Latest Blog Posts

Paul Giamatti signs on to play a detective in FX pilot 'Hoke'

Paul Giamatti signs on to play a detective in FX pilot "Hoke"

The comedic drama will have Giamatti playing a "hardboiled and possibly insane" homicide detective in 1985 Miami. It is based on Charles Willeford’s series of novels.

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Harry Connick Jr. on 'Idol's' shortlist

Harry Connick Jr. on "Idol's" shortlist
Could the crooner and "American Idol" veteran take the 3rd judging spot?

Kris Jenner's talk show: Canceled?
Kim Kardashian's mom's six-week talk show tryout won't result in a pickup, according to Radar Online.

"HIMYM's" The Mother never watched the show before auditioning
Cristin Milioti recalls her secretive audition process and says of her character: "She has a unique sense of humor that is very similar to Ted’s. She’s a young woman who suffers from dad humor…that's how she rolls."

Fox tonight will air 9 different promos for "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"
"MasterChef" will be jam-packed with Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher.

"Nashville" and "Treme" alum joins "Game of Thrones"

Dutch actor Michiel Huisman has been cast in a secretive role.

OWN orders "Crazy.Sexy.Life," a reality show about 4 black women living in Harlem

Is this the reality version of "Girlfriends"?

Ashley Olsen shows up to John Stamos' "Full House" reunion

Stamos celebrated his 50th birthday with the "Full House" cast -- and an Olsen twin showed up, something that never happens.

Watch clips from the James Franco roast

Here are previews of Sarah Silverman and Nick Kroll's sets. PLUS: The 15 best Comedy Central roast sets ever.

Keith Olbermann's ESPN2 debut attracts 319,000

That's better than the 239,000 who tuned in to the timeslot last year.

John Noble coming back to "The Good Wife"
The "Fringe" alum will reprise his character who was murdered last season. PLUS: Julianna Margulies settles lawsuit with her ex-manager.

"The Vampire Diaries" gets a biology prof
Rick Cosnett's role will pit him against Caroline and Elena.

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<p>Robin Thicke and friends at the VMAs.</p>

Robin Thicke and friends at the VMAs.

Credit: AP Photo

Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines' tops Billboard Hot 100 for 12th week

Which two acts score their first Top 10 hits this week?

Of the 35 weeks so far in 2013, Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” has been the No. 1 song on the Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for more than one/third of them.

This week, Thicke’s streak continues as “Lines,” featuring Pharrell and T.I., spends its 12th week at No. 1, holding off Katy Perry’s “Roar” for at least one more frame. It is only the 14th song to have that long a stint at No. 1 in the Hot 100’s 55-year history.

For the first time during its reign, “Blurred Lines” shows a slight dip in radio listenership, so that may be a sign that the song is losing its stranglehold.  Perry’s “Roar” drops in digital sales after its amazing 550,000 tally last week, but gains in airplay and streaming to stay at No. 2.

Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop” remains at No. 3, but she could definitely see a bump after her attention-getting performance at Sunday’s Video Music Awards on MTV.

Lady Gaga, who opened the VMAs, could also see another rise next week. Regardless, the song continues its upward trajectory this week, as it climbs 6-4, propelled largely by streaming of the video.

All hail Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” as it falls 4-5, but celebrates its 52nd week on the Billboard Hot 100. It is only the second song, following Adele’s “Rolling In the Deep” to spend a full year on the Hot 100, according to Billboard.

Rounding out the top 10, Jay Z’s “Holy Grail,” featuring Justin Timberlake falls 5-6, Avicii lands his first top 10 as “Wake Me Up”  soars 11-7. Capitol Cities’ “Safe And Sound” ticks up two to No. 8, while Lana Del Rey also sees her first Top 10 hit with “Summertime Sadness,” featuring Cedric Gervais, as it rises 15-9. Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” drops 7-10.

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<p>Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield in &quot;Ender's Game&quot;</p>

Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield in "Ender's Game"

Credit: Summit

Set Visit: 'Ender's Game' with Asa Butterfield walks the line of high-tech fun and violence

Why Ender Wiggin doesn't get a girlfriend

Even for a film that stars mostly children, “Ender’s Game” has some different conceptions on what qualifies as “fun.” 

In a lofty, enormous warehouse space in New Orleans, there are plots of sets daisy-chained together in overwhelming greys and blacks and muted lights, literally littered with pieces from a “NASA junkyard.” Childrens’ school desks are outfitted with what could be described as 20th generation iPads, seats squatting close to the ground like a 2nd grade classroom. Lockers and bunks are uniformly monochrome, with few personal effects poking out from the grates. These are also small, the doorframes like those for a Hobbit. The proximity of small set to small set make each space as claustrophobic as the next. Also, these are all to live in outer space, mind you: in the future, in space, the floors have an otherworldy curvature.
It’s a coldly military setup for a soldier academy, where Ender Wiggin, his alleys and enemies will learn to battle the enemy – Formics, aka Buggers, who have engaged with Earth in galactic wars before, each side having won an era. The humans are gearing up for their next war, and are using actual children – starting when they’re 6 years old – as their army and commanders, to think outside of the box in battle so that this conflict will be their last. Winner-take all in a species-on-species contest, with pre-adolescents leading the way.
Fun, right?
“There’s a device… a bone saw, it’s an actual, a real prototype from a university, it’s just a really crazy thing that they use to perform surgery...”
“I’d take the flashgun. That just sounds super gnarly! That’d be way better than paintballing or something…”
“It’s like a flight simulator where it’s all the switches, it’s a joystick and a screen, and they said it’s the closest you can get to an actual fighter plane…"
“The wires… look super fun, but taking the whole ‘I have to do multiple things at the same time,’ having to be in zero gravity, and if I’m in pain I have to look like I’m not in pain…”
Aramis Knight, Nonso Anozie, Suraj Partha and, of course, our Ender (Asa Butterfield) are talking about the props and weaponry in Battle School. As part of their characters’ education, they’re thrust into a zero gravity chamber called the Battle Room with practice guns that can paralyze the members of their various teams. In these scenes in Orson Scott Card’s book, it’s also the breeding ground for serious beefs between students, the wick before a bang.
“It’s sort of like ‘Lord of the Flies’ in space, “ says “Ender’s Game” director Gavin Hood matter-of-factly.
For him and producers like Bob Orci, Linda McDonough and Lynn Hendee, this movie has arrive after 15 years of getting the option, the making-of a beloved sci-fi adaptation with very mature themes and every opportunity to screw it up. For those 15 years, studios have proposed making a very different film than the book: Ender has a love interest, Ender flies actual fighter planes, the ant-like Buggers are presented as “clearly evil” and humans are always good. There are scenes of violence and psychological abuse in “Ender's Game” that would rival some rated R films (thought this will be a PG-13).
“I was in the military, I was drafted when I was 17 years old, and it had a profound affect on me, and when I read Ender’s Game [there was the] feeling that you were very much a number in an organization with strong authority figures that you were not supposed to question, and yet feeling that you wanted to rebel against it,” Hood said.
Some of these authority figures will come from the gruff forms of Harrison Ford as Colonel Graff, Viola Davis as Major Anderson and Ben Kingsley as the mysterious war hero Mazer Rackham. Their physical challenges are few compared to the children’s cast – which also includes “True Grit” star Hailee Steinfeld as Petra – who in addition to going to NASA space camp, they learned judo, akido, sparring, wire work, took military training and learned cadences, were “punished” with pushups and sit-ups. But, hey, they also get to fly down a zip line.
“So often, there are many films and they’re fantastic and they’re fun and they’re wonderful, but it’s like ‘That was great, do you want to get pizza?’ As opposed to a story like ‘Ender’s Game,‘ where kids really talk about it, [questions like] ‘Is that right?,’ ‘Is he too violent?’ and these are important conversations for young people to engage in, in an exciting way,” Hood said. “And if you can deliver that kind of debate and conversation in an exciting, visually powerful way, then I think you’re getting a little more than just spectacle. If we can combine spectacle with a good old-fashioned argument afterwards, then that’s kind of fun.”
That word again.
That’s one you could use for Asa Butterfield’s breakout, in “Hugo,” in which he builds a fantastical, cinematic plot around Ben Kingsley’s Georges Méliès. The two will have another master-and-protégé relationship in “Ender’s Game,” though each disposition will be far from the meek, gentle characters from Scorsese’s 2011 3-D film.
Butterfield’s delicate features are situated in such a way on his crystalline skin that his age is hard to pin down. He’s like anime. Ender’s journey in the book begins around age 6; Butterfield’s going to be playing a solder roughly twice that age and then some, with his tenure taking place over an unspecified time. The Brit learned an American accent for the part, though at time he’ll be a “man” of few words.
“Ender is pretty up there in terms of ideal characters for any 14-, 15 year-old boy. Of course it would still be pretty cool to be James Bond, but this is definitely up there,” Butterfield said on set. He had just finished explaining the tight flash suits, and his training regimen. Perhaps a “Bond” role wouldn’t be so unimaginable. “I wanted to appeal to the massive cult that already follows ‘Ender's Game.”
The cult of “Ender” has developed, in part, because of the realistic scenes depicting empirialism, bullying and fear, being the smallest kid in a group of young boys who want to be grown men, physically and metaphorically. There are scenes of violence that Butterfield’s Ender endures that would easily break your average child.
In terms of adults getting kids to do their violence for them, McDonough saw some similarities to the “Hunger Games” franchise.

“It was exciting for us just in terms of seeing [‘Hunger Games’] marketed so successfully and widely when it deals with issues of violence and younger people because that, historically, has been one of the big challenges, [one of the] reasons why this film hasn't gotten made,” she said. “It's not a family film in the way that an animated DreamWorks movie is. And if we tried to do that, which some people would argue has better box office presence, I think we would betray, fundamentally, the themes of the movie.”
Butterfield’s physical elegance and intelligence will be further revealed in the Mind Games, the virtual reality game the children play in order to learn problem solving skills. Those motion-captured scenes promise some of the most brilliant, more colorful and adventurous visual imagery of the movie, but is also an expression of the more disturbing scenery. Ender plays his Mind Game in from of classmate Alai, and executes an assault in the game so graphic, his comrade is practically forced to ask, “Why did you do that??”
“In the movie, that’s a pretty visceral experience… given that this is PG-13. It’s that moment when that awkwardness from that little act tells you volumes in an unspoken way: [Ender] says ‘That’s what they want from us here. Choose violence, you win. I’m just like my brother Peter,’” Hood explained.
“You probably experience [violence] even more [from] watching the actor, the emotional anguish that he has over those moments of regret and pain and struggling with those two sides of his nature represented by Peter and [his sister] Valentine… violence with a compassion and always torn by which choice he's going to make,” McDonough said.
“In the book, when you read, it's one thing. But when you audition the kids and you hear those little tiny kid voices, it affects how you look at the whole film, the credibility,” Hendee said. “It’s kind of funny.”
"Ender's Game" is in theaters on Nov. 1.
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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 198

Dan and Alan talk 'Breaking Bad' and 'Miami Vice'


Happy Wednesday, Boys & Girls!
This week has been slightly chaotic in terms of scheduling, plus it has also been light on content, but we still managed to make time for a truncated installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
It's pretty clean and simple: We talked about Sunday's episode of "Breaking Bad," titled "Confessions," and then we also discussed this week's Summer Pilot ReWatch, "Miami Vice."
Next week'll be busy with premieres of "Boardwalk Empire," "Luther" and FXX, plus a new "Breaking Bad," but we'll wrap up the Summer Pilot ReWatch the following week. We haven't chosen a pilot to watch yet for that final installment, so suggestions are welcome!
Apologies if I'm even more discombobulated than usual. We had to record before my caffeine had fully kicked in.
Anyway, here's today's breakdown:
"Breaking Bad" (00:01:20 - 00:30:45)
"Miami Vice" (00:30:50 - 00:53:00)

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.] 

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.



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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 198: 'Breaking Bad' & 'Miami Vice'

An abbreviated podcast has us discussing Phil Collins, perfect stubble and table-side guac


Due to my erratic end-of-summer schedule, this week's Firewall & Iceberg Podcast is both late and abbreviated, as we only had time to discuss the latest "Breaking Bad" and revisit the "Miami Vice" pilot. We'll be back next Tuesday or Wednesday (depending on Labor Day holiday travel and whatnot) for more "Breaking Bad" talk, "Luther," "Boardwalk Empire" and the launch of FXX, and on that show we'll announce our final final pilot re-watch choice. (Comment here or click on the email link below if you have something you want to do, keeping in mind the caveats we mention in the podcast itself.) 

The rundown:

"Breaking Bad" (00:01:20 - 00:30:45)
"Miami Vice" (00:30:50 - 00:53:00)

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.
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Report: Valerie Harper to go 'Dancing' despite brain tumor

Report: Valerie Harper to go "Dancing" despite brain tumor
According to TMZ, Harper has defied medicine as doctors said she had until June of this year to live.

More "Dancing" rumors: Snooki, Leah Remini, Elizabeth Berkley, Keyshawn Johnson
"Glee" alum Amber Riley and Christina Milian also reportedly signed up for "Dancing with the Stars."

"HIMYM's" final season will be like a "greatest-hits medley at the end of a rock concert"
The cast of "How I Met Your Mother" cover this week's Entertainment Weekly, where they look back at the past eight seasons and tease a possible spinoff.

"Breaking Bad's" Hank and Marie reacting to things: The new Hitler in "Downfall"?
The "Breaking Bad" couple watching things may have overthrown the viral Hitler parody. PLUS: Hank and Marie watch Aaron Paul on "The Price is Right."

Lisa Lampanelli has stopped using the N-word after Lena Dunham controversy

The former Comedy Central roaster -- who used the N-word to caption a picture of her and the "Girls" star -- says: "I'm not gonna ruin my reputation with the blacks no more. I don’t want to deal with this N word shit!"

Golf Channel quickly deletes "I Have a Dream" golf tweet
The Golf Channel had asked its followers to tweet their "golf dream" in honor of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech.

Billy Ray Cyrus bails on Piers Morgan interview on Miley's VMAs performance
Morgan didn't announce until 15 minutes before his show ended last night. PLUS: JB Smoove reacts to Miley's performance.

"Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" debuted 20 years ago today
The children's TV juggernaut first aired on Aug. 28, 1993.

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'Luther' prequel movie script is completed, filming eyed for next year

"Luther" prequel movie script is completed, filming eyed for next year

Creator Neil Cross says: "I've written the script and we hope to get the film made next year."

"The Amazing Race" casts includes two ex-NFLers, MLB wives
Former Houston Texans players Chester Pitts II and Ephraim Salaam -- who famously starred in this Super Bowl ad -- will be among this year's crop of contestants. See the cast photos.

Robin Roberts will return to "GMA" full-time starting next week
Roberts says she's healthy enough for a five-day a week schedule. "I'm looking forward to it. I want to get back to my full life," she says.

Mekhi Phifer joins "House of Lies"

He'll play a clothing mogul who hires Don Cheadle and his crew of consultants.

Andrew Lincoln: I don't watch "The Walking Dead" because "I don't actually enjoy looking at myself"
Lincoln used to watch the AMC series, but became too critical of what footage was used. "I just want to leave myself alone as much as I can," he says. "It breaks the spell, it breaks the magic somewhat."

Michael Phelps will guest on his favorite show, "Suits"

The Olympic swimming champion will play himself.

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<p>Jason&nbsp;Reitman at his first Telluride Film&nbsp;Festival in 2007.</p>

Jason Reitman at his first Telluride Film Festival in 2007.

Credit: Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE

Jason Reitman on the tradition of taking his movies to Telluride and Toronto

Jason Reitman on the tradition of taking his movies to Telluride and Toronto

TELLURIDE, Colo. - It's fair to say filmmaker Jason Reitman has a bit of a history with the Telluride and Toronto film festivals. In 2005 his feature debut, "Thank You for Smoking," sold at the latter. Since then, three of his last four films, including this year's "Labor Day," have debuted at Telluride (2007's "Juno" and 2009's "Up in the Air" in the form of "sneak previews" secret screenings) before heading north to Toronto. It's become a notable tradition, so we asked Reitman about his thoughts on the two environments and whether he's superstitious enough to consider them a good luck charm at the start of the fall.

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<p>James Franco</p>

James Franco

Credit: AP Photo

How has James Franco saturated the festival circuit?

The multi-hyphenate has been the year's most ubiquitous festival presence

It's become as mandatory a part of the film festival experience as queueing, champagne hangovers and the swinging lanyard affixed to one's neck: if a new James Franco joint isn't to be found in the program, you're probably not looking hard enough.

Out in the real world, the Oscar-nominated actor still functions primarily -- if not exclusively -- as, well, an Oscar-nominated actor. Among the paying public, awareness of his extramural activities may be limited chiefly to his being the guy who bombed hard at the Oscars that one time; some may have heard of an artsy endeavor via an interview, but would be hard pressed to specify what it was. I'm certain most would be surprised to hear that he's directed 11 feature films, in addition to any number of shorts and hard-to-classify experiments; those whose tastes run expressly toward multiplex fare would be more surprised still to find out what the mildly eccentric-seeming star of "Oz the Great and Powerful" thinks about in his spare time.  

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<p>For pretty much an entire generation, it all started right here.</p>

For pretty much an entire generation, it all started right here.

Credit: 20th Century Fox/Lucasfilm Ltd.

Big Question: When did you fall in love with movies?

Our special guests look back at their formative moments as movie fans

As you read this, I am just about halfway through a week-long globe-trotting vacation with my family. Toshi and Allen and I are climbing the outside of the World One building in Mumbai right about now.

While we enjoy that, I'd like to share the third of five special vacation articles, where I've reached out to a wide array of people I know to answer a different question every day. I sent out the fire questions as part of one big e-mail last week, and I asked people to send me as many of the five responses as they felt like. Some people did one, some people did a few, and several people answered all five.

I would love to hear your responses to these questions as well. When I get back to Los Angeles next weekend, I'm excited to dig in and read all the answers you guys leave, and I hope you end up enjoying this week's articles in the meantime.

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<p>Francis Ford Coppola was one of three individuals honored with a Silver Medallion tribute at the first annual Telluride Film&nbsp;Festival in 1974.</p>

Francis Ford Coppola was one of three individuals honored with a Silver Medallion tribute at the first annual Telluride Film Festival in 1974.

Credit: Lionsgate/American Zoetrope

From Coppola to the Coens: 40 years of Telluride tributes

This year's quintet joins an illustrious list of honorees

The lineup for the 40th annual Telluride Film Festival has been unveiled, and with it, the announcement of this year's tributees: T Bone Burnett and the Coen brothers, Mohammad Rasoulof, Robert Redford and Alejandro Ramirez. Here's a look back at the history of the honor.

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