Latest Blog Posts

<p>Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski)&nbsp;in action in the &quot;Chuck&quot;&nbsp;series finale.</p>

Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) in action in the "Chuck" series finale.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Interview: 'Chuck' co-creator Chris Fedak on the series finale

How did the writers decide on endings for Chuck, Sarah, Casey and the rest?
So "Chuck" has come to an end. I reviewed the series finale here, and in addition to my 5-part interview series with Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz (which Fedak would later joke was "egregiously long"), I got on the phone with Fedak one more time to discuss the events of the finale.
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<p>Chuck (Zachary Levi)&nbsp;and Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski)&nbsp;in the &quot;Chuck&quot;&nbsp;series finale.</p>

Chuck (Zachary Levi) and Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) in the "Chuck" series finale.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Series finale review: 'Chuck' - 'Chuck vs. Sarah/Chuck vs. the Goodbye'

Chuck tries to restore Sarah's stolen memories in a romantic, funny, terrific finale

Well, we're all done with "Chuck." I already published my 5-part retrospective interview with Schwartz and Fedak (and I interviewed Fedak again about the series finale) and my list of great moments in "Chuck" history. All that's left is to review the final two episodes, and that's coming up just as soon as I'm wooed by Midwesterners...

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<p>Zachary Booth and Ira Sachs talk &quot;Keep the Lights On.&quot;</p>

Zachary Booth and Ira Sachs talk "Keep the Lights On."

Watch: Ira Sachs and Zachary Booth on the loud intimacy of 'Keep The Lights On'

Can the indie gay drama find an audience?

PARK CITY - One of the better films I saw at this year's 2012 Sundance Film Festival was Ira Sachs "Keep The Lights On."  The drama about the ups and downs of a gay couples long term relationship as one of them battles a drug addiction and both of them keep secrets from each other was a moving and artistic portrait between two men we have rarely seen on screen.  And yet, I was surprised by how many different reactions there were to the picture in the days following.  While many appreciated it as much as I did, a significant amount of younger viewers didn't seem to get it (perhaps too little life experience?) and others didn't understand the motivations of one character or another.  That could be one explanation why the picture still hasn't been officially acquired out of the festival yet (obviously indie gay films have their limitations at the box office).  It's hard to imagine the film being relegated to just the gay film festival circuit, but stranger things have happened.

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Jean Paul Gaultier's runway show

 Jean Paul Gaultier's runway show

Credit: AP Photo

Do you think Gaultier's Amy Winehouse runway tribute was in bad taste?

The designer is being panned by Winehouse's dad and Kelly Osbourne

The inspiration behind Jean Paul Gaultier's latest collection probably seemed like a good idea at the time -- a tribute to Amy Winehouse, complete with beehive wigs, cat-eye liner and models smoking cigarettes. Unfortunately, Winehouse's dad, Mitch, and  pal Kelly Osbourne were not amused, according to People magazine and E! 

Mitch Winehouse slammed the designer for portraying a "view of Amy when she was not at her best," while Osbourne said she found the collection to be "lucratively selfish and distasteful." 

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<p>&quot;Who me? Oh I was just standing here plotting a comeback.&quot;</p>

"Who me? Oh I was just standing here plotting a comeback."

Watch: D'Angelo makes first concert appearance in a decade, debuts new songs

'The Charade' and 'Sugar Day' wedged between 'Chicken Grease'

R&B crooner D'Angelo celebrated the 12-year anniversary of "Voodoo" in a big way. For the first time in more than a decade, he took to the stage this week, at Stockholm's Filadelfiakyrkan church. Of course, Filadelfiakyrkan!

He performed beloved tracks like "Sh*t, Damn, Motherf*cker" and "Chicken Grease." The even bigger news is that he bowed two new songs: "The Charade" and "Sugar Day."

Check out those songs below.

The Roots' ?uestlove previously alluded to the fact that D'Angelo would be back into action this year, with a new album. Then there was that whole Soundgarden "Black Holed Sun" cover, and the announcement of forthcoming rare tour dates.

It's all very weird. I feel like I'm floating, and that I'm 18 again.

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<p>Genesis Rodriguez and Jamie Bell practically steal 'Man On A Ledge' out from under everyone else, making this a heist movie within a heist movie.</p>

Genesis Rodriguez and Jamie Bell practically steal 'Man On A Ledge' out from under everyone else, making this a heist movie within a heist movie.

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Review: 'Man On A Ledge' offers some mild charms amidst a sea of improbability

The supporting cast steals the film while the script can't quite deliver

January movies have traditionally been thought of as leftovers, movies that weren't strong enough to compete the holiday season that's just ended that aren't good enough to be moved to a more competitive month.  These are the orphans, the films that studios are nervous about.  They may be packed with movie stars, but for the most part, if you see a movie set for January, you can count on it being a lesser product overall.

That's slowly changing, though, and a film like "Man On A Ledge" is a good example of a more ambitious type of January film, a movie that has some solid star power and an interesting premise and some worthwhile moments. It's not great, but it's better than its release date might indicate.  It's loaded with improbabilities, but there's an energy to the way the story is told and the cast certainly seems to be enjoying the game they're playing.

Asger Leth is the director of the film, and he comes to this from a very odd background.  His film "Ghosts Of Cite Solieil" was a harrowing documentary about a "secret Army" in Haiti, and the nerve it took to capture that footage was impressive.  His father is Jorgen Leth, the filmmaker who was so gleefully tortured by Lars Von Trier in "The Five Obstructions," and Asger was part of that picture as well. 

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<p>Tim Heidecker in &quot;The Comedy&quot;</p>

Tim Heidecker in "The Comedy"

Interview: Jagjaguwar shape-shifts as Sundance's ‘The Comedy’ gets a pick-up

Chris Swanson’s one-stop shop triumvirate indie label universe

One of the most defiant films I saw at the Sundance Film Festival this year was director Rick Alverson’s “The Comedy,” a title oozing irony but boasting a weird, wooly ensemble that includes Tim & Eric, LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, actress Kate Lyn Sheil and comedian Jeff Jensen. The film itself was sort of a f*ck-you to traditional, protagonist-led dramatic narratives. It was built off of an 18-page treatment with almost all of it room for improvisation, and little-to-no script .

It is funny, yes, but loosely angers, too, with Heidecker’s perfectly portrayed 35-year-old Williamsburg ass-clown who won the birth lottery and has a boat. He and his idling creative division of friends fill their time amusing themselves sometimes to the discomfort of others – not because they’re malicious people, mind you, but because otherwise they just might get bored. Heidecker’s dead-eyed lead voyeuristically dabbles in the world of hard labor and “normal people” jobs like washing dishes in between drinking, screwing and playing wiffle ball.
 

Just because the film is largely unpleasant doesn’t make it a bad film. It’s not. Heidecker’s numb repugnance also reveals a child-like soul. He’s the sort of guy I wouldn’t be friends with but, yeah sure, I’d go to his party if he threw one. It darkly reveals something in the viewer, which required such a strangely familiar cast and, even more so, the backing of its vision.
 
Independent record label Jagjaguwar was that backer, in conjunction with Glass Eye Pix and Greyshack Productions. And after “The Comedy” bowed at Sundance this week, it found a partner in Danny McBride’s Rough House Pictures, which formed in 2009 to produce/present high-end comedies.
 
Jagjaguwar, mind you, isn’t known for movies. It and its sister labels Secretly Canadian and Dead Oceans count Bon Iver, Okkervil River, Dinosaur Jr., Antony and the Johnsons, Akron/Family and Yeasayer among its powerful ranks. Last year, SeCa released its first comedy album, Tig Notaro’s “Good One.” The labels’ co-founders linked with Ami Spishock last year to form Fort William Artist Management, with the likes of Grizzly Bear, Beirut and Van Dyke Parks, among others under its arm. The labels have their own distribution company (SC Distribution, which is also works with many, many other indies), their own publishing and do deals not just in the ‘States but also internationally.
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<p>&nbsp;Adam Lambert</p>

 Adam Lambert

Credit: AP Photo

Watch: Adam Lambert sneak peeks new video 'Better Than I Know Myself'

He tones down the guyliner in new clip

Adam Lambert takes a decidedly unglambert turn in his video for “Better Than I Know Myself.”

In this 90-second preview, Lambert is wearing a grandpa sweater in a shade of brown that he’d normally never be caught dead in as he laments not treating his lover, who knows him better than he knows himself, better.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>&quot;Undefeated&quot;</p>

"Undefeated"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Exclusive: Root for the underdog in the trailer for Weinstein's Oscar-nominated doc 'Undefeated'

The Manassas Tigers try to break 110 years of bad luck

One of the documentary features nominated by the Academy Tuesday was Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Matin's "Undefeated." No, not the Sarah Palin thing. This is a chronicle of an inner-city North Memphis, Tennessee high school football team's journey through one defining season, with all the petty and profound drama that comes with it, and it's an outstanding portrait.

If you're a fan of football, you're sure to take to it and no-nonsense coach Bill Courtney immediately. If you're not a football fan, you might just find yourself surprised by the film and the universal elements it folds in. "You think football builds character," Courtney says in the film. "It does not. Football reveals character."

Of course, the film is about more than just the high school gridiron. It uses this one season to tell a rousing underdog tale, one that makes you thankful the cameras were there to capture it. The Weinstein Company picked the film up out of South by Southwest in March and has already spun it into an Oscar success story. How far can it go in a documentary feature category that appears ripe for the taking?

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<p>&nbsp;Madonna and M.I.A. get crazy up in the studio.</p>

 Madonna and M.I.A. get crazy up in the studio.

Watch: Four things we learned from Madonna’s ‘Gimme’ preview

Madonna, Martin Solveig and M.I.A. bring the silly to the studio

As Madonna continues to prepare for her return with new album “MDNA” in March, every little bit of information shared seems like it has been carefully screened to give us just the exact image of Madonna that she wants to share.

Here, in this 37-second teaser showing Madonna, M.I.A. and producer Martin Solveig in a New York studio recording first single “Gimme All Your Luvin,” we get several shades of Madonna, and we’re not just talking about it the video switching from black and white to color.

Four things we gleaned from watching the clip:

[More after the jump...]

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Tim Gunn

 Tim Gunn

Credit: Lifetime Television

Is Tim Gunn's no-sex revelation a 'Revolution' or too much information?

The 'Project Runway' guru is just part of 'The Revolution's gabby cast

Much has been made about Tim Gunn's recent revelation on "The Revolution" that he hasn't had sex in 29 years (he's fine with it, by the way). Still, he didn't seem fine with sharing this tidbit with millions of people, if this clip is any indication. He seems nervous and shaky, as probably befits someone transitioning from fashion guru to endlessly gabbing talking head. While I'd watch Tim Gunn read the phone book, and I have no doubt he's a good addition to "The Revolution" as the show's resident fashion expert, I'm a little unnerved that someone who seems to be so reserved by nature is being tapped for every aspect of this chatty-Cathy show -- including sex talk.

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<p>Janet McTeer received her second Oscar nomination for her role in &quot;Albert Nobbs.&quot;</p>

Janet McTeer received her second Oscar nomination for her role in "Albert Nobbs."

Credit: Roadside Attractions

Oscar Guide 2011: Best Supporting Actress

Bejo, Chastain, McCarthy, McTeer and Spencer face 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.)

After seeming an excitingly scattered race for much of the season, Best Supporting Actress solidified with curious rapidity in the weeks leading up to the nominations. By the time ballots were in, only six names were seriously in contention for a slot -- and as we predicted, a strong Best Picture vehicle wasn't enough to get SAG-snubbed 20 year-old Shailene Woodley across the line.

What we have is a respectable if not terribly enterprising selection of performances, with one broad turn in a summer comedy smash crashing the polite prestige party, one seasoned British stage vet preventing a complete slate of first-time nominees, one pair of twin turns from the same film (for a fourth year running) and -- strangely -- two unrelated performances that both hinge on a scatalogical plot point. Shit happens.  

The nominees are...

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