Wednesday, March 31, 2010

ON THIS WHOLE SANDRA BULLOCK-JESSE JAMES NONSENSE

So the other night I tuned in to HLN, to the Nancy Grace show, mainly out of boredom. And Nancy wasn't on, but instead it was Jean Casarez and a few other people ranting about this report that Sandra Bullock had had it with her idiot husband Jesse James and all these mistresses of his, and his cheating and so on. Bullock had apparently decided to file for divorce.

I find it fascinating that this has turned into such a big story. It's not just HLN, it's also Larry King Live, Access Hollywood, ET -- all these shows are providing live continuing coverage of this latest cheating scandal. Even the entertainment and gossip magazines such as People, US and Star are going whole hog on this one. It used to be that all they cared about were weight issues, babies, Jennifer Aniston and whether Brad and Angelina's marriage was in trouble. Now they're covering infidelity -- even better. It's taken over the news everywhere at these rags -- whether it's this, or the whole John Edwards cheating scandal or the Tiger Woods cheating scandal, or any of these other scandals.

Of course, on HLN these expert talking heads were on there speculating on whether Sandra could get the kids in a divorce. I find it hard to believe she will- apparently she's only the step-mother, which means guardianship might be the best she can hope for.

Anyway, that's the kind of nonsense they were covering on HL:N -- not real news like what's happening in Moscow with the subway terrorists, or the situation with Iran and the nukes, or any of the recovery efforts in the earthquake zones. No, their most important story on Tuesday was Sandra Bullock and Jesse James. I guess people have moved on from health care reform already and are looking for something else to talk about.

I know that this infidelity has been making the rounds lately and people are ticked off about it but please, give it a rest sometime, eh? There is other news.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

VACATION IS ON

So I've filed my column today and now I am officially on vacation, having taken this week off from work. So I plan to spend it resting up and doing as little as possible.

Unfortunately, today the weather gods messed things up by raining on NASCAR in Martinsville, but that's life. Frees up time for me to watch the IRL and NCAA tournament basketball instead.

UPDATE: Looks like the IRL is getting drenched in St. Petersburg, too.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

TV'S WEEK OF THE CANCELLATIONS

Well, the TV people have had a busy week wielding the axe on long-established TV shows. In addtion to At the Movies which I already talked about, two more are getting the boot:

The Hills, on for six seasons. Cancelled. Heidi Montag needs a new TV show.

Also gone: 24. Cancelled by Fox. Big news on the wires today.. TV movie coming soon to keep the franchise going, though.


Don't worry -- there's more cancellations where those came from, coming soon.

Friday, March 26, 2010

MILKING THE 3-D CASH COW

Well, thanks to the success of both Avatar and Alice in Wonderland, both in 3-D, the stampede is on by Hollywood to turn every piece of junk they produce into a 3-D movie. Worse yet for movie fans, the movie theaters are planning to extract even more money from customers of 3-D movies. Starting this weekend, major chains are hiking the price up by at least a couple more bucks a pop. They already charge an extra three bucks for the glasses to begin with, but these folks absolutely figure that the moviegoing public is a bottomless pit of money who are so addicted to going to the movies that they will shell out the moola for 3-D, no matter what.

When I heard about these latest price hikes I just about hit the roof. The motion picture industry already doesn't respect audiences, what with the amount of commercialized, mindless junk they put out. Here, they just seem to want to take advantage of people even more and extract every last dollar they can get out of people. You watch -- now we're going to see one movie after another in 3-D at theaters, and there will be box office records falling all over the place now, all due to these price increases.

You know, people ought to take a stand against all this nonsense. People can put their foot down and just say "no, I'm not going to pay a ridiculous amount of money anymore to go get eyestrain at the movie theater!" Among other things, people are complaining now about getting headaches and even vertigo from watching these movies in 3-D. Maybe these price hikes will finally push moviegoers over the edge as far as their patience is concerned, and people will decide to stay home and not watch this stuff. I hope so. I'm getting sick and tired of reporting about North Americans throwing away their cash on every piece-of-junk that hits theaters, and now with the studios rushing to cash in with price hikes for 3-D screenings, there's going to be even more money thrown away.

Personally, I like 3-D, but not all the time and certainly not for these ridiculous prices they want to charge for them now. What worries me, and a lot of people, is that Hollywood will jump on the bandwagon full-throttle and cheapen 3-D by turning out so much junk as 3-D movies, just like they did in the Fifties. I've read stories that even James Cameron, the director of Avatar, is worried about it. He's worried that instead of developing more great 3-D movies released every so often, these studios will just see it as a quick way to make money and milk the public, not care about the art. He has every reason to worry --milking the cash cow is "typical Hollywood" for you.

Leonard Maltin and Richard Roeper were both on the REELZ Channel discussing the 3-D phenomenon going on at cinemas right now and it's an interesting discussion. Check it out.

That is all for now. Needless to say, I hope moviegoers get mad and get some self-respect, and stand up to these folks who insist on putting these ticket prices up. I have my doubts it'll happen (especially since there's nothing to watch on TV anymore-- see post below), but who knows? Maybe this really will be the last straw.

"AT THE MOVIES" CANCELLED

So Disney has cancelled At the Movies, which started out as Siskel and Ebert a long time ago but has been lurching on for the last couple of years without either one of them. This year's effort with A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips will be the end of the line for the show. The balcony is closed, the theater is being razed.

Personally, I am not surprised -- the end was coming for a long, long time and I quite frankly am surprised the show stayed afloat as long as it did through all of Roger Ebert's health problems and so on.

Anne Thompson, once one of the many fill-in co-hosts of the show, has this to say about the end of At the Movies. Roger Ebert has plenty of thoughts of his own, but I think he was probably more emotional about things at the time of his own departure than he is right now. Still, it's a sad day.

Ebert says he is planning his own comeback with a show of his own, and I hope it goes ahead. I pretty much agree with Ebert's assessment of why the At the Movies show is going off the air:  "Blame the fact that five-day-a-week syndicated shows like "Wheel of Fortune" went to six days. Blame the fact that cable TV and the internet have fragmented the audience so much that stations are losing market share no matter what they do. Blame the economy, because many stations would rather sell a crappy half-hour infomercial than program a show they respect. Blame the fact that everything seems to be going to hell in a hand basket."

He's right. TV sucks right now. You might as well go to the movies, because increasingly it seems like there's nothing to watch.

Monday, March 22, 2010

AS I SAID BEFORE -- ALICE WINS AGAIN FOR THIRD WEEKEND IN A ROW

3-D Alice in Wonderland  kicked Jennifer Aniston's rear end to the tune of $34.5 million domestic gross. Jen really needs to start picking better scripts. The Bounty Hunter was just plain bad.

Is this the biggest hit of director Tim Burton's career? Based on Box Office Mojo figures I'd say, ahem, yes it is.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

TRYING DESPERATELY TO KEEP UP WITH THE NEWS FROM NOWHERE

I haven't been at the blog very often lately, but that's because I am busy resting up. I also have a bit of a break from work coming up soon, so I plan to spend that break doing very little as well.

In the news---  the Americans passed health care reform tonight.Woo hoo! Expect some really raucous elections coming up this fall in the States.
Other news: Christiane Amanpour (pictured) left CNN for a job at ABC News hosting This Week, and I am surprised because Christiane seemed like the kind of person who'd be at CNN forever. If a lifer like her quits, that really doesn't say a whole lot about the ability of CNN to keep its key people. This sure seems like the death of CNN to me, losing someone like her.

In box office news, Alice in Wonderland won for the third weekend in a row.

Still a lot of news about guys behaving badly, with Jesse James leaving Sandra Bullock for some tattooed woman of all people and then apologizing, and with Charlie Sheen pleading not guilty to his charges, and with Tiger Woods announcing he's gioing to be in the Masters -- while at the same time agreeing to be interviewed on the Golf Channel. Apparently this was another one of those situations where Tiger was able to call the shots and all that, limiting the interview to five minutes of his own spin.

Also the NCAA tournament is going on and I've been watching it whenever I can, but to be honest I haven't been going out of my way to watch it. Actually, I'm pretty pleased with the results of the CIS Men's Basketball tournament, won by, of all teams, the University of Saskatchewan! Way to go Huskies.

And in the world of entertainment Corey Haim was buried in Toronto, and it's also Peter Graves dead and Fess Parker dead. I hope the Motion Picture Academy is taking notes -- you don't want to see them screw up their "In Memoriam" segment like they did this year to poor Farrah Fawcett and Bea Arthur.

And Jimmy Kimmel was on David Letterman's show reminiscing about the infamous "Jay Leno" scandal and Letterman likened it to the old Comedy Store days when people were riffing on everyone and it was all fun and games. I thought the whole thing was a hoot -- late night really was fun to watch during those couple of weeks. Too bad it's all gone to heck now. Conan is definitely missed.



That's all for now. Coming up later this week from me: coverage of the provincial BUDGET. Fun stuff.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

SXSW 2010

SXSW is a film festival (and a few other things) in Austin, Texas and I thought I would post some links to some of the coverage.

I don't have much direct knowledge of film festivals beyond the one they hold in Toronto every year. To be honest, my one year volunteering at the Toronto festival kind of gave me a dim view of film festivals in general. It just seemed less like a film festival for the real fans, and more like something aimed at rich people and the "elect." You get the idea.

Anyway, from the sounds of it SXSW is my kind of film festival. Less elitist, closer to the real fans, that sort of thing -- sort of like what the Toronto festival was at one point in time. One of these days I want to go down there to check it out for myself and see if it's all true.

Here is what Film School Rejects is doing with their coverage; also here's the contributions of Cinematical  and IFC, among others.

Monday, March 15, 2010

ALICE REPEATS

Well, it was a $62 million weekend at the box office for Alice in Wonderland, which remains on top of the box office for the second weekend in a row. Seems we have had quite a few repeat winners at the box office lately (Avatar, Shutter Island etc.)

Alice soundly beat four flop movies rolling out in their very first weekends at theaters, including an Iraq movie called Green Zone starring Matt Damon, a movie that cost something like $100 million to make. Anyway, that's money that could have gone to health care or something like that, now up in smoke. People are fed up with Iraq movies and with war in general. That's my movie rant for now.

Friday, March 12, 2010

CONAN O'BRIEN'S TOUR SCHEDULE RELEASED

Well, after initially kicking David Letterman's butt in the ratings, Jay Leno's audience numbers leveled off considerably in week two as the re-installed host of the Tonight Show. So the war in late night continues on.

Meanwhile, Conan O'Brien, who is basically banned from being funny on TV, has announced the dates for his 30-stop concert tour which is, naturally, entitled the Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour. He announced it on his Twitter account. Among the stops in Canada will be Vancouver, Toronto and also Enoch, Alberta, just outside Edmonton. Get your tickets fast -- they are selling out quick everywhere.

Apparently he's doing this tour not as a way to make money for himself, but mainly to keep his devoted staffers employed. What a nice guy, eh?

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

ALICE IS A HIT

Well, the moping about the crummy Oscar show is over now, so it's on to other matters. Did you know that Alice in Wonderland made $116 million and set a spring opening weekend record in North America? NO? Maybe you need to read the news. My Reject Report on the weekend result is right here.

The big complaint people now are going to have is that every movie out there now is going to be in 3-D. Man, give peoples' eyeballs a break.

Monday, March 08, 2010

SEXY NEW HOSTESS NAMED FOR DANCING WITH THE STARS

Well, they found a hot-looking babe to replace Samantha Harris on Dancing with the Stars.

For those of you who don't know who Brooke Burke is, here she is. This is a great move for the show -- they'll save a lot of wardrobe expense money by hiring this woman. I think she might be able to dance, too. (She only won Season 7.) Needless to say, this will be a popular move with the guys out there in the audience.

The few guys that watch, that is. I just had to get that shot in.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

THE OSCAR SHOW IS OVER, FINALLY

The Hurt Locker won six Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director (Kathryn Bigelow), and I'm glad this boring, overlong monstrocity of a show is over because it "hurt" to watch.

I'm glad, at least, the big cable spat in NYC ended so that the folks there could see the show.

Expect a lot of snarking about the production tomorrow -- a lot of the blog-type people are already complaining about it being a lousy show. As I said before, I kind of checked out to watch Entourage on another channel.

If you want to watch the live TV coverage of the after-show, KABC's live feed is here. That's it for my Oscar coverage for tonight.

ON OSCAR NIGHT SO FAR

Well, it has turned into a strange, strange night at the Oscars and we have had some surprises so far. A big one came in the Adapted Screenplay category when Up in the Air LOST, to Precious.

Also, The Hurt Locker swept the sound categories, which stunned a lot of people who thought it didn't deserve a sweep. That basically is a sure indicator of a sweep for The Hurt Locker.

Avatar did win Best Cinematography, though, and I would have definitely said there would have been a sweep had it lost out.

I am sort of half-watching the Oscars. I am basically watching a TV, a DVD player and streaming video on a computer screen right now, and that is basically my evening. Mainly, though, I am watching Entourage reruns at the moment.

It's turning into a really boring and overlong show. I will note that the "usual list of dead people" was particularly grim this year, given the young age and major prominence of a lot of the people on it. (Oh, and by the way, they totally forgot Farrah.)

They also got rid of showing the Best Songs. This show is really weird.

Back later.

FOR THOSE FOLLOWING THE AWARDS

Here's a link to some of the awards sites providing live updates on the Oscars as they are handed out:
Awards Daily
The Envelope
In Contention
And The Winner Is...
Oscar Frenzy

Already Christoph Waltz has won Best Supporting Actor for Inglourious Basterds, and Up won Best Animated Feature.

THE OSCARS ARE ON; HOPE YOUR CABLE COMPANY IS LETTING YOU SEE IT


Well, this is one year in particular when I am just not too interested in the Academy Awards even though, like I said, it was a bigger year than usual for populist movies and the like to get nominated. In fact, there just isn't the domination this year from the usual "Oscar-season" types of movies made for the Oscar voters -- a good thing, in my view.

The problem is there isn't much drama with most of these awards this year - and you know Avatar will sweep the "Arnold Schwarzenegger" award categories, even if it loses out to The Hurt Locker for Best Picture. You know about The Hurt Locker -- the best movie nobody's bothered to see.

Did you hear about what is going on in New York City? Apparently there's a big carriage fight going on between Cablevision and the folks at ABC, and it's resulted in Cablevision pulling the ABC signals off the cable dial! I find this to be shocking and absolutely the type of thing that would provoke violence in the streets. Missing out on the Oscars -- that is something these Oscar fans can't do without. It's like their Super Bowl. So now a lot of ticked-off New Yorkers are having to invest in TV antennas, and are scouring the Internet for Oscar feeds so they can watch the show. Good luck with that. 

At least New Yorkers could tune into the Red Carpet before the show -- that's always better than what the suits in Hollywood serve up inside the hall on Oscar night, anyway.

(In fact, I always find the actual show to be highly unwatchable. Too many tuxedos and musical numbers. That ain't for me, thanks. By the way, the show just started with -- a musical number. You folks in New York City need to give Cablevision a big thank-you right now for not showing this.)

More Oscar night stuff - coming up.

BARBARA WALTERS' LAST INTERVIEW SPECIAL IS ON TONIGHT

Well, tonight an era ends as Barbara Walters bids farewell to her Oscar-night celebrity interview specials. Here's what Cinema Retro had to say about it some time ago; they reckon she could be leaving because she might be sick and tired of covering these "celebrities" who aren't exactly big stars. The star system has really gone downhill in Hollywood and we are seeiing a lot more actors and actresses who may be names, but aren't big "stars" in the movie star tradition. Can you imagine Megan Fox being a "movie star", for example? 

I'm actually tuning in right now, and guess what? Barbara Walters just said it on TV: "I'm sick of it." 

When you think of it, I can see why anyone would get sick of doing these celebrity interviews -- it can get boring. This "showbiz" stuff can get old.  

OSCAR RED CARPET IS ON

Well, you Oscar fans out there can check out the live streaming from the Red Carpet that is now going on.

KTLA.com has its live coverage here, and KABC's streaming can be found here.  KABC also has an interactive webcast here with lots of Facebook and Twitter activity..

CBS 2 has a webcast here of the Red Carpet arrivals. Also, Fox News has its livestream here. More soon.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN AN EASY WINNER AT THE RAZZIES

Well, the Oscars go tomorrow, but tonight is the night for the worst movies of 2009 to have their due at the Golden Raspberry Awards, and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen took Worst Picture, Worst Director (Michael Bay) and Worst Screenplay. The entire list of Razzie winners is here.
So what do you have to say now, you folks who were all huffing and puffing and defending Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen when I wrote that article about that movie's box office performance last year for the Reject Report? I got so much hate mail for that article. That was back when the movie opened to a five-day total of $200 million, and I declared it the greatest box office opening ever for a movie this bad.

My point at the time was that it made no sense for people to throw away money on a movie that was clearly so awful, and after tonight, it makes even less sense. Usually the Razzie goes to a movie that is not only a bad movie but a big flop, too. Yet people paid good money to see this total piece of junk. A lot of it. It makes no sense.

You know, it's going to be really funny if The Hurt Locker wins the Oscar for Best Picture tomorrow, because that movie really made no money, no matter how much praise it got. It'll be funny if the Best Picture was a flop, while the Worst Picture was a huge, freaking hit. It will also make no sense, either.

What will be even funnier will be if Sandra Bullock wins Best Actress after what happened tonight, taking Worst Actress for her wretched performance in the terrible All About Steve.

Stay tuned to my usual coverage of the Academy Awards on Sunday here at the blog. Until then, you can check out my already out-of-date box office preview for this weekend.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

KATE GOSSELIN IS GOING TO BE ON DANCING WITH THE STARS

I saw Kate Gosselin, of Jon and Kate Plus Eight on TV today say she cannot dance at all. Absolutely possesses two left feet. And yet she's one of the potential train wrecks picked today to compete on that Dancing With the Stars TV show. Other dancers include Pam Anderson, Buzz Aldrin, Erin Andrews and a few other people. Even Jake Pavelka, that Bachelor guy, is going to be on it and that tells you all you need to know about what kind of audience they are aiming at: the lowest female common denominator.

You know, ABC has to match NBC for the amount of schlock programming they put on the air. They really do. And a lot of people are saying Dancing With the Stars is going downhill fast. This move in putting this non-dancer and non-"star" Kate Gosselin on the show is proof.

ON THE MARRIAGE REF, TV'S LATEST WORST SHOW EVER

Well, we have seen some really bad television the last couple of nights: Jay Leno's return to the Tonight Show, Vienna getting the rose (and the ring) on The Bachelor, and the premiere of a new show on NBC with involvement from Jerry Seinfeld, and it's called The Marriage Ref.
And unfortunately this show is getting CRUCIFIED by the critics who are saying nothing but trash about the show. Here's the reaction over at Gawker.tv.
Frankly, though, this is where I gotta say: give NBC a break. The reason they ordered this piece of junk on the air was because the desperate network needed something, anything, to fill the real estate vacated with the move of Jay Leno back to late night. So they brought in this piece of utter garbage to fill the time until they got something better.

Besides, given the propensity for Americans to make hits out of utter garbage (ie. The Bachelor), there was always the off-chance The Marriage Ref might end up a hit. God help us all.

Monday, March 01, 2010

WHY IS JAY LENO SMILING?

Welcome to another edition of Why is This Man Smiling? The last time we featured this column we put up a mug shot of Donald Trump smiling his head off about something. Tonight, we feature Jay Leno, who starting tonight is once again the host of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

I felt the need to mention this just so I could remind myself not to tune in to Conan O'Brien tonight at 10:35 Central time.

I don't know where Conan is or what he plans to do around the time the Tonight Show rolls around on TV tonight. Maybe he'll go binge drinking at that hour.