Jimi Hendrix may have left us in Sept. 1970, but his presence is still felt every time his music fills a room.
The music legend would have been 70 today, and in celebration of his legacy, we've compiled exactly 70 words of wisdom from the revolutionary guitarist. Of course, no Hendrix tribute would be complete without a soundtrack, so while you enjoy his sage thoughts, feast your ears on one of his greatest musical accomplishments. "I don't really live on compliments. As a matter of fact, I find them distracting." —Hendrix during an interview on The Dick Cavett Showin 1969 Total Word Count: 15 "Even castles made of sand fall into the sea eventually." —Lyrics from "Castles Made of Sand" New Total Word Count: 25 "I'm the one who has to die when it's time for me to die/ So let me live my life the way I want to." —Lyrics from "If 6 was 9" New Total Word Count: 50 "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace." —Hendrix* New Total Word Count (so close!): 65 "Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens." —Hendrix* New Total Word Count: 7-0(Ta-da!) *These quotes are widely attributed to Hendrix, though many people note the similarities to quotes by William Gladstone and Oliver Wendell Holmes, respectively, and have suggested Hendrix's word were inspired by them. Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler [Photo Credit: Wenn] More: 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' First Look: The Quarter Quell Begins! — PICS Cory and Topanga Are In! 'Girl Meets World' Pilot Nabs Danielle Fishel, Ben Savage Staff Picks: The 14 Best Songs of 2012 (And 5 We'd Like to Forget)
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This article contains major spoilers for the latest James Bond movie Skyfall. Once you've seen the movie, come back here and dive in!
The James Bond franchise has always been reactionary. Not necessarily to the trends of Hollywood blockbusters, but rather, to the state of the world. The films act as a mirror to culture — Bond is a character with a lifespan, so in turn, his missions are malleable, influenced by anything happening in the moment.
In our interview with franchise mastermind Barbara Broccoli, the producer made it clear that 2006's Casino Royale, a gritty, stripped down interpretation of the 007 mythology, wasn't a random 180 degree turn. After 9/11, the days of fantastical Bond were (at least temporarily) over. With the world in crisis, the adventures of the globetrotting super spy had to drop the invisible cars, space lasers, and ice castles and become a tad more serious.
Six years later we have Skyfall, a film that continues the hot streak with Casino Royale's 007, Daniel Craig, but manages to feel even more specific in its thematic timelines. Continuing the path laid out by Casino Royale would have been easy and worked for fans of the franchise. Instead, director Sam Mendes, working with longtime series writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, along with Oscar-nominated screenwriter John Logan, took a stab at internally rebooting the franchise, daring to weave back in all the material that made a "James Bond movie" a "James Bond movie" while keeping the story uniquely modern.
The approach works wonders. It also raises questions for the series future.
Amazingly, both Casino Royale and Skyfall work as origin stories. Royale chronicles the beginnings of Bond, the events that transformed him into a distant MI-6 agent capable of carrying out any mission, however bloody. Skyfall is the origin of Bond as the product of family, a story of a group of people past, present, and future who define 007 as he grows into his own. Bond's work family was a staple of the series until 2002's Die Another Day, but Royale avoided the known characters (save Judi Dench's M) in an effort to drop Bond's cartoonish appearance and make him a human character. But archaic thinking is key to Skyfall's ideas of technological terrorism and war — you need an old school Bond to get the job done. That means the film needed the old school ensemble back too.
Mendes wears his love for early Bond on his sleeve, the days when Connery would spar with enemies using savvy wit, occasionally launching into a fist fight or ending the encounter with one well-placed bullet. But that's not the world established by Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, nor is it one that is easily accessible to today's younger audiences (read this recent horror story of a group of young people encountering From Russia with Love for evidence to that unfortunate truth). Those films go big and drop any semblance of swagger. It's all about the rough, tough thrills. Skyfall lives up to the action of previous films — the motorcycle-chase-turned-train-battle is one of the most impressive stunts of 2012 — but after the thrilling opening, the movie becomes noticeably smaller scale.
It's a talky movie, perfect for Mendes' theatrical roots. It's also fitting for the film's villain, Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem). Words and silent, Internet-based attacks are Silva's two greatest weapons, giving him plenty of time for maniacal laughing. Silva is up there in the pantheon of Bond baddies, a flamboyant, unrestrained terrorist who wipes out the population of a South Pacific nation just so he can have an island lair. He has Blofeld (of heck, Dr. Evil) goals and the wild physical flair to match. The scene where Silva removes his fake jaw to expose a drooping face is demented — and fitting for Mendes' early-Bond vision.
Mendes peppers the familiar construction with great characters: Naomie Harris' Eve is sharp, ambitious, and a great partner for Bond (what I as a Bond nut wished Halle Berry's Jinx to be back in Die Another Day). Ralph Fiennes' Gareth Mallory is sophisticated and murky — he's just involved enough in the plot of Skyfall to know he matters, but the film never gives away the big picture of his character. Ben Whishaw's Q is the hipster revisionist version of the character 2012 demands, a computer whiz that fits in at MI-6 but could easily be a trasplant resident of Dumbo, Brooklyn. Mendes even reinvigorates Dench's M with a new sense of character. She gets out of the office. She has a fear for Silva. She's finally part of the Bond franchise!
Mendes establishes a colorful cast of players in Skyfall, and it makes the movie click. But in the film's final moments, he decides to go the extra step by taking us back in time to 1962.
Chalk this up to years watching 24 and Mission: Impossible, but throughout Skyfall, I pegged Fiennes' Mallory as a mole. With Silva's past involvement with MI-6, I thought there had to be an inside man assisting him — why else hire such a big name actor to play the part of the government overseer placing hurdles for Dench's M to jump? It became clear when Bond chases Silva into the M/MI-6 hearing and a big shoot out erupts. Mallory didn't miss a shot when assisting Bond and Eve. He was a good guy. By the time Skyfall's rousing conclusions rolled around, M biting the bullet (literally) in the stone church of Bond's parents estate, his purpose was clear. We had a new M, a man, like the day's of Connery's Bond.
Replacing Dench with Fiennes paved the way for one of the franchise's most emotional moments, the maternal government figure dying in the arms of her favorite employee. It forced Bond to acknowledge his investment in M and seek shelter in new friends like Mallory. He came to terms with his family. The move was also fulfilling for fans who may have underestimated their own love for Dench's M. What we can't tell until Fiennes returns to the roll in upcoming Bond films is know if Mendes' clever play on our hearts (and our nostalgia — there's nothing quite like seeing Craigs' Bond walk through M's office like Connery, Moore, and others did in the past) will feel like a step forward or backward. Dench was an unexpected choice for M back in 1995. Fiennes (a former Bond contender himself) fits the world to a T.
My bigger worry as a fan is the reveal of Eve as Moneypenny, the face of MI-6's secretarial department. After kicking so much butt throughout Skyfall, proving she could handle situations where her life was on the line, Eve decides by the end of Skyfall to take an office job. Mallory taking on the mantle of M was logical in the wake of Dench's M's death. Eve becoming Moneypenny is on par with The Dark Knight Rises' John Blake's reveal as "Robin." Total fan service. Satisfying in the moment, but with lingering consequences. I for one want to see more of Harris' Eve, and in the gun-toting, bad guy stomping capacity. Not getting a rise from 007 whenever he stops by for a chat with M.
Mendes found a balance in Skyfall that seems unimaginable, at once a noir-like thriller and a blockbuster that can live up to today's onslaught of superhero movies. The film wrestles with an internal conflict for Bond, a guy who finds his sole purpose in life questioned by authorities and challenged by the way villains do business. With all of Skyfall's challenging material, Mendes also has his cake and eats it too, nodding to classic Bond staples — fans even see a DB5 Aston Martin blown to bits! The producers of Skyfall embraced the approach, dropping their developing storyline established in Royale and Quantum — a secret crime organization known as Quantum stepping up to be Bond's biggest headache — in favor of following Mendes one-off idea. So where will Bond go from there?
The hope is it continues to reflect the times with as small a microscope as Skyfall. The movie isn't just a film for the naughts, it's a film for 2012 specifically. Rehiring John Logan for future installments is a step in the right direction to follow Mendes' thinking, but the final act of reverting back to the old format of Bond is a gamble. Right now, all we can do is enjoy the heck out of Skyfall, but as the film ends with the series tradition of declaring "Bond will return," it's hard not to wonder if 007 will continue to straddle the classic and modern as he did this year.
What did you think of Skyfall? Go crazy in the comments — we're only talking spoilers here!
[Photo Credit: Sony Pictures]
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Once upon a time there was a second place network with dreams, yes dreams of being the princess in the castle. Well, thanks to a little fairy tale show called Once Upon a Time, those dreams may become a reality. The show was the night's highest rated entertainment program among those 18-to-49 year old viewers that advertisers crave like evil step mothers want red headed children to punish. ABC's promising 666 Park Avenue didn't scare up many viewers (get it?!). That was the only premiere last night, but ABC's shows held up strong against NBC's Sunday Night Football, which was the clear winner with 20.5 million viewers, while the other networks fumbled. (There just isn't a bad pun I'm going to miss today, so beware.)
TV ratings can be so complicated, so in honor of Once Upon a Time's heroic success, we're going to assign each network a fairy tale whose story it resembles to help you understand it a bit better. Except I'm skipping NBC. Screw football, it always wins and has nothing to do with castles and knights and all the wonderful things that Sunday night entertainment stands for.
We can't talk about living happily ever after or Once Upon a Time without talking about Snow White, so she is ABC's heroine for Sunday night. The fairy tale show had 11 million viewers and down a mere five percent from last year. Revenge got 9.5 million people to check out how its cliffhangers would be resolved (but, seriously, guys, Lydia can't be dead!), which is down slightly from its heavily-hyped debut last year on Wednesday nights and just as many people as Desperate Housewives got in its final season. Looks like the move to a tougher time slot didn't hurt at all. 666 Park Avenue couldn't hold onto all those viewers and only 7 million tried to buy the real estate. That's not a bad opening, but not the blockbuster the show looked like it could have been.
This is the story of a beautiful creature who is put to sleep by a monster only to wake up and live once again after that monster is defeated. The same goes for Fox's long-standing animation block, but in this case the monster is NBC's football. Still the shows managed well, but all were down over last year. That old workhorse The Simpsons scored 8 million people, one for each year that it's been on the air. Bob's Burgers could only cook for 5.4 million (which is up from its season premiere but down from The Cleveland Show, which was in the spot last year), Family Guy was down a full 20 percent with 6.5 million, and American Dad had 5.2 million.
Cinderella was beautiful at the ball but then had to return home with only one shoe and soggy pumpkin all over herself. That's the story of first-place CBS, which came in third in total viewers to NBC and Fox. The Amazing Race blew the starting gun and had 9.7 million where as The Good Wife almost tied it with 9.8 million. The Mentalist moved from Thursday to Sunday and it wasn't as good of a move as Revenge. The show had 10.8 million, which was down 25 percent from its debut last year and down from David Caruso taking his sunglasses off dramatically on CSI: Miami in the same time slot last year.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: ABC, Walt Disney (3)]
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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.
Based on the video game of the same name we meet Rayne (Kristanna Loken) a 18th century dhampir--or half vampire half human--who has been held captive most of her life in a circus freak show. One night she escapes to wreak havoc on those who have enslaved her. Although Rayne is seemingly dangerous to everyone around her there is only one man she really wants dead: her father Kagen (Ben Kingsley) the most powerful vampire in the land who raped and killed her mother in front of her own eyes. While enlisting the help of Vladimir (Michael Madsen) and Sebastian (Matthew Davis)--vampire hunters who have been hunting Kagen their whole lives--Rayne will have her vengeance. The acting isn’t exactly Bloodrayne’s strength. Loken (Terminator 3) and the rest just go through the motions having to spout such trite dialogue. Michelle Rodriguez (TV’s Lost) also joins the cast as a fellow vampire hunter and has a difficult time trying to nail an British accent. Oh and thrown in for good measure is a random semi-pornographic love scene between Rayne and Sebastian. It’s nicely done but entirely unnecessary. Only Kingsley stands out playing a villain of few words who conveys his malevolence with just one look. Too bad he is wasting his talents on such crap. Director Uwe Boll (House of the Dead) may want to take a stab at something other that horror his next time up to bat. With a dark dreary backdrop big 18th century castles and an excessive amount of thunder and lightening this is just another cliché vampire movie. There is no finesse. In fact the fight scenes look as if they were being done by a high school drama department. And in case you forgot the film reminds you over and over and over again that if you slit someone’s throat blood comes spraying out. Perhaps the title should have been Rain Blood. This is one video game that should have just stayed in the Xbox.