Latest Blog Posts



Credit: Peter Kramer/AP

Adele looks to bounce back to No. 1 on next week's Billboard 200

Who else has a tremendous resurgence?

Adele’s “21” will likely bounce back to the top spot next week as it is poised to sell up to 125,000 copies. Not only does the British singer’s second set bob back to No. 1 for the sixth week, it could increase in sales by more than 25% over this week. The boost is concurrent with Easter sales and the  first single “Rolling in the Deep’s” rise at pop radio.

Also taking a nice leap is the Disney’s soundtrack to “Lemonade Mouth,” a musical drama that aired on the Disney Channel on April 15. Is this the next “High School Musical?”  The set debuted this week at No. 18, but could leap as high as No. 4 on the Billboard 200, according to Hits Daily Double.

Otherwise, it’s a pretty static in the Top 10 with only one debut: The Glee Cast’s “Glee Presents The Warblers,” which will enter the chart at No. 2. This week’s No. 1, Foo Fighters’ “Wasting Light,” slips to No. 3. Britney Spears’ “Femme Fatale” may move up one to 5,  Alison Krauss & Union Station’s “Paper Airplane” falls to No. 6, and Mumford & Sons’ “Sigh No More” moves up three to 7.

It’s a horse race for the remaining three spots as sets from Justin Bieber, Chris Brown and Wiz Khalifa are all too close to call with two days left of sales before the chart week closes.

Read Full Post
<p>Some percentage of the 'Glee' cast</p>

Some percentage of the 'Glee' cast

Credit: FOX

Listen: 'Glee' takes on Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way'

Plus, country quartet Little Big Town throws down on their version

Do you really think we’d send you off into this weekend without one more  little treat from Lady Gaga?  Today, she put up “Glee’s” version of “Born This Way,” which will air on a special 90-minute episode of the Fox show on April 26. Come on, put your paws up like a good Easter Bunny.

It’s a fairly straight-forward version of the tune, which is getting lots of love when it comes to cover versions.  In addition to Weird Al’s parody, “I Perform This Way,” country quartet  Little Big Town, remade the song this week as part of its “Scattered, Smothered and Covered” series.  Once you get past the rough a capella opening, it gives way to a cool bluegrass-tinged cover that kicks the ass of the “country” version that Lady Gaga released a few weeks back.  Plus, we dig that they just seemingly burst into song backstage hallway somewhere.


Read Full Post
<p>Alex Kingston, Arthur Darvill, Matt Smith and Karen Gillan in &quot;Doctor Who.&quot;</p>

Alex Kingston, Arthur Darvill, Matt Smith and Karen Gillan in "Doctor Who."

Credit: BBC

'Doctor Who' - 'The Impossible Astronaut': A death in Monument Valley

The Doctor comes to America in the season premiere

The new season of "Doctor Who" has begun (both here and in the UK), and after posting a bunch of interviews with Matt Smith, Alex Kingston and Karen Gillan, I finally have a review of the premiere coming up just as soon as we've done Jim the Fish...

Read Full Post
<p>James Gandolfini, Diane Lane and Tim Robbins of 'Cinema Verite.'</p>

James Gandolfini, Diane Lane and Tim Robbins of 'Cinema Verite.'

Credit: HBO

TV Review: HBO's 'Cinema Verite'

Diane Lane and James Gandolfini shine in a superficial look at 'An American Family'
I spend a lot of time doing homework to be better prepared for HBO projects.
Reading George R.R. Martin's "Game of Thrones" definitely aided my enjoyment of the expansive epic fantasy series, which premiered last week.
Reading James M. Cain's "Mildred Pierce" definitely hindered my enjoyment of Todd Haynes' claustrophobically literal miniseries, which premiered last month.
With HBO's new telefilm "Cinema Verite," I was unable to watch the 12 episodes of "An American Family" and I came away feeling less enriched because of it. Or maybe I was just starved for any depth and context? With a brisk running time of 90 minutes, "Cinema Verite" is barely even an appetizer, introducing a lot of characters, a lot of history and a lot of media studies theory regarding the birth and evolution of reality TV, only to stop short of anything even vaguely illuminating or satisfying. This superficial take on the story and its cultural ripples was exactly entertaining enough to make me yearn to see the same story told properly.
More on "Cinema Verite" after the break...
Read Full Post
<p>'Survivor' fans never really got to see David Murphy like this.</p>

'Survivor' fans never really got to see David Murphy like this.

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: David Murphy talks 'Survivor: Redemption Island'

Latest 'Survivor' bootee talks Ricegate, anti-lawyer bias and alliance-making
David Murphy had an odd run on "Survivor: Redemption Island" this season.
Described by many of his Zapatera teammates as a master of puzzles, we never saw him actually solve a puzzle. 
And although he wasn't a part of the Russell alliance, David became most passionate when waging an ill-fated campaign to save Stephanie (a teammate he'd previously vocally criticized when she was given puzzle-solving duties instead of him on a key task).
And after weeks of seemingly unmotivated on-camera criticism for his job as a lawyer, it was maybe appropriate that David wound up being the first member of this season's "Survivor" jury. 
On "Survivor," where contestants are often eliminated because of the collapse of their metaphorical, strategic house of cards, David's run ended because he failed to construct a literal house of cards quickly enough in a Redemption Island Duel against Matt and Mike.
In this week's "Survivor" Exit Interview, David and I discussed his flawed Duel approach, his take on the rice/race conflict between Phillip and Steve, why he didn't join forces with Russell and why the other castaways hated his day job so much.
Click through...
Read Full Post


Rihanna and Beyonce duke it out for the top spot on Music Power Rankings

Why is Apple back in the news?

She seems to be everywhere: showing up in the unlikeliest of places like dueting with Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles at this month’s Academy of Country Music Awards or partnering with fellow diva Britney Spears for a remix. One place she’s showing up with startling frequency is at the top of the charts and this week is no exception as she takes “S&M” to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and breaks two records.

1) Rihanna (not ranked last week):
  She heads off a strong charge from Lady Gaga’s “Judas” to top the Billboard Hot 100 and, in doing so, sets a record for shortest time span between her first and 10th No. 1 by a solo artist. Plus, the 23-year old is the youngest artist to score 10 No. 1s, although she better watch out for Justin Bieber.

2) Apple (not ranked):
Not only does the company generate $24 billion in quarterly revenue, a staggering 83% increase over the same quarter last year, it looks like iTunes’ cloud-based music locker is close to launch, with All Things D reporting that Apple has closed licensing deals with two of the big four label groups.  As you’ll recall, Amazon decided it didn’t need no sticking licenses for its cloud-based service, incurring the wrath of labels everywhere.

3) Beyonce (not ranked):
After a short break, Bey is back and fierce as Sasha always proclaimed to be. What first single “Girls (Run The World)” lacks in a hummable melody it more than makes up for in attitude and sass.

4) Ticketmaster (not ranked): The ticketing giant has inked a deal with MarketShare that will likely lead to dynamic pricing for the concert business, meaning you may finally be able to set your own price for a ticket as prices will better reflect market demands instead of artist greed. Now, if we could just do something about those service fees....

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Joshua Jackson of 'Fringe'</p>

Joshua Jackson of 'Fringe'

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Fringe' - '6:02 AM EST'

When the Doomsday Device turns on by itself, Peter concocts a plot to save both worlds

Finales are hard work for some shows. On some levels, they are easy, in that they get to burn through story they’ve been holding back on all season long. But pacing everything in a satisfying manner can be difficult, often leading to rushed episodes that are sound and fury signifying…well, something, but something much less than potentially intended. “Fringe” is attempting to get around that conundrum by essentially staging a three-part finale, which kicked off tonight. As Act 1 of that trilogy, “6:02 AM EST” laid some satisfying groundwork for the next fortnight. But as an actual episode? It left a little something to be desired.

[Recap of Friday's (April 22) "Fringe" after the break...]

Read Full Post
<p>Bilbo Baggins has some news for you, but it's a secret, so don't tell anyone except the hundreds of hobbits attending his birthday party.</p>

Bilbo Baggins has some news for you, but it's a secret, so don't tell anyone except the hundreds of hobbits attending his birthday party.

Credit: New Line Cinema

Ian Holm will return as Bilbo Baggins in 'The Hobbit'

The release of the news raises questions about secrecy and the news cycle

It's interesting the way "secrets" work these days.

I was under the impression that it was going to be a secret all the way through production and until release that Ian Holm and Elijah Wood appear together in the wrap-around segments of "The Hobbit," tying the films directly into "Lord Of The Rings."  Then Elijah's participation in the film was confirmed a while ago, and this week, no less that Peter Jackson himself confirmed that Ian Holm is in "The Hobbit."

It seems like there really is no such thing as a surprise anymore.  Earlier today, the post-credits bumper for "Thor" showed up online, presumably duped from one of the Australian screens where the film is already open.  For fans around the world, they can simply spoil that moment for themselves now with one click as opposed to waiting a few more weeks to see it at the end of the film, when it would have far more impact.

The difference here is that Peter Jackson is the one who gave away the spoiler this time, and if he says it's fine for people to know, then I guess it's fine to know.  Jackson has been helping to define the way filmmakers can interact with fandom since the year 1999, and while I might have kept the Old Bilbo/Frodo stuff secret, I'm not about to tell Jackson he's wrong for revealing it in such a casual off-hand manner.

Read Full Post
<p>Eric Martsolf as Booster Gold on &quot;Smallville.&quot;</p>

Eric Martsolf as Booster Gold on "Smallville."

Credit: CW

'Smallville' - 'Booster': The red & the blue vs. the blue & the gold

A pair of DC Comics heroes show up as Clark learns to be nerdy

I don't believe I've ever done a blog post on "Smallville," in part because I can't remember the last time I actually watched an episode of "Smallville." But I gave "Booster" a try, because the episode was written by top DC Comics scribe Geoff Johns, because it featured the introduction of two of my favorite lesser-known DC characters in Booster Gold and the Blue Beetle, and because we're close enough to the finish line that I wanted to see how the show was approaching the inevitable, long-delayed moment when Clark Kent becomes Superman. And I have a few thoughts - and then some questions for those of you who are still watching this show after all these years - coming up just as soon as I get you a soda...

Read Full Post
<p>Coach (Kyle Chandler)&nbsp;contemplates a problem on &quot;Friday Night Lights.&quot;</p>

Coach (Kyle Chandler) contemplates a problem on "Friday Night Lights."

Credit: NBC/DirecTV

'Friday Night Lights' - 'On the Outside Looking In': An epic of Epyck epicness?

The underdog stories continue, as no one in East Dillon is quite fitting in

(I originally posted this review back when "Friday Night Lights" was doing its exclusive DirecTV run. The comments from that period have been preserved. For the sake of people who are watching the episodes as they air on NBC, I will ask anyone commenting from this point forward to only discuss plot events up to the episode in question. Do not discuss, or even allude to, anything that has yet to air on NBC. Thank you.)

"Friday Night Lights" season five continues, and I have a review of tonight's episode coming up just as soon as I trade my pig for you...

Read Full Post
<p>This picture of Paul Simon is from last year. But Paul Simon is pretty much Paul Simon, right?</p>

This picture of Paul Simon is from last year. But Paul Simon is pretty much Paul Simon, right?

Credit: Charles Sykes/AP

Concert Review: Paul Simon brings the world's rhythms to Los Angeles' Pantages Theatre

Music from new album dominates sterling set

Less than a week into his tour to support new album “So Beautiful or So What,” Paul Simon hit the stage with a band so confident in its musical abilities that from the first notes of show opener “Crazy Love, Vol. ll,” they were fully in command and in the groove, literally.

The April 21 Pantages Theatre show, Simon’s third in three days in Los Angeles, drew largely from the stellar new set, which debuted at No. 4 this week on the Billboard 200. There’s an open-hearted vulnerability in much of the album as Simon explores big-ticket questions about love and God, but much of it is surrounded in such jubilant, uplifting melodies that it’s easy to overlook the gravitas of the situation.

For example, on “Love is Eternal Sacred Light,” he begins by singing about the big bang theory and then seamlessly moves lyrically into a bang of a different sort: a terrorist explosion in a marketplace, but it all plays out to a jaunty world-music beat. On the new album’s most vulnerable piece, “Love and Hard Times” — exquisitely rendered live—Simon sings about God and Jesus paying earth a “courtesy call” before the song morphs into a seemingly totally different tune about finding love in time. Only a lyricist as skilled as Simon could tie the two together with their theme of salvation, whether heavenly or earthly.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>The vampire thriller 'Stake Land' opens today in limited release, and it's one of several films we discuss in today's review round-up.</p>

The vampire thriller 'Stake Land' opens today in limited release, and it's one of several films we discuss in today's review round-up.

Credit: Dark Sky Films/Glass Eye Pix

This week's new releases: 'African Cats,' 'Elephants,' 'Stake Land,' and Yen

A look at this week's new films, including festival reviews

So far this week, I've published reviews for "African Cats" and "Water For Elephants," two of the bigger releases, but I've also previously published reviews for some of this week's other releases, and because of things like festival schedules, I figured we should run links to some of those earlier pieces, plus offer up a few quick reactions to things I never quite got around to reviewing.

It's been fun watching people react to "Pom Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold," and I salute Morgan Spurlock for making the publicity for the film entertaining instead of self-serving.  Spurlock is part of that new breed of documentarians who put themselves front and center in their films, and that can get really obnoxious.  Spurlock manages to use his big broad ideas to examine things without preaching, and in this new film, I think he's done a particularly good job of looking at the way product placement works in our new media landscape.  He's not a scold, and he's not a clown, and the way he's managed to sell this movie by extending the message of the film into every single action he's taken since Sundance is fairly ingenious.

Also this week, you can catch up with "Legend of the Fist," one of the 10,000 films that Donnie Yen starred in last year.  I would recommend this film if only for the oh-my-god opening sequence in which Yen appears to win WWII single-handed.  Yen's really hit his stride as a performer over the last few years, and I think he might be the most exciting martial artist working anywhere in the world right now.

Read Full Post