Out of nowhere, the year’s funniest female performance comes courtesy of 84-year-old journeywoman actress June Squibb, whose turn as an expletive-hurling mom in Alexander Payne’s ‘Nebraska’ will have you in stitches. She’s also set to star as Lena Dunham’s grandmother in ‘Girls.’ Ladies and gentlemen, brace yourselves for June Squibb.
It has been, by all accounts, an abysmal year when it comes to comedy films. The cinema-going public has been force-fed dog-shit sequels (The Hangover: Part III, Grown Ups 2), DOA star vehicles, e.g. Tina Fey’s Admission, Steve Carrell’s The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, and Vince Vaughn’s The Internship, a pair of underwhelming Melissa McCarthy projects (Identity Thief, The Heat), and the celluloid calamity that is Movie 43. Sure, there have been some low-key gems here and there, like the apocalyptic comedies This Is the End and The World’s End, but it’s still been, by and large, a disaster.
In recent weeks, however, we’ve been granted a brief respite from this mindless assault on our senses (and wallets).
On Yahoo’s really awesome 'Space Jam' '30 for 30' Mockumentary.
It was one of the greatest basketball games in the history of the universe, tainted by performance-enhancing drugs.
From left, Bill Murray, Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan appear in a scene from the Space Jam. (Warner Bros./AP)
Yet, the ESPN 30 for 30, Tunes Squad vs. Monstars: The Space Jam Game documentary never mentions this. The film (which is a brilliant parody by Yahoo Screen) rightfully lambastes the referees for awful officiating. Players on Michael Jordan’s team, the Tune Squad were mutilated on court by “three 12-footers and two guys with spikes coming out of their heads.”
What would happen if Hillary Clinton emulated Lisa Kudrow’s character in ‘Scandal’ and gave an impassioned speech about sexism? It’s not easy being a female politician.
There was that innocently ignoble time Phoebe Buffay pretended she was a physician named Dr. Regina Phalange. Or when she misguidedly taught a preschool class the circle of life by singing them a song about farmers grinding cows into hamburgers. Of course, there was her sordid tale of one smelly cat.
Lisa Kudrow in ABC's "Scandal". (Eric McCandless/ABC)
Now, however, Lisa Kudrow is finally playing a character with a real scandal.
If ‘Catching Fire’ drags, it's because it follows the exact same plot structure as ‘The Hunger Games.’ Sure, it’s bigger and more polished, but it’s just a simple blockbuster.
The Hunger Games nimbly delivered the feast we’d been hoping for. It was the perfect cinematic cornucopia: full of vitality, but gritty; unflinching and brutal, but with the blood flowing from a beating, compassionate heart; serving satiating heaps of emotional melodrama without the side of cheese. Those tricky dichotomies flicker impressively throughout the film’s follow up, Catching Fire. But if the first film was a carefully executed buffet of complex, unexpected, and interesting pairings, this new sequel is something much simpler: a standard Hollywood popcorn flick.
That’s not meant to extinguish any of the heat Catching Fire delivers. The film crackles with improved action set pieces and delivers the smoldering love triangle that earned the series its “next Twilight” branding. And popcorn, as it happens, is very good. Who doesn’t like popcorn, particularly when it’s popping on the heat of Jennifer Lawrence’s incendiary Catching Fire performance? But who, also, doesn’t get more excited when they see something a little more unusual and surprising on the menu at the snack bar?
Tired of TV? With quirky hosts, hours of programming, and millions of viewers, YouTube is challenging streaming companies like Netflix. All you have to do is click play.
It’s over. The cord is cut. Your cable box returned to a warehouse in New Jersey. You haven’t seen The Price is Right in so long you’ve forgotten how to even play the Showcase Showdown (sorry, Drew Carey).
With broadcast and cable television driving customers away with labyrinthine fee disputes that interrupt service, and video capabilities built or hacked into in a wide variety of media devices, business is booming for content streaming companies.
While Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon are primarily directing their efforts to archiving existing material, or expanding that archive with original content such as Orange is the New Black, sites like YouTube and Vimeo have had the infrastructure and user-generated content in place for years—and are positioning themselves as robust challengers to the old model.
And MTV makes ‘The Real World’ real-er.
Fifty Shades of Grey film release pushed back to 2015. The film will hit theatres on February 15, 2015. Reuters
Divergent trailer: Watch Shailene Woodley nail some dude in the face. Nowadays, it feels like movies are either sequels, superhero movies or adaptations of young adult books. The film is set to be released on March 21, 2014. MTV
At least one thing works in Venezuela: the Bolivarian republic is world-class at churning out beauty queens. Maybe President Maduro should be taking notes.
Last weekend, Venezuela came to a halt. This was not a power failure. Nor one of those tropical torments that periodically lash the country. And no, it wasn’t another wave of rumors about the late Hugo Chávez, the beloved Comandante of the Bolivarian revolution, suddenly back from the grave. What stopped this nation in its tracks was the Miss Universe pageant. Militants on the left and right, devoted “chavistas” and raging oppositionists, intellectuals and “boligarchs,” everyone in Venezuela loves a beauty contest.
Gabriela Isler from Venezuela celebrates after being crowned Miss Universe. (Kommersant Photo/Getty)
There, in Moscow, in Crocus City Hall, native daughter Gabriela Isler bore the national colors in the most prestigious beauty smackdown of the planet. To win the Miss Universe crown, Isler, aged 25 and boasting a floodlight smile, went hem to hem with contestants from 85 other countries. She was crowned by a stellar panel of judges, including celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Olympic figure skating gold medalist Tara Lipinski, and Aerosmith vocalist Steven Tyler.
Was Shaquille O’Neal’s turn in the ’90s dud ‘Steel’ really one of the only superhero movies with a lead black character? Get ready for Netflix and Marvel’s ‘Luke Cage’ TV show.
The superhero movie genre is booming, raking in millions of dollars, destroying countless fictional cities, and now, merging multiple iconic characters into single 120 minute blockbusters. But where are all the black people?
Marvel character Luke Cage. (Marvel Entertainment)
It’s not that there haven’t been any black superheroes. There have been a few memorable turns in film: Hallie Berry as Storm in the X-Men movies, Don Cheadle as War Machine in Iron Man 2 and 3, and Idris Elba as Heimdall in the Thor franchise, to name a few.
Bruce Dern’s turn as a booze-addled man suffering from dementia in Alexander Payne’s ‘Nebraska’ is earning him Oscar buzz.
In the much-maligned 1974 film adaptation of The Great Gatsby, Robert Redford plays Jay Gatsby, a flashy pseudo-aristocrat who pines for the wife of Tom Buchanan, a philandering blue-blooded ingrate portrayed by Bruce Dern.
The harsh reality for Dern is, in Hollywood, their roles couldn’t have been more reversed.
Perfect bone structure, huge muscles, and piercing eyes. It’s no wonder Sam Claflin is Finnick Odair in ‘Catching Fire.’ Then why the hell was he, and everyone else, so surprised?
Sam Claflin is pretty. No. Sam Clafin is extremely pretty.
Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin) and Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in "The Hunger Games." (Murray Close/Lionsgate)
The 26-year-old chiseled specimen of an actor—perfect bone structure, bulging muscles, piercing eyes, mischievous smile, and wily, charmingly unkempt hair—is what one might call a “hunk.” A little over a year ago, the creative team behind the new installment of the Hunger Games franchise, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, called for one such hunky actor to play the role of charming sexgod Finnick Odair in the film.
The juggernaut franchise that has made obscene amounts of money may have finally reached the point of diminishing returns. Why ‘Call of Duty: Ghosts’ is pretty lackluster.
Call of Duty is in decline. The juggernaut franchise that has broken all kinds of records and made obscene amounts of money may have finally reached the point of diminishing returns. Call of Duty: Ghosts could mark the beginning of the end.
Riley, the canine star of the video game, "Call of Duty: Ghosts." (Activision/AP)
Activision has confirmed that Call of Duty: Ghosts did not sell as well as its predecessor, choosing to release extremely impressive shipment numbers (sold to retail) versus actual sales numbers (to consumers). Although Activision CEO Bobby Kotick was quick to point out that actual sales figures would not include either the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 versions of the game, it’s hard to see that as anything but bad news. This is also the first time that a game in the main series dipped below a 75 (the bar for “Generally favorable reviews”) on Metacritic on one of its main platforms. The Xbox 360 version of the game currently sits at a 74. Every game since Call of Duty 2 has received at least an 82, and no Infinity Ward-developed game has dipped below an 88.
And J.Law wants a fifth ‘Hunger Games.’
This is the End was the last movie ever rented from a Blockbuster. Although there will be 50 non-company run Blockbusters puttering around for a while longer. Variety
Miley Cyrus tweets response to her pot-smoking EMA controversy. Spoiler: She doesn’t care. At all. USA Today
With a new comedy special on Netflix and a book about modern love in the works, the dangerously delicious star of NBC’s ‘Parks and Recreation’ is all grown up.
Aziz Ansari is all grown up. Mostly. The Parks and Recreation star, whose third comedy special Buried Alive debuted on Netflix on November 1, gets anxious at the mention of silly questions. “I love getting in long, meaningful conversations with people,” he confesses. Unlike the absurdly immature (but loveable) character “Tommy Tom” Haverford he plays on Parks—Ansari is thoughtful and startlingly serious. “Rudeness makes me angry,” he says. “I can’t take people who are rude in everyday life.”
Aziz Ansari is photographed on February 28, 2013 in London. (Charlie Gray/Contour by Getty )
Luckily for the South Carolina native, his encounters with the impolite are rare. Most, he says, are genuinely nice. His fans love him, and it’s a feeling that’s mutual. In Buried Alive, which has landed 4.2 out of 5 stars among Netflixers, he asks random audience members to tell him how they would (or did) propose to their loved ones. Ansari lives for interactions like this. “I love talking to people about their experiences—especially ones like marriage and divorce—ones that I don’t have. It’s so fascinating to me.” His next show, which he’s written, has even more audience involvement.
No transgender model has cracked something as mainstream as Victoria’s Secret—for whom much of the audience is straight men. Is Carmen Carrera ready for the runway?
Within a few days of being posted last week, a Change.org petition pushing for model Carmen Carrera to be the first transgender Victoria’s Secret Angel had garnered over 34,000 signatures.
Carmen Carrera at the premiere of "Show Girl" created by Steven Meisel at No. 8 in New York. (Patrick McMullan Co./Sipa USA)
“To see a transgender model walk would show that trans women are to be taken seriously and that Angels are selected because of their character and talent. As a brand, Victoria's Secret should feel comfortable marketing towards ALL types of women,” wrote Marco Regalado, the fan who posted the petition.
The voice of Lois Griffin on ‘Family Guy’ and a writer/producer on ‘Shameless,’ journeywoman Alex Borstein will get her big break in front of the camera, on the HBO series ‘Getting On.’
You’ve heard Alex Borstein before.
For 12 seasons, she’s played the voice of Lois Griffin, nasally matriarch of the Griffin household, on the celebrated animated TV series Family Guy. She’s also, in addition to writing and producing on the Fox sitcom, served as a writer and consulting producer on the Showtime series Shameless, and popped up in several small movie roles over the years, from the assistant to Edward R. Murrow in Good Night, and Good Luck to the mother of Mark Wahlberg’s character in Ted.
The Daily Beast
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