Friday, 28 February 2014 22:07

Entertainment | Oscar Night Recap

Entertainment // March 10, 2014

I don’t know about you but I found last night’s Oscars immensely entertaining. Host Ellen DeGeneres eased the audience with her unique brand of humor, interacting with them, even serving A-listers delivery pizza and tweeting selfies with the likes of Meryl Streep and Bradley Cooper. As you can imagine, the resulting frenzy broke Twitter for a few minutes.

But the big winners of the night were arguably some of the most hard-hitting and memorable nominees of last year. Taking home the most coveted spot of the night was 12 Years A Slave, the amazing story of free African-American man, who was kidnapped and sold into slavery and had to fight to regain his freedom in a pre-Civil War America. The film won the award for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay as well as earning newcomer Lupita Nyong’o the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film.

12 Years A Slave wasn’t the only film that swept multiple award categories last night. Dallas Buyers Club, starring Matthew McConaughey, who plays an HIV positive man working to find proper medical care and acceptance in the heart of Texas, earned he and co-star Jared Leto, Oscars for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectively.

The film also scored the award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. Award winners Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews said they only had a $250 budget and had to showcase the transformation from sick to healthy with only makeup.

Another film that won multiple awards was Gravity, the space adventure drama starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, where the stars face their own demons as well as the fight for survival. The film won the awards for Best Directing, -- making director Alfonso Cuarón the first Latin-American director to win this honor-- Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Original Score. Basically, if you want to experience a movie that is going to push the boundaries on visual effects and sound, this is the movie to see.

Following the accolades of critics, frontrunner Cate Blanchett won the award for Best Actress for her role in Woody Allen’s film Blue Jasmine, adding to her Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA awards for the role as well.

Disney fans can also rest easy, as fan and critic favorite film Frozen, won the awards for Best Animated Feature as well as Best Original Song for “Let It Go.”

Other notable awards included Spike Jonze’s modern story of love and technology Her, which took home the award for Best Original Screenplay, Italian film The Great Beauty, which took home the award for Best Foreign Language Film, and 20 Feet From Stardom, which won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.

Noticeably absent from the awards was fan-favorite 70's era American Hustle, as well as the greed and debauchery themed Wolf of Wall Street, which both had nominations in a number of categories, but did not take home any Oscar wins.

Which were your favorite films this year? Did you agree with the award selections? Tell us your thoughts in the comments or tweet us at @MadeWomanMag!

Published in Entertainment

Justin Timberlake at The Palladium // February 12, 2013

Justin Timberlake’s return to music has been a whirlwind. First, he dropped “Suit & Tie,” then followed it up with a full album announcement, a “lyric” video that honestly could be a standalone video if he wanted it to be, a show at DirecTV’s Super Bowl party, and then an incredible performance at The Grammys this past Sunday.  What you may or may not have heard is that Justin went straight from The Grammys to The Palladium in Hollywood to perform a sold out show for approximately 4,000 fans.  He only announced this show via his Facebook and Twitter with minimal fanfare, and the tickets went on sale the following day; selling out quickly. I was lucky enough to catch the announcement and snag tickets. I knew it was going to be amazing to see him in such a small venue doing a sort of comeback-to-music show, but he still managed to blow my mind.

With MW’s own Serena Watson as my date, we arrived about an hour and a half before doors were scheduled to open at 9:00 p.m.  We were stunned to see that there was already an overwhelming number of people waiting in line outside. Had we known that Justin wasn’t actually going to hit the stage until 11:30, we would have come a lot later than we did.  However, the aching feet complaints went out the window when we finally made it inside and the lights went down as his band started to play “Like I Love You.”  Justin hit the stage in full force, effortlessly gliding through the song like he never even left the music scene.  Being that the stage is a lot smaller than something you would see in a big arena, noticeably missing were the backup dancers and signature elaborate choreography, not that anyone gave a flying f#*&.  Justin could have stood up there and warbled the phone book and it would have been exciting. I mean, he’s BACK, yall! His 16-piece band and backup singers were the perfect accompaniment to him as he took us through his biggest hits. Next up was “My Love,” followed by “Cry Me A River.” Then he broke into a rendition of Juicy J’s “Bands A Make Her Dance” for a hot minute, which was as awesome as it sounds.

At this point Justin treated us to some new music, going into “Pusher Lover Girl,” which you heard if you watched him perform at The Grammys. A decidedly soulful song, it had the crowd attempting to sing along by the end even though we barely knew the words. And the hits kept on coming, as Justin went through everything from “Senorita” (which he jumped over to the piano to play along to) to “Lovestoned” to a funky rendition of “FutureSexLoveSound.” He also treated us to another new song, called “That Girl,” which is sure to be a fan favorite.

Showcasing his versatility (or maybe just the fact that he kicks ass), he then launched into INXS’s “Need You Tonight.”  Other highlights included a trademark JT beatbox break, the music from Jay-Z’s “Just Wanna Love You (Give It To Me)” weaved into “Rock Your Body’s” chorus, and a classic rendition of Jackson 5’s “Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground),” where his backup singers joined him at center stage to help him perform J5’s original choreography.  As a diehard MJ fan, I especially appreciated this. And when I say appreciated, I mean I screeched like a banshee throughout the entire thing. And that’s all, folks.

Just kidding! Justin did the end of show fakeout, and came back for his encore to perform “Suit & Tie,” which his good buddy Jay-Z joined him onstage to perform. Oh, did I forget to mention that in the highlights? While the crowd went completely apeshit watching this heaven-sent colliding of worlds, the two of them looked like they were genuinely having a good time sharing the stage. I like to imagine that they carpooled together from The Grammys with Jessica Biel and Beyonce, gossiping about shenanigans they saw backstage. But I digress. As Jay-Z left the stage and we figured that was probably it, Timbaland came out and did “Sexy Back” with him. What better way to end the show than to remind us exactly who brought Sexy Back....and more importantly, who’s bringing it back again? Justin then bid us all adieu, promising that this was just the beginning of his triumphant return to music: “It's going to be a fun year. I hope to see all of your drunk faces when I come back on tour at the Staples Center." You can bet your sweet ass you will, Justin.

The biggest takeaway from this amazing night was that Justin is exactly where he needs to be.  He looks at home when he’s onstage performing, his voice live sounds just as amazing as it does on wax, and it all just looks effortless for him. While he’s proven that he can do it all, music is where he shines the brightest. Please don’t leave us like that again, Justin. Music, and all of us, need you exactly where you are.

Full Set List:
Like I Love You
My Love
Cry Me A River
Pusher Lover Girl
Summer Love
That Girl
INXS - Need You Tonight
End of Time
Rock Your Body
J5-Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)
What Goes Around
Suit & Tie

Published in Entertainment

September 26, 2012

Hands down, Albert “Chalky” White is my favorite character on Boardwalk Empire. Partly because he's portrayed by the brilliant Michael K. Williams, but mostly because he’s a hardened and illiterate black man living in the 1920’s, yet he’s still able to command the respect of bootleggers and politicians looking to smuggle booze in Atlantic City.  After Chalky was absent in the premiere episode I all but had a tantrum, but thankfully the television gods answer prayers. For once he had plenty of screen time on the latest episode, “Spaghetti and Coffee.“

There are lots of rich characters on Boardwalk, so it’s hard to be too mad at the writers for occasionally keeping a few out of each episode -- but Chalky should never be one of them.  Last season when we learned he couldn’t read, I became obsessed with finding out how this man managed to become the leader of Atlantic City’s black community.  It’s not much of a leap to assume that a violent streak helped Chalky gain his name but it also doesn’t hurt that he’s married to the wealthy, educated, and fair-skinned Lenore (Natalie Wachen). Themes of class and skin color are bound to be explored even more this season with the addition of Samuel, the soon-to-be doctor and suitor of Chalky’s oldest daughter, Maybelle (Christina Jackson). Played by the easy-on-the-eye Ty Michael Robinson, Samuel musters the courage to ask Chalky for Maybelle’s hand in marriage (even after this compelling season two scene).  Following an awkward, quasi-medical exam, Chalky welcomes Samuel to the family, but we find out later Maybelle wants no part of the marriage.

Apparently, young women loved bad-boys in the 1920s too. Not wanting to marry a dude because he’s a bore is one thing but not wanting to marry a dude because he’s not an exciting, murderous criminal like your pops is a whole other scenario I wasn’t expecting. It seems a bit far-fetched considering Maybelle’s background, but I’ll believe anything to see more of Chalky White. Maybelle quickly gets to find out if the gangster lifestyle is for her, though, when Samuel’s face is sliced up (now he’ll have a scar just like Chalky!) by a drunk man at her daddy’s juke joint.  I’m hoping the scare will get Maybelle to smarten up, but anyone who’s brave enough to stand up to Chalky White (she has no problem telling her father she doesn’t want to marry Samuel) might not be that easy to shake.

“Spaghetti and Coffee” also saw the return of Nucky’s younger brother, Eli (Shea Whigham). It’s hard to feel sorry for him ever since he conspired to have his only brother killed, but this episode exposes us to a different side of Elias Thompson.   It was tough watching him attempt to convince his oldest boy to quit work and return to school now that he’s back home.  To make matters worse, Eli’s been relegated to work for the idiotic Mickey Doyle (Paul Sparks).

Elsewhere in Atlantic City, Margaret is moving forward with her plan to provide women at St.Theresa's Hospital with proper preventive care. While she’s crusading for women, standing up to a very handsome Dr. Mason (Patrick Kennedy), and pretending not to want to jump Owen Slater’s (Charlie Cox) bones (am I the only one rooting for these two to hook up again?), her husband is in New York City trying to pay his way out of jail.

Nucky’s also catching feelings for his mistress, Billie, who is everything Margaret is not – free, bold, and charming. He’s so preoccupied with Billie that he’s MIA when Gyp Rosetti manages to intercept the liquor his men are transporting to Arnold Rothstein – a power play that will likely push Nucky to want him dead.  Surprisingly, there was no bloodshed in this episode, but that’s probably because Richard Harrow, hot-headed Al Capone, and Lucky Luciano were missing. There was no Gillian or Agent Nelson Van Alden either.

Boardwalk Empire isn’t terrible when a supporting cast member is absent, but there has got to be a way to knit all of these storylines together in a single episode. These characters are too good to completely leave out. Now that Gyp’s proven to be a worthy adversary to Nucky, my wish to see all of the best characters in one sitting might come sooner than later. The impending war likely means the Boardwalk body count will rise, leaving even fewer characters to keep track of.  As long as Chalky isn’t one of them, I’ll still be watching. 

Published in Entertainment