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Amy Winehouse. Amy Winehouse documentary: 'Heartbreaking' and 'impressive' In an era of disposable pop music, the songs of the late Amy Winehouse feel timeless. Her sound spans the decades: bluesy and jazzy, a little bit punk and a little bit gansta. She was an old soul belting out new school lyrics that were confessional, profane, clever, and withering. She has been compared to Billie Holiday (in more ways than one, alas) and Winehouse herself has noted Sarah Vaughn as an influence. Her phrasing could turn any note into an adventure, bending and stretching it until it made multiple emotional statements. Her voice was both propulsive and brittle with a vibrato that could pound like a jackhammer or purr like Eartha Kitt. And that's to say nothing of her signature look, the beehive hairdo, the tattoos, and the increasingly garish makeup that would eventually hide much more than facial blemishes. Unfortunately, »
- Mark Keizer
Late-night fans, did you miss any of our exclusive chats with this year's crop of variety talk show hosts? With the recent exits of David Letterman, Craig Ferguson, Jay Leno, Stephen Colbert's "Colbert Report" and the impending departure of Jon Stewart, late night has transformed more in the last few years than it had in the preceding 20. Below, watch our exclusive Google Hangout chats with some of this year's variety contenders, including veteran Conan O'Brien ("Conan") and relative newcomers James Corden ("Late Late Show"), Seth Meyers ("Late Night") and Larry Wilmore ("The Nightly Show"). -Break- Watch almost 200 video chats with 2015 Emmy contenders Conan O'Brien on his groundbreaking trip to Cuba: "The 'American idiot abroad' is an invention Mark Twain was doing in the 19th century. The American being out-of-place and out-of-sorts and b..."' »
In the vein of troubled musicians like Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse was a smoldering star burning brighter than the British songstress ever could have imagined. After her smokey, soulful talents were discovered at a young age, Amy Winehouse became yet another budding celebrity who found herself consumed by fame, drugs, habitual abuse, and insurmountable pressures. By the ripe age of 28, Winehouse had experienced more highs and lows than you or I might take a lifetime to collect – a rollercoaster of denial, acceptance, and utter helplessness. Those are the moments documentarian Asif Kapadia set out to capture in his tragically beautiful new exposé, simply titled Amy.
The film is an ode to a devastating musical loss, somberly mourned by the likes of Mos Def, Questlove, and Tony Bennett, but it’s also an alarming glimpse into the celebrity culture that’s destroyed so many eager, ambitious young artists. »
- Matt Donato
The Late Night TV landscape—much like the television landscape in general—is going through a pretty intense transformation at the moment. Come this August, the “oldest” regular program in late night will be Jimmy Kimmel Live, which launched in 2003. The Tonight Show Wars finally came to a close (again) in February 2014 when Jay Leno stepped down a second time, making way for Jimmy Fallon to take over the established franchise. And somewhat fittingly, David Letterman felt it was time to retire just over a year later, bringing Late Show with David Letterman to a close this past May. Letterman’s loss was the most striking, not only because Late Show paved the way for a new kind of comedy on late night television, but also Letterman’s interview skills/style was unrivaled. His somewhat prickly personality made for some of the most fascinating and entertaining interactions in all of television, »
- Adam Chitwood
Chicago – While it’s cruder and it can’t quite match the original “Ted,” “Ted 2” is still funnier than it has any right to be. It is unmistakably a Seth MacFarlane production, and there are a million reasons why this movie shouldn’t work, chief among them a plot that attempts to plop a foul mouthed talking teddy bear into a moralistic legal parable about civil rights. But I can’t deny I laughed throughout, almost despite myself.
It’s less a movie than a collection of scenes strung back to back. After an elaborate and largely joyless Busby Berkeley inspired title sequence, the plot revolves around Ted and new wife Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth). When they try to adopt a baby, the government challenges Ted’s personhood and declares him property instead. So Ted and buddy Mark Wahlberg enlist a pot-smoking civil rights lawyer (Amanda Seyfried) to take his case, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Seth MacFarlane is funny, no doubt, but he's quickly proven he's not a filmmaker, or, at least not a very good one. Whether you love Ted or can even stomach A Million Ways to Die in the West, you may remember laughing at either film, but you won't come away believing they were made by a director with any kind of substantial control over storytelling, editing or direction. A Million Ways to Die in the West is best left forgotten, both comically and narratively, and Ted was about as cliche as they come outside of the fact it centered on a talking, drug and sex-addicted teddy bear with a foul mouth. Admittedly, the concept is comical, and in the early going the first film had its share of laughs before it became redundant and tiresome. That said, when it comes to Ted 2 I will admit I laughed even more. »
- Brad Brevet
I interviewed Pierce Brosnan in conjunction with his third outing as James Bond, in Michael Apted's The World Is Not Enough, in 1999. Brosnan was alternately charming, erudite, thoughtful and intense during our two hour chat. His native intelligence shone through it all, as did a sense of decency which many people seem to acquire after enduring and surviving hardship in their formative years.
Bonding With Brosnan
There are several dangers in becoming a cultural icon, not the least of which is the stigma that your public will forever keep you imprisoned in the mold of your iconography, allowing the recipient a privileged, if imprisoned, existence, particularly if that person is an artist. Sean Connery faced just such a dilemma during the height of James Bond-mania in the mid-60's. A serious actor, Connery desperately wanted to break out of the action hero mold that was British Superspy James Bond, »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
Michael Douglas family traveled with him when he accepted the Genesis Prize. The 'Wall Street' actor was joined by with Catherine Zeta-Jones and their children Dylan, 14, and Carys, 12, at a ceremony in Israel, where he picked up honor which has been dubbed the 'Jewish Nobel Prize'. The 70-year-old star was awarded the prize for his work promoting a more welcoming and inclusive Judaism. The ceremony's host, Jay Leno, said: "The mission of the Genesis Prize group is to honor excellence in one's chosen professional field, and whose actions and achievements embody the character of the Jewish people who are committed to Jewish values, the Jewish community at large and the State of Israel. And that perfectly describes my friend, Michael. "At a time when people around the world debate 'Who is a Jew,' choosing Michael Douglas has a profound meaning." According to the Jerusalem Post newspaper, Michael picked up a $3.5 million prize, »
Michael Douglas was honored with the Genesis Prize from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a special ceremony in Jerusalem on Thursday. According to the Genesis Prize Foundation, the annual $1 million award is given to "individuals who have attained excellence and international renown in their chosen professional fields, and who inspire others through their engagement and dedication to the Jewish community and/or the State of Israel." Michael chose to donate his prize, which ended up being $2 million after an anonymous donor gifted an additional $1 million, to organizations that foster Jewish inclusion. Michael had plenty of support during his big night, having walked the red carpet with his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and their children, 12-year-old Carys and 14-year-old Dylan. Jay Leno and Bar Refaeli were also there to celebrate Michael, who said that he "strongly believe[s] that Judaism should reflect the spirit of welcome and tradition that existed in Abraham's tent" when accepting the honor. »
Jay Leno, Bar Refaeli and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were all on hand Thursday evening in Jerusalem to fete Michael Douglas as he received the second annual Genesis Prize, a $1 million award from the Genesis Philanthropic Group, a cadre of Russian oligarchs committing to bolstering Jewish identity among Diaspora Jews. A gift from an anonymous donor this year doubled the prize to $2 million, all of which will be donated by Douglas to organizations that foster Jewish inclusion.
Douglas, who attended the splashy event with his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones and their children Dylan and Carys, spoke of embracing his Jewish heritage later in life and his desire to help push the global Jewish community toward greater inclusiveness and acceptance of interfaith couples.
Douglas has a Jewish father, Kirk Douglas, but a non-Jewish mother, which means that according to Jewish law he is not considered Jewish. The same ruling goes for his children. »
- Debra Kamin
Today is a very special day for Michael Douglas. The actor was presented with the Genesis Prize, which is often referred to as the Jewish Nobel Prize, in Jerusalem. Douglas wife Catherine Zeta-Jones and two children Carys and Dylan also attended the prestigious affair in honor of the A-lister, and by the looks of it, the good-looking apples didn't fall too far from the tree! Catherine and Michael's kids look like spitting images of their famous parents and were all smiles during the event honoring the 70-year-old. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented the prize—which totals a whopping $1 million dollars—to Michael while Jay Leno hosted the »
There’s been a remarkable consistency among variety series Emmy candidates, starting with Comedy Central’s powerhouse pair. Stephen Colbert’s “The Colbert Report” has enjoyed back-to-back wins, while Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” took top honors in 2012 and the previous nine years.
All told, those same six comprise the lineup over the past three years. But 2015’s seismic latenight shifts, with a host of hosts having left or on their way out, could affect the Emmy battle as well.
First rumbles came from the TV Academy itself, which is instituting »
- Bob Verini
If variety is the spice of life, the Emmys for variety series have been inordinately bland for the last two decades. Yet if the awards have been characterized by repetition — characteristic of an arena generally known for its stability — this year and next year’s voting actually come at a sort of crossroads, reflecting a choice between nostalgia for its past and preparing for its future.
Comedy Central has owned this category for a dozen years, with “The Daily Show” claiming the prize for a gaudy 10 straight before giving up that mantel to sibling “The Colbert Report” in 2013. That was preceded by a five-year run by “Late Show With David Letterman,” which also won in 1994, its first year of eligibility.
But now the latenight field is in the midst of a deck shuffling, with Letterman having retired, Jon Stewart about to hang up his spurs and Colbert having exited cable »
- Brian Lowry
Judd Apatow has been interviewing comedians since his days as a Syosset High School sophomore, when he had his own radio show and got to sit down with budding legends like Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, and Sandra Bernhard. Sick in the Head, out today, is a collection of the interviews he’s been doing since his days as an insecure high school student to his present as a (probably still insecure) comedy mogul. Some interviews were previously published, but there’s a little something for everyone: an oral history of Freaks and Geeks, anecdotes of how he chickened out during an AFI tribute to Mel Brooks, and deep-dives with comedy greats. Running throughout each conversation is Apatow’s own understanding of comedy as a way to inhabit the world, work things out, and prove oneself. Apatow doesn’t have the happy-go-lucky sensibility of Jimmy Fallon or the meditative Zen of Jerry Seinfeld, »
- Alex Jung
I’m not normally the type to voluntarily offer up my time to watch sports documentaries, but Winning:the Racing Life Of Paul Newman is one of those rare exceptions. Here’s the catch, it’s really not a sports film, but a look into another, lesser known side of the life of Paul Newman, one of the greatest American actors of all-time, and as it turns out, one of the greatest American men of all-time as well.
When you define what makes the perfect man, the perfect American citizen, or even the perfect human being, what comes to mind? The answer to that question will vary greatly, depending on who you ask, and the truth is, it’s a trick question. There is no perfection when it comes to humanity. However, what I discovered from watching this film, co-directed by Adam Carolla and Nate Adams, is that Paul Newman damn near comes close, »
- Travis Keune
David Letterman ended his three-decade run in late night with his biggest audience in over 20 years. The final supersize edition of his Late Show averaged an estimated 13.76 million viewers, according to preliminary national Nielsen data. It was the most-watched broadcast on TV Wednesday, beating everything in prime time. Among adults 18 to 49, the last Dave-hosted Late Show notched a 3.1 rating. Letterman fell short of matching the record mark he set in 1994, when a post-Olympics episode of his CBS program drew 15.5 million viewers. Finally, because it wouldn’t be a Letterman story without some mention of Jay Leno: Dave’s exit didn’t beat the NBC host’s second good-bye to The Tonight Show, which drew 14.6 million viewers and a 3.8 among viewers under 50 in February 2014. (Jay had a big advantage, since his farewell aired on a night when NBC aired some early Olympics coverage, boosting »
- Josef Adalian
Update: In preliminary national estimates, the final broadcast of “The Late Show with David Letterman” drew 13.76 million viewers for the show’s largest audience since February 1994. Only two post-Olympics episodes that month (during the Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding saga) and the show’s August 2003 premiere (15.205 million) drew larger audiences.
In adults 18-49, the show’s 3.1 rating is the highest since the night in December 2005 that Oprah Winfrey appeared.
Millions of fans who enjoyed the latenight antics of David Letterman over the years returned Wednesday night as the iconic host signed off following a 33-year run.
Nielsen won’t issue total-viewer estimates until later today, but early indications are that the show drew its largest audience in more than nine years. In Nielsen’s metered-market overnights, Wednesday’s »
- Rick Kissell
The waning days of David Letterman’s farewell were so filled with appreciations and emotion that it was hard not to wonder where all those folks had been as his ratings languished. The truth is the host had become such a part of the latenight firmament as to be taken for granted, and had lost some of his own drive in recent years, regaining it as he neared the finish line. All that culminated Wednesday in an extra-long finale that mixed clips and memories but was distinguished, ultimately, by what Letterman does – or did – best: Sit at a desk and communicate.
To be honest, Letterman has never been the warmest and fuzziest of personalities; indeed, his crankiness and occasional indifference to the machinery from which he has profited so handsomely was in many respects part of his charm. Even as longtime guests dutifully lined up to say their goodbyes in recent weeks – Tom Hanks, »
- Brian Lowry
Conan O’Brien tonight opened his TBS late night show with a moving tribute to David Letterman, the man he replaced as host of NBC’s Late Night, after Dave moved to CBS to host Late Show following NBC’s decision to give Tonight Show to Jay Leno: “Tonight is no ordinary night. As you all know, in about 35 minutes, David Letterman is going to air his last episode of Late Night television. It's a huge deal…He has been the North Star for me and for every comic of my… »
David Letterman peppered his final monologue as host of CBS’s “Late Show” with wisecracks about Scientology, recently resurfaced controversial immigrant Elian Gonzalez, and other topics of the day on Wednesday. Letterman, who entered the stage to a standing ovation, started out with a joke about his infamous loss of the hosting gig on NBC’s “The Tonight Show,” which went to Jay Leno. “I’ll be honest with you: it’s beginning to look like I’m not gonna get ‘The Tonight Show,'” he quipped, starting the joking portion of the evening. Also Read: Inside David Letterman's »
- Tim Kenneally and Tony Maglio
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