Watch Out, Tonight Show:You're not the only one moving to NYC! America's Got Talent — which used to be in Los Angeles, then moved to New Jersey for judge Howard Stern — is moving yet again, this time to the Big Apple. The reality series, which premieres Tuesday, June 4, will film its live shows at Radio City Music Hall for Season 8. Also, following Sharon Osbourne's departure, Heidi Klum and Mel B will be joining Stern and Howie Mandel, as they together judge the juggernaut of America's talent. [Hollywood Reporter]
Never Knew How Much We Missed You?: Tia Mowry, forever known as 1 of the 2 stars of the '90s sitcom Sister, Sister, is back — but this time, she's a mom. And it's kind of confusing. Mowry will star as a party girl turned mom (she marries a rich older dude with step-kids), for a comedy pilot Instant Mom on Nick at Nite. The interesting part is that the series will run its episodes on NickMom — making it the first scripted series for the primetime TV block. The show will then air repeats on Nick at Nite. [Deadline]
The Walking Dead Gets New Regulars: A couple of cast members from the series are movin' on up to the regular side — and we don't mean going from undead to alive (no one's discovered that cure yet). Chad Coleman (Tyreese), Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha) and Emily Kinney (Beth Greene) will be joining the also-recently-upped David Morrissey (The Governor) in full-time status for the upcoming fourth season. Melissa Ponzio (Karen) is also set to recur as a guest star. Sorry, Carol (portrayed by Melissa McBride), looks like this ain't your year to join the big leagues (again). [Deadline]
Super-Sizing American Idol: Starting with this week’s results episode on Thursday, American Idol will keep the cameras rolling on its eliminated contestants after the episode ends. The new feature is called “Still Rolling,” and will give fans access to what really happens after the final votes are announced. Viewers will see promos running on Thursday’s Idol, then get a behind-the-scenes peek during special airings of New Girl and The Mindy Project. The first piece will air at 9:14 PM ET and the second piece five minutes later. The other two will air around 9:44 PM ET and 9:52 PM ET. [THR]
Season 5 of Misfits Will Be Its Last: The British hit-drama Misfits will end its series after five action-packed seasons. The fifth and final season, which will consist of eight hour-long episodes, is set to premiere Fall 2013 in the UK. American fans can tune in to the superhero show on Hulu and Hulu Plus. [HuffPost TV]
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There is something particularly unnerving about demon possession. It's the idea of something you can't see or control creeping into your body and taking up residence eventually obliterating all you once were and turning you into nothing more than a sack of meat to be manipulated. Then there's also the shrouded ritual around exorcisms: the Latin chants the flesh-sizzling crucifixes and the burning Holy Water. As it turns out exorcism isn't just the domain of Catholics.
The myths and legends of the Jews aren't nearly as well known but their creepy dybbuk goes toe-to-toe with anything other world religions come up with. There are various interpretations of what a dybbuk is or where it comes from — is it a ghost a demon a soul of a sinner? — but in any case it's looking for a body to hang out in for a while. Especially according to the solemn Hasidic Jews in The Possession an innocent young person and even better a young girl.
The central idea in The Possession is that a fancy-looking wooden box bought at a garage sale was specifically created to house a dybbuk that was tormenting its previous owner. Unfortunately it caught the eye of young Emily (Natasha Calis) a sensitive artistic girl who persuades her freshly divorced dad Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan of Watchmen and Grey's Anatomy) to buy it for her. Never mind the odd carvings on it — that would be Hebrew — or how it's created without seams so it would be difficult to open or why it's an object of fascination for a young girl; Clyde is trying really hard to please his disaffected daughters and do the typical freshly divorced parent dance of trying to please them no matter the cost.
Soon enough the creepy voices calling to Emily from the box convince her to open it up; inside are even creepier personal objects that are just harbingers of what's to come for her her older sister Hannah (Madison Davenport) her mom Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick) and even Stephanie's annoying new boyfriend Brett (Grant Show). Clyde and Stephanie squabble over things like pizza for dinner and try to convince each other and themselves that Emily's increasingly odd behavior is that of a troubled adolescent. It's not of course and eventually Clyde enlists the help of the son of a Hasidic rabbi a young man named Tzadok played by the former Hasidic reggae musician Matisyahu to help them perform an exorcism on Emily.
The Possession is not going to join the ranks of The Exorcist in the horror pantheon but it does do a remarkable job of making its characters intelligent and even occasionally droll and it offers up plenty of chills despite a PG-13 rating. Perhaps it's because of that rating that The Possession is so effective; the filmmakers are forced to make the benign scary. Giant moths and flying Torahs take the place of little Reagan violently masturbating with a crucifix in The Exorcist. Gagging and binging on food is also an indicator of Emily's possession — an interesting twist given the anxieties of becoming a woman a girl Emily's age would face. There is something inside her controlling her and she knows it and she is fighting it. The most impressive part of Calis's performance is how she communicates Emily's torment with a few simple tears rolling down her face as the dybbuk's control grows. The camerawork adds to the anxiety; one particularly scary scene uses ordinary glass kitchenware to great effect.
The Possession is a short 92 minutes and it does dawdle in places. It seems as though some of the scenes were juggled around to make the PG-13 cut; the moth infestation scene would have made more sense later in the movie. Some of the problems are solved too quickly or simply and yet it also takes a while for Clyde's character to get with it. Stephanie is a fairly bland character; she makes jewelry and yells at Clyde for not being present in their marriage a lot and then there's a thing with a restraining order that's pretty silly. Emily is occasionally dressed up like your typical horror movie spooky girl with shadowed eyes an over-powdered face and dark clothes; it's much more disturbing when she just looks like an ordinary though ill young girl. The scenes in the heavily Hasidic neighborhood in Brooklyn look oddly fake and while it's hard to think of who else could have played Tzadok an observant Hasidic Jew who is also an outsider willing to take risks the others will not Matisyahu is not a very good actor. Still the filmmakers should be commended for authenticity insofar as Matisyahu has studied and lived as a Hasidic Jew.
It would be cool if Lionsgate and Ghost House Pictures were to release the R-rated version of the movie on DVD. What the filmmakers have done within the confines of a PG-13 rating is creepy enough to make me curious to see the more adult version. The Possession is no horror superstar and its name is all too forgettable in a summer full of long-gestating horror movies quickly pushed out the door. It's entertaining enough and could even find a broader audience on DVD. Jeffrey Dean Morgan can read the Old Testament to me any time.
Williams tagged for Globes' DeMille Award
Robin Williams has been picked by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to receive the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille Award when the group hands out the Golden Globes in January, Reuters reports. The DeMille honor is given each year by the organization to an actor who has made an "outstanding contribution to the entertainment field." Williams has received five Golden Globe Awards in the past, three as best actor for movies Mrs. Doubtfire, The Fisher King and Good Morning, Vietnam. He won a TV award for Mork & Mindy and a special honor for his voice work in animated film Aladdin. This year's Globes ceremony will be broadcast live on NBC on Jan. 16.
OutKast, Usher win MTV Europe Awards
Hip-hop duo OutKast and R&B hottie Usher shared top honors on Thursday, claiming the most prizes at the MTV Europe Music Awards in Rome, which was broadcast to millions of viewers worldwide, Reuters reports. OutKast stars Andre 3000 and Big Boi walked away with best group, best song and best video awards, while Usher grabbed best male artist and best album. Britney Spears won best female artist, The Black Eyed Peas won best pop and Linkin Park won best rock, while Alicia Keys took home best R&B and D12 secured best hip-hop. Music fans across Europe chose the winners chose the winners by voting online and with mobile phones, Reuters reports.
Jackson sued by furniture store
The guy just can't catch a break. Michael Jackson is being sued once again--this time by an antiques and furniture store, Mayfair Gallery, who claim Jackson owes $178,875 in merchandise he allegedly purchased in May, The Associated Press reports. Jackson bought 20 items, including a malachite urn, a Louis XVI-style bust clock, silver bread holder and an "Austrian gold-painted dancing girl," the complaint said. This is comes on the heels of another lawsuit recently filed against the singer. J. Marc Schaffel, a former producer and business associate, sued the singer Tuesday, claiming Jackson owes him more than $3 million in loans and producing fees.
Howard Stern' Sirius giveaway attracts thousands
Shock jock Howard Stern attracted thousands of fans and curious onlookers to Manhattan's Union Square Thursday afternoon to promote his soon-to-be employer, Sirius Satellite Radio. Reuters reports Stern handed out 500 free satellite radios and one-year subscriptions along with hundreds of certificates for a free radio with the $142 purchase of a Sirius subscription. Stern, whose is set to move to Sirius when his current contract with Viacom's Infinity Broadcasting runs out in 2006, told the crowd the Federal Communications Commission's broadcast indecency regulations were a major factor in driving him out of over-the-air radio. "Sirius Satellite Radio will rule ... It will be the dominant service," Stern said. "All without government interference. It's the beginning."
Prosecutors say Crow's stalker had dangerous obsession
Prosecutors in Sheryl Crow's stalker case told jurors in Manhattan Supreme Court Thursday a former Navy deep-sea diver had developed a dangerous obsession for the singer, Reuters reports. Ambrose Kappos, 38, is accused of breaking into New York's Hammerstein Ballroom where Crow was rehearsing for a benefit show last October, then slipping into her dressing room before he was tossed out. He then followed Crow to her limousine in an attempt to engage her in conversation. Assistant district attorney Tara Daly said Kappos, who is accused of stalking Crow for more than a year, was discharged from the Navy after taking an emergency medical leave. Crow, 42, is expected to testify in the trial next week.
Rebecca Gayheart weds Eric Dane
Actress Rebecca Gayheart, first noticed as the fresh-faced beauty appearing in the Noxzema's series of TV commercials in the early 1990s, married actor Eric William Dane Oct. 29 in Las Vegas, AP reports. Gayheart, 32, starred as the wife of Luke Perry's character Dylan McKay on Aaron Spelling's hit drama Beverly Hills, 90210, which ran on Fox from 1990 through 2000. She was most recently seen on the FX plastic surgery series Nip/Tuck and Showtime's Dead Like Me. Her film credits include the 1997 thriller Scream 2. Dane, meanwhile, appeared in shows including The Wonder Years and was a regular on the ABC series Gideon's Crossing.
Guylaine Cadorette contributed to this report.