First thing's first: if you haven't watched last night's episode of American Horror Story...GET OUT! Right now! This post will spoil a lot of things for you, so don't say we didn't warn you!
Now, back to business: it was an epic evening of episodic television on the Ryan Murphy horror show last night. The revelation that murderer-at-large Bloody Face is in fact none other than our very own Doctor...Oliver Thredson, came as quite a shock to many. (Can anybody say: TWIST!) That's right, the show's beloved Zachary Quinto is, in fact, our killer of women. And while some people may have seen it coming (cough cough I am a television genius cough), others were shocked that the long-built-up serial killer wasn't revealed to be the is-he-or-isn't-he-a-Nazi (he's probably a Nazi) Dr. Arthur Arden, played by James Cromwell.
It was a dark turn for the character many once believed to be the single ray of light to right so many of the erred ways of the Briarcliff staff. Now, we have a whole new set of worries: will Lana live? How has Bloody Face been able to escape prosecution for so long (since he is seen in the 'Modern' sequence, scaring his imitators away from Adam Levine's nearly-dead body)? How many copycats are there? Did this infamy stem from Lana's writing? (Will she live to write the story of Bloody Face?) Will there ever be hope for poor Kit (Evan Peters)? We went right to the source himself, in an interview with Quinto to get some answers.
So how did Quinto feel about his character's dark turn? "I knew from the very beginning [about Thredson being Bloody Face], it was part of the conversation I had with Ryan about coming back to the second installment of the show in the first place," he explained. "As a result I felt that my responsibility then became creating a character that people could trust."
Quinto sees the role as perhaps a bit less foreign to the everyday human experience than most would assume at first glance. "It's more rooted in character and relationships. I like that this was grounded and real, and I'm always drawn to that sort of connection. ... It was an immersion."
But when it comes to playing a serial killer with such deep knowledge of psychiatry? It seems like there's more going on there, huh? Quinto agrees. The slow build to getting the "how" and the "why" of Dr. Thredson's desire to help Lana flee the asylum kept everybody guessing. "I think a lot of his actions in the first four and a half episodes of Asylum were serving some ulterior motive. I think he was trying to gain Lana's trust, gain some proximity and intimacy with her. ... I think he was definitely trying to show her that he could be there for her, that she could rely on him even in as something as ugly as [the process of undergoing aversion therapy treatment]."
Quinto, an openly gay man himself, knows that fans may have found his approval of the therapy unsettling, but asserts that it's just about playing to the times. "... It was a pervasive mentality that homosexuality could be treated ... [Dr. Thredson] was implementing the 'forward thinking' of the time."
That said, Quinto believes Thredson himself doesn't totally believe in it—outside of being a really great manipulation tactic on Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson). "It put him in a position when it didn't work that he could go deeper. ... He knows [the aversion therapy] won't work on some level, I think, and he can sort of be more radical about [getting Lana out] since she already has more faith and trust in him. It's an incredibly manipulative tactic that works."
This, of course, leads to the question: why Lana, of all the patients—someone who, on some level, he must morally oppose (since, you know, he did kill her girlfriend and all)? Well, apparently we're close to finding out! "Next week's [episode] is called The Origins of Monstrosity, so it really dives into a lot of the roots of the characters in Asylum. A lot of things will become clearer and probably more disturbing in the coming weeks." Sounds...ominous.
And while fans can rejoice at the announcement of the third season pick-up, Quinto is staying quiet on his potential role for next season. "I'm so glad it's doing well and people are responding to it...[but] I haven't had any conversations with Ryan about what he's thinking about for a third season."
In the end, Quinto believes that the show is breaking ground, and pushing boundaries that are asking to be pushed in this modern world. "I think there's obviously a sense of collective anxiety in the world that we live in," Quinto explained. "It's very complicated—precariously perched in so many ways [politically and socially], and I think that plays back [in Asylum]. It taps into that kind of primal fear that all of us share, that builds in society, and needs an outlet. ... [Horror shows] stand to serve that purpose ... and I think that's important, actually. It's exhilarating but also a little bit scary that it reflects the world."
Horror shows are certainly reaping the benefits of this fear, it seems, and Quinto agrees. "A story that reflects societal fear back at the audience—on some visceral level—is the most compelling kind of horror, and I think that's what the show's doing in a lot of ways."
What do you think about Quinto's character revelation? Surprised by the Bloody Face unveiling? Sound off in the comments!
[Photo Credit: Byron Cohen/FX]
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The Man with the Iron Fists the directorial debut of music artist RZA is clearly a love letter to all of the Wu Tang frontman's passions. An old school kung fu movie infused with hip hop beats and a comic book aesthetic Iron Fists rarely makes a lick of sense but it's a collage of imagination — and that earns it a few points. Like a cinematic version of the backyard games we all used to play RZA casts himself as a Chinese town's resident badass who teams up with a cowboy to take down an army of ninjas assassins. The freeform style allows him to run wild rarely providing actual thrills but resulting in an action movie overflowing with heart. Bloody bloody heart.
The manic script for Iron Fists written by RZA and Eli Roth (Cabin Fever Hostel) interlocks a handful of colorful characters with varying degrees of success: The Blacksmith (RZA) a freed slave who hopes to earn enough bucks to whisk his love prostitute Lady Silk (Jamie Chung) away from the Pink Blossom brothel; Madam Blossom (Lucy Liu) the brothel's owner (and local mobster); Silver Lion (Byron Mann) a murderous gangster out to overtake the city with the help of his magical metallic underling Brass Body (Dave Bautista); Zen Yi a.k.a. The X-Blade (Rick Yune) whose father was killed at the hands of Silver Lion and now seeks revenge; and Jack Knife (Russell Crowe) a mysterious British gunslinger taking residence at the Pink Blossom who may have ulterior motives. Iron Fists bounces between the plot threads without much worry — you never really know who is doing what or why. But if characters say what they're thinking with conviction then beat the daylights out of their opponent it's supposed to suffice. More often than not it does.
What Iron Fists lacks in coherency it makes up for in absurdity. RZA pumps up the volume on every element of the film from costumes that shoot daggers to flamboyant overacting evildoers to Jack Knife taking the goriest route to defeat an enemy (in this case using a knife gun to rip up a heavyset man's insides). Taking a page from mentor Quentin Tarantino's book anything can happen in this Eastern martial soap opera and everything does happen. It's money shot after money shot the rapid pace reminiscent of channel surfing — likely the way most kung fu fans stumbled upon the type of films that inspire Iron Fists back in the '70s and '80s.
Not every moment pops — unlike Liu and Crowe RZA doesn't exactly light up the screen when given the freedom to go crazy. Blacksmith is a muted mumbling character who doesn't throw himself into a fight the way a kung fu movie demands from its lead. Behind the camera the fight scenes are choreographed similarly to how the movie is structured: randomly with the occasional inspired moment. But the inventiveness of the mechanics keeps Iron Fists working. A scene with two twins using contortion to throw and kick and punch their way through hoards of bad guys is a joy. Seeing Crowe (obviously not an expert in martial arts) lay down a few moves is pure fun too.
The Man with the Iron Fists isn't as expertly crafted as Tarantino's Kill Bill but it has more mind-boggling oddities. RZA unleashes his passion into the film so even when the story or action isn't working something else on screen is.
Running Scared is a few plots shy of being well-thought out. It starts with Joey Gazelle (Paul Walker) a low-level employee of an Italian mob family who over the course of 18 hours has one hell of a time. First he has to get rid of a gun that killed a crooked cop in a drug deal gone bad. Instead of disposing of it however Joey goes home and hides it in a panel in the basement as future collateral only to have his 10 year-old son’s best friend Oleg (Cameron Bright) discover and abscond with the weapon so he can shoot his abusive Russian stepfather (Karel Rodan) who is also mob connected. Then we get to follow young Oleg now on the run as he encounters all manner of nocturnal miscreants. I mean seriously this is the kind of night that should permanently screw the kid up. Meanwhile Joey--aided by both his wife Teresa (Vera Farmiga) and son--is trying desperately to get to the boy and the gun before the mob factions find out. Not one of your more stellar evenings. What is cutie-pie Paul Walker doing shooting people having sex on a dryer and saying the f-word over and over after he just saved a pack of Huskies from freezing to death in the Antarctic? Kind of bad timing for Walker to have his feel-good family movie Eight Below released a week before this R-rated bloodbath. Running Scared definitely shows an edgier Walker but the outdoorsy movies just work better for him. The young Bright on the other hand has made a short career of playing creepy sullen kids. First he disturbed us out as a cloned child in Godsend; then he made us really uncomfortable as a kid who claims he’s Nicole Kidman’s reincarnated husband in Birth. So playing a boy who goes through one of the more nightmarish evenings ever isn’t really a stretch. As a side note Farmiga (The Manchurian Candidate) does a nice job as Joey’s wife who has just as much chutzpah as any of those testosterone-pumped mob guys. This is how writer/director Wayne Kramer (The Cooler) describes Running Scared “It’s like a Grimm’s Fairy tale nightmare but taking place in the Mob world…” Well no kidding. Kramer uses familiar gritty crime drama techniques such as framing the film in that grainy washed out look and doing slo-mos of people getting plastered by shotguns. You know the drill. It’s effective but the problem is while Kramer bombards the audience with one Grimm situation after another--from pedophiles to crazed pimps to ear-biting gangsters--he forgets to create a cohesive film. Of course the director nearly redeems himself with a clever twist near the end but it’s just not enough to make up for the many times you’re sitting there cringing and thinking “What the…?”
She's a hip-hoppin' be-boppin' mean ol' nanny who whips a mean stew and your butt for not doing your homework—and now she's back! Alas we don't speak of the Mrs. Doubtfire sequel but rather that of Big Momma a.k.a. FBI Agent Malcolm Turner (Martin Lawrence). Agent Warner has cut ties with the FBI at the behest of Sherry (Nia Long)—who as you no doubt recall is the granddaughter of the real Big Momma—since she's pregnant with Malcolm's baby. But wouldn't you know that he gets sucked back in after a former colleague is killed. Posing as Big Momma he's hired as a nanny to a suburban family the deadbeat dad of which is involved in the murder and a crime plot. She does it all—cooks cleans dances and even runs down bad guys but it's a race against time to stop the potential national security crisis. That is a race against the film's (mercifully) short running time. Although Lawrence's resume includes some of the dregs of comedy it's hard to argue that he is truly blessed when it comes to physical comedy and comedic timing. He continues both trends here this time without the help of the breakthrough actors of the past two years Paul Giamatti and Terrence Howard who yes both starred in the first Big Momma's House. That means Lawrence's urban mania is truly on its own and absurd and juvenile as the film may be even film snobs can't hold back a few laughs at his Big Momma outlandishness. Longreturns for no more than a select few scenes and to provide a minor conflict in the story. The notable newcomer is CSI's Emily Procter as the sterile mother who hires Big Momma. She does a serviceable job as a suburban Petite Momma. Might she be the next Giamatti or Howard to bolt to bigger and better things in time for the next sequel? No.
Big Momma's House 2 is right up director John Whitesell's alley. He's the guy behind such misses—though not necessarily financially—as Malibu's Most Wanted and See Spot Run and he's right at home here. Whitesell doesn't hold back in (literally and figuratively) pulling the robe off Big Momma but he clearly knows that nothing is to interrupt Lawrence's antics not even the thin story line. Aside from that he knows quite well how to execute thinly veiled rip-offs of the aforementioned Mrs. Doubtfire as well as countless other hidden-motive comedies (i.e. Kindergarten Cop Houseguest et al). Because while the main guise is the Big Momma fat suit Whitesell parades the film about as a feel-good/family flick.