Saturday, June 26, 2010

Adam Shankman’s "So You Think You Can Dance" Season Seven Predictions

Last night, before the absolutely epic Grease Sing-a-Long at the Hollywood Bowl, my seat mate and I passed the time celeb spotting from our super prime box in the Garden Section, a far cry from the X1 tickets I usually have.

Punky Brewster herself, Soleil Moon Frye, and her family were to my left, Uncle Jesse, John Stamos, in a fedora and blue glasses, sat two rows in front of me with his leggy brunette date, Gossip Girl villain Michelle Trachtenberg, rocking pink Ray-Ban aviators, slinky black leggings and a bouffant of highlighted blonde curls that woulda made Dolly Parton proud, was to my right, forcing his way through the sea of 18,000 attendees, newly cast Footloose lead, Kenny Wormald rudely shoved past me and my friend Ana, two rows behind me, I spied former N’ Snyc-er Lance Bass with director, choreographer and So You Think You Can Dance judge Adam Shankman who was working the crowd.

There are no words for how much I adore Adam. Last year, I had the chance to interview him for 17 Again and walked away wanting nothing more than to be friends with the guy. Funny, smart and intensely charismatic, one of the greatest pleasures of my week is getting to watch him on So You Think You Can Dance (how amazing was that Star Search footage, by the way?).

Given the proximity and his general ebullience, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to speak with him again, so Ana, who’s also a major fan, and I headed over to his box for a photo op and some SYTYCD gossip.

First things first, I demanded to know when they would kick off that Melinda tap dance chick who grates on my nerves like a sanding belt and has zero magnetism.

“Oh, it’s gonna happen,” he promised, saying he expected her to go “in the next week or two.”

“Please tell me Alex is going to win,” I begged, referring to Alex Wong, the stunning ballet dancer who left Miami City Ballet to compete on the show and brought me to tears in the first week of competition when he blew the judges away with Sonya Tayeh’s composition to Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah that Mia Michaels called the best routine in SYTYCD history.

Spoiler Alert:

Adam pursed his lips, cocked his head and said, “Kent’s got a lot of energy behind him,” referring to Kent Boyd, the adorable kid from Wompokinwhatsherface, Ohio.


While I’ve loved Kent since his Vegas audition, when he openly admitted his insecurities and made Lil’ C cry, I never saw him as the one to beat.

But, if Adam’s right, and he seemed fairly certain, despite Alex’s perfection, Kent is already poised to become this season’s champ.

Tune in to So You Think You Can Dance on Fox every Wednesday at 8 and Thursday at 9 to see if he's right.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Helen Mirren Responds to Outrcry Over "Nude" Photos

Earlier this week, the internet exploded after topless photos of Dame Helen Mirren were published in New York Magazine. Based on the brouhaha it created, I half expected the 64-year old Dame to be stark naked, riding a unicorn side-saddle and eating a Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich with Elvis when we Googled the shots.


All that raucous was over a little flash of murky areola under water in a bathtub. What a snooze of a "controversy."

Sitting down to speak with Mirren at the press day for her new film, "Love Ranch," I mentioned the free-for-all the photos had ignited and she was quick to sound off.

"I know. Please! Idiotic. What can you do?" she said with a dismissive wave of the hand before continuing.

"Those photographs were taken by a very great art photographer, one of the best in Europe. Whenever I work with a really good photographer, I try to give him or her their own artistic freedom because that's how you get the best work, or, at least, the most interesting work. I gave [photographer Juergen Teller] his freedom and that was the result. I like the photos because I thought they were naked in the proper sense of the word: I've got very little makeup, there's no elaborate lighting and it's simple and real. They weren't intended to be sexy. I think sex and nudity are two different things. People tend to get the two mixed up."

Asked if she felt that people were upset because the actress is willing to flaunt her body "at a certain age," when most women are fed the propaganda that they shouldn't be sexualized past the age of 40, she quietly replied, "Well, too bad," cracked a knowing smile and started to laugh.

Take that haters.

"Love Ranch" opens June 30.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hollywood Bites Movie Review: Knight and Day

His career may have come off life support thanks to a hilariously vulgar turn as Len Grossman, but, in Knight and Day, Tom Cruise reminds audiences exactly why he was one of the biggest movie stars in the world from the moment he slide across a living room floor in his Ray Bans and tidy whities until he jumped the couch. The guy is just undeniably charismatic and wonderfully watchable, a fact many audiences forgot when the actor imploded in 2005 but can be reminded of when Knight and Day opens this weekend.

Returning to the big screen as Roy Miller, a role with major shades of Ethan Hunt after he’s been Bourne-ified, the slightly off-his-nut actor plays a potentially off-his-nut secret agent who not so accidentally bumps into bubbly civilian June Havens (the always adorable Cameron Diaz) at the Wichita airport. When the pair ends up on the same plane, as the rom-com gods would have it, they can’t help but share their secret hopes and dreams for the future. But this isn’t Jerry Maguire; the adorability stops there.

When June heads to the bathroom to freshen up and give herself a pep talk about picking up a total stranger, the plane’s other passengers, also trained federal agent assassins, turn on Roy, giving him a chance to school audiences on things like how to use your seatbelt as nunchucks. By the time June’s emerged from the lavatory, everyone onboard is dead and Roy is piloting the plane into a corn field, taking out an innocent scarecrow in the process. Setting the tone for the rest of the film, the sequence is ridiculous, overblown and frantically paced, but also incredibly enjoyable.

Formerly paired in 2001’s atrocious Vanilla Sky, Diaz and Cruise have a lively chemistry that brings sparkle to writer Patrick O’Neill’s occasionally derivative screenplay as the film moves from one glorious panorama to another (Seville, Spain, Salzberg, Austria and Port Antonia, Jamaica are among the finery) but one of the film’s greatest assets is director James Mangold. Despite the fact that Mangold didn’t steer Peter Sarsgaard away from the appallingly amateur accent he attempts as a federal agent on Roy’s heels, the director’s visual dexterity and ability to cultivate layered performances where clich├ęs are so readily available, as he did in 3:10 to Yuma and Walk the Line, makes Knight and Day more than a mindless action romp. With genuine moments of hilarity and marvelous Easter eggs for the audience to unearth along the way, Knight and Day may be formulaic, but it succeeds because of the talent at the helm, most notably, Cruise. This might be what a career resurrection looks like.

Valkyrie, who?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Festive Ice Cubes

A simple easy way to add flavor, color and texture while cooling down a summer beverage.