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!')
  • TIFF 2012: 10 Films to Watch For
    By: Aly Semigran Sep 04, 2012
    On September 6 the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival kicks off, bringing with it a bevy of A-list star power and some of this year's biggest, buzziest movies, not to mention early Oscar contenders. The festival, now in its 37th year, will present 372 films over the span of just 11 days. So which films playing at the world's second most prominent festival (right behind the incomparable Cannes) should movie buffs be paying closest attention to? We've narrowed them down: Argo: Ben Affleck's movie about the rescue of six U.S. diplomats from Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis has taken off first in the Oscar race. The film by Affleck, who is pulling double duty once again as star and director, already earned raves at the Telluride Film Festival, making TIFF audiences even more eager to see what the ensemble drama has in store. (In addition to Affleck, Argo stars Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Kyle Chandler, and Alan Arkin). A good showing at TIFF could give Argo an even bigger boost. Over the past few years, Best Picture winners The Artist, The King's Speech, The Hurt Locker, and Slumdog Millionaire all picked up steam in the Oscar race after a warm reception at TIFF.  To The Wonder: Affleck is part of not one, but two of this year's can't miss films at TIFF. The actor stars alongside Rachel McAdams (also pulling a TIFF double-header with Brian De Palma's Passion) and Javier Bardem in the drama about a man who returns to his hometown after his failed marriage to a European woman. But it's not the marquee stars that are drawing attention to the project, but its elusive Oscar nominated director Terrence Malick. His sixth feature comes just one short year after his masterpiece Tree of Life was released, making it the shortest amount of time Malick fans have ever had to wait for one of his films. So you'd better believe this will be one hot ticket at TIFF.  The Master: Paul Thomas Anderson, another brilliant filmmaker whose projects are few and far between, but always worth the wait (it's been five long years since the glorious There Will Be Blood) also has a film at this year's TIFF and, boy, does it look like a total knockout. (We've had chills just watching the trailers and clips). PTA's already intriguing The Master which is totally not about Scientology stars Philip Seymour Hoffman (also starring in buzzy TIFF feature A Late Quartet) as a the leader of a religion that is not Scientology. Did we mention it's not about Scientology? No matter, this one is not to be missed.  Seven Psychopaths: Martin McDonagh's first full length feature, 2008's bloody good black dramedy In Bruges was not only a critical darling (it earned McDonagh an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and Colin Farrell a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical) but quickly earned status as a cult favorite. His follow-up Seven Psychopaths — stars Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Gabouey Sidibe and re-teams him with Farrell — is a dark comedy about a dognapping scheme gone awry in Los Angeles. Hey, at least they're not in f***ing Bruges.  Cloud Atlas: One of this year's most anticipated films has fans of David Mitchell's beloved book of the same name waiting with baited breath. How will The Matrix masters The Wachowskis possibly be able to pull off the multi-layered, centuries-spanning tale for the big screen? The ambitious undertaking stars Oscar winners Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, and Hugo Weaving, among others. Eager moviegoers will find out at TIFF if the 164 minute running time (!) can match the intensity of the five minute-long trailer.  The Silver Linings Playbook: No matter what there is to make of David O. Russell's off-screen antics, he has undeniably capture the attention and admiration of movie buffs and critics alike with works like Three Kings, The Fighter, and I Heart Huckabees. The Oscar-nominated writer/director's latest, Silver Linings Playbook, stars hot commodities Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper as two people grappling with mental health issues. The quirky dramedy could be the indie breakout of the fest.  The Iceman: Ariel Vroman's The Iceman — pun completely intended — looks downright chilling. Based on the haunting true story of notorious hitman Richard Kuklinski, the film stars an Oscar-primed Michael Shannon (as Kuklinski), an unrecognizable Chris Evans, and an eclectic supporting cast that includes James Franco, Winona Ryder, Ray Liotta, David Schwimmer, and Stephen Dorff. The Iceman cometh to TIFF and festival attendees would be wise to goeth.  The Impossible: While The Impossible isn't the only natural disaster film to play at TIFF (Aftershock does as well) nor is it the first to broach trying to capture the horrors of the devastating 2004 earthquake and tsunami (a story line Clint Eastwood's Hereafter dealt with the tragedy) but Juan Antonio Bayona's telling of an amazing true life story of a family during the disaster won't be one to miss. Starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, The Impossible will be a certified tearjerker that could very well capture the attention of the Academy as its starts its journey on the festival circuit.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower: No, it may not be an Oscar contender like some of the other TIFF features, but like fellow TIFF entry On the Road, Perks is a beloved novel finally being brought to the big screen. With young talent like Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, and Emma Watson (in her first post-Harry Potter effort) on board, positive early buzz on Perks could turn the adaptation of Stephen Chbosky's book into a sleeper hit. Plus, with all the heavy fare playing at this year's fest, Perks could be a welcome, and much-needed, break for moviegoers.  Much Ado About Nothing: We know, we know, haven't we seen this before? Sure, Shakespeare's classic has gotten the big screen treatment before, but never one that's a modern retelling from none other than Joss Whedon. Whedon, who is already having a banner year with The Avengers, is using some of the best actors from his arsenal of classics (including the likes of Nathan Fillion, Fran Kranz, Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, and Clark Gregg) for the black and white flick. Movie geeks — assemble!  Honorable mentions: Be sure to keep an eye out for some of these year's other must-see TIFF films including Cannes' Palme d'Or winner Amour; early Best Actor contenders like John Hawkes in The Sessions and Mads Mikkelsen in The Hunt; early Best Actress contenders Marion Cotillard in Rust and Bone and Keira Knightley in Anna Karenina; Lee Daniels' foray into noir, The Paperboy (yes, that one with Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron); the Blue Valentine reunion of Ryan Gosling and director Derek Cianfrance in The Place Beyond the Pines; David Ayers' latest cop flick End of Watch starring Jake Gyllenhaal; West of Memphis, the latest documentary on the always compelling West Memphis 3 case; and the film kicking off the fest, the mind-bending Blade Runner homage, Looper starring — who else? — Joseph Gordon-Levitt. [Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]More: Toronto Film Festival 2012: 'On the Road', Michael Jackson Documentary 'Bad 25' Added to Lineup Toronto Film Festival 2012: Films From Affleck, Redford, Malick Among the Lineup 'Cloud Atlas' Collides Past, Present & Future in an Epic Six Minutes — TRAILER
  • 'Big Brother' Recap: On Comet, On Stupid
    By: Aly Semigran Sep 02, 2012
    Tonight's Big Brother urged viewers to ponder some of Earth's greatest mysteries: Are we alone in the universe? (If we aren't, we better hope they don't discover Big Brother). What's the meaning of life? (Screw it, we'll let Shane answer that one). Is there a science to winning Big Brother? Now this one is tricky.  Some may argue that there is a method to winning Big Brother. That it's finding the delicate equation of brains, brawn, manipulation, keen strategy, making big power plays at crucial moments and staying under the radar when necessary. Others would argue it's just a random assortment of dumb luck and good timing. It's fitting that as Season 14 winds down that question is coming to the surface again, especially on such a science-friendly week. (Bill Nye would have been so proud. Or not.)  Things kicked off where we left off on Thursday night, with the players orbiting in the "Soak Up the Sun" HoH competition. Joe fell first and received punishment from America, which was to hula hoop, at any given moment. Joe warned — sorry yelled at an entirely unreasonable volume — that if his kids watching at home were to make fun of him for falling off two minutes into the competition he would put his size 13 foot to use. Hey, you know what they say about guys with big feet. That they are loud, obnoxious, a**holes!  Jenn quickly followed suit leaving Ian, Shane, Danielle, and Dan to compete in the high stakes HoH. It was a must-win for Ian if there ever was one. Not only did he acknowledge that his wishy-washy strategies ultimately cost Britney her place in the game, but with a disassembled Quack Pack he could very well be on his own. Frank, who is always in survival mode, was hanging on to that idea that if Dan hangs on he will keep their newfound alliance in tact if he becomes HoH. Now whether you're a man or woman of faith or science could ultimately determine how you think this season will pan out. Science will tell you that Ian's knowledge of the game and other bonus fun facts such as the laws of acceleration and the fact that comets are made of ice, yet the Big Brother comets are orange and fiery. Ya burnt, CBS! But faith will tell you that maybe Dan — who has earned his stripes as the most cunning player in Big Brother history — really is Judas. After all, what mere mortal who isn't a raging sociopath could reason that swearing on their loved one's lives isn't a bad thing because their intentions are for their mutual benefit. Back in the house Ian had previously said to Dan that he not only wanted to get the Quack Pack together, but that he was aiming to get Frank and Jenn on the block. Dan's "allegiance" to Frank was all but shattered, as he explained that the only loyalty he had in the house was to himself. Ultimately it wouldn't matter because both Dan and Danielle fell out of the HoH competition, leaving just Shane and Ian. It was no longer the intense faith vs. science match-up, but as Dan pointed out, "the prom king vs. the valedictorian." And who always emerges from that battle? That's right nerds, it's nerds!  Shane tried with all his handsome might to stay on, but acceleration and all that other science crap Ian was blathering on about proved to be too much or him. While Shane was the "safe" bet for everyone else in the house, Ian's spritely physique and understanding of, you know, physics, made him the winner. But before Shane surrendered to Ian, he made him promise that neither he nor Danielle would be put on the block. Ian gave Shaners (?) his word that he wouldn't backdoor him or Danielle.  And it's a good thing because without Danielle around, who would Shane have to whisper things to him while he's in the shower and couldn't possibly hear her from afar with running water pouring over him? Science! Shane assured Danielle that Ian would be gunning for Frank and Joe, not them, and Danielle gushed and batted her eyes that Shane is her "knight and shining armor" sent to protect her in the game. Somewhere, Zingbot and feminists everywhere were malfunctioning. It only got worse when Jenn told Danielle that Shane referred to her as his "girlfriend" which Danielle unconvincingly played off as annoyance that she doesn't "know what to do with this boy." Then Jenn spoke on behalf of everyone everywhere that's ever had to listen to a girl feign annoyance about a boy she's not so secretly crazy for: "You love it. "  While paranoia ran high (Joe thought Ian would put Dan and Jenn on the block to avenge Britney, while Dan was certain the Quack Pack would realign), there was only room for one theory in the house: scientific theory! In Ian's HoH room, we find that not only does Ian know what's on the periodic table of elements (presumably a Big Brother first) but he has a favorite element. For the record, it's bismuth. You know, if Ian doesn't win Big Brother, there's another summer program he could do quite well on: Breaking Bad. Granted, he would be making Pepto Bismol instead of meth, but dammit if he wouldn't be the best Pepto Bismol maker on the market!  Ian seemed stalwart in his allegiance to the Quack Pack and looked to put Frank and Jenn on the block, something Frank seemed to have a hunch about. During a heart-to-heart (well, carrot-to-heart) chat, Frank promised Ian that not only would he and Boogie have taken him to the end, but he's still willing to do that. Not only that, but with Frank's punishment and inability to play in any competitions he wasn't a real "threat" to Ian. (Of course, this being a double eviction week, anything goes.) Ian took Frank's words into consideration and opted backdooring Joe, the other lone non-Quack Pack member. Ian had a lot of thinking to do about who to put on the block, but Pandora's Box gave him something to think about. Now logic would tell Ian that the 50/50 odds of getting a "good" Pandora's Box is awfully risky this late in the game but faith will tell you...OHMYGODCHRISTMASPRESENTS! C'mon, it's Christmas presents every time.  By Big Brother standards Ian would wind up on the good list rather than the naughty list. So if you believe in that kind of thing, that's exactly why he got a ton of awesome gifts (including a telescope, Legos, and an extra $1000) while his housemates got a visit from a pec-tacular elf in a thong in the form of Big Brother alum Jesse who didn't bring them presents, rather, took away all their glorious junk food. Young Ian clearly made the right decision when it came to Pandora's Box, but how would he fare in the nomination ceremony? Frank opted to play nice with Ian on the off chance he wouldn't be up for eviction and could try and restore his bond with him. Not to mention the fact that if Ian were to put anyone up to avenge Britney, it could literally be anyone else in the house as literally everyone else in the house voted her out.  Still, Ian's mind was made up, he put Jenn and Frank (now out of his carrot costume) back on the block. Neither were terribly surprised. In fact, the only person that was surprised was Dan who was stunned at how easy it was to worm his way back into the Quack Pack despite stabbing them all in the back last week. If Frank wins PoV this week (which, let's face it, he probably will) he'll officially have nine lives. Of course, if anyone in this game has shown how coming back from the dead is done, it's Dan. Faith and science may keep you from believing in zombies, but damn if Big Brother hasn't proven us otherwise.  Did Ian make the right choice in putting Frank up again? Should he have put his faith back in Frank or are his instincts about Dan taking him to the end right? Will Frank walk away from being a dead man walking again and send Jenn packing? Or will Dan put an end to Frank once and for all? Oh, life's unanswerable mysteries! Well, at least until Wednesday. In the meantime, share your theories in the comments section. [Photo credit: CBS]  More: Big Brother Recap: Pleas and Carrots Big Brother Recap: Dan's the Man Big Brother Recap: Can We Speak Frankly?
  • LeAnn Rimes Sues Two Women For Recorded Phone Call 
    By: Aly Semigran Aug 31, 2012
    Just one day after it was announced that country singer/actress/constant tabloid fodder LeAnn Rimes voluntarily entered a treatment facility for 30 days "to cope with anxiety and stress" news has surfaced that she is also suing two women over a recorded phone call.  According to People, the 30-year-old star filed papers on Thursday over an invasion of privacy claiming that Kimberly Smiley and her daughter Lexi Smiley (according to the documents Rimes does not know the true names of the defendants, so is using their fictitious names) illegally recorded a phone conversation without her consent.  Rimes is suing the Smileys — who she apparently called to discuss hurtful remarks they'd allegedly made about her on Twitter —  for conspiring "to spitefully ensure that out-of-context excerpts of that recording would be disseminated to the public."  The nearly 20-minute conversation, which includes discussion of Rimes' husband Eddie Cibrian's ex-wife Brandi Glanville, has since gone viral. In the document, Rimes claims that the recording made by the two women has caused "emotional distress," and she seeks to be "compensated for the harm that she has endured as a result of the defendants' malicious actions."  CBS News is reporting, however, that Kimberly Smiley, a schoolteacher, has denied posting the recording (in the state of California it is illegal for a party to record a phone call without the other person's knowledge) and that she shared it online acquaintances, one of whom played it for Glanville. Smiley told CBS, "The whole thing is just ridiculous. It's just a celebrity who's too full of herself." (Somewhere, Jennifer Aniston is eternally thankful for the break she's going to get from the tabloids over the next few weeks during the inevitable back-and-forth of all the parties involved in this story.)  [Photo credit:]  More:  LeAnn Rimes Enters Treatment  LeAnn Rimes Says She Doesn't Regretting Cheating  LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian Get Married
  • 'Louie' Recap: Better Late Night Than Never 
    By: Aly Semigran Aug 31, 2012
    In the smart, lovely indie Sleepwalk with Me (in select theaters now, go find it) comedian Mike Birbiglia acknowledges that to be a stand-up, one must be completely delusional. That no person of sound mind would ever get back on a stage again after the first time they bombed, nor would they quit after they realize when an audience doesn't laugh not only are they saying we don't like your act, we don't like you.  Comedy is, far and away, the most difficult job in show business, and as Louis C.K. suggested during last night's surprising episode of Louie, one with an oft tragically short shelf life. That even the most polished comics on the top of their game (see: Louis C.K.) have trouble enjoying their success because they are acutely aware of their place on the comedy pecking order.  But if there's anyone who shouldn't worry about their place in the comedy world, it's Louis C.K. During the opening scene in this week's Louie, which took our hero out of New York City and into Los Angeles (possibly for good), he is delivering a brilliant set that proved, yet again, he is the George Carlin of this generation. Among the sets gems (including a brilliant tirade against consumer reviews of electronics "all made from the same Asian suffering") Louis mused that Americans wonder when they can explain the concept of war to their kids, while children in Afghanistan ponder, "How come Uncle Henry's head is gone now? Oh, because of the war."  With his childlike producer Doug in tow, Louie learns he'll get to do ten minutes of material on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on the same night Tom Cruise will be there. He'll get bumped for sure, he worries. But Louis would come to have a rude awakening (and not just by the hotel staff that didn't quite comprehend the premise of the "Do Not Disturb" sign a little later in the ep). On the day of the show, Leno (who makes a cameo in the episode) informs Louis that he is getting bumped... to the top guest slot after Cruise drops out at the last minute.  As fate would have it, Louis kills on The Tonight Show, and his appearance goes viral. We don't see what the set is, but if we're following a loose timeline of the real Louis, it would probably have been this. The next morning, a frenzied Doug alerts him that he has to be at CBS in an hour. "There's not even time to jerk off," Louis cries aloud, in quintessential Louis manner. Louis gets the phone call most comedians wait their whole life for, and his biggest concern is not having enough time to masturbate. If that doesn't personify the tragic nature of most comedians/funny people, I don't know what does.  At CBS, Louis and Doug meet with the chairman of CBS, played by the great Garry Marshall. The old fashioned New York straight shooter, he tells Louis, under a strict confidentiality agreement that David Letterman will be retiring this year and offers him his coveted position as the host of The Late Show. Louis immediately says no, that he is not the man for the job, that CBS should aim higher and go for a sure thing like Jerry Seinfeld. (Seinfeld did not appear in this ep, though as we exclusively reported earlier in the season, he will eventually make a cameo.)  But CBS already knew that. In fact, they'd already offered the television legend the job, but he would cost the network a cool $12 million, while Louis would only set them back a million. He would also have to lose 40 pounds to do a test show and, if he failed on the air, would catch all the heat as a failure. Of course, compared to his alternative of becoming a sad, old, broke comic who is "circling failure in a rapidly decaying orbit" (as Marshall's chairman sugarcoated it), a grand-scale failure soon sounded like the better options. A delusion that only a comic could have.  I can't imagine that for Season 4 Louie will veer into the The Larry Sanders Show territory, though if any show could pull it off, it's this one. But for now it's thrilling to watch Season 3 take so many creative risks and propel the story in such unexpected ways. The next few episodes may just prove to be the ultimate love letter to the art of comedy. But what do you think? Is Louie heading into exciting new territory or do you, like Louis, simply fear he's going to f**k this all up? Share your thoughts in the comments section.  [Photo credit: FX]  More:  Louie Recap: Hide and Seek  Louie Recap: Meet Louie's Dad...Or Not  Jerry Seinfeld to Guest Star on Louie This Season
  • 'Big Brother' Recap: Pleas and Carrots 
    By: Aly Semigran Aug 30, 2012
    Big Brother tends to get a bad rap, particularly among television snobs. It's nothing more than mindless voyeurism that often rewards terrible people for terrible behavior, they'll argue. Perhaps. But I defy them, or anyone for that matter, to find another show that can both examine the human condition and feature a man dressed as a carrot fighting with another man who can kick himself in the face. They can't, because only one show gets those bragging rights: The batsh**t Big Brother, which is it's undeniably great television.   Case in point: Things went to hell in a proverbial hand basket when Dan — who totally missed the point of Get Low and used his pre-death funeral for evil — made "the biggest comeback in the history of the game" and finagled his way into getting off the block in the most ingenious, borderline sociopathic mind game ever seen on reality television. And that is really saying something. Dan's crazy game play, which included making Danielle cry (not a difficult feat, but a brilliant addition to his master plan) worked when Jenn used her Power of Veto to take him off the block and put the beloved Britney up. As Shane hilariously mused in the first intelligent thing he's said all summer: "Where did Jenn come from?!" (Seriously, who the hell is Jenn? Someone please tell me.)  Britney should have seen this coming from a mile away. Not just because she has giant doll eyes, but because this exact same thing happened to her before on the show. (More on that in a bit.) She acknowledged to her teammates that she had been a sitting duck in the Quack Pack and Dan was only out for himself. "I only wish it had been his funeral, friends" she said bitterly. Even so, Britney could have a slice of humble pie in addition to Dan's Famous Arsenic Apple Pie. "I have to give him credit," she acknowledged, "he came back from the dead." Then she called him the "worst person in the entire world" and all was right again. Britney may have felt defeated and betrayed by her Quack Pack teammate ("You're so cold," she told Dan, later conceding to him, "You're really good at this"), but no one was as mad as Ian. And you wouldn't like Ian when he's angry. Actually, you would because it's endlessly entertaining to watch the spritely young superfan argue with Frank, who was still dressed like a carrot. it's even more entertaining to watch Dan descend further and further into the mustache-twisting puppet master villain role as he sits listening to the argument in the other room, laughing to himself at the havoc he hath wrought upon his house. Frank accused Ian of being sneaky and a traitor (especially to Boogie who, as Frank reminded Ian, granted him $3,000), while Ian warned his housemates that they would be fools to let Frank make it to the end. But the damage had already been done and nothing the on-thin-ice Ian could do or say could remedy that and Britney knew it.  Apparently, so did the Big Brother producers, as they put together something of a hilarious post-moterm video tribute for the soon-to-be-departed houseguest. The clip featured none other than the first set of people that killed her the first time around on the show: The Brigade. Lane, Enzo, Matt, and Hayden, the very Big Brother castmates who conspired against Britney in Season 12, returned to sing her praises for a taped segment. "We did Britney dirty," they acknowledged.  But we soon learned that Britney is now an honorary Brigade member. The perks of being a member include not having $500,000 and having fellow Brigade members dress up as your creepy pageant picture on Halloween. While nothing was funnier than Britney's live, over-the-top eye roll in response to Shane's lame excuse for why he cried at Dan's "funeral," The Brigade's pre-recorded tirade on her teammates would have made Zingbot proud. Shane wears pink tank tops. ZZZIING. Ian is tiny enough to fit in your fanny pack specifically designated for math problems. ZZZIIING. Danielle is Shane's personal Amy Fisher. ZZZIIIIIIINNG. (Also, Danielle sort of looks a little bit like Amy Fisher, no?) Dan is a werewolf in sheep's clothing because he is cunning and has very hairy forearms. ZZZIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNG.  Back at the Big Brother house, Frank confided with Julie Chen that he simply "had to pull the trigger" on getting Britney out of the house, but that Ian is the next target on his scope. And though Dan came back from the dead this week, Frank's uneasiness about his mortal enemy could result in a backdooring down the road. Earlier in the episode, Dan pondered how he could possibly top his manipulative funeral speech. If Frank gets him back on the block, I sincerely hopes he figures out what that will be because imagine the utterly insane possibilities. (An actual funeral? Sure, why not!) On the block, Danielle, who had been chained to her cohort Britney for 24 hours, gave a short and sweet plea speech. She knew the speech was simply a technicality, something she had to do. Danielle wasn't going anywhere and she knew it. And so did Britney, dressed pretty in pink. Hey, why wear black to a wake when you can wear pink?  Then Brit, who already delivered the best goodbye message of Season 14 when she "called" Boogie to tell him not to let the door hit his ass on the way out, then delivered the best kiss-off of the summer when, after declaring she didn't have a big enough ego to hold her own funeral (ZZZZZZIIIIIING), she relayed to Dan, "As a very, very old man once said, 'You'll always be Judas to me.'" Zing doesn't cover it. That one was more like ZAAAAAAANG. Now, if there was any justice in this world, she would have been saved based on that speech alone, but sadly, Britney was evicted from the Big Brother house by a vote of 4 to 1, with Ian as her lone remaining supporter. (Interestingly, Joe seemed like he paused for a second contemplating his vote, while Shane, who called the decision "a mindf**k" ultimately sided with Danielle.)  The true tragedy of Britney's "fool me once" defeat isn't that she's a bad player, it's that she continues to put her faith and trust in the wrong guys. What girl can't relate to that? During her exit interview with Chenbot, Britney acknowledged that her allegiance to Ian likely got her the boot and her trust in the "pure genius and evil" Dan was nothing short of an oversight. Now, instead of still playing the game, she's headed for the jury house. One can only begin to imagine what's been going on there with Ashley left alone to her devices. Still, even if Britney's track record doesn't have a win, you've got to admit the girl knows the game inside and out. She knows the dirty tricks and what can make or break another player. (She astutely pointed out that Frank needs to pump the brakes while Shane needs to step out of the follower role.) Britney may not have been prepared to fight back against Dan, but not even the most seasoned player could have seen that fake funeral switcheroo coming. Britney may not have had a funeral, but Ian promised to avenge her death nevertheless, telling his friend in his goodbye message that he would "get that hairy orange beast." Of course, Ian will first have to win the "Soak Up the Sun" PoV game in which he and his housemates revolve around a sun that shoots paint at them for arguably the worst spray tan ever. Ashley would never stand for such a thing!  Is it Sunday yet? Not only to see who emerged the victor in this dizzying challenge, but also it's going to be glorious to see what "punishment" Joe, who unsurprisingly fell out of the game first, will have to endure from the secret box. Not to mention the fact that next week brings yet another double elimination night. When Chenbot told the Big Brother players "Hold on tight," we should all really consider that fair warning. TV snobs, you don't know what you're missing.  What did you think of last night's crazy episode of Big Brother? Is Dan a really evil or really crazy birthday boy or both? Could Britney have done anything to save herself? Is Ian now the biggest target, or wlll Frank and Dan set their sights back on each other? Couldn't the Mighty Ducks conceivably bring down a tank? C'mon, Brigade, why would that be so hard to believe? Share your thoughts in the comments section below! [Photo credit: CBS]  More:  Big Brother Recap: Dan's the Man  Big Brother Recap: Can We Speak Frankly?  Big Brother Recap: Quick Quack
  • 'Big Brother': Tonight's Evicted Houseguest Is...
    By: Aly Semigran Aug 30, 2012
    In your heaaaaaad, in your heaaaaaad, they're still fighting. With their Zingbots and their Power of Vetos and their HoHs and their Quack Packs. In your heaaaaaad, Dan's a zombie-eh-eh-eh-eh. (You guys, that's how great Big Brother is it can make you spontaneously break into your own take on a Cranberries song.)  It's true, Dan the Zombie came back from the dead on Wednesday night only to put the lovely and delightful Britney firmly in her grave — again —  during tonight's intense eviction episode of Big Brother.  As Big Brother fans have had a little over 24 hours to try to come to terms with Dan's Shakespearian "funeral" speech and what Julie Chen rightly referred to as "the biggest comeback in the history of the game", Britney could only surrender to her inevitable fate and do the same.  She knew what Dan had pulled off and that, yet again, she would be sent home by player(s) she'd been in an alliance with. First by The Brigade (who made a hilarious appearance in the ep) and now the Quack Pack.  Dressed pretty in pink on the block, Britney was kicked out of the house by a vote of 4-1, with her lone ally Ian trying, in vain, to keep her out of the jury house and on Big Brother for another week. Britney, as expected, left with grace and dignity, but not without dropping a killer line on the undead Dan: "You'll always be Judas to me."  Check out the full recap here! [Photo credit: CBS]  More:  Big Brother Recap: Dan's the Man Big Brother Recap: Can We Speak Frankly? Big Brother Recap: Quick Quack
  • Dave Matthews Band's Boyd Tinsley On What Inspired His Film 'Faces in the Mirror'
    By: Aly Semigran Aug 30, 2012
    It would be easy to call Faces in the Mirror "the Dave Matthews Band movie." The film, much like the road-tested Grammy-winning jammers, is grassroots in its very nature (there's no real marketing campaign attached, just word-of-mouth via fans) and features collaborations from various members of the DMB family, including Matthews himself, who contributed to the soundtrack. Moreover, the project has DMB's violinist Boyd Tinsley at the forefront, serving as writer, producer, and composer on the labor of love experiment. But as Tinsley assures, even with the undeniable DMB vibe, Faces in the Mirror — which hits iTunes Aug. 31 — is much more than just a treat for "DaveHeads." "I think it's a movie that reaches out past the DMB fan base," says Tinsley, who has spent the summer on the road with his bandmates in anticipation of their eighth studio album, Away From the World. "It's really a movie that can touch anybody because everybody knows this experience." That experience being the pain and soul-searching that comes with coping with the death of a loved one. Faces in the Mirror centers on a man named Ben (Ryan Orr, pictured below in a scene from the movie) who must come to terms with the passing of his father. The film also happens to be almost entirely dialogue-free — with the exception of narration from the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet laureate Rita Dove, the movie uses the universal language of music to express the universal feeling of grief. Grief was a feeling Tinsley, who started the project back in October 2008, knew all too well. In August 2008, Tinsley's bandmate and close friend, DMB saxophonist LeRoi Moore, passed away from complications from injuries sustained during an ATV accident. "Roi was a good friend of mine and we were very close and he was very much a mentor," Tinsley says. "He always encouraged me to get better, to stretch out musically and creatively. His death and what it did to me ‹ the depression and the darkness that set in. When I'm going through stuff like that, I need to create. I knew that fall that I needed to do something, to get into the studio and write some music, to do something." While he and his bandmates worked on the Grammy-nominated Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King (an album which paid tribute to Moore with songs like the soaring, reflective "Why I Am"), Tinsley, 48, finally got the wheels in motion to begin making a movie, something  he'd been contemplating for 15 years. "In the beginning of the process I didn't really know to what degree I would be involved in anything outside of the music. But as it went on, it really just developed on my end," says Tinsley, who teamed up with DMB's longtime lighting director Fenton Williams, who served as an executive director, and director Aaron Farrington for the film. "So much of this film and how we planned came about in very casual conversations. There were never any long, drawn-out meetings. It was right from the heart. We'd see things, have a conversation about it and get to work." With that, Tinsley and co., made a rough sketch of a storyline and ventured out on a most unorthodox method of moviemaking, recording the film's score before filming a single scene and used the music as the guiding light of the project. "It's a different kind of process, but it's a different kind of film," he says. "We didn't rehearse. Songs just happened. Everybody knew what the song was as we were playing it. I didn't tell [the musicians] what to play. I told them to play from their heart. As a producer, I wanted everybody to feel completely free." After completing the jam sessions for Faces in the Mirror ("I think I played the best music of my life on it," Tinsley says), pieces of the movie began to fall into place. Script, shooting —  everything went as smoothly as one of Tinsley's violin solos, according to the musician. Of course, Tinsley, who makes a brief cameo at the end of the film as a preacher, had a solid foundation to help ease his foray into filmmaking. "I've worked every single day for the last four years," he says. "I don't think I would have had the comfort to do this without the support of the band and the entire DMB organization. They've been really involved in this. That, too, is one of the big reasons I was determined to make this movie. I wasn't going to finish until it was absolutely right." Of course, Tinsley's biggest allies are DMB devotees themselves, the same fan base that launched the group to stardom in the '90s with live show tape trading. Thanks to word-of-mouth on message boards and Tinsley's constant communication with fans on Twitter, the buzz seems to be building in the DMB community.  And like Tinsley has done with his bandmates for 20 years, he's taking his show on the road. The musician is appearing in Seattle tonight to premiereof the film, and headline a Q&A and live performance with various musicians on the soundtrack. (Even those outside the city can catch the show, as it will be streaming live on But Tinsley hopes to expand, bringing Faces in the Mirror to the masses via a tour following the iTunes release and eventual access on VoD. Tinsley admits film's release, however, will be a bittersweet celebration even though the driving inspiration behind the film, LeRoi Moore, will be there in spirit. "This movie brought new life to me," Tinsley says. "He would have loved this movie." Faces in the Mirror will premiere tonight on and become available on iTunes on Aug. 31. Dave Matthews Band's latest studio album Away From the World will be released on Sept. 11. [Photo credits: Tinsley:, Faces in the Mirror: Johnny St. Ours]  More:  2012 Grammys: Full List of Winners
  • 'The To Do List' Trailer: Aubrey Plaza and Everyone Else You Love On TV Made a Movie
    By: Aly Semigran Aug 30, 2012
    If you're a fan of Parks and Recreation, Community, Saturday Night Live, Friday Night Lights, and Arrested Development you might want to put watching the red band trailer of the upcoming comedy The To Do List at the top of yours. (And if you're not a fan of those shows, it's time to seriously reevaluate some things.)   The movie, about a young woman named Brandy who plans to cross things off her sexual bucket list before heading to college (a "f**k-et list" if we're being totally crass here), stars Parks and Rec actress Aubrey Plaza (as the aforementioned Brandy) along with other beloved television royalty like SNL's Bill Hader and Andy Samberg, FNL's Connie Britton and Scott Porter, Arrested Development's Alia Shawkat, Community's Donald Glover, and The O.C.'s Rachel Bilson (added Hart of Dixie crossover bonus with Bilson and Porter!) Add a couple of great character actors to that list (including The Avengers' scene-stealer Clark Gregg, poised to do that again here) and you can pretty much mark this one down as your date for Valentine's Day. Check out the fairly NSFW clip —  introduced by Plaza (who proved she's an entirely capable leading lady on the big screen as evident by this summer's quirky sleeper Safety Not Guaranteed) — here:  The To Do List opens on Valentine's Day 2013.  [Photo Credit: The Mark Gordon Company] More: Parks and Recreation Promos Get in the Olympic Spirit  Emmy Longshot: Aubrey Plaza Arrested Development On-Set Photos
  • 'Fifty Shades of Grey': What do Authors and BDSM Experts Think?
    By: Aly Semigran Aug 29, 2012
    To call Fifty Shades of Grey a literary and pop culture sensation would be nothing short of an understatement. E.L. James' erotic trilogy about a young woman's romantic and sexual entanglement with a wealthy, but complicated, business tycoon and their BDSM relationship has become a phenomenon of unexpected, unparalleled proportions. Just how big a phenomenon? The books — Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed — have been on the New York Times bestseller list for 25 weeks and currently sit in the top three slots, respectively. The trilogy surpassed the 20 million sales mark in the United States in July (the books have sold over 30 million copies worldwide), broke records previously held by fellow popular series like Harry Potter and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and will soon boast a big screen adaptation from the producers of The Social Network. Not bad for something that merely started out as a piece of Twilight fan fiction. But while James' powerhouse books have left retailers, movie executives, and readers (even those beyond that embarrassingly named "mommy porn" demographic) satisfied, what about the two groups perhaps most directly affected by the wildly popular saga: erotica writers and the BDSM community? After all, the trilogy has led readers to become increasingly aware and interested in both the once-taboo book genre (Fifty Shades copycat Bared to You has quickly climbed the NY Times bestseller list and more will likely follow) and the once-underground world of BDSM. (Everything from Fifty Shades-themed dating services to sex kits have spawned as a result from the books). "I've been tracking media for the past 17 years for NCSF and there has never been any kind of reaction like this before," says Susan Wright, a spokesperson for the advocacy group National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. "Look at what a brilliant stonewall this is: Twilight fan fiction to open the conversation." And it's a conversation that needed to be brought to the masses, Wright says. According to a 2008 study conducted by NCSF, 37.5 percent of respondents in the BDSM community had experienced discrimination, harassment, or violence. Fifty Shades' frankness, says Wright, has helped open up audiences to the civility of the fetish and to the accessibility of erotic novels. "The best thing about the book is that it shows the discussion," she says. "Women who have never really thought about [BDSM] can go, 'Wow, that does sound kind of appealing' and realize that these sex games are available to anyone." BDSM 101 Odd to think of a work of fiction as a learning tool, but BDSM advocates tell that those eager to enter into the community are using Fifty Shades of Grey — which introduces not only certain psychological aspects of BDSM relationships, but also sex devices like Ben-Wah balls and riding crops — as BDSM 101. "This book is a catalyst," Guy Sanders (better known as Sir Guy), board member and media representative for the nation's largest and longest-running BDSM support and education group, The Eulenspiegel Society, says. "Now maybe it will be more open and there won't be as much prejudice against it and we may have an opportunity to make better strides as far as the understanding of the people in these practices. The opportunity for us to educate people." Especially when audiences could only rely on the entertainment industry's inaccurate portrayals of the fetish prior to the franchise's release. "[Fifty Shades] will put a different face on BDSM," says Sanders, who does, however, praise BDSM-friendly work like 9 1/2 Weeks and Secretary. "When you look at a lot of these crime shows, even the news media, whenever BDSM is depicted, the people in it are dysfunctional, they are sexual deviants or serial killers or something along those lines. With this book and the people that have found interest in it, you'll find that the guy next door might be involved, the principal at your school, the police officer on your beat, your psychologist, your lawyer might all be participants in [BDSM], so it might open up the human side of BDSM that it's not some bizarre, secret, hidden thing." Of course, while Fifty Shades has undoubtably cast a more positive light on BDSM, it's unfortunate that the piece of literature jumpstarting discussion happens to be so critically reviled, a point of contention amongst erotica authors. While some are thankful that James' overnight, word-of-mouth success has brought more attention (and book sales) to the genre, others —  like 76-year-old Desiree Holt, the oldest romance author in the world — some can't seem to get past the fact that it was achieved through an arguably poorly written book by someone who is not a professional writer. (Sample excerpt: "I gape at him. I have my second date with Christian oh-so-mysterious Grey. From coffee to helicopter rides. Wow.") "I read all of them and while I found the love story touching, I found all the books poorly written and and often incorrect as far as the BDSM is concerned," says Holt, who recently penned an erotic retelling of Northanger Abbey. "The thing is, authors like Joey Hill have done the same story much, much better and with much more intensity. You have to really understand BDSM to write about and it's obvious that E.L. James didn't do her research." And, when it comes to an erotic novel like Fifty Shades of Grey, inaccuracies could lead to danger. According to Sanders, audiences who learn about the BDSM world through the franchise may be ignorant of certain safety precautions. "People try things because its fashionable and they may now flood into the BDSM community, not necessarily as people who want to learn or people who want to practice, but as voyeurs and tourists," he says. "It could cause people to get involved with practices they don't really understand and not do them safely. It can also allow for misinformation to come about if they don't know where to properly exercise these and as a result have these problems." WHAT MAKES AN EROTICA WRITER? It's an interesting conundrum: Anyone can pick up a pen and write a best-selling novel, but should only experts in the field be allowed to broach BDSM? Are fans simply too inexperienced to write fiction? "Writing is a discipline," Holt says. "I guess that's another reason why some authors are a little ticked off about Fifty Shades of Grey, because this came out of nowhere and its fan fiction, which is not a disciplined environment. There are lots of wonderful erotic romance writers out there who make the New York Times bestseller list who have worked very hard at their craft and have not achieved that kind of celebrity." And some erotica writers feel James is misplaced in the genre. While erotic novelist Teirney Medeiros (Axel's Obsession, Ivory's Addiction) was captivated by the first book ("I stayed up until 4 AM reading that book," she admits), the author is dismayed by the franchise itself and what she calls "a misrepresentation of erotic romance." (And Wright agrees that the books felt more like romance novels than erotic fiction.) "My initial reaction was the language wasn't right," Medeiros says. "It was all flowery and too sweet. It felt off to me. You could almost have the story without the BDSM. It's like [James] wanted something there that was just risqué. This book felt like a sweet romance, but they just forgot to close the bedroom door instead of inviting you in with them."  Still, some authors in the genre are able to put aside Fifty Shades of Grey's literary shortcomings to praise James for helping expand the genre — whether that's erotica or romance. "The Fifty Shades phenomenon is a natural outgrowth of what is almost 35 years of tremendous growth in romance fiction and a tremendous growth in women's fiction," says Amazon best-selling author Cerise DeLand (Rope Me In, At Her Service). "I think that the reason it is doing so well is attributed to a marvelous publicity campaign that got the word out in a big way. And the packaging was subtle, those who bought the book in print format [felt] as though they were able to do so and take it to the doctor's office and read it with impunity, which has always been a huge challenge for women reading romance." Of course, DeLand still does note about the franchise, "Where the hell was the copywriter with the use of ellipses?" And even though Holt is "glad" for James and how she's raised awareness of BDSM and erotic literature, "I hope it spills over onto the rest of us. But I'd really feel a lot better about it if it was a really excellent book." [Image credit: Vintage Books]  More:  Fifty Shades of Grey Role: A True Blood Battle?  Fifty Shades of Grey Album in the Works: Listen To Our Playlist  Fifty Shades of Grey: Disguise Your Copy With These Book Covers!
  • Going to 'Graceland': Who (Else) Should Play Elvis On the Big Screen?
    By: Aly Semigran Aug 29, 2012
    Here's a (hunka hunka) burnin' question. Now that, according to Variety, production company BiteSize Entertainment will adapt David E. Stanley and David Gruder's book about Elvis Presley called Conversations With the King: Journals of a Young Apprentice for the big screen, who should play the legendary, beloved rocker?  The film, titled Growing Up Graceland, will reportedly "be based on Stanley's 'spiritual journey' with Presley, his stepbrother" and "will also deal with Presley's spiritual search for meaning during the years before his death in 1977," meaning the movie will run the gamut from younger, pelvis-y Elvis, to the latter day, significantly less pelvis-y Elvis.  Of course, the huge task of playing The King has been attempted on film before (Tyler Hilton was impressive as a young Elvis in the Oscar-winning Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, as well as Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the TV movie Elvis, and of course, Bruce Campbell in Bubba Ho Tep) but there's never really been an "Elvis movie," let alone two... In addition to Growing Up Graceland, there will be Elvis & Nixon, Cary Elwes' directorial debut, which will feature Eric Bana as the "Jailhouse Rock" crooner for the upcoming film. So who else would be able to pull off playing one of the most iconic and beloved entertainment figures in history?  As far as the versatility goes (and willingness to throw on old man makeup and a fat suit) Leonardo DiCaprio would likely be game, as would James Franco (who knows a thing or two about playing a Hollywood icon when he memorably played James Dean). Presley superfan Nicolas Cage would jump at the chance to play Elvis again (after all, he literally jumped at the chance in Honeymoon in Vegas) while Tom Everett Scott has already proven he can play music and act. (See: That Thing You Do! No, really. Why aren't you watching it right now?)  Lest we all forget, Zac Efron, did a pretty good job of playing a coif-rocking, hip-thrusting teen '60s heartthrob, too, in Hairspray. And much like Scott and Efron, Darren Criss, could pull off the singing, dancing and acting triple threat. But who do you think could possibly step into Elvis' shoes? Take our poll below and tell us in the comments section.<a href="">Who (else) should play Elvis Presley?</a>  [Photo credit:]  More:  Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs: Why It Could Be a Great Idea  Channing Tatum to Play Evil Knievel  Luke Wilson, Kevin Connolly Board Elvis & Nixon