Celebrities do everything bigger than we do. They have bigger birthday parties, bigger weddings, bigger houses…it’s just part of their lifestyle. They also have big and elaborate relationships with other high profile people in the industry. And we’re always paying attention to them: while these relationships are going on, paparazzi line the streets and hide behind children to try to get snapshots of the couple, which are then cited by media sources as proof of the couple’s happiness or unhappiness. And when these relationships end, articles upon articles are printed that speculate why the couple called it quits. This summer, there were TONS of articles about celebrity couples, and most of them were about the ones that split up. So in case you were following the stock market this summer (I don't know why you would!), here's a list of the celebrities who had far more unpleasant summers than anyone's portfolio.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver
The biggest celebrity catastrophe of the summer was truly epic and it was the split that took place between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, who’d been together for 25 years and had four children together. Their marriage crumbled with the news that Arnold had fathered a child with his housekeeper, Mildred Patricia Baena, fourteen years ago. When the world learned of Schwarzenegger’s transgressions in May, he claimed that he told Maria about Baena and his child with her after he left the governor’s office in January. After immediately separating from Schwarzenegger and taking some time to think about her next move, Maria then swiftly filed divorce on July 1st, citing “irreconcilable differences” and petitioned for Schwarzenegger to pay spousal support and her attorney fees. Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony Most splits between celebrity couples are easy to predict, but one that caught us completely off-guard was between Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. On July 15th, People reported that Jennifer and Marc had released a statement announcing their separation, which said, “We have decided to end our marriage. This was a very difficult decision. We have come to an amicable conclusion on all matters. It is a painful time for all involved and we appreciate the respect of our privacy at this time.” No particular reason was given as to what led them to part ways, but a few days later, quotes from her first post-divorce announcement interview with Vanity Fair hit the internet, and of the separation, she said “Sometimes we don’t realize when we’re compromising ourselves. To understand that a person is not good for you, or that that person is not treating you in the right way, or that he is not doing the right thing for himself – if I stay, then I am not doing the right thing for me. I love myself enough to walk away from that now.” George Clooney and Elisabetta Canalis George Clooney and Italian actress Elisabetta Canalis started dating in September of 2009. For two years they led a very glamorous life of travel, fine dining, and walking red carpets and bonding over the fact that marriage and children were not for them. But then one day in early June, Elisabetta told Italian magazine, Chi, that she wanted to get married one day. She said, “I am a firm believer in marriage, in the future I will be married, but for the time being I am happy as I am.” That very same month, the news broke that Clooney and Canalis had decided to end their relationship and Canalis did not launch a campaign claiming that the magazine misquoted her. Hugh Hefner and Crystal Harris After Holly Madison, Kendra Wilkinson and Bridget Marquardt moved out of the Playboy Mansion in October of 2008, Crystal Harris, 24, promptly moved into both the public and Hugh Hefner’s spotlights. In September of 2010, Hugh proposed to Crystal despite their 60 year age difference…which he addressed and defended when he told E! News, “I do believe that you are healthy, age is just a number. It depends on your DNA and it also depends very much on how you are as a person, your mental attitude, et cetera.” However on June 13th, Crystal surprisingly broke up with Hugh and posted on her website, “After much deep reflection and thought I have decided to end my engagement with Hef. I have the utmost respect for Hef and wish him the best going forward. I hope the media will give each of us the privacy we deserve during this time.” Then there were rumors that even though the couple were going to profit from a television special they were going to film during their wedding, Crystal was secretly planning to leave Hef at the altar (so as to boost ratings and start her own career). Seeking to tell her side of the story, Crystal sat down with Howard Stern and explained the reason why she broke up with Hugh, which was apparently because he lasted “like two seconds” in bed. After Hugh promptly responded to Crystal’s statements and insisted they weren’t true, Crystal apologized to Hef and he accepted. They’re still not together, though. Emily Maynard and Brad Womack After Emily Maynard happily accepted Brad Womack’s proposal on the finale of The Bachelor last March, things drastically took a turn for the worst. Tabloids reported that since Emily had a very hard time watching Brad get physical with the other women on the show, she stopped trusting him and began to doubt how much he wanted her in his life. To complicate things further, Brad continued to live in Austin, Texas while Emily and her 6 year-old daughter Ricki lived in Charlotte, and Emily told The Bachelor host Chris Harrison that she didn’t want to uproot Ricki’s life since she wasn’t sure if Brad was really ready to be a father. However, the couple appeared to be trying to work things out…until another hurdle presented itself. This time, a woman named Laurel Kagay told Us Magazine that Brad wasn’t the man he said he was, and that he had proposed to her hundreds of times, and that Emily shouldn’t believe a word her fiancé says. The next thing we knew, Emily was sitting down with Chris Harrison again on July 11th and confirming that she and Brad were no longer together. The reason for the split? Emily saw too many “red flags,” and did not elaborate ay further. She is rumored to be in talks to be the next Bachelorette. Jesse James and Kat Von D People started despising Jesse James the moment they learned he was hiding Nazi apparel in Sandra Bullock’s basement. But we really started to hate him when almost immediately after he and Bullock separated, he ran right into the arms of Kat Von D in September of 2010 and insisted to us that he loved Kat so much more than he ever loved Bullock (a woman who, might I add, would go on to donate $1 million to the American Red Cross to help the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan). He even told Howard Stern that sex with Kat was “100% better than sex with Sandy”! Jesse and Kat continued unapologetically advertising their love of one another to every public medium that would listen, and after getting engaged in January of this year, Kat thought it would be a good idea to get a tattoo of her future husband before they actually tied the knot for real. Obviously it wasn’t such a swell decision to make, and like all relationships that are immortalized in ink, Jesse and Kat ended up calling off their engagement in July. After the announcement was made, Jesse explained to People that the geographical distance (Kat lived in LA and Jesse lived in Austin, Texas) between them made the relationship impossible. But then they got back together! So good for them, but they still make this list. Leonardo DiCaprio and Bar Refaeli There’s not much information on Leonardo DiCaprio’s five-year relationship with Sports Illustrated model Bar Refaeli because they pretty much kept to themselves. Leo is famous for not saying anything about his personal life, and so the only proof we had that these two were even together was when they were photographed courtside at a Lakers game or on a yacht drifting into the sunset somewhere. In any case, we learned the actor and model decided to split up in May, and sources claimed neither one of them were ready to settle down, and that the relationship ultimately ended because their careers were heading in different directions. You would think that would’ve occurred to them earlier! Kate Bosworth, Alexander Skarsgard It was announced in July that Kate and Alex broke up after two years of dating. They apparently met in October of 2009 at the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood, and spent the majority of their relationship drinking beers out of plastic cups and sitting on the grass at music festivals. There's really not much to say about them...so good riddance! They weren't very entertaining, anyway.
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
The golden envelopes won't open until March 26, but Oscar is already shining for two honorary recipients.
Warren Beatty has been named the recipient for the Irving G. Thalberg Award for career achievement in film. The award, named after former MGM production chief Irving Thalberg, who died of pneumonia at age 37, honors outstanding film producers. Beatty is the only person to be nominated for producer, director, writer and actor at the same time twice, for 1978's "Heaven Can Wait" and 1981's "Reds." Four of the films he has produced have been nominated for Best Picture -- "Bonnie and Clyde," "Heaven Can Wait," "Reds" and "Bugsy."
An Honorary Academy Award will also be given to Polish director Andrzej Wajda, who introduced films that depict the effects of war, including "A Generation" (1957), "Kanal" (1957) and "Ashes and Diamonds" (1958). He later made romantic films, comedies, epics and dramas, but returned to the battlefield numerous times. His controversial film "Man of Iron" (1981), chronicling the solidarity movement in Poland, was submitted to the Academy for consideration for Best Foreign Language Film. The Polish government unsuccessfully tried to withdraw the film, and it was eventually nominated.
MORE AWARDS: The Producers Guild of America has announced the list of nominees for the Darryl F. Zanuck Theatrical Motion Picture Producer of the Year Award.
The Golden Laurel hopefuls are: Bruce Cohen and Dan Jinks for "American Beauty;" Michael Stipe, Sandy Stern, Steve Golin and Vincent Landay for "Being John Malkovich;" Richard N. Gladstein for "The Cider House Rules;" Armyan Bernstein, John Ketcham and Norman Jewison for "The Hurricane;" and Michael Mann and Jan Pieter Brugge for "The Insider."
The awards ceremony will take place at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles on Mar. 2.