HBO's glum new series, The Leftovers ponders what would happen if two percent of the worlds population were to suddenly vanish... apparently, such an event would make everyone left in really, really bad moods for no less than three years. The new series is nothing short of a tidal wave of televised angst, a study in gloom and post-crisis nihilism, as the people left behind struggle to put everything back together after the rapture-like event tears their lives asunder. Showrunner Damon Lindelof fills his latest series with just as many twists, turns, and questions as his earlier series Lost. Here are the mysteries that have us scratching our heads after just the first hour. Warning: spoilers to follow!
What's with the cult?Perhaps the most mysterious element of the pilot — you know, besides the whole people vaporizing into thin air thing — is the GR: a cult whose members spend their time staring at empty picture frames, eating regularly scheduled "sustenance," smoking like chimney stacks to "proclaim their faith," and mercilessly following specified targets. What's the end game here?
Why does Chief Garvey's wife join them?We spent the premiere assuming that our main character, a police chief and father named Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) lost his wife on that fateful day three years past. But the final moments of the episode reveal that Kevin's wife Laurie didn't vanish in the event, but instead joined up with the GR. She doesn't seem entirely brainwashed by the cult, looking pretty heartbroken upon seeing her husband. So what's making her stay? Does she just like smoking wherever she wants without judgment?
And why does Liv Tyler ask to stay with them?Right after she doles out a hostile slap to a pair of GR agents who follow her and her fiancé around town, she pays a visit to the cult's compound, asking to stay a couple days. Whatever their plan is, the recruiting tactics seem to work.
What's with the other cult?What's worse than one cult? Two, obviously. While we have some sort of handle on what the GR are and what they might stand for (some sort of spiritual guidance in the wake of the "rapture"), we still have no idea who or what The Leftovers' second mysterious group, which works meditative miracles in the desert, is up to.
Who is Wayne?We do know that their apparent leader, Wayne, is the "real deal." Whatever that means...
And what did he say to the congressman in that room?Wayne continued to confuse by taking an uptight Texas congressmen into a room and somehow "unburdening" him. What did Wayne say to the guy to make him so chipper? It must have been more than just the cool British accent.
Why did Tom, Garvey's son, join this desert organization?This rapture thing really hit the Garvey family hard. But Tom doesn't seem as mentally harangued as his poor mother.
And what's with the girls by the pool?Tom has taken a liking to one of the girls at the compound he works for, but they seem to be under lock and key. Why are they being so strictly guarded?
Why won't Tom talk to his dad?Maybe some lingering tensions from the mom going away?
And how did he get those scars?Does it have to do with why everyone went missing?
What’s coming now that “grace period is over?”Wayne's super ominous warning doesn't bode well for anyone. Now that three years have past, humanity is in a heap of trouble. Garvey isn't too thrilled that the mayor is bent on throwing a memorial parade to celebrate the lost.
Why can't the parade have clowns?Clowns are fun and not creepy at all, right?
Is that Kathy Geiss?Yup. Same actress who plays the perpetually silent, unicorn-obsessed interim head of NBC on 30 Rock is a cult member on The Leftovers.
Why the dogs are going crazy?In genre fiction, dogs are often acute to the supernatural. There's definitely something coming, and it likely has something to do with "grace period" being over.
Are gummi worms really the preferred candy of the rapture?We would have gone with Peach Os.
Where do I download that spin the bottle iPhone app?And does it have Twitter integration?
Why did Gary Busey get taken?And Shaq for that matter? Why them? And what is the world doing without them?!
What’s with the deer imagery?I thought Hannibal had the market cornered on that.
What’s with that huge tattoo on Garvey's back?The huge back piece seen on actor Theroux's character is a real tattoo, but we wonder why the series didn't bother digitally removing it? Will it figure into the story later on (like Jack's tats did on Lost), or was it just easier for the series to leave them be?
What the hell is up with Justin Theroux's hairline?This is the biggest mystery of them all.
Openly gay actress Maria Bello is set to reveal all about her struggles with her sexuality in her first memoir. The Coyote Ugly star 'came out' as a lesbian in a moving Modern Love column for the New York Times in November (13), and now she is planning to share her full story with fans in Miracles and Madness.
In the book, Bello will detail how she and her partner, Clare Munn, have adapted to life as a "modern family", sharing custody of her son with the actress' ex-boyfriend, TV executive Dan McDermott.
A statement released by the star reads: "As my son said, 'Whatever - love is love.' I know there are many 'whatevers' out there and am thrilled that (publishers) Dey Street/Harper Collins is interested in opening up the conversation to a bigger audience - the conversation being that the only labels we have are the ones we give ourselves."
The autobiography is set for release in early 2015.
Soul icon Smokey Robinson is suing his ex-wife Claudette Rogers Robinson to prevent her from profiting from songs he wrote during their 27-year marriage. The veteran singer is reclaiming the rights to tracks penned before 1978 from bosses at Jobete Music Co. under the copyright termination law, which allows musicians to recover control of their tunes after 35 years.
However, he wants a judge to make it clear that his former The Miracles bandmate Rogers Robinson, who he divorced in 1986, will not be entitled to 50 per cent of any future income the tracks generate, after she demanded half of all interest, royalties and advances from the songs in question, citing California's community property law.
The legendary musician insists his ex's claims are "incorrect" and is seeking a declaratory judgement to terminate and "recapture" the copyrights to tunes he wrote and co-wrote for The Miracles and The Temptations, such as My Girl, Tears of a Clown, You've Really Got a Hold on Me and Get Ready, as well as hits he helped create for other Motown artists early on in his career, like Marvin Gaye, Mary Wells and Brenda Holloway.
In legal papers filed in Federal Court in California, the 74 year old's lawyers write, "Defendant did not write any part of the musical compositions at issue. Plaintiff wrote them during the parties' marriage, which ended in 1986...
"(The) 1976 Copyright Act expressly provides that these 'recaptured' copyrights belong to the author alone, which is plaintiff. Moreover, the 1976 Copyright Act precludes any transfer of those copyrights before the terminations themselves are effective. Thus, any transfer of such rights to any third party, whether defendant or a music publisher, was barred by the 1976 Copyright Act, and is therefore null and void."
Robinson, who has two children with his first wife, wed his current spouse, Frances, in 2004.
The actress who portrays Kylie Minogue in the new Inxs mini-series Inxs: Never Tear Us Apart discovered her mother had been diagnosed with cancer days before the premiere. Newcomer Samantha Jade was getting ready to celebrate her big debut as an actress when she learned of her mum's health emergency.
She tells the Sydney Daily Telegraph newspaper, "Basically that day we didn't know how long we would have her for.
"At the moment it is a day-to-day thing and I have to be grateful every day and tell my mum I love her and ask for everyone to keep giving that positivity. It must be helping because she is still here.
"I believe in miracles, so we are just keeping positive and praying as much as we can. Every day now is a gift."
Television could use some more Stephen King. The best-selling author's work is already the basis for Under the Dome, which is back in production on its second season. Presently, Universal is shopping a pilot from his short-story Ayana, about a blind girl that can seemingly perform miracles. While King's material has been used as film fodder for nearly 40 years (starting with the original Carrie all the way back in 1976), his work has largely been underutilized on TV, mostly popping up now and then in miniseries form. Given the output from the prolific writer over the years, however, there's plenty more of King's stories that would work as an actual series. Here are five that are just screaming for a spot on someone's schedule.
The Dark Tower
For years, people have been trying to develop movies based on King's bleak Dark Tower series, which follows a mysterious gunslinger named Roland on a quest through an odd world that's part Old West and part sci-fi. Instead of trying to give the story the same treatment as J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of The Rings books, the guide should be George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones, which has thrived on cable. At one point, Warner Bros. considered doing both a movie and TV show (for sister company HBO) from the books, but ultimately passed. With a complex story that has its own mythology and language spread over eight books and multiple side stories, The Dark Tower could run on HBO or Showtime for a long time.
The novel, about an Ohio town terrorized by gun-toting thugs that are taking direction from a possessed autistic boy, built an impressive group of subsidiary characters not unlike Under the Dome. The Regulators was a companion piece to King's Desperation, which was already made into a TV movie. Following the strange happenings in a Midwestern town, which already has a built-in parallel universe thanks to the books, the story could provide plenty of material for a number of seasons.
The Running Man
Yes, it already got the big screen treatment starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, but there's a whole lot about the novel's set-up that could be mined for a series. The story, set in a not-too-distant dystopian America, is about a gameshow where contestants are given a head start to go anywhere in the world before they are hunted down and killed on television. Run for 30 days without being killed and you win. Taking elements from reality shows like Survivor and The Amazing Race that audiences have become accustomed to, and elevating them to a strange extreme, would make for some exciting (and darkly funny) serialized viewing.
The Ten O'Clock People
In King's short story, a smoker trying to quit can suddenly see through the disguises of any number of people, including the Vice President, and discovers that they're really monsters. The smoking angle wouldn't work any more, but it's an easy fix to come up with another explanation of why certain people can see through the disguises. Having a resistance group trying to convince people that there are monsters among us would make for a nice mythology story in the same vein of Lost or Fringe.
The story of a teenager manipulated into killing by his neighbor, who turns out to be a Nazi war criminal, was already the basis of a movie with Ian McKellen and Brad Renfro. Change the older character from a Nazi to a terrorist living a hidden life in a California suburb, however, and you could have a show that is a combination of Breaking Bad and The Americans. Who wouldn't want to see Walter White as a terrorist?
Hollywood director Martin Scorsese unveiled a blue plaque tribute in honour of British filmmaking duo Powell and Pressburger in London on Monday (17Feb14). Writers/directors/producers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, the duo responsible for iconic films such as The Red Shoes and A Matter of Life and Death, were honoured with a permanent memorial at the site of the production company's office in Marylebone.
Scorsese, who is a big fan of the late moviemakers, was on hand to unveil the blue plaque at Dorset House, along with Powell's film editor widow Thelma Schoonmaker.
Also present at the ceremony was actor/funnyman Stephen Fry, who tweeted, "Just attended super blue plaque ceremony for Powell & Pressburger: Thelma Schoonmaker/Marty Scorsese spoke brilliantly about the 2 greats."
Scorsese previously teamed with Schoonmaker, his longterm movie editor, to launch a fundraising campaign to have 1948 film The Red Shoes restored.
The revamped version was screened by the moviemaker at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival in France.
The legendary director has previously said, "The Red Shoes has come to mean so much to me over the years... Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger... (their) creative partnership is one of film history's true miracles."
Powell died in 1990, aged 84, and Pressburger passed away in 1988 at the age of 85.
Stephen King's short story Ayana is set to be adapted for TV. Bosses at Universal TV are working with the blockbuster author to transform his 2007 tale into a serial drama, a studio representative confirms to TheWrap.com.
The supernatural story takes place in 1982 when characters experience unexplained miracles which lead to profound changes in their lives.
Many of King's works have found success on the small screen, most recently with the adaptation of his 2009 novel Under the Dome.
The series became a summer hit last year (13) when the premiere raked in over 13 million viewers in America.
Other TV adaptations include The Tommyknockers and Salem's Lot.
Surprise, surprise — Sarah Silverman is particularly fond of using the C word. In the comedian's new music video for her song "Divas," Silverman jumps on the chance to say the hated-and-loved word once for effect and 30 more times for good measure. Sounds about right.
The song takes a jab at women who call themselves divas but are really just flatout jerks, and since the song is placed in between scenes from The Real Housewives of New Jersey, we can take an educated guess about who the song is referring to.
The song starts out friendly enough with a rainbow backdrop and PSA-like lyrics about divas ("If you call yourself a Diva/ You better sing a solo/ And not be someone/ Treating me unkind") and quickly turns into a melodic chorus of the C word. (Oh, and Mae Whitman and Harris Wittels make guest appearances.)
Sarah Silverman's first HBO special, We Are Miracles, premieres Nov. 23 at 10 PM.
20th Century Fox via Everett Collection
As a part of their ongoing quest to take over every aspect of media, Disney will be adapting original fairytale The Princess Bride into a Broadway musical. Now, before you say "Inconcievable!" think of the possibilities. Disney invented the mold for fantasy fairytales, then completely dismantled and reinvented it 50 years later. Besides, The Princess Bride is the rare cult film that's family friendly and has a happy ending without feeling cheesy... not to mention the fact that "kissing books" tend to make great musicals. So with all that said, here are our best ideas for the Princess Bride soundtrack you're sure to have on repeat:
"As You Wish"A love ballad, first sung by Young Westley to Young Buttercup in the show's opening. We see the stage transform from a sick boy's room to Florin, the setting for the magical adventure.
"More Than a Farmboy"Buttercup laments the loss of her love with this plaintative yearning song. (This is what girls will be singing in their auditions for years to come.)
"The Battle of Wits, Or, Never Go in Against a Sicilian When Death Is on the Line"A Gilbert and Sullivan style patter song as the braggart Vizzini tries to outwit The Man in Black's poisoned glasses scheme. The song is anchored by the rhymes provided by a helpful Fezzik.
"Six-Fingered Hand"As Inigo and The Man in Black duel, they also duel with their twin stories of revenge and woe in this "Confrontation" type confrontation.
"I'm Swamped"Prince Humperdinck's evil plan is revealed in this brassy song about just how much work he has to do before his wedding day.
"Max's House of Miracles/Mostly Dead"Westly is triumphantly raised from the dead in this comic romp, where he gets the opportunity to show off his physical comedy chops.
"Mawwiage!"A huge production number that features dancing wedding guests, an easily exciteable clergyman, an angry prince, and the addition of "The Brute Squad," a group of 6'5" male dancers that thrillingly leap and thrillingly sneak into the castle with our heroes.
"Prepare to Die"In this adaptation, Inigo dies onstage, but not before killing the six-fingered man and avenging his father, who appears in this dream sequence to usher his son into the afterlife.
"As You Wish (Reprise)"As Buttercup and Westley ride off into the sunset, they reprise this now-classic love song.
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Actress Valerie Harper has been given another big boost in her cancer battle - she will live to see Christmas. The Rhoda star was given just three to six months to live when she was first diagnosed with the disease in January (13), but now doctors have told her she can start making holiday plans because she's winning her fight with a rare cancer of the brain lining.
She tells America's Closer magazine, "(My doctor) said, 'At the rate we are going, you don't have to worry... You will see Christmas!'
"I thought, 'Could I be so lucky to have that happen again?'"
The news came following a second positive brain scan just days after she was eliminated as a contestant on U.S. TV show Dancing With the Stars, and she adds, "I do believe in miracles."
And the ups and downs of the past 10 months have taught the 74 year old to face every day with a smile and a lot of positive energy.
She tells the publication, "We are all terminal and it's great to face that - and then discard it. Don't live in fear of dying."