Latest Blog Posts

<p>Will&nbsp;Forte in&nbsp;&quot;Nebraska&quot;</p>

Will Forte in "Nebraska"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Could critical praise of Will Forte's 'Nebraska' subtlety lead to Best Supporting Actor traction?

The former 'SNL' funny man could end up nominated alongside co-star Bruce Dern

As Alexander Payne's "Nebraska" makes its way into limited release today, more reviews are hitting the wire, reflecting a movie that, while not an out-and-out critical knock-out like "Inside Llewyn Davis," "12 Years a Slave" or "Before Midnight," certainly has its champions. Naturally, star Bruce Dern is getting great notices, but co-star Will Forte is getting his fair share of solid ink, too, leading me to wonder if Paramount could have a serious Best Supporting Actor shot with the former "Saturday Night Live" cast member.

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<p>Mick Jagger in &quot;12-12-12&quot;</p>

Mick Jagger in "12-12-12"

Review: '12-12-12' doc takes viewers behind the scenes of Superstorm Sandy benefit

Dave Grohl, a Beatle, the Rolling Stones, Kanye and taking viewers behind the scenes of Superstorm Sandy benefit

Here’s a tip: if you’re planning a star-studded disaster benefit, get Paul McCartney to say yes and then the other acts will fall in line.

That’s one of the key tidbits viewers will take away from the “12-12-12,” a documentary directed by Amir Bar-Lev, that pulls back the curtain on the Madison Square Garden charity concert that took place Dec. 12, 20012 to raise money for victims of Superstorm Sandy. Joining McCartney were Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Dave Grohl, Roger Waters, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, The Who, Kanye West and many others.

The film, which opens today, is the tale of powerful people—Miramax’s Harvey Weinstein, Clear Channel’s John Sykes, and MSG’s James Dolan— using their vast network of connections to bring together an amazing array of talent on incredibly short notice and the behind-the-scenes story of what it takes to pull off such a staggering feat six weeks after the disaster. While there is some incredible performance footage, it is not so much a concert film, as a film about how the sausage gets made.

To be sure, most of us when we watch these benefits don’t think about how difficult it is to  set up an infrastructure to handle the millions of phone calls and online donations for only a few hours. As the producers note, if someone gets a busy signal or can’t log on, that’s lost money.  The booking of the talent is almost the easy part compared to the back end logistics.

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Michelle Trachtenberg joins 'NCIS' for its holiday episode

Michelle Trachtenberg joins "NCIS" for its holiday episode

She'll appear in a "very intense episode."

TLC to air "Buying Naked"
The two-hour special, which could become a series, follows a nudist couple as they shop for their dream homes.

Andrew Shue tweets update on "GMA" wife Amy Robach's double mastectomy
The "Melrose Place" alum wrote on Twitter, using his wife's handle, "on behalf of my brave girl. She came through surgery beautifully."

Parents TV Council not happy with "Family Guy's" rape, molestation jokes
The PTC is also accusing the Fox animated series of "sexualized use of food and perverse ‘internal defrosting’ of frozen hot dogs."

W. Kamau Bell: "The show was canceled. I'm not canceled"
Bell responded to his "Totally Biased" canceling by penning a piece titled, "So...That Happened." He wrote: "If I'm really lucky, what we did on Totally Biased will be remembered long after it stops airing. Heck, my mom is still mad that they canceled Frank’s Place. (Google it. It was great) …"

Chicago mayor sends Jon Stewart "deep dish with dead fish" pizza
See Mayor Rahm Emanuel's response to Stewart's anti-Chicago deep dish pizza rant.

"The Mentalist" promotes Emily Swallow before her 1st episode airs
Swallow was originally supposed to do a three-episode arc. Now she'll be a series regular.

"Grey's Anatomy" and "Parks and Rec" both tie their worst-ever ratings

Meanwhile, CW's "Reign" is growing.

"Big Bang's" Melissa Rauch poses for Maxim
The men's mag says Rauch has made "our nerd fantasies come true."

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"Harry Potter and the Death Hallows: Part 2," shot by ASC honoree Eduardo Serra.
"Harry Potter and the Death Hallows: Part 2," shot by ASC honoree Eduardo Serra.
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

'Harry Potter' and 'Jurassic Park' cinematographers honored by ASC

Eduardo Serra, Dean Cundey and Richard Rawlings, Jr. to receive honorary awards

The American Society of Cinematographers has named the three cameramen who will be receiving honorary recognition at next year's ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards on February 1. So, if Emmanuel Lubezki is as safe a bet as most seem to think in the feature film category, you can start composing the winners lineup already. Dean Cundey, Eduardo Serra and Richard Rawlings, Jr. will all be celebrated for their careers' work.

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<p>A moment from Rihanna's latest</p>

A moment from Rihanna's latest

Credit: Island Def Jam

Watch: Rihanna's compelling new video for 'What Now'

She is mesmerizing in haunting clip

Rihanna is haunted by demons in the artfully shot video for “What Now.”  The two-sided mirror she speaks of in the first verse seems to actually be her own emotional issues. The good side, in white, keeps getting taken over by her dark side.

It’s a compelling video and a testament to Rihanna’s star power that her face and performance are so mesmerizing that she keeps you glued to the screen. There are a few cutaways to animals and insects during the bridge when it appears that some sort of exorcism or emotional breakdown is happening (that and the shaky cam give it away), but this video relies almost solely on Rihanna’s charisma. And that’s saying something. She talks about making the video here.

Plus it shows how easy it is to change the narrative. This could have been a straight-ahead video about a complicated love story, but instead she turns it into something much more complicated and menacing.

The song is a intriguing ballad and deserved to be a single earlier in “Unapologetic’s” life, but her mega-ballad “Stay” probably kept that from happening.

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FXX lands 'The Simpsons' reruns in a $750M deal

FXX lands "The Simpsons" reruns in a $750M deal
"The Simpsons" is finally headed to cable syndication, and video streaming on demand, starting in 2014.

Jason Ritter will be back on "Parenthood"
He'll reprise his role as Lauren Graham's ex in an April episode.

Jeff Probst: "Survivor" will bring back the "Blood vs. Water" format
"We're experimenting now with some casting ideas of how we can do it again and what’s the next version of it," he says. "Do you need returning players, or could you bring fresh couples? So we're looking at all kinds of ideas." PLUS: "Blood vs. Water" is paying off as a twist.

Steven Moffat clarifies "Doctor Who" confusion

Where does John Hurt fit in?

Elmo visits San Quentin
"Sesame Street" sent Elmo for his first-ever prison visit as part of its Little Children, Big Challenges program.

HBO releases its 1st "Looking" trailer
Jonathan Groff is looking for love in the gay-themed, San Francisco-set series.

David Blaine blows the minds of "Breaking Bad's" Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul

Check out a clip from Blaine's magic special, airing Tuesday.

Simon Cowell's UK "X Factor" and "Britain's Got Talent" get a 3-year extension

Both reality competitions will stick around ITV through 2016.

Watch Will Ferrell's "The Spoils of Babylon" trailer
The IFC spoof contains an all-star cast that includes Kristen Wiig, Tobey Magure, Jessica Alba, Haley Joel Osment, Michael Sheen and Val Kilmer.

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<p>Thursday's &quot;The Big Bang Theory&quot;</p>

Thursday's "The Big Bang Theory"

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Big Bang' leads CBS while 'Vampire Diaries' tops 'Parks and Recreation' on Thursday

'The X Factor' rises for FOX
Fast National ratings for Thursday, November 14, 2013.
Up week-to-week, "The Big Bang Theory" maintained its position as Thursday night's top show in nearly every imaginable demographic and paced CBS' tight win among young viewers and comfortable overall win, even if "Elementary" slipped back behind "Scandal" in the 10 p.m. hour.
FOX had a second straight night of week-to-week gains for "The X Factor," though those numbers may be slightly inflated by NFL preemptions in Nashville.
At least FOX has inflated numbers to blame on football, though. NBC had another dismal Thursday with a weak return for "Parks and Recreation" and low numbers for "Sean Saves the World" and "The Michael J. Fox Show" and even those ratings may be inflated a hair by NFL coverage in Indianapolis. 
The CW will be chuffed about its overnight performances, with "The Vampire Diaries" topping both "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland" and "Parks and Rec" in the key demo and "Reign" also getting a small bump.
On to the numbers...
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<p>Monica Potter and Peter Krause in &quot;Parenthood.&quot;</p>

Monica Potter and Peter Krause in "Parenthood."

Credit: NBC

Review: 'Parenthood' - 'The Ring'

Adam's past causes trouble for the campaign, while Zeek adjusts to living alone

A quick review of last night's "Parenthood" coming up just as soon as we sketch at the Uffizi...

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<p>Karl Urban and Michael Ealy in &quot;Almost Human.&quot;</p>

Karl Urban and Michael Ealy in "Almost Human."

Credit: FOX

Review: FOX's 'Almost Human' a formulaic cop show with a robot twist

Come for Michael Ealy, stay for... not much else at this point

Science fiction has a long tradition of robots, computers and other logic-driven beings having more fully-rounded and beloved personalities than the humans around them. Among "Star Trek" fans, Data and Mr. Spock are more revered than their shipmates from Earth. In "2001," the only character with an identifiable personality at all is the HAL 9000. If you pick up one of Isaac Asimov's robot novels, you're sure not reading them for the well-drawn human characters. This isn't a surprise, since those who write and consume sci-fi are drawn to it precisely for the characters and ideas that differentiate those worlds from the one outside our windows.

That tradition continues to an extreme with FOX's new cop show "Almost Human" (it debuts Sunday at 8 before moving to Mondays at 8 the next night) where the humans are forgettable to varying degrees and and the robot is the only reason to watch at all.

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Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in "Before Midnight."
Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in "Before Midnight."
Credit: Sony Classics

Roundup: The screenplay Oscar conundrum

Also: Cuaron's 'Great Expectations' regrets, and a Cinemascore F-fest

Mark Harris notes, as many have before him, that the Academy's Best Screenplay categorizations are a bit confusing. Why should films like "Before Midnight" and "Toy Story 3" compete as adaptations when they're not adapted from anything, simply because they use pre-existing characters? And on the original side of things, are factual or biographical screenplays really that comparable to fiction crafted entirely from the writer's imagination? Harris argues that the only solution is to divide the writing Oscars into three categories: Best Original Screenplay, Best Screenplay Based On Factual Material and Best Adaptation. Even then, though, a part-factual, part-fabricated film like "The Butler" could blur the lines. What do you think? [Grantland]

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"Untold Stories of the ER"

 "Untold Stories of the ER"

Credit: Discovery Fit & Health

Exclusive clip: A masturbator who can't stop on 'Untold Stories of the ER'

A first year intern must handle a patient who won't stop touching himself

If you ever think, gosh, I should have gone into the glamorous world of medicine, take heart! It's not all "Grey's Anatomy" and lollipops, people. Being a first year intern certainly wasn't all that glamorous for Dr. Andy Kahn. In an exclusive clip from this week's episode of "Untold Stories of the ER" (Fri. at 10:00 p.m. on Discovery Fit & Health, then repeats Sat. at 9:00 p.m. on TLC), watch as Kahn gets stuck with a case none of his coworkers wanted -- a wild-eyed, compulsive masturbator who won't even take a break when medical professionals want to take his blood pressure.

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"The Vampire Diaries"

 "The Vampire Diaries"

Credit: The CW

'The Vampire Diaries' recap: Is it time to say goodbye to Silas?

It's a dopplegangerpalooza!

This week, the Silas/Amara/Tessa triangle finally did in some dopplegangers, and 2,000 years of hatred and spite was taken to its logical, bloody conclusion. I will say I'm a little sad to see this storyline wrap up (if it is, in fact, wrapped up) because I'd grown so fond of Silas. Yes, he was a horrible, horrible villain, but he was also a pretty funny one. Take this week's opening scene; Silas yammers about his horrible life to a couple sitting at a bus stop. Yes, it might have been funnier if he hadn't liquified the internal organs of the boyfriend to make a point, but then, it wouldn't be Silas. 

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