Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Bullock lauds friends with “integrity,” says didn’t skip adoption line


In her first television interview after her marriage breakup that played out for the world to see, Sandra Bullock told morning chat program the Today show about calling a school in New Orleans (“Um, Hi, it’s Sandra Bullock”) to donate money, her love of public education, her passion for New Orleans and her adopted baby boy.

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No, she didn’t talk directly about how she felt about ex-husband James James. But among all the baby talk in the very safe interview (we wonder what ground rules were established for what could or could not be asked) —  mostly about how she calls her New Orleans-born boy her “little Cajun cookie” — she did offer up that hey, unlike the public perception of other celebrities who skip lines by adopting overseas or paying larger fees, America’s favorite  girl-next-door did not skip the queue.

“I did not circumvent. I wanted to do everything exactly the same way everyone else did. It was nice to have someone say ‘I think you are a fit parent’ which is what I heard,” she told Matt Lauer. “I got blessed, I got lucky.”

Besides being “blessed, ”  and “lucky”, she offered this little gem on life when asked about her adoption — “Everything works out the way the universe wants it to work out.”

Mad Men, Modern Family win top Emmys as fresh faces abound


The Emmys got off to a fun start at 5 p.m. local time with organizers getting six of the comedy categories out of the way at the outset. But first: the requisite intro, which is sure to mortify Bruce Springsteen’s stoic fans.

emjimmy5:05 p.m. Jimmy Fallon does Bruce Springsteen in a Glee-style version of “Born to Run.” He grabs Jane Lynch’s breasts, as she sings “Strap your hands across my engines.” A few minutes later, he ditches the Boss-style blue jeans and white-T for a tuxedo, and gets in the first Conan joke, asking “what can possibly go wrong?” when he relates how NBC asked him to host a late-night show. Camera pans to O’Brien, whose late version of “The Tonight Show” is nominated for best variety, music or comedy series.

Prog Rock Redux


It has been around 35 years since Punk burst onto the rock scene and drove the complex, shoe-staring indulgence that is prog rock into seeming oblivion with no more than three, probably untuned chords.  Signs are, though, that prog may be on the way back.

First, mainstream media has started to get all retrospective about it — a sure sign of resurgence.  The BBC  ”celebrated” prog — or progressive rock, to give it its proper name — with a nostalgic documentary at the end of 2008.  It has been repeated and triggered coverage of the genre elsewhere.  The Guardian recently pointed to prog’s  new, growing fan base.

Heidi Montag — trapped by her own body


Less than a year after having her breasts enlarged to X-rated proportions (along with a further 11 astounding cosmetic procedures at the same time), reality TV starlet Heidi Montag is finding out the downside of  a G-sized bust.

For one thing, she can’t hug her four dogs (it hurts too much), and then there are the clothing limitations (not much in the way of off-the-peg outfits that size).  Not to mention the fact that they get in the way of regular wheidi boobsork-outs and that she feels “trapped in my own body”, according to Life & Style magazine.

UK’s X Factor gets off to rocky start


cowell3The X Factor, one of Britain’s most-watched television programmes, has got off to a rocky start this year with its integrity called into question after it came to light that some contestants’ performances had been enhanced using computer software. A spokesman for the show, a pillar of ITV1′s annual scheduling, admitted that post-production work was sometimes necessary due to the number of microphones used during filming. But he also told British media that judges make their decisions during the audition stages based on what they hear live, and that later shows are all genuinely live.

The revelations have prompted negative media comment and online complaints from some fans, although few people expect them to have too much of an impact on viewing figures. The first episode of this year’s series was watched by 11.1 million people, up from last year’s figure of 9.9 million.

Sean Connery turns 80, acting days “over”


connerySuave Scot Sean Connery turns 80 today and tells a newspaper that his acting days are over.

The landmark anniversary has prompted a general outpouring of love and appreciation in the media for a man best known for his portrayal of super sleuth James Bond. His six official outings as 007 established him as the definitive Bond in many people’s eyes, including his closest rival for the title, Roger Moore.

Martin Scorsese shifts from film to fragrance


USAMartin Scorsese has followed in the footsteps of  Baz Luhrmann and Jean-Pierre Jeunet to shoot a commercial for Chanel, with a little help from his pals the Rolling Stones.

The 60-second spot for Bleu de Chanel, featuring French actor Gaspard Ulliel (“Young  Hannibal”), kicks off the first major men’s advertising campaign and fragrance launch for Chanel since 2004. The campaign is due to be launched in September, with Chanel undoubtedly hoping the A-list ad gets plenty of social-media play.

Is Steven Tyler right fit for “American Idol”?


steventyler Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler looks to be on his way to join “American Idol” in what would be the first bona fide rock star judge on the show’s panel.

But is Tyler, 62, the right fit for a show aimed squarely at middle America? And if Tyler is in place, as widely reported, can the “Idol” judging panel carry a second major artist if rumors about country star Shania Twain, or Jennifer Lopez, or even Jessica Simpson turn out to be correct?

Joaquin Phoenix says “I’m Still Here”


Joaquin PhoenixBut is he all there? Really all there.

He quit a golden Hollywood career because he was bored. He thought movies weren’t interesting anymore. He didn’t have anything else to learn. And today, Joaquin Phoenix has re-emerged in the trailer of a new “documentary” called “I’m Still Here” that is directed by his brother-in-law Casey Affleck. The documentary tells about Phoenix’s supposed attempts at a transition to a career in hip hop.  We wrote about it here and here. Surely, we think, it’s more mockumentary, something on the order of “This is Spinal Tap” that sends up the entertainment industry. Tellingly, it was “written and produced” by both Affleck and Phoenix. Then again, who are we to say he’s lying just because what he has done seems so odd. One never really knows, and “odd” is rather normal in Hollywood. You can watch the trailer — and judge it — for yourself below.

In interviews, despite a bizarre, mumbling shaggy-haired appearance on David Letterman that baffled many, Joaquin Phoenix coherently insisted to all in promoting his last film in 2008, “Two Lovers,” that he was indeed quitting acting (he still has no more movies announced). And yes, absolutely and convincingly, he said he was pursuing a career in hip hop.  And yes, there was Affleck right on hand to tape all media interviews with Phoenix. (Note: we politely said “no” to being taped for a possible spoof, much to Affleck’s annoyance.)

“At the Movies” goes dark


The latest movies from Sylvester Stallone, Julia Roberts and Michael Cera will forever be remembered by film buffs as the last to be reviewed on the weekly TV show “At the Movies,” which ended its influential 35-year run this past weekend. Syndicator Disney announced in March that it was canceling the show because it no longer made financial sense to produce.

The show, originated by rival Chicago newspapermen Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, brought film criticism to mainstream America. The two scribes passionately debated each other on the merits of Hollywood blockbusters and small art-house releases, making or breaking movies with their trademarked (literally) thumbs-up and thumbs-down recommendations.