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7 items from 2014

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – James Franco and Nicki Minaj

6 December 2014 8:00 PM, PST | Hitfix | See recent Hitfix news »

Although he appeared in last season’s best sketch (“Monster Pals”), James Franco hasn’t actually hosted “Saturday Night Live” in almost exactly five years. With “The Interview” just around the corner, don’t be surprised to see Seth Rogen show up tonight. (I’d be more surprised, but also more delighted, if co-star Lizzy Caplan shows up for a “Masters Of Sex” parody as well.) Franco has been up for anything in his previous “SNL” appearances, and just released a fantastic “SNL” documentary now available on Hulu Plus, so he’s a good host to kick off this final leg of the Fall 2014 season. As always, I’ll be liveblogging each segment. This week, I’m giving everything a “B” just to appease those that quibble with the individual grades I assign. Oh wait, that probably wouldn’t be any better. Grades are imperfect, in-the-moment reactions and nothing more. »

- Ryan McGee

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Judd Apatow Returns To TV Via Netflix With Gillian Jacobs & Paul Rust For ‘Love’

16 September 2014 1:33 PM, PDT | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

Judd Apatow constantly has several irons in the fire, working with actors, writers, comedians and protégés on all kinds of projects. His latest is a return to TV. Netflix has ordered two seasons of “Love,” which stars writer/actor Paul Rust from “I Love You, Beth Cooper” (he also had a tiny cameo in “Inglorious Basterds”) and Gillian Jacobs (“Community”). It’ll be 10 episodes for season one and 12 for season two, and the show centers on a couple who must navigate the exhilarations and humiliations of intimacy, commitment and other things they were hoping to avoid. The half-hour comedy series is produced by Apatow Productions and Legendary Television, and created and written by Apatow, Rust and writer Leslie Arfin (a former Vice employee who wrote about her heroin addiction and wild party days in the book “Dear Diary” and soon parlayed that into gigs writing for “Girls” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine »

- Edward Davis

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2014 Montreal Underground Film Festival: Official Lineup

19 May 2014 6:00 AM, PDT | Underground Film Journal | See recent Underground Film Journal news »

The 9th annual Montreal Underground Film Festival is three nights of short experimental films from around the world and one after-fest feature film the following early afternoon. It runs May 22-25 at the Bar Populaire for the Opening Night festivities, then at the microcinema at 6029A Ave. du Parc for the rest of the fest.

Opening Night consists of two short film compilations and will feature animation by Ben Popp, sci-fi by Brian Lonano, an experimental short by Neil Ira Needleman and lots more.

Other shorts blocks of the festival are broken up by subject, such as experimental documentaries, horror(ish) films, personal works, meditations on water, and other intriguing concepts.

Some films to look out for are Lori Felker‘s naturally electric music video, Scattered in the Wind; Dan Browne‘s epic lifetime amalgamation of images, Memento Mori; Joseph Christiana‘s hair-raisingly eerie Meat Cycle; a new collaborative piece between Karen and Jaimz Asmundson, »

- Mike Everleth

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Exclusive Interview: ‘Digit’ author Annabel Monaghan

13 May 2014 3:41 AM, PDT | Blogomatic3000 | See recent Blogomatic3000 news »

Every kid goes through emotional and physical changes as a teenager, so when one is kidnapped by terrorists, it’s just a normal everyday occurrence. Such is the case for Digit, the main character in the book series A Girl Named Digit and Double Digit, all by author Annabel Monaghan.

Starting out as a non-fiction author with her book Click, a motivational guide for young people everywhere, Monaghan grew to write her bestselling series about Digit, a girl whose intellect leads to her dangerous position helping the FBI target cyber terrorists. With Digit’s success came Monaghan’s, as not only is there another book in the works continuing Digit’s story, but Disney Channel also bought the rights to A Girl Named Digit that will eventually be made into a television movie within the next year or so.

Monaghan, a mother of three boys, detailed her warm welcome of »

- Catherina Gioino

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TV Recap: 'The Vampire Diaries' Episode 516 - 'While You Were Sleeping'

21 March 2014 8:00 AM, PDT | FEARnet | See recent FEARnet news »

The Vampire Diaries Episode 516

While You Were Sleeping

Written By: Caroline Dries

Directed By: Pascal Verschooris

Original Airdate: 20 March 2014

In This Episode…

The kids are all partying at a bar, with Elena going especially “Coyote Ugly,” dancing and taking her shirt off. Suddenly she stops, mad that no one notices that she is Katherine. Then she wakes up - it was all a dream. She is in her dorm room, but it is very quiet in the halls. She is all alone. Stefan appears and explains everyone is gone for spring break. She tries to walk towards him, and realizes there is a boundary spell in place. She has been out for three weeks, and there are some things they need to discuss: that Katherine hitched a ride in her body for those weeks; she and Damon are broken up; and she has been infected with the Ripper virus. Stefan »

- Alyse Wax

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My Mad Fat Diary review: Is series two any good?

17 February 2014 3:01 PM, PST | Digital Spy | See recent Digital Spy - TV news news »

We were a bit worried about the new series of My Mad Fat Diary. It's that difficult second series syndrome - we adored the first run, so could these new episodes possibly live up to it? Would it retain its charm, its brazenness, its touching moments? We weren't entirely sure that the show could pull it off. Luckily, we were utterly wrong.

It turns out My Mad Fat Diary's second series opener was just as funny, just as moving, just as brave, just as honest as those episodes that we fell for last year. It's hard to truly explain the importance of a show like this, which is so utterly candid about teenage life - whether or not you're mentally ill. In a world post-90210 and Gossip Girl, it's a genuine relief to find a show which deals with genuine insecurities, fears and anxieties.

But that's not to say »

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Slamdance Film Review: ‘Kidnapped for Christ’

26 January 2014 11:28 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Winner of the documentary audience award at Slamdance, “Kidnapped for Christ” offers an undeniably compelling subject in the phenom of troubled teens who are unwillingly carted off to Christian rehab centers. From the evidence here, the focus at Escuela Caribe (aka New Horizons Youth Ministry) in the Dominican Republic is less on what Jesus said than on militaristic discipline, doling out demerits and punishments for the slightest, silliest infractions. Nor do the kids we see appear to need much help — at least, not the kind they’re getting. Despite its curiosity value and plenty of human interest, Kate S. Logan’s first feature will be limited commercially by its somewhat amateurish assembly.

Like many a young filmmaker today, Logan (billed upfront as a film student when shooting began in 2008) makes the mistake of needlessly putting herself centerstage as a frequently onscreen narrator, lending a “Dear Diary” tenor to a project »

- Dennis Harvey

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