I join the hosts of NewsTalk 1010’s “The Rush” with guest hosts Scott Reid and Deb Hutton, for a new segment called “Entertainment Court.” Each week I serve as the judge, Reshmi and Scott the jurors, and we render a verdict on the week’s biggest pop culture stories.
This week we ask, Do you ever discuss the amount of money you make with anyone? Is it enough to stick the word “unofficial” in the title of “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical” to sidestep copyright infringement? Do you yearn for the days of the singer/songwriter?
This week on Pop Life we meet veteran music journalist Lisa Robinson, Her new book “Nobody Ever Asked Me About the Girls: Women, Music, and Fame,” pulls from four-and-a-half decades of interviews with music’s most famous women — from Tina Turner, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks to Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Beyoncé. In our interview Robinson reflects on her own career as a pioneering female music writer and editor of Music Scene Magazine.
Then, Robinson joins the “Pop Life” panel, Kathy Valentine of the Go-Go’s, the first all-female band to have a #1 album in the U.S and Rookz Eastmond an entrepreneur and producer who specializes in urban music, to talk about being a woman in the world of music.
Film critic and pop culture historian Richard Crouse shares a toast with celebrity guests and entertainment pundits every week on CTV News Channel’s talk show POP LIFE.
Featuring in-depth discussion and debate on pop culture and modern life, POP LIFE features sit-down interviews with celebrities from across the entertainment world, including rock legends Sting and Bob Geldof, musicians Josh Groban and Sarah Brightman, comedian Ken Jeong, writer Fran Lebowitz, superstar jazz musician Diana Krall, stand-up comedian and CNN host W. Kamau Bell, actors Danny DeVito and Jay Baruchel, celebrity chefs Bobby Flay and Nigella Lawson, and many more.
Simon Cowell got it wrong. When Jennifer Hudson was voted off American Idol a few years ago he told her that she was finished. Washed up. That she would likely never work again.
He was wrong.
Hudson is back and gives seasoned vets Jamie Foxx and Beyonce a run for their money as Effie, the castaway Dreamgirl in the big screen adaptation of the Broadway hit. There is Oscar buzz about her performance and she has already earned a Golden Globe nomination.
The story of Dreamgirls is a thinly veiled retelling of the Svengali-like managerial style of Motown boss Berry Gordy and the rise to success and subsequent solo career of Diana Ross and the Supremes under his supervision. Gordy replaced original Supremes lead singer Florence Ballard with the thinner and prettier Ross, exiling Ballard from the group she created. Ballard died in 1976 at age 32 after a long battle with depression and drugs. Only the names and minor details have been changed.
In the fast-paced Dreamgirls version of the story Foxx is Curtis Taylor Jr., a Cadillac salesman turned wannabe music impresario who bounces Effie (Hudson) as lead singer of the Dreams in favor of backup singer Deena Jones (Beyonce). Effie struggles with the betrayal and tries to re-ignite her career while toiling in the shadow of her former band mate and friend.
It’s an all-star cast with Jamie Foxx and Beyonce at the top of the marquee, but it is two of the supporting players who really shine—one newcomer and one veteran.
Eddie Murphy gives the kind of performance here that he has only ever hinted at in other films. As R&B singer James “Thunder” Early—imagine 1966 era James Brown—he blows the doors off, digging deep and creating a memorable character who is as magnetic as he is repulsive.
But the real star of the show is Jennifer Hudson. She brings not only a roof-rattling voice to Effie’s character but also equal measures of sass, dignity, and strength. It’s probably too soon to say this, but Effie just might be the role of a lifetime for Hudson.
Fans of musical theatre have seen some of their favorites—Phantom of the Opera and The Producers come to mind—botched on their way to the screen but Dreamgirls should satisfy even the toughest critics. I think even Simon Cowell might like it.
If you were a fan of the first two Austin Powers movies you’re going to love Goldmember. It’s a continuation of the over-the-top silliness that made the first two so popular. Many of the same elements are in place from picture to picture – the forced perspective sight gags, the rapid fire banter between Dr. Evil and his son Scott, elaborate dance numbers – but somehow instead of feeling like we’ve seen it before it seems fresh. For the most part it is Mike Myers (in four, count ‘em, four roles this time) and his unerring sense of “the silly” that makes this material so watchable. Myers can push the envelope further than almost any other comic, and still come off as cute. Myers has elevated bathroom humour to high art. He’s Benny Hill, not Tom Green. Destiny’s Child lead singer Beyonce Knowles is Foxxy Cleopatra, Austin’s love interest in Goldmember. This is her feature film debut, and she handles herself nicely. She doesn’t have a great deal to do, but she has a lot of charisma and looks great on screen. The full Austin Powers’ repertory company is back, Michael York, Robert Wagner, Verne “Mini-Me” Troyer and Seth Green, with some new faces added. I won’t spoil the movie by giving away the cameos, but I will advise you to be on time and not miss the first 15 minutes of the movie.