Kristin Chenoweth may only be 4'11, but the Oklahoma native (as well as Emmy and Tony winner) serves up a Texas-sized serving of mean as Carlene on the new series "GCB" (premieres Sun. March 4 at 10 p.m. on ABC). I talked to Chenoweth, who was battling a nasty cold, about why it's more fun to play the bad girl, how she's making sure the show never trods on her own Christian beliefs and why she isn't playing a standard villain.
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File under: "Big Mouth Strikes Again" or "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore."
Last week, when ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr joked about the band following through on a long-hoped-for reunion in exchange for a new U.K. government, most folks just laughed it off, but some seemed to have taken it to heart.
While picking up an award for Best Reissue at the NME Awards in England, Marr cracked, "We won't be reforming this week. Maybe if the government stepped down. If this government stepped down, I'll reform the band. How's that? That's a fair trade, isn't it? I think the country would be better off, don't you? I'll do it if the coalition steps down."
Former Deputy Prime Minister and Labour MP John Prescott took Marr's jest to the next level, indicating that he'll throw his weight behind a coup of the current Coalition government headed by Prime Minister David Cameron.
Prescott, apparently a fan, tweeted, "Hello Johnny. Just to say we'll work really hard on that reunion! #pleasepleaseletmegetwhatiwant" and, later, "Please reform #cosheavenknowsweremiserablenow."
Marr has made plenty of great post-Smiths music with The The, Electronic, The Cribs and Modest Mouse, but has had to endure reunion questions ever since his flagship band split in the late '80s.
Despite Marr's facetious claim, getting Smiths frontman Morrissey interested would prove to be an even bigger challenge than provoking a revolution. Moz has made it clear time and again that he's not interested in re-living The Smiths' glory days, despite rumored offers of big paydays from Coachella and other like-minded music festivals.
Militant, female empowered -- those may be words to describe "The Hunger Games," and Arcade Fire's contribution to its soundtrack. "Abraham's Daughter" will be played over the end credits to the forthcoming blockbuster film, an appropriate march from your seat to the doors.
Regine Chassagne leads this one, instead of Win Butler, as she reports for duty as the fictional daughter of Father Abraham (who, you may remember, had many sons). She lightly sings on the left-right-left of the beat, a narrative that sounds almost anti-violence, a retort to the Biblical story of Abraham and his son Isaac on the mount. Its an ominous anthem that insinuates that lead Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) will have more work to do in the film's sequel.
"Our whole approach was to get into the world and try to create something that serves the story and the film,” Butler told EW. ”There’s something in the story of Abraham and Isaac that I think resonates with the themes in the film, like sacrificing children. So we made a weird, alternate-universe version of that, where it’s as if Abraham had a daughter — kind of a metaphor for Katniss."
In many ways, the Summer of 1982 is the reason I am a film critic today.
After all, that was the summer I learned conclusively that I do not always agree with the herd, either critically or commercially, and there were films that were important to me that year, films I believed with my whole heart were great films, that came out and tanked completely. At the time, I felt like I was out there on my own regarding these movies, and it was only later, after time had passed, that people came around and the films began to grow in reputation. I believe that time has ultimately sided with me on these films, and now "Blade Runner" and "The Thing" are considered classics of their genre, but at the time of release, these were not movies that garnered any easy acclaim.
Five years ago, I was still working for Ain't It Cool News, and I decided I wanted to run a series of articles on the site celebrating the 25th anniversary of what I consider the greatest single genre year of my life. I recruited some of the other writers from the site and asked them to write about the movies that mattered to them that year. Nordling's piece about "E.T" won him a piece of handwritten fan mail from none other than Steven Spielberg. Harry wrote up "Tron," one of his favorite movies. My writing partner Scott Swan put together a look back at "Creepshow." We covered "Poltergeist," "Porky's," "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "The Last American Virgin," "The Secret Of Nimh," "The Dark Crystal" and more. It was one of those series that made me enormously proud, and I still think of it as a high watermark for the site.
JAMES BOND 007 DECLASSIFIED
File #2: "From Russia With Love"
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.
This edition of this column is dedicated to my father, who took me to see "The Spy Who Loved Me" in 1977, igniting my own lifelong relationship with the character. He was an old-school fan, a Fleming fan, a Connery fan, and if I got any particular part of my fanboy DNA from him, it's Eastwood and it's Bond. Bond has been shared language for most of my life, and the same is true of my friendship with Scott Swan, who has been my Bond buddy since "The Living Daylights."
When you've had those Bond-nerd conversations, when you've talked about theme songs and title sequences and Bond girls and which bad guys are the best and all the things you talk about as Bond fans… that's a very specific thing that's shared. And like Batman, I notice that all Bond fans have their own Bond that they like, and I don't just mean the actors that played the character. Each fan has what they consider "the" version in their head, the perfect definition of who Bond is, of what elements they want and like, and how the films should play.
It still seems surreal to me that there really is a mega-budget bigscreen live-action film based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs stories about Barsoom and John Carter, since as long as I've been paying attention to Hollywood, and even well before that, there has always been a John Carter movie in some stage of development.
The good news is that Andrew Stanton, one of the cornerstones of Pixar and the director of both "Finding Nemo" and "WALL-E," has made a nimble jump to live-action, and much of his movie is imbued with a wild, thrilling pulp energy and a genuine sense of wonder. It is a charming science-fiction adventure that makes no apologies for what it is. This is the sort of film where there is talk of Jeddaks and Tharks and Barsoom and you're supposed to just pick it up and understand, and where we accept that Mars doesn't look a thing like modern science tells us it does because that's the conceit. It will be interesting to see who gets hung up on the difference between reality and this film's conception of Mars, because there's nothing about this that plays as "real," but there is such a strong sense of voice that I think Stanton sells the reality beautifully.
It looks like 2012 is going to be a big year for studio anniversaries. We've already talked about Paramount's centennial celebration, which was rung in with a classy screening of 1927 inaugural Best Picture winner "Wings" at the Academy in January, as well as a new iPad app putting the studio's classic output on a pedestal.
Also celebrating this year are Universal Pictures (getting 100 spankings like Paramount) and subsidiary Focus Features (marking its tenth year). Like Paramount, Universal has unveiled a new logo trailer for its films (see below) and started a stream of restoration Blu-ray releases that makes the mouth water. (Drew McWeeny is all over it.)
Focus, meanwhile, has released a tribute package of great performances in the company's films over the years, including those from Oscar winners Rachel Weisz ("The Constant Gardener"), Sean Penn ("Milk") and Christopher Plummer ("Beginners") and Oscar nominees Julianne Moore ("Far From Heaven"), Heath Ledger ("Brokeback Mountain") and Viggo Mortensen ("Eastern Promises").
I reviewed NBC's "Awake" yesterday, and since the pilot has been available online and On Demand for a couple of weeks, many of you have already offered your thoughts on it. But since I figure at least some of you still watch TV on TV, and on a more traditional schedule, here's one last opportunity to discuss the first episode. Did you find the shifts between worlds easy to follow? Did you prefer one world (or partner, shrink or family member) to the other? Given the subject matter, did it feel too depressing? And do you plan to watch more?
"The Berwick Discovery" sounds like the Dan Brown book, but it's actually a very cool new find that would make me even happier if I had stupid amounts of money laying around waiting for me to spend it on pre-Code movie posters.
On March 23, Heritage Vintage Movie Poster Auctions will evidently be putting around 30 very rare movie posters on the block, all part of the same incredible find last fall. I didn't hear about it then, but reading the details now, I'm blown away and, more than anything, it reminds me how much I love the evolution of the movie poster and how random and strange and occasionally wonderful the world of the hardcore collector can be.
When I was writing "Cigarette Burns" with Scott Swan, we talked to print collectors and memorabilia collectors and we collected way more stories than we could use. One of the things that seemed to run in common between all of them though is that the thrill of the hunt and the excitement of the accidental discovery is a big part of what compels them. If you could just go to the store and buy a pristine 35MM print of "Suspiria," it wouldn't be special, but when Quentin Tarantino tracked down a gorgeous IB Technicolor and screened it at the original Drafthouse and Tim League cranked the soundtrack so loud it made my fillings shake, part of what was magical about that night was knowing how rare that experience is.
Tonight we have an avant-garde challenge, which is either a chance for the final five to let their freak flags fly fabulously or allow them to hang themselves with their whackadoo ideas. I always find these avant-garde challenges a bit hard to judge, simply because the intersection between innovative and wearable can be so very, very small. More than anything, though, I think the judges usually look for stuff that's more wearable than avant-garde, regardless of what they may claim -- which seems patently unfair. It's not as if truly avant-garde designs don't have a home in fashion, either. After all, no one thinks Commes des Garcons is a crap label, but Kawakubo has sent some weird ass stuff down the runway (hunchback dresses!) and no one gives her a hard time.
I'm not sure I'd make too much of the news that Disney has signed a deal with James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller to start development on a sequel to "The Muppets" without Jason Segel attached to co-write.
First, even last year, when I visited them on the set of "The Five-Year Engagement" (and we'll have more on that this weekend), Stoller and Segel said they'd already brainstormed ideas for a sequel. Those guys make great collaborators, and I have no doubt that at this point, Stoller would be able to take those ideas that they'e discussed and execute them quite ably.
The big news here is that Disney feels good enough about the performance of "The Muppets" to officially start development on a sequel. I think it's amazing that the characters have finally made their pop culture comeback in a way that stuck, and I hope this is the beginning of a real return to the sort of omnipresence they had when I was a kid in the '70s.