If you've already heard the latest good news about the upcoming season of Arrested Development bumping up its episode count from 10 to between 12 and 15, then you've probably already begun mustering up some ideas of how Mitchell Hurwitz might be inclined to fill these new installments in the next chapter of his story about the Newport Beach family. Word has been that each of the first nine episodes would focus individually on a member of the Bluth/Fünke clan, leaving the remainder of the series to bring the characters together and set them on their merry way toward the chaotic cinematic endeavor with which they are fated.
But there are new opportunities here. Now that Netflix, the venue where the new Arrested Development season will find a home, is granting us more time at the model home, up in the penthouse, and down by the big yellow joint, we might get to see what some other members of Hurwitz's strange universe have been up to. And maybe even pick up on some storylines the show didn't get a chance to conclude. We already know that a few supporting characters will be returning for Season 4 (including Henry Winkler as inept and ethically-blind attorney Barry Zuckerkorn, and Andy Richter as himself and his four brothers, Donnie, Chareth, Rocky, and Emmitt), but there are plenty others we're curious about. What ever happened to everyone else?
Whatever Happened to Ann?
Last we saw her, she had recently won third place in an inner beauty pageant and was shacking up with her ex-boyfriend's sleazy uncle, GOB. In one of the final shots of the series, Ann let out a hyper-dramatic scream when George Michael punched GOB for the ordeal; it seems as though she has given up on her didactic Christian upbringing, opting instead for a newly adventurous take on life. So where has this taken her — an extended romantic tryst with an amoral man more than twice her age? Or has the family severed ties with Ann altogether?
Whatever Happened to Kitty?
Last we saw Kitty, she was taking up with Blue Man Group member George Sr., who has since abandoned her and returned to his home in California. So where is Kitty these days? What sort of power does she continue to wield over the Bluth family? And does she still hold a candle for the clan's booming patriarch?
Whatever Happened to Lucille 2?
Last we saw Lucille 2, she was cutting off all ties to the Bluth family, selling her shares in their company to spite their dastardly deception. Plus, she was kindling a new romance with one Stan Sitwell, who is still very much in contact with the family. As such, we probably haven't seen the last of the poor vertigo-stricken widow. So how might she come into play in the new season — engaged in her usual battle of acerbity with Lucille 1? Gunning again for the love of Buster? And has she finally earned the ability to stand up without getting dizzy?
Whatever Happened to Carl Weathers?
Last we saw Carl Weathers, he was directing the televised account of the Bluth family's legal troubles, Scandalmakers (and portraying Ice the Bounty Hunter). Did the ill-conceived project launch Carl's directing career, or bring it to a crushing halt? Will he find himself in another Burger King-based conversation with Tobias anytime soon? It is a wonderful restaurant.
Whatever Happened to Rita?
Last we saw Rita, she and Michael had broken off their engagement when he had come to realize that she was mentally challenged. But since then, we've heard of her obtaining some degree of professional success running the "drama development" department at the production company Uniprod. So has Rita flourished in behind-the-scenes showbiz? And has she found the love she's been looking for?
Whatever Happened to Marta?
Last we saw Marta, she was angrily chastising Michael and GOB, both of whom she had been romantically involved with, for fighting with each other outside of a courthouse. Soap opera star Marta valued family above all else, and understood their to be no brotherly love between the Bluth boys. But where has she been ever since? Thriving as an actress? Looking for love in less toxic locale?
Whatever Happened to Gilligan?
Last we saw accountant Ira Gilligan, he was lounging happily about a tropical island after all his years taking abuse from George Sr. had finally paid off. But is he still living a life of luxury? Have Gilligan's fortunes run dry? Will he return to George's behest, or face his former boss' wrath for running off on the company?
Whatever Happened to STEVE HOLT?
Last we saw STEVE HOLT!, he was helping his lovable ol' dad GOB outdo Uncle Mike and Cousin George Michael in a banana stand battle. The high school super-super-super-senior is a gifted athlete and large in heart, so perhaps his talents and kindness have taken him far... or, perhaps, he's still running for Class President at age 30. Where are you, Steve Holt? Will we see you again?
Whatever Happened to Maggie?
This is a big one! Last we saw Maggie, she was revealed to be pregnant. With Michael's child. Well, that's the hint we're given anyway, but it's enough to make us wonder: WHAT THE HELL EVER HAPPENED TO HER? Has she had the baby (it's been a few years, so we'd think so), and does Michael have any idea that he's got a second kid out there? Are we going to get answers to any of these questions?!
Whatever Happened to Gene Parmesan?
[Photo Credit: Fox]
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It's of no surprise that Seven Psychopaths Oscar nominee Martin McDonagh's madcap crime comedy won the People's Choice Midnight Madness Award at this year's Toronto International Film Festival. The film is a weird crowd-pleaser that's as much a blood-soaked macabre midnight movie as it is a self-aware satire on the very place that spawns all this madness: Hollywood.
The movie follows Marty (Colin Farrell playing the straight man this time around) a functioning alcoholic and Los Angeles screenwriter struggling to complete his screenplay Seven Psychopaths. Un/lucky for Marty his wildly off-balance best friend Billy (a scene and movie-stealing Sam Rockwell) is an out-of-work actor who dognaps for reward money and provides the writer with a wealth of material.
Billy works side-by-side in the dog thievery business with Hans (a particularly poignant and wonderfully weird Christopher Walken) a deeply religious man with a haunted violent past who uses the money to provide for his ailing wife (Linda Bright Clay). After the men kidnap the wrong person's Shih Tzu — owned by a bona fide lunatic and gangster by the name of Charlie (Woody Harrelson continuing his 2012 hot streak) — and Billy puts an ad in LA Weekly searching for the city's best psychopaths Marty finds inspiration for his screenplay. It quite literally arrives at his doorstep putting his life — and the lives of everyone around him — in danger.
McDonagh's unpredictable utterly deranged multi-layered noir homage is a testament to the Oscar-nominated McDonagh's scope sensibilities and talents as a writer and director (it has been earning comparisons to the work of Quentin Tarantino and understandably so). The film is not only reminiscent of Tarantino in style execution and use of an eclectic ensemble but in storytelling techniques too.
The film features a series of darkly hilarious vignettes including a pair of bumbling hitmen (played by Boardwalk Empire costars Michael Pitt and Michael Stuhlbarg) and a series of revenge fantasies featuring distraught mourning parents like a Viet Cong soldier (Long Nguyen) and a Quaker (Harry Dean Stanton); and serial killer killers (Amanda Warren and a bunny-toting Tom Waits) that all hearken back to Pulp Fiction both Kill Bills and Inglorious Basterds respectively.
But don't call Seven Psychopaths a Tarantino ripoff. McDonagh somehow manages to conjure up all the best things about the fellow auteur's aesthetics (he like Tarantino also relies his muse again with Farrell) and remain in a league all his own. It's rare to find a writer who is able to effortlessly inject his own running internal monologue into their characters without it seeming self-indulgent but McDonagh pulls it off.
McDonagh/Billy grapples with making a movie that sports over-the-top violent gun-toting guys and expendable female characters (something it gives a wink and a nod to throughout but doesn't quite solve that costars Abbie Cornish Olga Kurylenko and Gabourey Sidibe play up in their ultimately disposable roles) or one that is ultimately about love and friendship. He somehow manages to make it both.
While Seven Psychopaths doesn't pull off that delicate balance quite the same way the far superior In Bruges did running a bit too long with a fantasy
sequence that's far more satisfying than the film's actual conclusion but it arguably packs heartier laughs than its predecessor (thanks largely in part to Rockwell's Billy's buffoonery and a deliriously funny rant about Gandhi). McDonagh's latest is the craziest thing to come out of Hollywood this year — in the best way possible.
Merging Serpico with an almost Shakespearean sense of tragedy Pride and Glory details an extremely complicated investigation into the gunning down of four New York City cops after an attempted drug bust goes terribly wrong. With increasingly bad PR and an apparent cop killer still at large the Chief of Manhattan Detectives Francis Tierney Sr. (Jon Voight) assigns his son Detective Ray Tierney (Edward Norton) to lead the probe. The younger Tierney is reluctant since he knows all four cops served under his brother Francis Jr. (Noah Emmerich) and brother-in-law Jimmy Egan (Colin Farrell). Ray’s instincts may be right because as he digs deeper he discovers an awkward and uncomfortable connection between Francis Jimmy and the case. Could his own family have been involved in an inside job and tipped off the drug dealers? Soon Ray finds himself having to choose between the greatest moral dilemma of all: loyalty to the job or loyalty to his family. Although Pride and Glory doesn’t break any new ground and is composed of elements we’ve seen in many previous films dealing with police corruption this film is distinguished by some of the finest work in the storied careers of many of its cast. Norton follows up his summer comic-book movie The Incredible Hulk with a far smaller and more focused character in P&G playing a man caught in a moral bind facing the unthinkable prospect of going after his own family members. Norton wears his ticklish predicament on his face and is enormously effective conveying pure angst. Emmerich (Little Children) delivers a rich portrayal of a tortured soul not only caught up in an intense investigation but dealing with a wife (Jennifer Ehle) dying of cancer. Farrell is better than he has been in some time playing a shady officer who seemingly will stop at nothing to get what he needs. Voight as the proud family patriarch and veteran of the NYPD clearly understands the dilemma of this man who is watching his family torn apart. Co-writer/director Gavin O'Connor has spent a frustrating couple of years trying to bring this story to the screen but his perseverance pays off. Pride and Glory is a well-written cop tale that co-exists as an interesting character study about the power of family ties vs. personal pride. O’Connor manages to put us right in the center of the moral conflict at the heart of his story and with several first-rate actors (even in the lesser roles) crafts a film that seems authentic to its core. Incorporating Declan Quinn’s in-your-face realistic cinematography O’Connor resists going for a more obvious audience-pleasing flashier style achieving a look and feel that seems more grounded in the milieu he’s trying to capture. His script co-written with Joe Carnahan (who wrote and directed the equally gritty Narc) is tight and unsympathetic slowly letting layers of a very intricate and complex story peel away to reveal a core that packs a punch right to the gut.
Breaking and Entering is sometimes contrived as films of this sort tend to be but is executed smoothly enough by screenwriter/director Anthony Minghella to succeed on some levels. Will (Jude Law) is an architect whose office in the seedier King’s Cross area of London is ransacked by thieves. He tracks one of them down and encounters Amira (Juliette Binoche) a Bosnian immigrant single mother with whom he becomes infatuated. Their illicit relationship ultimately has unforeseen consequences for all concerned including Will’s girlfriend (Robin Wright Penn) and Amira’s son Miro (Rafi Gavron). There aren’t many laughs but the film does try to offer an insight into what drives – and impedes – its characters’ emotional impulses Law is good Binoche is better than good and Wright Penn is better than usual. If there’s one element that elevates Breaking and Entering to a higher level it’s the performances. Vera Farmiga who played the only female role of any consequence in The Departed delivers a scene-stealing turn as a resilient Bosnian streetwalker while the always-welcome Ray Winstone turns up (all too briefly) as a canny cop. Given the success of Paul Haggis’ Crash and the films of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu it’s no surprise that other filmmakers are adopting the same attempting to cure (or at least address) various social issues by having disparate characters whose seemingly random interactions have consequences (both good and bad) for all concerned. Minghella an Oscar winner for The English Patient does have a knack for bringing out the best – or at least the good – in his actors even those in smaller roles. At least Breaking and Entering is more comfortably paced than Minghella’s last film the picturesque but lugubrious adaptation of Cold Mountain.
Once respected NYPD detective Jack Mosley (Bruce Willis) is now pretty much on his last legs literally and figuratively. He drinks is relegated to a desk job and walks with a limp. One morning after a long shift he’s corralled into transporting a petty criminal Eddie Bunker (Mos Def) to the courthouse 16 blocks away so he can testify by 10:00 a.m. What Jack doesn’t know is that Eddie is one of the key witnesses in a case against crooked cops--that is until the two start getting shot at. Then it becomes crystal clear. The main bad guy Jack’s former partner Frank (David Morse) basically lets Jack know Eddie will never testify to just go ahead and hand him over but Frank underestimates Jack’s desire to finally do something good. So Jack and Eddie fight their way to the courthouse block by gut-wrenching block. Oh no there’s nothing formulaic about 16 Blocks not at all. In a film as predictable as this the only thing that’ll make it stand out is the performances. 16 Blocks nearly succeeds--but not quite. It would seem Willis is playing a character he’s played a hundred times before--the misunderstood and slightly unorthodox cop with a heart of gold. But as Jack the actor does a nice job trying out some new things namely playing fat bald and grizzled. You can almost smell how bad Jack’s breath has to be. Rapper/actor Mos Def who usually brightens any film he’s in also tries his hand at something different but his choices aren’t as smart. As the talkative and affable Eddie Mos comes up with one of the more annoying nasally accents ever recorded. After about five minutes of screen time you desperately want him to stop and say “Just kidding! I don’t really talk like this.” But he doesn’t. It’s too bad something like an accent can ruin an otherwise decent performance. Old-school director Richard Donner best known for his Lethal Weapons is a consummate professional when it comes to making these kind of movies. In other words he pretty much paints by numbers. We watch Jack and Eddie get out of one tight situation after another as the gaggle of bad cops try to gun them down. I mean 16 blocks doesn’t seem that far to go so they better throw in as many highly implausible obstacles as they can. Chinese laundries alleyways rooftops subways. And yes even a city bus which the pair--who have by now bonded big time--has to hijack. Donner also employs a popular but nonetheless annoying technique of zooming in when the action heats up so you can’t really see what’s going on. Even if you’re addicted to action movies--a Bruce Willis action movie no less--16 Blocks just doesn’t deliver the goods.