Latest Blog Posts

<p>&nbsp;Aubrey Plaza, Jake Johnson and Karan Soni in &quot;Safety Not Guaranteed.&quot;</p>

 Aubrey Plaza, Jake Johnson and Karan Soni in "Safety Not Guaranteed."

Review: Aubrey Plaza and Jake Johnson spotlight crowd-pleasing 'Safety Not Guaranteed'

Another great role for Mark Duplass too

PARK CITY - It took long enough, but the 2012 Sundance Film Festival finally produced a big winner.  The feature debut of Colin Trevorrow, "Safety Not Guaranteed," premiered Sunday evening to a festival looking to embrace something (anything entertainingly good) and this new comedy absolutely fit the bill. 

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"American Idol"

 "American Idol"

Credit: Fox

Recap: 'American Idol' gets nautical in San Diego

It's another day of auditions for our intrepid judges

We're off to San Diego for another day of auditions. If you're still watching, that is. In other news, the New York Giants are going to the Super Bowl.  Now, let's get to the really important stuff -- singing!

10:58 p.m. EST Today's auditions will be like no other… because they will take place on the U.S.S. Midway in San Diego. That's nice, I guess, although I'd think an aircraft carrier and its crew has more important work to do than hosting 10,000 people and a TV show. 

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<p>Lake Bell, Katie Aselton, and Kate Bosworth seem like a pretty formidable trio, and that's just during the interview, much less in 'Black Rock'</p>

Lake Bell, Katie Aselton, and Kate Bosworth seem like a pretty formidable trio, and that's just during the interview, much less in 'Black Rock'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Kate Bosworth, Lake Bell, and Katie Aselton share 'Black Rock' memories

We sat down with the director of the survival thriller and her co-stars

This was a nice way to wake up.

Back in 2009, which was the first HitFix trip to Sundance, I enjoyed two of the movies we saw, "Humpday" and "The Freebie."  This year, both creative teams are here in different combinations, and again, I think it's interesting work.  In the case of "Black Rock," this is about as far away from Katie Aselton's first film as it could be.

"The Freebie" told the story of a married couple, played by Aselton and Dax Shepherd, who decide to give each other the night off from marriage, with no consequences, allowing their partner to sleep with anyone they want. There are, of course, ramifications to a choice like that, and the film did a nice job of showing how that fallout might land.  This time, Aselton is working in a very different genre, one that she's not a fan of for the most part, and she had to develop a tight relationship with the two women who co-star both with and for her.

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"The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

 "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' - 'Shaping Up and Shipping Out'

Everyone's excited about going to Africa - but not everyone knows Marlo will be joining them
It's our last episode before the ladies leave for their trip to Africa, so it's a chance for fond good-byes (or passive-aggressive sniping, at least in Peter and Cynthia's case), worry (Phaedra's probably a bit justified in suspecting Apollo is going to drop Ayden on his head at some point) and whining (and most of that is from someone who isn't even going on the trip). Not much happens in this episode, but what does happen is surely setting up a battle royale next week, so hold on to your hats. 
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<p>I still almost look like I'm coherent at this point in the Sundance Film Festival, but there's plenty of fatigue a-comin'</p>

I still almost look like I'm coherent at this point in the Sundance Film Festival, but there's plenty of fatigue a-comin'

Credit: HitFix

Sundance Diary Day Two: Coscarelli, red carpets, and midnight movies

We share more of the experience on the ground in Park City

Day two of Sundance was really my first full day, starting around 7:00 AM and ending at about 2:30 the next morning.  I did my best to capture images and moments and a few on-the-fly chats as I went, and hopefully this should give you some sense of things.

One of the things that's a little hard to fully convey, even in video, is the random nature of encounters up here.  You'll be sitting in the Yarrow lobby writing and suddenly Mike Judge walks by, or you're walking out at the end of the movie and Malin Ackerman is in front of you, excitedly discussing the movie with her friends, or, as you'll see in this piece, you might even run into a director as he arrives at the festival, film literally in hand.

It was great to catch up with Don Coscarelli, who I got to know a little bit during the "Masters Of Horror" process, and I'm excited to see what he's done with David Wong's novel "John Dies At The End."  It amazes me how filmmakers never really get over that nervousness about showing their film to an audience for the first time, and I spent some time talking to him about this movie, our experiences on "Masters," and just catching up in general.  We'll have a more formal sit-down in a few days, but it was a great moment.

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<p>Damien Echols, one of the subjects of the excellent new documentary 'West Of Memphis,' had a moment on the red carpet that you have to see to believe</p>

Damien Echols, one of the subjects of the excellent new documentary 'West Of Memphis,' had a moment on the red carpet that you have to see to believe

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Want to see the best photo from Sundance 2012?

The 'West Of Memphis' premiere results in a truly amazing moment caught on film

The other day, as I was working at the Yarrow Hotel, I ran into Chris Pizzello.  Chris is an AP photographer, and we feature his work here on HitFix on a regular basis.  I've been seeing his name go by for years now when I'm editing stories, but this was the first time I ended up actually running into any of the AP guys, and it was great to put face to name finally.

He was busy uploading some photos to the AP site, and as we started talking about the festival, he showed me a photo which seemed to have him almost giddy.

I can see why.

If you've been following the story of the West Memphis Three since the first "Paradise Lost" was released in 1996, then the photo that Pizzello took would have been unthinkable for most of the past fifteen years.  Impossible.  Absolutely absurd to even mention.

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<p>Michael Shannon in &quot;Take Shelter.&quot;</p>

Michael Shannon in "Take Shelter."

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Still in the dark: final Oscar nominee predictions

Two days from the announcement, many question marks remain

There are three reasons I've chosen the photo to your left to illustrate this post: 1) Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay nominations for "Take Shelter" are two of the fragile limbs I've climbed out on in compiling my final predictions for Tuesday's Oscar nominations announcement (with Kris and Gerard's to follow tomorrow); 2) Michael Shannon's face, staring impassively but uncertainly into the ill-lit darkness, roughly represents where I am with said predictions; and 3) if you look closely, Jessica Chastain's in the background, and since she's in the background of approximately half the films I expect to be nominated by the Academy, it seemed appropriate.

This feels like a tenuous year for predictions, and not just because -- for the first time in Oscar history -- we have the added variable of not knowing how many films will be nominated for Best Picture. In most years, at least a couple of categories feel more or less locked in place ahead of this announcement: this time, we have several major categories where a pair or trio of frontrunners are so far ahead of the pack (Clooney-Dujardin-Pitt in Actor, Davis-Streep-Williams in Actress, Hazanavicius-Allen in Original Screenplay), that the remaining slots, having already acquired the status of mere formality, are vulnerable to surprises.

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<p>&nbsp;Richard Gere and Brit Marling in &quot;Arbitrage&quot;</p>

 Richard Gere and Brit Marling in "Arbitrage"

Review: 'Arbitrage' an odd mix of Richard Gere, 'Law & Order' and indie sheen

Gere and Brit Marling can't save the thriller from a convoluted script

PARK CITY - Over the past few years, there have been an increasing number of pictures that were questionable inclusions to Sundance's premieres slate.  A few them were actually good films ("The Company Men," "Smart People," "Cedar Rapids," ), but many were star-filled pseudo indies seemingly intended to satisfy sponsor attendees and the affluent contributors looking for a little bit of Hollywood during their Park City festival vacation ("The Great Buck Howard," "Brooklyn's Finest," "Motherhood," "The Butterfly Effect," "My Idiot Brother" and "The Son of No One" come to mind).  A good deal of these films would have been more appropriate at the more commercial Toronto Film Festival (and it's worth noting the opposite is true with pictures such as "My Sister's Sister" debuting at Toronto this past year).  Saturday night featured two of these broad, star-filled premieres: "Arbitrage" and "Lay the Favorite."  The former was clearly the better of the two, but it still another disappointment for an edition of the festival where that's become the operative word.

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Adele will top the Billboard 200 once again in otherwise dismal week
Credit: Columbia Records

Adele will top the Billboard 200 once again in otherwise dismal week

How low can you go and still be in the top 10? Very

The good news is Adele’s “21” will likely surpass the 100,000 weekly tally once more  on the Billboard 200 next week. The bad news is the staggering low amount it takes for a title to land in the top 10.

While the top 4 titles will sell above 20,000, Hits Daily Double is projecting that positions 5-10 sell as low as between  17,000-19,000 each. It’s enough to make a grown man cry. This week marked the first time that a title selling 20,000 or less breached the top 10 as three titles met the low-water mark. One week later, as many as six could.

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<p>Tilda Swinton in &quot;We Need to Talk About Kevin.&quot;&nbsp;</p>

Tilda Swinton in "We Need to Talk About Kevin." 

Credit: Oscilloscope Pictures

My dream Oscar ballot: part two

Who deserves to be nominated in the major categories on Tuesday?

Yesterday, I began my annual far-fetched wishlist of films and individual achievements that, in a perfect world, I'd like to see mentioned in Tuesday's Academy Award nominations, beginning with the craft categories. Today, I move on to the major races, again picking freely from all films released Stateside in 2011 regardless of their presence on the AMPAS eligibility list, and ignoring the rigid qualifying rules in the documentary and foreign-language fields that keep so many of the year's best films out of running. Once more, the results set me up for a world of resigned disappointment next week.

When I left you yesterday, "Drive" and "Jane Eyre" were leading the field, while my two favorite films of the year "Weekend" and "Margaret," had yet to get on the scoreboard. How much will this change? What peaked only in the technicals? And is there time for a late surge from "W.E.?" Check out my picks after the jump, and weigh in with your own thoughts (and favorites) in the comments. 

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<p>Is it just me, or does everyone always look cooler in snow gear?&nbsp; It's definitely true of Joel Edgerton and Teresa Palmer, here to support their film 'Wish You Were Here'</p>

Is it just me, or does everyone always look cooler in snow gear?  It's definitely true of Joel Edgerton and Teresa Palmer, here to support their film 'Wish You Were Here'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Joel Edgerton and Teresa Palmer discuss 'Wish You Were Here'

A relaxed chat with two of the stars from this year's Sundance opening night movie

While we've got Team HitFix here, we're trying to do as many interviews as we can.  We've got our awesome video team of Alex Dorn and Michiel Thomas with us on-site, and we've kept them running.  On Saturday morning, we all met at the Bing Bar on Main Street, and I sat down with the filmmakers behind the film "Wish You Were Here."

This was the opening night movie that I reviewed, and I wanted to discuss the movie with the cast.  I've interviewed Joel Edgerton before, most recently for "Warrior," so there was a slight comfort level there, and Teresa Palmer joined him for our chat, which is never a bad thing.

I like that Palmer gets to play Australian in the film, and it is that national identity for the film itself that I thought was most interesting and worth discussion.  Australian cinema has had a number of different ebbs and flows over the years, and it feels to me like Blue-Tongue Films, a production collective that includes Edgerton, his brother Nash, and director Kieran Darcy-Smith, is one of the companies that is part of this new moment that's happening. 

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<p>Drake at Bing Bar</p>

Drake at Bing Bar

Credit: Bing

Drake previews Club Paradise tour at snowy Sundance late-night concert

8 things I learned about Drizzy live: a hater's guide

PARK CITY -- Aziz Ansari had a public service announcement: "The RAPPER is LATE."

The comedian and "Parks & Recreation" star was already bleeding sarcasm as he took the stage at Bing Bar last night (Jan 21), the opening act to rapper/singer Drake who was -- in fact -- an hour-and-a-half late for his set. On a Saturday night, at an open bar for one of the most in-demand MCs during one of the peak nights for Sundance crashers at a private party, Ansari's stand-up was met with a smilingly agitated crowd.

Ansari dotted his bits about childhood and childbearing with "this sucks" and "at least I'm getting paid lots and lots of money." It was Cuba Gooding, Jr. who crashed Ansari's party, but only to unsuccessfully persuade the crowd to shut the hell up and respect the pre-Drizzy entertainment.

There was no stopping them. The Bing-sponsored performance was one of the extremely rare dates leading up to Drake's proper tour behind "Take Care" live dates -- dubbed the Club Paradise Tour. Last night was a preview of what to expect for this highly anticipated stint, featuring openers and Hip-Hop New Class members A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar.

Drake took the stage, finally, at 1 a.m. on the dot.

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