Friday, May 31, 2013

Quick Reaction to Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

This current heatwave is melting my brain a bit, which I'm using as an excuse to not write a "review" for Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing which I was luckily and happily able to see last night at BAM. Seeing an advanced screening to a highly anticipated film is exciting enough, but to also get the director for a Q & A afterwards is just priceless ESPECIALLY when it's someone you've worshiped for years. Look at the blurry pictures I took of the man himself:

He was charming, witty, and thoughtful. The fan questions were mostly civil and smart. I was sitting about six rows from the stage and was in direct eye-line with Whedon. So imagine how I felt when a girl right behind me asked him a question and he seemingly looked straight AT me. I was screaming on the inside.

So with all of that said, if I ever do write a review to Much Ado About Nothing, you can tell how severely biased I might be. Not only do I love the director, but the cast (full of beloved actors from his other projects) is great as well. In fact, I am astonished that more of them aren't bigger stars like Amy Acker and Fran Kranz. And so I will simply say that the film is utterly delightful. Just a wonderful time from start to finish, hilarious and full of charm. It most likely won't make Avengers-sized bank, but I implore everyone to watch it.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Orlando Bloom at the Cannes Film Festival

It seemed like summer was never going to come, but suddenly NYC is at the beginning of a possible heat wave with temperatures for the next three days reaching 90 degrees. And speaking of hot, what's going on with Orlando Bloom?

Regardless of my flawless talent for subtle segues, I truly was thinking about what Bloom was up to lately (this is a pro-Bloom blog so take your negativity out the door!). I know he'll be reprising his role as Legolas for the Hobbit films, but what else? Well, look no further than the Cannes Film Festival which ended just this past weekend. He was there looking dapper as fuck...

Bloom handed out the Best Actress award to Bérénice Bejo. He was also there promoting his film Zulu where he co-stars with Forest Whitaker. It was the closing film of the festival which is an honor or sorts I suppose. Both play cops based in Cape Town, South Africa dealing with crime, violence, and lingering effects of apartheid. I was only able to find a handful of reviews of the film and the general consensus seems to be that the location is fantastic while the film less so.

Orlando Bloom in Zulu

In spite of the sensationalistic violence that is apparently ever-present in the film, I'm looking forward to seeing it if only to ogle Bloom and his apparently tattooed and buffed up bod.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Looking Forward To...

The Kings of Summer
Release: May 31, 2013
Distributor: CBS Films
Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Starring: Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, Mooises Arias, Erin Moriarty, Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Alison Brie, and Mary Lynn Rajskub

Belated TV Finale Thoughts, Part 1

My overly ambitious plan was to write up a season finale post on most of the shows I watch regularly, but I was only really able to do that for How I Met Your Mother. Instead, just a few quick stray thoughts on a few season finales (and perhaps overall season thoughts). First up, the comedies...

THE OFFICE - This probably deserved its own post, but I stopped caring about the show way before its series finale, which was done as well as they could've done it. I still don't buy Dwight's character 180 in the last few episodes, but they had to rush his maturation for his wedding and his new status as branch manager. Also, putting focus on the documentary aspect of the show for its final season was a mixed bag in that while it provided a natural closure for the show, the reality of it just begs for too much analysis that doesn't hold up. For one, why were only those featured in the last year of the "documentary" invited for the reunion? The real answer is that the "people" who have been featured on it are played by actors who weren't available for the finale, but sure let's pretend people actually were clamoring for more Plop and mini-Dwight instead of Michael Scott. And yet dammit if I didn't cheer and cry when Steve Carrell did make his appearance or when Dwight called Pam his best friend or when Phyllis started crying because Stanley made her a bobble-head doll. It was certainly time to end it and they did it the best they could with what they were given. Finale: B+, Season: C

HAPPY ENDINGS - The season ended with the gang dancing together at a wedding reception and if that's the final image we'll have of this show ever, I'm at peace with it. Yes, even though ABC cancelled it there's a chance it'll find a new cable home. I'll be happy if it does come back, but I'm also okay if it doesn't. I still love the characters especially with how they interact with each other, but I would lie if I didn't say that some of their schtick were getting a bit tiresome. That said, this is the show I lovingly call "a piñata filled with candy and crack." Candy and crack is good, but getting them constantly is not that great for you. Finale: B, Season: B

NEW GIRL - I've been quite impressed at the strong sophomore season this show managed to put together. Most of it was realizing that the show works much better as an ensemble and less of a Zoey Deschanel platform. I'm not to say that she isn't great by herself, but they also learned to turned down her adorkableness that was such a feature of the first season, especially early on. This season also benefited from Jake Johnson (this season's MVP) absolutely blossoming as Nick Miller from his hilarious physical comedy to his unbelievable chemistry with Deschanel. I do wish the show would give Cece and Winston more to do though the latter has done the best he could all season with very little. Cece on the other hand was largely wasted on a wedding arc that ended the way everyone thought it would. And now they're seemingly creating a love triangle arc with her, Schmidt, and Elizabeth (played by the amazing Merrit Weaver). I'll reserve judgment on this depending on whether or not the show decides to keep Weaver around. Finale: B+, Season: B+

BIG BANG THEORY - This show has fallen down in my own rankings the past few years especially with some of the crass humor that has overtaken the show. With that said, there are still a few things that keep me coming back. For one thing, the show has been very open to expanding its cast, first with bringing in more girls (Amy and Bernadette) and then growing its world of wonderful recurring characters (the characters' parents, Stuart, Will Wheaton, and now Lucy). That latter character, Lucy, the woman with the severe social anxiety disorder that Raj is dating, can still go one way or another (and who knows if we'll actually see her again), but it at least provided some growth for the Raj character who can finally talk to girls without alcoholic influence. That development in the finale was a welcome change as was the gang saying goodbye momentarily to Leonard nicely book-ending the season when they welcomed Howard back from his expedition. Finale: B, Season B-

PARKS & RECREATION - My favorite comedy show didn't have the best season ender at least compared to the finales of past years especially since it didn't really leave things in a nice little bow. And yet there's a silver lining there in that the show must have known that they were a shoe-in for renewal (and they were renewed). While that's all and good, it also made the season finale feel like setting up for next season with many things were left up in the air like's Leslie fighting the recall, April going to vet school, Tom's business being bought by a mysterious person, and OH YEAH RON SWANSON BEING A DAD. The end of the second season had this same feeling and it gave us the nearly perfect third season so I'm going to remain hopeful that this show will deliver. It almost always does after all. Finale: B, Season: A-

COMMUNITY - Six seasons and a movie. These days to many disenchanted fans, that's starting to feel like a prison sentence especially as the show has been renewed yet again. I admit that it hasn't been the show's strongest season, but people bemoaning that the show has been ruined to the point of no return is just ridiculous. I guess most of this is due to many of the creatives that had made the show great being replaced this past year, but it's not as if the whole season was a bust. The Jim Rash-penned episode was superb as was seeing how the gang all decided to go to community college and the puppet-themed episode is right up there with the best Community episodes ever. One thing I would give to the naysayers is the finale going just a bit overboard. There were plenty of nice things in there, especially in the end with Jeff showing his appreciation for his friends and that place, but the Dark Timeline subplot, as cool as it might have been as an initial idea, overreached here and didn't make sense at all character-wise for Jeff. Why would Jeff be having such an Abed reaction to graduating? Still, I'm a believer of shows improving (see again my thoughts on How I Met Your Mother) so bring on two more seasons and a movie please! Finale: B-, Season: B

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Birthday Girl: Carey Mulligan

Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan turns 28 today and it's shaping up to being a pretty good year for her film-wise. She currently stars as Daisy Buchanan in Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, which has easily become Luhrmann's highest grossing film. Her second film of the year, Inside Llewyn Davis, just won the Grand Prix award at the Cannes Film Festival and is on many pundits shortlist for the Academy Awards as is her supporting role in the film.

If Mulligan does get nominated, it would already be her second time after getting a Best Actress nomination just four years ago in 2009 for An Education where audiences this side of the pond started noticing her. Since then, she's kept busy with her most daring work coming just a couple years ago with the trio of Never Let Me Go, Drive, and Shame for which I was shocked she didn't pick up more award notices. Instead, they just solidified her status as one of the more talented and sought after actress of her generation.

To me however, she'll always be Sally Sparrow. Yes, before she became all Hollywood famous, she was in one episode of Doctor Who and what an episode it was. The episode was "Blink" and it's the first time we meet the Weeping Angels. Among fans, it has become a modern classic and I myself have used the largely stand-alone episode to lure in non-fans to the show. I sometimes wish Mulligan didn't get super famous soon after that since her return to the show would have been a wish come true. I guess it's on to bigger and better for her! Happy Birthday Carey!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Looking Forward To...

Before Midnight
Release: May 24, 2013
Distributor: Sony Classics
Director: Richard Linklater
Starring: Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy

Thursday, May 16, 2013

HIMYM: Meeting the Mother and Looking Back/Ahead

First things first, the mother has been met. We have met her (even if Ted has not). She is no longer faceless and unknown. We saw her face and everything! And to my absolute delight, the mother is played by Tony nominated Once star Cristin Milioti. Say what you will about the rocky past few seasons or the anticipated final season coming up, but as a long-time fan of the show just seeing the titular mother's face in the season finale was super cathartic. I liken it to Deb finally finding out about Dexter or the Oceanic 6 escaping the island. Plus the casting really was quite pitch perfect, pun intended. We know Milioti has musical chops which was a prerequisite and her hometown vibe (born and raised in New Jersey and studied acting in NYC) adds a touch of charm and realism. It must have been quite daunting for the show's producers and casting directors to cast this role, but so far (even with very little to base it on), I think they'd made the perfect choice. Of course, it's going to be all about the chemistry with the cast especially Josh Radnor, but I'm confident it'll work.

With her reveal, however, all everyone wanted to talk about after the finale was next season, the show's final. I guess that makes sense, but it's also worth briefly talking about the show's penultimate season. With the show's future still uncertain early on, we got early confirmation that Barney and Robin are wedding-bound and that Ted will be meeting the mother that same night. While that flash-forward is par for the course of the show's time shifting capabilities, it did two things that hampered the season early on. First, it confirmed for the audience that we wouldn't be meeting the mother until at least the finale (which ended up being true) and second, it confirmed that Robin's and Barney's current relationships were doomed and thus our investment in those characters quickly plummeted. The show tried to wink to the audience by having an "Autumn of Breakups" arc, but instead it largely felt like the show running on fumes and lazily checking things off a checklist.

The show found new life when Barney proposed to Robin. The way he had to manipulate her to get her to say yes is... questionable, but the moment itself was quite wonderful. February sweeps saw the show continue it's momentum starting with the super fun Robin Sparkles Canada Variety Hour episode and ending with the inventive re-introduction of The Captain. It all fell apart a bit towards the end as the writers clearly demonstrated their absolute cluelessness on how to handle the Robin/Barney pre-wedding journey. He's still using his playbook and more of a horndog than ever while Robin is questioning her decision and might still be pining for Ted. The writers did show us how perfectly fit these two characters are in the finale, but why then pointlessly show them so at odds for a good chunk of the season especially after they got engaged? And what is the point of drudging up Ted/Robin again especially when he's mere days away from meeting his one true love?

So as you can see, there were enough things for me to complain about, but I do love to focus on the positives... Seth Green guest starring, the entire Mike Tyson plot line, the "Time Travelers" episode especially Radnor heartbreaking final scene, Karate Kid actor cameos, and to bring it all back... seeing the mother, with her cool boots and yellow umbrella. With regards to the mother and the final season, the creators have confirmed that the entire season will take place during that one weekend of Barney and Robin's wedding, 56 hours. We'll supposedly get to learn more about the mother and see how she meets each character before she meets Ted in the series finale. Like many people, I was upset when I heard about this news at first, but I've come around to appreciating the daring structure for the season and hope there'll at least be some flashbacks or flash-forwards to fill in some blanks. It may sound like I'm being yet again defensive for this show, but one of the unique elements of this show (and one of the reason why I loved it so) is its willingness to shake up its storytelling structure. So it's quite possible that this final season could very well be a tour de force. At the very least, the show's most frustrating element aka its lack of direction/destination has been essentially eliminated since the endgame is set and nigh. And I bet it's going to be legend, wait for it...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Looking Forward To...

Star Trek Into Darkness
Release: May 16, 2013
Distributor: Paramount
Director: J.J. Abrams
Starring: Zoe Saldana, Chris Pine, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, John Cho, Bruce Greenwood, Peter Weller, Alice Eve, and Benedict Cumberbatch

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Super Excited About Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

I usually don't talk about new TV shows coming up in the fall until the end of summer, but from what I've been seeing and hearing, there's going to be tons of new TV for me to obsess over and it's no shock that I'm already going gaga for Marvel's first TV show aka Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which was officially picked up over the weekend and earlier today it was announced that it will anchor ABC's Tuesday nights in the fall at 8pm.

It was pretty easy for me to love the show without seeing any footage. First, Joss Whedon created it and will direct and co-write at least the pilot. No need for me to re-hash my absolute love for all things Whedon especially on the TV side. Second, I loved The Avengers so having the world live on in a television series is A-OK with me and while it's highly doubtful they'll be able to get Hollywood's superhero A-listers to make cameos, it's not an impossibility either. Third, I'm a sucker for super-powered humans. I grew up with and loved the X-Men cartoons as a young boy and enjoyed Heroes a bit longer than most people, so this show is right in that same wheelhouse. Finally, they managed to resurrect Agent Coulson and hired Ming-Na for a lead role.

Thankfully when footage was finally available in the form of a teaser trailer that debut on Sunday during the Once Upon A Time finale, it pretty much confirmed my initial excitement for the project. Everything became even clearer with the full trailer ABC released earlier today giving us a better understanding of the show's set up as well as more evidence of that witty dialogue Whedon is known for. See the full trailer below:

Yeah... so basically, I'm counting down the days until it's fall so I can watch this. And certainly there'll be plenty of people like me who will feel the same way. The real test for this kind of show is what they do after the high-budgeted much-hyped-about first episode.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother, Spy, Shield Maiden

Happy Mothers Day! I've been looking for an excuse to briefly talk about two freshman cable shows I saw and really liked these past few months. Today's holiday worked well for my purposes as they both feature two butt-kicking mothers who is also a spy or a shield maiden respectively. And so...

The first show is FX's riveting drama The Americans about KGB agents living in secret as a married couple with kids in the height of the Cold War. I've posted my thoughts on its surprisingly solid pilot a few months ago and the show really blossomed from there anchored by wonderful performances by leading actors Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell (who play the husband-wife duo of spies) and Noah Emmerich (the FBI agent neighbor). The supporting cast is not too shabby as well led by Emmy winner Margo Martindale as their handler and promising newcomers Alison Wright and Annet Mahendru. There's much to love about the show other than its superb cast, from its subtle period styling to its rocking score, but it's its ability to balance the cool spy stuff with its fake wigs, assassination attempts, and crazy gadgets, with the family/personal lives of Phillip and Elizabeth that will make me miss the show until it comes back for its second season. And since it is mother's day, I have to separately commend Keri Russell for what she is doing with her character. As Elizabeth Jennings she is the most captivating I have ever seen her on screen, seemingly cold and calculating, but damaged and longing all at the same time. All of that while sporting those mom jeans.

Speaking of strong women characters on TV, how about Lagertha Lothbrok? Who is she, you ask? If so, then you're certainly one of the few people who didn't check out History's Vikings series, which like The Americans, pleasantly surprised me right out of the gate and continued to impress as its first season unfolded. Lagertha Lothbrok, played wonderfully by Katheryn Winnick, is wife of the main character Ragnar Lothbrok, a strong Viking warrior with dreams of sailing West and becoming king of his tribe. While the series isn't about her at all (after all the series is about men doing "manly" Viking-y things like wars, invasions, and kidnappings), the show wisely doesn't make her subservient to Ragnar. This is in keeping with actual history as Viking women actually handled the finances and were in charge of the farm when their husband's were off to war. In fact they too fought in battles which they made a part of Lagertha's character. One of my favorite things about the pilot was Lagertha insisting she's still a kick-ass shield maiden despite of being a full-time mother at that moment. In any case, I'm hoping her role will increase next season, but even if for some reason it does not, I still enjoy many things about the show, most notably the totally gay subtext between Ragnar and Athelstan aka the English monk he kidnapped in the second episode. It helps that both are played by the very handsome Travis Fimmel and George Blagden respectively. But aside from wanting to see them kiss (or more), their evolving relationship with each other and their varying degrees of acceptance of each other's belief systems and other aspects of their differing cultures has truly been a series highlight for me.

With regards to Emmy Awards, I think if voters take The Americans seriously, Russell has a chance despite the ridiculously competitiveness of her category filled with other amazing actors playing mothers or mothers-to-be (Julianna Margulies, Michelle Dockery, Madeline Stowe, Connie Britton, Emmy Rossum) and non-mothers (Claire Danes, Elisabeth Moss, etc.) alike. It won't be easier for Winnick in the supporting category and in fact it might be even more difficult with her show a bit too out there for the Emmys. But I'm kind of okay with that since I'd want to give it two other actresses who play mothers on TV, Christina Hendricks and Anna Gunn. That is if the voters don't give it to the grand matriarch of Downton Abbey again played by Dame Maggie Smith. Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Red Carpet: Brokeback Blondes at the Met Gala

Awards season was a couple months ago, but the annual Costume Institue Gala held at the Met always manages to bring back the who's who of Hollywood decked out in their best (and usually crazy) fashion. This year provided more opportunity for crazy fashion as the theme was "PUNK: Chaos to Couture." Other sites like this one and this one have already covered the all of the highs and lows that took place on Monday, but I wanted to highlight just two...

Recent Oscar winner Anne Hathaway looked absolutely fierce in Valentino and shocked everyone by debuting her new blonde locks. Odder still, she actually completely pulls off the new hair and thus the entire look. Not as fierce, but still super pretty was her Brokeback Mountain co-star...

Michelle Williams was chic in a black Yves Saint Laurent dress. It's not supremely memorable, but the unique purse and her asymmetrical hair gives the whole look its much needed punkness. I wished she had gone crazier, but sometimes it's just nice seeing her out and about.

No silly "who wore it best?" nonsense. I was just randomly thinking about Brokeback Mountain and saw these two looking beautiful at this event.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Joss Whedon Responds to Deadline Report

Deadline recently released a report about the seemingly tense behind-the-scene negotiations many of the Avengers actors are undertaking with Marvel and Disney with regards to a bump in their pay for the sequel. It's hardly surprising that money is causing some tension. It's Hollywood after all. Plus with The Avengers raking in $1.5 billion in worldwide gross last year, everyone is clamoring to get a bigger piece of that pie.

In any case, part of the report is a brief interview with Avengers mastermind Joss Whedon, who Deadline says has "an astronomical $100M" exclusive production deal with Disney/ABC, to get his thoughts on the whole thing. Of course, today Whedon took to his own website at Whedonesque to get one thing straight:

Hi guys.

I was going to let it slide, but I've got this sour taste in my mouth. (Mmmm, lemonade!). Some facts are not facts. I'm not going to go into the whole thing, but jeepers, I'm not getting $100 mil on Avengers 2. If I were, I would come on this site and laugh and laugh and laugh. I'm not making Downey money. I'm making A LOT, which is exciting. I'm not pretending to be a poor farmer, an Everyman, an ANYman. But that number is nuts. A few other things about me that have been "reported" that people should take with a grain of salt:

That I throw wild Hollywood parties where everyone is naked and dancing and wild and I remember to serve enough snacks.

That I can get a movie greenlit by sighing and staring into the middle distance.

That I ate a unicorn and made it winter for three years.

That I "can write."

Well, that's a load off. Sorry to get so personal -- the whole thing's a bit tawdry. But honestly, it bugged me. I'm off for a nice juicy steak. There's a place downtown that does it with rosemary butter, it tastes just like unico -- like a steak.

BYE-ee! J.

Oh, Joss. He does always know the right/funny thing to say, doesn't he?

Looking Forward To...

The Great Gatsby (2013)
Release: May 10, 2013
Distributor: Warner Brothers
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher, Jason Clark, and Tobey Maguire

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Birthday Boy: Henry Cavill

Jersey boy Henry Cavill will soon play the all-American superhero Superman and his alter ego Clark Kent on the big screens next month in Man of Steel. Of course, he was actually born in Jersey, Channel Islands, United Kingdom 30 years ago on this day. Happy Birthday!

Apparently there was a small controversy about getting a non-American actor to play Superman, but I sure as hell am not complaining. I mean, have you seen him?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Summer Begins as Marvel Launches Phase 2

Looks like that whole "posting at least once a day" lasted a whopping two days. That sounds about right. Anyways, even though summer doesn't officially begin until mid-June, the summer movie season begins this weekend with Iron Man 3, the first Marvel film to open since their massive hit The Avengers last year. Iron Man 3's release also marks the beginning of Phase 2 for Marvel which will also include sequels to Thor, Captain America, and of course The Avengers as well as new films Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man all slated for the next couple of years. Entertainment Weekly recently laid out Marvel's plans and provided some sneak peeks on what's to come including Whedon's "return" to TV this fall in the highly anticipated Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. whose pilot episode is written and directed by the man himself.

To say I'm excited for most of these films (and one TV show) would be an understatement. I've just really enjoyed how Marvel has miraculously pulled off this amount of success and critical/audience goodwill despite not having Spider-Man or the X-Men in their rosters. Indiewire credits some of this success to the calculated risks taken by the studio in who they hire to helm their projects. Though do we think then that they're due for a wrong move soon (No, Iron Man 2 doesn't really count and neither does The Incredible Hulk... maybe)? I'm trying not to think of that inevitability, but I am concerned about how they'll pull off Guardians of the Galaxy. There's a freaking machine gun-toting talking raccoon in the film! Good luck with that one!

With every film though, Marvel's world will get bigger and hopefully it won't be too big for the studio to manage. Recently, they've been able to retain rights of a few other characters such as Punisher, Daredevil, Blade, and Ghost Rider, but to postulate on whether or not these characters will be included in a still in-flux Phase 3 would still be too soon. Frankly, I just long for the day when all of Marvel's properties are back to them though that's more of a pipe dream with Sony and FOX currently shooting their own anticipated sequels to The Amazing Spider-Man and X-Men: First Class. Too bad. I really want to see the Hulk going up against the Juggernaut or Spider-Man spinning his webs in Asgard or something.

ETA: Apparently today is also Free Comic Book Day. I didn't even realize until after I had posted this. Go figure! 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Doctor Who's Arthur Darvill in Broadway's Once

Apparently Broadway is on my mind as evidenced by my first post of the month as well as this post coming up. As I said yesterday, I wish I got to see more shows than I actually do. One of those shows I still have yet to see is last year's Tony winner for Best Musical Once.

Never mind that I absolutely fell head over heels in love with the film starring Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová and listened to the Oscar-winning song "Falling Slowly" for a million times, but from everything I've heard from other people who have seen the stage production, it's apparently quite an experience. How could it not with a stage that houses an actual working bar used for intermission and the soulful music by Hansard and Irglová? I really, really wanted to see it with the original stars Cristin Milioti and Tony winner Steve Kazee in the lead roles, but they both left the show just a couple months ago.

The silver lining, however, is that one of my absolute favorite actors in recent years, Arthur Darvill of Doctor Who fame, has been recently cast as the male lead with Joanna Christie. Apparently they were hired as some sort of British exchange program of some sort, which at least puts them geographically closer to the Irish roots of the story. I heard the news while traveling on a train with some friends and they could tell you how insane my reaction was. There might have been screaming involved. I really, really like Darvill and it looks like he's going to be New York bound for the next 9 months playing Guy in Once. You know what I'll be doing!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Looking Forward To...

Iron Man 3
Release: May 3, 2013
Distributor: Buena Vista
Director: Shane Black
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Rebecca Hall, Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce, Paul Bettany, James Badge Dale, Jon Favreau, Dale Dickey, William Sadler, and Don Cheadle

Ready, Set, Blog: Smash! Tony Awards Nominations!

Let's just say my blogging hiatus over the past two months (9 posts total!) had to do with work and life interfering with quality writing time, but that would be implying this blog was actually known for its quality writing! Wonder if I can at least post something daily this month. Why not? No time like the present though. Watch this fail...

Megan Hilty as Marilyn in Smash

Speaking of watching things fail, let's talk about Smash shall we? Yes, I'm still watching the totally cancelled show which NBC shuttled off to Saturdays to die, but only because it really does take a lot for me to completely drop a show (hell I still watch Glee after all). With that said, how awful was this week's episode which ended with the ridiculous cliffhanger of Kyle possibly getting run over? Seriously?! As if they haven't already been hammering the parallels between Hit List and Rent throughout the season, they go and evoke the tragedy of Jonathan Larson to the proceedings? Even if Kyle survives, he'll probably be severely banged up and it all just feels like a cheap and tasteless ploy indicative of a show that seems to have been flailing all of its life. It's sad since its pilot was pretty damn great and just as recently as the episode prior, I was reminded how this show really could've been something worthwhile. In that episode, Bombshell finally had its opening night with the right actress portraying the part and kicking ass with that final number. The loathsome duo of Karen and Jimmy were even tolerable then with the former showing rare (very rare) nuance in her scenes watching Ivy play "her" part and afterwards in the dressing room consoling Ivy and the latter making some effort in trying to be something other than a complete jackass. Unfortunately both returned to heinous form this past week with Jimmy reaching levels of doucheyness I didn't even think was possible to reach and Karen back to her usual blank and insipid line deliveries (and now seducing Derek? UGH!). A match made in hell.

Of course the end game is clear here. Hit List will inevitably transfer to Broadway to go up against Bombshell forcing Ivy and Karen yet again to compete with one another (as if anyone would actually think it's a real competition) for the Tonys. The winner in the end is no one because UGH THIS SHOW. Now can this series just end already so we can get the special edition DVD that includes the full Bombshell musical?

The cast of Kinky Boots

And since I already mentioned it, just a few quick words on the recent and real Tony Awards nominations. Even though I live in NYC, I actually don't get to see Broadway shows as much as I would like, which also means while I'm fairly familiar with the shows that are out there, it's hard to actually form thoughts on the Tony Awards noms. The one thing I was surprised about was the Best Musical nomination for Bring It On, which I did see and thought was a fun time, but hardly worthy of a Tony nomination. Fellow nominees Kinky Boots and Matilda lead with the most nominations and it seems like it'll be a fight to death between those two. I'm hoping to check them both out especially since, like Bring It On, I quite liked their film versions. It'll also be nice seeing first-time Tony nominee Stark Sands of American Idiot fame in Kinky Boots looking as adorable as ever. Other than Bring It On, there are only two shows nominated I've seen. The first is The Mystery of Edwin Drood nominated for 5 Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Play and for Featured Actor Will Chase who played Michael Swift in Smash in its first season. The second show was The Heiress which only picked up 2 nominations including a very well-deserved one for Judith Ivey. Its main stars Jessica Chastain, Dan Stevens, and David Strathairn were all not nominated. The show itself won't lack for celebs with Tom Hanks, David Hyde Pierce, Nathan Lane, Cicely Tyson, Holland Taylor, Tony Shalhoub, Judith Light all nominated. Katherine McPhee is probably not invited though, but I really wish Sebastian Stan's abs were.