Latest Blog Posts

<p>Zhang Yimou (left)&nbsp;directs Christian Bale on the set of &quot;The Flowers of War.&quot;</p>

Zhang Yimou (left) directs Christian Bale on the set of "The Flowers of War."

Credit: Wrekin Hill Entertainment

Zhang Yimou's 'Flowers of War' set for Oscar-qualifying run

Meanwhile the Chinese filmmaker has already landed his first award

It’s been a momentous week for Chinese director Zhang Yimou. The Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) and FIAPF-International Federation of Film Producers Associations announced that the prolific (and often times controversial) director will be this year’s recipient of the FIAPF Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film in the Asia-Pacific region. The honor will be awarded at the fifth annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards ceremony on Australia's Gold Coast on November 24.

The director’s previous achievements include the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, two BAFTA awards, Silver and Golden Lions at Venice and Berlin's Silver and Golden Bear. Zhang’s “Ju Dou” became China's first Academy Award-nominated film in the Best Foreign Film category in 1991 followed directly by his next film “Raise the Red Lantern.” The director’s latest offering, “The Flowers of War” has already been selected as China's official foreign language entry for this year’s Academy Awards.

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<p>Maggie Siff on &quot;Sons of Anarchy.&quot;</p>

Maggie Siff on "Sons of Anarchy."

Credit: FX

'Sons of Anarchy' - 'Hands': This old man

The club and several characters reach the point of no return in a fantastic episode

A review of tonight's "Sons of Anarchy" coming up just as soon as I give you until after "The Jetsons" to decide...

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"Dancing with the Stars"

 "Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

Recap: 'Dancing with the Stars' gets down to the final four couples

A tribute to Michael Jackson shines, but the DanceCenter joke is beyond tired

Although part of me expects the results of tonight's show will be pretty predictable, I am wondering if Nancy Grace will survive into the semifinals simply because of the rumor that people were going to vote for her simply because Len was so harsh in his comments. I'm not sure that's a great reason to keep someone on the show, but really, this season the results have been so haphazard, I'm not sure it's not just as acceptable as any other reason. 

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<p>After several years, Jonathan Franzen's bestseller &quot;The Corrections&quot; is reaching screens as an HBO series.&nbsp;</p>

After several years, Jonathan Franzen's bestseller "The Corrections" is reaching screens as an HBO series. 

Credit: Picador Publishers

Has Franzen's 'The Corrections' dodged a big-screen bullet?

HBO the perfect home for sprawling modern-classic novel

Since I first read Jonathan Franzen's National Book Award-winning novel nearly a full decade ago, "The Corrections" has been simultaneously my most anticipated and most dreaded of all mooted Hollywood prestige pics -- a project that has wavered from inevitability to promise to mirage in the years since the film rights were first snapped up.

Anticipated, because I love the novel as much as legions of other people: its ubiquity has done little to dim the brilliance of its densely knotted construction, jagged comedy and profound capacity for pain and empathy in its deconstruction of what makes and breaks the modern American family. Dreaded, because -- well, everything I just said. It's such a vast, heaving, emotion-sodden work that the odds would be against even the most judicious film treatment matching its breadth and tonal range; a less judicious one, meanwhile, could veer into unholy realms of soggy highbrow soap-opera.

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<p>Darren Criss and Lea Michele on Tuesday's &quot;Glee&quot;</p>
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Darren Criss and Lea Michele on Tuesday's "Glee"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Glee' - 'The First Time'

What could have been a complete disaster turns instead into a series highlight

Watching “Glee” on a weekly basis is like playing a high-stakes poker game in a Vegas casino. The show is the house, and the house almost always wins. “Winning” in this case means that the show takes not only your chips, but also your heart and soul as well. But every once in a while, the player beats the house, and their efforts are rewarded. After one of the worst episodes in the show’s history, “Glee” bounced back something fierce with “The First Time,” an episode that should have gone completely off the rails but managed to stay on the tracks and build confidence throughout the hour.

Look: it wasn’t perfect. No episode of “Glee” ever was nor ever will be. You could pick nits in nearly every scene. But the episodes of the show make you stop looking at the flaws and appreciate the emotional responses it can elicit when everything aligns correctly. No more ginger supremacists, leprechauns, or student/teacher trysts. (Unless you count that awful number inside Dalton Academy which, like the second season of “Friday Night Lights,” we’ll all agree never happened.) Instead, we got two things that generally make for a stellar episode of “Glee”: thematic resonance between various storylines, and musical performances that actually comment upon those resonances. This sounds like an easy thing to do. The sum total of “Glee” to date suggests the opposite. So let’s celebrate when it gets things right.

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<p>Indeed, sir.&nbsp;&quot;Peace out.&quot;</p>

Indeed, sir. "Peace out."

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Brett Ratner issues statement after resigning as Oscarcast producer

The 'Tower Heist' director steps down in the wake of homophobic slur controversy

I'm happy to have dedicated the least possible amount of column inches to this Brett Ratner situation. But the actual news of the thing is today's announcement that he is, indeed, after many called for his head in the wake of his using a gay slur at a Q&A last week, out as producer of this year's Oscar telecast. (Kudos to The Hollywood Reporter's "The Race" blog for landing the initial scoop.)

It was the only play. I know it was a tough decision for all involved (not that it should have been, but relationships are tough to just gloss over). But it was the right one. It was a PR nightmare, a picket line on Hollywood Boulevard waiting to happen. It's just not what you want overshadowing what is meant to be a celebration of the year's finest filmmaking.

Alas, this will be Ratner's legacy. This will be what he's remembered for. The easy joke is, "Well, it wasn't going to be his films." Whatever. He's a working filmmaker who gets the job done and keeps the suits happy. And some of his films are entertaining. I'll never begrudge him that. And I was actually getting a little bit excited for the prospects of his Oscar stint, especially with the announcement of a fresh crop of comedy writers for the show.

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<p>Otto Preminger's &quot;The Man With the Golden Arm,&quot; one of several iconic poster designs by Saul Bass.</p>

Otto Preminger's "The Man With the Golden Arm," one of several iconic poster designs by Saul Bass.

Credit: United Artists

AMPAS tips its hat to Saul Bass

Academy joins with Museum of Modern Art to celebrate designer

Quick, how many title sequence designers can you name? I'm willing to bet most of you got no further than Saul Bass, which says more about him than it does about us -- the man responsible for some of the most ubiquitously reprinted poster and credit designs in film history may never have made a feature, but he's acquired the kind of hushed, revered status most cinephiles reserve for auteurs. (He did, however, direct several shorts, nabbing an Oscar for one of them.)

Even those of you who don't know his name know his work: the credit sequences of "Vertigo," "Psycho," "West Side Story" and several 1990s Martin Scorsese pictures; multiple iconic posters, ranging from "The Man With the Golden Arm" to "The Shining"; away from the movies, the corporate logos of AT&T and Kleenex. I have little choice but to think of Bass at least once a day: a poster storyboard of his opening titles for "Anatomy of a Murder" adorns my living room wall. As the son of a graphic designer, I was raised to be hyper-aware (not to mention hyper-critical) of movie credits: Bass, I was taught, was the gold standard. 16 years after his last film job (the title sequence of "Casino," released one year before his death), he remains so.

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<p>Former Academy Awards co-producer Brett Ratner.</p>

Former Academy Awards co-producer Brett Ratner.

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Brett Ratner resigns as Academy Awards co-producer over gay slur controversy

Updated: GLAAD issues statement on working with the 'Tower Heist' helmer

This hasn't been a good week for Brett Ratner.  His first film in four years, "Tower Heist," was both a critical and commercial disappointment after debut on Friday.  Ratner complicated matters by responding to a question during a "Tower Heist" Q&A over the weekend by using the phrase "rehearsals are for fags."  That set off a firestorm of criticism on Monday which has now lead to Ratner withdrawing from co-producing the 84th Academy Awards.

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<p>Taking Back Sunday's Eddie Reyes</p>

Taking Back Sunday's Eddie Reyes

Watch: Taking Back Sunday's 'You Got Me' has an interpretive dance

Eddie Reyes goes to happy place

Where does Taking Back Sunday's founder and guitarist Eddie Reyes go when he wants to disappear? I mean, where do you go? Don't act like you haven't had this dream.

Check out Reyes giving out his best interpretive dance to "You Got Me" to a opulent theater with nobody in the seats.

This is also what happens when your band is short on ideas for your next music video.

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Listen: Is this really Madonna's new single, 'Give Me All Your Love?'

Updated: Her manager weighs in

A  supposed demo of Madonna’s new single, “Give Me All Your Love” showed up on the internet today. But the question remains whether it is a true version of the song or some red herring.
Madonna’s long-time rep is playing a little coy. When we asked her to comment or confirm this was indeed Madonna and the first single from her 2012 album, she answered “It sounds great. Can’t wait to hear the real version.” While that may sound like a denial, it may be or it may not be. It could simply be her way of letting us know that there’s even a better, final version coming down the pike. Madonna's appearing at an event in New York on Nov. 12, and Billboard reports that she may be at a New York fashion show tonight as well, so the time is perfect to spring this track on us.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>J. Edgar Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer) enjoy a night out on the town with a group of Hollywood lovelies including a young Ginger Rogers (Jamie LaBarber) and her mother (Lea Thompson) in Clint Eastwood's 'J. Edgar'</p>

J. Edgar Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer) enjoy a night out on the town with a group of Hollywood lovelies including a young Ginger Rogers (Jamie LaBarber) and her mother (Lea Thompson) in Clint Eastwood's 'J. Edgar'

Credit: Warner Bros

Review: Di Caprio in 'J. Edgar' offers easy answers about morally complex character

This particular match of Clint Eastwood and movie star never really connects

I think it's safe to say that Clint Eastwood has secured his legacy as a filmmaker.

Even if he'd quit directing after he totally crushed it with "Unforgiven," he would have made the case for himself as a world-class director.  But at this point, the only filmmaker who works faster or more frequently appears to be Woody Allen, and like Allen, he works often enough that for every great movie he makes, at least two or three of his movies are nearly impossible to sit through.  I'm amazed at how bulletproof he is these days, critically speaking, but I think the real respect you can pay an artist is to react honestly to their work and not just give them a pass based on who they are.

I can't in good conscience recommend that you see "J. Edgar," which of course isn't going to stop anyone from actually seeing it.  After all, it is Eastwood directing with a screenplay by Dustin Lance Black, the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of "Milk," and it stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts, Judi Dench, and a typically dense Eastwood cast.  Sounds great, right?

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<p>from &quot;The One That Got Away&quot;</p>

from "The One That Got Away"

Katy Perry sets debut for 'The One That Got Away' video

When and where can you see the full video?

Katy Perry’s march toward her record-setting sixth No. 1 single from “Teenage Dream” continues this week with the release of the music video for “The One That Got Away.”

Perry will debut the clip on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on Friday, Nov. 11. The video, which stars Diego Luna, will then immediately go up on Vevo. That same day, a seven-minute, extended version of the video will play during advance screenings of Michelle Williams’ new movie, “My Week with Marilyn.”

The singer has a lot riding on the song, which is No. 34 this week on the Billboard Hot 100. If the ballad can reach the Billboard Hot 100 summit, she will become the first artist in the 53-year history of the chart to land six songs from a single album there. Right now, she is tied with Michael Jackson at five.

[More after the jump...]

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