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Best of the Week: Pfister and Depp Interviews, Jon Hamm Career Watch, Women Screenwriters and More

19 April 2014 11:45 AM, PDT

The top stories of the week from Toh! Awards: Highs and Lows of the Meaningless 2014 MTV Movie AwardsBox Office:Arthouse Audit: "Only Lovers Left Alive" Tops Trio of New Big-Name OpeningsBox Office Top Ten: "Captain America" Stays Strong to Beat "Rio 2"Friday Box Office: Sequels Beat New Entries, Faith-Based 'Heaven' Is Strong, 'Transcendence' Starts off WeakFeatures:Career Watch: As "Mad Men" Enters Its Final Season, Can Jon Hamm Rebrand Himself as a Movie Star?Memo to Women Screenwriters: Man Up!Festivals:As Tribeca Kicks Off, "A Brony Tale" Leads Some Must-See DocsCannes Lineup: Veteran Auteurs, Newcomers and Awards Hopefuls; Who Missed the Cut?Fledgling Director Gillian Greene's "Murder of a Cat" Is One to Watch at TribecaWim Wenders Sets Sail for Cannes, But Where Is "Every Thing Will Be Fine"?Interviews:"Hank and Asha": How Two Newlyweds Shot a Long-Distance Romance on Their HoneymoonKevin Spacey Q&A: "House of Cards" Wouldn't Exist Without Richard III, »


- TOH!

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Pivot Television Network and Shazam Team Up for Earth Month

19 April 2014 11:00 AM, PDT

In order to celebrate of Earth Month with a meaningful initiative, Pivot, Participant Media’s TV network targeting Millennials, and Shazam, the world’s leading media engagement company, have teamed up to make it easier than ever to access content, get informed, and be involved in addressing issues effecting our world. This April, Pivot will be releasing programming that highlights important issues around water, energy, sustainable food, climate change and natural disasters that impact the planet. Shazam's app recognizes the specially tagged Earth Month programs, allowing Pivot viewers who want to go deeper into the issue to easily access related video content and get involved by supporting social actions directly. “Pivot’s audience is passionate about issues effecting the planet. Our collaboration with Shazam creates an immediate opportunity for viewers to become even more engaged with the programming to make their voices heard,” Jennie Morris,...

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- Sydney Levine

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From the Beginning - An Orphan Black Primer

19 April 2014 10:56 AM, PDT

Guest Review by Darwyn Carson – “Just one. I’m a few. No Family Too. Who Am I?”Last year no one knew what to expect. The burning question was:  “Who is Orphan Black?”  This recap is for anyone who saw Orphan Black’s virgin season and want a fast refresher and for anyone who’s curious about the buzz surrounding the techno-thriller. So if a catch-up marathon event isn’t in your future either, read on for a summarizing of selected season one highlights.There was this girl. Pretty much all we knew and isn’t there always a girl? This one was youngish, sporting a rock and roll street-smart vibe, exhibiting empathetic traits and a quick mind; but not a lot of impulse control. All this is unveiled right at the top of episode one: Natural Instincts. Sarah Manning fresh off of a Metro train spies a smartly dressed »


- Darwyn Carson

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Who Should Play Garbo and Dietrich?

18 April 2014 6:11 PM, PDT

So it looks like indie-minded producer Megan Ellison of Annapurna Pictures, who backed upcoming Cannes entry "Foxcatcher" as well as such Oscar contenders as "The Master," "American Hustle" and "Her," is now developing her first TV series to be sold to the networks.  Set during Hollywood's Golden Age, the drama focuses on Nordic beauties Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich, who were known for their androgynous mystery. “The Swedish Sphinx” and “The Blonde Venus” could be both glamorous and alluring--and get away with wearing pants. Thus, much like one-time roommates Cary Grant and Randolph Scott, rumors swirled surrounded them.  Based at MGM, Greta Garbo ("Grand Hotel," "Ninotchka," "Queen Christina") never starred in a movie with Paramount's reigning diva Dietrich ("Shanghai Express," "Morocco," "Catherine the Great"), and the two so-called studio rivals claimed to have never met. (Back in Europe, they reportedly each enjoyed an affair with elegant aristocrat Mercedes de...

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- Anne Thompson

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Ranking the House Down: Our Squirrel Friends of Rupaul’s Drag Race, Season Six - Taking a Look at the Top Six

18 April 2014 4:35 PM, PDT

This week we said goodbye to Trinity K. Bonet. There is contention in the blogosphere about whether or not Trinity had deserved to be in the bottom two over Joslyn Fox (I too am still pondering this), and the conversation between fans relates closely to the exchange between Trinity and Bianca in the Untucked Lounge. As you will recall, Trinity raised the question to the group as to how much the queens are critiqued based on their performances in the challenges and how much they are judged for their “drag”. It was a worthy question, the sort of question that deserves consideration when we see Joslyn rise to the top six. Bianca responded to Trinity that this game cannot just be about a queen’s aesthetic or else it would be a mere beauty pageant, and Drag Race is much bigger than that. This is the Drag Olympics, as Ru would say. »


- Gregory Rosebrugh

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Watch: Trailer for Wgn's New Series 'Manhattan' Talks Secrets and Lies For Nuclear Bomb

18 April 2014 2:33 PM, PDT

No, it's not a TV version of Woody Allen's masterpiece, but a look at one of the major moments of modern science and warfare. Wgn America's "Manhattan" covers the race in Los Alamos, New Mexico to make the first atomic bomb, and the personal problems it caused in the lives of the scientists and families who had to keep it a secret. The first trailer doesn't show too much -- it's seems to be more of a mood-setter than anything else -- but it does give a glimpse at the terrific cast, which includes Olivia Williams, Daniel Stern, Michael Chernus ("Orange Is the New Black") and John Benjamin Hickey ("The Good Wife"). "In war, secrets can save lives. At home, secrets destroy everything you love." Sounds like a perfect thesis for the subject.  The 13-episode series is set to premiere in July. The show was written and created by »


- Max O'Connell

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NBC Will Celebrate 'Saturday Night Live's' 40th Anniversary with 3-Hour Special

18 April 2014 1:57 PM, PDT

NBC has announced that they are planning a three-hour special in honor of 'Saturday Night Live's' 40th anniversary on February 15th, 2015. As in past anniversary celebrations, major SNL figures will return for the special. Actor Chevy Chase, for example, returned for the 15th anniversary in 1989 and performed one of the skits that first made him famous when the program first premiered in 1975. Bill Murray also made an appearance for the show's 25th anniversary in 1999.  "This brand, which is still one of the highest-rated comedies on television, was the brainchild of Lorne Michaels, who still presides over the whole enterprise today,” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, in a statement. “This special is just one of the many ways we plan to celebrate ‘SNL’s historic 40th season next year."  Although no one has been confirmed for the special, look out for some of the old players in the coming months. »


- Eric Eidelstein

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Watch: Trailer for 'Scandal' Star Tony Goldwyn's New Legal Drama 'The Divide'

18 April 2014 1:40 PM, PDT

Tony Goldwyn -- aka Potus from "Scandal" -- has a new show in the works now that the most recent season of the guilty-pleasure series starring Kerry Washington has wrapped. But he won't be acting. He's writing and producing.  The new project is called "The Divide," and Goldwyn collaborated with Richard Lagravenese ("Behind the Candelabra"). It centers on an Innocence Initiative caseworker (Marin Ireland of "Homeland") who's fighting to halt the nearing execution of a Death Row inmate (Chris Bauer), wrongly accused of the murder of a family. Goldwyn has focused on the Innocence Project for years now; he directed 2010's "Conviction," starring Hilary Swank as a woman who puts herself through law school to come to the defense of her imprisoned brother. Here's the trailer for "The Divide":

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- Beth Hanna

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Amy Poehler Promises 'Big Things Happen' in Season Six Finale of 'Parks and Recreation'

18 April 2014 1:35 PM, PDT

While "Parks and Recreation" may not live and die on its twists and turns (thank God), the show has always employed cliffhangers in its season finales. From Leslie's impending impeachment last season to the government being shut down at the end of season two, there have been countless game-changing -- but realistic -- moments to cap off each season. The season six finale may hold something even bigger. "The last minute or so of our season finale, the last moments, are really important and big things happen that kind of show you where we’re going and where a lot of the characters are going," Amy Poehler said. "So I would encourage everybody to watch until the very end." The finale has been set up to showcase Pawnee's Unity Concert, an effort by Leslie Knope and the parks department to bring the citizens together after the rival towns of Pawnee and Eagleton merged mid-season. »


- Ben Travers

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Can "Orphan Black's" Second Season Clone the First's Success?

18 April 2014 11:52 AM, PDT

In the gap between its first season and its second, which starts Saturday on BBC America, "Orphan Black" became something of a cause for TV critics, their ardor for the show intensified by lead Tatiana Maslany's failure to secure an Emmy nomination. It's certainly one of the most challenging roles on television, or rather they are, since Maslany plays several genetically identical but otherwise widely distinct clones who are only beginning to understand first why they exist, and second, why someone is trying to kill them off. I'm still slogging through the early episodes -- I've been assured Season 1 picks up in the back half, if you're mired in similar straits -- but pretty much every critic who's weighed in so far gives "Orphan Black's" Season 2 a high recommend. (Incidentally, the entirety of Season 1 is free to stream for Amazon Prime members, and it's also running on BBC America »


- Sam Adams

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TV Review: How 'Bad Teacher' Shows the Generation Gap Between CBS and Stephen Colbert Fans

18 April 2014 11:38 AM, PDT

With the slew of recent film to TV adaptations, there was bound to be a dud (or more) in the bunch. "Fargo" proved itself worthy of its high profile predecessor on FX. "About a Boy" gets stronger and stronger each week on NBC, and El Rey Network's "From Dusk Till Dawn" is, well, exactly what fans were hoping to see. It should come as no surprise, though, that if any network was going to bungle the adaptation of a fine film to an equally enjoyable episodic sitcom it would be CBS. The Eye's vision of "Bad Teacher" is both nothing and exactly like its title: It's very bad, but completely unlike the ferocious film that birthed it.  While this may be the least shocking news of the day for any television enthusiast, the question then becomes why that's the case. Why did most if not all of us expect "Bad Teacher »


- Ben Travers

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Megan Ellison to Develop TV Show about Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo

18 April 2014 11:30 AM, PDT

In news that's almost too good to be true, Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures announced that it would develop a TV series about Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo.  Both stars were widely rumored to be bisexual, which adds another potentially interesting layer to the as-yet untitled project. Set during Hollywood's Golden Age, the show would explore Dietrich and Garbo's relationships with topliners like John Gilbert, Mercedes de Acosta, Tallulah Bankhead, Alla Nazimova, Barbara Stanwyck, Cary Grant and John Wayne. The would-be showrunners are Angela Robinson (True BloodHung) and Alex Kondrake (The L WordHung).  Name your fantasy casting choices in the comments. 

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- Inkoo Kang

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Watch: New Trailer For HBO's 'The Normal Heart' With Mark Ruffalo & Julia Roberts Battles The Establishment

18 April 2014 10:16 AM, PDT

Okay, so "The Normal Heart" didn't make the Cannes Film Festival lineup like I figured it would, but that doesn't mean we're not putting this one on our watch list for next month. A new trailer is here to remind you why you might want to tune into HBO in May to watch something other than "Game Of Thrones."  Directed by Ryan Murphy, starring Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch and Jim Parsons, and based on the play by Larry Kramer, the film chronciles the onset of the HIV-aids crisis in New York City in the early 1980s, with doctors and activists trying to raise awareness about the disease, fighting against an indifferent medical community and politicians who won't come near the cause. Potent stuff, and it'll be a tricky balance to get across the drama without tipping too far into histrionics. But this is the kind of »


- Kevin Jagernauth

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Watch: Mark Ruffalo, Taylor Kitsch and Matt Bomer Fight for Love in the First Full Trailer for HBO's 'The Normal Heart'

18 April 2014 10:03 AM, PDT

We've already seen a few preview clips for "The Normal Heart," the HBO film based on the Tony-Award winning play by Larry Kramer about the HIV/AIDS crisis that hits New York in the early 1980s, but a full length trailer has just arrived. Directed by Ryan Murphy ("American Horror Story," "Glee"), "The Normal Heart" stars Mark Ruffalo as a gay-American man who tries to combat the lack of knowledge regarding the disease, which is seen as a "gay epidemic" by the public after it's first discovered. In the trailer below, we see Ruffalo desperately try to rally the masses, including his partner (Matt Bomer), brother (Alfred Molina), and friends. "The Normal Heart" looks to be a heartbreaking story about a period in our history that was shrouded in chaos and doubt. The cast, which includes Taylor Kitsch, Julia Roberts and Jonathan Groff, should help. Read More: With No 'Normal Heart, »


- Eric Eidelstein

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If You Missed 'Jimmy Kimmel Live: Behind The Scandalabra' Last Night, We Can Be Of Some Assistance

18 April 2014 9:04 AM, PDT

Last night, Thursday, April 17, Jimmy Kimmel Live aired a special Scandal-themed episode entitled, Jimmy Kimmel Live: Behind the Scandalabra, which followed the highly anticipated season three finale.  Kimmel took fans "Behind the Scandalabra," featuring an on-set exclusive interview with the show's creator, Shonda Rhimes, asking questions all Gladiators want answers to, along with special appearances and insider secrets from Scandal cast members. The episode also featured a never-before-seen Scandal blooper reel and the full anthology of Kimmel's Spanish-language spin-off of the hit show, Escandalo. Throughout this season of Scandal, Jimmy Kimmel Live brought fans "Scandal Thursdays," featuring guests from the series, including Kerry Washington, Columbus Short, Guillermo Diaz, Darby Stanchfield, Katie Lowes, Tony Goldwyn, Jeff Perry, Bellamy Young, Joshua Malina and Scott Foley. Last night's season finale dominated its hour, beating NBC’s season finale...

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- Tambay A. Obenson

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Guest Post: Younger: From Novel to TV Show in 527 Easy Steps

18 April 2014 9:00 AM, PDT

Exactly two years ago today, I got an email from my agent Melissa Flashman at Trident Media saying that Darren Star wanted to turn my novel Younger into the next Sex & The City.I, of course, said, Yeah, yeah, yeah. Right after I yawned. I'd been around this option block before, and I'd learned that getting your novel optioned is a lot like moving to Hollywood: It may get you closer to the action, but it doesn't make you a star.I imagined Younger as a TV show or movie almost before I thought of it as a book. It's the kind of high-concept idea that's a natural for the screen: a 40-something mom pretends to be younger to get a job and ends up with a secret 20-something life.The idea was sparked by an article in Vogue about extreme plastic surgery, but I didn't want to write about »


- Pamela Redmond Satran

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The "Scandal" Finale: Depraved Characters or a Depraved Series?

18 April 2014 8:21 AM, PDT

Although "Scandal" spent several episodes building to an explosion that could have killed the president, the bomb Shonda Rhimes dropped on her twist-hungry audience was of a different kind: The abrupt, utterly un-foreseen murder of the president's son, which turned out to have been engineered by Olivia Pope's father. It's the kind "twisty, crazy Omg moment" the show lives by, or as Time's Laura Stampler put it, "a culmination of the sociopathy and moral depravity we have come to expect from the cast of characters." Rhimes has called the show's characters "monsters walking around in human skin," and the third season finale, "The Price of Free and Fair Elections," pushed Kerry Washington's Olivia Pope closer to realizing she is one of them. In "No Sun on the Horizon," which ended with the death of the superlatively amoral Cyrus Bean's husband, Olivia was gripped by manic laughter as she realized »


- Sam Adams

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Guest Post: Write What You Don't See

18 April 2014 8:00 AM, PDT

I started screenwriting five years ago because I was angry.Every time I watched a movie or TV show geared towards women, it had female friends fighting over a man or being catty to each other, brimming with lip gloss and hair extensions.However, in my real life, I was surrounded by smart, confident, badass lady friends who supported each other instead of tearing each other down. Unfortunately, five years later, I still don't see a TV show that represents the strong female friendships that I have in my life.When Girls came out, I was so excited. Here's the show I've been waiting for: four friends trying to make it in NYC and one of them is a writer! I opened my arms wide, ready to bear hug that show, but was left with a nagging void. I totally respect how Girls is pushing so many boundaries, but it »

- Shannon Bowen

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Why 'Silicon Valley' Could Be HBO's First Comedy With Mass Appeal In Years

18 April 2014 7:44 AM, PDT

For all of the cheering for the quality and creative ambition of HBO's programming -- rah-rahs that are all truly deserved -- it's too often glossed over that that the network hasn't had a lot of comedy success recently.  Before you lose yourself in a Ari Gold-style meltdown over that statement, allow some clarification.  Yes, there has been an abundance of critical and awards success when it comes to HBO's current slate of comedies, a testament to the network's admiral commitment to quality and adventurous content above all other programming factors. But while Julia Louis-Dreyfus is dutifully and rightfully winning acting awards for motherfucking epic comedic work on "Veep" (cursing just feels right when talking about that show) and Lena Dunham's "Girls" routinely lights the zeitgeist on fire as if the cast moonlight as cultural flamethrowers, the fact of the matter is that HBO hasn't had a mass-appeal hit in years. »


- Kevin Patrick

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A Classic is Born...on Masterpiece Contemporary

18 April 2014 1:15 AM, PDT

guest review by Darwyn Carson With a solid reputation for superior dramas, PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre has undoubtedly been a hard act to follow. Now its close cousin, Masterpiece Contemporary raises the bar tonight with the tightly woven political thriller, Page Eight. Writer-director David Hare (the playwright perhaps best known in the States for his screenplays The Hours and The Reader) has culled together a terrific cast of players led by Bill Nighy that includes Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Judy Davis, Felicity Jones, and Rachel Weisz. A traditional spy drama, taut with suspense, Page Eight almost feels sophisticated in its darkness, with undercurrents of danger lurking in the shadows and veiled threats being made from unexpected quarters, wholly reminiscent of— —Noir when it was king. Long-time military intelligence analyst Johnny Worricker (Nighy) is a passionate man, about his art collection, jazz records and the many women he has wooed—some of whom he’s. »


- Darwyn Carson

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