Jennifer Beals

TV WASTELAND? --- The next two weeks in TV-land are their most important; as the so-called Up Fronts begin. This is the two-week period when shows are officially renewed and the new-shows, to begin in the Fall, are introduced to the media and the advertisers. First out of the pack is Fox; already having renewed Fringe, which as we've said here, just competed a rather scattered, yet brilliant season; finishing their season last Friday with just an outstanding episode. Many felt the show wouldn't return, but Fox definitely scored a mitzvah early on in bringing it back. On the flip-side, they unceremoniously canceled Shawn Ryan's The Chicago Code, with Jennifer Beals, Jason Lee and Delroy Lindo. The show, whose first few episodes were just stellar, sagged a bit after that, but their last several episodes were just outstanding. The writing, direction and acting just off the charts. To this writer, a real loss and if I may observe: another network should pick it up … it's that good! Also canceled was Christian Slater's Breaking In, the actor's third-series in a row to get cut. Boy, Slater just can't catch a break. This show a comedy of sorts, wasn't bad at all and actually had several truly funny moments. It wasn't to this writer's personal taste, but it certainly deserved a full season as it came on as a mid-season replacement. I prefer the actor in a serious-mode, but this is a shame nonetheless. House will return for a final season which surprised some too. Let the wars begin!


Davy Jones

PLEASANT VALLEY SUNDAY? --- So, it looks like they'll be four Monkees onstage after all when the group returns to the concert stage tomorrow night in the U. K., although, it won't be Michael Nesmith, but rather the 33-year old wife of Davy Jones (Jessica) … who'll be dazzling audiences with her flamenco dancing in two of the group's songs. What??? Interesting in that the bit of news is coming right before their unveiling tomorrow night; to tell you the truth: had it be unveiled any earlier I can only imagine the hubbub from the media … and, fans alike. … not to mention tour-poobah Irving Azoff or Andy Gould. Harry Nilsson must be spinning in his grave! Jones says that's not the only reason she's coming on tour, “We're never happier than when we're together. I can't sleep anymore if she's not with me. If I go (away) alone … I find myself texting her in the middle of the night.” Well, I can only imagine what the reaction will be from the media; especially the ones who have had problems accepting the group in the first place ... hence, the Pre Fab Four. Would be funny if her routines outshone the lads. Amazing! We also hear that their booking agency has lowered the guarantee to promoters, essentially giving them a better opportunity to generate some profits. Also, some dates have been added for August. Gee … wonder if Don Henley's wife Sharon will be along on their next tour, or Irving's Shelli? I can only imagine Nesmith's reaction to this news: probably thanking his lucky stars his decision to skip this tour was a brilliant one!


Catherine Zeta-Jones

BALDWIN PULLS OUT --Alec Baldwin was set to join Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Bryan Cranston, Mary J. Blige, and Malin Akerman in the forthcoming big-screen presentation of Rock Of Ages, directed by Adam Shankman. Late yesterday, New Line's Toby Emmerich reported that Baldwin had asked to be let go, owing to some newly discovered health issue. Baldwin was set to essay the owner of a Sunset Boulevard boite, Denniss Dupree, where much of the play unwinds. As the role is a rather rich one, with a healthy musical number attached to it, it's not an easy role to recast. Rumors abound that the actor pulled out to appear in a forthcoming Woody Allen picture. He first worked with the Woodman in 1990's Alice. These are heady days for Baldwin; he's never been more in demand; witness those rather irritating commercials for Capital One that seem to running everywhere. Will be interesting to see what happens … you can bet New Line will be! Btw: Cruise has grown out his hair to play the lead character in the film … he looks ten years younger and fantastic!


Ewan McGregor

WE ARE ALL BEGINNERS --- Imagine this: your father Hal is 75 years old; his wife, your mother just passed … and, he comes out! From writer/director Mike Mills we caught his terrifically compelling new movie called Beginners, about just that journey. Told from the rather hilarious and compelling view of his son Oliver (Ewan McGregor), who is going through his own somewhat odd metamorphosis, the film is just irreverent and unpredictable and a total delight. He meets a young actress Anna (Melanie Laurent) at a party and they begin a relationship with middling results. The father is brilliantly portrayed by Christopher Plummer and he is just exceptional; totally conveying the character's rich textures; confusion, anticipation and joy. Turns out, that he was gay throughout his marriage to Oliver's mother, but people just didn't come out all those years ago, so he stayed put. You've got to feel for the character and also totally understand his predicament. Goran Visnjic, from TV's ER, is a total hoot as Hal's boyfriend … reckless, yet thoroughly compassionate. The lessons that his father teaches him, even coming to his during a bout with cancer, are serendipitous and true. Says director Mills, “Beginners started when my father came out; he was 75 years old and had been married to my mother for 45 years. His hunger to completely change his life was confusing, painful, very funny, and deeply inspiring. Change, honesty, and openness can happen when it seems least likely. Even as he passed away 5 years later he was energized, reaching out; he wasn't in any way finished.” The plot may seem for special tastes only, but the lessons conveyed and learned here are nothing short of universally brilliant. McGregor is just exceptional; he's a very intuitive actor and he's never been better. Check this out! Thanks to Jason Simos for turning us onto this one.


Angelina Jolie

CANNES CANNES --- Tonight is the kick-off of the Cannes Fiml Festival with Woody Allen's romantic-opus Midnight In Paris; that is generating tremendous early response, with one reviewer even trumpeting it as" Allen's return to form!” Also expected for the stargazers are: Robert De Niro; Uma Thurman; Jude Law; Angelina Jolie; Jack Black; Dustin Hoffman; Owen Wilson; Rachel McAdams; Marian Cotillard; Antonio Banderas; and Salma Hayek.Tomorrow also begins a 12-day retrospective for Italian-director Bernardo Bertolucci.