Captain America: The Winter Soldier is filled — and I mean jam-packed — with genre-bending, action-heavy, sportily tense and relentlessly sinuous, sky-high-concept and maniacally bonkers stuff. Polygonal mayhem that aims, and impressively so, to top the Marvel lot in ideas, deconstructing every thriller staple from government corruption to talking computers to odd couple agents gone rogue. But oddly enough, the moment in the Cap sequel that I find most arresting several weeks after seeing the film is our peaceful reunion with Steve Rogers, trotting merrily around the Washington Monument as the sun rises on our nation's capital.
The scene is shot from far overhead, a low pulse/high spirits Chris Evans reduced to a shapeless blur as he repeatedly (but politely!) laps fellow jogger and veteran Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie)... and yet it might be the closest we feel to Cap throughout the movie.
The Winter Soldier has a lot to worry about in the delivery of its content. Managing a plot as ambitious and multifaceted as its own, with themes as grand as the scope of the American mentality — as represented by Steve Rogers, raised in the good old days of gee-golly-jingoism — it doesn't always have the faculties to devote to humanizing its central troupe. Cap isn't left hollow, but his battles with the dark cloud of contemporary skepticism play more like an intriguing Socratic discussion than an emotional arc. Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, a character who ran circles around her Avengers co-players in flavor, feels a bit shortchanged in that department here (in her closest thing to a starring role yet, no less).
Mackie's Falcon, a regular joe who is roped into the calamity thanks largely to his willingness to chat with a fellow runner — a rare skill, honestly — is less of a problem. He doesn't have much to do, but he does it all well enough. Dynamic though he may be, Mackie keeps things bridled as Cap's ad-hoc sidekick, playing up the along-for-the-ride shtick rather than going full (or even half) superhero. We might want more from him, knowing just how fun he can be, but it's a sating dose. The real hunger is for more in the way of Black Widow, Cap, and — perhaps most of all — the titular villain.
Still, these palpable holes pierce through a film that gets plenty right. As elegantly as Joe Johnston did the Spielberg thing back in 2011, Joe and Anthony Russo take on the ballots of post-innocence. They aren't afraid to get wild and weird, taking The Winter Soldier through valleys that feel unprecedented in superhero cinema. We're grateful for the invention here — for Robert Redford's buttoned-up Tom Clancy villain, for the directors' aggressive tunneling through a wide underworld of subterranean corruption, and especially for one scene in an army bunker that amounts to the most charmingly bats**t crazy reveal in any Marvel movie yet. We might be most grateful, though, for a new take on Nick Fury; here, the franchise gives Samuel L. Jackson his best material by a mile.
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But in the absence of definitive work done in our heroing couple, a pair rich in fibers but relegated to broad strokes and easy quips in this turn, most of it amounts to a fairly good spy thriller, not an ace-in-the-whole neo-superhero masterpiece... which, justly or otherwise, is what we've come to expect and demand from these things.
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British actor Sir David Jason is set to reprise his role on classic BBC sitcom Open All Hours for a one-off Christmas special, almost 30 years after the show went off air. The series originally starred the late Ronnie Barker as Jason's onscreen uncle and shop owner, and ran for four seasons between 1973 and 1985.
Now Jason, 73, is preparing to return to his TV roots as Granville, alongside former co-stars Lynda Baron as Nurse Gladys Emmanuel and Maggie Ollerenshaw as Mavis.
The Only Fools and Horses star says, "I am sure there is an audience out there who would like to see what Granville has been up to in the corner shop.
"I'm really excited to be bringing back Open All Hours. It will be a great family show for Christmas and a fitting tribute to the legacy of Arkwright."
The new 30-minute episode, which will feature Granville as the new store owner, will air in the U.K. this Christmas (Dec13).
Comedian Barker died in 2005, aged 76.
"I just love and respect her so much. She's a single mom but not like I'm a single mum. I have a lot of help - she doesn't. I always ask, 'Do you need anything?' And she's like, 'I'm good'. But I know she's exhausted." Jennifer Lopez is full of admiration for her younger sister Lynda, who gave birth to a daughter in 2008.
Former TV Wonder Woman Lynda Carter is heading back to the small screen to join the cast of Two And A Half Men. The actress will play "a version of herself" in the upcoming 11th season of the sitcom.
Carter won't be the only new face on the show this season - actress Amber Tamblyn has joined the cast as the lesbian daughter of deceased character Charlie Harper, who was played by Charlie Sheen.
Tamblyn will replace Angus T. Jones as a regular on the show. Jones quit at the end of the last season after growing tired of his own TV celebrity.
Beloved British actress Lynda Bellingham was hit hard by the recent death of her cancer-stricken pal Bernie Nolan, because she was facing the first stage of her own battle with the disease. Earlier this month (Jul13) the 65 year old revealed she was undergoing treatment for cancer, and news of her friend and former co-star's death on 4 July made the fight all the more poignant.
In a piece for Britain's Yours magazine, she writes, "When you hear the word cancer applied to yourself, you do initially think it's a death sentence - even though in my case it certainly isn't.
"And had I needed any reminder of how serious it can be, I woke up to face my first bout of chemotherapy discovering poor Bernie Nolan had died. I just felt so, so, sad, having worked with Bernie on (British TV drama) The Bill and (stage show) Calendar Girls.
"I admired her enormously for her bravery, honesty, and for being such a fantastic performer. A great role model for us all."
Bellingham, who has postponed her U.K. appearances in Kay Mellor's play A Passionate Woman to receive treatment, also heaps praise on the medical staff treating her, adding, "I know I am fantastically lucky to have a very quick diagnosis and to benefit from all the phenomenal cancer research going on. I am also surrounded by such a fantastic oncology team. I haven't met one nurse yet who is anything less than 100 per cent positive and it does rub off."
Nolan died after a long battle with breast cancer.
British actress Lynda Bellingham is refusing to despair over her recent cancer diagnosis, insisting she was more concerned about dropping out of a play. The 65-year-old was due to tour the U.K. as the star of Kay Mellor's play A Passionate Woman but has postponed her appearances to receive treatment.
She released a statement saying she was "devastated" to pull out of the national tour, but refused to divulge any further details of her condition.
Now she has spoken up about the diagnosis, revealing she will keep the type of cancer from which she's suffering a secret and will refuse to allow her upcoming chemotherapy sessions get her down.
The All Creatures Great and Small star tells Britain's Daily Mail, "You have no idea. I honestly minded more about having to pull out of the play than I did about the cancer itself.
"(After the cancer diagnosis) I sat down and it was then that he (the doctor) uttered the immortal words: 'Lynda Bellingham, you are not going to die.' I could have hugged him. It's the mantra I've since repeated every day to myself.
"I'm just not ready to share the intimate details of all of that at the moment. It's my body and nobody else's business. In months to come, I may change my mind... It's early days. It's been a lot to absorb and I'd like to hang on to something so private, something that remains mine and mine alone.
"There have been so many advances in the field of medicine in the last few decades. Two generations ago, for example, diabetes was a killer. Now, we understand more how to live with it and manage it. The same is true of lots of cancers. I certainly don't regard the course of chemo as being a hiding to nothing (hopeless).
"Nor am I in denial. I'm taking it seriously. I know I couldn't tour the country in a demanding play. But I've always been a positive person and I'm now putting myself first."
Beloved British actress Lynda Bellingham has been diagnosed with cancer. The 65-year-old was due to tour the U.K. as the star of Kay Mellor's play A Passionate Woman, but has postponed her appearances to receive treatment.
Bellingham, who is perhaps best known for her role as Helen Herriot in BBC drama All Creatures Great and Small, did not divulge any further details surrounding her condition.
A statement from the actress reads: "I'm devastated not to be able to honour my commitments to the play this year. But having toured many times before, I'm aware of the sheer stamina needed and I need to prioritise my recovery. That said, nothing's going to stop me coming back next year, and I can't wait to be 'a passionate woman'."
The tour of A Passionate Woman was scheduled to begin at the Sheffield Lyceum in September (13).
The character was famously played by Lynda Carter in the 1970s Wonder Woman TV show, and actress Adrianne Palicki was cast in the role last year (11), but David E. Kelley's planned reboot was scrapped when bosses at U.S. network NBC decided not to pick up the series.
However, executives at Warner Bros. TV and America's CW network are now working on a fresh project called Amazon, which will resurrect Wonder Woman and focus on her pre-superhero origins.
Casting has now begun to find a suitable actress for the lead role of the warrior princess, according to Deadline.com.
A character drama with a twisted sense of humor Silver Linings Playbook follows Pat (Bradley Cooper) a recently released psychiatric hospital patient who moves back in with his parents and begins a quest to reclaim his broken marriage. Despite the warnings from doctors Pat's mom Dolores (Jacki Weaver) and dad Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro) take him in hoping familiar settings and a little Eagles football may be the perfect cure. It isn't — Pat continuously loses his s**t over his ex-wife Nikki frantically stressing over her high school English class' reading syllabus (he toss Hemmingway's A Farewell to Arms straight through a glass window) and breaking down every time he hears their wedding song. There's no hope for him and Nikki — catching her with another man and beating him to a pulp led to his institutionalizing — but Pat's focused mind doesn't let him deviate.
After being invited to a friend's house for dinner Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) who sees a friendship in the bipolar patient. After the death of her husband Tiffany went off the deep end engaging anyone and everyone for sex. She's sees a companion in Pat and although he's reluctant the off-kilter pair can't fight the magnetic power of their psychological issues.
Most of their conversations end in screaming or blunt admissions — but they're relatable.
Mental illness and human connection may sound like an equation for eye-roll-worthy saccharine but director David O. Russell mines Cooper and Lawrence's comedic strengths to turn Silver Linings Playbook into one of the funniest movies of the year.
Nothing is off limits for Russell; one reoccurring joke is that Pat can't stop bringing up the fact that Tiffany's husband is dead. As Tiffany puts it to Pat, "You say more inappropriate things than appropriate things."
To make Pat aware of how his bipolar existence affects the people around him and to make us the audience feel for this heart-wrenching experience Russell shoots and paces Silver Linings Playbook for awkward comedy.
He also returns to the always-reliable family dynamic. The Fighter is to Boston as Silver Linings Playbook is to Philadelphia De Niro perfecting the Eagles-loving everyman with a collection of betting buddies who may be just as delusional as Pat.
The legendary actor proved he had comedy chops in Meet the Parents but here he blends it with gravitas that earned him a legacy in the first place. Rush Hour actor Chris Tucker also pops up as Pat's good friend from the institution. More restrained than ever Tucker helps add warmth to the picture. Pat has a support system everywhere he turns. In essence the film emanates with positive vibes.
Even with a great ensemble Silver Linings Playbook is Cooper and Lawrence's show. To the bitter end Pat and Tiffany never get sappy with one another always at each other's throats over the feelings they harbor and the pasts they can't shake away.
Cooper loses himself in the chaotic mind of Pat without ever slipping into a caricature of the mentally ill. He can stir up laughs with his desperate search for Pat's missing wedding video and then shock us in the blink of an eye when things turn violent.
Impressively Lawrence's Tiffany is never written down. She never succumbs to being a comforting presence always provoking Pat to push himself.
She's a strong woman but a strong woman juggling her own set of issues. Lawrence conveys all of that without missing a beat. That dynamic should be make Silver Linings Playbook the talk of the town come Oscar time.
The days of John Travolta talking back to Mr. Kotter, dancing with Olivia Newton-John, and even facing off with Nicolas Cage might be behind him, but the longtime movie star has snagged another win. The Hollywood Reporter reveals that Travolta has won a defamation lawsuit waged against him by You'll Never Spa In This Town Again author Robert Randolph.
In 2010, Travolta was the subject of a Gawker article that author Randolph contributed to, in addition to his 2012 book about the actor. In both of these pieces, Randolph shared stories implicating Travolta in homosexual acts allegedly witnessed by Randolph himself, despite the actor's affirmation that he is not gay. In response to these writings, Travolta's attorney Marty Singer released media statements discrediting the article and making allegations of Randolph's history of mental illness. Randolph in turn filed a lawsuit in California. Randolph suggested that Travolta and Singer had committed trade libel with their statements and claimed that the pair "sought to disparage the quality of [Randolph's] property and reputation and to induce members of the public to believe [that Randolph] is an unreliable source and thus abstain from purchasing [You'll Never Spa In This Town Again]."
Following Randolph's action, Travolta and Singer filed the state's availed anti-SLAPP motion, which serves to protect against the infringement of First Amendment rights. On Thursday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Malcolm Mackey ruled in favor of Travolta and Singer, decreeing that the statements made by Singer were part of "a protected pre-litigation demand letter," and as such, not susceptible to Randolph's claims. Additionally, the judge ruled that Randolph's claims involving the affect of Singer's letter on Randolph's book were unfounded, suggesting even that Randolph used the controversy to promote his book.
Lynda Goldman, the attorney who represented Travolta and singer, released a statement to Hollywood.com saying, "Robert Randolph’s ridiculous lawsuit against John Travolta and his attorney Marty Singer never should have been filed. The Court agreed by dismissing the case. Mr. Travolta will be seeking to obtain his legal fees from Robert Randolph and his lawyers." Goldman adds, "Notwithstanding inane tabloid fodder, two individuals who sued Mr. Travolta voluntarily dismissed their cases, and Randolph’s case was dismissed by the court. Anyone else who thinks about suing Mr. Travolta should expect a similar result."
Travolta has also been the subject of two back-to-back sexual assault lawsuits by anonymous masseurs in May. The first claimed that Travolta tried to coerce him into an act of unwanted sex, while the second accused the actor of sexual battery and "sexually inappropriate behavior." Both suits have since been dropped.
[Photo Credit: Wenn]
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