Latest Blog Posts

<p>Tom Cruise in &quot;Jack&nbsp;Reacher,&quot;&nbsp;opening later this year</p>

Tom Cruise in "Jack Reacher," opening later this year

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Top 10 Tom Cruise performances

A salute to the actor on his 50th birthday

Movie star Tom Cruise has been, somewhat quietly, passing through one of the high-water marks of his career as of late. In December, "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" became his biggest box office success to date, which is saying something in a career that has included such blockbuster fare as "Top Gun," "Minority Report" and "War of the Worlds," not to mention three previous entries in the franchise; he managed to be just one of very few elements of "Rock of Ages," currently in theaters, to come away unscathed; and, oh yeah, he's turning 50 today.

Cruise has been in the news a lot this week as a result of his (naturally very public) divorce from Katie Holmes. But I'll save the melodrama regarding what the "real" story is behind all of that for those overly interested. It's unfortunate that this planned piece of commentary ended up coinciding with one of Cruise's personal low points, but so be it. As noted in The New York Times yesterday (beat me to the punch), he always bounces back.

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<p>Even in publicity photos, Andy Griffith wound up playing straight man to co-star Don Knotts.</p>

Even in publicity photos, Andy Griffith wound up playing straight man to co-star Don Knotts.

Credit: CBS

Andy Griffith: Appreciating the late, great sincere TV icon

The star of 'The Andy Griffith Show' and 'Matlock' died today
Andy Griffith, who died today at the age of 86, was one of the great television stars of all time not because of his skill with a joke (though he was splendid as both comedian and straight man), nor because of his dramatic chops (though his performance in the 1957 movie "A Face in the Crowd" is seared in the memory of anyone who saw it), but simply because audiences found something innately decent and trustworthy about him. Whether as small-town sheriff Andy Taylor on "The Andy Griffith Show" or a crafty aging lawyer on "Matlock," Griffith was someone viewers wanted on their side.
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<p>Emilie Dequenne and Tahar Rahim in &quot;Our Children.&quot;</p>

Emilie Dequenne and Tahar Rahim in "Our Children."

Credit: Versus Production/Peccadillo Pictures

Karlovy Vary: 'Our Children' wows as temperatures rise

Émilie Dequenne is astonishing in Cannes critics' hit

KARLOVY VARY, Czech Republic - I don’t why it didn’t occur to me that a film festival located high in the Czech mountains in the middle of summer would be on the warm side, but it didn’t – it’s been a humid few days of filmgoing here at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, even when some films haven’t packed much heat. Handily enough, the air conditioning throughout the festival center apparently chose this weekend to go on the blink, introducing a sauna-like atmosphere to certain screening rooms that, in the words of a glass-half-full Czech critic I overheard yesterday, “intensifies the experience.”

The experience was only moderately de-intensified this evening with an electrical storm that did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the numerous al fresco beer drinkers at this cheerfully youth-populated festival. “The weather here is Karlovy Varied,” remarked a British writer-director, who’d probably rather not be credited with that line, as we joined them. The festival itself may want to reappropriate it for advertising purposes. My viewing list from the last two days has been nothing if not Karlovy varied: it spans, among others, a blissful big-screen return visit to Jean-Pierre Melville’s “Le Samouraï,” a Finnish-Portuguese western inspired by the work of Henry David Thoreau and an erotic Dutch character study understandably – if not quite accurately – described by several critics as a female-focused “Shame.”   

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Watch: The full Adam Lambert + Queen concert from Kiev
Credit: AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

Watch: The full Adam Lambert + Queen concert from Kiev

How does he compare with Freddie Mercury?

Adam Lambert opened his first of four dates as frontman for Queen Saturday in Kiev, Ukraine and you can watch the full two-hour set below.

Yes, it’s as big, glam, and over the top as you’d expect.

[More after the jump...]

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Watch: Florence + the Machine road trip on 'Breaking Down' video
Credit: Island Records

Watch: Florence + the Machine road trip on 'Breaking Down' video

Retro feel suits the song perfectly

Just in time for 4th of July, Florence + The Machine deliver a video that feels a bit like a celebration of the U.S.

The gauzy clip for “Breaking Down” unspools like old home movies: a mixture of scenes shot on the road and stock footage. It opens as a patriotic pinwheel (note to self: go buy Sparklers) spins over a Los Angeles road sign. What follows is Florence Welch hanging out in a pool circa a ‘60s housewife. We travel to New Orleans and Las Vegas as the tune (the most mainstream track on “Ceremonials”) plays on. Our travels bring us back to Los Angeles and the Hollywood Bowl.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>The album art for Chris Brown's latest, &quot;Fortune.&quot;</p>

The album art for Chris Brown's latest, "Fortune."

Album Review: Does Chris Brown have good 'Fortune' on new set?

Will it be his last album?

Chris Brown is coming off his Grammy win for best R&B album for “F.A.M.E.” Now he’s going for the second half of the equation with “Fortune,” out July 3.  And if Brown's words at Sunday night's BET Awards are true, it will be his last record.

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<p>Casey Wilson and Adam Pally in &quot;Happy Endings.&quot;</p>

Casey Wilson and Adam Pally in "Happy Endings."

Credit: ABC

If I had an Emmy ballot 2012: Outstanding Comedy Series

A great, diverse year for sitcoms offers an eclectic list of hypothetical nominees

Okay, we're almost at the finish line with this year's Emmy project. Completed Emmy ballots were due last Thursday, but that's not going to keep Dan and I from hitting the top two categories with our usual split: I'll pretend that I have an Emmy ballot and make my picks for the six actors or shows I would put on my ballot, while Dan will rank the potential nominees from most likely to least. And, as always, we are working off of the actual Emmy ballot, so we can't consider shows that didn't submit themselves, nor can we reassign one to a more suitable or easier category.

Today we're doing Outstanding Comedy Series. Dan's predictions are here, and my picks are coming right up...

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<p>Jessica Sanchez has a record deal.</p>

Jessica Sanchez has a record deal.

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

'American Idol's' Jessica Sanchez follows Phillip Phillips to Interscope

When will the runner-up's album come out?

“American Idol” Season 11 runner up Jessica Sanchez has signed with Interscope Records. Her album is due in October.

Interscope, which has the first right of refusal on signing the “American Idol” finalists, will take the 16-year old in a more “urban flavor,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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<p>HBO&nbsp;has renewed &quot;The Newsroom,&quot;&nbsp;starring Emily Mortimer and Jeff Daniels, for a second season.</p>

HBO has renewed "The Newsroom," starring Emily Mortimer and Jeff Daniels, for a second season.

Credit: HBO

HBO renews 'The Newsroom' & 'True Blood'

Sookie Stackhouse and Aaron Sorkin will both be back next year

HBO has renewed "True Blood" and "The Newsroom."

For a while there, HBO was like clockwork with its renewals, ordering new seasons of shows on the Tuesday after their premieres. But they've gotten out of that practice lately: "Enlightened" had to wait til the end of its season to get the good news, while "Girls" and "Veep" were a few weeks into their respective seasons when it happened.

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<p>Smashing Pumpkins</p>

Smashing Pumpkins

Credit: EMI

Interview: Billy Corgan talks new Smashing Pumpkins, rock radio, Radiohead and reality TV

Frontman chats about Jessica Simpson, M83, Amanda Palmer, Radiohead, Nicki Minaj... and 'Oceania'

As Billy Corgan said in our recent interview, Smashing Pumpkins are never, ever going to be an “Oldies act.” This week, it was laid bare that at least 54,000 album buyers know that the rock troupe is still alive and releasing new material, with the latest set “Oceania.” Radio continues to serve as a good reminder of the Pumpkins’ past.

Those sales put the Pumpkins at the No. 4 slot on the sales chart this week, but not without Corgan going on an all-out media blitz in the weeks leading up to the full-length release. The 13-song set was the result of a new distro deal with EMI, the major label that was also busily re-releasing the Pumpkins’ “Gish” and “Siamese Dream,” and today announced the reissue of the Pumpkins' 1994 "odds and orphans" album "Pisces Iscariot" (due July 17). The act’s lineup was new, too, as was this eclectic album’s role: “Oceania” was conceived as an album-in-an-album, in the middle of what Corgan intends to be a 44-song suite, “Teargarden by Kaleidyscope.”
Below is an abridged version of our talk, which covered everything from his ex-girlfriend Jessica Simpson to his Chicago-based independent professional wrestling company Resistance Pro to his favorite new artists (M83) to why he loves radio. Hey, he even likes Radiohead and is pitching a reality TV show. Billy Corgan is refreshingly game to talk about it all.
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<p>Cover for Pink's &quot;Blow Me (One Last Kiss)&quot;</p>
<br />

Cover for Pink's "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)"

Credit: RCA

Listen: Pink is angry and a little shrill on new single 'Blow Me (One Last Kiss)'

UPDATED: She's had a... bad day

"I've had a sh*t day..." No kidding, Pink. The pop singer kisses off an ex- with "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" in this newly "leaked" and curse-laden single.

I honestly can't wait to hear the clean radio version of this song, because it's rounding out to be as sailor-mouthed as a Nicki Minaj BET Awards performance. "I think you’re full of sh*t, my head is spinning so blow me one last kiss,” she sings in the weirdly warpy, shrill chorus. She complains of the fighting and her old lover's "whiskey d*ck" issue in a know-what-I'm-saying-ladies? moment.

It's got the guitar march and tempo similar to that of Modest Mouse's "Float On," but the bile takes on a Queen vibe for the refrain. And I'm confused. I generally love Pink, as a rule, but the hook doesn't have me convinced this time.

Pink announced "Blow Me" and her new as-yet-untitled album in the middle of last month, pegging the single's arrival to be around July 9. Looks like waiting a week was a little too long, though no official Tweet or website post has gone out announcing the early arrival. So maybe it is a leak, if anyone cares.

UPDATE: Pink has now officially sent out the stream, and it will be up for sale starting tomorrow via iTunes, July 3. Cover updated. The People obviously hate waiting.

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<p>James Bond,&nbsp;Katniss Everdeen, and Chief Brody are just a few of the familiar faces who will making their way to Blu-ray between now and the end of 2012</p>

James Bond, Katniss Everdeen, and Chief Brody are just a few of the familiar faces who will making their way to Blu-ray between now and the end of 2012

Credit: Sony/Lionsgate/Universal

If physical media is dead, why does the rest of 2012 look so good on Blu-ray?

A rundown of some big titles about to arrive, from 'The Avengers' to 'E.T.'

If physical media is dead, why does this fall look so good on Blu-ray?

I hate the way the industry is rushing to try to convince people that they don't need physical media anymore because of the magic of streaming video, especially since they just finished trying to convince everyone that they needed to upgrade to Blu-ray.  The reason the market is weaker than it was at the height of the DVD craze is because the studios are confusing consumers with mixed messages, and they still haven't managed to convince the general consumer that they need to upgrade simply for sound and picture reasons.

Even so, I think the rush to pronounce the format obsolete is premature.  I remember Hercules The Strong getting angry at me for calling HD-DVD and Blu-ray "Laserdisc 2000," basically accusing it of being little more than a niche market.  Don't get me wrong… I loved laserdisc, and I didn't mind that it was aimed more at the film freak than the casual viewer, but now it feels like it's not enough for the format to cater directly to the dedicated collector.  Either it becomes the cash cow that DVD was for a few years, or the industry is going to get impatient and kill it.

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