Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Coulda, Woulda, So Shoulda

Veronica Mars, may the TV gods rest its sassy soul, may no longer be on the air, but that doesn’t mean we cannot relish in the preview of what coulda been had the show lived on to produce another season.

Show creator Rob Thomas, bless his heart, has included in the Complete Third Season DVD the preview he put together for The CW last spring in order to sell the network on a fourth season.

The show woulda have flashed forward to see Veronica (exquisitely played by Kristen Bell) all grown up and working for the FBI.

And, lest you think otherwise, Veronica woulda been as spunky and whip-smart as ever, if not better.

Want to know what this fuzz is all about? Then click here and then here for parts 1 and 2 of the never-going-to-happen-as-we-almost-knew-it-(but we so shoulda) fourth season of Veronica Mars.

Photo: Salon.com.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Nostalgia, Pt. 14

With Halloween a day away – boo! – what could be better than remembering TV’s Angel (starring Bones’ David Boreanaz, pictured at right)?

A spin-off of the spectacular – and spectacularly overlooked – Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, series creator Joss Whedon tells TVGuide.com, came to be from “the idea that it would be more than a spin-off.”

And you know what – it so was.

So get the scoop, as Whedon dishes on what would’ve happened had Angel received a sixth-season pickup, and just how you might find out, after all.

Photo: PopStarsPlus.com.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Sexy Quicker Picker Upper

Given the poor-ish box office of screenwriter Tony Gilroy’s directorial debut, Michael Clayton (the film, as of the past weekend, had grossed less than $30 million since opening four weeks ago), I shan’t go into too much detail about it since you probably won’t watch it anyway.

In the film, George Clooney plays the titular role, a former criminal prosecutor-turned-in-house “fixer” at one of the largest corporate law firms in New York. He is what he calls “a janitor.”

Michael Clayton’s quite efficient at what he does, but his personal life could use some tidying up. He’s divorced, a failed restaurateur, and he has a gambling problem – yet he’s still good, you know. And although he’s done with the firm and wants out, he just can’t up and quit.

When the firm’s brilliant and guilt-ridden attorney Arthur Edens (a manic Tom Wilkinson) unravels at a deposition (he strips down naked) and threatens to sabotage the defense of its biggest client, U/North, a corporation being class-action sued for poisonous pollution (he already has approached one of the plaintiffs), Clayton’s called to sweep in and clean up the mess.

Not only will he have to contend with Edens’ revelations, he also will have to watch out for U/North’s chief legal executive, Karen Crowder (the fantastic Tilda Swinton), a woman desperate to be appreciated.

Michael Clayton is an astute film that will hold the interest of anyone who watches it.

It is a grown-up film, one that perhaps takes too long to get to where it wants to go, but it’s a gripping one nevertheless.

The stakes are staggering in this film, and it is just a thrill to see Sexiest Man Alive Clooney realize that little by little, and then…. Well, that would be telling, wouldn’t it be. The end is so gratifying; you’re just going to have to sit through Michael Clayton like I did to find out how it all turns out. It’ll be worth it.

My Rating ***1/2


Photo: Warner Bros.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Now Open for Business

Starting today you will be able to watch director Wes Anderson's short film Hotel Chevalier, starring Jason Schwartzman and Natalie Portman, now that Fox Searchlight Pictures has added it to the already-in-theaters Anderson movie, The Darjeeling Limited.

A companion piece to The Darjeeling Limited, Hotel Chevalier follows one of the three American brothers played by Schwartzman, Owen Wilson, and Adrien Brody in the main feature, as he meets with an old lover for a final rendezvous in a hotel room in France.

The 13-minute short is the brief coda to a doomed romance and the prologue to The Darjeeling Limited, in which the three brothers, who have not spoken to each other in a year, set off on a train voyage across India, looking to find themselves and bond with one another.

Hotel Chevalier previously was available for download exclusively on iTunes.

Photo: TheHollywoodNews.com (Hotel Chevalier).
Six-and-a-half Minutes of Heaven

Keri Russell recently sat down with TVGuide.com’s Michael Ausiello for a podcast interview in which the actress discussed her work and looked like the definition of effortless beauty.

The erstwhile Felicity talked about her critically acclaimed turn in Waitress, the upcoming August Rush (now opening on Nov. 21, by the way), the possibility of a walk-on role in Felicity creator J.J. Abrams’ new Star Trek movie and a guest-starring return to Scrubs, and of course, motherhood.

She’s just perfect, isn’t she? I certainly couldn’t think of anyone better on whom to write my 500th post.

Photo: VanityFair.com.
The Emancipation of Dan

Advice columnist Dan Burns is full of advice, but like most people who are in the business of helping others, he hardly ever takes any for himself.

Peter Hedges’ Dan in Real Life is a movie about a broken man struggling with the unexpected opportunity to piece his life together, to become whole again. Steve Carell plays Dan with that everyman charm for which he’s well-known and well-liked, and gives an effective performance that elevates an already enjoyable dramedy into something of substance: his and his character’s awakening.

Evan Almighty notwithstanding, this is Carell’s first significant role since his subdued turn in Little Miss Sunshine. It allows him to show the proverbial range that most comedians never get to show – and it’s great to see.

(Yes, his breakthrough in The 40-Year-Old Virgin is certainly worthy of praise, too.)

Ever since his wife died, Dan has been going through the motions, putting his three daughters’ needs way ahead of his own. He’s become consumed by fear, and he’s afraid that if he lets go of the memories he will lose sight of that on which he thinks he should focus. And his daughters couldn’t feel more overwhelmed by his devotion to them, and his family couldn’t encourage him to move on, already.

But that he begins to do when, while on a family vacation, he meets Marie (Juliette Binoche), a striking woman who approaches him in a bookstore. The two hit it off immediately, and end up having one of those great first dates you can only have when it’s not an actual date. But as fate would have it, Marie is on her way to meet…Dan’s brother, Mitch (Dane Cook).

Lovelorn, Dan spends the rest of the weekend quietly building up the strength to allow himself to live and love again. In the process, people get hurt, but they get over it because they know that Dan deserves what he wants.

And although you can see this unfolding the way it does even before it actually does, Dan in Real Life remains a good option. It’s cutesy, yes, but it also is grounded and relatable enough to warrant an entertaining watch.

My Rating ***

Photo: Touchstone Pictures.
Time After Time

Jack Bauer has saved the world for six days now.

Next year, Jack Bauer is going to have another bad day, and unfortunately, it just doesn’t look all that exciting.

Just watch the trailer for the up-until-today much-anticipated two-hour seventh season premiere of 24 that will air on Sunday, Jan. 13, at 8 p.m. on Fox, and tell me that it doesn’t remind you of the plot of Live Free or Die Hard.

In an introduction, Kiefer Sutherland, a.k.a. Jack Bauer, says that for “Day Seven” the show has pulled out all the stops, and hopes that viewers will be thrilled with what they have come up, calling the upcoming season 24’s “best season yet.”

While I would love to trust Sutherland wholeheartedly, I wasn’t revved up by the trailer as much as I was last year. Then again, last year we got a great trailer and a disappointing season, so perhaps this year they really will outdo themselves.

I definitely will watch 24 next year – it sounds like it’s going to be a pot-boiler, what with the return of ***y and the change of setting (from L.A. to Washington, D.C.).

But I’m not thrilled. Not yet.

Photo: TVGuide.com.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Brokeback Effect

This week, Entertainment Weekly considers, in a hopeful article, if Brokeback Mountain’s achievements have gone entirely unnoticed.

It’s a good read.

One of the points the write-up makes is the movie didn’t really bring about the change that many – not I – thought it would to the film industry, and thus to the way in which the GLBT community is portrayed on film.

It seems, predictably, there’s still ways to go.

Photo: Focus Features.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Who is Britney Spears?

Entertainment Weekly has given Britney Spears’s new album, Blackout, a positive review, grading it a B+ and saying it “may put the once-celebrated pop star back on top.”

But having sampled a little bit of Blackout and read some of the lyrics, I cannot help but wonder about just who is Britney Spears.

Clearly, from everything we see day in and day out she’s a troubled young woman. But, for better or for worse, she also is an artist. What kind of artist she is, though, I don’t know.

In Blackout’s “Freakshow,” EW says, Spears “coos, ‘I'm bout to shake my ass / Snatch that boy so fast / Make dem other bitches mad.’”

What? Really? Will that really come out of my speakers?

Is this the same girl who once sang, “Sometimes I run / Sometimes I hide / Sometimes I’m scared of you / But all I really want is to hold you tight / Treat you right / Be with you day and night / Baby all I need is time”?

Spears certainly has come a long way, and I suppose I’m happy her production team has assembled some good songs for her. I always enjoyed her fun musical confections, and I probably will give Blackout a full listen.

But isn’t a bit puzzling that this is what she’s selling these days? A sound and songs that really, more than likely, don’t amount to anything other than a decent beat.

Don’t call it a comeback, for she’s too far gone to care. Call it a day, and let her sort herself out.

Photo: PopCrunch.com.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Making “Headlines”

The Spice Girls’ new single, “Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)” has hit the airwaves.

The song is a slow-tempo declaration of enduring friendship among five women who haven’t made headlines as a team in years.

Do we likey?

Photo: PoolParty.com.
I Wanna Get Lost

TVGuide.com has an exclusive first look at the fourth season of TV’s Lost, the premiere of which still is – gulp! – more than four months away.

Take a look at these photos gallery and tell me you can wait. Come on…lie to me.

The photo at right, of cast members Terry O’Quinn, Jorge Garcia, Josh Holloway, Naveen Andrews, Henry Ian Cusick, and Sam Anderson, is from the first episode, titled…“The Beginning of the End.”

And if you watched last season’s “dizzying” finale then you know what that means.

Photo: TVGuide.com.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Bell of the Ball

The phenomenal Kristen Bell joins the cast of Heroes tonight – and she’s going to dominate the show, I betcha; a good thing since its sophomore season has been rather lackluster so far.

“[My character, Elle]’s a little messed up in the head, which makes her manipulative and out to get what she wants,” the erstwhile Veronica Mars
told TVGuide.com last week.

“She very much enjoys her power and the emotional power it gives her over other people.”

Series creator Tim Kring has said that Bell’s character was raised within the Company, the shadowy organization that tracks the heroes for its own gain, and that her arc is in some ways a cautionary tale about what would happen to any of the other characters, “had they lived with powers their whole life.”

Look for Elle to reveal
ties with several of the show’s more established characters in the coming weeks – and steal scenes like it’s going out of style.

Photo: TVGuide.com.
Pacey Witter’s All Grown Up

According to Variety, Dawson’s Creek alumnus Joshua Jackson will play a doctor on ABC’s Grey's Anatomy starting with this season's 11th episode.

First James Van Der Beek guested on Ugly Betty, and now The Beek’s former Capeside BFF is scrubbing up?

McGoodness!

Photo: GiveMeMyRemote.com.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Simply Irresistible, Pt. 22

One of my new favorite TV shows, ABC’s Pushing Daisies, offered me a treat on top of a treat last Wednesday: Raúl Esparza.

The Tony-nominated actor (for Company) played Alfredo Aldarisio, a traveling salesman/wooer of Kristin Chenoweth’s Olive Snook, and although his screen time was brief, the show made it quite clear the character could come back soon.

Bur first, though, Esparza will head back to Broadway to star in Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming alongside Ian McShane (HBO’s Deadwood) and Eve Best.

Photo: RaulEsparza.com.
A Man’s War

Based on the true story of how Charlie Wilson, an alcoholic womanizer and Texas congressman, persuaded the CIA to train and arm resistance fighters in Afghanistan to fend off the Soviet Union in the 1980s, Mike Nichols’ Charlie Wilson’s War will shine in theaters on Dec. 25 on star power alone.

The main cast members have four Oscars among them, and two of the supporting roles are filled by up-and-coming actresses who either have been nominated or have managed to steal scenes from some of their most established peers.

Tom Hanks stars as Wilson, while Philip Seymour Hoffman and Julia Roberts appear as a semi-rogue CIA spook and a Houston socialite who aided the congressman in supplying the expertise, money, and training that turned the ill-equipped Afghan freedom-fighters into a force that halted the Red Army – and also empowered the Taliban and terrorists such as Osama bin Laden.


Amy Adams (Junebug) and Emily Blunt are also featured in the film, written by Aaron Sorkin.

Photo: Universal Pictures.

Just Because, Pt. 8

Dear Meryl Streep,

I get that you’re a powerhouse actress and all, but I’m up to your tricks.

You recently have played powerful women in three movies – The Devil Wears Prada, Rendition, and Nov. 9’s Lions for Lambs – and in all three you’ve ridden in the back of cars to show us how big time you are.

What’s up with that?

Get yourself another gimmick, already.

Love ya, never change – can’t wait for Mamma Mia! next year – but you know....

Photo: New Line Cinema (Rendition).
To the Breaking Point

Oy with the torture already.

The political thriller Rendition – directed by Gavin Hood (Tsotsi) and boasting an all-star cast – arrives in theater today, full of ambition, timeliness, and unfortunately, unevenness.
But first, though, a crossing of the Ts, a dotting of the Is.

The term “rendition” is defined as the “handing over [of] prisoners to countries where torture is allowed.” The movie centers on this extraordinary tactic and its effects on people and presumably, policy.

Alright, so.... Flying home from a conference in Cape Town, Anwar El-Ibrahimi (Omar Metwally), an Egyptian-born chemical engineer, disappears shortly after landing in Chicago, taken covertly and swiftly by the CIA on suspicion of terrorist activities. He is interrogated without a lawyer, and soon flown back to an unspecified country in North Africa to be tort-interrogated.

Back home, his pregnant American wife Isabella (Reese Witherspoon) and their young son wait at the arrivals gate for him, and then some more at home. Anwar has vanished, and it will be days before Isabella begins to understand why with the guidance of a senator-aid friend (Peter Sarsgaard).

Meanwhile, CIA analyst Douglas Freeman (Jake Gyllenhaal) has been tasked to oversee the interrogation of the suspect, even though he may not be the best man to do this since he has just survived a suicide bomber blast – and he isn’t convinced that the agency’s unorthodox method will yield any useful information. Too bad his boss, Corinne Whitman (Meryl Streep), won’t have any of that.

Rendition’s main ambition is to make us aware of the policies that may be in use in this day and age, but the movie just doesn’t focus on a story arc long enough, cinematically speaking, to make us really…care. And that’s just too bad.

What I took from it is the tactic is flawed. Duh.

The problem with this fall’s crop of political thrillers is they aren’t zeroing in on the characters, on the emotion, but rather on an idea that pits right vs. wrong, Right vs. Left, this vs. that. I think it’s fantastic that Hollywood’s trying to be representative of what’s going on, but perhaps it’s too much, too ineffectively. There has to be more than just thought to the genre. There has to be heart.

Rendition simmers with the fire within it, but it doesn’t burn.

My Rating **1/2

Photo: New Line Cinema.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Beek Is Back

It’s been almost a decade – gasp! – since The WB...dearly departed WB...introduced us to one Mr. James Van Der Beek.

Playing the beyond articulate titular role on Dawson’s Creek, The Beek quickly became a teen sensation and went on to find some success in the movies Varsity Blues and The Rules of Attraction.

On tonight’s Ugly Betty, the actor guest stars as an ad exec that causes some trouble for Daniel Meade (Eric Mabius) both in and out of Mode.

As you can see, The Beek has never looked better. Having him back on screen is a welcome sight, and I hope he will come back in a more permanent way soon.

Photo: GiveMeMyRemote.com.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses an Eye

Ten years after the release of the original, German-born director Michael Haneke follows up his critically acclaimed Caché with a remake of his own Funny Games.

In the update, opening on Feb. 15, Tim Roth and Naomi Watts take on the roles of a vacationing husband and wife who, along with their young son, are terrorized by a couple of innocent-looking, white-clad young psychopaths (Hedwig and the Angry Inch’s Michael Pitt and Mysterious Skin’s Brady Corbet).

I really want to see this one, if anything because of the black-as-coal humor of the trailer. That and you have to admit, the poster at right is pretty cool.

Photo: Warner Independent Pictures.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Gone

Selling out may not be her thing, but cashing in sure is.

Madonna and Live Nation Inc. announced today that their in-the-works $120 million deal is a go, thus ending weeks of speculation that the Material Girl would kiss good-bye her longtime home, Warner Bros., which refused to match the Live Nation deal.

“The paradigm in the music business has shifted and as an artist and a businesswoman, I have to move with that shift,” said the Queen of Pop.

“For the first time in my career, the way that my music can reach my fans is unlimited. I’ve never wanted to think in a limited way and with this new partnership, the possibilities are endless.”

The singer still owes Warner Bros. another studio album and a greatest hits album.

Congratulations, Madonna. You made out like a bandit. And you’re worth it.

Now, may I borrow a couple thou?

Photo: Madonnalicious.com.

Best Supported Artists

The Spice Girls will sell their upcoming 15-track Greatest Hits album exclusively at...Victoria's Secret.

Girl Power, indeed.


The CD, due – I cannot wait! – on Nov. 13, will not be available at traditional retail outlets but will be downloadable at various music sites, including iTunes.

It will feature 13 of the group's biggest hits, plus two new tracks: “Voodoo,” and the album's first single, “Headlines (Friendship Never Ends).”

The quintet also will perform during the annual Victoria's Secret fashion show, which will tape in Los Angeles on Nov. 14 and air on CBS on Dec. 4.

And then…it’s time “to swing it, shake it, move it, make it” when the Girls go on tour in December.

They totally should make a documentary out of this reunion.

Photo: Salon.com.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Box

A month into the new TV season, I cannot help but wonder how the box is doing these days.

With time-shifting machines (i.e., TiVos and FauxVos) in more homes than before, Americans are causing havoc on the rating system – and the networks are working really hard trying to figure us out.

They’re wondering how many viewers actually watch, say, NBC’s Heroes live as opposed to later in the evening or later in the week. And how they should be taken into account. And, natch, what (new) shows we are watching, anyway.

To help I figured I ought to say that, so far, I’m totally into The CW’s Gossip Girl – the repeats of which I’m TiVoing on Sundays.

I’ve been won over by the fantastic Pushing Daisies (what color! what concept! what writing!) and by the zany Darlings of Dirty Sexy Money (Donald Sutherland and Jill Clayburgh – I love you), both on ABC.

And although I’m favoring NBC’s Bionic Woman over ABC’s Private Practice, the Grey’s Anatomy spin-off is winning me over little by little.

But I am one of those viewers that is puzzling the broadcasters: I have yet to check out three weeks worth of NBC’s Chuck and Journeyman, and ABC’s Big Shots – and once I do, the rating system’s going to have a minor WTF moment.

So…. What are you watching?

Photo: ABC.com (Dirty Sexy Money).

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Absolute Certainty

I’m sort of sad I’m not a songwriter because if I was, Alicia Keys’ “No One” is definitely the kind of song I’d love to have written.

It’s so confident (it knows what it wants!) and so harmonious and just such a good song.

I definitely am getting Keys’ latest, As I Am, when it is released on Nov. 13. If anything because there is, well...no one, no one, no one….

Photo: People.com.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I Just Heart This Guy

Robin Thicke’s new single, “Can U Believe,” is out and about – and I love it so I can barely handle it.


It’s a great song, and I’m happy everyone will get to listen to it.

Do you love him yet? Do you?

Photo: Last.fm.
Unstoppable

Say what you will about Madonna, but there’s no stopping her.

She is reportedly close to signing a deal that would see her leave her longtime home at Warner Bros. in favor of a whopping $120 million deal with concert promotion firm Live Nation Inc.

The deal would give her a mix of cash – ‘cause, in this case, cold hard cash is always Mister Right – and stock in exchange for allowing Live Nation to distribute three studio albums, promote concert tours, sell merchandise, and license her name.

The woman has put her foot down, and she wants to get paid.

Photo: E! Online.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

He Bangs

Ricky Martin’s performing tonight at the newly remodeled and renamed Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater – and I’m going to be there to shake my bon bon, shake my bon bon, shake my bon bon with him.

I understand the show he’ll put on will be the same one he put on in May as part of his “Black and White Tour.”

Since the Fillmore isn’t the American Airlines Arena (where he performed last summer), I’m hoping he will adjust his performance and play a few more intimate songs... a couple more crowd-pleasers.

It would be awesome if he really took us down memory lane and did one his earlier hits…. “Dime que me quieres” perhaps?

Photo: HolaMun2.com.

Update: Last night was a lot of fun. The audience was a little fastidious and pretty…special, but like I’ve said before, Ricky Martin’s quite “La Bomba,” even if he looks a little chunky monkeyish (yeah, I said it – and I told everyone). Anything he wants to do is fine in my book, just as long as he sings “Vuelve” everytime he does it.
Just Because, Pt. 7

Thank you, VH-1; I enjoy having a side of new video (to me, at least) with my breakfast.

That’s what happened this morning when I caught A Fine Frenzy’s “Almost Lover.” (I thought that, having gotten a Return to Sender, this was a rather brill sign.)

A Fine Frenzy is the stage name used by 22-year-old singer-songwriter Alison Sudol, a self-taught pianist whose debut album, One Cell in the Sea, was released this summer. She has a sweet voice this girl – sweet and melancholy.

Here’s a choice sample of the lyrics of the song that almost had me chocking on my bagel:

“Goodbye, my almost lover /
Goodbye, my hopeless dream /
I'm trying not to think about you /
Can't you just let me be? /
So long, my luckless romance /
My back is turned on you /
Should've known you'd bring me heartache /
Almost lovers always do.”

Photo: BN.com.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

They’ve Got to Come to Miami

The Spice Girls have leased a state-of-the-art Boeing 757, which they have christened “Spice Force One,” to fly them around the globe for their forthcoming world tour.

That’s just major. And I love it.

This reunion tour already is a smashing success with several dates sold out. I had better turn into CHB – that’s cold hard bitch – and get my act together if I really want to zig-a-zig ah.

Photo: DailyMail.co.uk.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Wanderkind

Written and directed by Sean Penn, Into the Wild was inspired by the true story (and the John Krakauer best-selling book) of Christopher McCandless’ great journey through life.

Upon graduation from Emory University in 1990, 22-year-old McCandless (accomplishedly played by Emile Hirsch) walked out of his seemingly privileged life in search of adventure.

He had done everything that was expected of him by his domineering father (William Hurt) and his mother (Marcia Gay Harden), but it was time he did something he wanted, not something that was expected or predetermined.

So he destroyed his IDs and credit cards, cut Oxfam International a check for $24,000 – his fund for law school – and disappeared.

His determined quest took him from the wheat fields of South Dakota to a renegade trip down the Colorado River to the non-conformists’ refuge of Slab City, Calif., and ultimately to the remote Alaskan wilderness.

What happened to McCandless, who renamed himself Alexander Supertramp, on his way transformed him into an enduring symbol for countless people.

It also impacted the lives of those he left behind (including his sister) and those he met along the way (like the hippies played by Brian Dierker and Catherine Keener or Hal Holbrook’s war vet).

It was a selfish thing what he did, but sometimes to find happiness, to find meaning you have to renounce everything. He never called or wrote home, and he always let everyone know he just was tramping by on his way north.

Into the Wild stirred me with its beauty and with its sadness. To watch the story of the young man who reached out for what he wanted was inspiring, and although he did it his way, it was a little heartbreaking to see how he ended.

My Rating ****

Photo: Paramount Vantage.
To Have and to Hold

Guy Oseary, Madonna’s longtime BFF and co-manager, has authored a new photography book titled Madonna: Confessions that won’t hit shelves until June, but already is a must-have.

The 256-page tome will feature exclusive shots of the singer, and, I’m guessing from the cover, will focus on last year’s successful “Confessions Tour.”

2008 is going to be all about celebrating the Queen of Pop.

A new album is imminent; Madonna’s latest just can’t be contained.

She is up for consideration for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

She probably will go on tour.

And she’ll turn 50 years old.

It is going to be a Madonna celebration…in every nation.

Photo: Amazon.com.
Revenge Be a Lady

There’s something dark, intriguing, and upsetting about Neil Jordan’s The Brave One.

Jodie Foster stars in this drama as Erica Bain, a New York radio host who, out on a walk on an uneventful evening with her doctor fiancé, is viciously attacked and beaten to a bloody pulp.

When she wakes up, three weeks later, her body and face badly bruised and scarred, she discovers she will never see the man she loves again. Her life has been forever and nonsensically changed. She used to feel safe in New York, but not anymore.

She resolves that in order to survive she must arm herself, but after she’s told that to get a gun she needs to get a license and wait a month, she says she just won’t make it that long.

In that moment, Foster is so fearful, so vulnerable, you’ll want to see reach out and cradle her. What happens next complicates this feeling of goodwill.

On a desperate impulse buy, Erica gets her gun, and then, on an uneventful run into a corner store, her life takes another turn when she surprise-shoots a man who has walked in with the sole purpose of killing his wife.

It is then that her rampage for revenge begins. Her actions are a coping mechanism alright, yet her hands are steady – she knows what she’s done – and the movie’s definition of bravery begins to shake.

Unable to move past her tragedy, she begins prowling the streets of New York at night. She’s not looking for trouble, but if it should find her, she will shoot it down. The new Erica suffers no fools.

Her pursuit of justice catches the city's attention, and the public is riveted by her anonymous exploits.

But with an NYPD detective (Terrence Howard) she’s befriended hot on her trail, she must decide if what she’s doing right, and how and when she will stop.

She’s conflicted, yes, but she also is quite wrong. And The Brave One appears to be OK with that.


This is a confronting movie, and an interesting one at that, but seeing this woman who would know better become a vigilante in order to cope…well, it just didn’t make much sense.

Worse yet, it just didn’t make me feel for her, and it didn’t help me see the light at the end of the tunnel that the twist ending seemed to promise her.

My Rating **

Photo: Warner Bros.
Feeling Better, I Trust

Lindsay Lohan has left the (rehab) building.

The actress is said to be ready to begin work on her next project, the Carlos Gardel biopic Dare to Love Me, on Oct. 15.

Good to have you back, Linds. Don't disappoint us.

And by us, I mean you and my copies of Speak and A Little More Personal (Raw).

Update: Entertainment Weekly reported in its Photo Issue that L2 is due on the set of Dare to Love Me on Oct. 29. I'm glad they haven't had anything else to report so far.

Photo: E! Online.

Friday, October 05, 2007

A New Spice

Ginger Spice, a.k.a. Geri Halliwell, announced today that the group will release a new single called “Headlines,” a “big love song” she calls a Spice Girls classic, next month.

The reunited quintet will release a new album in the U.K. on Nov. 12. The single, which also will be the official song for this year's BBC Children in Need charity fundraising appeal, will hit stores the following week.

The Spice Girls then will kick off a world tour in Canada on Dec. 2.

Photo: Top40-Charts.com.
All About Jane

The ensemble dramedy The Jane Austen Book Club – about six modern-day California women (actually, five women and one man) who see their lives and romances reflected in the six novels of English author Jane Austen they have chosen for their book club – is a movie about love, about loss, and above all, about the greatness that was the English author.

It is, in short, an absolute delight.

Maria Bello plays Jocelyn, a fortysomething strong woman who likes to breed and show dogs, and more importantly to the plot, a woman who likes being single.

Alright, “likes” might be too arbitrary. She’s single, and although she doesn’t have a man in her life, she doesn’t want one, necessarily, for she believes it’s better to be alone and ill-accompanied.

Her BFF Sylvia (played by Amy Brenneman, of TV’s Private Practice) recently has been dumped unceremoniously by her husband of many of years, so Jocelyn figures she must do something to keep her friend from floundering, from not getting over her ex.

A book club, she figures, will do trick.

It will keep Sylvia focused on something other than her divorce, and it will bring her closer together to her friends, which include her twentysomething daughter Allegra (Maggie Grace, formely of TV’s Lost) and the joyfully spirited Bernadette (Kathy Baker).

Joining the tight quartet are newcomers Prudie (the fantastic Emily Blunt), a tightly wound high school French teacher trapped in a quickly deteriorating marriage, and the boyish Grigg (the beautiful Hugh Dancy), whom Jocelyn decides will prove to be the distraction Sylvia really needs.

All six book club members have joined for very different reasons – and all six soon will learn that even the best laid plans don’t unfold without complications. Through the novels of Austen they will laugh, they will cry, and they will cope.

The Jane Austen Book Club is quite entertaining. It isn’t a chick flick, but rather a touchingly smart and witty movie about the women (and man) who heal through the timelessness of great writing.

My Rating ***

Photo: Sony Pictures Classics.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Is It 8:30 Yet?

The Emmy-winning 30 Rock – gosh, that just sounds so right – will kick off its second season tonight on NBC.


Tina Fey & Co. have invited Jerry Seinfeld to help them make their “dozens of viewers” laugh…and laugh…and, oh yeah, laugh.

By the Hammer of Thor, that’s a lot of laughing.

I mean, look how happy Kenneth the page (played by Jack McBrayer) is now that Seinfeld is back in the building. (For those of you who live under a rock, the comedian had a show on NBC until 1998. You know the one.)

I love 30 Rock so much, I want it to take me behind the middle school and get me pregnant.

You must watch it.

Photo: Reuters.com.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Bad Girl

The Sarah Silverman Program, starring my beloved bad girl of comedy, the one and only Sarah Silverman, kicks off its second season on Comedy Central tonight…and because of that I am feeling sooo much better than you right now.

If you enjoy Silverman’s happy-go-lucky attitude and say-what? humor then this is the show for you.

But if you don’t then that’s cute, too.

(Not.)

Photo: ComedyCentral.com.
Meet Lars... Lars is a loveable, lonely, delusional man whose emotional baggage has kept him from fully embracing life. After years of solitude, though, he has fallen in love with Bianca – a life-size sex doll he’s bought on the Internet. His friends and family are stunned at first because he finally has found someone, and puzzled later because Lars is treating Bianca as though she were alive. And that is the plot of the upcoming Lars and the Real Girl, and indie opening on Oct. 12 starring Academy Award nominee Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson) that follows the emotional journey of Lars and the people who love him.
Photo: MGM.
‘Cause I Gotta Have Faith

Country star Faith Hill has released a new album, The Hits, and I’ve gotta have it.

I have written about the genre before, about Rascal Flatts and Carrie Underwood, so as you may suspect, yes siree yes indeedy ma’am, I am undeniably a little bit country. It can be so enjoyable; whatdayya want.

To promote her new CD, which includes hits such as the beautiful “Breathe,” “The Way You Love Me,” and “This Kiss,” Hill performed on The View yesterday.

She did “Cry” – a song I had all but forgotten about, even though I really like it, and I’m still singing today.

And while we’re on the subject, I really dig Reba McEntire’s Reba Duets, too, especially her “Because of You” with Kelly Clarkson, and “Break Each Other’s Hearts Again” with Don Henley.

Tug, tug, tug….

Photo: BN.com.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Woman of Great Importance

I must watch Sarah Polley’s Away From Her.

In the film, which came and went quite quickly but left me with the memorable task of seeking it out one way or another, stars Julie Christie, whom I understand is just tremendous in it.

She plays Fiona, a woman who after decades of marriage to her husband Grant (Gordon Pinsent), decides to enter a rest home so as not to saddle him with her onset of Alzheimer's disease.

The move breaks his heart, and this is worsened by the rules of her new residence – and her transferring of affections onto another man who also lives at the home.

As awards season heats up, you might want to take a look at Away From Her and Christie in particular. The film is out on DVD now.

Photo: Lionsgate Films.
Bright Young Thing

Camilla Belle had several movies (including A Little Princess, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and Practical Magic) under her belt by the time she impressed critics and audiences in the 2005 indie The Ballad of Jack & Rose.

It won’t be until March 7, when 10,000 B.C. comes out, that she really will become a household name, though.

Belle will co-star in the latest from Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow), an epic tale that centers on three stages in the development of primitive man, as seen through the eyes of a 21-year-old hunter from a primitive tribe who must hunt mammoth to survive.

Oh – that old Hollywood story.

The young actress, with her exotic look (she’s half-Brazilian) and thick eyebrows, certainly will stand out in such a
testosterone-heavy offering, wouldn’t you say, so you’ll be able to appreciate her beauty and talent all the more.

And if that doesn’t work, you should keep your eyes open for the fashion layouts of every other magazine. Belle, who turned 21 today and has managed to remain a respectable It Girl, has become a favorite among some of the best and most sought-after fashion designers of the world.

Beauty and talent are two qualities that can’t be beat.

Photo: Vanity Fair.

Monday, October 01, 2007

A Bonus for David Letterman

Paris Hilton was a guest on Late Show with David Letterman on Friday, and David Letterman
nailed her to the wall – and not quite in the way that she, ahem, probably likes it.

The host with the most made the heir-head squirm like it was going out of style with his line of questioning pertaining to her summer jail stint.

Hilton pouted, but Letterman just pounced.

It was obviously uncomfortable for her, but the interview made for some of the best television I watched last week. And you know I watch a heck of a lot of TV.

I know it’s wrong, but I loved it. Letterman makes a truckload of money already, but somebody just earned himself a nicer little Christmas bonus.

Photo: NZHerald.co.nz.