September 4th, 2009
05:13 PM ET

'Monty Python' alum Gilliam up close

An enthusiastic crowd greeted director and "Monty Python" alum Terry Gilliam at Dragon-Con in Atlanta earlier today, and he was just as excited to meet them.

Terry Gilliam

Gilliam, best known for the films "12 Monkeys," "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," and "Brazil," spoke to convention-goers about making his upcoming film "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus," which stars the late Heath Ledger in his final performance. His fans were treated to footage of the movie, including one never-before-seen clip featuring Ledger.

Gilliam said "Parnassus," with 650 visual-effect shots, cost only $25 million to make and done without the help of any movie studio.

When it came time for Gilliam's question-and-answer session, he realized he couldn't hear the audience. So he made do by gleefully trotting over to the edge of the stage to shake hands and take questions up close.

Gilliam confirmed that his abandoned project, "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote," was back on track. The unfinished movie, whose trials and tribulations were seen in the documentary, "Lost in La Mancha," was to star Johnny Depp (who also stars in "Parnassus" as an incarnation of Ledger's character). Gilliam said that Depp has other commitments now and they're casting for someone to fill his role.

Gilliam joked that they wouldn't need a documentary crew for the new project because this time it would be finished.

September 4th, 2009
01:00 PM ET

Kirk and Spock together again

Trekkers of all stripes lined up as early as 5 a.m. in Atlanta, Georgia, for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see two titans of "Star Trek" together. William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy's appearance today at the annual Dragon-Con was a raucous treat.

kirk spock

Taking on a roast-like atmosphere from the very beginning, the appearance was like eavesdropping on a conversation between two old friends who enjoyed ripping into each other mercilessly. It was an event that Dragon-Con "Star Trek" programming director Eric L. Watts said he never imagined would take place.

At the start, Nimoy brought up the recent smash hit reboot of "Trek" on the big screen by asking Shatner, "Seen any good movies lately?"

The newest incarnation of "Trek" has been a sore point for Shatner of late, and the remark set him off. No matter how many times Nimoy tried to change the subject, Shatner kept asking, "Why wasn't I in the movie?" Finally Nimoy, who had a major role in it, gave his best guess, which was that Captain Kirk was killed in the movie "Star Trek Generations."

Shatner admitted that he has yet to see the movie, though he said its director, J.J. Abrams, had offered to screen it for him. Adding that he also hadn't watched "Star Trek: The Next Generation," he blamed his busy schedule and the fact that he would inevitably be asked "Why weren't you in the movie?" by others seeing it with him at a theater.

Nimoy said that he didn't think he would be in any future movies, and that the character of Spock was in good hands with Zachary Quinto.

The audience of nearly 2,000 ate up the pair's relentless needling. When one question was addressed to Nimoy, Shatner turned around in his chair. At another point, Nimoy reached for Shatner's hair. At yet another, Shatner jokingly accused Nimoy of calling him something unprintable.

At the end of the session, Shatner shared the speech he would give if he won the Emmy this year for "Boston Legal:" "This will make a great plaque on the body of a dead show."

September 4th, 2009
11:31 AM ET

'Runway': When in doubt, hand-dye it

If I didn’t know any better, I’d think “Runway’s” season 6 was going to be short a few episodes judging by how much the producers packed into last night’s hour-long design-fest.

While I loved every minute of it, it left me feeling like this season has been in fast-forward. We’re kicking off the crazies before they have time to really work over the workroom. They’re paired off in a team challenge before we have their names and aesthetics straight. And the “design an extra look” challenge twist was pulled out in episode 3 when producers had previously left such antics to the Bryant Park runway show.

But even if it felt like a lot was crammed in, thank God they did.

I couldn’t have been the only one rolling my eyes when they led the designers to the beach to chat up surfers for their surf-inspired challenge. Even Tim looked pained at thought, so clearly out of his Manhattan element as he stood on the beach in a black blazer. As Nicolas said, pullover hoodies do not high fashion make -  unless you ask them to also whip up surf-inspired avant-garde the day before the runway show.

L.A. hasn’t made “Runway” soft on design challenges after all.

The biggest surprise of the night had to be Ra’Mon, who I’ve been lambasting as unoriginal for two weeks now. But last night, the med school dropout came into his own.

Ra’Mon showed that when he’s left with the option of getting flamed for throwing something together – seriously, he sewed and hand-dyed his neoprene avant-garde piece in, like, an hour – or sending a model naked down the runway, dude goes out hard.

I don’t think I’ve had such a change of heart about a designer since …. well, ever. Sometimes it’s pretty easy to see the top sketchers from the weaklings, but Ra’Mon pulled his vision out of seemingly thin air, putting me officially in his corner.

There was SO much more to this episode than I can possibly cover here, like the crazy tension between Epperson and Qristyl that was bizarre and completely unfounded – and possibly trumped up by the producers – for instance.

I do have one complaint that I just have to get off my chest (as always): why in the world did the judges relegate Michael and Logan’s two looks to the “acceptable enough to get you through for the next challenge” pile? I thought their work was one of the few pieces I saw last night that caused me to say, “I’d rock that.” Perhaps the play on volume with their avant-garde gown was too predictable, but I wanted Michael and Logan to get more shine in the judging.

Who did you think was a hit and a miss last night? Any of you have a clue (or care) what was up with Epperson and Qristyl? Let me know!

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Filed under: Project Runway • television
September 4th, 2009
11:23 AM ET

Alter egos on 'Real Housewives of Atlanta'

Thursday night's "Housewives" episode had me wondering why, even though I, too, live in Atlanta, I had no idea that alter-ego photo shoots are apparently all the rage.

NeNe appointed herself art director as the ladies posed as two different personalities. I am still trying to figure out what made her think she could go all Tyra Banks and dictate who portrayed what.

I loved Lisa as the good girl/bad girl, and Sheree as the robber/victim who is after the "seven figures" turned out well in my opinion. My "mucho kudos award" goes to Khandi for choosing the drunk driver/pedestrian to make a statement after an accident that injured her relatives - and Kim for refusing  to be painted up as a black girl.

Khandi's sorrow over the accident and Sheree's genuine concern was the most touching moment I can ever recall on the "Real Housewives of Atlanta." It allowed viewers some actual "reality" in a reality television world that has provided less and less.

And as amusing as the black Kim/white Kim photo shoot might have become, there is no way Ms. Kim could have come out of that without being slammed by viewers as, at best, ignorant for going there, and at worst a racist bringing back the minstrel look.

I found it interesting that NeNe criticized Kim for not stretching by choosing a housewife/mistress theme when Ms. NeNe looked quite comfortable on the pole portraying a stripper.

We won't even discuss the drinking game one could start every time Dwight refers to someone's "melons."

For more on the "Real Housewives of Atlanta," visit Essence.com.

September 4th, 2009
08:40 AM ET

The stalker and the producer

It's a old fable dating back to the days of ... well, fables. A strange woman who hunts her man like a lioness stalking its prey. The man who knows better than to be caught in her trap. And an ending that will make romantics everywhere tear-up happily. 

At least, that's what I'm guessing happens based on the trailer.

"All About Steve" is out in theaters today, starring Sandra Bullock and Bradley Cooper. The stars of the film talked with CNN recently about their new comedy. Check out what they had to say in today's Movie Pass:


Filed under: Bradley Cooper • Celebrities • movies • Sandra Bullock
September 4th, 2009
12:14 AM ET

Chris Brown takes on Oprah

As if Chris Brown didn’t have enough publicity battles on his hands, he just took on another one.  Hot off his appearance on Larry King Live where he tried to convey his remorse about the incident with Rihanna, Chris is now taking on the Queen of Media, Oprah Winfrey.

chris brown

In the new issue of PEOPLE Magazine, Chris Brown has this to say about Oprah who used the attack on Rihanna as a springboard for a show on domestic abuse:

“I commend Oprah on being like, “This is a problem,” but it was a slap in my face. I did a lot of stuff for her, like going to Africa and performing for her school. She could have been more helpful, like, “Okay, I’m going to help both of these people out.”?

“Slap in my face”? Maybe not the best choice of words, Chris, don’t you think?!

In response to Chris’ statements in PEOPLE, a spokesperson for Oprah Winfrey told Showbiz Tonight:

"Oprah is very appreciative that Chris Brown performed at her school but she takes domestic abuse very seriously.  She hopes he gets the counseling he needs."

Apparently Chris never got the memo: no one messes with Oprah.

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