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Renee Macek has been a member since October 4th 2012, and has created 61 posts from scratch.

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Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and the Aftermath of the Revelation Heard ‘Round the World

To be honest, I can’t recall a time when Angelina Jolie hasn’t looked pretty flawless on the red carpet. She continued the tradition last night in London when she made her first public appearance since undergoing a double mastectomy in February.

In support of fiancé Brad Pitt’s new film “World War Z,” Jolie stood by her man for the premiere, but not without Pitt himself extolling Jolie’s strength throughout the difficult time. “I think the world of her, she is an amazing woman,” Pitt told People magazine, before going on to talk about the support from the public, saying “I’m very touched by the reaction, it makes me very emotional.”

Jolie also conveyed gratitude for the waves of support she has received since she went public in May about the preventative procedure. The actress lost her mother in 2007 to a long battle with ovarian cancer, and when she found out she had a gene, BRCA1, that predisposed her to cancer, she knew the operation would provide her with the best chance of never having to put her children through what she endured.

As she opined in her May 14th article for the New York Times, “My Medical Choice,” her breast cancer risk has now shrunk from 87 to 5 percent. The eloquently written article also provides emotional support to women going through similar situations, with Jolie writing, “For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options. I want to encourage every woman, especially if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, to seek out the information and medical experts who can help you through this aspect of your life, and to make your own informed choices.”

And it seems Jolie’s support and courage has been returned tenfold over the past few weeks, as Jolie remarked at the screening, “I’ve been very happy just to see the discussion about women’s health expanded and that means the world to me.”

While Jolie and her relationships have been tabloid fodder in the past, it’s so refreshing to see this outpouring of support in a challenging time for one of the world’s most recognized couples. Between their large brood of children, humanitarian work, and of course, acting, they seem to stay quite busy, but never lose sight of what is important. So many wishes of continued happiness and health to the Pitt-Jolie family!

Amanda Bynes – Brilliant Performance Artist, Or Mentally-Unhinged Cautionary Tale? Here’s The Latest On Hollywood’s Bigest Enigma

As the case with former child star Amanda Bynes gets stranger by the minute, it would almost seem at home as the plot of a bizarrely inappropriate skit on the actress’s old “The Amanda Show.” Sadly, that is not the case and the reality seems to be that Bynes’ is yet another tragic tale to be added to the long list of child stars that crumble under the pressures of fame after hitting adulthood.

Between the DUIs, the odd tweets, the drastic makeover and incomprehensible actions, you would think the public wouldn’t be shocked by anything Bynes did at this point, but her behavior this week proved otherwise when the troubled actress was arrested by NYPD Thursday evening for allegedly throwing a bong out of her apartment window while trying to keep it from police.

It all went down when an employee at her building called the police regarding Bynes’ blatant marijuana smoking in the lobby, which led to the apartment showdown involving the now infamous bong throw into the street below. While she was arrested and charged with reckless endangerment, she was also forced to undergo a psychiatric evaluation at Roosevelt Hospital, an evaluation that apparently did little to address the actress’s mental state as she was released on her own recognizance mere hours later.

Since her run-in with the law, Bynes has taken to her favorite podium, Twitter, to denounce almost everyone involved in the snafu, and even some innocents that weren’t. From alleging the NYPD sexually harassed her (which the NYPD says is definitely untrue), to randomly attacking singer Rihanna with insults like “Chris Brown beat you because you’re not pretty enough,” it appears no one is safe from the wrath of Bynes.

It all boils down to yet another sad chapter in the downfall this past year of the once promising actress, who at the young age of 12 already had her own TV show. It’s unclear what led to the series of mishaps culminating in the latest scandal. Perhaps the roles weren’t floating her away as frequently as they had in the past, which is a problem many child actors face. Regardless, I think what is clear is the 27-year-old could use a good old intervention and get back on the right track. After all, once Courtney Love starts telling you to get it together, it’s probably a wise idea to follow suit…

Summer 2012 is Here at the Movies! But Which Flicks Will Soar, and Which Will Suck?

Summer is upon us! And as usual, Hollywood is throwing its best and brightest blockbusters at the world, hoping to break box office records, or at the very least, break even. So what’s in store for those looking to beat the heat at theaters this year? Here’s a breakdown of five flicks we think will be bona fide hits, and five that might be misses…

The Hits

The Hangover Part III (May 24) – While the sequel, Part II, left many fans a bit miffed that it was a joke-by-joke retelling of the hilarious Part I, those looking for a different journey in the concluding chapter should be appeased. Apparently the final film gets a bit dark as the wolf pack try to bring Alan (Zach Galifianakis) to a mental institution, but as always with this group, things don’t go exactly as planned. With some familiar faces appearing in addition to a few new ones, people will most likely flock to this party one more time.

Man of Steel (June 14) – We’ve covered the trailer, and if you’re a superhero fan, there’s no way you can pass on DC Comics’ newest reboot. By attaching Batman guru Christopher Nolan on as guardian of the franchise and proceeding with what looks to be a grimmer, more introspective take on Superman, failure is not an option for this one.

This is the End (June 14) – Obviously going up against “Man of Steel” opening weekend is a pretty steep cliff to climb, but judging by the trailer, anyone seeking a good laugh will get it, if only to see Hermione herself kicking butt during the apocalypse with the likes of Seth Rogen, James Franco, and Jonah Hill.

Pacific Rim (July 12) – Aliens and giant robots fighting. Directed by anyone other than Guillermo del Toro and most people would probably be laughing in their popcorn, but del Toro has some serious street cred and a cult following from his “Hellboy” and “Pan’s Labyrinth” history. This one could surprise us all.

The Conjuring (July 19) – We’ve been chatting about this one as well and if it’s as scary as predicted, it should wind up being the runaway horror hit of the summer. With all the “Paranormal Activity” found-footage style out there, it’s good to know there are still some good, old-fashioned haunts to be had.

The Misses:

After Earth (May 31) – It’s not exactly a twisty surprise to say that M. Night Shyamalan has become a bit of a laughing stock in the years since his career skyrocketed with “The Sixth Sense.” Some say he peaked too soon, and that may be true, but Hollywood loves a good comeback. I hope he does have one, but this flick might not be it. Haven’t we already seen this tale of an abandoned planet Earth when it starred Tom Cruise and it was called “Oblivion”?

World War Z (June 21) – As a fan of the Max Brooks novel upon which it is based, I SO want this to be good. But I’m left with doubt considering the multitude of setbacks this film has faced (reshoots, rewrites, fighting on set) and the fact that the only thing it seems to have in common with the book is…well, zombies.

The Lone Ranger (July 5) – Johnny Depp struck gold with director Gore Verbinski before when they teamed up for “Pirates of the Caribbean” and forever emblazoned Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in our minds. That might be the problem though. Are audiences that eager to see Depp dress up as an entirely new, possible-franchise launching character? Time will tell.

Only God Forgives (July 19) – Another case of lightning having difficulty striking the same place twice, reviews from Cannes for this reteaming of Ryan Gosling and his “Drive” director Nicolas Winding Refn have been less than kind. When words like “preposterous” and “repulsive” are being used to describe a movie, it’s probably a good bet to wait for rental.

The Wolverine (July 26) – The odds that this will be better than the 2009 “Origins” movie are very high, and the fact that it is set in Japan is a nice change of pace. But perhaps we have to admit that as awesome as Hugh Jackman is, Wolverine may be best in small doses in an ensemble feature (Viva “X-Men: Days of Future Past”, summer ’14!)

Of course all or some of these predictions may end up being way off base, but to the movie-loving public, I say go forth and conquer and I’ll see you at the cineplex!

“Saturday Night Live” Says Goodbye to Some of Its Biggest Stars! So, What Does the Future Hold For Stefon?

As is sadly so often the case, all good things must come to an end. If there was ever a TV show that knew this better than anyone, it’s “Saturday Night Live.” I suppose it comes with the territory of being a sketch comedy show that has been on the air for over thirty-five years; cast members will come and go and the only thing to do is adapt and move on. This past Saturday for its thirty-eighth season finale, “SNL” bid adieu to some of its treasured tropes of oddball characters with the departure of Bill Hader and Fred Armisen.

The two long-time performers, Hader having been there eight years and Armisen eleven years, were given an appropriate and bittersweet send-off, allowing viewers a last glimpse at some of their more iconic personas. Bill Hader’s all-knowing New York City “nightlife correspondent” Stefon almost tied the knot with Anderson Cooper before being whisked away by permanent crush and “Weekend Update” host Seth Meyers. As for Armisen, he graced the stage as his punk rock alter ego Ian Rubbish to perform one last time, joining forces with special guests from the Sex Pistols and Sonic Youth, as well as his “Portlandia” co-star Carrie Brownstein.

The traditional question one asks after a cast member leaves is where will they go from here? Well, it doesn’t seem they’ll be far from your TV screens for long. Bill Hader has about eleven projects in various stages of production on his IMDB profile, with feature films, TV show appearances, and voice work all on the agenda. As for Armisen, anyone who has seen his hilarious IFC sketch show should know that he excels at the more offbeat and eccentric comedy that “Portlandia” allows, and hopefully a season 4 run will let him do just that.

But what will become of the rest of the “SNL” cast and the show’s future? Jason Sudeikis has been rumored to be departing after this season as well, but the ten-year veteran hasn’t made an official announcement and the finale did little to say farewell to him. Could co-star Jay Pharaoh’s tweet yesterday discussing the departure of all 3 gentlemen be a confirmation?

And for those worried that the show has lost too many of its staples in recent years (I know we’re all still hurtin’ from Kristen Wiig leaving), I say: fret not. “Saturday Night Live” is a survivor and has endured many a cast exodus in its lengthy past. After every Adam Sandler or Will Ferrell leaves, the show is often slammed with a “how can it recover?” type media storm, but it always does. There will be rocky seasons as it tries to find its way, but new talent always seems to emerge. Already, the likes of Taran Killam, Vanessa Bayer, and Kate McKinnon have stepped up to the plate to ensure the hilarity will continue, and with so many spots opening up on the cast, it only leaves me eager to find out which new comedians Lorne Michaels will scoop up next season. Because as the saying goes, the show must go on!

The “X-Men” Are Back As Details Leak About the Blockbuster Prequel “Days of Future Past”!

To add to the list of never-ending teases that director Bryan Singer is raining down on the legions of “X-Men” fans, the filmmaker recently tweeted a picture of cast member Ellen Page all suited up as Kitty Pryde, adding to the growing allure of this newest anticipated chapter. For weeks, Singer has been reveling in fandom’s glee over his return to the Marvel adaptation he helped create (Singer directed the first two ventures, “X-Men” in 2000 and its sequel “X2” in 2003, before leaving the franchise to do 2006’s “Superman Returns” reboot).

Having already tweeted first looks at returning fan favorites like Hugh Jackman’s iconic Wolverine and Halle Berry as Storm, the momentum for the fourth round of X-Men adventure, titled “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” has been increasing at a staggering rate. The buzz surrounding it is pretty apt when you consider the epic cast that has been brought together for this installment. While I can’t say I ever followed the comic books, I do know that “Days of Future Past” is a HUGE storyline from the comics; a plot that brings together the casts of the original films and 2011’s “X-Men: First Class,” which was primarily an origin story for our heroes.

So yes, that means we’ll be seeing the likes of the magnificent Ian McKellan as Magneto and the fantastic Michael Fassbender as his younger incarnation in the same movie! Will they actually share screen time? Well, that remains to be seen (unless you DO read the comics and are much wiser than I am in “X-Men” lore). The same story goes for the young Professor X (James McAvoy) and his older counterpart Patrick Stewart, as well as a myriad of others returning like Jennifer Lawrence, Anna Paquin, and the aforementioned Ms. Berry and Mr. Jackman.

With so many actors coming together, it’s quite tempting to shout out “Assemble!” but as it may be sacrilege to reference another beloved faction in the Marvel universe when speaking about this one, I’ll just end with the obvious: This movie needs to be seen. Hopefully Singer continues with the tantalizing updates until “Days of Future Past” hits theaters next summer, July 18th!