Latest Blog Posts
It can't be easy being the third choice for a coveted role, but after viewing "Gravity" it will be hard to imagine anyone besides Sandra Bullock playing Dr. Ryan Stone in Alfonso Cuarón's groundbreaking new film.
If last week's controversial and divisive school shooting twist was meant to spur any soul-searching among the "Sons of Anarchy" crew it wasn't evident this week.
AMC seems fearful its cupboards are going bare
Splitting "Mad Men's" final season? A "Breaking Bad" spinoff? A "Walking Dead" spinoff!? "Not to sound ungrateful for a little extra Don Draper or the continued counsel of Mr. Saul Goodman," says James Poniewozik, "AMC is starting to look like it threw a dinner party, found spider webs in the cupboard, and is stre-e-e-e-e-tching the leftovers in the refrigerator as far as they will go."
Jamie Lee Curtis to star in an ABC Family horror drama
The project will reunite Curtis with her "Halloween H2O" director Steve Miner.
"Covert Affairs" shocker, explained
"We really wanted to do this this year. It's not something we've ever done ..."
Lea Thompson joins "CSI" for November sweeps
The "Caroline in the City" alum will work in the crime lab as part of her "CSI" guest stint.
Report: "Big Bang" stars are banding together to demand another raise
Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco -- who each earn $350,000 an episode -- are expected to band together for a salary bump for Season 8 and beyond.
George R.R. Martin: "Walter White is a bigger monster than anyone in Westeros"
The "Game of Thrones" author reacts to this week's episode, and says he thinks "Breaking Bad" will definitely win next year's best drama Emmy, though he thinks "Game of Thrones" still has a shot this year.
"Breaking Bad's" Walter White: Why are we so often willing to give him a pass?
Walt's actions at the end of this week's episode may make him seem noble. But, says Maureen Ryan, "Walter White is not noble. He's not selfless. He's not a hero. He may be a complicated guy, but what dominates the mixture right now is his obsessive need not just to manipulate everyone around him but to control their lives and their impressions of him. To all the people who see him as a more or less decent guy who's trying to do the right thing, let me ask you this: If a man rescues people from a burning building, do we give him a medal -- even if he's the one who set the fire?" PLUS: "Gomie" & "Hank" filmed this video after shooting this week's episode, how Giancarlo Esposito would like "Breaking Bad" to end, Dean Norris defends spoiling this week's episode on Twitter 2 days later, and why do Walt & Skyler still have an answering machine.
"NCIS" taps "Sopranos" alum as Ziva's likely replacement
Emily Wickersham, who once played A.J. Soprano's girlfriend, will potentially succeed Cote de Pablo's Ziva during her three-episode arc.
Watch "Duck Dynasty" stars on "Last Man Standing"
Here's a preview of the Season 3 premiere.
Nathan Lane headed back to "The Good Wife"
He'll reprise his role as Clarke Hayden.
"Suits": What's next?
Exec producer Aaron Korsh on tonight's midseason finale: "Sometimes I think we've made things clear, and then it turns out we haven’t. And sometimes I think we've made them unclear, and it turns out we were clearer than I thought."
"SVU's" season premiere is deeply upsetting
Gasps and groans were heard when the Season 15 premiere was screened recently.
"The Mindy Project" is going to regret making Mindy likable
Mindy needs to stay obnoxious if she wants to pull off something truly revolutionary on TV. PLUS: "Mindy" is finally good this season,
Networks are now competing for new shows with cable and Netflix
For instance, NBC lost a comedy project to Netflix as the traditional model for selling shows has been upended.
Julie Chen: I was not shunning my Asian heritage
On Tuesday's "The Talk," Chen defended getting plastic surgery on her eyes, saying she still "looks Chinese."
"New Girl" creator doesn't fear the "Moonlighting" curse
The Nick and Jess relationship "adds a lot of new tension to the loft," says Liz Meriwether. "On the whole, though, the show is still the same. Nick and Jess' relationship has deepened and become romantic, but it definitely hasn't drastically changed everything. It's added a lot of great story opportunities and it's been to fun to figure out how any relationship could survive being in that loft." PLUS: Zooey Deschanel on her "New Girl" romance, and Lamorne Morris on Damon Wayans Jr.'s return.
Amber Riley: "Dancing" isn't as grueling as "Glee"
"Glee is more grueling," she says, adding: "Trust me."
How "GMA" told one of its contributors to lose weight -- without telling them to lose weight
Tory Johnson wasn't told she'd lose her job if she didn't shed pounds, but that was the message she got.
Firefighter loses job for quoting Dwight Schrute
A Canadian firefighter and his pal were fired for quoting sexist lines from "The Office" and "South Park."
"Real Housewives of O.C." alum Kara Keough to appear on "Say Yes to the Dress"
Keough is getting married in February.
Here's your 1st look at "Glee's" Klaine in Season 5
Darren Criss and Chris Colfer are ...
How to skip to all the sex scenes on Showtime's "Masters of Sex"
The Showtime pilot is now up on YouTube, complete with nudity.
Jon Tenney is going back to "Major Crimes"
The "King & Maxwell" star will direct an episode and reprise his role as FBI Agent Fritz Howard.
"True Blood" promotes Bailey Noble
Adilyn Bellefleur will be a series regular next season.
"Scandal" to air a catch-up special
"Scandal: The Secret is Out" will air before the Season 3 premiere.
E! orders "The Drama Queen"
The reality show will follow around a celebrity manager.
See Alexis Bledel as a '90s model
The "Gilmore Girls" and "Us and Them" star teen modeling before going into acting.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck gets big numbers for her "Fox & Friends" debut
More than a million tuned in for her debut on Fox News.
The evolution of Alex Trebek's mustache
The "Jeopardy!" host had a "porn stache" in the early '70s.
PBS' "Latino Americans" covers 500 years of history in 6 hours
The three-part documentary is compelling viewing.
Check out 20 board games based on '70s and '80s shows
From "Happy Days" to "Cheers."
"The Bachelor's" Juan Pablo gets his own cake
Tonight is the first night of taping the next "Bachelor" season.
Animal Planet orders "Alaska Gold Diggers"
The reality show will follow five Orange County women who are looking for love in Alaska.
"Parks and Rec" celebrates Ron Swanson's emotional range
Watch a compilation of Ron's emotions. PLUS: Nick Offerman reveals the secret to his success, and all about Leslie Knope's house.
Watch the "Awkward" Season 3 fall trailer
The final 10 episodes of the season start airing Oct. 22.
Fox's "Dads": "A brilliantly depressing portrait" of white men in decline?
The Seth MacFarlane-produced comedy is indeed terrible, but it's saying something that even it's creators might not realize, says Darren Franich. "If the show were even a little bit funny," he says, "then this could play like farce. But because almost everything these four men say is totally dumb, it plays like tragedy. Here are four white dudes who are incapable of engaging in a new multicultural era — incapable, really, of even growing up." PLUS: Maybe the stars know how awful the show is, "Dads" boss says there's "pretty much one guy who's offended," and "Dads" is the worst new comedy in years.
"Brooklyn Nine-Nine" manages to pull off a comedy about cops
Few shows have been able to do it, "but 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' gets the formula right immediately," says Tim Goodman. "It's broad, but funny because it's broad -- you get the tone immediately and go with it." PLUS: "Brooklyn" has "intelligent design" with his characters, it's a lame premise that wastes Andre Braugher, can Andy Samberg's character become a real person?, and how the cast became so diverse.
I published my review of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" yesterday. Now it's your turn. For those who watched the new FOX sitcom tonight from the "Parks and Recreation" guys, what did you think? Did you buy Andy Samberg as a cop, and like him in a relatively human role, or did you find his character too smug? How did you feel Andre Braugher did in a 100% comedy setting? Outside of those two and Terry Crews, did any of the supporting characters make an immediate impression on you? Did you laugh? And will you watch again?
I intend to cover this show regularly, whether on its own or in a round-up with "New Girl" and any other Tuesday comedies I stick with. As I said yesterday, it's not great yet, but I see a lot of potential (and laughed at various bits like the "SNL" cameo, "Detective Terrible Detective" and Braugher's response to the robot voice), and in general I trust Mike Schur when it comes to fine-tuning a comedy with good raw material.
We're going to have a few nibbles of a recent interview with director Alfonso Cuarón leading up to a larger piece dealing specifically with his work on the space spectacle "Gravity." Today, with the summer movie season not too distant a memory just yet, I thought I'd ask Cuarón for his thoughts on "Pacific Rim."
It's not arbitrary. You might recall back in 2006 when Cuarón's "Children of Men" was in the race with Guillermo Del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth" and Alejandro González Iñárritu's "Babel" that much was made of the "three amigos," this trio of Mexican filmmaker friends from way back who had accomplished their greatest feats in one year, each of them in the thick of the circuit. All three ended up with nominations, whether for writing, directing or editing. "Gravity" is Cuarón's first films since "Children of Men," though Del Toro and Iñárritu have respectively made "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" and "Biutiful" in the interim.
"I love 'Pacific Rim,'" Cuarón tells me. "I know that's Guillermo and his passion, since I first met him and was going through his film collection and seeing all these Japanese films. As a kid I was a fan, myself, of this Japanese show called 'Ultraman' and I could see all of his amazing love for that."
Still recovering from my appendectomy (a lot of what's being published on the blog this week was written well in advance), which meant I wasn't able to do a full review of FOX's "Dads" in advance of tonight's premiere. I'll say that while the Seth MacFarlane brand of humor can translate into live action at times ("Ted"), for the most part there are things that Peter Griffin or Quagmire can get away with saying that Peter Riegert or Martin Mull can't without seeming really really nasty. And by putting MacFarlane humor into a multi-cam sitcom format, you get the studio audience hooting and cheering their approval whenever one of the dads says something inappropriate, which undercuts the producers' arguments that they are not necessarily endorsing these things.
The whole thing's such a mess that FOX wound up running one of the stranger "pay no attention to the critics" ads I've ever seen (which Fienberg wrote about at length yesterday) to deal with the harsh advance buzz. Now the thing's aired, so what did you all think? Did it live up/down to all the negative commentary? Did it seem not worth the fuss? Will you watch again?
There are certain faces that seemed to be ubiquitous at film festivals this year, and when one of those belongs to Scarlett Johansson, you will not catch me complaining about the situation.
I saw "Don Jon" at SXSW this year, and it is an uncommonly perceptive directorial debut by Joseph Gordon Levitt. He stars in the film which he also wrote, but it is the way he nails certain observations about the way everyone has their own fantasy they depend on to get them through that impressed me most. It is a very observant point that I would expect from an older writer.
In addition to making a number of smaller films this year that feed certain artistic needs for each of them, JGL and ScarJo both have experience now being part of these giant megafranchise superhero films that are the bread and butter of the Hollywood system at the moment. While Christopher Nolan's final Batman film was more divisive than the first two, I think one of the things that seemed to really speak to people was the work that Joseph Gordon Levitt did as a Gotham City police officer who didn't need a mask and a cave and a limitless arsenal to stand up and do what he believed was right. He was a moral compass in the film in a way I found really surprising, and I think he helped ground that last film.
If you're into revenge and weight loss PLUS you'd like to see a cameo from a "Dancing with the Stars" pro, then do we have a clip for you! On tonight's episode of "My Big Fat Revenge" (Oxygen, Tues. at 9:00 p.m.), Lacey Schwimmer joins in with the plot to make a bully cry. Enjoy!
On Avicii’s first full-length album, “True,” out today, he seems determined to show that while he may be best known as an EDM producer and DJ, trying to pigeonhole him into any one category will only prove foolish.
Following the success of such tracks as “Levels” and “Silhouettes,” Avicii vaulted to a new mainstream level with the success of “Wake Me Up,” the first single from “True.” In the U.S., the single, featuring soul singer/rapper Aloe Blacc on vocals and Incubus’s Mike Einziger on acoustic guitar, has climbed into the top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, while it has gone No. 1 in 22 other countries. The song, which combines an acoustic guitar, folky melody with Blacc’s striking vocals, and Avicii’s beats sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it does... beautifully.
But that’s only the beginning of Avicii’s experimentation into the country realm. On “Hey Brother,” Dan Tyminski of Alison Krauss and Union Station and “O Brother, Where Art Thou’ fame, provides the high lonesome voice on the bluegrass tune. It’s a pretty safe bet to assume that Avicii will have the bluegrass EDM field all to himself, but he pulls it off.
With album closer “Heart Upon My Sleeve,” he drafts alternative rock band Imagine Dragons' lead singer Dan Reynolds for an emotional ending. And that’s what separates Avicii from many of his colleagues: he wants to make you move —every song here has a BPM of between 120 and 135—but he also wants to make you feel something and he’s brought in vocalists who can do the heavy lifting vocally.
Even though he’s only 24, Avicii has a confidence that go a far way to convincing us that he’s not just blindly feeling his way, he has absolute conviction in his choices. How else to explain his writing “Addicted To You” with Mac Davis. Yes, that Mac Davis from “Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me” fame and writer of Elvis Presley’s “In The Ghetto.” They pair for the mid-tempo tune of obsessive love, delivered with just the right amount of anguish by Audra Mae.
“Addicted To You” isn’t the only look back: on the shape-shifting “Liar Liar,” featuring Blondfire and Einziger, it sure sounds like Avicii employs a Farfisa, straight out of ?uestion Mark & The Mysterians’ “96 Tears.”
Many of the tracks are pure dance (or dance pop, like new single, the thumping “You Make Me,” featuring Salem Al Fakir on vocals), and Avicii has those down cold. Particularly striking is “Lay Me Down,” which features “American Idol’s” Adam Lambert’s searing powerhouse vocal on a funky track co-written by Chic’s Nile Rodgers. It’s is a dance and pop smash (and maybe because of Rodgers’ influence the intro may remind you of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” before it explodes into its own creation).
For purists, “True” may be too adventurous for their tastes —as Avicii found out after he got major push back from some fans following his debut of many of these songs at Miami’s Ultra Festival in March—but for the rest of us, Avicii has created an album that invites all of us to join in, even if we never step foot in a club.
After the punk blast of “Mind Your Manners,” the first single from Pearl Jam’s upcoming album, “Lightning Bolt,” the Seattle group comes back with a gentle, very melodic ballad, “Sirens.”
With an acoustic guitar and piano base, the song unfolds at a leisurely pace. Eddie Vedder is such an intense singer that when he lays back behind the groove a little bit here, it’s such a pleasure to hear him hold back, while sacrificing nothing emotionally. And, make no mistake, there’s a lot of emotion in “Sirens,” as he sings about the possibility of losing the woman he loves to another man or to his "going away." If that happens, it's vital that she know he always loved her, as he stirringly sings, "When I see your face, the fear goes away.”
Pearl Jam has no shortage of lovely ballads and this one has the same graceful beauty as "Backspacer's" "Just Breathe," but there’s something melodically about “Sirens,” especially with the layered harmonies and Vedder’s vocal performance here, that will grab you by the throat before you realize it. Plus, there’s a lived-in feel to the lyrics and an emotional acceptance that I’m not sure Vedder could have pulled off before he got into his 40s. “It’s a fragile thing, this life we lead,” he sings.
If “Mind Your Manners” and “Sirens” are any indication, “Lightning Bolt," which comes out Oct. 15, is going to be a hell of an album.
What do you think of "Sirens?"
UPDATED: Pearl Jam released a performance video for "Sirens" today, as well as made the song available on iTunes.
If we need a reminder about the place that video games hold in pop culture right now, just look at last night's midnight launch of "Grand Theft Auto V," which was just as big a moment as any of this summer's movie launches. The big titles remain big, and there is a fierce brand loyalty among gamers that has yet to be truly tested by Hollywood. They keep trying, but they keep getting it wrong, and I suspect there's plenty more of that in the future.
A perfect example would be the news today that Fede Alvarez, who directed this spring's "Evil Dead," is in talks now to sign on as the director of "Dante's Inferno." The game, released by Electronic Arts, is a shameless mash-up of "Devil May Cry" and "God Of War," and executed with all the subtlety of a fart in a microphone. Trust me… no one aside from the people who stand to make money off of it is asking for a movie version of "Dante's Inferno." The idea that there was a bidding war for the film rights, and the idea that Universal considers themselves the winners of that bidding war… baffling.