Latest Blog Posts

<p>Pasha Lychnikoff, J.B.&nbsp;Smoove, David Walton and Jesse Plemons of &quot;Bent.&quot;</p>

Pasha Lychnikoff, J.B. Smoove, David Walton and Jesse Plemons of "Bent."

Credit: NBC

HitFix First Look: A 'Bent' crime scene investigation?

Get a sneak preview of tonight's episodes of the under-rated romantic comedy

Last week, I published my review of NBC's "Bent," in which I said that I quite enjoyed the chemistry and banter between David Walton and Amanda Peet (and between Walton and the various contractors in his crew), but also that I was worried that NBC's scheduling — six episodes in three weeks, with half of them airing opposite "Modern Family" (even if they were "Modern Family" repeats) — was setting the show up for failure. Based on your reactions to the first two episodes, I was not alone on the first point. Unfortunately, the ratings for those episodes also proved my fears right.

Read Full Post
<p>Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean in the first official still from &quot;Les Miserables.&quot;</p>

Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean in the first official still from "Les Miserables."

Credit: Universal Pictures

Hugh Jackman gets serious in first official still from 'Les Misérables'

Tom Hooper's film of the blockbuster musical hits screens in December

A reader asked yesterday why we haven't yet updated the sidebar with Oscar predictions for the 2012 season. In truth, neither Kris nor I think it's a particularly healthy practice, and with Kris about to set off on his honeymoon, I like to think that the question of who will win Best Supporting Actress in 11 months' time is the furthest thing from his mind. My mind, meanwhile, has a less ironclad excuse, but refuses to go there all the same.

For those that are daring to put their necks on the block with such projections, however, I imagine that one title is very much in their thoughts. "Les Misérables" is the umpteenth screen version of Victor Hugo's beloved doorstop of French literature, but the first of the blockbuster 1985 stage musical that ranks as the third longest-running show in Broadway history. Alongside the no-introduction-needed source material, the cast (Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway et al) is starry, the director (Tom Hooper) recently if unpopularly Oscared, the release date (December 14) in the prime of awards season. Ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching -- for those who regard Oscar punditry as a kind of mathematical process, this adds up to a frontrunner.

Read Full Post
<p>Zachary Knighton and Damon Wayans Jr. from &quot;Happy Endings&quot;</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Zachary Knighton and Damon Wayans Jr. from "Happy Endings"

Credit: ABC

HitFix Interview: Damon Wayans Jr. and Zachary Knighton talk 'Happy Endings'

ABC comedy stars talk about improv, improvement and Season 3 hopes
It feels early, but "Happy Endings' is chugging along towards its second season finale on April 4.
 
I recently sat down with Zachary Knighton & Damon Wayans Jr. and then with Eliza Coupe & Casey Wilson to talk about the ABC comedy's transition from an up-and-down first season that included a late premiere and out-of-sequence airings into what is often the fastest paced, quickest witted comedy in a network block that also includes a little show called "Modern Family."
 
The two interviews have some common themes, including the increased consistency of the second season, that prodigious punchline pace and, of course, hopes for the third "Happy Endings" season.
 
I'll be posting Wayans/Knighton today and Coupe/Wilson before the finale next week. 
 
Click through for the first conversation...
 
Read Full Post
<p>Nick Searcy and Timothy Olyphant in &quot;Justified.&quot;</p>

Nick Searcy and Timothy Olyphant in "Justified."

Credit: FX

'Justified' - 'Measures': Feel the pulse

New partnerships are forged and plans are made, while everyone looks for Quarles

A review of tonight's "Justified" coming up just as soon as I apologize for not giving you a full accounting of every second of my life before I heartlessly accept the gift of your feminine virtue...

Read Full Post
<p>Jake Johnson and Martin Starr on &quot;New Girl.&quot;</p>

Jake Johnson and Martin Starr on "New Girl."

Credit: FOX

'New Girl' - 'Fancyman, Part 2': I get older, they stay the same age!

Dermot Mulroney sticks around, and Martin Starr advises Nick

A review of tonight's "New Girl" coming up just as soon as I dress up as your Aunt Frida at a seder...

Read Full Post
<p>Joel Kinnaman of &quot;The Killing&quot;</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Joel Kinnaman of "The Killing"

Credit: AMC

Interview: 'Killing' star Joel Kinnaman explains what drew him to 'RoboCop'

How will his RoboCop be different from Peter Weller's version?
I sat down with Joel Kinnaman on Monday (March 26) afternoon to discuss the Swedish actor's second season playing Stephen Holder, recovering addict and aspiring Seattle homicide detective on AMC's "The Killing."
 
When last we spotted the jittery, enigmatic Holder, he seemed to be heading into some morally questionable territory in what proved to be a wildly polarizing Season 1 finale. Things only get more complicated for Holder in Sunday's (April 1) "Killing" premiere and much of my conversation with Kinnaman relates to that two-hour episode, so the full Q&A will post after the episode has aired.
 
While most of the interview focuses on "The Killing," I'm only human and, towards the end, I inquired about how Kinnaman, well-respected, but still largely an unknown to mainstream American audiences, came to land the lead role in Jose Padilha's upcoming reboot/remake of Paul Verhoven's sci-fi landmark "RoboCop."
 
Read Full Post
<p>The Shins, &quot;Port of Morrow&quot;</p>

The Shins, "Port of Morrow"

Review: The Shins' new album 'Port of Morrow'

What can be left to say about James Mercer?

The Shins’ “Port of Morrow” runs into the same problems that albums like those from the New Pornographers or of Montreal do. There is a calculation and formula to great pop songwriting, and its expert writers sometimes struggle to distinguish each song as an individual work. There’s only small windows of spontaneous possibilities, like the predictable pinch-hits of Nels Cline when a Wilco song gets lost.

With this set, there is no new argument you could lodge against Mercer as a songwriter that you couldn’t before: if you’re a fan, you won’t find any reason to be dissuaded. It’s his backers that have changed. Between this and 2007’s “Wincing the Night Away,” Mercer recruited an all-new, experienced band, and he reteamed with Broken Bells cohort Danger Mouse for production. But still, at the center, is Mercer’s simple melodies, verbosity and that talk-timbre voice. Mercer didn’t re-invent the wheel, it’s just housed somewhere else.
 
Read Full Post
Will 'Boyfriend' make Justin Bieber a radio star?
Credit: Island

Will 'Boyfriend' make Justin Bieber a radio star?

Could he have his first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100?

Despite Justin Bieber’s phenomenal success, he has not been a Top 40 radio star. However all that could change with “Boyfriend.”

His sultry new single, which has been No. 1 on iTunes since its release at midnight March 26, is also earning rave reviews at radio. A Top 40 program director we talked to last week was positively buzzing about the song, noting it was Bieber’s strongest single yet.

If you look at Bieber’s Billboard Hot 100 stats, he’s only reached the Top 10 with two of the 21 songs he’s charted on the Hot 100 over the last three years. His peak came two years ago when “Baby” reached No. 5. His only other Top 10 tune is “Never Say Never,”  which reached No. 8.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>The Black Keys' Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach on &quot;The Colbert Report,&quot; defending &quot;selling-out&quot;</p>

The Black Keys' Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach on "The Colbert Report," defending "selling-out"

The Black Keys take a crack at Spotify: What's the beef?

Does Patrick Carney have a point?

The Black Keys have been a vocal opponent of Spotify before. Only this time they've called an important music/media tech guy and "assh*le." Oh gosh!

Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney clarified the band's stance to Grand Rapids, Mich. radio station WGRD this week, indicating that the streaming service's royalties scheme doesn't have enough of a payout for the band to make all releases available.

"The idea of a streaming service, like Netflix for music, I’m totally not against it. It’s just we won’t put all of our music on it until there are enough subscribers for it to make sense," he said. "Trust me, Dan and I like to make money. If it was fair to the artist we would be involved in it... I imagine if Spotify becomes something that people are willing to pay for, then I’m sure iTunes will just create their own service, and they’re actually fair to artists.”

Read Full Post
<p>DJ Khaled</p>

DJ Khaled

Listen: DJ Khaled, Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown and Lil Wayne 'Take It To The Head'

Khaled has friends in high places on salute to getting messed up

It takes a village of rappers to convey the message “Now we’re gonna get f***ed up/no excuses/no apologies” on “Take It To The Head,” the thumping first single from DJ Khaled’s forthcoming album, “Kiss the Ring.”

Khaled is joined by Chris Brown, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne on the Runners’-produced, mid-tempo track. Brown does the melodic heavy lifting here, while the others mainly chime in with raps that are NSFW listening. Warning: lots of uses of the N word here. Lil Wayne appeared on DJ Khaled’s 2011 hit “I’m On One,” which also featured Drake.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Ted (Jason Segel)&nbsp;and Violet (Emily Blunt) do not take the easy road, to say the least, in the new romantic comedy 'The Five-Year Engagement'</p>

Ted (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) do not take the easy road, to say the least, in the new romantic comedy 'The Five-Year Engagement'

Credit: Universal Pictures

Set Visit: Jason Segel and David Paymer play father and son in 'The Five-Year Engagement' part one

Plus learn why Brian Posehn's role in the film got bigger during the shoot

It's July 7th, 2011, and I'm standing on a traffic island on a busy street in San Francisco, watching Jason Segel serve food from a catering truck to Da'Vone McDonald while his dad, David Paymer, looks on with approval.  It's surprisingly cold outside, and this is just the start of what promises to be a very long day on-set.

There aren't many filmmakers who I can say I've visited on the set of every single one of their feature films, but "The Five-Year Engagement" is the third feature that Nicholas Stoller has directed, and it's the third time I've joined him on-set to watch him work and see what he's up to.

Like "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," this film is a close collaboration between Stoller and Jason Segel, who co-wrote the film with him.  And, of course, Rodney Rothman is right there with Stoller again, producing and serving as a sort of comic sounding board for Stoller on the set.  Watching these three guys work together, you get a sense that these are people who are incredibly comfortable as a team, and who have developed a shorthand that serves them well at this point.

Read Full Post
<p>Smashing Pumpkins</p>

Smashing Pumpkins

Smashing Pumpkins finally put a date to 'Oceania,' team with EMI

Is Billy Corgan's long-gestating project going to be fully realized? Why it matters

Billy Corgan and the Smashing Pumpkins seem finally ready to release their long-gestating album-in-an-album project, "Oceania," due June 19. And with the announcement, comes other indications of sea change.

The album is an incorporated part of Corgan's 44-song concept project "Teargarden by Kaleidyscope," which initially intended to thrwart the traditional album release schedule and promotional thinking. Corgan and Co. -- drummer Mike Byrne, bassist Nicole Fiorentino and guitarist Jeff Schroeder -- have released 10 official "Kaleidyscope" tracks, practically as they were being created, in a work-in-progress effort to bring singular attention to each song in consideration of the whole, which is a conceptual "Fool's Journey" through Tarot cards. The first eight tracks were packed into two different EPs, both released in 2010. The last "Kaleidyscope" song was released in May 2011.

So up until the news today, fans have been left to wonder what happened to that "journey" in the last 10 months, with talk of "Oceania," but not a specific idea of how it fit into the Kaleidyscopic vision, particularly since the band has been dropping tracks almost exclusively on their own.

"Oceania," as has been revealed, will be released through Corgan's own Martha's Music publishing with distribution and support from EMI Label Services and Caroline Distribution.

"The Smashing Pumpkins created Oceania as an album experience, and it is intended for the process of the release to follow a path of inclusion, so that best efforts are made for all the fans hear it at the same time as press or radio. We were excited to find partners in EMI Label Services that were equally passionate about the plan for the album release as well as being huge fans of the Pumpkins," says Peter Katsis in a statement.

Now just who the hell is Peter Katsis?

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME