Last year I found myself hooked into "Bethenny Ever After" (Mon. 10 p.m. on Bravo) despite myself. Yes, former "Real Housewives of New York" star Bethenny Frankel can be crass, loud and annoying, but mostly she had a self-deprecating sense of humor that made scripted scenes almost tolerable and displays of conspicuous consumption a little less irritating. In some ways, she was the neurotic Manhattan version of Mary Tyler Moore 2.0 -- married with a kid in the big city, she was going to make it after all.
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JAMES BOND 007 DECLASSIFIED
File #3: "Goldfinger"
This series will trace the cinema history of James Bond, while also examining Ian Fleming's original novels as source material and examining how faithful (or not) the films have been to his work.
Directed by Guy Hamilton
Screenplay by Richard Maibaum & Paul Dehn
Produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman
CHARACTERS / CAST
James Bond / Sean Connery
Pussy Galore / Honor Blackman
Auric Goldfinger / Gert Frobe
Jill Masterson / Shirley Eaton
Tilly Masterson / Tania Mallet
Oddjob / Harold Sakata
M / Bernard Lee
Solo / Martin Benson
Felix Leiter / Cec Linder
Simmons / Austin Willis
Miss Moneypenny / Lois Maxwell
Dink / Margaret Nolan
After the gun-barrel image of Bond firing at the audience, we see Bond emerging from the water somewhere, a fake seagull on his head, and he immediately starts working to infiltrate wherever he is. This involves knocking out guards, firing grappling hooks, and planting plastic explosives all over a bunch of nitroglycerin tanks.
You thought the groaning trophy cabinet for "The Artist" could finally be locked after last month's Academy Awards? Think again. The reigning Oscar champ has one more honor to collect, and it's one that brings things neatly back to where the film's journey started. The International Film Festival Summit has named Michel Hazanavicius's silent-cinema homage its Festival Film of the Year -- an award that will be presented at the Summit in Paris next month.
If you're looking to award a title that demonstrates the power of film festivals to launch and nurture successful titles, you'd be hard pressed to choose much better than "The Artist," which relied on positive word of mouth from the festival circuit -- artfully amplified by the campaigning savvy of The Weinstein Company -- to propel it from niche curio to crossover arthouse sensation. Harvey Weinstein may carry an awful lot of clout on his own, but even he couldn't have done much for the film if the Cannes reception had been chilly.
So this is where "Twilight" has brought us, folks.
Over the weekend, a full-blown bidding war erupted over the novel "50 Shades Of Grey," which makes sense if you're just thinking of it as part of the genre that has made "Twilight" such a success. After all, the word is that author E.L. James essentially wrote this as a non-supernatural answer to that series. Universal and Focus Features ended up the winner when the smoke cleared... but now what?
Obviously, Hollywood is starting to wake up to the notion that women aren't just "another" demographic to chase, but could be even more significant than the overserved fanboy culture that's been so roundly serviced by the studios for the past decade. While I know there are plenty of young women who enjoy fantasy and science-fiction and action and all those things, there are many young women (and older women, of course) who have been ignored by the studios for quite some time, offered limp romantic comedies as the only real nod to them as a group.
Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 121: 'Game of Thrones,' 'The Killing,' 'Mad Men' premiere & more
Beginnings and endings consume this week's Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, as we begin what should be 12 straight weeks of "Mad Men" episode discussion with the premiere, talk about the returns of "Game of Thrones" and "The Killing," look at the probable series finale of "The River" and the definite finale of "Luck." And I also take a moment to apologize to frequent podcast punching bag Dermot Mulroney.
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
We're at that point in the publicity campaign for "The Avengers" where they kick into high gear, and we start to see footage in all sorts of strange places.
The recent trailers offered up some big moments, and when I was speaking to writer/director Joss Whedon after the live-chat we did at SXSW for "The Cabin In The Woods," we discussed the decision to put that amazing shot of The Hulk catching Iron Man into the trailer.
"That comes late in the film," Whedon said, admitting that he wasn't sure about including the image at first. "But Marvel tested it and they told me that whenever they included that shot in the trailer, the scores went crazy." Based on the reaction online, I'd believe it. In my own house, I can tell you that the focus group consisting of my wife and my two sons were 100% enthusiastic about that image and the trailer as a whole.
The thing that I worry about at this point in the release of a giant blockbuster is that the campaign will start to cough up things I'd rather see in the theater in the context of the finished film. As other promotional partners start to put things out, that's a distinct possibility. Today, for example, Norton Security released a behind-the-scenes featurette about the film, built around a short interview with Whedon.
For all the anticipation and money going into "Men In Black 3," there was a collective shrug from the internet when it was announced that Pitbull would be composing its theme.
Continue shrugging. "Back in Time" is a high-mastered, thudding bumbler, with Pitbull's big-mouthed, good-timing, half-handed zingers draped in samples from a well-known, beloved former hit (Micky & Sylvia’s “Love Is Strange") and a few bars of dubstep just to prove it's "with it." In other words, it's a Black Eyed Peas song without lady vocals.
Recent documentary “No Room For Rock Stars” makes and twists evidence that, during Warped Tour, everybody and nobody during the fest are rock stars.
It makes sense that the Wachowskis are looking forward to their next film now, because they're in the final stages of working on "Cloud Atlas," the movie they made with Tom Tykwer.
I'm dying to see "Cloud Atlas," if only because the book seems so wildly impossible to turn into a film. I love that. I love when artists take on a challenge that big, especially when the conventional thinking would be to do something safe and commercially friendly. After all, the two "Matrix" sequels tarnished the reputation of the series to such a degree that it went from becoming the most promising franchise of the 2000s to being a punchline. And while I love "Speed Racer," it is treated as a punching bag at this point. Even with Tom Hanks and Halle Berry and Hugh Grant and Susan Sarandon aboard, this is anything but a safe bet.
Regina Spektor's cover of "Ne me quitte pas" is awfully upbeat, but the singer-songwriter's weekend felt more like her harrowing new single "All the Rowboats" sounds.
The singer-songwriter went on a brief rant addressing the fact that bits and bobs of her new album "What We Saw From the Cheap Seats" -- like demos and art -- have been leaking. On her Facebook page, she questioned motive: "So sad to have art/photos/videos/music keep leaking online unfinished and at the wrong time... The strange thing is that if it's getting stolen and put out by someone who likes me and my music- why would they want to put me through this?" she wrote. "[A]nd if it's someone who doesn't like me- why would they waste all that precious time on me... it's confusing/feels sh*tty/takes much of the fun out (there's too much fun to take all of it out, though) Feels strange just waiting for things i'm working on to get stolen one by one."
It's a losing battle many artists have fought for years, a small war that only acts like Madonna and Watch the Throne (Jay-Z and Kanye West) have the control and resources to prevent. It's also an inevitable part of the promotional process and album cycle that announces new albums three months out, release a single or song at that time and then have that awful waiting period super-fans must endure during that time, especially if a tour starts only a month out from that.
It's still no excuse. Spektor has the backing of Sire/Warner, but her profile is still small enough that every blow counts.