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Don’t Miss It: Lindsay Lohan Hosts ‘Chelsea Lately’

Published July 26, 2014 by gossipzoo

Tonight at 11/10c, Lindsay Lohan guest-hosts Chelsea Lately on E!.

After leaving rehab last Wednesday, Lohan taped a special with Oprah Winfrey, set to premiere on August 18th. She headed to Handler’s studios in Burbank for what some have hailed as a proper comeback.

Buzznet’s Callina Marie was in the audience for Lohan’s gig.

“Her opening monologue was fantastic,” Marie wrote. “She cracked jokes and even poked fun at herself a little saying she was on a 90-day court ordered vacation. She also threw some digs at Chelsea, all in good fun of course, mentioning she saw someone who looked just like Chelsea while leaving Cliffside.”

Lohan signed two of Chuy‘s balls, which we’re giving away to two lucky readers. To enter, head over to Lohan’s site and sign up for her newsletter.

Watch Lohan’s late night hosting debut tonight @ 11/10c on E!

Follow Lohan on Twitter and Facebook.

Follow Chelsea Lately on Twitter and Facebook.

Breaking Bad 5.13, To’hajiilee Review

Published July 22, 2014 by gossipzoo

Handshake

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Hug someone you love before watching this week’s Breaking Bad.

To’hajiilee is an action-packed return to form after the last couple of sluggish episodes. A chess analogy continues to invite itself: with all the pieces finally maneuvered into their final positions, the big bang everyone has been waiting for finally happens. Unfortunately, we don’t yet know the consequences. We get to see everything explode, but we don’t get to see who’s still standing. And that’s really not a metaphor.

The neo-Nazis are back in the forefront of the action. They take the entire show down an even darker path than it’s tread before. All the villains used previously have been endowed with a handful of redeeming personality traits, but Uncle Jack’s pure, skeevy malevolence makes the show almost frightening to watch.

In the cold open, Todd cooks his best batch of meth yet: 76 percent pure. Uncle Jack, who doesn’t need to wear any sissy gas masks, and Lydia are both present. Unfortunately, despite the higher grade, Todd’s meth is not blue. Lydia insists that it must be. Bizarrely, Todd has developed a crush on her and is fairly forward about it. Actually, even though this is a man we’ve seen execute a 13-year-old, his advance toward Lydia is one of the most aggressive things Todd’s done. The camera is right up against Lydia’s face to highlight Todd’s invasion of her personal space, but she rebuffs him and tells him to get the cook right, seemingly unaware of his flirtation.

Then we see Walt’s phone call from the end of last episode from Todd’s perspective. Any doubt about who Walt wants Jack to kill is gone. Jesse is the target. While Todd is on the phone, he notices Lydia’s lipstick stain on her coffee mug and puts his lips over it for a drink. Again, it’s a creepy moment, but significant for the characterization of Todd. Up until now he’s been almost sympathetic, portrayed mostly as an order-taking, highly loyal top lieutenant. When he escorts Lydia away from the mass killing at Declan’s lab in Blood Money, it seems he’s doing it because his momma raised him to be chivalrous. In this episode, we see Todd for the first time evince a personal desire, a lustful one. We knew already he’s a murderer, but there is now an even baser darkness to Todd than we’ve seen before.

Meanwhile, Jesse, Hank, and Gomez are concocting their plan to nab Walt, and it’s a good one. When Jesse told Walt at the end of last episode that he’d get him where he lives, it seemed like a clear threat to Walt’s money. Sure enough, the team goes that route. How they do it is actually one of the most interesting schemes the show has ever detailed. They’re met with setbacks but are continually clever enough to make the plan work anyway.

Jessebrains

First, Hank brings Huell to a safe house for questioning under the phony premise that Walt is tying up loose ends and Huell is next. Huell isn’t buying the story until Hank shows him a picture of Jesse with his brains blown out. In the previous scene, Hank plopped a raw brain straight from the butcher onto his kitchen floor and poured blood around it. It’s a gas when you find out why – the picture he shows Huell is of Jesse lying next to the mess. After he sees the picture, Huell sings like a canary. Sadly for Hank, Huell is being honest when he says he doesn’t know where Walt took the money.

What he does know, however, is enough for a lead. Walt probably buried the barrels full of money and Huell tells them the rental company. Hank finds out the rental company took its GPS units off their vehicles so there’s no way to track where the van went. It seems like another busted lead until Hank gets another idea.

Meanwhile, Walt negotiates the price for Jesse’s head with Uncle Jack, but it isn’t money the neo-Nazis want. They want Walt to show Todd how to cook. This scene puts a vacuum right on Walt’s already-forfeited soul. For the first time since the Heisenberg side of Walter White fully took over, Walt is small, weak, and holds no leverage. When Jack names the price, Walt initially says no, but he is significantly less confident than in his first dealing with Jack. In that meeting, Walt had all the moxie in the world; this time, he is on a chair in the center of the room and surrounded by neo-Nazis who aren’t interested in taking no for an answer. There is intimidation pouring out of this scene; Walt cannot simply put what he’s asking for back on the shelf and leave the store. He agrees to a single instructional cook with Todd to be done after Jesse is killed. The smiles on Todd and Jack’s faces say it all: Walt is theirs now.

Walt then visits Brock and Andrea in an attempt to draw out Jesse. Unfortunately for him, things continue to not go his way. When Andrea calls Jesse, the phone she dials is actually in Hank’s pocket. After listening to her message, Hank says exactly the same thing Jesse said at the payphone last episode: “Nice try, asshole.” Andrea has no idea what’s gone on between Walt and Jesse so she treats Walt politely, but Brock looks at him suspiciously. After the revelation that Walt poisoned Brock, the two of them have been in the same room twice, but while both meetings have been awkward it’s never been clear if Brock recognizes Walt. I hope the question of who actually fed Brock the Lily of the Valley berry is addressed, because it isn’t clear yet that Walt actually did it. Nor is it clear when, where, or how he could have – sneaking up on him in a playground, perhaps?

Carwash

Everything is really being pushed to the wire at this point. Walt is growing impatient and concerned that Jesse hasn’t shown himself. Saul shows up at the car wash looking for Walt and has a funny repartee with Walt Jr., who recognizes Saul from his ads and thinks lightly of the unlikely visitor. Bob Odenkirk peels off an especially funny line when he tells Junior not to drink and drive but to call him if he ever does. At one point, Saul, Skyler, Walt, Holly, and Junior are all in the same frame; it’s a weird moment and a comical one as an embarrassed-looking Walt pops in the door, sees Saul, and quickly heads back out. But neither Walt nor Saul know yet that Jesse is working for Hank, and that’s a big advantage for the good guys.

At the car wash, Walt receives a picture message showing a barrel full of money buried in the dirt. Immediately after, Jesse calls and tells Walt he’s found his money and is prepared to burn all seven barrels of it. Walt speeds off to the money, blasting through red lights, while Jesse treats him to a Speed-esque ultimatum: if Walt doesn’t stay on the phone, Jesse is going to torch all the cash. Aaron Paul delivers an Emmy-worthy performance here, sounding like a man in a very serious position of authority. He calls Walt by his first name with a special amount of contempt. It’s a role he’s never played before and he’s incredibly convincing. Moreover, Walt spills the beans about everything, copping to murders and more during the doubtlessly recorded phone call.

Actually, Walt makes a good point during the phone call: Brock is alive. For all Jesse’s anger, I’ve always felt the Lily of the Valley thread seemed like an inadequate nail for Walt’s coffin. The plant is poisonous, but non-fatal; Walt didn’t kill Brock, he only used him. Of all the evil things Walt has done, this action seems to be not among his worst. But only a sociopath could truly rationalize the poisoning of a child, and Walt is unable to get Jesse to see it his way. He drives straight to the desert where he expects to find Jesse waiting.

In my last review, I made what I thought was a snarky comment about the show ending in a hail of gunfire. Turns out it was an accurate prediction.

Upon arriving at the site where he buried his money, Walt figures out pretty quickly that he’s been set up. He braces himself for battle with Jesse and calls Uncle Jack for reinforcements, reading to him the coordinates from his lottery ticket. As Jesse pulls up with Hank and Gomez, however, Walt calls Uncle Jack off. Walt won’t be responsible for Hank’s death. He hangs up the phone with an excited Uncle Jack asking, “What do you mean, don’t come?”

Waltarrested

Everything about the next several minutes is profoundly satisfying. With Walt bested and prepared to give himself up, Hank’s voice echoes through the rocks: “Walt! Come on out! It’s over!” The look on Bryan Cranston’s face is extremely emotional, as though he’s trying desperately to stretch his last few seconds as Heisenberg, unbeatable drug lord, as long as possible. Eventually he comes out of hiding and moves toward Hank for a textbook arrest. Hank slaps the handcuffs on him with a dramatic clink. Jesse’s utterly stunned face watches as Heisenberg falls before his very eyes.

But the satisfaction is not to last. Breaking Bad is extremely good at setting up a scene, and the longer Hank and Gomez stand around in the desert the larger and more palpable the specter of the neo-Nazis showing up grows. It’s one of the moments of the show where, as a viewer, you want to slap some sense into the characters: didn’t it occur to them Walt might have called for backup? Why not drive him to the precinct as quickly as possible or at least call the arrest in? What are they standing around so long for? It’s knowledge of what’s coming that you have and the characters don’t that make the scene so intense. When Hank calls Marie to tell her about the arrest and says he loves her, text saying, “Bad things are about to happen” might as well have popped up on the screen. But obvious foreshadowing is a useful dramatic tool when the event is right around the corner.

In one of the saddest episode endings yet, Uncle Jack’s gang shows up and opens fire on the hopelessly outnumbered Hank and Gomez. Jesse slinks away, apparently unseen by the neo-Nazis. He is Hank and Gomez’s only hope; they may live if the neo-Nazis don’t want to draw the kind of heat that comes from killing cops and go after Jesse instead, but as the episode ends it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen. The way Hank is heroically framed with the sun behind him, just after his finest moment and his phone call with Marie, makes the scene completely heartbreaking. Walt’s plaintive, desperate, futile cries from the backseat of Hank’s car make it even more gut-wrenching. Maybe for the very first time, Walt truly seems to care about somebody and fear for their safety, but he is powerless.

Aryan Gunfire

Nobody’s death is shown and the episode cuts to black with bullets still being fired. Actually, this alone is the reason for To’hajiilee’s half-star deduction. Like this season has been in the unfortunate habit of doing, To’hajiilee ends not on a cliffhanger but with an unfinished scene. This time in particular it’s agonizing. If Hank dies, this episode will rank as probably the cheapest cliffhanger the show has used. I can already feel the sucker punch of spending an entire week wondering by what incredible method Hank might escape with his life only to have him die as it seemed he would anyway.

But such is the strength of Breaking Bad, the completeness of its characterizations, that a death like Hank’s is one I feel myself. It’s the kind of emotional impact that is the domain of the world’s great literature, and here it is on American primetime. Last week I lamented the show’s lack of action; now I feel I’d give anything for a dozen more Hank and Jesse-centric episodes where nothing happens and everyone stays safe. It seems pretty clear that these are the events leading to Walt’s “on the run” future. It also now seems clear that, as many fans predicted, the weapon Walt purchases in the season’s flash-forward is for a standoff with the neo-Nazis. Even if Hank, Gomez, and Jesse all die in the desert, there are plenty of others still in danger because of Walt’s actions, not the least of which are his wife and kids.

Roller coasters are often called upon as metaphors for great drama. The past three episodes have been a steady uphill climb, but now the car has free-fallen down a completely vertical hill. Your heart is in your throat and it feels like the car might just crash through the track and into the ground below. It’s an unsettling feeling, but this is Breaking Bad. Nobody said it would be easy.

The post Breaking Bad 5.13, To’hajiilee Review appeared first on WhatCulture!.

TV Review: Dexter 8.10, “Goodbye, Miami”

Published July 22, 2014 by gossipzoo

810

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

In my last review I explained how the “Anything can happen” evaluation of Dexter‘s final season is not the praise typically seen among cheap endorsements of common thrillers, but rather about as scathing a condemnation as a supposedly suspenseful show can earn. “Goodbye, Miami” suffers from the same lack of momentum as “Make Your Own Kind of Music,” but feels even more offensive as this time the definition surrounding the plot and the motivation of the characters aren’t so much fuzzy as just plain incongruent. How did Oliver/Daniel go from leaving his mother segments of people’s brains to stopping by for meals? When exactly did Deb stop being in love with Dexter and realize she still has feelings for Quinn? Why does Dexter want to save a woman he was ready to write off so recently? This last question is actually explicitly discussed throughout the episode, but its answer is so phoned in it becomes apparent just how little the writers care anymore.

Dexter claims he “feels” like he needs to protect Vogel from her son. When Hannah questions this claim citing that feelings were never really part of his kills it’s meant to be a big moment. It’s meant to illustrate that Dexter realizes he’s a real boy. The thing is, that’s exactly the opposite of what Vogel believes, which is part of why Dex was ready to walk away from this woman mid-season.

Also, shut up, Hannah. We’ve known Dexter longer than you have and Dexter’s emotions – no matter how much he denied their existence – were evident from the very first kill he ever committed on the show, a scene which was referenced as Dexter set up his kill room for Oliver (plus, I’m petty sure his feelings got in the way when he didn’t kill you and later decided to take out your dad, among many other instances). Unfortunately, Dexter’s arc since that fantastically dark and exciting first scene has been a bit of a farce.

Every season Dexter struggles with his feelings and his need to kill until he doesn’t. This series more than any other has made it abundantly clear that its protagonist is a good guy, a hero, and that his homicidal habit may briefly appear to take a heavy emotional toll, but ultimately it’s always necessary for the greater good and the good of Dexter himself. And that’s the issue that’s become so apparent in “Goodbye, Miami” – the writers have never been able to decide whether Dexter is a bright, shiny vigilante hero or a pained protagonist plagued by his own demons. They’ve always tried to have their cake and eat it too, and playing this circular game has grown tiresome. Is Dexter going after Oliver to protect Vogel? Other innocents? Himself and his family? To satiate his own sense of morality? Or simply because Ghost Harry told him to (and is no longer the counterbalance to the Dark Passenger, just its replacement)? The answer according to “Goodbye, Miami” is apparently “All of the above,” and it’s just too much, too safe, too empty, too little, too late.

As much as Dexter’s plethora of weak motivations bothers me, Vogel’s been a terrible disappointment as well. Much like the dreaded sixth season, Vogel kicked things off with plenty of promise for an exploration of what makes Dexter who he is, but any such promise turned out to have died early on so Dex could chase a bunch of red herrings until these last few episodes of plot, plot, plot (or more accurately, doing nothing while feigning action), until, “Oh, it’s the finale? Where does the time go?” Specifically, in “Goodbye, Miami” Vogel first begs Dex not to kill her son because he, while angry, clearly isn’t actually trying to kill her so much as seek her rehabilitation and attention and care, things which she is willing to provide (crazy as it is). But then, because Dex shows Vogel a video of something she already knew, Vogel isn’t so willing and asks that Dexter just kill her son without making him suffer. Which is it? I guess audio/visual presentations do go a long way. And does it bother anyone else that if Dex just hopped on a plane then Oliver never would have slit his mother’s throat?

The sloppiness isn’t confined to Dexter and Vogel. Deb has essentially been trudging in circles since her apparent epiphany after failing to kill herself and Dexter over four episodes ago. Gone is her potential romance with Elway, or the fact that she killed a man for frightening her, or that Dex killed her mark/boyfriend, or that she killed LaGuerta, or that Hannah tried to kill her, or her confused romantic feelings for Dexter, or pretty much any of the arcs the writers have at one point started to send Deb on but eventually forgot about. None of these have had any actual resolution (except for the borderline misogynistic notion the writers haven’t abandoned that Deb needs a man). Despite what she tells Deputy Marshal Clayton, Deb is nothing more than her brother’s reluctant keeper.

Speaking of Clayton, why is he around? Is it his pursuit of Hannah which is going to keep Dexter from getting away? If so it’s going to be a crowded party as Elway is also still looking to take down Hannah, which confuses me as both these characters have only been around for a blink of an eye compared to Quinn whose function I had hoped would have been to accidentally expose Dexter (since Doakes and LaGuerta are dead and Angel is, well, Angel), especially since Quinn was all about catching Zach Hamilton, but it looks like Quinn’s only function is to essentially look at the camera while shrugging and saying, “Chicks, amiright, brah?” Regardless, this is another one of those examples of “Anything can happen,” not because this show is so deft at navigating through its well established world to surprise its audience, but because the writers pretty much just throw everything at the wall and even they don’t seem to know what’s going to stick.

Obviously Dexter’s never going to make it to Argentina, but the real question is whether Masuka’s adult daughter whom he did not raise and just met, like, a week ago will stop smoking pot on Saturdays. Wait…

The post TV Review: Dexter 8.10, “Goodbye, Miami” appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe Are Leaving ‘Parks and Recreation’

Published July 11, 2014 by gossipzoo

Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones are reportedly leaving 'Parks and Recreation.'

Leslie Knope will have to say some goodbyes this season as both Rashida Jones (who plays Leslie’s best friend Ann) and Rob Lowe are reportedly leaving Parks and Recreation. Jones was an original member of the cast, while Lowe joined in season two for what was supposed to be a guest role, but soon became a regular cast member. Their characters, Ann Perkins and Chris Traeger, have had an on-again/off-again relationship ever since.

The NBC show’s fifth season ended with Traeger and Perkins trying to have a baby together; their departure together hints at a happy ending for the two. Buzzfeed’s Kate Arthur, who broke the story, reports that the sixth season’s 13th episode will be both actors’ final. Arthur notes that that episode will likely air during February sweeps.

The news hasn’t been officially confirmed; NBC declined to comment on Buzzfeed’s story. Neither Jones nor Lowe has acknowledged the story.

As for the actors’ next projects, Jones and her Celeste & Jesse Forever writing partner Will McCormack have a development deal with Warner Bros. Television. Rob Lowe is currently promoting National Geographic’s Killing Kennedy, in which he plays Former President John F. Kennedy.

In happier Parks and Rec news, it has been confirmed that Lucy Lawless will be in the season six premiere. Lawless starred in several episodes last season as Diane, a love interest to Nick Offerman‘s Ron Swanson. In the final moments of the season five finale, Diane revealed that she was pregnant. Entertainment Weekly reports that Parks and Recreation producers intend to include Lawless in several episodes throughout the season, as Ron prepares to be a dad.

Parks and Rec‘s hour-long season six premiere airs on September 26 and is set partially in London. Heidi Klum and Henry Winkler will also guest star.

‘Whatever this is.’: It’s Well Worth the Crowd’s Funding

Published July 10, 2014 by gossipzoo

'Whatever this is'

As many Hollywood artists hop aboard the Kickstarter bandwagon, lest we forget the little guys: Those humble, hard-working artists who turn to the crowdfunding site to pay for their creative projects.

Such as Whatever this is. It’s a new web series from Adam Goldman, the Brooklyn-based force behind The Outs, an acclaimed seven-episode, online show about gay exes figuring out love and life in New York City. The Outs collected a cult following – including a few outspoken celebrity fans, like Alan Cumming – and praise from publications like The Huffington Post, The Guardian, Out and Paper, after it was entirely financed through two Kickstarter campaigns.

Now Goldman is calling on crowdfunding again for Whatever this is., a series focuses on three roommates – two production assistants, Ari (Dylan Marron) and Sam (Hunter Canning), and teacher Lisa (Madeline Wise), Sam’s girlfriend – as they struggle to make ends meet while chasing their career dreams.

“These characters have a plan to get where they’re going, but that plan maybe isn’t working out exactly as they anticipated,” Goldman explained to Celebuzz via email. “I think that’s probably true of everyone at some point in their life, so hopefully people will see something to relate to.”

But it is not in the same vein as other shows about twentysomethings finding their way. “What’s out there [on TV] is suffused with a kind of cynicism,” said Goldman. “Also, a lot of stories about young people on TV are about people with safety nets, and we wanted to remove that net. For Ari and Sam and Lisa, there is really no Plan B. It’s make rent or give up and start from scratch somewhere else. Money is not going to parachute in from the sky.”

Neither will it for the production of Whatever this is. With less than week left, the series’ Kickstarter campaign stands just shy of $70,000, which is less than halfway to Goldman’s $165,000 goal. While “the shoestring is slightly bigger” than with The Outs, he points out that they’re “still barely squeaking by” compared to “any ‘real’ television budget.”

It’s most certainly modest measured up to the $3.1 million that Zach Braff pulled in for his Garden State follow-up, Wish I Was Here, or the $5.7 million that Rob Thomas raised for the Veronica Mars movie. That’s in part why these high-profile, deep-pocketed Hollywood types have caught criticism for using Kickstarter: some see it as unseemly of them to ask for seven-figure sums while independent projects stagger behind.

But if you ask Goldman, the flak is not fair. “[It] is a great tool and it need to be available to everyone – period,” he said, adding that he generally agrees with Kevin Smith‘s opinion of celebrities cashing in on Kickstarter. “It doesn’t discriminate. It is good, whoever is using it.”

And their presence on the site is something of a “push and pull” for campaigns like Whatever this is. “On the one hand, it means more exposure for crowdfunding endeavors like our own, which is great,” he explained. “On the other hand, someone is more likely to fork over $20 to the campaign that’s getting massive media coverage because it’s run by a celebrity than to kick those same $20 in to an independent artist trying to make a first project.”

But if the brilliantly-written, well-acted and witty first episode is any indication, Whatever this is. has a hopeful future, one that is already forming in Goldman’s imagination. “We designed Whatever this is. from the ground up to be more than one season,” he said. “The first six episodes have a clear arc and it’s all going somewhere, just like The Outs. Assuming people enjoy the show, we’d love to keep going … I’m getting really excited about it.”

Watch the pilot of Whatever this is., above. If you like what you see, find out more about the web series at whateverthisis.com, and head over to Kickstarter to help the season get completed.

‘The Real Housewives Of Orange County:’ Alex McCord Sounds Off

Published June 28, 2014 by gossipzoo

Reality TV veteran Alex McCord shared her thoughts with Celebuzz on last night’s episode of The Real Housewives Of Orange County.

“Kill the Bloody Piggy!!” McCord jokes. “Yes, I am making a Lord of the Flies reference to the Real Housewives….C’mon, you have to agree with me that’s apt. This week, we have several examples of ‘Did you forget you’re on a docu-soap?’ as well as a wedding, booze and tea-bagging.

Watch what else McCord had to say in this week’s recap.

Here’s Your First Look at James Franco as Dr. Leotard on ‘The Mindy Project’

Published June 25, 2014 by gossipzoo

Thank you social media gods, for without your existence, we’d have to wait until the fall to see what James Franco looks like on the new season of The Mindy Project.

On Thursday, show writer and co-star Ike Barinholtz took to Twitter to share two new photos of Franco in a doctor’s coat, posing alongside Chris Messina, Mindy Kaling and her adorable shorter ‘do.

As previously announced, Franco, 35, will guest star on two episodes as Dr. Paul Leotard, a former model who decided to take on OBGYN duties after being saved by a pregnant woman.

[Photo courtesy of Twitter/Ike Barinholtz]

In other Mindy Project news, it was reported earlier this week that NBA player Kris Humphries has signed on to guest star on an upcoming episode. According to TVGuide.com, Humphries will play himself.

Season 2 of The Mindy Project will premiere on Sept. 17 on FOX.






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