With a track record of four great movies and two good movies spread out over the course of the past decade and a half, Paul Thomas Anderson can pique our interest with just about any creative proclamation. His newest venture, Inherent Vice, ropes in The Master's Joaquin Phoenix and a slew of PTA newbies for a story about a 1970s crime investigation, based on a novel by Thomas Pynchon. The cast includes a number of exciting first-time Andersonians, like Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Benicio del Toro, and Martin Short. But the best of the lot: Maya Rudolph, pictured above, in costume on the set of the film.
As Anderson's longtime romantic partner and the mother of his children, Rudolph has been conspicuously absent from his long line of cherished big screen works — Anderson did, admittedly, cast Rudolph in a 2008 stage production, but never on camera. Hollywood likes to make creative collaborators of its households: Paul W.S. Anderson and Milla Jovovich, Len Wiseman and Kate Beckinsale, Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann, Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter. In Inherent Vice, it appears that Rudolph will enjoy a supporting role as a (very) pregnant nurse.
Not only is the casting exciting due to Anderson and Rudolph's personal relationship, but because it will also give us a new vantage point of the talented actress. Rudolph is known best for her wacky humor: her Saturday Night Live and Bridesmaids shtick is what has made her a beloved and successful comedian. But Anderson's dark, booming vision — one that worked wonders with another screwball SNL vet, Adam Sandler, in Punch-Drunk Love — could enlighten the world to a well of Rudolphian talent yet untapped.
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Twisted Role for Gilmore Girl: ABC Family's newest mystery series Twisted has just added Gilmore Girl's Keiko Agena as a guest star. Twisted centers on a charismatic 16-year-old (Avan Jogia) with a troubled past who spends five years in juvenile detention and then reconnects with his two female best friends from childhood (Maddie Hasson and Kylie Bunbury). Agena will play April Tanaka, a bohemian grief specialist who heads up a counseling session for the students at Green Grove High. Brittany Curran also joined the cast as Phoebe, an overly dramatic classmate who enjoys the limelight and tries to bond with Bunbury’s Lacey. Both characters will make their debut in Episode 2. [TVLine]
Degrassi to Lose a Student: Alex Steele will not be returning to TeenNick's drama Degrassi for the show's 13th season. "I'm very proud of my time on Degrassi and feel very lucky to have worked with such an amazing cast and crew," Steele - who plays fan-favorite Tori - said in a statement. "I've decided to take on a new focus pursuing film. I have a few opportunities already in the works and am excited to get started!" No word yet on how her character's exit will play out. [E!]
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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.
"Miami Vice," the highly stylized cop drama TV series, was one of the defining pop culture phenomena of the fast-living, high-rolling 1980s. It made superstars of lead actors Don Johnson and Phillip Michael Thomas and, for better or worse, helped bring its trademark pastel hued couture and techno music into the mainstream. But as the decade drew to a close, "Miami Vice" began to lose its relevance. Attempts to retool the show to reflect the changing times fell flat and NBC finally pulled the series off the air after the 1988 season.