Latest Blog Posts

"Here Comes Honey Boo Boo"

 "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo"

Credit: TLC

Watch: Mama June pot shops on 'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo'

Mama June explores the details of portable toilets

As usual, "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" always keeps it classy. In this clip from tomorrow night's episode of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" (9:00 p.m. ET on TLC), Mama June handles the details for her upcoming commitment ceremony, which involves shopping for portable toilet rentals. 

Read Full Post
<p>Taylor Schilling, Danielle Brooks and Jessica Pimentel in &quot;Orange Is the New Black.&quot;</p>

Taylor Schilling, Danielle Brooks and Jessica Pimentel in "Orange Is the New Black."

Credit: Netflix

Review: Netflix's 'Orange Is the New Black' season 1

The women's prison drama was one of the year's best shows — on Netflix or anywhere else

I reviewed Netflix's "Orange is the New Black" last month based on the first six episodes. I've since watched the rest, and as I did before with "House of Cards" and "Arrested Development," I have thoughts on the whole season, with spoilers, coming up just as soon as I do to you what the spring does to cherry trees, but in a prison way...

Read Full Post

'Devious Maids' renewed for Season 2

"Devious Maids" renewed for Season 2
The Lifetime drama is the cable network's fastest-growing series since starting with an okay premiere.

Read Full Post
<p>Harrison Ford talked to us about how his work in '42' presented him with some very specific challenges for his new film 'Paranoia'</p>

Harrison Ford talked to us about how his work in '42' presented him with some very specific challenges for his new film 'Paranoia'

Credit: HitFix

Harrison Ford explains why he had no choice but to go bald for 'Paranoia'

Plus we talk about crazy 'Blade Runner' rumors back in the day

It may be impossible to overstate the microscope that Harrison Ford was under when he started production on Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner."

After all, he was both Indiana Jones and Han Solo (twice) by the time he started production on the Ridley Scott film that promised to be the first major shake-up of his newly minted movie star image, and an R-rated existential drama disguised as a science-fiction action film was a pretty bold next step for Ford. Much of his career seems to be defined by major successes, but I always find the moments where Ford tried to stretch and got roughed up in the process to be the most interesting moments.

I remember how brutal the reviews were for "Blade Runner" and how the box-office stories went way past reporting and felt more like bloodsport. It was a weird summer overall. The movie that no one had on their radar ahead of time, Spielberg's "E.T.", had turned into a box office juggernaut, and some of the movies with the best pedigrees were going belly up. It was the summer I learned conclusively that my taste does not always align with the mainstream, as I was head over heels for "Conan The Barbarian" and "The Thing" and "Blade Runner." And it was one of the first times I ever remember reading strange stories about production on a film, in this case reports of a bald Harrison Ford.

Read Full Post
<p>Saoirse Ronan</p>

Saoirse Ronan

Credit: AP Photo

Saoirse Ronan and Susanne Bier in line for (another) 'Mary Queen of Scots'

Elizabethan royalty porn is back in style

A couple of weeks ago, Kris and I cast an eye over a number of upcoming prestige films still seeking US distribution as they head into the fall festival season. One of the longer shots for awards consideration on that list was “MARY Queen of Scots” (no, I don’t know what the capitalization is about either), a French-made take on the life of the ill-fated 16th-century royal, in which the eponymous Mary Stuart is played by relative newcomer Camille Rutherford. It’s a role that landed Vanessa Redgrave a Best Actress Oscar nomination for 1971’s rather stodgy “Mary Queen of Scots,” and the Academy’s taste for British royalty hasn’t waned since.


Read Full Post

Is Netflix mainly responsible for doubling 'Breaking Bad's' ratings?

Is Netflix mainly responsible for doubling "Breaking Bad's" ratings?
Netflix didn't have this kind of impact last season. Could it be that viewers waited until the final season to catch up? PLUS: "Breaking Bad" fans are upset with iTunes for charging Season 5B as separate from Season 5A.

"Under the Dome" hits a season low amid Time Warner blackout

The CBS series is suffering from not being available to Time Warner customers in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas, yet CBS won the night anyway.

Watch the trailer for Frank Darabont's "Mob City"
The TNT drama, which was previously known as "L.A. Noir" and "Lost Angels," premieres Dec. 4.

Syfy celebrates "Heroes of Cosplay"
The reality show, premiering tonight, follows nine "costume players" as they travel to various Comic-Cons dressed as their favorite characters.

"Hard Knocks": Go behind the scenes of the HBO's NFL reality show
The NFL Films crew shoots about 300 hours of film for each week's 55-minute episode.

NBC to count down "TV’s Funniest of the Funniest"
The Play Center special will air Sept. 1.

Zooey Deschanel to examine her roots on "Who Do You Think You Are"

She's tonight subject on the TLC series.

Bob Odenkirk will appear in his new sketch show "The Birthday Boys"

The "Breaking Bad" star will be featured in every episode of the IFC show, which he is producing and which debuts Oct. 18.

Syfy to air New Zealand series "The Almighty Johnsons"
The drama (see trailer) revolves around four guys who inherit the power of Norse Gods.

Check out "Downton Abbey" Season 4 in pictures
Here are cast photos, including a group shot.

Greta Van Susteren calls on Fox to hire Jay Leno
The Fox News star thinks NBC is making a big mistake. "I think Fox Broadcast should sign him up and compete against his old network," she wrote on her blog.

"Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." taps a British actor

Ian Hart will recur next season in a yet-to-be-revealed role.

Read Full Post
Album Review: Luke Bryan's 'Crash My Party' seldom reaches top speed

Album Review: Luke Bryan's 'Crash My Party' seldom reaches top speed

Country superstar's latest stalls in mid-gear

Luke Bryan has made a career of being country’s polite party boy. He doesn’t have the dangerous edginess of an Eric Church or Jamey Johnson (or even of his good buddy, Jason Aldean), but he surely knows how to show you a good time (as evidenced on his “Spring Break” series of EPs), and possibly get you to shed your clothes while doing so.

On his new album, “Crash My Party,” out today, the reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year delivers another round of songs designed to show that he’s still the guy you want by your side, whether it’s to chug your beer or cry in it (and here, he does his fair share of crying). The songs are uniformly commercial and relatively risk free, but for Bryan fans, it will be a nice new chapter in a pleasingly familiar book, if not a particularly high-octane one. With his career riding a high on the back of this ACM award, it would have been nice if he’d taken a few risks, but that doesn’t seem to be what he or his fans want. Look for "Crash My Party" to bow atop the Billboard 200 and the Billboard Country Albums chart next week.

Here’s a track-by-track review:

“That’s My Kind of Night”:
  A straight-up, good time opener. As he does a lot, Bryan throws in all the country tropes: a truck, getting out into the country (he is the one guy that figures his little country cutie likes it “way out where the corn rows grow,” instead of downtown. He’s got a mixtape that includes country and hip-hop: “ A little Conway and a little T-Pain,” he sings. Despite (or perhaps because of) the lowest common denominator cookie cutter lyrics and his somewhat awkward delivery, the song is already soaring up the Billboard’s Country Airplay chart, no doubt due to the driving beat.  Grade: C

“Beer In The Headlights”: Country music provides cute word play in its titles better than anyone, and this song is no exception. This mid-tempo track delivers the same message as “That’s My Kind Of Night” —he’s alone with his girl out in the country, hanging out in or by his truck, and her beer is in the headlights—and yet he delivers it so much more convincingly here. His voice, which can be a little nasally, fits the melody much better. Grade: B

“Crash My Party”: After this "Spring Break" EPs and 2011 album, "Tanlines and Tailgates," it was understandable from the title alone that folks expected this tune, the first single and title track, to be an upbeat kicker. Instead, it’s a mid-tempo invitation to love, a less sensual, sweeter “Come Over.” His love is welcome anytime, anywhere because he knows she’s a better time than anything else he’s got going on. “This is a drop-everything, kind of thing, swing on by, i’ll pour you a drink, the door’s unlocked, I’ll leave on the lights...”  If a women sings it, sadly, it still can sound desperate. Here, it sounds like a beautifully open-ended invitation. Grade: B+

“Roller Coaster”:  Bryan is in the amusement park of love, and his lady is twisting him around like a roller coaster, keeping him on the edge of his seat, and not necessarily in a good way. It’s a potentially dark ride. Grade: B

“We Run This Town”:
Bryan takes a look back at his formative years in this wistful mid-tempo, guitar-driven track. “From crazy kids to dirt road kings/Oh, we didn’t know nothin’, but we knew everything,” he sings of those days when he and his buddies “thought we made the world go ‘round.”  Grade: B

“Drink A Beer”:
  Bryan does vulnerability well, no more so on “Crash This Party” than on “Drink A Beer.”  His friend has died and he has no answers. He sits on the edge of a pier, the one they used to sit on together, and drink a beer. Enhanced by spare production, the acoustic guitar ballad doesn’t try to be a tearjerker, and that’s part of its appeal. It just invites you to live in the moment of finding out bad news and being in shock and needing to just breathe. Grade: A-

“I See You”: Bryan, who co-wrote this spiky, jaunty track, returns to the bar, but in true fashion, is still stuck on the one girl who has dumped him. The bevy of beauties try to lure him onto the floor, but he can’t forget. Grade: B-

“Goodbye Girl”: Another mid-tempo track and another tune about a girl who has the ability to break his heart (though he never seems to crushed by anything). He’s given her the keys to his heart and even though she “scatter(s) in the wind just like a dandelion/reminding me again that you ain't ever mine for long,” he can’t be the one to pull the plug on the DOA romance. Emotionally, Bryan seems willing to take songs only so far and this is another example. Grade: B-

“Play It Again”: Bryan delivers the best sexual euphemism in this mid-tempo tale of meeting girl who he falls for on the spot. “Soon as I sat down, I was fallin’ in love/Tryin’ to pour a little sugar in her Dixie cup.”  I may be reading too much into this sweet tale of falling in love over a song and a dance. One of the best songs on the album. Grade: B+

“Blood Brothers”: The Dixie cups return, but this time he’s drinking “bad booze” out of them in this song, that like “We Run This Town,” looks back at an earlier time. This time the content is slightly edgier (as is the guitar), as Bryan recounts a rough-edged youth “We were young as we were dumb/when we piled in an old pile of junk/It was all-for-one and all for one/Bunch of outlaws without a gun.” Sadly, he can’t really sell the grittiness the song deserves.  Grade: C

“Out Like That”: He’s out with his girl in a truck again and he’s delivered songs like this on every track. His girl is driving him wild and he doesn’t want to hold back. They’re going to dance in the rain as the lights from his headlights capture the beauty of her face. A sure bet for a single and a likely No. 1. Slightly up-tempo rockers like this with this kind of theme are Bryan’s sweet spot. Grade: B+

“Shut It Down”: Another song with nice word play- this time build around how “any hay to make can wait for now” (literally), as this farmer and his wife go make hay while the sun shines figuratively. Who doesn’t love a guy with a farmer’s tan?  Grade: B

“Dirt Road Diary”: The second song on the set co-written by Bryan takes a seemingly autobiographical turn as he relives his youth, riding in a car with his dad and as he got older, reveling in “tan legs and some Dixieland delight.”  He seems to enjoy looking back a little on this album and the triptych of reminiscences serve him reasonably well. Grade: B


Read Full Post
"Toddlers & Tiaras"

 "Toddlers & Tiaras"

Credit: TLC

Watch: 'Toddlers & Tiaras' to bring back the crazy in September

The moms are just as mean this time around

Have you been yearning for some pint-sized drama and questionable parenting on your TV screen? Then rejoice, for TLC's "Toddlers & Tiaras" is retuning on Wed. Sept. 18 at 9:00 p.m. ET. 

As usual, each hour-long episode continues to feature pint-sized beauty queens and their "passionate" (read: insane) parents as they vie for the coveted crown at their local pageants. The show gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the lifestyles of these young competitors and their families as they prepare for and compete in each competition, ensuring these kids will someday have a vibrant future working a pole or asking, "Would you like fries with that"? 

Read Full Post

James Franco roasters include Bill Hader, Sarah Silverman, Jonah Hill

James Franco roasters include Bill Hader, Sarah Silverman, Jonah Hill

Also roasting Franco: Nick Kroll, Natasha Leggero and Roastmaster General Jeff Ross.

Oprah: I'm sorry racism incident "got blown up"

"I purposely did not mention the name of the store," Oprah said at the premiere of her new movie last night. "I'm sorry that I said it was Switzerland. I was just referencing it as an example of being in a place where people don't expect that you would be able to be there."

Stephen Colbert's Daft Punk appearance: What could've been
Colbert details how hard it was to nail down the electro-pop duo who refuse to speak, even proposing that he do a monologue while they just nodded their heads.

Jimmy Fallon talks to "Today" about his 5-year struggle to become a dad
The "Late Night" host also revealed the inspiration for his daughter's name Winnie -- Lake Winnipesaukee, where he got engaged.

Mischa Barton says no to an "O.C." reunion

"I think things have to feel right and it doesn't feel right," she says.

Thor meets "Arrested Development"
It's "Thorested Development."

"24" alum Leslie Hope joins FX's "The Strain"
She'll survive the outbreak in the Carlton Cuse drama.

Watch "Nashville's" Season 2 promo
The ABC drama returns Sept. 25 in all its "take your breath away glory."

"Glee" bringing back NeNe Leakes
Coach Roz will have a presence in Season 5. PLUS: Cory Monteith's possesssions moved out of his Hollywood apartment.

"Top Chef" returns Oct. 2

Watch the promo for the New Orleans season.

Has "Breaking Bad" become overanalyzed?
There has become a complete saturation of the "Breaking Bad" commentary market -- and it's taking the fun out of the show. PLUS: Which "Breaking Bad" myths did "MythBusters" bust?

"Teen Mom 2's" Jenelle Evans smiles in her mugshot

The 21-year-old was sentenced to 48 hours in jail after failing a drug test.

Bryan Fuller's "High Moon" casts its first stars
The moon-set Syfy series will feature Chris Diamantopoulos and Jake Sandvig.

Read Full Post
<p>Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Aaron Taylor-Johnson made their best pitches for good and evil when we sat down with them to talk about their new film 'Kick-Ass 2'</p>

Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Aaron Taylor-Johnson made their best pitches for good and evil when we sat down with them to talk about their new film 'Kick-Ass 2'

Credit: HitFix

We ask Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chris Mintz-Plasse to win us over to their side for 'Kick-Ass 2'

Who makes the better case here? Good or evil?

Between my time on set, my panel moderating duties at Comic-Con, and a recent press day for "Kick-Ass 2" in New York, I feel like I've had a pretty good chance to ask the three main stars of the movie any and every thing I wanted to.

I decided to try something different when I sat down with Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. If you somehow don't know the name of the character Mintz-Plasse is playing in the sequel to the cult hit "Kick-Ass," I should warn you that there's almost no way for this interview to be 100% safe for work. Even beeped, I think you'll get the idea.

Of the three main returning cast members, I think Mintz-Plasse is the one who really had to push into a whole new direction here. He's growing as an actor these days, and a lot of it just comes from experience. He has an idea of what he wants from his work now, and what he thinks he brings to something, and he seems happy to demolish any sort of niche that people want to put him in as an actor.

Read Full Post
<p>Dario Marianelli at the 2007 Academy Awards.</p>

Dario Marianelli at the 2007 Academy Awards.

Credit: AP Photo

BAFTA to spotlight work of Dario Marianelli and George Fenton

The pair selected for this year's Conversations with Screen Composers series

Last year, BAFTA inaugurated its Conversations with Screen Composers series, which proved a popular one: it's always nice to see industry groups highlighting its artists outside an awards context, particularly in a forum that's open to the public. Rachel Portman, the first woman to win a scoring Oscar, was the most prominent of three composers whose work was discussed and performed in a showcase at London's iconic Royal Albert Hall. The format was successful enough that it's being repeated this year with two significant film composers: Dario Marianelli and George Fenton.

Read Full Post

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 196

Dan and Alan talk 'Breaking Bad,' 'Orange Is The New Black,' 'The Killing' and more


Happy Monday, Boys & Girls.
Last week? Lots of new shows to review.
This week? No new shows to review.
So we caught up on the end of the "Killing" season, which we skipped last week. And I finished "Orange Is The New Black," so we discussed the full season of that. 
And, finally, we did the first "Breaking Bad" discussion of the season, followed by our Summer Pilot Rewatch, the marvelous "The Wonder Years."
Next week? It could be a thin week, so send questions!
And we're doing a Pilot Rewatch Double from J.J. Abrams: "Felicity" and "Alias."
Today's breakdown:
Listener Mail - TV recruiting Twitter writers (00:01:20 - 00:12:05)
Listener Mail - "The Good Wife" flaws (00:12:10 - 00:22:35)
"The Killing" (00:23:25 - 00:40:25)
"Orange Is The New Black" (00:40:30 - 00:58:00)
"Breaking Bad" (00:58:05 - 01:24:10)
Summer Pilot Rewatch - "The Wonder Years" (01:24:30 - 01:39:00)

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.



Read Full Post