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Katie Hasty's Top 50 Albums of 2014

1 hour ago

This isn't even a representation of what I listened to the most. Top 10 and Top Albums list at year-end can be a popularity contest. They can be just another way to celebrate singles artists. It could be about enjoying the brand just as much as the album itself. Top 10s can be a metaphor for feelings. Objectively, you can't say there's such thing as a definitive way to go-about making a year-end list. It can waver year to year: last year, I'd say my choices felt like they were all about color and boldness. This year, for me, it felt like it was all about discord. Fka Twigs is not for everybody, but  "LP1" simply was one of the most put-together, challenging sets that moved me this year. I can't listen to the damned thing just any time. That wasn't how I marked it. Young Fathers basically made an album »


- Katie Hasty

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 261 - 'Serial,' Superheroes and More

2 hours ago

Happy Friday, Boys & Girls. We wanted to push back this week's installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast because we suspected we'd have things to say about the finale for the Serial podcast. And we did! Delaying a couple days also allowed us watch seven episodes apiece of Amazon's "Mozart in the Jungle." In this podcast, we also talked about The Year in Superhero TV Shows, a segment that includes spoilers for "Arrow," "Gotham," "Constantine," "The Flash" and "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." We also did our first check-in on The CW's "Jane the Virgin' since the pilot and we discussed the series finale for "The Newsroom." So it may seem like this is a slow-ish time for new TV, but we managed to fill over 100 minutes, our longest podcast in a while.  Today's breakdown: "Mozart in the Jungle" (00:00:55 - 00:12:00) The Year »


- Daniel Fienberg

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Roger Deakins recalls 'The Man Who Wasn't There' and film noir favorites

3 hours ago

It seemed this year that if any artist was due for the retrospective treatment, it was "Unbroken" cinematographer Roger Deakins. While I of course did not address all of the 50-plus films he has shot throughout his illustrious career during a recent extended interview, I settled on a few in particular that I think represent a nice cross-section of his work. Each of them — "Nineteen Eighty-Four," "Sid and Nancy," "Barton Fink," "The Shawshank Redemption," "Kundun," "The Man Who Wasn't There" and "The Village" — will get their own space in the next few days. 2001 was an interesting year for Roger Deakins. With John Nash biopic "A Beautiful Mind" — the only time he's ever worked with director Ron Howard — he shot the year's Best Picture winner, while his on-going collaboration with the Coen brothers' yielded "The Man Who Wasn't There" and the chance to work on a cinematographer's dream: a film noir. »


- Kristopher Tapley

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'Get Hard' trailer: Kevin Hart preps Will Ferrell for prison in surefire comedy smash

4 hours ago

Kevin Hart has had a very, very good 2014 - and 2015 looks to be shaping up pretty nicely too. From "Ride Along" to "About Last Night" to "Think Like a Man Too," the ubiquitous comedian has been on fire over the last year, and with the first trailer for his Will Ferrell buddy comedy "Get Hard" he looks primed for another big hit. Starring Ferrell as a wealthy businessman indicted for white collar crimes who hires Hart's car washer to prep him for prison - despite the latter having never actually been there - the comedy here is mined from the racial insensitivity of Ferrell's character, who has made a pretty good career out of playing ignorant buffoons. The stereotyping element certainly feels topical in light of the Ferguson controversy (among other recent incidents), and despite being a broad comedy I feel like the film could become part of the larger »


- Chris Eggertsen

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Ask Alan, Episode 3: Hate-watching, holiday binge-watching & more

4 hours ago

Welcome to the third installment of our Ask Alan video series, and what should be the last one of 2014. Also, because of my upcoming travels to La for press tour, followed by most of Team HitFix going to Sundance, there may be a brief hiatus before we get to episode 4. But at least I remembered to wear a different t-shirt this time, even if it's also a red one. On this week's show, I was able to squeeze in three questions, touching on the phenomenon of hate-watching, whether "Gilmore Girls" was ever a contender to be in "The Revolution Was Televised," and what shows I might suggest would make a good holiday binge. As usual, you can send questions to video@hitfix.com, and please put "Ask Alan" in the subject line. Or, to make your life easier, click this email link and it will do all of that for you. »


- Alan Sepinwall

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'Two Days,' Palme d’Or-winner snubbed from Oscar’s Foreign Language Short List

5 hours ago

Friday morning, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its Foreign Language Film short list for the 87th Academy Awards. Out of 83 films, nine made the cut, with familiar titles like "Ida" and "Force Majeure" making the cut, along with Golden Globe-amplified "Tangerines" slipping in over expected contenders. The full list, alphabetically by country, is as follows: Argentina, "Wild Tales," Damián Szifrón, director Estonia, "Tangerines," Zaza Urushadze, director Georgia, "Corn Island," George Ovashvili, director Mauritania, "Timbuktu," Abderrahmane Sissako, director Netherlands, "Accused," Paula van der Oest, director Poland, "Ida," Pawel Pawlikowski, director Russia, "Leviathan," Andrey Zvyagintsev, director Sweden, "Force Majeure," Ruben Östlund, director Venezuela, "The Liberator," Alberto Arvelo, director Noticeably  missing from the list are Dardenne brothers’ "Two Days, One Night," which picked up major steam after star Marion Cotillard picked up a number of critics awards for Best Actress. And after winning the Palme d’Or at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, »


- Matt Patches

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TV Ratings: 'Mom' helps CBS top slow Thursday as NBC's People Magazine Awards tanks

6 hours ago

Fast National ratings for Thursday, December 18, 2014. With a "Big Bang Theory" repeat and a new episode of "Mom" leading the way, CBS dominated Thursday night in all measures.  And yes, CBS had the NFL preemption in Jacksonville and Fox had the preemption in Nashville on Thursday, but given that the game was between the Jaguars and Titans, it's unlikely that it caused a huge amount of ratings inflation. Meanwhile, NBC's "People Magazine Awards" became the latest failed attempt to start a new primetime awards tradition, following in the footsteps of Fox's latest country music thing and the movie awards that failed on CBS last month. The night was slow enough that The CW even got an Ok audience for another of its normally lackluster IHeartRadio specials, in this case the Jingle Ball. On to the numbers... Among adults 18-49, CBS averaged a 1.8 rating for Thursday night, easily tops in the key demographic. »


- Daniel Fienberg

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New 'American Sniper' trailer swells with action, music, and praise-filled quotes

7 hours ago

"Do you ever think you’ve seen things or done things that you wish you hadn’t?" goes the new trailer for "American Sniper." For those who haven’t, the two-minute sizzle reel is happy to oblige. Starring Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, considered one of the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, "American Sniper" jumps back and forth between military operations and the Seal's life back at home. He struggles on both fronts. The film costars Sienna Miller, Jake McDorman, Luke Grimes, Navid Negahban and Keir O’Donnell, but seems to entrench itself inside Kyle’s mind as he navigates his noble and peculiar life. The film comes from Clint Eastwood, the man behind such war pictures as "Flags of Our Fathers," "Letters from Iwo Jima," and "Jersey Boys" (maybe that last one just felt that way). The film earned lackluster reviews out of its AFI Fest »


- Matt Patches

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George Lucas, Cookie Monster, and more sing final farewell to 'The Colbert Report'

7 hours ago

It’s the end of an era. After nine years and over 1400 episodes, the lights were dimmed on the set of “The Colbert Report” for the final time. In six months, Stephen Colbert will emerge from his cocoon as a beautiful late night talk show host, shedding his faux conservative persona in the process. Isn’t nature amazing? For his last hurrah, Colbert gathered Jon Stewart and a bevy of famous faces on the stage to sing a rendition of “We’ll Meet Again.” The Colbert Report Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,The Colbert Report on Facebook,Video Archive »


- Donna Dickens

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Kevin Hart, Jennifer Aniston, and Michael Keaton honored at the first People Magazine Awards

11 hours ago

For those who thought the Hollywood Film Awards were a bit too virtuous, People Magazine decided 2014 was the year to throw a hat into the awards ring, conjuring its own set of accolades to hand out during a star-studded gala event. Thursday night, the winners of the first annual The People Magazine Awards were announced during a two-hour NBC special hosted by Nick Cannon. Completely comprised of talent-based honors, Jennifer Aniston took home the show’s Movie Performance of the Year — Actress award for her work in "Cake," while Michael Keaton earned the Male equivalent for his turn in "Birdman." Hey, People is following the awards circuit! After squeezing her way into the SAG and Golden Globes, the People award marks Anison’s win for "Cake," and the first award she has won for feature film work. Which is nice in an Al-Pacino-wins-for-"Scent of a Woman"-plus-every-other-contribution-to-the-medium kind of way. »


- Matt Patches

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Interview: Phil Keoghan teases the 'Amazing Race' Season 25 finale

18 hours ago

"The Amazing Race" concludes its 25th installment on Friday (December 19) night with its first four-team finale, pitting Wrestlers Brooke & Robbie, Food Scientists Amy & Maya, Dentists Jim & Misti and Surfers Bethany & Adam. The field is extra packed because in last week's episode, Amy & Maya reached the Pit Stop in last, only to be told that it was a "Keep on racing..." Leg, which isn't the same as a Non-Elimination Leg, because we already had three of those this season, making four out of 11 weeks in which the "Amazing Race" episode ended without a team heading home. Earlier this week, I got on the phone to chat with "Amazing Race" host Phil Keoghan about the season so far and the upcoming finale.  As usual, Phil and I don't always agree on everything. He, for example, insists audiences loved last year's Las Vegas finale. I'm reasonably sure that was not universal the universal opinion. »


- Daniel Fienberg

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The 15 Greatest Quotes in 2014 Entertainment

18 hours ago

2014 entertainment gave us plenty to talk about. Our satirical news had more bite, our superhero movies had funnier and more developed characters than ever before, and TV keeps on getting better and better. It was not a memorable year in pop culture; it was a highly quotable one. To commemorate the past year in entertainment, we're counting off 15 quotes that made us laugh, sometimes when we were least expecting it. We pull from the best TV shows, the funniest movies, the most memorable viral content, a couple of award telecasts, and even a few remembrances of comedians we lost this year. Join us for our rundown of the 15 greatest quotes in 2014 entertainment.   »

- Louis Virtel

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'The Interview' and precedence: On dictators in comedy movies, TV and online

22 hours ago

The fate of comedy "The Interview" is looking grim, after Sony has canceled domestic and international theatrical release this week. The James Franco and Seth Rogen-starrer had been in the works for half a decade. In it, a tabloid news show host and his producer are roped into an assassination attempt on North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un via the urging of the FBI. While the plot sounds somewhat serious, it looped its way through plenty of weiner and butthole jokes, and also grounded its digs in North Korean propaganda, the criminal dehumanization of its people and the un-deifying of its Dear Leader (through dick and butt jokes, of course, plus violence). But cutting down a tyrannical world leader is no new feat, of course. "South Park" and "Looney Tunes" took down Kim Jong-Il and Hitler in cartoons. "Arrested Development," "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock" brought abroad baddies to their knees for the small screen. »


- Katie Hasty, Alan Sepinwall, Drew McWeeny, Daniel Fienberg

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How the ticking of a clock helped editor William Goldenberg pace 'The Imitation Game'

23 hours ago

Two years ago, William Goldenberg took the stage of the Dolby Theater on Oscar night as the Oscar winner for Best Film Editing on "Argo." This year, he is firmly back in the race, having cut Morten Tyldum's "The Imitation Game." I recently spoke to Goldenberg about the film, his approach to editing and his career to date. HitFix: When did you come aboard the film? William Goldenberg: I was offered the film probably six months before the movie was going to start shooting but I was booked. I had all of these people calling me saying I had to do it but I said I couldn't do it. But I became available and luckily for me they hadn't hired an editor yet and I was thrilled that they hadn't! How would you describe your approach on a macro level? My main goal when I'm cutting is always story. »


- Gerard Kennedy

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Did the terrorists win? 11 other possible reactions to 'The Interview' catastrophe

23 hours ago

I haven't seen "The Interview," but a good number of others have - including HitFix's resident movie critic Drew McWeeny, who called the film "laugh out loud funny all the way through" in his review. I don't feel totally equipped to make some grand statement on Sony's move to entirely cancel the release of the film after the hackers (ironically operating under the moniker Guardians of Peace) threatened deadly terrorist attacks on theaters that chose to screen it, but plenty of others have chimed in in the hours since news broke of Sony's unprecedented decision. So what are people saying? A lot of things, but the overriding sentiment online - summed up as "You're letting fear/the terrorists/the hackers win" - is beginning to sound a little reductive in light of a political and business situation that is extraordinarily complex. Believe it or not, there are a range of »


- Chris Eggertsen

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Jessica Chastain is single-handedly reviving Victorian gothic fashion in 'Crimson Peak'

18 December 2014 2:39 PM, PST

Break out your Evanescence CD and dust off your Hot Topic crushed velvet wardrobe, because Guillermo del Toro and Jessica Chastain are bringing Victorian gothic back with a vengeance in “Crimson Peak.” TheFilmStage got a hold of this first image of Chastain as the mysterious Lady Lucille Sharpe. We don’t know anything about her character other than her sense of style is On Point. Via: @TheFilmStage Details are scarce on del Toro’s latest film. The plot synopsis comes up short, saying only that a young Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) realizes her charming new husband (Tom Hiddleston) is not who he appears to be. Whether this means he’s a serial killer or a supernatural creature is up for debate. "Crimson Peak" is currently set to hit theaters on October 16, 2015. »


- Donna Dickens

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Christmas harder! Man sets his holiday lights to epic Star Wars medley

18 December 2014 1:57 PM, PST

Behold the power of this fully functional Holiday Light Display! For the second year in a row, California resident Tom BetGeorge has turned his ranch home into an homage to Star Wars. Approximately 12,500 channels control around 100,000 lights in the looping five minute display. This year’s set up even included instruments lighting up with the appropriate notes as a way to incorporate his day job as a music teacher. [Via TheAwesomer] »


- Donna Dickens

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'Birdman' and genre love from Las Vegas film critics

18 December 2014 1:44 PM, PST

The Las Vegas Film Critics Society is the latest regional critics group to unveil award winners for 2014. It was "Birdman" that came away the biggest hit with seven awards, including Best Picture. And for the second time today, a critics group has totally shut Richard Linklater's "Boyhood" out. I'm beginning to wonder if that's a reaction to widespread acclaim, but maybe not; after all, it's #2 on the Las Vegas critics' top 10 list. Just an interesting note. Check out the full list of winners below and, you know, The Circuit. Best Picture "Birdman" Best Director Alejandro González Iñárritu, "Birdman" Best Actor Michael Keaton, "Birdman" Best Actress Reese Witherspoon, "Wild" Best Supporting Actor J.K. Simmons, "Whiplash" Best Supporting Actress Tilda Swinton. "Snowpiercer" Best Screenplay "Birdman" Best Art Direction "The Grand Budapest Hotel" Best Cinematography "Birdman" Best Costume Design "Guardians of the Galaxy" Best Editing "Edge of Tomorrow" Best Score "Birdman" Best »


- Kristopher Tapley

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The Top 10 Homosexuals of Pop Culture in 2014

18 December 2014 12:50 PM, PST

Homosexuals: Where would we be without them? Nowhere fancy, that's for sure. As part of HitFix's continuing service of listing wonderful things and people of 2014, we bring you our newest and arguably raddest tally yet: the top 10 homosexuals of pop culture of 2014. The Lgbt world is an integral part of movies, TV, and music; without a gay perspective, we're doomed to repeat some of our saddest entertainments. And I do mean the last few seasons of "Entourage."   »

- Louis Virtel

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Characters and Conflicts: 10 best movies of 2014

18 December 2014 12:31 PM, PST

A top 10 list is a such a subjective quandary. It should speak to the consensus of cinematic quality to a degree, but it also needs to reflect the films that moved you personally. A great piece of cinema can entertain and it can inform, but as art you need to feel something from it. It needs to haunt you. It needs to stick with you. Therefore, in theory, the list should be the films that immediately come to mind when you ponder the last 12 months. As a critic, it's a reflection of your taste at the time. There is no justification; it's an opinion. Simple as that. Keeping that in mind, 2014 was a very good year at the movies, just not a great one. There were some incredibly strong films and performances, but was there truly a masterpiece among them? (And, yes, feel free to question if that's how we »


- Gregory Ellwood

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