Latest Blog Posts

<p>Ben Whishaw in &quot;Cloud Atlas.&quot;</p>

Ben Whishaw in "Cloud Atlas."

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

'Cloud Atlas' leads nominees for German Academy Awards

'Lore' and 'Oh Boy' also feature prominently

I know there are a number of you out there who feel that Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis' brave, unruly stab at "Cloud Atlas" never get the recognition it deserved this past awards season. If it's any consolation, however, the Germans have shown it some respect. The German-American co-production leads the nominees for this year's German Academy Awards with nine nods, including Best Film -- though the bulk of them, understandably enough, come in the craft categories.

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<p>Tracy Spiridakos as Charlie in &quot;Revolution.&quot;</p>

Tracy Spiridakos as Charlie in "Revolution."

Credit: NBC

Review: 'Revolution' returns, hoping to turn the lights back on at NBC

Can the sci-fi drama and 'The Voice' pull NBC out of last place again?

In the narration that begins most episodes of "Revolution," the hit NBC drama about a future dystopia where electricity has ceased to function, the show's hero Miles Matheson (Billy Burke) tells the audience, "We still don't know why the power went out, but we're hopeful that someone will come and light the way."

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<p>Daniel Craig in &quot;Skyfall.&quot;</p>

Daniel Craig in "Skyfall."

Credit: Sony Pictures

'Skyfall' wins big at Empire Awards as Helen Mirren sticks up for the ladies

More gold for Jennifer Lawrence, while Martin Freeman beats Daniel Day-Lewis

There was a time, not too long ago, when the Oscars would have taken place on this past weekend. With the season having been mercifully shortened, however, it's left to Britain's Empire Awards, as voted by readers of the eponymous movie magazine, to put a bow on things -- and with Jameson as their chief sponsor, they make more of a party of it than most.

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"The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

 "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

Credit: Bravo

'Real Housewives of Atlanta' recap: Did Kenya or Phaedra win the workout war?

Plus, Greg asks NeNe for a second chance and Porsha seeks mental help

We are right on the cusp of the season finale of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," and thus some important story lines are getting wrapped up. Or unraveled, take your pick. This week, the matter of the Kenya vs. Phaedra workout video war heats up, although a quick look at Amazon suggests exactly who might have won this skirmish, at least in terms of sales. Hey, on this show, dollahs make them hollah. Wait, that's Honey Boo Boo. But hey, same idea. 

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'Excuse me, stewardess, but I'm hungry and was wondering if I could get another bag of ohmygodwhatisthatandhowdiditgetonthisplane?!'
'Excuse me, stewardess, but I'm hungry and was wondering if I could get another bag of ohmygodwhatisthatandhowdiditgetonthisplane?!'
Credit: Paramount Pictures

Brad Pitt masters his dumbfounded stare for the last 'World War Z' trailer

'Daddy, what's martial law?'

I'm starting to get the feeling that the people who are going to like "World War Z" the most are the people that are already familiar with "World War Z" because they read the book and loved it.

Personally, I'm not sure what to make of these trailers. It's odd that they refuse to say the word "zombie" anywhere, especially since not every audience is going to get the title's meaning right away. It's also odd that we have yet to see a long sustained shot of what a zombie actually looks like in the film.

Instead, we're looking at lots and lots of CGI figures swarming like ants, and a buttload of Brad Pitt reaction shots. I'm not even sure if Pitt's character has the same job in this version of the story as he does in the book, because this feels more like the war against these things is in full-swing. In the book, you get an oral history from a number of different perspectives, but it feels like the world of the novel is starting to heal itself. Here, we're obviously still at the start of everything, and it's more of a "find a cure" ticking clock with Pitt's character right at the heart of it.

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<p>Winnie and Pam make a new friend on &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Winnie and Pam make a new friend on "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'Scorpion King Hunter'

After an apology, the teams head to Africa
I guess we might as well get this out of the way up-front, since there's virtually nothing worth discussing from Sunday's (March 24) installment of "The Amazing Race":
Sunday's hour began with a rather lengthy narrated apology for last week's Leg, directed specifically at veterans and anybody else offended by the episode, which took place in Hanoi and included both an extended challenge built around a Communist anthem, as well as a key route marker at a monument built around a downed B-52. The apology referred to the show at "insensitive" and was probably sufficiently self-flaggelatory to placate some of the outraged viewers (though not the commenters who posted on my recap and ratings posts last week vowing never to watch again).
Here's the thing: I understand completely why certain people were disturbed and pissed off about the scenes. Totally. I think that a lot of the vitriol that was spewed on Fox News was over-the-top, but that's par for the course. If you want to say that last week's episode was insensitive? I wouldn't dare quibble. If you want to say that CBS and the show are un-American and deserve punishment? Well, yeah. I can't go that far with you.
Because I watch the show, I know this is what "The Amazing Race" does. If the show is in a country that has a particular relationship with the United States, that relationship is acknowledged, even if it's not pretty. The most obvious examples have involved African countries, where the slave trade has been specifically addressed. But it's really not uncommon. So I wasn't surprised that "The Amazing Race" didn't shy from the Vietnam War when the teams went through Vietnam. Pretending that racing through Vietnam is identical to racing through Bali would be disingenuous and not the way "The Amazing Race" operates. The show is about world citizenship and the Vietnam War is a fair part of the discussion to a group of Americans racing around Vietnam. It just is. But could it have been addressed in a different way? Well, yes. Absolutely.
My question: The "Amazing Race" producers planned, shot and edited those sequences. CBS must have known where the show was going and somebody at some point must have watched the episode. Could the "Amazing Race" producers and CBS *seriously* have been taken by surprise that some people were uncomfortable? Were they relieved when it took Fox News two or three days to get pissed off? Or were they shocked that anybody got pissed off at all? So either they were oblivious that anybody could be offended or else they were too spineless to either stand by the show's choices or to attempt to explain the show's reasoning and intellectual strategy. To my mind, an apology-with-explanation would have been justified and educational, rather than just a blanket kowtow. "Here's why we did what we did. Here's why we understand we could have done it better." If the intent wasn't malicious -- and I don't believe the intent was malicious -- own the intent.
I just suspect that "The Amazing Race" is so acclaimed and over-honored that either it's immune to CBS oversight or there's a commonly held assumption that whatever "The Amazing Race" does will be worshipped, even when the show picks at one of the rawest wounds in semi-recent American history.
Anyway... they apologized. And that was the most interesting part of Sunday's episode. And the apology was over with 59 minutes to go.
A few more words after the break...
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<p>Michael Rooker as Merle in &quot;The Walking Dead.&quot;</p>

Michael Rooker as Merle in "The Walking Dead."

Credit: AMC

Review: 'The Walking Dead' - 'This Sorrowful Life'

Merle tries to do Rick's dirty work, while Glen gets Maggie some jewelry

A review of tonight's "The Walking Dead" coming up just as soon as I crank up some Motorhead...

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<p>Bradley Whitford and William H. Macy on &quot;Shameless.&quot;</p>

Bradley Whitford and William H. Macy on "Shameless."

Credit: Showtime

Review: 'Shameless' - 'Civil Wrongs'

Frank exploits the gay marriage controversy, Lip worries about Karen, and Jimmy springs some news on Fiona

A quick review of tonight's "Shameless" coming up just as soon as I discover the cure to comas...

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<p>Justin Timberlake</p>

Justin Timberlake

Credit: Joel Ryan/AP

Music Power Rankings: Justin Timberlake, Rihanna and Beyonce make the list

Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney do too

1. Justin Timberlake: There are 800,000 reasons why he’s No. 1 this week. That’s how big “The 20/20 Experience” is going to be.

2. Rolling Stones: They link with AEG for an estimated $80 million guarantee for 18 North American shows.  If that doesn’t buy them satisfaction, nothing will.

3. Paul McCartney:
At 70, he’s preparing to hit the long and winding road again with his “Out There!” tour, going to cities he’s never played before.

4. Beyonce: She’s even got Rush Limbaugh stirred up over her latest tune, “Bow Down,” even if he clearly has no clue what the song’s about.

5. Rihanna:
Her “Rihanna  777” “documentary” about her seven concerts in seven days in seven countries will air on Fox May 6. Maybe the special will accomplish something she never could: start on time. 

6. Lil Wayne: After suffering seizures and  giving his fans quite the health scare last week, Weezy is out of the hospital and seems to be faring well and was last seen cruising the aisles of Rite Aid buying cough syrup.

7. Lollapalooza: The Chicago Tribute leaks that Mumford & Sons and Phoenix will be among the headliners at this year’s fest.

8. David Bowie: He has to settle for No. 2 in the U.S., but takes “The Next Day” his first album in 10 years, to No. 1 in 12 countries without a single interview or television appearance. Make of that what you will...

9. SFX: Robert Sillerman’s company continues to snap up EDM-focused companies, this time purchasing 75% of Dutch company  ID&T.  First up will be the U.S. version of the Tomorrowland Festival. “And now is the time on “Sprockets” where we dance.”

10. Michelle Shocked:  There are millions of people who had never heard of the folk singer until this week when she made anti-gay remarks from a San Francisco stage and millions more who wish now they never had. 


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<p>Angela Bassett and Morgan Freeman, deep in conversation about their character motivations in &quot;Olympus Has Fallen.&quot;</p>

Angela Bassett and Morgan Freeman, deep in conversation about their character motivations in "Olympus Has Fallen."

Credit: Millennium Films

Tell us what you thought of 'Olympus Has Fallen'

Antoine Fuqua's loud, proud actioner opened yesterday

I'm not seeing "Olympus Has Fallen" until its UK press screening next week, but any blockbuster headlined by Angela Bassett and Melissa Leo as a butt-kicking action duo out to save America from all attackers has my immediate attention. What's that, you say? It's actually Gerard Butler in the lead? Well, darn. Anyway, Antoine Fuqua's latest has received predictably chilly reviews in most quarters, though I see it has its share of intelligent (though perhaps ironic) defenders in the Twitterverse.

Meanwhile, if you don't fancy seeing 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue under siege this weekend, you'll have another opportunity this summer in the markedly similar-looking "White House Down." Still, if any of you have ventured out for this round of jingoistic explosions, give us your thoughts in the comments -- and feel free to vote in the poll below.

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<p>Emma Stone in &quot;The Croods.&quot; Well, sort of.</p>

Emma Stone in "The Croods." Well, sort of.

Credit: DreamWorks Animation

Tell us what you thought of 'The Croods'

The latest from DreamWorks Animation hit theaters yesterday

I've kept narrowly missing "The Croods" -- the latest family adventure from DreamWorks Animation had its world premiere at the Berlinale the morning after I left, while we also never quite managed to meet up at the Miami fest. The design of the whole project, I have to say, has never really drawn me in, and the reviews don't have me rushing to the multiplex. (I'm also a little wary of the studio's output right now, having recently caught up with "Rise of the Guardians" on a flight, and... yikes. Good job, Academy.) 

Still, Drew found the film reasonably fetching in his B+ review, and the early box office figures suggest plenty of viewers are being diverted by the prehistoric romp this weekend. Are you among them? Give us your thoughts in the comments, and feel free to vote in the poll below.

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My Chemical Romance disbands after 12 years

My Chemical Romance disbands after 12 years

'The Black Parade' band calls it quits via its website

After a dozen years together, My Chemical Romance has disbanded. The New Jersey-based group released a collective statement on its website on Friday night. The statement in full is below.

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