Saturday, October 25, 2014

Empire Rocker

Courtney Love is most definitely acting again.

The People vs. Larry Flynt star recently guested on FX’s Sons of Anarchy, and, now, she is getting ready to take her stuff to Fox.

La Love has been tapped for another guesting role, this time on the upcoming Empire, this new Terrence Howard-fronted drama that is set in the hip-hop world. She will play a hard rock powerhouse who is part of the fictional Empire Entertainment artist stable.

Sticking to what she knows I see.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Of Life, Death, and Love

I gotta say, never occurred to me that I would enjoy a 3-D animated film about Día de los Muertos, but there I was this week, really digging one such offering, the Guillermo del Toro-produced, Mexican-folklore-celebrating The Book of Life.

The story – about a trio of childhood friends (two boys, one girl), and the cosmic wager that these two forces of nature (La Muerte, the lady of the Land of the Remembered, and Xibalba, the discontented lord of the Land of the Forgotten) take on regarding their future love lives – was most engaging.

No doubt, this was surprisingly adult stuff for a family film, but it’s not like they showed anything questionable.

The boys, Manolo (grown-up-voiced by Diego Luna) and Joaquín (Channing Tatum), and María (Zoë Saldana), while full o’ personality, maintain a PG-friendly generic-ness to ’em that is more than palatable for the little ones (kudos to the powers that be for insisting on giving her an I-don’t-a-man sort of feminist ’tude). Each of the guys is a ying to a yang: Manolo is a singer; Joaquíns more of a fighter. They’re both noble, but the latter’s a bit more entitled. And Maria, I said, she’s her own woman, and she knows what she wants.

The great fun of The Book of Life is to see all three come into their own, this in spite of any supernatural meddling, in a production that is just so colorful and inventively alive (even the sequences set in the after-life, which where Manolo’s journey takes him to get the – Spoiler Alert! – girl).

I would argue that the plot could have been a bit as, if not more inventive than the mariachi take on the Mumford & Sons hit “I Will Wait” they used in the film, but, hey...if it ain’t broke, right?

My Rating ***

Photo: 20th Century Fox.

The Friendliest of Exes

Parenthood may be coming to an end soon, but Lauren Graham is looking to stick around the TV world nonetheless.

The actress leaving NBC for CBS, though (at least for a bit), now that she has signed on to guest on her good pal Matthew Perry’s upcoming Odd Couple remake.

Graham will play Oscar’s (Perry; Thomas Lennon will be playing Felix) ex, a woman to whom he’s still very much connected.

Sounds like art imitating life: Perry and Graham used to date, and she guested on his two previous efforts for the tube, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and Go On.

Odd Couple is meant to premiere next year.


The Jobs Is Bale’s

For a bit and a half now, people have been saying that Christian Bale is getting ready to play Steve Jobs.

Well, now people can say so with conviction.

Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin has confirmed that the Oscar winner is very much going to play the late Apple CEO.

“We needed the best actor and that’s Chris Bale,” Sorkin has said. “He didn’t [even] have to audition.

Alrighty then.

The untitled project will be based on the 2011 Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Awards Season 2014-’15 Starts at Gotham

It’s the most wonderful time of the year (yeah, if you’re a movie star).

Awards season officially kicked off today when the nominations for the Gotham Independent Film Awards were announced.

Unsurprisingly, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood emerged as an undisputed frontrunner to go all the way, picking up four nods, including acting thumbs-up for Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, and newcomer Ellar Coltrane (pictured here).

Boyhood will be competing at the Gothams – which will be handed out on Dec. 1 – with Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Love Is Strange, and Under the Skin in the Best Feature category.


Ultron Unstringed

So...this is awkward.

For TV’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., that is.

See, the first trailer for next summer’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron was meant to debut next week during an episode of the not-so-buzzy-anymore show, right. But then the preview leaked online yesterday, to the dismay of many.

It seems that that was a genie that the powers that be just couldn’t put back in the bottle ’cause the trailer’s still out there.

Which means that, yeah, now it is here. Check it:

Looks like Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Evans (Captain America), Chris Hemsworth (Thor) & Co. are absolutely gonna have their hands full with James Spader’s Pinocchio-complexed Ultron, who is off his “strings.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron is due out on May 1.

Off to Broadway Keira Goes

Keira Knightley’s fixin’ to pull an Elizabeth Olsen.

By which I mean that the Laggies star is going to play Thérèse Raquin, in a new Broadway production of Émile Zola’s Thérèse Raquin (Olsen was seen on screen last winter playing the role in In Secret).

The show – which is set to begin previews next Oct. 1, for an Oct. 29 opening – will mark Knightley’s Great White Way debut.

Now, don’t forget, though, that up next for the actress is next month’s The Imitation Game.


May-December Obsession

Bait-and-switch Alert!

So I finally caught the trailer for Jennifer Lopezs upcoming big-screen effort, The Boy Next Door, yesterday, and I was rather surprised to find out it is so not a rom-com.

Far from it.

This in spite of featuring up-and-comer Ryan GuzmanSex and the City’s John Corbett – Aidan! – and Kristin Chenoweth.

Sure, La Lopez plays a (hot) teacher on the rebound from a recent divorce (hey, John Corbett, hey)...a comely, generally happy-go-lucky-seeming woman with a good friend in La Cheno’s character – but that’s as far as the rom-com-ish stuff goes.

The younger man with whom she ends up having a one-nighter (Guzman)? He turns out to be a freak. A dangerous one who will not let go.

Check out the trailer for the Fatal Attraction-esque The Boy Next Door, which is set to open on Jan. 23.


Written In the Stars

Nicholas Sparks sure doesn’t care for totally happy endings, huh.

Thank goodness the movies Hollywood makes outta his books do lend themselves to some fine-ass shirtless moments, I tell ya.

The Best of Me has exactly one and a half of those, and they are – no joke – the highlight (and a half) of an otherwise predictably leaden story.

Michelle Monaghan (HBO’s True Detective) and Paul Walker James Marsden star in this weeper, as Amanda and Dawson, a couple of high school sweethearts who reunite as adults 20 years years after parting, no, not cause her rich parents paid him to go away (her father did make him such an offer at one point) or even because his wrong-side-of-the-tracks-ness, as embodied by his dangerous-element redneck dad, proved inescapable.

Young Amanda (Liana Liberato) and young Dawson (Aussie newcomer Luke Bracey) would never have given into other people’s disapproval. And he’d already gotten out from under the thumb of his father and taken in by a loveably gruff surrogate played by Gerald McRaney (Netflix’s House of Cards) and reset himself on a good path, anyway.

No, as it is often the case in Sparks’ stories, these two lovebirds were torn asunder by tragic circumstances beyond their control. In this particular instance, that was the choice one of them made shortly after prom to spare the other a world of pain he – or was it she? (No Spoiler Alert!) – anticipated.

It had to happen, though, so we the audience could pay 10 hard-earned smackaroos to be manipulated into rooting for their older incarnations. Theirs, we are told, was a love that was always meant to be, no matter how far Dawson eventually ran away or how married-with-children Amanda got.

They would always knowingly look up to the stars and think of each other, and, eventually, come together again for a sweet, if short reunion.

If only the emotions in this one hadn’t been telegraphed into landing with an uninteresting thud. This could have been one of the better Sparks adaptations.

Instead, it’s a dud.

Sure, one that gave us an extended scene of Bracey gardening sans shirt (but only a hint of what Marsden is working with...), but not much in the way of effective emoting. That is like, the minimum required in a joint such as this on, and an unforgivable sin. No matter how much beefcake you throw into dud soup, it’s still dud soup.

My Rating *1/2

Photo: Relativity Media.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

But What He Really Means Is Hello Again

Go on. Say Adiós” to Ricky Martin.

But only if you mean to welcome him back into your life yet again.

Why? Because “Adiós” is only the name of his latest Spanish-language single, OKRRR.

Check out the sexy, 1930s-cabaret-inspired video for the song now.

My vuelve loco....


Renée Zellweger Would Like Us to Quit Being...

Renée Zellweger, as we all noticed, pretty much stayed away from the spotlight for a good chunk o’ time there after the mid-aughts hit. She just did.

Then a couple of days ago, girlfriend reappeared on the scene and had herself her most high-profile red-carpet moment in years, at the Elle Women in Hollywood Awards in Beverly Hills. And then, yesterday (all day yesterday), the world lost its collective s--- online on account of her “looking different.

Meaning she probably, more than likely allegedly has had a little...some work done. On her face. And she looks not like Renée Zelleweger.

I will admit that the Oscar winner looks quite fresh, but, c’mon – she still looks like herself. I’m no make-up artist, but it looks to me like she’s not wearing all that her eyebrows aren’t done. Regardless, who knows. She probably spent that last however many years she’s not been making films living the GOOP lifestyle, getting daily facials and, yeah, maybe, even one treatment or another.

I would if I had her money.

There’s just no need to talk about it with the same level of real news-cancelling intensity as we do, I dunno, a certain virus or ISIS. Right? I mean, isn’t there a midterm election going on? (New rule: You vote, you get to keep talking about this.)

Zellweger herself probably thinks we should shut it down and mind our own f---ing business. In fact, she has said as much now, albeit in a much a nice way.

She has said we are being “silly.” Which we are.

“I’m glad folks think I look different! I’m living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I’m thrilled that perhaps it shows,” she’s told People magazine.

And there you go.

You will be seeing way more of Zellwegers alleged new face soon, btw: The actress will be back on the big screen opposite Daniel Craig Keanu Reeves in The Whole Truth.


A Man of Conduct

Academy Award-nominated director Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) is headed to HBO.

And he’s taking Aussie newcomer Devon Terrell with him when he goes.

The premium cabler – which is changing its access options, don’t you know, don’t you know – has ordered a pilot for McQueen’s potential new drama Codes of Conduct, the story of a young African-American man’s entry into New York City society, this in spite, if not because of his ambiguous past.

McQueen, who will direct the pilot, says it took him 10 months to find his star, but that as soon as he saw Terrell, he just knew.

Hope we get to see what he saw.


The Walking MILF

From an American Horror Story to a zombie-apocalypse horror story.

Some girls get to have all the fun.

Alexandra Breckenridge has been tapped for a secretive recurring role on the ongoing fifth season of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

Girlfriend will have the option to become a regular for the show’s sixth season, which means that her strong, yet somewhat vulnerable character (a mom) will figure into the story som’in’ important.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

She Gets By

Emmy may have (stupidly) decided to ignore her for two seasons now, but no matter...Tatiana Maslany will have herself a flirt.

With Tony.

Well, at the very least, now that she is going the Off-Broadway route, she’s positioning herself as someone who could soon be flirting with Tony.

The Golden Globe-nominated Orphan Black star has signed on to co-headline Neil LaBute’s The Way We Get By, with Thomas Sadoski (HBO’s The Newsroom).

The play – a two-person situation – will center on a pair of confident wedding guests who wake up together to an oh-so-blurry morning after.

The Way We Get By is scheduled to begin previews next May and run through the end of June.


The Bad, Yet Hot Husband

The revelations will come on TV’s Scandal this season, that much is obvious.

That one of ’em would be Abby’s abusive ex-husband, well...that’s a welcome surprise. Especially now that Battlestar Galactica’s Michael Trucco has been cast in the role.

Betcha that’s the plot point that reunites Red” (Darby Stanchfield) with Kerry Washington’s Olivia Pope, btw....


Ben-Hur Woman

That Gal Gadot – she is so happening.

The woman who will be Wonder Woman already has a star-studded ensemble on her horizon, plus assured participation in Marvelfication of the DC Comicsverse, and, now, she also has Ben-Hur.

’Cause, yeah, Gadot has been cast opposite Jack Huston and Morgan Freeman in the Mark Burnett-and-Roma Downey-produced remake of the story about the chariot-racing champ.

The actress is set to play Esther, a fellow slave who doubles as Ben-Hur’s love interest, in the potential February 2016 release.


Monday, October 20, 2014

R.I.P. Mr. de la Renta

It’s the end of an era: Oscar de la Renta has died.

The Dominican-born fashion designer – a beyond-elegant favorite of many a Hollywood star (seriously) and first lady – was 82. He passed away at his home in Kent, Conn.

He reportedly was diagnosed with cancer back in 2006.


Update 1: As expected, folks have begun expressing their sadness over the loss of de la Renta.

Anna Wintour, for one, remembered the designer’s “tireless” selflessness via, noting that, “Oscar was everything you could want a friend to be," not to mention happy to surround himself with people from all walks of life, giving, and, of course, extremely talented.

Meanwhile, the likes of Taylor Swift, Gloria Estefan, and Jamie Lee Curtis, among others, also have gone ahead and shared with the world how they felt about the designer, via social media.

Update 2: In a statement released on Oct. 21, Sarah Jessica Parker said that, “Knowing that sadly none of us will have more time with the beloved and resplendent Oscar de la Renta only enhances my exuberant appreciation of the time he gave, the talent he shared, and the friendship he allowed."

Girl Robin Alert!

Rumor has it the forthcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will introduce Jena Malone as...Robin.

Of course, this is highly unconfirmed, but word on the street is that, since the Hunger Games: Catching Fire scene-stealer recently dyed her hair red, then she must probably be playing the comic-book incarnation of the character known as Carrie Kelley.

Mmm...this could work.

I mean, Malone does it for me, so I would be most keen to see her in this role.


Simply Irresistible, Pt. 95

The Fifty Shades of Grey media blitz has begun.

Which is why star Jamie Dornan has done British Vogue.

And we thank him for it, right?


Well. She’s Back

The Comeback’s comeback is almost ready to roll, people.

Yes, Lisa Kudrow will be making us cringe as that thirstiest of creatures, Valerie Cherish, during a six-episode series return of the beloved HBO cult-hit one-season wonder come Nov. 9.

Check out the trailer, and try to tell me you will not be watching:

So the opposite of “NG”!

Btw, click here to find out how Seth Rogen will figure on the comeback of The Comeback.

Gwen’s Back..and She Doesn’t You to Lie

So it looks like Fergie won’t be the only all-dudes band frontwoman doing the solo thing again in the next few months.

Gwen Stefani is back at it, too.

That is right. The No Doubter just launched an on-her-own musical comeback today, with a brand new single titled Baby Don’t Lie.

Guess she had to do som’in since the No Doubt comeback of 2012 was pretty much a non-starter, huh....


Saturday, October 18, 2014

PopSugar Amy

Amy Sedaris is ready to break some new ground (for an entertainment and lifestyle website).

See, the funny lady will be headlining Seriously Distracted, PopSugar’s first scripted series, as the narcissistic head of a New York City public relations firm.

And she will be doing so as early as next week.

Seriously Distracted – co-starring Greta Lee (HBO’s Girls) – will debut on Oct. 21, not only on but on as well.