TriStar Pictures via Everett Collection
An hour and change into Pompeii, there's a volcano. You'd think there might have been a volcano throughout — you'd think that the folks inhabiting the ill-fated Italian village would have been dealing with the infamous volcano for the full 110 minutes. After all, volcano movies have worked before. Volcano, for instance. And the other one. But for some reason, Pompeii feels the need to stuff its first three quarters with coliseum battles, Ancient Rome politics, unlikely friendships, and a love story. But we don’t care. We can't care. None of it warrants our care. Where the hell is the volcano, already?
To answer that: it's off to the side — rumbling. Smoking. Occasionally spiking the neighboring community with geological fissures or architectural misgivings. Pretty much executing every trick picked up in Ominous Foreshadowing 101, but never joining the story. Not until Paul W.S. Anderson shouts, "Last call," hitting us with a final 20-odd minutes of unmitigated disaster (in a good way). If you've managed to maintain a waking pulse throughout the lecture in sawdust that is Pompeii's story, then you might actually have a good time with the closing sequence. It has everything you’d expect — everything you had been expecting! — and delivers it with gusto. Torpedoes of smoke running hordes of idiot villagers out of their homes and toward whatever safety the notion of forward has to offer. Long undeveloped characters rising to the occasion to rescue hapless princesses who thought it might be a good idea to set their vacation homes at the foot of a lava-spewing mountain. The whole ordeal is actually a lot of laughs. But it amounts to a dessert just barely worth the tasteless dinner we had to force down to get there.
TriStar Pictures via Everett Collection
To get through the bulk of Pompeii, we recommend focusing all your attentions away from the effectively bland slave/gladiator/hero Kit Harington — sorry, Jon Snow (he's actually called a bastard at one point) — and onto his partner in crime: a scowling Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje — sorry, Mr. Eko (he and Snow actually trade valedictions by saying "I'll see you at another time, brother" at one point) — who warms up to his fellow prize fighter during their shared time in the klink, and delivers his moronic material with a sprinkle of flair. Keeping the working man down is Kiefer Sutherland — sorry, Jack Bauer — as an ostentatious Roman senator, doling out vainglory in Basil Fawlty-sized portions. When he's not spitting scowls at peasants, ol' JB is undermining the efforts of an earnest local governor Jared Harris — sorry, Lane Pryce (he actually calls someone a mad man at one point) — and his wife Carrie-Anne Moss — sorry, Katherine O'Connell from Vegas (joking! Trinity) — and finagling the douchiest marriage proposal ever toward their daughter Emily Browning — sorry, but I have no idea what she's from.
But questionable television references and some enjoyably daft performances by Eko and Jack can't really make up for the heft of mindless dullness that Pompeii passes off as its narrative... until the big showstopper.
The best player in the World for movie trailers, Hollywood interviews and movie clips.
In truth, the last sequence is a gem. It's fun, inviting, and energizing, and might even call into question the possibility that Pompeii is all about how futile life, love, friendship, politics, and pride are when even the most egregiously complicated of plots can be taken out in the end by a sudden volcanic eruption. But you have to wade through that egregious complication to get there, and you shouldn't expect to have too much of a good time doing so.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com
You know that feeling you get when you take the first bite of a warm, homemade, chocolate chip cookie? The one where you’re body gets all tingly and happy because you’re reminded of home and your childhood and life’s simple pleasures? Well, that’s the exact same feeling you’ll get when watching the Season 1 finale of ABC Family's excellent dramedy, Bunheads.
After 17 episodes of fast-paced, body-twirling fun, it’s time for ABC Family fans to lace up their slippers and put on their tutus for the last time this winter. The Season 1 finale, “Next!,” takes Michele to a magical and far off place — a.k.a. Los Angeles — to see if she still has what it takes to audition for a Broadway show.
RELATED: ‘Bunheads’ Siblings Sutton Foster And Hunter Foster Bond On Screen And Off
To get you excited for all the heartwarming moments, Hollywood.com chatted with Bunheads leading lady Sutton Foster about tonight’s anxiety-filled episode and plans for more Gilmore Girls crossovers.
”In the winter finale we actually see Michelle go on a full-on cattle call audition for a Broadway show, and she’s testing the waters to see if she wants to keep pursuing that dream,” Sutton says. “It’s actually pretty cool because they do it very authentically about what a cattle call would be.”
The episode will make your stomach churn and knees shake just like a real audition would. But in true Bunheads fashion, Michelle is not the only girl to make the drive all the way to Los Angeles — the girls follow her too! Boo, Sasha, Ginny, and Melanie all make the drive to Hollywood on an impromptu road trip and witness their teacher’s entire audition. They even decide to get in on the action as well.
RELATED: ‘Bunheads' Casts Sutton Foster's Mother — Exclusive
Foster says shooting the episode brought forth many déjà vu experiences from her auditioning days on Broadway. “There were 200 dancers in a room and I was one of them, and it was actually giving me anxiety because that’s what I used to do," she says. "I used to go on giant cattle call auditions, and all of the sudden I was back in that room and I was like, ‘Oh God! Oh god! It’s giving me anxiety!’”
This wasn't the first time the actress’ emotions have overwhelmed her on set. An admittedly huge Gilmore Girls fan, Foster says working with Liza Weil brought forth an overwhelming amount of Stars Hallow nostalgia. “She freaked me out the first time she was on!” Sutton says. “Same with working with Sean Gunn… It kind of throws you off because these are people that you’ve fallen in love with and now you’re acting with them. Liza is awesome and now we’ve actually become friends, so that’s freaky. It’s like ‘Oh my gosh! I can’t believe I’m friends with Paris Geller!’”
RELATED: ‘Bunheads' Finale Recap And Sutton Foster Talks 'gilmore Girls' Comparisons — Video
Now that we’ve seen a plethora of Gilmore Girls vets make their debuts in Paradise, who’s next? Sutton is crossing her fingers for Lorelai or Rory. “Well it would be awesome to work with Lauren [Graham] or if Alexis [Bledel] came that would be so cool," Foster says. "Even Sally Struthers, she would fit in so well in the Paradise family — she’d be such a crazy character. Anyone from Gilmore Girls is welcome in Paradise.”
What about a "where are they now"-type episode, with Rory Gilmore passing through town as a full-fledged journalist? “That would be so cool! That would be really really neat, like if she came in to do a story or something," Foster says. "Oh, I’m going to have to talk to [Creator] Amy [Sherman-Palladio] about this!” Fingers crossed our big idea makes it to the small screen if Bunheads is renewed!
You can catch the Season 1 finale of Bunheads on Monday, Feb. 25 at 9PM on ABC Family.
Which Gilmore Girls star would you like to see on Bunheads? Are you keeping your fingers crossed that the show is renewed?
Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera
[Photo Credit: ABC Family]
From Our Partners:25 Most Scandalous Celeb Twitpics (Vh1)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
Disney’s blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean franchise sails into uncharted waters this week with the fourth chapter of the theme park ride-inspired saga, On Stranger Tides. Armed with a new director (Rob Marshall, replacing Gore Verbinski) and a revamped cast (Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley out, Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane in), it hopes to right a ship that even series stalwarts, including star Johnny Depp, admitted went a bit off course with the commercially successful but critically savaged previous installment, At World’s End.
Our correspondent, Sasha Perl-Raver, recently caught up with the cast and crew of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides to find out what moviegoers can expect from the much-anticipated fourquel, which opens everywhere (literally – we’re talking 4000+ screens) on Friday, May 20, 2011.
Penelope Cruz Interview:
Jerry Bruckheimer Interview:
Geoffrey Rush Interview:
Ian McShane Interview:
Sam Claflin and Astrid Berges-Frisbey Interview: