Latest Blog Posts

<p>Melissa George in &quot;Hunted.&quot;</p>

Melissa George in "Hunted."

Credit: Cinemax

Cinemax moves forward on 'Hunted' without the BBC

Spy thriller will be rebooted to continue Melissa George's story without some others

Both HBO and Cinemax have benefited from trans-Atlantic partnerships the last few years, resulting in shows like "Extras," "Strike Back" and most recently "Hunted," the Cinemax thriller starring Melissa George as Sam Hunter, a British private spy looking for revenge on the people who tried to kill her. These partnerships have given the larger HBO family access to series and talent who might not have been available without taking on a partner in the U.K., and at a cheaper price than if they were producing it on their own.

But some partnerships don't always go smoothly, as Cinemax has found out with "Hunted." The series still has a few weeks to go in its U.S. run (original episodes air Fridays at 10), but BBC One has already announced that they won't renew the show for a second season, despite Cinemax's interest in continuing the show.

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<p>Tom&nbsp;Hanks in &quot;Cloud Atlas&quot;</p>

Tom Hanks in "Cloud Atlas"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Tech Support: 'Cloud Atlas' and 'The Hobbit' lead the race for Best Makeup and Hairstyling

The category gets a name change as a varied field takes shape

A couple of weeks ago, I commented on how Best Production Design is a welcome name change for the category previously known as Best Art Direction. It is not the only such change this year, as the award for Best Makeup is now finally called Best Makeup and Hairstyling.

For years, I have said that the hairstyling portion of this award has been neglected. Whether the sorts of films that get nominated will change remains an open question. But at the very least, this should highlight for the public that the category isn't all about prosthetics and foundation.

This remains a unique category in that there are only three nominees. Moreover, said nominees are chosen from a group of seven finalists that are announced in the weeks leading up to the nominations. Voters from the branch view bake-off reels on the work done in those seven films before choosing the nominees.

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<p>Daniel Day-Lewis in &quot;Lincoln.&quot;</p>

Daniel Day-Lewis in "Lincoln."

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Roundup: Why Abe isn't gay (or straight) in 'Lincoln'

Also: Women vying for foreign Oscar, and Channing Tatum's first 2012 award

Was Abraham Lincoln secretly gay or bisexual? Playwright and "Lincoln" co-writer Tony Kushner believes there's ample reason to speculate that he may have been, but you won't find any such suggestions in Steven Spielberg's recently-released film. Why? Because matters of sexuality have no place in this particular strand from Honest Abe's political career, says Kushner. "I wanted to write about a very specific moment and I chose this moment and I don't feel that there was any evidence at this particular moment that Lincoln was having sex with anybody," he tells Tom O'Neil. "I don't say in my movie whether the Lincoln character was gay or straight. You can ask Daniel (Day-Lewis) what he was playing, but it did not seem to me a thing to make a movie about now." [Gold Derby]

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<p>Malin Akerman as Tessa's mother Alex in &quot;Suburgatory.&quot;</p>

Malin Akerman as Tessa's mother Alex in "Suburgatory."

Credit: ABC

Review: 'Suburgatory' - 'The Wishbone'

Malin Akerman arrives as Tessa's estranged mom, and Sheila gets a good look at Malik

A review of last night's "Suburgatory" coming up just as soon as I top streaming "Cool Runnings" to my phone...

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<p>Gorgeous... simply gorgeous..</p>

Gorgeous... simply gorgeous..

Credit: Dreamworks Animation

Review: Animated 'Rise Of The Guardians' opens the door to a beautiful family franchise

Could this kick off a new series for the studio?

William Joyce is one of the best guys working today in the world of children's books, and the work he produces deserves to be added to the same shelf where we put names like Sendak and Silverstein and Seuss.  He has a beautiful, instantly recognizable art style, and he writes in the loveliest cascades of language.  There's something very dreamy and very familiar about his work as soon as you're introduced to it.  He is absolutely among the top tier of people who do what he does, and "Rise Of The Guardians" is, before anything, a tribute to his storytelling style and a fairly remarkable realization of the visual worlds he creates.

The film, written by David Lindsay-Abaire and directed by Peter Ramsey, begins with Jack Frost (voiced by Chris Pine) slowing waking up to consciousness.  He remembers nothing.  He is newborn to his powers, and we watch him get his footing, like the early scenes in "Bambi," and then leave into the wider world.  He doesn't really understand the way the world works or what his place in it is, and he operates on an instinctual level. 

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'Breaking Dawn' star Michael Sheen discusses Aro's laugh, Volturi bonding and his James Bond future

'Breaking Dawn' star Michael Sheen discusses Aro's laugh, Volturi bonding and his James Bond future

Powerful 'Twilight' vampire now sports a powerful mustache
In 2003, David Morrissey and Michael Sheen played Gordon Brown and Tony Blair in Stephen Frears and Peter Morgan's political drama "The Deal."
 
For some reason I find it funny that in the past two months I've talked with David Morrissey about hobnobbing with zombies on "The Walking Dead" and Michael Sheen about his latest tour of bloodsucking duty in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2."
 
There's nothing like an acclaimed British actor to add prestige to vampires, werewolves, zombies and more.
 
In "Breaking Dawn - Part 2," Sheen adds more than his respected pedigree. As Aro, telepathic leader of the vampire-ruling Volturi, Sheen adds impeccable menace and, once again, archly camp hilarity. 
 
In particular, Aro's laugh as become a weapon as finely honed as Jane's pain-infliction. That was the first thing I bought up when I sat down with the finely mustachioed Sheen, who explains the laugh's origin, even crediting franchise scribe Stephenie Meyer for assistance. 
 
In our conversation, we also discussed the off-camera bonding among the Volturi, his upcoming Showtime drama "Masters of Sex" [featured in this separate interview snippet] and, in jest one assumes, his James Bond future.
 
I've already posted my "Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" interviews with Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner and Elizabeth Reaser & Nikki Reed and Kellan Lutz & Jackson Rathbone. Expect one more as we get closer to Friday's (Nov. 16) premiere...
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<p>Abi-Maria of &quot;Survivor: Philippines&quot;</p>

Abi-Maria of "Survivor: Philippines"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Philippines' - 'Little Miss Perfect'

Loyalties are tested as Jonathan Penner scrambles once again
Pre-credit sequence. I still don't understand Jonathan Penner's vote from last week's wacky finale. Let's see if we get an explanation as Dangrayne returns from booting Jeff Kent. Mike Skupin is the first to speak, calling it Tribal Council History, raving at Blair Warner stepping in to rescue him. Abi, though, is pissed off at everybody, sarcastically thanking Skupin for voting against her. He didn't. Penner, if you'll recall, did vote against Abi, and he doesn't deny it, saying he doesn't like to be kept in the dark on Plan Bs. Penner is, in fact, still trying to make sense of the overall vote. HAHA. We spent all that time last week trying to make sense of Penner's potentially passive aggressive vote to get Jeff Kent out? Nope. It turns out that he just didn't know the play. "So I'm the one who blew it by not voting for Pete?" Penner asks Man-Dana. He genuinely has no clue if he made a horrible mistake. That's really hilarious and I guess I appreciate his candor. Meanwhile, Blair Warner and Malcolm make bygones, though Blair Warner is feeling like in lying and betraying and breaking promises, she did herself a disservice. "You're just amazing," Blair tells Malcolm, thanking him for being magnanimous. "It's bigger than me," Blair Warner says of "Survivor." 
 
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"Top Chef: Seattle"

 "Top Chef: Seattle"

Credit: Bravo

'Top Chef: Seattle' recap: 'A Shock at the Space Needle'

The show adds an unexpected twist featuring familiar faces

It's the first "real" week of competition, and the good news? We get a twist! You don't get to season ten without trying to mix things up a bit, and "Top Chef" is no different than any other reality TV series. Luckily, no one dances, there will not be ice skating (I don't think) and there will not be a McDonald's fry cook challenge (I hope). Maybe next season.

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"American Horror Story"

 "American Horror Story"

Credit: FX

'American Horror Story' recap: 'I Am Anne Frank Pt. 2'

Sister Jude may have finally met her match

If there was any doubt, 1964 (especially at Briarcliff) was not the year of the woman. I'm not sure if this show is an impassioned indictment of how women were disempowered decades ago or just an excuse for mutilating some of them on screen, but the truth is that this episode was probably a rough one for anyone -- male or female -- to watch.

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<p>Jeremy Irons in &quot;The Mission,&quot; the score for which was composed by Ennio Morricone.</p>

Jeremy Irons in "The Mission," the score for which was composed by Ennio Morricone.

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

'The Mission' tops Variety composers' poll of the all-time greatest film scores

40 composers, from Michael Giacchino to Cliff Martinez, were surveyed

Variety published a music-focused Eye on the Oscars special today, and it's packed with interesting nuggets, from spotlights on individual composers in the awards race this year -- including "The Master"'s Jonny Greenwood, "Anna Karenina"'s Dario Marianelli and everything's Alexandre Desplat -- to a piece on the recent reversal of rules in the Best Original Song category, hailed by many branch voters as a victory for common sense.

The headlining feature of the special, however -- if only because the movie world is powerless to resist a Top 10 list -- is a poll of 40 working composers on the greatest film scores of all time. Participants range from Oscar-winner Michael Giacchino ("Up") to Coen Brothers favorite Carter Burwell to Cliff Martinez ("Drive"), with the list compiled by asking each one to name his/her three favorite scores. It's too small a survey to qualify as anything more than a bit of fun, but the results are surprising and inevitable in equal measure.

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<p>Keira Knightley in &quot;Atonement,&quot; one of Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner's many award-winning productions.</p>

Keira Knightley in "Atonement," one of Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner's many award-winning productions.

Credit: Focus Features

'Les Mis' and 'Atonement' producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner to receive PGA's highest honor

Will that be the only award they win from the Producers' Guild this season?

I'm always slightly surprised when awards bodies choose to bestow a lifetime achievement honor upon a recipient already firmly in the running for a competitive prize that year. Something about it seems a tad gauche and redundant to me: why not single out a worthy candidate not already being feted throughout the season?

Still, it's a route the Producers' Guild of America has taken for the last few years with their highest career honor, the David O. Selznick Award Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures. Last year, Steven Spielberg was given the award on top of his Producer of the Year nomination for "War Horse," and his equivalent citation in the animated field for "The Adventures of Tintin." (He won the latter, to boot.) The year before, Scott Rudin received the Selznick Award, just as he was favored by many to take the PGA prize for "The Social Network." (As it turned out, he didn't.)

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<p>Yo La Tengo's &quot;Fade&quot;</p>

Yo La Tengo's "Fade"

Credit: Matador

Listen: Yo La Tengo announce new album with 'Stupid Things' and tour dates

'Fade' due in January

After an intense election season, a week of scandal, a big "Bond" premiere and that disappointing new Why? album, it's about time for something uplifting and easy to listen to. Yo La Tengo may fill that gap, with the promise of a new album "Fade," due on January 15.

The band released an EP, "Stupid Things," earlier this year, and have included the title track in the 10-song list for this fresh effort. You can hear it below. You may find your ballot-casting hand a little less shaky, or your headphones finally relieved.

Pre-orders are up now and a deluxe version gets you a 7″ with covers of Todd Rundgren’s “I Saw The Light” and Times New Viking’s “Move To California.”

Yo La Tengo is touring in support, starting with their Hanukkah concerts at Maxwell's in New Jersey, and continuing with some shared dates with Calexico. Check those below.

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