‘Faking It’: TV review

"Faking It'’ starts off sounding gimmicky and ends up being rather sweet. In a good way. Amy (Rita Volk) and Karma (Katie Stevens) are besties at Hester High School in Austin, Tex., which rewards rebellion rather than conformity. Amy and Karma are harmlessly anonymous, a situation Karma burns to change. So when a series of offhand random remarks gets them tagged as lesbians, Karma persuades Amy to go along. They have a brand! They’re popular! The plan creates a few dilemmas, of course. Like how to parlay their new popularity into, say, a boyfriend when it’s contingent on their not being interested in boys. So the lesbian ruse clearly won’t carry the show forever. That’s okay, because other stories are also going on at this weird alt-high school. Mean girl Lauren (Bailey Buntain) gets no traction here. “In any other school in Texas, I would rule,” she accurately grumbles. Hester’s rulers include Shane (Michael Willett), a comedy-focused version of Kurt on “Glee.” Yet many of the fundamental things still apply. Parents are oblivious and barely tolerable. Prom matters. There’s still nothing like a hunky guy, in this case Liam (Gregg Sulkin). “Faking It” also has cartoonish moments. It is, after all, a comedy. But beyond the joke, the show’s premise is encouraging: that being gay is no big deal. Besides, that isn’t what “Faking It” is really about. The engine driving this show is female friendship, the kind strong enough to get you through even high school. For Amy and Karma, we want that. [email protected] Continue Reading

‘Game of Thrones’ shocker: How cast & crew of HBO’s hit series pulled off deadly Purple Wedding

King Joffrey of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” may have been one of the most loathed characters on the planet, but his shocking death on Sunday night’s episode left his co-stars reeling. Filming the finale for Joffrey, played by Jack Gleeson, was difficult for the other actors dressed in their noble finery. “It was really the sound and the expression on Jack’s face that was the most harrowing for all of us,” says actress Natalie Dormer, who plays the bride-turned-widow, Queen Margaery. Joffrey’s end came at his own wedding. In the dramatic nuptial scene, death did him part — and he died while drooling blood and whimpering in his mother’s arms. We wanted to feel some catharsis after the Red Wedding, and I think we got it. “It wasn’t so much the fake blood for me,” Dormer says, “it was the noise he was making and the color he was turning. What he did to himself — it was really quite traumatic to watch.” Fans of the hit fantasy series can be forgiven if they relished Joffrey’s demise — and the anguished wails of his mother, Cersei (Lena Headey). It was a bit of revenge for fans of House Stark, who suffered in last season’s shocking “Red Wedding” episode, in which three major fan favorites were butchered. Director Alex Graves and show-runners David Benioff and Dan Weiss needed to find the right mood and method to eliminate a controversial character. “I wanted to make sure that it was a rough enough death for somebody who is one of the most hated [fictional characters] in the United States,” Graves says. “We wanted to feel some catharsis after the Red Wedding, and I think we got it.” The payoff is pulled straight from George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” books, a scene that fans have come to know as "Purple Wedding" in a nod to the previous Red Wedding. Continue Reading

‘Noah’ banned in Malaysia, Indonesia for going ‘against Islamic laws’

Malaysia and Indonesia have banned the biblical epic "Noah," joining other Muslim nations that forbid the Hollywood movie for its visual depiction of the prophet. Film censors in both countries said Monday that the portrayal of the ark-building prophet by Russell Crowe was against Islamic laws. Depictions of any prophet are shunned in Islam to avoid worship of a person rather than God. "The film 'Noah' is not allowed to be screened in this country to protect the sensitivity and harmony in Malaysia's multiracial and multireligious community," Film Censorship Board chairman Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid said in a statement. Malay Muslims make up about 60 percent of Malaysia's 30 million people, and Christians about 9 percent. In the world's most populous Muslim nation, the head of Indonesia's censor board Muchlis Paeni said the plot of the film directed by Darren Aronofsky contradicted both the Quran and the Bible. "We have to reject Noah to be screened here," Paeni said. "We don't want a film that could provoke controversies and negative reactions." The Indonesian Council of Ulama, the country's most influential Islamic body, welcomed the move, saying films that could corrupt religious teachings should be outlawed. Many Indonesians condemned the ban on social media. "The decision was very regrettable, so sad," filmmaker Joko Anwar said on Twitter, warning it was a backward step for Indonesia. Much of the Muslim world, including the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain, has already banned the film, which is a box-office hit in the U.S. Some Christian conservatives also have complained of its inaccurate portrayal of the biblical account of the flood. Paramount Pictures added a disclaimer to its marketing material, saying "artistic license has been taken" in telling the story. The Quran mentions only 25 prophets by name, including Noah. Muslims believe that Noah, who is referred to in Arabic as Nuh, built his ark after Continue Reading

Megaupload, founder Kim Dotcom sued by U.S. movie studios over ‘massive’ copyright infringement

Several major U.S. studios filed a copyright infringement lawsuit on Monday against the file-sharing website Megaupload and its ebullient founder, Kim Dotcom. Megaupload, which U.S. authorities shuttered in 2012, facilitated a “massive copyright infringement of movies and television shows,” according to a statement issued by the Motion Picture Association of America on Monday. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, all MPAA members, are Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp, Disney Enterprises Inc, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios Productions, Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros Entertainment Inc. “Megaupload wasn’t a cloud storage service at all, it was an unlawful hub for mass distribution,” Steven Fabrizio, an attorney for the MPAA, said in the statement. U.S. authorities allege Megaupload cost film studios and record companies more than $500 million and generated more than $175 million by encouraging paying users to store and share copyrighted material, such as movies and TV shows. Dotcom says Megaupload was merely an online warehouse and should not be held accountable if stored content was obtained illegally. Monday’s lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, said Dotcom and other defendants “profited handsomely” by providing thousands of copyrighted works over the Internet to millions of Megaupload users without authorization or license. Movies whose copyrights Megaupload infringed, according to the lawsuit, include Avatar, Forrest Gump and Transformers, according to the lawsuit. Commenting on Twitter on Monday, Dotcom said U.S. authorities “probably demanded” that the studios file the lawsuit “because they initiated this ... Hollywood science fiction script of a case. Embarrassing.” The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages as well as attorney’s fees. It Continue Reading

Ellen DeGeneres launching HGTV furniture design competition series

Ellen DeGeneres is making a furniture design competition series for the HGTV network. HGTV said Tuesday that "Ellen's Design Challenge" is expected to air sometime next year. It will feature six competitors who sketch, design and build furniture within 24 hours, and will play out over six episodes. Landing a series from a high-profile star is big news at the lifestyle cable network. DeGeneres is helping to produce the series; the network isn't saying whether or not she will actually appear on it. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Jay Leno on David Letterman’s replacement: ‘I don’t know a lot of good people out there’

Jay Leno doesn't have much to say about news that his former talk show rival David Letterman is retiring. Leno opened up for the first time since Letterman made the announcement last week. "Oh well, you know he and I (are) gonna do 'The Sunshine Boys' on Broadway, so we're very excited about that," he joked to "Extra." When asked who he thinks should replace Letterman, Leno demurred. "I don't know a lot of good people out there," Leno said. Leno and Letterman had been rivals ever since Leno took the "Tonight Show" chair from Johnny Carson in 1992. Leno, 63, stepped down earlier this year, passing the "Tonight " reigns to Jimmy Fallon. Letterman, 66, will retire in 2015 after his contract with CBS runs out, he confirmed on his show last week. Candidates to replace Letterman are already being bandied about. A source told the Daily News that Chelsea Handler is in talks with CBS about the possibility of hosting a late-night gig. Other comedians rumored to be in the running include Stephen Colbert, Ellen DeGeneres and Neil Patrick Harris. ON A MOBILE DEVICE? CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Chelsea Handler in talks with CBS for late night gig after David Letterman’s departure: source

Chelsea Handler is in talks with CBS to join the network as a possible replacement for Craig Ferguson on the “Late Late Show,” a source told the Daily News. But it is believed she’s also making a bid for David Letterman’s job when he steps down next year. Ferguson has first right of refusal to take over Letterman’s “Late Show” next year when the longtime host retires next year, but CBS sources have said it is unlikely. Handler’s own late night cable show on E!, “Chelsea Lately” is ending this year, according to reports. If CBS were to pass over Ferguson for Letterman’s job, the Scottish-born actor stands to be paid as much as $12 million, sources told The News. Despite the speculation, the strongest candidates to replace Letterman that have emerged so far are Ellen DeGeneres, Stephen Colbert and Neil Patrick Harris. Monday at a press event with Sen. Chuck Schumer to support legislation giving theater investors tax breaks similar to those currently enjoyed by backers of film and TV productions, Harris seemed to play down his availability, noting the “Late Show” gig would be, “an asinine amount of work." Meanwhile, NBC chief Steve Burke said he has no concernes about former “Tonight Show host Jay Leno jumping to CBS and is in fact talking to the longtime late night staple about appearing in episodic specials. Burke also praised Leno for his “graceful” handoff of the Tonight Show to Jimmy Fallon. The result has been “nothing short of extraordinary,” he said. “The last three words Jay Leno said on `The Tonight Show’ was `watch Jimmy Fallon,” Burke said. MOBILE USERS CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO Jimmy Fallon and CEO NBCUniversal Steve Burke (both left) could be joined in late night by Neil Patrick Continue Reading

Jon Stewart: Stephen Colbert ‘would be remarkable’ for David Letterman’s ‘Late Show’ replacement

Jon Stewart offered an earnest endorsement for his longtime pal Stephen Colbert to replace David Letterman on "Late Show" next year. Stewart, who doesn't believe he would be right for the next host of the CBS late-night staple, said his Comedy Central pal would be "amazing." "He is a uniquely talented individual," Stewart, 51, said, speaking to New York magazine's Vulture on Wednesday. "He's wonderful in 'Colbert Report,' but he's got gears he hasn't even shown people yet. He would be remarkable." Stewart's high praise comes amid rumors that Colbert, 49, is one of the names floating around to replace Letterman. The 66-year-old funnyman announced he would be retiring from "Late Show" sometime in 2015, after 21 years as host. Stewart (R) said his longtime pal Colbert (L) has a ‘real opportunity’ to broaden his scope of comedy by taking the CBS show. “He’s got some skill sets that are really applicable, interviewing-wise, but also he’s a really, really good actor and also an excellent improvisational comedian,” Stewart continued about Colbert. “He’s also got great writing skills. He’s got a lot of the different capacities. Being able to expand upon (those) would be exciting." On the heels of Stewart's comments, it was announced Thursday that Colbert will succeed Letterman. He signed a 5-year contract to take the hosting gig, according to a CBS press release.  Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Eve Plumb leaves Bradys behind for wilder ‘Blue Ruin’ bunch in new indie thriller flick

In the new indie flick “Blue Ruin,” Eve Plumb is back in a strong supportive family. But it’s definitely not one named Brady. The put-upon middle sister, Jan, in the quintessential 1970s family sitcom has backed a station wagon over her squeaky-clean “Brady Bunch” image to co-star in a backwoods gorefest as a gun-toting, bile-spewing matriarch of a homicidal Southern clan who leads a redneck feud against an assassin. “These guys are anything but ‘The Brady Bunch,’ which is exactly why I was happy to play the part,” Plumb says. “Let’s face it — I’m not exactly a shoot-em-up superstar, but [as an actor], you get to live vicariously through lunatics. What could be better than that?” I look at the fascination with the show like it’s the world’s longest-running soap opera. It’s like Shakespeare. Everybody’s got their own take. “Blue Ruin,” which opens Friday, definitely isn’t the latest “Brady” sequel — and Plumb has certainly been offered plenty of those. “Oh man, we’ve heard them all,” she says with a laugh. “Somebody pitched ‘The Brady Bunch vs. the Partridge Family Fight to the Death’! “I look at the fascination with the show like it’s the world’s longest-running soap opera. It’s like Shakespeare. Everybody’s got their own take on it.” There’s no “Brady” movie in the works, which is just fine with Plumb, who has remained a working actress since growing out of her Jan braces. She’s done stage roles, including Nora and Delia Ephron’s “Love, Loss and What I Wore,” and played the title role in “Miss Abigail’s Guide to Dating, Mating and Marriage.” “New York’s given me opportunities I didn’t have in Continue Reading

‘The Giver’ first trailer released: Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Katie Holmes star in first look at dystopian thriller

The first look at the film adaptation of Lois Lowry's bestselling book "The Giver" packs a lot of star power. Oscar-winning actors Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep are pitted against each other with Streep as the serious, gray-haired villain Chief Elder, and Bridges as The Giver, counseling newcomer Brenton Thwaites' character Jonas in the dystopian thriller set in a time after the world is reduced to "sameness." The trailer, released online Wednesday, begins the backstory as Thwaites' character learns of his destiny as the "Receiver of Memory." Streep, 64, delivers an icy line about how people often "choose wrong" when given the freedom to choose. "The Giver" also stars Katie Holmes, "True Blood" actor Alexander Skarsgard and Taylor Swift. Lowry, whose book won the 1994 Newberry Medal, serves as a co-screenwriter. The film is directed by "Patriot Games" helmer Phillip Noyce and opens nationwide Aug. 15. Using mobile? Click to watch 'The Giver' trailer Join the Conversation: Continue Reading