Saturday, August 14, 2010
However, my biggest problem is that for the film to work, you have to really buy that Ramona Flowers is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is gorgeous, but ultimately, I found her to be a pretty standard issue Manic Pixie Dream Girl (minus the mania) with a primary character definition of "bold rejection of social norms as evidenced by your dyed hair." Mary Elizabeth Winstead is gorgeous, but the script doesn't give her a lot of character beyond Scott telling us how wonderful he thinks she is. Contrast with Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza, who manage to create fully drawn (and very funny) characters in their much smaller parts (as Scott's gossipy older sister and a profanely apathetic woman who seems to work in every store Scott visits, respectively), in part because of the writing, and in part because of their sharp-tongued performances.
The audience ate the movie up, though, and was responsive not just during the movie, but during the pre-show, including scattered applause for the Old Spice commercial, and serious derision toward the Devil trailer. If you think you're going to enjoy this one, you probably will, but I'm not quite sure what the studio was thinking, spending as much as $90 million on a movie that, while it will become a cult classic, isn't going to be a crossover hit.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Speaking before this weekend's Star Wars Celebration V conference in Florida, producer Gary Kurtz has revealed that if it wasn't for the wild popularity of Star Wars merchandise, Return Of The Jedi would have had a much bleaker ending. "The original idea was that they would recover Han Solo in the early part of the story and that he would then die in the middle part of the film in a raid on an Imperial base," Kurtz told the LA Times.
"George then decided he didn't want any of the principals killed. By that time there were really big toy sales and that was a reason." What's more, the film would have shown Princess Leia struggling to cope with her new-found responsibilities, and would have ended with Luke Skywalker walking off into the distance as an embittered, Clint Eastwood-style loner.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
No nutritional information is available yet. Added! CBS News: "The cost to your diet is 895 calories and 34 grams of fat."
- Alyson Hannigan reveals that apparently, Ruthie from Real World: Hawaii is now working as an extra in Hollywood, and served as an extra in McLaren's for an upcoming episode. (Based on my memories of RW:H, Ruthie needs to stay away from bars both real and fictional, though.)
- Nathan Fillion was filming Castle last night on location at an apartment building and heard through the walls one of the tenants watching the rerun that was on last night--he decided to drop by and say hello.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
For reasons that are obvious yet difficult to describe, the NFL's policy of allowing its players to gradually destroy themselves would probably be less offensive were African Americans involved in ways other than just running, jumping and hitting. They aren't. As of today, there are still no black majority owners in the NFL, and only one who comes close (Reggie Fowler owns 40 percent of the Minnesota Vikings). Out of 32, only six of the league's head coaches are African American... Football fans are primarily white and relatively wealthy, earning $55,000 annually on average. 40 percent are over the age of 50. "Football has demographics that baseball would kill for," said one CNN analyst, who, were he more direct, would have said, "White guys with hefty disposable incomes watch football."Jefferson also mentions the poster which will be in every NFL locker room this season, which includes in unmistakable language: "Concussions and conditions resulting from repeated brain injury can change your life and your family's life forever." Let's see if it changes behavior in 2010, or whether coaches and announcers will continue to herald a player for quick recovery from having his "bell rung."
... Although the NFL recently started a fund that will give ex-players with dementia $50,000 a year for medical treatment, it's also installed a byzantine bureaucracy between the patients and that money.... Without the dementia bonus, the average NFL pension payments, which kick in at age 55, are hardly enough to cover a person's living expenses and specialty medical care. As of 2006, a 10-year veteran who retired in 1998 would receive about $51,000 annually.
... For a stark contrast, consider Major League Baseball, a sport that's about 60 percent white and eight percent black. Bolstered by a strong player's union, the MLB has a pension plan that dwarfs that of the NFL, despite the fact that most baseball players rarely hit the ball, let alone each other. Any player who gives just 43 days of service to the MLB is guaranteed $34,000 in pension benefits—just one day as a member of an active roster qualifies him for comprehensive medical coverage. Beyond that, a major-leaguer with at least 10 years under his belt is set to receive $100,000 per year at age 62.
Our previous coverage: here and here and here.
Okay, I've got a few questions:
- Will they be serving pork belly, which is used to make bacon, which you might find in a bacon and lettuce and tomato sandwich?
- Will the price of a glass of orange juice change every minute?
- Will there be a special Merry New Year party?
- Will there be clocks on the wall which tell time simultaneously in Monte Carlo, Beverly Hills, London, Paris, Rome, and Gstaad?
- It apparently stars some blonde chick's nicely toned stomach. She seems to want to be a less-clad Taylor Swift, but is wearing entirely too much mascara to do so. (A Wiki search reveals that this is Aly Michalka, formerly of tween pop duo Aly and AJ, and that she apparently plays a pre-law student "from the wrong side of the tracks" who joins cheerleading as a last-ditch way of preserving her scholarship.)
- It co-stars some brunette girl's cleavage. (Same Wiki search reveals that this is, in fact, HSM's Ashley Tisdale with a dye job, who, from my one viewing of the first film, would seem to deserve better than co-starring as cleavage on a CW show, and suggests that she will initially be a bitch, but will learn to accept the unique talents and views brought by over-mascara'd Taylor Swift.)
- There is an attractive cheerleader in the background, who will clearly be the show's designated bitch. But she's attractive, so it's OK!
- Someone apparently really enjoyed playing with the light-adjustment settings on Photoshop in making the poster.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
With RENT, a show I’ve seen many times, including one tour with NPH as Mark, and last year’s tour with original cast members Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal, I was excited and a little concerned about the Bowl production, as I didn’t want the celebrity performers to diminish a show I love. But I had faith in NPH, and as it turns out, while the show wasn’t a complete success, my faith did not go unwarranted. As outlined below, the cast had its strengths and weaknesses, but the strengths were far more plentiful. NPH chose to add an extra 10 performers or so to the ensemble because the size of the Bowl (seating capacity of over 17,000 and it was FULL last Friday) can call for that extra vocal power, and it was a good addition for this production. NPH’s significant other David Burtka was one of the ensemble, and did a lovely job with his solo in “Life Support.” There were a few technical issues, but I found out after the fact that this was not just opening night for this production, but it was actually the first time they had run through the entire show. Ultimately, while not the best RENT I’ve ever seen, it was a great experience – seeing shows at the Hollywood Bowl always feels unique and special; it’s one of my favorite things to do in L.A. -- and I was surprised and extremely impressed by a couple of the performers that I had my strongest doubts about. A quick review of each performer’s job below:
As the heat of summer turns into the slightly lesser heat of early fall, our country is faced with a series of important choices. We're buffeted at all sides by the opposing parties, with ideological arguments and rhetoric flying this way and that like so many scattered leaves. Our decisions in these coming months will shape the path we take, perhaps not just this year but for many to come.
So, with your future at stake, the question is: who are you taking in the first round of your fantasy football draft?
Monday, August 9, 2010
Added: Video, below the fold, of Catilenet on the CBS Early Show today:
She also told The Hollywood Reporter, "Fans of the original won't want another one to be made -- and honestly, one has to just cope with that. The central relationship between Eliza and Higgins is a fascinating one: Do we have a man who is fantastically dysfunctional and hasn't been able to create a relationship with any woman except this one? Or is it, as I suspect, that she, actually, is the one who turns around and creates him, in the sense that she excavates in him an emotional center?"
"I find it chocolate-boxy, clunky and deeply theatrical," she begins. "I don't think that it's a film. It's this theater piece put onto film. It was Cecil Beaton's designs and Rex Harrison that gave it its extraordinary quality. I don't do Audrey Hepburn. I think that she's a guy thing. I'm sure she was this charming lady, but I didn't think she was a very good actress. It's high time that the extraordinary role of Eliza was reinterpreted, because it's a very fantastic part for a woman."
... Can we expect more songs -- new songs -- in the revise?
"No, God almighty," Thompson snaps back. "It's so-o-o-o long. It's incredibly long. The audience can expect less songs!"
Sunday, August 8, 2010
By way of background, as my husband can attest, I (a) am a lousy dancer and (b) have spent a goodly amount of time and money over the last couple years trying to find some Wii-enabled way to dance in my living room without anyone having to see me. (I am totally one of those people who spends half an hour watching the college-age Asian guys jamming away on the full-arcade-style Dance Dance Revolution.) Sadly, even the at-home versions of DDR are a little too complicated for me. So you can imagine my excitement when I saw Cosmo Girl and a friend bopping away to Just Dance last weekend.
There are two basic differences between DDR and Just Dance: first, no dance pad. You hold the regular Wii controller in your hand and mimic the moves on screen, and the system figures out if you're doing what you're supposed to be doing based on the controller's movements. Second, no getting booed off the stage if you screw up. So Cosmo Boy can happily hop around following the occasional move and still thinking he won ("I WON THE DANCING!!!!"), rather than me standing behind him stomping on enough of the right circles to keep him in the game. The music is fun (Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Heart of Glass, Who Let the Dogs Out, Kids in America, U Can't Touch This, Cotton Eye Joe, et al) and the dancing is wiggly and giggly. Good stuff.
Once Cosmo Girl and Boy went to bed, however, it was time to cue up Dance on Broadway. Same concept, but listen to this song list: All That Jazz, Lullaby of Broadway, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Dreamgirls, Age of Aquarius, Cabaret, Luck be a Lady, (a bunch of others, all well known) . . . and, of course, You Can't Stop the Beat. Best parts: scrolling song lyrics, for the 3% of people who buy this game who don't know them all by heart already, and thematically appropriate (while not difficult) choreography. So having Fosse'd, charleston'd, jazz hands'd, and fail'd to stop the beat, I am happily ready to sit down for Mad Men. (Which does not as yet have an accompanying Wii Dance option, but give them time.)
This being the aughties, what started as a joke with a colleague at Self blossomed into a Web site, Formerlyhot.com, in 2008. Within two posts on her blog, which now attracts 30,000 visitors a month, Ms. Dolgoff said, five agents got in touch, and a book idea was born.This blog, on the other hand, has published 11,719 posts (including this one) since 2002. We average between 37,000-51,000 visitors per month. We have never been approached by a literary agent, and have no book deal. Not that anyone here is bitter about it.
Some elements worked -- Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne "I No Longer Have A Nickname" Johnson as the more aggressive officers, the existence of Steve Coogan**, everything involving the gator. But I think about Will Ferrell at his best in film -- Ron Burgundy, Mugatu, Bob Woodward, Frank the Tank and Buddy the Elf -- and there's nothing in The Other Guys which quite rises to those inspired levels of considered silliness. It's not a "don't see," but just "don't get your hopes up."
**It's been a long time since I've mentioned this, but, seriously? Rent 24 Hour Party People. Brilliant filmmaking, great story, tremendous performance by Coogan.