Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Big Fat Catch

Now that she has gotten My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 out of her system, Nia Vardalos is venturing into Shondaland.

Indeed, the actress has booked a recurring role on Shonda Rhimes’ newest frothy offering, The Catch, starring Mireille Enos and Peter Krause.

Vardalos will portray a counterfeiter who is just a tad neurotic and quite definitely a rather formidable adversary.

Opa for that.


Racing to the Movies

Get it, Grant Gustin.

Starring on The CW’s The Flash may not have secured him the role for the big screen, but the actor is going to star popping up on the big screen, don’t you know, don’t you know.

G2 is going to be featured in Krystal, a new indie to be directed by William H. Macy starring Rosario Dawson.

Things are moving fast for Gustin (see what I did there?), and I am glad. Kid’s got It.


Work Out Like Beyoncé

Surprise! Beyoncé has an athleisure brand now.

Named Ivy Park (aww!), the line was unveiled on social media by Queen B herself today. Just like that. Just like she likes it. (If memory serves, this is the first show of the collaboration with Topshop that she announced a couple of years ago.)

It’s all meant to be super-inspirational and, you know, oh-so-Yoncé.

Now. About that new CD....


Lil’ Big Comeback

Are you ready for Lil’ Kim to be back?

Good, ya better be – ’cause here she is.

The petitest rapper dropped the Lil’ Kim Season earlier this week, her first professional output in 11 years, and she kicks things off with an unabashed – what else! – track titled “Fountain Bleu” that you best listen to believe.

One things for sure: Lil’ Kim’s still got it goin’ on!

Welcome back, girl.

Photo: X.

Update: And welcome back, Bad Boy Records!

Puff Daddy has set a reunion concert for May 20 in Brooklyn, to celebrate what would have been the late Notorious B.I.G.’s 44th birthday, and bring back together Bad Boy Family.

Lil’ Kim will be there, natch. Ditto Faith Evans, Mase, 112, and French Montana, among others, while Jay Z and Mary J. Blige are expected to make guest appearances on stage.

Sounds like this one’s gonna be one H-O-T ticket – so make sure you check Live Nation on April 2, which is when tickets will go on sale.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Downsizer’s New Gal

That reunion between Reese Witherspoon and director Alexander Payne is gonna have to wait.

The Academy Award-winning actress was set to work with her Election helmer in Downsizing, the story of a guy (Matt Damon) who realizes he so would have a much better life if he were to shrink himself, right.

Well, not anymore.

Scheduling conflicts are to blame.

Kristen Wiig – one of Damon’s co-stars in The Martian – has stepped up to the plate, though.

Fun! They get to share scenes at last.


All About That #Hiddlesbum

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold up.

How did I not know that #Hiddlesbum was a thing? I totally would have tweeted about Tom Hiddleston’s taut behind had I found about its eventful-ness in a timely fashion.

Now. Question: Will the Hiddle-hunk’s behind be featured in this weekend’s Hank Williams biopic, I Saw the Light?

That could make the film a blockbuster.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Avicii Out

Avicii is done with the scene.

For now. Maybe, for good.

Who knows.

The world-renown DJ, 26, announced this week that he is retiring from live performances and, especially, from touring at the end of this year.

See, the guy has been on the road pretty much non-stop the last three years, and he has had some well-chronicled health issues during that time (he’s had his gallbladder and his appendix removed, for instance), and I remember him having to bail out of a major namesake event in Miami at Ultra Music Festival time a couple of years ago (look it up).

In any case, Avicii is not ruling out staying in the business, or coming back to it, for that matter.

“One part of me can never say never,” he says. “I could be back...but I won’t be right back.

Fair enough.


R.I.P. Ms. Duke

Another sad day for Hollywood.

Academy Award-, Emmy-, and Golden Globe-winning actress Patty Duke (The Miracle Worker) has died at the age of 69, of sepsis from a ruptured intestine, which sounds terribly painful. I hope she didn’t suffer too much.

OK, now...not to be super-glib or anything, but, perhaps, now we can think about a biopic starring my suggestion, Amy Adams?


He Got That Voodoo (Instead)

It’s not going to be Bailey Chase, after all.

Matt Passmore (USA Network’s Satisfaction) has been tapped to replace the studly stud on Kevin Williamson’s potential new CW show.

The still-untitled drama will center on a young woman (Megan West), the descendant of a voodoo priestess, who turns to a novelty-like parapsychologist for help after she begins to experience paranormal phenomena.

Enter Chase. I mean, Passmore.

Hey. S--- happens. So do recastings.


Now She Sees Him

American Sweetheart Julia Roberts is suiting up.

The Oscar winner is going to produce and star in Fool Me Once, the adaptation of Harlan Coben’s recently published eponymous novel.

Roberts will portray a Special Ops pilot, who is back home from the war, and who sees something really quite impossible on her nanny cam one day: Her died-two-weeks-ago husband, playing with their 2-year-old daughter.


Up next for The Smile is next month’s Mother’s Day and May’s Money Monster, directed by Jodie Foster and co-starring George Clooney.


Going Beyond at the Last Minute

Academy Award nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo is going beyond.

Star Trek Beyond.

Indeed, the Iranian-born actress has jumped on board the upcoming blockbustin’ threequel, as the recently added-to-the-story High Command of the Federation.

Interesting. Especially because the movie is due out on July 22.


Bright Times Ahead

Netflix is on it, yo.

Not only are the powers that be over there making Brad Pitt’s next film, War Machine (nothing to do with Don Cheadle, kids – oh, look it up), but, now, they’re making Will Smith’s next one, too.

See, the streamer has paid $90 million for the privilege of making Bright, a new action movie to be helmed by director David Ayer (the upcoming Suicide Squad, Fury) starring Smith and Midnight Special’s Joel Edgerton.

The project, FYI, is said to be a cop thriller with some fantastical elements.

Duh. Obviously.


Monday, March 28, 2016

Salinger’s Celebutante

Zoey Deutch is sure leaving her ingénue days in the dust.

Barring the occasional misfire (for all involved), like Dirty Grandpa, the actress (TV’s Ringer) seems to be making quite the educated choices when it comes to her big-screen projects.

She’s about to be seen in Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!!, and she has signed on to co-star opposite Nicholas Hoult in Danny Strong’s Rebel in the Rye, a buzzy and much-anticipated biopic of reclusive American writer J.D. Salinger.

Deutch will play Oona O’Neill, the daughter of the playwright Eugene and a fixture of the New York City social scene once upon a time. She and Salinger enjoyed a tumultuous time together.

Because what would a film be without a little love drama.


Want Fries with That?

Have you always wanted to learn how McDonald’s came to be?

My, well. You...are in luck.

Come the fall, Michael Keaton will court Oscar again, when he stars as Ray Kroc in The Founder, the story of how a milkshake-mixer salesman sweet-talked two brothers from San Bernardino, Calif., Mac and Dick McDonald, into franchising their successful hamburger stand, only to cheat them out of the business and of about $200 million by pretending to have come up with the McDonald’s concept all on his own.

You know, the American way.

The Founder will find its way into theaters on Aug. 5. A trailer is imminent.

Stay tuned.


J. Lo on the Passenger Side

Tomorrow’s the night.

James Corden will pitch The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special to America, with a fresh assist from one Jennifer Lopez, and featuring past gems from the likes of Adele, One Direction, and Sia.

If enough of y’all, the popular segment could become some sort of a show, so there you go.

What will you choose to do?

The one-hour Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Special is set to air tomorrow at 10 p.m.


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Kitschy Director

Peter Berg must have seen something in Taylor Kitsch, whom he cast on TV’s Friday Night Lights and directed in Lone Survivor and Battleship.

I say this because the director is going to produce Pieces, Kitsch’s feature-film directorial debut.

The project – which the actor also wrote – will center on a trio of friends whose lives change completely after they intercept a drug run, of all things.

Kitsch calling the shots? Well, that’s something any Kitsch Kraver can support, no?


Saturday, March 26, 2016


People! Are you ready for Negan’s much-awaited arrival on AMC’s The Walking Dead?

Ya better be ’cause he is coming, with recent Good Wife paramour Jeffrey Dean Morgan playing him.

From the quick first look at the infamous baddie, though, JDM is making him feel much too cool for school, no? Just a little?

This I know for sure: This tease absolutely, completely, totally confirms that Negan is going to be formidable.

I mean, just check out the preview for the show that just played on Dutch TV, already:

Looking and sounding badass, don’t you think?

I will have to remember he’s meant to be a bad guy.


Friday, March 25, 2016

Behold the Wonder Women

And speaking of Gal Gadot’s winning Wonder Woman....

Her character, introduced at long last in this weekend’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (ditto Wonder Womans alter ego, Diana Prince), is getting her own stand-alone movie next summer.

Wonder Woman already has been teased, in photo form and via leaked revealed footageNow, though, we have our first look-see at Gadot and no, not Chris Pine but Gadot and her fellow Amazon women, namely Connie Nielsen as her mother, Queen Hippolyta, and Robin Wright and Lisa Loven Kongsli (Force Majeure) as her aunts, Antiope and Menalippe.

Monsters Patty Jenkins is directing the June 2017 tentpole.

Can I buy my tickets now, please?


Talking Bronze

By now we all know that Melissa Rauch’s The Bronze tanked last weekend.

Let’s speak plainly. The film sucked it hard.

Oh well. As her character in the indie comedy about a disgraceful former gymnast would say, F it. If at first you don’t succeed, right?

And that is what Rauch is doing this week: She’s trying again, to get the word out on her film, which deserves a look, IMHO.

To do so, the actress recruited the infamous Tonya Harding to join her in a video that depicts them taking a meeting with some Hollywood exec to discuss the film, keeping it real, and even the wage gap between genders. Check it:

The Bronze is in select theaters now.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Clash of the Titans

So now that I’ve had a couple of hours to mull it over, I get what Zack Snyder was going for there....

The polarizing director really wanted Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – the eagerly awaited superhero mash-up that officially sets up the DC Comicsverse, and the immediate follow-up to 2013’s Man of Steel, which he also helmed (to a decidedly mixed reception) – to have that meme feel.

What else can explain that every oh-so-dramatic moment in this bloated film unfolds in like, beyond-moody, 3-D-and-IMAX-friendly slow motion (btw, do not overdo the soda before or during your viewing of the blockbuster, for it goes on and on to clock in at a mostly slooow 2 1/2 hours). I mean, I know that, leading up to this critical weekend, Snyder has said that, aesthetics-wise, he definitely set out to deliver a movie that’s faithful to its comic-book origins.

Know what comic books do, though? They pop.

This darker and predominantly offering does not do that, and memefying its every other key shot and even some of the action sure doesn’t do the trick. This is coming from a guy who liked Man of Steel, which, three years later I can agree, was nothing like Superman Returns, much less the Reeves Supes. As it were, quote-unquote adult to a fault, Man of Steel had and owned its look, and, see, I found something to be intrigued about it, even at its most morose.

Well. What a way to kick things off, huh.

Chagrin de chagrins, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a true disappointment. Truth be told, the film has everything it needs to succeed and so, so much more, but, for whatever reason, it falls short of just about everything it could/should have been (cuts have been made, and I am not sure how to feel about them).

Henry Cavill is back as Clark Kent/Superman; the dual characters are more conflicted than ever about Supermans role as the ultimate outsider on Earth, and the actor is still hot, but he reads rather detached and essentially catatonic. Cutting to the chase, the question on deck is whether Superman is a savior or a danger?

Cavill is upstaged joined by Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne, who answers by making a strong case for the latter, exceeding expectations as a weariest Batman. Clearly, since Affleck’s part is in the movie’s title (holla!), the Caped Crusader is crucial to the story. In fact, Snyder opens with his childhood trauma, swiftly chronicled by two actors about to come face to face on AMC’s The Walking Dead (the lot of ya will get a kick outta the coincidence, I’m sure).

From the get-go, however, we face big problems. For one, Batman, yes, gets a bit of the short end of the stick, but I get it: Much like Spider-Man, we’ve been shown his origin story a lot. So the guy’s a brooding, walking anti-climax from like, page 1 of the script, which was co-written by Oscar winner Chris Terrio (Argo).

For two, Bruce has a major bone to pick with Superman for leveling his Gotham while fighting Michael Shannon’s General Zod over Metropolis one movie ago – without really bothering to understand Superman. This leads Bruce to rush into Metropolis without rhyme or reason (or with like, his alter ego’s Batsuit, for that matter), while the two Kryptonians duke it out with might, to what? To get proof – a front-row view of the unmissable destruction and assess the collateral damage?

It makes little to zero sense.

From there, Jesse Eisenberg’s shag-topped Lex Luthor, a young heir of industry with manic villainous tendencies, daddy issues, and a Frankenstein complex, makes pawns out of our two hero figures in his own personal game of confronting powers he doesn’t have but kinda sorta totally wishes he did, and almost certainly thinks no one should have if he can’t. The actor goes over the top with his performance, but the result, while interesting, is far from Heath Ledger territory. Eisenberg does serve one heckuva sinister look during a scene he shares with Holly Hunter, who portrays a senator demanding accountability from Superman, that gave me the hibbie jibbies it felt that grounded.

My goodness. This. Sounds. Like non-stop fun, huh.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice only excites when Gal Gadot enters the scene as Diana Prince and, later, as Wonder Woman. Her appearances are brief, but, boy, is she effective.

If this surprisingly hollow spectacle is meant to begin to establish the Justice League and Thanosfy the dark side to come, then I should just say, with polite apologies to the men (and to the clever cameos, in the flesh or on the phone), Gadot is the one who really leaves us wanting more (and more – of her, at first – we will get next summer). Because women are the true heroes of this and any world.

The powers that be hit on a interesting note in spinning this yarn by asking if someone with seemingly all the power can be all good. Eventually, a conclusion is drawn with what appears to be a surprising and ultimate sacrifice (rendered pointless, given that it was earned fighting a CGI monstrosity, a.k.a. an enemy with more bite than psychological bark, and by implicit nature of its sleight of hand-ness).

That no real entertainment comes from this showdown is a crime that makes me wanna turn on the Batsignal, scream for a man that is all things super, and, absolutely, call for a woman of wonder.

I doubt this was the desired effect.

Time to lighten up. Otherwise, this will always be a Marvelous game par excellence.

My Rating **1/2

Photo: Warner Bros.