Stage, film, TV actress and former ballerina began her career in the arts as one of George Balanchine's "Baby Ballerinas" in NYC. Hill went on to dance with the Metropolitan Opera's ballet company and...
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 film and television nominations for the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards have been released, recognizing achievements in both individual performances and the strengths of ensemble casts. This year's television award nominations are listed below, including many worthy recipients, but there are also a few surprising absences. Among the hard-hitters listed below are dramas like HBO's Mildred Pierce and Boardwalk Empire, AMC's Breaking Bad and comedies such as ABC's Modern Family (which swept the Emmys this year) and NBC's 30 Rock. However, some might be surprised not to find the new Showtime drama Homeland or NBC's secret weapon Parks and Recreation.
The 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will air live at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Jan. 29, 2012 on TNT and TBS.
Click here to read the list of this year's film nominees.
18th ANNUAL SAG AWARDS NOMINATIONS: PRIMETIME TELEVISION
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Laurence Fishburne - Thurgood (HBO)
Paul Giamatti - Too Big to Fail (HBO)
Greg Kinnear - The Kennedy (Reelz Channel)
Guy Pearce - Mildred Pierce (HBO)
James Woods - Too Big to Fail (HBO
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Diane Lane - Cinema Verite (HBO)
Maggie Smith - Downton Abbey (PBS)
Emily Watson - Appropriate Adult (Sundance Channel)
Betty White - Hallmark Hall of Fame: The Lost Valentine (CBS)
Kate Winslet - Mildred Pierce (HBO)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Patrick J. Adams - Suits (USA)
Steve Buscemi - Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
Kyle Chandler - Friday Night Lights (DirecTV)
Bryan Cranston - Breaking Bad (AMC)
Michael C. Hall - Dexter (Showtime)
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Kathy Bates - Harry's Law (NBC)
Glenn Close - Damages (DirecTV)
Jessica Lange - American Horror Story (FX)
Julianna Margulies - The Good Wife (CBS)
Kyra Sedgwick - The Closer (TNT)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin - 30 Rock (NBC)
Ty Burrell - Modern Family (ABC)
Steve Carell - The Office (NBC)
Jon Cryer - Two and a Half Men (CBS)
Eric Stonestreet - Modern Family (ABC)
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Julia Bowen - Modern Family (ABC)
Edie Falco - Nurse Jackie (Showtime)
Tina Fey - 30 Rock (NBC)
Sofia Vergara - Modern Family (ABC)
Betty White - Hot in Cleveland (TV Land)
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire (HBO) - Steve Buscemi, Dominic Chianese, Robert Clohessy, Dabney Coleman, Charlie Cox, Jose & Lucy Gallina, Stephen Graham, Jack Huston, Anthony Laciura, Heather Lind, Kelly Macdonald, Rory & Declan McTigue, Gretchen Mol, Brady & Connor Noon, Kevin O'Rourke, Aleksa Palladino, Jacqueline Pennewill, Vincent Piazza, Michael Pitt, Michael Shannon, Paul Sparks, Michael Stuhlbarg, Peter Van Wagner, Shea Whigham, Michael Kenneth Williams, Anatol Yusef
Breaking Bad (AMC) - Jonathan Banks, Betsy Brandt, Ray Campbell, Bryan Cranston, Giancarlo Esposito, Anna Gunn, RJ Mitte, Dean Norris, Bob Odenkirk, Aaron Paul
Dexter (Showtime) - Billy Brown, Jennifer Carpenter, Josh Cooke, Aimee Garcia, Michael C. Hall, Colin Hanks, Desmond Harrington, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Rya Kihlstedt, C.S. Lee, Edward James Olmos, James Remar, Lauren Velez, Peter Weller, David Zayas
Game of Thrones (HBO) - Amrita Acharia, Mark Addy, Alfie Allen, Josef Altin, Sean Bean, Susan Brown, Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter Dinklage, Ron Donachie, Michelle Farley, Jerome Flynn, Elyes Gabel, Aiden Gillen, Jack Gleeson Iain Glen, Julian Glover, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Conleth Hill, Richard Madden, Jason Mamoa, Rory McCann, Ian McElhinney, Luke McEwan, Roxanne McKee, Dar Salim, Mark Stanley, Donald Sumpter, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams
The Good Wife (CBS) - Christine Baranski, Josh Charles, Alan Cumming, Matt Czuchry, Julianna Margulies, Chris Noth, Archie Panjabi, Graham Phillips, Makenzie Vega
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
30 Rock (NBC) - Scott Adsit, Alec Baldwin, Katrina Bowden, Kevin Brown, Grizz Chapman, Tina Fey, Judah Friedlander, Jane Krakowski, John Lutz, Jack McBrayer, Tracy Morgan, Maulik Pancholy, Keith Powell
The Big Bang Theory (CBS) - Mayim Bialik, Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Jim Parsons, Melissa Rauch
Glee (Fox) - Dianna Agron, Chris Colfer, Darren Criss, Ashley Fink, Dot Marie Jones, Jane Lynch, Jayma Mays, Kevin McHale, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Heather Morris, Matthew Morrison, Mike O'Malley, Chord Overstreet, Lauren Potter, Amber Riley, Naya Rivera, Mark Salling, Harry Shum Jr., Iqbal Theba, Jenna Ushkowitz
Modern Family (ABC) - Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, Julia Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Nolan Gould, Sarah Hyland, Ed O'Neill, Rico Rodriguez, Eric Stonestreet, Sofia Vergara, Ariel Winter
The Office (NBC) - Leslie David Baker, Brian Baumgartner, Creed Bratton, Steve Carell, Jenna Fischer, Kate Flannery, Ed Helms, Mindy Kaling, Ellie Kemper, Angela Kinsey, John Krasinski, Paul Lieberstein, B.J. Novak, Oscar Nunez, Craig Robinson, James Spader, Phyllis Smith, Rainn Wilson, Zach Woods
S8:E1 Well, it's certainly been a bit of time since you've had a The Office recap to read, hasn't it? Indeed it has! Well, all things considering (like the fact that Steve Carell won't be on this season and the fact that Steve Carell lost the Emmy for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series to someone named after what might as well be Duane Reade's version of Vegemite), I'm pretty excited for what lies ahead of us this year and I think we're going to get some good recaps out of it! Even though we've already had a few spoilers revealed to us about the upcoming season (which, hey, is now THIS SEASON!), I've got a feeling this is going to be an exciting adventure for everyone involved. That is, of course, unless you believe that Jim Parsons deserved the Emmy for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Things might get a little dicey if that becomes an issue. And not the good kind that can pass for okay if you just put it in a nice gold frame.
But I don't mean to impose any divides so early in the game! Let's focus instead on the material that unites us, like the greatness that was last night's premiere episode. Things began rather quickly!
"He talked her out of her own job." - Jim
We started with Jim, who explained that since we last saw him, he and Pam had conceived another baby... and it's a boy this time. Angela also married her State Senator boyfriend and she is also expecting. But more importantly, you're probably itching to know who the new manager is! Right, well, the search committee gave Robert California the job, but then on his first day he walked into the office and the atmosphere was too depressing for him and so he flew down to Florida and told Jo that he would be a better CEO than she would. And so Jo quit and made Robert California the CEO. And then ANDY BERNARD became the Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin Scranton. Everyone else that I didn't mention spent the summer getting really good at planking.
"It's just a list of our names split into two columns." - Jim
Things got awkward, though, when Robert California was doing his routine walk around the office and looking for someone to talk to so he could judge them for what they said. He finally stopped at Erin's desk, and then after reminding her that she should never start describing her day by saying that she woke up that morning, he was called into Andy's office for a meeting. Erin noticed that Robert left his notebook at her desk and when she picked it up to go deliver it to him in Andy's office, she saw that it was opened to a page that had the names of everyone in the entire office divided into two columns. So once Andy's meeting was over with Robert, Erin brought the notebook to Andy and told him that he should ask Robert what each category meant. So Andy did as he was told and when he confronted Robert about why he divided the office in half, Robert said it was just his way of doodling, like the way Jonah Hill's character in Superbad used to uncontrollably draw penises.
"I guess they are losers." - Robert California
Andy was convinced that the list was harmless until Robert California announced that he would be taking some people out to lunch (that included Dwight, Jim, Creed, Toby, Phyllis, Darrel, Angela, Kevin, and Oscar) and that everyone whose name he did not call was not invited. At the lunch, Dwight got Robert to admit that everyone sitting at the table with him was someone he respected and that everyone back at the office was someone who he considered a loser. This, of course, did not sit very well with Jim, or Toby (who hilariously got up from the table and said Robert had made a mistake in confusing him for a winner). While the winners were out eating a fancy meal, Andy was pressured into doing something special for lunch as well and so he ordered pizza, and Ryan complained that the crust was too sharp. But when the "winners" came back from work, it somehow got out that the people Robert took out to lunch were the employees he had high regard for, and that everyone who was at Andy's pizza party wasn't worthy of Robert's attention or praise. This did not sit well with Andy because he considered all of his employees to be winners and so he barged into Robert's office (which was the conference room) and confronted the CEO for a second time about his list with the two columns. Robert then addressed everyone in the office publicly and admitted that yes, the people who he ate with were people he admired and those who were not invited were people he did not admire. He closed his statement with asking the group he ate with to prove his assumptions about them right and then told the group that stayed in the office for lunch to prove his assumptions about them wrong. But the entire exchange seemed very wrong to Regional Manager Andy, who then barged back into Robert's office for a third time and sat down and showed Robert that not one person in the office was a loser by going through each and every one of them and informing him of their strengths. For example, he claimed that Robert wrongly assumed Pam was a loser because she was, in fact, kind and the most creative person in the office. Andy also argued that Meredith wasn't a loser because she was the best customer representative and she never takes no for an answer. In the end, everyone high-fived Andy on their way out for defending them and Jim made his own list on a piece of paper that had "Pam," "Cece" (their daughter) and "new baby" written in one column and then had "everyone else" written in the other column. And Pam cried about it because it was sweet and she was so mega pregnant.
Began her theatrical career as one of George Balanchine's "Baby Ballerinas" in New York
Survived a serious automobile accident (date approximate)
Appeared with the Metropolitan Opera's ballet company
Moved to Los Angeles
Worked as a regular on the daytime soap "General Hospital"
Danced with the Radio City Music Hall Ballet Corps
Co-starred on Broadway in "The Fifth Season"
Starred in the NBC serial "Three Steps to Heaven"
Married Frank Overton
Appeared in the TV series including "12 O'Clock High", "The Twilight Zone", and "That Girl"
Lived in semi-retirement
Starred opposite her then-husband Jose Ferrer in the Broadway production and national tour of "Cyrano de Bergerac"
Divorced Jose Ferrer
Appeared in the Broadway and international touring companies of "Rosalinda"
Stage, film, TV actress and former ballerina began her career in the arts as one of George Balanchine's "Baby Ballerinas" in NYC. Hill went on to dance with the Metropolitan Opera's ballet company and the Radio City Music Hall Ballet Corps before shifting to the legitimate theater. She appeared in the Broadway and international touring companies of "Rosalinda", before starring opposite Jose Ferrer (her husband at the time) in the Broadway and national tour of "Cyrano de Bergerac". Moving to LA in 1962, Hill became an occasional actress in films and a regular presence in TV, especially in soaps. She starred as struggling model Poco Thurman on the short-lived serial "Three Steps to Heaven" (NBC, 1953-54), played a supporting role in the equally fleeting "Morning Star" (NBC, 1965-66), and enjoyed a long stint as Mrs. Dawson on "General Hospital." Hill also played a recurring role on "That Girl" in the 60s.
married June 19, 1948; divorced 1953; died January 26, 1992
formerly a leading dancer with the Monte Carlo Ballet Russe