So, last week we learned a lot about our Originals, and I suspect we're going to learn a lot more, as tonight is the midseason finale and we won't be getting any new blood until January 5. As last week set up a battle royale between Klaus and Mikael, this could be one hell of a showdown. Or it could be an epic fail, not for the show, but for Elena, Mikael and Damon. Whatever plan they've put into place, you can be sure Klaus won't stumble easily into any trap they set. Part of me honestly hopes he doesn't, really. Klaus has been a great foil for the Salvatores and a villain with a dark and twisted humanity that renders him both sympathetic (Daddy-who-wasn't-his-Daddy never loved him) and terrifying (betray him and you're dead -- even if you're dear old Mom). Of course, the fact that Elena is surrounded by allies who could flip flop at any moment makes me think tonight will have more than a few twists and turns.
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Steven Spielberg's "The Adventures of Tintin" closed out AFI Fest this evening, a real coup for the festival and for Paramount Pictures (who are still well over a month away from release stateside). And the film is a dazzling experience, full of Spielberg's trademark cinematic energy. It's his best film in nearly a decade (since "Minority Report," at least).
The film was reviewed in this space by Guy upon its UK release (being one of precious few Hollywood films that manage to hit the marketplace outside the US first), and I agree with his assessment. (I'm also happy he didn't fall in with some other UK critics who seemed to have their knives out for the film overseas; I expect it to land more comfortably on these shores.)
For me, this film put a smile on my face and kept it there. It's Spielberg invigorated, the performance-capture and animation process allowing him to do things with the camera that he had only dreamed of, conjuring angles and set-pieces that surely have existed only in his head for decades but now have the freedom to run wild on the screen.
Welcome to another week of "Project Acc…zzzzzzzz." Huh? Oh, I'm sorry, "Project Accessory," which, though very similar to its parent "Project Runway," has none of the verve or excitement of the original, kind of like an ugly kid whose dad is a rock star. And no, I am not taking a swipe at guest judge Kelly Osbourne. Anyway, "Project Accessory" suffers from personality-free designers (with the exception of cray-cray Nicolina), polite judging (wow, do I miss Michael Kors) and boring challenges. We can only hope future episodes find that zing. And oh, the other thing? No Tim Gunn. Why bother, Lifetime?
A review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I make geo-political problem-solving my bitch...
The AFI Fest may chiefly get press for its starry gala premieres of Hollywood heavyweights like "J. Edgar" and "The Adventures of Tintin," but it's no less invested in showcasing far smaller works from the fringe and foreign sectors that could use the festival exposure -- and it's this aspect of the event that is reflected in their jury and audience awards, which shine a light on up-and-coming talents that could use the exposure.
Still, glancing down the list of winners announced earlier today, a few titles are familiar -- particularly to those who have been following the submissions process for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Indeed, the one multiple prizewinner at AFI is Belgium's candidate for the award, Michaël R. Roskam's "Bullhead." A reputedly tough-minded study of masculinity in the unlikely context of illegal cattle breeding (I haven't seen it, but Drew McWeeny wrote a glowing review recently), the film took the audience award in the New Auteurs section, seeing off formidable competition including widely-admired Cannes titles "Snowtown," "Michael" and "Oslo, August 31st."
Typical. The day I publish a piece about my disappointment with the post-Steve Carell version of "The Office" - along with a post-script about how I don't see a point to weekly reviews anymore - the show presents the episode I've enjoyed the most so far this season. A few quick thoughts on why coming up just as soon as I write something nasty on your Facebook wall...
In yet another milestone on the very strange road to adulthood my two sons are walking, they were witness to an exceptionally chipper Kirsten Dunst talking about her "boobies" as we settled in for a quick conversation last weekend about her new film "Melancholia."
This was a very busy morning for us. I was also doing interviews for "The Muppets" at the same hotel, so I had both of my sons with me. Toshi actually did one of those interviews, and you'll see that here next week sometime. They've both come to junkets with me before, and they know that they have to sit quietly when I'm doing the actual interview. As fans of Spider-Man, they are aware of Dunst from the covers of the movies they're not old enough to watch yet, and they knew that she used to be Spider-Man's girlfriend.
When we were just sitting down, I complimented Dunst on her work in "Melancholia," and she thanked me, then asked what the boys were doing with me. I explained about "The Muppets," and she got interested immediately, asking them how they liked the film and asking me if they got the movie right. She then asked the boys if they had seen "Melancholia" with me, and laughed when they both said no.
"Well, that's good. They haven't seen my boobies, then."
It was a whirlwind week for Oscar. Between Brett Ratner’s hasty resignation as the Oscarcast producer followed immediately by Eddie Murphy bowing out of his hosting duties and Brian Grazer stepping in to join forces with Don Mischer to rescue the show, the Academy has barely had time to catch its breath, much less take proper notice of the @MuppetOscars campaign on Twitter. This afternoon’s announcement that Billy Crystal will host the 2012 Academy Awards effectively dashed any remaining “Rainbow Connection” Oscar remix dreams.
In the wake of Oscargate, Academy president Tom Sherak has stepped forward to assure Hollywood (and the Oscar viewing audience at large) that everything is thoroughly under control. “If this happened in January, I would be hiding under my desk,” he told Deadline in one of a number of interviews today. “Look what has happened. We are actually two and a half weeks ahead of where we were last year, in terms of naming a host.”
One of America's "X Factor" Bottom Two picks last week was a no-brainer and one was a tiny bit strange.
That means it's still too early to be entirely confident in predicting which acts America is going to shun and which performers viewers will embrace.
And that means that there could be some drama in Thursday (November 10) night's results show.
It's a weird one this week.
One of the first things that brought Scott Swan and I together as friends was our shared affection for all things "Star Wars." When we first met, "Return Of The Jedi" was only two and a half years old, and both of us were still operating under the impression that there would be more sequels, and that they would come fairly quickly.
Now here we are in the year 2011, a full six years after the release of the final prequel, and I've just finished sharing the films with my kids for the first time. It seems hard to believe, since in some ways, it feels like it's just been a blink of the eye since the first time Scott and I sat there, arguing over the merits or the demerits of the films, and it sort of feels like our entire friendship has been one long conversation about the films and their creator, George Lucas.
We were asked by many of you to do an all-"Star Wars" podcast, and the result is perhaps the loosest and most inside conversation we've ever published as a podcast. This is Scott and I late on Sunday night, just shooting the breeze, the conversation wandering from point to point, all of it somehow loosely related to "Star Wars." If you're looking for something professional and well-organized, this ain't it. But if you want to hear two old friends picking up the same topic for the 10,000th time, this is it, and it's a real glimpse at the nerd DNA we have in common.
Cheryl Burke, the 27-year-old "Dancing with the Stars" pro who just may be more of a household name than her "celebrity" partner Rob Kardashian, will be hoofing her way into the semifinals Monday (Mon. at 8:00 ET on ABC). I had the chance to ask the dancer/author/actress/samba maniac about how she's gotten this far and her plan to land another mirror ball trophy to add to her collection.
Billy Crystal has been tapped as the host of this year's Oscar telecast. I'm fine with it. What was the last one he did? 2003? And he's been itching to get back into that seat. So I'm happy for him. And I'm happy this whole thing was settled so quickly. I wish the show the best moving forward and I have no doubt it'll be a fun and classy event.
It all started with a Tweet (which could have easily been a joke, but that doesn't stop the desperate world of online journalists from single-sourcing and running with it). But that news was eventually confirmed by the Academy to numerous sources, including HitFix. So Billy's our guy.