South by Southwest Film Festival is not afraid to put me to work.
And, frankly, there are few festivals I would bend over backwards more aggressively to help. I have come to really love SXSW over the last five years or so, and I think the work that Janet Pierson and her amazing team of programmers and publicists have done to really focus and emphasize the identity of the fest has paid off handsomely.
This year, you'll probably see my face if you're attending lots of midnight screenings, and as I announced a week or two ago, I'll be moderating a panel on the bizarre new sitcom "Holliston" that will be appearing on FEARNet. We've held off on the last big announcement until now, though, and honestly, if there's any one thing I'm most excited about doing at the fest this year, this is it.
On Sunday, March 11, I'm going to moderating a live-chat with Joss Whedon and Drew Godard, the big-brained lunatics behind "Cabin In The Woods." I can't publish my review of this one until it premieres at the fest, but suffice it to say, I am a fan. I think it's smart and fun and, more than anything, makes a great case for why we all need a little red meat in our cinematic diet. I am excited for people to get a look at the film, but more than that, I'm thrilled that I'm going to get to serve as the moderator for what I hope should be a freewheeling dialogue between these guys and the audience.
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South by Southwest Film Festival is not afraid to put me to work.
A quick review of last night's "The Good Wife" coming up just as soon as I make a reservation for 4...
It's yet another brawl-centric episode, so we have to sit through a few less violent plotlines until the fighters can take their corners and make sure they've mastered flipping their hair with the correct degree of hostility. As we learned in South Africa, Kandi's offhand comment about Kim not seeming like someone who'd jump at the chance to hang out in a South African orphanage has somehow been twisted into Kandi thinking Kim is a member of the KKK, so there will be screaming just as soon as Kim gets into weave-yanking distance of her former friend.
I posted my review of ABC's "GCB" on Friday. Now it's your turn. What did everybody think of Leslie Bibb, Kristin Chenoweth and company in the new Texas soap opera with the weird, watered-down name? Funny or icky? Comparable to at least the current state of "Desperate Housewives," if not that show's original level? And are you going to watch again?
Have at it.
A review of tonight's "The Walking Dead" coming up just as soon as I make some new arrows
A review of tonight's "Luck" coming up just as soon as I flag you for bad breath...
Cinderella as a lush? A gay Prince Charming? A broke Jasmine having sex with... a parrot? "Saturday Night Live" skewered every cliche we've come to know in "The Real Housewives" franchise in its parody sketch, "The Real Housewives of Disney." The verdict? If the "SNL" writers responsible for this sketch ever need work, we think they'd do a bang-up job at Bravo.
Though Wiig made the biggest splash as a drunken and debauched Cinderella (read: Kim Richards from the Beverly Hills part of the franchise), Lohan acquitted herself admirably as a judgmental Rapunzel. She also gets one killer punchline which you have to watch to appreciate (it involves a tiny hat). Kudos to "SNL" for skewering so many of the shows in the franchise, from Atlanta and New York (Belle's impression of talentless Kim Zolciak and/or The Countess attempting to sing), to Beverly Hills (Kelsey Grammer got a dig) to New Jersey (Jasmine going broke brought up shades of Teresa Guidice) and beyond. The parody was so spot-on, in fact, it might make a pretty good show of its own -- if Disney would ever go for it. Watch the entire sketch below.
What did you think of it?
"Community" — which finally returns to its old NBC time slot on Thursday, March 15 at 8 p.m. — became the first show in the history of PaleyFest to be invited three years in a row, and it was easy to see why at Saturday night's panel, which I had the pleasure of moderating. The cast (minus Chevy Chase and Donald Glover), creator Dan Harmon and producers Neil Goldman, Garrett Donovan and Russ Krasnoff were smart and funny and overflowing with affection for each other and for the very loud, enthusiastic group of fans who came to the Saban Theatre for the event.
If you couldn't go to LA, or to the simulcast at the New York Paley Center (where I'm told fans came in costume and even built a blanket fort), or watch the live stream from your computers, the panel will be archived on Hulu starting March 15, and I have to assume it'll eventually turn up in the Paley Center's own online archives. Because I was moderating, I couldn't take notes on the event, but I can give you the highlights — including some fairly mild spoilers (in terms of the premises of a few upcoming episodes) — coming up just as soon as I Britta the whole thing...
I’m not terribly interested in passing judgment either way on Lindsay Lohan in tonight’s “Saturday Night Live” recap. Plenty of ink, both actual and virtual, have been spilled in the name of detailing her every high and low over the past decade. What I’m here to do is judge this particular episode of “SNL,” and her hosting duties on it. There’s no doubt that there will be plenty of jokes made at her expense, either directly or indirectly. So I’ll talk about that as much as it pertains to the sketches. Other than that? It will be the usual complaints about the underuse of Abby Elliot and a general confusion about the musical guest. Oh, it’s Jack White? Sweet. Someone I actually know. It’s been a “get off my damn lawn” year for me, musically speaking, on “SNL”.
1) Adele: She celebrates week No. 22 at the top of the Billboard 200. She’s got one more week in her for sure, before Springsteen comes in with the Wrecking Ball.
2) Whitney Houston: She becomes the first woman to ever land three albums in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 simultaneously, but achieves the feat by paying the ultimate price.
3) Justin Bieber: The Bieb turns 18! “I’m in the middle without any plans/I’m a Boy and I’m a Man/I'm eighteen and I don't know what I want...”
4) Kid Cudi: Universal Republic’s decision to only ship 55,000 copies of his duo's self-titled project, “WZRD,” leaves him PSSD.
5) Mariah Carey: Mimi returns to the stage for the first time since popping out Moroccan and Monroe in a 40-minute free concert for fans. She’s just another working mom.
6) Bret McKenzie: This Conchord takes flight over the birds in “Rio” as “Man or Muppet” snags the shiny naked gold man at the Academy Awards for best original song.
7) Don Henley: His reps sound off about Frank Ocean lifting “Hotel California” for “American Wedding.” Doesn’t Ocean realize that he can check out, but he can never leave?
8) Wiz Khalifa and Amber Rose: Khalifa does what Kanye did not: He puts a ring on it.
9) Mike Dungan: One of Nashville’s most loved and respected execs switches from Capitol to Universal, although when the EMI merger goes through he’ll be reunited with Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban and all his friends. Score one for the good guys.
10) Davy Jones: I’ll always be a Daydream Believer and you’ll always be my white knight on a steed. 7A.
Ralph McQuarrie is probably more directly responsible for the texture of my dream life between the ages of 7 and 13 than any other visual artist. Simply put, the choices he made regarding the design of the world of "Star Wars" were one of the main reasons that film resonated not just with me, but with generations of viewers now.
There was a time when people ended up in the film industry after living other lives, after learning other skills, after working at a trade. Ralph McQuarrie was a technical illustrator working for Boeing, and that led him to working on animated coverage of NASA's Apollo missions for CBS News. He sort of backed into the film industry through that work, which caught the attention of Hal Barwood and Matthew Robbins, who were part of the same circle of friends that included other young filmmakers like Steven Spielberg, Brian De Palma, and George Lucas.
It was 1975 when McQuarrie was first hired by Lucas to create some paintings that would help people make sense of the script he was writing at the time. Those paintings, many of which are now iconic, not only helped pin down the designs of characters like Chewbacca and Darth Vader, but also were a big part of what convinced 20th Century Fox to make the movie.