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Pop Culture Bites

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Margaret is back, but David is still staying away from the small screen, while Johnny Depp’s latest comedy(?) has bombed with the critics. Taylor Swift keeps her commercial interests in check, ensuring you can’t Party Like it’s 1989 without her permission, AACTA awards two Best Films, an unexpected hit has become the latest TV phenomenon in the US and Ted 2 has a trailer.

Margaret Pomeranz back to the small screen … without David!

After 28 years of on-screen service, most 70-year-old presenters would opt for a peaceful retirement. Not Margaret Pomeranz. The cinema icon with a uniquely infectious laugh has been signed for two new projects on Foxtel. The first is a weekly, half-hour program Screen, which she will co-present with Graeme Blundell, looking at cinema, television and online content. It will feature interviews, special guests and reviews, and air on Foxtel Arts, which will replace the network’s current arts channel Studio in March.
The second program is Margaret Pomeranz Presents, which will air on Foxtel’s Movie Masterpiece channel.
Welcome back, Margaret. You were only away for a few months, but it felt far too long.

Johnny Depp’s Mortdecai bombs with critics

And this one had real promise! Adapted from the book anthology Don’t Point That Thing At Me, Mortdecai stars Johnny Depp at, what the trailer promised to be, his zany best as an eccentric art dealer turned spy. With a supporting cast featuring Ewan McGregor, Gwyneth Paltrow, Olivia Munn, Paul Bettany and Jeff Goldlbum, it was sure to be a hit, right? Wrong.
The film currently has a 12% ‘rotten’ rating on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. Here are some highlights from reviews around the world: “Like the film as a whole, [Depp’s] performance is such a spectacular miscalculation that it begins to generate a strange fascination in that you almost want to keep watching just to see how much worse it can possibly get before it finally comes to a merciful and long-overdue conclusion”Mortdecai is mortdifying, a mortdal sin of a movie that’s headed for the cinematic mortduary”, and our personal favourite “psychotically unfunny”.
Mortdecai was released yesterday in Australia, if you absolutely must.

No getting down to This Sick Beat without Tay Tay’s permission

She may have been disqualified from the Hottest 100 (does anyone know if she actually knew about the controversy?) but Taylor Swift is keeping her commercial interests in check. The singer has now trademarked several phrases which appear on her latest album 1989, including “Party Like It’s 1989”, “This Sick Beat”, and “Cause We Never Go Out Of Style”.
Get ready for the tour merch blitz when she arrives on Australian shores in November.

Empire: the hip-hop soap opera which became the US’s new TV sensation

This musically-driven soap opera, by Lee Daniels, following a music industry dynasty has unexpectedly become America’s most popular new show this season with audiences under 50. And it’s unexpectedly lifted its audience with every episode, with around 10 million tuning in each week (before time-shifting). Nielsen predicted that the latest episode was seen in 33% of all black homes.
Read this piece on Vulture about how the show picked up its audience and the commercial benefits of diverse casting.
There’s no word yet on where/if it will air in Australia, but Fairfax predicted in May last year it would end up on Ten or Foxtel.

And the Best Film…s are

Well, nobody saw that coming. It seems the AACTA awards committee can’t make up their mind, giving the top prize of Best Film to both the indie horror film with legions of international fans The Babadook, and Russell Crowe’s The Water Diviner. Both films have received strong critical responses, but many in the industry are saying the tie makes the awards look indecisive and undermines their legitimacy.
The full list of winners can be accessed here.

Ted 2 gets a trailer

The first Ted, by Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane, was a bit of a guilty pleasure. And the sequel looks to be even guiltier, with Mark Wahlberg covered in … just watch the trailer.
Ted 2 is set for release on June 25 in Australia.

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