The Swon Brothers go from karaoke to contenders.
Hello there, Voice cadets! I’m weeping inside now that American Idol has ended, but with still a few weeks left to go until the fourth season of The Voice closes its doors for good, I’ll continue to dole out my recaps! I’m still beyond aggrieved that my favorite contestant Caroline Glaser got the boot so early on (that voice…Adam, why?!?!?), but so far the eliminations have been fairly appropriate. It looks as though once more it’ll be another Team Blake or Team Adam victory; however, one contestant from Team Usher could throw a huge wrench in that plan. Find out which of the Top 10 I’m referring to after the jump…
Read more on The Voice Recap: Reviewing the Top 10…
Tags: amber carrington
, danielle bradbery
, Holly Tucker
, josiah hawley
, Judith Hill
, kris thomas
, michelle chamuel
, sasha allen
, The Swon Brothers
, The Voice
, the voice recap
, The Voice Recap Top 10
- Just as Cannes 2013 is getting underway, Editor-in-Chief Clayton Davis felt an Awards Circuit Oscar Prediction 2014 update was in order. Check out his complete list of predicted nominees in every major category. According to him, Ridley Scott and his film The Counselor are the ones to beat, along with Bruce Dern for Nebraska, Naomi Watts for Diana, Michael Fassbender for 12 Years a Slave, and the great philanthropist/talk show host/book junkie/occasional actress Oprah Winfrey for The Butler. What do you all think? Be sure to share your own predictions with us as well! Also alongside his predictions, Clayton helps us break down the competition by way of studio assessment in the latest Oscar Circuit piece. Read more on Circuit Round-Up (Week Ending 5/19)…
Read more on Circuit Round-Up (Week Ending 5/19)…
Alice Winocour’s debut feature Augustine is perfectly sufficient cinema: it’s stuffed with convincing performances, is period precise, and manages to compact a compelling drama within its limited space — in this case, a mental institution. However, Augustine left me thoroughly dissatisfied by way of indirectly asking its audience to research its tale’s history for contextual meaning; it refuses to openly explore or discuss the issue of female “hysteria” plaguing the 19th-century Victorian period. Without doing so, there’s less meaning to be had in Augustine than perhaps Winocour intended, especially following such marvels that tackle the subject with verve and critical understanding like David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method. As absurd as its proceedings are, even Tanya Wexler’s Hysteria shed valuable light on the topic, grappling with history in an educational manner while still affirming itself as a Hollywood commodity. I’m at a crossroads in this regard, because I fully acknowledge Augustine as a fine introductory piece to what I can only assume is an auteur genius in the making, director Alice Winocour, but can’t fully recommend her film due to its lack of thematic investment and non-offerings of beneficial context. Read more on Augustine (**½)…
There can only be one winner…and it should be Candice Glover.
Wow, can you believe American Idol is wrapping up its twelfth season already? I feel like the auditions were just yesterday, and speaking of…from the moment the season began, we had our frontrunner. That never changed, not even after tonight. With a killer conclusion to a very strong season (though not perfect by any means) of Idol, the winner was clear as day. Candice Glover and Kree Harrison both impressed tonight, but the show is designed to reward only one with a shower of confetti and the many rewards that come afterwards. Thank goodness my objectivity and subjectivity aligned on the most important night of competition. Here goes the review session, one last time… Read more on American Idol Recap: Finale Review…
- Another week has passed, Awards Circuit devotees, and we have not one but two (!!!) brand new Power Hour episodes for your listening pleasure! In the first show, you’ll discover the winners of ACCA 1999 and in the second we round-table critique the hot mess that is Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. Go ahead, press that “play” button…I know you can’t resist.
Read more on Circuit Round-Up (Week Ending 5/12)…
Read more on Circuit Round-Up (Week Ending 5/12)…
Whatever television special you watched, whatever Wikipedia entry you read, whatever you thought you knew about the most infamous pair of sports siblings in the world, the Williams sisters, is but a small footnote compared to what’s offered in the illuminating documentary from Maiken Baird and Michelle Major. Venus and Serena may be structurally simplistic and often overtly sentimental, but there’s no denying that this thorough investigation of sorts into the lives of two athletic beasts — who cling to each other as fiercely as they do their own tennis rackets — is nothing short of a full sweep. Every personal layer is peeled away, home videos shed light on the birth of two national treasures, and the racial hurdles both women faced in their careers are confronted head-on. More than anything, though, is the realization that athletes are by no means ordinary individuals. They are super humans, so committed to their sport and their conditioning that all else is a galaxy apart. Venus and Serena’s intimate plunge into the minds and lives of the Williams sisters will leave you breathless, inspired, and wishing you too had that same never-ending fuel. Read more on Venus and Serena (***)…
There are times when black comedy pushes your tolerance level over the cliff. Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers is the equivalent of being pushed over a cliff, crash-landing thousands of feet below the earth’s surface, and then being ensnared by the devil himself as he drags you down to his hellish home. And all throughout you’re cackling madly, unable to stop. After his debut with Kill List, Wheatley positioned himself as an indie British filmmaker of interest. His horror film scared up strong reviews and excitement for his next project, although after watching Sightseers I still have no idea where Wheatley’s head space is at. His unique brand of filmmaking is tough to swallow unless “out there,” nonsensical glib is your thing, but he nevertheless manages to summon laughs from his audience — uncomfortable as they are — with his latest maniacal effort. That being said, clever ping-pong dialogue and tonal consistency still can’t override the fact that Sightseers isn’t so much wittily shocking as it is dementedly irrelevant. The effort and execution is admirable, but there’s no emotional payoff to this violent albeit momentarily hilarious romp — just feelings of guilt…and not the pleasurable kind either. Read more on Sightseers (**½)…
Candice Glover once again lands in the ‘Idol’ Hall of Fame.
Last night’s American Idol Top 3 showdown was as epic and competitive as we could’ve hoped for. Of course I miss my girl Amber Holcomb, but Kree, Candice and Angie all made such a strong impact yesterday that it would be tough for anyone (including me) to reject their participation this deep in the competition. While one contestant makes it easy for me to single out as a superstar, the other two are neck-in-neck as to who I felt took command of the show better than the other. Check out what I have to say about the Top 3 and their (mostly) spectacular performances after the jump… Read more on American Idol Recap: Reviewing the Top 3…
Sasha Allen is Shakira’s ultimate weapon.
Hello again! My recap of last night’s The Voice takes us through the second round of the Live Playoffs, where Teams Shakira and Blake went head to head. What did I learn most from yesterday’s show: never, ever count Blake out of the running. Every season it seems I underestimate The Voice’s resident country artist and — BOOM — he ends up landing not one, but two victories. Last night was no exception, as Team Blake fired on all cylinders. Just when I thought Team Shakira was going to be relegated to the back of the class like Monday’s Team Usher, one singer just swallows the competition whole. Find out all the details in my review session below… Read more on The Voice Recap: Live Rounds Part 2 (Team Blake and Team Shakira)…
Caroline Glaser has one of the most beautiful tones in the world — truly!
Hello again, fans of NBC’s The Voice! Due to some time conflicts, I was unable to catch last week’s shows or recap them, but bottom line is that I’m back and ready to dish the dirt on these Live Playoffs. The only person I’m truly sad to have lost was my mini-Selena Gomez, Mary Miranda, and duo Midas Whale (more so because of former Idol finalist Jon Peter Lewis). Team Usher, let’s be frank, has zero shot at winning; and judging by their horrendous group performance last night probably each needed another year or two of growth before trying out for the big leagues. However, the show must go on and thus I must judge accordingly. Part 1 finds the first eight of sixteen contestants battling it out, representing either Team Adam or Team Usher. Nobody wowed me enough to dole out a perfect score, but at least no one horrifically stunk up the joint (phew). Without further ado, let’s get this judging party started… Read more on The Voice Recap: Live Rounds Part 1 (Team Adam & Team Usher)…
After a non-elimination results show last Thursday, the American Idol Top 4 are back again for your votes. The theme this week was “Then and Now,” which is pretty self-explanatory but I’ll still be cordial and break it down: one song is a “Standard” and the other is one from 2013. Easy, right? Well apparently not, since returning
drill sergeant mentor Harry Connick Jr. laid down the law for many of them, forcing each to stay away from runs and focus entirely on being the vessel for a record’s original singer and songwriter. Personally, I didn’t much care for Connick’s methods since they stripped away each contestant’s creativity and originality, but apparently bluntness is always better (or so we’re told). Let’s get these to performance reviews, shall we?
Read more on American Idol Recap: Reviewing the Top 4 (Again)…
Directed By: James Gray
Written By: James Gray and Ric Menello
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard, Dagmara Dominczyk, Angela Sarafyan, Ilia Volok, Antoni Carone, and Kevin Cannon
Synopsis (From IMDB): An innocent immigrant woman is tricked into a life of burlesque and vaudeville until a dazzling magician tries to save her and reunite her with her sister who is being held in the confines of Ellis Island.
Why It Could Succeed:
For starters, I think the title change was a brilliant move by the Weinsteins. Too often indies fall below the radar because of their cryptic titles. “The Immigrant” immediately jumps out and offers a wide range of appeal, as opposed to “Lowlife” which sounds incredibly macabre and enigmatic. Now I happen to find both of those attributes fascinating in film, but I can see why it could be a nightmare for The Weinsteins during the marketing process, trying to ensure they fill as many seats as possible in limited release. Read more on Awards Profile: The Immigrant…
Continuing the thrills, fun, and near-endless laughs of last year’s The Avengers, Marvel’s Iron Man 3 is a considerable upgrade from the tainted sophomore effort that is Iron Man 2. Tony Stark is no longer throwing hissy fits or purposefully wreaking havoc on his luxurious Malibu mansion (at least not intentionally), but his ego remains as endearingly damning as ever and the stakes are appropriately raised. There’s also nobody who steals the frame from the devilishly charming Robert Downey Jr. this time, a la Sam Rockwell’s goofy weapons manufacturer villain from the previous film. If Downey Jr. isn’t wholly captivating your attention with his cheeseball one-liners that always manage to score, you’re left with nothing but a routinely competent if unspectacular narrative and stoic characters who forget they are a part of the humor-fueled Iron Man franchise. It’s a good thing, then, that Kiss Kiss Bang Bang director Shane Black is aware of this, centering nearly every minute of running-time around his ginormous star and the iron hero he plays. Iron Man 3 isn’t as shockingly groundbreaking as the 2008 inaugural film, but its visually-inventive action sequences and post-Avengers hero introspection make this latest Marvel offering a memorable one. Plus, Robert Downey Jr.’s innate comedic value never, ever lets up. And neither does our laughter. Read more on Iron Man 3 (***)…
Categories: Film Reviews
Tags: ben kingsley
, Don Cheadle
, Guy Pearce
, Gwyneth Paltrow
, Iron Man 3
, iron man 3 review
, Jon Favreau
, Rebecca Hall
, robert downey jr
, shane black
- Ahoy there, readers of The Awards Circuit! I hope your week was lucrative and filled with a ton of movie-related adventures. On our end, our week began in France. Okay…fine, we weren’t that lucky, but we did discuss the Cannes film festival lineup in the latest episode of Power Hour! Announced as well were your ACCA nominations for the 1999 film year! I’m a bit shocked that The Sixth Sense is more beloved than The Matrix, but hey…gotta love that twist! Polls are open so keep voting and your winners will be announced this upcoming weekend!
Read more on Circuit Round-Up (Week Ending 4/28)…
Read more on Circuit Round-Up (Week Ending 4/28)…
Harrowing and politically enlightening, Ron Morales’ tense crime-thriller Graceland doesn’t exactly raise the bar for the genre but it certainly paints an effective portrait of corruption at every noble level. The film’s unique spin on the classic “kidnapping/ransom” scenario also makes it stand out, in parts evoking the first season of FOX’s 24, yet with a more sophisticated and delicate touch. We don’t often see Filipino cinema cross over into the states, for whatever reason, but Morales’ sophomore effort could change all that, much in the same way Gareth Evans raised U.S. awareness of Indonesian cinema last year with the highly entertaining The Raid: Redemption. Graceland‘s narrative is as absorbing as any mainstream film in the same wheelhouse, but it’s aspirations to go a bit deeper in characterization firmly plant it in the indie camp. Graceland also eerily suggests that in third world countries with no moral barrier separating the government officials from the crime lords, the average citizen must traverse a difficult path, trusting absolutely no one but their own convictions.
Read more on Graceland (***)…
Angie Miller: frontrunner by default?
Despite sharing the judges’ enthusiasm for prodigal talent Amber Holcomb, their slander and dismissal of Candice Glover on last night’s American Idol really boiled my blood. No contestant walked away unscathed as far as performances go — and don’t even get me started on those yucky duets — but to suggest Candice was in some way commercially irrelevant after twisting an R&B/rap song into a beautiful ballad is utter blasphemy. I won’t stand for it, and neither should you! Below you’ll find out just how dirty I can dish it. Read more on American Idol Recap: Reviewing the Top 4…
Cathia and Mary Miranda duke it out…in another language!
The time has arrived, fans of The Voice! The battle rounds are officially over, and as soon as I review the last three duels of the episode, you’ll see my updated rankings. The major difference between the rankings post-Blind Auditions and the ones post-Battle Rounds is they are all based on objectivity this time around. My performance scores won’t come into play, as I’m merely making an educated guess about how each coach views their entire lineup. With that said, it’s time to finish up Season 4′s Battle Rounds with my regular review session… Read more on The Voice Recap: Battle Rounds Part 4…
‘Idol’s’ Jon Peter Lewis battles “The Dude” with dreads.
Tonight marks the end of the Battle Rounds, but first we have to go over the penultimate sparring episode of The Voice’s fourth season. Personally, I’m not attached to any of the talent showcased yesterday, although I will say that one young lady on Blake’s team has the potential to wind up in the final episode. I think you all know exactly who I’m referring to. Also, a previous American Idol finalist goes up against a professional musician from the holy land of Memphis, Tennessee. Does Jon Peter Lewis triumph
or go home to get ready for his X-Factor audition? Find out below!
Read more on The Voice Recap: Battle Rounds Part 3…
Tags: C. Perkins
, Jon Peter Lewis
, kris thomas
, Luke Edgemon
, midas whale
, Monique Abaddie
, orlando dixon
, savannah berry
, the voice battle rounds part 3
, The Voice Battle Rounds Part 3 Recap
, the voice recap
, The Voice Season 4
- Hello there, Awards Circuit fans! We started things off very ironically by posting the winners of a recent awards show. An awards show this early in the year, you say? Why, yes, the MTV Movie Awards is the red-headed stepchild of the award shows since it airs after the Oscars®, and certainly after everyone’s mostly forgotten about the nominees that had their theatrical run almost a year ago. I will say, however, quality triumphed for once thanks to major wins for The Weinstein’s Silver Linings Playbook and Disney•Marvel’s The Avengers.
Read more on Circuit Round-Up (Week Ending 4/21)…
Read more on Circuit Round-Up (Week Ending 4/21)…
Amber Holcomb conquers Streisand.
After watching American Idol last night, it’s beyond evident who should be in the final two. In fact, I’ve felt this way since the Top 10. There are two girls that simply outshine the rest with their voice, stage presence, and exemplary taste in music. No way in heck is America going to follow through with this just course of action, but I thought I’d make it known here who I am rooting for (and have been for quite some time) for the remainder of the season. With that said, it’s time to take the plunge and critique the five women still standing. Whatever happens in the end will outweigh the bad since the new Idol crown will at last be worn by a female. All five girls deserve their placement in the Top 5, and all are winners in my estimation. Okay, enough with the sappy talk — let’s review!
Read more on American Idol Recap: Reviewing the Top 5…
Another night of Battle Rounds on The Voice, but this time the vocal sparring proved far less exciting than the previous night. Yesterday’s show had far too much cannon fodder on display, but I suppose that’s what a one-hour Tuesday show is for. Nevertheless, one special singer-songwriter in particular hit the right note with one coach, and hopefully the entire country. Check out my performance recap after the jump… Read more on The Voice Recap: Battle Rounds Part 2…
At last we’ve made it to my favorite stage of The Voice: the epic Battle Rounds portion! Judging by last night’s show, there’s no question this is the best season in terms of overall talent. It actually makes me a little upset knowing some of these folks didn’t try out for American Idol, especially since the show has a proven track record for churning out chart-topping stars. Oh well, I can’t have it all…but what I do have is a fantastic feeling about this season’s crop of contestants. Only one artist left yesterday that deserved to remain in the competition, but for the most part those who left needed to. Moreover, those who were spared by the judges’ “steal” option happened to be some of my early favorites, so I certainly am not complaining and am happy to see them fight another day. Let’s review the singing brawl… Read more on The Voice Recap: Battle Rounds Part 1…
Directed By: Ned Benson
Written By: Ned Benson
Cast: James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Ciarán Hinds, William Hurt, Bill Heder, Jess Weixler, Isabelle Huppert, Nina Arianda, and Li Jun Li.
Synopsis (From IMDB): A New York couple’s relationship as told by the husband/A New York couple’s relationship as told by the wife.
Why It Could Succeed:
For starters, the title incorporates the name of one of The Beatles’ most haunting and beautiful songs. Considering the band is often regarded as the greatest in history, devotees of the arts and the Fab Four will be seeking out this independent film solely because of its title. The average Academy voter is also 62, the very same age as those belonging to the “Baby Boom” generation, born between the late 40s and mid 60s. This generation lived and breathed Beatles’ music (just ask my dad!), so you can bet The Academy will amend its conservative stance if The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby is worthy enough of partially sharing the name of the cherished track from the band’s “Revolver” album. Read more on Awards Profile: The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (His and Hers)…