Latest Blog Posts

<p>Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings in &quot;The Americans.&quot;</p>

Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings in "The Americans."

Credit: FX

Review: 'The Americans' - 'Covert War'

Elizabeth seeks revenge and Stan is confronted by his wife

A review of tonight's "The Americans" coming up just as soon as I make insurance...

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<p>Jane Levy as Tessa in the &quot;Suburgatory&quot;&nbsp;finale.</p>

Jane Levy as Tessa in the "Suburgatory" finale.

Credit: ABC

Season finale review: 'Suburgatory' - 'Apocalypse Meow/Stray Dog'

Tessa reacts poorly to news of Dallas and George's plan to move in together

A review of the two-part "Suburgatory" season finale coming up just as soon as my troubles melt away like so much provolone...

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<p>Wait, which one is Agent J and which one is Agent K? And since when is Rip Torn so hot?</p>

Wait, which one is Agent J and which one is Agent K? And since when is Rip Torn so hot?

Credit: Universal Pictures

'R.I.P.D' trailer plays up the buddy chemistry between Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds

A new riff on the 'Ghostbusters' formula looks promising

It's amazing that we are almost 30 years out from the release of "Ghostbusters," and we're still feeling the ripples from its detonation in the heart of mainstream culture even now.

Frankly, I'm amazed that we haven't seen more films cut from that same basic template. They are expensive, sure, and they're not easy to get right, but it's such a tempting formula. I honestly thought "Men In Black" had crapped out, but the third film wrung some surprising joys out of it. Even so, it seems like that particular franchise is so expensive at this point that Sony can't really afford to do more of them.

Enter "R.I.P.D.", ready and willing to take its place, and based on this first trailer, it seems like a very confident, slick riff on the basic ideas. Ryan Reynolds is the SWAT officer who is killed in the line of duty and immediately recruited into the Rest In Peace Department, the law enforcement of the afterlife, made up of the greatest dead lawmen from throughout history, all working to keep unruly spirits in line.

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Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

P!nk captures her fourth Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 with 'Just Give Me A Reason'

Who else makes big moves in the top 10?

P!nk lands her fourth song at No. 1 as she and fun.’s Nate Ruess take “Just Give Me A Reason” to the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

The track has catapulted up the chart, notching big gains each week since its debut xx weeks ago. It’s P!nk’s first chart topper since “Raise Your Glass” in December 2010.

“Reason” replaces Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man” out of the pole position after just one week. The track drops to No. 3.

Looking at the rest of the top 5, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s former chart topper, “Thrift Shop” is No. 2; Rihanna’s “Stay” featuring Mikky Ekko, does just that at No. 4 and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis can also claim the No. 5 spot with “Can’t Hold Us, featuring Ray Dalton, according to Billboard.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis aren’t the only act with two songs in the top 10: Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie,” with Jay-Z,  falls one to No. 6, and is followed by Timberlake’s “Mirrors,” which shines its way up five spots to No. 7.

Pitbull’s “Feel This Moment,” featuring Christina Aguilera, rises 10-8, Drake’s “Started From The Bottom” stays at No. 9 and Demi Lovato’s “Heart Attack” pumps its way 15-10.

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<p>The &quot;American Idol&quot; Top 5</p>

The "American Idol" Top 5

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - Top 5: Divas & Songs From The Year You Were Born Night

The first all-female Top 5 does double-duty on Wednesday

The voting order may have been a little strange, but "American Idol" ultimately ended up with what I would argue was the correct Top 5. In the auditions and sudden death rounds, the judges pretty clearly decided this was going to be a year for a female winner and the deck was stacked, but just because the deck was stacked didn't mean that America wouldn't find some way to screw things up.

And guess what? We're all good, America. Did Lazaro Arbos last a month longer than he should have? Absolutely. Should Curtis Finch Jr. have stuck around for a few more weeks? Probably. Would I tolerate an argument that Burnell Taylor *maybe* might have deserved Janelle Arthur's Top 5 place? Yeah, I guess so. 

But here we are. We have five talented women remaining on "American Idol." And that's not bad.

I've heard a bunch of rumors regarding tonight's themes and my current headline just reflects the rumor I heard most recently. If Ryan Seacrest starts the show by saying something different, I'll change it.

Click through for the full recap!

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M83 plus the soundtrack to 'Oblivion' don't quite add up

M83 plus the soundtrack to 'Oblivion' don't quite add up

Anthony Gonzalez should try, try again, though

I came out of "Oblivion" thoroughly entertained, though I think the film had a lot of flaws. It's the magical in-between of not flat-out disliking the movie, but feeling like my general values in plot and character were compromised for the sake of indulging in something lavishly beautiful. I wanted a plot, or a core, and it ended up being a film that felt only vaguely human and incredibly staged.

That's might also be the way I'd describe how I felt about Anthony Gonzalez and Joe Trapanese's score for "Oblivion," with partial credit going to Gonzalez' performing name M83. The estimated budget for "Oblivion" was $120 million, so you'd expect a musical backing just as big. But big doesn't have to mean bludgeoning, even if it's a clobbering in mystical, iPod-white, bleating drums and slick, metered electronica.

This is not to say M83's trademark is nuance and the movie didn't any room for any. I'm partial to Gonzalez' ability to heighten the mundane. I think Trapanese's work with Daft Punk on Joseph Kosinski's other recent sci-fi powerhouse "Tron Legacy" actually took that dance duo's strengths and made them into something specifically Hollywood, and in that case I liked it. And "Oblivion" had many opportunities to have a cool-headed, surgical moments with their thoughts, like when Tom Cruise's Jack gazed out at the Earth's altered landscape beside a potted plant, or when Andrea Riseborough's Victoria indulges in romantic, pool-bound foreplay, or when Jack prepares to meet his enemy.

In a recent interview with Pitchfork, Gonzalez revealed that the end-result was "frustrating," becoming a cooks-and-kitchen problem.

"They needed something bigger, more orchestral; it was hard for me to be told that my music was too indie for the film. I was pissed most of the time, but this is how it works. It's like, 'Take it or leave it.' And I took it," Gonzalez told the site.

The scale of the film, it seems, interfered with what M83 naturally does, which made it a little curious why Universal would tap him in the first place (the reach of M83's "Midnight City" makes this less curious: youth vote). Like Daft Punk, he hadn't extensive experience with arranging orchestras. The finished product didn't sound refreshingly updated on his sound, but more like a mash of Hans Zimmer's "Inception," "Tron" and even Don Davis' "Matrix" scores, films themselves that add to "Oblivion's" problems with redundancy. Maybe not a problem for an over-the-top script and exponentially outstanding visual effects, except that I hear no personality from Gonzalez and Trapanese combined.

Clint Mansell found this balance of organic orchestral scale and electronic sensuality with "Pi" and, ahem, "Moon." Air worked their wares perfectly with "Virgin Suicides," and Chemical Brothers in terrifically buoyant "Hanna." Thing is, these were made for a fraction of a $120 million budgets.

"I'm stressed out because I know people are going to hate the soundtrack so much because it's different," he continued. (Yeah, but different from what?) "People are going to expect a new album from M83, and that's not the case. But, I'm also super proud of it because Joe Trapanese and I worked so hard on it to make everybody happy at the studio."

And that's the hitch: as M83, he plays for himself, he plays for his fans. For $120 million budget movie, his audience is the studio. Or at least that's how it sounds, when you take all the damn reverb off and turn the choir down and give the horns section a break.

Gonzalez will get another shot, and play with scale again: he's scoring a small French film for his older brother next. Hopefully that will suit him better.

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<p>Emma Watson in &quot;The Bling Ring.&quot;</p>

Emma Watson in "The Bling Ring."

Credit: A24

Sofia Coppola's 'Bling Ring' to open Un Certain Regard at Cannes, as full lineup looms

Thomas Vinterberg tapped to head Un Certain Regard jury

It's practically Christmas Eve in the cinephile realm today, as we await tomorrow morning's unveiling of the full Cannes Film Festival lineup -- the press conference begins at 11am in Paris, or 2am PST -- with varying degrees of impatience. Some are so eager they'll go so far as forging a "leaked" lineup, but we'll get to that in a bit.

But first, with "The Great Gatsby" and "Zulu" confirmed as the festival's opener and closer, respectively, a third feature has been formally announced as part of the Official Selection: Sofia Coppola's "The Bling Ring."

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<p>It's easy to win an argument when your hat is staring at your opponent.</p>

It's easy to win an argument when your hat is staring at your opponent.

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

The final 'Lone Ranger' trailer goes heavy on the myth and Johnny Depp

It's an Old West Batman that loves to smash up trains

Yep. That's a Gore Verbinski movie.

In the first weekly installation of our countdown to summer (you can see that here), I picked "The Lone Ranger" to write about because I just plain like the way Verbinski does what he does. I think sometimes it's that easy when it comes to this type of huge-canvass filmmaking. I've certainly had directors whose work did nothing for me who I've realized early on don't share any particular aesthetic common ground with me. And I've also seen plenty of filmmakers who prove early on that whatever secret version of film language they're speaking, it affects me, and I'm onboard, whatever the story or subject.

Verbinski shoots action I enjoy watching. I still think his most inspired moments came in "Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," but there are things he does in the third "Pirates" and in "Rango" that are just preposterous, fun and frantic and impeccably staged. He is able to put all these things in motion and then catch them in the perfect way, and it's a gift that should not be discounted. Not everyone's capable of it, no matter what budget or support you give them.

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Listen to De La Soul's new song 'Get Away,' a comeback homage to Wu-Tang

Listen to De La Soul's new song 'Get Away,' a comeback homage to Wu-Tang

Wu meets weak MCs for a villainous re-entry

Irony included, De La Soul sampled Wu-Tang Clan's "Intro" to reintroduce themselves to the masses on new song "Get Away." As previously reported, it's the first time since 2004 that Kelvin Mercer (aka Posdnuos), David "Dave" Jolicoeur (aka Trugoy) and Vincent "Maseo" Mason all showed up in the same place at the same time to making an album, marking this tune a bonafide turn at a comeback.

The legendary hip-hop trio get dark on this “Get Away (feat. the Spirit of the Wu),” a good-will return to music-making in an uncharacteristic villainous tone. As the crew's DJ says, it takes square aim at today's watered-down MCs.

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<p>Nora Ephron</p>

Nora Ephron

Credit: AP Photo/Charles Sykes

Tribeca Film Festival introduces Nora Ephron Prize for female filmmakers

$25,000 prize will go to filmmaker who best embodies the spirit of Ephron

Nearly a year on from Nora Ephron's death, the caustic New York-based writer and filmmaker is still very much on the collective mind of her home city. Ephron's final play, "Lucky Guy" -- which Kris described as "perhaps the best thing [she] ever wrote" in his extensive appreciation last month -- is currently one of the hottest tickets on Broadway. Meanwhile, the Tribeca Film Festival, which kicks off today, is doing its own bit to honor her cinematic legacy.

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<p>Florence and the Machine at the 2012 Austin City Limits Festival.&nbsp;</p>

Florence and the Machine at the 2012 Austin City Limits Festival. 

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Florence + The Machine's new song for 'The Great Gatsby' in full

Hear snippets of the other songs on the Jay-Z-curated soundtrack

If someone has to give Daisy Buchanan a musical voice, I’m not sure I’d choose Florence + The Machine for the gig, given “The Great Gatsby’s” quintessential Americanism, but the British group certainly brings Daisy’s intensity on  “Over The Love.”

[More after the jump...]

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Jeremy Sisto in "Suburgatory"

 Jeremy Sisto in "Suburgatory"

Credit: ABC

Interview: Jeremy Sisto talks 'Suburgatory,' being wacky and indie film

The on-screen and off-screen nice guy talks tone, Tessa

Jeremy Sisto seems to be one of those genuinely nice, normal guys who, while common in the real world, are like ridiculously rare in Hollywood. So it's fitting that he's been playing nice, normal George on "Suburgatory," which has a two-part season finale tonight (Wed. April 17 at 8:00 p.m.). A while back I had a chance to visit the set and talk to Sisto about the show, George's relationships with Tessa and Dallas, and why he's looking forward to playing something other than George for a while. 

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