Aly Semigran
Staff editor Aly Semigran is a New York City native who grew up in Philadelphia and spent the better part of her youth trying to figure out what the Philly Phanatic was (an anteater?), quoting 'The Simpsons,' and learning all about movies from her dad. After graduating from Temple University, where she studied journalism, she moved back to NYC and began her career as a freelance entertainment journalist. Her work has been published in Entertainment Weekly, Maxim, Philadelphia Weekly, Philadelphia City Paper,, and She is thrilled to be a part of the team and she is still quoting 'The Simpsons.' ('I'm Idaho!')
  • SXSW: 'Some Girl(s)' Is as Divisive as, Well, Any Neil LaBute Work
    By: Aly Semigran Mar 10, 2013
    There are two types of people in this world: those who love Neil LaBute's work and those who don't. What some see as an unfiltered, unflinching portrayal of human behavior (particularly in men), others see as cold and unfair portrayal of human behavior (particularly in women). However you feel about LaBute will likely dictate how you feel about the big screen adaptation of his work Some Girl(s), which played at the SXSW festival over the weekend.  RELATED: SXSW: 'Drinking Buddies is a Good Time, With Less Filler With Adam Brody as the self-involved sociopathic Man, the actor's performance encompasses everything that makes women weary of men, and regretful of those we've encountered like him before. Man selfishly decides to embark on a tour of seeing all of his former flames and documenting all the details of their failed relationships for a project. The only problem is, this is no innocent game of catch up: Man, now engaged to Some Other Poor Woman, is dragging his exes through the past for his own twisted sense of self-worth. He has them meet with him in hotel rooms, only to turn down their sexual advances. He swears he has them there to right any wrongs from the past, only he never actually apologizes, and in the end, only conjures up terrible things.  Told through a series of vignettes, we meet each of the women who have been markers in Man's life (including Jennifer Morrison, Mia Maestro, Emily Watson, Kristen Bell and a particularly heartbreaking Zoe Kazan). While each sequence is tonally different, they all wind up making you feel just plain bad for these women.  RELATED: SXSW: 'Short Term 12' is a Small Movie with a Big Impact At SXSW, caught up with Brody — who is obviously a LaBute fan ("He's one of those writers where he's got just such a storng, intelligent, specific voice and there's so many colors to play with there. I really like the dark humor aspect of all his work," he said) — and he gave his own thoughts on Man and Man's deplorable behavior.  "His name is Man and, to me, he's actually a literary construct," Brody says. "He does this [behavior] ad nauseum, it repeats and repeats and repeats. If he's going to end up with his wife, he's going to cheat on her and make excuses. He's not going to take responsibility for anything ever, that I'm sure of." Brody continued, "I don't think he knows it, but I think he is operating from a place that is solely about him...I don't think he's not capable of one degree of selflessness. Everything operates from a place of narcissism." While Brody said he played Man as someone who believed he was well-intentioned, the actor couldn't come from a place of having a desire to reach out to old flames, like his character does in the film.  "I don't feel like I have a complicated a healthy way," Brody says. "I don't feel a need to revisit, or I don't have a lot that's been unsaid. I can't relate. The way [Man] is doing it is incredibly selfish, too. The whole idea is awful." Well, you can't say the man isn't honest.  RELATED: SXSW 2013: 5 Must-See Films [Photo credit: Kristen Klier] You Might Also Like:Topanga's Revealing Lingerie Shoot: Hello '90s! 15 Stars Share Secrets of their Sex Lives (Celebuzz)
  • SXSW: 'Short Term 12' is a Small Movie with a Big Impact
    By: Aly Semigran Mar 10, 2013
    A little movie can have an awfully big impact. Destin Cretton's Short Term 12 — an equal parts heart breaking and life-affirming drama — is one that will, and should, get people talking. The film, which debuted at the SXSW festival on Sunday, is not only a star vehicle for its tremendously talented, young ensemble (including a career-making performance by 21 Jump Street's Brie Larson) but a conversation piece film, and an important, timely one at that.  RELATED: SXSW 2013: 5 Must-See Films Rooted deeply in humility and realism (likely thanks largely in part to Cretton's own real-life experiences with the subject matter at hand) Short Term 12 chronicles the lives of dedicated supervisors at a residence for troubled youths and the very kids they are trying to help. Two of the supervisors, Grace (Larson) and Mason (an impressive, effective John Gallagher Jr.) are in a relationship and are trying to navigate their own complications while dealing with the heaviness that comes with their line of work.  All of the kids at the facility break your heart in their own specific way (mine particularly ached for a shy boy named Sammy who only found solace in small dolls), like Mason, Grace, and the rest of the staff, all you want to do is hug them and tell them it's going to be alright. Even when it's best not to. As the film progresses (it moves swiftly) we learn that Grace isn't just in this line of tough work because it's noble, but because she is a survivor of abuse herself. Grace takes particular interest in a new resident, a young girl named Jayden (a vulnerable, stunning Kaitlyn Dever) whose tragic upbringing mirrors her own. If Grace can't change her past, she can at least try everything in her power to change Jayden's future.  RELATED: The 2013 SXSW Film Lineup  But what really will get the conversation —not only here in Austin, but when the movie is seen by even wider audiences — is how expertly and sensitively it deals with mental illness. Where other films like Silver Linings Playbook can play it up for laughs (that's not to say Short Term 12 doesn't have it's moments of levity, in addition to be downright harrowing at times, it's also got moments that are charming and genuinely funny) Cretton's film sheds light on taboo topics like suicide and self-harm like cutting, putting them in terms those mercifully out of the spectrum can understand. For those who suffer, and/or love those who do suffer, will not only be relieved to see an accurate depiction, but one that will change hearts and minds.  Short Term 12 is a beautiful movie in every sense of the word, it is beautifully shot, beautifully scored, and beautifully acted. It's a lovely, honest tearjerker of a film that will make you want to help make the world a better place. How many movies these days, at SXSW or elsewhere, can say that?  RELATED: SXSW: 'Drinking Buddies' is a Good Time, With Less Filler  [Photo credit: SXSW]   
  • SXSW: 'Drinking Buddies' Is a Good Time, With Less Filler
    By: Aly Semigran Mar 10, 2013
    When Harry Met Sally asked the age of question of "Can men and women be friends?" back in 1989, answered it (nope), and yet generations after are still plagued by it. Scores of movies about relationship dynamic grey areas — No Strings Attached, Friends with Benefits, Just Friends — have all come and gone, all answering that question the same way Harry and Sally did, but without any of the charm or true insight about male and female relationships past a certain age.  RELATED: 2013 SXSW Festival Film Lineup  Drinking Buddies, while not a gender-specific title, once again explores that topic, only with a hell of a lot more alchohol. Luke (Jake Johnson, in full-on, charming Nick Miller-with-an-intense-beard mode) and Kate (Olivia Wilde, once and for all proving her chops as a leading lady) are co-workers at a brewery who have an intense chemisty and palpable sexual tension. So why haven't these two friends hooked up? Especially with all that booze around? Well, for starters, they're both in relationships, he with an adorable, kind gal named Jill (the delightful Anna Kendrick) and she with, well, sort of a dullard named Chris (Ron Livingtson, stepping into the semi-villain role).  They're two young, attractive pals who, by all accounts should be together. The work hard, they play hard, they make each other laugh, and they genuinely care about each other. The problem is, unlike most romantic comedy couples who build their love and admiration for each other, are acutely aware of it. These buddies often blur the line between friends and something more with not-so-innocent innocent gestures like holding hands or cuddling on the couch.  RELATED: 5 Movies to See at SXSW The interesting thing about Drinking Buddies — which played like a bona-fide crowd pleaser at its premiere at the SXSW festival on Saturday night in Austin — is that it taps into every romantic comedy sensibility (the mounting tension, anticipating a "happy ending") but goes in a completely different direction. In a typical romantic comedy, Luke's girlfriend would be a monster (and despite sharing an impulsive smooch with Chris during a weekend getaway with both the couples, she is far from) and we'd be rooting for these two to finally hook up.  But, towards the last half hour of Drinking Buddies (which starts to get a little bitter and hard to swallow like, well, the very beer they've been drinking through the entire thing) Kate's attitude turns from cute to grating, and her treatment of Luke (who is no saint himself in this situation) does the unthinkable: it makes you hope they just stay friends. I won't tell you how this whole things winds up, but I will tell you this: remarkably, no one seems to have a hangover during the entire movie. Now that is something to marvel.  It's fitting that Drinking Buddies is centered around beer drinkers. Like Sideways, it perfectly taps into a certain kind of drinker and a certain kind of romance, and it's the perfect analogy for the film itself: fun, doesn't take itself too seriously, will be liked by men and women equally, and even if you love most of it, it might still leave you with something of a bitter aftertaste if you were looking for the same reliable thing.  RELATED: 'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone' Should Have Disappeared From SXSW Johnson, as he does every week on television, steals the show here, though to be fair the entire cast (including a cameo from Wilde's real-life love Jason Sudeikis, who gets in a few big laughs in his limited screen time) is talented and a total joy to watch. During the post-screening Q&A, Wilde (who is also a producer on the project) told the audience it was the most fulfilling work of her career to date, and the enthusiasm certainly shines through. The ingredients for a perfect comedy are all there, including keen direction from Joe Swanberg, but sometimes it can get a little foggy. (Hey, there's a lot of booze involved). Drinking Buddies really gets down to the nitty, gritty of male and female friendships and dynamics, and may ring uncomfortably true for some viewers, but in the end it's as fun as a night on the town with your best drinking buddy. Whatever your status with them might be.  [Photo credit: Ben Richardson] You Might Also Like:8 Male Stars With Tramp Stamps15 Stars Share Secrets of their Sex Lives (Celebuzz)
  • SXSW: Anna Camp and Ashley Williams Try to Destroy Reality TV in 'Sequin Raze'
    By: Aly Semigran Mar 09, 2013
    One of the short films debuting at the 2013 SXSW festival in Austin this year, Sequin Raze tries to get to the gritty, oft depressing under belly of reality dating shows like The Bachelorette. The always-great Anna Camp (from Pitch Perfect, True Blood, and The Mindy Project) plays a dating show contestant who has just been dumped by her televised suitor, all for the amusement of a national audience.  RELATED: SXSW 2013: Our 5 Must-See Movies The long-underrated Ashley Williams (How I Met Your Mother  and Something Borrowed) plays the exhausted producer, who despite being entirely aware she has sold her soul for the sake of a soulless television show, does everything in her power to get the sobbing concession speech she needs from her rejected contestant. A battle of wits unfolds, with the audience never knowing who to really root for in this situation or to believe. Is Camp's beauty queen really as crafty and smart as she seems, or is she as broken as all the other women who appear on these shows? Is Williams' tattered producer as empathetic as she seems, or does she play up her feelings in order to get that money shot?  RELATED: The 2013 SXSW Film Lineup  Sequin Raze doesn't really answer any of those questions, though it does put the sick, sad world of reality television dating — and what it does to one's psyche — under a much-needed microscope. Camp and Williams are both effective and believable in their respective roles (their television experience shines through, making the most of a short period of time), but unfortunately, Sequin Raze only scratches the surface of its story and under-utilizes having Frances Conroy, who plays another blood-hungry reality television producer, at their disposal. Though a fascinating slice of Americana and keeps you wondering who will win their emotional and mental tennis match, other SXSW shorts may find themselves getting a rose from moviegoers instead of Sequin Raze. From Our Partners:Kim Kardashians Best Bikini Moments (PHOTOS) Brooke Mueller Overdose? Rep Speaks About New Drama For Charlie Sheen’s Ex
  • SXSW: 'Scenic Route' is the Ultimate Road Trip Gone Awry
    By: Aly Semigran Mar 09, 2013
    What Open Water did for scuba diving with your spouse, Scenic Route should do for road trips in the desert with your best friend. Directors/siblings Kevin Goetz and Michael Goetz have made for one of the most intense, effective movie-going experiences of SXSW... and it's only day two.  RELATED: 'Evil Dead' Takes SXSW On a Grisly, Gory Ride The premise is simple: two best friends Mitchell and Carter (Josh Duhamel and Dan Fogler, respectively) hit the road to catch up for old times sake. The two have drifted, as adults tend to do, with Mitchell in a stable, if not passion-free marriage and career, and Carter as the aimless slacker. On paper it seems like Duhamel and Fogler are simply playing into their usual archetypes, he the handsome leading man and he the wacky sidekick, but Scenic Road turns it on its head and lets the actors beat the ever-living s**t out of them. Literally.  In fact, that's exactly how Scenic Route begins. We see two men, one of whom is sporting a Travis Bickle-esque mohawk (Duhamel, in what marks his most daring, impressive performance to date), in the middle of the desert, bloodied and bruised, fighting as dirty as the tattered clothes they are wearing. We haven't yet learned that these two are lifelong friends who have let unkind words and the unforgiving elements get to them. One of them takes a crutch to the other one's temple and everything goes dark. Only, that's not the beginning of the story, or the end for that matter.  The movie starts, innocently enough, as almost a buddy road trip comedy, but it descends into something else entirely. It is part-jet black comedy, part-horror film, part-moral drama, part-human study, and completely and utterly f**ked up. When we meet Mitchell and Carter moments after that shocking opening sequence, they look completely fine. Even more confusing, Mitchell doesn't have a mohawk. So how do they get there exactly?  After Carter makes his old truck they're driving through the desert in break down intentionally to spend more quality time with Mitchell, the two not only have to battle the elements (with no food and no water in the desert, which is as unrelenting in the day as it is the night), but each other. With nowhere to go and increasingly mounting tension, the two friends begin to unravel on each other, saying things they can't quite take back. RELATED: SXSW 2013: Our 5 Must-See Movies High emotions, mixed with the delirium of being stranded in the vast desert — who knew wide open spaces could feel so claustrophobic? It sends the men into a tailspin, not only leading to that ill-advised mohawk (the free-spirited Carter somehow convinces the straight-laced Mitchell to get the haircut he always wanted... in the middle of the night, with a blade from a pocket knife) and eventually that vicious, violent fight.  What happens next, well, I don't want to spoil it for you. But whatever you think happens to these guys after their blood, sweat, and tear-soaked fight doesn't. The last 40 minutes of the movie, fittingly enough, takes a much different road than you thought it would. Somewhere at the intersection of 127 Hours and Buried, you might think you have finally figured out Scenic Route's path, but then it takes its own winding, twisted detour.  While there are some frustratingly distracting moments (including Carter's inane decision to turn down help when they first break down), the dialogue-heavy feature, which spends most of its running time on the side of a dirt road in the desert, never loses your attention. You hang on these men's every action, every word uttered, determined to find out if they make it out of this journey unscathed. Well, relatively speaking.  RELATED: The 2013 SXSW Film Lineup  A veritable case study in grown men, and their relationships with each other (a few visions of Fight Club danced through my head), Scenic Route will make you no less scared of what nature will do to you as compared to what the ones you love are capable of doing to you. Scenic Route is a movie that crawls under your skin and stays there for a while, thanks largely in part to its haunting ending.  Follow Aly on Twitter @AlySemigran From Our Partners:Kim Kardashians Best Bikini Moments (PHOTOS) Brooke Mueller Overdose? Rep Speaks About New Drama For Charlie Sheen’s Ex
  • SXSW 2013: Our 5 Must-See Movies
    By: Aly Semigran Mar 08, 2013
    The 2013 SXSW festival kicks off today in Austin, and if you're a movie buff heading down to Texas to park in the festivities, well, you better learn how to be in a lot of places at once. This year's film lineup is as big as the Lone Star state itself. From headliners like The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and Spring Breakers, to buzzy premieres that include the Josh Duhamel-starrer Americana road trip gone wrong Scenic Route and the British ensemble marriage comedy I Give It A Year, to such already-bona fide festival favorites as Before Midnight and Much Ado About Nothing, there's no shortage of flicks to check out.  RELATED: The 2013 SXSW Film Lineup  So which flicks are can't miss? We picked 5 SXSW movies we're looking forward to seeing this week and think you should, too.  Short Term 12:  Based loosely on director Destin Cretton's real-life experiences working at a group home for troubled teens, Short Term 12 will not only serve as the launching pad for Brie Larson's (pictured) breakout performance, the indie drama about the kids and counselors at a housing facility also looks to be one of the fest's most effective tearjerkers.  Drinking Buddies: Can't get enough of New Girl star Jake Johnson? Neither can we. But he's just one of the reasons why we'll be checking out the can-men-and-women-be-friends (especially when there's alcohol involved) comedy which also stars Olivia Wilde, Anna Kendrick, and Ron Livingston.  Kelly & Victor: On the other end of the romance spectrum, there's Kelly & Victor. The indie drama about an affair between a Liverpool couple looks like it has the potential to be the UK's version of Blue Valentine.  evil Dead:  Last year's eagerly anticipated horror flick The Cabin in the Woods did not disappoint at SXSW, so hopes are high that yet another flick about a doomed trip to a cabin in the woods will be a hit. Expectations are sky-high for the grisly remake of Sam Raimi's 1981 classic, so you bet your mangled tongue we'll be there to see if it brings the goods. Sleep is overrated anyway.  RELATED: 'Evil Dead' Red Band Trailer Will Ruin Your Day Broadway Idiot: There's a bevy of must-see documentaries playing at the festival this year (I Am Divine, Hawking, Downloaded, The Punk Singer are all on our docket) but we're most intrigued by how Green Day went from punk trio to Broadway babies. Plus, the band will be on hand for the premiere and we have no doubt Billie Joe Armstrong will have some interesting things to say.  Be sure to have these on your radar, too: Burma, Coldwater, Good Vibrations, Gus, Loves Her Gun, Milo, Some Girl(s), When Angels Sing, You're Next RELATED: The Whedonverse Now Hath the 'Much Ado About Nothing' Trailer  Check in with all week for all of our SXSW coverage, including reviews, interviews, and so much more.  [Photo credit: Facebook]
  • The Whedonverse Now Hath the 'Much Ado About Nothing' Trailer, Will Love It
    By: Aly Semigran Mar 07, 2013
    The trailer for Joss Whedon's take on William Shakespeare's classic comic tale Much Ado About Nothing is everything you'd hoped it would be: chock full of Whedonverse stars (including Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, Nathan Fillion, and Clark Gregg), less manic than Baz Luhrmann's modern retelling of Romeo + Juliet  so you'll actually be able to keep up it, and it looks every bit as romantic and bitingly funny as the text that it is based off of. (Jeez, Whedon, is there anything you can't do at this point?!) The movie, which was a hit with audiences when it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2012 and will attempt woo festival goers at SXSW, will give audiences everywhere an English lesson on June 21. But, the satisfying trailer for the flick (which is done in the oh-so-trendy black-and-white) should tide the Whedonverse over until then. Watch it here and mouth along with all your Cliff Notes favorites. "By this hand, I love thee."  Art thou excited for Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing? [Photo credit: Bellwether Pictures] 
  • Cate Blanchett Looks Unimpressed In Woody Allen's New Movie 'Blue Jasmine' — PIC
    By: Aly Semigran Mar 07, 2013
    Come on, Cate Blanchett, you should be way more excited than this. You're starring in your first Woody Allen film, Blue Jasmine, which just so happens to be his 46th feature. Then again, the movie, which is about a housewife in crisis (possibly Blanchett, by the looks of things) might not be as lighthearted as say, Midnight in Paris.  RELATED: Woody Allen a Pimp in 'Fading Gigilo' with Sofia Vergara Still, Woody fans have reasons to smile about Blue Jasmine, as the director has assembled yet another top-notch cast. In addition to Blanchett, there's also Sally Hawkins (pictured with the Oscar-winning actress), Alec Baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard, and making his eagerly anticipated transition to the big screen, Louis C.K.  RELATED: Cate Blanchett Joins the Wicked Women of Hollywood in 'Cinderella'  Blue Jasmine arrives in theaters on July 26, whether you like it or not, Cate Blanchett.  [Photo credit: Sony Pictures Classic]
  • 'The Hangover 3' Brings the Wolf Pack Back to Las Vegas — TRAILER
    By: Aly Semigran Mar 07, 2013
    The wolf pack is... oh jeez, you get the idea already. While the first trailer for The Hangover: Part III doesn't give away too much about the plot of the final chapter in Todd Phillips' drunken debauchery saga, how much could there actually be to give away, really? It's a safe bet the third installment will follow a similar formula as they first two Hangover movies: the guys will get drunk, do something terrible, forget about what happened, piece it back together, get away scot free, hilarity will ensure, and it will make buckets upon buckets of money.  RELATED: Bradley Cooper Beats the S**t Out of Zach Galifianakis on 'Between Two Ferns'  Still, there are some other things we picked up on from the trailer (which comes a day after those inspired Harry Potter-like posters were released), other than the fact that Phil, Alan, Stu (played by Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, and Ed Helms, respectively), Jade (Heather Graham) and unfortunately, the grating one-note Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) are all back for more shenanigans at the original scene of the crime(s), Las Vegas. Just as Justin Bartha recently revealed to, "You’ll get a lot of the characters that have been in the first two movies back in the third one.” RELATED:'The Hangover Part III' Poster Gets a 'Harry Potter' Makeover  It appears as though Doug's father-in-law Sid (Jeffrey Tambor) bites the big one, the fellas have gotten into trouble with mask-wearing gangsters (who John Goodman seems to be in charge of), a lollipop enthusiast (Melissa McCarthy) swaps spit with Alan, there's a prison outbreak, and Alan has an unexpectedly beautiful singing voice. Oh, and he buys a giraffe. Those wacky grown men! RELATED:Zach Galifianakis Says 'The Hangover 3' Will Be Different When will they ever learn?! Ah, right, never... but technically on May 24, when The Hangover: Part III hits theaters. Watch the preview here:  Additional reporting by Leanne Aguilera [Photo credit: Warner Bros. Pictures] From Our Partners:40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)15 Stars Share Secrets of their Sex Lives (Celebuzz)
  • This Picture of January Jones Being Ignored Might Actually Make You Feel Bad For January Jones
    By: Aly Semigran Mar 07, 2013
    Here's something we never thought we'd say: awww, poor January Jones. We know, how could a woman who's as reviled as Anne Hathaway and Kristen Stewart combined actually garner any compassion? But this bummer of a picture from the front row at the recent Miu Miu Fall/Winter 2013 show at Paris Fashion Week conjures up every terrible flashback of being ignored by all the cool girls in high school.  RELATED: January Jones Did Not Find 'Fat Betty' As Amusing As Everyone Else Becoming just another meme waiting to happen (don't be said, Sad Keanu and Sad Taylor, you'll finally have some more company!) should really be the least of her concerns, considering the Internet scorn thrown her way thanks to those recent disastrous Liam Hemsworth affair rumors. But, to add insult to injury, the Mad Men actress is now clearly being cast aside by the likes of popular stars Rebecca Hall, Zoe Saldana, and... Renee Zellweger!?! The woman that nobody could recognize at the Oscars is now throwing you shade. Oh, it hurts. It hurts! RELATED: January Jones Gives Birth to a Baby Boy In the unforgiving world of high school Hollywood, January  — who is getting s**t from the popular senior class girls all the way down to the freshman — is pretty much going to have to befriend the lunch lady at this point.  [Photo credit: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images] From Our Partners:40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)15 Stars Share Secrets of their Sex Lives (Celebuzz)