Glee

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Struck By Lightning is a huge deal for Glee star Chris Colfer – at only 22, he not only stars in the film, but also wrote the screenplay and executive produced. He has also adapted his screenplay for the film into the YA novel Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal, marking his second published novel after The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell. Directed by Brian Dannelly (Saved!), Struck by Lightning tells the story of high school overachiever Carson Phillips (Colfer) who dreams of leaving behind his small town, getting into Northwestern, and becoming a wildly successful journalist. However, these dreams come to an abrupt end when he is struck by lightning and dies. The film unfolds via Carson’s posthumous narration, as he recounts his struggles with his emotionally-challenged alcoholic mother (Allison Janney), his seldom-seen father (Dermot Mulroney) and his father’s pregnant fiancée (Christina Hendricks), but mainly how he and his best friend Malerie (Rebel Wilson) blackmail their fellow students into writing for their literary magazine. Colfer was kind enough to talk about his inspirations when writing the screenplay, the exciting festival experience, and other projects that are on his very creative horizon.

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Pixar Character Logo

It doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to say that there is probably a lot of overlap between fans of Joss Whedon’s television work and fans of Pixar’s animated films. People who like memorable characters, clever writing, and genre-themed storylines tend to take them wherever they can get them. So it shouldn’t come as any real surprise that a veteran writer/producer on Whedon’s first big show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, has been picked up to become the latest member of the Pixar brain trust. According to The Playlist, Marti Noxon, who wrote Buffy episodes like “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered,” “The Prom,” and “Wrecked,’ has joined Pixar to do work on an as-yet-unspecified project. More recently in her career, Noxon has been continuing her writer/producer schtick on television shows like the ridiculously critically acclaimed Mad Men, and the incomprehensibly popular Glee, and she’s also credited as being the writer on the recent remake of Fright Night – so the uses that Pixar could be putting her to are myriad.

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Channel Guide - Large

Watching an award show is the closest I’ll ever come to experiencing the kind of thrill that sports fans feel when they’re watching the Super Bowl or the World Series. When Peter Dinklage won his Emmy last year, I cheered audibly as if that award had some kind of impact on my life. It’s a strange reaction to have but you watch these shows and these actors every week, you buy the DVDs, you grow attached, and you want to see this thing or person that you adore honored. It’s fandom and we’re helpless to resist its hold on us. The 64th annual Primetime Emmy nominations were announced Thursday morning and there really weren’t any surprises or huge controversies both because many of these actors and shows are nominated every year (30 Rock, Modern Family, Mad Men, Jim Parsons, Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin) and also because most of the nominees are deserving of the recognition (Breaking Bad, Homeland, Downton Abbey, Boardwalk Empire, Bryan Cranston). As usual, the snubs, omissions, the inability of the members of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences to acknowledge something that isn’t widely celebrated by critics—whatever you want to call it—were the most interesting parts of yesterday morning’s announcement.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie-related link dump written by a guy who is having all kinds of trouble typing at the moment. Look out, all you armchair copyeditors. This one might get a little wld. We begin tonight with the story of the afternoon: Simpsons creator Matt Groening has revealed that Springfield, Oregon is the basis behind the Springfield where Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie cause trouble. In response, the folks at Gizmodo have used Google Earth to show us What The Simpsons’ Springfield Looks Like in Real Life. The people aren’t yellow, as it turns out.

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I am fully aware that I after I reveal what I am about to reveal, I may very well have my Official Lady Card revoked – but I’m willing to accept that. Deadline Harriman reveals that Ryan Murphy has signed a “preemptive deal” in the seven-figures with Sony Pictures to make a film titled One Hit Wonders, a musical comedy that will center on three washed-up pop singers from the ’90s who join together to make a super group. The film has yet to be penned, but it will be written specifically for Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon, and Cameron Diaz, who will play the singers, along with Beyonce, Andy Samberg, and the rest of the Lonely Island boys in unspecified (but obviously musical) roles. Here comes the part where I throw myself onto the fire – I think this sounds eighteen shades of awful, almost unspeakably terrible. The real kicker for me is this tidbit – “The project came out of a dinner that Murphy had at the Soho House, with Paltrow, Diaz and Witherspoon. They wanted to do something fun together, and kicked around ideas until they settled on One Hit Wonders.” How I wish this had just stayed a funny jag between friends and not something that the rest of us have to be subjected to. While musical comedies are usually delightful, something about a pack of Hollywood A-list friends getting together just for the sake of getting together turns my tummy, and the attachment of Ryan Murphy, […]

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Channel Guide - Large

Karen Cartwright imagines herself in a shimmering white dress, center stage, belting out that ultimate dreamer’s song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” She stretches her hands above her head, ever so dramatically, because she’s really into this performance – she isn’t just singing these words, she’s feeling them. She closes her eyes. Oh, yeah. She’s all up inside this song and we immediately understand the subtext here: these lyrics have been etched into her heart since she was a small girl, head already full of big city hopes and dreams about makin’ it. A cell phone rings, jolting Karen back to reality. She’s in a small room – far from the spotlight- auditioning for some jaded folks who somehow can’t see that she’s from Iowa and that she has aspirations! How wide-eyed does a girl have to be before someone gives her a leading role in a Broadway musical, yo? American Idol is all about regular people with unexpected talent, yearning for stardom. (Well, it used to be. Now, according to the most recent promos, it’s all about kids falling off of stages.) Katherine McPhee is an American Idol runner-up, so I guess she’s suited for this Karen part on Smash, NBC’s much-hyped drama about the creation of a musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. McPhee’s Karen has a fresh-faced charm about her, the kind of girl you’d maybe instinctively root for, and the character’s Midwestern origins are, I believe, supposed to make her that much more appealing. The […]

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Boiling Point

Way back in January of 2010 I crafted a list of ten things I figured I’d hate in the following year. I tried to predict my own hatred, which can be difficult. Hate is the most wily and evasive of emotions, prone to erupting without warning. I made a few safe choices on the list, a couple of generalizations, but there were some surprises. Hell, one of the things I thought I’d hate I loved, while a few never even made it to the surface. Anyway, let’s take a look back at my look forward and see how things panned out.

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Channel Guide: A Column About TV

I’m not generally a fan of the phrase “jumped the shark.” I think it’s presumptuous; as if I personally decided the standards with which a show should continue, and how it should be evaluated. I know what you’re saying “but… that’s exactly what you do.” Yes, yes it is. But that doesn’t mean I don’t oftentimes feel bad about it. So when it came time to think of what aspect of 2011’s television offerings I would break down for your perusal, a nagging feeling piqued in the back of my mind – a lot of what’s on television should no longer be on television. And I’m not just talking about shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, or any other number of programs that have worn out their proverbial welcome in the Neilsen households of America. No, I’m referring specifically to the handful of TV shows that chose 2011 as the year to hammer that final nail in the coffin of television irrelevancy. Just what, pray tell, are these shows that I’ve deemed no longer worthy of filling my DVR? Read on, and when preparing the hate mail, remember that Mikela has one A, not two.

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We continue our journey through a month of frightening, bloody and violent films. For more, check out our 31 Days of Horror homepage. You gotta give Ryan Murphy credit for one thing, he sure as hell doesn’t believe in doing anything “normal,” and his triumphant return to adult television in the new FX series American Horror Story fits right in with the rest of his filmography, and the creepy child would agree. What can honestly be said about American Horror Story? Well first off, there’s no way to properly market this show. It’s honestly one of the most twisted things this reviewer has ever seen attempted by a mainstream television network. Here are a few adjectives and phrases I would use to describe the series: bloody, creepy, hyper-sexual, campy, crazy, ummm…okay…, WTF?!, where the?, huh?, holy shit, behind you! If any of that sounds appealing, then you are going to fucking love American Horror Story.

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This Week in DVD

Welcome back to our weekly look at new DVD releases! Last week’s trend of TV on DVD continues as we’re heading into the Fall TV season and studios want to remind you just how great some of their shows are. As you’ll find out below though not all of those shows were actually all that great. The summer’s first comic book superhero movie hits shelves today too alongside a handful of horror flicks, a martial arts movie, and this week’s surprising pick of the week. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Meek’s Cutoff A small group of pioneers hire an adventurer named Meek (Bruce Greenwood) to lead their three wagon train west to California, but it quickly becomes clear that he may not be as capable as they believed. Tension escalates as they run low on food, water, and patience, but it’s the arrival of a lone Native American that may fracture the group for good. Kelly Reichardt’s film is an oddly attractive creation that lumbers slowly towards an uncertain fate, and while I’m still unsure of my thoughts on the ending the film as a whole refuses to leave my mind. There’s a haunted quality about it that works its way inside like so much dust and warm air and it keeps you mesmerized even as deceptively little is happening onscreen. Of course, Michelle Williams in a saucy bonnet doesn’t hurt either.

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You know how that show Glee came out, focused on a bunch of teenage melodrama and cheesy stage show covers of popular music, and then became ridiculously successful? Well, Universal caught wind of that too, and now they’re looking to distribute a new film called Pitch Perfect, which will focus on the world of college level a cappella groups. Just think of it as Glee, the college years. The film is based off a non-fiction book that was written by GQ’s Mickey Rapkin and will be directed by Jason Moore who, in addition to being a stage director, has directed episodes of TV shows like Dawson’s Creek, Everwood, and One Tree Hill. The story follows a goth girl who attends the same college where her father teaches (which is extremely embarrassing for a goth girl), and who has a hard time adjusting to college life, until she discovers she has a great voice and then becomes the secret weapon of the school’s female a cappella group. Being a red-blooded American male, everything I’ve just written about this movie pretty much makes my blood run cold. Forget monster movies, slashers, and what have you; this could possibly be the set-up for the most terrifying horror movie ever conceived of. Except for one little detail that keeps me from writing this whole project off as simple schlock being peddled to teenage girls: Anna Kendrick is in negotiations to play the goth girl (do goth girls even exist anymore? I’m out of the […]

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The Reject Report

30 Reject Reports on the wall. 30 Reject Reports. You take one down, pass it around…I really thought about going through all 30 lines of lyric to that 100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, but then I figured you’d probably just skip ahead anyway. So allow me. 30 Minutes or Less. Final Destination 5 IN 3-FRIGGIN-D! The Help. Glee IN 3-FRIGGIN-D! Yeah, they’re all hitting big this weekend, and some of them are sure to have a decent enough opening. But those apes, man. They’ve got the box office on primate lock-down, and they’re not letting anyone take the crown away from them. So before you ask “Why Cookie Rocket?” and start to debate me, think really hard about what that means. Then consider this. Why NOT Cookie Rocket? Why the hell not?

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that just got back from a little vacation. No, it didn’t go to Comic-Con in San Diego. It feels it necessary to leave stuff like that to the professionals, namely Misters Abaius, Fure and Giroux. They did a wonderful job, did they not? And rumor is that they’re not done yet. That said, it shouldn’t come to you as a surprise if tonight’s entry is a little Con-tilted, or nerd-obsessed. It is part of the Comic-Con hangover treatment, after all. The above image, tweeted out by Community creator Dan Harmon, shows a sign erected at the studio where the show has begun shooting its third season celebrating the show’s zero Emmy nominations. “I want to win an Emmy for this show,” said Harmon as he and cast led a rousing panel during Comic-Con. They’ll get one. If not, we’ll make one and send it to them.

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Yup, it’s that time of the year again. That time of the year where we TV folk bitch and moan about what shows won’t be getting some golden Emmy love because the Academy is full of old people who think basic cable is what holds up the Brooklyn Bridge, which they also saw get built… I think… That said, this year’s Emmy Nominations are no more surprising than they were last year. Mad Men leads in the scripted drama series dept with nineteen nominations, but more interestingly, the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce leads the overall with twenty one nominations. Before we get and further into this, let’s check out some of the shows that didn’t get nominated for anything in either overall, acting or technical categories (not that any of this matters, like usual).

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a movie news column that wonders: “does your daddy know that it sneaks into your room every night?” In a slightly less creepy description, it’s a column that, as of tonight, is of two minds: one that thinks about movie news and is seemingly on vacation, and another that is all about television. Like The Adventures of Pete and Pete. No, seriously. Tonight’s top story is an imperfect first look at Colin Farrell in the Len Wiseman directed reboot of Total Recall. Some sites are dedicating primo space to such an image, so I thought I’d throw it up there because it’s a decent sized fish on a day where news has been flowing into our nets plentifully. In other non-fishing references, the Total Recall character looks a lot like plain old Colin Farrell. Nothing to see here, I suppose.

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Remember the first 13-episode run of Glee? The run that featured episodes that included the club getting high on cold medicine and selling pot brownies to raise money to transport everyone to sectionals? The episode run that just didn’t give a flying f**k about who was watching and why? The run that was just out to have a good time? Yeah, where did that go? The last season and a half of Glee has become a self aware, self righteous imitation of itself. But that’s not what’s truly irritating. The unrealistic compulsion to make the show represent some sense of morality is something everyone knows needs to change, but what’s more irritating is the ending to the most recent finale.

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Sunday night FOX put on the yearly spectacle known as The Super Bowl. And despite botched national anthems and crappy half time shows, the 45th football throw down managed to set the record for the highest viewership of any television program, ever in the history of television. The number? One hundred and eleven million people. This also marks the first time any network, in this case FOX, has crossed the one hundred million mark in a single prime time evening. Now I know what you’re saying to yourself, “so what? It was the f’n Super Bowl, of course it was high.” And I agree, but I’m not here to focus on the Super Bowl, but rather what that number represents.

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Boiling Point

Moving from one year into the next, it’s easy and expected for us to look back on the previous three hundred and sixty five days and talk about what we did and didn’t like that year. But that’s too easy. That’s too small. No, I’m a bigger asshole than that. I’m going to look into the future, into 2011, and come up with 10 things that I’m going to hate, sight unseen. Certainly something will come up between now and then- in fact, there will probably be many things that I’ll hate this year that I can’t possibly predict at this moment. And sure, maybe one of these movies will surprise me and be great or my predictions will be off. But right now, I don’t care and odds are I won’t care at the end of the year. Because I don’t care. I hate.

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With premiere week over I’ve compiled a list of the week’s top premieres from each night. The winner of each night is based upon the quality of the writing, the shows entertainment value and if it’s a new series, the shows sustainability. This year had some extremely heavy hitters and some of the best performances we have seen on the small screen. So without further ado, here are the winners of the FSR Fall 2010 Watch List (please note that this list only applies to shows that started before or during the week of September 19th). Sunday: Boardwalk Empire In what should come as no surprise, Boardwalk Empire was top dog on Sunday. I’m not big into period pieces which is why I really never got into Mad Men, but Scorsese has made me fall in love with the 20′s and Atlantic City. Steve Buscemi is a great lead and a guy I can’t wait to watch every week. If only Scorsese could direct every episode and not just the pilot.

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While it may be the loneliest night of the week, some of the best franchises have come out of Tuesday night. Everything from NCIS to Law & Order: SVU have thrived on Tuesdays. It’s is also the first big night of the week for cable stations. This past summer alone saw six major hard hitting programs air against each other on various networks on this night. This fall is no different. So make sure those DVR remote batteries are fresh, because here comes Part III of the FSR Fall 2010 Watch List.

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