Thanks to the success of Veep, The Mindy Project, New Girl, Orange Is the New Black and the like, female-driven comedies are no longer the red-headed stepchild of television. Case in point: upcoming Fox pilot Dead Boss, adaptation of a British comedy of the same name. Its cast? So far, almost identical to the guest list to your dream funny lady dinner party.
Jane Krakowski stars in her first post-30 Rock lead role as Helen, a woman falsely accused of murdering her awful boss. Strangers with Candy comedienne and unlikely heir to Martha Stewart's lifestyle queendom Amy Sedaris will play the convict's nosy coworker; and Deadline reports that Saturday Night Live alum Rachel Dratch just signed on as Helen's cellmate, "a sunny but emotionally needy arsonist." Still to be cast is Helen's "trainwreck" sister, her only hope of clearing her name. With how stacked this ensemble is so far, we can only expect another killer name. Is it too early to buy a season pass?
Dead Boss already has serious girl comic pedigree. The original U.K. series was created by Sharon Horgan (Pulling, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret) and stand-up sensation Holly Walsh; it starred Horgan and AbFab legend Jennifer Saunders. So far, the source material is only one six-episode season old. So the impetus is on the U.S. creative team (which includes Suburgatory producer Patricia Breen) to turn the concept into a viable sitcom in an American network structure.
But with Krakowski bringing a touch of Jenna Maroney's high-minded disdain, Sedaris full-on conniving, and Dratch turning up the crazy, we can't help but be hopeful. Are you looking forward to Dead Boss? Let us know in the comments.
I know, that headline is trouble. You're always treading dangerous ground when you insist on defining what makes a good this or the right kind of that, as if there is no room for change or improvement when it comes to classic properties. Of course there is — Jason Segel's 2011 Muppet film approached the concept from an entirely different direction. It didn't hit all of its marks, but it prevailed overall in its conceit: make a movie not about Muppets, but about Muppet fandom. But Muppets Most Wanted, in absence of a clear mission statement and fueled largely by the monetary glimmers of the sequel game (the film's opening number admits this outright), has fewer marks readily available to hit. Landing in the ambiguity between the classic Muppet adventure formula and Segel's post-modern Henson appreciation party, Most Wanted feels like a failure on both counts. It doesn't know which kind of movie it wants to, or should, be. So it doesn't really be anything.
On the one hand, there's the half-cocked "get-the-band-back-together" through line, mimicking but not quite accomplishing the spirit of the 2011 picture. None of the Muppets are particularly likable or charming in this turn, and even fewer of them actually given anything to do. Kermit loses his s**t in the first act after a spat with Piggy and a barrage of insubordination from his troupe (provoked by the nefarious Dominic Badguy, Ricky Gervais), storms off in a huff, and gets swept up in a case of mistaken identity when his criminal doppelganger Constantine pulls the old switcheroo, landing Kermit in a Russian gulag. You'd think this would be a good opportunity for the second tier of Muppet favorites — Piggy, Fozzy, Gonzo, Scooter, Rowlf, et al — to go on a search and rescue... but save for a very brief sequence at the tail end of this achingly long film, none of the other Muppets are giving anything to do. They just hem and haw and perform the occasional "Indoor Running of the Bulls" while Dominic and Constantine scheme, rob banks, and bicker.
Meanwhile, Kermit has some fun in prison — a far more endearing plot that sees him befriending the merry convicts, organizing a penitentiary revue, and even winning the heart of the vicious warden Nadia (Tina Fey). If only we could spend more time with real Kermit and less time with fake Kermit and his second banana Gervais, an effectively boring pair.
On the other hand, though, there's the Muppet shtick that fans of The Great Muppet Caper and Muppet Treasure Island — and yes, The Muppet Show itself — will deem the movie's best material: CIA Agent Sam Eagle and Interpol Agent Jean Pierre Napoleon (Ty Burrell) hot on the trail of Constantine and Dominic. Here, we get a different type of Muppet movie entirely from what Segel and the A-plot in Most Wanted are opting: the old fashioned vaudeville act, with Sam standing as an independent entity from his googly-eyed brethren, on a goofy, musical prowl with Burrell that fuels the film with its best and most consistent chuckles. Their "Interrogation Song" number is outstanding, exemplifying the many talents of Flight of the Conchords' Bret McKenzie, who wrote all the music for this and the previous film.
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Unfortunately, Muppets Most Wanted isn't sure that it wants to be The Great Muppet Caper, beheld so stubbornly to its Segelian roots. There's a palpable compulsion to stick with this agonizingly self-aware, nostalgia-crazy, brimming-beacons-of-the-past-in-a-callous-today theme that doesn't work a fraction as well as it did in the 2011 film. Without a legitimate celebration of any of our favorite characters, how could it? With so much going on in this movie, and such a lengthy runtime at just under two hours, it's a sure sign of failure that we walk away feeling like we spent barely any time with the Muppets.
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Brittany Murphy's mother has written an open letter publicly disputing claims the actress was poisoned. The Clueless star passed away in 2009 at the age of 32, and officials ruled her death was caused by pneumonia, anaemia and excessive use of prescription medications.
However, the case hit the headlines against last week (ends24Nov13) after her father, Angelo Bertolotti, revealed high levels of "heavy metals" had been found in samples of the star's hair and tissue samples which he had independently analysed.
Bertolotti alleged his daughter had been poisoned, but now Murphy's mother has publicly refuted his claims.
Sharon Murphy has written an open letter, published by The Hollywood Reporter, in a bid to silence speculation about her daughter's death, calling the poison story "absurd".
She writes, "His claims are based on the most flimsy of evidence... The lab Angelo used, if you can call it that, is an Internet site that farmed out the actual testing, and then wrote horribly untrue things under the guise of 'analysis.' It mentioned rat poison as a possible cause and claimed to be able to say that a third party murdered my beloved daughter.
"To even mention that the heavy metals that were listed in his test are in rat poison, leading to articles suggesting Brittany ingested that or anything like it, is absurd. If she had, don't you think it would have shown up in the coroner's test of her blood and tissue?
"This report conveniently ignores what any good scientist will tell you: A hair sample can be affected by many outside factors, including hair dye, hair spray, prescription medications, foods, smoking the occasional cigarette and environmental factors. One cause we now know may have been toxic mould that was eventually discovered in that house - which may have been what really killed her. We will never know for sure. However, we do know the Los Angeles County Coroner did extensive tests and found that she died of natural causes. And now she is a real living angel in heaven."
Following the release of Bertolotti's lab report, officials from the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office have stated that they have "no plans to reopen our inquiry" into Murphy's cause of death and they "stand by our original reports."
Gritty drama For Those In Peril leads the nominations at this year's (13) BAFTA Scotland awards with four nods. Paul Wright's movie, about a loner blamed for a tragedy on a remote Scottish fishing island, is up for Best Film, Best Director, Best Writer and Best Actor/Actress (Film) for its lead George MacKay.
The young star will face competition from Martin Compston (The Wee Man) and Iain De Caestecker (Not Another Happy Ending), while the film will be up against The Wee Man and Fire In The Night.
Wright will fight for the Best Director prize against Kenny Glenaan (Case Histories) and Emma Davie and Morag McKinnon (I Am Breathing).
Ford Kiernan (The Field of Blood: The Dead Hour), Peter Mullan (The Fear), and Sharon Rooney (My Mad Fat Diary) are all nominated in the Best Actor/Actress (TV) section.
The ceremony, which celebrates the best of Scottish entertainment talent, will take place in Glasgow on 17 November (13).
Heavy rocker Zakk Wylde touches late hero Randy Rhoads' gold vest whenever he needs a little greatness in his life. The Black Label Society star was handed the special piece of memorabilia by Sharon Osbourne when he used to back her husband - and he admits he still cherishes it.
He tells Revolver magazine, "She gave me the gold vest he used to wear. Whenever any of my guitar player buddies come over, I go, 'You gotta touch the vest for the mojo'. I don't even have it in a glass case... It's like the holy shroud.
"I touch it for greatness for anything - if I'm gonna clean the dog run and I want to do an amazing job, I just touch the vest. It adds instant greatness to whatever feat you're trying to accomplish."
Sharon Osbourne ordered her rocker husband Ozzy to leave home and not come back until he had addressed his addiction issues. The couple was rumoured to be on the brink of a split earlier this year (13) when the Black Sabbath star went public with his relapse, admitting he had turned to alcohol and drugs again after previously kicking his bad habits.
Reports suggested Sharon had moved out of the family home during the crisis, but she has now revealed she threw Ozzy out in a bid to force him to face his problems.
She tells Thedailybeast.com, "He slipped really badly. Well, he didn't slip, he f**king fell. At that time in my life, I couldn't handle it. I just said, 'You've got to get out and come back when you're sober.'"
However, Sharon is adamant she would never divorce her husband, who is now sober again, no matter how bad his problems became.
She adds, "It was not a case of divorce. I would never divorce my husband. Ever. I love him too much. He's far from perfect, and I'm even further from perfect, but I've known him for 42 years, and we've been a couple for 33. That's my life. You just don't walk away from people because they have a problem."
Kelly Osbourne has been banned from driving following her seizure earlier this year (13). Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne's daughter suffered a health scare while filming U.S. TV series Fashion Police in March (13) and spent several days in a Los Angeles hospital while doctors attempted to discover what caused her seizure.
Osbourne has now revealed she is taking precautionary medication, and has been told she cannot sit behind the wheel of a car in case she suffers a relapse.
She tells Britain's Hello! magazine, "I don't know if I'm epileptic or not - it's a waiting game right now. It's scary and confusing. I'm hoping it was just a stress-induced seizure, but I have to be on anti-seizure medication for a year and I can't drive in case I have another episode.
"Not knowing what caused it is the worst thing. There's a chance it won't happen again and I hope it doesn't, though I don't remember it."
Rock matriarch Sharon Osbourne has heaped praise on kind-hearted Sir Elton John for hosting his annual AIDS charity gala at his home in England last month (Jun13) even though he was terribly ill and in tremendous pain. The Rocket Man hitmaker was convinced he was suffering from a bad bout of food poisoning when he was struck down with crippling stomach cramps, but he was recently diagnosed with a case of appendicitis after seeking treatment when the pain became too much to bear.
His pal Osbourne reveals the 66 year old had been silently suffering with the condition for weeks, but he refused to cancel his annual White Tie and Tiara Summer Ball on 27 June (13), and carried on with the show in between vomiting bouts.
While co-hosting her U.S. chat show The Talk on Wednesday (10Jul13), she said, "All I have to say is that he was sick a couple of weeks ago at his White Tie and Tiara Ball. This is where he gains millions for his AIDS charity, and he went through the evening, he went to every table, he welcomed everybody and in between he was going outside, throwing up, coming back in... He just will not give up... He thinks of everybody else but himself!"
The TV personality also gave viewers an update on the singer's health, insisting he is already starting to show signs of improvement: "He's doing really well. He's at his home in Windsor and he's recuperating."
Rocker Ozzy Osbourne and Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher were once unlikely sober companions after striking up a friendship during a stint in rehab. The actress made light of the pair's relationship during the 2013 Daytime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday (16Jun13), when she served as an award presenter, after spotting the Black Sabbath frontman in the audience with his talk show host wife, Sharon.
She quipped, "Ozzy, I haven't seen you since rehab..." before going on to introduce the category for Outstanding Special Class Animation Program.
The then added, "Our nominees, they take us into worlds we've never seen before, unlike, like Ozzy and myself, you've taken acid, in which case... yeah. Same dealer."
Fisher's comments raised a few laughs at the Beverly Hilton hotel, and, returning to U.S. talk show The Talk on Monday (17Jun13), Sharon Osbourne revealed the recovering addicts had actually been in rehab together many years ago.
She explained, "Everybody (at the Emmys) thought that that was a joke, but it's serious, they were in rehab together... After they came out of rehab they would go to meetings together and she would call the house... and say, 'It's Princess Leia (Fisher's character in the Star Wars franchise),' and (my son) Jack would go, 'Mummy, Princess Leia's on the phone!'"
Ozzy Osbourne recently confessed to suffering a drink and drugs relapse but is now celebrating over 100 days sober.