In the humble and unbiased opinion of a faithful member of the Seth Cohen fan club since 2003, this might be the best casting news of the year. According to People, New Girl has signed on Adam Brody for the 14th episode of the current season. While an air date has yet to be set, the episode will begin shooting on Dec. 2.
The O.C. dreamboat is set to appear as Berkeley, Jess' ex-boyfriend who has been pinned as a "hip, stay-at-home dad." Did you hear that? Seth Cohen is all grown up, and he's taking care of a baby. Dreams really do come true. And to make this casting news even more amazing, this isn't even the first time that Brody and Max Greenfeld, who plays Schmidt, will appear in the same show together; in a 2007 episode of The O.C., Greenfeld played a younger version of Sandy Cohen, a.k.a Seth's dad. Woah.
The casting decision to bring on Brody makes it seems like the Fox show is relying more and more on outside actors to liven things up, especially since it aired recent episodes with guest stars Damon Wayans Jr., Taye Diggs, and various other noteable actors. The move is similar to one of Fox's other Tuesday night comedies: The Mindy Project. Mindy Kaling's show, which is on hiatus until April 1, seems to have a big-name guest star every week (even if it's not good for the character progression of the regulars). But whether the move to have more popular faces stroll through the loft's space is to garner more ratings or not, Adam Brody's presence is sure to bring gaggles of squealing girls to the TV on Tuesday nights at 9 PM.
Happy Chrismakkuh to all, and to all a a goodnight!
Do you feel like a fish pulled out of water by a spiked hook only to be dropped back into the ocean and sent back on your merry, fishy way? Do you feel slightly cheated after months of the tabloid equivalent of a giant "DANGER" sign hanging on the 12th season of American Idol, promising the Nicki Minaj-ocalypse brought to fruition by the magnanimous magnificence of Mariah Carey's diva status. Sure, we got a few knock-down drag-outs, but they've since simmered and by the time our crew gets to San Antonio, and later Long Beach, Calif., things are downright chilled.
Stop one in Texas delivers a slew of unpredictable contestants, including a girl in an ill-fitting sequinned tube top who isn't an over-the-top disappointment, a pair of seemingly adorable brothers who turn out to be a nightmare, and a singer named Peachez who'd never have made it were it not for Nicki Minaj's love of absurdity. Still, Texas could have been more of a hoot.
Vincent Powell is a returning contestant who was kicked out during Season 11's Hollywood Week, but you wouldn't recognize him because he had terrible taste in hats then and he's since learned that Zooey Deschanel glasses are better suited to frame his face. He swears he's "in love" with Mariah, but he also wants to be her, so let's not even attempt to unpack the hidden meaning in all that. Luckily, he's a very talented blues singer who delivers "Rock Me Baby" like a pro. That must have been one hell of a terrible hat, because it seems pretty unlikely that this guy made it through to Hollywood last year without garnering at least a sliver of my attention. Naturally, a guy like this is going to Hollywood... again.
Unfortunately, our good time buzz is ruined by two young men who, by all rights, seemed to be the kind of brotherly duo Idol loves to love, but in truth turn out to be the worst kinds of auditioners known to this show. No, not the woman who thinks wearing a bikini top as a shirt will get her a ticket to Hollywood; not the person whose Broadway theatrics are all wrong for the show despite their aspirations to be the next Kelly Clarkson. No, Derek and David Bacerott are the guys who won't shut up. And the ones who have no idea how obnoxious their incessant babbling really is.
The duo steps up to the plate to sing "Let Me Love You" like an Elvis Impersonator with the midday shift in Reno and his quieter, less-interesting brother. When Mariah does her best to tell them it just isn't working for them, they lobby like this is a show about who can shout the loudest (which, to their credit, is how the first two episodes of the season went on the other side of the judging table) instead of one about who can sing the best. First, they tell the panel they're mean, then the boys get their dose of false niceties and they insist that the judges stop lying to them. Look, bros. What you really want is for the judges to rewrite the laws of musicality, sound, and the way we perceive voices to make it seem as if you are fantastic singers, but the truth is you're awful. And no amount of blame on "having to make money" as a reason for not being better at the one thing they are supposed to be good at when they're in a room with Keith, Randy, Mariah, and Nicki is going to make them not awful.
And the switcheroos continue when 25-year-old Savannah Votion takes the mini-stage in a sequined tube top, unflattering low-rise jeans, and a belly button ring, and it seems that we're in for another overconfident train wreck. But then comes the story: she had a daughter when she was 19 and she's been a single mother working hard for her daughter ever since. Now, she's ready to take a chance for herself and with her take on "At Last" she's at least got a pretty good shot at making a dent in Hollywood. However, I hope for her sake that someone helps her with a look that is less distracting. While we're looking at her poorly-chosen wardrobe, she's actually wildly talented. Appearance isn't everything, but being a singer is being a part of show business, and in show business, every last detail is a part of who you are as a performer (just look at Nicki).
After an embarrassing few minutes with Ricky Jo Garcia who turns "And I'm Telling You" from Dreamgirls into a pile of mushy, rusty old nails (if that's even a thing that's possible), we're thankfully delivered into the vocal graces of Cristabel Clack, a worship leader taking her last crack at the Idol stage before she turns 30 and is no longer within the age range. As she sings "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys, her husband holds her sleeping child outside (cue the unstoppable "oohs" and "awws"). Clack doesn't have the strongest voice we've seen, but both she and her voice have something that's a little more important: character. It's a little shaky, but for the most part, Clack has the unique crackle and tone of a potential star. Plus, she's already got the bold look going. She's so arresting she even keeps Randy from making sense (oh wait, that's to be expected, but this quote is kind of great, so go with it): "You to me are what the whole thing is about with the singing." You tell 'em, dawg.
In between segments that should just come out and say, "OMG DID YOU KNOW THERE IS AN IDOL APP? DID YOU GET IT YET BECAUSE IT EXISTS AND IT'S FROM AT&T AND IT'S THE BEST AND WE'RE DEFINITELY NOT TALKING ABOUT IT TOO MUCH," Randy takes his dawgy self out to meet another audition nominee, Ann Difani, whose husband has Randy surprise her on the field during an Arkansas football game. She sings "Stronger" by Faith Hill and it's sweet, man oh man is it sweet, but Ann is, unfortunately, duller than Keith's commentary. Still, the judges are charmed by the love story between Ann and her husband and cuteness of it all and she's sent through to Hollywood. She's sweet and all, but I'd eat the grass straight off that Arkansas football field before I'd bet that she'll make it through Hollywood week.
But the boredom doesn't stop there. (Hurray?) Victoria Acosta, who works as a mariachi singer in San Antonio, tries to transfer those skills to pop music with "Big Girls Don't Cry," but winds up falling absolutely flat. She's technically got the goods, but there is nothing behind any of the lyrics that come out of her mouth. Randy is kind enough to let her sing a mariachi song and she lights up, but this is a competition in which the singers perform pop music. If she can't make us believe her as a pop singer, then she doesn't belong on that stage. She'll still get her shot in Hollywood, however.
This week's movie prefaces one of the judges' strangest decisions: Band of Outlaws makes use of old film look and a series of headaches so strong not even a painkiller the size of Keith's Texas cinnamon roll can fix it. Luckily (I think), Papa Peachez (that z is important, you guys) drops in to declare himself a "big black woman trapped in a little white boy's body" and put on a bit of a show for the judges. His voice has some strength and something of a unique quality to it, but he's not ready. He needs more work. Nicki loves his individual style and the bravery he exhibited by playing an original song (he declares that he hates to singing covers despite singing covers being the actual bread and butter of the competition). Keith and Randy rightfully turn the kid down until Nicki lobbies Randy so whole-heartedly that she gets him to change his mind. Sweetie, you may have won that small victory, but this kid isn't going to make it very far in this competition.
As San Antonio auditions come to a close, we meet two miracle singers. First up is Sanni M'Mairura whose parents are from Kenya and Tanzania. The kid is also a choreographer, and if being cute as a button isn't enough, he lists one of his goals as becoming a good role model. Let's just make him famous right now. To boot, he's actually really great, delivering "Who's Loving You?" by Michael Jackson like a strong singer with a twinge of the Bieber nasal syndrome, but with much more capable pipes. He has Nicki seeing stars and rainbows and Randy thinks he's "fresh," so of course this cute kid gets a golden ticket.
Next is the surprise of the night. Adam Sanders, who belts out "I'd Rather Go Blind" by Ella Fitzgerald to such incredible effect that the whole panel gives him a standing ovation. His sweet, strong and somewhat feminine voice comes out of nowhere, and it hearkens back a bit to Adam Lambert's high tone.
It was the trickle of pee heard around the world. Cannes attendees were aghast and/or amused an infamous scene from The Paperboy that shows Nicole Kidman urinating on Zac Efron; this is apparently a great salve for jellyfish burns which were covering our Ken Doll-like protagonist. (In fact the term protagonist should be used very loosely for Efron's character Jack who is mostly acted upon than active throughout.)
Lurid! Sexy! Perverse! Trashy! Whether or not it's actually effective is overshadowed by all the hubbub that's attached itself to the movie for better or worse. In fact the movie is all of these things — but that's actually not a compliment. What could have become somethingmemorable is jaw-droppingly bad (when it's not hilarious). Director Lee Daniels uses a few different visual styles throughout from a stark black and white palette for a crime scene recreation at the beginning to a '70s porno aesthetic that oscillates between psychedelic and straight-up sweaty with an emphasis on Efron's tighty-whiteys. This only enhances the sloppiness of the script which uses lines like narrator/housekeeper/nanny Anita's (Macy Gray) "You ain't tired enough to be retired " to conjure up the down-home wisdom of the South. Despite Gray's musical talents she is not a good choice for a narrator or an actor for that matter. In a way — insofar as they're perhaps the only female characters given a chunk of screen time — her foil is Charlotte Bless Nicole Kidman's character. Anita is the mother figure who wears as we see in an early scene control-top pantyhose whereas Charlotte is all clam diggers and Barbie doll make-up. Or as Anita puts it "an oversexed Barbie doll."
The slapdash plot is that Jack's older brother Ward (Matthew McConaughey) comes back to town with his colleague Yardley (David Oyelowo) to investigate the case of a death row criminal named Hillary Van Wetter. Yardley is black and British which seems to confuse many of the people he meets in this backwoods town. Hillary (John Cusack) hidden under a mop of greasy black hair) is a slack-jawed yokel who could care less if he's going to be killed for a crime he might or might not have committed. He is way more interested in his bride-to-be Charlotte who has fallen in love with him through letters — this is her thing apparently writing letters and falling in love with inmates — and has rushed to help Ward and Yardley free her man. In the meantime we're subjected to at least one simulated sex scene that will haunt your dreams forever. Besides Hillary's shortcomings as a character that could rustle up any sort of empathy the case itself is so boring it begs the question why a respected journalist would be interested enough to pursue it.
The rest of the movie is filled with longing an attempt to place any the story in some sort of social context via class and race even more Zac Efron's underwear sexual violence alligator innards swamp people in comically ramshackle homes and a glimpse of one glistening McConaughey 'tock. Harmony Korine called and he wants his Gummo back.
It's probably tantalizing for this cast to take on "serious" "edgy" work by an Oscar-nominated director. Cusack ditched his boombox blasting "In Your Eyes" long ago and Efron's been trying to shed his squeaky clean image for so long that he finally dropped a condom on the red carpet for The Lorax so we'd know he's not smooth like a Ken doll despite how he was filmed by Daniels. On the other hand Nicole Kidman has been making interesting and varied career choices for years so it's confounding why she'd be interested in a one-dimensional character like Charlotte. McConaughey's on a roll and like the rest of the cast he's got plenty of interesting projects worth watching so this probably won't slow him down. Even Daniels is already shooting a new film The Butler as we can see from Oprah's dazzling Instagram feed. It's as if they all want to put The Paperboy behind them as soon as possible. It's hard to blame them.
Alan Rickman was recently cast as Kristal, the founder of the fabled CBGB venue, and now Akerman has been chosen to play the Blondie frontwoman onscreen.
Harry Potter star Rupert Grint has also signed up for the project, as guitarist Cheetah Chrome of punk band the Dead Boys, while Avatar actor Joel David Moore and Julian Acosta will play Joey and Johnny Ramone, respectively, and Seinfeld veteran Estelle Harris will star as Kristal's mother, Bertha.
Kristal's daughter Lisa will produce CBGB, which will tell the story of the famous Bowery venue through her late father's eyes.
Production will begin in Savannah, Georgia next month (Jun12).
At some point in the early years of the 21st century a bunch of Hollywood executives must have gotten together and decided that animated films should be made for all audiences. The goal was perhaps to make movies that are simultaneously accessible to the older and younger sets with colorful imagery that one expects from children’s films and two levels of humor: one that’s quite literal and harmless and another that’s somewhat subversive. The criteria has resulted in cross-generational hits like Wall-E and Madagascar and though it’s nice to be able to take my nephew to the movies and be as entertained by cartoon characters as he is I can’t help but wonder what happened to unabashedly innocent animated classics like A Goofy Movie and The Land Before Time?
Disney’s Winnie The Pooh is the answer to the Shrek’s and Hoodwinked!’s of the world: a short sweet simple and lighthearted tale of friendship that doesn’t need pop-culture references or snarky dialogue to put a smile on your face. Directors Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall found some fresh ways to deliver adorable animation while keeping the carefree spirit of A.A. Milne’s source material in tact. Their story isn’t the most original; the first part of the film finds Pooh Piglet Tigger and Owl searching for Eeyore’s tail (a common plot point in the books and past Pooh films) and hits all the predictable notes but the second half mixes things up a bit as the crew searches for a missing Christopher Robin whom they believe has been kidnapped by a forest creature known as the “Backson” (it’s really just the result of the illiterate Owl or is it?).
The beauty of hand-drawn animation all but forgotten until recently is what makes Winnie the Pooh so incredibly magnetic. There’s an inexplicable crispness to the colors and characters that CG just can’t duplicate. It’s a more personal practice for the filmmakers and should provide a refreshing experience for audiences who have become jaded with the pristine presentation of computerized imagery. The film is bookended by brief live-action shots from inside Robin’s room an interesting dynamic that plays up the simplicity of youth ties it to these beloved characters and brings you right back to memories of your own childhood.
With a just-over-an-hour run time Winnie the Pooh is short enough to hold the attention of children but won’t bore the parents who will love the film mainly for nostalgic musings. Still it’s the young’uns who will most enjoy this breezy bright and enchanting film that proves old-school characters can appeal to new moviegoers.