The Oscars Scare Ellen DeGeneres – That’s Why She Hosting For A 2nd Time

By Shannonn Kelly
05:34AM, EST, March 01, 2014

7 Years of Good Luck...? Ellen Degeneres Returns to Host The 2014 Academy Awards
7 Years of Good Luck…? Ellen Degeneres Returns to Host The 2014 Academy Awards

I for one am excited For Ellen Degeneres to host the Oscars – despite the fact that anyone would be better than say…Whoopi Goldberg…

Ellen DeGeneres will be hosting the Oscars for the second time tomorrow Sunday, March 2nd and I think she’ll be a hit. She’s timely, funny, engaging and there’s very few people who’ll be angry with her if she makes fun of them because she’s found a balance between being snarky and kind.

It’s been 7 years since her last stint

According to Beth Hanna – Parade Magazine:

Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres sat down with Parade Magazine days before the big show to discuss all things movies and Academy Awards, including why her initial reaction to hosting for a second time around was “no,” on her decision to not dance on the Kodak stage, on being the inspiration for current Oscar nominee Sandra Bullock’s 1999 hit “Miss Congeniality” and more. Interview highlights, below.

On why she initially said no to hosting the Oscars again (her 2007 hosting earned her an Emmy nomination):

“Everybody who works with me thought I was crazy. But the person who lives with me—Portia—was on my side. She thought, ‘I don’t need to go through this, either. She’s gonna be stressed.’”

On why she said yes in the end:

“I thought, ‘All right, let me scare myself again.’ It’s good to do something that scares you.”

On NOT dancing on Sunday’s Oscars:

“I’m not going to be dancing. I dance on my show. I don’t think people need to see that every time I do anything.”

On beating out Jennifer Aniston for the supporting role in 1999’s “EDtv”:

“Jen Aniston is my friend and she recently reminded me that I beat her out of that. I got the part and Jen Aniston didn’t! That’ll probably be the only time that happens.”

On being the inspiration for the film “Miss Congeniality”:

“Miss Congeniality was written based on me. When I was getting ready to cohost the Emmys, the writer saw me [on TV] learning how to walk in a dress and heels. My stylist at the time—a man—was teaching me, and it was hilarious. The Miss Congeniality writer saw it and thought it was brilliant.”

On maybe taking on an occasional dramatic film role:

“Okay, I’ll do that. Put that I’m available for small roles. If they give me the right one, I promise I’ll be nominated for an Oscar, if not win… You know what? I can tell people that on Oscar night.”

Ellen Degeneres Hosting The 2007 Academy Awards in her "Saturday Night Fever" Suit
Ellen Degeneres Hosting The 2007 Academy Awards in her “Saturday Night Fever” Suit

James Franco Wins GALECA ‘Wilde Artist of the Year’ Award

by Shannonn Kelly
07:05AM, EST, January 22, 2014

James Franco rapper, drug dealer 'Alien' in Spring Breakers, earns him  'Wilde Artist of the Year' from GALECA
“Spring Breakers”rapper, drug dealer ‘Alien‘, earns James Franco ‘Wilde Artist of the Year’ from GALECA

James Franco, Cate Blanchett and Matthew McConaughey were singled out for their performances among others on Tuesday by the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA). Garnering ‘Best Film of the Year’ was “12 Years a Slave” (2013) directed by .

These and other winners listed below will receive a ‘Dorian Award‘ from (GALECA), whose awards are based on the ‘Best’ in  TV and Film screened or broadcast in the USA. Continue reading “James Franco Wins GALECA ‘Wilde Artist of the Year’ Award”

TIFF 2013 :: Breaking Down The Program – 100 Picks at TIFF

by Shannonn Kelly
05:12AM, EST, Thursday September 05, 2013

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jason Bateman bring their personal best to TIFF 2013
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jason Bateman bring their personal best to TIFF 2013

Well film lovers – the behemoth that is known as the 38th Annual Toronto International Film Festival is in full swing starting Today!

As my readers know, I try and give you the best bang for your $23.50 per ticket by breaking down the monster program book into a pop-culture-y take and make it all user friendly.

I always try to find the gems from all over the world and not just Hollywood blockbusters. Especially interesting to filmgoers should be films without distribution. Those are the films people need to see so the filmmaker can build and audience through word-of-mouth, no matter what country they’re from. This year was tough to stay ‘indie‘ with so many good people making good movies and a few GREAT directorial debuts, by the likes of (my crushes) Jason Bateman and Joseph Gordon-Levitt for instance.

I’ve been following Chiwetel Ejiofor since he played ‘Okwe’ in Stephen Frears‘ film Dirty Pretty Things (2002). I saw the premiere of this film when I was still in school but came here for TIFF. I was blown away by his performance and the screenplay in general.the script was originally submitted by writer Steven Knight to the BBC Writersroom. This screenplay went on to become ‘Dirty Pretty Things’. Ejiofor won Best Actor at the British Independent Film Awards, the Evening Standard Film Awards, and the San Diego Film Critics Society Awards. He went on to co-star in  Love Actually (2003), Woody Allen‘s Melinda and Melinda (2004), Kinky Boots (2005), Inside Man (2006), Children of Men (2006), American Gangster (2007) which I really thought he was the star and not Denzel Washington.

This year Ejiofor stars in two heartfelt and dramatic films at TIFF. He plays ‘Odenigbo’ in Half of a Yellow Sun about family and war in Nigeria by director and starring opposite Thandie Newton and Anika Noni Rose.

In “12 Years a Slave“, Ejiofor also stars as ‘Solomon Northup’ in this horrendous based on fact story about a fiddle playing 19th-century free black man abducted and sold into slavery in the pre-Civil War era Deep South. Directed by Steve McQueen “Hunger” (2008) and Shame (2011). Cast your early Oscar vote for for Ejiofor in “12 Years a Slave”. It’s going to be a Winner.

Continue reading “TIFF 2013 :: Breaking Down The Program – 100 Picks at TIFF”

Five Producers Jailed For Multi Million Dollar Movie Scam

by Shannonn Kelly
11:04AM, EST, March 26, 2013

Apparently portions of a “fake movie” made in 2011 in the UK whereby “producers” told investors they had signed up A-list Hollywood and UK actors was a complete fraud. Parties involved were sentenced yesterday in England.

"A Landscape of Lies" really was a Landscape of Lies to defraud the British Government
“A Landscape of Lies” really was a Landscape of Lies to defraud the British Government of VAT Tax Dollars

Andrea McLean, 43, TV presenter and the star of the UK’s “Loose Women”, was tricked into starring as a bisexual therapist in a low-budget film as part of an elaborate scheme for tax breaks. McLean was cast alongside former EastEnders actor Marc Bannerman for a movie called  “A Landscape Of Lies“.

Aoife Madden, 31, an Irish actress-turned-teacher worked with 4 other male producers lying to get support for their £20 million gangster film in order to claim fraudulent VAT tax breaks and reap the benefits. Continue reading “Five Producers Jailed For Multi Million Dollar Movie Scam”

FaceBook Friend of The Week – Harvard Swing Dance Man – Benji Schwimmer

by Shannonn Kelly
05:27AM, EST, January 16, 2013

Educated Swing Dance Man Benji Schwimmer (drawing courtesy of "FreckleSmile)
Educated Swing Dance Man Benji Schwimmer (drawing courtesy of “FreckleSmile”)

On Friday January 18, Season 2 Winner of So You Think You Can Dance, Benji Schwimmer turns 28 years-old.

Born probably swing dancing in the womb, Benji’s father is West Coast Swing dance king Buddy Schwimmer who invented a dance step called “The Nightclub Two-Step”.

Benji’s mother Laurie and sister, Lacey Schwimmer, a 4th place finalist on Season 3 SYTYCD and most recently on Dancing With The Stars (DWTS), are also west-coast swing dancers in their own right.

Born “Benjamin Daniel Schwimmer” in Redlands, California, Schwimmer won the second season of Fox’s long-running So You Think You Can Dance reality competition show where he also hotly competed with now “Emmy® Award nominated” Travis Wall who has been a choreographer on SYTYCD since season 7.

To this day I remember most of Schwimmer’s routines. But, out of all of them, I loved the show-stopping nerd-fest hip-hop routine with Benji and Travis or “Tranji”. Click here for a great laugh and some terrific moves by Benji and Travis.

What’s incredible about Benji Schwimmer is that he’s not only a talented dancer, globe trotting Humanitarian, sought after choreographer, singer, musician; but also highly educated at some of the nations top Ivy League schools.

Continue reading “FaceBook Friend of The Week – Harvard Swing Dance Man – Benji Schwimmer”

Review :: Blonde Finger – Javier Bardem Strikes a Pose as Bond Villain in Skyfall

By Shannonn Kelly
10:32AM, EST, November 17, 2012

Javier Bardem as “Raoul Silva” and Daniel Craig as “James Bond” get something straight between them…

There’s a reason “Skyfall” is smashing box office records. Actually there may be 5 reasons. But let’s start with an overview of what may be the best contemporary Bond film to date.

Director Sam Mendes establishes the 50th Anniversary James Bond film with a pre-credit roll thrill chase through mystifying Istanbul with iron-spined Daniel Craig as “Bond” and colleague “Eve” played by the stunning Naomie Harris.

Both radioed into MI6 and “M” who instructs them to continue the chase to retrieve the ‘List’. Bond chases his prey literally through hill and dale on most modern modes of transportation including a spine-tingling final chase from atop a speeding train to a seaside hilltop.

I can’t give away what happens, but the next time Bond talks to “M”, the conversation goes a little something like this:

M: “Where the hell have you been?”
Bond: “Enjoying death.”

Cut to the stirring “Skyfall” theme song co-penned and sung by Adele. Her rich and sultry tones have managed to catapult the soundtrack to the highest-charting Bond album in 27 years, according to Billboard.com, even though the song is not actually on the CD. Written by Adele and Paul Epworth, I could listen to this song over dinner and admire its crossover appeal. Want to listen? Click Here. Continue reading “Review :: Blonde Finger – Javier Bardem Strikes a Pose as Bond Villain in Skyfall”

Brought to You By The Letters T M Z – A Scandal Erupts On Sesame Street

by ShannonnKelly

Kevin Clash Beloved Voice of ELMO for almost 28 years Resigns from Sesame Street

6:15AM, EST, November 12, 2012
Updated 7:22PM, EST, November 12, 2012
Updated 3:47PM, EST, November 17, 2012
Updated 3:58PM, EST, November 20, 2012

It’s a sad day on Sesame Street as Kevin Clash has officially resigned after 28 years as the voice behind the beloved Elmo the Muppet since 1985.

According to the New York Times:

Announcing the decision with what he called a “very heavy heart,” Mr. Clash said in a statement, “Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work ‘Sesame Street’ is doing and I cannot allow it to go on any longer. I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately.”

His statement came at around the same time that a lawsuit was filed in federal court in New York accusing him of “sexual activity” with a 15-year-old. The accuser, Cecil Singleton, is now 24. The suit said that Mr. Singleton “did not become aware that he had suffered adverse psychological and emotional effects from Kevin Clash’s sexual acts and conduct until 2012.” It sought $5 million in damages.

To read another article at IndieWire.com, please Click Here.

It’s an awful feeling to wake up and read the entertainment trades and find the character of someone beloved by millions besmirched.

 

Continue reading “Brought to You By The Letters T M Z – A Scandal Erupts On Sesame Street”

TIFF 2012 : : Final Day – Last Chance Films and That’s a Wrap!

by Shannonn Kelly
03:24AM, EST, September 16, 2012

Today I saw:

  • Artifact” (USA)  As one of the few present at today’s screening that is not a big “Thirty Seconds To Mars” fan, I have to say, “I get it.” Jared Leto is accessible, charming and of course talented. I first discovered Leto in “The Thin Red Line” and thought he was outstanding in “Requiem for a Dream” (as did everyone else).

    Also, the fact that he was born and raised near Shreveport, he gets an automatic cool badge, as I love everything about that state on my 22 visits to Louisiana.

    Watching Leto go through the pains of a label war with EMI records showed me a another side of him I never really knew, always striving to be ‘zen-like’ in his approach and reaction to the hailstorm of shit around him while he and his band members, brother  Shannon Leto (drums, percussion) and Tomo Miličević (lead guitar, keyboards) try to record a new album. Kudos!

    Add “Artifact” to the list of super cool music rock-umentaries that can proudly stand as the spirited* kid brother beside “It Might Get Loud” and “Pearl Jam Twenty“.My upload of the Jared Leto “Artifact” Q&A can be found below.

  • Miss Lovely” (Mumbai) Story of the Duggan brothers who produce sleazy C-grade horror/porn films in the mid-1980s Bombay. Everything about the film was grimy and unsavory. I would’ve liked to have known from the director if the sets still existed or was it all dressed. Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui who played younger brother Sonu reminded me of an early era Tony Curtis)
  • Jayne Mansfield’s Car” (USA) Taking place in 1969 Morrison, Alabama, this is the story of a family of 3 brothers and sister ripped apart when their mother leaves them for a life in England 20 years earlier. She’s died and her English step-son calls Alabama to say she wants to be buried back home. Written, directed and starring Billy Bob Thornton, I was expecting something to equal or surpass “Slingblade“. It didn’t. )

I’m writing this blog after the final film in the 24th installment of TIFF Midnight Madness. I just finished my day with “John Dies At The End“, directed by Bubba Ho-tep helmer Don Coscarelli.

Featuring a no-name cast for the exception of genre fave Clancy Brown, this last film was an efficient, funny and fairly fast paced “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” for the Midnight crowd based on the book by John Wong. My blog reviews for some of these films will follow post TIFF 2012.

Continue reading “TIFF 2012 : : Final Day – Last Chance Films and That’s a Wrap!”

TIFF 2012 : : Day 10 – Films You Should See and MUST See

by Shannonn Kelly
03:38AM, EST, September 15, 2012

Fran Kranz in “Much Ado About Nothing” by Joss Whedon

I feel I must make a confession. I never saw a single episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or “Firefly” or “Angel” or “Dollhouse“.

I get that many of the cast in “Much Ado about Nothing” are from Whedon’s popular TV series, including actor Fran Kranz (who was superb in the film). But, when Nathan Fillion popped up playing Dogberry as a seasoned cop/tired film noir gumshoe, I roared. So did the audience.

Yesterday,  I officially became a Joss Whedon fan.

I first learned of Nathan Fillion from “Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place” where he played Johnny Donnelly. TGAGAAPP also brought attention to the much under-used Richard Ruccolo and now Hollywood A-lister Ryan Reynolds. Other than the occasional film, I never watched Nathan Fillion in much until I saw him again in “Desperate Housewives“.

Then last year, I discovered “Castle“. It’s now my guilty pleasure thanks to people urging me on GetGlue to check out the previous seasons.

Nathan Fillion was among a very unusual and fresh feeling cast that makes Whedon’s modern retelling of Shakespeare’s classic comedy about two pairs of lovers a clever, thinking-person’s hit at the 37th Toronto International Film Festival. Thank you @JossWhedon. My blog review will follow post TIFF 2012.

Today I also saw:

  • Men At Lunch” (Ireland: A moving documentary that unearthed the mystery about who were those 11 men sitting high atop a Manhattan girder  having lunch in 1932). My blog review will follow post TIFF
  • The ABC’s Of Death” (Various: 26 filmmakers from 15 countries cinematically walk you through an alphabetized list of blood, guts and gore. Many of those filmmakers were in attendance at Midnight Madness. The Q&A was pretty laid back. The standout letters of the film were: D, F, L, O, Q, R, T and X. The runners up were letters A, H, N, S and Y )

Continue reading “TIFF 2012 : : Day 10 – Films You Should See and MUST See”

TIFF 2012 : : Day 9 – Films You Should See

by Shannonn Kelly
03:10AM, EST, September 14, 2012

What a DAY! 14 hours of film viewing and Q&As. I’m exhausted beyond exhausted but here are some of my highlights:

Alice Lowe and Steve Oram play murderous “Sightseers” in Ben Wheatley’s version of a Bonnie and Clyde tale.
  • Sightseers
    By director Ben Wheatley was the unexpected highpoint of my day, filled with murderous mayhem through the English countryside when two sad sack lovers on their first ‘dirty weekend’ together exact their own brand of civil justice. It’s “The Trip” meets “No Country for Old Men”
  • Sons of the Clouds: The Last Colony
    I learned about a part of the world I hear nothing about in the media and the terrible injustice done to the native Sahwari people of northern Africa: the Western Sahara, which has the distinction of being the last “colony” on the African continent.
  • Smashed
    Very small almost Made-for-TV feel independent film about a couple that drinks to celebrate everything, everyday. Unusual casting, but it all works.
  • Peaches Does Herself
    What do you say about a girl who wants it all. Peaches showed up with 18 people from the “Live Show” documentary for the premiere. An added highlight for me was the on-screen appearance of one of the most gorgeous he/she creatures I’ve ever seen. Dannii Daniels absolutely took my breath away. Her presence was totally magnificent.
  • Come Out and Play
    By Russian director now living in Mexico who goes by the moniker “Makinov”. No last name and the film was no good. But, beautifully shot… Midnight Madness crowd left in droves grumbling feedback such as: “That’s the worst movie I’ve ever seen.”, “What the hell what Makinov thinking?”, “What a waste of my time.”…

Some blog reviews will follow post TIFF. Continue reading “TIFF 2012 : : Day 9 – Films You Should See”