1. Controversial Twerking! In April no one knew what “twerking” was. Unfortunately now we all do.
2. Amanda Bynes threw a bong out the window of her 36th floor apartment. It was “just a vase,” she said.
3. After calling Bruce Willis “greedy and lazy” Sylvester Stallone charged $395 per autograph at NY Comic-Con
4. Tom Cruise said Katie Holmes filed divorced because of Scientology
6. Michael Douglas admitted he didn’t get that he got throat cancer after engaging in oral sex.
7. Kat Von D not so cleverly named her new lipstick “Celebutard.” Sephora pulled the plug amid complaints from Down Syndrome Uprising, Family Member, Inclusion BC and All About Developmental Disabilities.
8. Ke$ha says she drank her urine and, “It tasted kind of like candy.”
9. Banksy stall sells art works worth up to $30,000 for $60 each in New York’s Central Park.
10. Justin Bieber’s pet Capuchin monkey, Mally, was confiscated at a German airport after the singer tried to smuggle it into the country.
Top TV moments
1. Two words: Tentacle porn. – Anthony Bourdain’s Tokyo Parts Unknown episode.
2. Zombies falling through the ceiling of a department store in The Walking Dead
3. “I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really… I was alive.” – Walt (Bryan Cranston) on the Breaking Bad finale
4. Orphan Black Clones!
5. Cooking lessons from Hannibal Lector on Hannibal.
6. The bisected cow on Under the Dome.
7. Nick and Jess’ first kiss on The New Girl. So passionate, Jess says the kiss made her see “through space and time for a minute.”
8. Orange is the New Black’s duct-tape sandals.
9. The “Red Wedding” massacre on Games Of Thrones. “My King has married and I owe my new Queen a wedding gift.” ― Lord Walder (David Bradley)
10. The car crash death of Downton Abbey’s Matthew in the final minute of the period drama’s 3rd season.
Top General Entertainment Stories
1. Lou Reed Dead at 71
2. James Gandolfini Dead at 51
3. Angelina Jolie announced double mastectomy
4. Paula Deen gets fired for using the N word
5. Kanye West declared himself the “number one rock star on the planet” in a BBC interview.
6. The last movie ever rented at a Blockbuster? This is the End.
7. Sinead O’Connor accused Miley Cyrus of “behaving like a prostitute and calling it feminism.”
8. Born! The Royal Baby, Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge.
9. Cory Monteith R.I.P.
10. Star Wars: Episode VII release date announced. The Force will return to theatres on December 18, 2015.
Top Online Moments
1. The prank video showing the baffled and terrified reactions of customers in a NYC coffee shop reacting to a woman with telekinesis tearing up the place.
2. Grumpy Cat vs Tommy Lee Jones meme. A side-by-side comparison of Jones at the Golden Globes and Grumpy Cat reveals that they might be long lost relatives.
3. Wisest tweet of the year: Always remember! Many of the people on the Internet telling you what’s what are not old enough to rent a car. – @KenJennings
4. M.I.A.’s Psychedelic Dance Party at the YouTube Music Awards
5. Raven-Symone came out on Twitter after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn The Defense of Marriage Act. “I can finally get married! Yay government! So proud of you.”
6. Andrew Huang’s video of his rap song without using the letter “E” and it’s about NOT using the letter “E”!
7. Swedish Chef Ramsay meme. “Why did the bork bork? Because you borked the bork!”
8. “I want Drake to murder my vagina.” – Amanda Bynes on Twitter
9. Best web series: The Booth at the End starring Xander Berkelely as a mysterious man who grants wishes… for a price.
10. Homeless Army Veteran Turns Life Around in Amazing Time Lapse Video
Hannah Montana: The Movie is essentially three episodes of the Disney Channel television show (with a slightly more exotic location) stretched to reach feature film length. That means it’s either three times the fun or three times the torture depending on which side of the fence you stand on regarding the whole Miley Cyrus phenomenon.
If your son or daughter knows a dance move called “the Hawk in the Sky” chances are you already know who Miley is, but if you’ve been living on Mars for the past few years and have missed the whole Hannah Montana thing, here’s a primer. Since 2004 Miley Cyrus (daughter of Achy Breaky singer Billy Ray) has played the dual role of Miley Stewart and Hannah Montana. By day she is the average teenage school girl Miley. At night though, she’s the bedazzled pop star Hannah Montana. By keeping famous alter ego a secret she can be a pop star and still have a normal life. The show is wildly popular with kids and even has adult fans. Disgraced Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich admits to having watched every episode of the show.
The new movie follows the success of last year’s concert movie Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert which was the number one movie of its weekend, more than doubling the receipts of the number two movie, The Eye and breaking several box office records including the top score for gross revenue for a Super Bowl weekend.
The new film finds the popularity of Hannah Montana becoming almost too much for Miley Stewart (Cyrus) to bear. She fights Tyra Banks over a pair of shoes, ruins her best friend Lilly’s (Emily Osment, Haley Joel’s little sister) Sweet Sixteen party and is preoccupied all the time. When her father Robby (Billy Ray Cyrus) tricks her into taking a trip to her hometown of Crowley Corners, Tennessee she may finally get some perspective on life, love and fame. “Think of it as Hannah detox,” he says.
There is something mind-numbingly post modern about the idea of Hannah Montana: The Movie. It’s about a girl named Miley whose alter ego Hannah is the most popular teenager on the planet, played by the real life most popular teenager on the planet, named Miley. It’s like one of those M.C. Escher etchings of the hands drawing themselves.
Untangle that puzzle and you are left with an efficiently made movie that sticks to the framework of the popular television show. There’s the crazy slapstick gags, the musical numbers and, of course, a good Disney moral wrapped up in a shiny package. Imagine The Monkees except female, wholesome and without the culture jamming social parody.
Hannah Montana: The Movie probably won’t win over any new fans to the franchise but will please the kids (and their parents) who tune into the show every week.
“The Last Song” has all the trademarks of a Nicholas Sparks romance. There’s a love story between rich and poor, disease, divorce, unopened letters and a character who’s just “trying to feel something again.” And it has Miley Cyrus sans her blonde Hannah Montana wig. This time out she’s an angry musical prodigy spending a summer vacation with her father, a man she barely knows.
Cyrus is Ronnie Miller, a troubled teen—“Her grades are in the toilet and she doesn’t have a friend without a pierced something,” says her mother—sent to stay with her estranged father for the summer in a small Southern beach town. She’s angry at her dad, and despite being a gifted pianist and a earning a scholarship to Julliard, she hasn’t played the piano for ages. She mopes around the small town until she meets Will, a chiseled volleyball player who helps her rescue a nest of sea turtle eggs. (I’m not kidding.) Through wildlife and mud fights they form an on-again-off-again relationship despite their differences. Enter into the mix a terminal illness, a burned church and a jealous ex and you have a story worthy of the Nicholas Sparks Story Generator™.
“The Last Song” features Miley Cyrus in the kind of role Kristen Stewart excels in. The brooding, moody teenager act that Stewart has down pat doesn’t come as easily to Cyrus who pitches her performance somewhere between an episode of “Hannah Montana” and a TV disease-of-the-week movie. Given the pre-hype for the film I assumed this would be her adult debut, but given the tone of her performance the transition from child star to grown-up actress continues at a glacial pace. She has several emotional scenes here, and sheds a tear or two, but mostly her performance relies on tricks learned on the Disney stage—eye rolling, running her hands through her hair and flashing her toothy smile. She has a movie star’s charisma and warmth, but not the acting chops.
Greg Kinnear is there for support, but even he looks mildly bewildered at the Sparkisms in the script. It’s a mixed bag of every romance cliché known to man, except, the Fabulous Gay Confidant™. In his / her place is the wise little brother played by Bobby Coleman.
But, having said all that, a movie like “The Last Song” isn’t about the plot or the acting or the clichés. It’s like an Elvis movie. It’s about the phenomenon that is Miley. Disney is very carefully easing her from TV star to movie star, and if the projects don’t exactly radiate an adult sensibility, who cares? They are counting on the long term success. There is plenty of time for her to mature along with her fans, who, I’m sure, Disney hopes are in the Miley game for the long term.
It’s time for the cats of the world to unite against stereotyping in movies. Too often on film cats are portrayed as bad, the personification of evil. Ever since Sylvester was introduced to the Tweety Bird cartoon cats have gotten a bad rap. Remember Cats and Dogs, the movie about an evil army of cats poised to take over the world? Or how about the scheming cat from Babe or the twin evil Siamese cats from Lady and the Tramp? Even Garfield is portrayed as lazy and cynical. It’s time for this denigration of our feline friends to stop! Unfortunately the new movie Bolt from the folks at Disney perpetrates the unfounded and cruel stereotypes of cats as sinister and manipulative.
The hero of the movie is, of course, a dog. He’s Bolt (the voice of John Travolta), the pampered titular star of the television show Bolt. His character is a mix of the Six Million Dollar Man and The Littlest Hobo. He’s a super dog with super powers, but he’s also a method actor, so to get the best possible performance from him producers use special effects to make Bolt think he is actually a super dog with a sound barrier breaking Super Bark and other powers. That means no re-shoots and no second takes. “If the dog believes it,” says Bolt’s director, “the audience will believe it.” All goes well until one day when Bolt escapes from the set in search of his “person” and co-star Penny (voiced by Miley Cyrus). Thus begins a cross country search, accompanied by Rhino (voice by Mark Walton), a star struck hamster and Mittens (voiced by Susie Essman), the obligatory mean cat or “degenerate creature of darkness” as one character calls her. When Bolt realizes that he doesn’t have super powers and that his life of fighting evil has been a sham he wonders, “If I don’t chase bad guys, what am I?” Luckily for Bolt and the reputation of cats everywhere Mittens redeems herself and is able to help him find happiness as a regular dog.
Bolt is a lushly animated story with genuine laughs for both adults and kids. It starts off with a bang with an action packed clip from the Bolt television show in which the canine defies gravity, defuses bombs, stops automobiles with his steel reinforced head and generally saves the day. It’s a wild ride that had the children in the audience I saw it with squealing, although it may be a bit intense for really young kids.
As I noted in my review of Madagascar Escape 2 Africa, in Bolt it isn’t the above-the-title stars that carry the show, but the supporting characters. Madagascar wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without the penguins and Bolt would be much less interesting without Rhino, Mittens and a variety of pigeons from the dim-witted New York birds to the slick screenwriting rats-with-wings Bolt and company meet in Los Angeles. Seasoned voice actors like Mark Walton give these characters some real oomph, unlike Travolta and Cyrus who provide recognizable voices but little else. The movie’s biggest laughs come from the supporting cast, and Rhino, the determinedly loyal hamster deserves his own movie.
Bolt, despite its treatment of cats as the Rodney Dangerfield of the animal kingdom—they just can’t get no respect—is solid entertainment for the whole family.