There are a few different types of Louie episodes. The first two entries in Season 4, premiering back to back on Monday night, showcase diversity in story structure — one a series of barely connected (sometimes not at all) vignettes, one a long self-contained narrative — but keep primarily within the margins of a specific type of comedy.
One of the very first things we see in premiere episode "Back" is a gang of rowdy garbage men going out of their way to make as much noise as possible on a sleepy Manhattan morning, escalating in destruction from simply tossing trash cans around the street to breaking through a stoic Louie's window and wreaking havoc on his bedroom. (The fact that we've seen Louie's apartment to be a few stories above ground — think: Never tossing his rug out the window — makes this surreal gag even funnier.)
The sequence sets a tone for not only this episode, but the one to follow. We embrace even the chapters set in "reality" (like Louie laughing off young Lily's homework assignment to write a letter to AIDS, or Todd Barry telling his pal how much he dislikes his two daughters) with a whimsical, heightened feel. When Louie takes to the Hamptons in Episode 2 for a schmaltzy benefit gig that devolves into a night of passion with a wealthy model, we keep expecting something weird to happen. Weirder, I mean.
C.K.'s show handles fantasy in a way that few other programs do, playing on imagination to either breathe life into thoughts or sentiments that we've all experienced — the disruptive melodies of the morning garbage pickup, or obtrusively unhelpful medical professionals (Charles Grodin wonderfully plays a doctor who lays waste to the idea that Louie might ever be able to relieve himself of back pain) — or to say something interesting about the human condition (after blowing it with Yvonne Strahovski, accidentally punching her in the face and paralyzing her pupil, getting his own nose broken, and winding up on the losing end of a multi-million lawsuit, Louie can only smile about the fact that his woeful story has earned him the attention of a cute comedy club employee). Really, Louie is today's answer to The Twilight Zone.
The episodes yet to come this season will show us a different side of Louie, the type that offers earthy, biting commentary on who we are as members of this society and how we operate therein. But as a kick-off to the season, we're very pleased that C.K. chose to go the delightfully weird route. There's nothing on TV quite like Louie, and there really never has been.
Universal via Everett Collection
Plenty of singers try their hand at acting… some successfully (Cher, Barbara Streisand) and others not so successfully (Madonna, Kelly Clarkson, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, etc.). There are times, though, when we're bowled over by the musical talents of our favorite actresses.
Whether it's voicing an animated heroine or taking an unexpected role in a big budget musical, these actresses have proven that they have the pipes to belt out a tune while still delivering top-notch acting performances.
When many people saw the credits for Disney's Frozen, they assumed that Bell was just providing the speaking part for Anna, that surely it was someone else singing on "Love Is an Open Door." Even some hardcore Veronica Mars fans had lost sight of the fact that Bell came from a musical theater background or forgot about her appearance in Refer Madness: The Musical.
So, a lot of people find Hathaway pretentious and annoying… it doesn't change the fact that the girl can sing. Audiences were surprised when her character started singing in one of her early films, Ella Enchanted, but by the time of Les Miserables, we were all aware that she had the ability. Still, her powerful rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" surprised just about everyone.
When Seyfried was first starting out in Mean Girls, we thought she was just another soap opera actress (she appeared on As the World Turns and All My Children) making a jump to the big time… which she subsequently did with her role on HBO's Big Love. Little known to the public, she had training in not only musical theater, but opera. It wasn't until 2008's Mamma Mia! that audiences got a taste of her singing… and then came her performance as Cosette in Les Miserables. C'est magnifique!
Stone doesn't sing much because of some vocal cord issues, but when she was younger she was part of VH1's In Search of the New Partridge Family. She also did some backing vocals for the remake of The Waitresses' "I Know What Boys Like" from The House Bunny. It was her performance during the school assembly scene of Easy A,where she rocked the disco classic "Knock on Wood," that left audiences wondering if it was really her voice. It was indeed, and she was spectacular.
For years, Streep was known as the premier actress of her generation, though not as a performer with any musical ability. Starting with 2006's Prairie Home Companion, however, Streep has been unafraid to put her voice out for public consumption. She looked like she was having a blast playing the lead in Mamma Mia! opposite Seyfried and will soon be back on the big screen playing the Witch in the film adaption of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods.
Despite starting her career doing Broadway musicals as a girl, the new "It" singing actress first came to notice with largely non-musical roles in Twilight and Up in the Air (although we did get a glimpse with her karaoke version of "Time After Time"). It wasn't until she killed as the reluctant a capella participant in Pitch Perfect that audiences fell in love with her voice. The actresses even scored a hit single with her version of "Cups (When I'm Gone)" from the soundtrack. With roles in Into the Woods and Pitch Perfect 2, we'll get plenty of opportunities to continue enjoying her vocal talent.
Her work with M. Ward on their She & Him projects have turned Deschanel into a legitimate recording artist, but she's still better known for her acting in movies like (500) Days of Summer and her TV show New Girl. Every Christmas the actress pops up in one of her earlier film roles as Will Ferrell's love interest in Elf singing holiday classics and she's set to appear in Barry Levinson's musical comedy Rock the Kasbah.
Adams may be a five-time Academy Award nominee and might turn heads on the red carpet with her plunging necklines, but she knows her way around a song as well. The actress made a believable live-action Disney princess in Enchanted, including taking center stage during the big production number "That's How You Know." She apparently likes to sing in kiddie fare, because her other big on-screen musical moments mostly happened with Jason Segel, Kermit and Miss Piggy in The Muppets.
Paltrow's mother, Blythe Danner, started her film career in the musical 1776 and she has an uncle that's an opera singer, so she comes by her vocal abilities honestly. After making her on-screen singing debut in Emma, she starred in her father Bruce Paltrow's Duets, where her collaboration with Huey Lewis on Smokey Robinson's "Cruisin'" spawned an adult contemporary hit. Besides having a recurring spot on TV's Glee, Paltrow also got her twang on in Country Strong.
A sprawling home in Henderson, Tennessee which once belonged to late music legend Johnny Cash has been sold for $2 million (£1.2 million). The mansion, which the country music star and his wife June Carter Cash called home for more than 40 years, is off the market after bosses at limited liability company Lakehouse Holdings purchased the property.
The estate was sold by Bee Gees star Barry Gibb and his wife Linda, who bought the house in 2005, promising to preserve the Cash legacy. They also hoped the setting would serve as an inspiration in their own music.
The Gibbs, whose main residence is in Miami, Florida, were planning to completely renovate and restore the lake-front house in 2005, but a fire in 2007 destroyed much of the mostly wooden structure.
The seven-bedroom home was built in 1968, and served as a setting in 2005 Cash biopic Walk the Line, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon.
Barry Manilow, Jane Fonda and Joan Collins were among the stars who turned out to celebrate music mogul Clive Davis' 82nd birthday at a lavish party in California. The music industry veteran turned 82 on Friday (04Apr14) and he celebrated the milestone by organising a glitzy bash at a Moroccan-themed mansion in Palm Springs over the weekend (05-06Apr14).
Guests included Manilow, Fonda and Collins, who published pictures from the party on her Twitter.com page.
Other attendees included actress Suzanne Somers and producer Richard Perry.
A source tells the New York Daily News, "It was like the last supper. Clive sat in the middle of the table with Jane (Fonda) and Suzanne (Somers) on his left and Barry (Manilow) and Joan (Collins) on his right."
The party also featured a performance by rising singer Avery Davis.
Oscar Pistorius had to be removed from court on Tuesday (08Apr14) after he broke down in hysterical sobs while recalling the night he shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The embattled South African Paralympian, who is on trial in Pretoria accused of murdering Steenkamp in February last year (13), spoke in court for the first time about the night he killed his girlfriend in the bathroom of his home.
During his tearful testimony, Pistorius claimed he mistook his lover for a burglar, insisting he believed an armed intruder had come in through the bathroom window of his home and was behind the locked toilet door.
Pistorius told the court, "I wasn't sure if somebody was going to come out of the toilet and attack me or come up the ladder (outside the window) and start shooting. So I stayed where I was and kept on screaming and then I heard a noise from inside the toilet, what I perceived to be somebody coming out of the toilet. Before I knew, I had fired four shots at the door. My ears were ringing, I couldn't hear anything... I kept on shouting for Reeva to phone the police, I was still scared to retreat... I don't now how long I stood there for."
He claimed he realised it could be Steenkamp inside the toilet when he could not find her in the bedroom and then tried to break down the door with a cricket bat before finding the key.
Pistorius added, "I saw the key so I took it, unlocked the (toilet) door, threw it open and sat over Reeva and I cried... I don't know how long I was there for... She was not breathing."
The athlete's sobs then became uncontrollable, prompting his defence counsel Barry Roux to ask for a brief adjournment to allow the star to regain his composure.
Following the short break, the lawyer then requested the trial be postponed until Wednesday morning (09Apr14) as Pistorius did not seem fit to continue.
Earlier in the day, Pistorius changed into casual shorts so he could remove his prosthetic legs in the courtroom. He was asked to stand next to a mocked-up version of the bathroom door with his prosthetic legs on and again without them, to show he is unbalanced and almost half his usual height on his stumps.
Pistorius, 27, denies one charge of murder and three firearms offences.
The trial continues.
Shia Labeouf has exited Barry Levinson's new movie Rock The Kasbah, according to a U.S. report. The Transformers actor joined the star-studded cast last month (Feb14), but is now no longer part of the comedy, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Reasons for his departure have not been revealed, but sources tell editors at the industry publication that it was an "amicable parting."
Rock The Kasbah stars Bill Murray as a washed-up music manager who lands a career boost when he takes on a pop wannabe from Afghanistan. The movie's cast also includes Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson, Danny McBride and Zooey Deschanel.
Actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers considered joining the priesthood as a child. The Tudors hunk is set to play the sinister Father Gaunt in The Secret Scripture, an adaptation of the Sebastian Barry novel of the same name.
The role was a poignant one as the Irish hunk contemplated joining the Catholic Church while growing up.
He tells the London Evening Standard, "I felt I was quite isolated, and I think that's what attracted me. The monastic lifestyle is very isolated. But actually I wasn't suited to priesthood at all. It would have driven me mad."
Singer Sheryl Crow and filmmaker Barry Levinson's long-delayed musical adaptation of Diner is set to debut in Virginia later this year (14). The stage production was originally scheduled to premiere at San Francisco's Curran Theatre in 2012, before a Broadway run in 2013, but several setbacks stalled the plans.
Now, a premiere date has been set for December (14) at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia.
The play is based on Levinson's 1982 film of the same name and centres on a group of longtime friends who reunite in their 20s at their old hangout.
Crow wrote the music and lyrics and Levinson adapted the book for the show from his Oscar-nominated screenplay.
This is the first foray into musical theatre for both.
Casting details will be announced at a later date.
Veteran crooner Barry Manilow wept on stage as he accepted a standing ovation at the opening night of his musical. The singer fulfilled a life-long dream by writing the music for Harmony, based on the true story of a group of German singers, but he faced a difficult journey bringing the show to the stage as the production was hit with numerous delays and setbacks.
After brief previews in 1997, Harmony finally opened in Los Angeles on Wednesday night (13Mar14), and Manilow was visibly overwhelmed when he was invited up to the stage at the end of the performance.
He was seen wiping away tears as he thanked the cast and crew, and added, "What do you say when a dream comes true?... This success is so emotional and exciting."
For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
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