Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Golden Globes voters get it right – sort of

Golden Globes NominationsIt’s no secret that I’ve never been a big fan of the Golden Globes. It’s such a tiny group of voters, all it takes is a couple of people to get interested in a movie or TV show for it to make the nomination list. I will say that despite my misgivings with the group, this year’s list of nominees is relatively solid.

There are only a couple of places where I have a major quibble. The first is in the Best motion Picture — Comedy or Musical category. Please note the words comedy and musical in the category title. It’s obvious the Golden Globe voters missed them.

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Susan Sarandon feels deep connection

Most of the time, my interviews with celebrities tend to talk about the mechanics of making their latest movie or TV show. You aren’t going to see a lot of reporting from me about who someone’s dating or how much they spent for their new home or if they even have a favorite color.

The way I look at it is that readers want a little behind-the-scenes information and that’s generally the focus of my questions.

Then a movie like “Cloud Atlas” comes along. There’s no way to talk about it in traditional terms because the movie tackles some very lofty issues about reincarnation. If you haven’t seen it, “Cloud Atlas” looks at six different stories over a 500 year span where the same group of actors play roles in each time period as a way of showing that a life force continues long after a body has died.

That’s why I found myself talking to Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon about her views on reincarnation. I’ve interviewed her plenty times before but this was one of the heaviest discussion we ever had.

“Energy can’t be destroyed,” Sarandon says. “When you see someone that you’ve lost and they are no longer in that body, you can see whatever that spark was is no longer there. Where does it go? I don’t know but I agree with Kurt Vonnegut in this idea that there are people who come into your life, people that you don’t foresee coming into your life, that serve a purpose that you aren’t aware of.

“You must me flexible and take advantage of these people that you draw to you.”

Sarandon had such a feeling with her children especially when her daughter, actress Eva Amurri, was only 3 and asked “When did I chose you for my mother?” Sarandon believes that there was some connection between her and her children from before they were born.

Deep thoughts.

Entertainment this weekend

SUCKER PUNCH.JPG It’s going to be hot this weekend. Here are some entertaining ways to stay cool.

“Larry Crowne”: The ultralight romantic comedy brings together the nicest man in Hollywood, Tom Hanks, with the sweetheart of cinema, Julia Roberts. But, unfortunately, they are the least interesting aspects about the movie. “Larry Crowne” wants to be “Sleepless in Seattle” — but that was a different time and place. It would have been far more interesting to watch if Hanks and Roberts had pushed past their acting comfort zones and delivered characters with harder edges.

“Sucker Punch”: A young girl must use her imagination to escape from a dark reality. Emily Browning, Jena Malone and Vanessa Hudgens star. Director Zack Snyder’s a master when it comes to creating visually stunning films. “Sucker Punch” is such an explosion of imagery and audio stimulation that it’s almost too much for the normal senses to handle. The film is best appreciated as a visual roller coaster. Just hold on and enjoy the wild ride.

“Falling Skies,” 10 p.m. TNT: Survival is the name of the game in this new series about humans trying to survive an alien invasion. The group try to track down more motorcycles but run into tough opposition. At the base, Dr. Harris (Steven Weber) and Anne (Moon Bloodgood) disagree over the best method to gather more intelligence on the aliens.

Colin, Tom Hanks make TCA visits

code58_08-cbrick_1200_djrV1F.JPGWith parents like Tom Hanks and producer/actress Samantha Lewes, there must have been some wise words for Colin Hanks about Hollywood over Thanksgiving dinner.

The best advice he got was very simple.

“They told me to show up on time, know my lines and hit my marks,” Colin Hanks says.

He’s putting those words of wisdom to good use in the new Fox buddy cop comedy “The Good Guys.” He and Bradley Whitford play mismatched cops who accidentally solve big crimes.

His father was at the TCA Awards ceremonies a few days ago to pick up the top honor for “The Pacific.” Hanks showed a real knowledge of Fresno asking about how the McClatchy paper was doing, discussing the heat and even showing some geographical knowledge.

“Don’t they call Fresno the gateway to Visalia?” Hanks says with a smile.

Catholic gilt


One thing you’ve gotta love about Catholics is the seriousness with which they dish out ritual. All that pomp and ceremony, all the majesty of Vatican City, all that gorgeous art and those golden treasures — it’s a visual and dramatic feast. Movie directors especially love the Catholic theme. Can you imagine if Ron Howard had been forced to set his “Angels & Demons” at the national headquarters of the Assemblies of God, say, or in the world’s biggest Presbyterian social hall? Just think of Tom Hanks running from one bland building to another doused in fluorescent lights, trotting past 3rd grade bulletin-board depictions of burning bushes, bumping into storage racks filled with folding metal chairs, pausing every now and then in slightly musty linoleum-lined hallways adorned with fliers begging people to join the choir. Instead of the Illuminati, the shadowy evil group in the narrative would have to be the 7 p.m. Wednesday meeting of Weight Watchers.

Still, as much as I thrill to some good, old-fashioned Catholic-ritual storyboarding, I reached my limit about half an hour into the silly “Angels & Demons.” (You can read my less-than-appreciative Bee review here.) Even all those gorgeous shots of the big group of blood-red-robed cardinals, set against the murky Vatican backdrops like exotic game birds, got tiring after a while. Yes, Catholic iconography often adds a powerful punch to a movie — from the crisp, retro repression of a “Doubt” to the head-spinning fright of an “Exorcist” — but in “Angels” it just sort of floods over you until you’re gasping for air.

Anyway, “Angels & Demons” managed to confess to $48 million at the box office to land the No. 1 spot. (It was not as good as the $77.1 million opening weekend for its parent film, “The Da Vinci Code,” however.) Did you see the movie? What do Catholic — AND non-Catholic — viewers think?