Category Archives: TV

American Horror Story season 2 – casting announced.

Ryan Murphy the co-creator of the smash hit series “American Horror Story” of which Babs is a huge fan has revealed some of the returning cast for the show’s sophomore season.

Jessica Lange who was a huge success as supporting character Constance will return as a entirely new character and he says the series will focus on her as a lead.

“We have designed the second season of American Horror Story completely around her character. Last year Jessica came in with Connie Britton and Dylan McDermott. This will really be the Jessica Lange show so I’m very excited about it. We are designing this amazing new opposite of the Constance character for her. She and I have spoken about different things. She has a lot of ideas, and has a lot of input into her character. She told me some things she has always wanted to play as an actress. She’s a great collaborator and a great friend.”

Jessica has had major award success with the role picking up a Golden Globe and a SAG award, she has to be the hot tip for the Emmy.

Joining her will be Zachary Quinto who was a scene stealer as one of the gay characters last year. He to will be playing an entirely different role as will all according to Mr Murphy.

Zachary Quinto

Also confirmed to return is Sarah Paulson (who I loved in the movie “Martha, Marcy May Marlene” – she played Elizabeth Olsen’s uptight sister) as well as Evan Peters and Lily Rabe (the very talented daughter of playwright David Rabe and actress Jill Clayburgh)Peters had previously played Tate, Constance’s son a Columbine-like killer. Rabe played Nora Montgomery, a woman who had lost her baby to a hideous tragedy. Paulson played the psychic Billie Dean Howard. I am quite pleased as all of the above were my favourite characters last season. Murphy commented no further on what characters the actors will be playing but said they’ll be playing the opposite of characters they’ve already played. The second season of American Horror Story will be set somewhere on the East Coast in an undisclosed “horror institution”. Filming will start shooting this July for an October premiere.

Sarah Paulson

Lily Rabe

Evan Peters

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Babs Oscar picks 2012

As preparations are underway for this years 84th Academy Awards ceremony to be held at the Hollywood and Highland Centre (formerly the Kodak theatre) on Hollywood Boulevard this Sunday night (Monday lunchtime in Australia)  Babs gives you his predictions of the winners and who he would like to see win.

Babs is a bit underwhelmed by this years Oscars, a lot of the movies never lived up to their hype. Both The Artist & Hugo seemed to en-trance every movie loving critic but I felt that although they showcased amazing film craft , overall they weren’t that great. The major ommission of Drive in many categories was an upset to me, and how the hell did Charlize Theron miss out for Young Adult? Of course it is the Oscars and as we all well know they aren’t a true reflection of what is great in cinema out there. Of my predictions I would honestly love it if I did badly – I would love this year to be full of upsets and surprises – but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Best Picture

Will win – THE ARTIST

Should win – THE DESCENDANTS

Actor in a Leading Role

Will win – JEAN DUJARDIN – The Artist

Should win – GEORGE CLOONEY – The Descendants

Actor in a Supporting Role

Will & Should win – CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER – Beginners

Actress in a Leading Role

Will & Should win – VIOLA DAVIS – The Help

 Actress in a Supporting Role

Will & Should win – OCTAVIA SPENCER – The Help

Animated Feature Film

Will & Should win – RANGO

Art Direction

Will & Should win – Dante Ferretti & Francesca Lo Shiavo – HUGO

Cinematography

Will win – Emmanuel Lubezki – THE TREE OF LIFE

Should win – Robert Richardson – HUGO

Costume Design

Will win – Mark Bridges – THE ARTIST

Should win – Michael O’Connor – JANE EYRE

Directing

Will win – MICHAEL HAZANAVICIUS – The Artist

Should win – ALEXANDER PAYNE – The Descendants

Documentary Feature

Will win – IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT

Documentary Short Subject

Will win – GOD IS BIGGER THAN ELVIS

Film Editing

Will win – Anne-Sophie-Bion & Michael Hazanavicius – THE ARTIST

Should win – Kirk Baxter & Angus Wall – THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO

Foreign Language Film

Will & Should win – A SEPARATION

Makeup

Will & Should win – Mark Coulier & J. Roy Helland – THE IRON LADY

Original Music Score

Will win – Ludovic Bource – THE ARTIST

Should win – Alberto Iglesias – TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY

Original Song

Will win – “Real In Rio” from RIO

Should win – “Man Or Muppet” from THE MUPPETS

Short Film Animated

Will win – THE FANTASTIC FLYING BOOKS OF MR. MORRIS LESSMORE

Short Film Live Action

Will win – PENTECOST

Sound Editing

Will win – HUGO

Should win – DRIVE

Sound Mixing

Will win – HUGO

Should win – THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO

Visual Effects

Will win – HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2

Should win – RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

Writing Adapted Screenplay

Will & Should win – THE DESCENDANTS

Writing Original Screenplay

Will win – WOODY ALLEN – Midnight In Paris

Should win –  ASGHAR FARHADI – A Separation

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Designing dreams – this years nominations

The Art Directors Guild of America (ADG) announced their annual award nominations today. Babs has always been interested in this particular honour. Split into 3 categories the movie section honours period, fantasy and contemporary film production design. Not many surprises except the ridiculous nomination for “Bridesmaids” it always irritates that films tend to run in packs as far as nominations are concerned during awards season. “Bridesmaids” may have had a funny lead performance and if you really want to stretch it, the screenplay was ok, but production design? – oh please. The guild has yet to decide the nomination for Steven Spielberg’s animated “Tin Tin” movie.

Period Film.

THE ARTIST.  Laurence Bennett

HUGO. Dante Ferretti

ANONYMOUS.  Sebastian Krawinkel

TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY.  Maria Djurkovic

THE HELP.  Mark Ricker

Ben Kingsley in a setting from “Hugo” production design by Dante Ferretti.

Fantasy Film.

HARRY POTTER & THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 2.  Stuart Craig

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER.  Rick Heinrichs

THE ADVENTURES OF TIN TIN  (designer to be determined)

PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES.  John Myhre

COWBOYS & ALIENS.  Scott Chambliss

Gringott’s Wizardry Bank from Harry Potter – production designer Stuart Craig

Contemporary Film.

THE DESCENDANTS.  Jane Anne Stewart

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO.  Donald Graham Burt

DRIVE.  Beth Mickle

EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE .  K.K. Barrett

BRIDESMAIDS.  Jefferson Sage

A setting from the visually arresting “Drive” production designer Beth Mickle.

In the television categories of interest are some of Babs faves getting a mention.

One Hour Single Camera Series.

BOARDWALK EMPIRE (Episode 21).   Bill Groom

GAME OF THRONES  (A Golden Crown).  Gemma Jackson

AMERICAN HORROR STORY (Murder House).  Mark Worthington

THE PLAYBOY CLUB (The Scarlett Bunny).  Scott P. Murphy

PAN AM (Pilot).  Bob Shaw

The kitchen from the horror house – “American Horror Story”.

Telemovie or Miniseries.

MILDRED PIERCE.  Mark Friedberg

CINEMA VERITE.  Patti Podesta

TOO BIG TO FAIL.  Bob Shaw

THE HOUR.  Eve Stewart

BLING RING.  Robb Wilson King

Mildred Pierce “kitchen set” designer Mark Friedberg

A couple of favourites are in the mix – Dante Ferretti, Stuart Craig, Rick Heinrichs, Bob Shaw, Mark Friedberg. Very happy that Gemma Jackson has been noticed for “Game Of Thrones”, pleased also that “The Help” is on the list. Thrilled that “Drive” has been recognised. I haven’t seen all of the nominees but I will try and catch up before the announcement of the winners on Feb 4. It will be interesting to see how the Gloscars compare.

This years lifetime achievement award goes to Tony Walton responsible for many films amongst them “Murder On The Orient Express”, “The Wiz”, “The Boyfriend”, “Prince Of The City”. He was once married to Julie Andrews. Also to be honoured with a Cinematic Imagery Award are the team behind the Harry Potter franchise including Stuart Craig (Production Designer), Neil Lamont (Art Director) and Stephenie McMillan (Set Decorator).

Set decorator Stephenie McMillan and production designer Stuart Craig the masters behind Harry Potter’s striking visual design.

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It’s A Wrap – Part One.

Wrapping up the box.

MY TELEVISION YEAR.

It has been a very busy year for Babs so there were far and few television programmes watched with regularity. Thankfully I have a DVR and with boxed set DVDs and friends abroad it has allowed me to catch up on some great TV viewing. Here are my faves and the reasons why I stay glued to the flat screen.

1. The new kid on the block – AMERICAN HORROR STORY.

The wondrous creators of ‘Glee’ and ‘Nip/Tuck’ – Brad Falchuck and Ryan Murphy are responsible for this campy take on the haunted house theme. A young family movie into a house in Los Angeles to repair some damage done due to daddy’s infidelity. Full of naughty housekeepers in garters or with glass eyes, a rubber gimp suit, creepy neighbours, ghosts past and present, a homo couple and references to the pitfalls of childbirth and children to boot! It is a real treat, crafty and creepy, a guilty pleasure – minus the guilt! Jessica Lange in her SAG and Golden Globe nominated role as southern neighbour Constance is the shows highlight amongst many. Renewed for a second season, this time with a different family, house and ghosts I can’t wait to be horrorfied again.

2. The silliest  stalwart – TRUE BLOOD Season 4.

Sooky (Anna Paquin) and her sexy suitors returned for more murderous mayhem and plenty of blood spilling. This time the foe was a coven of witches led by the formidable Fiona Shaw as the leader Marni. One highlight was when the superb Nelsan Ellis as, arguably the best character in the treasured show – Lafayette channels the spirit of Marni therefore imitating Fiona Shaw,  it was a hoot . Kristen Bauer van Straten as vampiress Pam had lines of dialogue to rival Sue Slyvester in ‘Glee”. It was sillier and bloodier then previous seasons but it still works for me. Bring on season 5 which will feature Christopher Meloni (Law & Order SVU, Oz) as a sexy superior vampire. What more beefcake?  🙂

3. Never a pain – NURSE JACKIE Season 3.

Edie Falco, warts and all, returned as the most flawed character I can recall on the small screen. This season a new nurse entered the frame and he was right on Jackie’s case. She managed to dodge the bullets of last seasons revelation that she is indeed a pill popping addict using prescription drugs to avoid the pains of life in a big city hospital – juggling a dual life at home and at work, the final episode in which she pulled the two- faced whammy and asked her husband to get out of the house was a whopper. Falco leads this great ensemble with a riveting performance, Eve Best as the best friend continued to delight as do the rest of the staff of All Saints hospital in NYC all helping to make this series one of the best shows on TV right now. It shows no sign of losing its appeal making me want for another hit – am I an addict?

4. Medievil Mafiosa – GAME OF THRONES.

HBO – well those 3 capital letters they do make you stand up and take notice. New to the quality stable of series comes a show that is a real treat. It has been tagged  as a ‘The Sopranos” in Middle Earth but it is far more than that.

Filmed in Ireland and Malta the scenery is glorious and production values are of the highest order making this show flawless and allowing  you to immerse yourself  into the fantasy world that simply makes you believe. Fine acting from a mostly British/European cast and an Emmy winning performance by the little man of the moment Peter Dinklage (The Station Agent) this series follows many clans across many kingdoms who covet the throne to rule all. It took me a while to work out who was who and what the hell was going on at times, but it has individual scenes that were riveting and as a whole was entirely engrossing. Once I found my way around the clans of the Starks, the Lannisters, the Targaryens, and so on I was hooked.

Production design and costumes should be singled out along with seamless CGI that has you seeing and believing in this wondrous other world. The title sequence is superb as well.

Mention must be made of the final scene, I was absolutely stunned, it came from nowhere but once revealed I cannot recall a single image like it in recent times, it shook my world and will surely shake up the next eagerly awaited sophomore season of this great show.

5. Musical Mayhem – GLEE Season 2 and 3 (pt 1)

The musical maniacs of McKinley high school returned and whilst the episodes were very patchy and uneven, when it soared it was well worth the effort of persevering with this pioneering show. The episode in which virginity was lost between a heterosexual and homosexual couple of kids was a highlight, though not as controversial as they say, it cleverly used  the staging of the musical of West Side Story to great effect. Sue Sylvester had her usual quotas of clingers –  always a delight. I am looking forward to the new series ‘Smash” that follows in the musical footsteps of this favourite of mine.

6. Homegrown quality at last – THE SLAP

Perhaps setting a long overdue benchmark for quality television out of  Australia this controversial suburban soap opera had everyones tongues wagging. ‘Who’s side are you on?’ was the tagline – following the aftermath of a family BBQ in which a child was slapped by another adult, not his parents. Based on the acclaimed popular novel by Christos Tsiolkas each episode concentrated on a separate character as the saga continued. Covering many hot topic issues and featuring a multicultural cast the performances were first class, the writing gratefully accomplished and the production values at the top end of the scale. It was a welcome change on the local television scene. Kudos to cinematographer Andy Commis who created a cinematic canvas that is unusual for Aussie drama.

Please don’t die on us – THE BIG C season 2.

Laura Linney returned as Cathy with terminal cancer – at times she can be very self righteous and selfish but then she is dying so I guess all can be forgiven. This dramedy had some fine moments and some terrific guest stars – Hugh Dancy & Parker Posey. It was good to see the character of Andrea played by Oscar nominee Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) fully fleshed out this time. Unfortunately I missed a couple of eps midway but the final episode packed a sentimental but very powerful wallop, making me feel I had run an emotional marathon myself.

Honorable mentions to

MODERN FAMILY  – a great cast of characters both the adults and the kids, constantly funny, I don’t watch religiously but I am always pleased when I catch eps every now and again.

THE LOVE BOAT (reruns on 11) – I love catching up on the retro guest stars often Hollywood icons long dead and TV has beens.  Silly storlylines that keep me interested even though oh so cliched.

THE GOLDEN GIRLS (reruns on Gem) – A TV comedy classic with a great cast of elder actresses. Betty White is the last dame standing as sadly the other 3 cast members Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty are no longer with us. Perfect comic timing and wonderful retro references tickle my funny bone a plenty.

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Animal Kingdom being developed for the small screen.

I was very pleased to read that that great Australian film “Animal Kingdom” is on the cards to be developed as a TV series for Showtime. I love this movie, one of the best Aussie flicks ever. I am thrilled that writer/director David Michod and producer par excellence Liz Watts are on board as executive producers, sure to maintain the films integrity.

The 2010 film – a crime drama focused on a family of criminals and their battle with the police and the innocents who got caught in the middle. It was a multiple award winner and scored a best supporting actress nomination Oscar for it’s matriarch – Jacki Weaver (robbed!!!!!)

I like the concept of a TV adaptation but it will be a challenge to recreate the mood of the original on a week by week  basis. I can’t wait to see who will land the role of the mamma of the clan. If they choose the right cast, writers and directors it is sure to be a winner. I do hope it comes to fruition. Fingers crossed.

The lovely Liz Watts, Animal Kingdom’s producer.

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She’s gonna make it after all

The Screen Actors Guild award nominations will be announced tomorrow but in the meantime TV legend Mary Tyler Moore has been announced as this years SAG Lifetime Achievement recipient. It will be presented to her at the SAG ceremony on Jan 29, handing it to her will be Dick Van Dyke a former co-star and dear friend.

Tyler Moore starred in and created her own series “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”  from 1970-77, successful spin-offs from that show were “Rhoda” starring Valerie Harper (74-78), “Phyllis”  starring Cloris Leachman (75-77) and “Lou Grant” starring Ed Asner (77-82). Her production company MTM also produced “The Bob Newhart Show”, “WKRP In Cincinnati”, “Hill Street Blues” and “St. Elsewhere”. She has won countless Emmy awards and was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in Robert Redford’s “Ordinary People”. One of her co-stars Betty White received the same honour from SAG in 2009.

A statue of Mary Tyler Moore in Minneapolis at the site of the famous “hat toss” scene from the opening credits of the hit show.

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Munster mash

I am excited about the news that NBC have commissioned a pilot for a reboot of the campy black & white 60’s TV series “The Munsters”.

I loved the show and was a big fan when I was a little lad. I am thrilled it is in good hands, the man behind the pilot is producer Bryan Fuller who created the brilliant series “Pushing Daisies” of which I am also a big fan. It lasted only 2 seasons being way to fanciful and out there for network television. It is a visual masterpiece winning an Emmy for design beating “Mad Men”, it also won an Emmy for supporting actress – Kristen Chenoweth.

The cast of Pushing Daisies.

The pilot is to be directed by Bryan Singer (X-Men, The Usual Suspects) who will stay on in an executive producer role. They promise another visual treat, can’t wait to see their take on 1313 Mockinbird lane where the family reside.

Producer and creator Brian Fuller.

I am keen to see who will be cast in the roles of Herman and Lily Munster played wonderfully by Fred Gwynne and Yvonne DeCarlo.

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