PARK CITY - The talk of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival on Friday, the first full day of the festival, centered on some surprise hits ("Obvious Child"), a major disappointment ("God's Pocket") and an out-of-the-ordinary entry ("Frank"). One film that received strong notices, specifically for its performances, was the Guantanamo Bay-centered drama "Camp X-Ray."
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Juan Pablo objects to having a gay "Bachelor" -- they are "more pervert in a sense"
Juan Pablo Galavis may have created a headache for ABC with his anti-gay comments, telling The TV Page, "I don't think it is a good example for kids to watch that on TV."
"Today" boss: We're not replacing Al Roker with Sam Champion
Page Six reports that "Today" might try to use Champion, who now works for NBC-affiliated The Weather Channel, as leverage when Roker's contract expires later this year. But "Today" exec producer Don Nash says the show isn't in the market for a new weatherman.
Is "American Idol" in its "post-phenom" phase?
It appears that "Idol" is no longer a megahit, but can it survive as a staple of primetime like the once-mighty "Survivor" has done?
ABC says it's "rebuilding" amid a dreadful season
It's been a tough season for ABC, where everything from "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland" to "Killer Women" has failed to catch on.
Crackle adds classic "Jeopardy!" episodes
Watch Alex Trebek hosting in the '80s, '90s and '00s.
Fox teams with Uber to promote "Rake"
Uber will be giving away 200 rides a night in advance of Thursday's premiere.
"Raising Hope" books a "Downton Abbey" star
Lesley Nicol will play Tippi Hedren's former maid.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt's "HitRECord on TV" is a "vanity project masking as generosity"
The user-generated pieces on this Pivot series that premieres Saturday "are charming," says Jon Caramanica, "but the specter of Mr. Gordon-Levitt hovers possessively over them all: is he a magnanimous spirit or a ham looking for a platform to prove he’s a polymath?"
Steven Moffat says he "learned not to work in America" after the NBC "Coupling" debacle
"I learned not to work in America," the "Sherlock" and "Doctor Who" honcho says after NBC's remake of his BBC comedy "Coupling" was canceled after four episodes in fall 2003. "I say that slightly facetiously, but, truthfully, I’m British, what is the point of me going to try to make it somewhere else? Does anybody actually like working in that L.A. world?" PLUS: Who will replace Moffat as "Doctor Who" showrunner?
"Sherlock" is back
As Season 3 arrives in America, Alessandra Stanley says, "It would be unfair to say that this BBC production is the best Sherlock Holmes ever: There have been so many, and so many great ones. But it is certainly the right one for right now." PLUS: Does "Elementary" have the better "Sherlock"?
"Looking" is a "gay show" that focuses on people, not issues
The HBO series, says Hank Stuever, goes beyond the "Mitch and Cam" ideal in showing gay men in a fairly normal light -- they actually have sex, they don't all look like Adonises. "The show makes an admirable effort at transcending gayness without compromising it," he says, adding that the real standout of "Looking" is San Francisco. PLUS: "Looking" is not flawless, but it has many small and subtle charms, "Looking" is the first post-Defense of Marriage Act show, and "Looking's" stories are informed by the fact that its characters are gay, but not dictated by it.
"Flowers in the Attic" is terrible -- of course it is! -- but it's not fun
The Lifetime film doesn't get the terrible yet intriguing on which it is based, says Mary McNamara. "This 'Flowers in the Attic' plays more like a Disney princess film than a gothic potboiler," she writes. PLUS: The strange magic of the book is missing, and the film is crazy good.
Bruce Springsteen will likely be the Boss of the charts next week as his new album, “High Hopes,” is poised to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
However, “Frozen,” who kicked Beyonce’s self-titled set out of the top spot, could dash Springsteen’s “Hopes,” if the soundtrack sees a post-Oscar nomination surge over the holiday weekend (The chart tally runs Monday-Sunday).
“High Hopes” is the only title that will likely crack the 100,000 mark, and it will do so just barely, according to Hits Daily Double. It is poised to sell 100,000, while “Frozen” will drop to No. 2 with sales of 85,000.
Springsteen’s album will be joined by three other debuts in the top 10: the latest installment of “Kidz Bop Kids” at No. 3 (65,000), Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettle’s solo debut, “That Girl” at No. 5 (50,000), and Switchfoot’s latest, “Fading West” at No. 6 (40,000).
Inbetween are “Beyonce” at No. 4 (60,000), Lorde’s “Pure Heroine” at No. 7 (30,000), Eminem’s “The Marshall Mathers LP2” at No. 8 (30,000), Katy Perry’s “Prism” at No. 9 (22,000), and Imagine Dragons’ “Night Visions” at No. 10 (20,000), according to Hits Daily Double.
PARK CITY - If John Carpenter made "The Terminator" for Cannon Films in 1987, it would be "The Guest."
And it would rule.
One of the hardest things to do with a film where you decide to wear your influences on your sleeve is making something that feels genuine. I like each half of "Grindhouse" to different degrees, but there's never a moment in the complete assembled 3-hour experience where you're not keenly aware of both Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino winking at you. I just recently caught up with "Machete Kills," and it's the same thing. Robert isn't remotely pretending that his film is the real thing. It's a goof. It's fun, but it's also somewhat disposable because of how knowingly ridiculous it is.
PARK CITY - Transitioning from being in front of the camera to behind it is never easy. And, yes, there are just as many success stories (Clint Eastwood, George Clooney, Ben Affleck, Ben Stiller) as disappointments (William H. Macy, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kevin Spacey, David Duchovney), many of whom made this sad discovery at the Sundance Film Festival. On Monday, Sundance is celebrating the inaugural "Free Fail" event with a special day of workshops that will center on artists' failures and how they allowed them to eventually succeed. John Slattery, best known for his work on "Mad Men," may want to pop into a few for some tips after the world premiere of his feature directing debut "God's Pocket" Friday afternoon.
PARK CITY - Slugs and snails and puppy dog tails: that is no longer what little boys are made of, if the angsty strain of coming-of-age narratives in recent American indies is to be believed. Films such as "Mud," "The Kings of Summer" and "Hide Your Smiling Faces" have presented adolescent male protagonists with decidedly adult moral and domestic quandaries, wrestled out largely without supervision; at a time when the man-child stands tall in commercial cinema, other filmmakers are keen to present the child itself as an endangered species. "Hellion," the third feature from Austin-based filmmaker Kat Candler, follows solemnly in this tradition: sun-bleached scenes of motocross racing and laddish misbehavior abound, yet boyhood is a bleak business here.
PARK CITY - Anyone who reads my work here on the site with any regularity knows that I place a very high priority on my job as a father. Before I had my kids, I would not have predicted the depth of feeling that I have for them. I honestly thought it would be more of a chore than anything. But on the night my first son was born, when they put him into my hands for the first time, something shifted inside me and some part of me opened that I didn't even realize had been closed. I felt such a flood of love and duty in that moment that I was overwhelmed, and I wept. To my enormous surprise, those feelings have only grown in the years since then, and I can honestly say that before I define myself as anything else, I define myself as a father.
There is a dark side to parenthood, though, and there is plenty of despair that comes with the job. There are times where I am mystified by the way my children approach a situation, times where they drive me absolutely crazy, and times where I genuinely wonder when their moral compass and sense of self-preservation will kick in. We've had it easy compared to many parents, of course, and in those moments where I am feeling most frustrated or helpless, I can tell myself how much worse things could be. And now, when I'm really at my wit's end, I can always just think of "The Babadook" and thank god that things will never go this wrong.
PARK CITY - Lynn Shelton has brought four of her films to Sundance, and I've been here for all four of them. Before now, "Your Sister's Sister" was my favorite of her films, while last year's "Touchy Feely" was the one with the most problems. She has rebounded in fine form with "Laggies," the first film she's directed from a script someone else wrote, and I suspect she's looking at her first possible cross-over hit here, due in part to the winning ensemble she put together.
Andrea Seigel's script is one of those tricky pieces of screenwriting where the wrong tone or the wrong cast could have sunk the film completely. Shelton's always had a strong rapport with her actors, though, and she cast this one perfectly. I feel at this point like I owe Keira Knightley some sort of apology. It has taken me a long time to connect to her as a performer, and in some of her early films, she is the ingredient that actively pulled me out. When I saw "Can A Song Save Your Life?" at Toronto last year, I found her enormously winning, though, and in this film, she gives a very smart, deeply felt performance, and she owns the film from start to finish.
A quick review of tonight's "Enlisted" coming up just as soon as I put together a lookbook to show your barber...