PARK CITY - Well, at least now I know why smooth jazz exists.
It's uncommon to see more than one good horror-comedy in a year, much less two within 24 hours, but "Life After Beth" proved to be a fascinating follow-up to "Cooties," both films ostensibly building off of the current fascination with zombies in pop culture, but each approaching the subject in totally different ways.
"Cooties" really does want to scare you and freak you out, and the humor is mainly from watching those particular characters handle an otherwise not particularly funny situation. "Life After Beth," on the other hand, is a comedy first and foremost, and it showcases a great cast, including two leads who both seem to be stretching here in ways that are exciting to see.
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PARK CITY - Well, at least now I know why smooth jazz exists.
Heading into today's Producers Guild of America (PGA) Awards announcement, it was "12 Years a Slave" and "American Hustle" that appeared to have the momentum. The former had landed some major media prizes in the form of Golden Globe and Critics' Choice wins, while the latter added a Screen Actors Guild ensemble award to its own Golden Globe prize last night. But, well, Alfonso Cuarón's "Gravity" had a little something to say about all of that. And the season itself had something to say about calling this thing just yet, as the final award of the night ended up split down the middle in a tie between Cuarón's opus and Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave."
Didn't you love the resounding silence that met Kenya's announcement she was going to have a baby? Somehow? It seems her aunts Lisa and Lori know Kenya about as well as we do, and I bet they're thinking they're going to have to call Child Protective Services if, in fact, Kenya does manage to get herself knocked up with some batch of mystery sperm as yet to be determined.
HBO's highly anticipated new series "Looking" finally debuted tonight and my biggest fear is there will now be a deluge of gay men who decide that San Francisco is now the city for them. We'll only be talking about the first episode in this post, but the overall series is so good that guys who really shouldn't be heading to the Bay Area will pack up that truck, er, KIA and head west in hopes of finding their own Patrick (Jonathan Groff). Wait until they find out how much he's paying in rent.
This week, if you didn't have a horrible secret or a pretty crafty lie, you really weren't a part of the action at "Downton Abbey." For all the sneaking around, swallowing of feelings and blathering of half-truths, you'd think you were watching "Falcon Crest." There wasn't a lot of justice to be had for some of the nastier secrets, but what little we got was a welcome relief, if a little too pat and easily resolved, if you ask me.
A review of tonight's "Girls" coming up just as soon as I explain the logic of the queue to you...
A review of tonight's "True Detective" coming up just as soon as I've got some self-loathing to do this morning...
Seth Meyers: 2 more "SNL" episodes, and I'm done after 13 seasons
The Feb. 1 Melissa McCarthy episode will be Meyers' last on "Saturday Night Live," ending "SNL's" 2nd-longest tenure (Darrell Hammond is No. 1, serving 14 seasons.) "We feel pretty strongly that I'm two shows away from cutting ties," Meyers tells TheWrap. "I mostly just think its too hard to try to do two of these things at the same time." PLUS: Meyers confirms that Amy Poehler will be his first "Late Night" guest, that he'll have a very long monologue, and Meyers reacts to Sasheer Zamata's first episode.
Jimmy Fallon's 1st "Tonight Show" guests: Will Smith and U2
Fallon also told critics today he'll bring the show to Los Angeles a few weeks a year, that his first three weeks are booked, and why he's bringing back "starring" to the title. He also jokingly suggested that Jay Leno play a detective on "The Blacklist."
Jimmy Fallon: I gave Chris Christie advanced warning of my song with Bruce Springsteen
Fallon gave warning to the New Jersey governor in part because he's been a guest on the show, plus Fallon knew the sketch would sting. "First of all, the bit was funny," says Fallon "Secondly, I let Chris Christie know that we were gonna do it. And I said the silver lining: Bruce Springsteen says your name."
"Chicago Fire," "Chicago PD" and "SVU" are doing a crossover
"PD" star Sophia Bush is heading to New York to film a "Law & Order: SVU" episode. PLUS: NBC releases new trailers for "About a Boy," "Believe," "Crisis" and "Growing Up Fisher."
"About a Boy" and "Parenthood" are also doing a crossover
David Walton was on "Parenthood" last week, and Dax Shepard will make a cameo on "About a Boy," says Jason Katims, who produces both shows.
Ed O'Neill inappropriately jokes about "Modern Family" co--star Ariel Winter's mom problems
When a journalist asked the female stars about advice they picked up from their mothers, O'Neill joked that "Ariel should take that one." Winter, of course, has been estranged from her mom.
"RuPaul's Drag Race" tackles the "Duck Dynasty" controversy
"We don't give a duck."
PARK CITY - Ten years to the day after "Saw" made its midnight premiere at the Egyptian Theater as part of Sundance's midnight lineup, co-writer Leigh Whannell showed up with a whole different team of collaborators to premiere "Cooties," a horror-comedy that manages the very difficult trick of fulfilling both halves of that equation with equal skill.
Directed by Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion (collectively known as "Honest" when they co-direct) and written by Ian Brennan & Leigh Whannell, "Cooties" tells the story of a rapdily-spreading infection that turns all the kids at an elementary school into rabid little flesh-eating monsters, and what happens on the day the situation spins out of control. Clint (Elijah Wood) is a substitute who actually went to that same elementary school when he was a kid. He's only teaching for a little while as he works on his first novel, "Keel Them All," a story about a haunted boat. He's delighted to see that one of his childhood friends Lucy (Allison Pill) is also teaching at the school, but slightly less delighted when he meets her current boyfriend, PE coach Wade (Rainn Wilson). For the first twenty minutes or so, "Cooties" is basically just a comedy about a guy who isn't where he wants to be in his life trying to cope with returning to his elementary school, but in a new role, while also trying to navigate the bizarre social hierarchy of the teachers who are there full-time.
With Alfonso Cuaron ("Gravity") and J.J. Abrams ("Star Trek") executive producing, "Believe" is pretty much guaranteed to get some hype (see a clip here) -- and possibly eyeballs -- when it premieres on March 10 after "The Voice." The question is, of course, how the supernatural drama about Bo, a little girl with supernatural powers, who becomes a pawn as adults try to kidnap her will be sold to viewers. "We'll have procedural elements each week," executive producer Jonas Pate explained, "but then larger mythological elements will be slowly revealed."
PARK CITY - In the world of intelligence thrillers, the Cold War, much like smoking, is a hard habit to break. And both, as it turns out, feature prominently in Anton Corbijn's "A Most Wanted Man," the first big-screen adaptation of a John Le Carré novel since Tomas Alfredson's "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" in 2011, and a worthy spiritual successor to that tangled, tea-stained tale of world-weary espionage. The difference, however, is that we're long past the Cold War's big thaw in this particular story: post-9/11 paranoia is the order of the day, though Le Carré's typically dry, rueful tone and Corbijn's pewter-colored aesthetic combine to suggest the shift is immaterial: the more things change, the more they stay the same, and political distrust springs eternal.