Here's what I don't understand about "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." Every other episode or so, someone throws a fabulous dinner party or hosts a decadent weekend retreat, and for what? You can put out fine china and orchids and cute little appetizers, and you'll still get a gaggle of women squeezing one another's boobs, cackling about dead bodies ruining their scuba diving trips, whining about who got a heart on their place card and who didn't, and (in some cases) getting knock down, drag out, cheap sex in a dirty bathroom drunk. I mean, this week Yolanda should have just rounded up a few bags of Doritos, a party pack of Taco Bell burritos, and a plastic swimming pool of vodka Jell-O suitable for wrestling or inhaling. Unfortunately, instead it was peonies before swine.
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This is the second "old guys doing young guy stuff" that Robert DeNiro has starred in this year, and it is by far the weirder of the two. That may be because it feels like a studio movie caught somewhere between two very different schools of comedy. The script is credited to Tim Kelleher and Rodney Rothman, which could account for the split-personality of the film. Kelleher is the writer of "First Kid," credited as a staff writer on "The Arsenio Hall Show" and "The Pat Sajak Show," while Rothman is a frequent collaborator of Nick Stoller's, one of the major creative voices on "Get Him To The Greek" and "The Five-Year Engagement," the author of the sharp and funny "Early Bird: A Memoir Of Premature Retirement," and the writer/producer of the crazy science-fiction comedy "The Something," which is in development at Universal. And just in case the script wasn't already struggling to fit these two very different voices, the film is directed by Peter Segal, responsible for such uneven efforts as "Anger Management," "Naked Gun 33 1/3," "Nutty Professor II," and "Get Smart."
So, "The Sing-Off" wrapped up the way all these types of competition shows do -- lots of singing, some cutesy-poo skits, some guest performances (Pat Benatar! 98 Degrees!), and then roughly three minutes of actual results. In this case, the whole of the two-hour season ender was considerably more entertaining than most of these shows, simply because the level of talent on the show is so phenomenal, the judges are plenty impressive as performers, and hey, there were Christmas songs!
Perhaps the most notable aspect of the Great Quality TV Deluge of 2013 was how much of it came from brand-new series. It was an insanely good freshman class, not just from expected sources, like FX offering up another terrific prestige drama in "The Americans" or Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan's great partnership on "Masters of Sex," but from outlets that had never really made their own shows before. The year's most acclaimed new series was on Netflix — and it wasn't even "House of Cards," which got the most hype, but "Orange Is the New Black" — while channels like Sundance and BBC America alsogot in on the fun.
Ryan Murphy reveals how "Glee" would've ended had Cory Monteith lived
Here's an excerpt from Murphy's eulogy for Monteith: "Finn was going to have become a teacher, settled down happily in Ohio, at peace with his choice and no longer feeling like a Lima loser. The very last line of dialogue was to be this: Rachel comes back to Ohio, fulfilled and yet not, and walks into Finn's glee club. 'What are you doing here?' he would ask. 'I'm home,' she would reply. Fade out. The end."
Showtime announces "House of Lies Live"
An improv version of the Showtime series featuring its cast will air on New Year's Eve, with a preview going online the day before.
"Community" releases its "Mad Men" trailer
See Season 5 as the AMC series.
Rachel Zoe gives birth, names her baby "Kaius Jagger"
The Bravo welcomed her 2nd child on Sunday.
One of the weaker areas for Alfonso Cuarón's "Gravity" in the eyes of some is its story and screenplay. They cavalierly dismiss it as a ride without thematic substance, though of course they're dead wrong. It's a movie about — as Cuarón has breathlessly said since the beginning — adversity, yes, but also grief and, as cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki noted to me recently, how small we are despite our great personal drama (to steal an idea from Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life").
It may seem odd, when talking about a director only two films into his career, to describe "The Invisible Woman" as "a very Ralph Fiennes film." By his own admission, the twice Oscar-nominated actor has yet to forge a recurring directorial stamp; both his films exude the confident curiosity of an artist open to any number of ideas and influences.
Yet if the restrained elegancy and disciplined sexuality of "The Invisible Woman" -- a delicate, melancholic costume drama about Nelly Ternan, the historically sidelined mistress of Charles Dickens -- seems natural coming from Fiennes, that's largely because they match his refined, precise qualities as an actor. Those, too, are on display in the film: Fiennes plays Dickens to Felicity Jones's Ternan, and the two have a quiet but urgent chemistry that makes for one of the year's most unexpectedly moving screen romances. Though adapted by Emmy-winning screenwriter Abi Morgan ("The Hour," "The Iron Lady") from a 1991 biography by Claire Tomalin, the relationship at the film's center is still far from common knowledge; Fiennes's film illuminates it with considerable grace.
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Happy holidays, Firewall & Iceberg fans! We didn't want to guarantee a Worst Of podcast, just in case there was not time to get it done before year's end, but it turns out that there was time! So Dan and I sat down for an hour and went back and forth on some of the worst and/or most disappointing television we watched in 2013. Lots and lots of Angry Dan in this one! Enjoy, and travel safe, everybody! The rundown:
TV's Worst of 2013 - 00:00:00 - 01:04:30
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You know what's fun? Letting an entire television network guess how old you are! But, before we get to that, watch this promo (and, better, the behind-the-scenes explanation for how they did some of it as well as another promo at the bottom of the page) for "Brain Games," which returns for its second season next month (Mon. Jan. 13 at 9:00 p.m. on Nat Geo). Here's an exclusive look. Oh, and give yourself 15 seconds to make as many words as you can from the letters in "pay attention" so Nat Geo can guess your age range. You have your homework! Go, go!
Talking with Thelma Schoonmaker recently, it became quickly apparent that I wasn't even going to scratch the surface of her career's work with Martin Scorsese in a single piece. I couldn't help but play the retrospective game with her, and while I of course didn't address all 19 feature collaborations, I was curious about six films in particular that I think represent a nice cross-section of their work together. Each of them — "Who's That Knocking At My Door," "Raging Bull," "The Last Temptation of Christ," "Goodfellas," "Bringing Out the Dead" and "The Departed" — will get its own space in the next few days.
It was business as usual in the Vancouver Film Critics Circle's announcement of nominees this morning, as Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" led the way with six notices. Bradley Cooper got a bid for his supporting "American Hustle" performance and Greta Gerwig showed up in Best Actress for her work in "Frances Ha." Matt Johnson's "The Dirties" led the field of Canadian film nominees. Check out the full list below and remember to keep track of it all at The Circuit.