Author

Shannon Houston
  • Guilty Pleasure Overload: VH1's Hip-Hop Reality Shows Gear Up For New Seasons
    By: Shannon Houston Oct 28, 2013
    VH1 We don't know how VH1 became home to gloriously ratchet reality shows like Love & Hip Hop Atlanta, but we’re kind of glad it happened. Where else can you ponder the cultural significance of booty shots and keep up with the goings on of beloved Harlem rapper Jim Jones? This week some of our biggest guilty pleasures in reality television are coming back with new seasons, and we’re here to help you get mentally prepared. First, there’s the new trailer for season four of Love & Hip Hop New York: Get More: Love & Hip Hop, Love and Hip Hop 4 With some of our old favorites like Yandy and Erica Mena (who is in a new relationship...with a woman) making triumphant returns, and the insanity that will be Peter Gunz (functioning as the NYC version of Stevie J) we’re expecting some pretty heavy drama. And then there’s good ol’ Chrissy & Mr. Jones: Get More: A lot’s changed since the first season of this show -- Jim’s son from a previous relationship comes to live with the couple, and Mama Jones writing a sex book...actually, that sounds about right. Either way, we’ll be tuning in and enjoying all of the madness. Plus, all of the wholesome family stuff should balance out the very bad things we’re sure to see (and enjoy...guiltily) on Love & Hip Hop New York. Love & Hip Hop New York and Chrissy & Mr. Jones premiere Monday, October 28 on VH1. Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Here's Why We Love Helena Bonham Carter: An Open Letter
    By: Shannon Houston Oct 20, 2013
    DreamWorks Dear Helena Bonham Carter, We love you. We loved you in the '90s, and still remember everything you taught us in Fight Club. We loved you in that one Tim Burton movie you did – just kidding. We loved you in the many, many, many Tim Burton movies you did...though nobody haunts our dreams like your Mrs. Lovett from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The truth is, from The King’s Speech to Les Misérables, we’ve loved you in pretty much everything. And as we mentally prepare to watch your undoubtedly amazing performance as Elizabeth Taylor in the upcoming Burton and Taylor television movie, we celebrate just a handful of your best on-screen moments. Because we love you HBC. We absolutely love you. Bellatrix Lestrange, Harry Potter Series Seriously? Could anyone else pull off that laugh? We think not. Marla, Fight Club Although our favorite line is a little too R-rated to actually share (it involved some mention of grade school and…er…sexual experiences therein), we all know and remember how awesome HBC was as Marla Singer. Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.  It’s okay -- you know you want to be Mrs. Lovett for Halloween this year. There simply is nothing more frightening than a woman who decides to make people pies for a living. Queen Elizabeth, The King’s Speech Only a brilliant thespian could take on the role of Mrs. Lovett, and then move on to play Queen Elizabeth in the Academy Award winner for Best Picture of the Year, The King’s Speech. Carter was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her amazing performance. Red Queen, Alice In Wonderland Almost unrecognizable at first, Carter’s turn as the Red Queen in Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland was just…dope. People may have had mixed feelings about the adaptation, but few of us could get this image of the pinch-faced, screeching, evil Queen out of our heads. Plus…those eyebrows! Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • How 'Scandal' Reinvents TV's Gay Couple...And Not How You'd Think
    By: Shannon Houston Oct 19, 2013
    ABC There are a lot of things that ABC’s Scandal gets right. Their lead character Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washington) is practically a lifestyle guru, and the way in which creator Shonda Rhimes works race and racial politics into the drama is also pretty brilliant. Like any good drama there are plenty of complex relationships that drive the storylines; Olivia Pope is in a relationship with President Fitzgerald Grant, and her faithful Gladiators find themselves in all kinds of complications due to love interests who always seem to clash with their professional lives. But there’s one couple in particular that deserves our attention, and that would be the one between Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry) and James Novak (played by Dan Bucatinsky, who was nominated for a 2013 Emmy for the role). On the one hand, Cyrus and James are obviously not the first well-written gay couple on television. But they are different. Cyrus is, for one, a villain of sorts. He’s the White House Chief of Staff and the President’s right-hand man. He’s an admitted political animal, a monster even; he’s terrifying and brutal, and he’s totally in love with his husband. But because James is a correspondent for the White House – and constantly looking for the very truths that his husband is constantly trying to cover up – their relationship is beyond complicated. In one unforgettable second season episode Cyrus literally puts a hit out on his hubby, in an attempt to keep a very damaging story about rigged votes from becoming public. Don’t worry -- they work it out in the end, but  it's all very intense, to say the least. Shonda Rhimes handles the relationship between Cyrus and James in a way that is similar to her treatment of Olivia and Fitz. For her two main characters, the interracial aspect of their love affair is not where the complication lies, although it is a fact. And for Cyrus and James, their attempts to live and love together in a predominantly heterosexual environment is sometimes an issue, but also not the source of the drama. As a result, they cease to be ‘the gay couple’ on the show and become, rather, one of our favorite couples to watch. As the third season takes off and the couple continues to work out their issues (with a new baby on board, no less), we can’t wait to see where Cyrus and James take the ever-exciting series that is Scandal. Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • 5 Ways To Enjoy The New 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Wine
    By: Shannon Houston Oct 15, 2013
    WENN It's always fun when your favorite books come to life, and fans of the Fifty Shades Of Grey trilogy now have another way to enjoy the series. And for those of us who weren't so into the books, but do enjoy a good alcoholic beverage (responsibly, of course), there's this: the official Fifty Shades Of Grey wine selection. E.L. James, author of the bestselling series, has come up with one more way to get us in the mood, and even though it's totally gimmicky and totally a ploy to keep us talking about the books until the new movie comes out, we're into it. You may be wondering why on Earth you'd ever need a Fifty Shades Of Grey-themed bottle of wine, but we can think of a few scenarios where it might come in handy. Enjoy Alone, As You Drink Away The Pain Of Learning That Charlie Hunnam Dropped Out Of The Film Project Sons of Anarchy star and mega-hottie Charlie Hunnam has just confirmed that he will no longer be taking on the lead role of Christian Grey in the film adaptaion. We're gonna need to throw back a glass or two to work through this devastating news. Enjoy With A Friend, As You Both Drink Away The Pain Of Learning That Charlie Hunnam Dropped Out Of The Film Project No, seriously. How else are people supposed to deal with this reverse casting news? And since drinking alone can get a little creepy, it's always nice to invite over a friend.  Enjoy At Your BFF’s Bachelorette Party Know anybody getting married this year? Every Bachelorette Party needs a theme, and who says erotic literature doesn't make for a good theme? Everyone at the party will have their choice of the Red Satin or White Silk wine, and you can imagine the kinds of gifts such a theme would inspire. Your BFF will thank you... we think. Enjoy On Your Own Wedding Night, If Your Betrothed Is Into That Kind Of Thing Are you the persone you know getting married this year? Celebrate your nuptials à la Christian and Anastasia, and you're sure to have an pretty interesting wedding night. BYOHT (Bring Your Own Handcuffs Though). Enjoy At The 2014 Premiere Of The Fifty Shades Movie, As You Drink Away The Pain Of Coping With Charlie Hunnam’s Non-Appearance In The Film No, we're not ready to let this go yet. When the film finally premieres, we see throngs of SOA fans smuggling bottles of the Fifty Shades wine into theatres across the country, trying desperately to make sense of how studio executives could have let Charlie Hunnam slip between their fingers. Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Azealia Banks Continues To Be Dope, Remixes Britney Spears' 'Work B**ch'
    By: Shannon Houston Oct 15, 2013
    WENN We’ve got our eyes on Ms. Azealia Banks, especially since her debut album Broke with Expensive Taste is supposed to finally drop in January of next year. Later on this week we’re expecting a new video from the Harlem rapper (for her collaboration with Pharrell), but she also released a remix to Britney Spears’s new track, "Work B**ch." And since we’re excited about pretty much everything this chick does, we’re pumped about this remix. This sound works [b**ch] perfectly with Azealia’s style, so a remix was definitely in order. We’ve heard Yung Rapunxel rap over dance tracks before, with songs like "No Problems" and "1991," and she always manages to make the track her own. Azealia has had rumored collaborations with Lady Gaga and Rihanna in the past – we can’t help but imagine a dope collabo with the one they call Britney in the future. Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Did We Love The ‘Once Upon A Time In Wonderland’ Premiere?
    By: Shannon Houston Oct 15, 2013
    ABC Once Upon A Time In Wonderland recently premiered on ABC and the spinoff series will at least strike a chord with fans of Once Upon A Time. But what about new viewers who are coming to the show with fresh eyes -- those who are unfamiliar with Ginnifer Goodwin’s character and her fairytale exploits? Well, folks like that might be drawn in anyway, as the beloved story of Alice in Wonderland never seems to get old. In the pilot episode we meet Alice (played by Sophie Lowe) as she exists in the real world. And in the real world, a girl with experiences like Alice would only exist in a psychiatric facility. As Alice flashbacks to her life in Wonderland, we get a sense of that magical world, and for those of us who are always interested in Wonderland re-imaginings or re-tellings (whether they come from Tim Burton, or Disney, or Woody Allen) this is definitely a cool experience. Alice has to decide between life in her present-day Victorian London and the Wonderland that begins to call her back. As the series progresses there will be crossover episodes with Once Upon A Time, and based on the pilot, it looks like things will start to heat up; this is partly because Alice’s return to Wonderland isn’t welcomed by all, nor is it exactly of her own doing. For those not entirely familiar with the fantasy-drama style of these shows, there’s definitely a cheese factor here, but overall the experience of watching Alice re-enter the rabbit hole with her buddy the Knave of Hearts and the White Rabbit is pretty fun. And we have to admit the Knave (played by Michael Socha) and Alice’s love interest Cyrus (played by Peter Gadiot) add that little bit of eye candy every show needs. These two cuties alone are worth the price of admission.  Once Upon A Time In Wonderland airs Thursdays at 8PM ET on ABC. Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • The Best 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' Episodes On Netflix
    By: Shannon Houston Oct 10, 2013
    Buffy/Netflix Let’s be honest. If we really attempted to list every single awesome, must-watch Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode, there’d be at least 30 episodes and they’d all deserve a spot. But with Halloween right around the corner we decided to keep it simple and  focus on a few of the most holiday-appropriate, classic BTVS episodes to stream from Netflix. Granted, any Buffy episode is technically, seasonally appropriate, but these are some of our favorites. Hush This Emmy-nominated episode introduced us all to The Gentleman. The creepy-looking, voice-snatching demons showed up in Sunnydale one day many years ago, but in 2013 they still haunt our dreams. The Wish There’s not a Buffy fan alive who didn’t fall madly in love with Vampire Willow. When Cordelia wished that Buffy had never been born, Sunnydale transformed into an alternate universe run by vamps, including one insanely hot, bad-ass Willow. Earshot After an encounter with a demon, Buffy develops the ability to read thoughts. And while this proved to be pretty hilarious – and awkward – when she got around the Scooby gang, the best part of the episode was when she learned that her mother and Giles had truly and actually done the deed of all deeds. Who can forget that moment at the end of the episode where Buffy tells Giles that she’d love to do some training later, as long as he wasn’t too busy having sex with her mother?! Classic. Bad Girls Sunnydale was never the same once Slayer Number Two AKA Faith came into town. But one of the best episodes featuring actress Eliza Dushku was this one; Buffy got all bad-ass and slayer-naughty (stealing weapons and such), and Faith...well, killed a man. Want, take, have was the name of the game and seeing Buffy go kinda bad for a minute actually felt pretty good. Homecoming Cordelia and Buffy battling it out for Homecoming Queen, and then side-by-side in a super-scary forest while the creepiest demons ever put on Slayerfest ‘98? All kinds of awesome. Buffy vs. Dracula This episode where Dracula – the vampire of all vampires – comes into town was just tops. It could have easily been corny, but Joss Whedon doesn’t do corny, and the epic showdown between the Slayer and the Dark Prince was pretty unforgettable. Plus, Xander as the hilarious Renfield-esque character was so fun, and so appropriate. Definitely a must-watch BTVS episode for Halloweentime.  Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Why Pusha T's Album Is The Most Buzzed About Rap Album Of The Year
    By: Shannon Houston Oct 10, 2013
    Shannon McCollum/WENN Jay Z, Kanye West, and Drake all dropped new albums this year and -- naturally -- they all received tons of hype in the process. But without a doubt, the most buzzed about album in hip-hop has got to be Pusha T's debut solo album My Name Is My Name. And never has so much buzz felt so right. One half of the critically-acclaimed group The Clipse, Pusha has been dropping mixtapes and powerful verses throughout the last few years, but now we get to really experience him as a solo artist. And many folks in the know are saying the experience will be a game/life-changer. Pusha's album was officially released Tuesday, and if you haven't already copped it, here are a few nudges in the right direction. Kanye West Gave The Most Intense, Profanity-Laced Co-Sign Ever He may have been/was definitely drunk, he may have been over-the-top, but when Kanye West interrupted Pusha T's listening party and dropped the most epic rant in the long, long history of Kanye West rants, we knew My Name Is My Name must be the truth. That Amazingly Bizarre Joaquin Phoenix Connection When Pusha's single "King Push" was released, a very strange rumor came along with. Joaquin Phoenix (yes, Oscar-nominated Joaquin Phoenix) was alleged to have co-produced the beat with Kanye. Crazy, right? And kind of awesome. Phoenix reportedly came out a little while later and said that he didn't actually produce the track, but introduced the producer (a friend of his son's) to Kanye’s camp. Either way, the Joaquin Phoenix connection is plenty to get psyched about. The "King Push" Single, Which Leads Us To Believe That Hip-Pop Is Dead Now if you haven't heard "King Push" or seen the video, well then. We're here to help. And you should probably prepare for the death of hip-pop. Pusha's not here to sing hooks. Not ever. Not even a little bit.  Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Let's Mentally Prepare For Steve McQueen's '12 Years A Slave'
    By: Shannon Houston Oct 09, 2013
    Fox Searchlight Talk about Oscar buzz! Critically-acclaimed director Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave is getting ready to hit theatres at the end of the month and there’s plenty to get excited about. The trailer looks amazing and the movie received much hype as it made its way around the festival circuit; it even won The Audience Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. If you don’t know how to mentally prepare yourself for what will surely be one of the biggest films of the year, we’re here to help. Here are a few reasons why there’s no other movie to see on October 31. The Cast This film has something for everyone: Benedict Cumberbatch fans are going wild, and that’s only the beginning. Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Oscar-nominee Quvenzhané Wallis, and Michael K. Williams of The Wire are all on board. 12 Years A Slave also stars the amazing Chiwetel Ojiofor (who may finally get his due as one of the best) as Solomon Northrup.  The True Story We should all know the name of Solomon Northrup as well as we know the name of Frederick Douglass or Benjamin Franklin. His memoir 12 Years A Slave isn’t being taught in most grade schools yet, but maybe McQueen’s film can change that. A free-born black man from New York born before the Civil War, Northrup was offered a fake job, drugged, and sold into slavery. After 12 years he did the impossible and regained his freedom; such an amazing story of triumph and tragedy in America truly deserves to be told.  The Steve McQueen Factor No offense to other directors who might have taken on such a story (like Steven Spielberg or Spike Lee), but really? Steve McQueen is probably the best guy for the job. His subtle, sweeping approach to powerful stories with compelling characters (as seen in his other films, Hunger and the unforgettable 2011 indie hit Shame), gives us all the faith in this production. Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Why It's Disturbing That Chris Brown Admitted To Losing His Virginity At Age 8
    By: Shannon Houston Oct 09, 2013
    Nikki Nelson/WENN.com There’s a very strange headline making its way around the internet, and few people seem to find it troublesome. In a recent interview Chris Brown spoke with the UK Guardian about a whole bunch of stuff, but casually mentioned that he lost his virginity at the ripe old age of...eight? And what’s worse, he brags about having lost it to a 14 or 15 year-old girl. Brown goes on to say that even though eight sounds young, it’s totally different if you’re from the country (he’s from Virginia), and his experience prepared him to become the sexual ‘beast’ that he is now. Awkward. In fact, beyond awkward. Disturbing. Clutch Magazine is the one place that seems to understand what this story really tells us about Chris Brown, as they’ve just published a piece aptly titled Chris Brown Did Not Lose His Virginity At 8 Years Old, He Was Raped At 8 Years Old. The fact that Chris Brown and media outlets everywhere are not seeing this story for what it is, is highly disturbing. We all know that a femme pop singer telling the same story -- and claiming to have lost her virginity at age eight -- would quickly be considered a victim of sexual abuse. Why do we assume that Chris Brown wasn’t? This story tells us a lot about the way we understand (and misunderstand) gender and sexuality in our society, but it also speaks to a certain raging misogyny in hip-hop. Sure, Brown is an R&B artist, but the two worlds are not mutually exclusive and he is an active participant in hip-hop culture. This image of the young (in this case, very very young) black male, raging with hormones and sexual prowess is so problematic on so many levels. Because of this mentality, Brown is not fully aware of what happened to him, nor is he aware of the message he perpetuates when he tells this story. It’d be nice if we lived in a world where it was simply understood that losing one’s virginity at age eight -- regardless of one's gender -- is never, ever something to celebrate. As a pop star and as an icon to many young girls and boys (unfortunately), it would be nice if Chris Brown knew that too. Follow @Hollywood_com //