Latest Blog Posts

"The Real Housewives of New Jersey"

 "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" 

Credit: Bravo

'Real Housewives of New Jersey': Do you think Melissa cheated?

Jan and Kim D. spread a nasty rumor about Melissa

In theory, all should be calm among the New Jersey housewives. Teresa has pitched almost everyone on the idea of going on some sort of healing retreat so she and her brother Joe can stop throwing things at one another, so now is the time for Bikram yoga and soothing herbal teas and meditation, right? Stop laughing! Come on, I can't hear myself think over all that cackling. 

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<p>Rinko Kikuchi and Idris Elba are just two of the people who must conquer their own fears so they can battle giant monsters threatening mankind in 'Pacific Rim'</p>

Rinko Kikuchi and Idris Elba are just two of the people who must conquer their own fears so they can battle giant monsters threatening mankind in 'Pacific Rim'

Credit: Warner Bros

Review: Guillermo Del Toro's 'Pacific Rim' is an eccentric and emotional thrill

Character is front and center even as robots kick the hell out of giant monsters

There are many kinds of movies that I love.

I'm always baffled by people who really only seem to have one genre of film or one style of film that they like, because to me, film is all about variety. If you browse through my shelves full of movies or the books full of DVDs and you try to figure out some system by which they're ordered, you'll go crazy. I intentionally do not alphabetize my films or my discs, and I don't group them by genre. I just add titles as they show up, putting them on the stacks or filing them in the books, and what looks like random chaos to anyone else is, to me, the purest expression of the way I ingest movies. I see no real tangible difference between the pleasures I get from "Pacific Rim" and the pleasures I get from something like "Before Midnight" or "Stories We Tell." To me, film is all about voice. You find the right voice to tell me your story, and I'll pretty much follow you anywhere.

And if there is anything that Guillermo Del Toro has, it is voice.

We have reached an age where the truly fantastic has become commonplace. We look at images in movies today that would baffle people from 100 years ago, images that would be considered sorcery 500 years ago, and we are blase about them. We accept the incredible as an ordinary part of filmgoing these days, and to some degree, it has ruined us. When the amazing becomes routine, what is left to give us that sense of wonder?

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CBS finally airs 'Big Brother' racism


CBS finally airs "Big Brother" racism
One housemate, Aaryn Gries, was exposed on Sunday's show for her racist comments, with CBS broadcasting an entire montage of her ugly words. PLUS: Employer distances itself from "Big Brother" racism.


James Franco joining the "Veronica Mars" film?

There's a rumor he'll play himself.


Family of 9/11 firefighter furious at "Princesses: Long Island"

The Bravo reality show aired a segment of one of its stars filming a modeling shoot at the statue of a fallen 9/11 firefighter. The model was directed to hold up a beer bottle to the statue's lips, before kissing it.


Nigella Lawson's husband is filing for divorce

Charles Saatchi is upset that his TV chef wife didn't defend him in wake of choking allegations.


Chris Pratt is totally ripped
The "Parks and Rec" star posted a new, buff pic of himself, which prompted Rob Lowe to tweet: "You CANNOT return to Pawnee like that!"


Nickelodeon teams with Birds Eye to promote vegetables
The cable network is trying to promote healthier eating.


Ion picks up "Burn Notice" and "White Collar" reruns
They'll join USA series "Psych" and "Monk" that already are shown on Ion.


Elisha Cuthbert weds
The 30-year-old former "Happy Endings" star married her NHL boyfriend on Saturday.


Emmy Rossum splits with her "Shameless" co-star

She and Tyler Jacob Moore are no longer dating after two years together.


"Full House" stars hang with New Kids on the Block

It's a '90s nostalgia trip.

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<p>&quot;The Tomorrow People&quot;</p>

"The Tomorrow People"

Credit: The CW

Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'The Tomorrow People'

A late change in course my help Robbie Amell's superpowered drama

[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:"The Tomorrow People" (The CW)
Airs:Wednesdays at 9 p.m.
The Pitch:You know "Heroes," "Alphas," "Misfits," "Chuck," "Chloe King," "Reaper," "Jake 2.0," or any of the dozens of TV shows and movies in recent years about ordinary people who suddenly discover they have (or are given) extraordinary abilities? Has The CW ever had one? Well, other than "Reaper."  Bingo! Now, with an Amell! [The original British series isn't on my radar, unfortunately.]
Quick Response: It's really hard to settle in and enjoy the pilot for "The Tomorrow People," because every single solitary beat in the first 30 minutes feels like the latest iteration of a seemingly endless string of superhero origin stories on the big and small screen. The search for any sign of freshness is futile, so you're left looking for things that are at least well handled or handled with any sort of new twist and even that's hard, especially since pilot director Danny Cannon may have accidentally taken his shot-list and visual template from "Nikita" to the "Tomorrow People" set. Even the production design for the various lairs looks like various rejected, or possibly accepted, concepts for Division. And then, when you're looking for something that doesn't feel like straight-up cloning, you're given a leading man who literally comes from a common genetic pool with "Arrow" star Stephen Amell. And it isn't that Robbie Amell is bad, but his similarities to his cousin keep producing moments of frustrating deja vu, especially when the script finds a way to get him out of his shirt multiple times in the first five minutes. Like I said, Robbie Amell isn't a bad actor, but he's ridiculous casting in this role, both because he looks much, much, much too old to be pretending he's a high school student, but also because there's zero excitement in watching somebody with the muscles of a model or a professional athlete discover he might be strong. Guess what? There's no way this character looks the way he does without spending a awful lot of time in the gym, so when he discovers he can shoot CGI blur from his fingertips, it's just another thing he has going for him, not a 180 reverse of his life. It's predictable CW casting and it undermines the show. They needed to find a Bret Harison or a Zachary Levi or a Chris Gorham or anybody who couldn't, again literally, fit into a mold established by another CW star. Aaron Yoo, good in a supporting role here, would have been more interesting lead casting, but... Yeah. But there were things I liked in the last 15 minutes. I like that Mark Pellegrino's character, while obviously intended as the villain, comes across as fairly reasonable and that that character's rational behavior instigates plausible conflict for the hero and that that plausible conflict may eventually spin the show off in a direction which is still derivative -- I'd say which shows the twist is borrowing from, but then you'd feel like you'd seen ever second of "Tomorrow People" previously -- but at least feels derivative of different things, rather than every one of the shows I listed in the Pitch. The end of the show gave me hope that "Tomorrow People" could could at least offer the occasional detour from the norm.
Desire To Watch Again: This is a time slot that will only work for me if I will myself to jettison "The X Factor." I'm curious based on the end of the episode and that curiosity might make me give this one another few episodes. I honestly give nearly everything on The CW at least a handful of episodes unless they're unwatchable like "Beauty and the Beast." So this'll probably get more episodes as well. On a broader level, this isn't a show that's going to bring anybody new to The CW.

 

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

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<p>Christopher Guest and Nina Conti in &quot;Family Tree.&quot;</p>

Christopher Guest and Nina Conti in "Family Tree."

Credit: HBO

Season finale review: 'Family Tree' - 'Cowboys'

Tom's stay in California appears to come to an end; should the HBO comedy continue?

A quick review of the "Family Tree" season finale coming up just as soon as I steal a toy from a kids charity...

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"True Blood"

 "True Blood"

Credit: HBO

'True Blood': Has Warlow been found 'At Last'?

Sookie makes a discovery, Bill doesn't, and Sam is on the run

While this week's episode of "True Blood" wasn't quite as gripping as last week's, the good news is that storylines were moved forward, Jason determined he wasn't gay (like that was ever a question for anyone but him), and crucial details were revealed. More importantly, though this episode was definitely about laying down groundwork for the future instead of big blow-ups, I think (or at least hope) that what we know thus far indicates some mighty challenges and emotional turmoil ahead if the odds are ever in our favor (or the writers don't dodge some potentially tricky material). Spoilers ahead, so stop reading right about... now if you haven't seen it. 

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<p>Michael C. Hall and Charlotte Rampling in &quot;Dexter.&quot;</p>

Michael C. Hall and Charlotte Rampling in "Dexter."

Credit: Showtime

Review: 'Dexter' - 'Every Silver Lining...'

Dexter gets to know Dr. Vogel, while Deb goes to another dark place

A quick review of tonight's "Dexter" coming up just as soon as I give you an electrolyte replenishment formula...

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"Big Brother"

 "Big Brother"

Credit: CBS

'Big Brother' recap: Racism is revealed and two go on the block

CBS airs footage of one of the hamsters making crude jokes

I was initially reluctant to jump on the "Big Brother" hater train. When cameras are following you around 24/7, it's almost guaranteed you're going to be caught saying something stupid. When you're under constant stress and your "job" is essentially stabbing other people in the back, you're also likely to say something stupid and possibly hateful. I can even see how something said sarcastically could be taken literally. Given that the hamsters are mostly stupid kids, I hate to judge too quickly (reality TV housewives, though, are a different matter). 

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"Naked & Afraid"

 "Naked & Afraid"

Credit: Discovery

'Naked & Afraid': The wildest new reality show you need to watch

No clothes, no food, no water, no shoes - and no escape

When I heard the premise of "Naked & Afraid" (Sun. at 10:00 p.m. on Discovery), I thought it was just an extreme take on "Survivor." Each week, two people (a man and a woman) are shipped off to an exotic locale. Once there, they strip down, meet one another for the first time, and try to survive without food, water, tools, fire or anything useful (with the exception of one personal item each) for 21 days. Sort of like Adam and Eve if there were no apples, the snakes were poisonous and the Garden of Eden was filled with thorns and hungry hyenas. 

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<p>CBS' &quot;Hostages&quot;</p>

CBS' "Hostages"

Credit: CBS

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

Toni Collette and Dylan McDermott can't make this seem fresh

[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:"Hostages" (CBS)
Airs:Mondays at 10 p.m.
The Pitch:It's "The Mob Doctor" with slightly higher stakes!
Quick Response: Leave aside the higher production values and more prestigious cast that come with the CBS pedigree and all "Hostages" is is a glorified version of FOX's "The Mob Doctor," only with a better title and uppity claims of being a "limited" series or somesuch. ["Mob Doctor" was pretty limited itself. FOX should have advertised it that way.] Doctor with high-profile patient is squeezed to violate that whole "Do no harm" ethos [Minus the NBC split-personality thing], only to respond with stubbornness and morality or whatever. The presumption is that you'll actually care about the doctor's dilemma in this case both because she's played by Toni Collette and because her patient is the President of the United States rather than some mob stooge. It's a big assumption, because other than casting Tony winner (and Nate Archibald grandfather) James Naughton, no effort was put into making the President even a semi-character, so it merely theoretically seems like it'd be better not to kill him. In any case, every second of the "Hostages" pilot is familiar and the execution is proficient, but perfunctory. Writer-director Jeffrey Nachmanoff keeps the pilot chugging along, but you can almost sense him checking off boxes as he goes along: Opening action! Hostage situation! Twist! Demand! Daughter's got a secret! Son's got a secret! Husband's got a secret! Twist! Elongating cliffhanger! There's no room for anything to breathe and the only reason you're going to care about anything is, "Because you're inherently supposed to." Yes, it's bad to take a family hostage and it's bad to plot to kill the president, but nothing in the "Hostages" pilot makes me invest in the characters or situations beyond that. I vaguely care about the doctor because Toni Collette makes me vaguely care about things. I'm vaguely interested in what Dylan McDermott is doing, because Dylan McDermott makes me vaguely interested in things (even "Dark Blue" for a couple minutes). I don't care about either of the teenage characters, because "Hostages" has doubled down on its obligatorily annoying teenage characters whose whining may or may not be designed to make you sympathize with the hostage takers. And the end of the episode just screams "24"-style wheel-spinning. CBS is treating this like some sort of programming revolution, but I watched "The Nine" and "Vanished" and "Kidnapped." It's easy to do the pilot for this kind of thing. It's harder to make it a network series. And I'd say this is worse than the pilot for "The Nine" and "Kidnapped" at the very least. [And that's not getting into comparable new shows like "Crisis" and "The Blacklist" yet.]
Desire To Watch Again: I have enough curiosity for one more episode. Either it breaks out of its programmatic rut and gives me something to care about or I check out. Fast I'm content to watch a Toni Collette/Dylan McDermott thriller. But I'm also content to skip it entirely, especially since it's "limited." Nothing in the destination promised by the pilot is mandatory enough for me to lock in for three episodes yet, much less 13 or 15.

 

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

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<p>Justin Timberlake</p>

Justin Timberlake

Credit: Frank Micelotta/AP

Music Power Rankings: Justin Timberlake and Taylor Swift lead this week's tally

Jay-Z and Macklemore also make the list

1. Justin Timberlake: “The 20/20 Experience” is the top-selling album of 2013. In hindsight, it’s sold more than 2.3 million copies.

2. Taylor Swift:
Swift dominated Billboard’s fan-voted mid-year music awards poll, with fans awarding her First-Half MVP, favorite Billboard 200 No. 1 album and favorite live show. John Mayer, Joe Jonas, and Harry Styles abstained from voting.

3. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: “Thrift Shop” is the best-selling single of 2013. TIme to go pop some tags.

4. Jay-Z: Billboard decides not to count sales of the Samsung-distributed “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” but the RIAA has no such issue, declaring the title platinum the day of its release.

5. Rolling Stones: The veteran group’s Glastonbury Festival set drew a record-setting 100,000, and another 2.5 million viewers on BBC. Just think how they’ll celebrate their 100th anniversary!

6. Jennifer Lopez: The diva comes under fire after playing for the head of Turkmenistan, whose record on human rights is a bit dubious. Let’s hope she cashed the check already.

7. Wale: The rapper scores his first No. 1 album. And no, his name is not pronounced “whale.”

8. Kanye West: Sales of  “Yeezus” drop 80% in its first week, giving the album the second largest drop for a No. 1 album in more than a year. Hey, at least Lou Reed likes it.

9. Apple: The company patents the name iWatch and, boy, does it look good. You don’t have to wear your heart on your sleeve, but be prepared to wear your music on your wrist. 

10. Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger: Those crazy Canadians tie the knot. Can little Sk8ter bois be far behind? 




 

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"The Bachelorette"

 "The Bachelorette"

Credit: ABC

Reality TV Roundup: 'Big Brother,' 'SYTYCD,' 'Real Housewives' and more

It's been a busy week, so get all your reality news here, now

Welcome to Reality TV Roundup -- a quick look at some of the reality TV-centric stories that have recently popped up across the fine, old Interwebs. Click away, my couch potato friends. But before you do...

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! One more time: SPOILER ALERT. If you watch any competition shows, the latest elimination for each show is probably revealed in the text below. The hope is that, if you missed this week's program and would rather clear out your DVR than watch the episode, you can get a quick hit here. But don't come crying to me if you find out something you didn't want to know. You've been warned. Also note: lots of non-competition reality info lurks below, too. 

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