After garnering widespread praise (and an Oscar nomination for screenwriting) for his 2000 directorial debut You Can Count on Me Kenneth Lonergan was in-demand. In September 2005 the writer/director began production on a follow-up feature: Margaret which touted Anna Paquin Matt Damon Mark Ruffalo Matthew Broderick Allison Janney as well as legendary filmmakers Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) as producers. The movie wrapped production in a few months time. The buzz was already growing.
Now six years later the movie is finally hitting theaters. So…what took so long?
The journey to this point hasn't been an easy one and it shows. If a film's shot footage is a block of granite and the editing process is the careful carving that turns it into a statuesque work of art Margaret feels like it was attacked by a blind man with a jackhammer. The film is a cinematic disaster a mishmash of shallow characters overwrought politics and sporadic tones. The story follows Lisa Coen (Paquin) a New York teenager who finds herself drowning in chaos after distracting a bus driver (Ruffalo) causing him to hit and kill a pedestrian (Janney). Initially Lisa tells the police it was all an accident but as time passes regret takes hold and the girl embarks on a mission to take down the man she now regards as a culprit. That's just the tip of the iceberg–along the way Lisa deals with everyday teen stuff: falling for her geometry teacher (Damon) combating her anxiety-ridden actress mother losing her virginity dabbling in drugs debating 9/11 and the Iraq War cultivating a relationship with her father in LA and more. There are about eight seasons of television stuffed into Margaret but even a two and a half hour run time can't make it all click.
For more on Margaret check out Indie Seen: Margaret the Long Lost Anna Paquin/Matt Damon Movie
This morning, on the fourth hour of the Today Show, Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford said that Whitney Cummings and her new show were the things that were going to ride in and save the network. I’m thinking those statements had something to do with the colorful cocktails in their hands because after watching the pilot episode of Whitney, I can resolutely say there’s no way it’s strong enough to carry an entire network, especially when the peacock has so many other better and more promising shows (Up All Night, Parks and Rec, The Office, 30 Rock – Whitney can’t compare). So what’s the problem? Well, there are a few.
First off, I really want to like Whitney. She’s got the down-to-earth girl attitude, she’s not about getting all dolled up all the time or perpetuating some unrealistic expectation of how a woman should behave. This notion is refreshing, it’s just too bad the show doesn’t deliver on that idea. Whitney is in a long-term relationship her boyfriend Alex (Chris D’Elia) who she lives with. They’re extremely comfortable and incredibly in love, but the constant barrage of societal pressures about how their relationship should progress or what their sex life should be like starts to get to her. She tries to spice things up with a nurse outfit and role-playing, but her little stunt lands her man in the hospital. She’s not allowed back because she’s only his girlfriend and the question of marriage comes up – it would solve everything in this situation. Too bad that question is answered by the time the tag hits.
Her friends consist of Lily and Neal (Zoe Lister-Jones and Maulik Pancholy), a new couple who can’t keep their hands off each other; the horndog cop Mark (Dan O’Brien) and a bitter, drug-addled divorcee named Roxanne (Rhea Seehorn). These are not only the exact cohorts we’d expect for a premise like this, but not a single one of them is likeable. They’re all obnoxious and not as a result of their most recent relationship status changes; their issues are inherent. It’s a bit of a bummer, since Lister-Jones is such a solid presence in indie films, but when she steps foot on Whitney, she loses her charm.
Finally, even if those characters worked and the pilot didn’t resolutely answer the only question it answered, the show would still be lacking a little something. Cummings has made a decent living as a stand-up comedian and that’s obvious throughout the show. Many scenes feel much like a stand-up routine instead of a conversation or an actual event. It’s not that there isn’t something funny about them, but in a sitcom setting we need more than just a good joke, we need it to fit in the story, be believable and still make us laugh. Whitney just doesn’t seem to accomplish that, and often it feels like the characters are explaining the situation just a little too much. This isn’t the set-up for your bit about anniversary sex, Whitney. Show us, don’t tell us.
There was one scene in the whole episode that gives me hope. Whitney gets a nurse costume for her anniversary with Alex and the whole awkward/sexy scene was charming and enjoyable. Whitney’s delivery wasn’t as stale as it is in the rest of the series and D’Elia’s dumb guy schtick is pretty cute and likable. We also get a spot of Jane Kaczermarek as Whitney’s mom, and despite the boring dialogue, the actress makes it work.
There are areas of the sitcom that work, but there’s so much that doesn’t. If the writers don’t adjust their supporting characters to be more likeable and Whitney doesn’t loosen up, I don’t see this series making it for very long. Then again, NBC needs a hit, so maybe shying away from the critically-acclaimed single-camera comedies for a typical, cute, multi-camera sitcom with a live studio audience is just what the doctor (Quinn medicine woman?) ordered. It’s hard to gauge what the American public will do, but Whitney sure doesn’t get my vote on a night when some of the best shows on television are competing for our viewership.
O'Neal avoided jail time last month (Aug11) after he pleaded no contest to two felony counts, including heroin and firearms possession - because the judge sentencing him felt he'd be better served in rehab.
He was also placed on five years' probation but warned he faced a three-year state prison sentence if he violated the court's terms.
On Thursday (15Sep11), his probation was revoked and Redmond has been taken into custody after confessing to using drugs in rehab.
Prosecutors claim O'Neal called a dealer from a pay phone and had methamphetamine brought to him at the facility.
He will return to court on 7 October (11) for sentencing.
Redmond O’Neal was jailed in 2009 after he was found in possession of heroin during a routine security check at the Pitchess Detention Center, California. He was behind bars when his mother died in June, 2009.
The actor reveals he did sign up for the upcoming 2011 season of the hit series but was forced to pull out at the last minute due to concern over one of his knees.
But he tells Access Hollywood producers have left the door open for him to waltz onto the show next year.
He explains, "First of all I only had one good knee; I had it redone. So, I decided that if I was really gonna do the show I should have the other knee done because the first thing really works, so I'll get one more and then I'll prepare for next season because I had to sign on, I had to promise that I would be on next season.
"I'll get the next one (knee) done in a month and then I guess I'll start learning the splits."
And the Paper Moon star is very confident about his chances of winning the TV contest: "I will win if the gods are with us. I'm a pretty good dancer."
The actor has revealed Ryan & Tatum: The O'Neals, which aired on Oprah's OWN network, didn't end well for father and daughter and they haven't spoken for two months - since filming wrapped - but he insists it could have been a lot different if Winfrey had been a part of the series.
He tells Access Hollywood Live, "We never saw her, never spoke to her, not a note, not a line, not a word... I don't think she was even in Los Angeles (where the show was filmed). I guess she thought we'd take care of it ourselves.
"One of the reasons we did it (the show) is that Oprah has a kind of a magical touch and that, with the combination of Oprah and hope, she (Tatum) and I could manage to get past what was bothering us. But we needed her and she didn't show."
And now the actor fears there won't be a season two for the show: "I don't think there is a season two. Did I open up? I tried. Does Tatum like me any better? No. So what's the point?
"Perhaps, if we did a second season, we could close some of those doors, but no one ever seemed to watch it (the show) anyway. The Oprah channel could use some publicity. They should spend a little money on it by the way, Oprah. That's between you and me."
But the series wasn't a complete disaster - O'Neal now has a new lodger: "Her (Tatum's) son lives with me now in Malibu. I lost one, I got someone else. It's a tricky family. There's so much pride and there is so much injury, it's very difficult."
Ryan and Tatum fell out when she was a teenager and he fell in love with Farrah Fawcett. Father and daughter have waged a bitter public feud ever since over allegations he abandoned his kids. Earlier this year (11), Ryan told newsman Piers Morgan he feared his dramas with Tatum had hastened Fawcett's death. She lost her battle with cancer in 2009.
Sheen filed a $100 million (GBP62.5 million) lawsuit against Lorre in March (11), demanding the pay he would have earned from the eight episodes producers cancelled at the end of February (11), citing the actor's erratic behaviour.
Lorre and his Warner Bros. team later submitted a motion to keep the details of the case under wraps with a broad gag order, in order to ensure a smooth arbitration. However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Justice Richard Neal has rejected Lorre's plea.
Per the judge's ruling, Sheen will now be allowed to publicly discuss the trial with reporters, as well as touch upon the topic during his upcoming Comedy Central Roast in September (11), as long as he doesn't disclose details considered "sensitive and proprietary".
The Paper Moon star was initially set to join Chaz Bono, David Arquette and Ricki Lake for the 13th season of the hit show, but injury prompted him to walk away from the dance floor at the last minute.
O'Neal has been replaced by fashion pundit Carson Kressley, but he hopes to be back for a future season.
A statement from O'Neal's representative reads, "He had a knee replacement done a few months ago, and after the first rehearsal he realised that it wasn't 100 per cent yet. He hopes to be able to do the show next season."
The official announcement for the new cast is slated for Monday night (29Aug11), but USA Today has leaked it via a tweet from DWTSGossip.
Kim Kardashian's brother Rob, U.S. political pundit Nancy Grace, Ricki Lake, soccer star Hope Solis and basketball player Ron Artest will also be among the celebrity dancers, according to the leaked list.
Reports suggest Cher's daughter Chaz Bono, who recently underwent sex change treatment to become a man, will be dancing with a female professional on the show.
O'Neal's late lover Farrah Fawcett, who died in 2009, reportedly left her entire art collection to the University of Texas, her alma mater.
Producer/filmmaker Craig Nevius suggested a 1979 Warhol painting owned by O'Neal should have been among the items handed over to the school and that prompted lawyers for the university to file papers asking a judge to order O'Neal to return the piece.
The Love Story actor, who was a close friend of Warhol's, claims the artist produced two copies of the Fawcett portrait, which is worth an estimated $30 million (£18.75 million) - one for the screen beauty and the other for O'Neal.
Federal court judges ruled they didn't have jurisdiction in the case, and now university officials have refiled their complaint at Los Angeles Superior Court.
In court papers, university representatives state, "Mr. O'Neal has wrongfully converted the missing Warhol portrait that belongs to UT Austin. Mr. O'Neal was not included in Ms. Fawcett's will, nor in the Fawcett Living Trust, and Ms. Fawcett's express wishes as stated in the Farrah Fawcett Living Trust have been thwarted by such conversion."
The original lawsuit was branded "ridiculous" by O'Neal's spokesperson, while the actor is also suing Nevius for his "false, malicious and defamatory" comments, insisting he has suffered "humiliation, mental anguish and emotional distress" as a result.
The Monster's Ball star returned to court on Friday (26Aug11) for a hearing tabled after her lawyer, Neal Hersh, filed legal papers asking a judge to hold Aubry in contempt for allegedly violating their custody deal.
TMZ.com reports the latest spat came about during a dispute over how much time Berry and Aubry each get to spend with their daughter Nahla when the actress is shooting a movie abroad.
Berry is reportedly heading to Europe to shoot a new film and she wants to spend more time with Nahla.
A judge ruled in her favour and now Gabriel won't get as much time with his daughter Nahla as he wanted.
The former couple's custody battle began in December (10) when the model filed a paternity petition asking to be officially recognised as the father of three-year-old Nahla following his split from the actress. At the time, Berry and Aubry had not filed for child custody, visitation or support.
She later challenged his efforts to spend more time with Nahla.