• NBC is pulling out all the stops to promote Jay Leno's new show. Don't believe it? Try this out for size: "In early September, NBC will even adopt a portion of Interstate 10 in California to reiterate Mr. Leno's time slot." [NYT]
• Notwithstanding the Leno blitz, NBC is still looking to cut its budget. [NYT]
• No one cares about CNBC these days, in case you haven't noticed. [Slate]
• More on troubles at Condé Nast (revenues may fall by as much as $350 million this year), and the recent round of receptionist-purging. [NYP, NYO]
• The lobbyist scandal goes on. A couple of days after it was revealed that MSNBC's Richard Wolffe is now working for a lobbying firm comes the news that CNN's Bill Schneider has signed up with a D.C. think tank. [HuffPo]
• Related: Wolffe has another Obama-related book in the works. [TNR]
• Experts say the prognosis for BusinessWeek is not good. [DailyFinance]
• As you might expect, the mood has been very upbeat at CurrentTV today now that Laura Ling and Euna Lee have returned from North Korea. [NYT]
We (and you) were none too pleased when Ben Lyons joined Ben Mankiewicz as the host for At the Movies earlier this year, particularly when we considered Lyons' track record as something of a half-wit Richard Roeper to Mankiewicz's low-rent Roger Ebert. And while Mankiewicz has settled in relatively well in the last six weeks, we continue to cringe at the sight and sound of Lyons fluffing away at Hollywood loins in his blurb-fertile reviews. Still, we knew he was a hack; what we didn't know (at least to the extent we do today) was the garish, staggering extent of his starfucking.By "starfucking" we mean more than just dating Whitney Port (which, let's be honest, is more like "radar-blipfucking"). We mean his Zelig-like proximity to celebrities and events where no mere blurb-whore has gone before. Take Christopher Mintz-Plasse's publicity-tour stop last week at the University of Michigan, where the Superbad co-star was accosted by a street preacher who said he was going to hell for his work in Hollywood. And look who was with McLovin, natch:
At perhaps the worst time in years for new movies, and with little advance fanfare from their Disney benefactors, the Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz era of At the Movies officially began over the weekend. If you happened to miss it (who are we kidding, of course you did), never fear: We attempted some of the heavy lifting for you in clips you'll find after the jump. Seeing as it's almost too easy to pile on a critic who actually issues praise like, "It's Don Cheadle's uncanny ability to create a complete character — and not just an archetype — that saves [Traitor]" aloud, and our minds haven't changed much since the pair was named co-hosts in July, for now we defer to the expert jury at EW's PopWatch blog, where the consensus hovers between general ambivalence and "Ben Lyons is about as much of an expert about films as Heidi Montag is about the art of sound":
I really dislike critics of any kind, subscribing as I do to the theory that they're people who cannot even for a second do the things they are paid to bitchily criticize. But I've watched At the Movies since I was a little kid and over those long years I developed a love for Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel. And, given some time, I even learned to appreciate Richard Roeper when he replaced Siskel after Siskel's tragically untimely death. And I knew that Ebert and Roeper had disowned the Disney-run show and were being replaced by a couple of young nothings from nowhere. But it just hit me really hard when tonight's episode ended with Roeper announcing that it really was his final episode. And that went for Ebert too. Fuck! They really won't be back!
Oh boy! Here come the 9/11 Comedies, according to Politico! Hollywood is finally catching up with the internet. And al-Qaeda. Though their "Sept. 11 comedies" are Harold and Kumar Go to Guantanamo Bay, which is not really about 9/11, and some John Cusack Halliburton satire, which is about Iraq, and Zombie Strippers, which is self-explanatory. Oh, there is one genuine 9/11 comedy coming, though. It is directed by Uwe Boll, it will basically be a travesty. The Soup Nazi plays Osama bin Laden. But every Uwe Boll film is a travesty, be it about 9/11 or vampires in the old west. Also it's been out for a year, except no one will release it. The year-old SHOCKING OPENING SCENE is after the jump, because if we can't laugh at ourselves, what have we got left?
Last night I went to see "Walk Hard," the John C. Reilly vehicle about the fast times of a rock star, and while I wouldn't dissuade you from doing the same, it is true that I rarely LOLed. A parody of rock biopics lives and and dies by the funniness of its parody songs, and the ones in "Walk Hard" are, for the most part, lame-o. Look, I don't have high standards: I am the kind of person who finds "Meet The Rutles" funny. But, like, you'd think the assembled talent behind "Walk Hard" could come up with something better than a love duet full of blow job jokes and a protest song about midgets that references "The Wizard of Oz," right?
When Juno, the 16-year-old heroine of the movie being marketed hardest to my generation this holiday season, tells her best friend she's pregnant, the friend's first reaction is, "Honest to blog?" CLUNK. But in spite of being forewarned about that line in the movie's ubiquitous T.V. spots, and in spite of David Denby's New Yorker rave—"Juno is a coming-of-age movie made with idiosyncratic charm and not a single false note"—I still held out high hopes for alternastripper memoirist turned screenwriter Diablo Cody's collaboration with 'Thank You For Smoking' director Jason Reitman. But guess what? There are false notes aplenty in this trytoohardy movie. Honest to blog!
Two minutes or so into 'Hannah Takes The Stairs,' the little film that's had its proverbial shaggy haircut lovingly mussed by every critic under the sun, a dickish but clueless boss character announces to his employees that he's gonna "go check my email and update my blog and all that." Upon hearing this line, the entire audience of the 8 p.m. screening of the film at the IFC Center last night broke out in hearty laughter that sounded remarkably like 200 American Apparel-clad backs being self-patted simultaneously. Also, one person literally started applauding. If only I'd left then!
If you have balls, they were probably sweating their asses off in yesterday's heat. Fortunately, the frigid air of the multiplex provides some relief in this summer of the sequel. Richard Blakeley and the Cajun Boy headed over to Times Square's AMC Empire 25 theater to take the pulse of moviegoers who caught the second installment of Marvel's latest cinematic franchise.
All this summer movie season, we're sending Richard Blakeley and the Cajun Boy to different New York multiplex flicker huts to see how viewers enjoyed their two hours of brain no-thinkee time. This week, the cineastes of Union Square's Regal Stadium 14 let you know how they liked the newest edition of the George Clooney-Brad Pitt conman franchise.
Is there a more American way of spending your hot summer weekend than sitting benumbed in some air-conditioned popcorn palace while the latest installment of some celluloid masterpiece based upon a comic book or amusement park ride unspools across the screen? We sent Richard Blakeley and the Cajun Boy around to different New York multiplexes (multiplexi?) to see how viewers enjoyed their two hours of brain no-thinkee time. This week, the cineastes of Brooklyn's UA Court Street Stadium 12 express their opinions on the third iteration of that pirate flick.