You’ve seen the commercials. You’ve heard the hype. Now there’s only one thing you want to know: Which of the new fall shows are worth watching and which should be avoided at all costs? In this continuing series, we give you the scoop on some of the most highly-anticipated shows of the season, with today’s subject being ABC’s 666 PARK AVENUE.
The Boilerplate: Since these pilot presentations may go through numerous rewrites and casting changes prior to premiere, this by no means should be considered an official review. Rather a preview of what one can expect come Fall.
The Plot: At the ominous address of 666 Park Avenue, anything you desire can be yours. Everyone has needs, desires and ambition. For the residents of The Drake, these will all be met, courtesy of the building’s mysterious owner, Gavin Doran (Terry O’Quinn). But every Faustian contract comes with a price. When Jane Van Veen (Rachael Taylor) and Henry Martin (Dave Annable), an idealistic young couple from the Midwest, are offered the opportunity to manage the historic building, they not only fall prey to the machinations of Doran and his mysterious wife, Olivia (Vanessa Williams), but unwittingly begin to experience the shadowy, supernatural forces within the building that imprison and endanger the lives of the residents inside.
The Cast: 666 PARK AVENUE stars Rachael Taylor (CHARLIE’S ANGELS) as Jane Van Veen, Dave Annable (BROTHERS & SISTERS) as Henry Martin, Robert Buckley (ONE TREE HILL) as Brian Leonard, Mercedes Masöhn (THE FINDER) as Louise Leonard, Helena Mattson (Iron Man) as Alexis Blume, Samantha Logan as Nona Clark, with Vanessa Williams (DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES) as Olivia Doran and Terry O’Quinn (LOST) as Gavin Doran.
The Snap Judgment: If MELROSE PLACE and AMERICAN HORROR STORY mated, their demon spawn would look a little something like 666 PARK AVENUE. Which is our oh-so-polite-way of saying that what the newest addition to ABC’s celebrated Sunday night lineup lacks in originality, it more than makes up for with a ridiculously likeable, not to mention genetically blessed cast. As devilish Drake owners Gavin and Olivia Doran, Terry O’Quinn and Vanessa Williams are perfectly cast as the husband and wife duo whose interest in their tenants well being would appear to have some killer consequences. Robert Buckley and Mercedes Masöhn do a credible job of playing a couple whose relationship is about to go down one helluva rabbit hole. While Dave Annable and Rachael Taylor are absolutely adorable as the wide-eyed newcomers who are about to discover that the kind of apartment 666 Park Avenue offers comes at a very steep price. Add to that the shows’ titular address, which as one might imagine is a character in its very own right and the result is what sure looks to be Fall’s newest guilty pleasure.
The Conclusion:: Despite our affection for the dearly departed GCB (RIP) we suspect big numbers will be checking into 666 PARK AVENUE. Particularly following its female friendly lead ins that are ONCE UPON A TIME (8PM) and REVENGE (9PM)
The TV Addict staff blogs at The TV Addict.
Yahoo reports that Loeb, who works in business and mulled attempting to run for the state Senate in Florida in 2011, proposed to Vergara while the two were with a group of friends at Chichen Itza, the ruins of a Mayan city in Mexico. Vergara’s “Family” co-stars Julie Bowen, Sarah Hyland, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson were part of the group.
The trip to Mexico was to celebrate Vergara’s 40th birthday. Vergara and Loeb first met at a party after the Golden Globes in 2010.
Vergara's representative won't confirm the story.
The actress became known to American audiences through her role as Gloria Pritchett, one half of the May-December romance between Gloria and Jay Pritchett (Ed O'Neill), on "Modern Family." Vergara was born in Colombia and came to America to pursue acting and modeling opportunities as well as to leave the dangerous living situation in the country, bringing her mother, sister and son with her to the US.
Early in her career, she appeared in the films "The 24th Day," "Soul Plane" and "Four Brothers" as well as the Tyler Perry films "Meet the Browns" and "Madea Goes to Jail." After her breakout role in "Modern Family," Vergara has performed in the recent films "The Three Stooges" and "New Year's Eve" and has designed a line of women's clothing for Kmart.
After the incredible box office success of The Hunger Games, including one of the most profitable opening weekends in history, it’s hardly surprising that Lionsgate is hurriedly moving ahead with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the adaptation of the second entry in Suzanne Collins’ dystopian book trilogy.
Lionsgate has offered Hoffman the pivotal role of Plutarch Heavensbee, the new head Gamemaker for the annual competition known as “The Hunger Games.” Wes Bentley (American Beauty) portrayed the previous Gamemaker, Seneca Crane, in the first installment. However, Heavensbee will likely be a meatier, more nuanced role than that of Crane, if Catching Fire stays even reasonably faithful to the book.
In Mission: Impossible 3, Hoffman made an impression as a truly vile sociopath, so he’s obviously got acting chops when it comes to playing villains. Of course, he has also tackled a number of seriously flawed and morally ambiguous characters throughout his career, like Andy Hanson in Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead and the legendary writer Truman Capote, for which he won an Oscar. Fortunately, Heavensbee is a bit more than your garden-variety antagonist, so Hoffman could have some real fun with the role (provided he signs on). Should he come join the cast of Catching Fire, it’s reasonable to assume he will be back as Heavensbee for the trilogy’s inevitable conclusion, Mockingjay.
UPDATE: Lionsgate has confirmed that Phillip Seymour Hoffman is taking the role, and that a deal with Lionsgate was reached before the 4th of July holiday:
Lionsgate® and the filmmakers of THE HUNGER GAMES:CATCHING FIRE are pleased to announce that Philip Seymour Hoffman has been cast in the role of Plutarch Heavensbee, Head Gamemaker for The Hunger Games, in the much anticipated film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ worldwide smash hit novel Catching Fire.
THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE begins as Katniss Everdeen has returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark. Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a “Victor’s Tour” of the districts. Along the way Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell) – a competition that could change Panem forever.
Not surprisingly, Jennifer Lawrence will return as the heroine Katniss Everdeen. However, what is somewhat surprising was the decision by The Hunger Games director Gary Ross to quit the lucrative franchise after the success of the first film. Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend, Water for Elephants) is taking the reins for Catching Fire, and was selected – at least in part – because his schedule for the fall is relatively open compared to the other candidates that were on the director shortlist.
Andrew Contrada blogs at Screen Rant.
The end of any television show is always a bit hard to come to terms with. But with only six episodes remaining, this is the chance for the show to honor its roots and the brilliant character of Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson, as phenomenally portrayed by Kyra Sedgwick. In a recent press conference call, creator and executive producer James Duff along with star Kyra Sedgwick talked how they feel about the end of THE CLOSER.
Why did you decide it was time to leave? Did it have anything to do with Kyra’s husband Kevin Bacon getting his own show [THE FOLLOWING]?
KYRA: No, it was before Kevin got his gig. I think we were in the middle of shooting Season 6 actually, when I started to contemplate the idea of what Season 8 would look like. It was something that I struggled with for many months; almost a year really to make the decision. It just felt like time, mostly for me as an artist, time for me to do something else. There really wasn’t an epiphany. It was just the idea of doing a Season 8 I think felt daunting to me and overwhelming, and sort of just didn’t feel right. I think as an actor you really kind of just have to follow your instincts. It was a hard decision because, you’re putting so many other people out of work. There was just a lot of factors that go into making that kind of decision. But I feel like it’s wonderful that we get to go out on top, and that James had a good long time to close this out in the right way to finish.
JAMES: Yeah, she gave me an opportunity that most writers never have, which is the opportunity to end the show the way I’d always wanted to. That was a great gift at the end of a great journey.
How do you feel about Kevin going on television now?
KYRA: I’m thrilled for him. I mean, I think it’s such a satisfying venue and it’s so exciting to stick with a character for many years if you get that opportunity. And it’s so wonderful to work with a family. I mean, Kevin’s always been very loyal and very much a family-oriented person, and I think that for those of us who like to have recognizable faces and people that we love and that support us and help us to do our very best work around us, it’s a unique opportunity and I’m thrilled for him. I’m really excited.
What do you hope that people take away from having seen THE CLOSER?
JAMES: Well, of course first and foremost, I hope they are entertained. The idea of doing a series is to distract people from the pressures and horrors of ordinary life, and I hope we managed to do that. And the second thing I hope they take away is this extraordinary perspective on the justice system that we got to view through the lens of this character. We can look at the justice system several different ways, and Brenda Leigh Johnson’s way off looking at it, which is not entirely my own, but which is interesting, was I feel like a fascinating experience for me as a writer. And also, I hope they feel like at the end of the day we honored that, that the last six episodes are true to the character and true to the ethos that we tried to create.
KYRA: I feel like I hope that people have higher expectations of where their entertainment dollar can be spent. I feel like we really delivered great stories and great characters, and I hope that, this will make them speak out — encourage them to speak out – about really good shows and not be satisfied with the norm or simple things. I also so hope as an actor that they really grew to understand and love this character as I love her, her complexities and her passion and through reality of being a woman in this kind of situation, and someone that they could really relate to.
What do you guys think will be the legacy of this show after it’s over? How will people remember it?
KYRA: I see her as a significant and sentinel character in the lexicon of female characters ever played for a long period of time, whether it’s a movie series or a television series. I think we broke a lot of ground and I think that we were able to consistently weave exciting storylines with deep and resonating character arcs. And I think that that’s something that’s very hard to do, especially in a procedural. And I think that we accomplished that.
JAMES: I would say too that when we created the series I wasn’t aware that we would be breaking ground. It hadn’t really occurred to me that way. Except that I was watching these other procedurals and it seemed to be a lot of times that they were asking women to be successful by acting like men. And that’s just not my experience in the workplace. Women are not successful because they act like men. Women are successful because women have their own feminine. I mean femininity is a power. It is not a weakness or something that needs to be compensated for. So I was very concentrated on making sure that Brenda remained a woman in this world. And I hope that resonates. I think it did. I think afterwards we saw a lot of single female lead shows where women were not, you know in effect dressing to disguise their femininity or overexposing themselves either. There seemed to be some acceptance that women were strong in their own right, not because they could act like men, but because they had powers as women.
Last Christmas there was the revelation that the civil lawsuit had been dropped against Brenda, but was still going forward against the City, and then they settled after Brenda was dropped out of the lawsuit with the Johnson Rule still intact. Is that going to be explored further? What current implications does the Johnson Rule have over Brenda and the team for the rest of the series?
JAMES: That’s part of the continuing storyline and we can’t answer that question fully, except to say that naturally whenever you create a solution in government there are unforeseen consequences. And, you know the Johnson Rule ends up being an admission of a problem that it becomes more problematic as the last six episodes unfold. I think it was a really unfair solution personally, but it is the kind of solution that you find. And I wanted to show also the sort of stress, that really heroic — dare I say — public employees take-on on a daily basis, and the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune they endure. We’ve heard a lot about, you know how awful public employees are lately, and I just wanted to remind people that they are serving us and it is a vocation and what they get for it. And what they get for it us sometimes things like the Johnson Rule.
Also can you comment on whether Jason O’Mara might be returning as Billy Croelick?
KYRA: Unfortunately he is not.
JAMES No, he was doing another series while we were finishing ours. We loved him. The interesting thing about Jason’s character is that he never actually committed a murder that we know of on Brenda’s watch. So he’s not an unclosed case actually, technically. But I would have loved to have seen him some time in our last year, he just wasn’t available. He’s such a great guy too.
How does it feel to be recognized with so many award nominations for your role on THE CLOSER?
KYRA: It made a difference in my recognition factor for sure. And I think that people know my name now, and I think that’s always a good thing. And I think THE CLOSER afforded me the opportunity to really show my wares and show the places that I was capable of going as an actor; the dark places and the funny places. I’ll never forget that. I mean, that has been an opportunity that I never really knew that I was going to get. Where this character went everywhere emotionally.
JAMES: I want to add something to that, and that is that, she’s always been a great actress, always. And she’s always been someone who was capable of carrying the A-story just in her eyes. But, the nice thing I think THE CLOSER might have done is that she got a chance to actually prove that, and there are a lot of actors who don’t get a chance to prove it, but she’s too modest to say so. But, the truth is she proved absolutely that what everybody thought about her was true, that she was in her being the A-story that she is a amazing actor and one of the most talented performers in the English speaking language. And she always had that and she always had that in her, but she got a chance to prove it and I think that’s a fantastic opportunity for an artist, and she won’t say it, so I will.
Any chance you’ll be making a MAJOR CRIMES appearance then, Kyra?
KYRA: Yes, for sure. It’s definitely a possibility.
JAMES: It’s a possibility, yes.
James, you will still be involved with the MAJOR CRIMES, right?
JAMES: We’re still doing MAJOR CRIMES. I’m playing the same role in MAJOR CRIMES that I played in THE CLOSER.
Will there be some sort of crossover where an introduction near the end to kind of lead up into MAJOR CRIMES?
JAMES: I would say there is a crossover character. There is a character who transits between THE CLOSER and MAJOR CRIMES, and he wasn’t planned exactly. It was just ended up being that way, and that THE CLOSER is the end of THE CLOSER. There are a couple of illusions to what comes next, but my focus was entirely on ending the series, and incidentally launching MAJOR CRIMES. So the illusions to MAJOR CRIMES are buried and hopefully some of them will be a surprise in the final hour. But, I will say, I was more focused on concluding THE CLOSER than I was beginning MAJOR CRIMES when I was writing the show. I think that’s the experience people will have.
As you look back on last season, do either of you guys have a favorite episode or a favorite story arc that will stand out in your memory?
KYRA: That’s always so tough for me. I feel like we have so many years to choose from it’s hard to pull out some favorites. I’m always most intrigued and feel most satisfied by the character arcs. And by those I mean some of the character arcs with Fritz and Brenda. I loved their courtship, and then when he finally asks her to marry him in that doctor’s office, in between tears of realizing that’s she’s suffering from peri-menopausal symptoms brought out on that have to be operated on, he asked her to marry her in the most inopportune moment. But it’s beautiful and funny and wonderful. I also loved the whole cat arc, the getting the cat and her not wanting the cat, and then the cat becoming an intrinsic part of her life, and then the eventual demise of the cat. I loved her parents. I loved the fact that no matter what age you are when your parents come to visit you’re suddenly that 12-year old kid again who hasn’t learned anything; hasn’t changed at all. I so appreciated being able to see that side of Brenda. I loved the personal moments with some of her squad, like when Detective Sanchez’s brother died and she had to be there for him in a very special and different way. Moments when she had to have Gabriel turn in his badge and his gun after he beats up the pedophile. I thought that was very difficult for her as he is her favorite. And I loved that personal moment. So those were among my favorites.
JAMES: I think my favorite moment in THE CLOSER overall is in the finale, and so I can’t really talk about it. But it is a scene between Brenda and Fritz halfway through where he begins to identify with the witness in a fairly spectacular way. For me, THE CLOSER, one of the things I think that makes it appealing to the audience we have is about how to balance your professional life and your personal life, and how we never really know exactly how to do that. How we’re always making it up day-by-day, and not knowing where to put ourselves. And she, in that scene, Brenda is perfectly poised between both places. It’s a very, very long time we spend just on her face as that moment plays out. To me it was just one of those things that. I like it for two reasons: one is because it is exactly where I always wanted the character to end up, and also because it’s one of those things that only Kyra Sedgwick could do. I felt like that was, for me, the most amazing moment of the whole series, and everything after that is good too. I mean, what she does after that, after she has that epiphany, if you will, is fantastic too. But so much was building to that moment. I think it was the very first scene we shot of the finale, as Michael Robin announced as we were shooting it, that it was rarified air we were breathing being able to bring the series to a close. And oh my God, if you liked the show, that moment in the duplex and between here. Fritz is just going to be – well, John Tenney — he’s such an amazing actor too.
Will the final episodes continue to balance the funny moments with the darker storylines?
KYRA: Oh, absolutely. I would say it’s a dramatic ending, but there’s a really fun romp in the second episode of the final six. And yes, there’s always an element of humor. I don’t think we could do our job as well as we do if we didn’t have an element of humor. I mean, there’s always a gallows-humor within, but there’s also just the interpersonal, recognizable things about each other that you have when you’re with a family or a cast a long time. There’s a lot of interpersonal winks and people are still who they are, even in the midst of the most dramatic circumstances. So there are still a lot of laughs and a lot of good character fun stuff.
What did you take away from set as your souvenir?
KYRA: I didn’t take away anything from the set. I didn’t actually take away any material things. I mean, everyone on that set will, and the cast as well as the crew, will always have a very, very special place in my heart. I was given a beautiful sort of seven-year yearbook from my makeup and my costume team. They’ve taken many, many pictures over the years and they interviewed people and they put together this yearbook, but for over the last seven years, and that was a really beautiful memento to take away and it’s all in there.
Tiffany Vogt blogs at The TV Addict.
An Unexpected Journey teaser trailer was released for the moviegoing masses last winter, while those who attended the CinemaCon Hobbit presentation were treated with previously-unseen material (projected in 3D at high-speed 48 f.p.s., no less). However, Comic-Con will mark the first public unveiling of Hobbit footage, following the completion of principal photography on the $500 million endeavor.
Peter Jackson made the announcement, with the following statement:
We made it! Shoot day 266 and the end of principal photography on The Hobbit. Thanks to our fantastic cast and crew for getting us this far, and to all of you for your support! Next stop, the cutting room. Oh, and Comic Con!
The key element to keep in mind is that principal photography has been finished; additional photography for both Hobbit movies will surely take place in the future, on top of the lengthy post-production process. Still, this is certainly a noteworthy accomplishment for Jackson and his production team of hundreds (literally) – and now, the general moviegoing public can start looking ahead to the actual films.
“A lot of people weren’t even born when we were filming ‘Lord of the Rings’ and only know the movies from watching them on DVD…. They’ll see Middle-earth on the big screen in ‘The Hobbit’, and I guarantee there will be a lot of minds blown wide apart.”
Several new screenshots from An Unexpected Journey were released this week. That provided Jackson with the opportunity to address certain fans’ concerns about the expanded roles for Lord of the Rings characters such as Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) – who were either barely present or not featured at all in J.R.R. Tolkien’s original Hobbit novel:
“In the movie we want these characters to have story lines and a little more substance than they do in the book. Almost everything we’re doing is from Tolkien somewhere, whether it’s in the [original 'Hobbit'] book or the subsequent development that wasn’t published in ‘The Hobbit’ itself.”
“Subsequent development” presumably refers to much of the supplementary Middle-Earth literature Tolkien wrote in addition to The Hobbit and Rings trilogy. The inclusion of such material has reportedly been part of the plan ever since the Hobbit adaptation was envisioned as two movies (rather than a single feature).
The question “Can you come home again to Middle-earth?” has been looming over movie geeks’ heads ever since Jackson began production on his Hobbit films. One factor that’ll affect the answer is how those extra narrative threads Jackson mentioned are woven together with Tolkien’s original Hobbit story – and, whether they tie into the Rings trilogy in a manner that doesn’t feel clumsy or forced.
Given the talent involved – coupled with the narrative blueprints already written up by Tolkien, there’s definitely reason to be optimistic, on that count.
Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.
Try to find a genre Emma Stone hasn’t tackled.
It’ll be a tough hunt. Stone is taking on the superhero movie for the first time this week with the opening of the new film “The Amazing Spider-Man,” in which she stars as Peter Parker/Spider-Man’s high school love interest Gwen Stacy (and many critics are saying their relationship is one of the best things about the film, with Monitor critic Peter Rainer writing that Garfield’s sulkiness “contrasts smartly with his high school sweetie Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), who is all smiles and wiles. Director Marc Webb… wisely keeps this duo front and center.”)
So this is the first time she’s shown up in a superpowered summer tentpole. But this past Oscar season, she garnered awards buzz when she appeared in the film adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s juggernaut novel “The Help” as crusading writer Skeeter Phelan, for which she snagged an Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture nomination at the Image Awards and a Choice Movie Actress nomination at the Teen Choice Awards. The film earned a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars and a Best Motion Picture – Drama nomination at the Golden Globes.
While it’s a funnier take on the genre than most, Stone took on apocalyptic drama in the 2009 movie “Zombieland,” where she starred with Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson and Abigail Breslin as one half of a duplicitous sister duo trying to survive in a zombie-ridden US.
For high school comedies, somewhat of a subgenre, there was “Easy A,” a 2011 “Scarlet Letter” update in which Stone played Olive, a high school student who’s the victim of a misplaced rumor. The movie won acclaim for its smart script and Stone’s performance. And her first major role was in 2008’s “Superbad” as Jules, the girl of high school senior Jonah Hill’s dreams and one of the reasons Hill and fellow senior Michael Cera embark on a series of misadventures one summer night.
If you thought of animation, the 2010 Owen Wilson film “Marmaduke,” about a mischievious Great Dane, wasn’t exactly a critical smash, but Stone lent her voice to pup Mazie, who develops feelings for Wilson’s troublemaker.
She technically hasn’t been in a musical, but Stone can get a half-point for the first listing on her imdb resume: the TV remake “The New Partridge Family,” on which she played Laurie. Only the show’s pilot aired, but Stone won the role after appearing, and singing, on the VH1 TV competition “In Search of The Partridge Family.”
(Oh, darn it, we just thought of horror. Okay, there's one.)
J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot was a hit on nearly every level – critically, financially, you name it. It is, in fact, Abrams’ most well-received film to date. And yet, for various reasons (Super 8 being one of them), it will have been four very long years by the time Star Trek 2 finally hits theaters.
While promoting their new film, People Like Us, Chris Pine and Alex Kurtzman – the star (Captain Kirk) and co-writer, respectively, of the upcoming Star Trek sequel – talked about returning to the Enterprise set, the “relentless” and “much better” story, how the film’s antagonist (played by Benedict Cumberbatch of Sherlock fame) will make Kirk the man he needs to be, and more.
On Benedict Cumberbatch’s yet-to-be-revealed antagonist – courtesy of MTV – Chris Pine said:
“['Star Trek 2'] is structured so that the antagonist brings out all of the qualities in Kirk that need to happen in order for Kirk to grow. As you know from Benedict, just watching him, vocally, he’s fascinating. He’s got this deep resonate voice. He has a fascinating face. He’s a lovely guy and just super smart. You want to see something firing in his brain, so he’s not just a blood-dripping-from-the-fangs bad guy. Benedict brings those kinds of smarts.”
It’s reminiscent of what Kurtzman said a few weeks ago, and unfortunately, just as vague. Benedict is brilliant, et cetera, et cetera. No revelations here, people. Move along.
On returning to the set of the Enterprise for the first time in years – courtesy of Collider - Pine said:
“The first day going back to work we did all the bridge stuff, and that’s always… Even if you’re not a fan, and I was never a fan of the series… you cannot help but step on that bridge and feel kind of overwhelmed. It’s just the set, [but] you’re like, ‘God, I gotta fly this thing!’”
Ah, to be an actor.
On how much better Star Trek 2‘s story will be compared to the first one’s – courtesy of Ain’t It Cool – Pine said:
“['Star Trek 2'] is relentless, and for the visually inclined people who want to see major sequences, there are a couple specifically that I think… I’m not a huge 3-D fan, but I think will be incredible. But what I’m more excited about and what I think they did so well is that really the story is that much better, and the journey that these guys go on is that much more, and what they always talked about is that even though they’re a crew from what we know about the original team, the fun of getting there is following that journey to where they become that tight-knit crew. It’s no fun if they’re already a tight-knit crew. So suffice it to say, they’re still learning how to get along.”
On not wanting to re-establish the same old crew dynamic from the original series (and subsequent films), Alex Kurtzman said:
“The assumption that we did not want to make was that just because he’s in the chair and they’re on the bridge together that they’re the crew that you remember from the original series. They’re not – the crew from the original series had gone on many, many journeys, they were a well-oiled machine in terms of how they function, and these characters are still figuring out who they are and who they are to each other. And I did not want to jump so far ahead that we missed a really important emotional connection to that transition for them.”
There’s also the fact that these Star Trek adventures technically exist inside an altogether separate timeline, so there’s no rule that says the characters ever have to act exactly like the old crew from the old show.
Of course, there’s a fine line between doing fun, new things with (slightly) different versions of the old characters and utterly enraging the die-hard Trekkies who already have mixed feelings about this alternate timeline business being inflicted upon their beloved Star Trek.
Ben Moore blogs at Screen Rant.
As “The Amazing Spider-Man” swings into theaters, naysayers are pointing to the date of the last “Spider-Man” film – 2007, to be exact.
The new film, starring Andrew Garfield as the webslinger and a cast of kind-of-new main characters, is being billed as a reboot of the trilogy that came to theaters starting in 2002 with “Spider-Man,” directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire. The first one was received positively by critics and audiences, and “Spider-Man 2” was widely acknowledged to be even better than its predecessor, with actor Alfred Molina taking on the role of the villainous Dr. Octopus (that’s Doc Ock to you). Then “Spider-Man 3” came, which both critics and audiences agreed was too stuffed with villains and plotlines and is perhaps best remembered for its sequence in which an evil Maguire dances in a jazz club.
A fourth movie by the team who produced the last three was planned, with a release date announced, but ultimately Raimi told the studio he couldn’t produce a film in that timeframe and still meet his personal standards.
“While we were looking forward to doing a fourth one together, the studio and Marvel have a unique opportunity to take the franchise in a new direction, and I know they will do a terrific job,” the director said at the time when they decided to put the kibosh on a fourth film and go with a reboot.
So now we have “The Amazing Spider-Man,” a new version five years later that centers on hero Peter Parker’s time in high school, which was briefly addressed in the first installment of the Raimi series. However, leading lady Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) and best friend Harry Osborn (James Franco), as well as Harry’s villainous father Norman, are gone (for now, one presumes). Director Marc Webb’s film, “The Amazing Spider-Man,” brings girlfriend Gwen Stacy back to the forefront after the character had made her first appearance in “Spider-Man 3,” played by actress Bryce Dallas Howard, and introduces Dr. Curt Connors, who has never appeared in a “Spider-Man” film, as its villain. Connors later becomes the sinister Lizard.
“Spider-Man” isn’t the first comic book character to get an all-new film version only a few years after the first. After “Brokeback Mountain” director Ang Lee’s 2003 film adaptation of the Hulk, titled “Hulk” and starring Eric Bana as the scientist, received disappointing reviews and box office returns, director Louis Leterrier tried again in 2008 with “The Incredible Hulk,” this time starring Edward Norton as Bruce Banner/The Hulk. The 2003 version has a 62% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, while the 2008 film has a slightly higher rating with 67%; “Hulk” earned a worldwide box office gross of $245 million, while “The Incredible Hulk” earned $263 million worldwide.
Reviews for “The Amazing Spider-Man” are pretty good to great so far – reviewers' main complaints have been that a remake isn't all that necessary. Monitor critic Peter Rainer wrote that “there isn’t any particular reason, besides the obvious commercial one, why we needed to re-up this franchise. Still, it could have been worse.”
But many critics have praised Garfield’s performance, including Rainer. Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan reports that “Garfield also brings an interesting whiff of James Dean-type teen anguish to the role of a young man whose parents up and disappeared when he was small.”
Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly agrees. “Garfield fills both his slackerish Peter Parker identity as well as his Spider-Man rubberwear with star-quality confidence… mixing self-effacing sweetness with believable teen boy arrogance, then adding a wee drop of snark,” she writes.
However "Amazing" does at the box office, it's safe to say Hollywood won't fall out of love with the remake anytime soon.
HBO is treating fans of the Emmy-winning drama Game of Thrones with some tantalizing new details on the upcoming third season, which begins production this month. The network has released info on new characters and cast that will appear this season – as well as the addition of a brand new filming location.
In addition to Dubrovnik, Croatia, the series will be adding Morocco to the list of filming locations, and will continue to film scenes set north of the Wall in Iceland, on the Vatnajökull glacier. Game of Thrones’ key production hub will remain in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and will again receive support from the Northern Ireland Screen fund.
Consisting of ten episodes, season three will be adapted from parts of A Storm of Swords, the third of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels written by George R. R. Martin. Fans of the novels will notice that some characters long overdue will be making their first appearance next year:
Game of Thrones Season 3 Characters
Ser Brynden “The Blackfish” Tully: Catelyn’s Stark’s uncle.
Edmure Tully: A brash young member of the Tully family.
Mance Rayder: The former member of the Night’s Watch who became the leader of the Wildlings and “King Beyond the Wall”.
Daario Naharis: A confident and seductive warrior.
Myranda Royce: A young lady who lives in a great castle called The Gates of the Moon
Jojen Reed and Meera Reed: A teenage Crannogman brother and sister duo said to have “special insights”. They are the children of Stark bannerman, Howland Reed.
Lady Selyse Florent: Stannis Baratheon’s wife.
Shireen: Stannis’ young daughter.
Olenna Redwyne (The Queen of Thorns): Margaery Tyrell’s sharp-witted grandmother.
Beric Dondarrion: A skilled knight who is the leader of the outlaw group called Brotherhood Without Banners.
Thoros of Myr: A red priest who follows the same religion as Melisandre.
Tormund Giantsbane: A Wildling raider.
Series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss claim that in order to keep some mystery this is not a complete list and certain casting announcements are going to be withheld for now; it has been revealed that Clive Russell (the Sherlock Holmes films) will take the role of The Blackfish. Joining Russell are relative newcomers such as English actresses Charlotte Hope (playing Myranda) and Kerry Ingram (playing Shireen).
Right now there are plenty of unconfirmed rumors buzzing around, and despite how awesome they sound we’ll just stick to what we know. But with the Game of Thrones Comic-Con panel taking place on Friday, July 13 from 2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. in Hall H, we might just get a few more tidbits to chew on.
This year, the Game of Thrones panel will feature: Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy), Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark), Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), and Richard Madden (Robb Stark). George R. R. Martin, who also serves as a co-executive producer and writer on the series, will moderate the panel with executive producer Carolyn Strauss.
Scott Stoute blogs at Screen Rant.
In a good horror story, viewers are always surprised by who the real villain is. It is when monsters do not look like monsters that we are simultaneously horrified and curious. Preying our how our eyes fool us into believing that a young child is nothing to be afraid of, TRUE BLOOD has introduced the diabolical Alexander Drew, a vampire who only looks so innocent and sweet. In a recent exclusive interview, young star Jacob Hopkins shared what he enjoys about playing the monster behind the eyes of a child.
How exciting is it to work on TRUE BLOOD?
JACOB: You know, I’ve never seen the show because it’s for an older audience. So I didn’t know how it would go, but to tell you the truth, it is really fun. There’s the fangs, and they are better than the plastic ones. They are way cool. They look so real and match my teeth color. There’s also the wardrobe, I get to wear a suit. That’s really cool ’cause I feel like an adult — and the set was so beautiful. It was like out of a movie. There were so many people on set, so many different cameras, and it was very busy but everyone knew exactly what to do. We would rehearse in the morning before we would shoot and there was a lot of joking and laughing. I had a lot of fun. So it is pretty cool.
So you had a great time portraying Alexander. What drew you to the character?
JACOB: The character is really creepy and stuff. So what drew me to him was he is an interesting monster. The show explores a lot of monsters and I like characters that are monster-like, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. That sort of personality is really fascinating and that’s pretty much how Alexander is. He kind of has a really sly and sarcastic side to him, but then he’s also got a tough side. Most monsters are kind of curious, and that’s how Alexander is. He is pretty obnoxious and full of himself, but he’s pretty serious too. Like he never jokes around with the other vampires. He is very feisty and strong-minded vampire, and he has a little dark side to him. I don’t know, maybe there is some good in him, but he never shows it. He is a pretty mean vampire — let me just say that! [Laughs] I like that we really get to explore him this season.
Is there one particular quality about him that you really appreciate?
JACOB: I really appreciate that he’s a quick thinker. He always has a good come-back or something, and he really thinks deep. He knows people better than you think he does and he’s kind of quiet. He is also a talkative person, but at the same time, he thinks a lot. While talking a lot, he also thinks in his head. Like he killed an Authority member without a second thought. He thinks quick like that. I think that’s really cool.
What do you think his goals are? What is he trying to accomplish?
JACOB: Well, every vampire on the Authority wants to accomplish the same goals: mainstreaming. But like any other authority, there are the debates, the disagreements. Every council does that, and sometimes things gets a little heated with each other.
Is Alexander just thirsting for blood, or is he thirsting for power?
JACOB: He’s pretty much one of those vampires who wants power. He wants to be the most powerful vampire in the world. But there are two things in his way: Roman and Russell. He tries to get them out of the way because he’s pretty much full of himself. ‘Cause, like I said, he only thinks about himself. People don’t really think he could be the most powerful vampire because of my looks. He’s like an old man stuck in a little kid’s body. But he only looks like a 9 year old, but if you want to talk authority, he’s got authority. He’s that important; he doesn’t look that way.
He probably uses the fact that he looks so young to his advantage. Do you think that makes him a smarter enemy in conquering those who stand in his way?
JACOB: I guess, yeah. Looking young has its advantages. Like he looks so innocent and sweet and he’s really the big bad, horrible monster. So he can do something like this: he goes up to a mortal and because he looks so innocent and sweet, and they will be like, “What a cute little boy!” Then he just drops his fangs out and bites them. So he can use that to his advantage.
He’s also kind of a mischief maker. Are we going to see more of his calculating side, or are we going to see more of his fun side, creating more mischief?
JACOB: He is creating a lot of mischief so far and he’s not a nice vampire. But he respects Roman a lot and he behaves as much as possible around him.
Who has been your favorite character on TRUE BLOOD so far?
JACOB: Alexander is a feisty and strong-minded vampire. He’s the kind of vampire who is very sneaky and he is a really smart vampire. He’s also very important and wise, and he makes himself heard a lot. He certainly has his own opinions and it doesn’t have anything to do with the importance of himself. So I guess he’s my favorite vampire since he’s pretty cool. I also like Roman too ’cause he looks really cool. He’s got this really cool suit and Chris is a really good actor and he makes Roman come alive.
What can you like to tease about what’s upcoming for Alexander?
JACOB: I can’t tell you! [Laughs] But I can tell you that I love my job. You’re going to be surprised. There’s twists and turns and drama. So you’ll have to wait and see.
Tiffany Vogt blogs at The TV Addict.