Shannon Houston
  • Au Cinema: Award-Winning French Films Streaming On Netflix
    By: Shannon Houston Sep 25, 2013
    It’s easy to get lost in the vortex that is Netflix, what with all their amazing options, and even with that cool new system (Max) that helps you pick a movie based on your mood and interests. But sometimes you just want to keep it simple, so we’re here to help. Whatever you’re interest, whether you think you like foreign films or not, these three French pictures are absolute must-sees. Remember, the French pretty much invented the movies-- we can totally trust them Monsieur Lazhar  Nominated for an Academy Award, Monsieur Lazhar tells the powerful story of a new teacher who arrives at a Canadian school, not fully aware of the tragedy that recently rocked the community. With a compelling plot and beautiful cinematography, this latest feature from the brilliant Philippe Falardeau should not be missed. The Intouchables   Nominated for a Golden Globe and heralded by critics the world over, The Intouchables is based on the true story of a wealthy quadriplegic man who hires a young, street kid to be his caregiver. Both humorous and heart-warming, expect to fall in love with all of the characters in this one. 17 Girls  Nominated for a César Award, 17 Girls is a re-telling of the shocking true story of a group of high school friends who made a secret pact to get pregnant together. Although this actually happened in Massachusetts in 2008, the French setting provides a different and fascinating backdrop to this plot. Follow @Hollywood_com // More:10 Obscure Netflix DocumentariesMarion Cotillard Is Everything'Amélie' Makes Us Want To Be Better  From Our Partners:40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)15 Stars Share Secrets of their Sex Lives (Celebuzz)
  • Supermodel, Supermom: 5 Reasons To Love Miranda Kerr
    By: Shannon Houston Sep 24, 2013
    Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr was recently named one of the highest-paid models in the industry, second only to Gisele Bündchen. She is, for all intents and purposes, perfect. No, seriously. She's this beautiful woman, with a beautiful family (her hubby is Orlando Bloom and their son Flynn is adorable); she's making tons of money, and she somehow manages to come off completely and totally down-to-earth. Because of her commitment to spiritual and physical health, Miranda is constantly promoting both inner and outer beauty to her fans on her Instagram page. The divas of the world are fun, but Miranda Kerr is is something else. Here are five reasons you can't help but love the supermodel, super mom. She Practices Buddhism If you Google 'Miranda Kerr,' you will be bombarded with a gazillion images of her out and about in the streets of NYC, as photographed by the paparazzi. In these images you will never see her flipping off the paparazzi, or looking the least bit perturbed. Even with little baby Flynn on her hip, she literally always has a smile on her face. At first you might assume that it's because she's a model (and therefore camera-ready at all times), but Miranda's sweet disposition probably has more to do with the fact that she practices Nichiren Buddhism. Between her diet, meditation, and yoga routine it's no wonder this woman always appears to be at peace with the world. The Hair Is Everything Miranda has said that the secret to her flawless hair is coconut oil. Whatever it is, this Vine she posted on Instagram tells us that it's working over time. Started Her Own Organic Makeup Line The best news about Miranda Kerr is that you can totally, kinda look just like her if you hook yourself up with her products. KORA Organics is her makeup line, and of course the products are made using completely organic and natural ingredients.  She Has A Brilliant YouTube Series With NET-A-PORTER Without a doubt, you will feel 100 times healthier just watching her Nutrition episode on The Body Beautiful series. Miranda is not just here to be a pretty face! She considers it her duty to spread the good word about healthy living. She’s A Kid At Heart Yes, she's one of the most beautiful people in the world and -- sadly -- that means she could get away with having no personality whatsoever. But check out that Vine! Nobody who laughs like that at a mini electronic helicopter is sans personality. She's awesome, and the fact that she's a kid at heart tells us that she's most likely an amazing mother as well. Follow @Hollywood_com More:No One Can Out-Diva Mariah CareyIs Orlando Bloom Too Old To Play Romeo?Worst-Dressed Emmys Ever? // From Our Partners:40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)15 Stars Share Secrets of their Sex Lives (Celebuzz)
  • 5 Life-Changing, Must-Watch Documentaries on Amazon Instant Video
    By: Shannon Houston Sep 24, 2013
    IFC Films Netflix is the bomb, isn't it? Sometimes you're scrolling through their New Releases and you're all like, 'Man they have everything!' But then other times ... not so much. Enter Amazon Instant Video. Although you pay to rent the movies individually rather than paying a monthly fee like on Netflix, it's still totally worth it. They offer a bunch of documentaries that cannot be found on other streaming services, for about $2.99 a pop. Three bucks to get my life changed via a Ken Burns documentary? Yes, please. Here are just a few films -- some old, some new -- that are currently streaming for cheap on Amazon. The Central Park Five Oscar-nominee Ken Burns has been changing the world for a long time, and he did not disappoint with his latest feature documentary. Along with daughter Sarah Burns and long-time collaborator David McMahon, the celebrated director brings us the unforgettable story of the Central Park jogger -- but focused entirely on the young Latino and African-American boys and men who were wrongly convicted of her rape. A powerful, often devastating look at  classism, racism, and political corruption in New York during the late '80s and early '90s, The Central Park Five is a must-see film for all.  The Good Son: The Life of Ray Boom Boom Mancini There's really nothing like a good boxing movie and The Good Son delivers. Folks who do not know the compelling story of Ray Mancini will be blown away by his story. The son of another Youngstown, Ohio boxing great (Lenny “Boom Boom” Mancini) the documentary focuses on the boxer's unique upbringing and his fateful, tragic match with South Korean boxer Deuk-Koo Kim, which forever changed the face of boxing. With commentary from actors and Mancini fans like Ed O'Neill and Mickey Rourke, this is another must-see film on Amazon. Brooklyn Girls Fight Club This movie brings a whole new meaning to the phrase 'Fighting for survival.' Set in Brownsville, Brooklyn and filmed in 2007, directors Curvel Baptiste and Courtney Carreras invite viewers into the underground world of the Brooklyn Girls Fight Club. Residents from the surrounding housing projects gather around a fighting ring and place bets on two women who fight bare-knuckled, with little other protection for the grand prize of $1,000. A story of violence, poverty, survival, and triumph (for some, not necessarily for all), Amazon is one of the few places you can catch this unforgettable story.  Bowling For Columbine An oldie but still a goodie, it's unfortunate that Michael Moore's 2002 documentary is still very much relevant today. His exploration into American gun culture and violence --  a direct reaction to the Columbine school shooting --  made for a powerful narrative and earned it the 2003 Academy Award for Best Documentary. Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare You know that sneaking suspicion you have that your doctor's office is really a business being controlled by a greater corporate structure, rather than a healthcare facility? Yeah, it's real. Escape Fire is, without a doubt, one of the most frightening true stories out there as it takes an honest, no holds barred look at the American healthcare system as it truly exists. Follow @Hollywood_com More:10 Obscure Documentaries On NetflixDVDs That We Still OwnWatch The Trailer For 'Blue Is The Warmest Color' // From Our Partners:40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)15 Stars Share Secrets of their Sex Lives (Celebuzz)
  • Hip-Hop Needs Azealia Banks To Drop That Album
    By: Shannon Houston Sep 23, 2013
    Joseph Okpako/Getty Images Azealia Banks was hailed as the next big thing, like, a million years ago (in pop culture time). But with all the album push-backs, and all the Twitter beefs, it's been easy to forget that the talented Harlem rapper could still be the next big thing!  Broke with Expensive Taste is currently slated for a January 2014 release, and even though we were originally expecting it this year (and before that in 2012), there's still plenty to get psyched about. As we patiently wait to hear what a real, live Azealia Banks album sounds like, let's give this Yung Rapunxel movement a little push. Here are five reasons we desperately need Azealia to become a true staple in Hip-Hop. Her Beefs Make For Some Pretty Good Diss Records Okay, so we're not really supposed to condone beef, but it is a part of Hip-Hop culture and it has made for some classic songs over the years. Azealia has beefed with everyone from Lady Gaga to Jim Jones (to Angel Haze, to Perez Hilton, to Lil Kim, etc.), and some of the tracks -- like "No Problems" -- have actually been pretty dope.  The Sausage Party Is Getting Old Kanye West, Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rcoky, J. Cole, Drake, Lil Wayne, etc.-- we love you guys. Really, we do. But the sausage party is getting old, as sausage parties are wont to do. And although it's cliché to point out the lack of women in, well, anything, we simply need more women in Hip-Hop! From what we've seen, Azealia has her own brand of femininity that could definitely liven this party up. We Need More Of Her Super-Dope Videos Azealia is not afraid to pull on influences from a variety of genres, which makes her way more fun to watch than the average person. R&B, pop, rap, rave -- all genres are up for grabs. And when her eclectic style gets translated into visuals, it's always an experience. She’s Sexy And Sexual, Without Making That The Foundation Of Her Appeal This is hugely important, and almost impossible for a woman in Hip-Hop (or any other artistic movement) to achieve. Even though she was featured on the cover of Dazed & Confused blowing up a condom, and she definitely plays up on her sex appeal, Azealia manages to come off more New York funky-fashionista-turned-rapper than anything else. While artists like Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, and Nicki Minaj have surely influenced her (and paved the way for her to do her own particular thing) it's refreshing and exciting to see a femme rapper take a slightly different approach to her image. "212" Is Still The Jam It's hard to believe that Azealia's debut single dropped back in 2011, mainly because it is still the jam! "212" introduced listeners to a unique style, and it was seriously difficult to place Azealia in one particular box. All good signs of good things to come. Follow @Hollywood_com // More:Azealia Banks Gets Political On Twitter5 Reasons Azealia Banks Will Be Huge In 2013Azealia Banks Beefs With Perez Hilton From Our Partners:40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)15 Stars Share Secrets of their Sex Lives (Celebuzz)
  • Not Just A Pretty Face: Zoe Saldana's Career Heads In A New Direction
    By: Shannon Houston Sep 23, 2013
    George Pimentel/Getty Images There may have been a time when Zoe Saldana was pegged as just another pretty face in Hollywood. By now, we all know the type: gorgeous, thin, kinda racially ambiguous, and talented enough to make it all work. But it seems that the actress has no intention of playing eye candy any longer. Over the past few years she's taken on projects like The Words and Colombiana, and even her roles in Avatar and the Star Trek franchise have allowed her to branch out. Considering the movies she has lined up right now, it looks like Zoe is making some truly exciting career moves. Here's a look at three new movies we can all get psyched about. Nina The web practically exploded with rage when it was announced that Zoe Saldana would be taking on the role of legendary jazz singer and activist Nina Simone in the upcoming biopic, due mostly to the fact that Saldana is lighter-skinned and more conventionally Hollywood-pretty than the fierce and fabulous Simone. Now that the fury has died down, and Zoe herself has spoken out about her decision to take the lead in Nina, we can't help but get excited about the movie. At the very least, it seems only fair that audiences take Zoe's advice and see the film before passing judgment. Here's hoping that Zoe -- a completely capable actress -- surprises the naysayers. Blood Ties Starring alongside Mila Kunis, Marion Cotillard, and Clive Owen, Zoe joins a seriously impressive cast in the new film from French director Guillaume Canet. The Brooklyn-set crime drama will be a gritty new look for Zoe, but she also brings some romance to the film, playing lover to Billy Crudup's character Frank. Out Of The Furnace It is impossible to not get excited about this one. Zoe will be in excellent company with Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, and Forest Whitaker on board. Although she's playing another love interest, we expect things to get really intense, really fast, and Zoe will certainly have the opportunity to prove that she can play hard with the big boys. Follow @Hollywood_com More:Zoe Saldana Speaks Out On Nina Simone RoleMarion Cotillard Has Exciting New Films In The WorksZoe Saldana And Her Sister Head Into The Production Biz  From Our Partners:40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)15 Stars Share Secrets of their Sex Lives (Celebuzz)
  • 5 Reasons To Watch The New Fox Show 'Sleepy Hollow'
    By: Shannon Houston Sep 22, 2013
    Let’s face it -- there are about a million new shows that hit the airwaves every season, and although plenty start out looking cool, many of them just don’t pan out in the end. At first glance Fox’s new show Sleepy Hollow appears to be taking advantage of the usual gimmicks -- an old, literary classic revamped with a modern-day setting and some hot actors to get us interested. But -- dare we say -- there’s something different about this one. Here are a few reasons to tune in. FOX  The Nicole Beharie Factor Although she's far from a household name, we predict big things for Nicole Beharie. She had small but significant roles in Shame and 42 (this year's Jackie Robinson biopic), and now she's playing Ichabod Crane's police partner.   Tom Mison, Who Apparently Goes By T-Mis Look, a little eye candy never hurt nobody and the English actor is definitely a cutie. Taking on the lead role of Ichibod Crane, it's probably a good sign that his opening scenes in the season premiere (in which he literally rises from a shallow grave) have him look anything but hot. On-screen, the seasoned actor will rely on his legitimate acting chops, while off-screen he likes to go by his nickname T-Mis, and admits to having a hidden talent for twerking. Numbers Don’t Lie The series premiered Monday night, and everybody and their mama tuned in. Sleepy Hollow nabbed ten million viewers, officially making it Fox’s highest-rated fall drama premiere in six years. Creator Alex Kurtzman Kinda Knows What He’s Doing Kurtzman and co-creator Roberto Orci have been at this game a long time; they were both 24 year-old producers when they suddenly found themselves in charge of  the series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.  Since then he's written and produced for shows like Alias, Fringe, and worked with Michael Bay on the Transformers series. It's Literally On Right Now There. Now you have no excuse not to watch. Fox is streaming the pilot episode right now so you can see what all the hype is about for yourself. Go here to watch the pilot, and get ready for next Monday's episode. Sleepy Hollow airs on Fox, Monday nights at 9 PM ET. Follow @Hollywood_com // More:Fox Orders 'Sleepy Hollow' Pilot & New J.J. Abrams SeriesHow Are You Not Watching ABC's 'Scandal'?Check Out This 'Revenge' Teaser From Our Partners:40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)15 Stars Share Secrets of their Sex Lives (Celebuzz)
  • Bow Down: No One Will Ever Be Able To Out-Diva Mariah Carey
    By: Shannon Houston Sep 21, 2013
    Diva is a complicated word. Secretly, we all know that it’s really a stand-in for another word often used to describe powerful women who take no prisoners, and must have things their way. But there’s something about the way Mariah Carey gets her diva on that makes it look so ridiculously fun. Divas come and go, but Ms. Mimi -- and the glittery, fabulous world she inhabits -- is a pop culture staple. Here are just a few reasons why nobody will ever be able to out-diva Mariah. Kevin Mazur/WireImage Dislocated Shoulders Can’t Stop Her Diva A little while back Mariah dislocated her shoulder on the set of a video. Rather than cancel some of her upcoming appearances, she started rocking these insane blinged-out, feather-clad arm slings everywhere because that’s what divas do. Sometimes She Gets Married At Disneyland Only Mariah would hit up Disneyland after-hours for a vow renewal ceremony like no other. This year she and hubby Nick Cannon celebrated five years of wedded bliss (and the second birthdays of their adorable twins) with a wedding at the happiest place on Earth. Even Her Instagram Account Is Blinged Out Have you ever just scrolled through someone’s Instagram photos without really paying attention, and still been blinded by all the diamond necklaces, butterfly rings, and studded stilettos? No? Then you haven’t been to @mariahcarey before. She Was The Best Thing To Happen To Her Husband’s Show Mariah recently made a guest appearance on her husband’s MTV show Wild ‘N Out, and shut the whole thing down. During a skit in which Nick was supposed to hit on another woman, Mrs. Cannon came on the scene and totally stole the show. The moment was epic, her tube top was epic, and the whole thing was hilarious. Her Christmas Comes But Twice A Year Winter Snowstorm Nemo might have gotten some folks down, but not The Diva. She literally used the storm as an excuse to celebrate Christmas in February. When she shared this video on Twitter, some folks thought she’d kind of lost it (we all remember the post-Glitter meltdown), but in reality this is just a true diva gone wild. Not everyone can get away with these kind of antics, but it’s Mimi’s world and we need to learn how to live in it. Follow @Hollywood_com // More:Mariah Carey And Nicki Minaj Leave 'Idol'Nick Cannon Pen Open Letter To Amanda BynesCelebrity Instagram Round-Up From Our Partners:40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)15 Stars Share Secrets of their Sex Lives (Celebuzz)
  • Who Are These Mysterious Guests Kanye West Is Bringing Out During The ‘Yeezus’ Tour?
    By: Shannon Houston Sep 21, 2013
    Getty ImagesA few weeks ago Kanye West made the announcement his fans have been waiting for – the Yeezus tour is officially happening. And considering how innovative and brilliant the album is, we can only anticipate exciting going-ons for the tour. Yeezy will be touring with Kendrick Lamar, and his website also confirmed the appearance of surprise musical guests at various tour stops. We don’t know who he’s planning to bring, but we have a few suggestions. And while she may be collaborating with Kanye, we don’t need Miley Cyrus to show up and twerk around to "Black Skinhead."  Not at all. Here are some guests we are hoping to see. Jay Z Although he announced his Magna Carta Holy Grail tour on the same day that Kanye announced the tour for Yeezus, we’re hoping Jay makes an appearance (preferably at the Barclays Center location). Between their hits from Watch The Throne, and a few throwback songs ("Never Let Me Down," anyone?) the crowds could definitely use a little Yeezus/Hova mash-up. Beyoncé It may sound random, but if her hubby’s going to be there, why not Queen Bey? If they all get together and perform "Lift Off," it could be pretty epic. Charlie Wilson Uncle Charlie and Kanye just performed "Bound 2" on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, and it was quite the experience. Charlie always gives a good show, so it’d be great to see him pop up on the tour. Chief Keef Kanye has been co-signing his fellow Chi-town rapper for some time, even going so far as to include him on the Yeezus album. If I were at the Chicago venue, I’d expect to see a little Keef in the building. Pusha T Seeing as how Kanye just co-signed Pusha T in another one of his epic, anti-corporation rants, and seeing is how Pusha T is expected to have one of the best albums of the year, we’re gonna need to see some Pusha at one of these shows.  Lorde First off, if you don’t know who Lorde is we’re here to help. Secondly, the New Zealand pop star recently covered Kanye at one of her shows, and the thought of these two together in one place is enough to make any music fan totally lose it. God Yes, as in God. One of the only, um, artists featured on the Yeezus tracklist, we’d appreciate it greatly if God would show up and perform alongside Kanye for their song "I Am A God." If this doesn’t happen, we’ll understand, but will still be a little disappointed at the end of the night. Follow @Hollywood_com // More:Who Is Lorde?Kanye West And Jay Z Announce New Tours Miley Cyrus To Collaborate With Kanye West From Our Partners:40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)15 Stars Share Secrets of their Sex Lives (Celebuzz)
  • Things You Need To Know About ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and ‘Scandal’ Creator Shonda Rhimes
    By: Shannon Houston Sep 20, 2013
    Mark Sullivan/WireImageFans of the popular ABC shows Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal often find themselves wondering who comes up with the fictional plot twists and love affairs that keep them up at night. While she obviously does not work alone, the simple answer is Shonda Rhimes. The Emmy-nominated writer and producer created both shows, but that’s not all she contributes to the universe. Here are a few things you might not know about the genius behind the curtain. She Knows How To Handle Drama On And Off The Screen This past year  Rhimes came under  criticism for the treatment of her lead character Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washington). Some folks (including Star Jones) accused her of glorifying marital affairs, and even felt that the interracial relationship on the show was problematic. Rhimes has brilliantly responded to such accusations by defending her art as just that — art, and not a political or social platform. And she often takes to Twitter to remind people who get a little too caught up that her shows are, in fact, fictional. Oprah Winfrey Is Obsessed With Her When Oprah Winfrey and former President of the United States Bill Clinton watch your show (they both love Scandal), it’s kind of a big deal. But Oprah and Shonda are so close, their Twitter exchanges are well-documented, and when Shonda made TIME Magazine’s 2013 list of 100 most influential people in the world, Oprah even wrote the powerful accompanying essay. Halle Berry Kinda, Sorta Owes Her Halle Berry got her start long before her role in the television biopic Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. Still, her performance in the Shonda Rhimes-written script was one of her best and most well-respected, as she (along with Rhimes) brought to life the important story of the first black movie star to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. She Was a Candy Striper in High School This woman is living proof that volunteer work truly pays off in the end. Rhimes volunteered at a hospital during high school, and attributes that experience to her interest in such environments. Grey’s Anatomy and its spin-off series Private Practice are a direct result of her candy striper days in Chicago. She’s an Inspiration to Unemployed Writers Everywhere After Rhimes got her Masters of Fine Arts degree from the University of Southern California, she was just another unemployed scriptwriter in Hollywood. She worked odd jobs to pay the bills, but eventually got her big break as a research director for a documentary on Hank Aaron. See? We all gotta start somewhere. Follow @Hollywood_com // More:Cast & Crew Discuss The 'Scandal' Season FinaleLisa Kudrow Joins 'Scandal'Sandra Oh Leaves 'Grey's Anatomy' From Our Partners:40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)15 Stars Share Secrets of their Sex Lives (Celebuzz)
  • If You Haven’t Been Watching ‘Scandal,’ We Can’t Be Friends Anymore
    By: Shannon Houston Sep 19, 2013
    Richard Cartwright/ABCOn October third the highly anticipated third season of Scandal will begin, and fans of the show (AKA Gladiators) will most likely be unreachable in case of an emergency. If you don’t know what a Gladiator is – or why a group of people would call themselves that based on a fictional television series created by Shonda Rhimes – then your existence is truly an anomaly right now. Olivia Pope, the white hat, Gladiators, Olitz—everyone. These are terms that you need to know. And if you don’t, please get thee to Netflix, Hulu, BET or ABC immediately so you can get caught up. It’s fine. We’ll wait. Scandal is one of those rare shows that had a good first season,  followed by a mind-blowingly brilliant second season that finally got it the critical attention it deserved. The ABC drama is set in Washington D.C., and was originally inspired by real-life crisis manager Judy Smith. This woman was Monica Lewinsky’s lawyer back when... well... Monica Lewinsky seriously needed a lawyer, and her story makes for must-watch television. With Emmy nominations for its lead actress (the incomparable Kerry Washington) as well as some of the minor characters, it’s clear that everyone who has anything to do with the show is pulling their own weight. Now that the Daddy issues are coming into play, and the government scandals are heating up, we can all sit back and enjoy another amazing season. Follow @Hollywood_com // More:Lisa Kudrow Joins 'Scandal'The Cast & Creator Of 'Scandal' Discuss The Season FinaleKerry Washington And Craig Robinson Talk 'Peeples' From Our Partners:40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)15 Stars Share Secrets of their Sex Lives (Celebuzz)