Black American actress, singer and dancer who began her career at age 5 when Hal Roach took her out of an orphanage to play Farina for about a year in his "Our Gang" comedies. Brown's career in film w...
The genesis of Universal's 47 Ronin is almost as tragic as the actual history that the movie is culling from. As the story goes, Universal saw the sprigs of talent sprouting from fresh faced director Carl Rinsch, whose previous experience was limited to just a couple of commercials and a nifty short film. The studio decided to ease the new director into feature filmmaking by cutting him what amounts to virtually a blank check, and giving him charge over a multi-national samurai fantasy epic. Almost impossibly, the film isn't a complete disaster. It's just a minor one.
47 Ronin follows the classic story of the titular team of warriors, a group of disgraced samurai who band together to seek revenge against a merciless warlord that betrayed and killed their master. But this isn't your grandfather's version of the story. 47 Ronin is an international affair, and it's covered with a veneer of Japanese mysticism and a thick coating of Hollywood lacquer, but east meets west rather uncomfortably, and it's mostly due to Keanu Reeves. Reeves' character is clearly crowbarred into the story that has no room for him, and it's plainly obvious where the seams of the story were stretched in order to patch him into the narrative. Reeves plays Kai, a half Japanese, half English orphan who is adopted by the samurai clan. His character serves no real purpose beyond being white, slicing things until they die, and playing the male lead of the most superfluous love story of the year. Rinsch simply can't make the inclusion of the character feel organic in any way, and "Kai" ends up feeling like a calculated studio move. It's a shame that the film spends so much time on Reeves when the real star is clearly Hiroyuki Sanada, who plays off the stoic samurai most believably among the rest of the cast.
It's also shame that with all the mysticism pumped into the story, there's no magic in the actual center of the film, the ronin themselves. The only personality trait a samurai is allowed to possess seems to be unerring stoicism, and between all 47 ronin, there are probably only three distinct samurai with any discernible character traits beyond an intense need to brood, and you'll probably only remember those three by the time the credits roll, only to promptly forget about them only a few hours later. Thankfully, Rinko Kikuchi's slinky and treacherous witch adds some much needed camp and personality to the mostly forgettable human characters.
And that's the issue with 47 Ronin. It's largely forgettable. When your film takes on a historical legend like the tale of the 47 ronin, a story that has been told and told again ad nauseum over the years, you really need to justify your own version. There are reels and reels of film dedicated to this story, and 47 Ronin doesn't manage to add anything significant to the canon. It promises to weld myth and history together, but does so clumsily, and while some of the action scenes are exciting, especially a particularly inspired set piece that involves the ronin noiselessly breaking into a heavily guarded fortress, the film is a bore when it's not clanking swords together.
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47 Ronin is a film with many stories. As much as it is a tale about the revenge of four dozen masterless samurai, it's also the tale of an inexperienced filmmaker swallowed up by the enormity of blockbuster filmmaking. Most of all though, It's proof that you shouldn't cram Keanu Reeves into a movie that doesn't really need Keanu Reeves. What you're left with is a dull and bloated samurai epic that has its moments, but feels largely unnecessary.
Lucille Ball's signature polka-dot dress and props from Indiana Jones & The Temple Of Doom have smashed expectations at a Hollywood auction. The items went under the hammer at a Profiles in History sale earlier this week (30Jul13) and experts were left staggered as bids sailed past the estimate prices.
Ball's Lucy Ricardo dress was expected to sell for between $40,000 (GBP26,600) and $60,000 (GBP40,000), but it sold for $168,000 (GBP112,000), while a lot of sankara stones and a pyrotechnic bag from the Indiana Jones film went under the hammer for $72,000 (GBP48,000) - $64,000 (GBP42,600) more than the estimate.
Profiles in History bosses also raked in a fortune at a Hollywood sale over the weekend (28Jul13) when a selection of costumes from classic movie The Sound of Music sold for $1.3 million (GBP866,000).
The garments included the main outfit worn by the Julie Andrews' character Maria, which was described in the auction handbook as "a heavy brown homespun Austrian-style dress with a wheat-coloured homespun blouse".
Floral lederhosen worn by cast members who played the Von Trapp children also went under the hammer.
Another highlight was a costume worn by late actor James Gandolfini in his final scene of The Sopranos, which sold for $22,000 (GBP14,600). The outfit was placed under auction before Gandolfini passed away from a heart attack while in Italy last month (Jun13).
Other big sellers included Steve McQueen's signature brown tweed jacket from Bullitt, the original Charlie Chaplin 'Tramp' cane from Modern Times, and Judy Garland's 'Dorothy' dress from The Wizard of Oz, which sold for $360,000 (GBP240,00) - exactly twice its estimate.
If you’re like me, then you’ve noticed icy glares and condescending vibes after admitting that you’ve never seen a single episode of Arrested Development. Sure I’ve done my best to pretend to be a Bluth family fan — often throwing out a simple, “No touching!” or “Her?” into a conversation — but I’ve never had the time or deep-rooted desire to delve into the quirky comedy. Until now.
Maybe it’s my desire to not be left out of the water cooler conversation or simply the fact that it’s a long weekend and I’d rather relax on my bed instead of wearing pants and going outside. But either way, I’ve decided to do the unthinkable: I jumped right into Season 4 of Arrested Development without any prior knowledge of the series or the characters. And you know what? It wasn’t nearly as confusing or daunting as the AD fans made it out to be — it was actually a fun challenge.
I was invited to plenty of Arrested Development viewing parties this weekend but I thought it would be better for everyone if this were something that I tackled all by my lonesome. A sink or swim kind of deal. Plus, no one likes that annoying girl who constantly asks questions or says, “Wait… what? I don’t get it.” during the show. We all hate that girl. I hate that girl. And I had no intention of burdening my friends with my lack of AD knowledge during their special time.
So I put on my sweatpants, grabbed the chocolate-covered banana chips from my freezer — A special gem from the Trader Joes dessert aisle — and pressed play on Season 4, Episode 1 of Arrested Development. 24 wonderful minutes later, I found myself smiling from ear-to-ear. Not only does the show have a unique sense of humor and droves of A-list guest stars but this first episode “Flight of the Phoenix” was riddled with plenty of flashbacks and helpful background information from an enigmatic narrator.
I hope that the regular AD fans are not annoyed at the narrator’s brief recaps because they really helped me to understand a few things. Like why Liza Minnelli — or should I say Lucille 2 — kept falling over, or that Michael’s relationship with his son is not actually as incestuous and creepy as it looks. It was a helpful and unexpected guide that made me feel less guilty for my Bluth mental shortcomings.
But don’t get me wrong, I’m no expert and there were still a handful of inside jokes that went way over my head. For instance, I have no clue as to why Michael walked away while the infamous Charlie Brown music played, why there was so much winking going on, or why Michael’s brother has a bedazzled hook for a hand. And was that kid yelling “Loose Seal” during that play? These are the questions that will keep me up at night.
However, not knowing the history of these characters has been a unique and thrilling challenge because I’m forced to pay close attention to each and every little detail. It’s like putting together a jigsaw puzzle but only using the cardboard side to connect the pieces — it’s confusing at times but infinitely more rewarding when you finish.
I completely understand that by jumping head first into this season that I am missing out on dozens of long-running jokes and probably severely pissing off the diehard AD fans. My apologies for my lack of devotion so please stop giving me snarky looks through your computer screen. I’m not trying to shortcut my way into the cool kids club that is Arrested Development. I simply wanted to see what all of the fuss is and fall in love with these characters that I’ve heard so much about.
Perhaps after I finish this new season, I’ll move on to Season 3 and eventually work my way back to the beginning. I’ll discover the origins of all the Arrested Development jokes along the way until I’ve reached the very first episode starring the dysfunctional yet loveable Bluth family. I’m really excited to meet this Steve Holt that I’ve heard so much about.
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Watching Arrested Development is like playing a video game. The more you dedicate yourself to the intricacies, the more you'll be rewarded. Mitch Hurwitz's beloved comedy series regularly rewards its devoted fans with self-directed references that build upon one another as the episodes progress. In short, the more you watch, the more funny the show's jokes become.
Surely, the forthcoming season of AD (which began filming yesterday) is bound to revisit some of the original run's most memorable running gags, from oft repeated one-liners to more intricate plot callbacks. As the new episodes enter production (as proven by star Jason Bateman's Twitter account, revealing photos of the team returning to the set), we can't help but think back on some of our favorite recurring bits through our first three years with the Bluth family. Here's a list of some of our staff's favorite Arrested Development running jokes that we presume, and hope, will find their place in the show's return.
"I've Made a Huge Mistake."
GOB first utters his catchphrase during Arrested Development's fourth episode... twice. First, upon realizing that he might have gotten himself into a trickier situation than he imagined after getting himself locked up in jail. Second, immediately after committing himself romantically to his then-girlfriend (though not for long), Marta.
The Enchanting Mrs. Featherbottom
In an effort to reconnect with his moderately estranged daughter Maeby, Tobias Fünke developed the Mrs. Doubtfire inspired plagiarized alter ego Phylidia Featherbottom in the second season episode "The Immaculate Election." The character's crowning moment came when she plummeted from the second story of the Bluth family home into the living room coffee table, in an effort to bequeath the power of whimsy unto an uninterested Maeby.
Life Lessons from J. Walter Weatherman
As revealed in a flashback in the Season 1 episode "Pier Pressure," George Sr. made a habit of enforcing borderline abusive life lessons unto his young children via the help of friend and amputee J. Walter Weatherman. Over the course of the series' run, JWW helped to teach the Bluth family about leaving notes, not yelling while one's father is driving, and, interestingly, not using people with missing limbs to teach other people lessons.
Sad Charlie Brown Music
Technically, the Charlie Brown musical motif only appeared in one episode — Season 2's "Good Grief" — but made its way into four different scenes, illustrating the sorrows experienced by George Michael, his grandfather George Sr., GOB, and (upon discovering that someone had eaten his hard-boiled eggs) Tobias.
Tobias' Colorful Diction
This isn't so much a running gag as it is a defining characteristic of one of Arrested Development's fan favorite characters. Tobias has a bit of a habit for slipping some pretty shocking innuendo into everyday speech... without even knowing it. It's a big part of why he is so beloved by AD fans. And speaking of colorful...
From the moment she enters their lives in "Let 'em Eat Cake," the members of the Bluth family, Michael especially, make no effort to hide their... unimpressed attitude toward young George Michael's first girlfriend, Ann. Or Bland... Plant. Egg. Annhog. Here's hoping that she makes a thrilling comeback in the new season (perhaps as GOB's girlfriend now?), and is no less receptive to the family's insulting stack of nicknames.
The Literal Doctor
"Let 'em Eat Cake" introduces another much detested character into the lives of the Bluth family... but this one for much better reason: Dr. Fishman, mocked as "Dr. Wordsmith" by Lucille and known to fans primarily as "the Literal Doctor." How did he get this moniker? Perhaps by affirming that Buster would be "all right" after losing his left hand, or by declaring, "It looks like we lost him," after an apparently heart attack-stricken George Sr. sneaked away from his hospital room.
Yeah, the guy in the $4000 suit is going to explain this joke to you. Come on!
The Many Faces of Gene Parmesan
Private detective Gene Parmesan is another element of Arrested Development that only appeared in one episode, but that seems like it spanned the series due to how big an impact it made on fans. Throughout the second season "Amigos," Lucille is shocked (and elated) over and over by the "master of disguise," Gene Parmesan, who is enough of a class act to not even count the money when you pay him for his time.
A HAND-Ful of Buster
After Buster loses his hand in the second season episode "Out on a Limb," Arrested Development takes no caution poking fun at the youngest Bluth sibling's (well, half-sibling/cousin) handicap. Whether he's exasperatedly screaming, "I'm a monster!" or unintentionally puncturing someone... or something... with his hook, Buster's hand jokes are an AD staple.
Introducing Franklin Delano Bluth
The most accomplished member of the Bluth family by far is Franklin: a recording artist and entrepreneur... and a puppet, who GOB first introduced to AD fans in the Season 2 ep "Meat the Veals." Via Franklin, GOB taught the world a lot about living in racial harmony... and about pimping out a prostitute who may or may not be your biological sister.
Although we might not see Charlize Theron return to her role as Michael's "secretly" mentally challenged girlfriend Rita in the new episodes, we can still hope that the family can find its way back to Wee Britain: the California neighborhood that introduced fans to the wild machinations of a yesteryear's James Bond in episodes like "For British Eyes Only," "Notap***y," and, best of all ... "MR. F."
The Fable of Chareth Cutestory: Maritime Lawyer
In an effort to impress a cute prosecutor at a bar in the episode "Altar Egos," Michael decided to make up an identity for himself: Chareth Cutestory. This role also helped Michael live out a longtime dream of actually being a lawyer... a dream that he had ever since taking a role in a school production of The Trial of Captain Hook. The song'll stick in your head like glue.
He Just Likes Cutoffs
No, Tobias. Those do not effectively hide your thunder.
I'll Meet You Down at the Big Yellow Joint
While George Sr.'s twin brother Oscar and son GOB appear to have their share of familiarity with cannabis, neither the family patriarch nor his straight-laced grandson George Michael seem to have much savvy in the realm of narcotics, both affirming awkwardly, "I'm going to smoke the marijuana like a cigarette." Will another comical mismanagement of streetwise lingo work its way into the future of Arrested Development episodes as it did in Season 1's "Pier Pressure" and Season 2's "Sad Sack"? Are we in for a revival of the boardwalk's hit number "Big Yellow Joint"? Just keep Buster's turtle Mother out of the Afternoon Delight box...
”I Just Want My Kids Back.”
Even though Lindsay Fünke might have no idea who Thomas Jane is, most other people do. He’s the star of such blockbusters as the hit family film Homeless Dad, as we saw in the episode “Out on a Limb.” It’s a touching story. He just wants his kids back.
The Family's Grammar Issues
For an affluent, well-to-do clan, the Bluth family doesn't seem to have a great deal of formal education. Especially when it comes to putting together a sentence do they tend to fail, such as seen (most notably) in the Season 3 episode "Forget-Me-Now." Look at banner, reader!
Not too many things seem to bother the guards at George Sr.'s prison. People sneak out of jail, sneak into jail, get stabbed, push each other off balconies, form alliances, teach courses on misguided versions of major religions... but as fans learned in the second episode of the series, "Top Banana," there is one rule that is always enforced: "NO TOUCHING!"
And of course... The Chicken Dance
After making its first triumphant appearance in the Season 1 episode "Staff Infection," GOB's nothing-like-a-chicken chicken dance (used primarily to torment Buster over his cowardice) has become arguably the most beloved element in the entire series. The rest of the family eventually got in on the act: Lindsay, Lucille, and George Sr. each contributed equally brow-raising depictions of the barnyard fowl. Enjoy the clip below, and watch out for Arrested Development's fourth season!
[Photo Credits: Fox]
Michael Jackson's longtime costumers, Dennis Tompkins and Michael Bush, will design the suit the King of Pop will be buried in.
The Los Angeles-based designers, who have worked with Jackson for the last 20 years, had been creating costumes for the late pop star's This Is It comeback concerts in London.
A private family funeral will be held on Tuesday morning in Los Angeles before a public memorial at the Staples Center.
Reports suggest that Jackson will be laid to rest in a replica of James Brown's bronze casket at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills, where his grandmother was buried in 1990.
Other stars whose final resting place is at Forest Lawn include Lucille Ball, Bette Davis and Liberace.
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MORE NEWS: Madonna Blames Jackson's Childhood for Downfall
Eva Longoria poked fun at the infamous Desperate Housewives Vanity Fair cover shoot spat on Saturday Night Live on Saturday by playing a scene-stealing Teri Hatcher.
Longoria recalled the photo shoot, which turned disastrous when Hatcher allegedly started sobbing when her castmates insisted she wasn't positioned to look like the star of the show.
And while SNL regular Rachel Dratch played Longoria, the lovely Latina played Hatcher, who was always vying to stand in the center of the group shot.
The hilarious skit also poked fun at fellow Desperate Housewives star Nicollette Sheridan's manly qualities—she was played by comedian Seth Meyers and refused to sit in the front of the shot for fear of revealing her "package."
The spoof shoot turned chaotic when a publicist revealed that Longoria couldn't sit next to Felicity Huffman because Huffman was allergic to the Latina's perfume and Hatcher couldn't stand next to Marcia Cross because the actress feared her head looked too small compared to Cross'.
Longoria's debut as an SNL host was a big hit—she also played a mohican-haired dance music star, called Ms. Drama Martinez, Helga Englehart, the leader of a German oompah band, a character in R. Kelly’s “In the Closet” video and she recreated beloved TV star Lucille Ball for a Thanksgiving Day pecial spoof.
She also starred in a mock TV ad for a diarrhea medicine, which helped cure her of the "brown drizzlies," admitting, "It's hard to be glamorous when you're about to launch a butt submarine."
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Was living in an orphanage when producer Hal Roach cast her as Farina in the "Our Gang" comedies
Black American actress, singer and dancer who began her career at age 5 when Hal Roach took her out of an orphanage to play Farina for about a year in his "Our Gang" comedies. Brown's career in film was rather brief, though she did small roles in the later all-Black features "The Green Pastures" (1936) and "Stormy Weather" (1943). Brown also sang and danced for many years as the headliner of Babe Barlow and the Sugar Drops. Not to be confused with white American actress Lucille Brown, leading lady of a handful of modest films in the 1930s.