Getty Images/Larry Busacca
It's wouldn't be the 2014 MTV VMAs without Beyonce. It's not the VMAs period without Beyonce. Queen Bey arrived Sunday night to take her throne. Beyonce closed out the show with a 20 minute performance. Covering her entire album. People were pretty much losing their minds over it.
Bey performed her entire album and people were so happy:
The whole album? I love you @MTV haha #BeyonceonVMA #VMAs #VMA2014 #MTVVMAs2014
— Andrey Cardozo (@AndreyCardozo) August 25, 2014
People had some serious body worship:
Every night I pray that God will give me hips like Beyoncé. I don't ask for much
— B•B•L (@belles_and_bows) August 25, 2014
This performance enlightened us to an important fact:
Little known fact: Beyonce hasn't performed in pants since 2007 #VMA's
— Trevor Donovan (@TrevDon) August 25, 2014
Flawless references, flawless references everywhere:
She's flawless @Beyonce #VMAs
— Danielle Bradbery (@DBradbery) August 25, 2014
all artists in the audience should be furiously taking notes on how to be ***flawless like beyonce. #VMAs
— elliot (@elliot_friar) August 25, 2014
People were pointing out the importance of her song choices:
jealous is absolutely the most important song on the album y'all #bey #vmas
— nic seligman (@nicolahearts) August 25, 2014
People were so happy she was finally performing at the VMAs again:
The last time she performed at these awards Blue was in her "belly" #vmas
— The Polisher (@mrpolished) August 25, 2014
People needed Nicki to show up:
If Nicki come out for this remix...i'm not gonna make it to work tomorrow #VMAs2014 #VMAs
— Krystal (@thekrissychula) August 25, 2014
Professor Snape dropped the mic:
Call Beyoncé 'Avada Kedavra' because she just killed it. #VMA2014 #BeyonceonVMA
— Professor Snape (@_Snape_) August 25, 2014
Basically, the VMAs summed up in 1 tweet:
this is a Beyoncé concert and I ain't mad
— T. (@lucyhalelovex) August 25, 2014
People LOST THEIR MINDS (us too) when this happened:
OMFG!!! Beautiful family!! #BeyonceonVMA #VMAs #VMA2014 pic.twitter.com/vtrBvg3b8S
— Joey (@JoeyBGCBlogger) August 25, 2014
And the Carters just owned everything #beyonceonvma #flawless
— Anna DeFazio (@DoubleJackpot_) August 25, 2014
Blue Ivy, Jay Z and @KELLYROWLAND watching @beyonce's performance #BeyonceonVMA pic.twitter.com/VFK4R8DwGi
— Power 105.1 (@Power1051) August 25, 2014
Blue Ivy watching Beyoncé's performance is THE BEST. #beyonceonvma https://t.co/E6SILb07oa via @vineapp
— Michelle de M. Gomes (@_Mi_Mi_Mi_Mi) August 25, 2014
People might have actually died (or at least stopped breathing):
All of the internet is dying over #BeyonceonVMA right now. We're all so dead. #VMA2014
— Lauren K. Gray (@laurenkgray) August 25, 2014
I can't breathe rn. Beyoncé is the only human being that can take my life and then give it back in a matter in a seconds... #BeyonceonVMA
— ❂ (@glorychildlace) August 25, 2014
I honestly can't breathe right now… #BeyonceonVMA #VMA2014
— Sowmya Krishnamurthy (@SowmyaK) August 25, 2014
People absolutely loved her performance:
The show started and ended after #BeyonceonVMA. She did great.
— xtinaculture (@xtinaculture) August 25, 2014
I think it's clear to everyone that Beyoncé is by far the greatest performer of our times. Legend. #BeyonceonVMA
— Lady Gaga Facts (@LGMonsterFacts) August 25, 2014
"You are welcome for the free concert" - Beyonce #BeyonceonVMA #VMA2014
— Michael Buckley (@buckhollywood) August 25, 2014
Were you totally into this performance, or were you already checked out of the VMAs by then? Tweet us your thoughts!
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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There are plenty of tidbits floating out in the TV-centric interwebs today, but rather than teasing you with these tantalizing tales, we suggest you simply read on...
Magnificent Mindy: FOX announced earlier this month that The Mindy Project has been picked up for a full season, but now the network is adding sprinkles to that delicious news. Mindy Kaling’s half-hour comedy will feature two new additional episodes in their line-up, bumping their season from 22 to 24. (Pshh! And they say journalists can’t do math!) [TVLine]
Darryl Gets a New Job: With The Office coming to a close; it’s time for the Dunder Mifflin employees to start planning their next move—and it looks like Craig Robinson will be packing up his life in Scranton and heading to a new show. The Office developer/executive producer Greg Daniels has asked Robinson to start in a new NBC upcoming comedy. The untitled project will star the former warehouse manager as a rough edged musician who is adjusting to life as a new music teacher in a big-city middle school. Sounds a bit like School of Rock but hey it could be fun![Deadline]
ABC Shows Faith In their Dramas: The Alphabet network has ordered two new scripts for both Last Resort and 666 Park Avenue. Although this is not the ideal situation for the freshman dramas (come on back-9!) it does mean that ABC is not quite ready to pull the plug. I personally don’t want to go back to a world where Scott Speedman and Robert Buckley are not on my TV screen each week. I just can’t do it. [TVLine]
Pimp My Ride RV: So apparently the cool new thing for has-been musicians is to become interior designers. The Poison frontman/Rock of Love Bachelor/Celebrity Apprentice Winner Bret Michaels is taking a life lesson from Vanilla Ice. Michaels has a new Travel Channel show in the works called Rock My RV. The musician will surprise a lucky few by upgrading their recreational vehicles into “the most outrageous, badass, hooked-up mobile mansions on the road,“ the networks boasts. The show will begin shooting next month and fans can expect to see the combination of Pimp My Ride and The Vanilla Ice Project in 2013. [EW.com]
Calling all Copper fans: BBC America has ordered a second season of its first original scripted series. The beefed up new season will feature 13 episodes and is slated to air in 2013. Copper is the highest-rated drama series the British Broadcast Compnay has ever had so it’s no surprise that the network has said “Cheerio!” to more episodes. [The Hollywood Reporter]
MTV’s Bringing Back the Babies: Fans of teenage pregnancy rejoice! MTV has renewed the baby-mama drama sequel Teen Mom 2 for a third season. That’s right, Chelsea, Jennelle, Kailyn, Leah and all of their little accidents bundles of joy are returning November 12. [E! Online]
Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera
[Photo Credit: FOX]
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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.