Friday, May 21, 2010

The Cannes Film Festival and The TV Upfronts

My head is just about exploding this week, with all the news and opinion about the rush of new films and TV shows being announced and/or screened this month during France's Cannes Film Festival, and the 2010-2011 TV Upfronts Week during which major TV nets announce their new schedules for the fall and midseason (spring).

Here are a few links if you are interested in keeping up:

For Cannes, I am as always enjoying thorough and opinionated coverage at Thompson On Hollywood, The Playlist, and the crew at IndieWire, with interviews, reviews, and news of note for American filmgoers. The festival's official site also has this page, loaded with clips or trailers from every single film at the festival.

The Shat and BIG BANG THEORY, on CBS Thursdays This Fall! Awww.

For new TV shows at the Upfronts, take a gander at the news coverage by The Live Feed and The Daily Beast. Seat42F has this full cheatsheet on all the new shows, The Live Feed has this video player containing clips and trailers, and Zap2it has the whole fall schedule laid out in a handy grid.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I will have a bit more to say on all this new entertainment soon.

If you follow these events I am curious to hear back from you, my beloved readers, about which of these films and shows you are getting excited about. The wait will be long to actually SEE any of it, but we can till discuss...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Another important doc from Davis Guggenheim

Davis Guggenheim, maker of the climate disruption documentary AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, has a new film coming out: WAITING FOR SUPERMAN. Check out the trailer:

A lot of friends in my age range, 40something/late30s, are definitely seeing tons of kids out of high school and in their early 20s who are being effected by lack of education, lack of good teachers, lack of the basic skills we were given in our (mainly public) educations of the 1960s through 1980s.

Pledge to see this film when it comes out, at

Opening Fall 2010. (Hat tip to Hollywood Elsewhere)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Vampire Summer 2010

As Mo Ryan has just pointed out on her twitter, this June is going to be incredibly vampire-heavy on our TVs.

Not only does the new season of TRUE BLOOD start on HBO June 13th, but the CW network just bought the rights to re-broadcast CBS series MOONLIGHT. They plan to do so back-to-back with re-runs of their hit show THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, beginning June 3rd.

Add to this fangbanger pile-up the oncoming premiere of TWILIGHT: ECLIPSE in theaters on June 30th, and you have got one seriously vampy summer coming up this year.

For those of us who like our vamps a little older and good bit wiser, let me share a drop of TRUE BLOOD with you... this is one of six "minisodes" that HBO is premiering each week leading up to June 13th. (Minisode 2, with eternal virgin vamp Jessica, is here.)

PS... this just in: new Buffy comic book cover, hilarious! Eat your heart out, Stephanie M.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

NURSE JACKIE at the Paley Center

Last night I attended a delightful NURSE JACKIE event at the New York Paley Center For Media. Next week's new episode Monkey Bits (#208), featuring guest star Harvey Fierstein, was screened. Afterwards there was almost an hour of discussion with Edie Falco, show creators/writers Liz Brixius and Linda Wallem, and producer Richie Jackson. As always at the Paley events, watching great television in a comfy theater with an enthusiastic audience is a unique and lovely experience.

I've embedded the audio from the entire 45-minute discussion at the bottom of this post, if you'd like to get all the delicious details.

On Stage at the Paley Center (L to R):
Richie Jackson, Liz Brixius, Linda Wallem, Edie Falco,
and panel moderator Pat Mitchell/Paley Center CEO
[photos by Chloe Seldman/Michael Priest Photography]

A friend of Falco's sent her and Jackson a script called Nurse Mona, which was very different from the show they ended up making. It was dark with supernatural elements, and included dead characters (ghosts) and even animated sections. Jackson, Falco, and the Showtime cable network fell in love with the idea of Falco playing a strong, blue collar nurse character, and decided to develop a radically altered version of the original script. At around the same time, Wallem and Brixius had written a pilot together for a different show for Showtime, which was passed on. Showtime introduced these two parties, in the hopes that some showbiz magic would ensue.

"We love addiction, we think it's hilarious," jokes Wallem while explaining why she and Brixius were so drawn to working on the nursing project for Falco. Falco is more than an actor on this show, and both Wallem and Brixius gave her much credit for continuing to collaborate with them on this show throughout the process. During the panel, Falco remained adorably modest in this area, but admits that her years and years of acting experience give her plenty of perspective and she welcomed the input. Another very special perk of this show: it is shot entirely in New York City, which was something Falco requested so that she could stay with her family.

Edie tried to do a bit of research in advance of playing a nurse (at Bellevue, "on an outpatient basis," she jokes). Acting research is not something that Falco comes to naturally, and while at the hospital she felt so in the way of the urgent care being given, it became tough work. There were many nurses in the audience at the Paley this evening; Wallem mentioned that the NURSE JACKIE Facebook page gets plenty of comments from viewers who are nurses, doctors, and other healthcare providers.

During the audience Q&A at the panel's end, one fan asked what happened to beloved former All Saints nurse Mohammed “Mo-Mo” De La Cruz. According to Brixius, there were indeed additional Mo-Mo scenes shot which had to be left out of the show due to time constraints. In these scenes you see that Mo-Mo now works for an Upper East Side dermatologist - "pumping botox for three times the money, and working half the hours. He just knew where his life was going, he didn't want to end up 40 and burnt out, he saw it coming." Wallem added that over the development of season one Doctor O'Hara became Jackie's main confidant and friend, which was leading to Mo-Mo's character being redundant.

Most of the panelists brought up the many ways they insure NURSE JACKIE is constantly discussing the problems with American healthcare today. Although the show was created before Obama's current healthcare bill was under debate, and although NURSE JACKIE does not use "ripped-from-the-headlines" cases, such ideas have been embedded in the show at every stage.

Brixius and Wallem are big Paddy Chayefsky fans, bringing up his work on films NETWORK and THE HOSPITAL. They see NURSE JACKIE in part paying homage to Chayefsky, to his unhinged main characters and crumbling institutions. Working on premium cable allows the filmmakers to create darkly funny and affecting stories, in ways a network (ie, free TV) would never sanction.

This was a charming, funny panel if you like the show - listen to the whole thing below. Let me also give a shout out here to Alix, aka The TV Chick, who has posted her own terrific write up of this panel. 'Twas great meeting you, Alix.

NURSE JACKIE has already been renewed for season three.

--> NURSE JACKIE panel discussion (MP3) embedded via