Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
With only a week and change having passed since the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, we no doubt feel the question living fresh in our minds: can we ever judge a remake without considering its predecessors? The conversation about the stark contrast in critical favor between Marc Webb's release and Sam Raimi's trilogy (the second installment of his franchise in particular) buzzed loudly, and we imagine the volume will keep in regards to Gareth Edwards' Godzilla. But it'll be a different sound altogether.
The original Godzilla, a Japanese film released in 1954, reinvented the identity of the monster movie, launched a 30-film legacy, and spoke legions about the political climate of its era. The most recent of these films — Roland Emmerich's 1998 American production — is universally bemoaned as a bigger disaster than anything to befall Tokyo at the hands of the giant reptile. With these two entries likely standing out as the most prominent in the minds of contemporary audiences, Edwards' Godzilla has some long shadows cast before it. And in approaching the new movie, one might not be able to avoid comparisons to either. It's fair — by taking on an existing property, a filmmaker knowingly takes on the connotations of that property. But the 2014 installment's great success is that it isn't much like any Godzilla movie we've seen before. In a great, great way.
This isn't 1954's Godzilla, a dire and occasionally dreary allegory that uses the supernatural to tell an important story about nuclear holocaust. A complete reversal, in fact, first and foremost Edwards' Godzilla is about its monsters. Any grand themes strewn throughout — the perseverence of nature, the follies of mankind, fatherhood, madness, faith — are all in service to the very simple mission to give us some cool, weighty, articulate sci-fi disaster. Elements of gravity are plotted all over the film's surface, with scientists, military men (kudos to Edwards for not going the typical "scientists = good/smart, military = bad/dumb" route in this film — everybody here is at least open to suggestion), doctors, police officers, and a compassionate bus driver all wrestling with options in the face of behemoth danger. The humanity is everpresent, but never especially intrusive. To reiterate, this isn't a film about any of these people, or what they do.
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
The closest thing to a helping of thematic (or human) significance comes with Ken Watanabe's Dr. Serizawa, who spouts awe-stricken maxims about cryptozoology, the Earth, and the inevitable powerlessness of man. He might not be supplying anything more substantial than our central heroes (soft-hearted soldier Aaron Taylor-Johnson, dutiful medic and mom Elizabeth Olsen, right-all-along conspiracy theorist Bryan Cranston), but Watanabe's bonkers performance as the harried scientist is so bizarrely good that you might actually believe, for a scene or two, that it all does mean something.
Ultimately, the beauty of our latest taste of Godzilla lies not in the commitment to a message that made the original so important nor in the commitment to levity that made Emmerich's so pointless, but in its commitment to imagination. Edwards' creature design is dazzling, his deus ex machina are riveting, and the ultimate payoff to which he treats his audience is the sort of gangbusters crowd-pleaser that your average contemporary monster movie is too afraid to consider.
In fairness, this year's Godzilla might not be considered an adequate remake, not quite reciprocating the ideals, tone, or importance of the original. Sure, anyone looking for a 2014 answer to 1954's game-changing paragon will find sincere philosophy traded for pulsing adventure... but they'd have a hard time ignoring the emphatic charm of this new lens for the 60-year-old lizard, both a highly original composition and a tribute in its way to the very history of monster movies (a history that owes so much to the creature in question). So does Godzilla '14 successfully fill the shoes of Godzilla '54? No — it rips them apart and dons a totally new pair... though it still has a lot of nice things to say about the first kicks.
Oh, and the '98 Godzilla? Yeah, it's better than that.
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At this point in the Dancing with the Stars competition, everyone has the dancing skills to win: each remaining pair has scored high since Episode 1. As such, there's no real "dark horse" in this bunch – so when it comes down to it, it's going to be a tight race. As such, without further ado, here's how we'd rank the semi-finalists:
5. James Maslow/Peta Murgatroyd
Like the rest of the bunch, James is an adept dancer. His so-called chemistry with Peta might give him an edge, but they have considerably less sizzle than competitors Meryl and Maks. There's also the fact that he's routinely labeled as the "eye candy" of the show, but is that enough to take home the trophy?
Secret weapon: Shirtlessness
4. Candace Cameron-Bure
Candace might be the closest thing to a dark horse champion that the competition has at this point: she started the season off with excellent scores, then faltered after a bout with anxiety. Anyway, she's now the sort of "comeback kid" – plus, her close connection with her family makes her more accessible and easy to root for.
Secret weapon: Her relatability
3. Charlie White/Sharna Burgess
Some argued that Charlie's recent gold medal as an ice dancer was an unfair advantage (Olympic athletes have tended to do especially well in past seasons). Sure, Charlie's got discipline and talent to spare, but his golden ticket may lie with his charisma: he has a certain effervescence that might just make up the difference between runner-up and champion.
Secret weapon:The "aww!" factor
2. Meryl Davis/Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Like Charlie, Meryl's also got some extra experience with dance (as noted in the premiere, her spins are off the charts), but it might just be her chemistry with Maks that wins the day. Yes, on a show that runneth over with fauxmance, her relationship with Maks looks almost – dare I say it – genuine.
Secret weapon: The "aww!" factor, but in a different way
1. Amy Purdy/Derek Hough
This duo has everything it needs to win: flawless dancing, an athletic background (another Olympian!), and perhaps most importantly, an inspirational backstory. And let's forget that Derek's won the Mirror Ball Trophy five times, more times than any other pro on the show...
Secret weapon: She's inspirational times a thousand
Who do you think's got what it takes? Let us know in the comments!
Taylor Swift has dispelled rumours of a feud with pal Selena Gomez by gushing over the "longest" relationship either of the singers has ever had.
The pair met up for the annual Met Gala in New York last Monday (05May14), amid speculation of a fall out between the Love Story hitmaker and Gomez, and the Come & Get It singer posted a video of the duo dancing its way into the bash on her Instagram page, alongside the caption: "sometimes you wanna just be you with someone who knows all your secrets."
And in a new interview with E! News, Taylor is putting the rumours of a rift to rest by joking that the two pals have been together longer than any of their high-profile relationships with their famous ex-boyfriends like Justin Bieber and Swift's ex-partners Harry Styles, John Mayer, Joe Jonas and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Swift says, "It's been the longest one (relationship) I think either of us (has) had really. When your life changes and you become thrust into this really strange whirlwind, where what your life is is different from what other people think your life is and your life is commented on and your life is written about and fictionalised and all that, both of us have kind of stuck it out and hung in there through all the different changes we've gone through. "Longevity is something you really can find very precious and rare in friendships."
Lady Gaga is regularly mocked by her boyfriend Taylor Kinney for choosing unsuitable clothes for days out. The Chicago Fire star reveals the couple enjoys a range of hobbies together, from taking scenic walks to expressing their artistic sides.
However, Kinney often finds himself poking fun at the Born This Way hitmaker for choosing outfits that are completely unsuitable for their planned day out.
He tells Glamour magazine, "I'm always giving her flak, like, 'Babe, you can't wear your heels when we're hiking'."
Kinney adds their relationship is built on a shared sense of humour, saying, "There's a lot of laughing. I think that's the basis of a healthy relationship. We laugh a lot. I think we just complement each other. I'm proud of her, and I'd like to believe she's proud of me. We're kindred spirits."
Fifty Shades Of Grey director Sam Taylor-Wood has added her husband Aaron Taylor-Johnson to the cast of the highly-anticipated movie adaptation of E.L. James' erotic bestseller. Rumours surfaced last year (13) suggesting the Kick-Ass star was being considered for the lead role of Christian Grey, but the part initially went to Charlie Hunnam.
When he quit the project, Northern Irish actor Jamie Dornan was chosen as his replacement, but Taylor-Wood has now revealed Johnson has made it into the film.
However, she has not elaborated on his role.
The movie, which also stars Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele, is due to hit theatres next year (15).
The casting news comes just weeks after Taylor-Johnson told Nylon magazine he had no interest in playing Grey.
He stated, "I think it would have been the wrong kind of hype to bring toward us (as a couple). It would have been kind of funny that this character that all these women fancy - he's one in a million - and my wife picks her husband to play the part?"
He added, "I would love to have done something together again, but it wouldn't have been Fifty. We were both on the same page."
The pair met on the set of 2009 movie Nowhere Boy, in which Taylor-Johnson portrayed a young John Lennon.
Taylor Swift made a super fan's dream come true by meeting the young cancer sufferer at a Los Angeles hospital on Wednesday (07May14). The Love Story hitmaker paid a visit to five-year-old Khloe after learning about the young girl's online campaign to meet her idol.
Khloe's aunt started a page on Facebook.com titled 'Stay Fearless Khloe', in homage to Swift's hit album Fearless.
The description on the page reads: "Please help my brave niece, Khloe, meet Taylor Swift. Khloe is bravely battling cancer at 5 and ADORES Taylor.
"Khloe is... a MAJOR Swiftie (fan)! She sings & dances to Taylor everyday!... I asked her a few weeks back why she loved Taylor so much and she replied, 'She makes me happy when I'm sad.'"
After the campaign gained pace and hashtags including #FaithFamilyandTaylorSwift began trending on social media, the Grammy winner visited her ward and posed for photos with the youngster that were posted on the Facebook page.
In one picture, Swift and Khloe are holding up a sign which read, "Today I broke up with my tumor and we are never, ever getting back together!"
"She's a lovely young girl and he just thinks that she's a great example. He thinks that she's really beautiful and talented... He admires her." Sharon Osbourne approves of husband Ozzy's 'crush' on Taylor Swift.
British composer and broadcaster Antony Hopkins has died aged 93. The talented musician and radio personality passed away on Tuesday (06May14), according to the BBC. The cause of death has yet to be released.
Hopkins was best known as the presenter of BBC Radio Three's Talking About Music programme, which he hosted for more than 36 years.
He also composed operas including Lady Rohesia, That Man from Tuscany and Three's Company, but his work also extended to film, crafting scores for The Pickwick Papers, Cast a Dark Shadow and Billy Budd.
Hopkins was appointed a CBE in 1976 and is survived by his wife, Beatrix Taylor.
The Little Rascals star Jackie Lynn Taylor has died, aged 88. The 1930s child star, who appeared in five Our Gang comedy shorts as Little Rascals leader Wally Albright's girlfriend Jane, passed away on Monday (05May14) in Citrus Heights, California.
The actress also appeared in the Laurel & Hardy films The Devil's Brother and Babes in Toyland.
Taylor, who later became one of the first female TV co-hosts in Southern California, wrote about her time as a silver screen movie star in 1970 book The Turned-on Hollywood 7.
Godzilla director Gareth Edwards was forced to cut one of the stars of the original 1954 Japanese monster movie from his new remake due to time constraints. Edwards cast Akira Takarada as an immigrations officer in his film in the hope that Godzilla fanatics would get the importance of his meeting with his leading man Aaron Taylor-Johnson at the beginning of the movie.
He tells WENN, "He did a cameo for us on day one. It felt very appropriate at the time because he played the immigrations officer that welcomes Aaron's character to Japan. So it was this perfect constructed shot.
"Then, when we were putting the film together, there was a lot of pressure to get on with the adventure and get to the monsters as soon as possible. I hung onto that scene till the last second and it was still deemed that we had to get it shorter so that scene ended up having to go, which is my biggest regret.
"I've written to him (Takarada) and he's a real gentleman and was understanding, but it's just one of those horrible things about the process."