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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The daytime gang came out strong tonight to serve up its 39th Emmy Awards ceremony, with nary a mention of the of the earlier murder-suicide that occurred late last night at the Beverly Hilton--where the awards were taking place. The show started off with a very lost Anthony Geary, having trouble finding the stage after a sing-songy intro between Oscar the Grouch and Anderson Cooper.
So let's get down to brass tacks and talk winners and losers, alligators, dry skin jokes (Thanks, Bethenny Frankel), and THE Susan Lucci!
Almost as a parting gift to the legacy of Regis Philbin, Live! With Regis & Kelly won several trophies in their respective categories. General Hospital was the big winner of the evening, bringing home several of the biggest trophies of the evening--including Outstanding Drama Series. But enough of us yammering on; check out the full list below of the biggest winners (winners are bolded) and the ones who shocked 'em all at the awards.
Outstanding Drama Series
All My Children (ABC)
Days Of Our Lives (NBC)
General Hospital (ABC)
The Young And The Restless (CBS)
Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series
Crystal Chappell, as Dr. Carly Manning Days Of Our Lives (NBC)
Debbie Morgan, as Angie Hubbard All My Children (ABC)
Erika Slezak, as Viki Lord One Life To Live (ABC)
Heather Tom, as Katie Logan Spencer The Bold And The Beautiful (CBS)
Laura Wright, as Carly Corinthos Jax General Hospital (ABC)
Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series
Maurice Bernard, as Michael “Sonny” Cointhos, Jr. General Hospital (ABC)
Anthony Geary, as Luke Spencer General Hospital (ABC)
John McCook, as Eric Forrester The Bold And The Beautiful (CBS)
Darnell Williams, as Jesse Hubbard All My Children (ABC)
Robert S. Woods, as Bo Buchanan One Life To Live (ABC)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Bradford Anderson as Damien Spinelli (General Hospital, ABC)
Matthew Ashford as Jack Deveraux (Days of our Lives, NBC)
Sean Blakemore as Shawn Butler (General Hospital, ABC)
Jonathan Jackson as Lucky Spencer (General Hospital, ABC)
Jason Thompson as Patrick Drake (General Hospital, ABC)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Melissa Claire Egan as Annie Chandler (All My Children, ABC)
Genie Francis as Genevieve Atkinson (The Young and the Restless, CBS)
Nancy Lee Grahn as Alexis Davis (General Hospital, ABC)
Elizabeth Hendrickson as Chloe Mitchell (The Young and the Restless, CBS)
Rebecca Herbst as Elizabeth Webber (General Hospital, ABC)
Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series
Eddie Alderson as Matthew Buchanan (One Life To Live, ABC)
Chad Duell as Michael Corinthos (General Hospital, ABC)
Chandler Massey as Will Horton (Days of our Lives, NBC)
Nathan Parsons as Ethan Lovett (General Hospital, ABC)
Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series
Molly Burnett as Melanie Layton (Days of our Lives, NBC)
Shelley Hennig as Stephanie Johnson (Days of our Lives, NBC)
Christel Khalil as Lily Winters (The Young and the Restless, CBS)
Jaqueline Macinnes Wood as Steffy Forrester (The Bold and the Beautiful, CBS)
Outstanding Talk Show — Entertainment
The Ellen DeGeneres Show (Syndicated)
Live With Regis And Kelly (Syndicated)
The Talk (CBS)
The View (ABC)
Outstanding Talk Show — Informative
The Dr. Oz Show
Outstanding Lifestyle/Culinary Host
Giada De Laurentiis, Giada At Home
Rick Bayless, Mexico One Plate at a Time with Rick Bayless
Nate Berkus, The Nate Berkus Show
Paula Deen, Paula's Best Dishes
Sandra Lee, Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee
Outstanding Culinary Program
Bobby Flay's Barbecue Addiction
Giada At Home
Guy's Big Bite
Outstanding Game Show Host
Ben Baily (Cash Cab, Discovery Channel)
Todd Newton (Family Game Night, The HUB)
Wayne Brady (Let's Make A Deal, CBS)
Meredith Vieira (Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Syndicated)
Outstanding Talk Show Host
Anderson Cooper (Anderson, Syndicated)
Dr. Mehmet Oz (The Dr. Oz Show, Syndicated)
Regis Philbin, Kelly Ripa (Live with Regis and Kelly, Syndicated)
Rachael Ray (Rachael Ray, Syndicated)
Dr. Lisa Masterson, Jillian Michaels, Dr. Andrew Ordon, Dr. Jim Sears, Dr. Travis Stork, Wendy Walsh (The Doctors, Syndicated)
Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show
Cash Cab (Discovery Channel)
Let's Make A Deal (CBS)
Wheel of Fortune (Syndicated)
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire (Syndicated)
Outstanding Legal/Courtroom Program
America's Court with Judge Ross
Judge Joe Brown
Last Shot with Judge Gunn
We the People with Gloria Allred
Oustanding Morning Program
Good Morning America (ABC)
Today Show (NBC)
Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team
All My Children (ABC)
Days of Our Lives (NBC)
General Hospital (ABC)
The Young and the Restless (CBS)
Oustanding Children's Animated Program
Curious George (PBS)
Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness (Nickelodeon)
Peep & The Big Wide World (American Public Television)
Penguins of Madagascar (Nickelodeon)
Sid the Science Kid (PBS)
SpongeBob SquarePants (Nickelodeon)
Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series
Dakota Goyo as Josh (R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour The Series, The HUB)
Leslie Carrara-Rudolph as Abby Cadaby (Sesame Street, PBS)
Kevin Clash as Elmo (Sesame Street, PBS)
Caroll Spinney as Big Bird (Sesame Street, PBS)
Lifetime Achievement Award
What did you think of this year's awards? Anyone you were surprised or happy to see recognized? Let us know in the comments!
[Image Credit: HLN]
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
Murder! Intrigue! Daytime Emmy Awards!
Daytime Emmy Awards: All the Talkative, Soapy, Kiddie TV
General Hospital leads Daytime Emmy Award nominations
2012 Daytime Emmy Awards Winners
Top Story: Ross May Be Credited for Time Served
Prosecutors and defense lawyers agreed in court Thursday that Diana Ross should be credited with having served her full sentence in her DUI case, The Associated Press reports. Ross pleaded no contest in February to a drunken driving charge in Tucson, Ariz., but arranged to serve her 48-hour sentence in Greenwich, Conn., where she lives. But based on an account from Greenwich police, Tucson City Court Magistrate T. Jay Cranshaw found that Ross had failed to serve 24 consecutive hours as required by Arizona law, but instead spent 47 hours in the custody of Greenwich police over a three-day span--with her longest stay from 8 a.m. until 6 a.m. the next day, 22 hours. Cranshaw ordered Ross to return to Tucson to serve 48 consecutive hours in the Pima County Jail but the singer's attorneys asked the judge to reconsider. During a brief hearing yesterday, prosecutors supported her attorneys, who said Ross had been released prematurely through no fault of her own. Cranshaw said he would rule by Friday.
Martha Stewart Asks for New Trial
Lawyers for Martha Stewart, who was convicted March 5 of lying to federal investigators about her sale of 3,298 shares of ImClone Systems stock just before it plunged on a negative government report in December 2001, say she should be tried again because one of the jurors who convicted her lied about a 1997 arrest for assault and other parts of his background. According to the AP, attorney Robert Morvillo said he would have tried to keep Chappell Hartridge off the jury panel had he known about the arrest, and about accusations he stole money from a Bronx Little League organization. He also claims Hartridge's post-trial comments, including that the verdict was a win for "the little guy," showed a class bias that robbed Stewart of a fair trial.
Star No Longer a Tabloid
Look out US Weekly and People: Star magazine, the newsprint supermarket tabloid, is going glossy and mainstream. Bonnie Fuller, chief editorial director and executive vice president of American Media Inc., the publisher of magazines such as Men's Fitness, Shape and National Enquirer, told the AP Tuesday that her goal is to get a new generation reading the celebrity weekly. "Star has been around for 30 years, and our readers have become mothers and grandmothers. We needed to grow a new generation of younger readers." The new tabloid-turned-glossy hits newsstands nationwide April 1, 2004.
Reubens Says He's No Pedophile
Paul Reubens, who pleaded guilty Mar. 19, 2004 to possessing obscene material, tells Entertainment Weekly the nude photos seized from his home were kitschy pics from the 1940s, '50s or '60s, but were neither pornographic or obscene. "Ninety percent of anybody off the street who looked at the stuff would burst out laughing and say, 'You're kidding me,'" Reubens tells EW in magazine's Apr. 2 issue. Reubens rose to fame in the 1980s as Pee-wee Herman, host of the children's TV show Pee-wee's Playhouse. In 2001, police raided the 51-year-old actor's Los Angeles home and seized 30,000 images they deemed to be sexually questionable. Based on 170 of those 30,000 images, the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office built a case against Reubens for possessing child pornography.
Sarah Jessica Parker Get Kudos for Fashion Sense
Sarah Jessica Parker will receive a Fashion Icon award at the 2004 Council of Fashion Designers of America fashion awards to be presented June 7 at The New York Public Library, The AP reports. According to the CFDA, the Sex and the City star was selected for her "personal and professional commitment to fashion, and for her quintessentially New York style." Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors and Ralph Rucci are nominated for the womenswear designer of the year award and nominees for menswear designer of the year are Kors, Sean Combs and Ralph Lauren.
Oscars Announce 77th Academy Awards Dates
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced yesterday that the 77th annual Academy Awards ceremony will be held on Feb. 27, 2005--the last Sunday of the month. Oscar nomination ballots will be mailed Dec. 27; nomination polls will close Jan. 15; and nominations will be announced Jan. 25. Last year, nomination ballots were to be mailed Jan. 2, 2004 but the Academy decided to begin mailing them Dec. 29, 2003 instead after realizing they would be closed that day for the New Year's holiday-which caught Oscar campaigns off guard. The Dec. 27 date is also expected to put pressure on distributors to release their Academy fodder earlier than the year-end dates long favored in the past.
Simpsons Cast Wants Raise
The actors who provide the voices for the characters on Fox's hit animated comedy The Simpsons have reportedly stopped work in order to force a settlement in a lengthy contract dispute. According to Variety, the six actors, Dan Castellaneta (Homer), Hank Azaria (Moe, Apu, Comic Book Guy), Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns and others), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), Julie Kavner (Marge) and Nancy Cartwright (Bart), have not shown up for two script readings in the past few weeks, holding up production on the show's upcoming 16th season. Variety quoted insiders as saying each cast member is asking for about $360,000 an episode, almost triple their current $125,000 an episode. The three-year contracts for the cast expired several months ago, and their representatives have been unsuccessful in negotiating new ones.
Richard Branson in Fox Reality Series
Fox, meanwhile, announced Thursday it has signed a deal with British entrepreneur Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, for a new reality TV series tentatively called Branson's Big Adventure. According to Reuters, the series will feature Branson will take "a select group of America's best and brightest" around the world, reliving his experiences and dealing with business dilemmas. Each week, the network said, one contestant will be left behind while the others continue to globetrot. In his career, Branson has founded and run a diverse group of companies, including a record label, a retail chain, an airline and a wireless phone company. The show is expected to debut later this year.
Landmark Siegfried & Roy Banner Taken Down
On Wednesday, workers removed the landmark Siegfried & Roy show banner from the Mirage Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Boulevard Strip--nearly six months after a tiger mauled star Roy Horn and forced the show to close. Ho
This is the dawning of the age of Kelly Ripa.
The All My Children actress and Live with Regis and Kelly co-host could walk away with two Emmys this year. Ripa was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the ABC soap, and her morning chat show with Regis Philbin received a nod for Best Talk Show.
Ripa's husband, actor Mark Consuelos, was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role on AMC. Ripa and Consuelos met while working on the show, where they play married couple Hayley and Mateo Santos.
In all, AMC leads the way with a total of 21 nominations. Star Susan Lucci, who finally won an Emmy in 1999 after being nominated 21 times, is up for Best Lead Actress. But the actress is facing stiff competition: She's up against co-star Finola Hughes, The Bold and the Beautiful's Susan Flannery and As the World Turns' Martha Byrne and Colleen Zenk Pinter.
With 55 nominations, CBS leads the way in overall network nods. ABC and PBS are close behind with 49 nominations each.
Nominations were announced at a special ceremony hosted by Maury Povich in the Rainbow Room restaurant on Thursday. Highlights of the nomination announcements were broadcast live on CBS' The Early Show.
The 29th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards presentation will be broadcast from Madison Square Garden on May 17 on CBS.
Here is a list of the major nominations:
All My Children (ABC)
As the World Turns (CBS)
One Life to Live (ABC)
The Young and the Restless (CBS)
Lead Actress, Drama Series:
Susan Lucci, All My Children (ABC)
Martha Byrne, As the World Turns (CBS)
Susan Flannery, The Bold and the Beautiful (CBS)
Finola Hughes, All My Children (ABC)
Colleen Zenk Pinter, As the World Turns (CBS)
Lead Actor, Drama Series:
Peter Bergman, The Young & the Restless (CBS)
Jack Scalia, All My Children (ABC)
Vincent Irizarry, All My Children (ABC)
Hunt Block, As the World Turns (CBS)
Robert Newman, Guiding Light (CBS)
Supporting Actress, Drama Series:
Maura West, As the World Turns (CBS)
Kelly Ripa, All My Children (ABC)
Kelley Hensley, As the World Turns (CBS)
Beth Ehlers, Guiding Light (CBS)
Crystal Chappell, Guiding Light (CBS)
Supporting Actor, Drama Series:
Josh Duhamel, All My Children (ABC)
Benjamin Hendrickson, As the World Turns (CBS)
Mark Consuelos, All My Children (ABC)
Cameron Mathison, All My Children (ABC)
Paul Leyden, As the World Turns (CBS)
The Rosie O'Donnell Show (syndicated)
Live with Regis and Kelly (syndicated)
The View (ABC)
The Montel Williams Show (syndicated)
Talk Show Host:
Rosie O'Donnell, The Rosie O'Donnell Show (syndicated)
Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa, Live with Regis and Kelly (syndicated)
Montel Williams, The Montel Williams Show (syndicated)
Barbara Walters, Star Jones, Meredith Vieira, Joy Behar, Lisa Ling, The View (ABC)
The Price Is Right (CBS)
Hollywood Squares (syndicated)
Win Ben Stein's Money (Comedy Central)
Game Show Host:
Alex Trebek, Jeopardy! (syndicated)
Bob Barker, The Price Is Right (CBS)
Ben Stein and Nancy Pimental, Win Ben Stein's Money (Comedy Central)
Pat Sajak, Wheel of Fortune (syndicated)
Reading Rainbow (PBS)
Between the Lions (PBS)
Even Stevens (Disney Channel)
Discovery Kids Ultimate Guide to the Awesome (Discovery)
Pre-School Children's Series:
Blue's Clues (Nickelodeon)
Sesame Street (PBS)
Martha Stewart Living (syndicated)
This Old House (PBS)
Essence of Emeril (Food Network)
The Christopher Lowell Show (Discovery)
Wolfgang Puck (Food Network)