Entourage: Season Seven Preview

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After what was probably the worst season in the show’s history, it was nice to see Doug Ellin and the rest of the “Entourage” crew bounce back last year with a fantastic sixth season that returned to the show’s roots while still allowing the characters to mature. It also found Vincent Chase back on the A-list after a tedious detour into obscurity (and Mexico) that dragged on for way too long. In Season Six, he didn’t have much to do beyond the odd talk show appearance or fuck session, but that’s Vinnie at his best. The other characters, meanwhile, were given life-changing storylines, like Eric shutting down the Murphy Group to work for a bigger management company; Drama gambling to get out of his “Five Towns” contract for greener pastures; and Turtle going back to school to learn how to run a business. And let’s not forget Ari, who not only bought out Terrence’s agency, but finally promoted Lloyd to a full-time agent.

With the show’s June 27th premiere just around the corner, HBO has released a series of trailers promoting its return, One of them is nothing more than a series of shiny glamour shots of the quintet laughing and just looking cool as they stand around the show’s trademark 1965 Lincoln Continental, followed by the vague tagline, “What’s Next?” There’s also a more revealing trailer making the rounds with actual scenes from the upcoming season, and although it’s not too spoilerish, it does a reveal a few things about what to expect.

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For starters, it appears that Vince will be working with director Nick Cassavetes on a new action film, with Cassavetes looking pretty intimidating for a guy best known for helming “The Notebook.” Drama will also be busy trying to find the perfect project to showcase his talents, Turtle’s call girl/car service company will take off, and Ari will try to break into sports as the new head of the biggest talent agency in the world. Surprisingly, Eric doesn’t feature too much in this trailer, so hopefully Sloan doesn’t have him on too tight of a leash now that they’re engaged.

And in case you were wondering where all the celebrities were hiding, don’t worry too much, as Season Seven promises to have just as many cameos as usual, including appearances by Sean “Diddy” Combs, Mike Tyson, Stan Lee, and Jessica Simpson, among others. The most promising guest appearance, however, will likely be John Stamos, who’s scheduled to appear as himself (and alongside “Full House” co-star Bob Saget, no less) in a storyline that has something to do with Drama’s new show. Check out the trailer below, and then come back on June 27th to follow along as we blog the new season. Still not enough coverage? Be sure to visit Bullz-Eye’s Entourage Fan Hub for actor profiles, DVD reviews and more.

  

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Box office mini-preview, part II: Weirded out Hollywood agrees: “Transformers” sequel smashes puny humanity (updated)

In the face of the death of Michael Jackson right after the very sad news of the passing of Farrah Fawcett, it’s a weird day in Hollywood — and just a bit weirder and louder in news-chopper infested Westwood, where I happen to be, perhaps just a few thousand yards from the hospital room where Mr. Jackson was pronounced dead.

But the box office goes on, not that there’s much more to report other than the boffo, all-time record breaking $60.6 million performance of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.” All this so far apparently impacted by the almost across the board negativity of critics, who, I remind you yet again, are also human beings and therefore perhaps reflective of something.

So, it’s safe to say that a new tearjerker starring Cameron Diaz and directed by Nick Cassavetes of “The Notebook” won’t be much of a threat. Even the counter-programming possibilities of “My Sister’s Keeper” seem limited by it’s mediocre Rotten Tomatoes rating of 46% “fresh.” This kind of movie attracts somewhat older filmgoers and that might actually have an impact. A film like this needs some kind of buzz behind it, and I don’t see it making much headway against the various behemoths already ensconced in our nation’s theaters. The Hollywood Reporter has it pegged for about $10 million. The title also, I think, won’t do it much good.

There is, however, a trio of films worth mentioning in the so-called “specialty market.” (Isn’t it special that there’s a market where quality might help a film’s performance?) THR thinks the timing of the Iran-set drama, “”The Stoning of Soraya M.,” might be helped by news of the upheavals from the nation. However, in an area where reviews mean something, a 45% RT rating isn’t hopeful. (And we all know who’s going to be dominating the news for the next several weeks.)

Far more promising, though opening only in four theaters in L.A. and New York, is the action drama “The Hurt Locker.” I’m not a particularly huge fan of director Kathryn Bigelow. I see what she’s trying to do, but even her best thought of pieces, like the vampire flick “Near Dark,” have never quite connected for me. However, this drama about soldiers deals with a topic that’s always been potent dramatic material: unexploded bombs. This time, of course, they are being faced by U.S. solidiers in Iraq. While this film’s only “names” are in smaller roles, this one could break out and the reviews, and that Pixar-esque 97% RT rating, are impressive. Iraq is supposed to be the kiss of death at the box office, but seeing how few people have actually liked any of the Iraq films made so far, maybe it’s not so much the topic as the particular films. [UPDATE: I should add that “Hurt Locker” was written by Mark Boal, a writer who was reportedly embedded with an actual bomb squad in Iraq. So often, when a director with a problematic filmography suddenly makes a really good or great film, it’s because they’ve finally hooked up with a well-written screenplay. How easy it is to forget that.]

Also, as a fan of both Michelle Pfeiffer and director Stephen Frears (“The Hit,” among many, many others), I have to point out the romantic/possibly sexy period drama “Cheri.” Okay, the reviews are not great for this one, but I’d rather watch even a bad movie involving Pfeiffer and Frears than a bunch of personality-free tins cans fighting.

  

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