Latest Blog Posts

<p>Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley in &quot;The Fault in Our Stars.&quot;</p>

Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley in "The Fault in Our Stars."

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Tell us what you thought of 'The Fault in Our Stars'

The Shailene Woodley-starring cancer drama is set to be a massive teen hit

Only a couple of months ago, I had never heard of John Green or "The Fault in Our Stars" -- as clear a sign as any that I'm no longer a spring chicken, since for a certain demographic and generation, the film adaptation of the young-adult bestseller is the biggest event of the summer. I remain mostly in the dark, since the film has yet to be screened for UK press, but I've gathered from responses so far that Josh Boone's film, a romance between two teens who meet at a cancer support group, looks poised to be a "Love Story"-type sensation for contemporary teens -- though evidently older folks have been weeping their way through it too. (Perhaps someday it'll earn a spot in our list of the all-time greatest tearjerkers.)

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<p>&quot;How to Train Your Dragon 2&quot;</p>

"How to Train Your Dragon 2"

Credit: DreamWorks Animation

'How to Train Your Dragon 2' deserves to be in the Best Picture Oscar discussion

Not only that, but this should be the DreamWorks ideal

Earlier this week I wrote about the whole of DreamWorks Animation, which came after I — no joke — revisited all 28 features released by the studio so far and attended a screening of the studio's latest, "How to Train Your Dragon 2" (hitting theaters next week). That hotly anticipated sequel, which bowed at the Cannes Film Festival last month, comfortably took the top spot, with the 2010 original firmly at #2. Because these, to me, are the crowning achievements of DreamWorks so far.

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Tom Cruise in "Edge of Tomorrow."
Tom Cruise in "Edge of Tomorrow."
Credit: Warner Bros.

Tell us what you thought of 'Edge of Tomorrow'

Tom Cruise's latest has exceeded critical expectations - what about yours?

I don't know why I expected Doug Liman's "Edge of Tomorrow" to be a misfire -- maybe the change of title (it was originally, more intriguingly, named "All You Need is Kill") suggested a lack of studio confidence, maybe the marketing materials looked a bit drab, or maybe the memory of Liman's last big-budget actioner (the terrible "Jumper") cast a dark shadow over the project. Whatever the case, this nifty time-loop sci-fi adventure appears to have exceeded critical expectations.

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'Game of Thrones’' Pedro Pascal coming to Netflix

“Game of Thrones’” Pedro Pascal coming to Netflix
He’ll star in “Narcos," playing a DEA agent who pursues cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar.

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Jimmy Kimmel beats Jimmy Fallon in total and demo viewers for the 1st time, thanks to the NBA Finals

Jimmy Kimmel beats Jimmy Fallon in total and demo viewers for the 1st time, thanks to the NBA Finals
“Jimmy Kimmel Live” aired last night at 12:22 am on the Eastern and Midwest time zones. PLUS: Kimmel puts 50 Cent in “Malefiftycent."

J.K. Rowling’s “Casual Vacancy” casts Michael Gambon and Keeley Hawes
The BBC and HBO miniseries adaptation of Rowling’s novel will also include Rory Kinnear, Monica Dolan, Julia McKenzie and Abigail Lawrie.

Hugh Jackman bounces up and down in Tonys promo
Jackman says he has a secret that’ll be revealed on Sunday’s show.

Hayley Atwell: Dominic Cooper will appear on “Agent Carter”
Atwell says she can’t wait to prank him on the set of the NBC series, but it’s unclear if he’ll just be a guest-star.

Barbara Walters will come out of  retirement to appear on “The Tonight Show”
Walters is Jimmy Fallon’s guest on Wednesday.

“Orange is the New Black” meets Flappy Bird
Netflix has launched “Feisty Chicken” as part of the Season 2 launch.

Seth Meyers reminds Jonah Hill he’s one of the few non-cast members with a recurring character
Hill recalls how he created his 6-year-old character thanks to Meyers and his “Superbad” co-star Bill Hader.

Jerry Seinfeld likes Pete Holmes’ “New Material Seinfeld”
The TBS puppet "does kind of remind me of me a little bit. Cute. Not mean like Seinfeld on #Louie,” tweets Seinfeld.

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<p>LeBron James</p>

LeBron James

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: NBA Finals Game 1 ratings cause 'Undateable' to cramp up on Thursday

'Gang Related' and 'Last Comic Standing' are also down against Spurs-Heat

Fast National ratings for Thursday, June 5, 2014.

The air-conditioning-free Game 1 of the NBA Finals caused problems for both LeBron James and ABC's competition on Thursday night as the Heat-Spurs showdown dominated primetime in all measures.

The Miami/San Antonio opener was in line with last year's Game 1 ratings, which makes sense since that was also a Heat-Spurs Finals.

Fittingly, only "Hell's Kitchen," which only had to face ABC's pre-game, avoided drops on Thursday as "Undateable," "Gang Related" and "Last Comic Standing" all dipped.

On to the numbers...

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<p>&quot;Orange Is the New Black.&quot;</p>

"Orange Is the New Black."

Credit: Netflix

Season premiere review: 'Orange Is the New Black' - 'Thirsty Bird/Looks Blue, Tastes Red'

Piper gets the spotlight in season 2's first hour, and then the ensemble takes over

Netflix released the new season of "Orange Is the New Black" last night, and I offered some early thoughts on the season yesterday. My plan is to review the season two episodes at a time, at a pace that may be weekly or may be more irregular than that, just to see how things go given the collision of the Netflix distribution model with the weekly discussion model. Thoughts on the first two episodes coming up just as soon as my mom tells me my birth story...

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Are Shailene Woodley and Kristen Stewart really 2015 Oscar players?

Are Shailene Woodley and Kristen Stewart really 2015 Oscar players?

Popular actresses making noise in June

"The Fault in Our Stars" arrives in theaters tomorrow having already transformed itself from summer sleeper to expected blockbuster. The reviews have been very positive with a number of critics even admitting they were bawling at the end. That being said, when it really comes down to it, most reviewers will admit Josh Boone's direction leaves a lot to be desired. Still, the movie works. Why?  The reasons are two fold.

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TV Land will celebrate 'The Brady Bunch’s' Alice with a 12-hour marathon

TV Land will celebrate “The Brady Bunch’s” Alice with a 12-hour marathon
Saturday’s marathon in honor of Ann B. Davis airs from 6 am to 6 pm.

Jeremy Sisto joins “The Returned”
The “Suburgatory” alum will co-star opposite Kevin Alejandro, playing a psychologist who helps people struggling with grief when zombies start appearing.

Why do we watch “Game of Thrones” reaction videos?
Is there some catharsis in seeing somebody experiencing a shocking scene for the first time?

“Orange is the New Black” is beating “House of Cards” in online buzz
Social media mentions for the new season of the Netflix series are far exceeding Kevin Spacey’s political drama. But “Cards” is still tops on Wikipedia.

Why are women in prison all the rage on TV?
It’s not just “Orange is the New Black.” Women have been put in prison recently on “Justified,” “Sons of Anarchy” and “Shameless.” The other showrunners say the Netflix hit didn't influence them. They just wanted to have storylines with female antiheroes.

Jimmy Fallon’s success hasn’t really hurt Letterman or Jimmy Kimmel
In fact, Fallon’s “Tonight Show” has brought in new younger viewers to late-night. PLUS: Here is KROQ “Sports Guy” Kimmel in the 90s.

“Dancing’s” Amy Purdy to serve as a guest model on “The Price is Right”
The Paralympic athlete reunites with fellow “Dancing” star Drew Carey next week.

A Hamptons landlord is getting a lot of flak for renting a storefront to the Kardashians
“Kourtney & Khloé Take the Hamptons” began filming on Tuesday, and landlord Irma Herzog has been bombarded by angry comments from neighbors and people online.

“House of Cards” is holding an open casting call for actors with a “DC political look”
The casting notice for Saturday is for everybody, but you have to be “dressed to showcase your DC political look."

“Modern Family” became selective in casting big-name guest-stars because it didn’t want to become “Will & Grace”
“Early days in the series, we had a lot of names on, and there was kind of a backlash, like, oh, is this turning into ‘Will and Grace?’“ says casting director Jeff Greenberg. “The show didn’t need to rely on guest stars, and we really want to choose the right person for the part.”

“SNL’s” Jay Pharaoh: "Hopefully I'll get a chance to show people an even more in-depth picture of Jay Pharoah”
Pharoah points out that in his 4th season, he kind of got away from doing impressions to doing more characters. "There are characters that haven't got on that have killed,” he says, adding: I feel like people are starting to see it, and that's good because I'm not just a person who does voices or impressions. This season has been great as far as people saying, 'You're coming into your own.’"

Jessica Pare speculates on Megan’s “Mad Men” fate
How much will she appear in the final episodes?

“Girls” set photos reveal spoilers
Who’s that with Gillian Jacobs?

On “Louie’s” attempted rape scene: “Boy, is it a risk”
"If you don’t follow up on what happened, you can trivialize it,” says James Poniewozik. "If you do follow up, yes, it can be bold and socially valuable to show that audience that, look: guys who do this sort of thing don’t walk around with labels on their forehead.”

“Bob’s Burgers” meets Beyonce
Check out a mashup with Beyonce's "Partition" video.

Watch Amy Poehler as an intense soccer coach
It’s her latest Old Navy ad.

ABC moving “Black Box” to 8 pm
“Black Box” will return June 19 to air its remaining episodes.

TV’s comedy showrunners trade war stories
They also talk about niche shows, keeping their casts happy and ejaculation shots.

How TV evolved in working around pregnant actresses
Producers have come up with all sorts of ways to conceal a real-life pregnancy, from computer graphics to using body doubles.

Ian Somerhalder named a United Nations goodwill ambassador for its Environment Program
“The Vampire Diaries” star has been committed to environmental causes.

“The Wil Wheaton Project” is hurting itself by not nerding it up
Instead Wheaton’s Syfy version of “The Soup” has tried to capture a broader audience.

“Silicon Valley’s” Kumail Nanjiani launches an “X-Files” podcast
Each episode of “The X-Files Files” will tackle a different episode of the sci-fi classic.

Tyler Perry’s OWN drama “If Loving You Is Wrong” rounds sets its cast
The series follows a group of husbands and wives living on the same street.

What it’s really like to win the TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battle that inspired “Silicon Valley”
Craig Walker, CEO of UberConference, says last week’s episode was pretty dead-on: "I get guys who are just like each of those guys. I don’t think we have any like full-blown Satanists, but we do have loud agnostics.”

Watch TV’s greatest catchphrases, compiled
The “Today” stars also revealed their fave catchphrases.

In Season 2, “Orange is the New Black" becomes a smart drama that respects itself
"The second season of 'Orange Is the New Black,’” says Heather Havrilesky, "is much less like a manic, comedic prison-themed episode of 'The L-Word’ and much more of a smart drama that respects itself enough to lean into its heavier moments without always retreating to the safety of one-liners. In its second season, the comedy of “OITNB” feels more like the comedy of “The Sopranos”; it’s not meant to undercut the darkness so much as sharpen the contrast and turn up the dial on the show’s overall emotional impact.” PLUS: Season 2’s first 6 episodes outshine Season 1’s first 6 episodes, Season 2 is even more powerful than Season 1, Season 2 feels scattershot with less urgency, “Orange” might be better off without Piper, how the “OITNB” composers came up with a cavernous sound, Season 2 is more sprawling — like a feast, the real treasure are the flashback scenes, “OITNB” is pretty tame compared to “Caged Heat,” the actual “OITNB” prison is an inhumane dump, go behind the scenes of the “OITNB” set, food is the real star of the Netflix series, a psychiatrist analyzes all the characters, and how the cast approaches playing cons.

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10 best lyrics from Bruce Springsteen's 'Born In The U.S.A.' album

10 best lyrics from Bruce Springsteen's 'Born In The U.S.A.' album

Commemorating the album's 30th anniversary

This week marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born In The U.S.A.” The album, which sold more than 15 million copies in the U.S. alone, is not only his best-selling title, it is likely his most misunderstood. The title track, about the disillusionment of the American Dream as seen through the eyes of a soldier returning from Vietnam, became a controversial lightning rod after then-president Ronald Reagan and other conservatives embraced it as a patriotic anthem.

The album boasted a staggering seven top 10 singles (a record shared with Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation 1814”) and catapulted Springsteen from star to stadium-filling superstar.

Here’s a look back at the 10 best lyrics from the album.

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<p>Peter Dinklage of &quot;Game of Thrones&quot;</p>

Peter Dinklage of "Game of Thrones"

Credit: HBO

'Game of Thrones' has become more popular than 'The Sopranos' sorta kinda

By one measurement, Westeros has now surpassed New Jersey

Congratulations, with myriad caveats, to "Game of Thrones" for becoming the most popular series in HBO's history, at least in some ways of measuring these things.

HBO proudly announced on Thursday (June 5) that the current fourth season of "Game of Thrones" is averaging a gross audience of 18.4 million viewers. That surpasses the 2002 season of "The Sopranos," which had an average gross audience of 18.2 million viewers.

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Why Lupita Nyong'o's 'Americanah' is more exciting than 'Star Wars Episode VII'
Credit: Alexi Lubomirski for Lancôme

Why Lupita Nyong'o's 'Americanah' is more exciting than 'Star Wars Episode VII'

This is what real representation looks like

There was a fair amount of excitement that greeted the recent news that Lupita Nyong'o and Gwendoline Christie had been added to the cast of "Star Wars," and the exaltations that I read were just as fervent as the condemnations of the table read photo that led me to write this piece a few weeks ago. I'm glad people are excited for them to be cast, and I certainly think they are both talented performers, but I'm not sure party hats are appropriate yet.

I think both sets of reactions are sort of ridiculous, and not because I have any problem with the idea of discussing how people feel under-represented in movies. I think the reactions are ridiculous because we still have no idea what roles they're playing or what story is being told. We have no idea if they'll have big roles or small roles or even interesting roles. Terrence Stamp is one of my favorite actors, and he makes 100% no difference in "The Phantom Menace." It is inconsequential to even mention his work in the film because of how little he has to do. Who knows? Maybe Lupita Nyong'o will be sitting next to Han Solo in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon and get every great line in the film.

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