Movies: At last! The first rush-to-see film of 2014: “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” And the “300” sequel looks juicy. Television: If you want to catch up on “The Vikings,” click here. On Sunday, “The Good Wife” returns with a new episode, and “Cosmos” gets a reboot thanks to Seth McFarlane, Neil deGrasse Tyson and the widow Sagan. Music: I’ve recovering from “Let It Go” and “Happy” overload by listening to nothing but Schoenberg all weekend. Books: Events in the former Soviet Union have me reading Orlando Figes’ “The Crimean War: A History.” And Mark Harris’s new book, “Five Who Came Back,” about Hollywood directors during World War II, looks terrific. Sports: I’ve got a lot of college-basketball catch-up to do before March Madness descends. Finally: Slogan of the week: Be a volunteer, not a victim.
Before she was the belle of this year’s Oscar ball, Lupita (let’s just drop the last name: she’s a diva now) was a student at the Yale School of Drama. She appeared in the usual Shakespeare and Chekhov (“Uncle Vanya” is pictured, showing Lupita rocking a look considerably more masculine than her red-carpet appearances). She also starred in something called “The Friendship of Her Thighs.” It’s a Read more »
With his creative partner Trey Parker, Matt Stone created both the enduringly popular adult cartoon series “South Park” and the smash-hit musical “The Book of Mormon.” Pairing boyish, gross-out comedy with biting parody, they are two of the darkest satirists in US media. Working with video-game developer Obsidian Entertainment, Stone has spent the last few years both writing and overseeing “South Park: The Stick of Truth,” a game that’s far from the usual throwaway licensed cash-in. Instead it’s an interactive extension of the “South Park” universe, with the same shocking and irresistible sense of humor. Stone explains.
No, no, not the one played by Maggie Smith on “Downton Abbey.” The one who flits across the screen briefly in the new movie “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Wes Anderson, who directed the film, told Charlie Rose last night that he offered the role to Miss Lansbury but she had scheduling conflicts so couldn’t do it. So I’m thinking: maybe she should be offered a role on “Downton” as a competing Dowager Countess — to replace the stereotypical vulgar-American rival the show has had with Shirley MacLaine. It would be a reunion of sorts: before Angie started rehearsals for her new “Blithe Spirit” revival in London she mentioned that she would be socializing with her “old friend” Maggie Smith.
In the race to get “The Jungle Book” to the screen, Disney has taken the lead, with Idris Elba in final negotiations to voice star as the tiger Shere Khan in Jon Favreau’s take on Rudyard Kipling‘s classic tale. God — and others — know that I love Idris, but for me the voice of George Sanders as Khan in the 1967 version will always remain the gold standard. Or maybe I’m prejudiced because Sanders played the most acidly sophisticated man in the history of movies (Addison DeWitt in “All About Eve“) and, when he committed suicide, in 1972, left a note saying he had done so because he “was bored.”
Here’s what I am most looking forward to this weekend on television, as highlighted by Time magazine’s review: ‘There is a new Seth MacFarlane show on Fox this Sunday. But if there was any doubt that “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” is no “Family Guy,” it is dispelled when the host references the planet Uranus and pronounces it “YOOR-inus.” This new version of “Cosmos,” which MacFarlane produced, is as earnest as “Family Guy,” “American Dad,” et al. are raunchy, but that doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining. It’s gorgeous, it’s absorbing, it’s impassioned, it’s awestruck and awe-inspiring.’
Yes, she can sing. That’s the first thing you should know about the “Sweeney Todd” concert given last night by the New York Philharmonic starring Emma Thompson as Mrs. Lovett and Bryn Terfel in the title role. It shouldn’t be a surprise: is there anything Emma can’t do? One of her Oscars, don’t forget, is for writing a movie (“Sense and Sensibility”) and in fact she co-wrote the “Annie” remake which just dropped its first trailer. Emma got her start in musical theatre (“Me and My Girl,” in London) and has been singing occasionally since. But nothing challenged her like Mrs. Lovett. To be honest, her low notes were better than the high. Read more »