Latest Blog Posts

<p>Chiwetel Ejiofor and&nbsp;Michael Fassbender in &quot;12 Years a Slave&quot;</p>

Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender in "12 Years a Slave"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Telluride: On the beauty and barbarity of sure-fire Oscar contender '12 Years a Slave'

Steve McQueen's and his cast reflect on an intense but rewarding experience

TELLURIDE, Colo. - Fox Searchlight was smart to get into business with filmmaker Steve McQueen two years ago when, not long after screening his last film, "Shame," here at the Telluride Film Festival, they acquired it for distribution. Further dividends will be paid in the sterling accomplishment of "12 Years a Slave," to be sure.

It wasn't just the sound of sniffles but open bawling that could be heard throughout the Werner Herzog Theater today at the second screening of the film. It is every bit as emotionally devastating as you've been led to believe so far and it is a knock-out awards contender, firing on all cylinders with nominations to be expected across the board.

Read Full Post
<p>The Coen Bros. with T Bone Burnett and his Grammys in 2002</p>

The Coen Bros. with T Bone Burnett and his Grammys in 2002

Credit: Reed Saxon/AP Photo

Telluride: The Coen Bros. and T Bone Burnett celebrated for telling the stories of American music

And could the story of an opera singer be next?

TELLURIDE, Colo. - Given the Coen brothers' catalog of great American films, they would have been perfectly suited to a tribute unto themselves at this year's 40th annual Telluride Film Festival. But when you consider Telluride's connection to music via the annual Bluegrass music festival held in June, the Coens' collaboration with T Bone Burnett over the years and particularly how that collaboration has reached a peak with this year's "Inside Llewyn Davis," honoring them together made way too much sense.

Read Full Post

Report: Harry Connick Jr. finalizing 'Idol' deal

Report: Harry Connick Jr. finalizing 'Idol' deal
Next season's judging panel should be done by the end of the weekend, so that production on Season 13 can begin.

Read Full Post
<p>Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in &quot;Philomena.&quot;</p>

Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in "Philomena."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Review: Judi Dench on touching form in reductive but effective 'Philomena'

Stephen Frears' true-life drama brings the house down in Venice

VENICE - The unhappy case of Philomena Lee, we are told throughout Stephen Frears’ outwardly stoic but not-so-secretly mallow-centered “Philomena,” is far more than a ‘human interest’ story. That phrase, frequently used here as a catch-all for manipulative, exploitative ‘soft’ journalism short on both sincere humanity and interest, is first contemptuously uttered by disgraced political journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) when Lee’s daughter approaches him about looking into her mother’s agonized search for a long-lost son. “It’s a human interest story,” he brusquely informs her, helpfully adding that such stories are written both for and about the “weak-minded, vulnerable and ignorant.”

Read Full Post
<p>Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o and Chiwetel Ejiofor in Steve McQueen's &quot;12 Years A&nbsp;Slave.&quot;</p>

Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o and Chiwetel Ejiofor in Steve McQueen's "12 Years A Slave."

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Review: Powerful '12 Years A Slave' won't turn away from the brutality of slavery

Chiwetel Ejiofor is exceptional in this true story

TELLURIDE, Colo. - After its premiere screening at the 2013 Telluride Film Festival Friday evening, it goes without saying that no narrative film or TV program has ever depicted the sheer brutality and horror that was American slavery as Steve McQueen's "12 Years A Slave" does. Based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841, "12 Years" is a powerful drama driven by McQueen's bold direction and the finest performance of Chiwetel Ejiofor's career.

Read Full Post
<p>Ralph Fiennes presents Robert Redford with Telluride's Silver Medallion on&nbsp;Thursday.</p>

Ralph Fiennes presents Robert Redford with Telluride's Silver Medallion on Thursday.

Credit: Getty Images

Telluride: Robert Redford looks back at the progression of an industry

The 'All is Lost' star received one of the festival's three tributes this year

TELLURIDE, Colo. - It's interesting seeing Robert Redford receive a tribute at the Telluride Film Festival. With Sundance so ingrained in his blood and his being the face of an entire institution, his presence here -- albeit in a completely warranted capacity -- feels like a touch of infidelity. But it's too good an opportunity to pass up for a fixture of Hollywood history who this year delivers an absolutely amazing, sure-fire Oscar-contending performance in J.C. Chandor's "All is Lost."

Read Full Post
<p>Hugh Jackman and Jake&nbsp;Gyllenhaal in &quot;Prisoners&quot;</p>

Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal in "Prisoners"

Credit: Warner Bros.

Telluride: Denis Villeneuve's 'Prisoners' is a bow of tension drawn impossibly tight

This might be Hugh Jackman's best work to date

TELLURIDE, Colo. - They simply don't make thrillers like Denis Villeneuve's "Prisoners" at the studio level, and yet here it is. Glacially paced, bloated to a 158 minute running time, stingy with details as its mystery unfolds, it goes against most every convention for a film like this.

Read Full Post


Credit: CBS

Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'Mom'

Anna Faris and Allison Janney could star in a great comedy, but the pilot isn't there

[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

Show:"Mom" (CBS)
Airs:Mondays at 9:30 p.m.
The Pitch: "1 Broke Girl & Her Mum"
Quick Response: "Mom" is the last of the fall premieres to get a Take Me To The Pilots entry. [EDIT: I forgot about "Dracula." I keep forgetting about "Dracula," which NBC made easier by not doing anything with "Dracula" at either Comic-Con or TCA press tour. One of these days I'll watch it. But I'm transitioning into midseason pilots for a while after this.] That's because "Mom" is exactly what you think it is, for better and (somewhat more) for worse. Suggesting that this Chuck Lorre-produced multi-cam comedy is too broad for its own good and that its coarseness is frequently cringeworthy -- i.e. a joke about a teenager's sex-stained sheets -- would have all of the shock or value of saying a David Milch pilot was wordy and somewhat cryptic or that the characters on an Amy Sherman-Palladino show kept talking faster than real people actually talk. There are whole characters and subplots -- the slutty teenage daughter, French Stewart's one-liner-spouting snobby chef ("Beat those egg whites gently, as if they were a small, annoying child," is the pinnacle of his comedic contribution) -- that I could excise entirely, though at least I get the generational purpose of the horny daughter stuff. I would, in general, say that "Mom" is not a very good pilot. But there are kernels here that I'm curious about, things that work exactly as well as you might hope. Anna Faris has always been an admirably committed comedienne, an actress never afraid of playing ugly or pushing her performances "big" if the situation requires. And here, she hits every sitcom-y punchline with authority and when she's asked to cry ridiculously, she does it with an agility that calls to mind some TV greats (I'm resisting naming names because hyperbole will do me no favors). Faris also nails the dramatic scenes. Her character is a recovering addict and the AA scene at the show's center is actually its most interesting element, just as the Overeaters Anonymous scene gave the "Mike & Molly" pilot a weirdly grounded core that was immediately drowned out in a sea of fat jokes, causing me to stop watching after five or six episodes. [No clue if it got better. Some people still seem to like that show.] A version of "Mom" that I would watch would continue to keep the recovery thread as close to the surface as possible, because that melancholy shading would benefit Faris and also benefit Allison Janney, who is fine here, but isn't asked to do nearly enough. I'm still a strong advocate of Janney's work in "Mr. Sunshine" (Yay) and I appreciate the amount of "damaged" she's capable of bringing to comedic characters. My ideal "Mom" is a bit like NBC's "Go On" in tone. And you know who doesn't care about that ideal? Chuck Lorre! Oh and viewers, because audiences didn't like "Go On." I think that French Stewart and the glibly treated teenage daughter and the pot-dealing ex (even if he's played by the always-welcome Matt Jones) are the Lorre-est elements of this pilot and probably the elements the subsequent episodes are more likely to accentuate. There's a good show featuring Faris and Janney and roughly this premise. The pilot has maybe five minutes of that show and 17 minutes of something else.
Desire To Watch Again: After a podcast a few weeks ago, I was forced to go back to my "2 Broke Girls" Take Me To The Pilot to see that I was far more generous towards the show than I would feel only a week or two later. My feeling was that there was a potentially great show starring Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs and then there was everything around them and I hoped it became the good version of itself and, instead, it continued to be the bad version. I think "Mom" is a lot like "2 Broke Girls," where there's a version that could well become a big hit for CBS and then there's the version I'd like, which would probably have to be on NBC or FOX and would probably tank. The networks have conspired to make Mondays at 9 into one of the weakest hours for me all season. Just as this time period will give me a chance to let "Sleepy Hollow" settle into itself, I'll probably also give "Mom" a chance to become the show I don't want it to be. And yes, I'll probably keep watching "2 Broke Girls," which is an all-too-fitting lead-in.


Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Lucky 7'  
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Dads' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Super Fun Night'  
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Welcome to the Family' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'The Millers' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'The Goldbergs' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Ironside'
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'We Are Men' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Almost Human' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Back in the Game' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Sean Saves the World' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'Reign' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'The Crazy Ones' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Enlisted' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Betrayal' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'The Blacklist' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'The Tomorrow People' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'Hostages' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Sleepy Hollow' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Trophy Wife' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'The Michael J. Fox Show' 
All of my 2012 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2011 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2010 Take Me To The Pilots Entries




Read Full Post
<p>M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold</p>

M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold

Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

Avenged Sevenfold set to top Billboard 200 next week

Justin Timberlake sees major VMA bounce

Rockers Avenged Sevenfold will reign atop the Billboard 200 next week with “Hail To the King” (175,000) knocking country king, Luke Bryan and his current No. 1, “Crash My Party,” down to No. 2 (105,000). “King” is the group’s second No. 1, following 2010’s “Nightmare.”

The title is one of four debuts as we head into the busy fourth quarter. Rapper Big Sean’s “Hall of Fame” bows at No. 3 (75,000), while fellow rapper Juicy J comes in at No. 5 (65,000) with “Star Trippy.” “Alabama & Friends,” featuring top country artists performing hits by the legendary country band launches at No. 8 (28,000).

Robin Thicke’s former No. 1, “Blurred Lines” sees a little bump following the Video Music Awards, rising back up to No. 4 (65,000), while Justin Timberlake, who gave a 15-minute performance and received the Video Vanguard Award at the VMAs sees an even larger sales result, climbing back up to No. 6 from No. 22 (45,000), according to Hits Daily Double.

John Mayer’s “Paradise Valley” falls to No. 7 (40,000), R&B supergroup TGT’s “Three Kings” drops to No. 9 (27,000), while “Now That’s What I Call Music 47 slides to No. 10 (27,000).


Read Full Post
<p>&quot;12 Years a Slave&quot;</p>

"12 Years a Slave"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

'12 Years a Slave' added to New York Film Festival lineup

Steve McQueen's hotly buzzed historical drama sneaks in Telluride tonight

The lucky folks in Telluride are the envy of the cinephile community tonight, as "12 Years a Slave" has its unofficial world premiere with a sneak preview at the festival. It will, of course, go on to Toronto for its formal unveiling, but by that point, many key critics will have already had their say, and a reputation will already be forming.

Read Full Post

Is Aaron Sorkin not interested in doing a 3rd season of 'The Newsroom'?

Is Aaron Sorkin not interested in doing a 3rd season of "The Newsroom"?
Sorkin said last week he's been offered a 3rd season, but so far HBO -- which often renews hit shows early -- hasn't ordered a renewal. Could Sorkin be too busy for his HBO show? PLUS: "The Newsroom" is much-improved this season.

J.J. Abrams to remake the 1973 Yul Brinner film for HBO

"The Dark Knight" and "Person of Interest" writer Jonathan Nolan is set to write the remake.

Leah Remini will be "Ellen's" 1st guest of the season
It will be Remini's first TV appearance since leaving Scientology.

"Mad Men's" Ben Feldman joins "The Mindy Project"
He'll play a writer who's Mindy's latest love interest.

Go behind the scenes with Bill Murray on Letterman's 20th anniversary

"Let's go, Biff," he said backstage. PLUS: Letterman's wildest interviews, and 10 of Dave's trolls.

Not everybody can stomach "Breaking Bad"
Joel Mathis made it halfway through Season 2 before stopping. "Each and every episode that I've watched has filled me with increasing dread," he says. "I don't feel enlightened or informed or entertained when I watch an episode: Mostly I get a tummy ache. You've heard of 'cringe humor,' the way Larry David can make you laugh and be appalled at the same time? Well, for me, Breaking Bad is 'cringe drama." PLUS: Walter White meets "Game of Thrones," see "Breaking Bad" characters as ghosts, inside the music of "Breaking Bad," and why Walter didn't film his confession on a smartphone.

"HIMYM's" mom struggled with driving in L.A.: "I was almost arrested for drunk driving"
Cristin Milioti says she got four parking tickets her first week. And then, there was the DUI accusation. When she was flagged at a DUI checkpoint, she failed the sobriety tests -- but was saved by blowing a 0.0 on two breathalyzers.

FXX channel launches on Monday
FX's comedy spinoff debuts with a "Parks and Rec" marathon.

New book provides an oral history of '90s Nickelodeon
Read 10 fascinating facts from "Slimed! An Oral History of Nickelodeon's Golden Age," due Sept. 24.

Showtime to air Jay-Z's "Made in America"

The Ron Howard-directed documentary covers last year's Made In America festival.

"Chicago PD" adds "The Killing's" Elias Koteas

He'll play an undercover detective.

Lindsay Lohan recalls working with Bill Cosby
Check her out in a 1995 Jello ad.

Book takes us "Inside the Food Network"
Allen Salkin's book even takes you inside Paula Deen's N-word controversy.

Watch the "Bones" Season 9 promo

here's your first glimpse of Freddie Prinze, Jr. as a CIA agent who shares a history with Booth.

Teresa Giudice asking for money for her legal defense fund

The "Real Housewives" star is getting desperate.

Check out "Haven's" comic book

The Syfy series is tiding over fans until Season 4.

Netflix fans should be grateful to cable
As Derek Thompson points out, "just about everything that you love about Netflix (its affordability, its variety, its ability to take risks) is made possible because of just about everything you hate about cable."

What happened to the high school students from MTV's 2008 "The Paper" reality show?
Did any of them end up going into journalism?

Why cable and satellite providers ask for your social security number

Even if you want to know prices, many providers these days ask for your SSN to avoid deadbeats.

Here are currently famous people you never knew were on "Friends"

From Craig Robinson to Jim Rash to Dakota Fanning and Kevin Rahm.

"Teen Mom" Farrah Abraham makes a home video in hopes of landing on "Days of Our Lives"

Watch her awkward audition.

Christopher Plummer gives his blessing to NBC "The Sound of Music" stars

"It was very close to the vampire life, I thought," he says of Stephen Moyer's casting as Captain Von Trapp.

Presenting past "SNL" writers who would've made great cast members
From Stephen Colbert to Larry David to Conan O'Brien.

Check out childhood TV stars as superheroes
LeVar Burton as Batman and Mr. Rogers as Superman.

Emilia Clarke remembers her favorite "Game of Thrones" Season 3 moments

Says Clarke: "One of the most exciting bits about filming Dany's storyline is I get to look at the final product and see if my imagination was right."

Wal-Mart gets the exclusive on Volume 2 of "The Walking Dead" soundtrack
The new CD dropped on Thursday.

"Doctor Who" comes out with a Mr. Potato Head doll

Based on the 11th doctor.

Connie Britton looks back at "Nashville" Season 1
What was her favorite moment?

Discovery explores "Secret Sex Lives: Swingers"
The four-part Discovery Fit & Health reality show, premiering Saturday, follows five couples who like to mix things up in the bedroom.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Salinger&quot; is set to open a mere week from today.</p>

"Salinger" is set to open a mere week from today.

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Telluride: Weinstein to sneak 'Salinger' after pulling 'Philomena' at the last minute

Oh the drama of the fall festival circuit

TELLURIDE, Colo. - All of town is abuzz today with the official revelation of two "sneak preview" screenings set for tonight: Denis Villeneuve's "Prisoners" and Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave." But everyone has been curious what the third would be, if indeed there would be a third.

Well, wonder no more as Deadline is reporting that Shane Salerno's documentary "Salinger" has grabbed a "surprise late entry" to the lineup. If true, it's an interesting turn of events, given how things were apparently supposed to shake out originally.

Read Full Post