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Though we haven't heard more about Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, author J.K. Rowling is adding another Harry Potter project to her roster — this one a stage play. Though die-hard book and movie fans might balk (though in that case they should see the online sensation A Very Potter Musical to prove it can be done), it makes sense, as the one thing Harry Potter has always been is unbelievably British, and, luckily, the Brits have a long tradition of great theater.
From the city-wide morality plays in the Middle Ages to that famous writer guy who fell in love with GOOP, they've invented plenty of theatrical conventions over the years. What traditions will they mine for this new play?
Song-and-Dance Orphans: Rowling excitedly explained that "explore the previously untold story of Harry's early years as an orphan and outcast," without all that pesky magic and those beloved characters weighing things down. Seems Rowling is going for a more austere approach, which makes sense after the smash hit musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's dark novel Matilda made it to the West End and Broadway. Matilda used quick lyrics and a cast of adorable precocious preteens to worm its way into audiences' hearts, just like another plucky musical from the 1960s — Oliver!
Wartime Lightness: Times are tough, and most of the fantasy out there is reflecting that instead of providing escapism. But the most famous playwright of the Great Depression, Noel Coward, wrote comedies about the rich and stupid that provided plenty of laughs even for a jaded audience. For this new show, Rowling and Co. could focus on the Dursleys and their tacky, upper middle class lives and let their foibles (and their long-suffering domestic servant, Harry) bring the laughs.
Dramatic Irony: The story of Harry Potter is so famous, it might be impossible to write a show that competes with the original epic story. Instead, why not focus on a few minor characters and spin them off into their own wacky adventures, not unlike British writer Tom Stoppard did with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.
The Bard: Another thing that bodes well is that Rowling won't be writing the piece. Just as she has with the films, she admits her role should be as a producer and advisor while she and her producing partners pick a suitable playwright to attend the tale. Could she be taking inspiration from that most famous of British playwrights... William Shakespeare?
But even for those of us who aren't conspiracy theory nuts, Rowling will probably be inspired by the Bard's classic story structure and ability to create lasting emotional moments despite being accessible and popular with the masses.
Best Motion Picture, Drama12 Years a SlaveGravityCaptain PhillipsRushPhilomena
Best Motion Picture, Musical or ComedyNebraskaAmerican HustleThe Wolf of Wall StreetInside Llewyn DavisHer
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, DramaChiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a SlaveMatthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips Robert Redford, All Is Lost Idris Elba, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or ComedyBruce Dern, NerbaskaLeonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall StreetChristian Bale, American HustleOscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn DavisJoaquin Phoenix, Her
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, DramaCate Blanchett, Blue JasmineSandra Bullock, GravityEmma Thompson, Saving Mr. BanksJudi Dench, PhilomenaKate Winslet, Labor Day
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or ComedyMeryl Streep, August: Osage CountyJulia Louis-Dreyfus, Enough SaidAmy Adams, American HustleJulie Delpy, Before MidnightGreta Gerwig, Frances Ha
Best Director - Motion PictureAlfonso Cuaron, GravitySteve McQueen, 12 Years a SlaveDavid O. Russell, American HustlePaul Greengrass, Captain PhillipsAlexander Payne, Nebraska
Best Screenplay - Motion PictureJohn Ridley, 12 Years a SlaveBob Nelson, NebraskaEric Warren Singer and David O. Russell, American HustleJeff Pope and Steve Coogan, PhilomenaSpike Jonze, Her
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion PictureMichael Fassbender, 12 Years a SlaveJared Leto, Dallas Buyers ClubBradley Cooper, American HustleDaniel Bruhl, RushBarkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion PictureLupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a SlaveJennifer Lawrence, American HustleJulia Roberts, August: Osage CountyJune Squibb, NebraskaSally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Best TV Series, DramaBreaking BadDownton AbbeyHouse CardsMasters of SexThe Good Wife
Best TV Series, ComedyThe Big Bang TheoryModern FamilyGirlsBrooklyn Nine-NineParks and Recreation
Best Actor in a TV Series, DramaBryan Cranston, Breaking BadMichael Sheen, Masters of SexKevin Spacey, House of CardsJames Spader, The BlacklistLiev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Best Actor in a TV Series, ComedyJason Bateman, Arrested DevelopmentDon Cheadle, House of LiesMichael J. Fox, The Michael J. FoxJim Parsons, The Big Bang TheoryAndy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Best Actress in a TV Series, DramaJulianne Margulies, The Good WifeKerry Washington, ScandalTatiana Maslany, Orphan BlackRobin Wright, House of CardsTaylor Schilling, Orange Is the New Black
Best Actress in a TV Series, Comedy Zooey Deschanel, New Girl Lena Dunham, Girls Julia Louis-Dreyfus, VeepAmy Poehler, Parks and Recreation Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Best Mini-Series or TV Movie American Horror Story: CovenBehind the CandelabraDancing on the EdgeTop of LakeWhite Queen
Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV MovieMatt Damon, Behind the CandelabraChiwetel Ejiofor, Dancing on the EdgeIdris Elba, LutherAl Pacino, Phil SpectorMichael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra
Best Actress in a Mini-Series or TV MovieHelena Bonham Carter, Burton and TaylorRebecca Ferguson, White QueenJessica Lange, American Horror Story: CovenHelen Mirren, Phil SpectorElisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or TV MovieRob Lowe, Behind the Candelabra Josh Charles, The Good WifeAaron Paul, Breaking BadCorey Stoll, House of CardsJohn Voight, Ray Donovan
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series or TV MovieHayden Panetierre, NashvilleJacqueline Bisset, Dancing on the EdgeJanet McTeer, White QueenMonica Potter, ParenthoodSofia Vergara, Modern Family
Best Animated Feature FilmFrozenThe CroodsDespicable Me 2
Best Foreign Language FilmBlue Is the Warmest ColorThe PastThe HuntThe Wind RisesThe Great Beauty
Best Original Score - Motion PictureGravityThe Book Thief12 Years a SlaveAll Is LostMandela: Long Walk to Freedom
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Formerly famous terrible person Paris Hilton released a new music video today for her single "Good Time," from an album set to release at some point in the future. Now, let's get to the good stuff, and by that, of course, we mean the bad stuff. In addition to a new seriously cougar-iffic wardrobe of bedazzled one-piece bathing suits and a set of unnaturally blue color contacts to cover her naturally blue eyes, Paris has discovered auto-tune, generic club beats, and Lil Wayne's nominal appearance fee, but the songwriting is so lazy we thought we'd pull out the best/worst lines in case you don't have the spare brain cells to waste on the video.
Note: It was incredibly hard to narrow this down to 10... even though there's only about 11 lines in the entire song.
1. "Are you having a good time?/Cause I'm having a good time/And I might be a bit tipsy/But that's okay 'cause you're with me"Let's just jump right in with the entire chorus. Compared to the rest of the song this isn't that bad, but it seemed necessary to point out that the song is so vapid that this is the best part.
2. "Paris, do you speak French?"Good question, Weezy. We don't get an answer, though.
3. "I walked up to a big butt, and ask her ass 'bout what/Tunechi never slacks without a button up"Allow me to direct you towards the video, where you can see Paris shaking her non-existant behind during this butt-inspired riff. Is it safe to say Wayne had third party inspiration.
4. "We turned down for what?"If anyone finds the song this line belongs to, please notify us. It's lost, out of place, and isn't making any sense.
5. "More money more problems, more money will solve them"This is financial advice so misguided it could waste an heiress' entire inheritance and force her to get a real job. Hang on, there might be an idea here.
6. "Tomorrow isn't promised/Today is all we got"This should hits home, as it is delivered by a man who recently was in the hospital for very serious health issues, and yet, doesn't make any sense coming from a man who elected to spend his days performing a verse in "Good Time."
7. "I really don't give a f**k, who got in my way/'Cause I came to party rock"Ahh, the not-even-slant rhyme. I knew we'd meet here. I don't know what's worse: the incorrect place of said rhyme or the new verb "party rock."
8. "Thanks for not replying/It's Paris Hilton, b**ch"Weezy gets worked up over proper text etiquette.
9. "Love is such a science, do you think it's love?"No.
10. "Lick it, lock it, it's the last day to party"Tuesday, October 8, 2013 is the last day to party?! Stop reading! You have partying to do. And licking. And locking?
It's enough to make you yearn for the days of "Stars are Blind."
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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.