The Waltons star Joe Conley has died at the age of 85. The actor passed away on Sunday (07Jul13) at a care facility in Newbury Park, California. His cause of death is unknown but reports suggest he had been suffering from dementia.
Conley appeared in episodes of several TV shows during the 1950s and 1960s, including Lassie, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Green Acres and The Brady Bunch.
His big break came when he landed the role of shopkeeper Ike Godsey in family drama The Waltons, starring in more than 170 episodes of the 1970s series before it ended in 1981.
Conley appeared in some of the show's reunion movies, and more recently boasted a role in Tom Hanks' 2000 film Cast Away.
Mary Beth McDonough, who played Erin Walton in The Waltons, has paid tribute to her co-star, writing in a post on Facebook.com, "It is a a sad day... please keep him, (his wife) Louise, and his family in your prayers. RIP Mr. Godsey."
Sigh. It feels like it was only yesterday when we last left Raylan Givens and co., with his nemesis Quarles lying on the ground with a bloody stump, and Raylan himself bleeding from the inside due to the several emotional wounds opened by various members of his family. But it wasn't, and tonight, Justified will make its triumphant Season 4 return — complete with snakes, flashbacks, and Twitter-happy comedians. Hollywood.com was able to attend Justified's premiere in Los Angeles last week, and we're here to fill you in on what you missed last season, and to mercilessly tease you with quotes from the stars on what's to come. Read on, hill people!
Where We Left Off: Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) was already having a pretty rough go of it — his pregnant on-again-off-again Winona (Natalie Zea) left him, and began trolling Orbitz for flights to Costa Rica. His arch-nemesis Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) was finally in jail for murdering his former associate, but he was released when Raylan's own father, Arlo (Raymond J. Barry), confessed to the crime — effectively choosing his buddy-in-crime over his son.
Things were (sort of?) looking up when Season 3's big bad Quarles (Neal McDonough) got his arm hacked off by Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson), but the pale bastard used up his last words telling Raylan that Arlo only shot Trooper Tom because he mistook him for Raylan. And you thought Boyd had daddy issues?
Biggest Jaw-Dropper Last Season: Well, besides the aforementioned attempted filicide, the ruthless murder of Winona's other ex-husband, Gary, was a shocker.
Biggest Let-Down From Last Season: Last season was pretty stellar, but it would be nice to see Raylan's co-workers actually do something. This isn't Dexter, after all.
Most Improved Character: Arlo was always interesting, but his ruthless deception and moral decrepitude was fascinating to watch, and we can't wait to see how it will continue to weigh on Raylan this season.
Least Improved Character: Tim (Jacob Pitts) and Rachel (Erica Tazel), though it's not really their fault that they never have anything to do.
5 Reasons You Should Keep Watching: First, there's the fact that comedian Patton Oswalt will recur as Constable Bob, a goof from Raylan's high school class who is assigned the difficult task of watching over Arlo's house, and who not-so-secretly has a man-crush on Raylan. Then there's the mysterious backwoods "Snake Church" that Boyd, Ava and co. become involved with over the first few episodes — a plot line that Goggins wasn't initially very happy about. "I'm not scared of many things, but snakes are one of the things that I’m most scared of in the world," Goggins says. "I read [the script] and I started sweating, like I couldn’t handle it. And at one point there’s a snake in a box that I had to pick up, and that freaked me out. There’s not really anything that scares me in the way that snakes do, so yes — Walton Goggins did not want to go in that church as much as Boyd Crowder did not want to go in that church." Color us intrigued!
Meanwhile, Raylan will interact with a group called the "Hill People", while also tackling a deep family mystery, which means — you guessed it — FLASHBACKS! And since Raylan/Olyphant are both sexy as f***, we were very excited to hear the following news about the Deputy Marshall's love live: "Well, [Winona] left Raylan so he’s available to f*** up his life in every which way," Olyphant says.
What We Ultimately Want To See: More Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman) and Dickie Bennett (Jeremy Davies, who won an Emmy for the role), though producer Graham Yost has hinted that their returns may not happen this year. It's a shame, because these two redneck extraordinaires steal every episode in which they appear. We'd also love to see Ava take on a larger role in the crime world, as Harlan County would be a very interesting place with the competent, fiery blonde running the show.
What Would Make Us Turn Our Backs: That would be extremely difficult, as Justified has been consistently engaging throughout the last three seasons. However, we will say that we're pretty sick of the Raylan/Winona drama.
Justified premieres Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 10pm on FX. Reporting by Leanne Aguilera Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna [PHOTO CREDIT: FX] MORE: 'Justified' Gets Season 4: More Timothy Olyphant Shooting Junkies 'Justified' (Season 3) TV Stills 'Justified' Recap: Who Took the Money? From Our Partners: ’Texas Chainsaw’: Top 5 Leatherface Kills (Moviefone) Quentin Tarantino’s Most Bad-Ass Music Moments (Moviefone)
UPDATED: Last weekend, The Avengers exploded into theaters, clobbering enough alien invaders to earn them over $200 million at the box office. Seeing as the movie has already made more than Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger in their entire box office run and is well on its way to challenging Iron Man 2's $312.4 million final total, it's safe to say the head honchos at Marvel and Disney are quietly prepping a regathering of their ultimate superhero team for an Avengers 2.
Kevin Feige, the mastermind behind Marvel's cinematic universe, is mum on the future of the Avengers, noting in interviews that Joss Whedon is optioned for an Avengers 2 but there are no concrete plans. The plan (for now) is to concentrate on solo hero outings, of which Marvel has many in motion. In an interview with Badass Digest, Feige mentions, "The people who do know say 'Oh, they only did this to lead into that!' Maybe they'll still do that with our next few movies, but it 'll be much less overt. I think they'll be more likely to go, 'What the f**k do they do now? How the f**k do they get to Avengers 2 now?' Which I actually like."
In 2013, we'll get two more comic book outings featuring The Avengers team members. First up is Iron Man 3, currently in production with Robert Downey Jr. returning as Tony Stark and his Kiss Kiss Bang Bang director Shane Black at the helm. The movie is set for a May 3, 2013 release, but as always, details and rumors are slowly starting to trickle. The movie is reportedly focusing on a plotline from the comics called "Extremis," which sees Downey Jr.'s Stark integrating his suit's technology into his body, making him literally superhuman. In interviews, Feige has compared the movie to the beginning of the original Iron Man where Stark is left powerless. Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce (while It-girl Jessica Chastain has recently passed) are all on board for the new movie, but one Avenger won't be returning: Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow. Now comes word that The Town star Rebecca Hall is in talks for the female lead.
Marking Marvel's foray into the holiday film season, Thor 2 will strike down on November 15, 2013. Both Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston, who played Loki in both the first Thor and The Avengers, will return for the movie, as well as Natalie Portman as Jane Foster. Game of Thrones vet Alan Taylor is set to direct the movie, which somehow sees Thor venturing into new parts of the universe while expanding on the relationship between him and Jane from the first movie. Throw on top a brand new — and secret — villain, who will keep things interesting for Thor on top of Loki's usual mischief. Who could that someone be? An early rumor paints it as a double dose of evil: classic Thor villains The Enchantress and The Executioner. An evil Asgardian sorceress and her warrior whipping boy. Sounds about right. In an exclusive interview with Hemsworth, the actor even teased the possibility of the Thor universe's strangest character: Beta Ray Bill, half horse, half man. 100% amazing.
While it's way down the road, Chris Evans is also confirmed for his superheroic follow-up in Captain America 2, locked for April 4, 2014. In true Marvel fashion, details are being kept close to the chest, but the writers of the screenplay have revealed that the movie will be set primarily in present day (a wording that leaves it wide open for period setting flashbacks). Returning cast is up in the air based on demands, but actor Neal McDonough, who had a role as one of Cap's army buddies, Dum Dum Dugan, says he'll be back. The influence The Avengers and its success will have on the script could change everything, but Marvel is currently in pursuit of a director. Community directors Joe and Anthony Russo have been named in contenders, but no deal is set. Whoever takes the movie, we know it's definitely happening.
The rest of the crew has a foggy future. Those wowed by Mark Ruffalo's Hulk shouldn't get their hopes up; the actor has a six-picture deal that could see him returning to an Avengers sequel and as a costar in other Marvel productions, but Feige was skeptical pre-Avengers success. Speaking to CinemaBlend, the producer acknowledged that they were thrilled by Hulk in Avengers, they aren't rushing. If anything, demand (via toy sales, of course!) could bring about a third Hulk (although a new TV show is already in the works).
Rumors of a Black Widow and/or Haweye stand-alone film haven't gone any further than just that, with Marvel's upcoming and unknown slate continuing to focus on fresh franchises. Names that have been thrown around since Iron Man's debut are still in contention: a magic-driven Doctor Strange feature, Edgar Wright's Ant-Man and an epic Guardians of the Galaxy tentpole are all in the works. The conclusion of The Avengers certainly teases a sci-fi spin on the future installments — which would tie perfectly into Guardians of the Galaxy. Along with Captain America 2 in 2014, Marvel announced a second, unknown movie for June 27, 2014. Don't hold your breath for Avengers 2, but with only two years to go, Marvel will have to start making bold choices soon, setting into motion the next phase of their grand plan.
Don't hold your breath, Squirrel Girl.
Marvel movie questions? Find Matt Patches directly on Twitter @misterpatches!
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Chris Hemsworth Talks 'Avengers', 'Thor' Sequel, and More!
[Empire, Collider, Latino-Review, CinemaBlend, MTV, Screen Rant]
Lynn D. 'Buck' Compton passed away in Burlington, Washington on Saturday (25Feb12) following a heart attack.
Born in Los Angeles, Compton enrolled in the Army at the age of 21 and was awarded a Silver Star and Purple Heart for his courageous efforts as a first lieutenant in Easy Company after he and his unit parachuted into France on D-Day in 1944.
Compton's military exploits were captured and brought to life by actor Neal McDonough in the hit U.S. TV miniseries Band of Brothers.
Minority Report star McDonough remained in contact with the war hero even after the programme wrapped and he subsequently named his six-year-old son Morgan 'Little Buck' in his honour.
Compton also had a very successful legal career - he led the team that prosecuted Robert F. Kennedy's alleged killer Sirhan B. Sirhan and he was appointed to the 2nd District Court of Appeal by former President Ronald Regan. He served as a judge for 20 years.
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.