S14E2: This year's cast of Dancing With the Stars have already proven they have some serious skills on the dance floor. But it's going to take more than fancy footwork to make it through to the following week now that the audience has a say in the matter. The judges' scores can only get the contestants so far, meaning a couple's popularity is extremely important. It's time to prove their worth, and as of now, the bar is pretty high.
But as the very first week indicated, this group of stars thrive under such pressure and managed to, once again, pull off incredible dance numbers. For the second week, half of the couples must dance the Quick Step, while the other half take on the Jive. And remember -- for their first dance, each star was given several weeks to practice, whereas this time around they were only allotted one week. Let's see whose talents stretch farther than just beginners luck.
So as each couple took another spin on the dance floor, we ranked each performance from best to worst.
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas
Jive: "Ain't Nothing Wrong With That" by Robert Randolph
Last week, Katherine proved she could show us grace and elegance, but this week she demonstrated that she can be more than America's sweetheart; she can be downright sexy. Her kicks and flicks were incredible. Her posture and timing was spectacular. In truth, she seems just as flawless in dancing as she is in personality. That "Welsh Wiggle" came in handy because this blonde bombshell is a force to be reckoned with. When it comes to the competition factor, this girl is the one to watch. The judges gave the pair a well-deserved 26 out of 30, tying them for the highest score of the night.
William Levy and Cheryl Burke
Quick Step: "Nice Work If You Can Get It" from George Gershwin's "A Damsel In Distress"
The hunky William Levy didn't disappoint with another great performance. Even fully clothed in a tuxedo this guy radiates sexual energy, sending women and men into a swoon-crazed tizzy. His movements were fluid, his timing was great, and Carrie Ann called him the Harry Connick Jr. of the ballroom. But not everyone was feeling the love. Len didn't like frame or body contact and called the performance as a whole "good," not "great." But the rest of the world could not disagree more. Amid all the boos circling in Len's direction, the couple earned an impressive 25 out of 30 points for the night. Something tells us he'll be back to dance another week -- hopefully in a little less clothes.
Roshon Fegan and Chelsea Hightower
Quick Step: "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" by Good Charlotte
This is where we learn just how versatile each of these contestants really are. Roshon was completely out of his comfort zone since hip hop is more his style, but he pulled off the Quick Step with flying colors. His moves were precise and he was the epitome of ballroom sophistication. This guy is just enjoyable to watch no matter the dance routine and the judges agree. Len called the performance young and fresh, while Bruno revealed that he loves Roshon's swagger that he brings to each and every dance. The couple ended up with an impressive score of 26 out of 30, giving them a three point increase from last week. It's safe to say we'll be seeing him again next week.
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson
Jive: "Marry You" by Bruno Mars
Having risen to the top of the leaderboard so quickly last week, it's hard to not go anywhere but down, especially when it's only the second week. The dance was well rehearsed and thoroughly enjoyable, however, the performance did lack of bit of the energy it had in the previous week. For some reason, he seemed less light on his feet, which can be a noticeable mistake when you take on something like the Jive, and the judges seemed a little disappointed by it. Len said that while the dance wasn't terrible, it needed to be sharper and pack more punch. Carrie Ann also remarked that Jaleel seemed a little flat-footed and needs to work on that in the future. They earned a 22 out of 30 points, losing their first place title.
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough
Quick Step: "Sexy, Sexy" by Brian Setzer
Maria showed significant improvement in her Quick Step this week. She seemed comfortable in her movements and once again showed great chemistry with Derek. Granted, she took a misstep at one point in their run-and-kick portion of the dance, but overall she had great speed and control. Carrie Ann seemed a little more concerned with her timing mishap than Len or Bruno, but overall it was an enjoyable, fun performance that sould be strong enough to carry them into next week. The judges gave them a 25 out of 30 for the night.
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd
Quick Step: "Stay The Night" by James Blunt
Donald made the dance floor his new football field by dancing a superb version of the Quick Step. It was fun and definitely one of the best executed performances of the night. The timing, the steps, the fluidity, everything flowed together so nicely, which shows this guy has a real knack for dancing. And the judges were delighted with what they saw. In fact, Len even admitted to giving him too low of a score last week and said he deserved better than that. Bu that was more than made up for this week when the judges gave them a 24 out of 30. This guy certainly has both the charm and skill to go far in this competition.
Sherri Shepherd and Val Chermkovskiy
Jive: "Proud Mary" by Creedence Clearwater Revival
If Sherri had to be summed up in one word it would be: energized. This girl is so full of life and it just radiates in her dancing. She lit up the dance floor and even though she and Val lost step a few times together, she just took charge and went with the flow. It's important to be able to recover quickly if things don't go exactly how they were planned and she handled it in the best way possible. She had just as much fun dancing as we did watching her, and the judges loved it. The duo scored a 23 out of 30 points.
Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff
Jive: "Real Wild Child" by Buddy Holly
Gavin is probably one of the most currently popular stars on the show, which makes him a great underdog to root for. He's not one of the best performers in the bunch, but he's certainly not the worst. His kicks and flicks definitely need some help, but his overall performance was highly enjoyable to watch (who knew he'd look so good in leather?). Dancing doesn't come naturally to Gavin, so he'll have to work harder than some of the others to reach up to their potential, but this routine was a significant improvement from last week. So if he keeps on improving he could be in this competition for the long haul. The judged granted them a 21 out of 30.
Jack Wagner and Anna Trebunskaya
Jive: "Gimme Some Lovin" by The Spencer Davis Group
This Jive was filled with fast, complicated dance moves and given that this is still only the second week, it's understandable that poor Jack feel a little out of sync at times. Sure his kicks weren't all that precise and sometimes he lost step with the beat, but he was able to hold it together and still manage to give an enjoyable performance. In fact, the judges felt his only problem was that he put a little too much energy into the dance, which made him loss control at times. But overall, they were impressed with what he had to offer and earned a respectable 21 out of 30 points.
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Quick Step: "Dancing With Myself" by Billy Idol
Mel and Maks were tied in last place the previous week, so they were hoping to kick their performance up a notch. And they did to an extent. Melissa still seemed a little hesitant at times and you could see she was in her head a lot, not focusing on being in the moment. And when you can see worry or concentration on someone's face, it distracts the audience from fully enjoying the performance. That being said, it was a slight improvement from last week, but she just needs to get more comfortable and fluid in her movements. And unfortunately, when you're working with a group that's this talented, the bar is set pretty high. The judges awarded them 20 out of 30 points -- the same score that they had during their first week out.
Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus
Quick Step: "Sir Duke" by Stevie Wonder
Once again, the empress of soul proved that age knows no bounds on this show. She had a great connection with Tristain and her footwork was amazing. However, the Quick Step is all about technique and the judges felt she wasn't quite up to par in that area. Bruno warned her to watch her frame since it seemed relatively loose throughout the dance and Len admitted that while he respects her a lot for who she is, he didn't care much for the performance at all. From a non-professional standpoint, she was lovely to watch. But sadly, the judges take more than that into consideration when it comes to handing out scores. The pair received a 19 out of 30.
Martina Navratilova and Tony Dovolani
Jive: "Tell Her About It" by Billy Joel
It's always hard when you know a contestant has worked really hard on a routine and it ends up not going the way they planned. Unfortunately, Martina experienced a situation just like that. Right from the beginning, she messed up and stepped with the wrong foot, and she was never quite able to get the rhythm back. There were times when she seemed more on the beat, but for the most part it was sufficiently lacking in timing and energy. She was so concerned with trying to remember her next move that she wasn't able to bring much of a wow factor out on the dance floor. But she maintained a great attitude throughout the whole thing, so she deserves major props for sticking with it. She earned a 17 out of 30, placing them at the bottom of the leaderboard. I fear she may be in jeopardy of going home.
What did you think of tonight's performances? Tomorrow night someone will definitely be eliminated -- who do you think has the biggest threat of being sent home? Sound off in the comments below or get at me on Twitter @KellyBean0415.
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.