BEVERLY HILLS - Friday (March 1) night's panel for "The Walking Dead" was one of this year's only PaleyFest panels that wasn't live-streamed to the world. The reason? Fathom Events and the Paley Center are bringing the panel to movie theaters next Thursday night.
In order to make sure that theater-goers get value for their ticket bucks, the "Walking Dead" panel was short on footage and long on talk. The audience at the Saban Theatre got to see the first 10 minutes of Sunday's episode and some behind-the-scenes DVD extras, but a solid 80+ minutes was spent on Q&A, with moderator Chris Hardwick orchestrating the bulk of that discussion.
That's far more Q&A time than you get at typical PaleyFest panels, which sometimes can yield well under an hour of conversation from the stage. From an audience standpoint, that's terrific. From a blogger's standpoint, that's a challenge, because I have to synthesize all of that information down to some bite-sized highlights.
That's why if you click through, you'll get 20 Things We Learned from the "Walking Dead" PaleyFest, featuring facts, quotes and other tidbits. If you aren't caught up on "Walking Dead" or you're thinking of paying to see the panel theatrically, turn back!
Another week, another "Survivor: Caramoan" exit interview with a member of the Fans tribe shocked that they were sent packing while aggressively belligerent Shamar remains.
This week's victim was Hope Driskill, who follows in the footsteps of alliance-mate Allie, who went home last week.
Of course, with Hope there was a catch. The majority alliance, worried that Reynold might attempt to give Hope his Immunity Idol, decided to split votes between Hope and Eddie. Shamar, not a fan of Eddie, sat in the water and hinted strongly that Hope might want to split with her alliance and write Eddie's name down. Had Hope done that, Eddie would have been eliminated after one Tribal Council vote, instead of a tie that went against Hope in the revote.
Hope's decision was one of several things that I found confusing in Wednesday's episode, so we covered a lot of that in this week's exit interview.
At one point in their climactic showdown, Tucci's weaselly Roderick looks at McGregor's noble Elmont and sneers, "You thought you were the hero of this story? Don't you know that we ALL think that?"
I liked that line, so when I sat down with McGregor and Tucci at Hampton Court Palace outside of London, I decided to start the interview by asking how each of their characters would explain that they're the real heroes of "Jack the Giant Slayer."
Ultimately, both men gave very good answers, but both answers began with, "I don't think my character *would* say that."
An interview that begins with a long and semi-awkward pause actually became a lot of fun, especially when McGregor describes the unlikely inspirations for his character, including "a Cockney Errol Flynn."
I hated the way "American Idol" handled Hollywood Week this year, with the pointless gender splitting and subsequent elongation of an already dull slog.
But I've liked the Sudden Death approach to the Top 40. Let America actually see some full performances before they get to vote. Yes, it allows the judges to put an additional early imprint on contestants who are favorites due to talent -- Angela Miller, Curtis Finch Jr. etc -- and also contestants who are favorites due to narrative or personality -- Charlie Askew, Zoanette Johnson, etc. But I think it may make the electorate a bit more informed when voting begins next week. Maybe.
The first week of Sudden Death, we saw the highs of the first group of girls and the lows of the first group of boys. And last night, we got a pretty representative group, with a few standouts, a few weak performances and whatever you want to say about Zoanette.
How would the last group of men do? Click through...
Pre-credit sequence. The Fans return to camp after booting Allie. Eddie is confused. Matt is very proud at himself for choosing his side. "We are not friends. But we need each other to win," Reynold tells Matt and Sherri. Shamar is feeling gloat-y with Eddie and Reynold and also introducing certain viewers at home to the phrase "ace boon coon," which you probably don't want to start using with your friends if you weren't using it already. "The camp is totally in chaos," laments Laura, who wishes Shamar would chill. But Shamar isn't just ranting at the people who tried voting him out. He's also going off on Matt, whose vote helped save him and yelling at Julia, who was 100 percent invisible last week. "The part of Shamar that was fun has completely gone," Laura says.
This is Juliana Chahayed. She's either a tiny girl or that's a big guitar
Credit: Michael Becker/FOX
Last week was a mixed bag on "American Idol."
On Wednesday, a group of 10 women, led by Angela Martin and Amber Holcomb, really shined. There were only a couple truly bad performances and I could have justified sending six or seven singers through.
On Thursday, a group of 10 men, led by nobody in particular, laid a huge egg. I wouldn't have let more than two or three of them advance.
Another group of 10 women will be hitting the Las Vegas stage on Wednesday (February 27) and while we've seen indications that a few of them are talented... Who knows?
In my recap of Sunday (February 24) night's "Amazing Race," I harped extensively on misfortune/negligence of going on the Emmy-winning competition if you're unable to deal with water.
I probably slightly over-emphasized the role that water played in the elimination of twins Idries and Jamil Abdur-Rahman, neglecting that even sandcastles proved a challenge for the sibling gynecologists in the previous Leg.
Still, on the most basic level, Idries and Jamil were undone by their difficulties in the crystal clear blue waters of Bora Bora, which led to their elimination in the second Leg of the "Amazing Race" season.
Due to last Monday's holiday, Idries & Jamil were my first "Amazing Race" exit interview of the spring and, yes, we spent a long time talking about water.
RICHMOND, ENGLAND - I rushed in to interview with "Jack the Giant Slayer" director fresh off of shooting my musical stand-up (Check It Out Below) in front of Hampton Court Palace.
I apologized for my cold hands, but Singer knows a thing or two about shooting in the frigid temperatures in Henry VIII's former residence. Much of "Jack the Giant Slayer" is shot on elaborate soundstages and using digital trickery, but several key outdoor and crowd scenes were shot in the open spaces and courtyards around the palace, which justified the location of the film's recent junket and has added some historically confusing footnotes to the guided tours.
We chatted in a room decorated with a painting that Singer told me was one of the Queen's favorites, but it was unclear which Elizabeth was playing favorites with the Hampton art.
RICHMOND, ENGLAND - The recent junket for Bryan Singer's "Jack the Giant Slayer" created quite the clash of cultures.
On one hand, the director and stars were discussing their high-tech reimagining of the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, a classic fairy tale being brought to the big screen with 3D flair and layers of complicated computer imagery used to produce grotesque giants and towering green staircases leading to a kingdom into the sky.
On the other hand, the interviews were being conducted at the Hampton Court Palace just outside of London, a former residence of royalty constructed for Cardinal Wolsey back in the early 16th Century. You can't see much of the palace in the set-up for this interview, but if you listen to the echo in the audio, those are the reverberations of high ceilings and Tudor opulence.
In this conversation, stars Nicholas Hoult and Eleanor Tomlinson discuss the challenges of acting opposite tennis balls for many of their "Jack the Giant Slayer" scenes, as well as Singer's role in helping them all "just create a spectacle, a fun family adventure the people can laugh at and get swept up in the romance between us two," as Hoult put it.
As you can see from some of the behind-the-scenes footage edited with the interview, parts of "Jack the Giant Slayer" actually were shot at Hampton Court Palace and, as Hoult and Tomlinson explain, Singer also made sure they had plenty of "real" beanstalk to work with.
Check out the interview above.
"Jack the Giant Slayer" opens on Friday, March 1. Stay tuned in the days to come for interviews with Singer, as well as co-stars Ewan McGregor and Stanley Tucci.
And check out the video below for my introduction to the junket. Warning, it contains singing.
Sepinwall is back from Disney World, which must mean it's time for the triumphant return of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
Lots to talk about this week, but we start with a long discussion of the Oscars, followed by reviews of "Golden Boy," "Red Widow" and "Vikings" and a few pieces of Listener Mail, culminating in a discussion of the "Downton Abbey" finale, with spoilers.
Here's the breakdown:
Oscars (00:02:45 - 00:26:20)
"Golden Boy" (00:26:25 - 00:40:50)
"Red Widow" (00:40:55 - 00:51:50)
"Vikings" (00:51:50 - 01:02:00)
Listener Mail - Watching TV on the road (01:02:20 - 01:08:30)
Listener Mail - NBC's need to experiment (01:08:35 - 01:15:45)
The "Downton Abbey" finale (01:15:55 - 01:36:30)
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