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Showing posts from April, 2018

Jessie J Apparently Won a Chinese Singing Competition and We Need to Talk About Her Performances

Jessie J competed on Singer , a popular competition show in China that is apparently open to professionals with recording contracts because... hello, it's Jessie J. And before we get to her outstanding, show-stopping, jaw-dropping performances, I'd just like to ask: Really, J? Is your management and publicity team not getting you enough gigs in your native U.K. or here in the States? Because what are you trying to prove here, girl? We already know you got the pipes and ability to flaunt some melisma. How is this possible? Anyway, the finals concluded this past weekend, and she became the first non-Chinese and international singer to win the competition in its six-season history. She was also the first singer to rank in the top three during all of her performing weeks throughout the season. And in awe as she covers Celine's 1997 hit from that little movie about a sunken cruise ship: And then, witness her tackling Whitney... Twice .  

The 'Roseanne' Revival and the Sad Side of Nostalgia

I was eight when my mother and I caught a teaser for a new sitcom "coming to ABC" called Roseanne . It featured Roseanne Barr and John Goodman cuddling up to each other and making some caustic comment about their kids ruining their alone time. I remember my mother chuckling to herself. She then turned to me and said, "That looks good, doesn't it?" Back then, in 1988, a blue-collar family sitcom with overweight parents and a home that was often in disarray was, simply put, revolutionary -- especially for a generation of TV viewers raised on the polished glean of shows like Growing Pains , Who's The Boss?  and Family Ties . Roseanne promised something different. And it delivered just that. And more. (*NOTE: the below teaser is not the promo I'm referring to .) "They're just like us." That was my mother's reaction during the early years of the show. In fact, this was undoubtedly a similar remark made throughout millions of

Review: 'I Feel Pretty'

Amy Schumer’s brand has always been about being real and, of course, being relatable AF. The hallmarks of this can be seen and heard during any given talk-show interview in which she shares a self-deprecating story about her love life or a sly anecdote that doubles as skewering commentary on one of the many women’s issues her Comedy Central show already satirizes in sketch form. That’s why the broad but fairly enjoyable I Feel Pretty feels right in her wheelhouse (as opposed to last year’s misfire, Snatched). Schumer plays Renee, a New York City single gal with low self-esteem who gets knocked out during an awkward SoulCycle class, only to wake up with a skewed vision of herself; she thinks she’s the most beautiful and capable woman on Earth. (Blame this psychological short-circuit on a wish made during a thunderstorm after being inspired by a late-night viewing of Big.) ... For my full review, check it out at ScreenPicks . @TheFirstEcho

The Henry Serves Up Sweet and Savory in West Hollywood

West Hollywood is no stranger to hotspots and delectable dishes. But attention should be paid to  The Henry  on L.A.’s famed Robertson Boulevard (right across from The Ivy). Touted as “the greatest neighborhood restaurant,” it is the offspring of the original Phoenix location, nestled in the same Robertson Plaza space where The Newsroom once served smoothies and salads to Kitson-shopping Paris Hilton wannabes during the mid-aughts. In fact, if you look closely, you’ll see that founder Sam Fox (True Food Kitchen) and his designers have paid tribute to the former resident with a display of “vintage” magazines from the 90s and early 00s on the rear wall by the bar. As for the rest of the space, think:  cozy French-American bistro   circa the 1930s . One of my friends from  Eater  and I were already feeling the ambience as we settled into our booth and took sips from our Almost Naked Margaritas (a concoction of “casamigos blanco, lime, cointreau, passoĆ£ liqueur, and bar spoon

I'll Just Leave This Paul Rudd Movie Trailer Right Here...

Paul Rudd plays Steve Coogan's husband in the upcoming  Ideal Home . And that's all you really need to know, am I right? The Australian-produced, modern-family comedy looks to deliver some laughs and warm fuzzies (as seen in the trailer below). And no, you would not be wrong for mistaking the above photo for hot Schneider from Netflix's present-day reboot of the fantastic One Day At A Time . @TheFirstEcho

A Thirtysomething Walks Into an EDM Festival...

It’s been a whole decade since I attended my last music festival. In June of 2008 I made the brief trek to Exposition Park near downtown L.A. to attend Electric Daisy Carnival, an event that involved ferris wheel rides, a few vodka Red Bulls, and seeing one of my favorite artists, BT, take the stage long after midnight. (This was before the entire production moved to Vegas.) By the end of it all, my eardrums were sufficiently numbed. Now, in my late thirties, I approach music festivals with cautious optimism – especially those of the EDM kind ( it's not a rave! ) featuring headliners I have a peripheral knowledge of. Why? Hmmm...It’s not about staying up until the wee hours of the morning and keeping up with the crowd, most of whom were born while I was in high school . I like to think that I can still hang – maybe til 3am?  – under substance-free conditions of course (and we all know how I can get after just two cocktails). And it’s not a matter of the relentless bass

I Watched 'Tyler Perry's Acrimony' So You Didn't Have To

I'd like to preface this review by saying I am not well-versed in the complete oeuvre of writer-director-producer-actor (and Oprah squad member) Tyler Perry. But I am familiar with his rise to self-made mogulship due to his string of modestly-budgeted films primarily produced for an underrepresented segment of the American population. He has done his own thing, telling stories that weren't being told, and employing individuals both in front of and behind the camera long before Frances McDormand uttered the words "inclusion rider" during her acceptance speech at this year's Oscars. And as a result, Mr. Perry has earned buckets and buckets of money, nearly single-handedly contributing to Georgia's economy with his booming movie studio just outside Atlanta. Creating his own entertainment empire and consistently pumping out big-screen titles almost every year is an outstanding achievement. But does it necessarily mean his product is any good?  When it com

Melissa McCarthy as a Dowdy Writer in a Literary Crime Dramedy? Yes Please.

After we get the broad comedy of this summer's  Life of the Party , we get to see star Melissa McCarthy in a role that award nominations are made of: a makeup-free, frumpy writer with first-world frustrations. Introducing:  Can You Ever Forgive Me? I'm not sure I can forgive the writer who decided on this title. The movie is about a washed-up celebrity biographer who resorts to fraud in order to reboot her fledgling career. As much as I would eat up a film like this ("based on a true story," no less), it seems more  award-adjacent . Meaning, it doesn't quite seem like an award contender -- even though it has a few Oscar-baity elements attached to it. But it's only the beginning of April. Who knows how this'll turn out when Fox Searchlight releases it into a nominal amount of theaters this fall. Check out the trailer and decide for yourself (and yes, that's Kate & Allie 's very own Jane Curtain in a blink-or-you'll-miss-her scene)