Latest Blog Posts

<p>George Clooney is all smiles this awards season with &quot;The Descendants&quot; and &quot;The Ides of March&quot; both in the mix.</p>

George Clooney is all smiles this awards season with "The Descendants" and "The Ides of March" both in the mix.

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Best Actor: Is it George Clooney vs. the field?

Who will take on the 'Descendants' star for Oscar glory?

Looking back at the past decade, there hasn't been many surprises in the race to win the best actor Academy Award.  By the time the New Year came around, most pundits and Academy members pretty much knew who would win taking most of the fun out of this category. And, yes, that's even before the nominations were announced.  Sure, Mickey Rourke gave Sean Penn a good run at it in 2009, but the only real upset you can point to is Adrien Brody in 2003 for "The Pianist."  Will 2012 provide an old fashioned horse race that seems only to be left to the supporting categories these days? It's possible, but someone's going to have to step and be a true challenger for George Clooney acclaimed role in Alexander Payne's "The Descendants."

Read Full Post
"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

 "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' - 'Game Night Gone Wild'

Things get even uglier between Kyle and Brandi - and Brandi isn't backing down

Ah, the ugliness of game night continues on "The Real Housewives of the 'Maury Povich Show,'" I mean, "The Real Housewives of Beverly HIlls." Truly, as nasty as things have gotten among the wives in the past, Brandi's addition to the fold has somehow pushed the show dangerously close to chair-tossing territory. While this is undoubtedly dramatic, it's also a bit unnerving, like watching beauty queens rip out one another's extensions while using their stilettos to poke holes in their rivals' Spanx. Hopefully someone will brush her extremely long and probably fake hair out of her eyes and apologize before someone loses an eye. 

Read Full Post
<p>The Roots</p>

The Roots

Listen: The Roots announce 'undun' album details as new single drops

Jimmy Fallon's house band tackling a concept album: look out, 'Lulu'

Are The Roots getting dark for the most wonderful time of the year?

The veteran hip-hop troupe and "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" house band has lifted the curtain on their latest originals set, "undun," due on Dec. 6 in time for the holiday season. What makes it sound heavy is this: the 10-track set is The Roots' first concept record, based on the apparently fictional character Redford Stephens, "This kid who becomes criminal, but he wasn’t born criminal."

"He’s not the nouveau exotic primitive bug-eyed gunrunner like Tupac’s character Bishop in 'Juice,'" reads a release, with comments from ?uestlove. "He’s actually thoughtful and is neither victim nor hero. Just some kid who begins to order his world in a way that makes the most sense to him at a given moment... Utilizing a reverse narrative arc, the album begins as the listener finds Redford disoriented–postmortem–and attempting to make sense of his former life. As he moves through its pivotal moments he begins to deconstruct all that has led to his (and our own) coming undun.”

Gather 'round, kids. It's a wonderful life.

Read Full Post
"Dancing with the Stars"

 "Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

Recap: It's '80s night on 'Dancing with the Stars'

One couple returns to the top while a judges' favorite falters

 Our stars are getting rad for '80s week. That gag-o-licious statement is not of my own creation, mind you, but how ABC is plugging tonight's episode of "Dancing with the Stars." I'm fine with '80s week and suspect this might actually be fun, but if I'm going to have to listen to retro lingo all night, count me out. 

But so much for the lingo -- we kick things off with a performance from the Bangles! Susanna Hoffs! She looks good. Although, admittedly, I thought she was a back-up singer at first. But this is a nice touch of '80s flair.
 
Read Full Post
<p>I don't want to hear any complaints when Paramount serves up more than this, because you asked for more of it to the tune of a billion dollars worldwide this summer.</p>

I don't want to hear any complaints when Paramount serves up more than this, because you asked for more of it to the tune of a billion dollars worldwide this summer.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Spielberg and Bay may make 'Transformers' 4 and 5 with Jason Statham

All I know is I want to see Jason Statham punch a robot

When I was in Russia this summer for the international press day for "Transformers 3," there was a good deal of conversation about how this was the end of the franchise for Michael Bay and for Shia LaBeouf.

Turns out, that talk may have been a bit premature.

The last story I published, about the "Micronauts" deal, was based in part on information revealed in the Hasbro Q3 earnings call that happened this morning.  During the call, another surprising bit of information was revealed, and now it looks like Paramount, Hasbro, Steven Spielberg, and Michael Bay are all in discussions to continue the franchise.

Duh.

When you make a part three in a series and it makes a billion dollars worldwide, you don't stop making those films.  Not if you're a Hollywood studio.  And so the conversations are underway now, and it looks like Bay is still in the mix despite some of the conversations he had in Moscow about having finally finished with the giant f'ing robots.

Read Full Post
<p>Cobie Smulders and Kal Penn on &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother.&quot;</p>

Cobie Smulders and Kal Penn on "How I Met Your Mother."

Credit: CBS

'How I Met Your Mother' - 'Mystery vs. History': I gots ta know!

Ted tries to stay off the internet with his latest love interest

 A quick review of tonight's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I compare my baby to the chupacabra...

Read Full Post
<p>Jason O'Mara of &quot;Terra Nova&quot;</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Jason O'Mara of "Terra Nova"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Terra Nova' - 'The Runaway'

In which our reviewer looks for ways to make this season more enjoyable for all

You know, it’s hard to review an episode of television in which nothing actually happened. Often I say something like that as a form of sarcastic hyperbole, but it’s not far off to say that nothing happened in tonight’s episode of “Terra Nova.” What’s important to take away can be summed up in about one paragraph. But there’s not much else to talk about. If you watched the episode, you know what I’m talking about. Part of my job is to not just tell you what happened, but what it meant. But there’s not much in the way of meaning that be teased out of “The Runaway.” 

That’s not because the episode is as impenetrable as the box under Mira’s old abode. It’s because the episode, as well as the show, is all surface. The only reason anyone does anything on this show is because of family, lost or found. The Shannons’ are the show’s central domestic unit, but they stand in contrast to the myriad of people in “Terra Nova” that are part of fractured families. Whenever a base reason for any action is discovered, it boils down to, “I am doing it for [INSERT LOVED ONE HERE].” We learned tonight that the Sixers aren’t exactly freedom fighters so much as hired hands. But Mira, their leader, is doing it for the same reasons little Lea Marcos infiltrated the camp: for a family member held by someone else. Even Taylor, the enigmatic figure who likes to wear prehistoric couture running jackets when not out battling dinosaurs, has a secret past involving a missing son. At a certain point, this reasoning gets old and clichéd. And we’re already well past that point.

Essentially, the entire hour was built around a desire to have Mira and Jim sit around for a few minutes and expand the mythology of the show. But, you know, not TOO much. So we got dialogue like this:

Jim: “What’s Terra Nova really about?” 

Mira: “You’ll see.”

Ryan McGee: “YOU CAN BOTH DIE IN A FIRE.”

That’s the type of dialogue that drove fans of “Lost” crazy go nuts for years. But at least that show had a wide cast of compelling characters to get one through the obfuscation. Here, we have a camp that’s already established (problem #1), filled with people we haven’t gotten to know (problem #2), and therefore have no investment in when things inevitably break down thanks to the dire threats of cute little girls and/or dinosaurs that invade during booty calls (problem #3). It’s not so much that we’re curious if the citizens of Terra Nova or The Sixers are in the “right” here, because both sides are equally faceless at this juncture. It’s not that we can’t tell, it’s that we don’t care.

“Terra Nova” has tried to pay some passing attention to character development, but it’s unclear how to unveil it through the course of the story. By introducing Lea into the occasion this week, the show had a perfect opportunity to see how each member of the Shannon family might react to this new visitor. Would Jim favor her over his own daughters? Might Josh magically turn into a human being around her? Might Zoe get territorial? All fine questions to explore and give dimensionality to this cardboard cutout family. But no: instead, barely anyone besides Jim spent any time with her, leaving this week’s character-building to a vocational irony story involving would-be doctor Maddie’s fear of gross anatomy. Did that tell us anything about Maddie? No. It was pure padding that added nothing to the episode except time between commercials.

At this point, the most of us can hope for are the little drips of story that seep through the cracks around the fifty minute mark each week. At the end of the pilot, I theorized that Mira’s dialogue near The Rock of Perpetual Mathematics indicated Taylor was actually the Big Bad of the show, something the Shannons would discover over the course of this season. Now, we learn that both Taylor and The Sixers are “innocents,” as it were, both fighting a nameless force from the future. Taylor might have been a company man once, but either went insane in the membrane during his time alone, or had a change of heart after his separation from his son. After that rebellion, “they” sent The Sixers back, holding something precious that belongs to each of the pilgrims in 2149 to assure their plan actually succeed. So rather than sending the Shannons over to the Sixers to fight Taylor, I’ll wager the two sides unite against a large army of super soldiers that some through the portal next. Until then, it’s just gonna be moppets hugging, I guess.

But we’re going to have to wait eight hours to see if that theory is right. That might not seem like a long time, unless you’ve seen these first five hours of “Terra Nova.” Then you realize it will be a might long time indeed. So with my editor’s permission, I’ve come up with a “Terra Nova” drinking game to get you through this first season. I myself will not be participating, because The Powers That Be at HitFix seem to frown upon reviews that consist of nothing but “oh come on”, “really?”, and “jdhfjdhfjksdjsj.” They are strange, that way. I know. But here are some simple rules, based on what’s gone down over these first four episodes, of ways in which you can take the show’s tropes and use them to your advantage. (Unless you’re under legal drinking age, of course. Then, you can drink soda until you’re sick. Deal? Deal.)

Take a sip whenever… 

…Josh does something that makes you say, “What a douche.”

…future science is introduced to solve an unsolvable problem.

…one character tells another about an amazing action scene that happened off screen.

…a soldier walks in wearing armor from the videogame “Fallout 3.”

…the show finds a reason to have Jason O’Mara shirtless.

…Taylor mysteriously asks a person if they just heard anything about him, and in the process only makes himself seem guiltier.

…a dinosaur obviously shows up due to a studio note, not a story need.

 

 

Take a gulp whenever…

…Zoe actually has a line.

…the Shannons are actually all in the same room at once.

…someone besides the Shannons, Taylor, Washington, Reynolds, or Skye get a line inside the camp.

…something or someone easily penetrates the perimeter of the camp.

…Maddie says something that forces you to wonder why Reynolds is remotely interested in her.

…Josh does something that makes you think, “Wow, maybe he ISN’T a douche.”


 

Drink the whole thing whenever…

…a dinosaur kills a human being under the age of 20.

…someone answers a question about the past in a non-evasive manner.

…someone shows an emotion other than “blasé” at living amongst dinosaurs 85 million years in the past.

…Randy Jackson shows up during sweeps to tell a T. Rex he sounds “pitchy”. 

 

 

That’s a pretty good start, no? And with two weeks until the next episode, we have plenty of time to build upon the work I’ve started here. And unlike the work that went into to creating the camp, we’ll be able to document all the work done here to make our time more palatable upon the show’s return. Nothing would make me happier than to have such a game be unnecessary to enjoy it. But for now, I fear it is. And even if I can’t personally enjoy it, I bestow this gift to all of you. I can’t give you a portal, but I can give you this.


Is such a game even necessary for you? Am I being too hard on this show? If not, what other rules should we add to the game? And what does the show need to do to sustain your interest enough to stick with the show for this season? Sounds off below!

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post
<p>Kelly Clarkson performs at the iHeartRadio festival in Las Vegas last month</p>

Kelly Clarkson performs at the iHeartRadio festival in Las Vegas last month

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Listen: Kelly Clarkson unleashes another new tune, ' You Love Me'

Someone's cruel to be kind in all the wrong measures

Kelly Clarkson is taking no prisoners on her new album, “Stronger.”  Today, a new song, “You Love Me,” hit the internet. This time, someone has broken her heart with his two-faced ways. Hard to tell if it’s a romantic disappointment ora relationship of some other kind, but, regardless, it’s gone horribly awry.

Despite the upbeat, 80’s new wave bouncy underpinnings (with a little touch of John Waite’s “Missing You” thrown in), all is not well in K-Town.  Someone is pulling the old “I’m not good enough for you” scam on Clarkson, which the first "American Idol" is not not falling for, not for a minute. As my mama always used to say," if someone tells you they aren’t good enough for you, they're right."

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
Album Review: Daughtry, Mastodon, Nickelback salute ZZ Top
Credit: AP Photo/Jason DeCrow

Album Review: Daughtry, Mastodon, Nickelback salute ZZ Top

Whose cover has legs?

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the debut release from that little ol’ band from Texas, ZZ Top.  To commemorate the occasion, a number of bands— some clearly influenced by the trio, others not— have come together for “ZZ Top: A Tribute From Friends,” which is out tomorrow (Oct. 18).

As is almost uniformly the case with these endeavors, the results are mixed. The one rule is that if you’re going to If you’re going to salute ZZ Top, you better bring your A Game when it comes to guitar playing. For the most part, that’s where the album excels...in some cases to the exclusion of everything else.

For example, Jamey Johnson’s “La Grange,” which is the perfect marriage on paper, is one of the more anemic cuts vocally, after starting strong It should be all laid-back growl and swamp boogie-messiness, and instead it’s all a little too polite. There’s a word I never thought I’d use in connection with Johnson. There is, however, a great guitar riff that segues into a meaty organ solo in the middle that goes into some wicked harmonica work, so what it lacks in Johnson’s vocal delivery, it makes up for (and how)  in the musicianship on the track.  I wish it were an instrumental, and I say that as a Johnson fan. Of course, it should sound great: Johnson brought in a ringer:  ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons is on the guitar shootout that also includes Wayd Battle and “Cowboy” Eddie Long on slide. Absolute killer.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>I'm having trouble picturing this as the basis for a new mega-franchise, but I guess that's why I'm not JJ&nbsp;Abrams</p>

I'm having trouble picturing this as the basis for a new mega-franchise, but I guess that's why I'm not JJ Abrams

Credit: Hasbro

JJ Abrams and 'Zombieland' writers team up for 'Micronauts' movie

Now what the heck are they supposed to do?

It should not come as a surprise to anyone that Hasbro wants to keep making new movies based on their toy and game products.  After all, "Transformers 3" looks to be one of the highest-grossing films of the year, and they've had pretty good luck so far in their relationship with Hollywood.

The "Micronauts" property has passed through many hands over the years.  I remember having a conversation with Gale Anne Hurd's company about the material years ago when they were looking for a writer, and the thing that struck me as we looked through the materials they offered us was that this is even less of a fully-realized concept or world than something like "Transformers," and whoever does finally turn this into a film is going to have an uphill battle to figure out what story they're telling.

I guess it's a good thing they've got JJ Abrams producing and Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese onboard as screenwriters.

Read Full Post
<p>&nbsp;Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis in &quot;The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn&quot;</p>

 Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis in "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Listen to John Williams's 'Tintin' score

Spielberg's faithful composer aims for a 46th Oscar nod

As you know from my review, Steven Spielberg's "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn" delivered the goods at yesterday's first international press screening -- while one or two broadsheet critics have been sniffy about the mo-cap technology, it's fair to say the outlook is bright for a film that Paramount was cautious about promoting. Though the film perhaps faces more cultural hurdles across the pond, I'm confident the US reception will be equally healthy ahead of its December opening.

All of which makes "Tintin" an intriguing wild card in terms of its awards potential. We don't know yet where the Academy's animation branch will land on the film, or how grudgingly they might treat it even if it is ruled eligible for the animated feature Oscar. And its proximity to Spielberg's "War Horse" on the US release calendar raises interesting questions: previously positioned as the appetizer to the live-action epic, what if the animated film is better received? Will they find themselves duelling for a spot in certain technical categories, or could there be room for both? Could "Tintin" even be -- gasp -- the Best Picture nominee nobody saw coming?

Read Full Post
<p>Justin Bieber</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Justin Bieber

Credit: Marco Ugarte/AP

Listen: Justin Bieber's new single, 'Mistletoe'

Another Bieber tune gets a big movie placement

Has there ever been a line that captured Justin Bieber’s  “I’m not a boy, not yet a man” vibe more than “I should be playing in the winter snow, but I’m going to be under the mistletoe?”

That’s his dilemma in “Mistletoe,” the lead-off single from his forthcoming holiday album, “Under the Mistletoe,” which comes out Nov. 1.  Bieber debuted the live version of the reggae-tinged tune in Rio two weeks ago and we get the video tomorrow at 7:54 p.m. EDT on MTV, followed by an interview (SCREAM!!!)  But just in case you’re not all Biebered out already, here’s the full studio version of “Mistletoe,” which premiered on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show today. We like the punch and energy of the live version better.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME