Issue XCVI

21 OCT 2016

Arts

08/11/2014

Teen Choice Awards 2014! See The Full Winners List Here!

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The likes of One Direction, Ariana Grande and Divergent were the big winners at the Teen Choice Awards 2014.

MTV show Pretty Little Liars, Ed Sheeran and Selena Gomez also picked up of gongs at the bash, which was held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles last night (August 10).

1D - who were unable to attend the show - were named Choice Music Group, with lads taking home numerous awards, including the Choice Male Hottie accolade.

Despite being absent from the ceremony, Niall Horan later thanked fans on Twitter, writing: "Gutted we weren't at the TCA's tonight! I heard it was great! 

"Thank you all soo much for all the awards! It means soo much to us ! Love you."

Teen Choice Awards 2014 | Winners!

Selena Gomez was named Choice Female Hottie, while Ariana was crowned Choice Female Artist as Ed Sheeran picked up the Choice Male Artist trophy.

Demi Lovato, Jason Derulo and 5 Seconds of Summer were also among the winners in the music field. 

Pretty Little Liars won swept the board in the TV categories, winning a total of six gongs, while Kim Kardashian and Co were on hand to accept the gong for Choice TV Reality Show - giving Kylie Jenner the perfect 17th birthday present.

Actress Shailene Woodley dominated the movie categories, bagging a high share of trophies for Divergent and The Fault In Our Stars, with the star winning the best actress award in both action and drama movie categories.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire's Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson also took home surfboards for best actress and actor in a sci-fi/fantasy movie.

See the full list of Teen Choice Award 2014 winners here:

Choice Movie, Action/Adventure: Divergent

Choice Movie Actor, Action/Adventure: Theo James, Divergent

Choice Movie Actress, Action/Adventure: Shailene Woodley, Divergent

Choice Movie, Sci-Fi/Fantasy: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Choice Movie Actor, Sci-Fi/Fantasy: Josh Hutcherson, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Choice Movie Actress, Sci-Fi/Fantasy: Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and X-Men: Days of Future Past

Choice Movie, Drama: The Fault in Our Stars

Choice Movie Actor, Drama: Ansel Elgort, The Fault in Our Stars

Choice Movie Actress, Drama: Shailene Woodley, The Fault in Our Stars

Choice Movie, Comedy: The Other Woman

Choice Movie Actor, Comedy:...


Teen Choice Awards: Claims of ‘rigged’ winners cause teen meltdown on Twitter

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Taylor Swift, the Kardashians and One Direction took home surfboards at this year’s show. See more Red Carpet arrivals, performances and awards from the awards.What you don’t expect from Teen Choice Awards: Teachable moments and cries of conspiracy theories.

Yet that’s exactly what happened on Sunday night during Fox’s annual summer awards show, which hands out surfboard trophies to teen favorite movie, music, TV and fashion icons. In an amazing bit of irony, the Teen Choice Awards producers — extremely proud to introduce new social media-themed categories this year — became the target of massive Twitter backlash as the result of some angry young Web stars who didn’t win and then spilled how the “voting” process truly works.

It all started after the award was given out for “Choice Web Star: Male” to YouTube personality Tyler Oakley (age 25 with 2.85 million Twitter followers). Meanwhile, Vine sensation Cameron Dallas (age 18 with 3.1 million followers) was named “Choice Viner” earlier in the night, but was apparently still bitter to lose in the “Web Star” category to Oakley. During the show, Dallas tweeted: “It’s funny how they told me I won the viner award 6 days before the voting ended and made the runners up still vote to tweet for them.” The tweets were deleted, but there were plenty of screengrabs:

Vine star Matt Espinosa (age 16 with 1.91 million followers), also nominated against Oakley, jumped into the fray and seemed upset that producers encouraged him to tell his fans to vote — and therefore plug the show — if they already knew he lost.  “Basically they picked the people almost 6 days before voting was done and used all of us for promotion,” he tweeted.

Vine celebrity Carter Reynolds (age 18 with 1.53 million followers), not nominated but felt his voice needed to be heard, also chimed in. “#TCAs is rigged,” he wrote before adding “#TCAS2014 used all of us for promotion. What a joke.” Along with the hashtag“#TeensDontHaveaChoiceAwards,” which quickly started trending worldwide on Twitter.

Dallas and Espinosa deleted their tweets — hmm, maybe they’re not supposed to share such behind-the-scenes details? (We reached out to Fox to ask how far in advance winners learn they won, but haven’t...



07/22/2014

Sex Tape

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Cameron Diaz looks especially good in Sex Tape, from all conceivable angles, but unlike some of her other recent comedy vehicles (Bad Teacher, The Other Woman) this one actually offers laughs, plus a compatible costar in Jason Segel.

For a goofy, R-rated comedy the initial premise is surprisingly credible: a happily married woman writes a “mommy blog” and wistfully remembers how she and her husband used to have great sex, all the time, until parenthood took the spark (and opportunity) out of their lives. One night, with their two kids away at Grandma’s house, they try to rekindle that magic. Nothing seems to work until he proposes that they video themselves enacting every position described in Alex Comfort’s book The Joy of Sex. Unfortunately, he fails to delete the video from his iPad and it spreads like wildfire to a multitude of iPads he’s recently given to friends and acquaintances.

At this point, the movie becomes a full-out, R-rated farce: frantic, sometimes overly frantic, but often quite funny, as Diaz and Segel gingerly approach various iPad owners in the loop. One of them is Rob Lowe, a “family values” mogul who’s about to buy Diaz’s blog for big bucks—if they can only keep him from watching the video.

Much silliness ensues, but the movie rarely runs out of steam. Diaz and Segel are a good match, with Rob Corddry and Ellie Kemper as their best friends. Segel and his frequent writing partner Nicholas Stoller get screenplay credit alongside sitcom writer-producer Kate Angelo, who originated the story.

Director Jake Kasdan doesn’t miss a single laugh opportunity, and if the film is a bit ragged at times, its likable stars smooth over most of the rough spots.

Best of all, Sex Tape doesn’t wear out its welcome. With high energy and a touch of discretion (to please a wide audience and avoid an NC-17 rating) it accomplishes everything it sets out to do in an hour and a half. It may not be cinema for the ages, but it’s fun.


A TALENTED CAST CAN’T SAVE “SEX TAPE”

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The most frustrating movies are not those that are outright bad, but those that come so close to being good, only to fail. They find themselves bumping against good ideas almost without trying, only to forget them or wander away in search of something nonsensical. Such is the state of Sex Tape, directed with dishwater visuals and a feeling of fatigue by Jake Kasdan from a limp screenplay credited to Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller, and Kate Angelo (who also receives story credit). The story’s premise is thin but almost promising: a loving couple, Jay and Annie (played by Segel and Cameron Diaz), film themselves having sex and accidentally give the resulting video to friends and family. Yet the film doesn’t explore the fallout from this, or follow through on its few fleeting attempts to tease out a story about the intersection of technology and sexuality in modern couplehood. Instead, it’s all about the wild pursuit to get the videos back in the right hands. The video could be anything, so Sex Tape is really just Random Chase Scenes With Swearing. Additionally, there’s only so much padding that the filmmakers can put in before things start to wrap up. As a result, the story keeps introducing new twists and antagonists every few scenes, then dropping and replacing them. It stretches to fill 90 minutes of screen time, yet feels so, so much longer.

Jay and Annie opted to make the video in the first place as part of a series of efforts to revive a sex life that’s been flagging ever since they had kids, and the film’s only entertaining moments are the ones that attempt to comedically and somewhat realistically explore the tension and friction that animates the big night. Annie dresses up in a Rollergirl outfit but falls off the bed when Jay can’t get her skates off; a suggestion to make love on the kitchen floor sounds exciting in theory but is cold and awkward in practice; distractions and rusty moves lead to bumpy stops and starts, as body language signals the shifts from foreplay to waiting around and back again. Segel and Diaz get to move through different modes, and for the briefest of moments, it’s like watching real people.

The rest of the film, though, is impossibly labored. In order to create a situation in which Jay and Annie accidentally distribute a digital file of their intimate times to loved ones, a number of wildly coincidental and unbelievable things are made to happen: 1) Jay...



07/14/2014

Zach Braff Stars in Delightful, Dysfunctional Family Dramedy

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  As an actor, Zach Braff is most closely associated with the character J.D. from Scrubs, the Emmy-winning sitcom which enjoyed a nine-year  [118801_gal] run on network television from 2001 to 2010. As a director, he’s best known for Garden State, the quirky, semi-autobiographical feature film where he played a struggling actor who returns to his hometown in Jersey for his mother’s funeral.

            Wish I Was Here is more akin to the latter, being another delightful, dysfunctional family dramedy which Zach directed and stars in. He also co-wrote it with his brother, Adam, and the offbeat adventure milks much of its mirth from Jewish culture in a manner often evocative of Joel and Ethan Coen’s A Serious Man (2009).

            The point of departure is suburban L.A. which is where we find 35 year-old Aidan Bloom (Braff) in the midst of a midlife crisis. The fledgling actor is on anti-depressants and in deep denial about his dwindling career prospects, despite the fact that he last worked ages ago in a dandruff commercial.

            What makes the situation problematical is that he futilely fritters away his time auditioning, oblivious to his breadwinner wife’s (Kate Hudson) resentment. She hates being stuck like a rat on a treadmill in a stultifying government job where she’s being sexually harassed on a daily basis by the pervy creep (Michael Weston) who shares her cubicle.

            But she can’t quit her job because their kids, Grace (Joey King) and Tucker (Pierce Gagnon), won’t have food on the table or a roof over their heads. As it is, they’ve already sacrificed some luxuries, like the built-in pool that sits empty in the backyard.

            Something’s gotta give when grandpa Gabe (Mandy Patinkin) suddenly announces that his cancer has returned, so he can no longer afford to subsidize his grandchildren’s expensive private education. Not wanting to subject them to the substandard, local public schools, Aidan grudgingly agrees to abandon his pipe dream of Hollywood stardom in order to homeschool them.

            However,...


‘Wish I Was Here’ Is Even Worse Than You Thought ‘Garden State’ Was

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I doubt I’m the only person who loved Zach Braff’s Garden State in 2004 but has been hesitant to watch it again for fear it won’t hold up. It spoke to a particular demographic at a particular time. I’m no longer at that stage of life, and it’s no longer 2004, and it’s possible Garden State would strike me now the way it struck its detractors then: twee, precious, quirky, and slap-worthy.

I’m even warier now that I’ve seen Braff’s sloppy followup, Wish I Was Here, which is phony, shallow, and completely disconnected from reality. To make matters worse, it thinks it’s sincere, deep, and realistic. Sometimes you get the impression a movie was made by cynical people who didn’t believe what they were peddling but figured they could get audiences to buy it. That’s not the case here. I think Braff is sincere about every aspect of Wish I Was Here, and that he thinks it says exactly what he wanted it to say. He’s just wrong, that’s all.

Braff, co-writing with his brother Adam, stars as self-centered b-hole Aidan Bloom, a struggling L.A. actor who, unlike most struggling L.A. actors, has a wife and kids yet won’t even consider getting a day job. His wife, Sarah (Kate Hudson), makes enough at her dull office gig to basically support the family, though they’re reliant on Aidan’s aging father, Saul (Mandy Patinkin), to pay for the kids’ Hebrew school. Aidan, an agnostic Jew, is glib about Judaism, mocking every aspect of his children’s education one minute, harassing his father to pay the tuition bill the next.

When old Saul’s money runs out (thanks a lot, terminal cancer expenses!), Aidan has to homeschool the children — 12-year-old Grace (Joey King) and 6-year-old Tucker (Pierce Gagnon) — because he hates public schools, because he got beaten up when he was a kid. Then he doesn’t actually homeschool them, either, because it’s hard and he doesn’t take anything seriously. Meanwhile, he criticizes his stoner geek brother, Noah (Josh Gad), for living in a trailer and not having a job.

This probably sounds like the set-up for a story where the jerky protagonist gradually realizes he’s immature and starts taking steps to redeem himself. Two problems, though. One, the movie doesn’t seem to recognize just how bad Aidan is, presenting him as a lovable rascal rather than a...



07/04/2014

Earth To Echo Awesome Echo

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Grade: ****

If you’re going to update E.T. for a new generation of kids, you might as well go all in. Dave Green’s Earth To Echo goes all in.

It compresses the narrative of Steven Spielberg’s 1982 classic into one overnight adventure, when Nevada buddies Alex (Teo Halm), Tuck (Brian “Astro” Bradley) and Munch (Reese C. Hartwig) investigate some weird cell-phone interference to distract themselves from an impending separation. It’s not a spoiler to say they encounter an alien – but things get a little more complicated after that.

Green and screenwriter Henry Gayden have made one other major modification to the E.T. template. Earth To Echo is a found-footage movie edited together after the fact and narrated by the media-savvy Tuck, who handily anticipates certain questions and uses the format to dodge others.

It’s a really smart move, letting the film work as a homage to E.T. rather than a rip-off, much as Cloverfield and Chronicle revitalized their chosen genres. And it fosters an intimacy between the characters that grows richer the more time we spend with them. We see the subtle ways they’re unsettled when they’re joined by a schoolmate (Ella Linnea Wahlestedt) who’s easily the smartest person in the picture.

Family movies aren’t usually this clever. Don’t miss out.


“EARTH TO ECHO” CRASH LANDS YOUR CHILDHOOD

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Grade: D+

See if this log line sounds familiar to you: a group of winsome young people discover an adorable alien entity, stranded on Earth and sought after by shady government spooks, and work together to help get the little critter home. Everyone learns a lesson. Hearts are touched, tears are shed, and the roots of nostalgia take hold. Steven Spielberg pulled off this brand of manipulative melodrama to great, lasting effect with 1982′s E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. Flash forward to today, and screenwriter Henry Gayden and director Dave Green hope to pull off the same feat with the misleadingly titledEarth to Echo, sans Spielberg’s surfeit of vision and knack for spectacle. Those are some big, bearded shoes for Green and Gayden to fill.

Critiquing a movie like Earth to Echo feels an awful lot like bullying a puppy. It’s a boundlessly enthusiastic effort, one brimming with warmth, heart, and the scrappy, reckless, slipshod energy of youth. It”s also, tragically, just a retread of the most iconic and lasting entries in Amblin Entertainment’s 1980s catalog, not simply E.T. but also The Goonies and *batteries not included (among others). Green and Gayden grew up on these films; it’s easy to understand the impulse to scratch their nostalgic itch through cinema, and even easier to forgive, because everybody does it, from J.J. Abrams to Michel Hazanavicius to Marc Webb to Woody Allen (and each to varying degrees of success over others).

But Earth to Echo, perhaps more than films like The Artist or (500) Days of Summer, exemplifies the biggest problem with engaging nostalgia on celluloid: ultimately, Green and Gayden are just making a movie for themselves. The story focuses on a trio of friends – Tuck (Brian Bradley), Alex (Teo Halm), and Munch (Reese C. Hartwig) – on the cusp of parting ways. Turns out their neighborhood has been targeted for demolition by way of highway expansion. So the trio plan a proper sendoff by – what else? – investigating the source behind random, highly suspicious techno-shenanigans involving scrambled cell phone displays. The boys’ efforts lead them to the desert, which in turn leads them to Echo, the titular mechanized martian; huddled within the safety of an escape pod, he’s injured, alone, and marooned on Earth.

He’s also wanted by Uncle Sam, but as kids so often do in movies like this, our...



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