Latest Blog Posts

<p>Clara Bow in William A. Wellman's &quot;Wings&quot;</p>

Clara Bow in William A. Wellman's "Wings"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

The Academy to screen Technicolor restoration of first-ever Best Picture winner 'Wings'

Event to correspond with Paramount Pictures' 100th anniversary celebration

A few weeks ago, in a piece concerning Technicolor's restoration of a colorized print of Georges Méliès's "A Trip to the Moon" featured in Martin Scorsese's "Hugo," I mentioned that one of the projects the company was working on was a restoration of the first-ever Best Picture winner, William A. Wellman's "Wings."

The Academy announced this week that the film will screen as part of a celebration of Paramount Pictures' 100th anniversary (though pity the release says nothing about Technicolor). The screening will happen on Wednesday, January 18 at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills and will feature live musical accompaniment from organist Clark Wilson.

The live music aspect is nice and all, but the restoration also came with a full-on orchestral re-recording of the score for the film. I'm told that will be featured on the upcoming home video release.

Read Full Post
<p>Martin Scorsese won his second prize for Best Director.</p>

Martin Scorsese won his second prize for Best Director.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

'The Artist' and George Clooney come out on top with D.C. critics

Martin Scorsese and Michelle Williams also honored

God bless the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association, which has the quickest turnaround time on nods-to-winners of the circuit. They announce and get out of your hair really fast, and sometimes, they shine a light in interesting areas.

When "The Artist" swept through with a field-leading eight nominations Saturday, the writing was on the wall. Indeed, the film won the Best Picture and Best Score prizes from the organization, but curiously, nothing else. The wealth was spread as Martin Scorsese nailed down Best Director for "Hugo" (his second prize of the season), George Clooney won Best Actor for his work on "The Descendants" and Michelle Williams took Best Actress for "My Week with Marilyn."

Albert Brooks also claimed his second trophy of the year, winning Best Supporting Actor for "Drive," while Octavia Spencer claimed her first Best Supporting Actress win of the year for "The Help."

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Attack the Block&quot;&nbsp;features one of the best film scores of the year.</p>

"Attack the Block" features one of the best film scores of the year.

Credit: Screen Gems

Oscarweb Round-up: The year's best scores

Also: Chandler on awards season 60 years ago and Oscar hopes for 'The Muppets'

Todd McCarthy has written up the best films scores of the year. So I guess I'll offer up some favorites. I love traditional stuff from John Williams ("The Adventures of Tintin") and Howard Shore ("Hugo") this year. I also delighted in the jazzy change of pace Alberto Iglesias gave "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," as well as the subtle grandeur Mychael Danna brought to "Moneyball." Alexandre Desplat's shifting gears in the midst of his work on "The Ides of March" was fantastic. Hans Zimmer's "Rango" work was memorable and I actually dug what Patrick Doyle did on "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," but I'd love to see Steven James get some recognition for what he did on "Attack the Block" some time this year. (As if.) [Hollywood Reporter]

Read Full Post
<p>Gillian (Gretchen Mol)&nbsp;and Jimmy (Michael Pitt)&nbsp;on &quot;Boardwalk Empire.&quot;</p>

Gillian (Gretchen Mol) and Jimmy (Michael Pitt) on "Boardwalk Empire."

Credit: HBO

'Boardwalk Empire': I want my mommy!

Jimmy flashes back to his college days in season 2's horrifying, riveting penultimate chapter

A review of last night's "Boardwalk Empire" coming up just as soon as I don't like the way you loom...

Read Full Post
<p>Mr. Thistleton of &quot;Prep &amp; Landing: Naughty vs. Nice&quot;</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Mr. Thistleton of "Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice"

Credit: ABC

HitFix Interview: Chris Parnell talks 'Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice' and 'Suburgatory'

'SNL' veteran talks animation, holiday favorites and reuniting with Ana Gasteyer
You've all heard the song: Santa Claus, he who is coming to town, is making a list and checking it twice and you may also have heard that he's able to ascertain the difference between people who are naughty and people who are nice.
But what if Santa Claus no longer had a reliable system for differentiating between good children and bad children?
That's the timeless conundrum explored in ABC and Disney's "Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice," sequel to 2009's "Prep & Landing," which won four Emmys, including Outstanding Animated Program.
The new special features many of the characters from the original, but also introduces a slew of new characters, including Mr. Thistleton, creator of the vast database that enables Santa to find out who's naughty and also who's nice.
Voicing Mr. Thistleton is "Saturday Night Live," "Archer" and '30 Rock" veteran Chris Parnell, who's rapidly becoming an ABC favorite with "Naughty vs. Nice" and a recurring role on the network's freshman comedy "Suburgatory."
Click through for my conversation with Parnell, who talks about holiday classics, Disney magic and reuniting with Ana Gasteyer...
Read Full Post
<p>Newcomer Jeremy Irvine at the world premiere of &quot;War Horse&quot;&nbsp;Sunday night at Lincoln Center in New York City.</p>

Newcomer Jeremy Irvine at the world premiere of "War Horse" Sunday night at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Credit: AP Photo/Charles Sykes

New York's finest step out for Steven Spielberg's 'War Horse' premiere

Epic debuts only yards away from Tony winning Broadway play

NEW YORK - The world premiere of Steven Spielberg's "War Horse" took place Sunday night at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center and a slew of notable New Yorkers came out to screen the potential best picture player. Besides Spielberg himself, other industry faces included Walt Disney Studios Chairman Rich Ross, Joel Coen, Stephen Daldry (who has his own awards season player waiting in the wings), best actress contender Elizabeth Olsen, "Shame" director Steve McQueen, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, Brian Cox, Billy Connolly, Ed Westwick, Stephen Lang, Eriq La Salle, Phylicia Rashad and um, Kathie Lee Gifford among others.

Read Full Post
<p>Cullen (Anson Mount)&nbsp;and Elam (Common) put up their dukes in &quot;Hell on Wheels.&quot;</p>

Cullen (Anson Mount) and Elam (Common) put up their dukes in "Hell on Wheels."

Credit: AMC

'Hell on Wheels' - 'Bread and Circuses': Fight night

Cullen and Elam square off in the ring, and Doc tries to make a deal

Tonight's "Hell on Wheels" was the last of the episodes AMC sent out to critics before the season began, and while I assume I'll be getting a new batch soon, we'll have to play it by ear in terms of how/if I cover it in the coming weeks. (The show is going to be helped by the fact that so many other cable dramas have wrapped or are about to wrap their seasons; within a couple of weeks, it'll be the only one still going for a little bit.)

In terms of "Bread and Circuses," it wisely focused on the uneasy alliance between Cullen and Elam, letting them work out some of their differences in the boxing ring (and letting Anson Mount and Common show off some very sculpted torsos for the 1860s), and it gave me just enough of the Swede to compensate for time spent on the show's less interesting areas (the cliched/fetishized Native American characters, Doc Durant trying to get the maps from Lilly).

What's everybody thinking at this point? By the fifth episode, I imagine the show has shed all the viewers who have decided by now that they just don't like it, so for those of you who are sticking with it, what's the appeal for you?

Read Full Post
<p>Carrie (Claire Danes)&nbsp;and Brody (Damian Lewis)&nbsp;on &quot;Homeland.&quot;</p>

Carrie (Claire Danes) and Brody (Damian Lewis) on "Homeland."

Credit: Showtime

'Homeland' - 'Representative Brody': My funny Valentine

Carrie tries to turn an asset, while Brody gets an offer

A review of tonight's "Homeland" coming up just as soon as this isn't my first polka...

Read Full Post
"The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

 "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' - 'Whine Bar'

Phaedra gives Kandi an apology cake, but Joyce is the one holding a grudge

Although I keep thinking Kim is going to squeeze out a kid any episode now, as she not only seems desperate to get the baby out but I've grown tired of watching her flopped on her bed like a dying largemouth bass groaning and demanding fizzy water, it is not to be this week. Instead, we're treated to more Cynthia drama. With Cynthia, it's not really drama as much as it is passive-aggressive repression and bad decision making, but sometimes that can be more interesting than Sheree trying to yank out some girl's weave, so that's just fine. 

Read Full Post
<p>Jeremy and Sandy of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Jeremy and Sandy of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'We Are Charlie Chaplin'

Wire-walking, shoe-making, costume-wearing and a shocking conclusion
Kurt Vonnegut's short story "Harrison Bergeron" is set in a 2081 in which all Americans have been mandated equal by virtue of a series of Constitutional amendments. The truly exceptional are equipped with handicaps, while the mediocre are sometimes elevated to positions far above their natural abilities, all in the name of this equality.
The world of "Harrison Bergeron" has nothing to do with the world of CBS' "The Amazing Race" and the results of Sunday (December 4) night's "Amazing Race" really weren't analogous to anything in "Harrison Bergeron." 
And yet, "Harrison Bergeron" came to my mind immediately as Sunday's "Amazing Race" episode ended and I looked at the last line of my notes, which read "Sometimes it sucks to be better than everybody else." 
That was my takeaway from Sunday's episode, though clearly there are better takeaways like, "You can only get away with being careless and not-so-bright for so long on a Race that occasionally rewards attention-to-detail," but that theme was ultimately less relevant than the first.
Sunday's episode was about the triumph of entirely accidental teamwork and the results came through a circumstance I'm pretty sure we've never seen before on "The Amazing Race."
Click through for a discussion of Sunday's episode...
Read Full Post
<p>Best Actress winner Olivia Colman and Peter Mullan in &quot;Tyrannosaur,&quot; which took top honors at the BIFA Awards.</p>

Best Actress winner Olivia Colman and Peter Mullan in "Tyrannosaur," which took top honors at the BIFA Awards.

Credit: Strand Releasing

'Tyrannosaur' wins top prize as British Independent Film Awards spread the love

Acting awards for Michael Fassbender, Olivia Colman and Vanessa Redgrave

It may be deemed the British film most likely to register at the Oscars and BAFTAs, but UK box-office sleeper "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" had to take a back seat to the little guys at tonight's British Independent Film Awards in London. Instead, it was Paddy Considine's hard-hitting directorial debut "Tyrannosaur" that surprisingly emerged as the night's big winner, taking three awards including Best British Independent Film.

Considine's debut is a vastly impressive and assured one, striking its emotional notes hard and serving as a vehicle for some startling performances -- the most haunting of which, Olivia Colman's grievously abused middle-class samaritan, was a richly deserving winner of the Best Actress award. (Tilda Swinton's run of luck this week, which saw her triumph at the National Board of Review and the European Film Awards, came to an end here.)

Read Full Post
<p>Kellan Lutz and Nikki Reed show their tree strength in a scene from &quot;The Twilight Saga:&nbsp;Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1.&quot;</p>

Kellan Lutz and Nikki Reed show their tree strength in a scene from "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1."

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Box Office: 'Breaking Dawn' fights off the 'Muppets' to stay no. 1

'Shame' has a spectacular limited debut

"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1" pulled off a rare feat this year retaining the top spot at the box office for a third straight weekend.  With $16.9 million and $247.5 million to date domestic and over $550 million worldwide, the fourth installment of Stephenie Meyers' vampire saga has given Summit Entertainment an early if not expected Christmas present.  The picture also is a rare three-weekend topper this calendar year joining "The Help" (four weekends) and "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (three) in that regard.

Before Friday many industry observers thought Disney's "The Muppets" could use strong word of mouth to overtake "Breaking Dawn" for the top spot.  Not only did that not occur, the Jason Segel passion project didn't even come close with just another $11.2 million and a troubling 62% drop. With just $56.4 million so far its unlikely the "Muppets" will hit the $100 million mark.

"Hugo," which upped its theater count to 1,840 locations this weekend, grossed $7.6 million.  The National Board of Review winner for best picture pulled has now grossed $25.1 million to date. Paramount Pictures and GK Films will continue to hope awards season recognition can fuel Martin Scorsese's latest critical wonder.

Another film showing true word of mouth appears to be "Arthur Christmas."  The Sony Animation and Aardman collaboration dropped only 39% for another $7.5 million and $25.2 million so far.  The Santa Claus themed animated comedy will still need international to make up most of its $100 million plus budget, but the hold is certainly a nice silver lining for the filmmakers.

Rounding out the top five was "Happy Feet Two" with $6 million and $51.7 million to date. Warner Bros. can take solace that "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" looks like it will have a monster opening in two weeks.

"Shame" debuted in 10 theaters with a spectacular $361,181 or $36,118 per screen.  It's even more impressive when taking the film's NC-17 rating into account.  Fox Searchlight will hope that continued critical acclaim and awards season attention fuels interest in Steve McQueen's breakout.

Another impressive limited player is "The Artist."  After winning the NYFCC award for best picture, The Weinstein Company release didn't drop after adding 2 screens for another $205,580 and a $34,263 per screen. 

"The Descendants" continued its strong limited run as well jumping to 574 theaters and another $5.2 million.  Searchlight's premier best picture player has now grossed an impressive $18 million to date.

Next weekend's wide releases include "New Year's Eve" and "The Sitter."

Box office actuals are released on Monday.

Read Full Post