Actress A.J. Cook is pregnant with her second child. The Criminal Minds star and her husband Nathan Andersen are preparing to welcome another member to their family, and Cook took to Instagram.com on Sunday (01Mar15) to share the good news.
Cook shared a profile shot of herself, showing off her growing baby bump, and added the caption, "Miracles do happen and don't believe anyone who tells you otherwise. #blessed #bump".
Cook and Anderson are already parents to son Mekhai, six. The couple wed in 2001.
Ironically, Cook isn't the only mum-to-be on the Criminal Minds set - her new co-star Jennifer Love Hewitt is also expecting her second child with actor husband Brian Hallisay.
Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel took home the top film prize at the Writers Guild of America Awards on Saturday (14Feb15). The movie, based on the adventures of a guest house concierge, beat competition from Oscars favourite Boyhood and Foxcatcher to be awarded the accolade for Best Original Screenplay, for co-authors Anderson and Hugo Guinness.
Graham Moore picked up the Best Adapted Screenplay award for The Imitation Game, a film about World War II code-breaker Alan Turing, and he paid tribute to his subject at the ceremony in Los Angeles, saying, "He was probably the greatest genius of his generation and I am a screenwriter from Chicago. So it's very strange to be standing on stage now when he should be."
Brian Knappenberger took the award for Best Documentary Screenplay for The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz, and True Detective led the television categories, winning Best Drama and Best New Series, while Louie was named Best Comedy.
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow is reportedly converting to Judaism.
The Iron Man star has been practicing Kabbalah, an offshoot of Judaism, for several years and is now looking to make a full transition into the religion, according to the New York Post.
Paltrow has family ties to Judaism - in 2011, she discovered her ancestors came from a long line of East European rabbis on genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are? and her father, Bruce Paltrow, was a practicing Jew. Her mother, Blythe Danner, is Christian and the actress was raised practicing both religions.
We opened 2014 with heated anticipation for the next great turns from Wes Anderson, Richard Linklater, Christopher Nolan, Lars von Trier, and a number of other cinematic vets. But the year has also treated us to a hefty sum of noteworthy first timers. We've caught a wide variety of debut attempts over the course of these past eight months, with enough qualitative range to incite reactions from "The next Hitchcock!" to "I might be able to get you a gig with my friend who does wedding videos, but don't tell him you know me." Here's a quick rundown of the debut flicks we've seen so far in '14, from great to terrible.
Tribeca Film via Everett Collection
Palo AltoDirector: Gia CoppolaWhy we're already on her bandwagon: In the vein of her aunt Sofia, the young Gia Coppola showcases an indubitable understanding of upper class ennui.
Hide Your Smiling Faces Director: Daniel Patrick CarboneWhy we're already on his bandwagon: Carbone's primarily wordless coming-of-age drama shows off his patience and pensiveness, not to mention his ability to skirt the self-importance than many films of Smiling Faces' ilk seem to bear.
Obvious ChildDirector: Gillian RobespierreWhy we're already on her bandwagon: It's funny as hell even within the margins of genre tradition, and sweet without succumbing to Hollywood sugar.
THE VERY GOOD
Zero MotivationDirector: Talya LavieShows promise of: A knack for absurdist humor and grounded character relationships alike.
It Felt Like LoveDirector: Eliza HittmanShows promise of: A uniquely keen empathy for how young people conduct themselves, both internally and among one another.
Tribeca Film via Everett Collection
The Bachelor Weekend/The StagDirector: John ButlerShows potential in: A good sense of humor, especially when it veers closer to Apatow than McKay.
Are You HereDirector: Matthew WeinerShows potential in: Social commentary through character construction, but Weiner needs a better handle on cinematic pacing.
The One I LoveDirector: Charlie McDowellShows potential in: Big ideas, and the presentation thereof, but lacks in the ultimate execution of where they can and ought to go.
Drafthouse Films via Everett Collection
Beneath the Harvest SkyDirector: Aron Gaudet and Gita PullapillyThere's room for improvement regarding: A sharper attention to the characters and story, which occasionally fade out of focus at the behest of a vivid North Maine setting.
LullabyDirector: Andrew LevitasThere's room for improvement regarding The acerbic but knowing humor shared by the central family members, in favor of the intense melodrama that the film feels impelled to stuff itself with from time to time.
Cheap ThrillsDirector: E.L. KatzThere's room for improvement regarding: The energy set toward invoking a truly interesting story or course of events, rather than the allowance of the "weird" or "dangerous" to take the wheel altogether like it does here.
TammyDirector: Ben FalconeThere's room for improvement regarding: An authentic commitment to the sincerity in the characters, in place of wild and wacky antics like jetski crashes and deer mouth-to-mouth... though these were probably studio notes, we have to assume.
Music Box Films via Everett Collection
Winter’s TaleDirector: Akiva GoldsmanWhat we hope he gets right next time: A more defined storytelling goal. While some of the film's elements worked in a vaccuum, Goldsman had been gestating a Winter's Tale adaptation for years, coming out the gate with something that is oddly both convoluted and terribly narrow.
MaleficentDirector: Robert StrombergWhat we hope he gets right next time: More Angie.
A Coffee in Berlin/Oh BoyDirector: Jan Ole GersterWhat we hope he gets right next time: A better understanding of the fine line between cheeky and irritating.
Earth to EchoDirector: Dave GreenWhat we hope he gets right next time: Ditch the essentially pointless found footage antic and hone in on the fleeting spirit of the kids.
TranscendenceDirector: Wally PfisterWhy we're nervous for his future: Pfister is a skilled cinematographer, but his grasp of character, story, and ambiance seem dangerously absent.
Goodbye to All ThatDirector: Angus McLachlanWhy we're nervous for his future: Ambitions seem to fall shy of originality, settling instead on retreading the same indie dramedy territory we've seen time and time again, but without any discernible charisma.
If I StayDirector: R.J. CutlerWhy we're nervous for his future: A dastardly aesthetic, paper-thin characters, a devoted marriage to teen movie cliches, and a potentially dangerous mentality driving the story altogether do not bode well for Cutler's future behind the camera.
Behaving BadlyDirector: Tim GarrickWhy we're nervous for his future: Because he thought this horrible thing could work.
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Gwyneth Paltrow has baffled fans by suggesting water can be upset by mean words. The Oscar winner left readers of her Goop.com website confused after detailing the work of Japanese scientist Masaru Emoto, whose experiments suggest the molecular structure of water can be affected by human emotions.
She writes, "I am fascinated by the growing science behind the energy of consciousness and its effects on matter. I have long had Dr. Emoto's coffee table book on how negativity changes the structure of water, how the molecules behave differently depending on the words or music being expressed around it."
She then enlists the help of Dr. Habib Sadeghi to explain the wacky theory, claiming that freezing water in vials labelled with kind phrases produces snowflake-like crystals, while specimens emblazoned with negative words freeze in "clumps".
He writes, "In his experiments, Emoto poured pure water into vials labelled with negative phrases like 'I hate you' or 'Fear'. After 24 hours, the water was frozen, and no longer crystallised under the microscope: It yielded grey, misshapen clumps instead of beautiful lace-like crystals. "In contrast, Emoto placed labels that said things like 'I love you' or 'Peace' on vials of polluted water, and after 24 hours, they produced gleaming, perfectly hexagonal crystals."
For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
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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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In addition to releasing their own explicit videos and having parents who are already famous, celebrities have become notorious for their effortless, immaculate good looks. But in recent decades, the public has discovered that they aren’t necessarily an elite group of naturally beautiful people, more like surgically altered attention whores. Typically, when we hear about plastic surgery, we picture the extreme cases like Pamela Anderson opting to carry the equivalent of a small child on her chest; or Joan Rivers, whose face is now pulled back so far that she has officially changed ethnicities. So you can imagine our surprise when our friend, Lisa Kudrow, recently admitted to the Saturday Evening Post that she got a nose job at the age of 16.
“I went from, in my mind, hideous to not hideous,” Kudrow told Lawrence Grobel. She described the surgery as “life-altering,” and explained further: “I did it the summer before going to a new high school. So there were plenty of people who wouldn't know how hideous I looked before. That was a good, good, good change.”
Undergoing a nose job before reaching the legal age to vote seems to be the antithesis of the character who Kudrow is most well known for playing, the formerly homeless hippie Phoebe Buffay. But it’s clear that she isn’t the only celebrity who's used rhinoplasty as a catalyst to a career. Throughout the years, alleged before-and-after photos have surfaced of other celebrities that raise some serious questions about the validity of Hollywood's nasal passages. Ryan Gosling, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Aniston and Tyra Banks are a few celebrities who are often praised for their beauty. And yet after seeing these photos, it’s hard not to picture all of them crying to their parents about their insecurities as snot dripped from their bulbous, average people noses.
There’s one photo, however, that really causes us to wonder how long this has all been going on:
Getty Images / WENN
Before becoming Marilyn Monroe, it’s rumored that Norma Jeane Mortenson underwent rhinoplasty, a chin implant, had her teeth straightened and her hairline raised. Plastic surgery was relatively new in the late 1940s, so her transformation went surprisingly under the radar at the time.
Whether it’s Lisa Kudrow getting a nose job at 16, Heidi Montag having ten surgeries in one day, or Marilyn Monroe pioneering what we’ve come to know as general cosmetic procedures, we know that it’s pretty common for drastic measures to be taken for beauty under the scrutiny of the public eye. Perhaps as a society, one day we can change our expectations of what celebrities look like, judge them at their craft and allow them the freedom be as ugly as everybody else. But, we probably shouldn’t.
Actress/comedienne Carol Burnett has joined the cast of a special ensemble reading of the play Surviving Grace to benefit an Alzheimer's disease charity. The Carol Burnett Show star will join Marilu Henner, Loni Anderson, Helen Reddy, Elliott Gould, Lou Gossett, Jr. and Brian McNamara onstage in Los Angeles on 25 September (13).
The play was penned by comedy writer Trish Vradenburg and is based on her experiences as she took care of her mother, who died of Alzheimer's in 1992. The event will serve as a fundraiser for USAgainstAlzheimer's, the organisation Vradenburg co-founded, which is committed to helping to find a cure for Alzheimer's by 2020.
Burnett will play the ailing mother, a role she took to instantly.
She tells the Huffington Post, "When I read the play, I instantly loved it. When Trish sent it to me, I thought it was kind of amazing...
"It just so beautifully captures the back and forth in the relationship between the mother and the daughter... I loved the whole dynamic of it."
After Dark Films
It seems a bit odd to take on a movie review of Courtney Solomon's Getaway, as only in the loosest terms is Getaway actually a movie. We begin without questions — other than a vague and frustrating "What the hell is going on?" — and end without answers, watching Ethan Hawke drive his car into things (and people) for the hour and a half in between. We learn very little along the way, probed to engage in the mystery of the journey. But we don't, because there's no reason to.
There's not a single reason to wonder about any of the things that happen to Hawke's former racecar driver/reformed criminal — forced to carry out a series of felonious commands by a mysterious stranger who is holding his wife hostage — because there doesn't seem to be a single ounce of thought poured into him beyond what he see. We learn, via exposition delivered by him to gun-toting computer whiz Selena Gomez, that he "did some bad things" before meeting the love of his life and deciding to put that all behind him. Then, we stop learning. We stop thinking. We start crashing into police cars and Christmas trees and power plants.
Why is Selena Gomez along for the ride? Well, the beginnings of her involvement are defensible: Hawke is carrying out his slew of vehicular crimes in a stolen car. It's her car. And she's on a rampage to get it back. But unaware of what she's getting herself into, Gomez confronts an idling Hawke with a gun, is yanked into the automobile, and forced to sit shotgun while the rest of the driver's "assignments" are carried out. But her willingness to stick by Hawke after hearing his story is ludicrous. Their immediate bickering falls closer to catty sexual tension than it does to genuine derision and fear (you know, the sort of feelings you'd have for someone who held you up or forced you into accessorizing a buffet of life-threatening crimes).
After Dark Films
The "gradual" reversal of their relationship is treated like something we should root for. But with so little meat packed into either character, the interwoven scenes of Hawke and Gomez warming up to each other and becoming a team in the quest to save the former's wife serve more than anything else as a breather from all the grotesque, impatient, deliberately unappealing scenes of city wreckage.
And as far as consolidating the mystery, the film isn't interested in that either, as evidenced by its final moments. Instead of pressing focus on the answers to whatever questions we may have, the movie's ultimate reveal is so weak, unsubstantial, and entirely disconnected to the story entirely, that it seems almost offensive to whatever semblance of a film might exist here to go out on this note. Offensive to the idea of film and story in general, as a matter of fact. But Getaway isn't concerned with these notions. Not with story, character, logic, or humanity. It just wants to show us a bunch of car crashes and explosions. So you'd think it might have at least made those look a little better.
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