I’m headed to the set of Glee and The New Normal today, (Tweet me your questions: @LeanneAguilera) so I’m keeping this intro short and sweet. The week’s edition of Leanne’s Spoiler List is filled with five fantastic shows! I chatted with the lovely Megan Hilty of Smash to find out what’s next for Ivy’s love life, and gathered scoop on what’s coming up for Hannah and the gang on Girls. I also hit up the FOX all-star party to find out what’s happening for the Raising Hope wedding bells and watched future episodes of Shameless and American Horror Story: Asylum to snag some crazy spoilers. Read on for all the TV fun below!
1. Girls: Cocaine-Induced Craziness
Oh em effing gee this season of Girls is amaze. I’ve only seen then first four episodes (subtle brag intended) and I’m already counting down the days til Lena Dunham wins her next Golden Globe. This Sunday’s episode, “I Get Ideas,” is truly fantastic. It has everything you could ever need: puppies, attempted restraining orders, high-waisted shorts and the return of Missy Elliot in the world of pop culture. Donald Glover is back as Hannah’s kinda, sorta, but oh-so hot boyfriend and spoiler alert: He’s a Republican. This of course is not a quality that Elijah deems admirable, but he really doesn’t get any say in this considering he had sex with Marnie for like “two and a half pumps.” And yes, that hilarious matter will be addressed soonish. But as great as the second episode is, the third (“Bad Friend”) is quite possibly the best thirty minutes of my entire life. And I’ve lived 23 phenomenal years so far.
If you thought Shoshanna on crack was incredible, just wait until you see Hannah and Elijah’s wild cocaine-induced adventure. Warning: You will see Hannah’s lady buttons, out and proud for the majority of the episode. And it’s both distracting and entertaining. Our leading lady is looking for some writing inspiration, so she does what any early-to-mid-twenties NYC girl would do: She asks her junkie neighbor if he could hook her up with some illegal drugs. (Writer's Note: I don’t actually live in New York so I have no idea if that last statement is entirely true. Editor's Note: Totally true.) The result is a laugh-out-loud, call your best friend and tell her you love her experience that only Girls could create.
2. American Horror Story: Asylum: Time Jumps Galore!
“What the eff was that?” Those were the exact words I though to myself after I finished this week’s all-new episode of American Horror Story: Asylum. We all know that this season has been absolutely one hundred percent batshit rocking back-and-forth in a corner crazy, and tonight’s episode, “Continuum,” is just as bizarre as the rest of them. The episode is divided into four chapters through a series of fast-paced time jumps: The Kit-centric storyline is set in 1967, Jude’s (or should I say Betty Drake’s) tale takes place in 1968, and Lana’s story in 1969. The final segment is a quick capper that fast-forwards the fans to an unknown year, starring Johnny Morgan (Dylan McDermott) completely scaring the crap out of an old woman.
While all four storylines are intriguing in their own psychotic way, Kit’s journey in “Continuum” is definitely the most horrific. Last week we saw that Alma is actually alive after Kit had already proposed to Grace. Ruh Roh! So, what’s a fella to do when he loves two women and has a child with each of them? Answer: Become one big dysfunctional family living under the same roof. Plus, attention ladies: Kit spends a few key scenes in his tighty-whities! True he’s splattered with blood while he’s wearing them, but come on — we’ve seen way worse on this series. Overall, Kit’s progression throughout the episode is heart breaking, and we’re starting to get the sense that Ryan Murphy does not want to end this season on a happy note. Sigh.
3. Shameless: The Baby Whisperer
Shameless is back, and I’m going to be totally honest when I say it’s better than ever. Last week we saw that after 137 days, Frank returned to his family and was welcomed with a less than enthusiactic reponse. Well, except for Debbie. This week we see that Debbie is still over the moon to have her dysfunctional dad back in her life, but of course, leave it to Frank to break a young girl’s heart in just a few short hours. The result is one of the most hilarious and satisfying scenes we’ve ever seen on Shameless. When I caught up with William H. Macy last week, he revealed that doing that scene was a challenge. “Emma, who plays Debbie, was pretty timid at first, but once she got going she really rattled my brain. I always take quite a beating on this show.”
Also in “The American Dream,” fans will see that Sheila and Jody are doing their best to quiet down the worlds most obnoxious baby. I love this show more than most of my shoes, but I swear if they don’t find a cure for this baby’s crying, then I seriously just might have to watch it on mute. Luckily it looks like Frank is also known as the baby whisperer and he’s able to quiet the little tyke down. I’m not sure if Frank's methods are considered legal, but at least the demon baby stops crying right?
4. Raising Hope: A Modern Wedding
Confession: I’ve recently rediscovered how much I love this show. Back when I was just a little baby journalist, (Ahem, that would be a year ago) my very first interviews were with the stars of Raising Hope. Luckily the cast was sweet and did not make me cry, so I continued on with my career choice. I was on set for last year’s Valentine’s Day episode, when Sabrina finally realized that she had feelings for Jimmy. It was oh-so adorable, and now the two crazy kids are getting married! Even though I wasn’t invited to the wedding, (Um, rude.) Shannon Woodward recently told me that it’s going to be an fantastic, spoof-filled episode. “Melanie Griffith’s character, who plays Sabrina’s mother, she decides not to come to the wedding… So instead of coming to the wedding she hires the film crew from Modern Family to document Jimmy and Sabrina’s wedding.” The actress continues, “Which is basically an amazing way of saying that this episode is exactly like Modern Family — we talk to the cameras, and for one episode it’s like a completely different show.” That. Sounds. Amazing.
Obviously this is going to be the TV wedding to watch this season, (airing Jan. 29 bee tee dubs) but according to Woodward the Natesville nuptials are not going to be the main focus of the episode. “It was really fun, but there is a huge surprise that I’m not allowed to say… but I can say that it is so big that the wedding is almost the B story. You will never guess it. There’s no way you’ll guess it, but it’s worth watching.” I pried and pleaded and even complemented her cute shoes, but she would not divulge the big secret. Grrr. However, she did tell me that there are plenty of other hilarious episodes coming up before and after the wedding. First up are the bachelor and bachelorette parties in an episode called "What Happens at Howdy's Doesn't Stay at Howdy's." Woodward explains, “Something crazy does happen, and it may involve Jimmy marrying a man by accident.” There is also a honeymoon two-parter in which Jimmy and Sabrina visit Los Angeles, end up on the set of a children’s TV show, and somehow involve monkeys. Sounds like a normal vaycay to me!
5. Twitter Question: @markisawimp: Saw 1st hour of Smash s2 & LOVED it, esp the opening Marilyn no. & Jimmy's song! Any good ep2 scoop?!
Why hello there fellow Smash lover! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the first hour of our beloved musical theater drama, and for those who are yet to witness the amazingness you can watch it here. But please don’t even get me started on Jimmy’s song, I swoon, pass out and then bump my head each and every time I watch it (So far I’m up to 9 concussions but it’s so good that I just can’t stop!). Funny you should ask about scoop, because I have tons from when I stalked chatted with the Smash stars last week at the NBC TCA Press Tour party. Megan Hilty — the sweetest girl you’ll ever meet — is just as excited as the fans for the new season to start. In the second episode you’ll witness one of the most gorgeous Ivy solos you’ve ever heard, but she steps on Karen’s toes as Marilyn to be able to sing it. Hilty says that Ivy has a difficult journey ahead of her this season. “She’s forced to really look at her life and ultimately realize that she needs to make some changes, both personally and professionally.”
If you’re hoping Ivy’s personal life will include a new fella, you might have a wait a bit. “For right now, she needs to figure things out for herself first before she can be good for anybody else. Maybe she needs a plant or a dog or something.” Another key aspect of Ivy’s past will be coming back this season: her mother. That’s right: Broadway legend Bernadette Peters will reprise her role as Leigh Conroy, the fabulously fierce musical theater star. Hilty explains that their strained mother/daughter relationship is something that will definitely be addressed. “They’re also trying to mend things between them, but its difficult. They’re two very different personalities and very strong women. It’s a little tumultuous but they’re working towards it.” Be on the look out for more Smash scoop from yours truly as we get closer and closer to the premiere.
Are you excited for the season premiere of Smash? What do you think the “huge surprise” is going to be on the Raising Hope wedding? Want to party with Lena Dunham on Girls? Tell me everything in the comments below!
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[Photo Credit: HBO, Showtime, FX, FOX, NBC]
Leanne’s Spoiler List: 'Glee' Star Naya Rivera Talks NYC and Bram, ‘Justified’ Season 4 Scoop
Leanne's Spoiler List: Season 2 Secrets from 'Smash,' 'Vampire Diaries' Boss Talks Delena
Leanne’s Spoiler List: Seth Gabel Spills ‘Arrow’ Secrets, ‘The Vampire Diaries’ Gets Darker
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While recent animated blockbusters have aimed to viewers of all ages starting with fantastical concepts and breathtaking visuals but tackling complex emotional issues along the way Ice Age: Continental Drift is crafted especially for the wee ones — and it works. Venturing back to prehistoric times once again the fourth Ice Age film paints broad strokes on the theme of familial relationships throwing in plenty of physical comedy along the way. The movie isn't that far off from one of the many Land Before Time direct-to-video sequels: not particularly innovative or necessary but harmless thrilling fun for anyone with a sense of humor. Unless they have a particular distaste for wooly mammoths the kids will love it.
Ice Age: Continental Drift continues to snowball its cartoon roster bringing back the original film's trio (Ray Romano as Manny the Mammoth Denis Leary as Diego the Sabertooth Tiger and John Leguizamo as Sid the Sloth) new faces acquired over the course of the franchise (Queen Latifah as Manny's wife Ellie) and a handful of new characters to spice things up everyone from Nicki Minaj as Manny's daughter Steffie to Wanda Sykes as Sid's wily grandma. The whole gang is living a pleasant existence as a herd with Manny's biggest problem being playing overbearing dad to the rebellious daughter. Teen mammoths they always want to go out and play by the waterfall! Whippersnappers.
The main thrust of the film comes when Scratch the Rat (whose silent comedy routines in the vein of Tex Avery/WB cartoons continue to be the series highlight) accidentally cracks the singular continent Pangea into the world we know today. Manny Diego and Sid find themselves stranded on an iceberg once again forced on a road trip journey of survival. The rest of the herd embarks to meet them giving Steffie time to realize the true meaning of friendship with help from her mole pal Louis (Josh Gad).
The ham-handed lessons may drag for those who've passed Kindergarten but Ice Age: Continental Drift is a lot of fun when the main gang crosses paths with a group of villainous pirates. (Back then monkeys rabbits and seals were hitting the high seas together pillaging via boat-shaped icebergs. Obviously.) Quickly Ice Age becomes an old school pirate adventure complete with maritime navigation buried treasure and sword fights. Gut (Peter Dinklage) an evil ape with a deadly... fingernail leads the evil-doers who pose an entertaining threat for the familiar bunch. Jennifer Lopez pops by as Gut's second-in-command Shira the White Tiger and the film's two cats have a chase scene that should rouse even the most apathetic adults. Hearing Dinklage (of Game of Thrones fame) belt out a pirate shanty may be worth the price of admission alone.
With solid action (that doesn't need the 3D addition) cartoony animation and gags out the wazoo Ice Age: Continental Drift is entertainment to enjoy with the whole family. Revelatory? Not quite. Until we get a feature length silent film of Scratch's acorn pursuit we may never see a "classic" Ice Age film but Continental Drift keeps it together long enough to tell a simple story with delightful flare that should hold attention spans of any length. Massive amounts of sugar not even required.
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox]
Widening the thematic scope without sacrificing too much of the claustrophobia that made the original 1979 Alien universally spooky Prometheus takes the trophy for this summer's most adult-oriented blockbuster entertainment. The movie will leave your mouth agape for its entire runtime first with its majestic exploration of an alien planet and conjectures on the origins of the human race second with its gross-out body horror that leaves no spilled gut to the imagination. Thin characters feel more like pawns in Scott's sci-fi prequel but stunning visuals shocking turns and grand questions more than make up for the shallow ensemble. "Epic" comes in many forms. Prometheus sports all of them.
Based on their discovery of a series of cave drawings all sharing a similar painted design Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) are recruited by Weyland to head a mission to another planet one they believe holds the answers to the creation of life on Earth. Along for the journey are Vickers (Charlize Theron) the ruthless Weyland proxy Janek (Idris Elba) a blue collar captain a slew of faceless scientists and David (Michael Fassbender) HAL 9000-esque resident android who awakens the crew of spaceship Prometheus when they arrive to their destination. Immediately upon descent there's a discovery: a giant mound that's anything but natural. The crew immediately prepares to scope out the scene zipping up high-tech spacesuits jumping in futuristic humvees and heading out to the site. What they discover are the awe-inspiring creations of another race. What they bring back to the ship is what they realize may kill their own.
The first half of Prometheus could be easily mistaken for Steven Spielberg's Alien a sense of wonder glowing from every frame not too unlike Close Encounters. Scott takes full advantage of his fictional settings and imbues them with a reality that makes them even more tantalizing. He shoots the vistas of space and the alien planet like National Geographic porn and savors the interior moments on board the Prometheus full of hologram maps sleeping pods and do-it-yourself surgery modules with the same attention. Prometheus is beautiful shot in immersive 3D that never dampers Dariusz Wolski's sharp photography. Scott's direction seems less interested in the run-or-die scenario set up in the latter half of the film but the film maintains tension and mood from beginning to end. It all just gets a bit…bloodier.
Jon Spaihts' and Damon Lindelof's script doesn't do the performers any favors shuffling them to and fro between the ship and the alien construction without much room for development. Reveals are shoehorned in without much setup (one involving Theron's Vickers that's shockingly mishandled) but for the most part the ensemble is ready to chomp into the script's bigger picture conceits. Rapace is a physical performer capable of pulling off a grisly scene involving an alien some sharp objects and a painful procedure (sure to be the scene of the blockbuster season. Among the rest of the crew Fassbender's David stands out as the film's revelatory performance delivering a digestible ambiguity to his mechanical man that playfully toys with expectations from his first entrance. The creature effects in Prometheus will wow you but even Fassbender's smallest gesture can send the mind spinning. The power of his smile packs more of a punch than any facehugger.
Much like Lindelof's Lost Prometheus aims to explore the idea of asking questions and seeking answers and on Scott's scale it's a tremendous unexpected ride. A few ideas introduced to spur action fall to the way side in the logic department but with a clear mission and end point Prometheus works as a sweeping sci-fi that doesn't require choppy editing or endless explosions to keep us on the edge of our seats. Prometheus isn't too far off from the Alien xenomorphs: born from existing DNA of another creature the movie breaks out as its own beast. And it's wilder than ever.
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
Veteran actor Burt Reynolds has paid tribute to his close friend and comedian Dom DeLuise, who passed away in Los Angeles on Monday night.
The star of Blazing Saddles and Spaceballs died in his sleep in a hospital at the age of 75.
And Reynolds, who acted alongside DeLuise in movies like The Cannonball Run, Smokey and the Bandit II, The End, and All Dogs Go to Heaven, is devastated by the death of his good pal.
In a statement released to Entertainment Tonight, he says, "I was thinking the other day about this. As you get older you think about this more and more -- I was dreading this moment. Dom always made everyone feel better when he was around. I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone. I will miss him very much."
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