Today

Regardless of the depths of one’s personal investment in the current crop of superhero movies, it’s hard to deny the level of ambition put forth by Marvel in the curating of their ever-developing cinematic universe. With a brilliantly orchestrated series of films that led up to last summer’s crossover blockbuster The Avengers, and a subsequent slew of motion picture and television endeavors that followed, the scope of Marvel’s franchised fandom has never quite been attempted in cinema history. Furthermore, by recruiting celebrated genre filmmakers and writers such as Joss Whedon, James Gunn and Anthony and Joe Russo to develop and helm the projects, Marvel has ensured the films weren’t just filler blockbusters, but full-fledged events that left fans clamoring for more.

Now, with the recent release of Captain America: Winter Solider (directed by the aforementioned Russos), audiences have been treated to another celebrated thrill ride, and the film’s titular hero gets to mosey off into the box office sunset with all the glory. It’s Cap’s second film outing outside of The Avengers, and it’s the most hyped of the films to date. Of course, Captain America is in good company with his teammates. In addition to their joint effort, most of the members of The Avengers have had the chance to shine in their own silver screen adventures, some more than once. Iron Man has a trilogy of films to his name, two each for Thor and Captain America, and while technically the freshman novice, The Hulk has seen his share of TV and film screen time.

However, despite the continued solo adventures of the Avengers, the team’s sole female member, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, continues to not be represented in her own adventure.

Now, before we go further, I know there will be some nitpickers out there that are saying, “Yeah, but Hawkeye doesn’t have his own movie, either!” While this is absolutely true, and I would never discount the sassy archer, I think it’s significant that we focus on the fact that Black Widow is continuously second fiddle for the sheer reason that when it comes to superhero, action/adventure stories, this is a road block we keep hitting. It’s the same reason DC keeps pumping out cinematic reboots of Batman and Superman every few years, but no one can seem to get Wonder Woman onto the big screen: Despite the fact that we’re given some amazing female heroes, for some reason the higher ups don’t seem to think we want them.

… and that’s pretty insulting.

When I started considering the fact that most of the guys in the Avengers had made it into multiple movies, but Black Widow was still on the outside looking in, I had an indignant moment where I thought to myself, “Why isn’t anyone talking about this?” But, a quick Google search was enough to reveal it was definitely on the minds of the community. I saw some amazing articles from the likes of Rob Keyes on ScreenRant and Frankie Koelle at Bam! Smack! Pow!, who both share my assessment that the lady needs her due. Normally, this would be enough for me to say, “Other people have this covered,” and I’d move onward. However, this is one of those issues that I think is important to add as many voices to the discussion as possible, because I continue to see that studios aren’t quite hearing our cries.

At the Academy Awards this year, when Cate Blanchett made a furtive plea to the industry to recognize that female driven films do sell tickets, many people applauded her calling out the misogynist notion that audiences don’t want to see movies centered around women. It’s a thought process that continues to prevail in Hollywood, but time and again, we see it being proven wrong when the box office returns come back. Strong women make for compelling cinema, and there’s a reason Meryl Streep continues to command audiences while many of her male contemporaries have faded into the background.

So, why is it so hard to believe that audiences want to see a movie about a female superhero? To paraphrase Sally Field: We do. We really, really do.

When I was a little kid watching cartoons and reading comics, I was always crestfallen to discover that when it came time to buy the toys for the properties I loved, the girl characters were always underrepresented. Now, I know some among you who know my background will think, “Well, of course the little gay boy wanted the girl toys.” But, honestly, my commitment to the super-heroines always had less to do with my orientation and more to do with fairness. I was raised in a home to believe that women were strong, capable, and equal… because it’s true. Therefore, to me, the X-Men weren’t the X-Men without Rogue and Storm, because they were as much a part of the team as the boys. It used to make me mad that the action figures of the girls were limited or not made at all, because how could you have a complete team without all the members present?

Ultimately, that’s really the issue with Black Widow’s lack of solo film. While her character plays integral roles in the movies of several of her male counterparts, she’s still relegated to secondary status. In the big, bad superhero boy’s club, she’s still just the girl. Frankly, if I was a young female fan growing up with this, I’d have a hard time wanting to know why the boys always got the spotlight. Heck, I’m not a girl and I’m still asking that question.

Usually, this would be the point in the discussion where, as a screenwriter who is still trying to make a name for myself, I would brashly declare, “Someone needs to write this movie, and that someone should be me!” But, I think the female superhero solo film needs to extend beyond the camera, too. I think Black Widow needs the superhero movie that we’ve been lacking: The one that says sisters CAN do it for themselves, and maybe even do it better. If Marvel is going to court such amazing fanboy fare as Joss Whedon and James Gunn for the guys, why not get lady geek gurus like Marti Noxon, Diablo Cody or Felicia Day to pen this script? Heck, think bigger: Can you imagine Black Widow: A Kathryn Bigelow film? I can. It’s glorious.

Here’s the bottom line: Today, I went to the store, and I saw Scarlett Johansson on the cover of no less than four current magazines. If you think living in a society where this amazing actress is good enough to be a sex symbol, but not a strong, independent action star is okay, then perhaps you need to reassess what you get out of going to the movies. For her part, Johansson has joined the chorus of fans in declaring she thinks Black Widow deserves her own movie, and I’m hoping people are listening.

This is your moment, Marvel. Take Black Widow’s lack of movie, and let that absence be avenged.

NEW YORK (AP) — Miley Cyrus is postponing her U.S. tour while she recovers from an allergic reaction to antibiotics, but will resume her performances in August.

Cyrus’ representative tells The Associated Press on Friday that the singer will resume the U.S. tour Aug. 1 in Uniondale, N.Y. The new dates will include seven rescheduled shows and two additional stops. The European leg of the tour is still scheduled to kick off May 2 in Amsterdam.

Cyrus’ rep says the singer suffered from a sinus infection last week during her “Bangerz” tour and had “an extreme allergic reaction” to the antibiotic cephalexin on Tuesday. Cyrus canceled several shows this week as a result.

Existing tickets for the 21-year-old singer’s U.S. tour will be honored at the new date.

___

Online:

http://www.mileycyrus.com

When Hollywood decided to make a movie of Todd Burpo’s international bestseller, Heaven Is For Real, they could have really messed it up. They could have made it too saccharine; they could have made it too religious; they could have made it too far out there for anyone to want to understand. But they didn’t. They gave it to Randall “Braveheart” Wallace to direct and he made a movie that everyone will want to see it and most will appreciate.

To do this Wallace made a movie that is more about how people react to Todd Burpo’s son Colton than about his experience. In the film Todd (Greg Kinnear), a pastor, hears his son Colton (Connor Corum) talking about Heaven and pretty much dismisses it. He understands that this 4-year-old boy has just been through a traumatic experience when he had a ruptured appendix and almost died during surgery.

Todd continues to pretty much dismiss what Colton is saying until the boy starts talking about things that he could not possibly know. At this point Todd is convinced that his son did have a rare experience and that he did visit in Heaven. He shares this news with his congregation and others in the small town in which he and his family live. The reaction is not all positive, even in his own church.

Kinnear underplays his role as Todd, keeping the man likeable but somewhat confused. This makes him someone with whom the audience can identify. When he finally accepts the reality of what has happened to Colton, the audience can accept it too. It is a solid performance by Kinnear, who is sometimes an unappreciated actor of depth.

Opposite him as Todd’s wife Sonja, Kelly Reilly is weak. She brings nothing special to the role and makes this lady pretty much bland. It might be the fault of the script, which doesn’t give her much to do, or it might just be that she is miscast. There is little charisma between her and Kinnear and that appears to be her fault.

Margo Martindale and Thomas Haden Church are two stalwarts in the field of character actors. They make any movie better and they certainly add to the enjoyment of Heaven Is For Real. They are extraordinarily ordinary as two friends of the Burpos who are also in their congregation.

Other added plusses for the film are the cinematography and the musical score; another minus is the decision to show some of Colton’s heavenly visit. That should have been left to the imagination.

The movie is rated PG for some adult themes.

The story told by Todd Burpo is a unique one. The movie that has been made from it is also unique. It is a film that tells its story in a quiet, humble way. It is uplifting and enjoyable.

I scored Heaven Is For Real a truthful 7 out of 10.

Here is my interview with the “real” Todd Burpo.

Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jake GyllenhaalMaggie Gyllenhaal and Jake Gyllenhaal wanted to take a break from their busy schedules to have some family time.

The Hollywood brother-and-sister duo were spotted arriving at Giorgio…

Zosia MametShoshanna would burst into a fit of a thousand omg’s and wtf’s if she saw Zosia Mamet in this look.

We realize the HBO star is nothing like her TV counterpart, but she might want…

Bradley Cooper, Suki WaterhouseBradley Cooper and Suki Waterhouse are enjoying a romantic Parisian getaway!

The cute couple enjoyed a day out and about in the City of Light yesterday. Joined by Waterhouse’s little…

WASHINGTON — Disappointing thousands of people who signed a petition to deport Justin Bieber, the White House announced Friday that it would not be taking a stand on the issue.

“Sorry to disappoint, but we won’t be commenting on this one,” wrote the White House.

On Jan. 23, a petition had popped up on the White House’s We the People website asking the Obama administration to deport the pop star after his arrest on DUI and drag racing charges. The petition drew attention to the plight of less-famous immigrants in the U.S. who aren’t citizens and face deportation if convicted of a crime.

Bieber, who is a citizen of Canada and has a performer’s visa, is unlikely to face deportation, although he could if he were to be convicted of a crime that carried a sentence of more than one year.

“We the people of the United States feel that we are being wrongly represented in the world of pop culture,” read the petition. “We would like to see the dangerous, reckless, destructive, and drug abusing, Justin Bieber deported and his green card revoked. He is not only threatening the safety of our people but he is also a terrible influence on our nations youth. We the people would like to remove Justin Bieber from our society.”

The Bieber petition garnered far more than the 100,000 signatures needed to trigger a response from the White House. It became one of the site’s most popular online petitions ever. Even Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said he was a Belieber of deportation. A HuffPost/YouGov poll also found that the majority of Americans agreed.

In its response on Friday, the White House noted that the terms of the site state that officials can “decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or agencies, federal courts, or state and local government in its response to a petition.”

“So we’ll leave it to others to comment on Mr. Bieber’s case, but we’re glad you care about immigration issues,” added the White House. “Because our current system is broken. Too many employers game the system by hiring undocumented workers, and 11 million people are living in the shadows.”

The White House also noted that immigration reform would shrink the nation’s budget deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next 20 years, which is the equivalent of “12.5 billion concert tickets — or 100 billion copies of Mr. Bieber’s debut album.”

Bieber is set to face trial on May 5 in Florida.

Rebecca Vallance, Jessica StamFor our special Australian-themed post, we’ve asked our resident Aussie Kathryn Eisman to give us the scoop on the hottest designers Down Under. Take a look!

With fashion-forward…

Jesse Zwick didn’t aim low when it came to his directorial debut, “About Alex.” Instead, the writer-director put together a cast that would make most seasoned filmmakers jealous: Aubrey Plaza, Max Greenfield, Nate Parker, Jason Ritter, Jane Levy, Max Minghella and Maggie Grace.

“Casting was definitely one of the hardest parts of the whole process, for a couple of reasons,” Zwick told HuffPost Entertainment following the world premiere of “About Alex” at the Tribeca Film Festival. “One, I’m this unknown, first-time director without a track record, so they don’t know what to expect entirely. Two, it’s this real pure ensemble where all seven of the roles are almost equally sized. It really required a group of actors who were just passionate about the project and willing to share that space and screen time and want to work with each other in this way. I don’t think it would have appealed to just any actor.”

Inspired by a wealth of ’80s movies — including “The Big Chill” and some John Hughes films — “About Alex” is, well, about Alex (Ritter), an upstate New York resident whose suicide attempt reunites his college friends (Plaza, Greenfield, Parker, Minghella and Grace) for a three days of memories, sexual experiences and hard truths about how their relationships have developed in the decade since graduation. Greenfield and Plaza, in particular, are standouts among the ensemble, with performances that belie their well-honed television personas on, respectively, “New Girl” and “Parks & Recreation.”

“Aubrey was someone who came on kind of late to the project, but we had this one Skype conversation when I was doing pre-production in New York, and the connection was going in and out so we could barely hear each other,” Zwick said. “But we talked and we were both on the same page of what we wanted out of this. I knew that this was a character she hadn’t quite done. She knew that too, and that was a big part of what drew her to it. She was eager to prove that she was a different actress than people imagined. I remember asking her about that when we first met. She was like, ‘I went to NYU and Tisch. I did all sorts of stuff. I did Shakespeare. Somehow I fell into this thing and it worked out great, but that’s not all of me and not what I want out of this project.’”

Zwick shot “About Alex” in Hudson, New York in the summer of 2013, roughly two-and-a-half hours outside of Manhattan. The isolated location helped foster unity among the cast and crew: Zwick said all seven of his actors stayed in Hudson during the production and would often hang out after the day’s schedule was complete.

“In some ways it was a little bit self selecting. I only wanted people who were passionate about this project, and the actors who gravitated toward it were ones who were selfless,” he said. “They were willing to work on a little film for not very much money. They were willing to go in the middle of nowhere with barely any cell reception and immerse themselves in this project. I’ll say, there were a few people along the way who aren’t in the movie now, in part because one or two of those elements wasn’t for them. In indie cinema, where because of time and money constraints, and the fact that you have seven actors who have really busy schedules, it’s sort of an amazing thing whenever all the pieces come together. When they all did, we had to just run with it.”

Zwick, whose father is filmmaker Edward Zwick, said the high-wattage cast was the source of his biggest stress before the film.

“I think all I knew was that I shouldn’t give them line readings. That was a big taboo. I won’t do that, but I’ll give them prompts and things to think about and whatever,” he said. “Because of that, my attitude going in was to adopt a collaborative approach. If something wasn’t working for an actor, we’d come up with a solution. We rewrote stuff on the spot. As a result, I really got along well with everyone. I think some actors hadn’t even had the experience with a director being so curious with their thoughts. I think they appreciated it. My opinion, and I don’t know if I’m right or wrong, I just felt like if an actor couldn’t get behind a line or moment that would somehow affect their performance. That was something I was stressed about that wound up being a nice part of the production.”

“About Alex” is at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. The film does not yet have distribution.

Selena Gomez Selena Gomez: actress, singer, model…equestrian?

The brunette babe opted to go around the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles by choosing a different form of transportation that is not…

The marimba featured prominently in a concert of new music, part of a series at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.



Kanye West, I WonThe song may be about her, but Kim Kardashian is nowhere to be seen during Kanye West’s new music video for his track with Future called “I Won.”

The video shows both rappers…

Joey Fatone, Nick CarterNick Carter isn’t too happy with Joey Fatone.

One day after Fatone blasted the Backstreet Boys’ recent tour and said the boy-banders did it just because they needed money, Carter…

Record Store Day, now in its seventh year, highlights the perseverance of independent stores around the country.



Did Jaime Lannister expect the Royal Wedding to be a dull affair? Is that why he brought a little pick-me-up in the form of a cup of coffee?

Not exactly.

An image set that has been circulating online has caused many people to incorrectly assume that producers made a mistake in the final cut of the show — but they didn’t.

Keen-eyed fans of “Game of Thrones” noticed this shot of the Lannister family at the Purple Wedding. In the image, the Kingslayer (far left) is reverently holding a paper coffee cup in his hand. Yeah, that hand.

According to Uproxx, the image comes from a behind-the-scenes video on HBO GO. The footage did not air. Jaime isn’t even wearing those clothes in the final cut of last week’s episode, “The Lion and the Rose.”

The cup is difficult to spot if you aren’t looking for it, and the fact that it’s in the hand that [SPOILER ALERT] got cut off in the last season, is just the icing on the cake.

Katie HolmesAttention, film buffs!

This year’s Tribeca Film Festival kicked off earlier this week, and Hollywood’s biggest names have started to flock to all the New York City movie…

HONOLULU (AP) — Credit card receipts, telephone records and production schedules show that “X-Men” franchise director Bryan Singer was not in Hawaii when a lawsuit claims he sexually abused a 17-year-old on the islands, a defense attorney said Friday.

Singer was mainly in Toronto working on the first “X-Men” movie from August through October 1999, defense attorney Marty Singer told The Associated Press. A lawsuit filed by a former child model, Michael Egan III, says Bryan Singer abused him several times over those three months as well as earlier in California as part of a Hollywood sex ring led by another man convicted of luring minors across state lines for sex.

“This was Bryan’s first studio film,” Marty Singer said. “Clearly, he’s not going to take a break in the middle of this movie while you’re shooting and prepping it to go to Hawaii.”

Egan’s lawyer, Jeff Herman, did not immediately respond to phone calls seeking comment.

Egan said Thursday that he was abused by Bryan Singer and others starting when he was 15. He said he was given drugs and promises of a Hollywood career while being threatened and sexually abused in Los Angeles and Hawaii.

The AP does not typically name victims of sex abuse but is naming Egan because he is speaking publicly about his allegations.

Marty Singer, who said previously that he and the director are not related, declined to provide any of the personal records, saying they were private.

He said the filming records were available publicly but 20th Century Fox did not immediately return a phone call and email seeking comment.

“X-Men” was released in July 2000. Singer has directed three films in the blockbuster franchise, including the fifth installment, “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” to be released next month, as well as other films including “The Usual Suspects.”

His lawyer said the director was never interviewed by any authorities about the claims by Egan, who said Thursday he reported the Los Angeles acts and doesn’t know why charges were not pursued.

The lawsuit was filed under a Hawaii law that temporarily suspends the statute of limitations in sex abuse cases. The law has led to several lawsuits against clergy members and others.

A judge in Hawaii set a July 21 scheduling hearing in Honolulu for the lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday.

___

AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report from Los Angeles. Oskar Garcia can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/oskargarcia

Rita OraWhat exactly would you call the piece of black fabric sitting on top of Rita Ora’s shoulders? A mini-cape? A biker shawl? The top portion of a fringed leather jacket? Or maybe the best answer…

Two parts of Robert Ashley’s “Perfect Lives,” in a Spanish incarnation translated by Javier Sainz de Robles, were shown at the Whitney Museum on Thursday.



A reunited Loop makes its first United States tour since 1990.



Malia Jones, Alex O'LoughlinAlex O’Loughlin is a married man!

The Hawaii Five-O star quietly wed girlfriend Malia Jones in Hawaii, E! News confirms. The two recently tied the knot on the islands, where they…

Bryan Donaldson’s career took an unexpected turn last fall, all thanks to Twitter.

Since October 2011, Donaldson, who had been working in IT for the past 20 years, had been tweeting a few jokes a day under the handle @TheNardvark, according to Vulture. His Twitter following quickly grew after he sent out some pretty hilarious tweets:

His tweets got the attention of Alex Baze, head writer and producer of “Late Night With Seth Meyers.” When Baze started his search for a talented team of writers last fall, he thought what better outlet to turn to than Twitter?

“If I go to somebody’s Twitter, I can see what he’s been doing the last two years — you get a much more complete sense of how he writes,” Baze told Vulture.

Read the full story at Vulture.

Seth Meyers agreed. At last month’s South by Southwest festival, Meyers admitted that when it comes to hiring his staff, he reads their packets and then looks at the last six months of their tweets. If they’ve only tweeted two jokes a month, he’s not as interested.

Meyers and Baze decided to bring the 40-year-old in for an interview, according to Vulture.

Donaldson, who had no connection to the comedy world, flew from Peoria, Ill., to New York City to meet with the them.

We never stopped to wonder where he was from or what he was doing,” Meyers told Vulture. “He just made us laugh.”

Sure enough, he landed a job writing for the show.

The “Late Night With Seth Meyers” producers aren’t the only ones who turned to Twitter to scout talent. The producers on “Parks and Recreation” used the same method, according to TV Guide. And the biggest Twitter success story is Justin Halpern, who created “S#*! My Dad Says” based on his Twitter feed, and is now working on “Surviving Jack” with executive producer, Bill Lawrence.

The allure of Twitter for writers is there,” Lawrence told the outlet. “It’s funny to try and be a joke writer there. I love it.”

Like Us On Facebook |
Follow Us On Twitter

Armando Gallo/Retna Ltd.

Personifying the type of teen spirit most commonly found in Noxzema ads and pep-squad meets, actress Jennifer Love Hewitt has brought new meaning to the word “effervescent.” The ’90s saw Hewitt go from relative obscurity to a bona fide teen queen, to say nothing of one of the most frequently enshrined actresses on the internet.

Hewitt was born on February 21, 1979, in Waco, TX. She made her first appearance on television in 1984 in the show Kids Incorporated (which, coincidentally, once guest-starred Scott… [more]

Armando Gallo/Retna Ltd.

Next to Liv Tyler, Angelina Jolie is the only actress of her generation who can thank her famous father for the lips that have become her trademark. The actress was born Angelina Jolie Voight to the pillow-lipped Jon Voight and actress Marcheline Bertrand on June 4, 1975, in Los Angeles.

Raised mostly by her mother after her parents divorced while she was still a baby, Jolie moved around a lot with her mother and brother. She also did a fair amount of traveling as a professional model, living in such places… [more]

Tyler Demogenes/Retna Ltd.

A leading man who has displayed a knack for action, comedy, and dramatic roles, Charlie Sheen is nearly as well known for his offscreen exploits as for his acting, though after suffering through scandals that would have ended many performers’ careers, he overcame bad press and bad habits to enjoy a major comeback on television in the late ’90s. Charlie Sheen was born Carlos Irwin Estevez to actor Martin Sheen (born Ramon Estevez) and his wife, Janet Templeton, on September 3rd, 1965. By all accounts, young… [more]