Thursday, February 26, 2015

Mama Political Animal

Joan Allen is coming back to us, people.

The Upside of Anger amazingness has landed in the thick of whatever passes for pilot season these days, and on a new untitled ABC drama, following her turn on Netflixs The Killing.

The new show will concern itself with the return of a caring, yet ruthless politica’s young son – a son who was presumed dead after going missing more than 10 years ago...and a return that calls into question the entire case against the man imprisoned for his murder and the investigation surrounding the entire ordeal.

FYI, Friday Night Lights fans: Zach Gilford is also on board.


She Can See Now

German director (and, trust, all-around cutie) Marc Forster is finally following up 2013s World War Z.

And he has tapped Blake Lively as his leading lady, to boot.

The Age of Adaline star will share the screen with Jason Clarke (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) in All I See Is You, an indie psychological drama about a blind woman who, together with her husband, begins discovering previously unseen and disturbing details about her marriage and their lives, this upon the restoration of her eyesight.

Careful what you wish for much?


Looking Back Toward Broadway

Jonathan Groff is headed back to Broadway.

Indeed, the Tony-nominated Looking star will take his hiatus from starring on the HBO hit to appear in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s (In the Heights) critically acclaimed and oh-so-buzzy latest, Hamilton. The actor replaces Brian d’Arcy as King George.

Previews for Hamilton – a wildly inventive new musical about the scrappy young immigrant who forever changed America: Alexander Hamilton – will kick off on July 13.

Oh, and btw, d’Arcy will be in Something Rotten! beginning on March 23.


Stratton Man

The spy (or spy-esque) genre has taken hold of Henry Cavill.

Not only does the actor have The Man from U.N.C.L.E. coming out this summer, he is also getting ready to star in Stratton, a movie based on the first of eight books by Duncan Falconer that center on a Special Boat Service operative on the hunt for an international terrorist cell through London, Europe, and Central Asia.

Simon West (Lara Croft: Tomb Raider) is set to direct.


Bordering Danger

Now that Paula Patton has split from Robin Thicke, it is up to her to bring home the bacon.

Not that she wasn’t a breadwinner before, but like, now she is the breadwinner....

Oh you know what I mean.

Which is why P2 is hoping she’ll be able to count on some TV money.

P2 is going to headline this new show that ABC is working on. It’s titled Runner, and it will center on a woman whose perfect life is revolutionized by a twist of fate that sends her down a path of lies and directly toward the world of drug cartels and illegal gunrunning that exists between America and Mexico.

So not a comedy then?


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Even a Queen (of Pop) Can Fall

This is why Madonna should have let her kids watch TV and such when they were growing up: She would have known that a Queen of Pop, much like superheroes, should never wear a cape.

M learned this important lesson – which comes from The Incredibles – the hard way today while performing (for the first time in 20 years!) at the Brit Awards in London. M was on hand to sing “Living for Love” much like she did at the Grammys earlier this month, except this time she wore a cape.

And that cape, beautifully designed by Armani, was meant to be part of the show in that one of her dancers was to gracefully pull it from her.

What ended up happening was M got yanked down from up a stairwell with it. Hard. Like, drop-your-mic hard.

Ever the pro, though, Madonna picked herself right back up after the world watched her stumble and carried on with her song, just like she sings in her latest anthem.

She later Instagrammed that she is fine. “Nothing can stop me,” she said.

In-f---in-deed, my Queen!


Update: Click here to watch Madonna do what she does best.

T. Swift Welcomes to Your Education, NYC Kids

Good luck hatin on this one, haters.

Taylor Swift has made good on her pledge to support New York City public education.

The singer delivered her first check to the NYC Department of Education this week, a check for $50,000 that came from all proceeds from sales of her 1989 track “Welcome to New York.

And get this: A rep for Swift has said that the checks will keep a-comin’ as long as people keep purchasin’ the song.

So get!


American Horror GaGa

Fresh off making the hills come alive at the Oscars, Mother Monster has announced she will be acting for a bit now.

Yes, Lady GaGa is pulling yet another Madonna is taking on a TV role and thus going...somewhere for Ryan Murphy.

The singer is set to star on the next American Horror Story, which will be subtitled Hotel.

For real.

While not much else is vox populi at the moment, American Horror Story: Hotel is expected on FX in the fall.

Hemsworth at His Funniest

Chris Hemsworth is gonna tickle us.

Gosh, can you imagine if that could even begin to be actually, physically true?



The fact of the matter is Hemsworth is going to host TVSaturday Night Live on March 7. And the Zac Brown Band will be there, too, as the musical guest.

Guess the Blackhat actor wants to show us that he can be more than just the sexiest or the manliest. He can be the funniest as well. A good thing because he soon will be tested on it at the box office, since he has a plum part in a reboot of Vacation and all.

Up next, though, is another turn as Thor, in MayAvengers: Age of Ultron.


Cordoned Wood

He is being all kinds of mean and aggro on The CWs The Vampire Diaries, but in real life, Chris Wood must be playing all his cards all kinds of right.

The actor has landed a part on Cordon, a new show that the network is working on for fall.

Based on a Belgian format, the drama will revolve around the aftermath of a deadly epidemic outbreak in Atlanta. Wood will play a former rogue-turned-authority figure trapped within the confines of a cordoned-in area of the city.

Julie Plec, the showrunner on The Vampire Diaries and (and its spin-off, The Originals), will call the shots on Cordon, too.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Apocalypse Gets Hardy

Attention, all horny people – there is a hot, young British up-and-comer out there you might wanna get to checking out.

His name is Ben Hardy.

He’s an EastEnders alumnus.

And he is a cutie-patootie with quite a set of abs on him.

Just like we like ’em.

Hardy is said to be joining X-Men: Apocalypse, in a role TBC, although rumor has it he will play Angel, the role that Ben Foster originated in X-Men: The Last Stand.


A Touch of Red

The Huntsman, the forthcoming Snow White and the Huntsman prequel/sequel hybrid, has gotten Chastained.

F yeah it has!

Jessica Chastain will be joining Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, and Emily Blunt in the project, in a role thats being kept secret for now.

Loves it.

I mean, Theron and Blunt already were making this one quite the must-y affair, but this movie is a def.


Hey, Avengers, Hey...

Check out those Avengers.

They are ready to go, if you are to buy what the official poster for Avengers: Age of Ultron is selling.

And, lets face it, you probably are and more than likely will come May 1, which is when the Joss Whedon-directed blockbustin’ sequel starring Robert Downey Jr. & Co. and James Spader as the titular villain is set to arrive in theaters across the nation.

Can’t wait!


Magnificent Girl

Up-and-comer Haley Bennett (Marley & Me) will do anything to stay close to Denzel Washington.

Clever girl.

Bennett has landed the plum role of the widow of a murdered man who hires a bounty hunter, who, in turn, then contracts six gunmen to protect her, and by proxy her town, from the thugs that introduced her man to his maker, in The Magnificent Seven.

The movie stars Chris Pratt and – whaddya know – Washington, Bennet’s leading man in The Equalizer.

Antoine Fuqua will direct the Nic Pizzolatto-written project.


The Ultimate Feminist

Gloria Steinem has had a rocky time making it as a character in movies.

Sarah Jessica Parker was meant to appear as the feminist icon in 2013’s Lovelace, and yet....

Now, though, comes word that Marisa Tomei will play Steinem on an HBO miniseries co-produced by George Clooney.

The project will center on the creation of Ms. magazine back in 71, as seen through the eyes of its founders, Steinem and Bella Abzug (who will be played by co-executive producer Kathy Najimy).



Monday, February 23, 2015

A Hawaiian Love Story

Cameron Crowe’s next film finally has a film, so say aloha to Aloha.

The May 29 release is a bit of a love story, a complicated one (in typical C2 fashion), starring Bradley Cooper as a military contractor who reconnects with an ex (Rachel McAdams) at the same time that he’s starting to fall for an Air Force watchdog played by Emma Stone.

This one’s been in the works since the summer of 2012, so let’s trust that it was worth the wait.

Here’s the trailer.


R.I.P. Meep

The actor who played Meep on FX’s American Horror Story: Coven has passed away.

Ben Woolf, 34, died today, from the severe injuries he sustained after he was struck in the head by the side mirror of passing vehicle on Feb. 19.

Woolf also was part of the first American Horror Story (he played the creepy Infantata) and did some stunt work for Showtime’s Dexter.


Supergirl’s Boss

Them Greg Berlanti-led powers that be are truly surrounding Melissa Benoist with a bunch of strong women on her road toward Supergirlhood, huh.

Laura Benanti – who is currently having an arc on TVs Nashville – already has been cast on the upcoming CBS show, as Alura Zor-El, birth mother to Kara Zor-El, Superman’s Kryptonian cousin.

And now comes word that Calista Flockhart will be playing Cat Grant, Kara’s boss, a self-made media magnate.


Update: Chyler Leigh (TV’s Grey’s Anatomy) also has been tapped for a role on the show – that of Kara’s doctor-foster sister.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Birdman Soars

It was one of the two films to beat this awards season, and, yet, it still was a bit of a surprise when it won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

I’m talking about Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), which also won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Feature this year. The film emerged victorious over Richard Linklater’s Boyhood earlier tonight, netting Mexican director Alejandro G. Iñárritu Oscars for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay as well.

And just like that, the Academy wasn’t racist anymore! I mean, this is the second year in a row they’ve paid props to a Latino director (Alfonso Cuarón was awarded last year for Gravity, remember?).


Meanwhile, Eddie Redmayne, Julianne Moore, J.K. Simmons, and Patricia Arquette all won their first Academy Awards, for their performances in The Theory of Everything, Still Alice, Whiplash, and Boyhood.

Click here for a complete list of winners.


A Very Special Relationship

Ooh, Fifty Shades of Grey – you bad.

See, the Sam Taylor-Johnson-directed movie (about the budding dom-sub relationship between billionaire businessman Christian Grey and college grad Anastasia Steele) is bad as in it’s in, heck yeah, it’s about BDSM...but, y know, its also bad as in it really is quite terrible.

I mean, the dialogue – most of it picked up from the E L James novel upon which the blockbusters based (the author, I understand, if memory serves, had quite a bit of unprecedented influence on the production) – is beyond-risible. Like, I finally know why this is called Fifty Shades of Grey: because our main man, an insular sort with mommy and control issues, is, per his own admission, fifty shades of f---ed up. Worse, he is absolutely 100 percent serious about making such a statement.

The action is all kinds of not sexy, which is surprising given that the leads are played by hot up-and-comers Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan. And this is a movie about erotic fantasy and whatnot.

What works about Fifty Shades of Grey, IMHO, is the dynamic between the characters. While I could see that the struggle to get the lot of their lines out was real for Dornan and Johnson, I could also appreciate that their wheels were turning.

That they did the work to understand the psychology of their parts.

Dornan was tasked with portraying a sexy motherf---er of a cypher, and while it is clear to me that he didn’t get all that much on the page, he definitely brought something to the stage as Christian Grey. He brought mystery, alright, but he also made it clear he was embodying an onion of a man. Surely, we soon will find out more about this dominant stud, and, better yet, about the things that make him tick. Meanwhile, Johnson made sure that her Anastasia retain a certain strength of personality.

While Ana is offered an extraordinary arrangement by Christian – he asks her to submit to her, not only in flesh but also contractually (but not in a whore-y is all about establishing limits!) – and she comes off as a bit of a tease by not signing on the dotted line, she also strives to understand what is driving Christian at the same time that she lets it be known what she wants.

She wants normal, and while shes up for exploring his desires and ways, she’d like that reciprocated, too.

In others words, she wants to melt his frozen heart.

Look, this ain’t going to win any Oscars next year, and I don’t think it should be winning no Razzies, either.

Taylor-Johnson has done an admirable job of setting up the rules of engagement. Fingers crossed, any future sequel to this property will dance a better dance around them.

Everything would be far more titillating and interesting that way.

My Rating **

Photo: Universal Pictures.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Aliens Shall Rise Again

Neill Blomkamp hasn’t even opened Chappie yet, but he’s already looking ahead to his next project.

And it is a doozy.

The rumors were true: Blomkamp is going to helm a new Aliens movie for producer Ridley Scott that will come out after the latter filmmaker’s Prometheus 2.


Going Biggsless

This season, the ladies of Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black are going without.

Without Jason Biggs, that is.

The actor (pictured here with star Taylor Schilling) has confirmed that he will not be part of the show’s upcoming third season, as the powers that be will not be “focusing on Larry [the character he plays] at the moment.

Well, there’s always Season 4....


Michelle Williams Hearts Kelly Reichardt

Michelle Williams is teaming up with her Meeks Cutoff and Wendy and Lucy director for the third time, people.

Now that is some loyalty.

Indeed, the Suite Française star has agreed to headline Kelly Reichardt’s next film, a(nother) untitled-for-now indie drama.

Wild Oscar nominee Laura Dern – and Jared Harris and James Le Gros – are set to co-star.


Friday, February 20, 2015

The César Is K. Stew’s

Kristen Stewart is a (French) Academy Award winner, people!

Yes, today the girl who played Bella Swan made a little bit of cinematic history after picking up the 2015 Best Supporting Actress César Award for her work opposite Juliette Binoche iOlivier Assayas Sils Maria.

K.Stew thus became the first American actress ever to win such an honor.

Underappreciated at home, but big in France. Good for her.