There are two things you should know before you read this.
First, El Mayimbe of Latino Review has a very, very high accuracy rate with the scoops he breaks. No one is perfect, but he's got a track record that demands that you pay attention when he runs something.
Second, JJ Abrams has never directly lied to me about something. He's demurred when asked some questions, and he's played coy about some things, but outright fabrication does not appear to be his bag.
So… take those two things into account when I tell you that Latino Review is reporting that Benicio Del Toro will be playing Khan Noonien Singh in the upcoming sequel to 2009's successful reboot of "Star Trek."
And when asked to comment on the report, Abrams responded with two very direct words: "Not true."
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There are two things you should know before you read this.
I have had a weird week. It's been really hard getting anything done because I feel like the whole day is taken up with the end of school for the year for the boys, or dealing with holiday stuff in general, or seeing about 800 movies at the last minute to make sure I feel like I've got my bases covered before I record my voice-over for this year's "10 Best Of The Year" video.
But while I'm here tonight, I'd like to catch up on a few stories that I think are worthwhile or exciting or reasons for optimism. I want to feel good about some movie news for a little while. And what better to kick that off with than news about Jane Goldman?
It still seems hard to believe that not everyone understands yet that Jane Goldman is awesome, since it's a scientifically established fact. I've spent enough time with her and with her primary creative partner so far in movies, Matthew Vaughn, that I have a fair sense of their chemistry, and I feel confident in saying that Jane is a force to be reckoned with. Whip-smart, with a voracious appetite for genre, she's got a natural deconstructionist's mind, but tempered with a real love of the flawed humanity of her characters.
Taylor Swift unveiled her latest video for “Ours,” and it’s a sweet look at Swift as an office worker, stuck in a cubicle like the rest of us working stiffs. She’s misunderstood, the copier is broken, she has to eat lunch alone, but she’s got a secret her co-workers will never understand: She has a hot, hot boyfriend, played in the video by Zach Gilford, QB1 from “Friday Night Lights!!!!” Gilford, by the way, just got engaged in real life, so as adorable a couple as he and Swift make in the video, which is really adorable, he’s taken. Awwww... Swift wrote the treatment for the video, which is directed by Declan Whitebloom, who helmed “Mine.”
[More after the jump...]
A copy of this year's WGA ballot made its way to my inbox today, so naturally the process of sussing out what screenplays did and didn't make the cut was in order. There are 33 adapted screenplays on the ballot and 55 originals.
However, even with considerably more contenders, the original field was gutted the most. Contenders in the thick of the Oscar hunt that aren't on the ballot (due typically to not being in accordance with paperwork guidelines or signatory stipulations) are: "The Artist," "Beginners," "The Iron Lady," "The Lady," "Like Crazy," "Margin Call," "Martha Marcy May Marlene," "Melancholia," "Rango," "Shame" and "Take Shelter." Ouch. What does that even leave? I'll get to that in a moment.
In the adapted field, the notable absences are: "Albert Nobbs," "Carnage," "Drive," "Jane Eyre," "My Week with Marilyn," "Sarah's Key," "The Skin I Live In" and "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy." There are others, but each of those lists, I think, is being a bit liberal as it is with what's considered in Oscar play this year.
In September, we bid adieu to "All My Children" to make room for the food-centric chat fest "The Chew." It wasn't hard to understand ABC's thinking behind the switch. Like most network soaps, "AMC" was losing viewers, and even with drastic budget cuts a cast of many is always going to cost more than five people plopped around a kitchen table yakking about osso bucco. ABC has gotten to see if pissing off devoted soap viewers was worth it, as the another week of ratings are in.
We’ve loved her since she was not a girl, but not yet a woman, so it’s shocking to think that Britney Spears turns 30 today. In honor of Brit Brit reaching this major milestone (only 20 more years before she’s AARP eligible!), we pick the 5 BEST and 5 WORST videos by the pop icon. Reviewing several dozen clips, it’s clear that Spears primarily operates in two modes: looking straight into the camera with a “F*** me”stare or looking straight into the camera with a “I need you to take care of me” stare and there’s not even one shade of difference between the two. Oh, and she flips her blonde hair around in every video. With.Out.Fail.
“....Baby One More Time”: It’s the video that started it all and began a run on naughty school girl outfits. It still makes us cringe, but we remember the A&R exec who worked with Spears talking about how the video should make men want to “defile” her. Success... Watch it below.
Womanizer: At a time when Spears was trying to prove that she could come back from some truly terrible times, personally and professionally, this clip shows that she was still hotter than hot--literally -- as she poses coyily nude in a sauna, and through a variety of different scenarios as she tries to teach a bad boy a few good lessons. She leaves everyone a little hot and bothered by the end. I got your crazy.
[More after the jump...]
David Thewlis, like many of us, was only minimally familiar with the story of Aung San Suu Kyi when he was first presented with the script for director Luc Besson’s “The Lady.” The actor (who plays Suu Kyi’s husband Michael in the film) was aware of her as a Nobel laureate and political prisoner in Burma (known officially as the Republic of the Union of Myanmar), but did not know the story of her marriage, or that she had left her husband and two children behind in her fight. “I knew that there was a woman campaigning for democracy under a military regime,” he says.
I, too, possessed little more than iconic snapshot images of Suu Kyi and her work when I sat down to watch the film. I knew she was a leader of immeasurable courage. I knew of her now legendary walk past the raised guns of the Burmese military, a military that was prepared to kill without hesitation on behalf of an entrenched government that has ruled violently via repressive military dictatorship for decades. And yet they did not kill her. In my imagination, it was as though she was some unearthly figure, something so graceful that they could not bear to cut her down.
So which famous boys should start quaking in their boots now? Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now” is still thriving at radio and retail, but the country superstar, whose song lyrics take direct aim at the men who have wronged her, is already looking ahead to her fourth studio album.
Swift, who received three Grammy nominations on Wednesday, tells Billboard.com that she has already written 25 songs for possible inclusion in the new set, which should be ready by next Christmas. That puts her far ahead of where she was a year out from “Speak Now’s release.”
Mike Leigh, the seemingly mild-mannered master of contemporary British realism, is famously a man who takes no prisoners, and one imagines this extends to the jury table at film festivals. While serving as a Cannes juror in 1997, Leigh and jury president Isabelle Adjani are said to have butted heads repeatedly: "She's simply not very bright," he airily wrote years later.
So the jurors at next year's Berlin Film Festival in February will have to be on their game, as Leigh will be presiding over events: the first time, to my knowledge, that the director has headed the jury at any of the three European majors. As it happens, the first of them to invite him is also the only one at which he's never won: Leigh has a Palme d'Or and a Venice Golden Lion, but has only competed once at Berlin, with "Happy-Go-Lucky" in 2008. (He came away empty-handed; Sally Hawkins won Best Actress.)
How much more could be written about "Shame" at this point? Guy loved in Venice. I loved it in Telluride. The film got the inevitable NC-17 rating. Fox Searchlight wore that as a badge of honor and Roth talked to star Carey Mulligan about her performance. The film finally makes its way to screens today (on whichever ones will have them -- some, like Cinemark, will not). I'll be eager to hear your thoughts on the film when/if you get around to it this weekend or in the near future, so come on back here and give us your take if you do. Also, don't forget to rate the film in our "related events" feature below.
Motley Crue is the latest act to take up a residency in Las Vegas. The “Girls, Girls, Girls” band will play 12 shows at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino's The Joint between Feb. 3 and Feb. 19.
“The show we are putting together right now is something that we have never done in our lives,” lead singer Vince Neil said during a teleconference on Nov. 30. “Since it’s a stationary show, and doesn’t have to move around, we can do all kinds of stuff that we’ve only really dreamed about.” He added that “this show that we’re putting together isn’t a traditional Vegas show-you’re not going to go sit in a seat and then stare at the band and wait for the band to come on. You know, this is an interactive show we’re putting on which is it’s going to encompass the whole venue.”