Tag Archives: Hollywood

Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park coming to L.A.!

Break out the Butterbeer, amigos! Word on Diagon Alley is that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is finally coming to Universal Studios, Hollywood! Hooray! Now we won’t have to fly all the way to Orlando to check out the awesomeness of the beautifully-designed theme park for ourselves. The park isn’t due to open till 2015 (at the earliest!) but that gives us plenty of time to get Greta up to speed on the books. So, coolness all around…

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Elizabeth Taylor by Richard Avedon

My brother, the photographer, has always told me that the late, great Richard Avedon was a much more diverse photographer than he was given credit for. See, like most people, I always thought of Avedon as a sort of predecessor to Annie Leibovitz, someone who took really famous pictures of really famous people. Well, I was wrong. Kind of.

It’s true, Avedon’s body of work was much more diverse than I’d expected. But, it’s also true that he shot some pretty iconic celebrity portraits in his day. Take, for instance, these two gorgeous shots he took of the late Elizabeth Taylor.

From what I gather online, the pic with Avedon’s red editing marks on it is from 1958 and the very dramatic, feathered headdress portrait is from 1964.

My apologies for geeking out over Miss Taylor again, but, I had never seen either of these pics until today, and, they kinda knocked my socks off. So, here’s hoping you guys feel the same way…

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Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011)

I know there’s already tons of coverage out there today about the legendary life and loves of Dame Elizabeth Taylor, so, I’ll try and keep it brief and post some of my favorite pics of Taylor over the years instead.

I didn’t love all of her movies — I mean, seriously, have you ever tried sitting through “Cleopatra”? And don’t even get me started on “Giant” — but she is one of the rare stars who could make even a bad movie totally watchable. And when Taylor had great material to work with, man alive, she set that screen on fire!

“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?”, “Suddenly Last Summer”, “A Place in the Sun”, “National Velvet”, hell, she made awesome movies in just above every era she lived. And though Taylor stands right up there with the acting great, I have always been a bigger fan of the balls-out way she lived her life rather than her filmic output.

Taylor was famous for most of her life and though that might make some people weird or camera shy, she was anything but. Taylor was funny, candid, and shockingly foul-mouthed…in a word, she was a first class dame. And I ain’t talking about the royal kind.

In my mind, Taylor was a broad in the best sense of the word. She could eat and drink and brawl with the best of them and for that, I salute her.

Hollywood is a freaky place and it changes most people for the worst, but, Taylor always kept it real and remained true to who she was — a totally-hilarious, brassy, old broad — till the very end. So, rock on, Miss Taylor, your humor, humanitarianism and total zest for life will be greatly missed…

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Worst Oscar Telecast ever!

How boring was last night’s Oscar telecast? So boring that I couldn’t even stay awake to blog about it afterwards…and, trust me, I stay up late up all the time, so, that is really saying something.

Long, strangely-paced, badly-produced, hosted and directed, I gotta tell ya, last night’s show was probably the worst Oscar telecast of my adult life. And, yes, I’m including the David Letterman and Rob Lowe/Snow White fiascos.

The thing that really kills me is that I was so excited about the hosts this year. I love Anne Hathaway to death and James Franco is great in everything I’ve ever seen him in…but, together, wow, they were like, epically bad.

I know most of the blame falls at the feet of the lame-brained writers and producers — did we really need those hideous “Gone With The Wind” and “Titanic” graphics projected in the background? And don’t even get me started about that freaky Bob Hope hologram…yikes! — but Hathaway and Franco were so boring that you could practically hear viewers switching the channel. Urgh…

To her credit, Hathaway at least tried to keep things lively, but the dead-eyed Franco looked like he needed a nap most of the night. Watching Hathaway desperately flit around the stage last night while Franco half-napped at the podium reminded me of those old elementary school group projects where one person on the team always worked harder than the other. As a team, they failed, but, I think I’d give Annie an “A” for effort!

Not helping the overall yawn-factor last night was the fact that almost everyone who was predicted to win, did. Which is cool for the very-deserving winners (way to go, Queen Amidala!) but makes for really boring television. Thankfully, “Inception” cleaned up in the technical categories…so, that was fun to watch, even if Christopher Nolan was denied his Oscar (again!).

Dying to hear what you guys thought of the show, and if you have any suggestions for better hosts for next year — hell, that Bob Hope hologram would be better than Hathaway and Franco! — I’d love to hear them too…so, fire away!

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Trailer Thursday: “Somewhere”

Well, so far, the only comment I got about the launch of Trailer Thursday were in regards to the name. So…I’m guessing you guys aren’t as excited about “Never Let Me Go” as I am. And that’s totally cool…see, the best thing about a regular weekly blog post about movie trailers is that eventually, you will be excited about one of my choices. Um…I hope.

That said, this week’s offering is the trailer for the upcoming film “Somewhere”. Written and directed by “Lost In Translation” Oscar-winner Sofia Coppola, “Somewhere” stars Stephen Dorff as an actor who’s life in the fast lane is thrown off course by a visit from his daughter, played by Elle Fanning. Hmmm…kinda makes you wonder if Sofia making a movie about Daddy, doesn’t it?

Well, even if it’s not a big old juicy expose about Papa Coppola, it is definitely a movie about fathers and daughters, and, as you can imagine, I’m all over that shit lately. So, sign me up!

And on top of all that, the movie looks absolutely gorgeous. Great new music from Phoenix, loads of hipster Hollywood locations, and Stephen Dorff finally getting a chance to prove he was worth all that early-career mega-hype…what’s not to love? Oh, before you answer that…Elle Fanning looks great too.

But more than anything, I just really dug the vibe of this trailer. Even in her lesser efforts, Coppola has always had style and mood to burn in her movies and “Somewhere” looks like it’s cut from the same dreamy, effortlessly-cool cloth. I mean, shit, even the poster is cool.

So, again, I cannot vouch for the movie itself until I see it this December, but, judging by the clip, I’d say the Oscar race has just gotten a lot more interesting. Now, if you’ll excuse me, Greta and I are gonna try and sneak into the pool at the Chateau Marmont…this heat is killing us!

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Madame Tussauds Hollywood

I know our regular Flickr followers might have already seen most (or all) of these pics online, but, since I never officially blogged about it here, I now bring you back in time to August 1st, 2009, opening day at the groovy new Madame Tussauds Wax Musuem in Hollywood.

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Located next to the Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Blvd., Madame Tussauds is the newest must-see attraction in a city full of them. And while many Angelenos worried at first about this newer, grander museum slamming the final nail in the coffin of the aging Hollywood Wax Musuem up the street…rest assured, amigos, there is more than enough room for both houses of wax on the boulevard.

For one thing, that old-ass Hollywood Wax Musuem is scary as shit. I mean it, we went at night one time and just about jumped out of our skin in the horror film wing. And though the Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter statue at Tussauds is incredibly unnerving — especially if you stand, Clarice-like, on the marked dot on the floor! — overall, the newer museum is pretty much scare free.

But that’s not to say it doesn’t rock, because, well, it totally does. Not only does Madame Tussauds have the most lifelike statues I’ve seen anywhere, but you also get to do all kinds of goofy stuff with them.

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That’s right, every statue at Madame Tussauds is there for the fondling. And while the hair and the eyes are strictly off limits in the touch department, everything else on these statues is fair game…and I do mean everything.

Yikes…my brother and I got so raunchy with that poor Halle Berry statue that I’m surprised she didn’t come to life and slap us silly. But tastelessness aside, touching and posing for endless cheesy pics with the statues is part of what make the experience so cool in the first place.

And if you run out of ideas for pictures, each wing of the museum is equipped with props to help you out. Wanna pose as a “Sister Act” nun with Whoopi Goldberg, grab a habit. Feel like chilling with Butch and Sundance, slap on a cowboy hat. And though I think some of that stuff might get kinda gross and germy over time, on opening day, those props were spotless!

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My only complaint is that the bathrooms are located in very weird places. One on the top floor and one on the bottom with nothing in between. I had to take the elevator down to the lower level and exit through the gift shop, then reenter through the main lobby to get to the bathroom from the second floor with Greta.

Even worse than that is the fact that the lower level restrooms have no diaper changing stations for babies…not even the women’s! Lame, huh? I realize that not everyone needs these things, but, come on, you spend a gazillion dollars on this joint and you can’t slap up some changing stations in the can? Please…

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But other than that, and the slightly highish price tag — same day adult tickets run $25 a pop! — the musuem is a very cool place to visit. And seeing as they have plenty of room to expand and loads of new figures on the way — I think they added a Michael Jackson right after our visit — the museum should do a pretty killer job of getting people to come back for repeat visits down the road.

Hell, I’d go back for Halle Berry alone!

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NBC’s “Biggest Loser” hits the road…

OK, normally, I am not the kind of person to gloat when bad things happen to jerky people (even if they totally deserve it!) but when I heard that NBC Universal’s much-maligned entertainment co-chairman, Ben Silverman was fired today, I gotta admit, I kinda cheered!

That’s right, amigos, the man who brought you such immortal classics as “My Own Worst Enemy”, “Kings”, “Crusoe”, “Kath & Kim”, the crazy-expensive (not to mention totally unnecessary!) remakes of “Bionic Woman” and “Knight Rider”, and Survival Sunday cheesefests like “Meteor” and “The Storm”, has finally been shown the door. Hooray!

Ben Silverman prom promo!

In his defense, Silverman was a well-regarded producer of such hit shows as “Ugly Betty”, “The Office”, and “30 Days” before taking the reigns at NBC, so, when the network brass hired him to lead NBC out of the crapper in 2007, he seemed like an inspired pick.

But it was soon clear to everyone involved that Silverman was not the “rock star executive” he promised to be. Not only were many of his big ideas just plain lame — hello, “Rosie Live!” anyone? — but by making crass product placement a way of life at the network, greenlighting expensive duds left and right, and calling writers “the nerdiest, ugliest, meanest kids in the high school” during the dark days of the WGA strike, Silverman really was his “Own Worst Enemy”.

My old NBC strike squad actually made up Silverman-specific chants during the strike…of course, I’ve forgotten most of them, but, trust me, they made our Carson Daly chants look friendly!

In fact, at one point, there was talk of staging a Ben Silverman prom in honor of his statement about us “ugly writers” trying to “cancel the prom” when we threatened to bring down NBC’s telecast of that year’s Golden Globes. And though we never held the actual prom, we did get the Globes downgraded to a “news event”, and, as you can see, we crafted some pretty cool paraphernalia in preparation for it…so, suck it Silverman!

Getting ready for the Ben Silverman prom!

Ben Silverman prom corsage and picket sign!

But prom or no prom, the good news today is that the cheesy-ass king of all things crappy at NBC is finally gone. Yay! Now, if we could just do something about those annoying “Jay Leno at 10PM” commercials…yikes…

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