British actress Carey Mulligan has won glowing reviews for her West End debut, with critics hailing her performance in Skylight as "moving" and "beautiful". The David Hare play, which opened at London's Wyndham's Theatre on Wednesday (19Jun14), stars Mulligan and veteran actor Bill Nighy as two former lovers who meet up after several years and reminisce about their affair.
The production, directed by Stephen Daldry, has won over reviewers, who heaped praise on the two leading performers.
Charles Spencer of Britain's Daily Telegraph gives the drama five stars out of five and calls it a "knockout production", writing, "Nighy and Mulligan beautifully capture both the hurt and anger of lost love, and sudden piercing moments of enduring sadness."
The Independent's Paul Taylor hails Mulligan for her "moving, intensely focused performance", while Dominic Maxwell of Britain's The Times was most impressed by Nighy, who appeared in a previous production of the play back in 1996, calling him "a case study in charisma" and "an enormously seductive presence" who "boasts a performance of pure class".
Quentin Letts of Britain's Daily Mail gives similar praise to the lead actor, writing, "Bill Nighy at full belt on stage is astonishing, unbalancing, unforgettable" but adds that Mulligan "holds her own... to not be upstaged by a rampaging Nighy is an achievement".
Skylight will run until 23 August (14).
Actress Carey Mulligan's culinary skills have improved dramatically since she joined the cast of West End play Skylight as she is required to cook on stage. The Great Gatsby actress stars alongside Bill Nighy and Matthew Beard in the revival of David Hare's 1995 play at London's Wyndham Theatre.
Mulligan plays a school teacher in the production and her role requires her to cook a meal live on stage as she discusses her relationship with a former lover.
Director Stephen Daldry wasted no time in throwing Mulligan into preparation for her character and the British star's family are thrilled she is now able to make an edible meal.
She tells Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper, "It's so hard! What's really good is that Stephen's so no-nonsense, so I've been cooking since the second day of rehearsals. We started acting the play out in the afternoon of the first day. With most rehearsal periods, you spend the first week sitting around talking about your feelings. We just got into it, just started chopping onions. I can actually cook one meal now, as opposed to before, when I could cook nothing. My family are very excited."
As a show in its 18th (!) season, it makes sense that Dancing with the Stars decides to revamp and retool as it goes along. In fact, just this season, they replaced host Brooke Burke-Charvet with Erin Andrews – a change welcomed by many fans, who had taken to referring to the former co-host as the "Brooke-bot." Among other changes new to Season eighteen, DWTS has also decided to add a fairly revolutionary twist: with the advent of the "Switch-Up," fans were able to cast their votes via Twitter for new pairings – in other words, they're choosing the dancing partners for Episode 4.
Now, DWTS has always been a show that relies heavily on fan input – it's one of the reasons the show is filmed live, unlike other reality competitions like America's Next Top Model, or Project Runway. When it comes to judging and eliminations, fan vote makes up a whopping 50 percent of the final decision, which allows technically less gifted dancers to progress quite far in the season. It's a great way to keep viewers on their toes, and give them a real input into the season – and now they have even more.
Which should be good, right? Making fans more invested should be a good thing! But there's something else to consider: dance competition though it may be, DWTS is really all about the chemistry. And we don't just mean physical or romantic chemistry, either – using last season as an example, Bill Engvall and Emma Slater's charming father/daughter feelings helped them get almost all the way to the finals (and Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke's brotherly/sisterly relationship wasn't too bad either). Already this season, there's a flirtation (scripted or otherwise) between a few of the pairs (most notably between Maks Chemerkovskiy and Meryl Davis), and is that really something we want to tamper with? They say no – in this week's episode, Maks said, "The worst thing that could happen is the switch." He said it with a twinkle in his eye, but there could be more than a grain of truth in that comment.
What do you think? Will the switch-up liven things up, or grind things to a halt? Vote below:
ABC Television Network
Ah, Dancing With The Stars. How we've missed you.
The sparkles, bad puns (Carrie-Ann Inaba: "I've got a big time crush on you"), and plethora of rivalries/budding romances are back.
The season's off to a fortuitous start, with quite the crop of dancers. High points (predictably) included Charlie White and Sharna Burgess, who got unanimous nines from the judges after their graceful and polished modern dance. White's Olympic partner Meryl Davis also did quite well with new partner Maksim Chmerkovsky on a cha-cha (filled with tight spins certainly worthy of an ice dancer), which raked in 24 points. Paralympian snowboarder (and recent bronze medalist) also stunned judges, tying with Meryl and Maks.
Like Meryl and Charlie, the show also pointed to a rivalry between '90s stars Danica McKellar and Candice Cameron Bure. Both faired very well, respectively scoring 24 and 25, with Bure edging McKellar out by a single point after a stellar contemporary dance. (Side note: after she requested a more modest costume, I thought we'd actually get something tasteful, but alas, it was just as tacky, if more covered-up). If I were Davis, I'd be watching my back with these two – I mean, getting out-scored by Charlie is one thing (Canadian rival Scott Moir actually predicted things would tip in "Chuck's" favor out of the two of them, and he's right so far), but by no-dance-training actresses? Better hit the studio hard this week!
On the other side of the spectrum: Billy Dee Williams, alas. Williams danced a delightful yet lackluster Star Wars-themed cha-cha – sometimes, I wish there could be some sort of grading curve, as Williams is pushing 80, and has undergone two hip replacements. He should have at least gotten extra points for donning his old Lando Calrissian cape! Swimmer Diana Nyad (one of the more head-scratching picks for the cast) pulled in second to last. She might be the one going home – although Williams scored lower, I'm sure he has a huge fan base. I could also see former NFL player Sean Avery (who scored 20 points with partner Karina Smirnoff) getting eliminated: he was surprisingly un-graceful for an athlete, and he doesn't exactly have the most endearing personality.
DWTS takes a little healthy speculation – and what can I say? Looks like DWTS has gotten me hooked once again.
Best Dressed: Drew Carey and Cheryl Burke – they're Monopoly-inspired costumes were on point.
Most Hyperactive: Danica McKellar, by a landslide.
Most Awkward: That's a tie between Cody Simpson/Witney Carson (he called her dancing "distracting," as his girlfriend watched from the audience) and James Maslow/Peta Murgatroyd (apparently, they went on a date and he didn't call after). Oh, and runner-up is Meryl Davis/Maksim Chmerkovsky: Meryl/Charlie shippers the world over collectively cringed when she (very) emphatically denied the fact that she and Charlie were dating, as she all but batted her eyes at her new partner. Oh, DWTS – you and your slightly-canned so-called romances!
Best Serial Killer Eyes: Sean Avery. The judges call it "intensity," I call it scary. To-may-to, to-mah-to.
The Dark Horse: Drew Carey. Drew pulled in respectable-yet-middling scores, but I can see him making it far in the competition. Personality gets you far on DWTS (remember Bill Engvall from last season?), and Cheryl's taken a lot of stars to the finals.
And just for fun:
Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Lady Gaga, Lindsay Lohan and U2 were among the stars who turned out on Monday (17Feb14) to help TV presenter Jimmy Fallon launch a new era of America's The Tonight Show series. The comedian took the long-running talk show back to New York for the first time since iconic host Johnny Carson moved it to California in 1972, and a slew of celebrities stopped by the NBC studios to celebrate the big move.
Fallon opened his first Tonight Show by thanking his predecessors, including Jay Leno, who stepped down from the programme after 22 years earlier this month (Feb14), before taking aim at a friend who had bet against him ever hosting the legendary series.
Looking into the camera, Fallon said, "To my buddy who said that I'd never be the host of The Tonight Show - you know who you are. You owe me $100 buddy!"
The comment prompted De Niro to begrudgingly walk out onstage and hand the host a $100 bill, but the movie veteran wasn't the only one - he was followed by the likes of Tina Fey, Joan Rivers, Seth Rogen, Lindsay Lohan, Kim Kardashian, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mariah Carey, Mike Tyson and a scantily-clad Lady Gaga, who each parted with $100 as part of the joke.
Fallon's first Tonight Show interviewee, Smith, then showed off his moves in a sketch titled, The Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing, in which the pair ran through popular dance trends over the years, from the Running Man to the Robot to the Carlton, which was named after the actor's The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air co-star Alfonso Ribeiro's geeky onscreen character, Carlton Banks.
U2 provided the musical entertainment for the night by performing new song Invisible from the roof of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, where the NBC studios are based, and later joining Fallon and his house band The Roots inside for an acoustic version of their Oscar-nominated song Ordinary Love from the Nelson Mandela biopic, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.
Bono marked the occasion by gifting Fallon a red electric guitar from his line of instruments for the (RED) charity, which raises awareness of the fight against AIDS.
The big star guests will continue throughout the week as Gaga, Jerry Seinfeld, Bradley Cooper, Will Ferrell and U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama are all booked to make appearances on The Tonight Show.
Young actress Carey Mulligan and veteran Bill Nighy are to star as lovers in a new play. The Shame star, 28, and Love Actually actor Nighy, 64, will hit the West End stage in a production of Sir David Hare's Skylight.
She will take the role of a school teacher who tries to rekindle her romance with Nighy's widowed character.
The stage show will be directed by Stephen Daldry and is due to launch at London's Wyndham's Theatre in June (14).
Ever wonder what Mariah Carey does on Thursday nights? Apparently, the ultimate diva herself is doing what a lot of us are doing-- watching Scandal on ABC. Ms. Mimi recently took to Twitter to proclaim her love for the show and surprised everyone who assumed the pop star and mother of two (currently gearing up for the release of her next album) would be too busy to actually sit through commercials and watch live television:
Been waiting for this all week!!! #ScandaI @shondarhimes I can't believe I'm watching something with commercials!!! #Gladiators
— Mariah Carey (@MariahCarey) November 8, 2013
And Mariah's not the only big name tuning into the show. Here are a few other famous fans of Scandal:Lena Dunham
The creator of HBO's Girls clearly knows good television. She's taken to Twitter as well to express her love for the show.
Considering the popularity of her Favorite Things lists and Oprah's Book Club, we are going to assume that when Oprah professed her love the hit show, ratings went up a smidge. Nothing like the Oprah co-sign to make things happen.
Not only does she obsess over Scandal as much as the rest of us, but she also appropriately dubbed the show's lead Kerry Washington 'a babe.' Yup, that sounds about right.
Mary J. Blige
The R&B singer has both tweeted about Scandal and reached out to Kerry Washington. Years ago the self-proclaimed Gladiator released her hit album No More Drama, but it looks like she's been loving all the Scandal drama as much as we have.
Somewhere in between being bad-ass, crazy-talented, and generally awesome, P!nk has also made time to watch Scandal. And somehow, that makes the rest of us Gladiators a little more bad-ass too.
Yes, the former President of the United States is watching a show about how the President of the United States kind of, sort of, totally cheats on his wife. Awkward! Now, Fitz is no Bill Clinton, but we're still hoping that Bill is watching these episodes sans Hillary.
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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Couldn't stay up to see your favorite late night talk shows? Check out what you missed this past week starting with...
The Art of SurpriseMariah Carey and Jimmy Fallon shock several die-hard Mariah fans to almost frightening levels.
An Unhappy BirthdaySome cynics say you're just one day closer to dying on your birthday. The Killers may have taken that to a whole new level with their grim birthday song for Jimmy Kimmel.
Lip FlipBilly Crystal and Jimmy Fallon try to read each other's lips.
A Deep Dish Served ColdJon Stewart's culinary rant shows that some rivalries go run deeper than a Chicago-style pizza.
Walk This WayBill Cosby took the scenic route for his epic entrance on The Tonight Show.
I Love You, ManConan O'Brien has evidence that Will Arnett and Jason Bateman make the cutest couple.
Cracking the Top 10Toronto mayor Rob Ford has been nothing but a gold mine for the late night hosts. Letterman takes his shot on the Canadian politician with his Thursday night Top 10 List.
A Host of TroubleListen in on Craig Ferguson and Jay Leno's conversation about why hosting the White House Correspondents' Dinner is such a difficult job.
Game OnJimmy Fallon and Ice-T show off Sony's next-gen console, PlayStation 4.
The Human Fire ExtinguisherStreet magician David Blaine was thirsting to put out a fire on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.
Actor Ethan Hawke has opened up about his marriage to Uma Thurman, insisting he was "absolutely wrong" to settle down before reaching his 30s. The Reality Bites star is adamant he wasn't ready to make a lifelong commitment to Thurman as they walked down the aisle in 1998 when he was 27 years old.
Hawke, now aged 42, tells America's Elle magazine, "Success when you're young is really overwhelming. The world felt out of control. And I wanted to stop it from spinning so fast. I thought marriage would decrease my variables or something. I was absolutely wrong.
"There was this discovery that the male brain isn't done until 28. I definitely think my frontal lobe was not finished. I had no business taking vows that would last more than two weeks."
The dad-of-four wishes he had enjoyed his single years like American baseball star Derek Jeter, who has been linked to A-list beauties including Jessica Biel, Mariah Carey, Jordana Brewster, and Minka Kelly.
Hawke adds, "My personal opinion? The guy who's got it right is Derek Jeter. He lives his life like, 'Hey man, I play shortstop for the New York Yankees. And I'm not going to get married until I'm no longer a shortstop for the New York Yankees.' Which is incredibly smart."
Hawke, who has daughter Maya and son Levon with Thurman, divorced the Kill Bill star in 2005, and he married second wife Ryan three years later (08). The couple has two daughters, Clementine Jane and Indiana.