Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
With only a week and change having passed since the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, we no doubt feel the question living fresh in our minds: can we ever judge a remake without considering its predecessors? The conversation about the stark contrast in critical favor between Marc Webb's release and Sam Raimi's trilogy (the second installment of his franchise in particular) buzzed loudly, and we imagine the volume will keep in regards to Gareth Edwards' Godzilla. But it'll be a different sound altogether.
The original Godzilla, a Japanese film released in 1954, reinvented the identity of the monster movie, launched a 30-film legacy, and spoke legions about the political climate of its era. The most recent of these films — Roland Emmerich's 1998 American production — is universally bemoaned as a bigger disaster than anything to befall Tokyo at the hands of the giant reptile. With these two entries likely standing out as the most prominent in the minds of contemporary audiences, Edwards' Godzilla has some long shadows cast before it. And in approaching the new movie, one might not be able to avoid comparisons to either. It's fair — by taking on an existing property, a filmmaker knowingly takes on the connotations of that property. But the 2014 installment's great success is that it isn't much like any Godzilla movie we've seen before. In a great, great way.
This isn't 1954's Godzilla, a dire and occasionally dreary allegory that uses the supernatural to tell an important story about nuclear holocaust. A complete reversal, in fact, first and foremost Edwards' Godzilla is about its monsters. Any grand themes strewn throughout — the perseverence of nature, the follies of mankind, fatherhood, madness, faith — are all in service to the very simple mission to give us some cool, weighty, articulate sci-fi disaster. Elements of gravity are plotted all over the film's surface, with scientists, military men (kudos to Edwards for not going the typical "scientists = good/smart, military = bad/dumb" route in this film — everybody here is at least open to suggestion), doctors, police officers, and a compassionate bus driver all wrestling with options in the face of behemoth danger. The humanity is everpresent, but never especially intrusive. To reiterate, this isn't a film about any of these people, or what they do.
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
The closest thing to a helping of thematic (or human) significance comes with Ken Watanabe's Dr. Serizawa, who spouts awe-stricken maxims about cryptozoology, the Earth, and the inevitable powerlessness of man. He might not be supplying anything more substantial than our central heroes (soft-hearted soldier Aaron Taylor-Johnson, dutiful medic and mom Elizabeth Olsen, right-all-along conspiracy theorist Bryan Cranston), but Watanabe's bonkers performance as the harried scientist is so bizarrely good that you might actually believe, for a scene or two, that it all does mean something.
Ultimately, the beauty of our latest taste of Godzilla lies not in the commitment to a message that made the original so important nor in the commitment to levity that made Emmerich's so pointless, but in its commitment to imagination. Edwards' creature design is dazzling, his deus ex machina are riveting, and the ultimate payoff to which he treats his audience is the sort of gangbusters crowd-pleaser that your average contemporary monster movie is too afraid to consider.
In fairness, this year's Godzilla might not be considered an adequate remake, not quite reciprocating the ideals, tone, or importance of the original. Sure, anyone looking for a 2014 answer to 1954's game-changing paragon will find sincere philosophy traded for pulsing adventure... but they'd have a hard time ignoring the emphatic charm of this new lens for the 60-year-old lizard, both a highly original composition and a tribute in its way to the very history of monster movies (a history that owes so much to the creature in question). So does Godzilla '14 successfully fill the shoes of Godzilla '54? No — it rips them apart and dons a totally new pair... though it still has a lot of nice things to say about the first kicks.
Oh, and the '98 Godzilla? Yeah, it's better than that.
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Hollywood's ideas are cyclical. Example: even though Season 8 of 24 was touted as the final season, there were always rumors that the show would return for a feature film outing. That never happened, but franchise don't disappear: 24 is set to come back next season in limited series form. With Touch cancelled by Fox, Kiefer Sutherland is set to return as counterintelligence operative Jack Bauer in a 13-episode run, reports EW. Does that mean 24 is dropping the real time approach? Will the series even take place after the events of Day 8? Who or what is going on?!
Breathe, 24 fans. There's still lots of time on the clock before solid details regarding the series surface. No need to strap the series writers to any chairs and torture them with broken lamp parts just yet.
In anticipation of the new 24 saga, we've wrangled 10 characters from the show's past we're crossing our fingers return. Since anything goes during an episode of the show, we let our imaginations fly:
The secret service agent became a fan favorite simply because he survived longer than most of the other characters on the show. While he didn't appear in 24's final season, Pierce (played by actor Glenn Morshower) evolved from background White House player to ass-kicking government agent up until Day 7 (in that season, he uncovered an assassination plot tied to the President's daughter, Olivia Taylor). If there's a Presidential character in 24's limited run, then Pierce needs to step back up to guard them.
Unlike Secret Serviceman Pierce, many of 24's most lovable characters kicked the bucket at some point over the course of the show's run. But for every silent countdown indicating the demise of a series regular, we got a double gasp-worthy moment of a dead character's return. So depending on when the new series takes place — it could be a "day" in-between previous seasons — or how wacky it's willing to get, killed off cast members could be resurrected. So we suggest bringing back Bill Buchanan, actor James Morrison's CTU agent who went out with a bang saving Jack's life. He was kind of a wooden suit early on Day 4, but a bit of scruff turned Bill into the wise sage of the CTU team.
A little bit smarmy, a little bit heartfelt, and a look that is reminiscent of Dick Cheney, Jude Ciccolella's Mike Novick managed to appear in the first two seasons, fall off the grid, then reappear on President Charles Logan's staff in Season 4. Mike's always played both sides of the field. Any good 24 season requires absurd amounts of shadiness and that's the void Mike easily fills. Especially if…
… a certain diabolical ex-President returns to the cast. Look, I know Logan (Gregory Itzin) shot himself in the head at the tail end of Season 8, but the EMTs explained that he would survive (albeit with a bit of brain damage). Logan is 24's version of Hannibal Lecter: manipulative, soft-spoken, and evil at the core. He can help, he can hinder, but most importantly he takes any mild-mannered thriller plot and turns it on his head. Who knows how his recovery went post-attempted suicide, but it's safe to say Logan could return even crazier than before — and who wouldn't want to see that?
Another deceased 24 character I'll believe is dead when she doesn't return for the new limited series. Nina is wicked, and while all the CTU ladies are staples of the show (we love you, Chloe), few chew up scenery like Sarah Clarke's Nina. We haven't seen her since Day 3 when Jack shot her at point blank range. An intelligent person would believe that's it for Nina — but we've watched too much 24 to fully embrace logic. Either Fast Five style reveal that Nina survived the gunshot or set 24 2in an alternative timeline. Find a way, creators.
Speaking of 24 ladies who give the hulking gents a run for their money, how about reviving Sherry Palmer for another turn in the White House? Setting the limited series within the existing timeline might be the only way to work Penny Johnson Jerald back into the terrorist plotting tapestry of the show, but it's worth it to get the scheming First Lady back (and if she comes packaged with David Palmer, great). Sherry added a Manchurian Candidate touch to the early seasons of 24, an element of paranoia lost down the road when the series relied on atomic bombs and global horrors.
Bearded Jack Bauer
Given: Jack Bauer will return for the new 24 season. Less of a given: He'll return looking like he did in the first episodes of Season 6, after being kidnapped and tortured by the Chinese for 20 months. I love me some Jack Bauer power hour, but I also like broken Jack — and I much prefer a guy on the run, a guy under pressure, a guy with nothing left to lose except the mission he puts on himself, then variations of the "troubled Jack" persona that feel forced (see: heroin addiction). When 24picks back up, here's hoping Jack has had his a** kicked. Severely.
Will Jack have a love interest in the new 24 series? He may not have time, but just in case, let's bring back Connie Britton's Season 5 character to add a bit of hope to an often bleak landscape. As someone who never really like Audrey Raines, Jack's longtime, post-wife gal pal, I'd be happy to see Jack emotionally reconnect with Diane (even if it's an excuse to add Britton's vibrance to the new series).
Behroooooooooz. The son of a sleeper cell ringleader just wanted to make out with his hot blonde girlfriend, but nooooooo — Dad had to involve him in his plot to blow up nuclear power plants. At the end of Day 4, Behrooz was captured by evildoer Habib Marwan never to be seen again. His conclusion is one of the series big question marks (although answered in non-canonical deleted scenes) and he could make a great hero or villain in the revival of the show.
OK, maybe we don't need the infamous Season Two feline to literally make a reappearance in the new run of 24, but we do want something likeKim's run in with a cougar to go down. Levity is important. And adorable, if it comes in the form of a mountain cat.
Bonus: Saul from Homeland
The hit Showtime drama shares a creator with 24 in Howard Gordon, who might just be mad enough to collide his two hit properties into one madcap, Taliban-chasing romp. Jack teaming up with Carrie? Perhaps Mandy Patinkin's Saul could bring them together….
Who do you think should come back for 24 2.0? Voice your returning cast demands in the comments.
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
More: Will Fox Bring '24' Back to Life?Details on Fox's Cancellation of 'Touch' Who Is the Best TV President?
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The Annie Hall icon was the guest of honour at The Hollywood Reporter's 21st Annual Women in Entertainment Breakfast in Los Angeles, where she was handed the prize - named after former actress and film studio executive Lansing - in recognition of her work as a pioneer, mentor and philanthropist.
Speaking about the accolade, she told the audience, "My idea of a leader would be somebody like Sherry Lansing. You know why? Because she has this gift, like so many of you here today do, of organising large groups of people in order to achieve a common goal.
"And Sherry's particular brand of leaders, you know, that kind of leader has to be charismatic and intelligent and attractive, but most of all persuasive - and that's not me."
The event turned personal for Keaton as she hailed her late mother Dorothy, who died of Alzheimer's disease in 2008, as her "first and most inspired leader" during her speech.
Referencing her mother, the actress declared, "You know, mom, sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had told you how much I love the sound of your laughter. Would that have made you feel proud of yourself? Or what if I just told you how proud I was to be the daughter of a really special former Mrs. Los Angeles? Would that have made a difference?
"Or if I'd... told you how quickly I ran home to you the day Dave Garland stuck his finger in my padded bra and made me feel humiliated? Would you have finally understood that you were irreplaceable, mom? Or what if I just told you how much fun it was for me just to sit across from the kitchen counter and watch you make your mid-afternoon snack... would you have felt fulfilled?"
The publication's Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Entertainment - which included Meryl Streep, Tina Fey, Ellen DeGeneres and Lena Dunham - were also celebrated during the event at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
The Annie Hall icon will be feted at The Hollywood Reporter's 21st Annual Women in Entertainment Breakfast in Los Angeles on 5 December (12) for her work as a pioneer, mentor, and philanthropist.
Director Janice Min says, "For four decades, Diane Keaton has shown women how far we can go and how deeply we can affect change. She is a brilliant actress and a role model for women across generations."
The publication's Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Entertainment will also be celebrated at the event.
Keaton joins a long list of previous prize recipients, including Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep and Glenn Close.
The event, which will take place at Los Angeles' Beverly Hills Hotel on 30 September (10), will also fete actresses Diane Lane, Amy Adams, Natalie Portman and talent manager Suzan Bymel.
The ladies have been selected as the industry publication's Lifetime Impact Honorees for making a significant difference to their chosen causes.
Holmes will be honoured for her work on behalf of the Dizzy Feet Foundation, Mendes for Art of Elysium and Garner for Save the Children.
Meanwhile, Adams will be recognised for her efforts with Ghetto Film School, Lane for Heifer International, Portman for charitable microfinance organisation FINCA, and Bymel for her contributions to Global Creative Forum.
The group follows in the footsteps of last year's (09) first-ever honorees, including Christina Applegate, Anne Hathaway, Sigourney Weaver, Christina Aguilera, and movie mogul Sherry Lansing.
Steven Spielberg, Penelope Cruz, Larry King and Jennifer Lopez were amongst a host of stars who gathered to celebrate the marriage of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes on Saturday night.
Cruise's producing partner Paula Wagner and her husband Rick Nicita hosted a post-wedding bash for the newlyweds in their Beverly Hills mansion--three weeks after the Mission: Impossible actor wed Holmes in Bracciano, Italy.
The party gave the couple a chance to party with friends who couldn't make the romantic castle ceremony in Italy.
Lopez and her husband Marc Anthony, who also attended the Bracciano wedding, arrived at Saturday's party in a Rolls Royce, while Cruise's ex, Cruz--who split from the actor in January 2004--arrived alone.
Stars at the bash included Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw, directors Oliver Stone and Ed Zwick, Orlando Bloom, James Van Der Beek, Derek Luke, Catherine Bell, Diane Sawyer, Brian Grazer and former Paramount studio boss Sherry Lansing.
Oprah Winfrey was a notable absentee at the party--her spokesperson confirmed last week the TV titan had not been invited.
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The only thing bigger than the show itself is the bevy of parties that follow the Academy Awards.
Traditionally, the biggest of them all is Vanity Fair's after-party. OK, so Vanity Fair's party (held at Morton's) unintentionally went dark early due to a power outage at 1:30 a.m., but that doesn't mean the stars weren't there.
Multi-Oscar winner Tom Hanks held a hushed meeting with the highly regarded auteur and actor Ed Burns; hunky Mel Gibson held court with newswoman Diane Sawyer; Oprah Winfrey conversed with fellow high-powered female exec Sherry Lansing (Paramount's chairman); and George Lucas admired the fiery Nicole Kidman, Variety reports.
Elton John was rocking at his own party just down the street from Morton's at Moomba, which was also a benefit for AIDS research and co-sponsored by InStyle magazine.
Denzel Washington, the newly minted Best Actor winner, joined Kevin Spacey, the Backstreet Boys, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Eric McCormack, Melissa Joan Hart, Jane Kaczmarek and Bradley Whitford in raising money for John's pet cause.
DreamWorks' Michael De Luca held a high-wattage party with agent Patrick Whitesell not so far from Hollywood's maddening crowd, in Hollywood Hills. Attendees included Ben Stiller and Tobey Maguire (presenters from the evening's Oscars), actors Cuba Gooding Jr., Ray Liotta, Patricia Arquette, Chris Kattan and Neve Campbell, as well as Janet Jackson, Tyra Banks, Sean Combs and Jay-Z.
There were yet more parties Oscar night. Universal, DreamWorks and USA Films collaborated on the festivities at Renaissance Hollywood Hotel; the Night of the 100 Stars gala was housed at the swank Beverly Hills Hotel; and New Line Cinema held its bash at Maple Drive.