We all have our favorite New Year's Eve traditions. For some it's going out on the town for parties, champagne, and fireworks. For others, it's staying home with a special someone. And by "special someone" we mean "special someones." And by "special someones" we mean Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin. Here's a guide to tonight's "Ring In the New Year" specials and tomorrow's marathons.
Ring in the Night
Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve 2013 (ABC, 10:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m., 11:30 p.m.-2:10 a.m.) The Auld Lang Syne institution Dick Clark founded in 1973 celebrates its 40th edition without its maker. Ryan Seacrest will officially inherit the mantle from Clark who died last April of a heart attack at 82. Performers include Justin Bieber, The Wanted, Pitbull, Flo Rida, Ellie Goulding, and Jason Aldean. Starting two hours before the main event at 8:00 is a two-hour tribute to Dick Clark and his television legacy.
New Year's Eve Live With Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin (CNN, 10:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m.) Cooper and Griffin trade barbs and the CNN Standards & Practices Dept. collectively cringes. Expect Tom Foreman to run with his daughter through Central Park at the stroke of midnight and extensive coverage of the dropping of Sushi the drag queen in Key West.
MTV's Club NYE 2013 (MTV, 11:00 p.m.-12:05 a.m.) Snooki and JWOWW oversee a tanned MTV New Year's party. Performers Ke$ha, Ne-Yo, Sean Kingston, and Rita Ora will try to sing over the one million Times Square attendees and Snooki's whine.
New Year's Eve With Carson Daly (NBC, 10:00 p.m.-12:30 a.m.) Daly pulls up his folding chair to the Times Square festivities.
During the Day
America's Next Top Model (Oxygen 10am-10pm) If your 2013 resolution is to perfect the art of smizing, this will be the perfect marathon for you. Work it. Doomsday Preppers (Nat Geo, 8am): We survived Doomsday! Take that, Mayans! What better way to celebrate than by spending your time planted in front of the television to watch Doomsday Preppers? Fringe (Science, 10:30am) Still confused about what happened last night? Trying to figure out Fringe probably won't help matters much. Lost (G4, 10am-5pm) We have to go baaaaaaaack...to watching episodes of Lost. The Lying Game (ABC Family, 11:30am-5:30pm) Are those Pretty Little Liars not enough for you? Then be sure to check out what you've missed from The Lying Game, ABC Fam's latest hit that features another gaggle of attractive lying liars. Season 2 debuts on Jan. 8, so hurry up, already! My Strange Addiction (TLC, 11am- 6pm) Feel bad about all that hangover food you're wolfing down? Don't! At least you're not eating paper or glass like these folks! Portlandia (IFC, 6pm on Monday through 6pm on Tuesday) The 90s may still be alive in Portland, but Portlandia is alive and well in the 2000s. The quirky comedy favorite will play for 24 hours straight will give fans the chance to have a Battlestar Gallactica-like marathon of obsession. The Twilight Zone New Year's marathon (SyFy, 8am-4:30am, and on Tuesday, Jan. 1 from 6am-5am) This one is a yearly can't-miss. When else can you see Anthony sending people to the cornfield, the broken glasses of Henry Bemis, and those pig people all in one day? The Walking Dead (AMC, 9pm-5am) Have you been missing out on The Walking Dead's best season yet? For shame! See what my husband Daryl Dixon and the rest of the gang are up to before the show returns (after an epic cliffhanger midseason-finale) on Feb. 10. Hangover Cure Bunheads (ABC Family, 11:00am-6:00pm) Fan of le dance? Well, ABC Family is running a marathon of the summer episodes of Bunheads, leading into the movie Dirty Dancing at 6:00pm, and the network TV premiere of Burlesque at 8:30pm, for a dance themed day — too bad you spent last night dancing the night away, right? The Hangover (TBS, 11am-8 pm) Pretty clever, TBS. Relive the unforgettable antics of the Wolf Pack on January 1. Maybe The Hangover will become to New Year's Day what A Christmas Story is to Christmas and it will soon play on a 24-hour loop. [Photo credit: AMC] MORE: Holiday TV Marathon Guide: What to Watch When Hanging Out With Family Becomes Unbearable The Best and Worst TV Episodes of 2012—Staff Picks Staff Picks: The 15 Best TV Shows of 2012 (And the 5 Worst) You Might Also Like: Britney Spears to Be Fired From ‘X Factor’: Report 20 Hot (and Horrifying) TV Nude Scenes
Troubled by unfortunate event after unfortunate event The Watch sidesteps faux pas to come out on top as a consistently funny sci-fi comedy that doesn't let its high concept tangle up a bevy of one-liners. The script penned by Jared Stern Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg assumes you've seen a few movies before entering the theater (mainly any sci-fi movie made in the 1980s). "Summer movie logic" is the foundation for The Watch's ridiculous plot which finds four adult nincompoops teaming up to form a Neighborhood Watch trying to solve the murder of a local Costco employee and eventually pursuing a killer extraterrestrial. Instead of making sense of it all The Watch wisely focuses on its four leads: Ben Stiller Vince Vaughn Jonah Hill and The IT Crowd's Richard Ayoade — a quartet whose bro banter goes a long way in spicing up the dust-covered material. There's nothing revelatory to be found in The Watch but the cast's knack for improv a poetry of the profane makes the adventure worth…viewing.
Director Akiva Schaffer (Hot Rod) establishes his two-dimensional characters quickly and bluntly smashing together broad personality types like a Hadron Collider of cinematic comedy. Stiller's Evan is a micromanaging do-gooder who can't find time for his wife; Hill's Franklin is a mildly disturbed weapons enthusiast yearning to join the police; Ayoade is the quaint weirdo who joins the Watch to fill the void left by his divorce; Vince Vaughn is Vince Vaughn: a loud crass gent looking for a bit of male bonding. The ragtag team assembles to fight crime but they spend most of their time drinking beers in a minivan — an affair they dub "stakeouts." A perfect opportunity for banter.
For a movie about enforcing the law and alien invasions there's a surprising lack of action in The Watch. Long stretches of the film see the central players yapping back and forth about everything: Russian nesting dolls peeing in cans or the similar viscosities of alien goo and human excrement. Charisma goes a long way and Vaughn does much of the heavy lifting making up for lost time out of the spotlight (he's been virtually nonexistent since 2005's Wedding Crashers). The man spits out jokes like no other — the rest of the cast barely keeps up. Ayoade balances out Vaughn's bombardment with a tempered timed delivery that's uniquely British and rarely found on the American big screen. Even when nothing's happening in The Watch it's rarely boring.
The Watch is at its best when it goes a step further mixing the group in with outsiders and throwing them off their rhythm. Billy Crudup cuts loose as a creepy neighbor and its delightfully weird while the always-impressive Rosemarie DeWitt as Evan's wife Abby brings unexpected warmth to the couple's relationship. Sadly The Watch mishandles its greatest asset: the aliens. The film never finds a pitch perfect blend of comedy and science fiction (Ghostbusters or Galaxy Quest this is not); a few scenes where the two come together hint at the best possible scenario but more often than not The Watch avoids its sci-fi roots. A moment in which the guys haul a dead alien back to their man cave plays like an E.T.-inspired version of The Hangover credits. It's lewd and ridiculous but the rest of the film struggles to maintain that energy.
Stiller Vaughn Hill and Ayoade have all proved themselves able funnymen capable of taking weak and tired material up a notch which they're forced to do in every moment of The Watch. Schaffer can handle his talent but his direction isn't adding anything to the mix. By the third slow-motion-set-to-gangster-rap scene The Lonely Island member's obsession with non-cool-coolness is officially just an attempt at being cool (which is not all that funny). The Watch has a greater opportunity than most comedy blockbusters to go absolutely bonkers: it's rated R. But instead of taking its twist and running with it the movie plays it safe. In this case safe is non-stop jokes about the many facets of human reproduction.
Normally when a film about a historical figure finds its way into “awards watch” season you expect a certain level of intrigue from its content.So My Week With Marilyn should by all accounts deliver a little bite. Marilyn Monroe is a staple of American culture. We all know her face her voice her classic lines her wardrobe “malfunctions ” her tumultuous relationship history her power over men and of course that ugly little truth we like to brush under the carpet: the pill addiction that eventually cost her her life. This film purports to give us a look at the “real” Marilyn – the one the millions of representations of her haven’t already shown us. The problem is that by the time the film attempts to explore the darker corners of Monroe’s (Michelle Williams) existence we like our protagonist Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) are already under her spell. Just as we start to condemn her or look at her problems without the biased nostalgic eye most of us are afflicted with the film waves its magic Marilyn wand and quickly abolishes those less glamous notions. The result is a splendid yet decidely indecisive journey with a very complicated and often misunderstood woman
We meet plucky young Colin as he embarks on his first foray into feature films. It’s his dream and thanks to a connection to Sir Lawrence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) he’s got a shot at working on a film. But it’s not just any movie; it’s The Prince and Showgirl a marriage of American and English sensibilities starring Olivier and Monroe. When Colin arrives he’s just a third assistant director to Olivier – essentially a go-fer – and can do little but admire Marilyn without hope. He takes up with a wardrobe girl named Lucy (Emma Watson) and goes about his duties. Of course things don’t stay this simple. His newness lends itself to a bit more flexibility so when Olivier’s rigid practices clash with Marilyn’s laissez-faire style and the production begins to slow to a glacial pace Colin is a natural fit to become Marilyn’s willing ally. Their friendship grows as Olivier’s temper comes to a boiling point and the result makes Marilyn a film tinged with a choice number of harsh realities – but as soon as they rear their ugly heads Monroe’s ever-present spell casts itself over them.
Of course this isn’t so much a criticism of the film as it is criticism of the weight given to the content. My Week With Marilyn is beautifully shot allowing the nostalgic air of London and Monroe in the 50s to take the lead with a few contemporary flairs to help keep us along for the ride. Every detail is impeccable from the music to the settings to the dialog. There isn’t a single weak link in the cast. Redmayne displays all the youth and earnest vigor demanded by his young character. Though her character teeters between a layered enigma and the girl the entire world knows Williams handles each angle as easily as Marilyn handles the men around her. Supporting cast members Julia Ormond (as Vivien Leigh) Judi Dench (as Dame Sybil Thorndike) and Branagh put their wealth of experience to tremendous use. Lesser known actors like Dougray Scott and Dominic Cooper take on American accents with minimal issues and handle their supporting characters with ease – and Watson delivers her usual (but welcome) lovely precocious act.
There’s really nothing wrong with My Week With Marilyn. It’s lovely. It’s smart. It’s extremely well-crafted. It’s a good film. But it does little to excite a reaction beyond that. And when you’re dealing with someone we know as well as most of the world knows Marilyn I doubt I’m the only one who expect a little more…va va voom.
In yet another variation on the shopworn road picture in which two mismatched former buddies are forced to cross the country together Soul Men’s uneasy brand of overly broad humor and contrived situations is saved intermittently by some cool musical numbers. But alas it’s not enough. Louis (Samuel L. Jackson) and Floyd (Bernie Mac) are part of a major musical group led by Marcus Hooks (John Legend) who goes solo leaving Floyd and Louis in the lurch. Fast forward 20 years Hooks has died and Louis and Floyd who did not end on good terms and have not spoken since have been coerced into appearing a tribute show for Hooks at New York’s famed Apollo Theatre. Afraid to fly they get in Floyd’s 1971 Cadillac El Dorado accompanied by a talented young woman (Sharon Leal) who may be Floyd’s daughter. Along the way they try to get their act up to speed by appearing in various redneck honky tonks filling the interminable 103-minute running time with a lot of unfunny sexual encounters and unbelievable situations. The late Bernie Mac was a terrific comic talent and is highly wasted in this mishmash in which he is constantly encouraged to mug for laughs. Mac is so much better than the lowbrow material he has to work with here that it’s a shame this film should stand as one of his last (at least there’s Madagascar 2). Faring even worse however is Samuel L. Jackson who is out of his element in a musical comedy and seems to be taking none of this hokum seriously. Thankfully the soulful musical numbers reminiscent of classic ‘60s Sam and Dave R&B are well chosen and capably performed even though neither Mac nor Jackson are known for their singing. Best number in fact is fronted by John Legend making his acting debut as Hooks. As the young eager beaver manager trying to get Floyd and Louis back together Sean Hayes is way too broad. Faring better is newcomer Adam Herschman as Hayes’ mop-topped intern who uses his fanboy infatuation with the pair to nice advantage. And there’s a nice now bittersweet bit near the end with the late Isaac Hayes. Malcolm Lee (Undercover Brother Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins) is a director who tends to go for the slapstick when a little subtlety and believability would be more in order. With a great Sunshine Boys premise and some nifty musical material to pepper the proceedings Lee still manages to drop the ball letting his talented actors down and encouraging them to chew up every scene. The corny silly situations certainly doesn’t help matters with the road trip device feeling more like padding than anything else. Soul Men doesn’t find the right rhythms.