LONDON - It’s not hard to see why Anthony Chen won the Camera d’Or for best debut feature at Cannes this year, beating such higher-profile candidates as “Fruitvale Station.” Assured, humane delicacy is always an attractive quality to festival juries wary of more swaggering talent, and it’s one his warmly melancholy domestic drama “Ilo Ilo” (unsurprisingly selected as Singapore's entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar) has in spades. Light on story and heavy on curdled sentiment, this study of a communication-challenged middle-class Singaporean family weathering the country’s 1997 financial crisis – and numerous finer household fractures besides – has immodest formal reach behind its softly-softly approach.
Latest Blog Posts
A review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I put a question mark on Stop signs...
Brian De Palma wasn't just hired to direct the film version of Stephen King's monstrously successful first novel "Carrie"; he collided with it, and the result basically manhandled audiences, creating iconic imagery, loaded with indelible performances. "Carrie" is not a subtle film, but it is a fairly undeniable film. It is a fever dream, overheated and overwrought and impossible to shake. De Palma's film means it. There is nothing halfway about it, and it practically burns the edges of the screen. It runs hot from the moment it starts.
When they made a weak sequel to the film in the '90s and when they remade the movie for television, those were easy to tune out. I think the world of Angela Bettis, and she seems like near-perfect casting for the role of Carrie White, but I didn't even bother to see that film. I have no opinion of it beyond "I'm not sure why you'd bother."
LOS ANGELES - Fans of Langhorne Slim & The Law may have seen some pretty wild shows from the singer-songwriter, but few can compare to Conan O'Brien crashing the party.
The late-night comedian hosted Slim and his merry men on his show "Conan" last year, and further showed his love and appreciation of the band at the Troubadour last night (Oct. 16) by taking the stage and performing on two songs.
O'Brien and Langhorne Slim first covered Elvis Presley's Sun Records rendition of classic "Blue Moon of Kentucky," the former warning, "Yeah, the comedian's gonna sing…"
The whole country-rock crew came out for Slim's own "Found My Heart" from the 2012 album "The Way We Move."
"Now we're gonna play a track that I've listened to 10,000 times," O'Brien said, then continuing on to bang out the tune on acoustic guitar. The two hugged after the mid-set interruption.
Watch the two songs from the Troubadour show last night in the video below, plus check out the band's performance on "Conan" last year, during which O'Brien also played "Found My Heart." O'Brien recorded "Blue Moon of Kentucky" at a June 2010 session at Jack White's Third Man Records HQ in Nashville, and that's below, too.
Langhorne Slim & The Law are on tour through the end of the month. Slim has spent time on a number of indie labels, but found his most recent home with Ramseur (The Avett Brothers) last year for "The Way We Move," his latest.
Syfy announces a "Stonados" movie, plus a film about sea vampires
"Stonados" is like "Sharkado" except it revolves around the hurling of deadly boulders during a freak weather storm, while sea vampire film "Beast of the Bering Sea" will star "Jerry Maguire" kid Jonathan Lipnicki.
Miss Universe Pageant finds replacements for Andy Cohen & Giuliana Rancic
Mel B and MSNBC's Thomas Roberts will co-host this year's pageant after Cohen declined due to Russia's anti-gay laws.
Donald Glover: I was just venting when I posted a series of Instagram messages
"I'm glad people saw it," the "Community" star tells People. "I feel like I got some stuff out there," he says. "I got it off my chest. It felt like I had been holding on to something."
"American Horror Story" down after its record-setting premiere
"Coven's" 2nd episode slipped 17% from last week.
Fox orders "Hieroglyph," a sexy ancient Egypt fantasy drama
The 13-episode series "follows a notorious thief who is plucked from prison to serve the Pharoah, navigating palace intrigue, seductive concubines, criminal underbellies and even a few divine sorcerers."
"Game of Thrones" casts UK actor Struan Rodger
He'll play a major character in Bran's storyline.
"Glee" to do "A Katy or a Gaga" episode
The Nov. 7 episode will include Lady Gaga's "Applause" and Katy Perry's "Roar."
It may turn out to be the most competitive Best Picture race in years, but the showdown between co-frontrunners "Gravity" and "12 Years a Slave" to win it all may soon turn into a three-way race. Walt Disney Studios' "Saving Mr. Banks" will debut at the London Film Festival on Sunday as the Brits will be the first to chime in on the long-buzzed awards player. And, at this point, "Banks" may be the only remaining unseen contender who can make a real mark on the long marathon for the top prize.
"Glee" ending next season is not a done deal
Ryan Murphy says Season 6 is the last, but sources from the show, the studio and Fox tell E! an end date hasn't been officially decided. PLUS: Chris Colfer to publish 2 more books.
Victor Garber joining "The Good Wife"
He'll play a judge who has to preside over a double-jury trial.
"Banshee" returns in January
The Cinemax drama's 2nd season kicks off on Jan. 10.
YouTube to livestream Albuquerque's "Breaking Bad" farewell
YouTube has partnered with Vernon's Steakhouse to show Saturday's service.
Hillary Clinton meets with her TV counterparts, Julianna Margulies and Sigourney Weaver
Clinton last night chatted with the two actresses, who've played versions of her on "The Good Wife" and "Political Animals."
Elle defends covering up Melissa McCarthy on its cover
The magazine has been hit by criticism for putting the "Mike & Molly" star wrapped up in a coat. But Elle responds: "Melissa loved this look, and is gorgeous on our cover."
Charlie Hunnam a no-show at an FX event amid "Fifty Shades of Grey" controversy
The "Sons of Anarchy" star was scheduled to make his first public appearance since dropping out of the film at last night's Paley Center benefit saluting the FX network.
The third (or, if you're in the UK, fourth) season of "Strike Back" concludes tomorrow night at 10 on Cinemax. (Starting next Friday, Cinemax will finally start airing the original British season with Richard Armitage, under the title "Strike Back: Origins.") I've seen the finale, and it's excellent, doing an impressive job of tying together most of this season's threads even as it's letting Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton participate in all kinds of wonderfully-choreographed action.
I'll have a review of the finale up right after it finishes on the East Coast, but in the meantime, I have an exclusive clip from the finale, featuring a shootout between Stonebridge, Scott and the terrorists they've been chasing all season.
Enjoy, and feel free to discuss the season to date here.
The world has been conspiring against a timely Firewall & Iceberg Podcast of late, first with my appendix, now with Dan having jury duty this week. But with his civic responsibility completed, we finally had time to record a show, including a review of tonight's premiere of "Reign," early season check-ins on "HIMYM," "New Girl" and "Homeland," and the return of a recurring podcast segment: Listeners Wonder What the Heck Is Wrong with NBC (even when NBC is doing well elsewhere).
The way things have been going, we can't promise a new podcast on Monday, but we live in hope.
As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
Tech Support: A tight race beyond 'Gravity' for Best Visual Effects features hobbits, Jaegers and men of steel
Best Visual Effects has long been one of the most "mainstream" of the Oscar categories. It’s always filled with blockbusters and films which have made lots of money. This year, though, beyond the race for the win (it would appear), the race for nominations is fairly wide open.
Katy Perry showed us how fierce she is on “Roar,” and now she reveals that her love can be just as fierce on new single, “Unconditionally.” The electronic power ballad (there’s a genre for you) is a testament to the strength of her love, as much as it is a strength to her vocal power.
The song starts with a beat and a synth line as she fears that she’s scared off her lover by getting too close, but she then promises that there’s nothing he can do to scare her away. Dr. Luke and Cirkut’s production is a bit cold in contrast to her warm vocals, but in some ways that gives her all the most power to shine as she belts out her fidelity. The title word doesn't scan well so there are parts that feel a bit clunky, but Perry gets around that.
Is this about John Mayer? You decide.
"Unconditionally" is on Perry's fourth studio album, "Prism," which comes out Oct. 22.