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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As you prepare to enjoy the 4th of July weekend, SSN gives you a preview of good TV to look out for in the coming weeks.
We hope you tuned in to Showtime last night for the final season premiere of Dexter and the premiere of Ray Donovan. Dexter is back in fine form as his sister Debra has quit the police force and is mentally going off the rails. This is the show’s final season and you should be on the lookout for Charlotte Rampling in upcoming episodes as a neuro-psychiatrist who knows a lot about Dexter even though he doesn’t realize who she is at first.
Ray Donovan stars Liev Schreiber as a very effective Hollywood fixer with personal problems of his own, starting with his ex-con father Mickey (Jon Voight). Ray tries to protect and take care of his family and his two brothers, Bunchy (Dash Mihok) and Terry (Eddie Marsan), but as soon as Mickey shows up in L.A., it all starts to go south. Be sure you make time each Sunday night for Dexter and Ray Donovan.
Upcoming shows we’re looking forward to:
INTERIOR THERAPY WITH JEFF LEWIS SEASON PREMIERE Tuesday – July 9th, 2013 at 9:00pm on Bravo
Reasons To Watch: Say what you will about Jeff Lewis: his OCD makes him extra-particular about everything, his eye for detail sometimes borders on the insane but the man knows how to make a home livable and beautiful. Lewis and his right-hand gal Jenni Poulos are back to help troubled couples and families with home decorating issues that also affect their relationships.
THE BRIDGE SERIES PREMIERE Wednesday – July 10th, 2013 at 10:00pm on FX
Academy Award nominee Demian Bichir (A Better Life) and Diane Kruger star in this new drama from writers Meredith Stiehm (Homeland, Cold Case) and Elwood Reid (Hawaii Five-O, Cold Case). Based on the Danish/Swedish series Bron, which was set on the border of Denmark and Sweden, The Bridge is set on the border between El Paso and Juarez. It centers on two detectives, one from the U.S., Detective Sonya Cross (Kruger), and one from Mexico, Marco Ruiz (Bichir), who must work together to hunt down a serial killer operating on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. The Bridge co-stars Ted Levine, Annabeth Gish, and Thomas M. Wright. Gerardo Naranjo (Miss Bala) directed the pilot.
Reasons To Watch: Bichir never gives a bad performance. We loved him as a drug kingpin on Weeds a few seasons ago and we know he’ll be equally compelling as a lawman. We also loved Stiehm’s writing on Homeland, especially the pivotal season one episode “The Weekend.” If The Bridge adheres to the FX drama brand, it will be worth watching.
ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK SERIES PREMIERE Thursday – July 11th, 2013 at 12:01am on Netflix
Reasons To Watch: Jenji Kohan (Weeds) adapted Piper Kerman’s memoir of an executive’s time in a minimum security women’s prison for drug charges. Kohan excels at writing women in unusual circumstances and combining humor and pathos. We’ve seen the first two episodes and we’re in for the run. Taylor Schilling is cast well as Piper Chapman, the yuppie gal who goes to prison for a crime she committed ten years ago. Jason Biggs plays her loving fiancée Larry, Laura Prepon is a woman from Piper’s past (no spoilers here) and look for Kate Mulgrew in a very different kind of role.
HOLLYWOOD GAME NIGHT SERIES PREMIERE Thursday – July 11th, 2013 at 10:00pm on NBC
Reasons To Watch: Jane Lynch and games! Jane Lynch hosts this fun, light show that has celebrities like Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow, Jason Alexander, Josh Gad, Kristin Chenoweth, Martin Short, Allison Hannigan, Kristen Bell, and Daniel Dae Kim teaming up with civilians to compete in party games.
THE NEWSROOM SEASON PREMIERE Sunday – July 14th, 2013 at 10:00pm on HBO
Reasons To Watch: This Aaron-Sorkin-penned drama is far from perfect (don’t get us started on how Sorkin writes female characters) but the combination of fast wordplay and Jeff Daniels make the show worth watching. We also think Thomas Sadowski and John Gallagher Jr. are great and we hope they both get meatier storylines this season. We also hope to see more of Jane Fonda, though we haven’t heard how many episodes she’ll turn up in during this second season.
What will you be watching? Do you have any summer TV favorites? Let us know in the comments.
More: ‘The Newsroom’ Season 2 Trailer Brings the Drama ‘Ray Donovan’ and ‘Dexter’ Nap Killer Ratings for Showtime Netflix Goes to Prison With ‘Orange Is the New Black’
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In 1993, the world was introduced to the Matthews family: hard-working mother and father, cool older brother (eventually overtaken by unexplained brain damage) Eric, impish/occasionally nonexistent younger sister Morgan, and middle son Cory Matthews, whose misadventures with friends, relatives, and faculty members were the life force of the now classic Boy Meets World. Although we bade farewell to Matthews — played, of course, by Ben Savage —when the show came to a close, we will be meeting up with the BMW hero once more in the forthcoming sequel series Girl Meets World. An adult Cory (played again by Savage) and his wife Topanga (the character’s original portrayer Danielle Fishel) will star on Boy creator Michael Jacobs’ new show, hopefully instilling the same heart and soul into their daughter Riley that we found in the original program. (And for more Boy Meets World nostalgia, be sure to check out Matt Patches' oral history of "And Then There Was Shawn," in which BMW cast and crew talk about the series' infamous 1998 Halloween episode.)
While many of us can now rest happily, dreaming of an imminent reunion with Cory and Topanga, some BMW super fans still wonder: what happened to everyone else on that show? Savage and Fishel will be recharging their careers on the new Disney series, but what are the other cast members up to these days? What has Minkus been doing? Or Harley? Frankie the Enforcer? And how about Mr. Feeny?
The Hollywood.com staff has lived out its fantasy as a team of private investigators (it’s not as swanky and glamorous as the Bogey movies always made it seem… the Internet kind of ruined that magic) and sought out the post-Boy Meets World career ups and downs of the show’s cast. Want to see where the John Adams High student body is today? Check out what we discovered below.
Name: Lee Norris
Character: Stuart Minkus
Seen In…: 23 episodes, with his last appearance at high school graduation making a joke about how all the characters we hadn’t seen in seasons were just “on the other side” of the school.
You'll Remember Him For: Being an even bigger nerd than early-seasons Topanga.
What He's Up To Now: Two cameos in Dawson’s Creek, “Barefoot at Capefest” and “To Green, With Love,” and playing Marvin “Mouth” McFadden for all nine seasons of One Tree Hill (where he got a six-pack!).
NEXT: What Happened to Morgan Matthews?Name: Lily NicksayCharacter: Morgan Matthews (The Original)Seen In…: 35 episodesYou'll Remember Her For: Playing Cory and Eric’s adorable little sister in the first two seasons. This version of Morgan enjoyed tea parties, playing with dolls, and eating only the marshmallows from boxes of Lucky Charms. She disappeared after only 35 episodes, and was replaced with Lindsay Ridgeway who took over the role with, “That was the longest time-out I've ever had!” What She's Up To Now: Nicksay made appearances in a handful of other TV shows after her Disney debut, including Judging Amy, The Guardian and 8 Simple Rules. She also appeared in Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert Redford's 1996 film Up Close & Personal. Nicksay is now 24-years-old, and she recently attended college at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. NEXT: What Happened to the other Morgan Matthews? Name: Lindsay RidgewayCharacter: Morgan Matthews (The Second)Seen In…: 75 EpisodesYou'll Remember Her For: Ridgeway turned Morgan from adorable youngest daughter to sharp comedic sidekick when she took over for the original Morgan, Lily Nicksay, in 1996.What She's Up to Now: After Boy Meets World ended, Ridgeway went on to do what a majority of teenagers do: She went to college. The actress received a Political Science degree from University of California Riverside in 2007 and a Masters in Counseling University of Redlands in 2010. Aside from a few voiceover parts, Ridgeway doesn't have too many credits to her name, but she continues to pursue her passion for singing (which she showed off in the 1997 animated film Cats Don't Dance). She regularly performs the National Anthem for Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.NEXT: What Happened to Jack Hunter? Name: Matthew LawrenceCharacter: Jack HunterSeen In…: 68 EpisodesYou'll Remember Him For: The middle Lawrence brother joined Boy Meets World in 1997 as Shawn's step-brother Jack, who evolved into a Eric Matthew's partner in crime (and comedy).What He's Up to Now: Lawrence was working steadily as a child actor before Boy and he continued to find work on both the small and big screens afterward. He appeared in 2002's The Hot Chick and 2007's The Comebacks. When we caught up with Lawrence for our Boy Meets World retrospective, he was enthusiastic about acting and his work off-screen: ""Besides auditioning and constantly going out for roles, I work in conservation with animals,"" Lawrence said. ""I'm doing this other TV show, it's somewhat reality based, coming up in January."" The actor recently joined his brother Joey Lawrence on the ABC Family sitcom Melissa & Joey.NEXT: What Happened to Angela Moore?Name: Trina McGee-DavisCharacter: Angela MooreSeen In…: 60 episodesYou'll Remember Her For: Being Shawn’s first long-term girlfriend who was on-and-off with him throughout the whole series before moving to Europe with her father in “Angela’s Ashes.”What She's Up to Now: A mother of three, McGee-Davis has made a few TV movies, like All of Us and Business Class.NEXT: What Happened to Mr. Feeny?Name: William DanielsCharacter: Mr. FeenySeen In…: 158 episodes, spanning from the first until the very last episodeYou'll Remember Him For: Living next door to Cory and Eric, and being first their teacher, then principal, then professor, and always their friend. He gave the best advice, and was the greatest mentor kids could wish for. And you can’t forget the legendary Feeny call!What He's Up to Now: Most recently, he befriended and taught Dr. Cristina Yang before dying mid-surgery on Grey’s Anatomy (freeing him up to appear on Girl Meets World!). He also appeared on two episodes of The Closer, one of King of Queens, one of Boston Legal, one of Scrubs, played the voice of K.I.T.T. on The Simpsons, and the voice of a robot pilot on Kim Possible with fellow BMW alum Will Friedle.NEXT: What Happened to Jason Marsden? Name: Jason MarsdenCharacter: Jason MarsdenSeen In...: 9 episodes from 1994-1995You'll Remember Him For: Playing a character with his real name, being best friends with Eric.What He's Up to Now: Marsden voiced various characters in DC Warner Bros. animated series like teenage Clark Kent, Firefly, and Danger Duck, and served as the voice of Max Goof in A Goofy Movie and An Extremely Goofy Movie, Mungo the gorilla in Tarzan. Marsden also landed gigs as the head announcer for Toon Disney, part-time announcer for Disney Channel. Of course, he also appeared in the flesh on occasion, with roles in Fun with Dick and Jane — as the cashier at the gas station — episodes of Even Stevens and Will and Grace, and voiced Felix Renton in Kim Possible with fellow BMW alum Will Friedle. He also continues to voice Nermal, Vito, Doctor Bonkers, and others on The Garfield Show.NEXT: What Happened to Eddie Hunter? Name: Maury SterlingCharacter: Eddie HunterSeen In…: Episode 317 (“The Pink Flamingo”)You'll Remember Him For: Being the trailer park thief who turns out to be Shawn’s surprise half-brother… who was never heard from or spoken of again. Ever.What He's Up to Now: He’s Max on Homeland! Max! Virgil’s socially inept surveillance expert brother! Sorry for all the exclamation points, but that’s how we felt when we realized this.NEXT: What Happened to Desiree?Name: Sydney BennettCharacter: DesireeSeen In…: Episode 203 (“Notorious”), Episode 204 (“Me and Mr. Joad”)You'll Remember Her For: Playing Eric like a fool as his Southern Belle girlfriend Desiree, a senior who uses him.What She's Up to Now: The last we heard from Sydney Bennett — not to be confused with the like-named music artist who performs as Syd the Kid — she had a supporting role in the 2009 Juno-starrer Whip It!, upholding her background as an experienced roller derby performer. Bennett earned her Master’s degree at the California-based Emperor’s College of Traditional Oriental Medicine. She was married in 2007 and gave birth to her first child in 2010.NEXT: What Happened to Lauren? Name: Linda CardelliniCharacter: LaurenSeen In...: Episode 514 (""Heartbreak Cory""), Episode 516 (""Torn Between Two Lovers (Feeling Like a Fool)""), Episode 521 (""Honesty Night""), Episode 621 (""The Psychotic Episode"")You'll Remember Her For: Cardellini appeared on Boy Meets World as one of the few girls to catch Corey's attention, even locking lips with the Topanga-obsessed everyman. The two crossed paths during a school ski trip, when a sprained ankle kept Corey holed up in the lodge with Lauren.What She's Up to Now: After her four-episode run as a sitcom temptress, Cardellini nabbed her breakout role on 1999's short-lived Freaks and Geeks. She continued to land roles, including a recurring role on ER in 2000 and parts in the Scooby-Doo movies and the Oscar-nominated Brokeback Mountain. This year, Cardellini was nominated for the Independent Spirit Awards ""Best Leading Female"" for her performance in the war drama Return.NEXT: What Happened to T.K.? Name: Danielle HarrisCharacter: Theresa “T.K.” KeinerSeen In...: Episode 215 (“Sister Theresa”)You'll Remember Her For: A one-time romance with Cory, which hit a snag when her overprotective older brother Harley — Cory’s high school bully — kept diligent tabs on the pair the whole night.What She's Up to Now: Scaring the hell out of you. The vast majority of movies that a still-active Danielle Harris has filmed have been horrors, and several are currently in production: Night of the Living Dead: Origins, Hatchet III, and The Farm. Harris was also a main player on the animated Nickelodeon series The Wild Thornberries, voicing older sister Debbie Thornberry.NEXT: What Happened to Rachel McGuire?Name: Maitland WardCharacter: Rachel McGuireSeen In…: 45 episodesYou'll Remember Her For: Rachel McGuire was the tall — like, really tall — red-headed girl who magically appeared in Boy Meets World for the purpose of being Eric's and Jack's bombshell roommate (and to cause tension). Of course, the boys begin battling for her love – or at the very least for a date – but in the end they all just remain friends. Though they could never help stare like idiots every time she waltzed around in a towel. (Why'd she do that, anyway?)What She is Up to Now: Rachel — who has blonde roots don't you know? — got married after making appearances in Boston Public, White Chicks, and Rules of Engagement, and is active on Twitter, sharing a lot of cleavage-baring pics, like the time she thought about being Wonder Woman for Halloween. NEXT: What Happened to Corinna? Name: Leisha HaileyCharacter: CorinnaSeen In...: Episode 405 (""Shallow Boy"")You'll Remember Her For: You'd remember Corinna (no last name) for being the super energetic and perky musician who begins dating Eric… for one episode. He's totally into her at first, but then gets turned off by her constant optimism. Instead of working things through, Eric dumps the girl, only to later hear the far-too-familiar song ""Shallow Boy"" on the radio describing their ""relationship"" to a T: I wanna give into my heart / I wanna give up who I am / Cause you trampled on my soul / Cause you don't understand / You're - shal—low / You're - shal—low.What She is Up to Now: Since BMW, Leisha Hailey was most notably on The L Word as Alice Pieszecki and most recently as Victoria on the new show The New Normal. She's also, wouldntchaknow, a real time musician – you can check out her band Uh Huh Her (which was formed in 2007) here. Her band also launched TELUHHVISION, a behind-the-scenes look at making music. She also sparked controversy back in 2011 when she was thrown off a Southwest flight for kissing her girlfriend, Camila Grey.NEXT: What Happened to Harvey? Name: Danny McNultyCharacter: Harvey ""Harley"" KeinerSeen In…: 8 episodesYou'll Remember Him For: Harley Keiner was the meanest, scariest, coolest guy at John Adams High. After failing to recruit Shawn to join his gang, Harley begins to pick on Corey (who he calls ""baboon."") Cory briefly weasels his way into Harley's good graces when he dates Harley's sister, TK, but unfortunately things quickly go sour when Cory decides he and TK are O-V-E-R. Ultimately, Harley gets sent to ""juvenile boot camp,"" at which time a young Adam Scott takes over as John Adams High's biggest bully.What He is Up to Now: According to his Facebook page (he wouldn't accept my friend request for more info), McNulty currently lives in Sedona, Ariz., and spends his time traveling and taking selfies in front of picturesque horizons. He attended the Less Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, but his Boy Meets World stint and one episode of a 1993 show called Street Justice remain his only acting credits. NEXT: What Happened to Frankie?Name: Ethan SupleeCharacter: Frankie ""The Enforcer"" StechinoSeen In...: 19 episodesYou'll Remember Him For: As the man responsible for putting kids in trashcans when Harley told him to, Frankie struck a terrifying figure. However, as we come to learn, Frankie is a sensitive soul who possesses a deep and profound love of poetry.What He is Up to Now: After Boy Meets World, Suplee went on to make quite the name for himself in films and on TV. His credits span the gamut, from the grizzly American History X to family-friendly Remember the Titans. You may remember seeing Suplee in Mallrats, The Butterfly Effect, and My Name is Earl (on which he had a starring role from 2005-2009). Suplee is currently in production on a number of projects, including The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Other fun facts about Suplee include: 1) In 2011, Suplee announced that he lost over 200 pounds by riding his bike. 2) He is a Scientologist. 3) Juliette Lewis is his sister-in-law. He and his wife, Brandy (Juliette's sister) have two children.NEXT: What Happened to Joey the Rat?Name: Blake Sennett (credited as Blake Soper)Character: Joseph ""Joey the Rat"" EpsteinSeen In...: 16 episodesYou'll Remember Him For: Being the smaller, faster-talking half of Harley Keiner's brute squad.What He is Up to Now: Following Boy Meets World, Sennett went on to appear in 6 episodes of 3rd Rock from the Sun. He is best known, however, as the guitarist for the indie rock band Rilo Kiley and frontman for the Elected.NEXT: What Happened to Jonathan Turner?Name: Anthony Tyler QuinnCharacter: Jonathan TurnerSeen In...: 52 episodesYou'll Remember Him For: Mr. Turner was the cool English teacher, the one who rode a motorcycle and had an earring, long hair, and a mysterious bachelor lifestyle. Shawn moved in with Mr. Turner in Season 2.What He is Up to Now: Quinn seems to be interested in finding work wherever he can get it these days. He has had guest roles on shows such as Caroline in the City, Passions, and more recently, Dexter, House, and Pretty Little Liars. Oh, and let's not forget, Quinn had a starring role in the 2009 Christian film, which he called ""very near and dear to me,"" No Greater Love.NEXT: What Happened to Wendy?Name: Jessica WessonCharacter: WendySeen In...: Episode 202 (“Pairing Off”), Episode 210 (“Breaking Up Is Really, Really Hard to Do”)You'll Remember Her For: Being the girl who Cory tricked into dating him after his utilization of Eric’s patented scheme for winning over any young lady failed to land him her heart. The eventual romance was brief.What She's Up to Now: Wesson continued acting straight up to 2001, earning a roles in films like Casper, Flipper, and Longshot, and a recurring spot on Judging Amy. Since she turned 19, Wesson has fallen off the radar (this last known shot of her is from 2001)… perhaps she has taken the past decade to recover from a shattered heart with which she was left following the betrayal of one Cory A. Matthews.Reporting by Michael Arbeiter, Anna Brand, Sydney Bucksbaum, Matt Patches, Leanne Aguilera, and Abbey Stone[Photo Credits: ABC (18); The CW; Twitter; Facebook; FOX; Lionsgate; IMDB (4); WENN (2); Fox Searchlight; Showtime (2); CBS]
Rare indeed is the actress capable of embodying Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis’ combination of beauty, refinement, and, in the immortal appraisal of Seinfeld’s Mr. Pitt, grace. Has Mila Kunis got what it takes? Lee Daniels thinks so. The Precious director has reportedly offered the Black Swan star the role of Jackie Kennedy in his upcoming film The Butler, a biopic about legendary White House servant Eugene Allen.
Should Kunis accept the role, she’ll be the latest in a long line of actresses who’ve portrayed the iconic First Lady on both the big and small screens. (Emphasis on the latter – Jackie O’s story has long been irresistible fodder for network programmers.) Here are five memorable examples:
Holmes played Jackie last year in The Kennedys, an eight-episode miniseries that was most notable for being declared unfit for airing on The History Channel, a network hardly known for its high programming standards.
The Crossing Jordan star tackled the role in the 2001 TV movie Jackie, Ethel, Joan: The Women of Camelot, about the trials and tribulations of being married to the Kennedys’ D.C. power trio of JFK, RFK, and Ted.
Before she was Touched By an Angel, Downey portrayed Jackie to some acclaim in the 1991 TV miniseries A Woman Named Jackie, which went on to win a Primetime Emmy for Best Miniseries.
The model-turned-Charlie’s Angels star proved her range in the 1981 TV movie Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, which chronicled Jackie’s early years leading up to her marriage to the future president.
British-born Bisset portrayed Jackie in the 2003 TV movie America’s Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story, about the short life and tragic death of JFK’s dilettante son.
Which was your favorite of Jackie?