Everything is different, yet nothing's changed: the Season 4 premiere of Justified was a wacky, wild ride — albeit one that set the stage for a really intriguing season, with Raylan barely holding on as a f***ed up, brokenhearted mess, and Boyd gleefully managing the Harlan criminal enterprise with the love of his life by his side. Even though these two characters make magic when they're on screen together, Tuesday's episode (and, from what we hear, the next few) found both men on two equally engaging (and equally batshit) separate journeys. One involved braces, breasts, and a secret bag from the '80s, the other a "snake church" run by Timmy from Jurassic Park. Basically, if last night can be used as an indicator, Season 4 is going to be really, really fun, and a departure from last year's darker fare.
Let's start with Raylan, whose wild ride began with good intentions: He received a late night call from one of the many hotties he's spent the night with, only this one wasn't a booty call — the woman was a bounty hunter, who would pay up if Raylan could deliver an escaped parolee convicted of double homicide. Easy enough, and Raylan needed the money for his unborn baby with she-who-will-not-be-named (okay, Winona). He caught the chatty criminal before I had time to grab my popcorn from the microwave, delivering one of many memorable lines from last evening after the man continually excused his actions (They were heroin dealers! They totally deserved to get murdered!). "You run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. You run into assholes all day, you're the asshole."
Truer words, Raylan. (Also, pot-kettle?) But the unlikely duo was about to encounter two criminal (and one well-meaning) assholes — Raylan received another late-night call as he attempted to drive his bounty over the state line, this time from comedian Patton Oswalt, known here as Constable Bob Sweeney. Sweeney, an old high school classmate, had been watching over Arlo's house while the old man rotted in prison, and a couple of kids had broken in and stolen some copper (more on them later). Raylan locked his bounty in his trunk and went over to investigate, and while poor Bob — who never amounted to anything after high school — prattled endlessly about long-forgotten high school victories, Raylan found what the kids were really looking for: a bag containing the 1979 driver's license of one Waldo Truth. (Aside: This is probably where I should mention that the episode began with a flashback to the early '80s, where a man fell from the sky with a bunch of bricks of what looked like cocaine. End of flashback.)
Raylan took the bag, not thinking much of it, and went over to the hardware store to buy some copper. There he ran into the female half of the teen duo from Arlo's house, who promptly enticed him with a literal and metaphoric screw (while wearing braces) and flashed her ample chest. But Raylan's an ass-man, and not a statutory rapist, so he politely declined her generous request...
... Which ended up to be a poorly-planned ruse. While she flashed her goodies, her boyfriend ran off with Raylan's car — which, if you remember, carried an escaped parolee in the truck. Bob told Raylan that most of the stolen cars in town end up immediately crushed in a junkyard for $500, so they hightailed it over to Criminal N' Sons Shady Illegal Activities Junkyard to retrieve it, and him. The man had already been freed by the wonder twins, who were holding him in the shed at gunpoint. This all led to a classic Justified-ian sequence where Raylan had several guns pointed at him, but somehow got out of it based on a stroke of luck — or, this time, a stroke of Bob. Bob stabbed the teen girl — who was being held by the parolee — in the foot, giving him time to regain control and announce to the duo that he knew they wanted the bag, not the copper or the car. Phew. Got that? This marked the end of Raylan's first adventure with Constable Bob, but he's a great comedic foil for Raylan who has been a total laconic downer his entire life, so I'm very excited to see more of him and his adorable man-crush on Raylan. See you on Twitter, Patton.
Of course, this wasn't the end of "The Tale of the Mysterious Bag" for Raylan — not by a long shot. He finally went over to see his filicide-enthusiast father in prison, who swore on his dead wife's life that he knew nothing of the bag. This would have been the end of it, until he said "Put that bag back in the wall and forget about it." Raylan hadn't said the bag was in the wall, so, sorry dead wife. It will probably be awhile before we find out the importance of Waldo Truth's old driver's license, but apparently it's worth approximately the cost of a man's life — a fellow inmate had the unfortunate luck of overhearing Arlo and Raylan's conversation, and when he approached the old goon later that night, he was rewarded with a stab to the jugular. Believe it or not, this was actually the second murder of the night.
Which brings us to Boyd, arguably the most fantastic person on television right now besides Daryl Dixon. Boyd was using his patented, twisted manner of speech to interrogate a former Oxy dealer (late on his payment) who had recently been saved by one "Last Chance Holiness Church." Boyd, wonderfully, used Biblical verse to justify (hey!) selling pills, comparing them to modern-day wine (albeit in pill form), which Jesus was totally a fan of. "I've got to be honest now, Boyd," the frightened man said. "A lot of the time the way you say things, I can't make hide nor hair." Ha! But that's what makes him beautiful, girl. Also, this line totally came full circle at the end of the episode when Boyd's lack of verbal clarity led to the same man being shot in the face. But more on that later.
In a sequence that fit in wonderfully with the whimsical, comedic tone of the episode, Ellen May (the hooker Ava punched) returned — stupid as ever, snorting a white substance with a john. This john handed her a fake million or billion or trillion dollar bill advertising the very same Last Chance Holiness Church, which they used, hilarrrriously, as their snorting vessel. Of course the show needed a way to bring the strung out Ellen May to the church, so she had a little mishap — the john made her close her eyes, and when he came back into the room for some sexy times, he was dressed AS A GIANT BEAR. You guys, he was a furry. I only found out what this was very recently, and it is endlessly frightening. Ellen May thought so too, so she shot at him several times — not enough to kill him, but enough to scare her into sobriety re: the Church.
So for Boyd and Ava — who are adorably running a large portion of Harlan's criminal enterprise with the whoring and the Oxy — the Church was already becoming a problem. Enter Boyd's mysterious, definite no-goodnik war buddy, Colt (Ron Eldard!), who had been recently discharged due to bad behavior (shooting his comrade in the arm). Boyd offered his old pal a job, effective immediately — then went over to take care of the Oxy payment once and for all: by putting dynamite between the former dealer's legs. He revealed the location of the money he owed, leading to the aforementioned verbal misunderstanding: "Take care of him," Boyd said to Colt. Boyd meant "tie him loose," but Colt took it as "shoot him in the head!" Hey, we all make mistakes. "Well, I guess I have to be more careful with my words," Boyd crooned. The night ended with a peek at the Timmy-led Church (with Ellen May in attendance), which consisted of people holding up snakes on folding chairs in a tent in the woods. This, apparently, is how you get sober in Harlan. All in all, it was a wonderful return for a show that got a little too dark last season, introducing a gaggle of new characters and plot lines that are sure to bring new life to the already vivid series. Your thoughts, pray tell? Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna [PHOTO CREDIT: Prashant Gupta/FX] MORE: Raylan Returns: What to Know Before 'Justified' Debuts, Guns Blazing 'Justified' Gets Season 4: More Timothy Olyphant Shooting Junkies 'Cougar Town' Season Premiere React: Same Old 'Cougar Town', Now with Sex Jokes!
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The TV titan delighted her audience members on Monday (13Sep10) by announcing they would be treated to a trip to Sydney in December (10) to celebrate her 25th and final season of the Oprah show.
The state of New South Wales and Australia's tourism department is paying the staggering $2.7 million bill for the jaunt, insisting the trip will lure a huge amount of visitors to their shores.
Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson explains, "I think it's money well spent. This truly represents an amazing opportunity to showcase Australia, the warmth and hospitality of our people and the depth and breadth of everything our country has to offer visitors from around the world."
But his West Australian counterpart, Liz Constable, has reacted with fury at news of the massive bill - which she only found out about as it was announced earlier this week (begs13Sep10).
She says, "I have spoken to the federal minister Martin Ferguson about this and expressed my disgust with the way Tourism Australia has handled this situation."
After being cursed by delays The Wolfman Hollywood’s latest spin on the popular werewolf myth finally bares its ugly fangs in theaters this week. Predictably the film is a train wreck of a debacle -- one would expect nothing less from a notoriously troubled production that saw its original director Mark Romanek abandon ship just two weeks before the start of shooting -- but The Wolfman’s problems stem less from the late-game addition of helmer Joe Johnston who at the very least delivered a terrific looking film (its gorgeously eerie Victorian aesthetic evoking a palpable exquisite sense of dread is by far its best feature) than from the misguided efforts of its producer and star Benicio Del Toro.
The Wolfman is the brainchild of Del Toro an ardent horror fan who conceived the film as an homage of sorts to the low-budget “monster movies” from the ‘30s and ‘40s that he loved dearly as a child. It’s fashioned as a loose remake of 1941’s The Wolf Man a film that both established Lon Chaney Jr.’s performance as the definitive take on the character and introduced aspects of the werewolf legend now considered sacrosanct. The notion that a werewolf can be felled by an item made from silver for example owes its origin to The Wolf Man.
But Del Toro feels all wrong in the role of Lawrence Talbot the prodigal son of a 19th-century English aristocrat whose fateful encounter with a bloodthirsty lycan the same creature that brutally murdered his brother just days prior triggers his unwitting initiation into the accursed tribe of feral man-beasts. Del Toro's resume of low-key understated performances marked by a muttering often imperceptible delivery in films like Traffic and The Usual Suspects suggests a skill set better suited to playing another famous movie monster one significantly less loquacious than his character in this movie. Seriously -- the guy should have remade Frankenstein instead.
Playing an American-bred (but English-born we’re told) character in an 1890 setting looking uncomfortable in period attire surrounded by such “proper” British actors as Sir Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt and fully annunciating all of his line readings for the first time that I can recall Del Toro appears hopelessly out of place in The Wolfman.
Things only get worse unfortunately when Del Toro’s character transforms into the dreaded werewolf. Each time the moon is full the film transitions with increasing ridiculousness from a somber Victorian drama into a hard-core horror flick replete with grisly shots of torn flesh exposed spines and severed limbs. The first overly gruesome attack triggers a kind of nervous laugh more from the shock than anything else. The second invites an amused uneasy chuckle which soon snowballs into an outright belly laugh. And the effect soon spreads to the dialogue the outrageous gore rendering the film's mannered melodrama strangely hysterical.
Of all the Wolfman players only Hopkins seems to get the joke reveling in his manipulative mischief as Talbot's inappropriately glib stoutly aloof father. If only he'd let his castmates in on it.
Nothing about the action-packed cop genre is left untouched in Hot Fuzz. It starts off by introducing Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) a sort of supercop with an arrest record 400 percent higher than anyone else's on the London force. He's so good he makes everyone else look bad—so his superiors reassign him to the sleepy English village of Sanford. Angel is then paired up with the well-meaning but bumbling Police Constable Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) who is also an affirmed action-movie junkie. He views Angel as a chance to possibly see some real gun-blazin’ action—except nothing much happens in Sanford. Or does it? A series of grisly deaths leads Angel to believe this quiet burg may not be what it seems even though the elders of the town (police inspector Jim Broadbent and local grocery story owner Timothy Dalton among others) shrug them off as “accidents.” It just might be time for these small-town cops to break out some big-city justice. Yippee ki-yay! Pegg and Frost have way too much fun with this. The boys were friends long before Shaun of the Dead and their natural camaraderie is obvious. Pegg is the perfect Abbott to Frost’s Costello as the no-nonsense Angel teaches the affable Butterman a few things about law enforcement while Butterman teaches Angel how to loosen up a bit. Plus that wonderfully dry British sense of humor they both share is infectious which clearly must be the reason the myriad of veteran British actors appear in supporting roles. Along with Dalton and Broadbent there’s Bill Nighy and Martin Freeman as Angel’s superiors who ship him off to Sanford. Around the World in 80 Days' Steve Coogan Cate Blanchett and Extras’ Stephen Merchant make uncredited appearances. Even lesser-known but still recognizable Brits show up including the original The Omen’s Billie Whitelaw (Mrs. Baylock) and Raiders of the Lost Ark’s Paul Freeman (Belloq). Everyone is not only laughing on the outside but on the inside as well. Pegg and Frost’s third partner in crime is co-writer/director Edgar Wright. After the three of them cooked up 2004’s Shaun of the Dead their side-splitting send-up of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead none of them could have imagined the cult success it would achieve. Simon Pegg went on to co-star with Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible III while Nick Frost starred in the British indie Kinky Boots. But it’s Wright who seems to have gained the most attention notably from Quentin Tarantino who took Wright under his wing even asking the Brit to shoot one of the “trailers” for Grindhouse’s intermission. Wright is very creative with Hot Fuzz employing hard quick cuts and framing the action much like the genre he’s poking fun at. The best is after one of the climactic gun battles Angel and Butterman stand in the town square as the camera revolves around them 360 degrees á la Bad Boys. The one drawback to Hot Fuzz is its troubled ending. After what would seem to be a perfect way to conclude the film drags on for another 20 minutes trying to pack in more action-movie clichés. But overall this won’t really detract from the fun you’ll have.