If there's a cinematic alchemy award to be given this year director Bill Condon deserves to take it home after magically turning the tedious Twilight franchise into entertainment gold. 2011's Part 1 was a horror camp romp that turned the supernatural love triangle — the naval gazing trio of Bella Edward and Jacob — on its head. Breaking Dawn - Part 2 continues the madcap exploration of a world populated by vampires and werewolves mining even more comedy thrills and genuine character moments out of conceit than ever before. The film occasionally sidesteps back into Edward and Bella's meandering romance (an evident hurdle of author Stephenie Meyer's source material) but the duller moments are overshadowed by the movie's nimble pace and playful attitude. Breaking Dawn - Part 2 will elicit laughs aplenty — but thankfully they're all on purpose.
Part 2 picks up immediately following the events of the first film Bella (Kristen Stewart) having been turned into a vampire by Edward (Robert Pattinson) to save her life after the torturous delivery of her half-human half-vampire child Renesmee. She awakes to discover super senses heightened agility increased strength… and a thirst for blood. One dead cougar later Bella and the gang are able to focus on the real troubles ahead: Renesmee is rapidly growing (think Jack) and vampiric overlords The Volturi perceive her a threat to vampiric secrecy. Knowing the Volturi will travel to Forks WA to kill the young girl (a 10-year-old just a month after being born) The Cullens amass an army of bloodsucking friends to end the oppression once and for all.
Packed with an absurd amount of backstory and mythology-twisting plot points (some vampires can shoot lightning now?) Condon and series screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg mine revel in the beefed up ensemble of Breaking Dawn - Part 2 and thanks to a wildly funny cast it never feels like pointless deviation. Along with the usual suspects Lee Pace adds swagger to the series as a grungy alt-rock vampire Noel Fisher appears as a hilarious over-the-top battle-ready Russian coven member and Michael Sheen returns has Volturi head honcho Aro and steels the show. Flamboyant diabolical and a steady stream of maniacal laughter Sheen owns Condon's high camp vision for Twilight and he lights up the screen. There are a few throw away nations of vampires — the oddly stereotypical Egyptian and Amazonians sects are there mostly there to off-set the extreme whiteness — but the actors involved bring liveliness to a franchise known for being soulless. Even Stewart Pattinson and Taylor Lautner give personal bests in this installment — a scene between Bella and her dad Charlie (Billy Burke) is genuinely heartfelt while Jacob's overprotective hero schtick finally lands.
Whereas Breaking Dawn - Part 1 stuck mostly to the personal story relying on the intimate moments as Bella and Edward took the big plunge into marriage and sex Part 2 paints with broader strokes and Condon has a ball. Delving into the history of the vampires and the vampire world outside Forks is Pandora's Box for the director. One scene where we learn why kids scare the heck of the Volturi captures a scope of medieval epics — along with the bloodshed. Twilight might be known for its sexual moments but Breaking Dawn - Part 2 will go down for its abundance of decapitations. The big set piece in the finale is something to behold both in the craftsmanship of the spectacle and in its bizarre nature.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 had the audience hooting hollering and even gasping as it twisted and turned to the final moments. There's little doubt that even the biggest naysayer of the franchise would do the same. No irony here: the conclusion of Twilight is a blast.
The thought of going back to school over Labor Day weekend could fill just anyone with memories of crippling dread and anxiety. Teachers, riding the bus, and the homework, oh the Humanities homework! Of course while there's nothing sadder than bidding a summer of fun adieu, there was always one shining beacon to make you look forward to the new year: your crush.
The person you'd time your locker visits around; the one whose name you doodled on your notebook; the one the one you watched from afar. Or really afar if your crush was in a movie or on TRL. While we'll always have a place in our hearts for our real-life high school crushes, we here at Hollywood.com have decided it's time to confess our high school pop culture crushes. From boy band heartthrob Nick Lachey to Disney star Christy Carlson Romano, it's time they know, once and for all, our true feelings. No matter how embarrassing they may be.
Aly Semigran: Mine is an obvious one, but I had a deep, unwavering love for Jake Ryan. And Michael Schoeffling, for that matter. (He lived in Pennsylvania, I lived in Pennsylvania. We could have made it work!) Maybe was because the Sixteen Candles character was the embodiment of every popular, dreamy, unattainable guy in high school, but I mostly just chalk it up to the fact that he was just so damn adorable. The plaid shirts! The flipped-up hair! That smile!
Brian Moylan: I always had the hots of Steve Sanders (Ian Ziering) on 90210: Original Recipe. Yes, he was the worst character of the whole Bev High crowd, but there was something about his curly hair and smile that just hit me right in the heart. Oh Steve. I'd make out with you in your trash sports car any day. Kelsea Stahler: Anakin Skywalker, Hayden Christensen edition. Actually. Shaunna Murphy: I'm like 90 percent sure that I bought Pearl Harbor because Josh Hartnett was in it. I fully knew that it was a terrible movie, I was just really into broody stoner types with questionable talent. Matt Patches: Disney's Even Stevens was a bit after my time, but thanks to my younger sister's dedication to the chaste network, I successfully developed a crush on the beautifully dorky Christy Carlson Romano. I'm not actually sure she even played a dorky character on the show. I just know she had braces and I did too. Love. Anna Brand: I crushed Pacey Witter (Joshua Jackson) HARD. Even when he frosted his tips. Even when he wore brown vests over patterned polo t-shirts. Even when he tried to fancify button-downs from the local surf shop. It didn't matter, because I was Joey and we were going to be happy together living on the wrong side of the creek. I have no shame in admitting this. Kate Ward: If it's shameful to crush on 98 Degrees-era Nick Lachey, then I don't wanna be shameless. I'd take his wife beaters, spiky coif, and lovelypipes over Justin Timberlake's tight-fitting turtlenecks, ramen hair, and whiney croon any day. Stay out of it, 'NSYC fans. Leanne Aguilera: Dean (Jared Padalecki) from Gilmore Girls. I just can't.... he's just... so many feelings. When he came to the school and Rory yelled "Because I love you, you idiot" and they kissed I was always alt least 27 kinds of jealous Abbey Stone: Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You. When he sang "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" to Julia Stiles on the bleachers, forget about it. Okay readers, it's your turn to 'fess up. Who was your pop culture crush in high school? Whisper it to us in the comments section. [Photo credit: Universal Pictures] More: Worst Teachers in Movies and TV Lena Dunham Confesses Jimmy Fallon Crush to Jimmy Fallon Perks of Being a Wallflower: What We Learned On Set
The Associated Press reports Dawson's Creek star Joshua Jackson was arrested and charged with assault on Saturday after getting into a drunken fight with a security guard at a hockey game in North Carolina. While at a game between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Pittsburgh Penguins, Jackson allegedly grabbed a guard around the neck and hit him. Tests show the actor's blood alcohol content was 0.14. The 24-year-old actor, who plays Pacey on the WB series, posted $1,000 bail and will appear in court Dec. 4.
A woman was arrested Monday in connection with the shooting death of actor Merlin Santana, though the Los Angeles police have not released the identity of the woman at this time, the AP reports. Santana, 26, who starred in the film Showtime and made appearances on TV series such as Moesha and The Steve Harvey Show, was killed while sitting in the passenger seat of a parked car early Saturday morning in South Los Angeles.
Halle Berry may be getting her own super-spy movie. After her stint as the tough-as-nails Jinx in the upcoming James Bond film Die Another Day, Reuters reports there are now talks between Berry and Bond producer Barbara Broccoli to make the first spin-off movie in Bond history, based on the beautiful but dangerous U.S. agent. According to Reuters, cable network E! Entertainment quoted Berry as telling its reporter that if a spin-off was planned, "I would do it in a heartbeat."
Roberto Benigni's newest film Pinocchio, which hits theaters Dec. 25, will be Italy's official entry for the Academy Awards' Best Foreign Film category. Benigni's endearing Life is Beautiful took home that award in 1999 and earned him the Best Actor award as well.
Volatile director Larry Clark's (Kids) edgy and sexually explicit film Ken Park will have to find a new U.K. distributor after he punched out the president of the film's distribution company, Metro Tartan. Variety reports Clark got into a brawl with Metro executive Hamish McAlpine over the Arab-Israeli conflict last Thursday in a London restaurant. The company announced Monday it was dropping the film, which follows a group of California skateboarders, after Clark told Variety he was going into an anger management program. Probably a good idea.
Howard Stern's comic sidekick Artie Lange may get his own sitcom at NBC. Variety reports he is developing the DreamWorks pilot for the network with veteran Simpsons scribe Sam Simon. The series will star Lange as a successful sitcom star who has to continually deal with his blue-collar roots.
ABC and Steve Martin's production company Martin/Stein Co. are developing a gay version of the hit '80s show Hart to Hart called Mr. and Mr. Nash, Variety reports. The show's premise revolves around two interior decorators who stumble upon a murder each week. British thesp Alan Cumming (Spy Kids) has already signed on to play one of the leads. "I am proud to be a part of Mr. and Mr. Nash, especially the part where it's a big hit," Martin told Variety.
Variety reports ABC News is denying a claim from rival networks that it paid Paul Burrell, the butler to Princess Diana who has been causing much controversy in the U.K, for an interview. A U.S. broadcast rights deal reportedly includes Burrell's documentary, Diana's Rock, which will appear on Good Morning America next Monday; an interview Burrell did with British journalist Sir Trevor McDonald; and a one-on-one interview with Burrell for 20/20. ABC News insists, however, that it does not pay for interviews and that the one-on-one was arranged separately.
As the box-office turns: Can an aging slacker suffering a romantic crisis, the second-string heartthrob from "Dawson's Creek," and yet another "animated epic" join forces to end Queen Julia Roberts' reign atop the box-office heap? Then again, will Jet Li karate-kick all of their butts?
This weekend, four major new movies ("The Road to El Dorado," "The Skulls," "High Fidelity" and "Price of Glory") hit theaters, threatening not only to knock "Erin Brockovich" and "Romeo Must Die" out of the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively, but also to squeeze several flicks that have been losing steam out of the Top 10 for good.
Here's a look at the weekend's top players:
"The Road to El Dorado THE ROAD TO EL DORADO (See the trailer) The skinny: The biggest challenge to "Romeo" and Julia undoubtedly comes from this, the second animated movie from DreamWorks. Starring the voices of Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branagh, "Road" follows Spanish con men searching for the legendary City of Gold. DreamWorks is counting on kids' love for the Spanish Conquest to sell tickets to this baby -- it's opening in a whopping 3,206 theaters. The plus side: It's got a score by Elton John and Tim Rice. While their "The Lion King" work was arguably good (or not good, depending on your taste), it was undeniably successful.
The down side: Advance word has been less than enthusiastic, owing to the fact that its storyline -- and even its director -- were changed during the course of its long development.
THE SKULLS (See the trailer) The skinny: Joshua Jackson, Pacey of "Dawson's Creek" fame (and Charlie from the "Mighty Ducks" flicks), plays an Ivy Leaguer who stumbles upon a spooky secret cult. The plus side: It's got "a pretty good trailer," says Paul Dergarabedian of the box-office tracking firm Exhibitor Relations.
The down side: Teen movies just aren't making big bucks right now. Last weekend, the flicks "Here on Earth" and "Whatever It Takes" -- starring hormone cases all -- pulled in only about $4 million each.
HIGH FIDELITY (See the trailer) The skinny: A sort of "Empire Records" for people in their 30s. The plus side: For one thing, it's got 1980s icon John Cusack (lately of "Pushing Tin" and "Being John Malkovich" fame, among others). For a second thing, it's got director Stephen Frears ("The Grifters," "The Hi-Lo Country"). And for a third thing, it's got a soundtrack with 61 songs! (The film takes place mostly in a record store.)
The down side: Did we mention that it's about people in their 30s?
"Price of Glory"
PRICE OF GLORY (See the trailer) The skinny: Jimmy Smits ("L.A. Law," "NYPD Blue") stars as a father who tries to live his boxing dream through his three sons. The plus side: Well, "Rocky" was a hit.
The down side: To date, Smits' film career has consisted of un-"Rocky"-like movies. Like "Switch." Or "Old Gringo." Or ...
"Romeo Must Die"
ROMEO MUST DIE (See the trailer) The skinny: The hit hip-hop rendition of "Romeo and Juliet" with Jet Li's kung-fu stylings thrown in for good measure. The plus side: After opening March 22, this one had pulled in about $27 million as of Tuesday. And it was still running neck-in-neck with "Erin Brockovich" through midweek.
The down side: What if Jet Li pulls a hamstring?
ERIN BROCKOVICH (See the trailer) The skinny: You know the drill: Roberts plays a sassy, real-life legal investigator who takes on Corporate America. The plus side: It's been No. 1 for the past two weekends, and as of Tuesday it had grossed nearly $60 million.
The down side: Nothing stays No. 1 forever. ... Right?
So, what's the bottom line? Says Dergarabedian: "'Erin Brockovich' is still going strong."
"It made $18 million last weekend and only dropped about 30 percent [from the previous weekend]. It's definitely going to make another $10 million. I think 'El Dorado' is going to do pretty well, but for any of these new movies to be No. 1, it's going to have to make $15 million. I think 'El Dorado' has the best chance to do that."
In other box-office action:
MOST LIKELY TO BE KICKED OUT OF THE TOP 10: "My Dog Skip" (No. 8 last weekend), "The Cider House Rules" (No. 9) and "The Whole Nine Yards (No. 10).
MOST LIKELY TO REMAIN IN THE TOP 10: "American Beauty," which has already pulled in about $110 million, will expand into more theaters after its Best Picture win at the Oscars.