Friday, December 13, 2013

2014 Golden Globe Nominations

 
Well, were they everything you imagined and more?  I'm talking about the 2014 Golden Globe nominations this year, of course.  I'm still so behind on watching all of these incredible films and there are some surprises but overall, well done, everyone.  The 71st Golden Globe Awards, hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, will be held on Sunday, Jan. 12th in Beverly Hills on NBC. 

So, without further adieu, here are the 2014 Golden Globe nominations. (thanks LA Times for the full list)

Best motion picture, drama
"12 Years a Slave"
"Captain Phillips"
"Gravity"
"Philomena"
"Rush"

Best motion picture, musical or comedy

"American Hustle" "Her"
"Inside Llewyn Davis"
"Nebraska"
"The Wolf of Wall Street"

Best Actress in a motion picture, drama

Cate Blanchett "Blue Jasmine"
Sandra Bullock - "Gravity"
Judi Dench - "Philomena
Emma Thompson - "Saving Mr. Banks"
Kate Winslet - "Labor Day"

Best Actor in a motion picture, drama

Chiwetel Ejiofor - "12 Years a Slave"
Idris Elba - "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom"
Tom Hanks - "Captain Phillips"
Matthew McConaughey - "Dallas Buyers Club"
Robert Redford - "All Is Lost"

Best Actress in a motion picture, musical or comedy

Amy Adams - "American Hustle"
Julie Delpy - "Before Midnight"
Greta Gerwig - "Frances Ha"
Julia Louis-Dreyfus - "Enough Said"
Meryl Streep - "August: Osage County"

Best Actor in a motion picture, musical or comedy

Christian Bale - "American Hustle"
Bruce Dern - "Nebraska"
Leonardo DiCaprio - "The Wolf Of Wall Street"
Oscar Isaac - "Inside Llewyn Davis"
Joaquin Phoenix - "Her"

Best supporting Actress in a motion picture

Sally Hawkins - "Blue Jasmine"
Jennifer Lawrence - "American Hustle"
Lupita Nyong'o - "12 Years a Slave"
Julia Roberts - "August: Osage County"
June Squibb - "Nebraska"

Best supporting Actor in a motion picture

Barkhad Abdi - "Captain Phillips"
Daniel Brühl - "Rush"
Bradley Cooper - "American Hustle"
Michael Fassbender - "12 Years a Slave"
Jared Leto - "Dallas Buyers Club"

Best Director – motion picture

Alfonso Cuarón - "Gravity"
Paul Greengrass - "Captain Phillips"
Steve McQueen - "12 Years a Slave"
Alexander Payne - "Nebraska"
David O. Russell - "American Hustle"

Best Screenplay – motion picture

Spike Jonze - "Her"
Bob Nelson - "Nebraska"
Jeff Pope and Steve Coogan - "Philomena"
John Ridley - "12 Years a Slave"
Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell - "American Hustle"

Best Foreign Language Film

"Blue is the Warmest Color"
"The Great Beauty"
"The Hunt"
"The Past"
"The Wind Rises"

Best Animated Feature film

"The Croods"
"Despicable Me 2"
"Frozen"

Best Original Song – Motion Picture

"Atlas" - "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"
"Let It Go" - "Frozen"
"Ordinary Love" - "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom"
"Please Mr. Kennedy" - "Inside Llewyn Davis"
"Sweeter Than Fiction" - "One Chance"

Best Original Score – Motion Picture

Alex Ebert - "All is Lost"
Alex Heffes - "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom"
Steven Price - "Gravity"
John Williams - "The Book Thief"
Hans Zimmer - "12 Years a Slave"

Best TV series, drama

"Breaking Bad"
"Downton Abbey"
"The Goodwife"
"House of Cards"
"Masters of Sex"

Best TV Series, Comedy

"The Big Bang Theory"
"Brooklyn Nine-Nine"
"Girls"
"Modern Family"
"Parks and Recreation"

Best TV movie or mini-series

"American Horror Story: Coven"
"Behind the Candelabra"
"Dancing on the Edge"
"Top of the Lake"
"The White Queen"

Best Actress in a TV series, drama

Julianna Margulies - "The Good Wife"
Tatiana Maslany - "Orphan Black"
Taylor Schilling - "Orange is the New Black"
Kerry Washington - "Scandal"
Robin Wright - "House of Cards"

Best Actor in a TV series, drama

Bryan Cranston - "Breaking Bad"
Liev Schreiber - "Ray Donovan"
Michael Sheen - "Masters of Sex"
Kevin Spacey - "House of Cards"
James Spader - "The Blacklist"

Best Actress in a TV Series, Comedy

Zooey Deschanel - "New Girl"
Lena Dunham - "Girls"
Edie Falco - "Nurse Jackie"
Julia Louis-Dreyfus - "Veep"
Amy Poehler - "Parks and Recreation"

Best Actor, TV Series Comedy

Jason Bateman - "Arrested Development"
Don Cheadle - "House of Lies"
Michael J. Fox - "The Michael J. Fox Show"
Jim Parsons - "The Big Bang Theory"
Andy Samberg - "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

Best Actress in a mini-series or TV movie

Helena Bonham Carter - "Burton and Taylor"
Rebecca Ferguson - "White Queen"
Jessica Lange - "American Horror Story: Coven"
Helen Mirren - "Phil Spector"
Elisabeth Moss - "Top of the Lake"

Best Actor in a mini-series or TV movie

Matt Damon - "Behind the Candelabra"
Michael Douglas - "Behind the Candelabra"
Chiwetel Ejiofor - "Dancing on the Edge"
Idris Elba - "Luther"
Al Pacino - "Phil Spector"

Best Supporting Actress in a series, mini-series, or TV movie

Jacqueline Bisset - "Dancing on the Edge"
Janet McTeer - "White Queen"
Hayden Panettiere - "Nashville"
Monica Potter - "Parenthood"
Sofia Vergara - "Modern family"

Best Supporting Actor in a series, mini-series or TV movie

Josh Charles - "The Good Wife"
Rob Lowe- "Behind the Candelabra"
Aaron Paul - "Breaking Bad"
Corey Stoll - "House of Cards"
Jon Voight -" Ray Donovan"

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Downton Abbey: Season 4 Trailer

 
I can only believe that this is the moment that we've ALL been waiting for.  Here is the trailer for Season 4's Downtown Abbey.  And it is such a teaser for is Stateside folks as we have to wait until bloody January 2014 to watch it on PBS.  Kill me now!  It looks so good - filled with debauchery, deceit and affairs.  I can not wait.  If you are a lucky brit, then you can watch it in the UK starting next month. 




Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The 5er: Comedian Naz Osmanoglu

Comedian Naz Osmanoglu


Worst advice: "Yes, you should definitely wear that funny hat onstage."

 As y'all know, I have a slight sick sense of humour, which means I have a huge affection towards british humour.  I even spelled "humour" like they do.  So, when I was introduced to funnyman Naz Osmanoglu (yes, that's his real name), I was intrigued and that was just the beginning.  He's half English, half Turkish and well, a prince as wikipedia reports, "Prince Şehzade Nazım Ziyaeddin Nazım Osmanoğlu, Imperial Prince of the Ottoman Empire more commonly known as Naz Osmanoglu."  I'm suddenly feeling so inadequate and not worthy. 

Nonetheless, "The 5er" jumps the pond this week to chat it up with the comedian to find out what or rather whom inspired him to jump onto the comedy bandwagon, how maybe a "born again" experience on stage can help one become a better performer and who he name drops as his one-night stand dream girl.  You never know, Naz, your dream may come true here in Hollywood with Ms. Cattrall!

Tell me a little about your comedic background and why you think you're funny.

Well, it all started when I saw Richard Ayoade (Director of "Submarine" & ex Cambridge Footlights (comedy troupe)) do a twenty minute stand up set at my school when I was about 14. It was amazing and I didn't really understand what was happening, I just knew I wanted to do that thing that he was doing. Then I watched Eddie Murphy's "Delirious" and worried that I would never be able to so easily make stuff up like that on the cuff and got quite disheartened...but after a few years I realised it was a craft and it wasn't actually all improvised there on the spot and so I decided to give it a go at university with my mates who now are my colleagues - we write sketches for TV as WitTank and I also do stand up.

Why am I funny? Because I was a MASSIVE loser as a kid. Big time social reject. Short, podgy, scared of people (especially girls) and terrible at sport. Slowly, I realised if I could make people laugh, they forgot to bully me about all the other stuff...


 Richard Ayoade - Comedian/Director/Writer

I'm obsessed with British TV.  Ask our friend Ed as I constantly ask him for suggestions on what the latest brit shows I should watch. Do you have any fave shows? Do tell!
My favourite British TV shows: "Peep Show" (amazing but not for the faint hearted, it's not a feel good show), "The Thick of It" (Malcolm Tucker is amazing), Garth Marenghi's "Darkplace Illumination" (Richard Ayoade is in this - it is a spoof horror doc and it's probably the best one ever). If you like sketch shows, the best one in my opinion is "Big Train" (Simon Pegg, Mark Heap - consistently hilarious)....




Many people think - "How hard can it be to get up on stage and tell a joke or two?!?"  I know that' s not the case.  So, what's one of the biggest challenges that you never realized existed in your journey to becoming a successful comedian? 
Well, the most difficult part of stand-up is being consistently good. It takes literally years to learn how to play all the different rooms, how to unify all the different crowds, how to deal with different types of people... and that is a slog, especially when dying onstage is part of the learning process. You have to die in order to learn and when you first start out, that can be particularly challenging. Worst death I've ever had was my first ever 20 min set in front of more than 100 people. No one laughed for 17 minutes then there was some coughing. I was quite sweaty after.

Also heckling is sometimes hard, although I tend to enjoy them now. Worst heckle I ever had was: WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS!?  

What's the best advice you've ever received? And the worst advice?
Best advice: "Keep going, keep writing, keep gigging". I'ts the only way to get better, by constantly pushing yourself.

Worst advice: "Yes, you should definitely wear that funny hat onstage."

If you could have a one night stand with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
Kim Cattrall. She had it "Mannequin", she had it in "Sex And The City" (and yes I have watched it all) and she still has it now. I don't know why, but I really think we would just get on...




Check out these fresh clips of Naz's work.  This here bit is of his character "Antonio".



And here's a sketch he did for WitTank called "The Break Up".



Thursday, July 18, 2013

And the 2013 Emmy Nominees Are...


And this just in today - the 2013 Emmy nominations.  This year's award show will take place in Los Angeles on Sunday, Sept. 22nd.  Congrats to all the nominees!!


From Imdb.com....

2013 Emmy Awards

Nominations announced on Thursday, July 18th; winners announced on Sunday, Sept. 22nd.
image of Mad Men image of Modern Family image of Homeland image of The Big Bang Theory image of Behind the Candelabra image of The Good Wife

Outstanding Comedy Series

Nominees:

"Girls" (2012)
"Louie" (2010)
"30 Rock" (2006)
"Veep" (2012)

Outstanding Drama Series

Nominees:

"Homeland" (2011)
"Mad Men" (2007)

Outstanding Miniseries or Made for Television Movie

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie

Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Series

Outstanding Reality Competition Program

Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series

Nominees:

"Girls" (2012): Lena Dunham("On All Fours")
"Glee" (2009): Paris Barclay("Diva")
"Louie" (2010): Louis C.K.("New Year's Eve")
"Modern Family" (2009): Gail Mancuso("Arrested")
"30 Rock" (2006): Beth McCarthy-Miller("Hogcock!" / "Last Lunch")

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series

Nominees:

"Boardwalk Empire" (2010): Timothy Van Patten("Margate Sands")
"Breaking Bad" (2008): Michelle MacLaren("Gliding All Over")
"Downton Abbey" (2010): Jeremy Webb("Episode 4")
"House of Cards" (2013): David Fincher("Chapter 1")

Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

Nominees:

"Louie" (2010): Louis C.K., Pamela Adlon("Daddy's Girlfriend")
"Episodes" (2011): David Crane, Jeffrey Klarik("Episode 209")
"The Office" (2005): Greg Daniels("Finale")
"30 Rock" (2006): Jack Burditt, Robert Carlock("Hogcock!")
"30 Rock" (2006): Tina Fey, Tracey Wigfield("Last Lunch")

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

Nominees:

"Downton Abbey" (2010): Julian Fellowes("Episode 4")
"Breaking Bad" (2008): George Mastras("Dead Freight")
"Breaking Bad" (2008): Thomas Schnauz("Say My Name")
"Game of Thrones" (2011): David Benioff, D.B. Weiss("The Rains Of Castamere")
"Homeland" (2011): Henry Bromell("Q & A")

Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special

Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Can't Wait: "The Bling Ring"

I've been obsessed with Sofia Coppola since "Virgin Suicides" days so when I found out she was on board with this film, "The Bling Ring" I could hardly contain my excitement.  She, of course, not only directed but also wrote this film based on actual events which are about a pack of teenagers obsessed with celebrities who go on the internet to track where these celeb homes are, find out when they're out of town and rob them.  Pretty genius! 


This film stars some heavy hitters and some up-and-comers such as "Harry Potter's" Emma Watson, "American Horror Story's" Taissa Farmiga (ummm, you do know that her older sister is Vera Farmiga but there is a 21 year age gap), newcomers Katie Chang, Israel Broussard and Claire Julien.  You'll also catch Leslie Mann (finally, a film without her hubbie directing!) and hotness Gavin Rossdale.  Can't wait to see this - it comes out on June 14th. Watch the trailer...!


Can't Wait: "Carrie"


Right?  Do you blame me?  As a horror film lover, this looks like a great remake of the original "Carrie" which starred Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie.  That film was shot in 1976. 

But the new version of "Carrie" which stars Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore looks even more vicious. Two great starring actors - just like the original and this one is directed by Kimberly Peirce who directed "Boys Don't Cry" and "Stop-Loss". Also cast in this film is the famous photographer Arthur Elgort's son, Ansel Elgort, Judy Greer, and brit Gabrielle Wilde who you might recall from "The Three Musketeers". Film releases in October - perfect time for Halloween.  Check out this creepy trailer! 


The 5er: Sweet Home Films's Evan Marlowe and Kerry Finlayson


A typical Hollywood couple (she's an actor, he's a director) but quite an un-typical variety of projects swirling around for Evan Marlowe and Kerry Finlayson's film production company, Sweet Home Films.  I had the honor of working with them last year when they cast me in my first horror film titled "Horror House".  (see red carpet pic below!) They have a great camaraderie working side-by-side with each other - I mean, do they ever fight?  With films, brit comedy shows and a reality show under their belt, they're sure to give the Weinsteins a run for their money in due time.  I caught up with this dynamic duo for "The 5er" and found out what makes them click as a director/producer/actor married team, why they created a british sitcom, who their dream cast would be and the question we've all been dying to know - what's next for Sweet Home Films? 

What are your backgrounds and how did you meet?
KERRY: I started theater and dance school at the age of three in the UK and knew from then on that I wanted to be in the entertainment business. After various theater schools and film schools, I picked up the skills to be both behind and in front of the camera. That passion hasn't stopped and now I get to do the best of both worlds here in LA.

EVAN: I have a background in medicine. I toyed with filmmaking as a teenager, then picked it up again when I met Kerry. In between I've independently studied film and filmmaking, reading books on film criticism and watching lots of movies.

KERRY:  Evan and I met online and instantly knew we had a connection and same sense of humor. This compatibility helps us to work closely as both a production team and a married couple.


How long have you been making films?
KERRY:  Well, if you include the films I made back in film school then a good 17 years. Evan was making short films back in high school using Super 8 film and even started the first film club at his school. He also started making claymation films from a very young age, I believe I was probably more interested in wearing tutus and being a ballerina at that age.

I'm absolutely obsessed with British TV so I was thrilled when I heard you were shooting one called "Shazza".  (Thank you for the cameo role!)  Why did you you want to do a British comedy show?
KERRY:  Being in Los Angeles makes me miss home sometimes as I am so far away from my family. Thanks to networks like BBC America, I get a small injection of British TV and humor to keep me going. I felt it was time that I delved into my British culture and brought a bit of that dry, raunchy Brit humor to the USA.

Who would be your dream cast and where would you shoot? (You can't say your house! LOL)
KERRY: My dream cast would be Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Brad Pitt and Rachel Weisz. I love their work and seem to grow which each project they do. The ideal location would be an old castle in Transylvania.


What's next for Sweet Home Films?
KERRY:  Sweet Home Films has around five scripts under its belt and even talks of a "Horror House 2". A sequel to our last movie "Horror House". We aim to do a second season of SHAZZA and also sell the two reality show concepts we have shot pilots for. It is going to be a busy year, but we look forward to every new project we produce.

Director Evan Marlowe and I at the "Horror House" Screening

Check out the first episode of "Shazza"!


Friday, May 10, 2013

Can't Wait: "Gravity"


Wow, I just saw a mini trailer, if you will, for this upcoming film, "Gravity" starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney and it literally gave me goosebumps.  I'm sucked in and can't wait to see it.  Especially since it's directed by the incredibly talented Alfonso Cuaron (ummm, he directed "Y Tu Mama Tambien", "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban", oh and "Great Expectations"). 

Maybe it's a trend but I think this film has even a smaller cast than the other sci-fi thriller, "Oblivion".  Is this becoming a new cost-saving trend?  (Uh, doubtful on the cost-saving part.  This is Hollywood!)  The film releases in the US on October 4th. Check out the mini trailer here:


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Can't Wait: "Thor: The Dark World"



Ummm, this is all you need to know.  "Thor: The Dark World".  And it hits theaters in November 2013.  Yea, pretty excited to see this!  Some of the same cast of characters are, of course, such as: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Idris Elba...oh man, I can't wait.

Plus, one of the writers for the first Thor film and this film, "Thor: The Dark World"was Don Payne, who I knew back in the days when I worked on "The Simpsons".  He recently passed away and it is a huge loss to the sci-fi/comedy writing world.  So, go see this film as a tribute to Don!




Sunday, April 21, 2013

Go See: "The Sapphires"


"The Sapphires" was such an incredibly cute story that after seeing it - you immediately want to hit up your nearest karaoke bar and belt out a tune by The Supremes.  This Australian film was directed by Wayne Blair who created an inspiring true story of the real Sapphires, who were the first popular all-female aboriginal group, with the help of writers Tony Briggs (ahem, he's the son of one of the original group members, Laurel Robinson) and Keith Thompson.  

 The real members of the group, The Sapphires

Set during the Vietnam war, these four young girls band together to sing and perform their hearts out to the US troops while being managed by the hilarious irish actor Chris O'Dowd (come on people, I've been telling you to watch the "IT Crowd" for years and now he's a big star and in films like "Bridesmaids").  The lead singer is played by pop star in real life and current mentor on Australia's "The Voice" Jessica Mauboy.  With the rest of the group starring Deborah Mailman, Shari Sebbens and Miranda Tapsell. 

Go see this film - you will laugh, you might shed a tear and you'll feel all good inside after watching it!



Friday, April 19, 2013

Can't Wait: "Only God Forgives"


Of course I'm going to see a Ryan Gosling film.  And of course I'm going to see "Only God Forgives" because it was directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (he directed Gosling in "Drive").  Even in the trailer, the music may sound oddly familiar to "Drive" and that's because it's composed by the same dude, the uber talented Cliff Martinez.  

This film was shot in Bangkok with Kristin Scott Thomas starring at Gosling's mother out to seek revenge on her other son's death.  You might also recognize Vithaya Pansringarm as he played the minister in the blockbuster hit, "The Hangover 2".  And this is the debut performance for Thai pop star Yayaying.

The film is slated for a July 19th release in the States.  Yay!



Saturday, April 13, 2013

Go See: "42"

Perhaps one of the most ironic things about myself is that I am not a sports fan at all.  I couldn't tell you nor identify any professional players if they were standing next to me and I accept that about myself.  What I can tell you is that I absolutely love sports films.  I have no idea why - maybe it's the suspense and excitement of the snippets that you see in the film or the lead actors who play iconic characters much like this film, "42" which is a biopic about the baseball legend Jackie Robinson.  Sure, I'd heard of the guy and maybe knew a little about his significance as the first african american baseball player but wow, Brian Helgeland (the director) did a superior job of telling a tale showing the raw emotions, the prejudicism and racism of the times and the love of the game as told through the eyes of a little boy to an old MLB executive.

Jackie Robinson was played by a somewhat unknown but not anymore actor Chadwick Boseman.  Let me just say that this is not his first time to the rodeo as this multi-talented actor also directs and writes.  He was in shows such as "Lincoln Heights" and "Persons Unknown".  What were his thoughts on portraying Jackie Robinson? 

"The story is relevant because we still stand on his shoulders. He started something - I would even say maybe he didn't even start it, it started before him. But he carried the torch. And he carried it alone for a period of time before other people could help him." -imdb.com

Harrison Ford was amazing as Branch Rickey, the MLB executive who found and signed Jackie Robinson.  I'm feeling a bit of some nominations in the air...Golden Globes, maybe Oscars.  I'll just say you heard it from me first!  Rachel Robinson (Jackie's wife) was played by newcomer Nicole Beharie (maybe you saw her in "Shame") and there were quite a few actors that popped up that I know you know who they are.  Law & Order alum Christopher Meloni plays Dodgers manager Leo Derocher, Lucas Black plays Pee Wee Reese (he was the kid in "Slingblade" and was also on "Friday Night Lights"), Alan Tudyk who plays the very racist Phillies Manager (I swore he was british as he was in the original "Death at a Funeral" and "A Knight's Tale" but he's a southern boy), and Hamish Linklater ("The New Adventures of the Old Christine"), T.R. Knight ("Grey's Anatomy") and John C. McGinley ("Scrubs"). 

Go see this film, it is by far one of my favorite films this year so far.  The acting is incredible and the story will stir your emotions.

The Real Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey signing his contract


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Go See: "The Company You Keep"


I had the privilege of going to a screening of "The Company You Keep" at the Soho House last night.  Quite frankly, that's really the only way to see a film.  Comfy chairs with foot stools, cashmere blankets by The Elder Statesmen, a booze cart and a huge candy buffet.  Yes, yes, and oh yes!

To be honest, I hadn't heard of this film and had no idea what it was all about.  Sometimes that's the best part of watching a film - the element of surprise.  "The Company You Keep" stars Robert Redford, (who also directed), Shia LaBeouf, Julie Christie, Chris Cooper, Stanley Tucci, Nick Nolte, Jackie Evancho (what? 2010 "America's Got Talent" runner-up), Brendan Gleeson, Terrence Howard, Richard Jenkins, Anna Kendrick...oh, and Susan Sarandon.  Are you still with me?  I guess it would be hard to say no to Robert Redford.

This film is based around a former Weather Underground activist who is found out by a local newspaper reporter after having a secret identity for years.  He flees from the FBI and the consistently annoying news reporter who has a knack for following his tracks.  I won't say anymore as I never want to be that spoiler alert girl but let me just say this.  I must not have been paying attention to the opening credits as it wasn't until midway through the film that I had an idea that maybe Robert Redford did indeed direct this film. 

He has a certain style to him that I find similar to Frank Darabont ("The Green Mile", "The Shawshank Redemption") and even throw in a little Ang Lee ("Brokeback Mountain", "Life of Pi") in there.  There is a certain ease in their style, a certain meditative pause that allows specific scenes and actions of the characters to marinate with the viewer.  It's just the right amount of time and then they get you in the end.  Seems very calculated to me - but very effective.  And let's not forget that Redford directed some great dramatic flicks such as "Ordinary People", "A River Runs Through It", "The Horse Whisperer" and "The Legend of Bagger Vance".  Go see this film!  You will love the cast and momentum of this movie.  Enjoy!

"The Company You Keep" hits theaters April 5th.


Friday, March 29, 2013

Jeremy Piven in the PBS show - "Mr. Selfridge"


For those of us who are die-hard "Downton Abbey" fans, we've been wondering how we're ever going to make it to the new season.  With the way it ended and the sudden deaths (near spoiler alert but just catch up on your DVR'ed eps, people!), it's a little hard to recover emotionally.  But now, perhaps our remedy to get us through this hump is the new show on PBS called "Mr. Selfridge" starring Jeremy Piven, which airs this Sunday. 

This character, Harry Selfridge, will be a huge departure from the raging agent Piven played on "Entourage".  In "Mr. Selfridge", he depicts the department store mogul set in the early 1900's, who was deemed to have changed the way women shop. 

In the UK, the show brought in high ratings (averaged 8M viewers during it's three-month run) which is a great sign as it's been ordered for a second series (season as we call in the States). 

From Deadline.com:
"At a screening of the first episode late last year, Piven said playing Selfridge was like 'artistic sorbet.' At a TCA panel in January, he said he felt no competition pressure with Downton. 'I feel like I willed this job to happen because I was such a fan of that show… I think there’s a great deal of camaraderie there.'"

Enjoy!


The 5er: Actor Shannon Komai


She's an actor, dancer, writer and producer and her name is Komai.  Shannon Komai.  As a young girl from a small town in Pennsylvania, Shannon found herself in awe while watching her older sister rehearse for a school's performance of "West Side Story". That was the moment she was bit by the acting bug and since then, she has worked both in front of the camera and behind the camera learning every aspect of the production world.  She most recently had a supporting role in Clint Eastwood's film, "J. Edgar" starring Leonardo DiCaprio as well as playing a red carpet interviewer in "The Muppets."  Learn more about Ms. Shannon as she talks about knowing a thing or two about Hollywood, what makes her laugh like there's no tomorrow and what advice she would give her younger self.


Who or what inspired you to become an actress?  
My two sisters and I were raised by a single mom who worked very hard to support us.  She kept us very active in after-school activities like drama, horseback riding, and chess, while she was at work.  My older sister, Angela would sometimes pick me up from elementary school and take me with her to her drama practice to keep an eye on me after school.  I would sit in the back of the auditorium doing my homework and watch her perform.  I remember she was playing the role of Anita in a production of "West Side Story". I'd watch her doing the "America" number from the musical.  I already thought my big sister was the coolest person in the world and when I saw her perform so powerfully, I wanted to feel that powerful, too. 

As far as professional inspirations, because I grew up singing, dancing and acting in musical theater, I also love triple threats like Dorothy Dandridge, Barbara McNair, Lena Horne, Josephine Baker, and Rita Hayworth.  I'm also really inspired by the work and careers of Meryl Streep, Jane Fonda, Angela Bassett, Penelope Cruz, Marisa Tomei, and Whoopi Goldberg.

Dorothy Dandridge

What challenges as a woman have you had to overcome in the entertainment industry?  
My biggest challenge has been people wanting to pigeon-hole me. People that know me as a dancer are shocked when I can pick up a script and portray a character, do an accent, or sing a song.  Others that know me as a producer find it hard to believe that I can also write comedy and perform live sketch & improv. 

Also, there's the Hollywood game of men dangling a carrot in front of an actress's face. Basically, they'll offer an actress an opportunity when all they really want to do is sleep with her. It's hard to find people with true integrity and morals in this town. NOT impossible, but I am very careful about the projects I choose to be a part of and who I will do business with.  I've been in this game for over ten years, so I'm not the desperate and green actress from Coatesville, Pennsylvania anymore.  Now, I know how to play the game just like the boys and I will check somebody in a quick second if they come at me in a slimy or shady way.

They say everyone has a doppelganger.  Who do you think your celebrity doppelganger would be? 
The celebrity people tell me that I look like almost everyday is Mariah Carey.  When my twin nephews, Ian & Jordan were little and a Mariah Carey music video would come on TV, they would scream out my name.  I do see the resemblance. We're both multi-racial and have some similar features.  I've also gotten Rosie Perez.

What makes you laugh so hard your eyes tear up and you seriously just about pee your pants?  
I love satirical comedy that pushes the envelope. When people imitate others spot on is what gets me.  My cousin, Mark Allen, is one of the funniest people I know. He's an observer and can watch someone for a few minutes and then be able to imitate them, their mannerisms, little nuances in their personality. Whenever he does that, I literally CRY!

If you met yourself as a young teen, what would you tell her, er, you, er, her?  (This feels like a "Back to the Future" moment.)
If I could go back and talk to the younger version of Shannon, I would tell her that life is going to get easier.  I'd tell her to believe in herself, trust her instincts, and don't be afraid to speak her mind.  Life isn't about pleasing everyone else or doing what other people expect of you. It's about staying true to God's purpose for your life.  As long as you're doing that, everything else will fall into place.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The 5er: Channel 4's Ed Webster


(Photo Disclaimer: I clearly did not interview a baby so obviously the interviewee subject is on the left. LOL)

For the best British TV recommendations, I often consult my friend, Channel 4's Ed Webster, for which he is now the reason for my absolute addiction to the infectious show, "Peep Show".  Get deeper inside his mind for more of his fave shows - albeit some of them American ones, what American-isms he fancies and why Gene Kelly is so appealing to him.

What is currently your favorite show on Channel 4?
The brilliantly written, shot and acted "Peep Show".  I'm very glad that it's coming back for another series (or season as you would say!) later this year.

 Peep Show
  
What is currently your favorite show not on Channel 4 and why?
I'm catching up with various box sets. I'm a huge fan of the "West Wing". It makes me proud to be an American. At least it would if I was.

Out of current shows, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" which I tried to get Channel 4 to acquire for the UK. It's the funniest thing I've ever seen on TV.  "Boardwalk Empire" is amazing - I'm going to New York to visit my friend Anatol Yusef this year, who plays "Meyer Lansky". While I'm there I'm going to try and persuade him that his character should have a brother.  From there it's a short walk to my own spin off series, which would like to be a musical comedy show. I'll let you know what they say.

Anatol Yusef

If you could live anywhere else than London, where would it be?
I absolutely love New York (though you never once invited me over when you lived there. I'm over it) And I could very happily live anywhere along the California coast - so beautiful. Even thinking about it makes me happy.

What makes you laugh the most about us silly Americans?
The Writers/Cast of 'It's Always Sunny...', Seth McFarlane, Oliver Hardy, Steve Martin, legal disclaimers on commercials, The 'World' Series, and the way you spell 'favourite'.

What is your favorite all-time film and why?
I want to say "The Godfather" but I think I have to go for "Singing in the Rain". When I grow up, I want to be Gene Kelly.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Love "Peep Show" - It's Not What You Think!


It'’s time to add some new fun and humour (as the Queen’s English spells it) to your “watch instantly” queue on Netflix by adding in the brit comedy, "“Peep Show"” starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb.  Never mind that you probably haven’t heard of either one of these funny fellows but they are a comedic duo who have starred in and written several sketch comedies such as “"The Mitchell and Webb Situation"”, "“That Mitchell and Webb Sound"” and most recently “"That Mitchell and Webb Look".”  "“Peep Show"” is in it’s eight season and is now the longest running comedy having ever been broadcast on Channel 4.

This quirky comedy is shot in the point of view of each main character with voice-overs made by the characters, Mark and Jeremy.  “"Peep Show"” is centered around two men in their twenties and their lives as roommates, their loves, jobs and every single awkward situation known humanly possible to mankind.  Mark is an unhappily employed and socially awkward especially around the neighborhood kids who constantly bully him.  Jeremy moves into Mark’s flat after a recent break-up and struggles to find employment while working on what he believes to be his true calling, a musician, much to everyone else’s dismay.  Neither one is incredibly successful with the ladies although Jeremy does fair a bit better with the birds.

British humour, in general, is a little more dry and ironic however “"Peep Show"” fully delivers causing outloud laughs when watched.  The predicaments that Mark and Jeremy find themselves into alone are embarrassing enough to make you blush but to watch it presented from their own eyes and voice, makes it feel even more personally humiliating for both the character and the viewer.  As with many british tv shows, there was an attempt to recreate a US version of this show on Fox in 2005 but it was deemed unsuccessful.  Creators of the UK show, Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain criticized that the flop of the show was due to the lack of using a point-of-view filming like the original show.  This show is one of my favorites and I hope you will feel the same.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Can't Wait: Disconnect


Aside from the fact that this film, "Disconnect", is so well cast.  Mr. Marc Jacobs, THE Marc Jacobs, the fashion designer is in this film playing himself.  What?!?  Seriously, is there anything this guy can't do?  I can't wait to see this indie flick.  It stars the uber talented Jason Bateman, Hope Davis, Paula Patton, "True Blood's" Alexander Skarsgard, brit Andrea Riseborough, and Jonah Bobo (played Steve Carell's son in "Crazy, Stupid, Love". This film impressed at last year's film festivals and seems to be a version of "Crash" with maybe a tinge of "Catfish". Disconnect will be in theaters on April 12th.  


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Can't Wait: G.I. Joe Retaliation

What do you get when you mix in The Rock, Channing Tatum, oh and...Bruce Willis?  G.I. Joe: Retaliation. I can't wait to see this film this summer.  It opens on June 29th and looks to pack a punch.  Directed by Jon M. Chu, this film looks to be his first major action film as he directed "Step Up 2: The Streets", "Step Up 3D" and the documentary "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never".  Shall we wager any bets that there might be a dance segment in this film?  I'd love to see RZA, Adrianne Palicki and Byung-hun Lee get down and do a little Gangnam style dancing. Enjoy!



Monday, February 25, 2013

2013 Oscar Winners



Here it is - in case you missed it last night...results from the 2013 Oscars.

Winners:

Best Motion Picture: Argo
Achievement in Directing: Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

Adapted Screenplay: Argo, Chris Terrio
Original Screenplay: Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino
Original Score: Life of Pi, Mychael Danna
Original Song: "Skyfall," Adele Adkins & Paul Epworth; Skyfall
Best Animated Feature Film: Brave
Best Animated Short Film: Paperman
Achievement in Cinematography: Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda
Achievement in Visual Effects: Life of Pi

Achievement in Costume Design: Anna Karenina, Jacqueline Durran
Achievement in Makeup & Hairstyling: Les Misérables
Best Live-Action Short Film: Curfew
Best Documentary Short Subject: Inocente
Best Documentary Feature: Searching for a Sugar Man
Best Foreign-Language Film: Amour (Austria)
Achievement in Sound Mixing: Les Misérables
Achievement in Sound Editing: Zero Dark Thirty & Skyfall
Achievement in Film Editing: Argo
Achievement in Production Direction: Lincoln