Tag Archive for Entertainment News

Jersey Clowns An Apologetic Playlist To Italy For Jersey Shore

Dear Italy,
As a proud American and a recovering son of the Garden State, I would like to hereby offer my formal public musical apology for Jersey Shore hitting your shores. We’re hearing that you’re not very impressed with our self-annoited guidos and guidettes now that their “reality” show is airing over there. As Roberto Del Bove, columnist for Rome’s New Notzie newspaper, put it, Jersey Shore “embodies the worst stereotypes of Italians, multiplied by thousands and Americanized.” Frankly, your rejection only makes us love you more, and we were already pretty darn impressed what with your pasta, your wine and that fine art stuff. We sure hope that you’ll remember that we also gave you jazz & rock & roll, and overlook this rather unfortunate situation Read more

Chris Brown Kanye West and Public HipHop Tirades

They say that it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. This truism might also include public celebrity tirades. Another name for these outbursts might be “publicity stunts designed to sell records.” This is the case where a celeb goes bananas in public and does something that is both unthinkable and conversation-worthy, sure to grab headlines right before his/her album release. An example would be Kanye West running up on stage to steal a microphone from Taylor Swift, or Chris Brown punching out a window at Good Morning America Read more

The Lincoln Lawyer A Third Take

Perhaps, over the past couple of weeks, you watched The Lincoln Lawyer. And perhaps, as a result, you are thinking of reading the book. I can imagine such thinking taking place immediately after the purchase of a plane ticket.
To give you an idea of what you’ll be up against, I’ve written my own The Lincoln Lawyer chapter. It contains a spoiler or two, but that shouldn’t matter if you’ve already seen the movie Read more

Blasphemy in The Book of Mormon

The highly anticipated The Book of Mormon didn’t quite provoke the highly anticipated shower of controversy we were told to highly anticipate. In the months leading up to its debut, the show indulged the predicted criticism by dismissing it. Its website touted reviews calling it “blasphemous,” “boundary-pushing,” and “crudely provocative.” Trey Parker, one of the show’s director/writer/composers, publicly declared “We’re just not scared… And not like in an ‘Awesome, we’re fearless’ way Read more

Cinefantastique Round Table Podcast Super 8 Sneak Preview

Get a sneak peak at Super 8, the upcoming science fiction film from J.J. Abrams, on this edition of the Cinefantastique Round Table Podcast, the weekly round-up of news and views focusing on horror, fantasy and science fiction films.

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Marsha Ambrosius Late Night Lessons in Love and Loss

Since the 2007 break up of neo-soul duo Floetry, speculation has steadily grown as to the musical direction each member would take. Singer-songwriter-producer Marsha Ambrosius spreads her soulful wings and expands her creative comfort zone on her debut solo joint, the aptly titled Late Nights & Early Mornings (J Records).
There is no doubt that six-time Grammy Award nominee Ambrosius is a major talent — she wrote or co-wrote most of the songs here, and produced a good number of them as well (including a remix of “Butterflies,” a song she co-wrote for the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson). Lyrically, the Liverpool, England, native appears to be looking inward, exploring the various levels of intimacy: finding love, having love, losing love. Most of the tracks on Late Nights sound like deeply reflective, emotion-soaked remembrances, best listened to in the twilight hours (with maybe a little cognac on the side).
Curiously, Ambrosius’ visual imaging for this project is more hyper-feminine than in her past Floetry days Read more

Mars Needs Moms and the Uncanny Valley

Disney’s CG/3D animated film Mars Needs Moms, which cost close to $200 million to produce and market, continued to suffer in its third weekend, making only $2.2 million for a total worldwide gross of $27 million. Destined to become one of the biggest flops of all time, the film’s failure has sent shockwaves through the film industry, which had considered the combination of kids movies, CG animation and 3D as a surefire moneymaker.
Naturally, such a spectacular flop has caused furious head scratching as studio executives try to figure out what happened so future films can avoid a similar fate. Was the concept of Martians kidnapping a parent too scary? Did the fact that “moms” was in the title cause boys to avoid it? Did parents finally put their foot down and refuse to pay inflated ticket prices for subpar 3D fare?
Having seen Mars Needs Moms, I can attest that it simply isn’t a good movie in terms of story and characters, but bad word of mouth alone can’t explain why the film made just $6.9 million in its opening weekend Read more

Weekend Box Office Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 Knocks Out Slightlyunderperforming Sucker Punch

In a somewhat surprising result, the heavily-advertised action-fantasy Sucker Punch (teaser/trailer) did not top the box office this weekend, losing a close race to the lower-profile but popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules was number one for the weekend, with $24.4 million. The second film in the series comes just over a year after 20th Century Fox released the premiere entry (titled simply Diary of a Wimpy Kid) took the number-two slot with $22 million. With no massive Alice in Wonderland standing it is way this time, the further adventures of Zachery Gordon promoted itself to the top slot Read more

Why Sucker Punch Isnt as Empowering as It Wants to Be

This concept sounds so awesome, doesn’t it?
An action film starring a team of five women! Tough girls shooting huge guns and flying indestructible planes! Confident chicks fighting zombie soldiers and slaying fire-breathing dragons and deactivating hazardous bombs! Oppressed women battling their captors and slaying low expectations of society at large to become the superheroes of their own story! A hardcore musical soundtrack propelling them on the whole time!
Sucker Punch had so much potential to be an empowering tour de force for its female viewers. Director Zack Snyder took all of the action and excitement and visually arresting storytelling of his previous films 300 and Watchmen and put women in the swirling center of it. On the most visceral level, girls were obviously supposed to leave the theater ready to take charge of their lives and beat up some samurai robot monsters in the process.
So as a woman, always looking to feel strong and empowered, why did I come away from Sucker Punch feeling confused? And maybe a little dirty?
Unfortunately, the film fails on the female empowerment front. In pretty epic fashion, too.
Sucker Punch fails to be empowering because it takes such a caricatured stance on what female empowerment actually entails Read more

Is The Book of Mormon Good For Mormons

The new Broadway show, The Book of Mormon, opened on Thursday to rave reviews and has immediately become one of the hottest ticket on the Great White Way. Since the show is written and produced by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the guys who brought us “South Park,” the project had been met with intrigue from its onset; now, though, thanks to all the accolades, some are second-guessing whether the show is so controversial after all. Mormons have even reportedly been fans of the show.
Larger questions still loom. As Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, who both happen to be Mormons, considering presidential runs in 2012, what’s “unclear is how the Mormon faith will play” in the run-up to the election, reports USA Today Read more

MARGIN CALL HOW TO TRIGGER A MELTDOWN AND KEEP YOURSELF IN ARMANIS

The fortieth edition of New Directors/New Films kicked off with “Margin Call,” a stylish drama by first-time director J.C. Chandor centered on the global financial crisis of 2008. Unspooling through April 3 at Lincoln Center and MoMA, the annual ND/NF has become an essential stop for cinephiles who enjoy discovering a new generation of filmmakers (alums include Darren Aronofsky, Spike Lee, and Christopher Nolan) at an early juncture of promising careers.
Boasting a starry cast with the likes of Jeremy Irons, Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, and Demi Moore, “Margin Call” trains a laser-like beam on the players at a giant Wall Street firm over a roughly twenty-four hour period preceding the world economic meltdown, taking them from horrified discovery of worthless securities, to the final move to dump the firm’s toxic assets, collateral damage be damned Read more

Would the MPAA Prefer a Female Character Not Be Into Sex Scene

There’s a choice quote in this Emily Browning interview over at Nylon Magazine, which was reported by Cinemablend that merits a mention. Its implications are kinda shocking. The crux is the discussion of changes that Zach Snyder had to make in order to ensure Sucker Punch (review) would win a PG-13 from the MPAA, which apparently took seven tries. I’ll let Browning lay it out:
I’ve often defended the MPAA when films are given harsher ratings for breaking clearly-outlined rules (if you have more than one ‘f-word’, you get an R, period) Read more

Arcadia and Wittenberg The Theater of Beautiful Minds

Behold the brilliance of Tom Stoppard! His genius is reason enough to see the Broadway revival of Arcadia at the Barrymore, a civilizing relief ably directed by David Leveaux, just as the culture at large focuses on another kind of theater: the wild ravings of Charlie Sheen. Set in the stately Derbyshire estate in two time periods, the Romantic era 1809, and a modern 1993 featuring literary scholars who mine archaic manuscripts and letters in search of evidence to support slim career-making theories, Arcadia takes a sly swipe at the academic world, and tells a much richer story celebrating the life of the mind.
“Wanting to know is what makes us matter,” says Hannah Jarvis, a historical novelist researching Arcadia’s legendary garden.
The play opens on a scene of privileged education. A precocious teen, one Thomasina Coverly (Bel Powley), inquires as to the nature of “carnal embrace.” Her tutor Septimus Hodge, a classmate of Lord Byron, already famous as poet and rake, answers coyly and soon reveals himself to be the subject of the inquiry, a source for household gossip, having been spotted in the gazebo with the poet Ezra Chater’s wife. This scandal unfolds hilariously, and by the time we cut to the present with the heirs of the stately Arcadia, we are awed by the comedy of Byron’s time as Stoppard imagines it Read more

DVDs The Tourist Falls Asleep and more

THE TOURIST ($38.96 BluRay or $28.95 regular DVD; Sony) — This Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie romantic thriller is curiously mellow, if not downright sleepy. I blame Venice. In Paris, you might careen around the city in a snazzy sports car, tires squealing. In Venice, when Jolie rushes to a new location via canal, the boat of course slowly slides next to the dock and Jolie calmly walks onto the pier Read more

WGA Sends Studio Deal to Members

The ratification vote will take place in April, before the existing contract’s May 1 expiration. Details: The Hollywood Reporter.
On a separate note, I will be speaking at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles on April 12 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the school’s “A Conversation With” series. The subject is “The Past, Present and Future of Hollywood Unions.” I’ll also be discussing my new book “Hollywood on Strike!,” available on Amazon (also in a Kindle edition) Read more

Is There Sexism in Celebrity Justice

It’s a man’s world. That was the mantra of a generation and women have fought for decades to reverse inequalities in the workplace and society. But when you examine recent celebrity crimes and see how punishments have been meted out, women may begin to think they have actually gained little ground.
When Chris Brown went ballistic in his dressing room following an appearance on Good Morning America, he walked away Scott free. He not only escaped a potential probation violation for his felony assault conviction, the police were not even called Read more

Movie Review White Irish Drinkers

WHITE IRISH DRINKERS *** out of ****
In theaters today
TV talent John Gray (The Ghost Whisperer) takes a promising step into cinema with this solid coming of age tale. Relative unknown Nick Thurston is very appealing as Brian Leary, a sensitive young lad growing up in the rough and tumble of Brooklyn in the Seventies. His older brother is a petty thief. But Brian works at the local cinema, convincing the owner to book rock acts from time to time, obsessively draws in his basement hideaway and fancies the local travel agent with a sharp tongue but a friendly smile Read more

Theater Arcadia Revival Delights

ARCADIA *** 1/2 out of ****
ETHEL BARRYMORE THEATRE
What a marvelous play! That’s my first reaction after seeing the new revival of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia on Broadway. I loved the original production in 1995 and was eager to see it again. Why did we have to wait 16 years? And where are the regular revivals of The Invention Of Love? I can understand the hesitation in tackling the epic Coast Of Utopia. But it shouldn’t be just The Real Thing that gets revived again and again, as the sparkling Jumpers proved a few years ago.
Time and reputation can play tricks on you Read more

First Nighter South Parks Trey Parker and Matt Stone Cheerfully Commit The Book of Mormon to Broadway

There’s a respected position on satire that holds if it doesn’t offend someone, it’s not worth the effort spent perpetrating it. In their lengthening collaboration, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have advanced that theory to a tease and a taunt. And bless their iconoclastic hearts for it! In The Book of Mormon, their hilarious first Broadway musical now enlivening a so-so season in the Eugene O’Neill, they poke fun at an entire religion, a bold act that may offend thousands, if not more. It could even be said they’re going after Christianity as a whole with the appearance of a slang-spouting Jesus in a lustrous blond wig.
The production — directed and choreographed with concomitantly amusing disrespect by Casey Nicholaw — is hardly a surprise attack by the nose-thumbing partners Read more

HuffPost Review Sucker Punch Genuinely Feminist Its a Deeper Darker Confection Than One Might Presume

Sucker Punch
2011
115 minutes
rated PG-13
by Scott Mendelson
Zach Snyder’s Sucker Punch is an experiment and a question: Is is possible to make a female-driven action fantasy without falling prey to certain misogynistic messaging? Just as its difficult to make an anti-war film because war plays out as exciting onscreen, there is a level of titillation that comes from the very idea of watching attractive women taking up arms against various foes. One could argue that the same applies to any number of male action pictures, as I don’t think too many heterosexual women or homosexual men minded watching Harrison Ford, Bruce Willis, or Matt Damon kicking butt in their respective action franchises. But rather than duck the subject, Snyder dives right into the muck, offering an examination of the voyeuristic nature of our mainstream action fantasies, and how those films view women. It’s a severely flawed picture, and thanks to the MPAA (it took seven tries to get a PG-13), somewhat artistically compromised, but there is much more going on underneath the surface that the surface-level razzle-dazzle Read more

Dont Write Off Chris Brown He Needs Help

There’s no excuse for dangerous temper tantrums, but after talking to anger-management experts, I’m convinced Chris has made progress and sincerely wants to be a better person.
When word spread like wildfire that Chris Brown had freaked out after his on-air interview with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, the chorus of voices condemning him — including some here in our Hollywoodlife.com office — couldn’t have been louder.
“He’ll never change,” ‘he’s a jerk,” “he’s a thug,” “he’s just a brute” were a few of the more damning comments I heard.
And while I believe that Chris’ assault on his then-girlfriend Rihanna was unforgivable, I’ve always felt that everyone — especially a young person — deserves a second chance. People make mistakes, especially teens — and Chris was just 19 at the time of the assault. He was a baby. It’s also a fact that when someone like Chris has grown up in a household witnessing domestic violence, they can learn terribly destructive behavior.
I’m as letdown as anyone that after a year of court-mandated, domestic-violence counseling and six months of community service, Chris exploded after he was questioned by Robin about the Rihanna assault Read more

Alfie Boe Youve Got to Hear This Guy Sing

When my daughter was a toddler, she would want me to read the same storybook to her over and over, endlessly. I couldn’t understand how she could enjoy something enough to do that. Now I get it. My epiphany arrived with the unlikely name of Alfie Boe Read more

Theater The Dream Of The Burning Boy Almost Catches Fire

THE DREAM OF THE BURNING BOY ** 1/2 out of ****
Roundabout Black Box Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre
The Black Box Theatre admirably meets its mission to mount new plays by emerging writers and directors with The Dream Of The Burning Boy. It is, indeed, a new play by the promising writer David West Read, presented simply but with professionalism by director Evan Cabnet and a solid cast that do it justice. See it and you’ll be reminded anew of the skill of lead actor Reed Birney and look forward to Read’s next show. Getting the chance to see his work performed with such care should prove invaluable.
The story is a familiar one: a high school student has dropped dead in the hallway and everyone from teachers to his family and friends are struggling with how to react Read more

Nurse Jackie All Hail Edie Falco

After Edie Falco gave such a stunning performance as Carmela Soprano in the HBO series, most of us expected it would take a while for another role to come along which would use her creative juices in such a magnificent way. Little did we know the next great role was just around the corner.
Nurse Jackie is now starting its third season and Falco has laid claim to another great role and has filled it with one great acting performance after another. Jackie Peyton (Falco) is a polar opposite of Carmela but she is also pure Falco Read more