Entertainment news round-up for May 1

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True Grit and Ender’s Game star Hailee Steinfeld has signed on for Pitch Perfect 2, the sequel to the 2012 film about college a capella groups.  Anna Kendrick and Brittany snow are reprising their roles, and Elizabeth Banks is set to direct.  The film will be released on May 15, 2015.  For more on the project and on Steinfeld’s […]

Entertainment news round-up for April 30

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HBO is bringing back Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s Project Greenlight, which gave an inside look at the challenges posed to a first-time director.  Damon and Affleck will be back to executive produce.  “Project Greenlight was ahead of its time,” said Affleck in a statement. “Now that  technology has caught up to the concept, we thought […]

Entertainment news round-up for April 28

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Fox will broadcast a three-hour live version of Grease in 2015.  The cast has not yet been assembled.  “From Broadway to film, and across generations, Grease is one of the most beloved musical stories ever told — and we can’t wait to bring it to our air in a spectacular live event,” said Shana C. Waterman, Fox’s […]

Critic underwhelmed by ‘Black Swan’

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I will openly admit that I am not the biggest fan of Darren Aronofsky’s particular directorial style.  It was with great skepticism, then, that I selected his 2011 film Black Swan for review, though I thought perhaps that its slew of award nominations indicated that it might impress me.  Sadly, my hopes were dashed.  Black Swan is […]

Entertainment news round-up for April 25

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SNL vet and new Late Night host Seth Meyers is set to host the Primetime Emmy Awards, airing August 25th on NBC.  “Seth’s expertise and ease in front of a live audience during his time at SNL, as well as his comedic brilliance both as a writer and in front of the camera on SNL and Late Night, makes him […]

Entertainment news round-up for April 23

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Johnny Depp’s upcoming action-comedy Mortdecai has been set for a February 2016 U.S. release.  The film is based on Kyril Bonfigliol’s novel trilogy and features Depp in a race to locate a stolen painting that could contain the code to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold.  The star-studded cast also includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, […]

Entertainment news round-up for April 20

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Chicago musician Chance the Rapper missed his scheduled performance on the last day of Coachella due to hospitalization.  Particulars of his medical condition are unknown.  Hours before the performance was set to begin, a since-removed photo appeared on his Instagram with a caption that read “Pray for my boy chance,” after which the cancellation was […]

Critic disappointed by ‘The Artist’

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As a film critic, I obviously watch a lot of movies.  Each year, though, there are a few that slip by me, and every so often, I like to make an effort to catch up.  This time around, I selected The Artist, and to be quite frank, I wish I had chosen something else.  Though […]

Entertainment news round-up for April 19

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The lineup for the 67th annual Cannes Film Festival has been announced.  Notable French entries include Jean-Luc Godard’s 3D experiment Goodbye to Language and Michel Hazanavicius’ The Search.  Other films vying for prizes include Atom Egoyan’s The Captive and Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner.  For more on the lineup, click here. In other Cannes news, French actress-turned-director Nicole Garcia will […]

Entertainment news round-up April 11

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Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner says that the show’s upcoming mini-season will be action-packed.  “The episodes are dense,” he said.  ““After realizing that I needed two premieres and two finales, it changed the pacing of every other episode. These episodes are more focused on the main characters than ever before — and I’ve got a lot […]

Entertainment news round-up

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CBS has named Stephen Colbert to succeed David Letterman on The Late Show.  He will be leaving the right-wing caricature he plays in The Colbert Report behind.  “Simply being a guest on David Letterman’s show has been a highlight of my career,” he said in a statement. “I never dreamed that I would follow in his footsteps, […]

Entertainment news round-up for April 4

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Sources say that 12 Years a Slave star Chiwitel Ejiofor is MGM and Sony’s top choice to play the villain in the next James Bond film.  The studios had no comment.  Daniel Craig is set to return as Bond with Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, and Naomie Harris slated to return as well.  Skyfall helmer Sam Mendes will again direct. […]

Entertainment news round-up for April 3

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Holly Hunter has joined the cast of Zack Snyder’s as-yet-untitled Superman/Batman film starring Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck.  She will play a character newly created for the movie.  The feature also stars Jessie Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Amy Adams, and Diane Lane.  For more information on the project, click here. David Letterman has announced his plans […]

Entertainment news round-up for March 30

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Twilight actor Patrick Brennan will join the cast of ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for two upcoming episodes.  The actor, who played Liam in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, will play Blackout, a villain with the power to suck the energy from everything around him.  “It’s just rare to have a character that’s [this] interesting,” he told […]

Entertainment news round-up for March 27

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The Wu-Tang Clan plans to release only one copy of their secretly-recorded new double album The Wu – Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.  The album is priced in the millions and will be presented in a handcrafted silver box designed by British Moroccan artist Yahya.  “By taking this step, we hope to re-enforce the weight […]

Entertainment news round-up for March 13

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Once Upon a Time actress Rose McIver has joined the cast of iZombie, a new zombie crime fighter from Veronica Mars scribes Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero.  She will play a medical student who eats brains and inherits the corpses’ memories, which she uses to solve homicide cases.  To read more on the series, click here. Cynthia Nixon […]

Entertainment news round-up for March 12

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90’s rom-com hit Pretty Woman is making its way to Broadway.  The film’s screenwriters, Marshall and J.F. Lawton, are set to pen the book of the musical, with Paula Wagner on board to produce.  The production does not yet have a composer, lyricist, or director.  For more information on the show, click here. Japan’s Tezuka Productions has […]

Critic touched and amazed by ‘The Wind Rises’

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I am appalled that The Wind Rises did not take home the Oscar for Best Animated Picture.  It makes Frozen look like a straight-to-DVD castoff.  A beautiful farewell from Hayao Miyazaki, it is utterly magical – and in a way that eschews Disney’s heavy-handedness in favor of a much gentler, realer approach. The film presents […]

Critic delights in Allen’s ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’

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Given the recent success of Blue Jasmine – namely, Cate Blanchett’s Best Actress Oscar win – I decided to revisit another of Woody Allen’s films that features women in plum roles:  Vicky Cristina Barcelona.  Released in 2008, it’s one of Allen’s best, with a light, fresh tone that still hits all the expected cynical notes. […]

Entertainment news round-up for March 11

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CBS will air an unprecedented number of original programming hours this summer.  The lineup will include seven total hours of original programming, three of which will air on Sunday.  The schedule consists of four dramas and thrice-weekly series Big Brother.  For more on CBS’ summer lineup, click here. Broadway actress Laura Benanti is slated to host […]

Entertainment news round up for March 8

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The Hunger Games producer Nina Jacobson is on board for an adaptation of Donna Tartt’s novel The Goldfinch, which was published last fall and still ranks second on the New York Times bestseller list.  The story follows a boy who loses his mother in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and absconds with Fabritius’ painting “The […]

Critic deems ‘Brick’ a true modern classic

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Rian Johnson’s Brick is, to my mind, the very definition of a modern classic – not only because it’s fantastic, but also because it dares to combine the old and the new in a smart, sexy, and stylish way.  A neo-noir story dropped smack into a contemporary setting, Brick is an effortlessly engaging visual and aural delight. Released in […]

Entertainment news round-up for March 6

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Idris Elba is in final talks to join the cast of Disney’s animated The Jungle Book reboot, directed by Jon Favreau.  Elba would voice Shere Khan the tiger.  Elba has recently been seen in Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom and Thor: The Dark World.  For more on The Jungle Book and on Elba’s other projects, click here. FX […]

Short film round-up

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For something a little off-kilter, take a look at Cockatoo, an 11-minute short from Australian filmmaker Matthew Jenkin that explores heartbreak and closure.  The film follows a man who makes a desperate attempt to get over his previous relationship by hiring an actress from the Reality Dreams agency to play his ex-girlfriend for a few hours. […]

Critic revels in ‘The Raid: Redemption’

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The Raid: Redemption is gorgeous.  It’s one hour and 41 minutes of pure, unadulterated  violence.  I loved every blood-soaked second of it. Before I begin to wax too poetic about the film, I feel that it is my duty as a critic to make a few unfortunate admissions about it:  the plot is unimaginative, the dialogue […]

Entertainment news round-up for Feb. 28

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Platinum Dunes, Mandalay Pictures and Universal have selected Dutch filmmaker Diederik Van Rooijen to direct a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.  Plot details for the remake have not yet been released.  Van Rooijen is best known for his film Taped.  For more information on the project, click here. The Notebook director Nick Cassavetes has signed on to direct […]

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