Friday, October 29, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Director Christopher Nolan revealed yesterday that the follow-up to his successful Batman Begins sequel, The Dark Knight, will be titled…The Dark Knight Rises.
Well, it beats The Batman Saga: Battier Than Evah.
Honestly, it doesn’t sound too inventive – after all, at the end of The Dark Knight, the Caped Crusader became a wanted-for-murder fugitive. I don’t think anyone thought the guy wouldn’t rise and clear his name.
In any case, Nolan also let the cat out of the bag on the who-will-be-the-villain front, or actually, who it won’t be: the Riddler.
Catwoman, though, remains in contention, what with the Rachel Weisz rumors still very much alive and a report that the helmer is interviewing young actresses for a part.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Rumor had it for a little bit there that Mark Salling, a.k.a. Puck on Glee, wanted out of the show that made him a star because he went MIA for an episode earlier this month and won’t be in this week’s Rocky Horror-themed one.
Not to fret, though: Salling ain’t going anywhere. He just needed a little time launch his debut album, Pipe Dreams, the proper way, and that includes promoting the video for his new single, “Illusions.”
Striking while iron’s hot....
Friday, October 22, 2010
A cynic like, say, myself would dare put it out there that the oh-so-good-in-Conviction Hilary Swank probably thought she had another Oscar – her third – in the bag...and that it’s really just too bad that Annette Bening saw The Kids Are All Right come out just a few of months ago (since Bening has lost out to Swank come the big night twice before).
The thing about cynicism, though, is it’s often misguided. If I was a betting man I’d be a losing man. So rest easy, A.B.
Look, Conviction is a fine movie, but Swank ain’t getting invited to the party, as a nominee, next winter. At least I don’t think so. Not anymore (bye, buzz!).
Directed by Tony Goldwin, this courtroom drama is an adequate piece of based-on-an-incredible-true-story...uhh...story about a woman who stops at nothing to prove her brother’s innocence.
The problem is it’s also a bit too Lifetime-y for my taste, which is why the actress’ tenacious, sure, but nevertheless affected-by-a-borderline-melodramatic-script performance ultimately doesn’t transcend the movie’s by-the-number-ness.
Swank plays Betty Anne Waters, a high school dropout from the wrong side of a Massachusetts town whose brother, Kenny (Sam Rockwell), is convicted of murder and sentenced to life in 1983.
Betty Anne and Kenny are like two peas in a pod. The two are thisclose; they’ve always had to rely on each other through thick and thin since their mom was, well...trash who didn’t mind them like, at all. Theirs is a bond that is like no other: unbreakable, unshakable, and unconditional.
When Kenny is sent away, for a crime he says and his sister knows he didn’t commit, Betty Anne puts her own life on the back burner to champion his tarnished name. She embarks on a lifelong quest to prove Kenny was wrongfully pinched for the did by a tough-as-nail cop (Frozen River’s Melissa Leo), and even puts herself through college and law school, sacrificing her marriage and her role as a mother in the process. It’s what she has to do...and by golly if she’ll do it, even if takes her years.
That it does – 18 years, to be exact.
It’s a tall task she’s taken on, and while no one understands it, while everyone tells her she should accept the facts (those everyones are promptly shunned), Betty Anne remains steadfast.
With the help of a supportive friend (Minnie Driver) she allows herself to pick up along the way, she pores over piles of suspicious evidence and retraces the steps that led to Kenny’s arrest in the hope of finally winning her brother’s freedom.
Eventually, her quest gains enough traction that she picks up another ally, a lawyer (Peter Gallagher) who specializes in this type of case, and Betty Anne’s dream to free her brother begins to become a reality.
What Conviction fails to capture, though, is just how daunting this mission must’ve been. I felt like the movie spent a lot of time walking us through the case, which was resolved rather quickly – I say acknowledging that I live in a post-procedural-TV zeitgeist...and that things weren’t quite so easy – and not enough showing us Betty Anne getting her fighter on. I guess not all heroines in this type of movie are Erin Brockovich-esque, but still, I wish Swank had been given something showier to shine with, you know.
Perhaps that Oscar buzz would still be around, but since the actress also produced the movie I will say, sans cynicism, that she really wanted to tell this story, and for that she can reap the biggest benefit, just like her subject matter: satisfaction in self.
My Rating **1/2
Photo: Lionsgate Films.
Shut. The Front. Door.
No, seriously – shut it. Ghostface is coming back in Scream 4, and I frakkin’ cannot wait to see him (her? them?) next April.
A lot has changed since Wes Craven kinda sorta re-invented the horror-movie genre, and the Scream powers that be’s proposed new trilogy-extension of the franchise promises to explore the new rules of the game with a bunch of new faces thrown into the mix…as well as three very familiar ones (hi, Neve, Courteney, and David!):
Scream 4 is due out in theaters on April 15.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
The teaser for Cars 2 dropped yesterday, and it looks like Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) is getting his spy on.
I’m kinda sad that Paul Newman won’t be lending his voice to this one, since he passed away and all. At least I don’t think he did.
Pixar’s latest is due out in theaters next summer.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Brothers & Sisters’ Gilles Marini is feeling the Royal Pains.
The actor will appear on the second-season finale of the USA Network hit playing a dance instructor.
The second half of cabler’s sophomore season kicks off on Jan. 20, btw, so Marini’s episode should air…later in the winter.
Gabourey Sidibe is ready to take her scene-stealing ways to the next level.
The Precious Academy Award nominee and Showtime Big C co-star has signed on to join Tower Heist, an ac-com (figure it out) surrounding high-rise employees who band together to steal their money back from a Bernie Madoff-type under house arrest.
The Brett Ratner-directed movie already has Ben Stiller, Alan Alda, and Eddie Murphy all lined up for other roles.
You go, girl!
Update 1: Joining the star-studded cast is Téa Leoni, who will play an FBI agent who falls for Stiller’ heist-mastermind character.
Update 2: Matthew Broderick is also on board.
Update 3: Ditto Casey Affleck and Judd Hirsch.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Well, you can’t say Madonna doesn’t have balls.
The Queen of Pop is hard at work on W.E., her second feature film, a Julie & Julia-esque two-tiered romantic drama focusing on the affair between King Edward VIII (James D’Arcy) and American divorcée Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough) and a contemporary romance between a married woman (Abbie Cornish) and a Russian security guard.
OK, before I tell you about Rihanna’s new video – oops! – I gotta tell you I think her Rated R (her last, darker, post-Chris Brown album) was woefully underrated.
Now, with that out of my system, let’s move on to what people are calling a return to form of sorts, her new single “Only Girl (In the World),” a track that’s fun and radiant and, yes, oh-so-Rihanna.
The video “looks so unreal,” she said. “It looks fake, like something out of a postcard…. [It] just shows this big landscape and the only person there is me.”
And a world of only RiRi all the time would be a fine world by me.
Rihanna’s new album, Loud, will be released on Nov. 12.
George Clooney is a national, heck, an international treasure, and not just because he looks so good on screen and off.
The actor takes his well-recognized philanthropy seriously.
If there is a cause he believes in he sticks with it and takes it as far as he can.
This week, Clooney went to the White House to meet with the president to discuss diplomacy in Sudan. As that nation spirals toward civil war, he hopes diplomacy will help avoid another potential genocide in the region.
Although he acknowledges his involvement in this issue is pretty much moot because it “doesn’t matter what I believe, because obviously I’m an actor,” Clooney has set up has set up SudanActionNow.org, to drum up intervention.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Gwyneth Paltrow, video star?
The Oscar-winning actress has shot a video for “Country Strong,” the title track off the soundtrack of the upcoming movie I swear could get her nominated for an Academy Award.
Doesn’t she look just major in the warehouse-set part of the clip?
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
The war between film and TV rages on.
OK, so there’s no actual war of the sort going on, but let’s go with it because it helps illustrate the current tug for the talents of one Mr. Matt Damon.
The Hereafter star reportedly will not be featured in The Bourne Legacy – ’cause longtime-series-screenwriter-director-for-this-one Tony Gilroy is “building a legend and an environment and a wider conspiracy…the world we’re making enhances and advances and invites Jason Bourne’s return [down the road]” – but he may pop on your TV live this week.
Nope, not on SNL, but on Thursday’s live episode of 30 Rock, which will feature Jon Hamm and Cheyenne Jackson.
Score for the TV side.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Rhys Ifans, the British scene-stealer from Notting Hill, is set to antagonize Andrew Garfield in Marc Webb’s Spider-Man reboot.
Up next for the actor is November’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Roland Emmerich’s new Anonymous, which is coming out next September. It was the latter, a Shakespearean thriller, that convinced the powers that be that Ifans was the right guy for the baddie role.
“After seeing his performance in Anonymous, we’re in awe of his talent and think he’s the perfect choice to take on this role,” a high-up source at the Spidey studio said, without revealing exactly what character the actor will be playing.
Production on Spider-Man, which will co-star reigning It Girl Emma Stone, is set to begin in December for a July 2012 release.
Friday, October 08, 2010
Gwyneth Paltrow has revealed she was…propositioned, I guess you could say, back when she was just getting going in Hollywood.
“Yup,” she told Elle magazine’s latest issue. “When I was just starting out, someone suggested that we finish a meeting in the bedroom.”
Well, Paltrow did go on to skyrocket and eventually win an Oscar, but – save the side of snark – it’s not because she was up for it.
“I left. I was pretty shocked,” she added. “I could see how someone who didn’t know better might worry, ‘My career will be ruined if I don’t give this guy a blow job!’”
Good for you, G.P.!
Now go and get yourself another nom for Country Strong, already.
In 1989, after my parents split up, my mother decided to move my sisters and me to Miami, leaving behind my home in Lima, Peru, my friends, and my school.
I was in first grade, or about to start it.
All I could think about watching Davis (An Inconvenient Truth) Guggeheim’s Watiting for “Superman” was how incredibly different my life could have turned out had we stayed here and I had gone to school in the United States.
I like to think that I knew the answer in my bones back then: Not...quite as good.
I mean, aside from the myriad personal reasons I had for wanting to go back, I knew and felt that I should continue going to school back (in my former) hometown.
My private French school.
I liked my school, which I know is what every kid facing a new environment says, but I’d already been there a couple of years doing pre-K or whatever. Here, I didn’t speak the language at the time, and everything was foreign and confusing. I ended up doing a good part of the first grade over there, shuttling back here during breaks before moving back for good.
Having the benefit of hindsight now I honestly can say that I believed that, that I’d be better off continuing with my learning where I started it, and for good reason. I got a terrific, well-rounded education, one that I didn’t always take full advantage of, which I also now recognize as well. I was a good student and a good learner (most of the time) because I had good teachers (always)...but I could’ve been better since I had the opportunity to be.
Watiting for “Superman” follows five children, most underprivileged, who are attempting to get an education in the American system. A system that is...perhaps not broken, but definitely on the brink; full of promises (“No Child Left Behind,” anyone?), but short on deliverables. American test scores in key disciplines are way low compared to other developed nations – but American kids rank No. 1 in confidence (yay!?).
For a nation that talks a big talk, the United States is not walking the walk on behalf of the children politicians love to trot out and make promises for come election time and whatnot.
And that’s just disheartening because kids...they are the future, and we’re investing so little in them.
What Watiting for “Superman” does is it calls us all out on this because we all can make a difference, regardless of whether we have children, because we all have a voice. We have a right and a duty to effect change by picking the right people to do the job that isn’t getting done: that is, to educate the leaders of tomorrow. Otherwise the world is going to pass America by...and neither Superman nor any other superhero is coming to rescue us or these treated-as-statistics young’uns any time soon.
My Rating ****
Photo: Paramount Pictures.
Greg Berlanti knows how to deliver or sneak emotion into his work (one need only take a look at his TV résumé, which includes Dawson’s Creek, Everwood, Brothers & Sisters, Eli Stone, and the new No Ordinary Family, to know that), and his second big-screen effort, Life as We Know It, sure proves it.
Starring Katherine Heigl – getting her mojo back after the poor showing of her summer entry Killers – and Josh Duhamel – emerging as a likeable leading man in training at last – this is a dramedy about two people who don’t fall in love but rather in family with each other and the cutest baby girl this side of Michelle Tannerville.
Heigl plays Holly, an up-and-coming, sunny coffee shop caterer in Atlanta, while Duhamel is Messer (he goes by his last name ’cause he’s cool like that), a let-it-rip-type and a rising star in the world of network sports directing.
The two don’t like each other.
What? A movie that will be pigeonholed in the rom-com box with two characters who hate each other? Where could this be headed?
It’s true, though: Holly and Messer attempted to go on a blind date set up by their respective BFF a couple of years ago, but he showed up an hour late – and then took a booty call right in front of her – and she, of course, gave him (and her gal pal who played matchmaker) a piece of her mind about it.
Over the course of the next, what, couple of years, they stayed in each other’s lives. It happens when you’re named your friend’s maid of honor or best man, or the godparent to their child, just FYI. So Holly and Messer learned to tolerate and get some enjoyment out of needling each other.
After their besties die in a car accident, they have to rearrange their lives because they become the legal guardians to Sophie, that adorable baby girl I mentioned earlier (played by triplets who should get baby awards for cooing on cue). Their lives turned upside down, they have to set aside their differences and get it together. A lot of it is played for laughs, natch, but there are moments of real poignancy in this movie, which elevate it out of Generictown.
And yes, Holly and Messer get closer as Life as We Know It progresses. They become friendlier toward each other, and supportive of each other and their separate interests (in her case that includes a doctor fellow she met at her coffee shop, a dashing man played by Josh Lucas; in his, a bunch one night stands). They make themselves a bit of a home, of a family, just like they’re meant to.
The two of them just sort of...happen. Then a romance blossoms. But life throws them another curveball, because that’s what it does, right.
Life as We Know It works because it keeps things grounded in reality.
Yeah, sometimes it idealizes things a little, but that’s what movies like this one are supposed to do, after all, but it should keep you guessing.
I think that that’s what makes it a bit different, and why it works. Heigl is warmer in this one than in her previous offerings (and than she seems in real life), and Duhamel makes for a enjoyable partner for her – and us – to want to have as a support system. But do they end up together? That you’ll have to see for yourself.
My Rating ***1/2
Photo: Warner Bros.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
What…a feather in Peru’s cap: Author Mario Vargas Llosa has won the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature.
Many were surprised by the choice of Vargas Llosa for the win, but leave it to a Peruvian to come in from behind and make everyone’s jaws drop.
The author of The Time of the Hero, The Green House, and Conversation in the Cathedral – and The Bad Girl, which is sitting next to my bed waiting to be read – “was chosen for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt, and defeat.”
He is the first South American to win the Nobel since Gabriel Garcia Marquez took the award home in 1982 (Mexico’s Octavio Paz won it in 1990).
Vargas Llosa’s books Captain Pantoja and the Special Service and Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter have been adapted for the big screen.
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Modern Family stand-out – sorry, that’s Emmy-nominated stand-out to y’all – Sofia Vergara is diversifying.
The actress is partnering with former NBC exec Ben Silverman to produce an American take on the single-camera Spanish comedy Aquí No Hay Quien Viva (a.k.a. I Hate This Place).
The sitcom, which could land at ABC, is set in an apartment building managed by an old-school father and his more-modern son.
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Monday, October 04, 2010
One of my faves, the beautiful Brit Emily Blunt, is gonna get her time traveling on opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a movie called Looper.
The movie’s plot revolves around a killer (Gordon-Levitt) who works for the mob – the mob of the future.
His job is to dispose of people that are sent from there, but one day he recognizes his mark as his future self (Willis), so he hesitates and lets him go. Still, to save himself he has to kill his future self, while his future self is looking for a young boy who is the key to his survival.
What…an easy pitch that must’ve been….
Blunt would play the child’s mother. And kick some butt, I presume.
Sunday, October 03, 2010
Saturday, October 02, 2010
Friday, October 01, 2010
It’s the scene this Grey’s Anatomy fan has been waiting for since it was teased, the one with the semi-naked Dr. Jackson Avery, played by Jesse Williams.
And now we have a date: The scene will be part of the show’s Oct. 14 episode.
Williams will strip off his scrubs during a tense confrontation – so that’s what you’re supposed to do! – with his supervisor, Dr. Teddy Altman (Kim Raver).
“He and Teddy butt heads throughout the episode and it leads to a face-off,” Williams said. “[Jackson] learns what benefits him and what doesn’t in terms of flirting and sexuality.”
Glad the lesson plays on for the audience to see….
Williams reportedly “put down the cake and ran a few more laps” in preparation for the scene – and all I can say is it seems to have paid off.
And that’s what you’re supposed to do to get ripped?
Tina Fey tried, she really tried.
Remember how a few years ago, between Lindsay Lohan’s first and second hosting-SNL gig she spoke, to Vanity Fair if my memory serves well, about how Fey and Lorne Michaels had pulled her aside once to ask how she was doing….
Those were the tamer days.
These days, Fey, who pretty much gave L2 her big break in Mean Girls, says she hasn’t seen the embattled actress “in a long time” and that she’s hoping her fifth stint in rehab does the trick.
“Lindsay is in rehab now? Right? We think?” the 30 Rock star told Andy Cohen during an appearance on his Bravo show, Watch What Happens Live, last night. “I think that’s good [that she’s in rehab]. Yeah. I hope she gets well.”
You and me both, Tin-Tins.
Much has been done about this book I Am Number Four, which Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg are bringing to the big screen next winter.
The teaser for the movie was released this week, and I gotta say it looks pretty good:
I Am Number Four stars the studly newcomer Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant (in for The A-Team’s Sharlto Copley, who had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts with the promotion of that not the blockbuster it should have been), Dianna Agron (TV’s Glee), and Kevin Durand (TV’s Lost).