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Showing posts from March, 2012

A Little Self-Promotion

A Love/Hate Letter to Hollywood

While I'll be careful not to totally bite off the very large and powerful hand that feeds me, I'd like to address some of the complaints (and cases) that have been made by fanboys, friends, consumers of popular culture, fellow bloggers, journalists, some industry insiders, and even the general public itself about the giant machine that is Hollywood. These age-old bitch-abouts ( "What's with all the remakes?" "They don't make movies/TV/music like they used to" ) seem to have grown louder and louder every time something equally loud and overly ostentatious comes our way (right now, Wrath of the Titans and John Carter , I'm looking at you). After living in Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world, for nearly a decade now, I've seen friends, coworkers, and acquaintances roll their eyes or let out a collective "Sheesh!" every time the front page of Variety announces in bold letters the news of a flashy new project headed by

Best Horror Movie of the Year

Ditzy blonde who gets hot and horny for her alpha-male jock boyfriend? Check. A rustic and isolated locale with no cell phone service? Check. Creepy, deadly things that go bump in the night and terrorize a bunch of clueless college kids? Check and check. In the Joss Whedon-scripted, Drew Goddard-directed horror-comedy The Cabin in the Woods , all of the slasher movie stereotypes are presented to us in typical fashion – and swiftly dispatched and turned inside out halfway through the film. There’s Curt, played by a pre- Thor Chris Hemsworth (the film was shot in ’09), a hulking bro of a dude who just wants to have sex with his hot girlfriend (the bimborific Anna Hutchison ), Holden (Grey’s Anatomy’s Jesse Williams ) the quiet scholar with a crush, Dana ( Kristen Connolly ), the “virginal” chick who just wants to take a break from studying and enjoy a weekend with her friends, and Marty ( Dollhouse alum Fran Kranz ) the shaggy-haired loser who may not be your average pothead. This m


Random Thought of the Week #32: American Pop Stars Who Want To Be British

Nicki Minaj has become infamous for breaking out a Cockney accent in some of her jams. The recently debuted (and adorable duo) Karmin close their catchy chorus with "That's right, come on, cheerio" in their buzzworthy single "Brokenhearted" (video below). And then there's Her Madgesty herself, the one and only Madonna , who's known for donning a posh English accent ever since she moved to London and shagged Guy Ritchie. Are these American-born pop stars closeted Anglophiles? Why the need to adopt a British sensibility? Are they paying homage to our colonial ancestors? Or are they finally figuring out that artists from across the Pond are the (arguably) better musicians who happen to be currently hogging the spotlight? Take a glance at the U.S. charts, and you'll see why. Brit boy band One Direction has topped the American Billboard album charts while those blokes of The Wanted are enjoying the success of their single "Glad You Came"

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Turns 20

“I can’t believe I’m in a graveyard with a strange man hunting for vampires on a school night.” This line of dialogue perfectly exemplifies the 1992 film that brought TV heartthrob Luke Perry to the big screen, showed us a different side of Paul Reubens, and – oh yeah – inspired a long-running, critically-acclaimed television drama that starred Sarah Michelle Gellar: Buffy The Vampire Slayer . Back in the summer of ’92, the movie, directed by Fran Rubel Kuzui, earned more than double its budget ($7 million), making it a moderate success compared to its box office competition at the time – Death Becomes Her , Honey I Blew Up The Kid , and A League of Their Own . Taking on the titular role, Kristy Swanson did an admirable job as a cheerleader from the Valley who finds out she's The Chosen One, the next in a long line of descendants who must vanquish the vamps of the world. Unfortunately, it's one of the few roles she's remembered for. I mean, really, what else has the gir

Shelf Life

It was recently announced that Encyclopaedia Britannica would stop publishing print editions of their 32-volume sets. 2010 will be their final edition, so to the few of you who shelled out thousands of dollars for those babies, may I suggest holding onto them for dear life, because they're about to become a rare species. This is just another nail in the coffin of print media, and I can't help worrying that, in the not too distant future, there will be no such thing as bookshelves in modern homes across the world. Excuse these trivial concerns from an old fogey like myself, someone born at the end of the 20th century ). I consider myself a traditionalist when it comes to reading and collecting old-fashioned books, flipping through tangible pages and taking a whiff of freshly published (or old and musty) paper. That's how this bibliophile rolls, despite the fact that I own a Kindle (given to me as a birthday gift last year...I've only read one book on it thus far).

Madonna Enters Her Fourth Decade of Music With MDNA

Today's Word of the Day is: pandering. As in, "Upon listening to all of the preview tracks from Madonna's forthcoming album, MDNA , it seems like the Material Girl is pandering to fans of Gaga and Rihanna." It's quite ironic, given the fact that, several weeks ago, Madge was recorded saying that Gaga's music, particularly the blockbuster "Born This Way," was "reductive" (look it up). Die-hards and pop purists may be quick to argue that Madonna "started it all," and while they may be right ( I myself think she deserves all the recognition and respect for keeping up with Ke$has ), the woman who's known for brilliantly reinventing herself with each album is finally showing signs of...recycling. Exhibit A: the preview video for her latest single, "Girl Gone Wild." With shades of "Justify My Love" and "Human Nature," the video doesn't break any new ground, which is fine, but it doesn't

Talking With The Stars

I've recently been on a press junket kick, interviewing a couple of celebs for a couple of movies. First, there was my chat with the delightful Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor (my birthday twin!) for Salmon Fishing in the Yemen . Catch that (pardon the pun) HERE . Next up, a chat with Elizabeth Olsen , star of Silent House , in which she showed me true, theater geek colors. And then finally, a Q&A over coffee and breakfast with up-and-comer Jay Hayden , a friend of a friend who happens to be the star of Hulu's first original scripted series, Battleground . Enjoy...and thank you. H.P.M.

PULSE: The 2012 Spring Playlist, Vol. 3

Catch a whiff of some freshly cut grass and drop that Shamrock Shake because there's a crapload of music I'd like you to check out. What do we have here? A pleasant assortment of resurrected divas, soulful crooners, and enough remixes to get your heart racing and those calories burning -- just in time for (gulp) swimsuit season. Take note, my friends... 1. "Vacation" by Alphabeat - Kicking things off is the lead track from the third album of my favorite Danish band, a six-membered pop act that has had a special place in my heart ever since I first heard their catchy harmonies four years ago with the refreshingly upbeat "Fascination." Now, they're pumping us up for warmer weather with this equally jubilant ditty: 2. "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsin 3. "I Heart You" by Toni Braxton - The 90s R&B star back, this time with a much-needed dancefloor anthem: 4. "Feel Like I Feel" by Marcus Collins - Last year's

Random Thought of the Week #31: Miriam Shor

I'm kind of blown away that Miriam Shor , who currently plays the church-goin' Cricket Caruth-Reilly on ABC's delirously soapy GCB (left) is the same Miriam Shor who played the bandanna-wearing, Rent -loving Yitzhak in John Cameron Mitchell's brilliant movie adaptation of Hedwig and the Angry Inch eleven years ago (right). Brava, lady. So proud of you. Here's to more recognition and, dare I say, an Emmy in the future. H.P.M. *PS - And for those of you who remember 2008's wonderful but short-lived Swingtown on CBS, yep, that was her too.

My 2012 Must-Haves

What may be misconstrued as a birthday present wish list ( cough, March 31, cough ) is really just a list of things I am HIGHLY anticipating throughout the remainder of the year. ( and so what if I've also included links to online retailers for your convenience? ) A snippet of "Vacation," the new single from my favorite Danish band, Alphabeat: A sneak peek at Keane's new album, Wasteland : Then there are two of my favorite films of 2011 , The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and Weekend , finally being released on Blu-ray: And, as if I didn't already have dozens of books waiting on my shelves to be read, there's Stephen King's Under The Dome . I think this would suffice as some girthy summer reading. I'd also like to finish it before the inevitable movie/mini-series is released. H.P.M.

Guess Who's Joining Bello Mag?

It's official: Yours truly has joined the team at BELLO Mag as their Entertainment Editor. The e-magazine ( Fashion! Entertainment! Lifestyle! ) is available at iTunes in the App Store Newsstand for iPads and iPhones. That means my pop cultural ramblings and commentary will be mobile! Many thanks to the wonderful Alek & Steph , the Bello founders (and photographer extraordinaires) who had taken me to lunch earlier this week to invite me on board. The current issue, featuring Alexander Ludwig from The Hunger Games , celebrates old and new Hollywood. My Oscar piece can be found there, as well as my "Life Lessons From Revenge ". And speaking of Revenge , to your left you will find actress Ashley Madekwe, who plays social climber Ashley Davenport on the ABC soap, along with The Lying Game 's Randy Wayne. It's a sneak peek at next month's issue, taken from today's photo shoot here in L.A. They're just two of the many hot, young stars the magazine

Inspired by Destiny's Child