There’s a scene in the new “Muppets: Most Wanted” where the bad guy character being played by Ricky Gervais offers a British critic a bag filled with money as a bribe. He wants a good review for the touring Muppets show. The critic (played by “Downton Abbey” dad Hugh Bonnieville) gladly takes the loot.
It’s a moment that kills the credibility of the film. Everyone knows it takes at least TWO bags filled with money to buy a good review. (I’m just joking in case my editor reads this).
There’s a mini United Nations going on in the head of “The Americans” star Matthew Rhys. He’s a Welshman who is playing a Russian spy that is pretending to be an America. Keeping track of which accent is right to use takes some special preparations by the actor.
“It’s a heady balance of the right amount of alcohol and caffeine that usually gets me there,” Rhys says. “At first, I sort of thought this journey I have to make is sort of a Russian to American, and then I was confusing myself — which is easily done by doing that. I eliminated one element and just reminded myself I am a foreigner trying to deceive people that I’m American, so I sort of simplified it to myself.”
The obvious conclusion to be drawn from the new NBC comedy, “Growing Up Fisher,” is that it’s about a boy (Eli Baker) who learns a ton of life lessons from his blind father (J.K. Simmons). That’s part of the story. What you might be overlooking is the growing up being done by Joyce Fisher, the character played by Jenna Elfman.
The story starts with the couple getting a divorce. Her reasons for the mutual separation has to do with the need by Joyce to find her own way in life.
I became a big fan of Caroline Dhavernas when she starred on the short-lived FOX 2004 series “Wonderfalls.” It was a quirky show about a young woman — played by Dhavernas — who worked at a gift shop near Niagara Falls. Animal figurines in the shop would send her on missions to help others. If you haven’t seen it, all 13 episodes are available on DVD.
Normally, when I talk with Dhavernas it’s a little embarrassing to keep bringing up a show that went off the air 10 years ago. But, she always indulges my interest in the defunct program. During an interview for her current role in NBC’s “Hannibal”, I ask the Canadian actress if she knew the secret of why the character could talk to inanimate objects.
“We never really pierced that mystery,” Dhavernas tells me. “I, frankly, didn’t want to know where the power came from. She was just having these hallucinations. Maybe they were real. Maybe they weren’t.”
It never ceases to amaze me how Kids Day touches people — even those who have no connection to the central San Joaquin Valley.
When representatives of Warner Bros. Pictures — makers of “The Lego Movie” — heard about the special section that raises money for Children’s Hospital Central California, they wanted to do something to help mark the day. That something was a massive box of toys, books, posters and bags tied to the new movie the studio wanted distributed to the young patients.
It’s a great day for “Star Wars” fans as Lando Calrissian will be among the celebrities in the next edition of “Dancing With the Stars.” Yes, I know, it’s really Bill Dee Williams. But, when you look at the 12 participants, it’s obvious the celebrity well is running dry and the show could use some help from the Force.
This season’s lineup of stars features two Olympic Gold Medalists, a game show host, a swimming legend and a teen pop star. They will first take to the dance floor at 8 p.m. March 17 on ABC30.
This season will feature a couple of changes. “The Switch Up” gives viewers the opportunity to have the celebrities change professional dance partners. Also new this season is the addition of Erin Andrews as the co-host for Tom Bergeron.
Congratulations to ABC30’s Warren Armstrong for winning the Oscar challenge in Sunday’s Fresno Bee. I challenged one on-air personality from each of the five local TV newsrooms to go against me in predicting who would win this year’s awards. Armstrong was the only participant to get all eight picks correct. I guess when your network broadcasts the award show, it’s a good idea to make a great showing.
Two other local news people — CBS47’s Zara Arboleda and KSEE24’s Matt Otstot — tied for second with only one miss. Arboleda incorrectly predicted the winner of Best Supporting Actress while Otstot’s stumble was for Best Original Song.
I missed two as did Univision 21’s David Ibarra. You do realize that I had to throw a couple of the picks so as not to embarrass the local TV talent. (Yeah, no one is buying that excuse).
Rounding out the field was KMPH Fox26’s Kopi Sotiropulos who missed at least three. The actual number really doesn’t matter.
Thanks again to all of the TV personalities for participating.
It’s rare when you find a singing group with as much soul and Soul as the First Men of Promise. The local performers — appearing at the Rogue Festival under the name “Rockin’ the Rogue Part Two” — offer a foot-tapping, spirit-lifting show that has only one problem. It’s way too short at 40 minutes.
The group — half of which look old enough to be around when the tunes they perform were originally released in the ‘60s and ‘70s — includes (according to the group’s Facebook page) Reverend George Kayajanian, Reverend Lee Pointer, Reverend Paul Irwin, Reverend Sergio Gaytan, Reverend Robert Paul, Deacon Tom Sabatino, Chad Kayaajanian Lindsay, Harry Hill, Stacey Dominguez, Ron Shapazian, Dr. Breck A. Harris, Eddie Guardado and Zack Serano.
There’s a reason Minnesota’s Katherine Glover has become a regular at the Rogue Festival. She’s earned rave reviews for performances at the annual event including her 2009 performance of “No Stranger Than Home” and her 2010 one-woman show “A Cynic Tells Love Stories.”
What’s made her so popular is that Glover has an energy that gives life to the roles she plays.
This time around, she’s performing the Shel Siverstein work, “The Devil and Billy Markham.” This is a six-part story — written entirely in rhymed couplets — that tell the story of a songwriter hustler and his showdowns with Satan. Please note that this is not the kind of writings Silverstein did in “Where the Sidewalk Ends.” This piece was published in Playboy magazine in 1979. That should be a major clue that this show is for adults only.
What separates an adequate magician from an amazing one is showmanship. With enough practice, many can master the kind of sleight of hand and misdirection needed to make a magic trick work. To stand out in a crowd, those tricks must be presented in a memorable way.
Despite having the catchy name of the “Super Rock n Roll Magic Show,” the performance by Bryan Patrick at this year’s Rogue Festival has all the pizzaz of reading a magic book.
Patrick is a solid magician. Except for a couple of miscues, he goes through his boxes of magic tricks with a deft hand. The problem is that his entire lineup looks like it came from the “Magic of the Month” club as he does the illusions that almost all magicians master. It would have been easier to give Patrick the benefit of the doubt if he was just getting started in the business. But, if you believe him, this is his 15th year of doing magic. He should have come up with some more dazzle by now.
Local moviegoers will be able to hear the Word of “God” in Spanish.
After the monumental success of “The Bible” 10-hour mini-series that aired on the History Channel, executive producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey have put together a big screen version using material from the TV production. The major release is in English but there will be version dubbed in Spanish released in certain markets including Fresno.
The only local theater showing the Spanish-language version is the Regal Manchester Stadium 16, 2055 E. Shields Ave. Showtimes are noon plus 2:20, 6 and 8:30 p.m. The theater complex, like the others in town, will also be showing the original English-language version.
The film has also garnered interest with local churches as several special English-language screenings have been booked at local theaters.
Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado portrays Jesus in this film that covers from birth to resurrection.
One of the benefits of televising a major sporting event is that a network can take advantage of having the attention of a large audience to get a bigger sampling for new programs. NBC began Jimmy Fallon’s run on the “Tonight Show” Monday right after the evening coverage of the Winter Olympics.
The network’s using the same ploy to kickoff two new comedies — “About a Boy” and “Growing Up Miller.” There will be a sneak peak of “About a Boy” at 11 p.m. Feb. 22 after Winter Olympics coverage before it settles into its post-Olympics time slot of 9 p.m. Tuesdays starting Feb. 25. A sneak peek episode of “Growing Up Fisher” will air after the closing ceremonies at 10:30 p.m. Feb. 23 before moving to its normal slot on Tuesdays starting at 9:30 p.m. Feb. 25.
Krush Groove, a tour coming to the Save Mart Center in April that’s a celebration of old school Hip-Hop will feature an appearance by Redman & Method Man. If you want to hear a different side of Method Man before going to the show, he’s one of the voice talents on the new FX animated series “Chozen.”
The series looks at “Chozen,” a gay white rapper fresh out of prison. Chozen is on a quest for redemption and to claim the title of the world’s top rap artist.
Cliff “Method Man” Smith, who is the voice of Phantasm, knew when he signed on that the series would make fun of the Hip-Hop and Rap culture. That made him want to do the show even more.
“It’s making fun of hip hop. It’s making fun of gay people. It’s making fun of just the audacity of some of the artists that think they’re just above the law and above the world on these pedestals and nothing can touch them,” Method Man says. “Why not? You gotta knock people off their horse every now and then, you know?”
Several fans of Veronica Roth’s best-selling novel, “Divergent,” have been asking when the movie based on the book will open. It’s scheduled to hit the big screen on March 21.
For those of you not familiar with the books , it’s an action-adventure story set in the future where people are divided into five different factions based on their personalities. I would be with the grumpy and cranky.
A problem comes up when Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) is told she doesn’t fit in any one group. People who can’t be pigeon-hold are classified as being Divergent. And, the Divergents aren’t popular.
Here’s a look at the final movie trailer for “Divergent.”
UPDATE: The winners of the front of the line passes for this weekend’s tryouts for “America’s Got talent” are: Wayne, Kyle, Dan, Alexas and Tori. Thank you to all who left comments.
ORIGINAL POST: Producers of the NBC competition series “America’s Got Talent” are so interested in attracting potential contestants from the Central San Joaquin Valley, they have provided front-of-the-line passes for the tryouts scheduled for Saturday and Sunday in Los Angeles. Season nine will be broadcast this summer on NBC.
Don’t miss this chance because you don’t think you aren’t a strong enough singer or dancer. Andrew Ward, one of the shows producers, says they are looking for all ages and talents from 5-year-old magicians to 90-year-old rappers. The only guideline is that the talent can must be suitable for a family friendly TV show.
Michael Keaton plays a billionaire businessman behind the robotics in the updated version of “RoboCop” that opens Feb. 12. He says the role was based partly on Steve Jobs.
OK. That officially gets the “RoboCop” part of the interview out of the way. Being a comic book geek. I had to take the opportunity to ask Keaton about playing Batman. In a small way, it’s a logical topic as both Keaton and Joel Kinnaman — who plays the new RoboCop — have had to act with something covering three-quarters of their face.
I saw this coming.
Executives with the USA network announced today this will be the final season of the comedy “PSYCH.” The cable series will end with the episode airing at 9 p.m. March 26. The finale will be followed by “PSYCH After Show,” a one-hour question and answer session with the cast and show creator, Steve Franks.
The end of “PSYCH” means the loss of another excellent cable series. The adventures of faux psychic detective Shawn Spencer (James Roday) and his best friend, Burton ‘Gus’ Guster (Dule Hill) have the quirkiness of “Monk” and the smart humor of “The Big Bang Theory.”
My fake psychic abilities are suggesting this isn’t a total end to the wacky pair.
“PSYCH has made an indelible imprint on the television landscape, with a unique brand of comedy,” Chris McCumber, President of USA Network, says. “The final season celebrates the iconic characters that have made this show so beloved, and will be an exclamation point on the series’ incredible run. And while the series will wrap in March somehow I don’t believe we’ve heard the last of Shawn and Gus.”
“Psych” has paid tribute to Alfred Hitchcock and staged homages to the films “Clue” and “The Shining” and the TV series “Twin Peaks.” It was named the “Best Cable Television Comedy” by the People’s Choice Awards in January. Other accolades have included an Emmy nomination, as well as numerous Alma and Image Awards noms. Roday has received an Imagen Foundation Award and Hill has received seven consecutive NAACP Image Award nominations for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series.
George Clooney has a reputation for playing practical jokes on the set. Some of the tricks he played on the cast of his latest movie, “The Monuments Men,” will never be known because all of the actors had to sign a paper stating they would not reveal anything that might — or might not — have happened.
Clooney suggests there weren’t a lot of practical jokes as he was too busy directing and starring in the film. He says there wasn’t a lot but that leaves the door open for there having been a few.
CBS is calling it’s upcoming special about the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on Feb. 9 1964 “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles.” The question is whether or not seeing the Beatles perform on the CBS variety show changed you.
A record setting 74 million people watched Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr perform “All My Loving,” “Till There Was You,” “She Loves You,” “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” That means the odds are high those of you who are over the age of 50 were sitting in front of the television watching musical history being made. Please please me and share your memories of the show.
Fresno’s Diane Daniels, who was 14 when the show originally aired, recalls vividly sitting with her entire family — including her grandmother who was living with them at the time — gathering in the living room to watch the program. She was already a fan of the Fab Four through their records and radio play.
It was a little disheartening to see >Meghan Ory on the new CBS action series “Intelligence.” It’s not that she does a bad job as the agent assigned to protect the show’s human computer (Josh Holloway). The Canadian actress can handle the action part of the job with ease. What made the casting seem so wrong is that she was just so good on the ABC drama “Once Upon a Time” playing Red Riding Hood/Ruby Lucas.
She tells me there’s nothing to worry about. There’s always a chance she could reprise her role on the ABC series when time permits. If the ratings of “Intelligence” don’t go up, she will have plenty of free time.
If you are looking to get caught up with this year’s Oscar-nominated motion pictures, this is a good weekend to go to the movies. Here are the films that will be playing in local theaters starting Friday and their Oscar nominations:
“American Hustle”: Picture; Actor, Christian Bale; Supporting Actor, Bradley Cooper; Actress, Amy Adams; Supporting Actress, Jennifer Lawrence; Costume Design; Directing, David O. Russell; Film Editing; Production Design; Writing – Original Screenplay.
It has not even been four months since the cable channel G4 ended and was relaunched as the Esquire Network. If the new cable channel’s “Friday Night Tykes” and “Knife Fight” are examples of the programming to come, cancel your subscription NOW.
Esquire magazine has always stood for higher standards but those standards aren’t being used for the cable programming. “Friday Night Tykes” is such an awful look at football for young boys that it makes “Toddlers & Tiaras” look like a program for good parenting.
ABC’s day at the TV critics tour includes an appearance by President Paul Lee. Here are some highlights of his comments.
On the success from the new fall shows: “You’ve got to add a couple of assets a year. If you don’t do that, you sort of pay for it in the next year, and we really feel now with ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ and ‘Goldbergs,’ we’ve got a couple of assets that can stay on the network for a very, very long time. I mean, ‘Goldbergs’ is a great show. Everywhere we put it over Christmas, it popped a number, and it’s starting to grow. It’s got great social buzz, very pleased about that. ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.,’ it’s obviously disappointing that we started with a very high number and it came down, and it took a little bit of time to find our sea legs, but now the show is really doing well.”
Mark Pedowitz, President of the CW, offered his viewpoints on how his network is performing.
Did the “Veronica Mars” spark you to do a spinoff TV series? : Rob Thomas and I spoke last night, late in the afternoon. He’s very excited about doing this for CW Seed. It may not appear before the ‘Veronica Mars’ movie comes out. He’s very busy right now, particularly with one of our pilots, a script that he’s writing called ‘I, Zombie.’ But we’re very excited.”
Is “Beauty and the Beast” going to continue after the season? : “We’ve made no decisions whatsoever. We had to change something on the schedule so that we could launch ‘Star-Crossed’ and ‘The 100.’ ‘Beauty and the Beast’ will come on at end of May and finish the run through the season, and then we’ll make a decision come May whether or not it gets renewed.”
The CBS day at the press tour was tied to the 50th anniversary of the Beatles coming to America. “The Ed Sullivan Show,” where the Beatles made their American television debut, aired on CBS. Keeping with the network’s theme, here are some Beatles inspired comments offered by Nina Tassler, President of CBS Entertainment.
“Hostages” needed “Help!”: “ ‘Hostages’ certainly had its challenges, but we stuck with it. We let the show have its run. I think when a show does not, for whatever reason, take off, you can’t look at the form and say the reason why this particular show didn’t succeed was only because of its form.