Thursday, April 28, 2016

Hairspray for J. Hud!

Hairspray – the musical based on the 1988 John Waters classic –is coming to NBC later this year, and it is coming to us live.


Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson is on board, as Motormouth Maybelle (y know, the part that Queen Latifah played in the 2007 movie musical version), while Harvey Fierstein will reprise his Tony-winning role as Edna Turnblad.

Phew – we dodged a Travolta bullet!

In fact and btw, Fierstein also will be writing the teleplay for Hairspray Live!, which will feature Derek Hough and Martin Short as well, as Corny Collins and Wilbur Turnblad, respectively.

The Peacock’s Hairspray Live! will premiere on Dec. 7.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Ready to Blow That Whistle

Here we go.

Perennially controversy-courting director Oliver Stone’s Snowden is finally ready to be seen, after it saw its release date delayed last fall and again this spring.

Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the bane of the NSA, whistleblower Edward Snowden, the analyst who three years ago leaked the infamous documents that made it clear America was/is – question mark! – spying on its citizens, the film is due out on Sept. 16, and here is your first trailer.

Please, tell me this isn’t the first you’re hearing about this....

Anyway. Snowden co-stars Shailene Woodley as the whistleblower’s girlfriend, Nicolas Cage, Rhys Ifans, Tom Wilkinson, Melissa Leo (as Laura Poitras, the director of Citizenfour, the Oscar-winning documentary about Snowden), Timothy Olyphant, and Zachary Quinto.

Will this be the movie the government will not want ya seeing?


But that wont stop ya, right. Right?


Accessing Today

Bush is in at the Today show.

And...that is it for my puns this morning.

Billy Bush is leaving his post on TV’s long-running Access Hollywood to join one of the hours of Today (more than likely the 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. hour), making him the second Bush on the show (his second cousin, Jenna Bush Hager, has been in the NBC family since like, 2009).

Sounds like more change is on deck at the show, which recently launched a Sunday situation. Hope no one gets Curryd!


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Kelly Ripa’s Back and In Charge

Live! With Kelly and Michael returned with both Michael and Kelly this morning, and, boy, was it a good one.

Kelly Ripa – who was on a sort of strike by way of a went-on-it-early and extended previously scheduled time off – came back to her show to a standing ovation, and to do some matter-o-fact damage control by taking the bull by the horns (how apropos that she wore red!). The bull? What bull?

The bull of the drama that, you will remember, stemmed middle of last week from the surprise announcement that her co-host of more than four years, Michael Strahan, would be leaving her side this fall, to decamp for ABC’s Good Morning America – which was a total surprise to her (the powers that be at the network, presumably in their efforts to avoid any news leaks, apparently left her out of any and all conversations on the subject and the move).

So there Ripa was earlier today, back after taking some time to gather her thoughts, as she put it, ready to address the controversy, which she did like a total boss.

“After 26 years with this company, I earned the right,” she said, noting that her issue wasn’t with Strahan but with the lack of “communication and consideration and, most importantly, respect in the workplace.

Can’t argue with any o’ that!

Ever the gracious one, Ripa reassured her audience and her co-host that she is thrilled and proud of him, which is totally believable, yet completely overshadowed by the events leading up to the moment (the show went on, as it should – but we all know things have changed).

It’s a tricky thing to call out your bosses while remaining a team player, and Ripa schooled everyone in the art of standing up for yourself. April 26 should go one as one for the feminist books, IMHO, and now we know who should write that chapter.

Alas, although the woman herself has taken back the reigns of her show and reclaimed a narrative she did let go off her hands, and we should all move right along with her and Strahan, something tells me that won’t be an easy feat. Especially now that ABC – which reportedly has apologized to both stars – has decided to say an early farewell to Strahan, as in next month. May 13 is his last day on that job.

How will it all play out?

Guess we’ll have to watch.


Monday, April 25, 2016


So. Did you get TIDAL yet?

’Cause that’s the only way you gon’ listen to Beyoncé’s new album, LEMONADE, which the superstar premiered like a boss on HBO last Saturday night.

A visual album as a television event. Queen B sure knows how to innovate her delivery system.

Anyway. Holla if you get your hands on the 12-track album, which features guests such as Jack White, The Weeknd, James Blake, and Kendrick Lamar, as well as the surprise first single, Formation (Dirty).


Update: Fun! The album is also on iTunes.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Here Comes Jesus

Because you can’t very well tell a Mary Magdalene story without Jesus.

Joaquin Phoenix is probably joining Rooney Mara in Garth Davis’ in-the-works biopic about one of the most enigmatic (and polarizing) lady figures of Christianity.

The actor, of course, would play the son of God.


Friday, April 22, 2016

Man of Justice?

Now that Justice has dawned, it is now official time to populate the DC Comicsverse proper.

Willem Dafoe has been tapped to play a reportedly good guy (surprise!) in fall 2017’s Justice League: Part One and – good for him – summer 2019’s Justice League: Part Two.

Whiplash’s J.K. Simmons is already on board the projects (at least, the first movie, right?, as Commissioner Gordon of Gotham. No word on what character exactly Dafoe will portray, but since he’s signed on for both blockbusters, you can bet he’s gonna matter.

The actor joins a cast led by Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, and Gal Gadot that also will feature Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher (who will play Cyborg), and Amber Heard, among others.


Free Jumanji!


Fresh off doing a backboned-by-cheer-charisma nice, serviceable job co-hosting the MTV Movie Awards a couple of weeks ago, Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart are said to be wanting to mess up som’in’ good.

The two are rumored to be mounting a reboot of Robin Williams’s Jumanji. The Rock is, at least, anyway.

Johnson is on-Instragram-on the record about his enthusiasm about the latest script for the project, since he’s gone and said, “[To] have the opportunity to tell this story in dope new ways to a whole new generation is truly and honor.


You know what’s a good way of introducing younger folk to classic tales? Show ’em to ’em. Dust off your DVDs, and let the kids see Williams in action. Show them what simpler times looked like.

For real, Hollywood. Stop ruining most of everything (for some of us).

Photo: E! Online.

Flatlining Nina

Looks like that movie thing is totally working out for Nina Dobrev, although TV might come a-callin’ again soon...).

The xXx: The Return of Xander Cage star is circling a part in the Ellen Page-led remake of Flatliners. She would play an overachiever at the top of her class in the retelling of the story of a group of med students that experiments with near-death experiences in order to learn about the afterlife.

Diego Luna is also on board the project, which will be helmed by Niels Arden Oplev, the director of the Swedish Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Iron Man Hearts Spider-Man

Looks like Iron Man and Spider-Man are tight, yo.

Spider – as you should know by now – will be picking a side in the upcoming threequel Captain America: Civil War, and it looks like the kid’s gonna be #TeamStark all the way (Tom Holland will be taking over the role, which that you knew, right?).

Why? Because Robert Downey Jr. has signed on to appear as Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man, in the forthcoming solo-Spider-Man offering that Marvel is working on with Sony (GTS), Spider-Man: Homecoming, which will co-star Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, and Tony Revolori (The Grand Budapest Hotel), and open next year.

The multiverse is strong with these heroes.


Fully Empty

Another sad day for music, to be sure.

But sound is forever, as are all of the brilliant originals we lose.

Have you heard the latest GarbageEmpty”? It’s the lead single off of the band’s upcoming new album, Strange Little Birds.

Check it, for def. It’s an easy listen. Very old them, yet new.


R.I.P. Prince


Prince – the celebrated multi-hyphenate Prince – is dead.


The iconic Purple One reportedly was found dead at his recording studio in Minnesota earlier today. He was 57.

Wow. Just...what else can you say.


Update: The Grammy- and Oscar-winning original reportedly had been in ill in recent days, with a severe case of the flu.

Woman Got Some Gunslingers

Coming up later this year, it’s The Magnificent Seven!

Indeed, as expected, Southpaw director Antoine Fuqua is delivering his Nic Pizzolatto-written remake reimagining of the 1960 film about a group of gunmen who defend a Mexican town from a bunch o’ outlaws (and the woman who puts them on the task).

The Sept. 23 release will pit cowboys (led by Denzel Washington) against cowboys (hey there, Peter Sarsgaard) in a sandy battle of bullets and whathaveya.

The Magnificent Seven co-stars Chris Pratt, Haley Bennett, Ethan Hawke, Matt Bomer, among others. Behold the movie’s first trailer now.


Matched Up

This summer, Édgar Ramírez and Usher will fight.

The former as Roberto Durán, the latter as Sugar Ray Leonard, in Hands of Stone, a new boxing film co-starring Robert De Niro as Durán’s trainer, Ray Arcel.

So you know, both boxers would come together in the late ’70s to give ’em what they wanted, with Durán – whose nickname gives the movie its title – forfeiting his welterweight title to Leonard in the middle of a rematch in 1980 when he uttered his immortal words, “No más.

Ahem. Spoiler Alert?

Check out the film’s first trailer now (it will chronicle the ascent to greatness by Durán, natch – so it is awards bait, no matter that its late-summer release), and save the date for its opening on Aug. 26, kids.


Passing Through, Taking In the Sights

The girl on the train, Emily Blunt, has secrets; dark things that she knows, that she keeps to herself.

The Girl on the Train also has a bit of a challenging plot with lots of interconnected characters – so it’s a good thing that the first trailer for Tate Taylor’s upcoming adaptation of the hit Paula Hawkins novel was released this week.

Blunt headlines the film as Rachel, the story’s lonely and oh-so-unreliable narrator, who, for whatever reason, spies on her ex-husband’s (Justin Theroux) young nanny (Haley Bennett) right before she goes MIA.

From that starting point, a number of players come into the picture, knowing things and not. They are to be played by the likes of Rebecca Ferguson, Jared Leto Luke Evans, Édgar Ramirez, Allison Janney, and Lisa Kudrow, among others.


The Girl on the Train will arrive in theaters on Oct. 7.


Coming Back for Four

Been holding off sharing any previews for the upcoming Jason Bourne starring Matt Damon.

You know, the actor’s once-again-directed-by-Paul Greengrass fourth turn in his signature role.

Because up until now, we were only being teased.

Today, though, that changes. Today I post the first full trailer for the July 29 blockbuster, which will co-star Julia Stiles (who, it appears, will have a lot to do in this one), Tommy Lee Jones, recent Oscar winner Alicia Vikander, and Vincent Cassel.

Because you know who he is – but he is only just beginning to grasp that and what it really, really means (and because this thing is freshly dropped, yall).

Time to confront it all: past, present, future; motivation; and meaning.


R.I.P. Chyna

Chyna has died.

The former WWE diva-cum-reality-TV star, a.k.a. Joanie Laurer, was found dead in her home in L.A. yesterday. She was 45.

Early (morbid) rumor has it she died from an overdose.


Update: It has been reported that Chyna actually was found at the house of a friend, and that while no foul play is suspected, authorities are thinking this could have been an overdose.