Latest Blog Posts

<p>&nbsp;The cast of 'Bridesmaids'</p>

 The cast of 'Bridesmaids'

Credit: Universal Pictures

Kristen Wiig and the 'Bridesmaids' cast will present at the Oscars together

Best supporting actress nominee Melissa McCarthy reuniting with cast mates

The hilarious ladies of "Bridesmaids" are getting back together in a few weeks -- but not for the rumored sequel

The hit film's stars Kristen WiigRose Byrne, Ellie Kemper, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Maya Rudolph are set to be presenters at the 84th Academy Awards.

Emmy winner McCarthy ("Mike and Molly") is up for the best supporting actress Oscar for her scene-stealing performance in "Bridesmaids," while Wiig is nominated for the film’s original screenplay. All six are making their first Oscar show appearances.
The Academy Awards, produced by Brian Grazer and Don Mischer, will air on ABC Sunday, February 26 from the Kodak Theatre in L.A. Billy Crystal is hosting.

Think you can guess this year's winners? Prove it in our
Oscar pool.

Read Full Post


Review: 'Searching for Sugar Man' requires some waiting for a sweet payoff

The musical journey of Rodriguez brings the dead back to life at Sundance

Two documentaries at the Sundance Film Festival turned their focus on American singer-songwriters making an impact on different eras of apartheid-stricken South Africa. But one major difference between the Paul Simon “Graceland” doc “Under African Skies” and Malik Bendjelloul's directorial debut “Searching for Sugar Man” are the artists’ awareness of their influence on that African country. Simon lived it. Obscure folk artist Rodriguez had no idea what the hell was going on. 

Sixto Rodriguez put out two albums under his last name in 1970 and 1971 via Sussex/A&M. They failed to sell here in the ‘States. Through several interviews with recording engineers and label executives that “discovered” him in dingy nightclubs in Detroit, there was a feeling of disbelief that an artist so talented went unrewarded in his lifetime.
Read Full Post
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>


Watch: Aaron Paul talks 'Smashed' at Sundance

How is this substance abuser different from his 'Breaking Bad' substance abuser?
The other day, I posted the chunk of my conversation with Aaron Paul that focused more on his Emmy-winning AMC dramedy "Breaking Bad" than on his well-regarded Sundance dramedy "Smashed."
Today, I'm posting the longer portion of the interview focusing on "Smashed." You'll discover pretty quickly that it's almost impossible to talk "Smashed" with Aaron Paul without also discussing "Breaking Bad."
In "Smashed," Paul plays a jovial alcoholic who proves to be an emotional liability for his equally booze-loving wife (the excellent Mary Elizabeth Winstead) when she decides to go clean.
Other than a focus on addiction, Paul's "Smashed" character has little in common with Jesse Pinkman, but "addiction" isn't exactly a tiny similarity. 
In our chat, Paul discusses the difficulties finding feature scripts that live up to the standards set by "Breaking Bad," his reservations about returning to addiction and his very different approach to his "Smashed" character.
Check it out...
Read Full Post
<p>&nbsp;Lil Wayne</p>

 Lil Wayne

Credit: AP Photo

Lil Wayne set to release 'I Am Not A Human Being 2'

Cash Money's Birdman spills on Nicki Minaj and other acts

Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter IV” has been out for less than six months, but expect the rapper to drop another album within months.

“I Am Not A Human Being 2” will come out “real soon, according to Cash Money’s Birdman (aka Bryan Williams), who shared the news with Complex.

Read Full Post
<p>Jeff Cronenweth received a second consecutive Oscar nomination for David Fincher's &quot;The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.&quot;</p>

Jeff Cronenweth received a second consecutive Oscar nomination for David Fincher's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo."

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Oscar Guide 2011: Best Cinematography

'The Artist,' 'Dragon Tattoo,' 'Hugo,' 'The Tree of Life' and 'War Horse' square off

(The Oscar Guide will be your chaperone through the Academy's 24 categories awarding excellence in film. A new installment will hit every weekday in the run-up to the Oscars on February 26, with the Best Picture finale on Saturday, February 25.)

As is often the case, the cinematographers' branch didn't exactly search far and wide for contenders in this category, settling instead on a quartet of high-profile Best Picture nominees, plus one major December release (and guild nomination hog) that surely came close to cracking the top race. Four of the men selected, moreover, are previous nominees, in keeping with this year's unofficial theme of sticking with the familiar.

The scramble for the fifth slot on the ballot was, presumably, a tight one: moodily lensed by Hoyte van Hoytema, "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" was a surprise ASC nominee that seemed to be building late momentum in the final stages of voting, but wound up ceding its spot to more postcard-pretty work from a two-time Oscar champ who had been frozen out of the guild list. Oh, well. 

The nominees are...

Read Full Post
<p>A scene from&nbsp;&quot;Harry&nbsp;Potter and the&nbsp;Deathly Hallows:&nbsp;Part 2&quot;</p>

A scene from "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Tech Support Interview: Stuart Craig and Stephenie McMillan on a decade of designing 'Harry Potter'

The production designer and set decorator have been nominated for the fourth time on the series

On Tuesday, Stuart Craig and Stephanie McMillan respectively earned the ninth and fifth Oscar nominations of their careers for serving as the production designer and set decorator of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.” They shared a win for "The English Patient" in 1996 and this year's mention is the fourth they have earned for the Harry Potter series, making the Best Art Direction category the place where the franchise (which wrapped itself up in 2011) has seen its greatest Oscar success.

The world of the boy wizard has been the duo's driving professional task for quite a while. Indeed, Craig (who also won Oscars for “Gandhi” and “Dangerous Liaisons”) is one of the few consistent department heads on the series going back to 2001. He interviewed with "The Sorcerer's Stone" and "The Chamber of Secrets" director Chris Columbus about the first movie over a decade ago. When he was offered the job, he says he jumped at it and never looked back. McMillan was shortly thereafter called by Craig and agreed to hop on board.

Read Full Post
<p>Liam Neeson in &quot;The Grey.&quot;</p>

Liam Neeson in "The Grey."

Credit: Open Road

Would ‘The Grey’ have been in the Oscar hunt if it had a qualifying run?

If the film does well, Open Road may re-release it come October

Director Joe Carnahan emerged as an up-and-comer with the release of 2002’s “Narc,” (the follow-up to his directorial debut “Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane”). The director began his career at the tail end of the “indie heyday” of the 1990s when driven artists really could carve a path to the studios out of the festival circuit with a no-budget film featuring actors with light resumes and zero notoriety.

After a notoriously rocky start in the world of big budget event films (having quit before being fired from “Mission: Impossible III”), Carnahan began to create a name for himself as a helmer of B-to-B+ level light-hearted actioners such as “Smokin’ Aces” and “The A-Team.” With tomorrow’s release of “The Grey,” however, the director will introduce audiences to a new dimension of both his psyche and work, one that might have made an impact on the current Oscar season had it hit theaters when originally anticipated.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Luck&quot;&nbsp;producers David Milch and Michael Mann.</p>

"Luck" producers David Milch and Michael Mann.

Credit: HBO

Interview: 'Luck' producers David Milch and Michael Mann

How did the two dramatic heavyweights work together on horseracing series?
When I heard a couple of years ago that David Milch, Michael Mann and Dustin Hoffman had teamed up to write, direct and star in an HBO drama about the world of horseracing — the finished product, "Luck," debuts Sunday night at 9 — my initial reaction was that I was almost as eager to see a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the making of such a show as I was to see the show itself.
Read Full Post
<p>A scene from &quot;Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.&quot;</p>

A scene from "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy."

Credit: Focus Features

Round-up: Cracking the code of 'Tinker, Tailor'

Also: Mary J. Blige's Oscar sulk, and a gold watch for Uggie

Judging from the reactions of readers and colleagues alike, it seems a lot of people have trouble untangling the proudly knotty, restlessly non-linear espionage narrative of "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" -- "It's my favorite film of the year that I didn't understand at all," one friend quite sincerely admitted to me. Some have even speculated that the film might have done better in the Oscar race if voters had found it easier to follow. Being acquainted with both John Le Carré's novel and the previous TV adaptation thereof, it's with no great sense of superiority that I say I found the film clear enough, but I was still fascinated by the estimable David Bordwell's thorough breakdown of just what's going on in the film, decoding both its structure and imagery. [David Bordwell

Read Full Post
<p>Guest stars Timothy Dalton and Linda Hamilton both played pivotal roles in &quot;Chuck&quot;&nbsp;season 4.</p>

Guest stars Timothy Dalton and Linda Hamilton both played pivotal roles in "Chuck" season 4.

Credit: NBC

'Chuck' vs. the Retrospective Interview, Part 4

Timothy Dalton and Linda Hamilton join in the fun, and Chuck and Sarah get hitched and
"Chuck" airs its series finale Friday night at 8 on NBC, and it's time for the penultimate installment of our 5-part retrospective interview with creators Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz, to discuss the show's fourth season.
Schwartz actually only cameos at the beginning of this one, as he had to leave early to attend a meeting for another show he works on. After he left, Fedak and I took a ride to the empty stage on the Warner Bros. lot that used to house the Buy More set, to get one last look at a place where so many crazy things (including shootouts, sexy entrances and the inaugural Jeffster! performance) had happened over the life of the series.
Read Full Post
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>


Credit: Sundance

Sundance Review: 'Grabbers'

Midnight creature featured needed to be better... or worse
Over the years, I've found that in the wacky world of Sundance Midnight Movies, there's a strange and counter-intuitive logic of quality.
"Good" always means "good." But sometimes "bad" means "good" and sometimes it just means "bad," an evaluation that has to be made on a case-by-case and person-by-person basis, because one man's crap is another man's camp.
Yes, quality is fungible when it comes to Midnight movies, but one thing I know for sure: There's absolutely nothing worse for a Midnight movie than being "OK."
In an ideal world, Jon Wright's "Grabbers" could stand to be a lot better, but I'd just as soon see it be a lot worse. In its current form, "Grabbers" is just plain average.
And where's the fun in that?
Full review of "Grabbers" after the break...
Read Full Post
<p>Clarke Peters is joined by newcomers Jules Brown and Toni Lysaith in the newest Spike Lee joint, 'Red Hook Summer'</p>

Clarke Peters is joined by newcomers Jules Brown and Toni Lysaith in the newest Spike Lee joint, 'Red Hook Summer'

Credit: 40 Acres And A Mule

Review: 'Red Hook Summer' will feel pleasantly familiar to Spike Lee's fans

Controversial director's latest is shaggy and uneven but filled with heart and joy

Even when I don't love a Spike Lee movie, I'm always happy to go see a new Spike Lee movie, and hope springs eternal.

I didn't make it to the premiere of "Red Hook Summer" at the Eccles, and when I saw some truly venomous reactions to the film appear on Twitter afterwards, I got worried.  There are Lee films that I adore without reservation, like "Do The Right Thing" or "The 25th Hour" or "He Got Game," and there are Lee films where I enjoy them but recognize they're uneven like "Clockers" or "Bamboozled" or "Mo Better Blues."  But there are also some Spike Lee movies that I think just plain don't work on any level, movies I don't think I'll ever see again like "Girl 6" or "She Hate Me" or even "Summer Of Sam."  The last few years, since "Miracle At St. Anna," it's felt like Spike was in retreat to some degree, focusing on things like sports documentaries or the wildly entertaining PBS production of "Passing Strange."  I walked into "Red Hook Summer" with no idea which Spike Lee I'd be seeing.

Read Full Post