Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

‘Girls’ just wants to have realistic fun

GirlsLena Dunham often gets asked by viewers of her HBO series, “Girls,” how they are suppose to sympathize with the characters since many of them are not the most likeable people on the planet.

Her answer is simple. Dunham just says, “You seem to like Walter White.”

She’s right. If viewers can sympathize with the drug-dealing character that Bryan Cranston played in “Breaking Bad,” then a few big city snotty people should be a piece of cake. Besides, it really hasn’t been easy for the “Girls” writers to add a character that would be more likeable but still fit with the tone of the show.

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You can win signed ‘Draft Day’ poster

photoThis has to be considered a touchdown in terms of giveaways through the Fresno Beehive. I’ve been able to get a mini-poster from the movie “Draft Day” that has been autographed by Kevin Costner and other actors from the movie. To be in the running to win the poster, all you have to do is leave a comment below telling me if you were starting an acting team, would you draft Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner, Frank Langella or Tom Welling with your first pick.

The winner of the poster will be determined by a random drawing of all of those who leave comments by 5 p.m. April 24. The winner will be notified April 25.

Even if you don’t win the poster, there’s still a chance to take home a prize. The Bee also has rounded up 25 tickets good for two people to go see a screening of “Draft Day” at any Regal movie theater. The tickets are good for Monday-Thursday only. You could use the ticket as soon as you get it or you could wait. As long as the film is playing at a Regal theater, it will be good.

But wait, there’s more. Along with the ticket, there are some “Draft Day” goodies — towels, mugs, etc — that you will get with the ticket.

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NBC series laughing matter for Minnie Driver

About a Boy - Season 1Minnie Driver’s no stranger to TV having starred in the cable series “The Riches.” She also had a recurring role on the comedy “Will & Grace.” But, the majority of her work has been in film.

Driver’s back on TV in a big way on to the new NBC comedy, “About a Boy.” In the series based on the Hugh Grant feature film, Driver plays the mother to a social awkward youngster (Benjamin Stockham) who gets some life coaching from the next door neighbor (David Walton).

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‘Amazing Spider-Man 2′ cast, crew give a hoot

SpidermanThe cast of the upcoming feature film “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” will be staying busy for the next few weeks promoting the movie that opens May 2. I had a chance to talk with Andrew Garfield, who plays Peter Parker/Spider-Man, several days ago just before he got on an airplane to head to England.

Garfield’s back and on Monday, he joined other members of the cast and crew of the film — Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan and Marc Webb — at the Shoreline Park in Mountain View.

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‘Sharknado’ still making waves

Sharknado - 2013The craziness that is “Sharnado” continues to be a mystery. It was understandable the cheesy Syfy cable channel movie would get a lot of attention on social media when it originally aired. You don’t have scenes of sharks flying through the air inside a tornado — over Los Angeles — and not create some buzz.

What’s so surprising is that a sequel’s being made. “Sharknado 2: The Second One” will be broadcast July 30 on the cable channel. That’s right. The phenomenon that is flying sharks will be back. This time, Los Angeles gets saved from the savagery as the latest shark-infested tornado pops up in New York. One of the actors facing the flying fins will be Mark McGrath, lead singer for the rock band Sugar Ray.

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Seth Gabel bewitched by ‘Salem’

3-cotton-matherThe new WGN series, “Salem,” is set during the Salem Witch Trials. The series that launches April 20 is based in historical fact but the show takes some very magical liberties with the people, places and witchy things.

Seth Gabel, who plays Cotton Mather, who heads the witch hunt, sees the series as being more about mystery than history.

“This show is about perception and questioning the things that we accept as fact, and what is truth and how do we define truth and how do we know that the stories — because they are stories — that were told about history are, in fact, true,” Gabel says. “Are those facts actually relevant?

“What I love about this show is it questions those facts. It questions those perceptions, and at the same time, it kind of gives you an access for understanding the truth of the situation that, perhaps, may be metaphorical, and you can experience what it was like to be in Salem during that time and actually live there.”

He stresses the show should not be defined as just as a series about witches or about witchcraft or about the witch trials. What he sees as important and relevant is that the show addresses a lot of energies that exist within the human psyche that so often get repressed.

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Evil characters rule on ‘The Following’

tf_36-james-publicity_0442.rcThere are two episodes left in the second season of the FOX series “The Following.”  Although the second season has wandered off the creepy path that was so perfect in the first year, the show continues to feature one of the most fascinating maniacs in TV history with James Purefoy’s Joe Carroll.

Although the series is about the efforts of a flawed FBL agent — played by Kevin Bacon — to track down the killer, Purefoy’s character has also been getting a lot of attention.

“I think people are really fascinated by psychopaths. Psychopaths are willing to step outside the normal bounds of human behavior, and I think people find that really interesting and people fantasize about that themselves,” Purefoy says. “Most people don’t carry it out, but they think, wow, that’s amazing that these people can live with no sense of empathy for somebody else or no sense of an idea of a consequence to any of their actions.

“And people find that a really fascinating thing, and I think they always have. I don’t think it has anything to do with ‘The Following.’ People find psychopaths fascinating in drama and have done for centuries. They’re dirty and what was that word? Skeevy?”

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Church hopes Lincoln is ‘Spider-Man’ fan

Thomas Haden ChurchThere are some topics — when it comes to interviews — that are trickier than others to approach. One hot topic is anything to do with religion.

That subject gets a lot easier when the actor is involved with a faith-based project such as the new feature film “Heaven is for Real.” The movie is based on the story of the 4-year-old Nebraska boy who tells his parents that he’s been to Heaven. He provides details that the youngster should have no way of knowing. But, the book based on the youngster’s stories has many detractors who don’t believe the story.

Thomas Haden Church — best known for TV roles such as “Wings” and the films “Sideways” and “We Bought a Zoo” — plays one of the members of the church council who has to make some hard decisions after the youngster’s story is revealed. His participation in “Heaven is for Real” opens the door for some theological discussions.

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Colbert picked as Letterman’s replacement

Stephen ColbertThe CBS Television Network has just announced Stephen Colbert will replace David Letterman as the host of “The Late Show,” effective when Letterman retires in 2015. Colbert — writer and executive producer of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning “The Colbert Report” — has been given a five-year deal.

“Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television,” Les Moonves, President and CEO, CBS Corporation, says in a press release to announce the hiring. “David Letterman’s legacy and accomplishments are an incredible source of pride for all of us here, and today’s announcement speaks to our commitment of upholding what he established for CBS in late night.”

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Theresa Caputo randomly picks those to read

caputoSince the announcement Theresa Caputo, psychic medium and star of the TLC series, “Long Island Medium,” will be appearing at the Save Mart Center on June 4, many have asked how they can arrange to have Caputo do a reading.

The simple answer is you can’t.

The way Caputo operates is that during the show, she walks in and out of the aisles guided by “wherever spirit takes her” to a member of the audience. Those are the people she will read.

That means the only way to have a chance of getting a reading is to buy a ticket. But, keep in mind buying a ticket is no assurance of a reading. Caputo’s selections are random.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. April 11 at select Save Mart Supermarkets, by going to or by calling (800) 745-3000. Tickets start at $39.75.

Early prep work helped Sebastian Stan with new ‘Captain America’ film

FZ-30189_RSebastian Stan didn’t have to do as much research for his role in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” as he did before portraying Bucky Barnes in “Captain America: The First Avenger.” It wasn’t until filming started on “Winter Soldier” that the Romanian actor fully realized how much all of the time he spent with the Marvel Comics building the background he used to play his role in “First Avenger” was setting up his performance for the sequel.

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Rose McGowan loves playing tough role

Crackle TCA PresentationRose McGowan — who “Charmed” her way into a TV career — has joined the cast of the Crackle series “Chosen.” You can see her work starting April 15 when the six new episodes are made available through the on-line network.

The first two seasons of “Chosen” followed the Mitchell family and Jacob Orr as their lives were changed when they received mysterious boxes forcing them to kill – or else. Now dealing with the consequences of his choice, Jacob (Chad Michael Murray) seeks redemption by trying to free Ellie (Caitlin Carmichael) from the game. this puts him on a direct collision course with a very deadly hunter (McGowan).

The series shoots very fast — a big difference from when McGowan was working on “Charmed.” But, the speed doesn’t bother the actress because she has appeared in so many independent movies that often shoot quickly because of small budgets.

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Bud Elliott will leave KSEE anchor chair in May

Bud Elliott announced tonight (April 7) that he’s retiring after 23 years with KSEE24. His last day as anchor for the local NBC affiliate’s newscasts is scheduled for May 23.

“I’ve been honored to deliver the news to Central Valley viewers for more than two decades. My career with KSEE24 has given me the opportunity to meet and work with incredible people,” Bud Elliott says in a statement announcing his retirement. “Now, I’m looking forward to spending quality time with my family, including a brand new grandson in Sacramento, and focusing on some recently discovered health issues.”

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Mickey Rooney was memorable interview

ROONEYA question I’m often asked is who has been the toughest celebrity to interview. Not to speak ill of the dead, but the answer is always Mickey Rooney. The passing of the 93-year-old Hollywood legend on Sunday made me think about the multiple times I interviewed him and the one chat that remains one of the toughest ever.

The assignment was to do a telephone interview with Rooney to talk about a performance in November 1999 that he was doing at the Tower Theatre with Jan Rooney – his wife at the time – called “The Night Time Classics.”

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Mike Judge reboots his ‘Silicon Valley’ days

JUDGEThere’s really nothing funny when my computer makes a noise like a weed wacker. But, the center for all computer glory is the target for comedy in the new series, “Silicon Valley,” from Mike Judge, the man behind “King of the Hill.” It launches at 10 p.m. April 6 on HBO and the first season will run eight episodes.

Judge knows the Silicon Valley region of northern California intimately as he worked there in the late ‘80s. He started with a company that tested automatic systems for the F-18 and then went to a company that made high-def screens. His last job was with a company that focused on bass and guitar amps.

His time there gave him an interesting perspective on those who work in Silicon Valley.

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UPDATE: You can win ‘Divergent’ ticket, goodies

DIVERGENTThe winners have been randomly selected to win the “Divergent” ticket and goodies. They are Mark, Cherie, Debbie, Jessica, Allen, Edith, Marie, Abdulah, Sandy, Kuhl, Tess, Jessica, Kelly, Will, Jermaine, Selina, Rebecca, Ron, Deke, Diane, Paige, jpb, Nina, Jan and Chris.

Keep reading the Fresno Beehive as another ticket giveaway is coming soon.

ORIGINAL POST: Many of you probably already have seen “Divergent” but I’ll bet some of you have been waiting for the crowds to die down. And, there are probably some of you who saw the movie but would like to see it again.

I can help.

The Fresno Bee has rounded up 25 tickets good for two people to go see a screening of “Divergent” at any Regal theater. The tickets are good for Monday-Thursday only. You could use the ticket as soon as you get it or you could wait. As long as the film is playing at a Regal theater, it will be good.

But wait, there’s more. Along with the ticket, there are some “Divergent” goodies — T-shirts, bags, buttons, etc — that you will get with the ticket.

All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me whether you will be seeing “Divergent” for the first time or it will be a repeat visit. To make sure you have as much time possible to use the ticket, you have until 5 p.m. April 2 to post a comment. The 25 winners will be randomly selected from all of the comments and the winners will be notified on April 3. Keep in mind that if you win, you will have to pick up your goodies at the Fresno Bee. They won’t be mailed.

Good luck. Contest rules are below.

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End not dear for some ‘How I Met Your Mother’ fans

Last Forever Part OneThere’s been a very mixed reaction to the final episode of the CBS comedy “How I Met Your Mother.” If you haven’t watched the episode, be warned there are spoilers coming.

Some were happy that it looked like Ted (Josh Radnor) and Robin (Colbie Smulders) were finally going to get together (even if it meant a rapid exit for the real “Mother” on the show). Others were mad that if was the way the show was going to end, then it should have only been on the air one episode because that’s when Ted met Robin.

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Samuel L. Jackson loses his cool

MARVEL'S THE AVENGERSSamuel L. Jackson is one of the coolest people working in Hollywood. There’s got to be a more modern term than “cool” to describe the man who plays Nick Fury in the new “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” but nothing sounds quite as appropriate.

That’s why it says a lot when Jackson gets excited when talking about working with Robert Redford in the new action film. He had met Redford years ago during a trip to the Sundance Film Festival but missed several opportunities to work on a film with him over the years. Jackson made up for lost time during the filming the latest “Captain America” movie.

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UPDATE: You can win tickets to see new ‘Captain America’ film


The winners have been randomly selected to see the advance screening of “Captain America” The Winter Soldier.” They are Amy, Chad, Tess, Cecilia, Andy, Helen, Lv, Danny G, Kris G, C.K. Thank you to all who participated. Keep reading the Fresno Beehive as another ticket giveaway is coming soon.

ORIGINAL POST: The summer movie season is still more than a month away but one of the big budget action movies is slipping into theaters on April 4 with the release of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” The film is ahead of the summer movie pack but you probably don’t want to wait until then to see it.

This could be your lucky day. The Fresno Bee has rounded up 10 pairs of reserved seats for the 7:30 p.m. April 1 screening in Fresno of the latest Marvel Comics film.

All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me whether you are more excited to see Captain America, the Black Widow, Nick Fury or the Falcon.

You have until 5 p.m. March 29 to post the comment. The 10 winners will be randomly selected from all of the comments and they will be notified on March 31. Keep in mind that if you win and can’t attend, the seats aren’t transferable.

Good luck. Contest rules are below.

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‘Buffy’ had big impact on Gellar, Hannigan

"BUFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER"As a longtime fan of the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” TV series, it’s always great to get to interview actors who worked on the show. I got a double bonus during a pair of set visits when I went from talking to Sarah Michelle Gellar for her CBS comedy ‘The Crazy Ones” to chatting with Alyson Hannigan for the series finale of her “How I Met Your Mother.”

Both actresses say that while it might not seem like it, working on “Buffy” actually helped them with their future comedy work because there was a dark humor to the series. “Buffy” also was good for Gellar because the physicality of that role helps her when she has to do physical comedy on her new series.

“When I first came to L.A. I thought I was going to come and be a comic actress. I got very lucky, because ‘Buffy’ came along. And I always tried to keep that other side going whether it was ‘Saturday Night Live,’ or even on ‘Buffy.” I think we had a lot of humor. But this is the other side that’s so much fun for me,” Gellar says. “And now, all the years of all of that stunt training, it comes in handy, because I can fling myself pretty much anywhere. And get in some pretty strange positions.”

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Chris Evans suited for ‘Captain America’

ca-the-winter-soldier-image01Chris Evans has slipped into the red-white-and-blue garb of Captain America for the fourth time (if you count a brief cameo in “Thor: The Dark World”) with the latest being the new feature film “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” The film’s scheduled to open April 4.

He thought by now the suit would begin to feel more comfortable but that hasn’t been the case.

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Spanish versions of ‘Cesar Chavez,’ ‘Noah’ being shown

833da018-5c77-11e3-81a5-005056b70bb8Regal Manchester Stadium 16, 2055 E. Shields Ave., will have daily showings of the Spanish-dubbed versions of the new feature films “Cesar Chavez” and “Noah” starting March 28.

“Cesar Chavez” tells the story of the union activist who brought national attention to the Central San Joaquin Valley in the late ‘60s when he organized a grape boycott as a way to get farm owners to pay workers more wages and improve working conditions. It stars Michael Pena and America Ferrera.

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‘Muppets’ producers fashion fun family films

MUPPETS MOST WANTEDYou can count on at least one news story after the opening weekend of “Muppets Most Wanted” that will report with great surprise how well the family-oriented movie did at the box office. There’s always a sense of wonderment when family movies do well. The surprise is that anyone would be shocked that family movies draw large numbers.

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Key dates set for network, cable shows

GrimmThere’s a lot of news being released about network and cable TV shows. Here’s a quick update.

NBC has renewed the dramas “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago P.D.” and “Grimm” for the 2014-15 season. It will be the fourth season for “Grimm,” the third for “Chicago Fire” and the second for “Chicago P.D.”

FX has ordered 13 episodes of the comedy series “The Comedians” starring Billy Crystal and Josh Gad. Crystal plays a superstar veteran comedian who is reluctantly paired with Gad, an edgier up-and-coming star, in a behind-the-scenes look at a late night sketch comedy show.

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Singing praises of ‘It’s a Small World’

it's a small worldAnyone who has been to one of the Disney theme parks has the song in their head. That should make what the company has planned to mark the 50th anniversary of “It’s a Small World” easy for you.

Disney Parks around the world will unite in song to celebrate the classic Disney Parks attraction that opened as a tribute to peace and hope at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Fans from around the world can join the festivities in an online global sing-along at

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