Latest Blog Posts

<p>Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren on the set of &quot;Hitchcock.&quot;</p>

Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren on the set of "Hitchcock."

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Exclusive: Hopkins and Mirren discuss the destiny of finally working together in 'Hitchcock'

It's never too late for a first time

When great British actors reach a certain age Americans, er, media types tend to believe they must have worked together at some point during their careers. In the West End, on the BBC or in some movie.  At the least, they were in one of those "Harry Potter" movies, right?  Well, not really.

Read Full Post
<p>Robert Pattinson in &quot;Cosmopolis&quot;</p>

Robert Pattinson in "Cosmopolis"

Credit: eOne Films

'Lincoln' leads Vancouver film critics nominations

'Cosmopolis' shows up strong throughout Canadian film categories

The Vancouver Film Critics Circle has announced nominees this year, and Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" led the way with five nominations, for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Screenplay. "Cosmopolis," "Rebelle" and "Stories We Tell" were chalked up in the Best Canadian Film category. Winners will be announced January 7. Check out the full list below and keep track of the season via The Circuit.

Read Full Post
"Downton Abbey"

 "Downton Abbey"

Credit: AP Photo

Watch the first 10 minutes of 'Downton Abbey' and get wedding fever

Mary and Matthew get ready to wed in this taste of season three

Can't wait another minute for the third season of "Downton Abbey"? Really, the first episode airs Sun. Jan. 6, so it's quite unrefined to get that keyed up. Consider drinking some tea or something. Luckily, knowing how high strung we Americans are (not so high strung they couldn't hold off on broadcasting the season here more than three months behind its U.K. air dates, but whatev), the powers-that-be have posted ten minutes of the first episode on Facebook. As you might have guessed, the place is buzzing about the long-awaited nuptials of Matthew and Mary, but that doesn't mean there isn't drama and an ominous sense of foreboding.

Read Full Post

Revisiting four months of 'The Impossible' with Oscar's deadline looming

A plea for Academy members to consider one of the best pictures of the year

Spanish key art and poster art for THE IMPOSSIBLE featuring Naomi Watts

Every season there is a movie or performance that is a head scratcher when it comes to why it does or doesn't appeal to the Academy.  Films and portrayals that will be long remembered after a number of other nominated works are getting their share of the best picture spotlight now. Immediate examples that come to mind include "Do the Right Thing" (one of the greatest films of the '80s), "The Ice Storm" (ditto for the '90s), "The Dark Knight" (for the '00s) and, oh yeah, Stanley Kubrick's "2001" (of all time).  And as for overlooked actors, last year found both Ryan Gosling ("Drive") and Michael Fassbender ("Shame") of the list of Academy omissions gone wrong.  With the advent of the 10 nomination option for best picture, however, you would think that overlooking great movies would be a rare occurrence. Ladies and gentleman of the jury, I give you my own best picture of the year, "The Impossible."

Read Full Post
<p>Pulp's Jarvis Cocker</p>

Pulp's Jarvis Cocker

Listen: Pulp and James Murphy combine for new song 'After You'

LCD Soundsystem frontman reportedly helping on Arcade Fire's next album

Pulp gave you what you really wanted on Christmas Day. The British rockers released a new song, "After You," a collaboration with former LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy at midnight on Dec. 25 this week.

It's not a stretch to say the tune may remind you of Franz Ferdinand -- Pulp were influential in that Scottish band's output, and the rhythm section now has a modern spin on the classic Pulp sound. "After You," in fact, is an old Pulp demo, re-done as of last month with Murphy's thumbprint very obviously on the beat.

The band and Murphy combined just this fall for the S.S. Coachella, the music festival's foray into a floating event via cruise. According to Pitchfork, the decade-old song never had a finished version until everybody hit the studio in November.

Read Full Post
<p>Tom Hooper on the set of 'Les Mis&eacute;rables'</p>

Tom Hooper on the set of 'Les Misérables'

Credit: Universal Pictures

Tom Hooper on 'Les Misérables' as 'the great cry from the heart of those who suffer'

The filmmaker discusses the zeitgeist elements of his latest, among other things

The last time I spoke with director Tom Hooper feels like centuries ago. That's because it came the afternoon after his film "The King's Speech" screened for audiences at the 2010 Telluride Film Festival, before that film would go on to the Toronto festival and explode into the season as an unassuming heartwarmer destined for Oscar gold. It was the calm before the storm, and Hooper thinks back on it now with a hint of longing in his voice.

Read Full Post
<p>Bruno Mars</p>

Bruno Mars

Credit: AP Photo

Bruno Mars' 'Locked Out of Heaven' locks into Billboard Hot 100's top spot

Taylor Swift and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis surge on this week's chart

Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven” stays locked into the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, as the tune logs a third week at No. 1.

The song is also No. 1 on Billboard’s Radio Songs chart,  as well as the Digital and On-Demand Songs charts, making it the first song to top all four charts, according to Billboard. The On-Demand Songs chart bowed in March.

“Locked” is Mars’ fourth No. 1 tune on Radio Songs chart, tying him with Sean Paul and T.I. for fifth place for males on the chart. The male leader is Usher with seven chart toppers in the chart’s 22-year history. The men have a far way to go to catch up with Mariah Carey, who has 11 No. 1s on the Radio Songs chart.

Back on the Hot 100, former No. 1, “Diamonds” by Rihanna, holds at  No. 2, while the Lumineers’ “Ho Hey” remains at No. 3.

Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” soars 10-4 and Justin Bieber’s “Beauty and a Beat” featuring Nicki Minaj climbs 7-5, marking Bieber’s third Top 5 hit.

Rounding out the Top 10, Ke$ha’s “Die Young” falls 4-6, Maroon 5’s “One More Night” slips 5-7, Flo Rida’s “I Cry” 6-8 and Phillip Phillip’s “Home” 8-9.

There’s good news for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s “Thrift Shop” featuring Wanz as the rappers’ independently released single rises 13-10 to be the only new entry in the Top 10.

Read Full Post
Watch: Heart brings Led Zeppelin to tears during 'Stairway to Heaven'

Watch: Heart brings Led Zeppelin to tears during 'Stairway to Heaven'

Foo Fighters and Lenny Kravitz also pay tribute at Kennedy Center Honors

Heart fans who have seen the Wilson sisters in concert know that Ann Wilson can wail Led Zeppelin tunes like no one since, well, Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant, so it’s no surprise that the group brought the house down at the annual Kennedy Center Honors, which aired last night on CBS.

What is surprising is that the ladies’ version moved  Plant, who was watching in the balcony with band members John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page, to tears time and time again at the Washington, D.C. event, which was taped last month. Or maybe he was just in awe of her ability to hit every single note with astonishing power. Or maybe seeing late LZ drummer John Bonham’s son Jason Bonham behind the drums also proved emotional.

The Wilson sisters weren’t the only ones paying tribute to whom Jack Black called “the greatest rock n’ roll band.” The Foo Fighters performed “Rock  and Roll” —with Taylor Hawkins on lead vocals— and Lenny Kravitz played “Whole Lotta Love.”  Watch those performances here and here. As you know, the Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl and Jones are in Them Crooked Vultures together. Turns out President Obama knows the words to "Whol Lotta Love." 

The annual event honored Led Zeppelin, as well as Dustin Hoffman, Buddy Guy, Natalia Makarova and David Letterman.

We’re quite sure Washington, D.C.’s collective ears are still ringing.

 

Read Full Post
<p>Renee Zellweger in &quot;Chicago.&quot;</p>

Renee Zellweger in "Chicago."

Credit: Miramax

Roundup: Is authenticity ruining the musical?

Also: Portman named most bankable star, and Hathaway's Oscar hosting advice

The live-sung approach of "Les Misérables" may have yielded glowing reviews for the likes of Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne, but less vocally gifted stars -- principally Russell Crowe -- have taken some flak. Back in the golden age of the Hollywood musical, his musical numbers might well have been dubbed, as Audrey Hepburn's were in "My Fair Lady" or Natalie Wood's in "West Side Story." Inkoo Kang wonders why we can't go back to that system: "The tendency toward multi-hyphenation is also a treat for celebrity gawkers, who get a glimpse behind the curtain, or at least feel like they are doing so, by watching stars in a rawer, less accomplished form." Personally, I don't mind an imperfect vocal when it's part and parcel of the performance and character: the very narrative of "Chicago," for example, benefits from Renee Zellweger being a more awkward performer than legions of Broadway Roxie Harts. You? [Salon]

Read Full Post
"Top Chef: Seattle"

 "Top Chef: Seattle"

Credit: AP Photo

'Top Chef: Seattle' recap: 'Jalapeno Business'

It's a roller derby duke out and Josie loses her cool
I love it when "Top Chef" forces our cheftestants out into the big, bad world, blinking and shivering like frightened moles. This week, they get to frolic in the bay, shucking oysters, slurping them down, and then worrying about what awaits them back in the test kitchen. Probably something involving oysters. Just a guess.
 
The Quickfire Challenge is simple: the chefs must make oysters for Emeril! Five will make hot dishes, five will go cold. And how will that be decided? Chefs who grab a red apron get to cook hot, the rest get stuck with blue aprons and cold food, as it seems the appeal is really to make a hot dish. The winner will get $5,000, and they get 25 minutes. As expected, there's a rush on red aprons. I've never been an oyster fan, I have to say, so I don't have much to add on this challenge, I have to say. 
Read Full Post
<p>Rodrigo Prieto (left)&nbsp;and Ben&nbsp;Affleck on the set of &quot;Argo&quot;</p>

Rodrigo Prieto (left) and Ben Affleck on the set of "Argo"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Tech Support: Rodrigo Prieto on finding the right trio of looks for 'Argo'

The DP worked out distinct visual cues for each of the film's three worlds

Over the past month, Ben Affleck’s “Argo” has firmly entrenched itself as a surefire Oscar contender. Since it opened to outstanding reviews and box office earlier in the year, numerous commentators have lauded it for its portrayal of how Canadian diplomats, American spies and Hollywood big shots worked together to rescue six Americans from Iran in 1980. It has also been praised for its gripping suspense and aesthetic.

Cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto was responsible in significant part for that aesthetic – a look he is the first to admit was also the result of a team. I recently spoke to the Oscar nominee (“Brokeback Mountain”) about his part in creating the film.

Read Full Post
<p>Samuel L. Jackson and Kerry Washington in &quot;Django Unchained.&quot;</p>

Samuel L. Jackson and Kerry Washington in "Django Unchained."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

The Long Shot: Hot potato shuffle

A number of Best Picture hopefuls are prompting healthy debate

What are the worst Best Picture winners of all time? Though the answers may overlap, it's a question that's not entirely the same as, "What are the worst films ever to win Best Picture?" Several titles on the Academy's ultimate honor roll are artistically lacking, though that doesn't necessarily make them terrible winners. Accepting as most of us do that the Academy is rarely, if ever, going to agree with us on the year's single greatest film, we begin to value alternative virtues in Oscar champs: durability, universality, pop-cultural standing, provocation, reach.

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME