Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bare G.P.

Vanity Fair has
Gwyneth Paltrow Iike I
’ve never seen her before in its new issue: almost totally naked.

The actress is gracing the magazine’s On Jewellery calendar, which appears in the August issue (the one with Emma Stone on the cover).

That is one effective way to sell baubles...but even I will say G.P. needs to have one of her movies come out fast if she wants everyone to remember she is, first and foremost, an actress (and a darn good one at that).

Ragazza Miu Miu

’s here, y’all: The first shot of Hailee Steinfeld as the new spokesmodel for Miu Miu.

The True Grit Oscar nominee was shot by Bruce Weber for the Autumn/Winter 2011 campaign – an interesting choice since the shutterbug, famous for his work for Abercrombie & Fitch, specializes in sexed-images.

None of that here, though: Steinfeld is most demure and age-appropriate in her frocks from Prada’s younger line.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Decemberist M

Harvey Weinstein is betting big on Madonna.

The Hollywood producer announced today that The Weinstein Company will release Ms W.E., which it acquired earlier this month, on Dec. 9 right smack in the middle of Oscar season.

The news comes as tremendous vote of confidence on the film, which follows the story of two romances, one being between Britain’s King Edward VIII (James D’Arcy) and American divorcĂ©e Wallis Simpson (up-and-comer Andrea Riseborough, pictured here with her director).

The film will open first in L.A. and New York and expand from there into mid-January.


Joe Manganiello is leaving the heightened fantasy of Bon Temps for the heightened energy of New York City, at least for a bit.

The True Blood hunk has signed on to guest later on this season on USA Networks White Collar.

The actor will play a villain, a recently released con who moves in across the street from Peter and Elizabeth (Tim DeKay and Tiffany Thiessen). Well, there goes the neighborhood.

White Collar will wrap up the first half of its third season in August. The second half will begin airing next January. That’s the batch of eps that will feature Manganiello’s turn.

The Impossible Man Is Back

Brad Bird, Brad Bird
– watchu gonna do when Tom Cruise comes for you?

Deliver an awesome-looking Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, the first teaser for which has me all kinds of excited (the action! the Eminem song that soundtracks it! the quick shots of Josh Holloway!).

Bird, the man behind of The Incredibles, makes his live-action directorial debut with this high-stakes fourthquel that could cement the Cruiseter’s comeback at last and revitalize the franchise in one swift swoop.

The movie will come full circle and see Ethan Hunt as a disawowed IMF agent, much like in the first movie (which I still say was terrific):

Opening on Dec. 16 I cant wait...that stunt on the Burj Khalifa looks insane in the membrane! Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol co-stars franchise heir apparent Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton, Simon Pegg, Tom Wilkinson, and Ving Rhames.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Look! They’re Moving…They’re Alive! The Threequel

Dear Michael Bay: Bigger is not always better...but thank you for scaling back on the robo-action, if a tad, and upping the ante for the human race: it gives Transformers: Dark of the Moon a heartbeat.

Yeah, I said it – this one has rea...well, realer stakes for Shia LaBeouf & Co., and that makes it the better entry in the franchise, but with a running time of 157 minutes, though, this one asks a whole of a lot of its audience, much more than the 2007 original and even more than the 2009 sequel.


Very much so.

Not to worry, though we’re still dealt numerous boom situations and sexiness. And, like I said, it all works (especially because part deux a couple of years ago kinda didn’t).

LaBeouf reprises his role as Sam, the Autobots’ main ally on Earth. Megan Fox is out as his first gf, Mikaela, due to her controversial off-camera remarks (conveniently rehashed last week) about Bay’s ways on set, replaced with the Cameron Diaz-esque Victorias Secret model-turned-actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as Carly, the blockbusters resident PYT.

This time around the movie (written by Ehren Kruger, the scribe of Scream 3 and the previous Transformers offering) takes a page from the X-Men: First Class playbook and revisits a major event of our history (the lunar landing) and sprinkles a healthy dose of fantastic conspiracy to serve the needs of the plot.

And what, you ask, are those requirements?

Well, first, that the race between the United States and the old U.S.S.R. to reach the moon was driven by a desire to retrieve whatever had crashed there before the Apollo 11 ever landed on its surface. What’s that? Something Cybertronian, of course...maybe good, maybe bad.

Second, that that decades-old secret get out, and that when it surely does it is up to Sam, Optimus Prime, and the rest of the gang to save us and the planet once again, which Sam is happy to since he’s having a tough time landing a job after a college (that he has like, a medal from the POTUS himself doesn’t seem to impress a lot of people).

What’s so different about Transformers: Dark of the Moon is that it’s simplified. In its own way, natch.

Bay and his team have taken a step back, recognizing their penchant for excess, and made the story about not just Autobots vs. Decepticons (oh yeah...those robo-evildoers are still lurking around), but about humans fighting for their world. The director and Kruger have added an ever-effective double-cross device, as well as betrayal, intrigue, and jealousy into the mix. (Kudos for assembling a strong supporting cast, including Frances McDormand as a top CIA operative, John Malkovich as Sams oh-so eccentric employer, and Patrick Dempsey as a duplicitous businessman.)

Combined, and on the surface, these ingredients come together nicely...but don’t think too much about the details or you’ll see the kinks in the armor. Shocker.

Sure, the slow-down in the action pieces makes the whole thing a little, say, draggy – you know that when it takes an unknown actor in a beyond-minor role to arrive on screen in the third act to jolt you back to attention it is time to blow something up (hello, Josh Kelly!) – but it gives LaBeouf ample opportunity to remind us of what and who is on the line.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is, for all intents and purposes, a culmination, and while it goes it with plenty a bang of the CGI variety, it also packs a wallop that may not tug at your heart strings (I blame the too-convoluted mythology storytelling created for the screen), it, at the very least, scrapes by ’em in a way that ought to let producer Steven Spielberg save face as he and Bay and everyone else involved laugh their way to the bank.

My Rating ***

Photo: DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures.
New Cop on the Block

No doubt, I will miss departing Law & Order: Special Victims Unit founding cast member Christopher Meloni next season, but I’m actually quite chuffed with his replacement.

Danny Pino (TV’s Cold Case), has been cast as a next-gen detective on the still-has-it show, which will return to the tube in the fall with Melonis old partner, Mariska Hargitay, still on the beat (albeit on a reduced basis).

The actor beat the likes of Kevin Alejandro (who did a stint on TNT’s Southland before moving to Bon Temps, a.k.a. the setting of HBO’s True Blood), Ghost Whisperer star David Conrad, and Rhys Coiro (HBO’s Entourage), among others.

Kelli Giddish also has nabbed a regular part to play on the SVU team, returning to NBC (for whom she starred on last season's Chase) after a left-us-wanting-more visit to The Good Wife over on CBS.

As to why Im so happy Pino got the part? Easy: Because he's a Panther – we both went to FIU.


Update: Looks like Mariska Hargitay will not be scaling back as much as previously thought, if at all.

For now, the actress will be appearing on every ep next season.
Gone to Pot

Michelle Trachtenberg is sparking up.

No, I don’t mean to say she’s turning her recurring gig as Georgina Sparks on Gossip Girl into a regular one – which would be kinda awesome – but that she’s turning to Weeds.

The actress has booked a guesting role on the Showtime comedy, playing a rival to Mary-Louise Parker’s recently sprung pot-dealing Nancy.

Trachtenberg’s set to appear in two episodes of the show’s seventh season, which kicked off last night, and will catch the attention of Nancy’s son Silas (cutie-patootie Hunter Parrish).


Monday, June 27, 2011

Playing for Himself

Ben Affleck has cast his favorite leading man for his next project: himself.

The actor-turned-director/actor will once again direct himself in Argo, a political thriller about the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The last time he did this was for last year’s The Town.

Affleck will star as a CIA agent who hatched farfetched plot about a Hollywood production in order to extract a group of Americans from Iran in the late-’70s.

Alan Arkin and John Goodman (who will soon be seen on DirecTV’s Damages) are set to join the cast as well.

The General

Life post-Law & Order: SVU is looking super for Christopher Meloni.

The actor has joined the star-studded cast of the Superman reboot.

The particulars of his role are scant, but he will be playing a general (not Zod thats Michael Shannon’s part) and shooting scenes opposite the Man of Steel himself, Henry Cavill.

The Next TV Star

Lauren Cohan is pulling an Eddie Cahill.

You know...she’s parlaying a small, yet memorable role (the vampire Rose) on a hit TV show (The CW’s The Vampire Diaries) into a healthy career, much like Cahill did after paying Rachel’s boy toy Tag on Friends.

The actress has landed a pivotal role on the upcoming second season of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

Cohan is set to appear on the zombie-filled hit show as Maggie Greene, the sharp, self-reliant daughter of farm owner Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson). Most of the action during the second season will take place at the farm, so you can expect the Greenes to figure into the drama prominently.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mr. Craig Takes a Wife

Well, Friday
’s vote in New York legalizing gay marriage in the Empire State must’ve inspired them....

Nah, it’s not like they couldn’t get hitched before.

I’m talking about Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz.

The couple was married on Friday evening, at a hush-hush ceremony in upstate New York. They met, presumably, on the set of their upcoming September release Dream House, and took their romance public last December.

Weisz previously was in a nine-year relationship with director Darren Aronofsky, while Craig was rumored to have gotten engaged to longtime gf Satsuki Mitchell. This is his second marriage.

I guess my window is now closed.

Bummer, but, y’ know...congratulations, you two.


Update: A conflicting report says the newlyweds were married on Wednesday.

In any case, the mystery adds a little something to the whole thing, no?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Body Working Overtime

Remember when Heidi Klum was known as The Body?

Now, remember when she had a must-watch hit in Project Runway?

Yeah – one out of two aint bad.

Klum has put her world-famous figure to work in order to promote the upcoming ninth season of her Emmy-nominated guilty pleasure (which never really recovered from its legally embattled move from Bravo to Lifetime, IMHO).

Perhaps that will change when the show comes back on July 28?

So many questions....

At least two good reasons to watch.

Catching Baby Fever

Make room, Cameron Diaz
– Jennifer Lopez also wants to find out What to Expect When You’re Expecting.

La Lopez has signed on to play a woman who adopts a baby from abroad with her husband after having a tough time getting pregnant.

The movie will tell four interweaving stories, very much in the vein of Love Actually and He’s Just Not that Into You and Valentine’s Day and is scheduled to open next Mother’s Day.

Hope they pair her with someone hot (well, duh!), like Benjamin Bratt, or, ooh...Adrian Pasdar.

Super Mother Figure

Superman, as we all know, has two dads...and two moms.

Diane Lane is already on board the upcoming Zack Snyder-directed reboot of the Superman franchise, playing Martha Kent, the earthling mother to Henry Cavill’s Man of Steel, while his Kryptonian mama, Lara Lor-Van, may be portrayed by...Julia Ormond.

Yep, the Brit has been approached about taking on the role of the wife of Jor-El, who could be played by Russell Crowe.

Solid choice.

Hate to Admit It, But...

This remix of Britney Spears
“Gimme More” that she
’s performing on her “Femme Fatale Tour” is kinda H-O-T.

Maid of Mystery

Angela Bassett is joining Samuel L. Jackson in The Mountaintop.

The Golden Globe-winning actress will be returning to Broadway now she has been cast as a mysterious maid who forces Jackson’s Martin Luther King, Jr., to face his past and consider his legacy.

Previews for The Mountaintop are set to begin on Sept. 22 for an Oct. 13 opening.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Different Kind of Educator

Cameron Diaz plays one heckuva bad, bad apple in the new comedy Bad Teacher
– and I likey...I likey a lot.

As the sunny-looking middle school teacher Elizabeth Halsey, Diaz is a total perpetually eye-lined, red-lipstick-wearing, super-confident, and H-O-T, a--hole.

The actress hasn’t been this good in a while.

She’s foul-mouthed, completely uninterested in her young charges, and out to look out for no one but herself. Elizabeth’s the quintessential modern-day anti-heroine, and she could care less whether anyone likes her. Sure, she still wants to get a guy (a rich one, preferably) to put a ring on it...but only because she wants to retire from teaching and live a life of leisure as a big-spendin’ wife.

Girlfriend’s actually about to see her dream come true at the end of her one and only school year, but then she’s unceremoniously dumped and sent packin.

Shucks, right?

Three months later, she’s back at school doing what she hates most: working.

If there’s anything to be said about good olMs. Halsey, though, that’s that she’ll always land on her Louboutin-heeled feet (even if she has to make do in the meantime sharing a dumpy apartment with someone she found on Craigslist).

She’s gotten it in her head that she needs a competitive edge, and that edge, in her field as a gold digger, comes in the shape of big boobs. Yep, she’s gunning for ’em, even though she’s broke – especially after meeting Scott Delacorte, a cute sub (played by Diaz’s ex, Justin Timberlake) who’s totally loaded.

The obvious problems are, as I’ve already mentioned, Elizabeth is not very good at her job, or cares to be. She also perceives the chipper attitude of the teach across the hall, Ms. Amy Squirrel (Dinner for Schmucks’ Lucy Punch, holding her own rather formidably), first as annoying overeagerness and then as a threat when she catches Scott’s eye. And she’s kinda starting to care a little because, unbeknownst to her, she’s letting the simpleton gym teacher played by Jason Segel get to her a little (he suffers none of her fools).

Bad Teacher’s a really funny movie. It’s totally wrong in that Bad Santa-esque kinda way.

It works.

No, really, I mean that, and not just because Diaz gets to let loose like we haven’t seen since, I don’t know, There’s Something About Mary – and even then she played an essentially good gal.

Elizabeth, unlike Mary, is pretty rotten, but not irredeemable. Her school of tough love serves its purpose, and Diaz does a nice job at enlivening her bitchiness with enough heart that we buy her eventual epiphany.

In that sense, Bad Teacher is quite good.

Yeah, there are a couple of loose ends that, if you think about them, will sorta bug you a little, but the laughing, all the good laughing you’ll do also will redeem the movie as a whole if you take it for what it is, too.

My Rating ***

Photo: Sony Pictures.
The Killer of the Walking Dead

It looks like Emma Stone is the new Natalie Portman

Hollywood’s newest, shiniest star is the likeliest choice to replace Portman as the lead in the adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies that Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl) is set to direct. The Oscar winner remains attached to the project as a producer.

Stone would play the single most badass Elizabeth Bennet ever: a zombie killer. Good thing she co-starred in Zombieland a few years ago. She’ll know just what to do.

Up first for the actress, though, are Crazy, Stupid, Love and The Help.

Tinseltown domination is already underway.