post
<p>The &quot;Deadwood&quot;&nbsp;brain trust gathers to discuss what to do with Wolcott.</p>

The "Deadwood" brain trust gathers to discuss what to do with Wolcott.

Credit: HBO

'Deadwood' Rewind: Season 2, Episode 7: 'E.B. Was Left Out' (Newbies edition)

Charlie picks a fight, Seth makes an offer and Farnum throws a fit

We're into week 6 of our summer trip back through David Milch's epic revisionist Western "Deadwood." As always with this project, we're going to have two parallel discussions going at once: identical reviews, but one where the comments section is just for people who are new to the series and don't want to be spoiled on anything past the events of the episode being discussed, and one for people who know "Deadwood" backwards and forwards, and want to be able to discuss it all at once. This is the newbie-safe version; click here for the veteran-friendly one.

A review of episode 7, "E.B. Was Left Out," coming up just as soon as I apologize for my work with the decimals...

Read Full Post
<p>Melissa Leo and Louis C.K. in &quot;Louie.&quot;</p>

Melissa Leo and Louis C.K. in "Louie."

Credit: FX

Review: 'Louie' - 'Telling Jokes/Set Up'

Louie gets into trouble with guest star Melissa Leo

A review of tonight's "Louie" coming up just as soon as I have two clam shacks in Sag Harbor...

Read Full Post
<p>Elijah Wood and Allison Mack in &quot;Wilfred.&quot;</p>

Elijah Wood and Allison Mack in "Wilfred."

Credit: FX

Review: 'Wilfred' - 'Dignity'

Wilfred plays frustrated comedian at Ryan's office

A review of tonight's "Wilfred" coming up just as soon as I schedule an exit interview with the snow globe...

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME