Recently there has been a trend of dramatic actors suddenly cropping up on sitcoms. I must admit that it's a bit jarring to see Andre Braugher, Margo Martindale and Betsy Brandt playing for laughs rather than tension or tears. Braugher is on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Martindale is on The Millers and Brandt is on The Michael J. Fox Show.
Martindale may be making her way back to serious TV sooner than anticipated if this show doesn't catch on. This would not be a bad thing, since the role she has on the show is of a nagging, meddling mother who has no concept of boundaries. At least as Justified's Mags Bennett, she was running a crime ring. Here she just comes across as pathetic. Unless there's a radical change in how the character is written, I don't have high hopes.
Braugher, who first really captured our attention as the intense detective Frank Pembleton on Homicide: Life on The Street is the least likely comedian you can think of. Even when he looks at someone with hooded eyes, you can see a certain fire inside. His role as the straight man (well, acting-wise, his character is gay on the show) to Andy Samberg's goofball is the only way it works.
The biggest change seems to be Brandt, who went from our memory of her as Breaking Bad's Marie Schrader, where she was asking Bryan Cranston's Walter White why he doesn't just die already and wailing when learning that her husband Hank was dead. Now she's playing a loving wife who has to keep rolling her eyes at her husband's wacky antics. This may be why there's a bit of a disconnect when we watch the sitcom. There just wasn't enough time in between the end of one show and the beginning of the other and many of us may visualize her as Schrader.
It seems harder to cross over from drama to comedy. The timing and rhythm is just different and it can show in an un-natural stiffness. On the other hand, it seems like actors who start off in comedy can cross over into drama. Look at actors like Tom Hanks and Hugh Laurie. Hanks began on Bosom Buddies and Laurie was on shows like Black Adder and he even had a comedy show with Stephen Fry, called A Bit Of Fry and Laurie.
It's good to see a change of pace, but I have a feeling that these sit-coms will be just a short pit stop rather than a long-term destination for them. Ultimately, they will probably look for something darker once again.
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What if even the testosterone levels supplied by Sean Penn and Javier Bardem aren't even high enough for your movie? Cast Idris Elba! That's what director Pierre Morel and producer Joel Silver obviously thought when deciding to cast the Golden Globe-winning Luther star in their upcoming film The Gunman, based on the novel Prone Gunman by Jean-Patrick Manchette.
Elba will be playing a cloak-and-dagger agent named Dupont who tangles with Sean Penn, who also plays an agent for a clandestine operations outfit who is betrayed by his organization, forcing him on the run across Europe. It could be the kind of role for Elba that adds fuel to those 007 rumor fires that he may be positioned as the next James Bond.
A release date for The Gunman hasn't been set yet, but Joel Silver apparently thinks it has franchise potential. As for Elba, he can next be seen in July's Pacific Rim and November's Thor: The Dark World.
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Last year director Garry Marshall hit upon a devilishly canny approach to the romantic comedy. A more polished refinement of Hal Needham’s experimental Cannonball Run method it called for assembling a gaggle of famous faces from across the demographic spectrum and pairing them with a shallow day-in-the-life narrative packed with gobs of gooey sentiment. A cynical strategy to be sure but one that paid handsome dividends: Valentine’s Day earned over $56 million in its opening weekend surpassing even the rosiest of forecasts. Buoyed by the success Marshall and his screenwriter Katherine Fugate hastily retreated to the bowels of Hades to apply their lucrative formula to another holiday historically steeped in romantic significance and New Year’s Eve was born.
Set in Manhattan on the last day of the year New Year’s Eve crams together a dozen or so canned scenarios into one bloated barely coherent mass of cliches. As before Marshall’s recruited an impressive ensemble of minions to do his unholy bidding including Oscar winners Hilary Swank Halle Berry and Robert De Niro the latter luxuriating in a role that didn’t require him to get out of bed. High School Musical’s Zac Efron is paired up with ‘80s icon Michelle Pfeiffer – giving teenage girls and their fathers something to bond over – while Glee’s Lea Michele meets cute with a pajama-clad Ashton Kutcher. There’s Katherine Heigl in a familiar jilted-fiance role Sarah Jessica Parker as a fretful single mom and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as the most laid-back cop in New York. Sofia Vergara and Hector Elizondo mine for cheap laughs with thick accents – his fake and hers real – and Jessica Biel and Josh Duhamel deftly mix beauty with blandness. Fans of awful music will delight in the sounds of Jon Bon Jovi straining against type to play a relevant pop musician.
The task of interweaving the various storylines is too great for Marshall and New Year’s Eve bears the distinct scent and stain of an editing-room bloodbath with plot holes so gaping that not even the brightest of celebrity smiles can obscure them. But that’s not the point – it never was. You should know better than to expect logic from a film that portrays 24-year-old Efron and 46-year-old Parker as brother-and-sister without bothering to explain how such an apparent scientific miracle might have come to pass. Marshall wagers that by the time the ball drops and the film’s last melodramatic sequence has ended prior transgressions will be absolved and moviegoers will be content to bask in New Year's Eve's artificial glow. The gambit worked for Valentine's Day; this time he may not be so fortunate.
Lansbury and Zeta-Jones have wowed critics with their turns as mother and daughter in the Trevor Nunn-directed stageshow, and now Stritch and Peters will take over their roles and Madame and Desiree Armfeldt.
The musical is based on Ingmar Bergman's film Smiles of a Summer Night .
Nunn's production opened to critical acclaim in London in 2008. It transferred to Broadway last year (09) and officially opened on 13 December at the Walter Kerr Theatre.
How many stories are there in one big city? In this unique vision of Paris there are 18 different ones each averaging about five minutes. The short films are related only by the theme of love and the setting. Visiting most of the different arrondissments (neighborhoods) of that sometimes elegant sometimes tawdry locale the short stories range across the board. Beginning with the chance meeting of two lonely people moving through stories of crazy lovers missed opportunities romantic beginnings parents’ relationships with their children and the dissolution of a marriage each one has its own unique vision point of view and cinematic style. But despite so many individual styles and voices the 18 wildly diverse tales deftly blend the magnificent city of Paris with the commonality of the human condition and combine to form a cohesive and extremely satisfying whole. With so many of the world’s most talented actors taking part in these short films there are a plethora of terrific performances to choose from in Paris Je T'aime . Leila Bekhti shines in “Quais de Seine” as a shy young Muslim teen befriended by a handsome French boy while Steve Buscemi uses his bug-eyed looks to perfection in “Tuileries ” a comic segment created by Joel and Ethan Coen. Catalina Sandino Moreno brings an aching reality to a young mother’s life dilemma in “Loin du 16éme ” while Juliette Binoche’s older mom’s agony is heartbreaking in “Place des Victoires.” Miranda Richardson is luminous as a dying wife in “Bastille ” and Natalie Portman’s natural charm ignites the screen in “Faubourg Saint-Denis” as the girlfriend of a blind man. Maggie Gyllenhaal Elijah Wood Emily Mortimer Rufus Sewell Bob Hoskins Fanny Ardant Gena Rowlands Ben Gazzara and Margo Martindale all elevate their segments with fine acting as well but Nick Nolte seems to stumble through his. That minor glitch is just that--a blip in an otherwise seamlessly concocted series of well-acted vignettes. A who’s who of contemporary cinema from around the world the eighteen directors (who for the most part also wrote their segments) of Paris Je T'aime prove their formidable talents here. By limiting each to only five minutes to tell their story producers Emmanuel Benbihy and Claude Ossard (who began the project in 2002) forced each one to distill the essence of their idea into a compact tale with admirable results. From well-known names like the Coen brothers Wes Craven Gus Van Sant Alfonso Cuaron and Alexander Payne to lesser-known auteurs (at least in America that is) such as Tom Tykwer Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas Frederic Auburtin and Gerard Depardieu Olivier Assayas Gurinder Chadha Isabel Coixet Sylvain Chomet Nobuhiro Suwa Christopher Doyle Richard LaGravenese Vincenzo Natali Bruno Podalydes and Olivier Schmitz--the work across the board in the film is exemplary. At turns poignant comical lusty and emotional it’s a collection that will undoubtedly leave you with a longing to be in Paris especially with someone you love.
Frank Ramaesiri, the St. Louis jewelry salesman who sold the video of a topless sunbather to Penthouse, telling the magazine it was Anna Kournikova, testified on Tuesday he mistakenly thought the woman was the tennis star due to the diameter of her nipples. Now how would Ramaesiri, a non-professional photographer, know the diameter of Kournikova's nipples, you may ask? Reuters reported that the salesman told the court he had seen pictures of the Russian beauty in a sweat-soaked tennis dress revealing her nipples, and "the diameter matched what we had on film," he said. Plus, he added, the sunbather looked Russian.
The "sunbather" was actually Judith Soltesz-Benetton, the daughter-in-law of fashion designer Luciano Benetton. While Penthouse has issued a formal apology to both Kournikova and Soltesz-Benetton, the women are still pursuing cases against the infamous magazine for damages.
Steven Spielberg is finally making his life complete--he's graduating from college. After dropping out nearly three decades ago to pursue his career, the famed director, 55, will receive a bachelor's degree from California State University Long Beach, where he recently finished courses in the film and electronic arts major.
Jason Alexander, on the other hand, wants to teach college. The former Seinfeld star will be instructing other young actors on the University of Southern California campus under the George Burns Distinguished Visiting Professor in Performance program.
Rapper Jay-Z won't be moving into that $6.5 million penthouse in New York's trendy TriBeCa complex, after all. He pulled out of the deal without giving a reason, but owner Peter Arnell blames neighbors for sabotaging the deal. Arnell claims two tenants, Lynn Fisher-Hill and Lewis Taffer, posted notices in the halls, referring to the rapper's criminal record and lifestyle of violence, The Associated Press reports.
Jennifer Lopez shelled out the dough for her new Miami home. She recently bought a $9.5 million waterfront mansion in Miami Beach, with a view of Biscayne Bay. Her celebrity neighbors include Lenny Kravitz, Ricky Martin and the Bee Gees, Barry and Robin Gibb.
Bernadette Peters and Gregory Hines, two veterans of the Broadway stage, will be hosting the Tony Awards June 2. This marks the second time for Hines, who co-hosted with Glenn Close and Nathan Lane in 1994. It'll be the first hosting gig for Peters.
Anne Heche may be heading for Broadway lights. She could replace the departing Jennifer Jason Leigh in David Auburn's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Proof at the Walter Kerr Theater in New York. Mary-Louise Parker originated the play's lead role of Catherine, the grief-stricken, troubled daughter of a math genius, in spring 2000.
In the Biz
Another large ensemble piece for Robert Altman? Go figure. Variety reports the veteran director may sign up to helm The Company, a large ensemble project about ballet dancers, with Neve Campbell (Scream) attached to star as a young dancer distracted by other things. Apparently, there are about 50 roles to be had--piece of cake for Altman.
Jay Kay, the lead singer of the funk band Jamiroquai, was involved in an altercation Wednesday at the post-premiere party for Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones in London. Kay's agent told Reuters the singer found his new car damaged and confronted the suspected culprit. Kay suffered some facial injuries.
There is no love lost between rapper Eminem and Vice President Dick Cheney's wife, Lynne Cheney. She has been very vocal in her criticism of the recording industry, often citing Eminem's music as offensive. He countered by flinging a four-letter word at her in his song, "White America," on his soon-to-be released album The Eminem Show. Now, now, Marshall.
In a rare appearance, three of rock and roll's greatest legends--Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Bo Diddley--were honored by Broadcast Music Inc. They received BMI's Icon Awards at the 50th annual pop music awards show Tuesday and were recognized for their "unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers," Reuters reports.