Wednesday, April 30, 2008

All the Pretty People

People magazine will reveal its annual list of the 100 Most Beautiful in its issue hitting news stands on May 2.

Featuring Kate Hudson on its cover, the magazine also names, among others, Halle Berry, Patrick Dempsey, Salma Hayek, Julianne Moore, Mary J. Blige, Sarah Silverman, and the cast of Gossip Girl as this year’s genetically blessed.

Daniel Craig had better made the list, that’s all I have to say.

Congratulations to all – you couldn’t have done it without your publicist.

Surely you remember the magazine used to pick only 50 Most Beautiful. But then something changed, and for my money, the list lost its appeal.

How else could you explain the great travesty that is Sarah Michelle Gellar, Lauren Graham, Mandy Moore, and Madonna not being included year after year?

Happy Birthday, Bugs Bunny

April 30, 1938.

It was 70 years ago that Ben “Bugs” Hardaway, looking for an antagonist for the animated short Porky’s Hare Hunt, first drew the humorous, provocative, and sassy white hare that would become Bugs Bunny.

A star was born, and kids all over the world would grow up spending many a day watching his adventures.

Alas, today, the zeitgeist desperately misses him, but some of us still remember and celebrate him.

What’s up, doc, indeed?


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

You “Hard” Yet?

If we have come to learn anything about Madonna it is that once she gets going she is gone, and the out-today Hard Candy is proof.

The Queen of Pop’s 11th album is daring, fun, and non-stop. You are sooo going to “get stupid” over it.

It takes a few licks to get to the sweetness that lies within – its busy cornucopia of flavors is the good kind of addictive – but it’s worth it.

Lead single “4 Minutes” already is an anthem, and next single “Give It 2 Me” promises to ignite dance floors all over the world.

If you ask me, though, Hard Candy’s standouts are “Heartbeat,” “Miles Away,” and “Incredible,” with “Devil Wouldn’t Recognize You” earning a well-deserved honorable mention.

And I must be in the minority, but I rather enjoy “Beat Goes On.”

Madonna will promote the album’s release with a hot-ticket performance at Roseland Ballroom in New York City on April 30 – to be broadcast live on starting at 10 p.m. EST – and with another on May 6 in Paris.

Her “sugar is raw,” so go on…get a cavity, already.


Come to MIA


Remember that name.

This 28-year-old British Hip-Hop singer-producer is one of the next best things, and you definitely should become acquainted with her sound.

Her new single, “American Boy,” featuring Kanye West and production from, off her new album, Shine, seduce-suggests to her intended to, “Take me on a trip, I’d like to go some day. / Take me to New York, I’d love to see L.A. / I really want to come kick it with you. / You’ll be my American Boy.”

She goes on to say, “And no I ain’t been to MIA.”

Well, hop on a plane, girl!


Monday, April 28, 2008

Treat You

Coldplay have announced they will give their fans a chance to see them perform, for free, when they hit the stage in London and New York City in June.

Details on how to win a pair of tickets will be available tomorrow on the band’s Web site. The shows are scheduled for June 16 and June 23, respectively.

The band’s new single, “Violet Hill,” also will be available to download for free on the site for one week.

Scoring tickets to the concerts might prove difficult, but you better get the single while it’s hot. According to Chris Martin’s wife, a Ms. Gwyneth Paltrow, Coldplay’s still-untitled new album is “brilliant.”

She’s Having My Baby

This year’s unlikeliest movie star, Tina Fey (TV’s 30 Rock), stars in Baby Mama, a buddy comedy co-starring her fellow SNLer Amy Poehler.

Fey – seemingly everywhere these days, from her hit show to the covers of Entertainment Weekly and Marie Claire and Vanity Fair – breaks through playing Kate, a successful businesswoman in her mid-to-late-30s who really wants to have a baby.

When her doctor tells her he just doesn’t like her T-shaped uterus and has a million-to-one shot at getting pregnant, Kate decides to explore her options, including adoption (the wait is too long for a single woman) and surrogacy (it costs more than having someone killed, but hey…it’ll do!).

She ultimately is paired with South Philly working girl Angie (Poehler) who, after hearing her out, tells her, “Kate, I want you to put your baby inside me.”

But Type-A Kate’s well-though out strategy is turned upside down when needy Angie shows up at her doorstep with no place to live.

As their two rather different worlds collide, Kate and Angie will struggle their way to the finish line – hilarity ensues, natch – and learn that they share more similarities than differences.

I enjoyed Baby Mama very much because you just never see a buddy comedy starring two women – and this one stars not one but two of my all-time favorite funny ladies, so that was just swell.

The movie has a lot of heart, which is great, but it also has a no-holds barred sense of humor that keeps it from the Chick Flick storage box, you know.

And for that, this is one Baby Mama you needn’t try to avoid.

My Rating ***

Photo: Universal Pictures.

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Wife’s Word

At the London premiere of Iron Man, Gwyneth Paltrow told reporters the new Coldplay album is “brilliant.”

Paltrow is married to lead singer Chris Martin, so like, she would know.

“Don’t tell him I told you that,” she said. “I can’t talk about it. He gets furious!”

The actress is looking (and I bet, feeling) so good these days, I somehow doubt Martin could ever be crossed with her.

Having said that, I cannot wait to see Iron Man on Tuesday – after I get some Hard Candy, natch – or for Coldplay’s album.

It’s how much I’m into this couple. Like, if they called for a…situation, I’d totally answer.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Would The Bard Approve?

Hamlet 2 had its world premiere and became the smash hit of this year’s Sundance Film Festival thanks to its irreverent comedy.

The indie stars Steve Coogan as a bad actor-cum-even worse-high-school-drama teacher who rallies his Tucson, Ariz., students as he conceives and stages a politically incorrect musical sequel to Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Hamlet 2 co-stars Catherine Keener, Amy Poehler, David Arquette, and Elisabeth Shue. It opens in limited release on Aug. 22.

Photo: Focus Features.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Sound of Sex

The Sex and the City movie still is 37 days away, but Fergie’s contribution to the soundtrack, “Labels & Love,” which serves as the movie’s opening number, is here now.

Do we likey?

Simply Irresistible, Pt. 30

He has been called the “Brazilian Tom Cruise,” but last night, Rodrigo Santoro was just a guy who’s an actor, taking a moment to talk to a guy who’s a fan.

Santoro, Jim Carrey, and Ewan McGregor are in Miami shooting I Love You Phillip Morris, a black comedy from the writers of Bad Santa.

The trio hit the Martini Tuesday party at Halo, which is the last place I would’ve anticipated to find them. The sighting made me think of the setup of a joke, you know – a Brazilian, a Canadian, and a Scot walk into a bar….

Anyway, perhaps they were doing research (the movie’s plot revolves around Carrey’s character falling in love with McGregor’s while in prison).

The point is I very much wanted to approach McGregor, and tell him he looked oh-so-handsome and was robbed of a nomination (at least) for Moulin Rouge!, but I ended chatting up Santoro instead.

Of all things, we talked about Lost.

I told him I thought he was underserved by the show, that it would’ve been cool if the writers had gotten the end date they wanted sooner so they could’ve mapped out his introduction, development, and contribution to the show better.

He seemed pleased by my comment but stopped short of agreeing with me, natch, and told me he’s still a fan and he’s always up for going back to the island, “if they need me for a flashback.”

By the end of our short talk, I was like, “Ewan who?”

Bite my tongue. I kid, I kid.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sticky and Sweet

I just listened to the entire Hard Candy album.

OMFG, Madonna – I feel it in my heartbeat...a good thing because “Heartbeat” is one of my favorite tracks.

I’m also loving “Incredible,” and Miles Away” (like I knew I would), and I’m confident the next single, “Give It 2 Me,” will grow on me when I blast it at home later this evening.

Let’s pull a Lost and flash-forward to next Tuesday, already.


Update: Is M going to celebrate the big 5-0 with a big bash in New York City’s Central Park, after all? Jeez – that rumor’s persistent! It was put forth again in one of the sites that isn’t supposed to share the album yet. (Like I’m gonna tell you which one.)
The Simpson

Ashlee Simpson’s third album, Bittersweet World, hit shelves today.

I have long enjoyed Simpson’s oeuvre – don’t judge me – and so I totally leapt at the opportunity to interview her for Miami Living magazine’s May issue back in February.

The multi-hyphenate artist is back – and you better get used to it.

She’s followed up her 1980s-inspired club single “Outta My Head (Ay Ya Ya),” produced by Timbaland, with “Little Miss Obsessive,” which she performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last night.

It is what is (i.e., Who-cares! fun), so check it out.


Monday, April 21, 2008

A Fit for Life

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 opens on Aug. 8, and so you must know I’m kind of excited.

Alexis Bledel, America Ferrera, Amber Tamblyn, and Blake Lively have reunited for part deux of the 2005 sleeper hit.

The original movie saw the friends form their sisterhood after finding a pair of all-fitting jeans that ultimately proved to be more than the perfect fit.

It also solidified then-Gilmore Girl Bledel and Tamblyn’s status as two to watch, gave then-indie player/future Ugly Betty Ferrera a mainstream audience, and introduced us to Lively, someone about whom Gossip Girl and Hollywood loves to buzz.

So you see…you, too, should be exciting the Pants are traveling again.

Photo: Warner Bros.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Have a Lick

Madonna’s Hard Candy doesn’t come out until April 29, but someone has gone out and posted a medley featuring the first 30 seconds of several of the album’s songs.

If you’re like me and cannot wait for the entire thing, click here – quickly, before the powers that be take down the clip.

What a treat. Hard Candy’s just one of those things. It really is going to be “Incredible.”

Wait a Minute Baby

Forgetting Sarah Marshall is an It-Funny-Guy-Judd Apatow-produced comedy written by and starring Jason Segel (TV’s How I Met Your Mother), about a dude who gets dumped by an up-and-coming Young Hollywood starlet, and the awkwardness that ensues when he runs into her and her new musician boyfriend while trying to get away from it all in Hawaii.

That’s the plot in a nutshell.

And here’s why I liked it:

Kristen Bell: I never thought I’d see the erstwhile Veronica Mars in any of the many wild positions her titular role in Forgetting Sarah Marshall required of her, but last night I did.

And although my mouth dropped, I admire her all the more for it.

There’s an irresistible twinkle in Bell’s eye that makes the most outrageous scene maintain an irreproachable classiness. That’s rare and quite special.

Jason Segel: He based the script partly on his own break-ups, and brought enough humility, humor, and gravitas to a role that called for full frontal male nudity –something that’s rather elusive in studio movies.

Courageously, he went there and beyond, showing us that yes, big boys cry.

Here’s what I didn’t like:

In spite of an inherently funny premise, Forgetting Sarah Marshall could’ve used a better running time-joke formula for success.

Some of the funniest, most quotable lines were said too quickly in a movie that unfortunately, ran too long.

Alright, so my worry that this wasn’t going to be a fun time at the movie theater was ultimately unwarranted, but this wasn’t a taut movie. It had enough charisma to make up for its unfunny bits, though.

My Rating **1/2

Photo: Universal Pictures.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Wave of Love

Jonah Markowitz makes his feature-film directorial debut with Shelter, a gay indie starring Trevor Wright and Brad Rowe (Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss).

Wright plays Zach, a young San Pedro graffiti artist who’s given up on art school to look after his nephew, Cody, and bail out his unsupportive, judgmental, flaky older sister, Jeanne (HBO’s Six Feet Under).

When his BFF’s older brother, Shaun (Rowe), comes home from Los Angeles looking to surf away a bad case of writer’s block, Shaun and Zach quickly develop a friendship that evolves into a true, intimate, yet hush-hush relationship.

Shaun pushes Zach to take control of his life, and encourages him not to put himself last anymore. Although they make him nervous, Zach eventually embraces the changes that Shaun is bringing about in him, and soon the two become a strong parental unit to Cody.

As time and the relationship progress, however, a new issue comes up: Zach – still struggling to balance his identity, his family, and his friendships – is confronted by Jeanne, who threatens to take Cody away because she disapproves of his lifestyle. Like hers is so much better.

In the end, the question the movie raises is whether Zach will play it safe again, or will he finally come into his own.

I was surprised by how much I liked Shelter.

I enjoyed that this wasn’t your average gay movie and that although it has been easily dubbed the “gay surfer movie,” it transcends that silly label and depicts a promising relationship in a realistic light.

It’s not a perfect movie, but it’s well-paced and -acted, rather moving, and really quite handsome.

Shelter premieres on here! TV tonight (check your local listing).

My Rating ***

Doing It Old School

The CW has announced that fans who “XOXO” Gossip Girl will be able to watch the show when it returns to the schedule on April 21 on the tube only.

That’s right – the freshman hit’s five remaining episodes this season will not be available for streaming on the network’s Web site (though the episodes will be up for sale via iTunes).

Gossip Girl is an extremely important show for The CW and we feel it can be a signature breakout for its return,” said a CW spokesman.

Repeats will continue to air on Sundays at 6 p.m., though.

Spotted: You, coach-potatoing it come Monday night. Just like you should.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dancing King

With his latest release, Last Night, Moby has proven that he shan’t be dismissed just yet – thank you very much.

And you know what, after listening to it, and especially loving “Disco Lies,” which he recently performed on Late Night with Conan O’Brien (that’s how I first found out he even had a new album), and “The Stars,” I don’t think I ever could.

I just want to dance.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The New American Idol

As I pointed out in the February-March-April issue of Miami Living magazine, every year, thousands of pop star wannabes try out to see if one of them will become the next American idol – after all, it’s an easy, relatively quick way for an up-and-comer to gain notoriety – but Miami’s own Alejandra Alberti is not interested in becoming another flavor of the season.

She’s in it for good.

Alberti, a Nashville, Tenn., native, launched her music career two years ago with the release of Alejandra Alberti, an indie pop-rock-R&B Spanish album.

On April 17, Alberti will kick off her “Dignidad Tour,” featuring special guest Carlos Bertonatti, at Studio A in Miami.

Alberti co-wrote seven of the deeply personal 10 tracks in her CD, including her first single, “Quiero,” a song spawned by a close relative’s experience with heartbreak.

It was on the strength of “Quiero” that she was nominated for a Best New Artist Latin Grammy last fall. Although she did not bring home the award – Mexican pop duo Jesse & Joy did – Alberti says being invited to the party in Las Vegas was a win in of itself.

Today, armed with a new single, “Dignidad the Mujer,” she is just getting started. She says she still considers herself a new artist, and that she has learned to take people’s skepticism as an incentive rather than a deterrent. Her tour will take her to Orlando, Atlanta, New Orleans, Chicago, Austin, Los Angeles, New York, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, among others.

For tickets and more information on the “Dignidad Tour,” click here.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Hop to It

In The House Bunny, Anna Faris plays Shelley, a Playboy Bunny of nine years who is unceremoniously asked to leave the Playboy Mansion on her 27th birthday because you know...she’s old now.

Oh, baby, baby, it's a wild world. It’s hard to get by just upon a smile – or bleach blond hair and big boobs.

Homeless and without essential skills, she wanders around L.A. until she finds a new a housemother at the most unpopular sorority on campus.

The movie (due out on Aug. 22) co-stars Katharine McPhee and Rumer Willis. It was scripted by the Legally Blonde writers, so expect big laughs and lots of heart (and pink outfits for Faris).

It looks really fun. Check out this preview if you don’t believe me. I’m thinking this is the movie that finally will propel Faris from Scary Movie star to super star.


Guess Who’s Turning 90

United Artists, the film studio built by artists for artists whose passion and vision have thrilled audiences around the world with some of the finest motion pictures of all time, is celebrating its 90th anniversary this month.

“From its founding 90 years ago by four of the most gifted artists of their time [i.e., Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith], United Artists recognized the power of movies and created a studio where filmmakers could see their visions realized,” said Tom Cruise, the studio’s current co-owner.

“Over the nine decades that followed, their dream continued and United Artists became the birthplace of countless classic films and iconic characters that have become part of cinematic history.”

Together with Panasonic and the American Film Institute, United Artists will present a selection of the best titles from its library in major cities nationwide, including Fort Lauderdale.

The South Florida city will host a festival at the Sunrise Cinemas at Las Olas Riverfront, starting on April 22 with a screening of Annie Hall.

Among the films to be screened through May 15 are West Side Story, Some Like It Hot, Raging Bull, Rocky, Dr. No, and The Manchurian Candidate.

For more information, click here.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Nostalgia, Pt. 20

Madonna’s Hard Candy still is two long weeks away.

Obviously, I’m beyond looking forward to it, but I cannot help but wonder when the one and only will treat us to another slow song again.

The new album, like its predecessor Confessions on a Dance Floor, is all about fun. And I love it. From what I understand, “Miles Away” may be the closest thing to a personal, slow track on it, and for that I want it...I want it bad.

But I have a soft spot for the Queen of Pop who tells me “There’s no greater power / Than the power of good-bye,” you know.

I appreciate that M just as much as the one who’ll tell me to come into her store because she has candy galore.

Don’t you ever, ever ask me to choose between the two, though.


He Could Never Be a Fool – But He’ll Play One

He may very well play James Bond, but Daniel Craig isn’t afraid of acting the fool from time to time.

Craig – a.k.a. the sexiest man alive – premiered yesterday his new, low-budget film Flashbacks of a Fool, in which he plays an aging, miserable actor.

“[My character, Joe Scot] has failed as a human being, and I wanted to explore that,” Craig told reporters at the film’s world premiere in London.

“I think you have to work hard at not becoming disillusioned about what you do for a living. If you have any success in what you do for a living, you have to maintain an energy and love of it. If you can, that’s a great thing.”

Flashbacks of a Fool is a return to small-scale, personal projects for Craig. It was written and directed by his longtime friend Baillie Walsh.

I don’t know when or if it will open in the United States, but here’s to hoping it’s soon.

The Elle Word

This is why I heart Kristen Bell so much.

The actress, who will be seen in the will-it-be-funny? Forgetting Sarah Marshall on April 18, recently told that she hopes to be a part of TV’s Heroes’ third season this fall.

“I have made it more than clear that I want to come back and [Heroes producers] have made it more than clear that they want me back,” she said.

“I love that the next season is supposed to be subtitled ‘Villains.’ [The erstwhile Veronica Mars plays bad girl Elle.] I am thrilled by the idea that my good friend Zach Quinto (Sylar) and I could possibly have scenes together.”

I am thrilled by the idea of more Bell in any way, shape, or form.

Getting Stone-d

I spent the better part of yesterday catching up with TiVo, getting to know Eli Stone.

Question: How is it that this show isn’t more popular?

I was hooked after watching the pilot. Nine episodes later, I’m completely addicted. (I’ve got two more in queue – and I cannot wait to watch’em).

This first season is good.

Co-created by Greg Berlanti (TV’s Everwood, Brothers & Sisters), Eli Stone’s so far a cohesive mid-season replacement that had better be back in the fall.

The show stars Jonny Lee Miller in the titular role of a San Francisco lawyer who starts getting visions that inform the cases he should take. But are the visions the possible effect of a recently discovered brain aneurysm…or are they a higher calling?

It co-stars a never-better Natasha Henstridge (oh, how far she’s come since Species!), Loretta Devine (a hoot and a half!), the very handsome and appealing Sam Jaeger and Matt Letscher, and Victor Garber (welcome back on the tube, Spy Daddy!).

And did I mention Eli Stone succeeds where Viva Laughlin failed so miserably?

Sometimes, when Eli gets a vision, the people around him break into song and dance, often to George Michael’s repertoire (the singer already has appeared on the show, in completely integrated and effective story lines). It’s a touch of whimsy that totally works.

Yeah – I’m in it now.... I mean, just look at Miller (pictured at right). McDreamy who?


Friday, April 11, 2008

What’s to Come

Lost is off the air until – gasp! – April 24, but could you resist running a photo of Josh Holloway if you had the option?

I didn’t think so.

Holloway recently talked with Entertainment Weekly, and revealed that now that he and the rest of the cast know when the show will come to an end (2010), well…he’s a happy camper (with really great hair).

“Now, the story carries everything and we’re just players in it, which I like,” he said. “The writers can be concise. I like that, too.”


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sex-y Music

Sex and the City director Michael Patrick King is kissing and is telling – about the movie’s soundtrack, that is.

King has told that Fergie has recorded the movie’s opening number, “Labels & Love,” and that co-star Jennifer Hudson, who plays Carrie’s assistant, has recorded a ballad titled “All Dressed Up in Love,” which shall play over the end credits.

“She sings it like nobody’s business,” he said.

Sex and the City opens on May 30. Cosmos for everyone!

Photo: New Line Cinema.

The CW is learning.

The young network is stirring up controversy with its provocative new ads tied to Gossip Girl’s post-writers strike return on April 21, and I cannot get enough.

One of the ads (pictured at right) features It Girl Serena (Blake Lively) and Nate (Chace Crawford) – uhh…why not Dan? – while another features dethroned Queen Bee Blair (Leighton Meester) and bad boy Chuck (Ed Westwick).

And oh yeah, the actors appear lustily intertwined. And there’s a big ol’ tag line reading “OMFG.”



Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Did NBC Read My Mind?

Just last night I was thinking NBC needed to do something to keep the memory of Heroes alive and well among fans.

I thought the network really ought to re-run the second season or something.

This is better: Starting on April 15, a new installment of a comic will debut each Tuesday through mid-September, which is when Heroes‘ third season will debut, on the show’s official site.

“We’re focusing on a group of agents within the Company,” said show writer Chuck Kim. “We’ll be seeing Bob and Elle and The Haitian in there, and we’ll be touching on HRG [a.k.a. Horn-Rimmed Glasses Man or Noah Bennett]. The story will start at right about the end of season two.”

That’s what I call whetting one’s appetite.

I’m Just Sayin’

New production photos of Quantum of Solace, the new James Bond movie opening on Nov. 7, have hit the Web, and O-M-G.

Can I just take a moment to imagine star Daniel Craig…running toward me?

Oh dear….

Photo: MGM/Columbia Pictures.
Simply Irresistible, Pt. 29

Name: Amanda Seyfried

Age: 23

You know her because: She played a Plastic in Mean Girls, her murder on TV’s Veronica Mars was the driving force behind the show’s outstanding first season; she constantly steals scenes on HBO’s Big Love.

Up next: A co-starring role in Mamma Mia!; the third season of Big Love.

Photo: Universal Pictures (Mamma Mia!).
Simply Irresistible, Pt. 28

Name: Ashton Holmes

Age: 30

You know him because: He played Viggo Mortensen in A History of Violence.

Up next: A co-starring role in Smart People.

Photo: New Line Cinema (A History of Violence).

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

One Day You Are In…The Next You Are Out

After four seasons as one of Bravo’s signature series, the über-successful Project Runway is sashaying to Lifetime.

The Golden Girls’ longtime home – oh, did you hear they’re leaving for the Hallmark Channel? – has picked up Project Runway and will air the sixth season in November.

Yeah – that sound you hear is the sound of Heidi Klum going “Auf Wiedersehen.”

(The Weinstein Company already has begun pre-production on the fifth season for Bravo, which is scheduled to air in June.)

The move has prompted legal action by NBC/Universal, Bravo’s parent company, because it essentially asserts it got the shaft at the negotiation table.

The counsel to The Weinstein Company, meanwhile, believes “this lawsuit is without merit.”

All I know for sure is the catfight’s on. Meow.


Monday, April 07, 2008

Be Careful with Your Heart

In director David Gordon Green’s searing Snow Angels, a tight-knit Pennsylvania community is drawn closer together when tragedy befalls one of their own.

Just to put in an immediate state of alarm, Green opens his film with a pair of ominous gun shots. Then, he flashes back several weeks.

Sam Rockwell and Kate Beckinsale play Glenn and Annie, an estranged couple and parents to 4-year-old daughter Tara.

Glenn and Annie are each trying to pick up the pieces of their broken marriage. He’s a born-again Christian who drinks too much; she’s a waitress who is having an affair with a co-worker’s philandering husband.

They are not good people. To say that they’re flawed is easy – they are each other’s flaw, and each is so consumed by what they feel they need and want, neither realizes the effect their actions have on those around them.

Michael Angarano (a.k.a. Jack’s son on TV’s Will & Grace) plays Arthur, an outsider-ish high school student in the throes of a first romance dealing with his parent’s separation.

If he isn’t careful, Arthur risks making a mess of his life, just like his parents or like Glenn and Annie.

While his father (Who’s That Girl’s Griffin Dunne), who has left his family, struggles to figure out what he wants, his mother warns Arthur not to bottle up his feelings. This after he’s made a tragic discovery…you know, the one that leads to those two gun shots.

Snow Angels, which premiered at the Miami International Film Festival in March, plays like quite a first-rate soap-opera, but it really is a heartbreaking story of good love gone bad…of warning signs.

Snow is beautiful. It blankets everything, providing everyone a clean slate.

But it can be dangerous as well. You have to be careful; it can make everything cold.

Green, the man behind All the Real Girls and Undertow (a film I have yet to rent), directs it in a way that makes the audience feel as though they’re intruding in these people’s lives. The effect is unsettling, but oddly, quite captivating.

Rating ***1/2

Photo: Warner Independent Pictures.

An Independent Spirit

I said it once before and I’ll say it again: As an actress, Mandy Moore thrives in roles that call for her to be slightly wicked, like in American Dreamz or Saved!, you know.

Just recently I rented Dedication, an independent film directed by Justin Theroux in which Moore plays a less-than-sunny children’s-book illustrator.

The film isn’t the best film we didn’t watch last year, but it certainly showcased Moore’s range in a way that neither Because I Said So or License to Wed did. Hollywood is doing everybody a disservice by pigeonholing her in romantic comedies.

As evidenced by the risks she’s taken in her recording career – eschewing the pop star track (which boasted “I Wanna Be With You,” among others) to put out a CD of covers; releasing the folky and underappreciated Wild Hope – Moore likes a challenge. So I say give it to her.

Moore is ready to be extraordinary, so have a little faith in her.


Friday, April 04, 2008


Anyone who knows me knows I don’t know much about football, so I’ll just say Leatherheads fumbles a bit in the beginning but ultimately scores a touchdown.

That’s all the football talk I’ve got.

George Clooney directs this story about the sport’s early years. It’s 1925, and it’s a time in which college football’s everything, and professional football’s nothing.

Clooney stars as Dodge Connolly, a charming but scrappy football ol’ timer who is determined to guide the Duluth Bulldogs from bar brawls to packed stadiums. Only problem is no one really cares about them, not even their sponsor.

With the entire league facing certain collapse, Dodge convinces the golden boy of college football, Carter Rutherford (John Krasinski, a.k.a. Jim on TV’s The Office), a beloved war hero, to join his ragtag ranks.

But this hot shot Rutherford is almost too good to be true, and Chicago Tribune journalist Lexie Littleton (Renée Zellweger) is out to prove that’s the case.

While she digs up the dirt on this It Boy, the two teammates start to become serious off-field rivals for her fickle affections.

And as pro football becomes less like the freewheeling sport he knew and loved, Dodge must fight to keep his guys together and to get the girl of his dreams.

Leatherheads is far from perfect, but Clooney makes the movie work. It has a style that is hard to resist – like him, it’s charming, fun, and serious enough when it needs to be.

Zellweger, as we all know from Chicago and Down with Love, simply shines in period pieces that are all about sass, and Krasinski is perfectly cast as the dreamy up-and-comer to watch.

But the movie‘ first and third acts, with their slow setup and spotty conclusion, respectively, drop the ball – a little last minute football talk…ha! – but Leatherheads more than makes up for it with a thoroughly enjoyable…uhh…whatever’s football talk for the in-between.

My Rating ***

Photo: Universal Pictures.
Hangin’ Tough

Well, it’s happening…the New Kids on the Block are reuniting.

The five Kids – Danny Wood, Jordan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, and Jonathan Knight – made it official on Today this morning, looking very sharp and all grown up in their suits, when they appeared on the show to announce that they are, indeed, getting back together.

“No turning back now,” Wahlberg said upon being greeted by screaming fans.

They said they’ve been in the studio since August, and that on May 16, they will return to Rockefeller Plaza for their first live performance in 15 years as part of Today’s summer concert series.

Uh – call your school chums and plan a reunion in NYC.

NKTOB will release an album this summer, and they'll launch a limited tour this fall (yes, there will be dancing).


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Goody Goody Gum Drops!

One of my favorite TV shows, the very funny 30 Rock, has well-earned itself a 2007 Peabody Award.

Yet another sweet victory for Tina Fey (pictured at right)!

Also being singled out for the year that was were Dexter, Mad Men, Project Runway, and The Colbert Report.

The Peabodys will be presented at a June 16 luncheon hosted by Brian Williams.

30 Rock returns with the first of its post-writers strike episodes on April 10.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Just Like a Bomb

Leona Lewis is about to explode.

Her smash single “Bleeding Love” not only has climbed to a top spot in my heart, it’s made it all the way to No. 3 on iTunes (as of today) – and I bet it’s not done climbing.

Earlier this week, she had a chat with Miami’s Y-100.7 FM’s morning show, and they played her “I Will Be,” a total torch song that makes me weak in the knees.

Lewis’ debut, Sprit, hits shelves on April 8.

Old People Are Fun

Opening in limited release on April 9, Young@Heart follows a New England senior citizen chorus that delights audiences worldwide with their covers of everyone form James Brown to Coldplay to the Ramones.

The documentary was a hit at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

And how could it not. As one of Young@Heart‘s subjects puts it, “A lot of life. That’s what we have – a lot of life.”

Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Simply Irresistible, Pt. 27

Yeah, I have a Madonna problem. Jealous?

At long last, the Queen of Pop’s hot new video, for “4 Minutes,” which features Justin Timberlake, will debut later this week. has posted an exclusive set of screen caps that are just gorgeous.

I love it when M does effortless. Her hair looks airy and bouncy and fun.

I’m going to watch the video before it debuts, but I already know this look she’s rocking is one of my favorites, even rivaling the one she rocked in the video for “Beautiful Stranger.”


Update 1: Do you know who else has a Madonna problem? Jack Johnson, Regina Spektor, and Sonic Youth, among others. Click here to listen to their covers of some of M’s classics.

Update 2: You can preview the “4 Minutes” video here. You know you want to.
Two Inevitable Things

Opening in limited release on April 4, Sex and Death 101 stars Simon Baker, Winona Ryder, Julie Bowen (TV’s Ed), Dash Mihok, and Leslie Bibb.

The film, which reunites Ryder with Heathers writer Daniel Waters, tells the story of one man…one list…and 101 women.

Roderick Blank (Baker) is a successful executive and ladies man, who has finally found “the one,” and is getting married in a little over a week.

His life, however, is turned upside down when he receives a strange e-mail detailing the names of everyone with whom he’s had sex – and with whom he ever will have sex.

As you may have guessed, the list, which doesn’t end with fiancée’s name, throws Roderick for a loop.

His situation goes from bad to worse when he meets a mysterious femme fatale who’s a bit of an urban legend…because she targets men guilty of sex crimes against women. Fun.

I’m just glad to see Ryder back on the big screen. Are you?

Photo: Overture Films.