Jada Pinkett Smith Joins Fox’s GOTHAM as Villainous Gangster Boss; Wendell Pierce to Recur on RAY DONAVAN Season 2

by     Posted 57 days ago

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Casting continues on Fox’s highly anticipated Batman prequel series Gotham.  After setting Ben McKenzie (Southland) in the lead role of James Gordon, the network recently filled roles for The Penguin, Gordon’s boss, and Gordon’s fiancée, and they also set Donal Logue (Sons of Anarchy) in the role of Detective Harvey Bullock.  Now Fox has set another villainous role for the series, as Jada Pinkett Smith has landed the series regular role of Fish Mooney.  The character is described as an imposing and hotheaded sadistic gangster boss and nightclub owner who has “the street smarts and almost extra-sensory abilities to read people like an open book.”  It’s certainly nice to see a female land a major role for once, and I’m interested to see what the actress will bring to the role.  Smith recently starred in the leading role of the TNT series Hawthorne for three seasons, before the show was canceled in 2011.

Gotham was scripted by Bruno Heller (The Mentalist), who will also serve as showrunner.  Fox has already ordered the show to series.  Hit the jump for casting news concerning a The Wire alum joining the second season of Ray Donovan.

MOONRISE KINGDOM and SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK Lead 2013 Independent Spirit Award Nominations; Matthew McConaughey Lands Double Nods

by     Posted 1 year, 140 days ago

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The nominations for the 2013 Independent Spirit Awards have been announced, and Oscar hopefuls Silver Linings Playbook and Moonrise Kingdom lead the pack.  Both films picked up nominations for Best Feature, Director, and Screenplay with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper landing acting noms for SLP and Bruce Willis garnering a swell Best Supporting Actor nomination for his work in Moonrise KingdomBeasts of the Southern Wild, Bernie, and Keep the Lights On round out the Best Feature nominees, while The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Safety Not Guaranteed were singled out for the Best First Feature award.  Also, Matthew McConaughey pulled double nominations for his stellar work in this year’s Magic Mike and Killer Joe, landing a Best Supporting Actor and Best Actor nod, respectively.  Notably shut out of the race entirely was Leos Carax‘s critically-lauded Holy Motors.

Hit the jump to check out the full list of nominations.  The winners of the 2013 Spirit Awards will be announced on Saturday, February 23, 2013.

First Trailer for Taylor Hackford’s PARKER Starring Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez

by     Posted 1 year, 195 days ago

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The first trailer for director Taylor Hackford’s (Ray) crime thriller Parker has been released.  Based on the novel series by Donald E. Westlake, the film stars Jason Statham as a professional thief who lives by a set of rules: don’t steal from people who can’t afford it and don’t hurt people who don’t deserve it.  When his crew double crosses him and leaves him for dead, he sets out to seek revenge during their biggest heist ever.  The pic is a slight departure from Statham’s standard shoot-em-up action fare, but this trailer still has its share of clichés.  Moreover, Statham inexplicably plays a lot of dress-up for his heists, disguising himself as a priest and as a rich Texan (with a terrible accent).  If you’re a fan of Statham and his films, this is probably right up your alley.  If not, Parker looks unlikely to change your mind.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer.  The film also stars Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis, Wendell Pierce, and Nick Nolte.  Parker opens on January 25th, 2013.

Seasoned: Matt Reviews THE WIRE – Season 5

by     Posted 1 year, 315 days ago

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Up until the past 15 years or so, television series were firmly episodic.  Serialized TV (outside of mini-series) risked alienating viewers since it stopped anyone from coming in mid-season.  However, with the rise of DVDs, OnDemand, and digital downloads, serialized TV series have become firmly established.  Some shows still retain an episodic nature, but some series—particularly dramas—have been built around telling one long story over the course of an entire season.  Our new feature, Seasoned, will review a TV series by season rather than by episode.

Hit the jump for my review of the fifth season of The Wire.  Click on the corresponding links for my reviews of Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, and Season 4.

Seasoned: Matt Reviews THE WIRE – Season 4

by     Posted 1 year, 328 days ago

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Up until the past 15 years or so, television series were firmly episodic.  Serialized TV (outside of mini-series) risked alienating viewers since it stopped anyone from coming in mid-season.  However, with the rise of DVDs, OnDemand, and digital downloads, serialized TV series have become firmly established.  Some shows still retain an episodic nature, but some series—particularly dramas—have been built around telling one long story over the course of an entire season.  Our new feature, Seasoned, will review a TV series by season rather than by episode.

Hit the jump for my review of the fourth season of The Wire.  Click on the corresponding links for my reviews of Season 1, Season 2, and Season 3.

Seasoned: Matt Reviews THE WIRE – Season 3

by     Posted 1 year, 347 days ago

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Up until the past 15 years or so, television series were firmly episodic.  Serialized TV (outside of mini-series) risked alienating viewers since it stopped anyone from coming in mid-season.  However, with the rise of DVDs, OnDemand, and digital downloads, serialized TV series have become firmly established.  Some shows still retain an episodic nature, but some series—particularly dramas—have been built around telling one long story over the course of an entire season.  Our new feature, Seasoned, will review a TV series by season rather than by episode.

Hit the jump for my review of the third season of The Wire; here are my reviews for season one and season two.

Seasoned: Matt Reviews THE WIRE – Season 2

by     Posted 1 year, 356 days ago

the-wire-title-logo-slice

Up until the past 15 years or so, television series were firmly episodic.  Serialized TV (outside of mini-series) risked alienating viewers since it stopped anyone from coming in mid-season.  However, with the rise of DVDs, OnDemand, and digital downloads, serialized TV series have become firmly established.  Some shows still retain an episodic nature, but some series—particularly dramas—have been built around telling one long story over the course of an entire season.  Our new feature, Seasoned, will review a TV series by season rather than by episode.

Hit the jump for my review of the second season of The Wire, and click here for my review of season one.

Seasoned: Matt Reviews THE WIRE – Season 1

by     Posted 1 year, 363 days ago

the-wire-title-logo-slice

Up until the past 15 years or so, television series were firmly episodic.  Serialized TV (outside of mini-series) risked alienating viewers since it stopped anyone from coming in mid-season.  However, with the rise of DVDs, OnDemand, and digital downloads, serialized TV series have become firmly established.  Some shows still retain an episodic nature, but some series—particularly dramas—have been built around telling one long story over the course of an entire season.  Our new feature, Seasoned, will review a TV series by season rather than by episode.

And we couldn’t think of a better kick-off to this feature than HBO’s The Wire.  Hit the jump for my review of the groundbreaking drama’s first season.

New Release Date for PARKER Starring Jason Statham

by     Posted 2 years, 27 days ago

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FilmDistrict has pushed back Taylor Hackford‘s Parker to January 25th.  Based on the mystery novels by Donald Westlake, Parker stars Jason Statham as the eponymous thief, and co-stars Jennifer Lopez, Nick Nolte, Wendell Pierce, Clifton Collins Jr., and Michael Chiklis.  The movie was originally set to open on October 12th where it would have faced (and probably lost to) the star-studded The Gangster Squad and the Kevin James comedy Here Comes the Boom.

January, long treated as a dumping ground for likely flops, has started to yield surprising returns.  Modestly-budgeted movies like Contraband, Underworld Awakening, The Devil Inside, and The Grey all performed well at the box office, and Parker has the potential to do the same.  Currently, the film’s only competition is the breakdancing flick Battle of the Year: The Dream Team (formerly Planet B) starring Josh Holloway, Laz Alonso, and Josh Peck. [Box Office Mojo]

Wendell Pierce to Star in Biopic B.B. KING AND I; Patrick Fugit Co-Stars

by     Posted 2 years, 334 days ago

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When Wendell Pierce was cast as a journeyman jazz musician in Treme, he immediately started taking trombone lessons.  As Pierce told The Grio, “I didn’t want to look like an actor who knows absolutely nothing about music.”  I’ll be Pierce is thumbing through his phone book for a guitar teacher as we speak, because the actor has just signed on to play B.B. King in the biopic B.B. King and I.  Michael Zanetis co-wrote the screenplay based on his experience as a drummer who travels from the Heartland to Hollywood to pursue his musical dreams.  Zanetis met King at a 1980 concert and struck up a lifelong friendship.  Patrick Fugit (Cirque du Freak) will play the fictional Zanetis.  Michael Schroder (Man in the Chair) is on board to direct.

King Size Film has scheduled the independent production to begin September 1 with a Spring 2012 release in mind.  More after the jump:

TREME Season 1 DVD Review

by     Posted 2 years, 361 days ago

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New Orleans as a setting is a tough place for outsiders. Between the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina, generations of racial tension and the hyper-exclusive music scene, the world of New Orleans could be very intimidating to viewers. But if there was one man who could help usher audiences into this unfamiliar landscape, it was David Simon. After taking viewers through the gritty Baltimore crime scene for 5 years on The Wire, Simon returned to TV with HBO’s Treme. Following the lives of dozens of people in the Treme district of post-Katrina New Orleans, the show introduces viewers to all different walks of life and the things that connect them. Less explosive and more of a slow burn,Treme is still another Simon triumph. Continue reading for my full review.

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN Casts Eight More

by     Posted 3 years, 172 days ago

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According to our calculations, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn is currently filming in Louisiana.  We’ve already heard most of the actors new to the franchise in high profile roles — Maggie Grace as Irina, Lee Pace as Garrett, Rami Malek as Benjamin.  Summit has incrementally added new cast members, with another batch announced today.

Olga Fonda (Love Hurts), Janelle Froehlich (Hacienda Heights), Masami Kosaka (The Runaways), Sebastiao Lemos (Força-Tarefa), Amadou Ly (The Bridge), Ty Olsson (2012), Wendell Pierce (Ray), Carolina Virguez  (Matalobos) will join Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, and the rest of the Twilight regulars when The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 hits theaters November 18, 2011.  Part 2 follows on November 16, 2012.  Hit the jump for a recap a comprehensive look at the new cast members and the characters they’ll play.

David Simon Interview TREME

by     Posted 4 years, 8 days ago

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Treme is the new HBO drama series set in post-Katrina New Orleans. From executive producer David Simon (best known for his work on The Wire), the 10-episode first season follows musicians (Wendell Pierce), chefs (Kim Dickens), Mardi Gras Indians (Clark Peters) and ordinary New Orleanians (including Khandi Alexander, Steve Zahn, Melissa Leo and John Goodman), as they try to rebuild their lives, their homes and their unique culture in the aftermath of the 2005 hurricane and the levee failure that caused the near-death of an American city.

At its heart, Treme, named for the New Orleans neighborhood where jazz was invented, is a series about the people and the culture that survived and, at times, it is so authentic and raw that you forget you’re watching actors merely speaking from a script.

We recently spoke to show co-creator/writer David Simon, about his passion for the unique and eccentric city, how he sees it taking four or five years to tell the story of these characters on Treme and how he could never work in network television. Check out what he had to say after the jump:

New Trailer, Images, and Featurette for HBO’s TREME, the New Orleans Series from WIRE Creator David Simon

by     Posted 4 years, 33 days ago

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Early in the new year we got our first look at the teaser trailer for Treme, the upcoming series from The Wire creator David Simon.  Consisting mostly of slow pans about New Orleans, it didn’t reveal much, though the scattering of various instruments hinted at the musical nature of the show.  HBO has released a new trailer that imparts all sorts of great imagery, though it still doesn’t reveal much about the narrative–we’ll let the logline do that: the show “explores the lives of several struggling musicians and other New Orleans locals in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina”.  The new trailer rather beautifully lingers on said musicians dancing and parading through the street amid the destruction, and gives us a look at cast members Steve Zahn, John Goodman, Wendell Pierce, Clarke Peters, Khandi Alexander, and Rob Brown (among others), plus an Elvis Costello cameo.  The 1:37 clip is often reminiscent of the mostly headless “Way Down in the Hole” montages that primed the viewer for each episode of The Wire.

The show’s debut date of April 11 is now less than a month away, so get excited.  Hit the jump to check out the trailer and the full plot synopsis.

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