Posts By Jonathan Durbin

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Sundance Stories: The Allure of the Gift Lounge

paris1.jpgPart of the annual Sundance Festival’s allure are the gifting lounges, spread out all over town, which offer celebrities the chance to pick up high-end products for free. Celebrities are just born lucky, we guess. Gauging from what they wind up holding onto, you can tell what’s going to be hot (as Paris Hilton might say) for the coming year. Some of the hottest lounges this year included the ones from Boost Mobile, Fred Segal and The Hollywood Life House. Who showed up? Well, Paris Hilton, for one. (That’s Paris to the left, displaying her brand new icepod, which, in case you can’t guess, is jewelry for your iPod. It’s made out of real diamonds. Like we said, celebrities are born lucky. And some of them are heiresses.) After the jump, we break down some of the swag celebrities got their hands on.

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Sundance Stories: Cheezy From I Love New York 2 Spends the Night With Paris and Perez

cheezy.jpgAs you may have noticed, the Sundance Film Festival is ongoing right now — the annual Park City celebrity meeting ground, where films are bought, sold, distributed and traded. We’re checking in with a variety of actors to see how they’re spending their time. Today’s dispatch is from Cheezy, one of the contestants on I Love New York 2. He’s the happy-go-lucky sort, and spent his time in Utah networking. He also kissed Perez Hilton. Read on.

VH1: Have you been to Sundance before?
Cheezy:
I’ve been twice. I worked in the film industry before I Love New York 2. I was in film distribution, so I used to go out there, watch movies, decide what was good for DVD and hand out business cards. This year, though, I just wanted to go for myself, to network, for fun. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that I can now get into a lot more parties than I used to! [Laughs]

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Sundance Stories: Emily Blunt Wants A Sundance Tattoo In Her Swimsuit Area

blunt_rajskub.jpgAs you may have noticed, the Sundance Film Festival is ongoing right now — the annual Park City celebrity meeting ground, where films are bought, sold, distributed and traded. We’re checking in with a variety of actors to see how they’re spending their time. VH1 News caught up with actresses Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada) and Mary Lynn Rajskub (24) to talk about Sundance. They gave us the lowdown on their new, buzz-worthy film Sunshine Cleaning at the Film Lounge Media Center. The movie is about two women who start a biohazard waste removal/crime-scene clean-up service. Sounds like an indie hit.

On why they wanted to be in Sunshine Cleaning:

Emily Blunt: I read the script and it’s really beautiful and funny and kinda off the wall, and, um, the character was great. She was this eccentric pothead so I was like, “I’m in!” What about you?
Mary Lynn Rajskub: Because I got a chance to work with Emily Blunt.
EB: Thank you.

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Sundance Stories: Jason Patric, Anti-Commercialist

jasonpatric.jpgAs you may have noticed, the Sundance Film Festival is ongoing right now — the annual Park City celebrity meeting ground, where films are bought, sold, distributed and traded. We’re checking in with a variety of actors to see how they’re spending their time. Today’s dispatch is from actor Jason Patric, who you might remember from 2002’s Narc, 1991′s Rush, and 1987′s The Lost Boys. Patric’s there promoting his latest, a thriller called Downloading Nancy, and doesn’t take too kindly to Park City’s swag.

VH1: We hear that Downloading Nancy is pretty dark. What’s it about?
Jason Patric:
This woman, played by Maria Bello, is in a loveless marriage. She’s a damaged person — cuts herself, inflicts pain, is mired in loneliness. She meets a guy on the Internet who happens to be me. They have a fetish relationship, and then she leaves her husband and decides to meet him. She wants to take it to the ultimate level.

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Sundance Stories: Jason Ritter’s Good Dick

jason_ritter.jpgAs you may have noticed, the Sundance Film Festival is ongoing right now — the annual Park City celebrity meeting ground, where films are bought, sold, distributed and traded. We’re checking in with a variety of up-and-comers to see how they’re spending their time. Today’s dispatch is from actor Jason Ritter, who you might remember from 2005′s Happy Endings. Ritter’s there for the films, and optimistically predicts another golden age for film, if 2007 was any indication. Read on, aspiring filmmakers.

VH1: What are you bringing to the festival?
Jason Ritter: I’m here promoting two movies, The Deal and Good Dick. The Deal is about a couple of producers, played by Meg Ryan and William H. Macy, trying to make a movie in Hollywood. They’re scamming everyone. I play an idealistic screenwriter who gets screwed over by the Hollywood system.

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Friday’s Reviews Rage: Mad Money, 27 Dresses, Cloverfield

katieholmes.jpgBecause this weekend’s films have received uniformly poor reviews, we’ve rounded 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. Mad Money is absurd and Katie Holmes apparently forgot how to act; 27 Dresses is just sort of sad; and Cloverfield is a special-effects trailer blown up to 84 minutes.

Mad Money:
“Don’t take the money, just run: And the cinematic comeback of the year award goes to . . . someone other than Katie Holmes, whose comedy Mad Money is the most cringe-making return since Love Boat: The Next Wave. Holmes, with Alice Cooper hair and crazy Jim Carrey eyes, looks terrible and acts worse, unless this movie is unintentionally a lobotomy documentary. Whatever could have happened to her in the last couple of years to zap the talent out of her like this?” — The New York Post, surreptitiously referring to Tom Cruise and, perhaps, the Church of Scientology

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Cloverfield Monster Revealed, Bad Breath Implied

cloverfield.jpgThe fine minds over at New York magazine’s Vulture blog have pointed to a clip of the monster from Cloverfield, J.J. Abrams’ super-secret disaster film opening tomorrow. The movie’s shot from the point of view of a group of people who are on the streets of Manhattan when the thing attacks — and not, say, filmed from the lofty vantage of the president, newspaper editor-in-chief and five-star army general. It’s filled with shaky, hand-held footage and apparently offers a disturbingly real vision of New York City post tragic disaster. While that might be fun for the movie people in L.A. (and, indeed, everywhere else on Earth), us New York people are a little skittish about, you know, the End Of The World. Maybe that’s because we’ve become friendly with the guy who wears the placard that reads “The End Is Nigh!” all the time, seeing as how we hang out with him sometimes on our lunchbreak and discuss politics, Revelation, print-making, etc. Regardless, if you want to poison your mind with visions of the beast, click here. If not, steer clear of this post — and theaters this weekend.

And by the way, this isn’t the first time a monster or an alien or a terrorist tried to ruin NYC. Have fun checking our list of previous attempts.

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Is Tila Tequila Lying About Bobby?

tila_tequila_1.jpgA Shot of Love is over, but new gossip hit airwaves yesterday. According to the investigative team at Extra TV, there are hurt feelings between Tila Tequila and the winner of her contest, Bobby Banhart. Speaking to Extra, the bisexual singer/host/frequently naked person said, “We couldn’t see each other for two months after (the finale) and we only talked on the phone. Just naturally, people kind of move on with their lives. We tried our best to keep in touch and keep it going, but after a while, all of this camera stuff, he just couldn’t handle it . . . . [He] called me a few days before New Years and broke it off.”

Not true, says Banhart. (Surprised? Us neither.) He told Extra, “As far as I’m concerned, if that’s what she needs to tell herself to make herself feel better, then that’s all her.” He continued, describing the end of the relationship as being rather absurdly bloodless, more a business transaction than succession of dates: “Basically the phone conversation ended with ‘good luck in all that you do.’”

This news follows MTV’s confirmation that A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila would go into a second season. If Tequila doesn’t find love this time around — or at the very least, someone she can spend some time with before signing on for season three — we’ll suspect that perhaps Tila Tequila isn’t really looking for love after all. Sigh. We’re always the last to know.

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Akon Wants To Be Startin’ Somethin’

Akon, the buff African-American superstar with the dulcet voice and penchant for, uh, escalating interactions between artist and audience, had the privilege of duetting with the Gloved One on “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” for Thriller 25, the anniversary edition of Michael Jackson‘s storied album. The record won’t be out until February 12th, but we’re streaming that track for you, here and now. And since we’ve had the privilege of listening to it, let’s just say that it’s a real duet, not one of those that stop with backing vocals added to the chorus. Between this and Rihanna‘s “Don’t Stop the Music,” the lyrics “Mama-se, mama-sa, ma-ma-koo-sa” have rarely had so much exposure.

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Baseball’s Steroid Scandal Spills Into Rap

50cent.jpgSteroids are celebrity poison. After a protracted investigation last year into performance-enhancing drugs’ presence in Major League Baseball, and Marion Jones‘ confession last fall that she had a little help from some pharmaceutical friends, authorities are looking at the world of rap and R&B. A new report alleges steroid use by several entertainers, including 50 Cent, Mary J. Blige, Timbaland, Wyclef Jean and Tyler Perry. (Blige’s spokesperson denies the accusation; Perry’s representation refused to comment.) What, if anything, this has to do with the price of tea in China is unclear: Officials say that none of the celebrities have broken the law, and that for now, they’re focusing on the doctors who are prescribing the drugs, not the already beleaguered music industry. Besides, unless we’ve been misled, ‘roids don’t help you rap. And if this story’s true, they apparently don’t help you win a fake record-selling battle with Kanye West trumped up for press on September 11th, either. Here are some sweet portraits of the artists in their buff mode.

In other, sort of related news: NBC has been randomly testing the cast members of the network’s hit show American Gladiators in an effort to avoid just this sort of thing. In made-up, totally fake news: the WWE saw the story in this morning’s New York Post, went home and Soloflexed the tears away shortly before putting its fingers in its ears and throwing out its television set.