Looks like it’s time to trade in fighting ghosts, angels, demons, purgatory, and the devil himself for spit-up, naptime, and bottles. Jensen Ackles and wife Danneel Harris are expecting a child, People reports.
The Supernatural star (Dean Winchester), 34, and his wife (who most recently played Jenn on Retired at 35, Rachel Gatina on One Tree Hill, and Vanessa in the Harold & Kumar franchise), 33, got married in May of 2010 in the actor’s hometown of Dallas, Texas, and are expecting their first baby later this year. The couple will walk the People’s Choice Awards red carpet on Wednesday, where Ackles and his hit show Supernatural are nominated in several categories. The dad-to-be will also present at the show. Congratulations to the happy couple on all accounts!
Ackles joins the growing list of fathers on the Supernatural set. Co-star Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester) and guest star/wife Genevieve (demon Ruby) welcomed their son, Thomas Colton, in 2012, and Misha Collins (angel Castiel) has two kids with his wife Victoria Vantoch.
[Photo Credit: Nikki Nelson/WENN]
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If there is one thing Pete Wells' caustic New York Times review of Guy's American Kitchen and Bar did for Guy Fieri's Times Square restaurant it's generate buzz. From Twitter to the conference room, Flavor Town has been on the tip of everyone's tongue for the past two days — and Hollywood.com's headquarters is no exception. Along with the rest of the New York Times-reading, Today show-watching, grub-loving population, we couldn't stop talking about Fieri and his, as Anthony Bourdain so gracefully put it, "terror dome." The one question that was heard echoing throughout our office was, "Could it really be that bad?" Naturally, we had to find out for ourselves. So lunch today for Kelsea Stahler and myself took place at Guy's American Kitchen and Bar.
Even in the wake of a foodie scandal — or as close to a scandal this industry gets — it was business as usual today at 220 West 44th Street. The place was hopping, filled to the brim with hungry tourists and business lunches. According to a restaurant employee, who was instructed to stay neutral on the topic, "Today was just a normal day."
But for passersby and diners alike, the Times review and its fallout was never very far from anyone's mind. A man from Columbus, Ohio, told us as he casually perused the menu outside with his wife, "We knew about [Fieri], we had seen him on the food channel." His wife chimed in, "Yeah, I knew he had a restaurant here before we saw the review." She added, "We saw him on the Today show this morning. I thought he did an excellent job, stood up for himself." And, despite the potential diners' familiarity with the scathing review and the fact that much of the food on the menu "look[ed] kind of heavy," the two headed inside for a bite.
Rishi Sharma and Alex Wolfe, young professional New Yorkers working in the finance industry, cited Wells' review as the sole reason they and a friend chose to make the trek across town to Guy's American for lunch. And the verdict: Not so bad. Sharma (who enjoyed the pork sliders, mac and cheese, and calamari appetizer) said of his experience, "The food was good, our service was very good. The food was flavorful, our waiters were very attentive. The ambience was like a normal, mid-sized, good old fashioned American chain. So I walked away thinking it was a good experience."
But that doesn't mean the review was forgotten. In fact, Wells' critiques formed the foundation for Wolfe and Sharma's lunchtime chatter. "We were just saying over lunch that we're all foodies. No one is more discriminating and can be scathing in their criticism than us," Wolfe said. "But come on, it's a mid-sized, mid-priced, chain restaurant and for that I think it's very good. And I think the review, as entertaining as it was to read, was pretty unfair, pretty over the top. And almost kind of… you think about the New York Times being the gold standard in journalism and all that, and I thought that that review was so over the top that it almost compromised their integrity. And that comes from three vicious food critics."
A couple who wished to be identified as "Native New Mexicans" also said the were inspired to check out Guy's American after reading Wells' review. "I watch Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. And it was such a scathing review that it was like, Could it really be that bad? So we decided to come and see how bad it was," the wife offered. The couple also echoed Wolfe and Sharma's faint praise of the cuisine at Guy's American. "I thought it was typical bar-type food that was fine. I had the tortilla soup which tasted good. My waitress was cute and nice and friendly," the woman said. (She later clarified, "My tortilla soup was good, but I was warned that it was spicy and — we're from New Mexico, we know what spicy is — it wasn't that spicy. It was tasty, but it wasn't spicy.") Both agreed that the apple crumble (called "House Made Granny Apple Crumble," $11) was the best thing they ate.
Thanks to the review's instant viral popularity, news of its vitriol spread beyond the restaurant's haven on 44th street and into the wilds of Times Square. There we found Jennifer, a young woman visiting New York from Santa Monica, who knew much of the review. "I thought [the review] was pretty funny. I mean, I haven't eaten there, so I don't know, but my instinct is that it was fair. I think there's room in reviews to be creative." Would she be stopping by to see how things were for herself? "I was actually thinking about taking a picture and tweeting it and saying, 'I've heard a lot of buzz about this place. Maybe I should check it out.' But I wouldn't actually eat there."
The question at the heart of this whole debacle is whether the Times was right to hold Guy's American to the same standard as they would the "fine dining" restaurants they usually review. Can we expect the same things from Guy Fieri's curation of greasy American bar food located smack dab in the middle of tourist trap Times Square that we would from Thomas Keller or Wylie Dufresne? Although she enjoyed chuckling at Wells' review, Jennifer thinks not. "I get his brand and I'm sure that the people that would want to eat at his restaurant wouldn't feel the same way that a New York Times reviewer would," she said.
She added, "I mean, it's kind of like reviewing Applebees, right? So I bet that for people who love Guy Fieri and really follow his brand it's going to be just great. And I think that a lot of people who are tourists, especially in Times Square, that's the kind of expectations you have."
And indeed, Jennifer has a point. In waiting to question unsuspecting diners as they exited the restaurant, we witnessed Beth Mowry and Abbey Brown, two young women from Ohio, walk up to the menu posted outside the door, take a gander, and go inside — only to exit two minutes later. "What made you decide not to eat there?" we asked. They gleefully responded, "We're going to, we made a reservation for tomorrow!" While Brown admitted she had read Wells' review earlier that day — "I think it was a little harsh. I mean, if he didn't like it he should give them a bad review, but the things that he said were a little extreme," she said — Mowry was simply a fan of Fieri's. "We just passed by, happened to notice the name with the sign and wanted to check it out," she said. Both agreed, "We watch his show and enjoy it."
Let's now kick it back to our initial query, "Could it really be that bad?" The general opinion seems to say no, not really.
Follow Abbey Stone on Twitter @abbeystone
[Photo Credit: PR Newswire/AP Photo]
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While the majority of viewers still tune in to How I Met Your Mother every Monday night to finally find out just who the elusive “Mother” is, there are some of us out there — ahem, me — who tune in for Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin (Cobie Smulders).
For seasons, I have been ‘shipping these two crazy kids, and co-creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas gave me a short reprieve. For those of you who don’t remember or didn’t see the evolution of one of the most entertaining relationships on TV, let me give you a short timeline (not that I'm obsessed or anything):
S3E16, "Sandcastles in the Sand": After being dumped by her old Canadian boyfriend Simon — whattup, James Van Der Beek! — Robin and Barney sleep together.
S3E17, "The Goat": Barney and Robin try to keep their tryst a secret, but Robin comes clean to Ted (Josh Radnor). This temporarily ends the bromance between Barney and Ted.
S3E20, "Miracles": After a brush with death, Ted forgives Barney, who himself was hit by a bus and realized he loved Robin.
S5E1, "Definitions": Barney and Robin finally begin their relationship.
S5E7, "The Rough Patch": Barney and Robin break up after realizing they weren’t happy together… i.e. Barney got fat and Robin was losing her hair.
S7E10, "Tick Tick Tick": Barney and Robin both cheat on their significant others with each other. They agree to break up with their respective girlfriend (Nora) and boyfriend (Kevin) to be together. However, Robin stays with Kevin.
S7E16, "The Drunk Train": Kevin breaks up with Robin. Barney doesn’t jump at the chance to be with her again since she had picked Kevin over him.
S7E24, "The Magician’s Code": Barney proposes to his girlfriend, Quinn. However, at the end of the episode, it is revealed that Robin is in fact Barney’s future wife!
So as we look ahead to season 8, premiering tonight at 8/7c on CBS, we can look forward to seeing the progression from Barney and Quinn’s engagement to Barney and Robin’s wedding. And while we may have to wait until the end of this season to see the actual nuptials, Smulders followed Robin’s cue and, after eight years of dating, tied the knot with Taran Killam (SNL) on Sept. 8th.
Season 8, eight years of dating, September 8th… is there something important in the number eight, or is it just some crazy coincidence of life imitating art? Bays and Thomas do have a reputation for using numbers as clues in past episodes. For example, in season 6 episode 13, “Bad News,” numbers counting down from 50 appeared on props until the end of the episode when Marshall (Jason Segel) found out his father died. Hopefully these numbers lead to better news.
Will you be tuning in (and overanalyzing every detail) with me tonight?
[Image Credit: CBS]
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Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.
In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.