This week's new movies and TV shows: Super Bowl, 'Empire' and chatting with Iliza Shlesinger

By Clare Douglas

From new series to memorable guest stars and the new movies releases that will have you racing to the theatre, Hello! Canada’s weekly report on new movies and TV shows is your all-access guide to the big and small screen. Check back on Mondays to stay up to date on must-see TV and noteworthy silver-screen news!

TV

THREE QUESTIONS WITH … ILIZA SHLESINGER
The hilarious comedian and season six winner of Last Comic Standing returns in her second comedy special, Freezing Hot, this month (Netflix). Hello! caught up with the Texas-native for a LOL-chat about ex-boyfriends, the stage, Hollywood and her battle with nerves. “The show is something special and intimate,” she admits, "These are my thoughts, so I just hope that people are nice or don’t say mean things!” [Laughs].

1. How do you put a show together? Do you bounce ideas off of anyone in particular?
All my writing is done on stage, so the special was born out of months and months of touring and doing hours and hours of standup. I bounce ideas off the audience. For me, everything is done on stage – that’s where the creativity comes and all your wins and all your losses.

2. Since a lot of your jokes are about relationships, has an ex-boyfriend ever confronted you about your material? Is your act therapeutic?
If I’m dating you and I put you in the act it’s always funny and comes from a place of love. It’s never mean. My intention is never to get back at anyone or hurt anyone. [Being on stage] is definitely a form of therapy. I’ve broken up with a boyfriend and gone on stage that night and asked the audience "have you ever had a guy do this?” and they laugh. It helps let you know you’re not that crazy and what your thinking isn’t so wrong.

3. Have you met any comedians you admired growing up?
I didn’t watch a lot of stand up when I was growing up, for me it was more sketch comedy. Kids in the Hall is one of my favourite shows ever! But yesterday, Elayne Boosier followed me on Twitter. You never want to make anyone feel old but it’s one of those moments where it’s like, "I watched you as a kid!" It’s so weird living in Hollywood because you grow up watching people and then all of sudden those are your colleagues.

ONE TO WATCH: Empire
Only a few episodes in and the new series Empire (Wednesdays, City and OMNI) has become winter’s must-see show (it has already received a second season order). Terrence Howard (Iron Man) stars as the CEO of a hip hop music label who is forced to re-examine the future of his business after an ALS diagnosis threatens his life. Like all juicy dramas, there are more than a few hands eager to get their hands on the reins, including his three sons and his vengeful ex-wife (played by Oscar-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson), who wants control of the company she helped create. Produced by The Butler’s Lee Daniels, scored by hit maker Timbaland (Justin Timberlake, Nelly Furtado) and guest-starring musical heavyweights Courtney Love and Macy Gray, Empire is armed and ready to rule primetime.

THE BIG GAME
All eyes will be on The University of Phoenix Stadium on Feb. 1 to see Tom Brady and the New England Patriots take on the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl XLIX (Global/NBC). And what does pop princess Katy Perry have in store for the halftime entertainment? In what will be the biggest performance of her career, Katy, 30, tells the Associated Press that she hopes to promote “female empowerment and uplifting people’s spirits and finding their own voice.” A little help from Lenny Kravitz might just make Katy’s 12-minute show the best Super Bowl performance to date.

TOP 12 SUPER BOWL HALF-TIME SHOWS: CLICK FOR THE GALLERY

THREE QUESTIONS WITH … DIEGO KLATTENHOFF
Ten years ago, Diego Klattenhoff was best known for playing Rachel McAdams’ secret squeeze in Mean Girls. Now the Nova Scotia native, 35, has earned a rep for tough-guy roles on shows such as Homeland and The Blacklist (premiering Feb. 1 after the Super Bowl on Global, and also available to stream Shomi), where he plays FBI agent Donald Ressler. We caught up with the actor – who lives in Los Angeles with his wife and young son – to ask him about his favourite small-screen shows, fatherhood, and his celebrity man crush. “I’m no Joe Manganiello,” says the star, pondering his own reputation for playing brawny heroes. “Dude is a hunk!”

1. What shows did you watch as a young man?
Not a lot. I grew up way out in the woods in Nova Scotia, so we basically had two stations. I watched Degrassi and a lot of Hockey Night in Canada. I also used to watch Due South. When I got to work with David Marciano on Homeland, I was like, “I used to watch you on TV when I was babysitting my sisters!”

2. How do you balance your schedule with fatherhood?
It’s tough. Get good help, is all I can say. Get a good nanny – your life will be a lot easier! But it’s a pretty cool time, to be able to have everything goi ng on. I’m shooting the show and I have a beautiful little two-year-old running around.

3. What catches your eye on TV these days?
True Detective is the last show I had time to watch … I don’t really have time to watch anything now. Peppa Pig is my jam [these days]. And Nemo!

MOVIES

OUT ON DVD/BLU-RAY JANUARY 27:

Fury: Brad Pitt leads a group of brave soldiers battling enemy forces during the Second World War. Also starring: Shia LaBeouf and Logan Lerman.

The Judge: Following his mother’s death, a successful defense attorney (Robert Downey Jr.) returns home to grieve with his estranged family, including his troubled father, played by Oscar’s best-supporting actor nominee Robert Duvall.

Before I Go to Sleep: Nicole Kidman stars in the film adaption of S. J. Watson’s psychological novel about an amnesiac who is forced to reconstruct her life based on journal entries.

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