After sitting through the 2013 Oscars ceremony, which was long enough for Daniel Day-Lewis to grow back his Lincoln beard before the credits rolled, it was up to the evening's Oscars after-parties to make the night interesting. Unfortunately, most of us weren't lucky enough to stroll into the exclusive soirees, so we'll just have to live vicariously through the legions of candid snapshots coming out of the fetes. That also means we'll probably never know the actual words being shared between the Oscar winners and losers, the fame-mongers and superstars, the Anne Hathaways and the Jennifer Lawrences.
Lucky for you, we've got a pretty good idea of what was probably (see: in our dreams) being said while the brightest stars in Tinsel Town sipped on cocktails and champagne after the curtains closed on the Academy's big night. (What can we say? We know our A-listers better than we know most of our own friends and relatives.)
GALLERY: Oscar Parties 2013: What Were Anne Hathaway and Elton John Really Saying (In Our Dreams)?
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It's rare that a sequel trumps the original but The Expendables 2 manages to do just that with a steady stream of one-liners and welcome weathered faces as well as a few new ingredients. E2 seems even more self-aware of its own silliness especially with Jean-Claude Van Damme as the villain (named Vilain of course) and Chuck Norris and Arnold Schwarzenegger popping up in smaller roles alongside previous Expendables Sylvester Stallone Jason Statham Jet Li Dolph Lundgren Bruce Willis Terry Crews and Randy Couture.
Then again The Expendables wasn't any sort of action classic; it was like writer/director/star Stallone threw a whole bunch of ideas at the wall to see which would stick then added massive amounts of weapons and the occasional hand-to-hand combat. It was popular but it definitely not the kind of awesome actioner that the stars were able to make 10 or 20 years ago. There's the rub actually; like women actors who have written or directed their own projects because nothing else was available or satisfactory Stallone created The Expendables because Hollywood didn't seem to know what to do with him and his fellow action stars as they got older. It's easy to criticize Stallone et al for not doing the same amount of stunt work or hand-to-hand fighting that for example Statham is capable of but the whole thrust of the movie is that they're expendable -- to themselves to the world and until Stallone kickstarted these movies to Hollywood.
E2 is still clumsy but it's a little more adventurous and a little more introspective. Two new additions to the crew seem to throw everyone for a loop in one way or another. Liam Hemsworth shows up as Bill the Kid a sniper who left the military after a raid in Afghanistan went horribly wrong; his age and hopefulness not to mention physical prowess is a foil the Sylvester Stallone's Barney Ross and one that Barney is well aware of. Nan Yu joins the team as Maggie who is apparently the only person who can disarm the safe that holds whatever secret thing Church (Willis) has sent them to retrieve. And if the Expendables don't get her back alive Church will make them pay because even though Maggie is some sort of multilingual computer genius with a vicious roundhouse she's a lady. On one hand perhaps we're supposed to gather that this group of old dogs is learning new tricks by having to deal with a smart capable woman in their midst; the attempts Gunner (Lundgren) makes to flirt with her are clunky and goofy and she's obviously way too smart for fall for that claptrap. On the other when she whips out some instruments of torture Barney cracks "What are you going to do give them a pedicure?" And of course her role also devolves into an incredibly stilted and unbelievable romantic interest for Barney. One point for trying but two points deducted for falling into the romantic interest trap.
At times it's hard to tell whether or not we're laughing with the crew or at them. Plus because of how jam-packed the cast is some actors get the short end of the stick. Statham is the most charismatic of the bunch and he also has the most impressive hand-to-hand fight scenes but the emphasis in E2 is sheer firepower so he doesn't get nearly enough screen time. Couture is fairly forgettable while Lundgren plays the lunkiest of lunkheads; the running joke is that he has a chemical engineering degree from MIT and was a Fulbright Scholar which is supposed to be funny... except it's also true. (We're to assume he's mended his evil ways between the first Expendables and the second.) Is Lundgren agreeably poking fun at himself the same way Schwarzenegger hams it up at every turn? Or does E2 have shades of JCVD which stars Van Damme was a washed-up action star? Are the emotional moments supposed to fall so hilariously flat on purpose? For some reason it seems important to tease out which parts of these movies are earnest and which are tongue-in-cheek.
There's a weird melancholy about watching this group of aging action stars that has the same tang as watching someone you love grow older especially as they try so very hard to fight the ravages of time. If you dig a little deeper maybe deeper than E2 warrants you could find a well of sadness below the back-slapping antics. The world has changed and even though Stallone and his crew have muscles so hard and juicy they could pop out of their skin like grapes they can't compete with Bill the Kid and Maggie and others like them. They know it and we know it and while it's good fun to see old friends or onscreen enemies kill scores of bad guys (led by JCVD sporting a truly horrible fake Baphomet-style neck tattoo) there are better smarter more exciting and more interesting action films on the horizon.
And there's also The Expendables 3.
When a movie gets knocked around from one crummy release date to another one would assume that it is pretty awful. However even I a knowledgeable and open-minded film geek wasn’t prepared for the monstrosity that is Season of the Witch a medieval mess that has reportedly been in the works for a decade. You’d never be able to tell so many years of preparation went into this sad excuse for a B-movie based on its laughable CGI dialogue and contrived premise. How many flavors of bad is this supernatural stinker? Sample this…
A period horror action flick Season of the Witch is initially set in a cursed city suffering from the Black Plague that has deformed and decimated the majority of its population. The disease has been unleashed as a result of a literal witch-hunt gone wrong. Ancient evil forces are afoot and the blame is put on a young girl who the Church believes is a witch. Though imprisoned in the dungeons of a castle her power reigns supreme. Enter Behman (Nicolas Cage) and Felson (Ron Perlman) Knights of the Crusades who happen upon the city on their way back to civilization. Once recognized as deserters they are imprisoned and given the choice to remain captive or lead a suicide transport mission to a remote monastery where the girl’s innocence or guilt can be determined. If deemed evil she is to be destroyed.
The premise though far from original could have been cool if executed with some style but director Dominic Sena (Gone In Sixty Seconds) is incapable of making it enjoyable. Instead of creating suspense through eerie environments he settles for cheap thrills that fall short every time. His use of CGI is painfully bad conjuring effects that would’ve looked dated around the turn of the century. Most insulting is the film’s big “twist” - a lazy paradigm shift so easily foreseeable the movie should have just been called The Devil’s Advocate. Is that not bad enough for you? Just wait it gets better (read: worse).
Stars Cage and Perlman are Razzie bound with a pair of pathetic non-performances. The accomplished actors don’t even try to get into character. Rather they don period garb shield and sword and run around like cheap imitations of their former selves for two hours. You won’t hear any attempts at English accents because apparently 14th Century Knights are just like contemporary buddy cops. With this little effort being put forth by the two men who are essentially the reason folks will pay to see the movie Season of the Witch doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on. The supporting cast which includes Ulrich Thomsen Stephen Graham and Christopher Lee try to bear the burden but cannot undo the damage that Cage and Perlman inflict upon this film. The scariest thing about Season of the Witch is the movie itself an abomination of bad filmmaking and terrible acting.
It was all about that jazz at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles tonight, as the Screen Actors Guild handed out its top honors in its annual ceremony. Miramax's musical spectacular Chicago emerged as the big winner, snagging the best cast performance award.
The musical's Renee Zellweger won best actress honors for her kewpie-doll murderess Roxie Hart, and Catherine Zeta-Jones was named best supporting actress for her vixen Velma Kelly. The very pregnant Zeta-Jones made it up to the podium and declared, "If I wasn't pregnant, I'd do it all over again!"
Of course, Zeta-Jones' chances may have been further enhanced by the absence of Meryl Streep's name on the list. In a rather embarrassing snafu, Sony Pictures submitted her name to SAG in the best actress category for her role in Adaptation rather than in the supporting category. Since Paramount Pictures had also submitted Streep's performance in The Hours for best actress honors, many felt the two cancelled one another out and cost her any nomination at all.
Streep still got honors from several of the winners, however, including Edie Falco, who won best actress in a drama series for her work in The Sopranos. As she came on stage, she took a deep breath, saying, "I just locked eyes with Meryl Streep--I need to collect myself for a moment."
Another admirer was Will & Grace's Megan Mullally, who, after winning the award for best actress in a comedy series, quipped "I am so busted! I was trying to tell Meryl Streep that I love her and I tripped on the stairs!"
Other film winners included Daniel Day-Lewis, who picked up the award for best actor for his performance as Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York, and Christopher Walken, who won the award for best supporting actor for his turn as Frank Abagnale Sr. in Catch Me If You Can. The slightly disoriented Walken seemed a little surprised at his win, but joked, "We are all family and I hope we all work together--soon."
The evening's best acceptance speeches, however, belonged to the winners in the television categories, including James Gandolfini, who took home the best actor in drama award for his mob boss on The Sopranos. The burly actor, looking even more menacing with a full beard, made light of his recent contractual woes with HBO. "It's a great place to work!…Enjoy it while it's happening 'cause it can get weird later on," referring to the recent lawsuit he has filed against the cable channel for breach of contract.
The cast of Everybody Loves Raymond had a few things to say about Gandolfini's troubles as well. As they headed up on stage after winning the best TV comedy series ensemble, Ray Romano handed the mike over to co-star Brad Garrett, claiming "[Brad] never gets enough lines." Without missing a beat, Garrett admitted, "This is an exciting time for me because I'm going to be auditioning for the lead in The Sopranos next week." Then turning to his co-stars, he nervously asked, "Is [Gandolfini] laughing?…This is why they never let me talk."
Sean Hayes, who won for best actor in a comedy series for Will & Grace, hammed it up. "I'm completely shocked. I have nothing prepared. But now I can get these," lifting up his shirt to show markings for plastic surgery on his stomach. "They said I'd have six-packs in no time." All joking aside, Hayes got a little emotional, thanking his co-stars. "I wasn't that long ago I couldn't pay my rent. And now I can pay all of you guys' rent. Thank you."
Other television wins included HBO's Six Feet Under for best TV drama series ensemble,
William H. Macy for best actor in a TV movie/miniseries for TNT's Door to Door and Stockard Channing for best actress in a TV movie/miniseries for The Matthew Shepherd Story.
Tough guy Clint Eastwood received SAG's lifetime achievement award and was introduced by Romano, who freely admitted he thought it was a little odd that he was chosen as the person to introduce Eastwood, even though they "went way back."
Here's the complete list of nominees and winners:
Adrien Brody, The Pianist
Nicolas Cage, Adaptation
Daniel Day-Lewis, Gangs of New York--Winner!
Richard Gere, Chicago
Jack Nicholson, About Schmidt
Salma Hayek, Frida
Nicole Kidman, The Hours
Diane Lane, Unfaithful
Julianne Moore, Far From Heaven
Renee Zellweger, Chicago--Winner!
Chris Cooper, Adaptation
Ed Harris, The Hours
Alfred Molina, Frida
Dennis Quaid, Far From Heaven
Christopher Walken, Catch Me If You Can--Winner!
Kathy Bates, About Schmidt
Julianne Moore, The Hours
Michelle Pfeiffer, White Oleander
Queen Latifah, Chicago
Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chicago--Winner!
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries
Albert Finney, The Gathering Storm, HBO
Brad Garrett, Gleason, CBS
Sean Hayes, Martin & Lewis, CBS
William H. Macy, Door to Door, TNT--Winner!
John Turturro, Monday Night Mayhem, TNT
Actress in a TV Movie or Miniseries
Kathy Bates, My Sister's Keeper, CBS
Stockard Channing, The Matthew Shepard Story, NBC--Winner!
Helen Mirren, Door to Door, TNT
Vanessa Redgrave, The Gathering Storm, HBO
Uma Thurman, Hysterical Blindness, HBO
Actor in a Drama Series
Michael Chiklis, The Shield, FX
James Gandolfini, The Sopranos, HBO--Winner!
Martin Sheen, The West Wing, NBC
Kiefer Sutherland, 24, Fox
Treat Williams, Everwood, WB
Actress in a Drama Series
Lorraine Bracco, The Sopranos, HBO
Amy Brenneman, Judging Amy, CBS
Edie Falco, The Sopranos, HBO--Winner!
Allison Janney, The West Wing, NBC
Lily Tomlin, The West Wing, NBC
Actor in a Comedy Series
Sean Hayes, Will & Grace, NBC--Winner!
Matt LeBlanc, Friends, NBC
Bernie Mac, The Bernie Mac Show, Fox
Ray Romano, Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS
Tony Shalhoub, Monk, USA
Actress in a Comedy Series
Jennifer Aniston, Friends, NBC
Kim Cattrall, Sex and the City, HBO
Patricia Heaton, Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS
Jane Kaczmarek, Malcolm in the Middle, Fox
Megan Mullally, Will & Grace, NBC--Winner!
Ensemble in a Drama Series
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS
Six Feet Under, HBO--Winner!
The Sopranos, HBO
The West Wing, NBC
Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS--Winner!
Sex and the City, HBO
Will & Grace, NBC