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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British singer-turned-DJ Dane Bowers is heading to trial after pleading not guilty to two charges of assault. The former Another Level star, 33, was arrested in April (13) after allegedly becoming embroiled in a brawl at the Butlins holiday camp in Bognor Regis in Sussex, England, where he had been scheduled to appear as part of a 1990s-themed night.
He was booked for the incident, along with his brother Wade, who was cited for assault and cocaine possession. Another man, Terry Kean, was also hit with the same drug charge and for using threatening words.
The three defendants appeared before a judge on Monday (13May13) to address the accusations, with the Bowers brothers entering not guilty pleas for assault and Kean denying the threat allegation.
Wade, 31, and Kean, 35, confessed to the cocaine count.
The three men have been released on unconditional bail. They will stand trial at Chichester Magistrates' Court in Sussex on 29 October (13).
When you hear the name Suri Cruise, a few things come to mind: She's the uber-famous offspring of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise. "Her" Burn Book takes down other famous kids. She's constant paparazzi fodder. But is she a fashion designer? Come on, the girl is only seven years old!
Suri was rumored to be adding "fashion designer" to her already impressive resume. She was supposed to have signed a deal for her own line named "Suri" in lieu of her own fashion blog, but because the 7-year-old was "talking about specific designs," it was decided she should have her own line instead, including dresses, tops, jeans, shoes, and necklaces.
Thankfully, this fashion line nonsense is completely false, according to Katie Holmes' rep, who spoke to E!.
And we can't help but feel as if a great weight was lifted off our shoulders. There are so many reasons why this line would have been a crazy idea, but we narrowed it down to just five reasons we're thankful it's not a reality.
1. While Suri regularly tops most stylish celebrity child lists, she's only seven years old. That means her mother Holmes is probably the one picking out her outfits for her. But Holmes is already a fashion designer – her line is Holmes & Yang – so this is just redundant.
2. Suri's go-to accessory is a stuffed animal, so will that be her staple piece in all her outfits? Because that's already being sold... at a place called a toy store.
3. Suri is only seven. Can we at least wait until she's in double-digits to launch her own fashion line?
4. The line is being centered around Suri's drawings. We're predicting shirts with pictures of stick figure cats and suns wearing really cool sunglasses.
5. Again, Suri is seven years old.
We rest our case.
Follow Sydney on Twitter: @SydneyBucksbaum
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Proving that one mistake does not ruin a career, Reese Witherspoon handled her recent brush with the law with grace and aplomb on Thursday.
On April 19, Witherspoon’s talent agent husband Jim Toth was pulled over under suspicion of driving while intoxicated, and Witherspoon was arrested for disobeying the officer's orders to stay in the vehicle, according to the police report. They were both taken to jail and released on bond around 3:30 a.m.
Witherspoon has plead no contest to the charge of obstruction of a person, while Toth plead guilty to first offense DUI. The actress was not present in court for the proceedings, and her lawyer Bruce Morris entered the plea, E! News reports. She will pay a total fine of $313 including court costs. Her husband, however, was in the courtroom on Thursday and – while not facing jail time – must perform 40 hours of community service, attend an alcohol education program and a Mothers Against Drunk Driving class, pay a fine, and has been placed on probation for 12 months.
"I have no idea what I was saying that night. I saw him arresting my husband and I literally panicked," Witherspoon admitted on Good Morning America on Thursday. "I said all kinds of crazy things. I told him I was pregnant. I'm not pregnant!" The actress may not have been behaving out of the ordinary, but her apologies and handling of the situation after the fact were mature and sincere.
Watch the video of Witherspoon's arrest below:
Reese Witherspoon Arrest DASH CAM VIDEO -- Crazier Than You Thought - Watch More Celebrity Videos or Subscribe
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Little Laura Ingalls is all grown up. In fact, the actress who played Laura, Melissa Gilbert, just got married for the third time! Gilbert, 48, wed thirtysomething star Timothy Busfield, 55, "in a private ceremony at San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara on April 24," the star's rep tells Hollywood.com.
Gilbert, who first rose to fame as a child star on Little House on the Prairie recently re-entered the spotlight when she competed on Dancing with the Stars. And Gilbert's new husband, Busfield, is also a fellow actor. He starred in the hit TV series thirtysomething and The West Wing and also has two movies — Nightcomer and 23 Blast — set to come out this year.
They say the third time is a charm, which must be the mindset of Gilbert and Busfield (who got engaged in 2012) as both have been previously married twice. And since they are both talented TV actors, they should maybe think about coming out with a modern version of The Brady Bunch. Gilbert has two children and Busfield has three, so they are practically on track to cast a similar sitcom. Now that would be a show worth watching!
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With clear eyes and a full heart [of dixie], actor Scott Porter married his girlfriend of over 5 years, Kelsey Mayfield, on Saturday, April 20. Porter pop!-ed the question back in January 2012.
The Friday Night Lights and Hart of Dixie heartthrob met his now-wife on the set of the popular NBC football drama when Mayfield was still a cheerleader at the University of Texas at Austin. And it was that very town that played home to the Hollywood duo's wedding, given its importance to the couple's romantic storyline. "We wanted to get married under a Texas sky," Porter explained to Us Magazine (the outlet first to report on the couple's betrothal) in June 2012.
Given that this is 2013, fans of Porter didn't have to wait long to hear (and see) about the evening: the star has already tweeted and shared Instagram images and messages from the big day.
Today is the day. There are no more tomorrows. And I could NOT be happier!
— Scott Porter (@ScottPorter) April 20, 2013
#porterwedding send-off. We love y'all so much. #MarriedTimes! instagram.com/p/YWvUKjvqKd/
— Scott Porter (@ScottPorter) April 21, 2013
Three cheers for the happy couple.
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In light of Monday's horrible Boston Marathon tragedy in which bombs were detonated at the finish line of the race, one celebrity took to his Facebook to share some truly beautiful words in a dark time. Patton Oswalt posted a heartwarming message, which you can read in full below (warning: some graphic language). We couldn't have put it any better ourselves:
"Boston. Fucking horrible.
I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, 'Well, I've had it with humanity.'
But I was wrong. I don't know what's going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.
But here's what I DO know. If it's one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we're lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they're pointed towards darkness.
But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We'd have eaten ourselves alive long ago.
So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, 'The good outnumber you, and we always will.'"
Oswalt also tweeted out a quote from Fred Rogers:
"Look for the helpers. You'll always find people who are helping." -- Fred Rogers, on what to do when scary things are on the news #boston
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) April 15, 2013
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It looks like even more drastic changes could be coming to NBC's late night lineup. After officially announcing that Jimmy Fallon would be taking over Jay Leno's hosting gig at The Tonight Show in 2014, NBC is eyeing Alec Baldwin as a potential addition to the network's cabal of talented hosts.
The New York Times reports that Baldwin is in talks to take over a spot in the late-night lineup. No specific show is named, and apparently those talks are still in the very, very early stages. Hollywood.com reached out to NBC and Baldwin for comment but did not hear back at time of publication.
The Emmy-winning actor is no stranger to the peacock network, coming off a highly successful series run on 30 Rock, but he isn't the only NBC favorite in the running for the open hosting gig. Saturday Night Live's Seth Meyers is also reportedly in the running to take over Fallon's vacated spot at Late Night.
Since megaproducer Lorne Michaels runs Fallon's show (as well as 30 Rock and SNL), it would make sense that he'd want to hire someone with whom he already has a working relationship. But who will come out on top in this new late-night war: Baldwin, Meyers, or someone else altogether?
Both candidates have the experience to take on the responsibilities that come with hosting a late-night talk show. Meyers has been wildly successful as the solo host of SNL's "Weekend Update" segment after his co-host Amy Poehler departed the show in 2008. His take on pop culture and current events (with a side of comedy) hardly ever falls flat, and he's proven he can take the reins by himself. Baldwin has long been regarded as one of the best guests on late-night shows and has won critical praise for a podcast series he created with WNYC radio in New York, called "Here’s The Thing," in which he has interviewed celebrities such as David Letterman, Billy Joel, Kristen Wiig, Chris Rock, Lena Dunham, and more.
Would Baldwin make a good late night host? What about the whole politics thing? Hit the comments with your thoughts!
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Each week, Hollywood gives us something to whine about, and the week of April 1 was no different. We could make a drinking game out of this week, but that would be too dangerous. Instead, we'll stick to the usual formula: varying levels of alcoholic respite depending on how bothersome the week's issues are. Is your biggest complaint this week a flimsy one? How about a light cocktail to take the edge off? Got a real bone to pick with a celeb or entertainment entity this week? Go ahead, grab a drink that'll put hair on your chest. Here are the week's entertainment stories that are forcing us to seek a bubbly or boozy refuge. And maybe an idea or two about how you should wash them down.
Slam Back a Frosty Beer:
Farewell Roger Ebert: On Thursday, famed film critic Roger Ebert passed away from cancer. We will all miss his defining voice on pop culture and will never forget all that he's done.
The Kardashian sisters are suing their ex-stepmother: Apparently, she's been selling photos to the tabloids of the Kardashians... because heaven forbid that Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney end up in the media!
Bradley Cooper got a perm: We never thought something could make Cooper look bad... until now.
Ryan Cabrera tattooed Ryan Gosling's face on his calf: And the image was taken from a "How to Draw" site.
Mix a Gin and Tonic... But Make It a Double:
Huge missed opportunity: In all the Late Night show hullabaloo, why wasn't a woman considered to take over for Jay Leno?
Disney shut down LucasArts: The videogame company overseen by Lucasfilm that’s produced nearly three decades worth of Star Wars and Indiana Jones games, not to mention the Monkey Island saga, will be no more.
Courtney Stodden posed nude: And got groped by a zombie. You read that right.
Buckwild star died at 21: Shain Gandee was found dead in his car on Monday along with two of his relatives. MTV halted production on Season 2 of the show.
Screw it... Just Take a Shot:
We live in a society where anti-rape underwear is a thing: This shouldn't have to be an invention that exists. It really shouldn't.
The Late Night war got nasty: David Letterman talked sh*t about Leno, NBC, and the whole ordeal. Can we just be done with all the drama?
Michael Jackson's doctor Conrad Murray serenades Anderson Cooper from jail: We really don't know what to make of this one. Take two shots.
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[Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images]
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The Vampire Diaries spinoff The Originals — which will air on April 25 as a backdoor pilot — is almost here, and Hollywood.com has your first look into the dark, intense, drama-filled hour.
Written by TVD co-creator/executive producer Julie Plec, The Originals centers on the Original family of vampires, as Klaus (Joseph Morgan) returns to the supernatural melting pot that is the French Quarter of New Orleans — a town he helped build centuries ago — and is reunited with his diabolical former protégé Marcel (Charles Michael Davis). Naturally, chaos will ensue.
RELATED: Claire Holt Joins 'The Originals'
Check out a sneak peek of the episode in our gallery below to get the inside scoop about what's going down in the Big Easy:
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[Photo Credit: Skip Bolen/The CW]
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