Posts By Jonathan Durbin

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Friday’s Reviews Rage: Love in the Time of Cholera

lovecholera_l.jpgEvery week we round up selections from the funniest and most brutal film criticism out there so that you don’t waste your cash at the theaters and laugh a little at Hollywood’s expense. This week: Love in the Time of Cholera, the film adaptation of Gabriel García Márquez’s renowned novel, is ham-fisted, absurd, and more than a little silly. It’s a lot silly.

“Those who have read Gabriel García Márquez’s glowing and sexy 1988 novel about one man’s grand love for a woman who marries another are bound to be peevishly disappointed by Love in the Time of Cholera. And those who haven’t read the book will now never understand the ardor of those who have — at least not based on all the hammy traipsing and coupling and scene-hopping thrown together here.” — Entertainment Weekly

“From the hoot-worthy dialogue (‘I don’t need a medical lesson.’ ‘No, this is going to be a lesson in love’) to the atrocious makeup, to the dead rats taped to the side of Hector Elizondo’s head, the entire thing’s a wreck. Unless it was trolling for sneering chuckles, in which case — success!” — The Village Voice

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Behind The Shot: Children and Animals Are Photography’s Most Difficult Subjects

russell_james1.jpgThe host and lead judge of The Shot is Russell James, a world-renowned photographer who has captured images for Vogue, W, Elle, GQ and a host of others. We caught up with him to discuss his most difficult subjects, who he thinks took episode 2′s best photograph, and why you always need to keep your cool.

VH1: Is it true that children and animals make the most difficult subjects?
Russell James:
Oh, they’re a pain in the ass! [Laughs] I’d say that it’s yes to both. Animals do whatever the hell they want. And if you multiply that by a magnitude of 10, that goes for children, too. I love kids — I have tons of nieces and nephews — but I’d rather have all my teeth removed without anesthesia than shoot children for a living.

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Friday’s Reviews Rage: Fred Claus

fred_claus.jpgEvery week we round up selections from the funniest and most brutal film criticism out there so that you don’t waste your cash at the theaters and laugh a little at Hollywood’s expense. This week: Fred Claus is something of a disaster and, unfortunately, only the latest misstep from America’s king of sarcasm (and Lieutenant Colonel of flannel shirts), Vince Vaughn. In other news, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. There’s a whole season of these yet to come. Check our “best and worst” holiday films list, and see which Santas rule.

“Lacking the absurdist je ne say what of fellow crank Bill Murray (who tried his hand at Christmas fare with Scrooged), the demonic physical comedy of Ben Stiller (amassing kid cred with Night at the Museum), or the freestyling innocence of Will Ferrell (Elf), Vaughn brings to the kiddie party the same thing he brings to the adult party: a six-foot-five attitude problem. Whether a giant man with an extensive flannel collection and a big mouth will have crossover (or -under) appeal is anyone’s guess.” – The Village Voice

“The post-pumpkin, pre-Christmas family comedy Fred Claus is constructed like a rattling Santa sack of stocking stuffers, most of them plastic, doled out with little confidence about what adults want from a jingle-bell comedy (we want Elf!), and even less about what engages a kid (they want Elf!).” – Entertainment Weekly

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Tila Tequila, We Need to Talk. (Recap Episode 5)

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Darling Tila, we need to talk. We really need to talk. We need you to call us. We would call you, but we do not have your phone number. Also, if you call us we will feel that we have upheld the social compact, the unspoken rules about telephone-conversation-generation between a media conglomerate and one lone dating-show host. But we digress.

Tila, yesterday evening we learned the following:

  • You masturbate nine times daily
  • You are willing to let innocent youth debase themselves for your amusement and then vanquish them from the competition with nary a thought about their feelings and/or welfare
  • You appear to be attracted to emotionally unstable and potentially dangerous human beings who prefer to wear thongs (when they wear anything at all) and are inexplicably huge fans of two-toned hair, makeup that makes them look like plague victims and the idea of falling in love

None of them are in love with you, Tila. But you look confused. We were worried this might happen. Call it shock. Call it Tequila Syndrome. But whatever you do, just call us.

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Smartest Model‘s Mary Alice Stephenson: Sneaky V.J., Lisa’s Brain Power & Piglet Dissection

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Mary Alice Stephenson, co-host of America’s Most Smartest Model, is a fashion industry insider whose smart looks and smart tongue control her show’s pretty people. Each week we talk with her about issues on the show. This time the subjects are Lisa’s age, V.J.’s sneaky-sneaky behavior, and how science class adds up to big-time revulsion. Interview after the jump.

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Writers Strike Is Just One More Thing Gone Wrong for Amy Winehouse

amy_winehouse.jpgAs you’ve probably heard by now, the Writers Guild of America went on strike last night, the first time television’s wordsmiths have walked out since those halcyon pre-Seinfeld days of broadcast greatness. How does this affect you? Well, if you’re a fan of soaps, talk shows and the fake news, let’s put it this way: You’re not going to be happy. It will take a little longer for lovers of scripted sitcoms and dramas to feel the bite, but it’s coming — those shows tape farther in advance, but if this continues, they’re going to run out of material, too. (Maybe the producers will fill in, or maybe YouTube will pick up the slack, or maybe we’ll all just take breather and go, you know, outside.) The blogosphere is abuzz with all the latest developments. NYMag.com, for instance, printed a wonderful pic of Tina Fey on the picket line outside Rockefeller Center, and The Los Angeles Times ran a handy chart as to which shows would suffer and when. Here are two of the more interesting items:

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The Shot: Series Premiere

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This Sunday at 10 p.m. EST, VH1′s latest elimination show debuts: Called The Shot, the series pits 10 fashion photographers (pictured above) against each other in a competition to win $100,000 and the chance to shoot a campaign for Victoria’s Secret. The host and lead judge is Russell James, a world-renowned photographer who has captured images for Vogue, W, Elle, GQ and a host of others. We caught up with him to discuss what makes a good photograph and to get the inside track on what to expect. Interview after the jump.

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Friday’s Reviews Rage: Bee Movie

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Every week we round up selections from the funniest and most brutal film criticism out there so that you don’t waste your cash at the theaters and laugh a little at Hollywood’s expense. This week: Bee Movie is an animated film that stars the vocal talents and facial tics of Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Renee Zellweger, among others. It’s so saturated the media it seems like Dreamworks and Paramount began promoting it, oh, back in 1968 (did you watch the season premiere of 30 Rock, for instance?). Even still, the critics aren’t impressed. Not that they ever are. Fun-haters!

Bee Movie isn’t a B movie, it’s a Z movie, as in dizmal. This animated feature might have been tolerable, though for what demographic I’m not sure, if its hyper vocal star, Jerry Seinfeld, had chosen to drone. Instead, he delivers every line — every stupid bee joke that he and his cronies could cook up — with a pounding, punishing triumphalism that recalls not the Seinfeld of Seinfeld but Milton Berle on a really bad night. As you may have gleaned from a publicity campaign that’s been slightly less invasive than the influenza pandemic of 1918 . . . .” – The Wall Street Journal

“Based on the patter he comes up with for his character’s shtick, Seinfeld seems to have devolved from the witty observer of human nature we saw on TV into a bad Catskills comic.” – USA Today
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Tila Tequila: Heaven on the Installment Plan (Episode 4 Recap)

Tila, last night you took us on a journey. A journey to a fantasmagoric place, or, more literally, to the Hollywood hills, where you and your brethren mounted tableaux of “Heaven” and “Hell” to titillate your house guests and home-viewing audience. Here’s what it looked like:

Unfortunately, darling, it didn’t work. Those of us watching at home had trouble remaining conscious. And if you were hoping to capitalize off of Halloween, we would like to remind you that on your show, everyday is already Halloween. The whole concept fell flat, like a lead souffle, and left us cold on the couch, an unsmoked cigarette in one hand and glass of Burgundy dampening our crotch. Really, Tila, the only ones who could find last night’s episode sexy are people who suffer from horrible hormone imbalances and teenage boys.

If you weren’t so mesmerizing, so Nefertiti-like in your physical charms, we might have even canceled our cable.

And yes, in answer to your next question, we are still hurt that you didn’t invite us to your birthday party. But darling, you’ve almost redeemed yourself. Yes, tossing Ashley out almost renewed our confidence in your cognitive prowess. But kissing Ashli? Showing Domenico sympathy? Permitting Vanessa to stay?

You work in mysterious ways, Tila.

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