Latest Blog Posts

<p>Mickey Sumner and Greta Gerwig in &quot;Frances Ha.&quot;</p>

Mickey Sumner and Greta Gerwig in "Frances Ha."

Credit: IFC Films

From 'Inside Llewyn Davis' to 'Frances Ha,' the consensus favorites of year-end polls

And most of them aren't even in the Best Picture race

It seems a long time ago that many breathless journos in Telluride and Toronto were predicting one film to rule them all when it came to year-end accolades: "12 Years a Slave," we were told, was such a cast-iron critical phenomenon that every other film would have to consider itself unlucky to be released in its shadow. As we now know, things didn't quite pan out that way: Steve McQueen's formidable historical drama may have gobbled up an enviable amount of awards on the US critical circuit thus far, and is poised for a leading haul of Oscar nods, but the year-end discussion of the year's best films has, happily, been far more malleable and wide-ranging than initially predicted.

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<p>Oscar Isaac in &quot;Inside Llewyn&nbsp;Davis&quot;</p>

Oscar Isaac in "Inside Llewyn Davis"

Credit: CBS Films

Tell us what you thought of 'Inside Llewyn Davis'

The Coen brothers' latest moved out into wide release this weekend

I held off on this one until the film made its way out into wider release, which it did on Friday. I'm very eager to know what readers think of the Coen brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis," which was my #3 film of the year and just a rich experience that delivers more and more upon subsequent viewings. The work from T Bone Burnett on the soundtrack, curating a spectacular, thematically relevant assortment of period songs and then producing gorgeous new renditions is the kind of thing that deserves its own category. And Oscar Isaac delivers the year's best performance, one I delighted in mulling over in my lengthy interview with the actor. I could really go on, but again, I want to know what you all thought, so when you get around to seeing the film, tell us what you thought in the comments section below and vote in our poll. (Also, if you happened to catch the "Another Day, Another Time" concert documentary on the film, which T Bone Burnett discussed with us here, tell us what you thought of that, too.)

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<p>Tom&nbsp;Hanks in &quot;Saving&nbsp;Mr. Banks&quot;</p>

Tom Hanks in "Saving Mr. Banks"

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'Saving Mr. Banks'

Disney's Disney glorification is in theaters in time for the holiday

Lots of drama -- certainly in the pages of LA Weekly -- met the release of "Saving Mr. Banks," though certainly the studio ought to have known it was coming. A whitewashing of history? A self-glorification that avoids the nuance? Yeah, that's all in there. It's a Disney product romanticizing a Disney product. What's to be expected? I found the film charming and Emma Thompson to be wonderful but it's really just cotton candy for me this season. And it's now in theaters for your judgment, so if you've gotten around to it, tell us your thoughts in the comments section and feel free to vote in our poll.

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<p>Leonardo DiCaprio tries to hang with an unpredictable Jack Nicholson in a scene from &quot;The&nbsp;Departed.&quot;</p>

Leonardo DiCaprio tries to hang with an unpredictable Jack Nicholson in a scene from "The Departed."

Credit: Warner Bros.

Thelma Schoonmaker recalls an unpredictable Jack Nicholson in Best Picture winner 'The Departed'

Plus: How a Chicago test screening of the film succeeded her wildest expectations

Talking with Thelma Schoonmaker recently, it became quickly apparent that I wasn't even going to scratch the surface of her career's work with Martin Scorsese in a single piece. I couldn't help but play the retrospective game with her, and while I of course didn't address all 19 feature collaborations, I was curious about six films in particular that I think represent a nice cross-section of their work together. Each of them — "Who's That Knocking At My Door," "Raging Bull," "The Last Temptation of Christ," "Goodfellas," "Bringing Out the Dead" and "The Departed" — will get its own space in the next few days.

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Leonardo DiCaprio's 10 best performances

Leonardo DiCaprio's 10 best performances

With 'The Wolf of Wall Street' on the way we look at the actor's greatest work

This holiday season brings with it all the debauchery, crookedness, triumph and tragedy of Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street." And all of those characteristics and more are exemplified by Leonardo DiCaprio's full-bodied, committed performance as conniving scumbag Jordan Belfort, the latest in a long line of impressive big screen portrayals from the actor.

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Justin Timberlake unleashes his Jimmy Fallon impression on 'SNL,' cracking up Fallon


Justin Timberlake unleashes his Jimmy Fallon impression on "SNL," cracking up Fallon

Watch Fallon lose it in a "Family Feud" sketch. PLUS: Madonna and the real Barry Gibb came on "The Barry Gibb Talk Show," Paul McCartney sang a duet with Fallon, the women of "SNL" sing "(Do it On My) Twin Bed," and go backstage with Fallon.


Drake will be "SNL's" 1st host and musical guest of 2014
The rapper will pull double-duty on Jan. 18.


Charlie Sheen slams "Duck Dynasty's" Phil Robertson in Twitter rant
"hey Mallard brained ... Phil Robertso! ...you have offended and hurt so many dear friends of mine..." PLUS: Cracker Barrel pulls some "offensive" "Duck" products, and the Hunt Channel wants to take "Duck Dynasty" from A&E.

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Jimmy Fallon

Jimmy Fallon

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake

Will the future host of "The Tonight Show" take over along with his pop star pal, or will they let the current cast shine?
When you get a former member of the show to return as host on “Saturday Night Live,” what often unfolds is a trip down memory lane. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and certainly can be part of what makes the show so great. The fact that “SNL” has thirty-eight past seasons of material to celebrate is something the show need not shy away from, and it’s an aspect of its existence that’s useful to deploy when the situation is right. Things get thornier when the show dips into the past at the expense of its present, which is why tonight’s episode (with host Jimmy Fallon and musical guest Justin Timberlake) could either be a 2013 highlight or the smuggest episode the show has ever produced.
 
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Johnny Depp, Shia LaBeouf and 8 other stars who can't wait for 2013 to be over

Johnny Depp, Shia LaBeouf and 8 other stars who can't wait for 2013 to be over

2014's gotta be better right?

Think you've had a bad year? Well, you aren't alone. Some of Hollywood's biggest names have experienced 12 months of creative frustration they would prefer to completely forget.  We've picked 10 of the most disheartening, but there is some good news around the corner for these famous faces. A number of these favorites are on track to completely turn things around in 2014. The others? Let's just remember 12 months is a long time in the entertainment bubble and anything can happen.

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<p>Adam McKay and Judd Apatow seemed pleased with the way 'Anchorman 2' came together, but keenly aware of how much effort it took to pull it off.</p>

Adam McKay and Judd Apatow seemed pleased with the way 'Anchorman 2' came together, but keenly aware of how much effort it took to pull it off.

Credit: HitFix

Adam McKay and Judd Apatow on the pressures of sequels for 'Anchorman 2'

They talk about mixing new and old cast to keep things exciting

Sequels are, despite their omnipresence in Hollywood, actually fairly difficult to get right, and within that broad statement, I would say that horror sequels are even harder to get right, while comedy sequels may be the hardest to pull off with any degree of success.

Why is that? What makes it so hard to go back to the well? After all, if you hire the same people, shouldn't you get the same results? If you hire Adam McKay to direct again and you've got Judd Apatow producing, and you've got the same whole cast in place, shouldn't you get the exact same thing?

That's sort of the challenge. With comedy, I feel like so much of the success of something comes from surprise. A big part of what makes me laugh is when someone has some unexpected way of expressing an idea or reacting to something we all recognize, and one of the reasons I feel like Adam McKay is perfectly built to actually make good comedy sequels is because even when he's playing with familiar characters, his brain is just plain wired different than most people. The way he approaches anything, any line of dialogue, is grounded in the unexpected.

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<p>A scene from &quot;Who's That Knocking At My&nbsp;Door&quot;</p>

A scene from "Who's That Knocking At My Door"

Credit: Warner Home Video

Thelma Schoonmaker remembers her first Scorsese collaboration: 'Who's That Knocking At My Door'

Plus: How a young Roger Ebert helped spark a hugely influential career

Talking with Thelma Schoonmaker recently, it became quickly apparent that I wasn't even going to scratch the surface of her career's work with Martin Scorsese in a single piece. I couldn't help but play the retrospective game with her, and while I of course didn't address all 19 feature collaborations, I was curious about six films in particular that I think represent a nice cross-section of their work together. Each of them — "Who's That Knocking At My Door," "Raging Bull," "The Last Temptation of Christ," "Goodfellas," "Bringing Out the Dead" and "The Departed" — will get its own space in the next few days.

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<p>Danny Brown, Jon Hopkins and Neko Case</p>

Danny Brown, Jon Hopkins and Neko Case

Top 10 Best Albums of 2013

Listen to songs (in one case, an entire album) from My Bloody Valentine, Disclosure, Nick Cave and more.

Within my top 10, there's only one new artist. Inside my top 30, there's about 10.

Electronic music had a huge year with the return of Daft Punk, but also with new artist Disclosure, Jon Hopkins' career masterpiece "Immunity, and efforts from others like Boards of Canada, Juana Molina, Baths and Fuck Buttons.

You don't see a lot of rock in the top tiers of the Grammy nominations for 2014, and as loathe as I am to say it, I gotta say I feel almost (almost) the same way. I've loved the work that MBV, Vampire Weekend, Arcade Fire, Portugal. The Man, Bill Callahan and left of center acts like Parquet Courts and Fidlar have done. Queens of the Stone Age and Red Fang are the most rock 'n' roll of these. Beyond that, I didn't feel like I heard enough, maybe, or we had brain space only for massive pop acts like Beyonce (loved), Lady Gaga (disliked), Britney Spears (promptly forgot) and Katy Perry (great singles, exhausting album).

I'm seeing a lot of outlets put "Yeezus" in their top spots, and while I agree its an aggressive, intoxicating album, I put it far lower on my list (than, say, my 2010 No. 1, "My Beautiful, Dark Twisted Fantasy) because it's almost challenging me to give extra points for being honest. Jason Isbell takes that prize, with raw and powerful "Southeastern." Nick Cave gets in there with his twisted, sexual sneering. Danny Brown (my 2011 N. 7) got weirder, at No. 4 this year with "Old."

I'm not a Drake girl, though I think that "Nothing Was the Same" was his best-contructed album. So long as we're talking new-era R&B, I could take Blood Orange dancing all night. Good year for the veteran ladies -- for Neko Case, India.Arie, Laura Marling, Tegan & Sara and new spins (for me, at least) out of Sarah Jarosz, Savages, Feathers and more.

Dancing, architecture. Let's listen to music, shall we?

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<p>&quot;I Love Lucy&quot; in Color!</p>

"I Love Lucy" in Color!

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: Colorized 'I Love Lucy' special leads CBS on Friday

'Shark Tank' repeats give ABC a key demo tie
Fast National ratings for Friday, December 20, 2013.
 
One of the most popular TV shows of all-time proved that it still has some juice in 2013, as CBS' colorized "I Love Lucy Christmas Special" was Friday's top show in the key demographic and combined with "Hawaii Five-0" and "Blue Bloods" to lead the network to its normal overall Friday rout.
 
CBS only tied for first among young viewers, as a pair of "Shark Tank" repeats kept ABC in the mix. 
 
Meanwhile, NBC wasn't far behind with its annual airing of "It's a Wonderful Life."
 
On to the numbers...
 
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