If you’ve even given the Internet a cursory glance over the last few weeks, you’re probably aware that Chris Pratt is having a moment right now. Thanks to a starring role in Guardians of the Galaxy, one of the biggest movies of the year, even people who’ve never seen an episode of Parks and Recreation or Everwood are being clued into his goofy, lovable charms. But playing Peter Quill is bound to have more long-term effects on Pratt’s career than simply giving him a venue to showcase his French-braiding skills – the question that remains is whether these will be positive effects.
Obviously, getting to play a superhero in a Marvel film is going to be amazing for any actor. They’re easily the biggest, most-exciting films of the year; they guarantee you plenty of press attention and new fans, and open you up to countless new opportunities and projects. But what about the times Pratt won’t be protecting the galaxy? Actors who star in superhero and sci-fi franchises often struggle to break out of the shadow of their famous characters. Leonard Nimoy and George Takei will always be Spock and Sulu, no matter what other projects they pursue; despite the beard, Mark Hamill is still known as Luke Skywalker; even Michael Keaton has yet to surpass his Batman fame. Once you become recognized for a single, beloved character, it’s hard for fans to see you any other way, which could result in Pratt being stuck as Star-Lord for the rest of his career.
Despite being part of one of the most iconic franchises of all time, only Harrison Ford was really able to break away from his Star Wars character, which he did by jumping straight into the Indiana Jones series. Pratt is taking a somewhat similar path, following up Guardians of the Galaxy with Jurassic World, which should help keep him in people’s minds as something other than Star-Lord. Still, from what we’ve heard, Pratt’s character Owen seems to be similarly confident and wise-cracking, which could result in him being typecast as the good-looking jokester. Considering the fact that Pratt only just stopped being typecast as the “chubby, dumb best friend,” that’s not necessarily a step forward, even if it does guarantee him more leading roles. And since there are so many more actors in Hollywood who specialize in those kinds of roles, it means that Pratt will face a lot more competition for parts.
Becoming known solely as Star-Lord could also make it harder for Pratt to play the kind of supporting character roles that he’s done well with lately, like the underdog baseball player in Moneyball and the good-hearted but doofy colleague in Her. Now that he’s considered a leading man, he might not be considered for those roles anymore. Even if he is, it could be hard for audiences to see him as anything else, which could pull them out of the film. Sure, Star-Lord’s a nice guy and all, but who would actually believe that he’s working at a company that writes love letters?
Look at some of Pratt’s superhero contemporaries: it doesn’t matter what film Robert Downey Jr.’s in, he’s most likely playing the handsome jerk. Scarlett Johansson is almost always the tough girl. And Jeremy Renner is... constantly overlooked. It would be very easy for Pratt to get typecast as the rule-breaking wisecracker. That’s not to say he wouldn’t be great at those parts – he obviously plays them well – but it does put him in a box.
However, Pratt does have an extensive background in television, which gives him an advantage over some of his fellow Marvel heroes. Andy Dwyer and Peter Quill have a fair amount of similarities, but where one is a schlubby slacker, the other is an adventurous go-getter. And both are different still from Bright Abbott, the obnoxious football player Pratt played on Everwood. He’s already proved that he has the range to handle a variety of characters, and now that people are finally paying attention to him, that should help open him up to a different slate of roles and opportunities. Pratt’s got the talent and the charm to play almost anything, as his extensive sitcom past proves, so to keep him locked into one type of character for the rest of his career would be disappointing.
British singers including Marvin Humes and his wife Rochelle, Kym Marsh and Pixie Lott have recited war poetry, including pieces by Wilfred Owen and Laurence Binyon, to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War. Video footage of their readings will be released online daily until 4 August (14), the date when Britain declared war on Germany in 1914.
The stars of British pop group Take That suffered a travel nightmare on a flight from Los Angeles to London this week (beg16Jun14) when the plane they were travelling on was forced to make two unscheduled landings. Gary Barlow and two of his bandmates, Howard Donald and Mark Owen, were heading back to their native Britain after spending time in California recording a new album, but the journey, which usually takes around 11 hours, turned into a 24-hour travel marathon.
The plane was diverted to Toronto, Canada due to unspecified technical problems, and continued onwards after the fault had been fixed, according to Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper.
However, the plane had to touch down again in Shannon, Ireland as the crew had worked all of their allocated hours and could not complete the journey. The passengers moved to a different plane and continued on to London's Heathrow Airport, where they landed on Thursday night (19Jun14).
Donald was subsequently asked about the travel problems by a fan on Twitter.com, and he added of the drama, "Believe it or not it's actually true! Bleeding nightmare."
Welsh actor Michael Sheen's Rest of the World team was victorious over an all-star England squad at the 2014 Soccer Aid charity match on Sunday (08Jun14). Sheen, who left the game with an elbow injury after just 15 minutes, captained a team of former international soccer stars and celebrities, including actors Sam Worthington, Jeremy Renner and James McAvoy, TV chef Gordon Ramsay, former Westlife singer Nicky Byrne, and Glee star Mark Salling at the sporting fundraiser in Manchester, England.
His team beat the England side 4-2 thanks to three goals from Dutch ex-pro Edgar Davids and one by Byrne.
The biennial event, organised by British singer Robbie Williams, raises money for UNICEF UK.
Williams helped manage the 2014 England team, which included his former Take That bandmate Mark Owen, JLS star Marvin Humes, singer Olly Murs and actor Jack Whitehall, after ruling himself out of the action with a back injury.
"@GaryBarlow is a good, standup man. He needs everyone's support. Remember, there are two sides to every story. He is a decent human being." Sharon Osbourne offers embattled Take That star Gary Barlow her support amid a new tax scandal swirling around the singer. Reports suggest Barlow and his Take That bandmates Mark Owen and Howard Donald are facing the possibility of having to pay millions in back taxes after allegedly investing in a tax avoidance scheme.
British pop star Gary Barlow was subjected to a disgusting message about his baby tragedy by a hacker who broke into his Twitter.com account on Monday (12May14). A mystery cyber-crook accessed the Take That star's official page on the social networking site and wrote a sickening, offensive message about Barlow's fourth child, who was delivered stillborn in 2012. The post was deleted within an hour.
It is believed the hack was in response to reports over the weekend (10-11May14) that Barlow and his Take That bandmates Mark Owen and Howard Donald are facing the possibility of having to pay millions in back taxes after allegedly investing in a tax avoidance scheme.
Several leading politicians have called for Barlow to be stripped of his Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal over the scandal.
Pop star Gary Barlow has been urged to hand back a top honour from the British Establishment over claims he invested in a tax avoidance scheme. The singer and two of his Take That bandmates - Mark Owen and Howard Donald - are reportedly facing the possibility of paying millions in back taxes after a partnership they invested in was branded a tax scam by a judge.
All three singers have declined to comment on the report but several leading politicians have called for Barlow to hand back the Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal he was awarded in 2012 for services to entertainment.
Margaret Hodge, leader of the U.K.'s Public Accounts Committee, says Barlow "might want to show a bit of contrition by giving back his OBE", and another Member of Parliament (MP), Charlie Elphicke, tells The Times newspaper, "People who have seriously abused the tax system should be stripped of their honours."
However, Barlow has since received the backing of U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, who told TV show Good Morning Britain, "I don't think that's necessary, frankly. Gary Barlow has done a huge amount for the country... He's raised money for charity, he's done very well for Children in Need so I'm not sure (he should hand back) his OBE in respect of the work he has done."
Barlow, Donald, Owen and their manager are said to have invested $105 million (£66 million) into a partnership company that was later allegedly exposed as an elaborate tax avoidance scheme.
One Direction star Harry Styles agreed to arrange an $8,000 (£5,000) loan for British rocker Matt Healy during a prank on U.K. radio. The 1975 frontman joined BBC Radio 1 presenter Nick Grimshaw for his breakfast show on Wednesday (26Mar14) and took part in the Call or Delete game, which involves guests prank-calling someone famous in their phonebook.
After failing to get through to Niall Horan, Healy rang Styles and told him he urgently needed to borrow some money to get him out of a sticky situation.
Healy said to Styles, "Basically I need five grand (£5,000) I'm in Chalk Farm (north London) and I'm having an emergency... it's actually quite a serious situation. I've got two guys in here in a phonebox with me, one of them just keeps pointing at a photo of (Take That singer) Mark Owen, it's really weird I don't know what that means, and it's really threatening. Do you reckon you could get Niall to come down and sort me the cash?"
Styles did not realise the call was a prank and agreed to arrange the loan for Healy, saying, "OK, well we're in Bristol (England). But let me go and I'll get my assistant to call you and she'll sort it out."
With True Detective finally wrapping up its mystery and the McConaissance officially complete, it's time to turn our attention to some new cable offerings, ones that will keep us just as enthralled and confused as we were every time Rust Cohle opened his mouth to speak. Since right now everyone's more interested in what's on cable than what's playing in theaters, HBO and Cinemax have capitalized on that by releasing trailers for all of the original and returning programs that will keep people glued to their televisions through the summer. But with so many trailers dropping at once, it can be hard to tell your mini series from your TV movies and your realistic political comedies from your fantasy political dramas, and so we've rounded up all of the big trailers in one handy post, along with everything you need to know in order to get excited about them. Although, not even we can keep straight how everyone on Game of Thrones is related, so you're on your own with that one.
Doll and Em
What to Expect: Created and written by Emily Mortimer and Dolly Wells, the show follows fictional versions of themselves as they attempt to balance work and friendship after Em hires Doll to be her personal assistant. Based on the trailer, it seems like the show will have the strong female characters and emphasis on friendship that Girls does, but with some of the "glamour" and showbusiness antics of Extras. Most Exciting Parts of the Trailer: Well-tailored jumpsuits. Condescending assistants. Driving mishaps. Awkward hot tub confessions. Friendship. Matching blazers. The Big Question: Now that The Newsroom is ending, will Jeff Daniels make an appearance? How about Dev Patel? He's British, it could work!When It Premieres: March 19 at 10 PM on HBO.
Game of Thrones
What We'll See This Season: Now that we've all finally recovered from the Red Wedding, we can celebrate with the Purple Wedding, between everyone's favorite tiny monarch King Joffrey and Margaery Tyrell, which we're sure will have no complications whatsoever. Meanwhile, Sansa is still attempting to escape from King's Landing and the Lannisters' abuse, Stannis Baratheon is still desperately attempting to seize the Iron Throne, Jamie Lannister finds his loyalty torn between Brienne and Cersei, the Wall is still under attack from the Wildlings, placing Jon Snow in the the middle of the chaos, and Daenerys now has three dragons and a massive army. Basically, everyone is going to die. Most Exciting Parts of This Trailer: Dragons. Sword fights. Revenge. Dragons. Catapults. Battle. Murder. Dragons. Dramatic sword-grasping. Ambition. Samwell Tarly. Dragons. The Big Question: Are the White Walkers still a part of this show, or have we just abandoned that plot completely? When It Premieres: April 6 at 9 PM on HBO.
What to Expect: Created by the writer and director of Office Space, Mike Judge, the show follows six computer programmers who are determined to make their mark in Silicon Valley by launching their own start up, even though they have no business acumen, charisma or social skills. The cast is made up of a group of experienced comedians and actors including Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, Kumail Nanjiani, Martin Starr, Josh Brener and Zach Woods, which means that Judge's weird, irreverent brand of humor should be translated magnificently onscreen. Most Exciting Parts of This Trailer: Computer programming. Anecdotes about meeting the pesident. Bike-throwing. Black turtlenecks. The Big Question: Which is the more appropriate analogy: punk rock or free-form jazz? When It Premieres: April 6 at 10 PM on HBO.
What We'll See This Season: The president has announced that he's not planning to run for re-election, leaving the door to the Oval Office wide open for Selina Meyers, so she launches a PR campaign that includes a ghostwritten memoir and some new staff members. But since everything in her office tends to fall apart, we're sure that the road to the White House will be paved with mis-steps and disasters. Luckily, Jonah's still hanging around, waiting to be abused, so at least Selina has someone to take her aggression out on. Most Exciting Parts of This Trailer: "I would rather be shot in the face than serve as Vice President again." Oh, Selina. How we've missed you. The Big Question: Who's getting fired (and then rehired and then fired again and then probably re-rehired) this season?When It Premieres: April 6 at 10:30PM on HBO.
The Normal Heart
What to Expect: Based on the Tony Award-winning play by Larry Kramer, and directed by Ryan Murphy, The Normal Heart tells the story of the struggle that gay activists went through at the onset of the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the early 1980s, and their attempts to raise awareness and assistance from a community that wanted to ignore them. Mark Ruffalo will star as Ned Weeks, the activist spearheading the campaign for HIV/AIDS awareness, with Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Julia Roberts, and Jim Parsons in supporting roles. Needless to say, this one's going to be a tearjerker. The Most Exciting Parts of This Trailer: Mark Ruffalo's dramatic gravitas. Denis O'Hare as the dismissive, vaguely-Southern mayor. Blonde Taylor Kitsch. Background music that sounds like someone made Enya into a choir. The Big Question: How many Golden Globes will this inevitably win?When It Premieres: May 25 at 9 PM on HBO.
What to Expect: Set in New York in the 1900s and directed by Stephen Soderbergh, the show follows the work and lives of the staff of the Knickerbocker hospital, including Clive Owen's Dr. John Thackeray. Think Grey's Anatomy, but with less anesthesia and proper hygiene requirements and more gore. Probably the same amount of illicit affairs, though - this is Soderbergh we're talking about. Most Exciting Parts of This Trailer: Blood. Long shots of old-fashioned hospital beds. Blood. Clive Owen's tiny moustache. Blood. Soderbergh FINALLY comes out of retirement! The Big Question: How many vivid nightmares are the scenes of turn-of-the-century surgical procedures going to inspire? When It Premieres: This summer on Cinemax.
For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
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