Posts Tagged ‘Jennifer Hudson’

My Top Films and Kudos for 2013

January 9, 2014

Hey everyone,12 years

Again, sorry for the lack of posts. However, to make up for it, I promise to be better during this upcoming Awards Season. With that said, here are my top films and some kudos for the year in film 2013.

My Top 10 movies of 2013:
1. 12 Years a Slave
2. August Osage County
3. Philomena
4. Gravity
5. Dallas Buyers Club
6. Fruitvale Station
7. Blue Jasmine
8. Saving Mr. Banks
9. Captain Phillips
10. Frozen (yes, I’m kinda shocked it’s here too)

Honorable mention~ The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Enough Said, The Great Gatsby

Best Documentary: Bridegroom
runner up: 20 Feet From Stardom
Best Comedy: The Heat
runner up: Enough Said
Biggest Tear Jerker: Philomena
runner up: Saving Mr Banks
* 12 Years a Slave easily much wins the most emotional film experience of the year by a landslide as well cuz yeah, I bawled watching that one.

Best Lead Male Performance: Chewitel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
runner up: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
Best Lead Female Performance: TIE~ Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) & Meryl Streep (August Osage County)
Best Supporting Male: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)august j m
runner up: Chris Cooper (August Osage County)
Best Supporting Female: Lupita Nyongo (12 Years a Slave)
runner up: Julia Roberts (August Osage County)
Best Ensemble: August Osage County
runner up: 12 Years a Slave
Best Performances No One is Talking About: Idris Elba & Naomie Harris (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)

Best Debut Film: Fruitvale Station
Best Song from a Movie: “Let It Go” (Frozen) sung by Idina Menzel

runner up: “Bleed for Love” (Winnie) sung by Jennifer Hudson

Best Hidden Gem: The Sapphires
Most Overrated Movie: American Hustle

Worst 5 Films I saw:
1. Stoker
2. Out of the Furnace
3. Nebraska
4. 2 Guns
5. Jack the Giant Slayer

* didn’t see all of Wolf of Wall Street yet (the showing was cancelled half way thru due to a sound issue)
** also haven’t seen Her


Yes, I’m Going to Miss “Smash”

May 26, 2013

smash-season-2I’m just going to say it~ I love Smash. Despite all its imperfections, inconsistencies, infuriating story lines and self-involved characters, the show had so many magic moments. Along with its wonderful original music and a celebration of Broadway, the show also brought Megan Hilty into my home each week and hello, America should be thankful for that. Hilty was the standout on a show full of great actors including the wonderful Christian Borle, Debra Messing (I missed her crazy outfits and scarves in season 2), Jack Davenport and the sometimes great/sometimes a mess Angelica Huston. Hilty’s musical performances were always brilliant and she brought great conviction and believability to a character that was written all over the map at times. I can’t wait to see what she does next, and if she’s back to the real Broadway, I’m booking a ticket. (I saw her in Wicked years ago and she’s incredible).
But back to Smash… Yes, many people loved to hate-watch it, but I just loved to watch it. Despite featuring perhaps the most hateful character ever (conniving assistant Ellis) and changing gears constantly, I found the show intoxicating on many levels. Maybe I’m just that much of a musical theatre freak. I loved the story lines about the competing Bombshell/Hitlist musical storyline, Ivy’s redemption, Derek’s constant disintegration of his own life, Tom’s strange ever-revolving love life and I especially loved when they dumped Julia’s family life in season 2…. The show had so much potential that was never fully realized, but like I said, there were some magical moments. And yes, those moments were primarily some great musical numbers… So, as we say goodbye to my favorite guilty pleasure show Smash as it airs its season finale tonight (May 26th at 9pm) on NBC, let’s count down the best musical numbers from Smash.

The Top Ten Musical Moments from Smash~

1. “Let Me Be Your Star”- Karen (Katharine McPhee) & Ivy (Megan Hilty): this Emmy nominated number from the near-perfect Smash pilot featuring our dueling Marilyn wannabes heading into their big audition was the highlight of the entire series.

2. “I Can’t Let Go”- Ronnie (Jennifer Hudson): while many of the guest performers on the show go to shine like Bernadette Peters and Will Chase, none of them got a number as tremendous as Oscar and Grammy winner Hudson who threw down the gauntlet on this song from her one woman show.

3. “Second Hand White Baby Grand”- Ivy (Megan Hilty): this gorgeous ballad from Bombshell encapsulated the relationship between Marilyn and her mother and it was a stunner.

4. “Broadway Here I Come”- Jimmy (Jeremy Jordan): singing the best song from rival musical Hitlist, Jordan showed what a powerhouse performer he is. I just wish all his personal back story hadn’t turned his character into such a whiner. But this number was brilliant.

5. “Don’t Forget Me”- Ivy (Megan Hilty): singing the final number from Bombshell, Ivy proved why she was the perfect choice for Marilyn as her version blows Karen’s out of the water. Sooooo good!

6. “The Love I Meant to Say”- Jimmy (Jeremy Jordan): on this heartbreaking ballad, Jimmy sings about the loss of a loved one. (No spoilers here!) It was a tender tearjerker that was part of one of the best episodes of the series that dealt with that character’s passing. Seriously, I was bawling on this one.

7. “Heart Shaped Wreckage”- Karen (Katharine McPhee) & Jimmy (Jeremy Jordan): with the best duet from Hitlist, these lovebirds showed great chemistry and the potential of what that Hitlist show could’ve been if it ever had a real story.

8. “Never Give All the Heart”- Karen (Katharine McPhee): on this beautiful ballad, Karen laments Marilyn’s relationships with men and her past. It was one of McPhee’s best moments on the show as well.

9. “Let’s Be Bad”- Ivy (Megan Hilty): belting out a sexy and fun number from Bombshell, Hilty was perfection again.

10. “A Thousand and One Nights”- Karen (Katharine McPhee) & Dev (Raza Jeffrey): okay a lot of you may think I’m nuts for including this one, but I kinda love it. It was a ridiculously fun and possibly offensive dream sequence Bollywood number. Despite the implausibility of it, the song was super fun and the choreography was sick! It also made me wish Dev had a completely different character because Raza Jeffrey has some serious skills. (And PS~ who knew what a fantastic dancer McPhee is!)

And there you have it~ my ten favorite performances from Smash. It was actually hard to narrow it down and that’s a good problem to have. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to countdown any more musical moments from Smash as it disappears forever tonight. But enjoy the finale and thank you NBC for at least giving us two seasons of Smash. 

Highlights from the American Idol Finale and Congrats to Candice!!!

May 20, 2013

candice4I have to say I was so thrilled and proud of American on Thursday night when the nation and American Idol viewers crowned the brilliant Candice Glover the season 12 winner. She was the best singer, the most consistent vocalist, and the greatest entertainer and innovator of the season. Obviously she was the right winner and that’s no disrespect to the lovely and talented runner-up Kree Harrison, who should have a big country career ahead of her…. But back to Candice. I am just so thrilled that the right person and my personal favorite finally won for the first time in 6 years. That’s since Jordin Sparks ya’ll! (In case you’re wondering I think David Archuleta, Adam Lambert, Crystal Bowersox, Pia Toscano and Jessica Sanchez should’ve won their respective seasons as the best vocalists, but that’s just me.)

For further proof of Candice’s brilliance, check her out dueling with Oscar and Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson on “Inseparable” below. It was the stunning highlight of the finale broadcast and let me tell you, it was even better live!

Candice Glover/Jennifer Hudson “Inseparable”

And while Candice had the best number of the night with that one, there were some other great collaborations. First I loved the duet from third place finalist Angie Miller (who is due to sign her record deal this week too) and Grammy nominated Idol alum  Lambert on “Titanium”. It was beautiful and the harmonies were amazing…. Angie followed that up with the raucous duet with Jessie J on “Domino” that was awesome too. Seriously Jessie J is incredible.

Angie Miller/Adam Lambert “Titanium”

Angie Miller/Jessie J “Domino”

Another shocker favorite performance for me was from 5th place finisher Janelle Arthur who rocked some serious hair-ography with The Band Perry on their current hit “Done”. It was so good.

Janelle Arthur/The Band Perry “Done”

So, those were my favorite moments from a good, not great finale. (Seriously, what was up with all the lip synching superstars, the horrible boys number and a strange Frank Valli?)… But, I am thrilled a woman finally won and an amazing one at that. I have high hopes for Candice’s career and I think she, Kree and Angie all have a great shot at success. You can buy all three ladies debut singles on iTunes now. I sure did. =)
So, that’s it for season 12 of American Idol. I loved all the girl power this season and congratulations to Candice! Let’s hope next year, we get another great winner along with some new theme nights and better judges too. (Sorry Nicki was a mess. Mariah was lovely but long-winded and buh bye to the Dawg Randy Jackson after way too long on the panel.) In the meantime, please enjoy Candice Glover’s first official hit “I Am Beautiful” below.

Candice Glover “I Am Beautiful”

“Smash” Can’t Let Go of Jennifer Hudson

February 27, 2013

J Hud smashThe second season of Smash has been firing on all cylinders with great new characters and story lines. I’m really loving it and I wish the ratings were higher. However, I will enjoy it as long as it’s on the air and one of the biggest reasons is the fantastic guest arc by Oscar/Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson. Playing a Broadway star looking to grow as an artist and leave her mother’s (the great original Dreamgirls star Sheryl Lee Ralph) controlling shadow, Hudson is wonderful. She’s sweet and sincere with a nice undercurrent of frustration and fear. Her pipes are in glorious Dreamgirls form and last night’s episode featured her character Veronica Moore doing a “one night only” show. I’ve got the amazing final number for you below, “Can’t Let Go”, which I immediately bought at iTunes when the show ended last night. After watching a number like this, I don’t know how Smash can let go of Hudson. Her guest stint is set to end soon, but hey, maybe she’ll grab an Emmy nomination for the role. Better yet, she could win and be 3/4 of the way to an EGOT! … We will see. In the meantime, enjoy Hudson’s thrilling performance of “Can’t Let Go” below and watch the fantastic and underrated Smash Tuesday nights on NBC. Oh and PS~ Emmy winner Sean Hayes joins the show next week~ even more of a reason to watch Smash!

Smash~ Veronica Moore (Jennifer Hudson) “Can’t Let Go”

Check out the Amazing Chicago/Dreamgirls/Les Mis Medley from the Oscars Again

February 26, 2013

My favorite moment of Sunday’s Oscar telecast was the musical medley of the fantastic and Oscar-winning musical films Chicago, Dreamgirls and Les Miserables. Oscar winner Catharine Zeta-Jones did a nice job opening the segment with “All that Jazz” but it really kicked into gear with an astounding performance by Oscar and Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson singing her iconic Dreamgirls song “And I Am Telling You I am Not Going”. It was a brilliant moment that netted her a much deserved standing ovation. Following J Hud, was the wonderful ensemble of Les Miserables featuring newly minted Oscar winner Anne Hathaway, Oscar nominee Hugh Jackman, Eddie Redmayne, Amanda Seyfried, Russell Crow, Samantha Barks, Aaron Tveitt, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter with a medley of “Suddenly/I Dreamed a Dream/One Day More” that also yielded a standing O. I have to say that Barks and Tveitt stole that number which is not too surprising considering they’re the seasoned stage performers of the group. All in all, I absolutely loved the whole musical shebang and I’m thrilled that these amazing movies and performers were singled out again. It’s an incredible moment and I have it for you again below. Enjoy!

Chicago/Dreamgirls/Les Miserables Oscar Medley

“Argo” Wins Best Picture at a Surprisingly Unsurprising Oscars

February 25, 2013

argoOn what was a night many said there could be several big upsets, tonight’s Academy Awards was actually rather predictable. With only Christoph Waltz beating out Tommy Lee Jones and Robert DeNiro in the Supporting Actor race, most of the other winners were pretty easy to guess. Argo took Picture, Editing and Adapted Screenplay while Daniel Day-Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway won their respective races. Ang Lee topped Speilberg for Best Director while Quentin Tarantino won Original Screenplay for Django Unchained. One big surprise was a tie (only the 6th tie in Oscar history) for Sound Editing between Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall… Take a look at all the winners below and watch here for more on the show, Seth MacFarlane’s decent hosting debut and the amazing performances by Jennifer Hudson and the cast of Les Miserables tomorrow.

2013 Academy Award Winners:

Best Picture: Argo
Director: Ang Lee (Life o Pi)
Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
Actress: Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained)
Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
Original Screenplay: Django Unchained
Adapted Screenplay: Argo
Editing: Argo
Cinematography: Life of Pi
Score: Life of Pi
Song: “Skyfall”- Adele (Skyfall)
Production Design: Lincoln
Makeup & Hair: Les Miserables
Costume Design: Anna Karenina
Sound Editing: TIE~ Zero Dark Thirty & Skyfall
Sound Mixing: Les Miserables
Visual Effects: Life of Pi
Documentary: Searching for Sugar Man
Animated Film: Brave
Foreign Film: Amour
Doc Short Subject: Innocentelesmis-dream630-jpg_220136
Animated Short: Paperman
Live Action Short: Curfew

Most Wins~
Life of Pi: 4
Argo: 3
Les Miserables: 3
Lincoln: 2
Django Unchained: 2

I’m Loving the New and Improved “SMASH”

February 7, 2013

Tuesday night, the delightful musical dramedy Smash returned for its second season on NBC and I have to say I’m thrilled at the improvements. Gone were the annoying tertiary characters (Buh bye Dev and the horribly annoying Ellis. And we won’t miss you when you disappear Frank) and they were replaced by some great newcomers including Broadway standout Jeremy Jordan ( a Tony nominee last year for Newsies) and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson who was simply fantastic and should expect a Guest Actress Emmy nomination in September. The storytelling was also streamlined and it looks like the show will live up to its great promise from its brilliant pilot. So, here’s to a much improved Smash and enjoy some of my favorite musical moments from the show below…. For more on Smash, head here.

Smash “Broadway Here I Come” (Jeremy Jordan)

Smash “Caught in the Storm” (Katharine McPhee)

Smash “They Just Keep Moving the Line” (Megan Hilty)

And while I couldn’t find any video for it, please enjoy Jennifer Hudson simply killing it on “Mama Makes Three”

Another New “Smash” Season 2 Preview!

January 7, 2013

February 5th marks the highly anticipated second season premiere of the Golden Globe nominated musical dramedy Smash, and I can’t wait. The new season has jettisoned four unlikable characters (good riddens Ellis!) and added a ton of new faces (Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, Emmy winner Sean Hayes, Newsies Tony nominee Jeremy Jordan, Law & Order and Rent vet Jesse L. Martin to name a few). It also has some new show runners and is attempting to correct the uneven yet immensely watchable and fun first season. I, for one, can’t wait. Now, a second preview of the second season has hit the web following NBC’s Smash panel at the TCA this morning. Check it out below and watch Smash Feb. 5th on NBC!

Smash season 2 preview

And I’m done with “The Voice”

December 5, 2012

So, if you watched last night’s episode of The Voice, you saw the show’s best and most talented contestant, Amanda Brown, get eliminated. It was horrifying and upsetting and another in a long line of singing show voting injustices. Following in the footsteps of singers like American Idol’Jennifer Hudson, Carly Smithson, Pia Toscano and Chris Daughtry getting the boot before they should’ve, Brown was sent packing. With that news, I am sending the show packing. If you read my recap from Tuesday night, I was very dissatisfied with the show as it devolved into an overproduced X-Factor type mess (much like its first two seasons). So, with the show’s continuing decline and the wonderfully talented Ms. Brown no longer in the running, I am done with The Voice. There’s really no reason to watch for me anymore. So, sorry but my recaps are done for this season. We’ll see if I return in the Spring when there will be some new judging blood in Usher and Shakira (replacing the delightful but derivative Cee Lo and the incredibly rude, egotistical and annoying Christina Aguilera). Until then, I would recommend mjsbigblog for good recaps and news on the show…. And I’ll just look positively towards a new season of the only talent show that actually produces successful pop stars and remains the gold standard, American Idol.

My “The Voice” Quick Wrap Recap for the Top 6

December 4, 2012

TheVoice3-Top6PerfI have to say I almost didn’t write this recap… I was so disappointed and irritated with last night’s episode of The Voice, I had to wait until this morning to calm down and be a little more objective… Unfortunately, the top 6 show in season 3 brought up everything I hated about the show from the previous seasons. It was as if the show had turned into the atrocious X Factor again. There was the over-production of all the numbers, the emphasis on dancers, props, lighting and staging over the singing. There was Carson Daly at his worst and the useless Christina Milian babbling away with the stupid “social commentary” of the show. There were all four judges being producers’ puppets and overly praising and hyping their pre-ordained winner Cassadee Pope (who’s good but not that good people). There was no true criticism and the judges were making it all about themselves again. Plus, Christina Aguilera could’ve have been more full of herself and rude again last night, and what on Earth does she have against Amanda? Jealous much? And don’t get me started on Xtina’s wigs and costumes. As a former big fan, she is on her last legs with me… I could go on and on, but I just want to count down the performances and be done with it because I am honestly worried about tonight’s results. As America has proved time and again with talent shows, they often get it wrong and I’m really worried that might happen tonight.

The Voice Performance Rankings for the Top 6
1. Amanda Brown “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman”: Simply brilliant. The best performance and vocal of the night by a mile.
2. Amanda Brown “Here I Go Again”: her rocking take on Whitesnake’s 1987 # 1 hit was inspired and awesome. This girl is in a class of her own people!
3. Nicholas David- “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”: just when I thought I would never hear a new interpretation of this classic, I was wrong. This was a lovely interesting version of the song that had me rather pleased and surprised.
4. Cassadee Pope- “I’m With You”: Avril-lite finally got to do an Avril Lavigne song with her nice if uninspired version of this # 3 hit. Sure, Cassadee has a lot of potential to be the first real hit maker from The Voice, but I’m sorry I’m just not buying the Cassadee juice the producers are selling.
5. Trevin Hunte- “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going”: while this was his best performance in weeks, I’m sorry Trevin, but you are no Jennifer Hudson, Jennifer Holliday or even Jessica Sanchez.
6. Terry McDermott- “I Want to Know What Love Is”: I wasn’t blown away by Terry’s take on this 1985 # 1 hit by Foreigner like the judges were. However, it was pretty good. I would’ve liked more variation and tenderness in his choices and less hollering the whole time.
7. Cassadee Pope- “Stand“: this was another solid performance, but um, Blake she’s not a country artist and stop trying to make her one. Plus the glowsticks in the audience made me want to hurl my tv out the window. Stop it Voice producers! These people are not stars yet!
8. Nicholas David- “September”: this was an ok version of the Earth Wind and Fire classic. Nicholas always exhibits smooth soul and good vocals, but it was a bit boring.
9. Terry McDermott- “Stay with Me”: um, that was fine…. That’s all I have to say cuz I’ve already forgotten it.
10. Trevin Hunte- “Walking on Sunshine”: what the hell was that? Please never again.
11. Melanie Martinez- “The Show”: oh dear that was bad and the rainbow in the background too? Really?
12. Melanie Martinez- “Crazy”: CeeLo should’ve been pissed. She utterly ruined his song with another atrocious pitchy performance. Just terrible.

Should go home: Trevin, Melanie
Will go home: Trevin and um… I don’t know… I think the only person who’s safe is Cassadee. Nicholas, Terry and Melanie are charting well on iTunes, so that will help them. Unfortunately, the best contestant by a mile, Amanda, may end up the loser tonight. Blargh!

So, there’s my recap and if America does the wrong thing and sends Amanda home, I’m done with the show. So, I’m gonna end it here and just wait and see. Hope ya’ll voted for Amanda!!!