This week, we don't see much of new housewife Yolanda, but no matter. What we do see is enough to convince me that she's going to be a force for crazy for the rest of the season. Really, even if the rest of the wives dove head first into talk therapy to emerge as sweet and bland as packets of single serve artificially flavored apple cinnamon oatmeal, we'd still be plenty amused watching Yolanda spin around in circles trying to rationalize her inescapable nuttiness. But, as we know, the other housewives are just as catty and ridiculous as ever, so unleash the crazy!
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Joe Wright's breakthrough film was "Pride and Prejudice," a very well-made and spirited adaptation of the frequently adapted novel by Jane Austen. While I admired the craftsmanship, I had already reached an oversaturation point with the material itself. It is safe to say that I never need to see another production of "Pride" in any format, or a loose adaptation or a re-imagining or pretty much any version. It wasn't Wright's problem, but mine.
His adaptation of Ian McEwan's "Atonement" was far more impressive to me, and that was a case of familiarity with the source material adding to the impact of the film. I thought it was a book that really couldn't work as a film, and yet working with Christopher Hampton, as smart an adapter as one could hope to hire, Wright turned a largely internal piece of work into something cinematic and visually dynamic. "The Soloist" felt like Hollywood trying to absorb Wright and turn him into a studio filmmaker, someone they could plug into pretty much anything, but with "Hanna," Wright seems to have reclaimed his voice and once again demonstrated that his keen eye for material (it was a great script by Seth Lochhead and David Farr) is better served when he's able to be daring, to come at things from a slightly left-of-center perspective.
Only two weeks left! And so many celebrities left! It's madness, I tell you, madness! But there will be a double elimination tomorrow. Tonight, we get dancing. Most significantly, we get dance trios. One celeb, two professionals to prop up him or her. This does not seem like a great idea to me, as a waltz or a samba sort of lends itself to two people, not three. But I guess the desperate need for challenges on "DWTS" this season requires wacky stuff like this.
The first time I ever spoke to JJ Abrams for any length of time, it was during the early days of pre-production on 2009's "Star Trek," and we spent as much of the phone call talking about "Star Wars" as we did anything else.
The comments he made to Hollywood Life certainly echo the sentiments he shared with me that afternoon. We talked about why he was tackling something as well-examined and iconic as "Star Trek," and he explained that when he was growing up, he was aware of "Trek" and enjoyed it in a passing sort of way, but that "Star Wars" was the thing that he couldn't get enough of, the thing that really turned him on to the potential of world-building. He felt like with "Trek," he had more room to play because he liked the iconography, but wasn't overly reverent towards it. He was able to see ways to twist things, to try new things with the characters, whereas he felt like "Star Wars" was something that he would be afraid to change or screw up at all.
Christina Aguilera has a manifesto and on “Lotus,” it’s upfront and center. Her new album, out Nov. 13, opens with a self-important, autotuned declaration set to a trance-like chant, that her rebirth is here: “submerged from her pain, broken pieces,” this “songbird” is beginning again and she needs to speak her truth: “I say goodbye to the scared child inside. I sing for freedom and for love. I look at my reflection, embrace the woman that I’ve become. The unbreakable lotus in me, I now set free.”
[More after the jump...]
The video for Ludacris' "Rest of My Life" featuring David Guetta and Usher is like one of those inspirational posters: it's a lot of monumental "moments" framed in motivational speech, but not without commerce. That is, look for the product placements inside this general message of carpe diem.
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
Kris inaugurated our Oscar Bait column, in which we muse on the awards potential of projects still in development or production, a few weeks ago with some thoughts on Tom Hanks's upcoming turn as Walt Disney in "Saving Mr. Banks." Unfortunately, we've neglected to revisit the feature since -- as the season ramps up, after all, it's a challenge to see as far ahead as February, let alone to films that haven't even been made yet.
But when promising news dropped last week concerning the long-forestalled film adaptation of Lois Lowry's "The Giver," I pricked up my ears. Pre-production talk doesn't tend to grab my attention, but in this case I was willing to make an exception -- not least because I'd been talking with friends about my desire for "The Giver" to eventually reach the screen only two days before. (Sadly, this power to magick a project into being seems to be a one-time deal: I've casually been inserting Wong Kar-wai's abandoned Nicole Kidman collaboration "The Lady from Shanghai" into conversations for a whole week, but no dice.)
It's finally a happy Monday again on the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, as Dan and I cover a lot of stuff before we take Thanksgiving week off, including MTV's new docu-series "Catfish," HBO's Rolling Stones documentary "Crossfire Hurricane," catch-up sessions with "Go On," "Boardwalk Empire" and "Dexter," plus some mail before the weekly "Homeland" discussion.
When Louis C.K. announced late last year that he was going to self-distribute his latest stand-up comedy special, rather than partnering with HBO, Comedy Central, or any other traditional distributor, I wondered if this would usher in a new era of DIY comedy specials. The experiment for C.K. was a wild success (after early sales totaled $1 million, he donated $280,000 of it to charity), and other comics like Jim Gaffigan and Aziz Ansari followed with their own versions.
So I was surprised at first to see that C.K.'s current stand-up tour(*) would be turned into a special for HBO that will air sometime next year.