In Conversation With Norman Reedus: COMING SOON

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Join me in indulging my Daryl Dixon addiction

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When you love entertainment as much as I do, you sometimes get to a point where you want to drown yourself in it. That sounds hyperbolic, but it’s also sort of true. I get that way around award season or after a particularly explosive season/series finale—case in point, last month’s horrific Walking Dead cliffhanger. I got sucked down a vortex of theory discussions and YouTube clips, which led me to watching one too many supercuts of Norman Reedus being absolutely hilarious (and adorable) when not in character as our favorite crossbow-wielding badass. (Does this sound tempting to you? Enjoy.) Needless to say, my crush on Norman came bubbling to the surface once again, knocking the other boys out of the playground for a while.

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You’d think that was how I stumbled across this upcoming event showcasing said badass, but it was actually a happy coincidence that came as the result of a job application and some brief research. I won’t bore you with details, but it was some very random luck indeed that led me to the announcement of Norman’s appearance at the 5th annual Montclair Film Festival. My only concerns were what day  of the week it was (Saturday) and how much tickets cost (next to nothing). Talk about lucky. After determining that the place was within driving distance—TAKE MY MONEY. In fact, I did something I’ve never done before: whipped out my credit card and immediately bought two tickets, with no hesitation or thought as to who might go with me. Continue reading

The 88th Annual Academy Awards: Highs and Lows

2016’s big winners: (L-R) Mark Rylance | Best Supporting Actor for “Bridge of Spies,” Brie Larson | Best Actress for “Room,” Leonardo DiCaprio | Best Actor for “The Revenant,” and Alicia Vikander | Best Supporting Actress for “The Danish Girl.”

In a lackluster award show year in the midst of perhaps the most publicized Hollywood controversy over the lack of nominations for actors of color, I knew the 2016 Oscars would be a rather different ceremony than in years past. That being said, I still wasn’t expecting so many uncomfortable moments shoved down the audience’s throat by host Chris Rock in his second stint on the stage.

88thoscars_key_hostWithout touching too much on a provocative subject I’m not exactly equipped to speak knowledgeably about, I thought he might use his opening monologue to address the debate, which he did, and maybe close out the show with some sort of call to action, which he did by citing #BlackLivesMatter, and leave it at that. However, the night was rife with crude jokes, relentless little jabs at the underrepresentation of black actors (not all minorities, just blacks) in film, and several awkward moments that made the talent in the room shift in their seats, tittering as though they weren’t sure if they were supposed to laugh or not. After scanning some reviews, it seems some people were a fan of his tactics, but I happened to find jokes like, “In the In Memoriam package, it’s just going to be black people that were shot by the cops on their way to the movies,” to be needlessly tasteless. Continue reading

Celeb Crushes: J ❤

This PSA is brought to you by the letter J and my inability to effectively narrow down a list of Hollywood hotties. Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, so I’m supposed to be all gushy, chatting about loooove and whatnot, right? Well, I’m going to discuss lust instead. (For the past two years, I’ve talked about rom-com clichés—click here and here—but I decided to tackle my favorite wedding movies instead, coming soon!)

Anyway, I’ve noticed that the majority of my favorite famous guys have names that start with J. So allow me to introduce my boyfriends, four actors and a musician: Jake, James, John, Joseph, and Justin.

Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake

I think I’ve made my affection for JakeyG rather abundant in previous PSAs: When I reviewed his performance in “Nightcrawler” or when I talked about how his recent movies have positioned him at the top of my current favorite actors. I think what I admire most about him, good looks aside, is the way he chooses his roles and throws himself into them whole-heartedly. His back-to-back preparation for “Nightcrawler” and “Southpaw” (slimming way down to beefing way up) was insanely impressive. And while I’ve been a fan since his days as an ice age survivor, I think he’s doing an amazing job of making us all pay attention to precisely how he’s claimed his spot at the top of the A list. Continue reading

Fall-Winter 2015 Mini Movie Reviews

If you caught my last installment of mini movie reviews, you already know a bit about my movie-going habits. (If not, click here.) If you’re looking for things to Netflix in the coming months, hoping for a couple of decent RedBox rentals, or if you’re just wondering if The Force Awakens is worth all that hype, check out my next batch of reviews below. 

MOCKINGJAY PART 2 | 11/20/15

Key Players: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth

Mockingjay Part2This was inevitable, as I’ve been following the Games since their first trek to the big screen in 2012. I was a huge fan of the books and eager to see them come to life on the silver screen. The first film was a masterpiece, beautifully true to the book, and wonderfully casted. Same for Catching Fire, my favorite of the three. Mockingjay Part 1 was plodding and slow and started to falter, however, as I sort of expected. Mockingjay is admittedly my least favorite book in the literary trilogy turned film tetralogy, as I felt the climax was glossed over and wrapped up far too lazily to give justice to the story as a whole. I wondered if they would be able to rectify that in the film version.

So, my sister and I continued our tradition of heading to the theater on her first night home for her Thanksgiving break from college and went to witness the “epic conclusion” of the saga that catapulted J.Law into superstardom. It just didn’t feel so epic. It felt harried and disorganized, plotless and tired. Jennifer lacked the conviction and determination that Katniss displayed so indignantly in the first installment. It was, by most counts, a disappointment … but one you have to see to give yourself closure.

See it? If successfully overthrowing corrupt government appeals to you or if you’ve ever wanted to share a pizza and a bottle of wine with Jen. (Who hasn’t, amirite?) Continue reading

Australia’s Sweetheart Takes Home The Mirror Ball

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For the first time ever in its 21-season run, I finally gave a flying pirouette about who won “Dancing With The Stars” this fall.

I’m usually somewhat aware of the line-up as each new one is announced, waiting for a name that actually aligns with my Hollywood interests. They’re few and far between; I’ve always argued that the “stars” they enlist can barely be considered as such. They’re always has-beens, reality rejects, former athletes, or ‘90s pop stars.

In my opinion, the most famous thing to come out of DWTS is the Hough siblings. Julianne is trying to establish herself as a B-list actress—you can see her step into reckless Ariel’s dancing shoes in the 2011 “Footloose” remake, dueting with Tom Cruise in the 2012 “Rock of Ages” screen adaptation, or taking on a drippy Nicholas Sparks romance opposite Josh Duhamel in 2013’s “Safe Haven.” Her older brother Derek is known more for his choreography, but he also had a brief guest role on ABC’s “Nashville” last year and the sibs recently went up against each other on Spike’s LL Cool J-hosted “Lip Sync Battle.”

But this season, I had to tune in. Granted, I was only interested in the performances of one particular dancer, but I tuned in just the same instead of rolling my eyes once again at the premise of this show.

In September of 2006, I was a baby-faced freshman at Lock Haven University. I was just beginning my journalism classes, adjusting to dorm life, and trying to make new friends out of a sea of over 6,000 students. And in my first weekend, I received the news that shocked most of America: Steve Irwin, wildlife warrior and famed Crocodile Hunter, had died in a tragic accident.

BindiI loved watching Steve. His joyful mission to save animals was full of so much passion and enthusiasm that it was instantaneously contagious. He inspired me. And I cried right along with his wife, family, and friends during the publicly aired memorial service a little over a week later.

So when DWTS revealed that their 2015 shining star would undeniably be 17-year-old Bindi, Steve’s bubbly and charming daughter, I knew I would want to watch. Continue reading

The Walking Dead Fan Premiere: Highlights

Me and Shari

Two years ago, I turned one of my good friends into a Walking Dead superfan. (Victory!) So when AMC started promoting a sweepstakes for their first ever Fan Premiere, there was only one person I wanted to go with. We entered every day for almost a month for a chance to win two tickets to Madison Square Garden where they were hosting red carpet arrivals, an advanced screening of the 90-minute season 6 opening episode, and a panel discussion with the entire cast on Friday, October 9 as part of New York Comic Con. Entry was free. Winners were announced daily. And when she texted me to tell me she won, I think I stopped breathing.

The event was dedicated to the fans out of pure gratitude for making “The Walking Dead” the highest rated and most-watched drama in cable history. (Seriously. Google it.) It was a massive undertaking: The sold-out crowd of over 15,000 audience members came to Manhattan from far and wide—49 states were represented as well as a handful of foreign countries, including South Africa and Russia.

President of AMC Charlie Collier, creator Robert Kirkman, executive producer Greg Nicotero (among other producers), and showrunner Scott M. Gimple were all present and ecstatic to see so many happy fans in attendance. The show’s entire crew even flew up from Georgia to participate. The panel was hosted by “Community” actress and frequent “Talking Dead” guest, Yvette Nicole Brown. (Chris Hardwick had a wedding that weekend, as explained in a broadcasted video message).

In addition to all 13 current core cast members, five new season six regulars joined the panel, along with a handful of surprise guests who had been killed off in seasons past. There was a Q&A, games, blooper reels, awards, and more.

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It was truly an unforgettable experience. Here are some highlights: Continue reading