We're sure everyone attending the 2014 Oscars will look great. Unless they don't. Despite stylists, friends, sharp-eyed spawn, agents, managers and a host of other eyeballs, celebrities still sometimes pick the weirdest possible dress (sorry, J-Law).
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If you've checked out my earlier post, you've already seen my interviews with the six guys in the "American Idol" Top 13.
After the judges gave two of their Wild Card slots to women, though, the girls took a 7-to-6 advantage going into the Top 13, meaning that that all-female alliance should be able to Pagong the men.
Wait. Wrong Wednesday reality show.
Anyway, last Thursday, I caught up with all of the Season 13 "Idol" finalists. Click through for interviews with the seven remaining women.
Never begin a relationship with a lie.
That's not wisdom I got from watching ABC's new sitcom "Mixology," which actually preaches quite the opposite. "Mixology" strongly advocates that the best way to get laid involves some level of performativity or outright lying.
So maybe it's appropriate, actually, that "Mixology" begins literally every episode with a lie.
"This is the story of 10 strangers, one night and all the ridiculous things we do to find love," declares the opening voiceover to "Mixology."
"Mixology" is as much about people on a quest for love as "Raiders of the Lost Ark" is about an archeologist on a quest for snakes.
When you get down to it, "Mixology" is about 10 hateful people looking for sex, irrespective of the lack of chemistry between either the characters or the actors. Set across one night, "Mixology" is desperately invested in making you care whether or not sex will happen, but desperately uninvested in giving you any reason to care who it will happen between or why it will happen. "Mixology," thanks to its structure and its deadbeat assortment of characters, is about sex as horrifying and almost nihilistic inevitability.
I've watched six episodes of "Mixology" and if it were a better show, you would think it might be attempting to subvert the pervasive practice of shipping among certain TV fans. Part of what makes certain shows popular is audience members doing everything within their limited power to bring certain characters together, even if the rules of the show don't seem to be built around bringing those characters together. "Mixology," if it were actually intentionally subversive, might intentionally be functioning the opposite way.
Viewer: "But I don't WANT [Boring Man] and [Bitchy Girl] to get together."
"Mixology": "Tough. If they don't have sex at the end of 13 episodes, a nuclear bomb will be detonated in Valencia."
See, that's how you produce stakes in a show that has a ticking clock.
Will Jack Bauer save the West Coast from the rogue Secretary of State piloting a helicopter weighed down by Axe body spray canisters filled with herpes? I'll watch 24 hours of TV to make sure that doesn't happen.
Will 10 singles who probably tripped into a vat of Axe body spray, and may or may not be carrying herpes, get laid before the end of 13 episodes? Somehow, I just can't bring myself to care.
Maybe if "Mixology" were actually about characters finding love, rather than inevitably unsatisfactory -- a lot of booze is consumed -- humping, I could get behind that. "Romantic comedy" isn't my favorite genre, but when executed properly, I can often find enthusiasm. But romantic comedy is hard, because it really helps if you wish happiness, as opposed to misery, on at least one of the characters.
No such luck here.
So don't start with a lie. Nobody in "Mixology" could care less about love.
Now let's get down to an actual review, eh? I mean, I know that whenever I really, really hate something, y'all have to check it out, so you might as well know what you're checking out.
"Unknown," "Orphan," and "House Of Wax" are all various degrees of fun, depending on how seriously you take them, and director Jaume Collet-Serra is certainly slick. Part of me wonders if he can read, though, because he seems to have made a habit of picking ridiculous scripts with ridiculous ideas at the heart of them, and then he directs them as if they are the most serious things in the world.
In theory, I have no problem with that. As I said, I think those three films manage to be silly pulpy fun, and that's exactly what I expected from "Non-Stop." For a good chunk of its running time, it is indeed a silly but well-made ride in which Liam Neeson plays his popular character John Taken, but on a plane this time and without a daughter. There is a point in the film, though, where the bad guy (whose identity is played as a mystery for most of the film) finally spells out his motivations, and in that one moment, I completely disconnected from the film. More than that, I was repulsed. It would be akin to watching an "Austin Powers" movie that suddenly tried to deal seriously with the Holocaust before cutting back to a dance number with a barely-dressed Beyonce.
The script, by John W. Richardson & Christopher Roach and Ryan Engle, takes its time with the set-up. We see Bill Marks (Neeson) go through his pre-flight preparation, and we also see a number of other passengers as they all wait for their flight. It's only once everyone is onboard and in place that we learn that Marks is a Federal Air Marshall, and he's supposed to be providing security for the flight across the Atlantic to London. Marks is a drunk, still despondent over some personal tragedy, and he seems content to just sleepwalk through his job until he gets a text, not long after take-off, that tells him he has 20 minutes to figure out a way to get $150 million transferred to an off-shore account or someone on the plane will be killed.
It's a great hook, and as with any of these films where you have characters in a small confined space with a ticking clock, part of the challenge of the film is how you can find ways to keep things interesting and keep some sort of internal logic in place even as you find excuses to keep the characters from leaving or bringing in other help. "Non-Stop" manages to keep things rolling along, using the mystery of the bad guy's identity to keep Neeson active.
There are two major problems with the film. First, there's that motivation I mentioned. Without getting into the details, I will simply offer up a trigger warning, because there are people who will get blind-sided by suddenly dragging 9/11 into a movie this goofy. If you're someone who still finds memories of that event and discussions of it to be emotionally painful or upsetting, then skip this one. It is a cheap and stupid answer to what is driving the film's plot, and used in this way, I find it genuinely distasteful.
The other major problem is that this time, Collet-Serra's fondness for frommage tips too heavily in the wrong direction, and he piles on the ridiculous moments in a way that eventually becomes too much. It is a fine line between making a crowd-pleasing moment that pays off emotionally and drowning everything in Velveeta, and there's one in particular that they go for at the end of this film that makes me think Collet-Serra is unafraid of even the hokiest, silliest beats.
Neeson is fine here, and I'll be curious to see how many more years he's going to be able to play the action star. Hollywood figured it out very late after decades of giving him primarily dramatic roles and romantic leads, and as a result, Neeson's kicking into this sort of high gear at the exact moment many guys would be trying to move out of the action movie business. It helps that he's roughly the size of a house and when he throws someone around the cabin of an airplane, he authentically looks like a guy who can do that. The bad guy in the film sets a frame that makes it look like Neeson is the one pulling off the hijacking, and they get some decent mileage out of him having to confront his own demons in order to effectively do his job.
Julianne Moore has a good time playing Jen Summers, a suspiciously friendly woman who ends up seated next to Neeson on the plane. The various passengers and crew all end up as suspects, and when you've got people like Scoot McNairy, Michelle Dockery, Corey Stoll, Lupita Nyong'o, Linus Roache, and more all playing the parts, it seems like a shame to give them so little to do. In particular, anyone who thinks they're going to get a sense of what Nyong'o can do beyond her work in "12 Years A Slave" won't get any help from this film. She's barely in it, and for most of the film, she's a glorified extra.
If someone really digs "Non-Stop," I certainly wouldn't hold it against them. I don't think it's a bad film. It's a completely average film that makes a few terrible choices, and those pulled me out of the movie enough that I don't think I'd ever bother with this one again. Besides, there's another film that plays this same kind of game that I'm going to review this afternoon as well, and it does it sooooooo much better.
"Non-Stop" opens in theaters everywhere on Friday.
BET renews “Being Mary Jane” after record ratings
More than 5.8 million watched the season finale of the Gabrielle Union drama.
Fred Willard joins Amy Poehler’s “Old Soul NBC comedy
He’ll play one of Natasha Lyonne’s elderly clients whom she cares for.
“Strike Back” taking a 6-month hiatus after its star was injured in Thailand
Actor Sullivan Stapleton’s injury came while exploring the filming locale of Bangkok, Thailand.
"The Good Wife" brings on Jill Hennessey
The "Law & Order" and "Crossing Jordan" vet will guest as a power lawyer.
Steven Moffat: "There are no shows from America that are big hits in Britain”
The man behind “Doctor Who” and “Sherlock” tells the BBC: ""We mostly watch shows made by our own country. There are no shows from America that are big hits in Britain. They're all minor hits. Your mates may talk about them but no-one's watching them. They're getting squashed by the locally-made shows. Always.”
Conan’s writers send cookies to Seth Meyers’ writers
They also sent “Late Night” a message saying “don’t worry that Fred (Armisen) lacks the natural talents of Max Weinberg.” PLUS: Fred Armisen is releasing more “SNL” songs.
"SVU” tonight rips the Daniel Tosh rape joke controversy from the headlines
And the results are as ridiculous as you’d expect.
Neil Patrick Harris: "I just uttered my last word as Barney ‘Awesomepants' Stinson today"
"Nine years,” he tweeted. "Man, time sure flies when you're having fun…"
The “Heroes” reboot shows that NBC can’t stop obsessing about its own nostalgia
Let’s face it: The miniseries won’t do well — after the initial tune-in curiosity factor.
Bio Channel will transform into “FYI Network” on July 7 — with a Jennifer Esposito reality show
The new A&E spinoff channel will include shows like “Tiny House Nation," “The Epic Meal Show” and “Jennifer’s Way,” which will delve into the actresses’ bakery.
“Girls” star Allison Williams gets engaged to the co-founder of College Humor
Williams has been dating Ricky Van Even for three years. PLUS: Lena Dunham congratulates Adam Driver on the "Star Wars" rumor.
Amy Poehler promotes parks with Michelle Obama in Miami
The “Parks and Recs” star joined the first lady at a “Let’s Move” event. PLUS: Mario Lopez did the zumba with the first lady.
VH1 picks up the ’90s-set drama “Hindsight”
The nostalgic drama follows a 40-year-old woman who wakes up as her younger self in the ‘90s.
Christian Slater and “About a Boy’s” David Walton are TV actors who doom the shows they’re on
Others include Kristoffer Polaha, Tyler Labine and Kyle Bornheimer.
Jim Parsons: “I jumped” and “I was muted ecstatic” when offered the chance to host “SNL”
"I did tell them I'm very open,” says “The Big Bang Theory” star. "I said I'm not hell-bent on coming out and delivering a bunch of words. If you'd rather I sing or dance, I'm open to that."
MTV apparently filmed Farrah Abraham in a model home for her “Teen Mom” special
"Being Farrah” forgot to take down the framed promotional poster for Scott Felder Homes.
“Orphan Black” teases Season 2
The BBC America show is using Instagram to offer glimpses of the new season.
Carlton Cuse: I’d love to work with my “Lost” pal Damon Lindelof again
Cuse answered questions about “Lost” and “Bates Motel” today during his visit to Reddit. PLUS: Meet the new “Bates Motel” characters.
Discovery Channel sued over reality show helicopter crash
A mother is suing on her 15-year-old daughter’s behalf after she lost her dad filming a military-themed reality show.
Michelle Duggar: I was bulimic as a teenager
The “19 Kids & Counting” makes the revelation in her new book, “Growing Up Duggar,” which is out next week.
ABC’s “Mixology” tries and fails to be “Cheers” meets “Lost” meets “The Real World”
Characters on the Ryan Seacrest-produced reality show "say things real people never would just so that we may find them funny, or pitiful, or gross,” says Robert Lloyd. "There is something mechanical and arbitrary about the plotting, as if a mess of gears that didn't actually go together had been smashed into some semblance of a working order.” PLUS: Why would “Modern Family” fans stick around for a show that jokes about rape?, it’s intelligent, poignant and entertaining, and it goes from being cute to being a nightmare by Episode 6.
“Game of Arms” gets big numbers for AMC
The arm wrestling reality show debuted to 1 million viewers.
“The Americans” achieves greatness in Season 2
Last year, the FX series got lost in all the great TV shows. This year, says Alan Sepinwall, “it's taken a major creative leap — the kind that can elevate a show from a strong example of its era to one that transcends eras — and as I barreled through the five episodes FX sent out to critics, I felt my pulse quickening in that way I want to feel so often in my job but so rarely do: when something good becomes something great.” PLUS: It goes full throttle in avoiding a sophomore slump, the entire series feels elevated with more fraught and focused storytelling, it makes double agents of us all, it deftly combines pleasurable episodic storytelling with solid character building, Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys talk Season 2, Noah Emmerich talks Stan, Annet Mahendru tells a joke for Esquire, and creator Joe Weisberg admits, "I haven’t slept in six months."
Cassadee Pope became the first true success for “The Voice” when the Season Three winner broke through with her single, “Wasting All These Tears,” last year and her album, “Frame by Frame,” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart.
Even if Pharrell Williams doesn’t walk away with an Oscar for best original song on Sunday, he can celebrate that he has lodged his first No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 as a lead artist.
Hollywood's going to make Adam Driver happen. It's not a question of "if," but just a question of "when."
Variety reports today that Driver is in talks to join "Star Wars: Episode VII," and they suggest that his character will be a major villain in the film. Driver was one of the names in the mix to play Lex Luthor for "Man Of Steel 2," which ran contrary to earlier reporting that he was being considered as Nightwing, and it looks like he's being viewed as a candidate for bad guy roles in a number of these big movies right now. I certainly think he has the right charisma to make a character like that interesting, but I hope that's not the only way Hollywood sees him. He's more interesting than that.
It's always interesting to see how Hollywood tries to figure out an actor once they've made that first big splash. Driver's been working consistently since 2010, and it feels like he has very quickly become a familiar face thanks to appearances in films like "J. Edgar," "Frances Ha," "Lincoln," and last year's "Inside Llewyn Davis." By far, the role he is best known for at the moment is Adam Sackler in Lena Dunham's "Girls." He's been able to build a very complex and interesting character there, slowly peeling back layers to reveal that he's not at all what he first seemed to be when the series began.
Last Thursday (February 20) night, "American Idol" narrowed its field from 20 down to the season's Top 13 and then, still gasping from the adrenaline rush of eliminations and jubilation, the Top 13 paraded up and down a blue carpet in Hollywood answering questions from reporters.
I was on the spot with one of HitFix's ace videographers to brave the erratic blue carpet lighting and journalistic jostling and we were able to chat with all 13 of the finalists who will be performing together for the first time tonight.
Before Wednesday's episode begins, check out my interviews.
Up first? The six guys in the Top 13.
Nat Geo gets Charlie Sheen to narrate a Vietnam War documentary
The star of “Platoon” will lend his voice to “Brothers in War,” based on the book "The Boys of '67: Charlie Company's War in Vietnam."
Jimmy Fallon’s demo ratings beat every 10 pm network show last night
Falon’s “Tonight Show” ratings in the 18-49 demo even topped NBC’s “Chicago Fire.”
Scott Bakula: “Nobody knows that I auditioned for ‘Saturday Night Live’ ... It was ugly"
Nobody knows, Bakula tells Arsenio Hall, “because I didn’t get the job.” He adds: “It was ugly. It was one of my worst auditions ever."
NBC bringing back “America’s Got Talent” and “American Ninja Warrior” after May sweeps
“Got Talent” will return the day after Memorial Day.
Liam Neeson flips off a Ferrari-driving Ari Gold
Check out pics from the set of the “Entourage” movie.
Watch a young, bare-chested Matthew McConaughey on “Unsolved Mysteries”
The 1992 NBC acting role is listed as McConaughey’s 1st IMDb acting credit.
Marvel is spending $200M to film Marvel’s Netflix hero series on-location in NYC
The 60 hours of episodes will help provide 400 full-time jobs and 3,000 part-time production jobs.
MTV2 orders a Major League Baseball show starring Fat Joe and Sway
"Off the Bat from the MLB Fan Cave” will try to bring together MLB and pop-culture.
“The Writers’ Room” to visit “Scandal,” “House of Cards,” “The Walking Dead”
“Sons of Anarchy,” “The Good Wife” and “Pretty Little Liars” will also be the focus of the 2nd season of Jim Rash’s Sundance series.
CW sets season finales, announces “Labyrinth” miniseries premiere date
“The Vampire Diaries” will end the season on May 15, while “Labyrinth” will air over two nights (May 22 and 23).
“The Americans” has every cast member wear the “Felicity” wig
In tribute to Keri Russell, most of the cast and crew has been photographed in a “Felicity” wig that will be part of a “Felicity” wall.
Sundance Channel entered 2013 like a network with something to prove, and did it ever. Making the move into original scripted dramas like sister channel AMC, Sundance gave us three of that year's absolute best shows: the New Zealand mystery miniseries "Top of the Lake," the meditative life-after-prison series "Rectify" and the creepy supernatural French series "The Returned." Now, the first of those was an international co-production, and the latter an import that Sundance acquired, but together they sent a message about how serious Sundance was about being great, and quickly, while also laying down a very clear aesthetic for the channel: the TV version of indie cinema. If it wasn't as revolutionary as seeing HBO present "Oz," "The Sopranos" and "Six Feet Under" all in a row, it was perhaps the most impressive debut trifecta since then(*).
In the lead-up to the 86th annual Academy Awards on March 2, HitFix will be bringing you the lowdown on all 24 Oscar categories with multiple entries each day. Take a few notes and bone up on the competition as we give you the edge in your office Oscar pool!