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Review: Olivia Newton John: Hopelessly Devoted to You – Part One

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Image credit: Channel Seven

At some point during the two hours of this part one Olivia Newton John bio, A young Olivia Newton John (played by Morgan Griffin) finds a review about her album with the now infamous quote “If white bread could sing, it would sound like this.”….

Needless to say, that white bread is what we’re being delivered up in the first part of this ONJ biopic that literally speed-balls through two decades of her career within the blink of an eye, bypassing the darker, meatier topics that could have added a bit of wholegrain to the loaf.

Hopeless Devoted to You opens with one of ONJ’s most iconic film moments, the transformation of Sandy in Grease with her ink black leggings, figure hugging corset and hair tizzed within an inch of it’s life singing ‘You’re the one that I want’.  She’s riding a wave of praise with the world at her feet at the movie’s premiere wondering “how did I get here?” before we’re thrown all the way back to Melbourne 1965 with 16 year old ONJ  (Morgan Griffin) about to get her first break with boyfriend TV presenter Ian Turpie (Will Ewing) by her side.

A move to London, a failed attempt with her first single and movie plus a new boyfriend in Bruce Welch (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) from the band ‘The Shadows’ and suddenly ONJ is 22 years old and she’s beginning to make a name for herself with thanks to her boyfriend and manager Welch.  There’s a slight hint within this first part that attempts to look at Welch’s jealousy of ONJ has her career begins to soar (he left his band to manager her) but because that might delve a bit to deep into the dark side it’s quickly brushed aside and ONJ moves on.

White bread.

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Image: Channel Seven

It’s a full 45-odd minutes before the Delta Goodrem version of ONJ re-appears just as she’s about to sing her first mega hit “I Honestly Love You” with new boyfriend by her side, Englishman Lee Kramer (Todd Lasance) who, also happens to be her new manager.  And very much like before with lover/manager Welch, ONJ finds herself struggling with the jealousy of Kramer as her lover/manager as her career continues to keep going higher and once again, she lets him go before we get into the meatier parts of their relationship.

White bread.

The nitty gritty of this part one is that there is none.  It’s simply white bread and in all honesty there is really nothing wrong with it as it makes for a nice and pleasant viewing filled with some hit songs and a couple of broken hearts.

As a young ONJ, Morgan Griffin shines, giving us the doe eyed soft spoken Aussie girl about to take on the world with her music though as this is the Delta Goodrem show, she’s brought in to play ONJ in her early 20’s and that may not have been the best move as Goodrem is too present, too self aware, too…well…Delta Goodrem.

Sure Delta and ONJ both embody the ‘good girl next door’ image but the similarities between the two end there and I had to remind myself constantly that this wasn’t a Delta singing singing ONJ’s greatest hits special and that’s through no fault of her own.  Delta is just too big a name, face and brand to easily morph into someone else – someone just as well known in the form of Olivia Newton John.

When you compare this to 2014’s Michael Hutchence/INXS biopic, Luke Arnold, while known, did not have the same status as Goodrem which allowed the actor to become Hutchence to a point the two were eerily alike but then again, there was more substance and darker, personal material being explored in that movie.

Part two, which airs the following week, delves into the more recent(ish) and more tabloid ONJ era with crazed stalkers, the Xanadu years, battle with cancer and a lover missing at sea.

Don’t expect too much depth from this part one, if we’re talking white bread it’s a cucumber sandwich made to look like a cheese sandwich but we still can clearly see it’s a cucumber sandwich.  Enjoyable but sadly not satisfying that hunger.

Olivia Newton John: Hopelessly Devoted to You – Part one airs Sunday, May 13th at 8:30pm on the Seven Network.

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HBO’s Looking: The Movie Reveals Drama is Never Far Away from Patrick

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It’s been well over a year since HBO’s gay themed drama Looking aired its final episode and while Looking’s second season was a much welcomed improvement on season one, we were never given a true and proper ending to Patrick (Jonathan Groff) and his drama seeking pals after the show was cancelled.

HBO listened to our cries and have delivered up a movie length goodbye to tie up the loose ends of Patrick and his love triangle involving Ritchie (Raul Castillo) and Kevin (Russell Tovey), Agustín (Frankie J. Alvarez) and his new relationship with HIV positive Eddie (Daniel Franzese) and Dom (Murray Bartlett) and his fractured relationship with life-long friend Doris (Lauren Weedman) and his newly opened Portuguese chicken kitchen.

Check out the trailer below:

The plot sees Patrick return to San Francisco after living in Denver for almost a year to celebrate the upcoming wedding of some ‘close friends’ and ultimately finds himself face to face with unresolved issues surrounding his love life.

Looking: The Movie is scheduled to air July 23rd on HBO in America.

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension Review

Leila (Ivy George) is the target for demon Toby
Leila (Ivy George) is the target for demon Toby

Through (now) six movies, including one odd spin-off/side movie, the Paranormal Activity movies are now finally attempting to close up for good by wrapping up the series long story-line revolving around sisters Kristi and Katie, young boy Hunter and giving life to the never-before seen protagonist – Toby, with the latest and last release in the line – Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension.

Ghost Dimension follows the series previous outings with a ‘found footage’ feel, all seen through the lens of a camera but with the added twist of 3D special effects that funnily enough, when sporadically used, don’t offer much effect.

Picking up with a brand new family featuring husband and wife Ryan (Chris J Murray) and Emily (Brit Shaw) and their butter-wouldn’t-melt daughter Leila (Ivy George) who are getting ready to celebrate their first Christmas in their brand new house, where Ryan stumbles across an old 1980’s video camera that isn’t as vintage as it first looks.  While playing around with the recorder, Ryan discovers that he is able to see things that can’t been seen with other cameras or with the human eye.

Along with the camera, Ryan also discovers boxes filled with several old VHS tapes and it’s not long before Ryan and younger brother Mike (a wonderfully mustached Dan Gill) decide to check out the contents of the old tapes (seriously, who has a working VCR these days?!) and we discover how this final movie ties into all the others. See, these old tapes are filled with eepy-cray sessions of a young Katie and Kristi (whom we first met in paranormal activity 3) being hypnotized into a trance-like state by a pony-tailed man preparing them to meet Toby.

With the cameras ability to see mysterious things, Ryan gets the idea to set up cameras around the house hoping to catch a glimpse of what is making things go bump in the night and who his daughter is communicating with which sets the tone for the rest of the movie.

known for it’s ability to scare, some of the jump-out-of-your-seat moments presented in Ghost Dimension feel expected but none-the-less, still shocking and with the visual manifestation of Toby being introduced for the very first time, while certainly creepy, it makes this movie very different from the others.  Where other Paranormal outings working off the “what you can’t see” approach, being able to actually see Toby doesn’t add any extra element of fear to the movie.

As a long-time fan of the movies, the final pay-off does come – you will get your answers though I’d recommend revisiting the previous films to refresh yourself with the time-line and characters!  While I may not be too keen on how it all ends (it can only go one of two ways), it’s still nice to finally get that closure.  One thing I will say is that while the Paranormal Activity movies seem to have come to an end, Ghost Dimension does leave itself open to question whether a spin-off series of movies may be coming our way.

Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimensions is in select theaters Australia wide as of today.

11 Things We Learned From Lifetime’s Unauthorized Melrose Place Story

The ladies of the original Melrose Place.
The ladies of the original Melrose Place.

From a pilot that was a massive hit to a slow burning season one to eventually becoming one of the hottest shows on the 90’s, Melrose Place cemented itself in pop culture history.  Loved it or hated it, you knew Melrose existed and the bed hopping, black mailing and crazy that went on.

But behind the on screen dramas, we got to learn a little more about our favorite 90’s guilty pleasure, the cast and the crew, thanks to Lifetime’s Unauthorized Melrose Place Story.  Check out the 11 things we all learnt from this tell-all…

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1: Grant Show was almost Brad Pitt

Having been name checked in 90210’s Unauthorized movie (Pitt at the time, lived with Jason Priestly before Priestly was cast on 90210) it was revealed Grant Show was originally intended to play the role of good looking bad guy J.D in Thelma and Louise but had to turn down the role due to his Melrose Place commitments.  The part of course went to Brad Pitt and kick started his big screen career.  Wise choice?

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2: The Melrose Place cast could have looked VERY different 

While Thomas Calabro (Michael Mancini), Josie Bissett (Jane Mancini), Grant Show (Jake Hansen), Doug Savant (Matt Fielding), Vanessa A Williams (Rhonda Blair) and Amy Locane (Sandy Harling) were already cast, it seems the role of good girl Alison Parker almost went to Courteney Cox (who was coming off Family Ties) instead of Courtney Thorne-Smith and before Tori Spelling selected Andrew Shue for the role of Billy Campbell (who knew Tori had a knack for casting?) Matthew Perry, Paul Rudd and Jason Bateman had all read for the role.

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3: Thomas Calabro was a major theater snob!

It was pointed out on several occasions that not only was Calabro a theatre actor but that he somewhat despised the shows early scripts, often mocking them and pointing out how much lesser the content was when compared to his previous stage work (ok, so season one and early season 2…he’s not wrong there!).  It was until his characters affair with Kimberly Shaw (Marcia Cross), which saw a new shady direction for the Michael, that he started to get into the part.

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4: Laura Leighton’s manager got her on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine

We all know the cover – it’s now iconic – Laura Leighton, Josie Bissett and Heather Locklear looking all sexy with tousled hair and white tank tops and satin slips on the cover of Rolling Stones 1994 Hot Issue special…but it turns out, Courtney Thorne-Smith was originally in Leighton’s place and it wasn’t until Leighton’s then manager (who was also Heather Locklear and Bissett’s manager) suggested the two swap spots, ensuring Leighton (and her two other clients) made the cover. Thorne-Smith and Daphne Zuniga ended up being folded under the cover of the magazine.

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5: FOX and Darren Starr told no one about Matt’s gay kiss being cut from the show

What should have been history in the making (Savant’s Matt Fielding was the first ever gay character on prime-time network television) led to fan outrage as the the first ever on-screen gay kiss between Matt and his date Rob (Ty Miller) was cut from the Season 2 double episode finale – even though it had been filmed.  When the episode aired with the edited scene, no one from the cast inlcuding Savant had been told.

Side note – the actual kiss took place in front of Matt’s apartment door while Billy (Shue) watched on in surprise but in the unauthorized movie, the scene was set on a park bench and the two’s kiss was interrupted by a passing cars headlights. Either way, Matt finally got his kiss on screen!

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6: Josie Bissett, Daphne Zuniga and Courtney Thorne-Smith all asked for crazier story lines.

When going up against Amanda’s power bitch monologues, Sydney’s hooking-stripping-drug taking and Kimberly’s cray-cray, the other female actresses felt they needed their characters to go a little more into the dark side.  In the movie Thorne-Smith suggests Alison robs a bank while sleep walking, Zuniga recommends Jo becomes a serial killer and Bissett wants Jane to go all out crazy – but we can all safely assume none of those suggestions actually happened.  In the end, all three saw their characters get some more juicer story lines including stalking ex boyfriends, killing ex-boyfriends, dealing with stolen babies and pretending to be blind to win over an ex love!  Gotta love Melrose Place!

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7: Heather Locklear and Laura Leighton were originally hired for a handful of episodes

While Leighton was hired for three episodes as Jane’s bratty younger sister and Locklear was brought in for a few more for a guest-star ratings push, both actresses ended up securing themselves multi-season contracts.  Leighton came back in season two as a recurring then regular character until the season five finale (where Syd was unceremoniously run over by a car on her wedding day!) and Locklear maintained her guest-star status (and dark roots) until the end of the shows run at season 7.

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8: Andrew Shue has someone else to thank besides Tori Spelling for the role of Billy Campbell  

Actor Stephen Fanning (or Stephen Dale as oddly named in the movie) actually HAD the role of Billy Campbell when Melrose first began to shoot.  Scenes for the pilot were shot and promo photos taken, but according to the movie, the time between being cast and production beginning (which is being quoted as two months) Fanning lost his ‘hot body’ while with family in Canada, gaining a crap load of weight and thus being fired from the show – because Melrose had no room for fatties.  Fanning didn’t find out until he arrived on set to find Andrew Shue in his trailer!

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9: Vanessa A Williams was convinced she was going to stay on Melrose for more than a season

It’s the case of what-could-have-been or blind want, with season one actors Williams and Amy Locane both being booted by the end of the first season.  Convinced her and Savant’s Matt Fielding were the shows two edgiest characters i.e “the black chick and the gay guy” Williams, it seems was completely blind sided by her axing from the show.  She did however go onto bigger and better things like…the TV movie Ice Spiders and a recurring role on Chicago Hope.

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10: Laura Leighton and Doug Savant got married after Melrose Place

While not news to me, twitter was abuzz about finding out two of the shows stars were in fact married and are still to this day.  While the movie made note of the Thorne-Smith/Shue and Leighton/Grant Show’s off-screen romances, Leighton and Savant began dating (after her romance with Show ended and Savant had separated from his wife) and were married in 1998.

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11: The entire cast all got on well together off-screen

Unlike that which was shown in the 90210 movie (Jennie and Shannen car park fight!!), the entire cast of Melrose Place was shown to actually get along with each other off set.  There were no over-bearing egos or fights over wardrobe and even when Thorne-Smith and Zuniga were lost on the Rolling Stone cover (they barely battered an eye lid), Leighton called her manager demanding to know why.  Sadly, this really off-set the whole ‘unauthorized’ feel of the movie as there wasn’t really much drama to be told.

Regardless of how much the truth was stretched or how badly the Melrose time line was presented, we can all agree this Unauthorized movie reignited our love with Melrose Place.  I wonder how many are cracking out the DVD’s right now?

First Look: New Photos from Lifetimes Unauthorized Melrose Place Story

 Ciara Hanna (“Heather Locklear/Amanda Woodward”) and Frank Bailey (“Andrew Shue/Billy Campbell”) star in the all-new Lifetime movie, The Unauthorized Melrose Place Story Photo by Sergei Bachlakov Copyright 2015
Ciara Hanna (“Heather Locklear/Amanda Woodward”) and Frank Bailey (“Andrew Shue/Billy Campbell”) star in the all-new Lifetime movie, The Unauthorized Melrose Place Story Photo by Sergei Bachlakov
Copyright 2015

I am a Melrose Place geek.  It was my jam in the 90’s, I never missed an episode and I was (and still am) obsessed with Laura Leighton.  That said, I don’t know if I’m really ready to have that part of my teen years ripped apart with a Melrose Place tell-all movie that threatens to expose just what went on behind the scenes on one of the hottest shows of the 1990’s.

From Aaron Spelling and Darren Starr discussing a Beverly Hills 90210 spin-off to the revelation Grant Show turned down the role in Thelma and Louise that evertually went to Brad Pitt (and kick started his career) to Melrose’s early days with cast members Vanessa Williams and Amy Locane to the infamous Rolling Stone Magazine ‘Bod Squad’ cover shoot to Heather Locklear’s casting to ‘save’ the show, it’s all covered in the next installment of Lifetime’s ‘Unauthorized’ movies – The Unauthorized Melrose Place Story.

While recounting behind the scenes ‘drama’ the unauthorized movie also delves into the iconic 90’s dramas biggest and best story-lines including Sydney (Laura Leighton) transforming from annoying little sister to Jane (Josie Bissett) into a stripper/madam/druggie street walker, Kimberly (Marcia Cross) stealing Jo’s (Daphne Zuniga) baby and of course one of the biggest moments in the show’s history – Kimberly blowing up the apartment building during the season three finale!

Check out the gallery featuring images from the movie below!

Before the movie airs, check out the exclusive Sneak Peek trailer exclusive to TVline.com

The Unauthorized Melrose Place Story airs Saturday, October 10th on Lifetime 8/7c

First Look at Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension

Something spooky this way comes....
Something spooky this way comes….

The brand new trailer for the sixth and final installment of the Paranormal Activity movie series has been released and is promising, once again, to offer movie goers a few jumps and scares while tying in and finalizing the story-line that has been played out over the past 5 movies.

With this final installment, we’re being promised that Toby will finally be revealed after eluding our eyes for so many films.  It’s producer Jason Blum’s way of putting an end to the series.  Speaking with bloody-disgusting.com he says “It’s coming to an end. This is it, the finale.  We’re saying it before the movie opens. We’re not going to grind this horror franchise into the ground. This will keep Paranormal Activity as part of this culture and this particular time in a really fantastic way”

The Ghost Dimension, directed by Gregory Plotkin, follows a new family, the Fleeges with father Ryan (Chris J. Murray), mother Emily (Brit Shaw) and their young daughter Leila (Ivy George), who move into a house and discover a video camera and a box of tapes in the garage.  When they look through the camera’s lens, they begin to see the paranormal activity happening around them — including the re-emergence of a young Kristi and Katie.

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension hits cinemas October 2015.

Courteney Cox Says Friends Reunion Will Not Happen

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Former Friends star Courteney Cox spoke to David Letterman on Monday’s show in which he brought up a question that has been asked millions of times – Is there going to be a Friends reunion movie based off their hit show?

“You’re sick of the question, aren’t you?” Letterman asked Cox, who played Monica Geller in the popular sitcom.

“Only because once you say, ‘Well, I’d like it,’ then they have to contact every other cast member and be like, ‘Courteney’s into it!’ And then I get in trouble.”

“It’s not gonna happen,” she finished.

It doesn’t help that Courteney can’t even arrange a cast dinner that’s also been ten years in the works.

Cox also added that as the series was set between Monica’s apartment and local coffee shop Central Perk, she wonders just how exciting a movie based off the series could be.

“We did the whole show on a soundstage in Monica’s apartment,” she said.  “So what are you gonna do?”

In the most recent issue of EW magazine, Friends creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane look back at the Friends finale and how they felt about the Joey Spin-off and those pesky reunion rumors!

Do you think a Friends reunion should take place?

Jennifer Saunders on the Absolutely Fabulous Movie

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Jennifer Saunders as Edina Monsoon; PR Extraordinaire

So, just where on the script to screen scale is the big screen version of comedy classic Absolutely Fabulous?  Well according to creator, writer and star Jennifer Saunders, it’s still in the writing phase.

Always one to suffer from procrastination, Saunders has revealed she is undergoing hypnotherapy in an attempt to overcome her wayward mind and finish the script for the long delayed film.

Speaking at The Independent Bath Literature Festival, Saunders revealed that the movie version of Ab Fab “is going to happen” and “I’m writing it now; I have a deadline for the treatment.”

Well it’s a good start!

Source: The Independent