Tina Fey

This Is Where I Leave You Movie

In This Is Where I Leave You, Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Adam Driver and Corey Stoll play siblings reunited for their father’s funeral. They’re convinced by their mother, played by Jane Fonda, to fulfill the pater familias’ final wish for them to sit Shivah for a week, ensuring that they’ll all have to confront their life problems instead of heading back into them immediately. The trailer is filled with the typical elements of a dramedy: broken lives, personality problems, recognition of life’s messiness, potential new beginnings and smiling reconciliations. It also has Driver stealing scenes and Timothy Olyphant looking like a tennis pro. Check it out for yourself:

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Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in Baby Mama

It’s a line delivered straight out of your lady dreams, and it’s blissfully true. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live alums, former Weekend Update co-anchors, two-time Golden Globes co-hosts, occasional movie co-stars and your best friends in your mind probably are teaming up again for something new. According to Deadline, they are taking their twosome to the next level by portraying sisters (it’s the natural progression in the friendship level) in The Nest, a feature from SNL writer and all-around funny person Paula Pell. The Nest focuses on the two 30-something siblings as they take a weekend to visit their parents, only to find out that their childhood home is being sold. They take the opportunity to have one last crazy weekend together there, bonding and feuding the way that only sisters do. Eventually, of course, they’ll wind up coming to their senses when the weekend is over and do some growing up together too — with no childhood home to come back to, it’s time to be real life adults.

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Late Night Female Host

The late night chat show game has been the victim of some major shakeups and upheavals over the past few years – it’s lucky for Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon that his transition seemed to go so smoothly, because the previous attempt at ceding the show from Jay Leno to Conan O’Brien was eighteen shades of infamous ugly – but leave it to David Letterman to show everyone how classy retirement can (and should) be. Last night, Dave (always “Dave,” never “Letterman”) took to his Late Show to announce that he’s decided to retire sometime in the next year, meaning that the Late Show With David Letterman will end its run (as we know it) sometime in 2015. Letterman’s retirement closes out the end of an era – both his own and the one that saw Leno and Letterman as the only real late night choices – and subsequently signals the beginning of a new one. Who will next host the Late Show? Although Letterman has given no indication of what will happen to the actual brand, it seem impossible that CBS would go without a late night entry, so surely someone will move into the spot soon enough. There are plenty of male hosts and comedians that could take over the gig – names that have been bandied about include Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Craig Ferguson, Conan O’Brien and even Jay Leno – but isn’t it time a woman took her place behind the desk?

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Muppets Most Wanted

One problem facing Muppets Most Wanted is that it follows up 2011′s The Muppets, which saw everyone’s favorite gaggle of vaudevillian weirdos taking part in a giant reunion in order to save both their theater and the rights to their name. The Great Muppet Caper (which this film cribs more than a little from) was content to put the Muppets in a genre plot rather than try to top the origin story of The Muppet Movie. Most Wanted again tries to pluck the heartstrings, separating Kermit from the rest of the Muppets and putting him in a crisis as he thinks his family has abandoned him (when really they’ve only failed to notice that he’s been replaced by a doppelgänger… which isn’t much better). But it can’t match the emotional tug of seeing the Muppets getting back together. Escalating the stakes with each new sequel doesn’t really work for this franchise. At this rate, the next Muppet film might actually kill someone off (psst, if that does happen, please get rid of Walter).

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Muppets in MUPPETS MOST WANTED

Listen, I know that people are frustrated over the constant barrage of sequels, remakes and adaptations in popular film. And yes, Muppets Most Wanted does technically count as a sequel. But sometimes harsh criticisms can get a little too harsh, like the latest claim that the next Muppets film won’t be nearly as good as 2011′s The Muppets, that the Muppets have no real fans, and that Disney is just killing time with this one “while they wait for Tom Hanks to make Toy Story 4.” Ouch. You might be wondering who would level such a complaint against a near-universally beloved group of terrifying puppet creatures, and… ok, it’s the Muppets that have picked a fight with Muppets Most Wanted. It seems many a Muppet is upset at being drafted into another unnecessary sequel, and the group has decided to air its complaints with the public at large. But they’ve done so by breaking out into joyous song and dance (the way all sequel grief should be expressed from now on), and their list of grievances is also Muppets Most Wanted‘s opening number, which has just debuted online.

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Tina Fey

While Tina Fey has made her mark in the film world through a number of movies even before she ruled the proverbial comedy club as Liz Lemon, her film career has been characterized by two important factors: those movies have often been flops, and she hasn’t gotten her due time as the star of her own vehicle yet. Obviously, Fey gets top billing whenever she’s in a film, but it’s often shared with the likes of another extremely likeable comedian who’s there to split the limelight — and a little bit of the downfall, if we’re going to be honest — when it comes premiere time: Paul Rudd (Admission), Steve Carell (Date Night), and Amy Poehler (Baby Mama). Now Fey finally has the chance to shine on her own with a film that she’s also producing alongside Lorne Michaels. The Taliban Shuffle is an adaptation of journalist Kim Parker’s book “The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” Fey will be portraying Parker back in 2002 as she travels on assignment to Kabul, Afghanistan. Parker has little experience with world travel and does not speak Arabic, so her job proves to be difficult from the onset. But as she continues to push on through and get her assignment done, she grows to love the Middle East and the people who live there — while also feeling like peace is impossible for the turmoiled region.

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Emma Thompson 2014 Golden Globes

Another Golden Globes is behind us, and what have we learned? The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is full of surprises. Do they really think Jon Voight is great in Ray Donovan, or will they simply always love him for making Angelina Jolie? Speaking of whom, she and husband Brad Pitt were very much missed this year, even with Pitt getting the last shoutout of the night in appreciation for all he did for getting 12 Years a Slave produced — didn’t the show basically end like the awards ceremony equivalent of that controversial Italian poster for the movie? I may have done really embarrassingly awful with my predictions this year — 11 out of 15 total, 6 out of 14 for movies and 5 out 11 for television — so we’ll see if I’m allowed to do that again next year. Hopefully my live-tweeting was more successful. Give me some feedback, positive or scathing. And also see if you agree with my picks for the best parts of this year’s ceremony and telecast below.

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ferrell and mckay 02

This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. When people talk of the best modern actor/director duos, they tend to leave out Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. Maybe it’s because unlike 12 Years a Slave (the latest Fassbender/McQueen), Inside Llewyn Davis (the latest Goodman/Coens) and The Wolf of Wall Street (the latest DiCaprio/Scorsese) Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues won’t be winning any major awards this year. But the latest from Ferrell/McKay is scoring high marks from critics and audiences. And since their first feature collaboration, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy, they’ve consistently delivered the comedy goods. Look at the funniest of Ferrell’s movies over the past decade and you’ll see they’re primarily McKay’s. And you won’t even find any movies directed by McKay not starring his old Saturday Night Live buddy. It’s actually at SNL where this perfect duo technically made their first film together. While Ferrell was a cast member and McKay was head writer, McKay began his move to directing by creating the show’s Digital Shorts brand of videos, which were initially just sketches fully produced prior to the live airing of the program. The original Digital Short debuted on February 5, 2000, during an episode hosted by Alan Cumming and featuring J.Lo as musical guest. Titled either The H is O or The Heat is On depending on which part of the credit sequence you accept as being the title, it […]

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burrellmuppets

Pretty much from the first moment the movie that eventually became The Muppets was rumored, fans were on board with the idea, and the reason everyone had so much faith in the project was simple: Jason Segel. Not only did he prove to the world that he could hit that right Muppet mix of heartfelt and hilarious by writing Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but he also showed some indication in that film that he had a rare talent for creating the goofy sort of puppet humor that makes you grin just as much as you groan. And after every interview he did while promoting the film made mention of the fact that said penchant for goofy puppet humor came from his lifelong love of the Muppets, and that his absolute dream project was to write a Muppet movie of his own—well, it was enough to create a perfect storm of good will. Ever since it was announced that the Segel and Nicholas Stoller-written and James Bobin-directed The Muppets would be getting a sequel set in Europe, the reaction to the project has conversely been met with a little bit of skepticism though, and that skepticism can basically be traced back to one root cause: the film’s decided lack of Jason Segel. This time around Bobin would be back in the director’s chair, Stoller would be back to help him put together a script, and  Bret McKenzie would even be back to do the music, but the man whose passion and sensibilities […]

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Golden Globes

In what is great news for everyone, unless you really, really love Ricky Gervais and can’t find joy elsewhere, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are hosting not only the 2014 Golden Globes, but the 2015 show as well. It’s not surprising, as the duo killed it at the 2013 Globes, bringing in 19.7m viewers, making it one of the ceremony’s most-watched programs ever. Bitches get stuff done. “Tina and Amy are two of the most talented comedic writer/performers in our business, and they were a major reason the Golden Globes was the most entertaining awards show of last season,” said NBC president of alternative and late night programming Paul Telegdy. “We’re elated they wanted to host together again and that they committed for the next two years.” Ricky Gervais hosted the show three times before they took over this year, and it was clear at that point that his act was wearing thin, drawing criticism from many who though his jokes were too “mean-spirited.” Poehler and Fey were a breath of fresh air who hit all the right notes without getting too controversial – although they did make an enemy that night in Taylor Swift after suggesting that she might go after Michael J. Fox’s teenage son. Let’s be honest; it was a valid concern.

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Brooklyn Nine Nine

When Liz Lemon left the airwaves nine months ago, she didn’t leave behind any daughters. The female-driven sitcoms that remain on the current network rotation owe little to 30 Rock. Parks and Recreation‘s sunny Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and New Girl‘s hipster-cute Jess (Zooey Deschanel) are about as far as you can get from prickly, taped-together bra-wearing Liz. Likewise, The Mindy Project‘s boy-crazy Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling) and 2 Broke Girls‘ gum-smackingly unambitious Max Black (Kat Dennings) have few concerns in common with the TGS showrunner and owner of Lesbian Frankenstein’s shoes. But Liz may have gifted us with a son in Andy Samberg. The Lonely Island frontman’s new show on Fox, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, seems to have adopted 30 Rock‘s heavy use of sketch-comedic flashcuts as its own. Tina Fey’s show wasn’t the first to use digressive asides, of course. Family Guy is notorious for its ADD-addled, plot-irrelevant side gags like the Peter vs. Giant Chicken fistfight, while mockumentaries like Arrested Development, Modern Family, and the aforementioned Parks and Rec occasionally use them, usually in the form of flashbacks, to add context to a scenario while squeezing in an extra laugh. It was The Simpsons that arguably pioneered the flashcut, but that show’s animated nature undercuts its absurdism; when everything is possible, nothing seems all that outlandish. On the other hand, the live-action quality of sketch comedy, especially when performed by known actors or comedians, accentuates the silliness.

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Tina Fey Girls

Saturday Night Live’s “rebuilding” year kicked off on Saturday night (well, of course) with the fall season’s first episode, featuring Tina Fey back to host (and to presumably add some gravitas and reliable talent to a rocky show) and Arcade Fire back to apparently have a Roman Coppola-filmed reason to consume illicit substances and dance on national television as if no one was actually watching. Fey’s entire monologue was amusingly centered on making the show’s six new cast members prance around in gold lame to a song about, well, making new cast members prance around in gold lame. While it could have fallen flat, Fey’s charm (and the inclusion of some very funny examples from her own early SNL days) powered it, and the mild desperation/total gameness of some of the new featured players (Beck Bennett, congrats on just really going for it) made it not entirely embarrassing for everyone involved (fine, we really enjoyed it). While the episode featured yet another self-referential bit that didn’t have nearly the same mileage, with  “New Cast Member or Arcade Fire,” the show was at its best when it allowed the new cast members to actually do something interesting and clever that genuinely capitalized on their talents. Or, as is the case with their “Girls Promo,” when it allowed new cast members (Noël Wells) to gel seamlessly with returning talent (Cecily Strong, Kate McKinnon, Vanessa Bayer, Taran Killam) and the episode’s host, giving the show not only its best sketch, but the best […]

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ng golden globes 150112

Given that the prevailing opinion among many circles seems to be that Hollywood awards shows are just an excuse for rich, pretty people to give themselves one more yearly pat on the back for being spectacular, they’ve recently become hard to sell to the viewing public. Gone is the reverence we used to have for old Hollywood and in its place are complaints that watching celebrities receive seemingly arbitrarily decided awards is boring, formulaic, and even a little pompous. Despite these sentiments, Ricky Gervais seemed to crack the code on how to present an awards show to a modern audience when he used his hosting duties at the 2010 Golden Globes to poke fun at the whole affair, call the governing body that gives out the awards corrupt, and basically just take the piss out of every famous face in the audience who didn’t have the good sense to stay home. It was a good formula, one that drew ratings and that led to Gervais being asked back to host two more times, but this year Tina Fey and Amy Poehler took over hosting duties and proved that the deed could also be done another way. With Fey and Poehler at the forefront, gone was the bitterness and awkwardly biting insult humor, and in its place was charm and good-natured silliness. Gone was the cynical mocking of the award-giving process, and in its place was the sense that while awards might not be all that important, they can still be […]

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diddy muppets most wanted

If you’ve ever wanted to see a Muppet sing “Moves Like Jagger,” here’s your chance. The teaser trailer for the sequel to The Muppets has arrived, and Muppets Most Wanted has some familiar faces and some very famous faces partying down while also entangled in an international crime spree. The world’s most conniving criminal is apparently Kermit’s doppelganger, who takes his sidekick (Ricky Gervais) around the world causing mayhem as they get chased down by the rest of the Muppets crew, along with an intrepid Interpol agent played by a mustachioed Ty Burell. Tina Fey also pops up as a no-nonsense Russian prison guard with a penchant for fantastic fur hats. Not much of the plot is revealed in the teaser, but it does show the broader aspects of what the movie will be about: big, flashy musical numbers, corny jokes and the triumph of the good guys over the bad guys. It’s a Muppet movie – it wouldn’t be complete without any of those things. I find it interesting, though, that Disney is marketing this as a sequel to The Muppets. Shouldn’t it be more of a standalone film, when there have already been so many Muppet ventures?

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Mean Girls

With his debut feature, Heathers, director Michael Lehmann created a cult hit that’s still earning new fans more than two decades after its release. Heathers stars Winona Ryder as Veronica, the newest and most reluctant member of her high school’s popular clique, the Heathers (referred to as such because the other three members are all named Heather). After falling in with a rebel boy named (hilariously) JD, (Christian Slater), Veronica decides that maybe it’s time somebody takes the Heathers down a peg, and maybe it should be her and her new beau. Things get out of control and murdery after that. The film sticks with audiences because it’s honest and brutal in its portrayal of the social strata of high school and the level of abuse that rolls downhill from the popular kids to the geeks. And it sure doesn’t turn a blind eye to the melancholy and melodrama that comes along with having teenage hormones. It faces the issue of teenage suicide head on and makes sick jokes about it, and it’s just that brand of nihilism that young people respond to most. Mark Waters’ Mean Girls isn’t quite yet a decade old, but already it seems to have faded away much more than Lehmann’s look at high school life. This is strange, because not only does it deal with many of the same concerns as Heathers, but it also comes from a script that was written by Tina Fey. From her work as the head writer on SNL, […]

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Admission

What if Tina Fey and Paul Rudd finally starred in a movie together - as romantic foils, no less - and it somehow managed to be just barely charming or funny or sweet or real? Too bad, that movie now exists and it’s Paul Weitz‘s Admission. Based on Jean Hanff Korelitz‘s novel of the same name, Admission features Fey as Portia Nathan, a go-getter of the highest order, a Princeton admissions officer who relishes her work (which she is, it must be noted, quite good at), while ignoring a number of hiccups in her personal life. When Portia finds out she’s up for a promotion (against her co-worker Corinne, amusingly and sharply played by Gloria Reuben), it makes the news that her dirtbag boyfriend (Michael Sheen, at his caddish best) has left her for a pregnant Virginia Woolf scholar go down just a bit more smoothly. But how can Portia make her work really stand out in the eyes of her boss (played, of course, by Wallace Shawn)? What can Portia offer that Corinne can’t? Well, Paul Rudd. Sort of. A former college acquaintance of Portia, Rudd’s John Pressman has recently started his own offbeat alternative school and he’s got one hell of a candidate for Princeton. Nat Wolff‘s Jeremiah is a charmer with a wealth of unique talents, a hunger for learning, and an adorable sprit. Oh, and Portia? He might be that kid that you gave up back in college. That you haven’t thought about for years. That you’ve never once mentioned wanting to see. And John knows it.

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Tina Fey

Now that Tina Fey’s successful NBC comedy 30 Rock has wrapped up its final season, it makes sense that her attention would turn more fully to getting into film. And now that Jason Moore’s Pitch Perfect has made legions of film fans believe that a movie about a capella competitions could be good and that God is real, it would make sense that he would be looking for a huge star to work with so that he can make an even bigger comedy. Hey, you got your Tina Fey in my Jason Moore! No, you got your Jason Moore in my Tina Fey! The big news here is that Moore is in negotiations to direct The Nest, which has been looked at as a starring vehicle for Fey for a while now. Coming from a script by Paula Pell (SNL, 30 Rock), The Nest is a story about two thirty-something sisters who, upset that their parents have put their childhood home up for sale, decide to spend one last weekend together in the house, fussin’ and fightin’ and doing all of the things that sisters in their thirties do. Given Moore’s success directing actresses to laughs with Pitch Perfect and Fey’s ability to pretty much just be funny all the time no matter what’s going on, this has to be seen as something of a dream pairing.

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30 Rock - Season 7

(Finale spoilers ahead…) What a touching final season 30 Rock had. Geeky, unlucky in love, “night cheese” adoring Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) married Criss Chros (James Marsden), then adopted two children; Kenneth (Jack McBrayer), the effervescent TV obsessed NBC page turned janitor, became president of the network; and finally, the flighty crew of ne’er-do-wells that Liz has been trying to rein in for the past seven years (Tracy, Jenna, Frank, and the rest) turned the tables on their boss and selflessly helped her out for once. Season seven was sentimental but it also managed to stay true to form, remaining weird and surreal right up until the last, perfectly odd seconds of its finale. But I’m getting ahead of myself. When the series finale — a two-parter — begins, Liz is looking far more domestic and calm than we’ve ever seen her. Production on her show, TGS, has been shut down, she’s a stay-at-home mom now, and she doesn’t know what to do with herself — she doesn’t have to deal with any more nonsense, she doesn’t have any more fires to put out.

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Evan Green

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting column that’s basically been subsisting on news coming out of Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City sequel in recent days. Today he adds two more actors to his ensemble. The big news is that Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, after having already shot some of its scenes, has finally found an actress to play the character of Ava Lord, who serves as the film’s titular dame. Dimension Films announced [via ComingSoon] that the powers that be have decided to go with Eva Green. The Ava Lord character is described by Frank Miller as being “every man’s most glorious dreams come true, she’s also every man’s darkest nightmares,” and both Miller and Rodriguez agree that Green is the actress who can best, “embody the multifaceted characteristics of this femme fatale.” That’s either a big compliment, or they might have just called her a bitch.

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Lucille Ball Milkshake

During a conversation about television icons, a buddy of mine said that Matthew Perry is on track to achieve legendary status (and she wasn’t talking about his legendary knack for starring on shows that get canceled). Lucille Ball, Andy Griffith, Carol Burnett, Matthew Perry–one of these things is not like the others. What this friend of mine failed to understand is that there is a difference between an icon and someone who is simply a prolific and perhaps beloved television actor, a difference that may be harder to identify when it comes to this medium than it is with film. Perry certainly possess many of the qualities that go in to making an icon–he’s charismatic, his particular set of comedic gifts are perfectly suited for the sitcom format, he’s been on TV for as long as I can remember. But he (on his own and not as a member of the Friends cast) hasn’t had the same kind of impact on the medium or the culture that someone like Jerry Seinfeld has–Seinfeld’s influence is still felt today in shows like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and he is so cherished by the public that we don’t hold The Marriage Ref against him. So, if not Perry, who is poised to join the pantheon of TV gods?

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