Last February’s Academy Awards ceremony produced a nice handful of surprises, but none was more jaw-dropping than the wacky turn of events than when “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Skyfall” tied for the Best Sound Editing Oscar. I found the moment quite appropriate, actually, as not only were they both deserving victors (in different ways) but they demonstrated different sorts of films that tend to be honored in this category.
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I've never minded the procedural aspect of "Scandal." Usually it feels like a fluid part of the show, a way to give a stand alone element to the complicated and endlessly twisty storyline of Fitz and Olivia's on-again, off-again, (rinse, repeat) relationship. With Jake back in the picture and Command coming under greater scrutiny, I didn't need a great case for Olivia and her Scooby gang. But this week I kept checking my channel guide to make sure I wasn't watching "Law & Order" reruns.
One of the highlights of my day was getting an e-mail from GameFly telling me that they've just shipped "Batman: Arkham Origins," which means it should be in my mailbox tomorrow, just in time for the weekend. This makes me positively giddy.
After all, both "Arkham Asylum" and "Arkham City" turned out to be fairly great Batman games, and what made them so great was the way they used the various game mechanics to genuinely make you feel like you're Batman. It may be one of my favorite hand to hand combat systems in any game ever, and there was a special satisfaction that came from mastering all the various moves and combos and little by little learning how to beat holy hell out of a room full of bad guys.
Likewise, I'm not always the biggest fan of stealth games, but that's a huge part of being Batman, and the games made it very satisfying and challenging to incorporate stealth into everything. The environments for the two games were well-designed, and the villains you face in the games were great, really outrageous versions of many of the best-known members of his massive rogue's gallery. The Joker has been a major player in both of the first two games, and with "Batman: Arkham Origins" serving as a prequel of sorts, it's a safe bet we'll get more Joker this time as well.
A 2,000 year old witch and an amnesia curse may be a long way to go to make Elena and Stefan fall in love again, but really, who cares? The scenes in which Elena tries to jog Stefan's memory as to who he (and the two of them together) used to be are sweet, sad and capture the best and worst of their relationship more effectively than the old movie montages people slap together for their wedding receptions. Of course, all the sweet stuff between them kinda goes to hell pretty quick, but whatever. At least we had Paris.
There are many writers, great writers, who excel in one form but not in another. Vince Gilligan will not be remembered ultimately as the writer of "Wilder Napalm" and "Home Fries," but rather as the brain behind "Breaking Bad." David Chase probably doesn't have to worry about "Not Fade Away" eclipsing "The Sopranos" as his crowning accomplishment. Those guys have television in their DNA. They understand how to use that form, that storytelling rhythm, to maximum effect, and with their voices turned to something as fundamentally different in style as a 100-minute movie, they seem constricted.
Cormac McCarthy is a hell of a writer. Anything I say about him comes with the obvious caveat that he is freakin' Cormac McCarthy. His books almost feel like fights you've been in when you think back on them. They are tussles, these dense collections of horrible and ugly that illustrate a fairly dark world view, daring the reader to go full-on into McCarthy's various hellscapes. At Toronto, I saw James Franco's film adaptation of "Child Of God," and I'll say this for him: he is unflinching in trying to wrestle McCarthy's exact prose up onto the screen, and that includes a lot of things that audiences really might not expect to end up confronting, or want to. And while he hasn't always gone dark, "Blood Meridian" and "No County For Old Men" are both about as grim as you can get, unless you consider "The Road," which makes jet-black look white.
Aasif Mandvi's "Daily Show" interview gets GOP official fired
According to the Buncombe County Republican chairman, Don Yelton made "offensive, uniformed and unacceptable" comments on Wednesday's "Daily Show," including blasting "lazy black people that wants the government to give them everything."
E! got scooped on its Kim Kardashian-Kanye West exclusive proposal video
The co-founder of YouTube posted the engagement video before E!
Ken Jennings reunites with the woman who ended his "Jeopardy!" winning streak
Kathy Zerg beat Jennings in 2004 after he appeared in 75 episodes.
Tony Shalhoub OK after car crash outside Paramount Studios
The actor was rear-ended this afternoon.
CW doing another period drama, this one set in 1930s Hollywood
"Players" centers on a Midwestern woman who ends up in Hollywood's starmaking machine after coming to town to avenge hers sister's death.
NASA helps create a "Space Racers" cartoon for kids
NASA hopes to educate children about space using a show about five "talented young spaceships."
Kathryn Hahn reunites with Adam Scott for "Greatest Event in Television History"
She'll be part of the next installment, which has yet to be revealed.
"Dr. Phil" is losing ground to "Ellen" and "Live"
"Live With Kelly & Michael" and "Ellen" are close to surpassing the No. 1 Dr. Phil show.
"Scandal" and "Grey's Anatomy" vs. "Friday Night Lights" and "Parenthood"
Which of the two pairs does the most "double-dipping" of actors, Shonda Rhimes or Jason Katims?
"Grey's Anatomy" got permission to use tonight's superglue procedure
Jamie Arliss, whose life was saved when medical superglue was injected into a tumor in her heart, gave the show permission to use her story. PLUS: Is there hope for Callie and Arizona?
"Survivor's" Brad Culpepper: "I'm not misogynistic, I'm not sexist, I'm not racist"
"I'm not any of the things that were said," says this week's ousted "Survivor" contestant.
That "Homeland" twist wasn't so bad
"Were fans fooled?" says Verne Gay. "Sure, but that seems hardly the worst offense here - the greater one being an offense against logic. But at least the show has shed the shackles that threatened to tie it down, and in a way, already have." PLUS: 7 ways to fix "Homeland."
Lesbians are all over TV -- what about gay men?
"On television, women longing for other women may be hot," says Willa Paskin, "but men longing for other men is still decidedly not. TV’s gay men hardly ever get any action, and you will rarely see a bisexual guy falling for another man, and certainly never in a story line that could be described as swoony." PLUS: Are lesbians really having a TV moment?
"The Crazy Ones" books Adriana Lima
She'll play herself days before appearing on CBS' Victoria's Secret special.
Danielle Fishel fights back after being called a "fat cougar"
Fishel didn't take kindly to comments calling her fat in her wedding gown. PLUS: William Daniels reads Mr. Feeny's best "Boy Meets World" quotes.
How "Family Guy" will welcome back Cleveland
The "He's Bla-ack" will come with some conflict.
See the young Samantha Jones with the young Carrie Bradshaw
Lindsey Gort talks about her new "Carrie Diaries" role.
Which shows are experiencing the sophomore slump?
"The Mindy Project" is struggling, "Revolution" is seeing all-time lows, while "Chicago Fire" and "Nashville" are doing well.
Why did Adam DeVine come up with "Adam DeVine's House Party"?
The Comedy Central show, premiering tonight, aims to showcase standup comedians off the stage.
"Breaking Bad's" Vince Gilligan talks about his lifelong relationship with books
At a Los Angeles Public Library event, Gilligan remembers growing up and spending lots of time in the library. PLUS: Check out early 2000s Aaron Paul.
Seth Meyers' "Late Night" hires the daughter of Anna Wintour
The Vogue boss' daughter, Bee Shaffer, will work as a segment producer for Meyers. PLUS: Vogue publishes Meyers' wedding photos.
"Without a Trace's" Marianne Jean-Baptiste joins NBC's "Believe"
She'll recur on the midseason drama.
Amy Poehler: How I'm prepping for the Golden Globes
Poehler jokes to Ellen about going on a juice diet. PLUS: Ellen shows Poehler a bunch of scary pranks.
See how TV kids have aged
From "Mad Men's" Kiernan Shipka to "Game of Thrones'" Maisie Williams.
Starz developing a bank robber drama set in the '70s
"Most Wanted" revolves around a bank robber on the FBI Ten Most Wanted list.
"Mad Men" makeup artist: We have to shave Jon Hamm sometimes 2 to 3 times a day
Hamm's beard grows fast during the long hours they work.
Americans can buy the official "Downton Abbey" wine before the British
The "Downton" official Bordeaux collection makes its American debut on Nov. 1, weeks before its UK debut.
Watch TBS' "Trust Me, I'm a Game Show Host" teaser
Staring D.L. Hughley and Michael Ian Black.
MTV's O.C. nursing reality show premieres tonight, with controversy
"Scrubbing In," a show about traveling nurses," has led to some outrage in the local Orange County nursing community.
Check out "The Woody Allen Show"
In 1965, Woody Allen filmed a TV special in Britain.
Remember how scary "Contagion" was, and how you didn't eat pork for a few months after you saw it (if you ever ate the stuff at all)? Yeah, well, here's another movie to make you neurotic. National Geographic Channel and Kelton released today results from a new survey gauging the nation’s preparedness for impending disasters. Guess what? We're not prepared! And to really drive that point home, Nat Geo has made "American Blackout" (Sun. Oct. 27 at 9:00 p.m.), a truly terrifying two-hour movie that walks us through what might actually happen if the lights went out. In this HitFix exclusive clip, get a glimpse of just how quickly civilization starts melting down. Then get better locks for your doors and windows.
Lady Gaga would like to make one thing perfectly clear, she doesn’t think a lot of you. On “Swine,” she sings “I know, I know you want me/you’re just a pig inside a human body... squealer, squealer, squealer, you’re so disgusting.”
The track, which leaked today, is the highest energy tune we’ve heard so far from Lady Gaga in advance of “ArtPop’s” Nov. 11 release. More importantly, it does what Lady Gaga does so well: it combines her quirkiness with a shape-shifting, catchy melody. It is a hardcore EDM track, buttressed by an insistent fuzzy beat, but it’s also Irresistibly poppy. It comes on the heels of "Do What U Want," her R&B/pop duet with R. Kelly, which was officially released late Sunday night. "Swine" is getting taken down left and right, but you can hear it here for the time being.
Opening with vocal hiccups before swelling into a strong vocal performance by Gaga, the track is a full-on dance track, especially the middle breakdown that is so Lady Gaga you can already see her choreographed dance in your head for that part.
It might not be radio’s cup of tea although she’s managed to get things on radio that don’t sound like anything else before and this may be another one (though this would take a fair amount of editing for time and to highlight the poppier edge). It’s no “Bad Romance,” but it’s one of the more aggressive, bold tracks we’re heard from her recently.
While the version below, most likely taken from Gaga's performance of the track at the ITunes Festival in London, sounds fairly different, we don't know what that final "ArtPop" version sounds like.
Kings of Leon, whose new album, “Mechanical Bull,” debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, will kick off a tour in support of the album Feb. 5, 2014 at Philips Arena in Atlanta. Gary Clark Jr. will open the shows.
Hopefully the tour will go better than the group's last outing in 2011: the North American leg ended after lead singer Caleb Followill left the stage, telling the audience he had to go "vomit" and "drink a beer," in that order. The band canceled the rest of its U.S. tour that year, but completed some international dates.
As HitFix's recent interview with Jared Followill revealed, the band seems to be in a much better place now.
Tickets go on sale Nov. 1 for the outing.
Kings of Leon tour dates:
February 5 Atlanta, GA Philips Arena
February 7 Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena
February 9 Louisville, KY KFC Yum! Center (on sale Nov 2)
February 11 Auburn, MI The Palace At Auburn Hills
February 14 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
February 15 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena (on sale Nov 2)
February 18 Columbus, OH Schottenstein Center (on sale Nov 2)
February 19 Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center
February 21 Washington DC Verizon Center
February 23 London, ON Budweiser Gardens (on sale Nov 2)
February 24 Montreal, QC Bell Centre (on sale Nov 2)
February 26 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre (on sale Nov 2)
February 28 Boston, MA TD Garden
March 5 Kansas City, MO Sprint Center
March 6 Minneapolis, MN Target Center (on sale Nov 2)
March 8 Chicago, IL United Center (on sale Nov 2)
Honestly, this may be the least surprising story we'll run all month.
I have no doubt Michael Arndt's work will be the spine of "Star Wars Episode VII" when we finally see the film, but from day one, it sounds like there's been a larger brain trust involved, a group of writers who have all had some sort of active hand in the process. At this point, Arndt's been on the film for a while, and they've got to be getting close to putting everything in front of the camera. I would be shocked, frankly, if JJ Abrams didn't do at least one pass at the script just so he's comfortable that the final version is something that represents his voice.
Of course, there's a larger master to serve here, and that's where Lawrence Kasdan comes in. Abrams has spoken in print about trying to recapture the intangible essence of "Star Wars," and if there's anybody whose name is not "George Lucas" who is qualified to decide what is or isn't "Star Wars," it's Kasdan. His voice helped define "The Empire Strikes Back" in a fairly significant way, and having him in the mix has been the thing that has had me most excited about these new films so far.