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Mission BriefingIt's all comes down to this. Coulson and his team mount up for one last life or death mission to take out Garret and Ward, but as Coulson surely knows by now, nothing ever comes easy. Garrett has recently gotten a serious upgrade by way of GH-235, while Fitz and Simmons are still stranded at the bottom of the ocean. Can the team defeat a superpowered Garrett and save their missing tech team.
Mission FalloutAfter getting injected with GH-235, Garrett is looking particularly limber. The chemical compound has not only healed Garrett and made him stronger than ever, but the drug has also changed his brain chemistry, making Garrett prone to waxing on about "the truth" and scrawling odd diagrams on walls. Ward fears his mentor has become mentally unhinged, but Garrett's new outlook has given him newfound vision.
In Cuba, Coulson and his team have fought off the Cybertek soldiers, and managed to implant Skye's trojan horse into their system, which allows her to break into all of Cybertek's computer systems. The team is able to track down the bus thanks to Fitz/Simmons' tracker, but the two agents aren't answering the communications, and the team fears the worst. The agents mount up for a final strike on Garrett and Cybertek, and track him down to a Cybertek facility in New Mexico. The team breaks into the compound, and Skye reprograms the super-soldiers to lead them right to Garrett. Meanwhile, Fitz and Simmons have devised a plan to escape their underwater prison, but the storage unit only has enough air for one person to survive the ascent to the surface. Fitz sacrifices himself by giving Simmons the last of his air, and The two make it to the surface, and into the waiting hands of Director Nick Fury. Fury reveals that he's been looking for Coulson, and heads to New Mexico.
Back at the Cybertek compound, May faces off against Ward while Coulson confronts Garrett and Deathlok. May is able to subdue Ward after some sexually charged fist-a-cuffs, and Fury (A.k.A Director deus ex machina) shows up just in time to give Coulson a much needed hand. Deathlok is about to incinerate Coulson and Fury, but gets a message in his system from Ace. Skye managed to save Mike's son, freeing him of Garrett's control. Mike changes his sights to Garrett and blasts a hole through his chest before stomping him seemingly out of existence. Mike ensures that his son is in safe hands before escaping, claiming that he needs to redeem himself before seeing his son again. With the day won, Coulson demands answers from Fury about project T.A.H.I.T.I., with the former director saying it was an emergency situation, and that he had to do what was necessary to revive his best agent. Fury gives Coulson a small box which he says will help Coulson rebuild S.H.I.E.L.D. before making Coulson the new Director. Coulson follows coordinates found in Fury's box to a new, underground S.H.I.E.L.D. base run by agent Billy Koenig, an agent that looks exactly like the recently desceased Eric Koenig. They could be twins, but were betting Fury might have dabbled in cloning on his off hours.
Later, Rayna meets with a bloodied man and tells him that she knows where his daughter is before handing him a picture of Skye. Coulson wakes up in the middle of the night and begins scrawling the same cryptic diagrams that Garrett has been writing earlier. A likely side-effect of the GH-235 serum that they both ingested.
Most Valuable Agent AwardThe final award of the season goes to Deathlok for giving Garrett what he had coming to in. Hopefully, this isn't the last time we see Mike Peterson.
Mission Highlights and Other Observations- It's been rough ride, folks, and at times things looked bleak. But over the course of the season, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has settled into a good hour of television. The season finale was a perfect synecdoche of all the things that work, and don't work, on the show. Good action is hampered by clunky dialogue, and ambitious setpieces are blunted by cheap looking sets and drab direction. Hopefully, S.H.I.E.L.D. can work on these things over the summer break and come back swinging in the fall.- While the finale was enjoyable, and did its due diligence in setting up some intriguing mysteries for the fall, we do wish we received a bit more in the way of answers. Yarns that have been stretched and teased throughout the entire season still haven't come close to being answered yet. We've learned precious little about who Skye is, and we still don't know the full details about project T.A.H.I.T.I. Did they forget about the big blue alien?- Ward: "Reminds me of the old days." / May: "You were never on top."- When was the last time anyone saw a tag-team wrestling match with four dead guys?"
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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Last night, The Voice returned for its third season premiere on NBC. Meanwhile, somewhere in Beverly Hills, Simon Cowell pouted for two hours straight.
The Voice’s blind auditions are like speed dating, except your would-be partner refuses to look at you and insists on sitting in something that a James Bond villain would have his teeth cleaned in. So, not awkward at all. Slap on a nametag and ladle yourself a generous glass of punch: It’s go time.
Celebrity mentors Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green, and Blake Shelton open the episode with a four-person cover of “Start Me Up.” For the performance, Christina wears a rhinestone-encrusted bustier, which might seem unusual in a world where Cee Lo wasn’t dressed in a white, full-body tunic lifted from a stall at the Renaissance Faire.
The blind auditions begin with Terry McDermott, a Scottish rocker. My instant fondness for Terry — and his tiny, precious son in his tiny, precious blazer — is matched only by my desire to forcefully shear his overgrown moptop, skyrocketing the singer to #2 on my list of celebrities whose hair I feel personally compelled to maintain (Anthony Davis, I’m coming for you).
Terry takes on The Who’s “Baba O’Riley.” He does the classic rock anthem justice with controlled yet soaring vocals. As Adam puts it, Terry’s is a “tried and true rock-and-roll voice.”
Terry’s Result: Team Blake (also known as Team Ovulation-Inducing Accents)
A funny and commanding presence, De’Borah transitioned from a traditionally feminine style to an androgynous appearance at the age of 18; she casually explains that she’s “not into the gender thing.” Gendah schmendah. In a pair of oversized glasses, a bright coral sweater and matching skinny jeans, De’Borah is empirically adorable.
De’Borah’s playful, throaty interpretation of Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister” is loaded with personality. Although the smart money was on Cee Lo, De’Borah chooses Christina, citing Aguilera’s “The Voice Within” as an inspiration for finding the strength to be herself. Let’s all take a minute to reflect on the wisdom of grungy, brunette Xtina circa 2002.
Don’t mind me, you guys. Just a little bit of water coming out my faceholes.
De’Borah’s Result: Team Christina
Another blonde, fresh-faced aspiring country star, Gracia Harrison seems at first like this season’s RaeLynn — except she yodels. Obviously. While part of me was hoping for a disaster of Swiss avalanche proportions, her vocally adventurous version of “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart” was delightful.
Adam proclaims her the best country singer ever heard on The Voice, but unsurprisingly, Gracia chooses Mr. Miranda Lambert as her coach. Hell hath no fury like a Levine scorned: Adam busts out a twangy Blake Shelton impression, apparently harboring a secret desire to transition from SNL musical guest to host (no, thank you).
Gracia’s Result: Team Blake
Sixteen-year-old Garrett Gardner learned to love soul from his professional musician father, who died of cancer two years ago. Garrett’s take on Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” isn’t bad by any means, but sounds a little too much like a weak John Fogerty impression. To generate an improbably grown-up growl, he stands doubled over, grabbing at his stomach like he’s suffering from an ulcer.
Garrett goes unchosen, though the judges are encouraging, assuring him that better vocal control will come naturally with age and experience. Hugs and sniffles all around.
Garrett’s Result: Team Nobody
NEXT: The spooky result of Hollywood’s genetic experiment.
Once home-schooled, “small-town West Texas girl” Devyn DeLoera overcame shyness through her love of performing. Describing what she’s about to do as “suicidal,” Devyn goes full-on All About Eve with a cover of Aguilera’s very own “Ain’t No Other Man.” Luckily, Devyn’s full-bodied, soulful cover pleases the Supreme High Priestess, who allows the impudent child to live, and to join her team.
Devyn’s Result: Team Christina
Bronx-born Bryan Keith boasts an impressive musical pedigree: his father, Ray de la Paz, is a Grammy-winning salsa singer. Bryan’s sexy, radio-ready version of Bruno Mars’ “It Will Rain” turns around all four judges.
Bryan’s Result: Team Adam
(At this point in the show I realize that Carson Daly, interviewing Bryan’s family backstage, is barely recognizable to me. Gone is the baby-faced VJ of my youth; in his place stands an ambiguously creepy, middle-aged man, who looks more like one of the performers’ dads than a TV personality of the genus Seacrest. But whatever, the gauntness kind of works for him, and I’m into it.)
Does Daniel Rosa look familiar? The 21-year-old was rejected in his blind audition last season (in a flashback video, mean girl Blake mouths “pitchy” from behind his chair), but he’s back and more earnest than ever. This time, he offers a stripped-down cover of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” — and the judges see the error of their ways.
Daniel’s Result: Team Cee Lo
Anita Antoinette is a Jamaica native and a recent graduate of Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music. Her rendition of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry” is beautiful, but too superficial — the judges leave their buttons untouched, commenting that her cheerful performance didn’t engage with the song’s heavy subject matter.
She asks to sing the song again, a capella this time, and the coaches oblige her. Damn, girl. Why didn’t you do that in the first place? Goosebumps and shivers abound, but it’s too late for Anita.
Anita’s Result: Team Nobody
Twenty-four-year-old Joe Kirkland, one-time frontman of the band Artist vs. Poet — if you wanted to write a joke name for an emotive indie band, you’d throw that one out because it’s too on-the-nose — is ready for a solo career. In his audition, he brought a bubblegum Billie Joe Armstrong sensibility to “Gives You Hell.”
Joe’s Result: Team Adam
Jessica Sharpe’s melodic Southern accent had me thinking she was destined for Team Blake, but alas, it was not meant to be. Despite my initial excitement at her choice of “Son of a Preacher Man” (Dusty 4 Lyfe), the performance felt a little hokey, like a wedding band’s stale go-to number. From behind her chair, Christina assumes her best McKayla Maroney face, and the other judges are equally unimpressed. Sorry, sweet pea.
Jessica’s Result: Team Nobody
(Before our final contestant of the evening, we breeze through a few unsuccessful auditions. The clear highlight of these is a brief appearance by someone named Danny Hunter Jones, who is such an uncannily perfect blend of Joe Jonas and Zac Efron that I can draw no other conclusion than that some seriously dark genetic experimentation is going down in a bunker under Hollywood.)
Raised in Jamaica, Queens by his garbage-collector dad, soft-spoken Trevin Hunte rounds out the first round of blind auditions with a surprisingly powerful version of Beyoncé’s “Listen.” Trevin’s belting garners a well-deserved standing ovation, and Cee Lo finds it hard to believe that Trevin has had issues with self-confidence. D’aww.
Trevin’s Result: Team Cee Lo
The Voice is back both tomorrow night and Wednesday. Has Cee Lo finally trained his cockatoo to sing? Will Adam Levine go rogue and submit himself, in an unconvincing false mustache, as his own team member? Stay tuned.
[Image Credit: NBC]
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The movie world's highest of high brow event is indubitably Festival de Cannes, the annual French film fest that handpicks the finest works of new cinema to unleash upon the world. From legendary auteurs to first time directors, Cannes is exalted by film buffs as the premiere stage for big screen debuts. If a movie gets into Cannes, it's already earned a level of respect.
That same respect extends to the stars, who flock to the chic festival to walk the red carpet and command audiences with their latest performances. Cannes imbues an actor or actress with immediate cred — especially helpful if for up-and-comers looking for respect. There's a theme of this year's line-up: the new and the old rubbing shoulders, a younger generation ready to step out the door and rise above their goofy franchise roots. Robert Pattinson has teamed with the highly-respected David Cronenberg for the absolutely bonkers-looking Cosmopolis; Kristen Stewart and Garrett Hedlund help Walter Salles (Motorcycle Diaries) bring his long-gestating Kerouac adaptation On the Road to life; Shia LaBeouf drops alien robots for Depression era gangsters and Tom Hardy in Lawless; and Zac Efron stars opposite John Cusack, Matthew McConaughey and Nicole Kidman in The Paperboy, the latest from director Lee Daniels (Precious). The kids, as it seems, are all grown up.
But don't think Cannes has abandoned its A-Listers. Facing off against the Millennials are familiar faces like Brad Pitt (Killing Them Softly), Clive Owen (Hemingway & Gelhorn) and the incredible ensemble assembled for Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom, which opens the festival. Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman…Hollywood friendly, but with the unique quirk that only an Anderson film could provide.
Check out the full list of titles, films ready to hook lucky attendees when the festival gets underway May 16.
Rust and Bone - dir. Jacques Audiard
Moonrise Kingdom - dir. Wes Anderson
Holy Motors - dir. Leos Carax
Cosmopolis - dir. David Cronenberg
The Paperboy - dir. Lee Daniels
Killing Them Softly - dir. Andrew Dominik
Reality - dir. Matteo Garrone
Love - dir. Michael Haneke
Lawless - dir. John Hillcoat
In Another Country - dir. Hong Sang So
The Taste of Money - dir. Im Sang So
Like Someone In Love - dir. Abbas Kiarostami
The Angels' Share - dir. Ken Loach
In The Fog - dir. Sergei Loznitsa
Beyond The Hills - dir. Cristian Mungiu
Baad el Mawkeaaa (Apres La Bataille) - dir. Yousry Nasrallah
Mud - dir. Jeff Nichols
You Haven't Seen Anything Yet - dir. Alan Resnais
Post Tenebras Lux - dir. Carlos Reygadas
On The Road - dir. Walter Salles
Paradise: Love - dir. Ulrich Seidl
The Hunt - dir. Thomas Winterberg
Un Certain Regard:
La Playa - dir. Juan Andres Arango
Miss Lovely - dir. Achim Ahluwalia
God's Horses - dir. Nabel Ayouch
Antiviral - dir. Brandon Cronenberg
Trois Mondes - dir. Catherine Corsini
Days In Havana - dir. Benicio Del Toro, Gaspar Noe, Laurence Cantat, et all
Laurence Anyways - dir. Xavier Dolan
Le Grand Soir - dir. Benoit Delepine and Gustave Kervern
Aimer A Perdre La Raison - dir. Joachim LaFosse
Después De Lucia - dir. Michel Franco
Mystery - dir. Lou Ye
Student - dir. Darezhan Omirbayev
La Pirogue - dir. Moussa Toure
Confession Of A Child Of The Century - dir. Sylvie Verheyde
The White Elephant - dir. Pablo Trapero
11:25 The Day He Chose His Own Fate - dir. Koje Wakamatsu
Beasts Of The Southern Wild - dir. Benh Zeitlin
Out of Competition:
Tess - restored by Polanski
Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir - dir. Laurent Bouzereau
Once Upon A Time In America - dir. Sergio Leone
The Central Park Five - dir. Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon
Garbage In The Garden Of Eden - dir. Faith Akin
Les Invisbles - dir. Sebastien Lifschitz
Journal De France - dir. Claudine Nougaret and Raymond Depardon
Dracula 3D - dir. Dario Argento
Madagascar 3 - dir. Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath
Me and You - dir. Bernardo Bertolucci
The Legend Of Love and Sincerity - dir. Takashi Milke
Mekong Hotel - dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Villegas - dir. Gonzalo Tobak
A Musica Segundo Tom Jobim - dir. Nelson Pereira Dos Santos
Hemingway & Gellhorn - dir. Philip Kaufman
[Festival de Cannes]
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The Melancholia star was joined by Hedlund as she cycled around her neighbourhood in Toluca Lake, California on Thursday (02Feb12) plastering 'Lost Cat' posters on trees and lampposts in a bid to track down her precious pet.
The actress describes little Tazzy as grey/white and notes it is not wearing a collar.
She also offers an unspecified reward for anyone who manages to find the cat.
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.