Eric Hynes has a good article in Slate celebrating the quiet performances that make loud, Oscar-winning ones possible. Meanwhile, Bullz-Eye covers Academy Award upsets they’d like to see along with 10 movies the Oscar nominees don’t want you to see.
Okay, so we have finally arrived. “American Idol” last night reached the Top 24, meaning it’s now in America’s hands to vote and out of the hands, mostly, of judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. That, of course, is good news for J-Lo, who had an extremely difficult time, and started crying as the episode ended Wednesday night, saying, “I don’t know if I can do this….” Well, that was a short cry that the producers made a bigger deal out of. She got it together in the first 30 seconds of last night’s episode, and the judges had those contestants march down a mile-long hallway one by one to learn their fate.
First up, the bubbly J-Lo wannabe, Karen Rodriguez, and she was the first one through, due in large part to her “connection” with J-Lo. Next was 17 year old Robbie Rosen, who would learn his fate from Tyler, who is horrible at delivering good news! Anyway, Robbie was in, and that’s good for America, because this kid is really awesome. Next was Tatanyisha Wilson, who was a yes. Then two people I never remember seeing sing were eliminated. Okay.
Tags: American Idol, American Idol 2011, American Idol 2011 blog, American Idol 2011 recap, American Idol blog, American Idol recap, American Idol Season 10, American Idol Season 10 blog, American Idol Season 10 recap, American Idol Top 24, Brett Lowenstern, Casey Abrams, Colton, Erin Kelly, J-Lo, Jacee Badeaux, Jackie Wilson, Jacob Lusk, James Durbin, Jennifer Lopez, John Wayne Schulz, Jordan Dorsey, Julie Zorrilla, Karen Rodriguez, Kendra Chantelle, Lauren Alaina, Lauren Turner, Pia Toscano, Rachel Zevita, Randy Jackson, Robbie Rosen, Scotty McCreery, singing competition, Stefano Langone, Steven Tyler, Thia Meghia, Tim Halperin
It should be stated for the record that while the editorial ‘we’ was used for the title of this column, the truth is that these are my picks and solely my picks. Let the first person speak begin.
The Academy Awards have become a bit of a bore in the last few years. There have been next to no surprises in the major categories, except for perhaps Marion Cotillard winning Best Actress in 2008 for “La Vie en Rose” or Alan Arkin winning Best Supporting actor in 2007 for “Little Miss Sunshine.” For the most part, it’s decided pretty early who’s going to win, which totally sucks, if you ask me. Of course, there are categories where there is a performance that clearly stands out above the others, but in many instances, people win their Oscars not because they’ve delivered something otherworldly, but because it’s their time, and they’re due, or other such nonsense. These aren’t lifetime achievement awards, and this isn’t a welfare system. If you give the award to the worthy party the first time around, there will be no need to “pay them back” later (cough, Al Pacino and Denzel Washington).
Take Tilda Swinton, for example. Do you know why she won the Academy Award for Supporting Actress? It’s because the voters knew that “Michael Clayton” was going to be shut out in every other category, so they threw Swinton a bone just so the movie walked away with at least one award. What the hell kind of logic is that? Did she really give the best performance or not? She was perfectly fine in the movie, but there was nothing extraordinary about it, certainly not compared to her hilariously stone-hearted harpy in “Burn After Reading.” Needless to say, the Academy’s predictability of late has led me to rebel, which is why on Sunday, I’d love nothing more than to hear the following five names be read instead of what we will probably hear.
Best Original Screenplay: Christopher Nolan, “Inception“
Current Frontrunner: David Seidler, “The King’s Speech”
“The King’s Speech” is a wonderful little film. It was #7 on my list of top movies of 2010. But that story has been done many, many times before, while “Inception” was so layered that it took 10 years for Christopher Nolan to finish it. Small stories are good stories, but when someone dares to, pardon the pun, dream like Nolan did here – and better yet, pull it off, which he does in spades – that should be rewarded. It would also serve as a warning shot across the bows of every action movie director that story matters, damn it, and to get rid of the jive-talking robots.
Tags: 127 Hours, Christian Bale, Christopher Nolan, Five 2011 Oscar upsets we'd like to see, Geoffrey Rush, Hailee Steinfeld, Inception, James Franco, Melissa Leo, Movies, Oscar upsets, The Fighter, The King's Speech, The Social Network, True Grit
Last night “Top Chef All-Stars” on Bravo merged its own brand with Food Network, as Paula Deen was introduced by host Padma Lakshmi as the guest judge for the quick fire challenge. But first they showed the remaining six chefs hanging around with Richard showing Mike his “secret black book” of ideas. Hmmm. So what do you think the challenge was? Yep, making a dish using a deep fryer.
Paula said that her true favorite was Antonia’s fried shrimp and avocado, but she was disqualified for only plating one dish in time and not two. The least favorites were Dale (oyster and beef) and Carla (catfish). The two favorites not named Antonia were Richard (fried mayo balls!) and Mike (fried chicken in oyster shells–an idea he stole from Richard’s book!). Mike won and he took home $5K as well as angry glares from Richard. Wow. Carla, Tiffany and Antonia talked about this being a violation of “chef law.”
Tags: Antonia, Carla, Dale, Gulf, Gulf oil spill, John Besh, Mike, New Orleans, Padma Lakshmi, Paula Deen, Richard, Tiffany, Tom Colicchio, Top Chef, Top Chef 2011, Top Chef 2011 blog, Top Chef 2011 recap, Top Chef All Stars, Top Chef All Stars blog, Top Chef All Stars recap, Top Chef blog, Top Chef recap, Top Chef Season 8, Top Chef Season 8 blog, Top Chef Season 8 recap
This is when it must really be hard to be Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez or Steven Tyler. The talent pool for this season’s “American Idol” is one of the best ever, thanks in part (sorry, I’m going to say it) to Simon Cowell not being there to choose good looks over vocal talent. So now, when you get 61 very talented singers and have to pare that down to 24, it’s a difficult task.
Anyway, last night’s episode began with the contestants being bused to Las Vegas to the Mirage, where a running of a Beatles show is behind shown. They were given 24 hours to learn a song and working with AI vocal coaches before performing in front of the judges. But first, they had to sing in front of industry veteran and AI exec this season, Jimmy Iovine. Iovine and his producer friends were brutally honest with the singers, which is something some of them really needed. They also were “encouraged” by “vocal coach from hell” Peggy. Ha!
Tags: American Idol, American Idol 2011, American Idol 2011 blog, American Idol 2011 recap, American Idol blog, American Idol recap, American Idol Season 10, American Idol Season 10 blog, Ashley Sullivan, J-Lo, Jennifer Lopez, Las Vegas, Mirage, Randy Jackson, Simon Cowell, Steven Tyler, the Beatles, vocal competition
Everyone has taken that soul-sucking job in order to pay the bills. And while we proles may tease them for living the glamorous life, actors probably take that job more often than anyone, since they never know when the next job is going to come. (Case in point: Michael Madsen told us that he categorizes the movies he’s made as “good,” “bad,” and “unwatchable.”) Putting this theory to the test, we scoured the filmographies of this year’s nominees in the acting categories, looking for movie titles that screamed ‘bad idea.,’ and we were not disappointed with what we found. Jesse Eisenberg, for example, did a TV movie called “Lightning: Fire from the Sky,” which will be the main feature at our next Bad Movie night. Here are ten other films that this year’s candidates would probably prefer remained unseen.
Colin Firth (Best Actor, “The King’s Speech”)
Movie: Femme Fatale (1991)
IMDb rating: 4.6
The plot: An English artist-turned park ranger falls for and marries a stranger, only for her to disappear days later. As he learns more about his wife, he gets deeper and deeper into the Los Angeles underworld looking for clues that will lead him to her.
Firth’s character: Joe Prince, the aforementioned artist/ranger.
How bad is it?: You may not see the ending coming, but that is about the only thing this movie has going for it. Armed with one of the most awkward love scenes we’ve seen in ages, this movie does not gel on any level, using mental illness as a means of providing psychological depth, not to mention Acting!, with that last word ideally spoken like Jon Lovitz. Firth is actually passable here, given the material, and Danny Trejo pops up as a tattoo artist. But you can bet that when someone assembles a clip show of Firth’s finest moments, this movie will not make the cut.
Tags: 10 movies Oscar nominees don't want you to see, 2011 Academy Award nominees, Amy Adams, bad movies by 2011 Oscar nominees, BMX Bandits, Colin Firth, Femme Fatale, Francesco, Future-Kill, Helena Bonham-Carter, James Franco, Jeff Bridges, Jeremy Renner, John Hawkes, Mark Ruffalo, Michelle Williams, Mirror Mirror 2: Raven Dance, Nicole Kidman, Psycho Beach Party, Senior Trip, The Yin and Yang of Mr. Go, Timemaster, Whatever It Takes
“The Biggest Loser” is certainly not afraid of throwing curveballs at its contestants or its viewers, and last night was no exception. After Jay was eliminated at the end of the last episode, host Alison Sweeney invited the black team into the room and detailed what the next week would hold–namely, that there would be two contestants going home this next week. There would be a red line, in which the person with the lowest percentage of weight loss would automatically be eliminated, and then there would be the regular yellow line, and the team that lost the weigh in would send someone else home as well.
So when Brett and Cara, the red team trainers, found out about the double elimination, they decided that no one from their group would be going home, and they set off to train at an MMA gym. It turns out that the owner of the gym is a guy who trained Rulon for the Olympics in 2004. Pretty cool. Even cooler that the guy didn’t judge Rulon for gaining all that weight.
Tags: Alison Sweeney, Arthur, Austin, black team, Bob Harper, Brett Hoebel, Cara Castronova, Courtney, Deni, Hannah, Irene, Jen, Jesse, Jillian Michaels, Justin, Kaylee, Ken, Marci, MMA gym, Moses, Olivia, red team, Rulon, Sarah, The Biggest Loser, The Biggest Loser 2011, The Biggest Loser 2011 blog, The Biggest Loser 2011 recap, The Biggest Loser blog, The Biggest Loser recap, The Biggest Loser Season 11, The Biggest Loser Season 11 blog, The Biggest Loser Season 11 recap, weight loss competition
He was a leading director of the French New Wave, but that doesn’t tell you much about the hugely prolific Claude Chabrol. He was frequently compared to Alfred Hitchcock but that tells you even less. I’m not even close to an expert on his work, but I can safely describe Chabrol as a crafty writer-director who specialized in films that shared plot elements with the mystery and suspense genres while deliberately not partaking of their usual pleasures. It’s fitting, therefore, that the late director’s final film has a murder mystery plot and pays tribute to Georges Simenon’s beloved Inspector Maigret but never feels like a murder mystery, which is both the best and worst thing about it.
In his first ever film with Chabrol, the omnipresent, 60-something Gerard Depardieu stars as Bellamy, a famed detective who attempts some time off only to be accosted by an intrusive stranger (Jacques Gamblin). The man asks for his help exonerating him from the killing of a homeless person. The problem: he admits that he really did intend to murder the vagrant as part of an insurance scam. Bellamy welcomes the distraction. He is much less sanguine about another interloper, his obnoxious and troubled younger half-brother (Clovis Cornillac) who intrudes upon his quality time with his beloved and sexy wife (Marie Bunel). Like I said earlier, don’t come to a Chabrol film expecting a conventional thriller. If a wry but serious look at life and death is up your alley, however, “Inspector Bellamy” is worth investigating.
Tags: Alfred Hitchcock, Claude Chabrol, Clovis Cornillac, French New Wave, Georges Simenon, Gerard Depardieu, Inspector Bellamy, Inspector Bellamy review, Inspector Maigret, Jacques Gamblin, Marie Bunel
Tony Todd is often unjustly considered to be just a horror actor, but one only needs to take a look at his filmography to see that he’s working in countless genres. Indeed, his television work alone has found him bouncing from sci-fi (“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”) to comedy (“Chuck”) to action (“24″). Mind you, we’re probably not doing a whole lot to change that whole he-only-does-horror-movies perception by talking to him about his work as Reverend Zombie in the “Hatchet” franchise – “Hatchet 2,” by the way, is now available on DVD – but we did at least make a point of trying to ask him about as many different roles as possible. We did not, however, say the name of his most famous film five times in front of a mirror. (We’re not crazy).
Bullz-Eye: How are you?
Tony Todd: Good, good. Just going through the day.
BE: I can imagine. I’m sure they keep you busy. A tight schedule.
TT: It’s really weird when they give you someone for 15 minutes, then the next person, “You’ve got 15 minutes…” It’s like speed interviewing. (Laughs) But I guess it’s a necessary part of it. Where are you calling from?
BE: Norfolk, Virginia.
TT: Norfolk, okay. I just did a movie down in Petersburg, Virginia.
BE: Not too far away from here.
TT: It was great. Some of my best work I think I’ve done in a horror film.
BE: Which movie was that?
TT: It was called “Unbroken.” There’s a company down there called Stormcatcher Films.
BE: Right, exactly. Very cool! So…”Hatchet II.” You got to play Reverend Zombie again.
TT: Yeah, and doing the first one, I knew going in that this was going to happen. So I’m glad that Adam Green is not only a man of his word but has a vision that keeps me employed. (Laughs)
BE: Plus, we got to see a little bit more of him this go around.
TT: Yeah. Well, he had told me the back story when we did the first one, so I was able to play that scene in the first one knowing the full knowledge. And then we got to go down to New Orleans, which is one of my favorite cities.
BE: Even better. So what was it like to get the chance to step back into the Reverend’s shoes? I mean, he’s certainly an interesting character.
TT: Yeah, I tried to find his reality, which is that he’s a small time con man from New Jersey. His real name is Clive Washington. And just like when we go from high school to college, you get the opportunity to reinvent yourself, and he’s a reinvented person that, unfortunately, is believing his own hype. He can’t shed it.
BE: How did you and Adam first meet up?
TT: I met Adam on a convention circuit, actually. He comes from the fan world. He’s very enthusiastic; loves film, particularly horror. I think we chatted a few times, and then he made me an offer to play Reverend Zombie. I turned it down. And then he and (John Carl) Buechler kind of lobbied and convinced me that it was a project worth taking.
Tags: 24, Adam Green, Bernard Rose, Bird, Black Fox, Bludworth, Candyman, Christopher Reeve, Chuck, Clint Eastwood, Colors, Dennis Hopper, Driven, Duane Jones, Final Destination 5, Hatchet, Hatchet II, Headlines, Icon, Jake Sisko, Jerome Bixby, Jeykll and Hyde, John Carl Buechler, Kurn, Last Elephant, Man from Earth, Night of the Living Dead, Night of the Living Dead: origins, Oliver Stone, Platoon, Reverend Zombie, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Stormcatcher Films, The Event, Tony Todd, Unbroken, Young Justice
After last night’s episode of “American Idol” from Hollywood week whittled the contestants down from 100 to 50, it’s safe to say things are really heating up. I’m guessing that the live portion of the show will begin on March 2, unless it begins next Thursday, February 24. Either way, I, along with all of you I’m sure , am ready for the real competition to begin. Here is a brief run-down of last night…
Basically, the first 50 minutes or so of the episode showed the contestants singing, by themselves, one more time for the judges. Ashley Sullivan, who almost quit during the group round and is, well, a bit of a basket case, sang Michael Buble’s “Everything” to her boyfriend, but she forgot most of the words and melted down right there on stage. Yikes.
Tags: American Idol, American Idol 2011, American Idol 2011 blog, American Idol 2011 recap, American Idol blog, American Idol recap, American Idol Season 10, American Idol Season 10 blog, American Idol Season 10 recap, Ashley Sullivan, Chelsee Oaks, Hollywood week, Jacee Badeaux, Jennifer Lopez, Lauren Alaina, Randy Jackson, Rob Bolin, Ryan Seacrest, Scotty McCreery, Simon Cowell, Steven Tyler