James Franco

OSCAR DOO DABS- So, what did you think of the other night’s Oscar telecast? First: Franco and Hathaway: I've not been a huge fan of Franco ; I think he’s too overexposed, and last night, he looked downright stiff and snarky … many said baked too! Hathaway, on the other hand, was terrific; eight dress changes too! I've not been a fan of everything she’s been in, but I caught last year’s Love And other Drugs and thought she was just sensational. her singing was amazing too. The opening sequence of the show was to me, essentially a re-booted version of what Billy Crystal’s done for years. Funny, yes. Original, no. In fact, when Crystal himself showed up later on in the show, it was a much welcomed relief. The audience jumped to their feet and gave him quite the reception. I immediately thought at that point, he could be seriously considered as next year’s host. First presenter up was Tom Hanks who again proved himself at the consummate professional. He keeps getting asked to host, but has turned it down every time. Methinks he'd be fantastic … certainly as good as Crystal. The Fighter’s Melissa Leo was a welcomed win for Best Actress; though I'd voted for Annette Bening in my head. After those much publicized trade ads (which she bought and paid for) many in the industry thought she had cut her chances off at the hip. Her dropping of the F-bomb was somewhat too scripted for me, but certainly provided a much welcomed tension breaker for the crowd. I heard that Hathaway came over to Leo and thanked her for providing some much needed comic relief. Kirk Douglas, who I love, was an odd choice to present Leo; he seemed several times to deviate from the script, but each time brought it back home. Someone this morning suggested a better choice would have been his son Michael who’s had his own difficult year. Randy Newman was a terrific win and his speech about being “good TV” was funny. A true Hollywood personality with a terrific Hollywood pedigree, he’s always good fun. The best speech was given by The Social Network’s Aaron Sorkin, who won for Best Adapted Screenplay. It was eloquent, factual and funny. It was almost like some dialogue for his landmarks series The West Wing. Brilliant writer. Director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) told the best story of the night, about how his mother was the one who actually discovered the source material that would become the movie … from a fringe-presentation of a play in Australia. She saw it, came home and called him … and, said I've found your next movie! And, Speech screenwriter David Seidler was disarming with his proclamation as a late bloomer … very funny. It was also interesting how all the all the nominated songs were presented literally back-to-back; a bit confusing, but efficient I guess. And, who knew Chuck’s Zachary Levi had such a nice voice? I think his duet with Mandy Moore was an unexpected surprise. And, Celine Dion performing amid the always-interesting In Memoriam segment was very touching. Christian Bale seemingly forgetting his wife’s name in his acceptance speech was quite bizarre, and, none other than Steven Spielberg presenting Best Picture was an odd cop out, but, a fitting cap to a bit better than average show; though the pacing was surprisingly choppy. The hosts drew a mixed reaction; reasonably supportive, but nothing stellar. I don't think they did themselves any lasting harm; though Hathaway was clearly the proven winner. I don't think the hosts will return for a reprise, but, I'd count on Crystal for next year.


Frank Langella

NEWBIE MOVIES – We caught two new movies recently, Liam Neeson’s Unknown and Hall Pass from the Farrelly Brothers, who did There’s Something About Mary, which was a landmark comedy. I've always liked Neeson and after a year of his own personal loss, he seems to be back in fine form. With January Jones and Diane Kruger, the movie starts out with a brilliant premise and then a major, major reveal two-thirds of the way through, that' will take your breath away. When it happened, it took me more than a moment to think it through and accept it, but once I did, the reminder of the film was terrific. The movie also sports terrific roles for Aidan Quinn and Frank Langella. It’s a sleek, suspenseful tale … no question about it. Hall Pass is more of the Brothers sophomoric and sardonic fun; somewhat crude and somewhat rude, but the preview audience I was in, everyone laughed … and, I do mean everyone. Starring Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis, it’s kind of like a lower-class Hangover. Let’s face it, The Hangover changed movie comedies for ever; becoming the #1 R-rated comedy ever! Surprisingly enough, actor Richard Jenkins has a standout role here. I enjoyed it.


Micky Dolenz

MONKEES- OK, its official; The Monkees will be appearing at Westbury (The New York Community Bank Theatre at Westbury) on June 17, as part of their upcoming ‘45th’ Anniversary Tour. The U.K. dates begin in May. I think this should be a fitting coda to all their fans that have waited so long for them to re-group. And, what of the famously unavailable fourth Monkee, Michael Nesmith? According to Anthony Pomes, chief research editor on the book Micky Dolenz’ Rock ‘n Rollin’ Trivia (Square One) and, ardent fan of the group, the possibility that Papa Nez may perform during a few shows, "Adds even further elements of suspense and added magic to all of the Monkees’ shows that will be performed." Even without Nesmith's on-stage involvement, though, Pomes feels that this 45-anniversary group reunion tour may possibly be what brings about the hotly contested Rock and Roll Hall of Fame membership that has been denied The Monkees principally by Rolling Stone founder JannWenner (despite a thousand-deep petition to have The Monkees inducted). "They have continued to grow, evolve, and excel at their craft of making first-class rock and roll music," states Pomes, "and they unleashed more innate creativity and flair on their initial run in the '60s than any other three rock bands combined, given their 'pre-Fab' circumstances. The occasion of The Monkees’' return to the concert stage is one that should meet with enthusiasm, respect, and excitement."