Tuesday
Feb242015

Breaking News: Super-Hot Netflix Reveals New Pee-Wee Herman Flick Info  

 


"I know you are, but what am I?" (Credit: HBO)

BY ROBBIE WOLIVER

You love this news so much, why don't you just marry it?

Well apparently Netflix loves Pee-Wee Herman so much they are marrying him. It's been known for a while that Netfix, which is on a hot streak, is producing the new Pee-Wee Herman film.

The name of the movie and more details, which we've all been waiting for, were finally announced today by Netflix. The Paul Reubens (Pee-Wee Herman)/Judd Apatow collaboration will be called Pee-wee’s Big Holiday. It's the highly anticpated, loooong-awaited sequel to Pee-Wee's Big Adventure and Big Top Pee-Wee.

Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday, according to Netflix, is about “a fateful meeting with a mysterious stranger inspires Pee-wee Herman to take his first-ever holiday in this epic story of friendship and destiny.”

Reubens wrote the screenplay with Arrested Development and Comedy Bang! Bang! scribe Paul Rust, and John Lee (Inside Amy Schumer, Broad City) will direct. It's film idea has been in the works for four years.

From Pee-Wee's lipsticked lips: "Judd and I dreamt up this movie four years ago. The world was much different back then— Netflix was waiting by the mailbox for red envelopes to arrive. I’ve changed all that. The future is here. Get used to it. Bowtie is the new black.”

While it was announced filming would start in three weeks, no release date has been mentioned. So for now, we'll just have to be satisfied waiting for Paul Ruebens to show up on favorite shows like The Blacklist, where he and his wig just kill as Mr. Vargas.

You do not want to get on the bad side of Mr. Vargas. (Credit: ABC)

While we greatly appreciate this fantastic update about Pee-Wee, now where's Mike Myers' news about the next Austin Powers?! 

For more stuff like this, and other pop-culture thoughts, follow REVIEWniverse on Twitter.

 

 

Tuesday
Feb242015

'Girlfriends' Guide' Has Been Tale Of Two Shows

 

Girlfriends (and man) in happier times. (Credit: Bravo)

BY KENNY HERZOG

As tonight's Season One finale of Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce approaches at 10 p.m. om Bravo (isn't it the TV event we've all been waiting for?), the most pressing question isn't whether 40-something self-help author and mother of two Abby McCarthy (Lisa Edelstein) and her soon-to-be-ex-husband Jake Novak (Prison Break baddie Paul Adelstein, in a jarring but believable turn of face) mend fences and stave off separation. The real mystery is which version of GG2D (as the Twitterverse calls it) arrives in our DVRs to say sionara and head into hiatus. Will it be the crackling, relatable, casually groundbreaking genre hybrid we've seen at its highest points? Or will this last hour revert to the underwritten, cariacture-driven chaos that's pockmarked frequent periods of its initial dozen episodes? And will this paragraph end with a declarative statement rather than open-ended question?

The answer to that last one is no. Far as the preceding conundrum, it's hard to say whether a show that's been scrambling to cohese since redacting one of its key characters from the mix can gel in time to tantalize for Season Two. To explain, GG2D thus far can essentially be boiled down to two eras: Pre- and post-Janeane Garofalo. The erstwhile comedian, activist and actress signed on as powerful divorce attorney Lyla, playing against type as an alpha female in limbo with her emasculated husband who's somewhat neglectful of her precocious kids. Garofalo rounded out the primary gal-pal trio (also featuring bombshell Beau Garrett as doted-on hippie hottie Phoebe), but more importantly, grounded the show's lofty L.A.-ness with her familiar edge... even if Lyla couldn't be less counter-culturally inclined. And when GG2D was first humming, the result was a series that could visually blend into Bravo's patchwork of socialite reality but sneak in substantive laughs and sentiment around the notion that a more inclusive and open-minded society (it has been consistently forward-thinking about race, gender, religion and sexuality) hasn't made us more capable of keeping families and relationships together.

 

Then, precisely halfway through, Lyla freaked out that she'd lose her kids in the custody battle, more or less kidnapped them and fled to Oregon, and was only ever heard from again via phone to declare she and hubby reconciled and they're all living happily ever after in the Pacific Northwest. Some cursory digging revealed this was due to Garofalo exiting production early (a source close to the network tells REVIEWniverse that the character may come back, but Garofalo wanted to balance work on the show with her standup career and other projects), saddling creative with the unenivable task of compensating for her departure.

Apparently, she left not so much a hole as an abyss, one that required a several-headed solution. Suddenly, Abby's brother Max (Patrick Heusinger) and his husband Ford (J. August Richards) were going through previously unintimated and rather mundane marital woes; Abby's colleague and nemesis Delia (Necar Zadegan) was inorganically repackaged as one of Abby's closest confidants; Phoebe, who'd gotten all her grit opposite Lyla's pragmatic foil, was relegated to vanilla soul-searching B-stories; and most desperately, Lyla was literally replaced with Abby's apparent college buddy from New York, the brash and batshit Jo (Alanna Ubach, who's generally delightful, but a bit too typecast here), who basically barnstorms through Abby's life with her uptight daughter Zooey (Alison Thornton) along for the mania. 

What the hell just happened here? Well, that's exactly what the show's fans have been trying to figure out ever since. Light has cut through the clutter, as when Abby had a frank and provocative conversation with her daughter Lilly (Conner Dwelly) about slut-shaming, Jo went banans on her kid's private school's snooty "mommy Mafia" and the frequent occasions in which Abby and Jake have bittersweetly attempted holding on to their mutual love and respect. But from the moment Garofalo made her fateful call from Oregon, Girlfriends' Guide has been a bit at sea, attempting to enhance the depth of so many regulars to overcome the loss of one and forgetting to fully nourish Abby's story. And while Lyla was admittedly a big part of GG2D's (if you'll allow me to alternate titular shorthands) heart and humor, Abby (and Edelstein, who's very good and likeable) is still its soul. 

Whether all this makes you recoil, or piques your curiosity to tune in, there's two prevailing takeaways from Girlfriends' tempestuous debut season: It's hard not to have an opinion, and Garofalo is a real asset for the right show. Too bad it (probably) won't continue to be this one, but it Divorce is still worth sticking around for.

For more stuff like this, and other pop-culture thoughts, follow Kenny Herzog and REVIEWniverse on Twitter. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday
Feb242015

'The Voice' Can Just Award Prize to Sawyer Fredericks NOW 

 

Sawyer Fredericks: Just give him the prize. (Courtesy NBC)

BY ROBBIE WOLIVER

The latest season of The Voice debuted on Monday night, and the final performer, 15-year-old, homeschooled farmboy Sawyer Fredericks gave Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, Pharrell and Blake Shelton a lesson in how to re-invent a song. The long-haired, chapeau'd teen, who says he's influenced by Ray LaMontagne and Creedence Cleerwater Revival, sang his haunting version of the country-folk classic "Man of Contstant Sorrow," displaying a mature musicality. All four panelists turned around for him, and he chose Pharrell, because as homeschooley as he is, he's still markets himself pretty well on the Internet, especially YouTube

 

March 17 Battle Round Update: We picked this kid from the start,and he didn't let us down in the Battle Round, even though he had some stiff competition in Noelle Bybee. The song: Creedence Clearwater's "Have You Ever Seen the Rain." And, of course, Sawyer won the round.

Bottom line: Just hand the trophy to him now -- with his musical ability, pretty boy looks and dapper hat, he's got in this the bag.

 For more stuff like this, and other pop-culture thoughts, follow REVIEWniverse on Twitter.

Thursday
Feb192015

'Fortitude' is Best New Show You're Not Watching

  

BY ROBBIE WOLIVER

While cannibal polar bears and millennia-old wooly mammoths are the prey here, Fortitude has captured an even more important creature: my imagination.

Fortitude is like no other town on our TV landscape and, yet, it is like every other town from every other show we’ve been obsessed with. If only we knew then, we could have forgone some of those shows: Lost (supernatural polar bears), The Killing (gloomy atmosphere), Broadchurch/Gracepoint (smalltown mystery), True Detective (enigmatic lawmen), Fargo (SNOW!), The Vikings (ICE! and accents), the low winter sun of the short-lived desolate Low Winter Sun (same creator and writer, Simon Donald), The Affair (slow-paced tone and…affairs), The Strain (something evil’s lurking), and the otherworldiness of the brilliant The Returned (the French Sundance channel version, and a show I will not forego). It's a Nordic noir gem.

First off, Fortitude is absolutely gorgeous. The spacious, picturesque Arctic landscapes are breathtaking. Even a boat momentarily sludging through an iceberg-filled body of water is breathtaking—and not just visually. There’s the gentle sound of the water juxtaposed with the frantic search in which the boat is partaking.

 

I never dream about TV shows, even though I watch everything. (Really, everything.) I fall asleep after Rick Grimes and his gang lob off walking-dead heads, and not one drop of blood or rotten limb shows up in a dream. But the night after my first viewing of Fortitude, I dreamt about that polar panorama, frustrated because I couldn’t get my camera to work to capture the gorgeous scene. All is ice—white, blue, light green—glistening, with thick snowflakes often flickering through windows.

It’s a cold and desolate town, rife with corruption, and as the “governor” likes to proclaim, “the safest place on earth.” And that’s even after this gentle and deliberately paced gem of a 12-part series has introduced us to a horribly butchered, murdered, bloody mess of an inhabitant. 

Filled with mystery, suspense, cinematic beauty, slow-churning action, Nordic accents, the amazing Stanley Tucci, sense of foreboding, alienation, danger lurking at every snowblind curve, red herrings (and I’m sure many other types of herrings), mysterious women, guilty-seeming men, weird children, animals you just can’t trust, the scariest T-shirt on TV and the nicest hotel this side of the Defiance’s NeedWant.  

Four episodes in, I still don’t know what’s going on, and I don’t care, because I have bought into this show big-time, and I am in for the ride.  Fortitude is this year’s best show. 

 

ASIDES:

 

  • ·      A show highlight actually happens in my home and not on the screen. It’s when my wife, throughout, warns, ”If that ‘thing’ moves, I’m outta here.”

 

  • ·      As if all these Arctic types aren’t enough to satisfy me, along comes…Stanley Tucci, whose wry character, DCI Morton, a methodical British inspector won me over from his first scene, but whose lightweight wool coat and beret-like hat (that doesn’t cover his ears!!!) that he wears while he skulks around on frigid polar nights, drives me crazy. He’ll catch his death. 

 

  • ·      With 20 compelling characters, it’s a mystery wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a mystery.  And maybe no mystery at all.

 

  • ·      Governor Hildur Obegard (The Killing’s Sofie Grabol) is a great female lead character. Unique and complexly drawn.

 

  • ·      Whose been taking care of those beautiful huskies at the abandoned hut?

 

  • ·      Sheriff Dan Andersson (Richard Dormer) is one of the most complicated principal characters on any show. I particularly like that he talks like he’s being dubbed.

 

  • ·      How can you not love a show whose sets and actors' names feature alphabet letters with little circles over them and slashes through them?

 

  • ·      Elena (Veronica Echegui) is a bit creepy. I think she’s hypnotizing everyone. But she certainly is a beauty…and. I. will. do. as. She. commands.

 

  • ·      The homey Midnight Sun Hotel looks like it could be in Cabot Cove on Murder She Wrote.

 

  • ·      Oy, the Sutters.

 

  • ·      For the record, I don’t trust Markus, the Sutters’ neighbor.

 

  • ·      Best scene so far: Markus Dexter-ishly staring at his plump dining companion as she eats a hamburger.

 

  • ·      Ingrid and Petra, the best Scandinavian cops on TV.  Hello? Spin-off!!!

 

  • ·      “If that thing moves. I’m outta here.” 

 

 

Fortitude airs Thursdays on Pivot at 10 p.m. Missed episodes are available On Demand.

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Friday
May182012

Time for 'Glee' Coach Dot-Marie Jones' Emmy 

 

TV REVIEW: Dot-Marie Jones plays the uber macho/super-sensitive Coach Bieste on Glee with skill and heart, and now it's time for her to collect an Emmy. 

By Robbie Woliver

Dot-Marie Jones dances her way around the most complex and diverse emotions, making her one of TV's most memorable and touching characters. (Photo: FOX)

Glee has had its share of cartoonish characters; some successful (the always stunningly funny Jane Lynch as sharp-tongued Sue Sylvester) and some not so much (Igbal Theba’s Principal Figgins), and Dot-Marie Jones’ super-butch Coach Bieste was set up to be the most egregious of all. But what a miraculous turn actress Dot-Marie Jones has taken with this character, and if all is right with the world, Ms. Jones should be making room on her mantle for an Emmy Award.

No one brings the tender moments like Jones does. Coach Bieste turns those heartstrings tighter than anyone else on this large ensemble show. Lynch might (deservedly) get all the over-the-top big laughs and attention, but Jones brings the depth and emotion. In fact, she’s arguably the most affecting character and effective actress currently on TV.

With all of Glee’s loud and often strident broadcasting for tolerance, it’s Coach Bieste who makes it relatable and human. Her big-themed arcs (finding unlikely love, bullying and, most recently, domestic violence) become heartbreaking through her deft, natural ability to emote. When her eyes tear up because she’s feeling a student’s pain, or because her love interest has looked elsewhere, or because she’s the embarrassed victim of her husband’s fist, it’s impossible to watch without tears in your own eyes. (Jones’ teary eyes and broken voice deserve Emmy nods on their own.)

When she’s supporting a character who’s bullied or beaten, and especially when she’s supporting someone who just needs encouragement, you can’t help but be drawn in by her strength. And when she’s happy, you’re happy. And we all want this dear, sweet character to be happy. That's why one of the most endearing elements of Glee is Bieste’s genuine friendship with Matthew Morrison’s Will Schuester.

As butch and masculine as Coach Bieste is, Dot-Marie (what a great name) still makes her one of the most gentle and feminine characters on the show. And that’s the art of Dot-Marie Jones: She brings humanity to this complex, unique character. An actress just can’t draw this multi-layered personality out of nowhere, and Jones is most likely, in real life, the best qualities of Bieste.

So this is a call to action for Emmy voters—if you’ve given up on Glee, don’t retreat from Coach Bieste, ‘cause if this were the other way around, she’d have all our backs.

 

IN OTHER WORDS: Give Dot-Marie Jones her well-deserved Emmy, and then… spin-off!

 

DOT-MARIE JONES RATING:  10/10

QUINN’S PARALYSIS RATING: 0/10

ALEX NEWELL’S UNIQUE BETTER BE A REGULAR RATING: Diva/10

 

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