Thursday, February 11, 2016

Smart Mouth Much?

Alright, Ryan Reynolds. Five years later, all is forgiven for Green Lantern.

That, of course, is the obvious thing to say after watching DeadpoolR2’s long-awaited superhero do-over helmed by Oscar-nominated short film-director-turned-feature-film-director Tim Miller. The movie’s a success and a rare milestone that necessitated that People magazine’s Sexiest Dad Alive – now a thing, evidently – relinquish his DOA starring role in one of the first offerings of a once-not-yet-coalesced DC Comicsverse and keep the faith that everything was going to turn out A-OK.

Which it did.

Reynolds never had to revisit Hal Jordan again. He got to keep Blake Lively and spawn a baby girl with her. And he got to have a shot at winning America’s heart and good will back this weekend, which he will.

Bonus: He gets to be a cheeky, fourth-wall-breaking sunovagun while doing so, ohyeshedoes.

Deadpool, you see, is a blockbuster like no other.

It is the Guardians of the Galaxy of the Xverse in that it is offbeat (by this kind of production’s standards and because,’ll see) and super-surprising and an instant hit that should please both critics and audiences alike – trust. It is a movie about how the worst thing that can happen to Ryan Reynolds is, no, not Green Lantern (let’s just never mention that one again) but going ugly, and the best thing that can happen to the guy is have us willingly go along with the notion and not realize how ridikolous the idea is until it’s too late ’cause you’re in. He’s hooked you. He’s reeled you in, and guess what. He’s already munching on ya.

An origin story that starts in the middle (and in the middle of a bullet-ridden, blood-spattering fight), which is totally meta because it feels like we already know Reynolds as Deadpool (alright – let’s just never mention X-Men Origins: Wolverine, either), the movie centers on his self-admitted anti-heroic Wade Wilson, a former Special Forces who’s rather aloofly disillusioned by his life and, yet, brazenly matter o’ fact about maintaining his forward motion.

Wade lives openly and loudly in the shadows, has a smart mouth, and works as a mercenary of sorts – ergo his Merc with a Mouth nickname, which I don’t think anyone actually gives him, not even T.J. Miller, who pops up as Weasel, his buddy from the underground. Wade threatens and roughs up people som’in’ fierce for others who can’t fend for themselves but are willing to pay. He romances a cool-chick hooker-ish lady with an equally checkered past named Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), who gives as good as she takes, and he falls prey to a number of manhood tropes that manifest only after he gets a terminal cancer diagnosis that sends him looking for alternative treatments in order to spare his love from having to witness him die a slow death.

Enter Ed Skrein (the original Daario Naharis of HBO’s Game of Thrones) as Ajax, a merc in his own right who gives Wade a free treatment that costs him dearly (his health is restored with some cool extras, but his looks, man...). The stacked Britsh-born actor plays Deadpool’s nemesis in a serviceable manner that is hard to take serious because, yeah, his totally underwritten and also a bit overwrought, but also because the movie has this tone that begs us that we don’t. Deadpool is gonna be fine, and do is the franchise that will surely be built around Deadpool, for when Reynolds isn’t helping to tell stories with Wolverine & Co.

The movie proves that A) Reynolds is an ace comedian, and B) that this was the role he was born to play. Or the role that he knew he could knock outta the part for Hollywood, if only Hollywood had had the balls to do it right the first time.

My Rating ***1/2

Photo: 20th Century Fox.

A Girl for a Season

Speaking of TV revivals I have zero problems with, Netflix’s check-in with the Gilmore Girls is gonna have a Bunhead.

Former Sherman-Palladino leading lady Sutton Foster (TV Land’s Younger) has been tapped for a role on the revival, which will reunite Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel & Co. with all of their fans (including moi!) soon. This summer? This fall?

Soon. That’s the safest bet for now.

No word on who Foster will play, but Imma bet the two-time Tony winner will talk fast. Very fast.


Roots Showing Anew

Watch or you’re racist (I learned that from Samantha Bee).

Roots is getting the remake treatment, and while my disdain for most remakes and reboots is on the record, this particular endeavor gets a pass. No, not because it’s about slavery and the ol’ African-American struggle but because the conversation about race is one with which America clearly isn’t done.

The History Channel will premiere an eight-hour LEVar Burton-produced retake of Roots that stars Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker, Oscar nominee Laurence Fishburne, Golden Globe winner Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose, Academy Award winner Anna Paquin, T.I., and newcomers Rege-Jean Page and Malachy Kirby (pictured here) as Kunta Kinte on Memorial Day. And you best be planning on watchin’ it. Matthew Goode (TV’s The Good Wife), Mekhi Phifer, and James Purefoy (TV’s The Following) are also on board.

Check out the remake’s trailer now.


She Is. Leila Williams

So like, Fifty Shades Darker is gonna be full of it for Jamie Dornan.

Joining Kim Basinger in his Christian Grey’s Ex Squad will be Bella Heathcote (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), now that she has been cast in the role of Leila Williams.

And, get this: Leila will not be antagonizing Dakota Johnson’s Anastasia Steele.

She gon’ be stalkin’ her.

Heathcote will be portraying one of Christian’s former submissives you see. One who has suffered a mental breakdown in the wake of their parting of the ways.

I smell a catfight.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What Happened at the Lighthouse

Awards season 2016-’17 has begun!

Well. Ish.

Whats for sure is Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander, both currently nominated for their work in Steve Jobs and The Danish Girl, not to mention Youth’s Rachel Weisz, all will be working the circuit later in the year, when Derek Cianfrance’s The Light Between Oceans is released on Sept. 2.

A drama based on an eponymous 2012 M.L. Stedman novel, the film will center on a lighthouse keeper who, together with his wife, finds a baby girl (and her dead mother) in a rowboat by the shore. Their decision to raise the child as their own in post-World War I Australia will later prove a life-changing and confronting. So, you know...tears.

The Fass, of course, will play the lighthouse keeper, while Vikander will portray his wife. Weisz is on board as the girl’s mom.

Looking forward to the trailer for this one.


One for the Soldiers

Before she makes us laugh with BFF Jennifer Lawrence and on-comeback-mode woman Goldie Hawn, Amy Schumer is going to take a turn to the serious. Er.

I mean, her comedy is serious. I dunno why people have to belittle her day job (just a tad...think about it) to say the woman’s doing a drama.

Which she is.

The Emmy winner is going to co-star in Thank You for Your Service, a Miles Teller-led new film from American Sniper screenwriter Jason Hall, who will be popping his cherry as a director with the project.

The plot will revolve around a group of U.S. soldiers coming home from Iraq, who struggle to reintegrate back into their regular civilian lives and with the memories of war.

Thank You for Your Service will be based on the 2013 David Finkel novel, and co-star It up-and-comer Haley Bennett, Secret In Their Eyes’ Joe Cole, The Last Saint’s Beulah Koale, Child of God’s Scott Haze, and Oscar nominee Keisha Casthle-Hughes (HBO’s Game of Thrones), among others.


A Buff Cavill Makes for a Happy World

The media blitz for the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has begun, and it is so obvious.

Ergo the gratuitous shots of a shirtless Henry Cavill. You know, the Man of Steel, who has never looked the part more.

Cavill himself did his part by Instagramming the pic at right, as a sort of self-motivational tool to keep working out so all the fans can be happy when he suits up for the 147 other DC Comicsverse movies he still has coming down the pike.

So generous.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is due out on March 25.

Photo: E! Online.

Time to Bounce, Biggity Bounce, Kids

#ICYMI (and how could you?), Missy Elliott debuted a new single titled Pep Rally” like a boss during one of the Super Bowl 50 commercials, which wasn’t even like, about her (the Amazon Echo one), because that’s.


She do.

Get it, girl!


Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Fast, Furious...and Theron?

Ooh, child. I luh this bit o potential casting news.

They want the villain in Fast and Furious 8 to be a woman – and they want that woman to be Charlize Theron.

Which has me kinda like, Yeah!, and sorta like, Don’t. Because Furiosa.

But, I mean, La Theron would – and slay with me he’ – bring it to the franchise.

Fully on.

F. Gary Gray, who directed The Italian Job, is set to helm, so figure that one out. Haha.

Oh yeah. Fast and Furious 8 is totally a thing. And so are the ninth and the 10th blockbuster that suddenly auteur Vin Diesel wants to make to complete the bestest series in film ever.

A tenthlogy? A decalogy. What?

So confused right now.


When Ewan Did Bowie (Again)

Back in the 2000s, Baz Luhrmann delivered the kinetic Moulin Rouge!, and one of its stars became a heartthrob of a rock star in my eyes.

That was Ewan McGregor, who won over the courtesan Satine (portrayed in an Academy Award-nominated turn by Nicole Kidman) as the penniless writer Christian, who, in turn, won us over by romantically singing his little longing heart out to the tune of Elton John, the Police, and David Bowie, among others.

The film’s show-stopping “Elephant Love Medley” included a tremendous, memorable take on the late Bowie’s Heroes,” which the Jane Got a Gun star reprised last night at the Roxy in West Hollywood at a tribute to Bowie. And, of course, it looks and sounds like McGregor  who also showcased his singing ability in the underappreciated 2003 title Down with Love  did the Thin White Duke proud.

Check it:


Life Builder

Good thing Matt LeBlanc dide make it to that so-called Friends reunion.

The Emmy-nominated and Golden Globe-winning actor is looking to come back to network TV, via CBS, once his Episodes on Showtime end, with legendary director James Burrows helming the pilot for his potential network comeback vehicle, which is sure to be ordered any day day now.

Titled I’m Not Your Friend (ha!), the show was written by a couple of That ’70s Show alumni, and would see LeBlanc as a contractor who learns that raising his kids ain’t as easy as he thought (see, his wife has decided to go back to work).

This could so work. America loves its old Friends.


Magdalene’s Turn

Here she comes!


Mary Magdalene, that’s who.

Academy Award nominee Rooney Mara (Carol) is circling an M2 biopic that is currently coming together with director Garth Davis (Sundance Channel’s Top of the Lake) at the helm and The Weinstein Company on board., y’all.

The project will take an authentic and humanistic approaching in telling the story of one of the most enigmatic (and polarizing) figures of Christianity.

Davis reportedly is keen on Mara taking the part given her “raw, brave approach to performances [and] her deeply magnetic inner life.

In other words, girlfriend has that air of mystery that the role will require.


The New Goldie Era

Goldie Hawn is back, y’all.

The Oscar-winning actress with The Smile already has a Divanation, a First Wives Club reunion of sorts also featuring Diane Keaton and Better Midler in the works at Netflix, and now comes word that she is also eyeing a part in a new Amy Schumer-led big-screen project to be helmed by Jonathan Levine (The Night Before).

The movie will revolve around a mother-daughter duo that gets caught up in a crime during a vacation gone wrong.

This has to happen. Like, it just has to now.


Monday, February 08, 2016

The Right Frequency

It’s from TV’s Nashville to communicating across time and space for Riley Smith.

The actor has been cast on The CW’s upcoming reboot of Frequency, the 2000 Jim Caviezel vehicle. He will play Frank Sullivan, the character that Dennis Quaid portrayed in the movie.

In a twist, the show will not see him communicating with a son but with a daughter (how progressive). Smith’s character’s daughter, a police detective, living in the now will discover that she can reach her estranged father, also a detective, who died in 1996 – during a period of deep undercover, which is why he was never around before he kicked the bucket.

Can someone from the now talk to the someones from the past to make them forget about the concepts of remaking or rebooting s---, please!


Coldplay & Co. Slay Super Bowl 50

Well that was a genius Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show.

Brought on to help celebrate the 50th edition of the big game, Coldplay may have initially seemed like an odd choice for such a piece of Americana entertainment, but the British band proved once and for all that they are, indeed, so universally well-liked (and ragged on because haters are gon’ hate) because they are quite simply that good. There isn’t an arena, nay, a stadium on the planet that those Chris Martin-fronted Brits cannot rock, and Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on the day it would have the most eyes on it ever, was not going to be the exception. Just like it won’t be in September when Coldplay rolls back into town on its A Head Full of Dreams Tour.

What Coldplay & Co. – including the National Football League and the band’s special guests, Bruno Mars (with Mark Ronson) and Beyoncé, not to mention Lady GaGa early on  delivered yesterday was a master lesson in brand rebranding. Marketing at its very bestest.

Coldplay are (now) fun! And the world’s harbinger-of-a-very-special-message band (more on that later).

Bruno Mars is your next King of Pop  unless President of Pop Justin Timberlake decides he still wants the title, in which case I give JT six months to make a new move. I would live happy seeing those two challenge each other for life, btw.

Beyoncé’s the new and improved Madonna, near-flawless art as matter of fact (because when you Yoncé, you don’t need to peacock like Kanye), while the NFL is an American institution dead-set on showing that it cares by allowing its acts du year to move many conversations forward (again, more on that later).

Oh, and Lady GaGa is now Céline Dion.

Headliners Martin, lead guitarist Jonny Buckland, bassist Guy Berryman, and drummer Will Champion acknowledged the bull before em and took it by the horns, alright, sticking to their Coldplay guns by staying true to themselves and singing the songs that made them Coldplay in the first place. They reminded everyone, albeit momentarily, of the reasons why their music is so effective, and they did so by simultaneously displaying a lot of generosity toward their peers and their audience.

See, Coldplay is often mocked by the tug-at-your-heartstrings-ness and Gwyneth-ness of “Fix You,” a song believed to have been written for Martin’s now ex-wife, Gwyneth Paltrow, in the wake of her father’s death early into his relationship with the actress-turned-GOOPer, and by the, I dunno, earnestness of their true-introduction-to-world-domination single “Yellow,” a ditty that’s almost 16 years old. On paper, the Coldplays have no right being as big as they are, but, much like Adele, they connect with folks in ways folks sometimes folks don’t even want to accept, much less own, and their shows are pretty f---in’ magical. They make fans outta non-fans.

It’s really hard to resist Coldplay, and it’s comical to see people try.

“Viva La Vida,” a massive-hit anthem performed during the Halftime Show, is the encapsulation of Coldplay, a band who has expertly combined Olympics-quality pageantry with beautiful, effective songwriting forever. “Viva La Vida” is an honest offering, and much derided. And yet, it was a spectacular way in which to kick off things yesterday, especially because, as Martin put it, “We’re in this together. Let’s go!

That included the game’s eventual winners, the Broncos, as well as the Panthers, the thousands gathered at Levis Stadium, those millions of us watching at home...and Beyoncé and Bruno Mars.

Both previous halftime headliners came back to the Super Bowl turf as special guests and helped the NFL and Coldplay celebrate the annual tradition’s past, present, and future. Mars went first, capping a winning year by serving an electric performance of his and Mark Ronson’s huge, Grammy-nominated “Uptown Funk.” His charismatic, unreal dance moves were the thing dreams are made of, and prove that he has a right to the throne the late Michael Jackson once occupied.

And then there was Queen B.

As she showed us once before, Beyoncé is the real deal. An artist and a badass bitch through and through. An amazing example of womanhood, blackhood, and feminism, all wrapped up into a vessel-like artiste that has learned from the best (M) and will progressively continue to set the bar higher and move the conversations we need to be having forward through the sheer power of art. Through her own sheer power. She gives what we need while giving what we want, all the while letting her message speak for itself and for herself (because we may crave Beyoncé, but we don’t need or get to have all of Beyoncé, ergo the rare public appearances and via-email-only interviews).

That she performed her then-surprise new single Formation (Dirty),” a song barely 24 hours old, should come as zero a surprise. Gf didn’t to just play. She can to slay (pardon the clichéd use of her latest chanson de guerre). Beyoncé is a disciplined student of the School of Queen of Pop Madonna; her savvy is incredible, so, of course, she would trot out “Formation (Dirty).” The world already knew it; it was beyond-familiar with its commentaries on identity and current sociopolitical matters. Also not a surprise? That she would announce a new tour immediately following the Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show.

Do not insult or, worse, discount Beyoncé’s intelligence ever again, world. And remember, she doesn’t want to be Queen of Pop. Bitch she’s Beyoncé!

Which brings me back to Coldplay.

Everything came back full circle for the band after it gracefully relinquished the spotlight to two other acts because those guys knew people would love it. And those guys, they’re not going to withhold from their fans. Their move to share was smart, and it proved that you can be a person who enjoys many things. You can love many things. You can believe in love. Which means you can peace.

Yes, even peace got a rebrand (thanks, #BelieveInLove!).

Coldplay was brought on, by the NFL, to help celebrate the 50th edition of its big football game. They shared the spotlight with two true individuals who each had something important to say (they, too, are the face of America...they like to have unapologetic fun and form meaningful opinions on the state of the nation – deal with it because it’s a good thing, and it’s a very good and American thing that it’s happening; and you could say that Coldplay, Brits that they are making their way stateside, represented the face of immigration).

Everybody won (alright, maybe, not the Panthers).


Update: Since the show celebrated past performers with two big returns and some clips, what gives? Why was Madonna not shown on TV?

I am pretty sure it has nothing to do with anything other than she probably was shown at the stadium, just not on the televised show. Some cutaway more than likely cut away from her and others.

Oh. What. Do you think it has something to do with the beef M supposedly has with...Gwyneth Paltrow? That G.P. put the kibosh on showing M, telling her consciously uncoupled ex and her BFF Beyoncé to diss the Queen?


It would not be on brand.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

The Good Wife Wraps It Up

Forget all the other Super Bowl 50 commercials. There was one that was perfectly suspenseful and a total surprise.

I’m talking about the ad for TV’s The Good Wife...and its final nine episodes!

I know, right!

CBS confirmed tonight that the end of Alicia Florrick’s (Emmy winner Julianna Margulies) story is nigh. Quite nigh:

The Good Wife will wrap it on May 8.

And I can and can’t deal right now.

Has this show been about loneliness and isolation all along – the loneliness and isolation of a humiliated-by-her-politician husband (hey, Chris Noth, hey)? Will this end with Alicia’s death (perhaps, by her own hand, given what happened on the last ep we got)? Or has all of this taken place in her head as she mustered the will to go up to that first podium and pledged her Good Wife-ness to her beloved scoundrel?

Or, as someone quite smart and handsome put it to me, Robert and Michelle King, the show’s masterminds, are going to give us the ending we all want: Alicia, happily married to Will (Josh Charles), daydreaming about a major what-if situation while watching a Peter Florrick-for-POTUS commercial on TV?

What if is and has been a recurring theme on The Good Wife, and the show has flirted with the absurdly surreal and memory recollections before, especially during recent seasons.

In that scenario, Archie Panjabi’s Kalinda and Alicia are neighbors even – Margulies and Panjabi simply have been playing a very long tabloid-friendly con.

Update: Speaking of Josh Charles, check out what he had to tweet about the surprise announcement.