Latest Blog Posts

<p>Marion Cotillard and Owen Wilson star in Woody Allen's &quot;Midnight in Paris.&quot;</p>

Marion Cotillard and Owen Wilson star in Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris."

Credit: Sony Classics

Contender Countdown: Is 'Midnight in Paris' now 'The Artist's' biggest competition?

A rundown on where we are in the best picture race

Well, that was a surprise.  After a breakneck week of SAG Awards nominations (important), critics groups honors (important) and Golden Globe nominations (least important), the race to Oscar ended up becoming even more convoluted than before.   

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<p>Brody (Damian Lewis) feels nervous in the &quot;Homeland&quot; season finale.</p>

Brody (Damian Lewis) feels nervous in the "Homeland" season finale.

Credit: Showtime

'Homeland' - 'Marine One': Wait til your father gets home

The season builds to a harrowing, satisfying climax

"Homeland" just wrapped up its outstanding debut season, and I have a review of the season finale coming up just as soon as we're all out of paper towels...

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<p>&quot;Survivor&quot; host Jeff Probst</p>
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"Survivor" host Jeff Probst

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: South Pacific' Finale - 'Loyalties Will Be Broken'

Would Coach or Ozzy get Redemption? Or would somebody else win?
Blind melon. We begin on Redemption Island, where Brandon arrives to greet the predictably snoozy Ozzy. "I got blindsided," Brandon explains, admitting that it hurt to get stabbed in the back by his closest friend. Then Brandon gives Ozzy a partial explanation for that alleged blindsiding. "He wasn't blindsided. He gave up the freakin' Immunity necklace," Ozzy says aptly, calling Brandon's strategy "a blind faith game." This is the smartest and most analytical Ozzy has ever seemed.
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"The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

"The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' - 'New Tricks'

Kim pumps, Phaedra quits and Cynthia freaks out

Tonight we have a super-sized "Real Housewives of Atlanta," which you'd think means that something Very Exciting and Possibly Scandalous is going to happen, but not really. In short, Kim moves, Sheree dumps all over Phaedra, and Peter dumps all over Cynthia. So, business as usual in Atlanta!

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<p>Evanna Lynch and Mark Williams were a few of the 'Harry Potter' cast members who recently sat down to discuss the end of the series with us in Orlando.</p>

Evanna Lynch and Mark Williams were a few of the 'Harry Potter' cast members who recently sat down to discuss the end of the series with us in Orlando.

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Mr. Weasley, Luna Lovegood, and Lucius Malfoy on the end of 'Potter'

A long day of fan-driven lunacy couldn't keep us from these conversations

Here at last are the final "Harry Potter" interviews I conducted during my recent trip to Orlando for the press day they held to celebrate the release of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" on Blu-ray.

If you didn't read my first few pieces, let me paint the picture of how these interviews were staged.  We were actually in the park, in the section of Universal's Islands Of Adventure that is known as "The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter," and it's a remarkable recreation of the world that Jo Rowling and her film collaborators have created over the past decade.  It is also wildly successful, so even on a regular day, the park is totally packed.  The weekend we were there was part of a major Harry Potter event, though, so it was busier than normal.

That means that every single spot where we were supposed to do interviews was also occupied by about 10,000 screaming Harry Potter fans.  I've never really done press in a fishbowl like that, and it's a disconcerting way to try to conduct what is already an exercise in forced and immediate intimacy.  Conversations aren't meant to be a spectator sport, but on this particular day, that's exactly what it felt like.

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<p>Noomi Rapace launches her attempted takeover of Hollywood with her role in 'Sherlock Holmes -&nbsp;A Game of Shadows,' which we sat down to discuss with her at a recent press day.</p>

Noomi Rapace launches her attempted takeover of Hollywood with her role in 'Sherlock Holmes - A Game of Shadows,' which we sat down to discuss with her at a recent press day.

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Noomi Rapace on 'Sherlock 2,' 'Prometheus,' and the new 'Dragon Tattoo'

Hollywood's latest foreign crush talks about adjusting

Noomi Rapace is at a turning point.

I don't consider it the end-all be-all goal of actors to work in giant Hollywood movies, but that's often how it is treated.  Think of the same basic cycle we see play out over and over again.  Someone plays an interesting role in an international release and then suddenly they're in every movie released by Hollywood for about a year, and then if they don't have a hit, they're gone again, back to the world of foreign-language movies.  It's treated like a major league/minor league situation, whether that's true or not, and it's brutal to watch some of these very accomplished actors get chewed up by the Hollywood machine.

"Sherlock Holmes - A Game Of Shadows" is the Hollywood debut of Rapace, who gained international attention playing Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish adaptations of the "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" series.  Her work in those films has earned her some staunch supporters, and even if I'm not among them, I was curious to see how she was used in the film.  She's also in "Prometheus," the Ridley Scott "Alien" sidequel that's coming out next summer, so one could say she's getting a fair shot and then some.

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<p>Kenan Thompson and Jimmy Fallon in a 'War Horse' sketch on 'Saturday Night Live' on Dec. 18, 2011.</p>

Kenan Thompson and Jimmy Fallon in a 'War Horse' sketch on 'Saturday Night Live' on Dec. 18, 2011.

Credit: NBC

'SNL' takes on 'War Horse' and misses out

Perhaps they should have waited to see the movie?

After you watch this bizarre parody of "War Horse" from last night's "Saturday Night Live," a few observations.

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<p>&nbsp;Michael Buble and Jimmy Fallon</p>
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 Michael Buble and Jimmy Fallon

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' - Jimmy Fallon and Michael Buble

Surprise guests join an 'SNL' veteran to close 2011 on a high note
So putting my cards on the table up front: I didn’t particularly care for Jimmy Fallon during his run on “Saturday Night Live.” I thought his impressions were great, and his energy was always on point. But there was a sloppiness to his work that always irked me. Either he was busy butchering the English language on “Weekend Update” or overtly trying to make Horatio Sanz break on live television. Still, his late night show has turned around my impression of him entirely, and he’s truly grown into his own as a confident comic performer during his tenure in Conan O’Brien’s old slot. Will he excel tonight in his old stomping grounds, or will he revert to his previous ways? Will musical guest Michael Bublé stick to simply signing, or will Christmas come early and give us all “Hamm and Bublé II: Electric Pork-a-loo?”
Only one way to find out: onto tonight’s recap!
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Credit: Peter Kramer

Music Power Rankings: We look back at 2011 with Adele, Lady Gaga and Steve Jobs

A change is gonna come and this past year proved it

In this special edition of Music Power Rankings, we look back at 2011 and highlight our top 10 stories and events. What strikes us as we ponder our choices in the Top 10 is that any way you look at it, this was a watershed year for the music industry in that the old, traditional way of business continues to morph into something new and those who can’t shift with the times or continue to cling to the old way of doing things will fall by the wayside. There’s understandable ongoing concern about how to monetize many of the new ways that music is consumed, but it felt like a little of the joy came back this year after a long, bleak period.

This is the last issue of MPR for a few weeks. We’ll be back in January. Happy Holidays!

1) Adele:
She is the biggest success story of the year...of the last several years, actually. Her sophomore album, “21,” has never fallen out of the Billboard 200’s Top 10 and has sold more than 5 million copies in the U.S. She is on virtually every critics’ best-of-2012 list, and more importantly, she is not some producer’s puppet. She is proof that immense talent can appeal to the masses and the tastemakers alike. When she says she hurts from love’s scars, you believe her 100% and ache along with her.

2) Album sales rebound:
Or at least they don’t drop. For the first time since 2004, album sales have increased over the previous year. There’s no way they’re ever going back to the pre-2000 high and the industry still feels like it’s in free-fall, but for the first time, it feels like maybe we’ve hit the bottom and, through various new business models and strategies, can go forward. (Final figures aren’t in, but through Sept. 31, sales were up 3.3% over 2010, according to Nielsen SoundScan.)

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Ernie, Cindy and Phil Keoghan of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>
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Ernie, Cindy and Phil Keoghan of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Reality TV Roundup: 'Amazing Race' gets a winner, 'Survivor' goes with God and some 'Real Housewives' prepare to fight

It's been a busy week, so get all your reality news here, now

Welcome to Reality TV Roundup -- a quick look at some of the reality TV-centric stories that have recently popped up across the fine, old Interwebs. Click away, my couch potato friends. But before you do...
SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! One more time: SPOILER ALERT. If you watch "The X Factor," "Survivor," "Top Chef," "Project Accessory" or "America's Next Top Model," the latest elimination for each show is revealed in the text below. The hope is that, if you missed this week's program and would rather clear out your DVR than watch the episode, you can get a quick hit here. But don't come crying to me if you find out something you didn't want to know. You've been warned. Also note: lots of non-competition reality info lurks below, too.

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<p>'The Smurfs" has been disqualified from Best Animated Feature Film contention.</p>

'The Smurfs" has been disqualified from Best Animated Feature Film contention.

Credit: Sony Pictures

'Smurfs' animated feature DQ raises questions about vague regulations

And does genre play into subjective consideration?

The reality is that barring a massive LSD dose in the greater Los Angeles water supply, "The Smurfs” was unlikely to become one of the five animated films nominated for an Academy Award this year. However, the film’s disqualification does point to an interesting question: What does qualify as an animated film in today’s cinematic landscape?

Three of the qualifying submissions -- "The Adventures of Tintin," "Mars Needs Moms" and "Happy Feet Two" -- employed performance capture technology. The method is interesting to think about when one considers that “Avatar” was submitted and nominated as a live-action film. The industry at large seems, as yet, unsure of performance-capture’s place in the grander scheme. The AMPAS rule on it feels almost deliberately vague. It states that, “motion capture by itself is not an animation technique.” That doesn't clarify when or why it is. According to the Academy, “an animated feature film is defined as a motion picture with a running time of more than 40 minutes, in which movement and characters’ performances are created using a frame-by-frame technique.”

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<p>Guy Ritchie rocks a sweater as we discuss his work bringing London back to life in 'Sherlock Holmes - A Game Of Shadows'</p>

Guy Ritchie rocks a sweater as we discuss his work bringing London back to life in 'Sherlock Holmes - A Game Of Shadows'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Guy Ritchie on the luxuries of a big-budget London for 'Sherlock Holmes 2'

A casual chat with the filmmaker about world-building

It's not often that I double-dip with interviews for one movie, but that's exactly what happened this past week with Guy Ritchie for his new film, "Sherlock Holmes - A Game Of Shadows."

Earlier in the week, I ran our podcast interview, which was about twenty solid minutes with the director talking about a number of different aspects of making the film, including working with Robert Downey Jr., a demanding collaborator by all accounts, and how they handled Moriarty.  But one of the things we didn't have a chance to talk about it is actually one of the things that interests me most in the film.

I think it's safe to say I've been preoccupied with London most of my life.  I fell in love with English pop culture young, and one of the great pleasures of my professional life has been the way I've been able to repeatedly visit London and tour various corners of it, including some of the soundstages and studios where many of my favorite films were made.

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