Author

Shannon Houston
  • How Controversial Will Oprah's Role as God in Her New Christian-Themed Movie Be?
    By: Shannon Houston May 09, 2014
    FayesVision/WENN Last year when Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker teamed up, it resulted in one of the best films of the year: Lee Daniels' The Butler. This year the two are working together on a new project, and we have a number of reasons to get excited about it. Whitaker is rumored to be the director of the highly-anticipated adaptation of The Shack, a book that had some controversial plot points when it first came out back in 2007.  It hasn't been confirmed yet, but according to reports he has plans to write, direct, and star in the movie. The great Idris Elba is rumored to have been cast in a lead role, so we also have that to look forward to. And if you haven't read the book yet, Indiewire's Shadow & Act shared this bit about William Paul Young's novel: ... a Christian-themed novel about a character by the name of Mackenzie Allen Philips, whose youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and may have been brutally murdered. Four years later, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God (the above-mentioned jolly African American woman), inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever.  The book went on to become a bestseller, but it's going to be interesting to see how people react to the movie — especially considering the fact that Winfrey is most likely playing the role of God. When issues of race and gender intersect with Christianity and Christian beliefs, controversy almost always ensues. We saw strong reactions to Darren Aronofsky's Noah (which people felt deviated too far from the Bible, while others argued that there should have been people of color in the film), and people will surely raise objections about a black woman playing God. So, how controversial is Oprah's new movie? Well, not controversial at all if you think God could (or even should) be played by a woman of color. And if you loved Winfrey's performance in The Butler, then this is definitely exciting casting news. But if you believe God either looks like some variation of a.) Gandalf, b.) Morgan Freeman, or c.) Will Ferrell then this movie might be problematic for you.  Follow @Hollywood_com Follow @shannonmhouston //
  • Is 'Penny Dreadful' Another 'Sleepy Hollow'?
    By: Shannon Houston May 09, 2014
    Showtime Fans of Sleepy Hollow may be in for quite a treat with a new Showtime series Penny Dreadful. As viewers patiently await the return of FOX's hit show, they may find solace in this new horror series. John Logan and Sam Mendes are behind this (respectively as creator and executive producer), and Eva Green and Josh Hartnett are taking the leads. A trailer was recently released, and it looks like a good, scary time: Sleepy Hollow takes place in the present day, but with all of Ichabod Crane's flashbacks, it also has a seriously old-timey vibe. There is a great distinction here, as Crane lived during the American Revolution, while Penny Dreadful takes place in Victorian London. Both shows have — as their basis — this idea of people taking on supernatural forces. The folks working on Penny Dreadful have, however, stressed that their stories will be rooted in more realistic situations. Everyone is human, but the tagline of the series points to the idea that all humans have a bit of monster in them. While there is no replacement for Tom Mison or Nicole Beharie, you have to appeciate this smoking hot cast. Green and Hartnett are joined by newcomer Reeve Carney (he plays Dorian Gray). And literary influence weighs heavy on both shows. Much of Crane's vast knowledge comes from his love of literature and his familiarity with the Bible. Similarly, many of the frightening characters we can expect to meet on Penny Dreadful come from classic works of literature (like Dorian Gray and Frankenstein). You can actually watch the season premiere before it airs on May 11 right now on Showtime. Chances are, if you're a self-proclaimed Sleepy Head, you'll dig the vibe. But it's also good to know that the series has its own unique plans for entertaining us. Follow @Hollywood_com Follow @shannonmhouston //
  • Marion Cotillard's Top 10 Performances
    By: Shannon Houston May 08, 2014
    Picturehouse via Everett Collection If you've ever seen Marion Cotillard in a film and asked yourself, "Is that the same actress from ____?" we are here to help. As the French film star-turned-American film star is preparing for the upcoming release of The Immigrant — her highly-anticipated film with Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner — we look back at 10 of her many amazing performances and attempt to rank them. This is a near-impossible task when they're all so brilliant, and Cotillard has taken on a myriad unforgettable characters over the years. For those not entirely familiar with the name, here are 10 reasons to get to know her, and for her biggest fans, feel free to disagree and share your own ranking in the comments. 10. Public Enemies In the 2009 film from director Michael Mann, Cotillard played John Dillinger's lover, Billie Frechette. She beat out a slew of American actresses to play the singer/waitress who stole the outlaw's heart. 9. Little White Lies In the fantastic French comedy directed by her partner Guillaume Canet, Cotillard delivers a memorable performance as Marie. After a good friend is critically injured, she and a group of pals have a complicated and drama-filled vacation during which Marie smokes pot, takes a lover, and offers true support to the ones who need it most. It's a rebellious sort of character that we often see Cotillard playing, but it never gets old. 8. A Very Long Engagement Another beloved French film star takes the lead in this one, but even alongside Audrey Tautou's standout performance, Cotillard holds her own as Tina Lombardi. She gives a thrilling performance as a vengeful prostitute, taking down the men responsible for her lover's death. Her story functions as a great parallel to Audrey's character Mathilde, who is also searching for answers about her missing lover, but goes about it in a far less violent way. 7. Midnight in Paris "You have just about one of the best faces ever" — truer words were never spoken. Cotillard as Picasso's lover and muse (Adriana) is probably one of the most perfectly cast roles. She embodied all of the nostalgia and Parisian enchantment we associate with this amazing film. 6. Nine As the wife of Italian filmmaker Guido Contini, Cotillard slays all in this epic revenge, burlesque scene that took her out of her housewife role and brought her back to the stage. The film adaptation of Maury Yeston's musical centered around a host of talented actresses as Guido's women — Penélope Cruz, Kate Hudson, and Nicole Kidman all delivered strong performances. But it's Cotillard as Mrs. Contini who manages to cut her husband down and bring the director to his knees. 5. The Dark Knight Rises Moviegoers everywhere got the shock of their cinematic lives back in 2012 when Cotillard, initially thought to be the sweet and lovely philanthropist Miranda Tate, revealed herself as the daughter of Ra's al Guhl. That slow knife, and the story of her childhood escape from hell on earth made her one of the most excellent villains we'd ever met. 4. Inception After her role in Christopher Nolan's Oscar-winning film, Cotillard finally started to become more of a household name for American audiences. She shocked, swayed, and frightened us as Mal -- a woman, a dream, a projection of the subconscious of her husband, protagonist Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio). Stuck between reality and limbo, her haunting and violent presence brought much of the tragic beauty to this powerful narrative. 3. Love Me If You Dare Over 10 years ago Cotillard found love on the film set of Love Me If You Dare. She and Guilluame Canet now have a little boy together, but they started out in a brilliantly dark story about young love and a game of dare gone terribly wrong (or terribly right, depending on how you like your film endings). 2. Rust and Bone A troubled boxer and an orca trainer who suffers a terrible accident develop an intense bond in this dark and brilliant tale based on the short stories of Craig Davidson. In one of her finest hours, Cotillard plays Stéphanie and her onscreen transformation from one type of woman, to another, to another is thrilling to witness. Her powerful chemistry with Matthias Schoenhaerts (who also delivers a knockout performance) makes the film a heartbreaking, spectacular experience in love, pain, and family. 1. La Vie En Rose As amazing as she has been in all of these other performances, nothing compares to Cotillard's turn as beloved French singer and performer Édith Piaf in the 2007 biopic La Vie en Rose. The actress became the first to win a Best Actress Academy Award for a French-language role, as the powerhouse performance simply could not be compared to anything else that came out that year. Cotillard was unrecognizable as Piaf, and brought to life one of the most compelling true stories of our time. Follow @Hollywood_com Follow @shannonmhouston //
  • Exclusive 'Grimm' Clip Shows Us There's More Trubel Ahead
    By: Shannon Houston May 07, 2014
    NBC Universal Media As if the increasingly horrifying monsters weren't enough, recent episodes of Grimm have given us even more reason to tune in on Friday nights. Theresa Rubel A.K.A. Trubel is the new Grimm in town, and she's been kicking ass and taking names since she first arrived in Portland and almost killed Monroe. But all that's in the past now, as Trubel has officially been welcomed into Nick and Juliette's home. However, the gang still has a lot to learn about her and so do we. In this exclusive clip from the show, we get a sneak peek at this Friday's episode ("The Inheritance"), and we learn more about Trubel's troubles with a glimpse at the young woman behind all that attitude. "The Inheritance" premieres Friday night at 9 PM EST on NBC.
  • Disney's New 'Jungle Book' Movie Sounds Oddly Hot
    By: Shannon Houston May 06, 2014
    FayesVision/WENN Disney has a new adaptation of The Jungle Book headed our way in 2015, and there are plenty of reasons to get excited about it. Jon Favreau (Iron Man) is directing and, according to reports, we can expect a live-action/CG hybrid movie. There are plenty of children's movies that adults secretly (or openly) love, but it's beginning to sound like we're all going to love this movie for other... hotter reasons. Although we probably won't get to see much in the way of their faces, we can't help but notice that this sounds like the hottest rumored cast in history. Arguably the most attractive man alive Idris Elba has actually been confirmed as the voice of Shere Khan, the man-eating tiger. And Scarlett Johansson and People's Most Beautiful star Lupita Nyong'o are both rumored to have parts in the film. Johansson is in talks to voice Kaa, a python who uses hypnosis to devour her prey (that sounds accurate), and  Nyong'o is in the final stages of negotiating her role as the voice of Rakcha, the mother wolf who adopts Mowgli.  If all of this comes together, we will have three of the most attractive people in Hollywood voicing these characters, and turning The Jungle Book into an oddly hot adaptation the likes of which the animated world has never seen. No complaints over here. Follow @Hollywood_com Follow @shannonmhouston //
  • 6 Music Video Directors Turned Filmmakers
    By: Shannon Houston May 05, 2014
    therealmratner/instagram Few filmmakers come out of the gate swinging with an epic two-hour feature film debut that goes on to achieve huge box office success. Most of them start small with commercials, shorts, and low-budget indie flicks. And some of the most renowned filmmakers started out creating visuals for the music world, eventually working their way up to narrative features. Here are just a few movie directors who have also made great contributions to the world of music video. Spike Jonze This year he took home his first Oscar for Her, winning the award Best Original Screenplay. But back in the '90s he brought us the video to one of the most infectiously delightful songs ever, Fatboy Slim's "Praise You." As you can see, his sense of whimsy hasn't changed over the years. Hype Williams Even if Belly wasn't the greatest cinematic achievement of all time (although, if you were a huge DMX fan back in the day, it probably was), it was exciting to see hip-hop video director extraordinaire Hype Williams create a feature film. Did it play a lot like a really long rap video at times? Yes. But that unforgettable scene with DMX watching Gummo was so amazing, it really didn't matter. Hype's love for cinema can also be seen in his "California Love" video for Tupac and Dr. Dre, which was partly inspired by Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. F. Gary Gray and Antoine Fuqua are two other acclaimed directors known for making waves on the hip hop music video scene.  Michael D. Ratner This is a name you'll want to commit to memory. Ratner's work with New York's Hot 97, the leading voice in hip-hop radio, has resulted in some brilliant, satirical videos that went viral over the last couple of years. This year he and his crew at One Big Ball pictures (gotta love that name) made their Tribeca Film Festival debut with Ratner's hilarious short film The 30 Year Old Bris. Although he's continuing his work in music (he produced the upcoming Diddy/Meek Mill video for "I Want The Love"), Ratner also has more romantic comedies in the works. We suspect that good things are bound to come from a fella who's been hanging out with everyone from Spike Lee to 50 Cent and the great Jim Jones.  Jonathan Glazer The director of Scarlett Johansson's most recent feature Under the Skin is also known for having made some powerful music videos in the '90s and early '00s. He worked with artists like Jamiroquai and Massive Attack before making his directorial debut with Sexy Beast (for which Ben Kingsley received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role). One of Glazer's most compelling works was the "Karma Police" video for Radiohead. Although he himself was critical of the finished product, it earned him the MTV Director of the Year award in 1997. David Fincher Fincher may be the best example of a director whose talent in music videos translated into brilliance in feature films. He went from being the director of many iconic and acclaimed videos (Paula Abdul's "Straight Up," Michael Jackson's "Who Is It," Justin Timberlake's "Suit & Tie") to being the Oscar-nominated director behind Fight Club, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, House of Cards, and the upcoming Gone Girl. Gina Prince-Bythewood Best known for films like Love & Basketball and The Secret Life of Bees, Prince-Bythewood has a good collection of throwback R&B and hip-hop videos under her belt as well. This year she's returning to the big screen with the highly-anticipated Blackbird, starring Minnie Driver, Danny Glover, and Nate Parker, but it's fun to look back at her days with Fat Joe and Tony Sunshine. Follow @Hollywood_com Follow @shannonmhouston //
  • Kanye West and Rick Rubin Just Gave the Best Acceptance Speech Ever
    By: Shannon Houston Apr 30, 2014
    Splash News It may be easy to hate on Kanye West the celebrity, but as an artist you really have to admire his work and the fascinating stuff he creates with the people around him. Even at this year's Tribeca Film Festival — where he didn't premiere any film projects, and he didn't have a role in any indie productions — he managed to make headlines for his involvement. Kanye and the legendary Rick Rubin were supposed to accept a Disruptive Innovation Award on behalf of the Roland TR-808 drum machine. They couldn't make it to the venue, so director Mark Romanek compiled this very strange, but wonderfully interesting video of them giving thanks: Pink Floyd's The Wall + Kanye West's I'm In It + Laurel and Hardy + other cool things we don't even know what to do with = easily the greatest award acceptance video "speech" of all time. While other celebrities may not be interested in turning this into a trend, it's certainly a creative endeavour that we'd love to see happen more often. Follow @Hollywood_com Follow @shannonmhouston //
  • What Do You Get When You Combine Hilary Duff, 'Sex and the City,' and TV Land?
    By: Shannon Houston Apr 30, 2014
    TV Land The good news is that Hilary Duff is coming back to television! The Lizzie McGuire and Gossip Girl alum is teaming up with Sex and the City creator Darren Star (also good news) for an upcoming series. However, the show, called Younger, is going to air on... TV Land? This just got weird. Now, one reason it may be coming to TV Land is the fact that the lead of the series is actually Sutton Foster, who plays 40 year-old Liza, a woman pretending to be a 29-year old working girl in the city. Left all alone after her child goes to college and her husband leaves her, Liza decideds to reinvent herself. Duff plays an unknowing new co-worker (Kelsey) who takes Liza under her wings.  This all sounds well and good, but even TV Land president Larry W. Jones had to admit that the series is a surprising move: “Younger’s serialized style is different for us, yet fits our brand with its humor and relatability..." Hilary Duff, herself a mom, still has a loyal following which could earn the network the attention of a younger demographic. But many of us will first have to get over that initial strangeness of turning on TV Land during primetime hours and watching something other than those amazing Three's Company reruns. Follow @Hollywood_com Follow @shannonmhouston //
  • 5 Rappers Khloe Kardashian Should Be Dating Instead of French Montana
    By: Shannon Houston Apr 30, 2014
    Instagram/chanelwestcoast It's difficult to watch a friend go through a break-up. There's nothing you can really do besides supply the tissues and listen as all of the previously adorable things about the ex in question are turned into itemized bits of evidence that prove he or she was always a terrible human being. But for many of us, the most difficult part of watching friends work their way through a break-ups is the rebound period. Khloé Kardashian may not be a personal friend of ours, but she's one Kardashian even Kardashian haters can't help but like, and it was truly sad to see her marriage with Lamar Odom come to an end. Still, nothing has been more terrible than watching her rebound with the likes of French Montana. Who is French Montana? Exactly our point. And, more specifically, he's a rapper signed to Bad Boy. While he has made the occasionally catchy track, there's something horrible about him. Yes, that's a mean thing to say. But this is Khloé. And we just want what's best for her. With so many other rappers to choose from, we're not sure why Khloé went this route, but we humbly suggest that she date one of these five other more suitable rebound choices. Khloé dating Drake He may be linked to Rihanna for now, but Drake is the rapper to date when you're on the rebound (actually, RiRi is proof of this). He knows how to make you feel special, he knows you love Beyoncé, and he's not French Montana. Khloé dating Big Sean He's on the rebound now too, since things didn't work out with ex-fiancée Naya Rivera. And although she accused him of stealing her rolex, they say he goes by "Big" Sean for a reason — making him a likely pleasant distraction from the pain of divorce. He, also, is not French Montana, making him all the more desirable. Khloé dating Juicy J When you're on the rebound, you need a fun guy who you'll also never really be able to take seriously as a boyfriend. Khloé, we give you Juicy J. He's wild, turnt up, and he rolls with Miley Cyrus — your break-up period just got that much more exciting. He, too, is not French Montana. Khloé dating The Game A while back when we first heard rumors about Khloé and Game we were morally opposed to this pairing, especially because there was still hope for Game and his ex-fiancée Tiffney. But now that it seems that couple is also on the outs, we'd like to renege those previous concerns. Just about anyone other than French Montana will do at this point, especially an old friend like Game. Whatever makes you happy Khloé... as long as it's not Frenchie. Khloé dating Iggy Azealia Yes, she's a woman. But it's 2014 and you're allowed, and encouraged, to experiment. Plus, they could double date with Michelle Rodriguez and Cara Delevingne! And it's also a plus that nothing about Iggy says "French Montana." Follow @Hollywood_com Follow @shannonmhouston //
  • 3 Times Sally Draper Was Incredible on 'Mad Men'
    By: Shannon Houston Apr 28, 2014
    AMC Mad Men's final season is officially underway, and since we've looked back at the best of Peggy Olson and Joan Harris' incomparable fashion sensibilities, it's time to celebrate another young woman on the show: Sally Draper. Sally is a strange little girl, to say the least, and it's been truly fascinating watching actress Kiernan Shipka grow up as the daughter of Don and Betty. She's given us plenty of laughs over the years, but she's also brought on some of the most shocking moments on the show. Here are just three of many, many times when Sally Draper was incredibly rad. When She Embraced Her Own Budding Sexuality, Albeit at the Wrong Time Now this was awkward. Watching Sally's self-pleasuring scene in "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword" was both uncomfortable and fascinating. Some even dubbed the episode "Sally Draper's Sexual Revolution." After her parents' divorce, her mother's re-marriage, and her dad's various ladyfriends-turned babysitters, Sally had had enough. She chopped off her hair, declared that she knows what sex is (she doesn't), and then proceeded to masturbate at a friend's house. On the one hand, you related to Betty's mortification. But you're also impressed with young Sally, boldly going where many people didn't even know to go before Cosmopolitan and The Vagina Monolgues. We appreciate your quest for liberation, Sally. She Knows NYC All Too Well One incredible fashion moment from Sally occured the night Don was receiving his award from the American Cancer Society. She got all dolled up in a gorgeous metallic-colored dress, and some bad-ass white boots (which she immediately had to take off, along with her make-up). But, after walking in on Megan's mother and Roger Sterling in a horribly compromising situation, she gets on the phone with Glen and describes the city with one word, the only word that fits sometimes: "Dirty." Draper's Funny Little Valentine It's difficult to say exactly where Season 7 is going, but in "A Day's Work" we watched Sally finally make amends with her father. After literally catching him with his pants down last season, she finally addressed her father and says some things that Don really needs to hear. Let's face it, Don can be pretty terrible, and sometimes we just want someone to put him in his place. Sally laid it on heavy: “Do you know how hard it was for me to go to your apartment? I could have run into that woman. I could be in the elevator, she could get in, and I’d have to stand there, smiling, wanting to vomit while I smell her hairspray.” But by the end of the episode, she was Don's anchor of sorts, wishing him a Happy Valentine's Day and saying "I love you" to his surprise. Follow @Hollywood_comFollow @shannonmhouston //