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Culture Cafe

Movie, music, and television reviews from a select group of bloggers.

'New Girl' stars Max Greenfield (l.), Lamorne Morris (center) and Jake M. Johnson (r.) as the roommates of Jess (Zooey Deschanel). (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

'New Girl': Who's signed on to play Jess's parents?

By Scott StouteScreen Rant / 09.20.12

It’s time to meet the parents responsible for the quirky cuteness that is Jess Day (Zooey Deschanel) on New Girl, as actress Jamie Lee Curtis and actor/director Rob Reiner have been tapped to play her parents in season 2.

The actors will appear in the series’ Thanksgiving episode as Bob and Joan Day – Jess’ divorced parents whose passion she’ll try to reignite in a Parent Trap-esque scenario. Currently, it looks like both Reiner and Curtis will only be stopping by for the one episode, but a return for the both of them down the line hasn’t been ruled out. 

Curtis – primarily known for such popular films as Halloween and True Lies - will be appearing on New Girl fresh off a multiple-episode arc on CBSNCIS as Dr. Samantha Ryann, a potential love interest for Special Agent Gibbs (Mark Harmon). In a recent interview, Curtis stated that she would be returning to NCIS at a later date.

Meanwhile, Reiner has made appearances on hit comedies like 30 Rock and Curb Your Enthusiasm, but is probably best known on TV for his role as Archie Bunker’s “Meathead”  son-in-law on All in the Family. Since the ’80s, Reiner has spent most of his time behind the camera directing films like This Is Spinal Tap, Stand By Me, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, Misery, and, more recently, The Bucket List.

Comedian Rob Riggle will also be stopping by for a slice of Thanksgiving turkey as Schmidt’s (Max Greenfield) cousin and mortal enemy, who also goes by Schmidt (hence the bitter feud).

Others joining the cast of season 2 include America’s Next Top Model alum, Keenyah Hill – who will appear in episode 2 as Winston’s (Lamorne Morris) smart, sexy sister, Alisha, a professional basketball player whom Schmidt takes a liking to – and Anna Maria Horsford (the Friday movies) as Winston’s tough-talking mother.

Scott Stoute blogs at Screen Rant.

Claire Danes (r.) and Damian Lewis (l.) will star in the second season of 'Homeland.' (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Claire Danes in 'Homeland': What's coming up in season 2

By Anthony OcasioScreen Rant / 09.19.12

It’s been an eventful year for Showtime’s new hit series HomelandWith two Golden Globe awards under their belt, as well as praise from audiences and critics alike, all eyes are on the cable drama as it heads into its second season this fall.

With Homeland being based on the hit Israeli series Hatufim (Kidnapped), you would think that many hints of what’s to come may lie in the source material. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Homeland may have been based off of Hatufim, but the only element that remains from the original series is the fact that a solider (soldiers in the original) returned home after being held captive for many years, and must deal with adjusting to a world that has continued without him. While there are several mysteries surrounding what actually occurred during their captivity,Hatufim is not the narrative thriller that Homeland is.

And with Homeland season 2 set to begin production this summer, it’s time to find out exactly what those upcoming twists and turns may be. Speaking with E! Online recently, executive producer Alex Gansa (The X-Files24) revealed some details about what’s to come in one of cable television’s most talked about series.

The Time Jump

For those fans looking to find out what happened after Carrie (Claire Danes) attempted to cure her bi-polar disorder with electroconvulsive therapy, you may be disappointed with the intended plans for next season. It appears that instead of picking up where the Homeland season 1 finale left off, the producers are going to make use of television’s dreaded time jump. While we’ll ultimately see the result of Carrie’s treatments, it won’t be the seamless continuation that many expected.

We have the ability now to jump time between seasons—so don’t be surprised if we don’t pick up the very next day.

By jumping some time, we’re going to be able to put our characters in different places than they have been this season. There will be a reset, probably after a jump in time, and both [Carrie and Brody] will be in very different places than they are now.

Even though television’s often-abused time jumps do tend to give viewers the appearance that the producers are attempting to work with a clean slate, after what may be a disastrous season of storytelling, there have been many examples where a time jump, when handled correctly, can further explore aspects of a series and its characters that otherwise wouldn’t be available .

The People

Thanks to a perfectly-timed phone call to Sargent Brody (Damian Lewis) in the finale, the Al-Qaeda sleeper-assassin secured his placement in Homeland season 2, and perhaps a position in the White House. But according to Gansa, the second season will continue progressing the highly volatile relationship between Carrie and Brody.

The center of season two will be the same as the center of season one and that is the Carrie-Brody relationship. The reason why we decided not to kill Brody off in the finale is because that relationship hasn’t run its course yet. That’s what we always come back to—whenever we can intersect those two characters, that’s when we feel most alive as writers, that’s when the series really soars.

That being said, the producers are still focused on further evolving the series. And with the only reasoning for keeping Brody around being that his relationship with Carrie “hasn’t run its course yet,” Homeland is going to have to bring in some new talent. Perhaps an Oscar winner who already has an affinity for the series?

I think we will bring some new characters in, especially to the CIA. But that’s really just in the gestating…we just don’t know what we’re going to do yet.

I’ll tell you this: Robin Williams loves the show. So who knows? Can you imagine Robin Williams and Mandy Patinkin in a scene together? That’s what I want to see.”


The Plot

With Homeland’s intended time jump previously revealed, Gansa explains that the storyline inHomeland season 2 is going mirror the 2013 Presidential election, which will be occurring at the same time that the second season airs.

I think an election will be happening. And the great thing is, an election [for U.S. president] will really be happening when we air. So it’s going to be a really wonderful confluence of events.

And now that Brody has been able to been able to transition himself from a one-hit-bomber in the eyes of Abu Nazir, you can bet that Brody is going to take his ”American hero” persona further than anyone would have expected, and is going to be very involved in helping to shape the public’s opinion to better plan into Nazir’s plans.

As Nazir told Brody, “Why kill a man when you can kill an idea?”

But since a time jump has occurred, perhaps Brody has had a change of heart?

I suppose we’ll have to wait to find out

Anthony Ocasio blogs at Screen Rant.

Jennifer Lawrence (r.) and Bradley Cooper (l.) will star in the adaptation of Ron Rash's novel 'Serena.' (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper team up again for 'Serena'

By Sandy SchaeferScreen Rant / 09.18.12

Darren Aronofsky (at one point) had his eye on directing Serena, an adaptation of Ron Rash’s Shakespearean tragedy-style historical novel, with Angelina Jolie in the lead. That’s no longer happening, as the project is instead being adapted for the big screen and helmed by Susanne Bier – a Danish filmmaker whose resume includes broody dramas such as Things We Lost in the Fire and the Foreign Language Oscar-winning In a Better World.

However, the Serena adaptation has still managed to secure two hot Hollywood talents, in the form of The Hangover star Bradley Cooper and Oscar-nominee Jennifer Lawrence (this year’s The Hunger Games) – a duo who, as it were, is fresh off working on director David O. Russell’s The Silver Linings Playbook together.

Serena (the novel) takes place in 1929 North Carolina, where newlyweds George and Serena Pemberton travel, in order to make their fortune in the timber business. Serena proves herself to be not only a highly-competent boss, but also a fearless pioneer who’s capable of handling anything the wilderness can throw her way. However, Serena’s ambition takes a turn for the dangerous, when she learns that she cannot bear children, and (eventually) thereafter sets out to murder George’s illegitimate son – who he fathered while living in the timber camp, prior to Serena’s arrival - all while the pair’s onetime “passionate” union begins to spiral (dangerously) downward.

Vulture has the scoop on Cooper and Lawrence teaming up for Serena, which will see Lawrence back to working on indie turf (a la Winter’s Bone, The Beaver, Like Crazy) after her recent turns in big-budgeted fare such as The Hunger Games and X-Men: First Class.

Similarly, Serena will be just the latest gloomy character-oriented drama to feature Cooper in some capacity – following on the heels of this year’s Sundance breakout flick, The Words, and Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines, which is due to hit theaters later in 2012.

That is to say: Cooper and Lawrence really are more than just pretty faces that pop up in commercial Hollywood productions. This will also be the case with Silver Linings Playbook, in which the two also play a dysfunctional couple – though, in Russell’s film, they’ll be portraying a comical pair of oddballs (as opposed to the back-stabbing spouses from Serena).

Cooper and Lawrence on the 'Silver Linings Playbook' set

The unscrupulous George and conniving Serena both sound like roles that Cooper and Lawrence are well fit for handling, respectively – with the latter character (who almost sounds like a female version of Daniel Plainview from There Will be Blood) being the really “juicy” part that should allow Lawrence to truly flex her complex acting muscles.

Similarly, having a 21-year-old actress handle the titular role could result in a more interesting portrayal of a woman denied the opportunity to become a mother – as opposed to having a more matured starlet (like the 36-year-old Jolie) take on the part. So, again, Lawrence is an intriguing choice, if only for that reason.

Bier, as mentioned before, is know for crafting melancholic tales about damaged people – so, her working on Serena sounds promising enough. Aronofsky’s name might’ve helped attract more attention, but it is certainly possible that Bier will ultimately prove to be the better fit for bringing this troubling tale to cinematic life.

Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.

'Boardwalk Empire' actress Meg Chambers Steedle plays Billie Kent in the third season of the show. (Macall Poley/HBO/AP)

'Boardwalk Empire' season 3 premiere explores old and new character motivations

By Kevin YeomanScreen Rant / 09.17.12

Is HBO’s prohibition-era gangster drama Boardwalk Empire simply a luscious spectacle about bootlegged liquor and the underhanded individuals destined to make a mint by selling said hooch to parched individuals across the country – or does former Sopranos writer Terence Winter have something more meaningful lurking beneath the perfect recreations of 1920s Atlantic City?

At the start, the series was inarguably one of the most visually splendid programs on television – complete with all the pay-cable accoutrement one could want – but in many respects it felt as though it had been treating its main characters with too much of what might be called kid gloves. Enoch “Nucky” Thompson (Steve Buscemi) was successfully leading a double life as county treasurer, happily ingratiating himself with the people (like women’s suffrage groups) and criminal folk alike, living in a hotel suite and having a meaningless romance with the uninhibited and squinty-eyed Lucy Danziger (the departed Paz de la Huerta). All in all, Nucky’s life revolved around the temporary. Since then, things have become more legitimate in one department, while exceedingly sordid in the other.

As of late, Boardwalk Empire has attempted to strike a balance between characters pushed to engage in unlawful activities and those purposefully steering themselves directly into any form of moneymaking malfeasance they can find. Despite a honest-to-goodness family (sure, unlike his many fine tailored suits, the family came off the rack, but it is a family nonetheless), Nucky’s transition has become one of a man more wholly embracing his criminality; gone is the charming, but transparent façade of a representative of the people. Initially, Nucky was, for all intents and purposes, where the buck stopped with matters pertaining to illegal activity in Atlantic City. But with that came a notoriety and celebrity that made his criminal endeavors more difficult to maintain, and ultimately came within a hair’s breadth of doing him in.

On the flipside was Michael Pitt’s Jimmy Darmody – the character so much of the audience bought into as the series’ true protagonist. Jimmy was the anti-hero, the guy compelled to break the law, slit some throats and bootleg liquor because the war – and certainly the Oedipal tryst with his mother Gillian (Gretchen Mol) beforehand – ruined Jimmy’s mind, spirit and body. In a shocking move, Winter and his writers took a chance at redefining their intended lead by having Nucky personally do away with what may have been Boardwalks‘ most significant character in the young Mr. Darmody. The result? A Nucky (and now season) defined by the dying words of a son slain by his surrogate father. So what did Jimmy know that Nucky was reluctant to recognize? “You can’t be half a gangster,” of course.

And in doing so, the series is now on the verge of presenting Nucky Thompson to an audience that may harbor some ill will towards the man, but is a great deal more likely to stand up and pay attention the next time Enoch saunters into the room. As the song suggests when the season premiere kicks off, “There’ll be some changes made.When we first see Nucky in season 3, he’s dealing with a warehouse thief, while a giggling Mickey Doyle (Paul Sparks) gleefully munches on his breakfast, despite being recognized as the only true idiot in the room. (Though, to his credit, Doyle manages to steer clear of Nucky’s wrath, unlike the poor sap who was “only doing his job.”)

The scene is at once an indication that Nucky is indeed no longer fooling around and why Steve Buscemi’s demeanor – wallowing in disbelief at how inept everyone else around him is – makes him the perfect choice to embody this sort of anti-Mafioso criminal entrepreneur. Nucky toys with the thief, instilling a false sense of hope that he may get off with a terse, but well deserved reprimand. After all, as Buscemi plays it, he’s not mad, just disappointed – then, of course, he has the thief shot.

The well-educated, disciplined and dapper Thompson is at once strikingly dissimilar to the season’s newest addition of Gyp Rosetti (played by wonderful character actor Bobby Cannavale). Like Nucky, the Sicilian gangster has a taste for the finer things, and his dealings sometimes end in someone else’s death, but the road leading there is quite different. For example: when faced with a perceived insult to his intelligence – even by the most innocuous of responses, as the good intentions of one man results in a disastrous turn of phrase – Rosetti can only turn to brutal violence in order to get his point across. So desperate for validation amongst his criminal peers is the gangster that he’d sooner explode with indignation and insults than attempt to negotiate himself a better deal, now that Nucky’s only selling booze to Arnold Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg). As he stomps off into the New Year’s night, Rosetti clearly poses an interesting problem for Nucky: a consummate gangster with his sights set on the man who chose to become one simply to get ahead.

For all of Rosetti’s hotheadedness, he can, at least, be shown the door. But Nucky’s patented expression of pure exasperation seems due a workout as Margaret (Kelly Macdonald), infused with her own brand of righteousness, takes it upon herself to look into the failings of prenatal care at St. Theresa’s hospital – newly renovated thanks to the astounding donation she made in Nucky’s name at the end of season 2. Margaret’s arc this season seems intrinsically tied to the cross-country flight of fictional aviatrix Carrie Duncan (something of an Amelia Earhart analog), whose journey serves as inspiration for Margaret to explore new, possibly dangerous avenues, as her relationship with Nucky grows colder.

Perhaps most affected by the fallout of last season are the disgraced former government agent, Nelson Van Alden (Michael Shannon), and the ghastly visage of the quietly introspective Richard Harrow (Jack Huston). Both characters have been featured in the series’ single-episode high points, but now Van Alden finds himself on the cusp of working for a competitor of Al Capone (Stephen Graham), after a rigged sales competition leaves him without the bonus he needs to buy a house for the counterfeit family that came with his alias. Richard, meanwhile, has been taken in by Gillian, working in her new Artemis Club, but he’s mostly trying to keep the memory of Jimmy and his wife Angela alive.

And, to Richard, nothing says fondness for a fallen comrade than an act of belated vengeance. He rings in the New Year by paying a visit to Manny Horvitz, and with a single shotgun blast explains to viewers why they’ll be seeing William Forsythe on the Mob Doctor instead of the remainder of Boardwalk Empire season 3. If anything, Richard is indicative of Boardwalk Empire’s growth. Though he’s been tragically placed in an environment that doesn’t know exactly what to do with him, it’s that placement which helps Richard’s story echo the loss of Jimmy across the entire series – proving it to have been more than an outrageous play by the writers.

So far, in season 3, Boardwalk Empire shows signs of moving beyond the glitz of its presentation. In attempting to move the central conceit past merely being of a distinct period in time, the audience’s modern sensibilities are better filtered through a particular and different, but not entirely unfamiliar milieu. The execution of the series during each season has been largely impeccable; the stories are engaging and increasingly more personal, which has been to the benefit of characters like Jimmy, Richard and Nelson, but now, hopefully, they will include a deeper look into Nucky.

Boardwalk Empire has grown into a series interested in the rippling effect that competition, greed and duplicity can have on an individual and the choices he or she makes. So far, as season 3 segues into a new year, there’ve certainly been some changes made; some of them successful, while others we’ll have to wait and see. Like its flawless recreation of a bygone era, the series is looking to find poignancy in what came before to bolster the stories that lie ahead.

Kevin Yeoman blogs at Screen Rant.

Ellen DeGeneres voices forgetful fish Dory (r.) and Albert Brooks voices father fish Marlin (l.) in 'Finding Nemo.' (Reuters)

Ellen DeGeneres in 'Finding Nemo 3D': Is it worth seeing in its new format?

By Ben KendrickScreen Rant / 09.17.12

Three years before Disney officially purchased Pixar Studios, the animation house released one of their most beloved and critically lauded films to date. Finding Nemo opened May 30, 2003 and delivered over $800 million in worldwide ticket sales –  on a $94 million budget. Since that time, the film has become a fan-favorite home entertainment choice for families and animation fans – not to mention positioned characters like Nemo, Marlin, and Dory as long-term merchandising platforms.

Now that 3D has managed to take hold both at the box office and home theaters, Disney has been digging in the Pixar archives and rereleasing certain films with new 3D visuals – including Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and soon Monsters Inc. Given the critical and commercial success of the film, there’s no debating that the Finding Nemo story is a must see for movie fans. However, with ten years of availability on DVD (and now Blu-ray), does Finding Nemo 3D, coupled with Mark Walsh’s Toy Story short, Partysaurus Rex, offer enough payoff to make it worth another viewing  - this time in 3D?

NOTE: As with previous 3D rerelease reviews, the purpose of our Finding Nemo 3D review is to help our readers make an informed decision about the 3D rerelease, not spend time revisiting any overarching problems that might have been evident in the original movie – since readers are likely well acquainted with the quality and overwhelmingly positive critical reception of the 2003 film. In a time when movie studios are quick to shove unnecessary post-conversion rereleases into theaters, moviegoers need to know which movies have enjoyed a rigorous as well as artistic 3D treatment and which ones are simply revisited for the purpose of studio double-dipping – made even more enticing by 3D upcharges and eventual 3D blu-ray sales.

Fortunately, while Disney is sure to net a solid return on their 3D investment, Pixar’s 3D conversion process is much more involved than typical “post-conversions” (the Pixar 3D team likens it more to “recreation”) – resulting in an experience that is absolutely enhanced by the added depth. Unlike film conversions, Pixar can actually revisit the original digital Finding Nemo files and, as they  convert each scene into 3D, are able to manually address glitches or areas of discomfort that might occur as a result of moving the images from a 2D to 3D plane. In some cases the 3D team even fixed problems that slipped through the cracks the first time the film was released – details that will no doubt be the subject of a special feature on the inevitable 3D Blu-ray.

Anyone who is immediately put off by the idea of the conversion team fiddling with the original movie can rest easy – the changes represent only minor cosmetic alterations (removing elements that might be distracting in a 3D foreground) or addressing oversights that slipped through in the original version (fixing a stationary shadow that didn’t move after a character exited the shot). The film doesn’t contain any new scenes, extended takes, or new easter eggs – it’s the same Finding Nemo, except optimized for 3D viewing.

In general, the Pixar conversion approach is in line with 3D guru James Cameron – who keeps the audience’s emotional focus at the screen and enhances the experience with subtle elements positioned in the foreground or background. Prioritizing immersion over gimmicky projectiles, might be underwhelming for audience members who routinely “test” 3D by removing their glasses (a very limited measure in the first place) but the colorful and vibrant Finding Nemo setting should provide discerning moviegoers with plenty of fan-favorite moments that are successfully enhanced by the added dimension. On their own, few of the scenes are likely to offer outright memorable 3D visual set pieces (this is still a post-conversion); however, as an overall experience, viewers should notice a stronger association with the underwater environment as well as a number of shots that are especially striking this round – thanks to the added dimension (i.e. the Jellyfish forest and East Australian Current).

Additionally, the Toy Story short, Partysaurus Rex, from director Mark Walsh is paired with Finding Nemo 3D and is easily the most enjoyable franchise spin-off to date. The short film follows Wallace Shawn’s beloved dinosaur character, as the typical “party pooper” of the group attempts to, instead, become the life of a bathtub (foam) party. Considering its abbreviated short film runtime, Partysaurus Rex alone wouldn’t be enough reason to pay for a subpar 3D rerelease but, attached to a well-crafted offering like Finding Nemo 3D, the toon serves as an exceptionally entertaining lead-in. While Toy Story 3 put a smart end cap on the feature franchise, the short spin-offs continue to deliver worthwhile adventures with Buzz, Woody, and the gang (especially if Pixar never attempts a Toy Story 4).

Finding Nemo 3D is a quality post-conversion experience that successfully enhances the 2003 film’s original standout visuals. While it might not offer the eye-popping gimmickry some moviegoers crave in 3D features, it’s easy to recommend the rerelease to fans who count Finding Nemo among their favorite animated features as well as anyone (young or old) who has never experienced the film in theaters. Finding Nemo 3D is another example of post-conversion done right and, paired with the especially humorous Partysaurus Rex short, is well worth another trip to your local box office.

Ben Kendrick blogs at Screen Rant.

The fall TV schedule includes 'Ben and Kate,' a new comedy about a brother who moves in with his sister to help raise his niece. (Beth Dubber/Fox/AP)

Fall TV schedule: Your guide to every premiere date

By Anthony OcasioScreen Rant / 09.17.12

It’s that time of the year again to return to your favorite fall television shows. If you thought that this season was going to be a bit easier on your remote, you better think again. Not only will you have 18 new series fighting for your attention, you’ll also have 69 returning shows with new seasons. In case you’re wondering, that’s 87 TV premieres waiting for you in the coming months. Hopefully you have a DVR.

Like in past years, the fall television season has broken out of the typical September-only premiere scheduling. Instead of simply one month of hectic television planning (and watching), everything is now essentially spread across two months, September and October. Not to be left out, November also includes two premieres – though only for ABC.

Kicking off the month of September, things start off a bit slow with Matthew Perry’s new NBC series Go On, Sons of Anarchy season 5 and Boardwalk Empire season 3, to name a few. We move on to September’s proverbial “hell week” on the 24th, where each day contains at least 5 premieres – topping things out on Wednesday with 9 total. Some premieres included in this week are Castle season 5, New Girl season 2, as well as the premieres of CBS’ Vegas and Elementary. Helping to round out the month, Dexter season 7 and Once Upon a Time season 2 are awaiting those who make it through stage 1 of the fall TV season.

Heading into October, fan-favorite series Supernatural, Raising Hope, and 30 Rock help lead the first week of premiere. Continuing, CW brings back superheroes with Arrow, AMC brings back the undead in The Walking Dead season 3, and FX brings back the eerie in American Horror Story: Asylum (season 2). The close of the month brings the return of Community, Nikita and Touch, meaning that the fall TV premiere season is almost over.

Lastly, November sees the premiere of Last Man Standing and the premiere of Malibu Country. Of course, if you thought your viewing conundrums are over, just remember that winter TV hiatuses will begin in December.

If you need to brush up on some of the new fall TV series, check our guide to the new shows:

 A Guide To New 2012 Fall TV Shows.

Check out the complete list of  premiere dates below: (Happy scheduling!)

Monday, September 10

 The New Normal (NBC) [NEW SERIES]

Tuesday, September 11
 Go On (NBC) [Regular Time Slot]
 Parenthood (NBC)
 Sons of Anarchy (FX)

Wednesday, September 12
 Guys with Kids (NBC) [NEW SERIES]

Thursday, September 13
 Glee [FOX]

Sunday, September 16
 Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
 Revolution premieres Monday, September 17 @10pm on NBC

Monday, September 17
 Bones (FOX)
 Mob Doctor (FOX) [NEW SERIES]
 Revolution (NBC) [NEW SERIES] 

Thursday, September 20
 Parks & Recreation (NBC)
 The Office (NBC)
 Up All Night (NBC)

Sunday, September 23
 Treme (HBO)

Monday, September 24
 2 Broke Girls (CBS)
 Castle (ABC)
 Dancing with The Stars (ABC)
 Hawaii Five-0 (CBS)
 How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
 Mike and Molly (CBS)
 Partners (CBS) [NEW SERIES]

Ben and Kate premieres Tuesday, September 25 @8:30pm on Fox

Tuesday, September 25
 Ben and Kate (FOX) [NEW SERIES]
 Brickleberry (Comedy Central) [NEW SERIES]
 NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS)
 New Girl (FOX)
 Private Practice (ABC)
 The Mindy Project (FOX) [NEW SERIES]
 Tosh.0 (Comedy Central)

Wednesday, September 26
 Animal Practice (NBC) [NEW SERIES]
 Criminal Minds (CBS)
 CSI: Las Vegas (CBS)
 Guys with Kids (NBC) [Regular Time Slot] 
 Law & Order: SVU (NBC)
 Modern Family (ABC)
 South Park (Comedy Central)
 The Middle (ABC)
 The Neighbours (ABC) [NEW SERIES]

Thursday, September 27
 Elementary (CBS) [NEW SERIES]
 Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)
 Last Resort (ABC)
 Person of Interest (CBS)
 Scandal (ABC)
 The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
 Two and Half Men (CBS)

Fringe season 5 premieres Friday, September 28 @9pm on Fox

Friday, September 28
 Blue Bloods (CBS)
 Fringe (FOX)
 Kitchen Nightmares (FOX)
 Made in Jersey (CBS) [NEW SERIES]

Sunday, September 30
 666 Park Avenue (ABC) [NEW SERIES]
 American Dad (FOX)
 Bob’s Burgers (FOX)
 Dexter (SHO)
 Family Guy (FOX)
 Homeland (SHO)
 Once Upon a Time (ABC)
 Revenge (ABC)
 The Good Wife (CBS)
 The Mentalist (CBS)
 The Simpsons (FOX)

Tuesday, October 2
 Hart of Dixie (CW)
 Raising Hope (FOX)

Wednesday, October 3
 Supernatural (CW)

Thursday, October 4
 30 Rock (NBC)
 Jersey Shore (MTV)

Sunday, October 7
 The Cleveland Show (FOX)

Monday, October 8
 90210 (CW)
 Gossip Girl (CW)

Wednesday, October 10
 Arrow (CW) [NEW SERIES]
 Chicago Fire (NBC)
 Nashville (ABC) [NEW SERIES]

Thursday, October 11
 Beauty and the Beast (CW)
 Vampire Diaries (CW)

Sunday, October 14
 Walking Dead (AMC)

Tuesday, October 16
 Emily, Owens MD (CW) [NEW SERIES]

Wednesday, October 17
 American Horror Story: Asylum (FX)
 Suburgatory (ABC)

Friday, October 19
 America’s Next Top Model (CW)
 Community (NBC)
 Nikita (CW)
 Whitney (NBC)

Tuesday, October 23
 Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 (ABC)
 Happy Endings (ABC)

Friday, October 26
 Touch (FOX)


Friday, November 2
 Last Man Standing (ABC)
 Malibu Country (ABC) [NEW SERIES]

Tuesday, October 2
 Hart of Dixie (CW)
 Raising Hope (FOX)

Wednesday, October 3
 Supernatural (CW)

Thursday, October 4
 30 Rock (NBC)
 Jersey Shore (MTV)

Sunday, October 7
 The Cleveland Show (FOX)

Monday, October 8
 90210 (CW)
 Gossip Girl (CW)

Arrow premieres Wednesday, October 10 @8pm on CW

Wednesday, October 10
 Arrow (CW) [NEW SERIES]
 Chicago Fire (NBC)
 Nashville (ABC) [NEW SERIES]

Thursday, October 11
 Beauty and the Beast (CW)
 Vampire Diaries (CW)

Sunday, October 14
 Walking Dead (AMC)

Tuesday, October 16
 Emily, Owens MD (CW) [NEW SERIES]

Wednesday, October 17
 American Horror Story: Asylum (FX)
 Suburgatory (ABC)

Community season 4 premieres Friday, October 19 @8:30pm

Friday, October 19
 America’s Next Top Model (CW)
 Community (NBC)
 Nikita (CW)
 Whitney (NBC)

Tuesday, October 23
 Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 (ABC)
 Happy Endings (ABC)

Friday, October 26
 Touch (FOX)


Friday, November 2
 Last Man Standing (ABC)
 Malibu Country (ABC) [NEW SERIES]

Anthony Ocasio blogs at Screen Rant.

'Lincoln' actor Daniel Day-Lewis has won two Oscars, one for the film 'My Left Foot' and the other for the movie 'There Will Be Blood.' (AP)

'Lincoln' trailer shows impressive acting ensemble

By Sandy SchaeferScreen Rant / 09.14.12

The official trailer for Lincoln is here, and it brings with it all the majestic shots of Daniel Day-Lewis as the famous U.S. president, imagery of Union soldiers on the battle field, and dramatic pieces of dialogue that you might expect from a trailer for Steve Spielberg’s biopic (no vampires, though).

A Lincoln trailer preview dropped earlier this week, prompting discussion as to whether we were hearing Lewis recite a segment from the Gettysburg Address – or if it was a Union soldier speaking, as portrayed by David Oyelowo (Red Tails). We can now confirm that it was not, in fact, Lewis speaking. However, as you might’ve imagined, the two-time Oscar-winner’s “Lincoln accent” not only befits a more humanizing portrayal of the President, it’s also a far cry from any of Lewis’ more famously affected accents (Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York, Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood).

Furthermore, Lincoln appears to be as visually arresting as any historical drama produced by Spielberg to date (which is really saying something). Surprisingly, the director previously described the film as less “visual” than his other cinematic forays into the past, since much of the story unfolds within the confines of darkly-lit Congressional halls and rooms around the White House where Lincoln worked tirelessly to formally end the Civil War (while passing the 13th amendment to the Constitution to abolish slavery).

Several of the important political players working either with or against Mr. Lincoln make a brief appearance in the trailer, including Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, David Strathairn as William Seward, Jackie Earle Haley as Alexander Stephens, and Lee Pace as Fernando Wood, along with Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln and Joseph-Gordon Levitt as their son, Robert. In case you weren’t aware, Spielberg’s film is practically boiling over with award-winning talent.

On the more critical side: there is very much an “Oscar Bait” feel to the manner in which the Lincoln trailer is structured, with excerpts from grand speeches, the glorious dramatic atmosphere, and weightiness of the proceedings glimpsed. That said, it feels appropriate, given the significance of the events unfolding onscreen. Furthermore, the brief moments of acting on display feel less like awards-hopeful posturing and more like samples from genuine and grounded performances from all involved (not exactly a shock, when you consider the cast).

The trailer also features fewer of the hammy moments or corny beats that made the previews for Spielberg’s last film, War Horse, somewhat divisive; if that is reflective of the final film, then Lincoln could very well prove to be the respectful, yet refreshingly non-romanticized historical piece we’ve been hoping for.

Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.

'The Dark Knight Rises' starred Christian Bale as the caped hero. (Ron Phillips/Warner Bros. Pictures/AP)

'The Dark Knight Rises': Will there be a director's cut?

By Kofi OutlawScreen Rant / 09.13.12

Fans of Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy have been listening intently to talk about extra material that was cut from the The Dark Knight Rises – for example, an extended sequence of Bane’s origin story – and naturally there sprung a small hope that the DVD/Blu-ray home video release of TDKR would feature all the extra bits audiences didn’t get with the theatrical release.

Last week, in answer to fans’ hopes, a rumor surfaced that Dark Knight Rises was going to get a Blu-ray extended director’s cut. Today, we get contrarian confirmation that this is NOT in fact the case.

The Playlist spoke with the Nolan camp, who (in no uncertain terms) crushed the initial report from Nuke The Fridge that the extended director’s cut of TDKR was coming next summer ahead of the Nolan-produced Superman reboot, Man of Steel.

This really should come as little surprise, since anyone who’s spent time reading Christopher Nolan interviews (we admit, we’ve stalked him a bit ourselves) will know that the director believes in meticulous planning, efficiency and cost-saving when it comes to his films (despite their now-standard $150 million+ price tags). That’s all to say: Nolan usually plans what to cut and what to save at the pre-production stage – i.e., revising things in the script and storyboarding phases – and what he leaves on the cutting room floor in terms of footage (presumably less than a lot of directors), he wholeheartedly wants to leave on the floor.

On the other hand, Oscar-winning TDKR costume designer Lindy Hemming spoke at length about the Bane origin sequence in the context of them filming it – including mention of the early-version costume and mask Bane wore in that sequence. So we know that there are definitely “deleted scenes” from the film that exist – we’re just not going to get to see them.

Chris Nolan, as stated, is very meticulous (controlling?) about the craftsmanship of his films. While his singular driving vision has often resulted in some great films, this is a case where I’m genuinely wondering if he isn’t adhering a bit too strictly to his own rules. Throughout the run of The Dark Knight Trilogy Nolan has amassed legions of fans who have translated their adoration into (literally) billions of dollars for Warner Bros. – and a nice paycheck for the filmmaker himself. Not to mention, the same fans and their dollars fosters new career opportunities for Nolan to make his own original films like Inception.

Even if the Bane origin sequence or other cut scenes like it aren’t perfect, Nolan and his team of collaborators could almost certainly put together something that would let fans further enjoy his Batman movie universe. If not just deleted scenes from one film – which Nolan has pointed out are too scant to really excite – then a featurette of deleted scenes from all three films. The point is: it’s possible to do this, it’s just not being done.

Kofi Outlaw blogs at Screen Rant.

'Elementary' stars Jonny Lee Miller (l.) as Sherlock and Lucy Liu (r.) as a female Watson. (Phil McCarten/Reuters)

'Elementary': Is it a fresh take on Sherlock or a tired retread?

By The TV Addict / 09.12.12

You’ve seen the commercials. You’ve heard the hype. Now there’s only one thing you want to know: Which of the new fall shows are worth watching and which should be avoided at all costs? In this continuing series, we give you the scoop on some of the most highly-anticipated shows of the season, with today’s subject being CBS'Elementary'.

The Boilerplate: Since these pilot presentations may go through numerous rewrites and casting changes prior to premiere, this by no means should be considered an official review. Rather a preview of what one can expect come Fall.  

The Plot: After an alcohol-infused fall from grace in London and a stint in rehab, Sherlock Holmes is forced to start a new life in Manhattan under the watchful eye of sober companion Dr. Watson at the behest of his wealthy father.

The Cast: 'Elementary' stars Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes, Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson and Aidan Quinn as Captain Tobias Gregson.

The Snap Judgment: Since Hollywood has made a mint off characters whose social shortcomings are often overlooked as a result of their proficiency in their profession (See: 'House,' 'The Mentalist,' 'The Big Bang Theory,' 'Bones,' among many, many others), we’re going to eschew the obvious question as whether or not there is a need for yet another version of Sherlock Holmes and simply say this: There is a very good reason this quirky character trope has been carbon copied throughout the television landscape for the better part of two decades now: It works. And while 'Elementary' may not quite live up to the one-two combo of the BBC’s brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) and Martin Freeman (Watson), a tattoo-covered Jonny Lee Miller and the always watchable Lucy Lui do an admirable job of putting their own stamp on the iconic literary duo. Unfortunately, what doesn’t work — at least in the eyes of this Addict whose TV tastes tend to run towards the slightly more serialized variety of say 'The Good Wife' — is the very thing that will surely transform this Americanized version of the classic British tale into a Mentalist-sized hit. Much like the NCIS and CSI franchises, 'Elementary' suffers from a serious case of procedural-itis, a rare, albeit curable disease whose victims are more often than not writers under the employ of CBS. Which is why…

The Conclusion: Has all evidence pointing to 'Elementary' being the Fall’s most popular new drama… despite the procedural-heavy nature of the somewhat predictable pilot.

The TV Addict staff blogs at The TV Addict.

'The Wave Maker' subject Dr. Irving Dardik espouses the SuperWave principle, which supports periods of exertion and recovery. (Double Eye Productions)

Former Olympics physician's radical principle is examined in documentary

By Brian GeldinThe Film Panel Notetaker / 09.11.12

An Indiegogo funding campaign is entering its final days to start post-production of filmmaker Kiira Benzing’s THE WAVE MAKER, a feature documentary about medical maverick and former Olympics physician Dr. Irving Dardik’s quest to assert a paradigm shift in our understanding of the universe and of our own bodies – by making waves. Dardik’s radical SuperWave Principle, wherein the world is made up of “waves waving within waves,” is an alternative to mainstream science and medicine currently being applied to health, cold fusion and clean energy. THE WAVE MAKER follows Dardik as he battles to convince people that his SuperWave Principle is the Theory of Everything.

TFPN: When did you first learn of Dr. Dardik, and how did you come to the conclusion there was a story to tell here and why in the form of a documentary?

Benzing: I met Dr. Irving Dardik in 2006 through my father who is also an athlete.  In addition to his medical career, Dardik was a world-class sprinter. From the moment I met him I knew there was a story to tell, but at the time I was studying theater, that was really my world. At first I kept picturing Dardik and his story on a stage. Dardik is larger than life and has the kind of charisma that lights up a movie screen. I knew all along that his life story and his unique concept of the universe needed to be brought to the screen, but I had to finish college before I could set out to dedicate my life to making a feature documentary film about a person with a huge life story and one who also happens to have an idea so enormous as a new theory of nature and the universe.

TFPN: What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from Dr. Dardik and the SuperWave Principle that you have applied to your own life, and what can audiences take away from him and your film?

Benzing: The biggest lesson I’ve learned is the importance of recovery. I’m really still learning it because I am guilty as many Americans are of working many hours. Dardik’s SuperWave Principle when applied to health through the LifeWaves Program encourages a new form of exercise—one of exertion and recovery. So I remind myself to take breaks during the day, to step away from my computer and to recover. I try to find moments to reconnect to nature and to take my lunch outside for example and just unplug from the daily grind for a moment.  I think anyone who uses a computer for more than 5 hours a day or finds themselves plugged into their Bluetooth and cell phone all need to remember to disconnect and to find moments of recovery. I actually find that when I do this I have more energy to carry me through my day.

It’s all about finding balance and I think that is something that our audiences will gain; new insights to balance and ways to live a healthier life in this very fast-paced world.

TFPN: You still need to complete some final scenes and post-production for THE WAVE MAKER, and currently have an Indiegogo campaign to complete funding? What are the main benefits people will receive for pledging to the campaign?

We have one major shoot left for which we need to rent the RED Epic to capture some beautiful and important imagery for our film. If people pledge towards our Indiegogo Campaign there are some neat perks. Everyone at every level gets a postcard, and after that there’s a flying pig frisbee, the DVD of the film when released, a Wave Maker t-shirt, a trampoline lesson in NYC, a spinning silver necklace that designer Scosha and I designed, and a “Cycles” poster.  For the uppermost levels, contributors could attend our final film shoot and even have lunch with Dr. Dardik.

TFPN: Has your training as an actress informed your filmmaking at all, and how particularly to the making of THE WAVE MAKER?

My acting has definitely come into play throughout this film. Just like in acting, I do a lot of background research before I film an interview just as I would do research for a play or a film that I would act in—so the act of preparation is similar. When we’re shooting, what is most similar to acting is the improvisation.  On stage for example, even with hours of rehearsal you never know what might happen during a performance, and when you’re shooting a documentary there are a multitude of unknowns. Improvisation has been my best friend through this process and it has led me to some great surprises; especially when we’re filming and it rains.  Nature always keeps me on my toes!

TFPN: What else would you like people to know about your film?

Benzing: We have a long journey ahead of us to shape this into a 90-minute film, but I believe that after this campaign we will be on our track towards completing an inspiring film.  I hope our film will open minds to a deep discussion about our medical and scientific fields. There are a lot of unknowns about the cause and origin of disease; but if Dardik is right then maybe his theory could lead to some discoveries that would revolutionize the way we treat disease and look at nature.

Brian Geldin blogs at The Film Panel Notetaker.

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