This week’s edition of Leanne’s Spoiler List is overflowing with fun and exclusive details from six spectacular shows. I’ve got the first scoop on The Big Bang Theory’s Valentine’s Day extravaganza, a sweet behind-the-scenes story from Glee, and a sneak peak at next week’s chilling episode of Bones. Plus, I chatted with the stars from Grey’s Anatomy, Beauty and the Beast, and Shameless to bring you your weekly dose of delicious spoilers. Read on for all the smile-inducing TV craziness below…
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1. The Big Bang Theory: Sweethearts and Sisters
There are two things in this world that I love with all my heart: The Big Bang Theory and Valentine’s Day. So the fact that BBT is having a V-day-themed episode next week means I’m pretty much bouncing off the walls with excitement right now. (That also may have something to do with the fact that I’ve had five cups of coffee today… ) In the “The Tangible Affection Proof,” love is in the air for our favorite CBS beauties and geeks, but I've learned complications will be served up by Kaley Cuoco's real-life sister, Briana Cuoco!
Our lovey-dovey foursome — Leonard, Penny, Howard, and Bernadette — are headed out for a romantic double date. Don’t worry girls — they're not taking them to The Cheesecake Factory. Instead, they're treating their gals to a very nice dinner in hopes of giving them the perfect Valentine’s Day. But of course — in true Big Bang Theory fashion — things never go quite as planned. (But why would you want them to?!) While at dinner, Penny spots her ex-boyfriend Matt and the girl that he cheated on her with, Gretchen. You guessed it, Gretchen is played by none other than Briana Cuoco.
While Penny and Co. are dealing with an awkward encounter, Raj and Stuart are planning a singles-only party at the comic book store in hopes of meeting some nice ladies. And over on the world of Shamy, Sheldon and Amy are frantically running around in search of the perfect heartfelt gifts. (Side-Note: Fingers crossed this will be even better than the time Sheldon gave Penny all those bathroom baskets for Christmas!) I can’t reveal all of the amazing details, but I can tell you that this is one Valentine’s Day episode that you definitely don’t want to miss!
2. Grey’s Anatomy: Mr. Seattle Grace
Physician's advisor Dr. Alana Cahill hasn’t exactly been the most popular addition to Seattle Grace this season. Okay, let’s face it, she’s incredibly irritating — especially after last week’s shocking reveal that she’s prepping the hospital to be sold. (The nerve!) Just when you think she can’t get any worse, Cahill decides to channel her inner Effie Trinket and proposes a not-so-friendly competition. One of my spoiler fairies at Hollywood.com got the chance to speak with the brilliant Constance Zimmer (who is absolutely nothing like her strict, harsh character, I promise!) about what Cahill has in store for Thursday’s all-new Grey’s Anatomy, “The Face of Change.”
“We’re trying to put a face to the hospital, specifically Jackson or Alex, so they are trying to compete to be that face,” Zimmer says. “That pits two teams against each other, to see who can look the best in what they’re doing, in their surgeries, in the African exchange program of Karev’s, etc.” That’s right, y’all — be prepared for an all-out battle royale in the halls of Seattle Grace where the interns are the tributes and we’re at the Capitol watching the craziness unfold. (Can you tell I just re-read all of The Hunger Games books?)
Although this is sure to be an interesting episode, it is obnoxious that only Karev and Jackson are fighting to be the face of the hospital. Um, excuse me, but why weren’t any of the ladies considered?! “They’re thinking who would look good on a poster,” Zimmer says. “I know I was asking the question, why not a woman? But I think it’s an overall sense of the hospital and they want to have someone that seems very appealing and likeable and who would be the most approachable. And for whatever reason, that came down to Jackson and Alex.” Humph. Fine, I can’t argue with the fact that both of those fellas would look mighty fine on a poster. But, of course, since this is Grey’s Anatomy, there will be a plethora of twists and turns in the quest for Mr. Seattle Grace.
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3. Shameless: Daddy Issues
We’re only three episodes into Season 3 of Shameless and it’s hard to imagine that things could get any crazier in the Gallagher household — but goodness gracious, they most certainly do! The king of secrets, Jimmy/Steve, has a particularly intense revelation in this Sunday’s episode, “The Helpful Gallaghers,” when he realizes that his father has been weaving a web of lies for years now. Like father, like son, right?
I recently chatted with the delightfully sweet Justin Chatwin to discuss all of the skeletons Jimmy finds in his father’s closet (metaphorically, of course). “He learns that his childhood wasn't what it was, and that his parents weren't who they were, and he eventually finds out that their financial situation wasn't what it was,” he revealed. “Everything that he relied on as a Plan B, C, and D, has completely fallen apart.”
Jimmy’s married pop has been getting down and dirty with Fiona’s underage little brother, Ian. This is a pretty huge secret, and one that is definitely going to be discovered in this week’s episode. I’m not going to reveal how the Gallaghers find out, but let’s just say that the entire neighborhood probably knows by now. So how does Jimmy react to this news? "Jimmy is a little bit homophobic at first, almost,” the actor explains. “Then we realize it's not homophobia he's reacting to, he's reacting to the same thing Fiona is reacting to with Jimmy — is my entire relationship with you dishonest? Is it untrue? How much have you been lying? I think Jimmy has this very judgmental response to it, and I think through judging his father, he starts to see more about himself."
Does this mean that Jimmy is going to tell Fiona that his marriage to Estefania is still very real? Sorry, TV fans, I’m not going to spoil that one for you, but I feel like I’ve given you quite enough Shameless scoop for one week. Moving on!
4. Beauty and the Beast: Vincent’s Choice
Last week, Catherine (and fans everywhere) were thrown for a loop when Vincent’s ex-fiancé, Alex, came back into the picture — conveniently right when Cat and Vincent decided to give their relationship a chance. Oh CW, you sure know how to mess with our hearts, don’t cha? Now that Alex is intent on giving her relationship with Vincent a second chance, Vincent must finally make a choice. But would Alex still be so eager to start a new life with Vincent if she knew the truth about his beastly side?
Earlier this week, my CW expert chatted with the oh-so sweet Bridget Regan, who is lucky enough to play hunky Jay Ryan’s significant other. (Can you tell I’m seething with jealousy?) And the first thing they discussed is how Alex might react if/when she finds out Vince’s secret. The actress explains, “That’s what we’re going to run into in the next episode. Alex is a nurse. She’s a strong woman who is experienced and has face a lot of scary things in her life, but something like this? It’s completely foreign!” Foreign? More like a fairy tale!
“It’s really hard to wrap your mind around," Regan teases. "So that’s going to be the next challenge for her, to see if she can understand this, what would happen, and how she would deal with this.”
Does she think knowing the truth would change how Alex felt about Vincent? “I understand why the fans are so protective of the relationship with Catherine and Vincent, because she does know all of him and she does accept him for all of who he is,” Regan says. “And at this stage, Alex doesn’t know. She loves this memory of a man. She doesn’t really know this man.” BATB fans will have to tune in to Thursday’s all-new episode, “Cold Turkey,” to see if Vincent does indeed share his secret with Alex.
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5. Bones: Stay Away From the Light!
Of all the procedural dramas that flood the airwaves each and every night — and let’s face it, there are a lot — Bones has always been one of my favorites. The only bone I have to pick with FOX drama is the ultra-squishy sounds that poison my eardrums whenever the team handles the guts and goo of their victims. Blegh!
Luckily, next week’s episode, “The Shot in the Dark.” focuses more on who shot Brennan and less upon poking and prodding dead bodies. That’s right, Bones fans — I hate to be the one to break it to you, but our beloved forensic anthropologist will be shot while working late in the Jeffersonian lab. Not only are we presented with the question of “Who done it?” we also need to know how. There’s no bullet!
Fast-forwarding just a bit, we see that Booth, the amazing man that we all know and love, is at her hospital bedside 24/7, but Brennan keeps visiting “another place.” We all know that Brennan very firmly does not believe in God, or heaven, or any other kind of non-logical event, so you can imagine her confusion when she sees her mother sitting on a couch next to her. Grab your waterproof mascara and start lining up your boxes of tissues now, Bones fans, because next week’s episode is without a doubt a tearjerker.
6. Glee Twitter Question: @Faberrything Leanne, you precious cupcake lady, I'm in pain, just took out 2 wisdom teeth. Any good news or something to cheer me up??
Confession: This is the first time I’ve even been referred to as a “precious cupcake lady” and now I don’t want to be called anything else. I’m oh-so-sorry that you are in pain (and probably have really cubby cheeks right now), so how about I tell you about my recent encounter with Glee’s Vanessa Lengies? That girl can cheer anyone up! As you all may or may not know, the creative Brittana fans have imagined a very intriguing background story for Lengies' Glee character, Sugar Motta (AKA my favorite character.) Basically, the fandom has decided that Sugar is Brittany and Santana's love child who was sent to the halls of McKinley from the future — thus explaining her wacky outfits and positively perfect personality. Here’s where it gets good: Not only does Lengies know about this theory, she is 100 percent convinced that it is true!
“Oh, in my mind I am definitely the lovechild of Santana and Brittany. There is definitely no doubt,” the actress says. “Ever since day one when I read that online and I was like, ‘Okay that’s my story,’ and I kind of just go with that in my head. “ But Lengies is not the only one who believes the story — Heather Morris is in on the conspiracy as well! “Heather and I have been planning this whole thing where we’re going to build a spaceship and plan to go back," she says. "Basically, our idea is that Sugar came back and she told Brittany and Brittany was like, ‘I knew It. I knew it the whole time!’ but we couldn’t tell Santana because she would think it’s crazy."
Futuristic follies aside, Lengies tells me she admires how passionate the Glee fans are. “I love all the stories that they write. They’re so epic and amazing, but the thing is when she show doesn’t go along with it, I feel so bad personally, because I’m a Brittana lover.” The actress continues, “Recently, I’ve found it hard to keep biased because I feel like the show is the Bible.” Well Glee-bees, hopefully this silly little story helped cheer you up!
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Are you exited to see Kaley Cuoco’s sister on The Big Bang Theory? Who do you think will win in the Grey’s Anatomy battle? Nervous to learn Brenna’s fate in Bones? Do you agree with Vanessa, is Sugar the futuristic lovechild of Brittana on Glee? Tell me everything in the comments below!
Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera
—Additional Reporting by Sydney Bucksbaum, and Shaunna Murphy
[Photo Credit: CBS, Showtime, ABC, FOX, The CW]
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Actor Nicolas Cage has a lot in common with his superhero counterpart Ghost Rider featured once again on the big screen in the pseudo-sequel Spirit of Vengeance. Much like the daemon-infested crime fighter Cage has the power to make anything he touches explode into a wild blazing inferno thanks to his unique performance techniques. Cage does not simply deliver a line he detonates it; He does not simply react to his co-stars he executes an interpretive dance; He does not simply throw a punch he unleashes physical armageddon. Occasionally the style provokes unintentional laugher but in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance anything less would be unrealistic.
The new adventure finds Ghost Rider aka Johnny Blaze a former stunt man cursed after begging the Devil to save his father's life hiding out in Eastern Europe where he believes his soul-sucking alter-ego can remain silent. But Blaze's TLC session is cut short when Moreau (Idris Elba) an Algerian priest with connections to the Devil's latest diabolical plan arrives. Seems Satan who walks the Earth under the alias Roarke is hellbent on inhabiting Danny the young son of Nadya who made her own deal with the Prince of Darkness. If he succeeds Roarke will continue existing in the world of man—so of course it's up to Ghost Rider to put the kibosh on the end-of-the-world scenario.
If you didn't see the first Ghost Rider movie don't fret; the sequel isn't confined by any established mythology nor is it that concerned with the logic of its own story. Directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor employ a manic eye for action displayed in earlier films like Crank and Gamer shooting motorcycle chases shootouts and flaming skull transformations with adrenaline-infused camerawork that should leave anyone susceptible to motion sickness running to the bathroom. The 3-D transfer of the movie is a non-factor the post-convereted stereoscopic effects rarely intrude on the zippy camerawork. Unlike the Crank films Ghost Rider contends with its script dragging when the movie tries to explain what the heck is going on and only picking up when the directing duo and Nic Cage are allowed to play.
A host of solid supporting actors breath traces of life into half-baked villain and characters—Ciaran Hinds stands out as Roarke playing him like a forgotten Dick Tracy baddie—but at the end of the day Spirit of Vengeance is all Cage's show. With the fire of hell burning inside Blaze is in a constant fight against himself and Cage embodies the monstrous struggle with cockeyed rage and growling vocals. Neveldine and Taylor make the most of their larger-than-life lead and Cage spends most of the film teetering on the edge ballistic fury. That's not to say the movie doesn't take its quiet moments–a scene between Cage and Elba where Blaze begs Moreau to remove the Ghost Rider curse is surprisingly dramatic—but the movie has goals: to rattle you at 100 miles per hour.
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance isn't as fun flashy or poignant as some of its recent comic book contemporaries but for 90 minutes Neveldine and Taylor revel in the ridiculous wringing their character and lead actor for every ounce of mayhem. This is a greasy gritty grunge Ghost Rider purposefully disgusting and low-fi. While a stronger emphasis on story would only help the spotty action flick Spirit of Vengeance proves a decent alternative to the faithful boyscouts and friendly neighborhoood superheroes that fill our big screen blockbusters. Ghost Rider belches magma pisses fire and plays nasty—you probably already know if this movie is for you.
I say "creepy" because Untraceable’s theory could actually be a reality. The possibility of a tech-savvy psycho setting up a Web site that displays graphic murders could happen with the fate of each of the tormented captives left in the hands of the public: The more hits the site gets the faster the victims die--and in the case of Untraceable die in very gruesome ways. Of course Untraceable also gives us a peek at the good guys--the FBI division that is dedicated to investigating and prosecuting cybercriminals. Special Agent Jennifer Marsh (Diane Lane) is one such Internet expert who along with her co-worker (Colin Hanks) is stymied by KillWithMe.com’s untraceablity. But soon the movie turns predictable as the cat-and-mouse game gets personal and Marsh must race against the clock to stop the madman. Lane has certainly looked better in her past movies. For obvious effect they’ve made Agent Marsh rather worn-down with dark circles under her eyes and very little makeup as she sits in front of the computer hunting the bad guys all night on the late shift. The fact that she’s also a widow having lost her cop husband to the job and caregiver to her young daughter doesn’t help the woman get anymore rest. Then when the crap starts hitting the fan and people close to Marsh get hurt the actress really shows the pain on her already haggard face. Marsh even admits “I do a lot of things well but I don’t lose people well.” It’s a standard tough-FBI-agent role and Lane is very capable at it. Supporting her is Hanks (Orange County) as the resident comic relief (what little of it there is) as well as Billy Burke (Fracture) the local cop trying to help Marsh catch the psycho Internet killer. As for the killer himself the actor who portrays him (and I won’t give it away) is very effective in the role. There are a couple of other things Untraceable has going for it besides the chilling premise: director Gregory Hoblit who knows his way around a crime thriller having directed gems such as Primal Fear and Fracture and the dank Portland Oregon locale. Hoblit creates just the right amount of tension and dread as the clock ticks down and the race nears its end but something about an overcast rainy environ just lends itself to more doom and gloom doesn’t it? Of course there are also the torture scenes which add a certain level of Hostel-like horror. What Untraceable lacks is a compelling narrative. The bevy of writers involved (never the best of signs) tend to throw in too many conventional thriller plot points--like the red herrings on who the killer is before he’s revealed and explaining why the killer is doing what he’s doing. All these things dilute the film’s initial potential. Still let’s just hope this doesn’t spawn real-life copycats.
At first glance The Family Stone appears to be yet another silly romp about family dynamics. But the Stones a vivacious loving liberal-minded New England family are more than just cardboard cut-outs; they’re as real as any dysfunctional family can be. The film begins with the Stones getting ready for their annual holiday gathering. Matriarch Sybil (Diane Keaton) is especially anxious to meet her eldest son’s (Dermot Mulroney) girlfriend Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker). The family has been warned Meredith is a controlling neurotic New Yorker with very little redeemable qualities. And when Meredith arrives she certainly does nothing to dispel the notion meeting her potential eccentric in-laws with a mix of awkwardness confusion and hostility. Yet oddly enough the disruption brings about some needed changes within the family Stone allowing them to come together and realize their extraordinary capacity for love. Everyone in this stellar ensemble rises to the occasion and truly paints a very vivid picture of a family devoted to one another--but who are less than approachable to outsiders. As mom Keaton turns in yet another genuine look at a complicated woman dealing with some insurmountable obstacles while Craig T. Nelson as her loyal husband does a nice job conveying a warmth to their marriage. Playing their grownup children is Mulroney as the straight-laced “suit” Everett who isn’t all that priggish; Luke Wilson as the laid-back Ben who seems to have strayed the most from his family; and Rachel McAdams as the passionate if rather acerbic little sister. But the real revelation is Parker as the uptight highly unlikable Meredith. It’s quite a departure from her fun-lovin’ Sex
and the City days and the Parker--who truly is one of the better comedic actresses we have today--easily handles the unpleasant chores of playing someone suffering with chronic foot-in-mouth syndrome. Like many newbie filmmakers writer/director Thomas Bezucha--whose only other credit is the little seen indie Big Eden--has the advantage of having that certain fresh quality to his work. Stone’s dialogue is snappy poignant and spot-on as the Stones interact with each other in all too familiar ways. The whole Meredith scenario will perhaps have many of us remembering similar situations--from both sides of the fence. It’s just as painful to have to meet the family of someone you love for the first time as it is dealing with a family member’s poor choices in mates. And what makes
The Family Stone stand out even more is how Bezucha truly defines the term “dramedy.” From the trailer the film seemed to be a balls-out slap-sticky comedy which in many ways it is but you may be surprised to see how The Family Stone’s more serious tones will touch you.
Go ahead and throw logic out the window on this one folks. A mysterious Tibetan monk with no name (Chow Yun-Fat) has spent a lifetime protecting an ancient document known as the Scroll of the Ultimate--a parchment that will yield unlimited power to anyone who reads it. After running around the globe for 60 years the Monk knows it's time to hang up his robes and find a new guardian but spotting a successor isn't easy in the hustle bustle of the 21st century where Tibetan traditions and rituals are almost non-existent. Maybe the next protector should be the crafty rebellious pickpocket Kar (Seann William Scott) who learned martial arts from watching kung-fu movies; after all Kar helps the Monk escape from the scroll's most avid pursuer Strucker (Karel Roden) a sadistic old Nazi who wants to use the its power to rid the planet of inferior races. Or maybe the Monk's successor is the elusive but beautiful bad girl Jade (James King) whose skills are numerous and who seems to pop up to help Kar whenever he gets in a jam. Whomever the Monk eventually chooses they must first unite to battle the ultimate enemy--and keep the scroll safe.
If it weren't for Yun-Fat Bulletproof Monk would be pretty hopeless. The charismatic actor finds a nice balance no matter what he does and in this case he resists the obvious temptation to play the Monk as a fish out of water in the big city. Since he's long been one of Chinese cinema's most well-known action heroes he's definitely in his element in Monk standing on top of a car with guns blazing and the Zen master persona he discovered in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon serves him well here too. The script requires him to spout off fortune-cookie mumbo jumbo but he manages to do it without sounding ridiculous. The petite King actually holds her own as the brawny-yet-brainy tough chick but the wisecracking Scott is completely out of his element for the first time in his career. He handles the little comedic tidbits well but in no way is it possible to believe that the "Dude" who couldn't find his car and the jackass who drank someone else's bodily fluids in American Pie can be a martial arts hero who saves the planet. It just isn't going to happen.
Bulletproof Monk relies on the ghosts of movies past including Crouching Tiger and the 1986 Eddie Murphy stinker The Golden Child for its plot which results in a film that's chock full of cliches especially the evil Nazi who has spent 60 years chasing after the scroll using his tow-headed granddaughter whose cover is an organization for human rights to do the dirty work. A few bright moments with Yun-Fat coupled with director Paul Hunter's good use of fast-paced martial arts action make the rest of this unimaginative movie somewhat palatable--even novices Williams and King look good doing the moves--but all in all Bulletproof Monk is shooting blanks.