One of the highlights of the summer press tour for me was an unplanned one. I was coming back from a party, and Fienberg told me that PBS was doing a late-night screening of "Pearl Jam Twenty," the Cameron Crowe-directed documentary about the band's tumultuous two decades that debuted last night as part of the "American Masters" series.(*) I had writing to do, and/or sleep to catch up on, but I figured I'd go for a half hour, get a sense of what questions to ask at the press conference the next morning, and then call it a night.
Latest Blog Posts
Christian rockers Casting Crowns are vying for their first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 next week with “Come to the Well.” Should the band succeed, it will mark the first time that an album has topped both the Billboard 200 and the Christian albums chart since LeAnn Rimes’ “You Light Up My Life” in 1997, according to Billboard.com.
With Nielsen SoundScan's tally still a few days away from its Sunday close, it’s too soon to tell it Casting Crowns will triumph or if Adele’s “21” will land at the top as both are on target to sell between 100,000-110,000 units, according to Hits Daily Double.
There's nothing I love more than coming home from a night out with the kids to find angry half-literate e-mails from people calling me names over something they don't understand. So you can imagine this has been a gorgeous Friday night.
After all, we were the ones who told you that David Yates and Steve Kloves were going to be the creative team in charge of Warner's big-screen treatment of the Stephen King epic novel. And when we reported it, offers had been made and deals were in motion. It was accurate at that moment.
Then things went radio silent. And while I'm not in a position to tell you what went on behind the scenes, I can tell you that following the success of the last four "Harry Potter" films, both Yates and Kloves are expensive, particularly when working together, and one of the keys to getting any giant tentpole film off the ground right now is finding creative ways to bring costs down. When your writer and director together are worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $15 - $20 million before you make any other deals on the film, that is not an inexpensive place to begin.
I posted my review of Starz's "Boss" yesterday. (And Fienberg published his earlier this evening.) Now it's your turn. How did you feel about Kelsey Grammer's performance, Gus Van Sant's very stylized direction, the glimpses we saw of (fictionalized) Chicago politics, the supporting characters, the disease and all the rest? Too many speeches? Not enough speeches? How are you feeling about eyeballs right about now? And ears, for that matter?
Under more optimal circumstances, I would be doing full-length reviews of each "Boss" episode, but I think I'm at critical mass in that area right now (especially with "Chuck" returning on Fridays starting next week). So for the time being, the plan is to set up quick talkback posts like this one, perhaps touching on a specific part of the episode I'm curious about reaction on, but mainly a place where those who are watching can discuss it. The three episodes I've seen are very much of a piece, but if it turns out there's one coming that feels notably better or worse than the others, I might got a bit longer with that one.
Anyway, have at it, and we'll see how this goes over the coming weeks. What did everybody else think?
I have to admit that when Is saw that the latest mini-trend for this fall's television season was modern takes on fairy tales, I rolled my eyes (check out Alan Sepinwall's review here). Of course, it's a move that makes perfect sense from a writing (and studio) perspective. Audiences gravitate toward the familiar (just look at the number of retreads at your local movie theater), and this is some a whole mess of familiar sitting fat and happy in the public domain. Storylines are populated with easy-to-grasp heroes and villains, stakes are life-and-death and usually we get a happy ending (or at least we did once Disney had their way with the Brothers Grimm). What could be better?
Film music composers are so often the most expendable element of a given project, it seems. They come, they go, and typically, someone is brought on very late in the game when we thought another composer was on the case.
That seems to be what's up with Stephen Daldry's "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," which has until now been noted as another collaboration with composer Nico Muhly ("The Reader") for Daldry. As it turns out, Alexandre Desplat - perhaps the most prolific composer in the game -- has been quietly working on the project. And his intrepid publicist just sent out a release reminding the media of this.
And it's most certainly noteworthy. Earlier in the year Desplat put out quality work in Chris Weitz's "A Better Life," a score I really think deserves some attention. Meanwhile, I've been expecting him to get a much-deserved nomination for his work in George Clooney's "The Ides of March," one of the best scores of the year.
"Oscar prospects, before anyone asks: probably nil. And yay for that."
So I commented immediately after posting my review of Steve McQueen's "Shame" following its unveiling at the Venice Film Festival, hoping to pre-emptively defuse a natural line of questioning on this site, without suggesting the film in any way fell short. Regular readers will know that I can be a bit snippy when quizzed about the future awards outlook for festival films, partly because I'm loath to think like a pundit at a world-cinema carnival, and partly because there are often too many unknowns for such speculation to be at all meaningful: critical approval only counts for so much with films with no distributor and no proven real-world audience.
For every festival sensation whose Oscar potential is immediately apparent (think Mo'Nique, whose recent Best Supporting Actress win seemed sewn up at Sundance a year before she even netted the nomination), there's another that has to feel its way into the season. Certainly, nobody screamed "Best Picture!" when "The Hurt Locker" premiered at Venice a full 18 months before its Oscar-night triumph.
The traditional wisdom is that, in the world of sitcoms, major life events can signal a show is about to jump the shark. How many of us have groaned as formerly great shows muddle around in the tired territory of onesies and wedding dresses, with characters suddenly falling flat and humorless before us?
It would be easy to assume the same might happen with reality TV shows. After all, these shows are probably no less scripted than any other programming. But so far, I have high hopes for two shows on which main players have chosen to tackle big changes on-screen; "The Rachel Zoe Project" and "Gene Simmons Family Jewels" don't seem to be jettisoning their strong points to make room for plot points, or at least not so far.
ABC's "Once Upon a Time" (Sunday at 8 p.m.) is one of two new shows this season in which fairy tale characters start appearing in modern-day America, with NBC's fairy tale crime procedural "Grimm" debuting next Friday. Every TV season brings with it at least one set of weird dopplegangers like this - this one actually has several ("Mad Men"-era dramas, and sitcoms about the death of masculinity) - but the abundance of fairy tale stories seems less surprising than most.