San Diego Comic-Con: the annual gathering of comic book nerds, blockbuster action movie fans and the slightly terrifying people who still watch Supernatural religiously. It's the biggest pop culture event of the year, a time when studios bring the biggest and most shriek-inducing stars together to unveil new projects and showcase the exciting things fans will eventually be camped out all night for. And even though not all of us are lucky enough to experience Comic-Con in person, that doesn't mean we don't deserve to get all the up-to-the-minute news, reports and surprises. Since we here at Hollywood.com don't want you to miss out on all the excitement happening in Hall H or the surprises being unveiled over the weekend, we're running down the biggest news to come out of San Diego during the convention to ensure you can stay on top of everything, whether you're stuck in the office or waiting in line for another sold out panel.
Guess Who's Set For a Bloody ReturnIt’s difficult to imagine anyone bouncing back from the tense bloodbath that capped off the second season of Hannibal, but Bryan Fuller doesn’t want you to worry about the state of your favorite characters, because several of them made it out of there – although not all of them made it out alive. Deadline reports that Raul Esparza’s Dr. Chilton did, however, and he will appear next season, presumably to get revenge for being shot in the face. Eddie Izzard and Kacey Rohl will also be making an appearance or two, but while he did say the former would only pop up in flashbacks, he declined to reveal whether Abigail is still in one piece. (The series also unveiled the second season blooper reel, which is exactly as delightful as you’d expect.)
Advanced Television Resurrection Now that Community’s sixth season is under way, it’s time to ask the most important question of all: When are the Greendale Seven coming back? At a panel Thursday night – appropriately titled “Communty: REBORN” – show runner Dan Harmon and the cast revealed that fans should see the Study Group back in action sometime after Christmas (via CinemaBlend). But don’t call into work to binge watch just yet, as Yahoo! will be released episodes on a weekly basis, just the same as if it were still on NBC. Still, you can expect some changes thanks to the change in platform, as Harmon has said that the writers are interested in testing the limitations of their new format. (Although we know how well Abed does with change…)
Teen Wolf Howls On… Teen Wolf might be in the middle of its fourth season at the moment, but the panel in Ballroom 20 only had eyes for the future, and with good reason: creator Jeff Davis revealed that the show already been renewed for a fifth season. According to EW, the upcoming season will also be the longest yet, with the episode count bumped up to 20 from season four’s 12. Of course, it will run in two parts and your favorite characters will probably be killed, but nobody said living in Beacon Hills was easy.
Incredible Interstellar After single-handedly revitalizing the Batman franchise and confusing people everywhere with Inception, Christopher Nolan finally made his Comic Con debut to talk about his upcoming film Interstellar, alongside Matthew McConaughey (via EW). Although they didn’t reveal much about the movie, they did showcase a new trailer that gives a better look at the mysteries it contains (which, unfortunately, the rest of us won’t get to see for a while), and Nolan revealed what inspired him to explore outer space. A little disappointingly, it was physics.
TMNT Needs Less Pizza, More Girl Power At least, according to Megan Fox. The actress has been making the rounds at Comic Con to promote the film, which hits theaters in mid-August, and in an interview with HitFix, she revealed that her April O’Neill will kick a little less butt than she had hoped: "A lot of girl power ended up on the cutting room floor, unfortunately. I had a really awesome scene where I was fighting The Foot Clan, but I think they were like, 'Why would a tiny journalist be able to kick so much ass?’” Silly producers, we writers have plenty of pent up anger. Let the girl fight!
Roadside Attractions via Everett Collection
To a weathered cinephile, there might be nothing sadder than a movie like A Most Wanted Man: the sort that is technically perfect, or close to it, but that lacks the panache to earn it hospice in the viewing public's minds and hearts. The latest John le Carré adaptation, a markedly superior film to Tomas Alfredson's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, treats its political thriller with the patience and density that you might imagine a real spy to devote to his missions. Director Anton Corbijn is determined to build a world of espionage as piercingly authentic — if not necessarily in practice (how the hell would some two-bit film critic know what the trade is really like?) than in ambiance — as possible, paying for this triumph with the loss of accessibility and narrative rhythm. Impressively enough, the film never sinks quite to the level of tedium. But it never hits the highs of real encouragement either.
Philip Seymour Hoffman plays German agent Günther Bachmann with a lovable combination of Bond-caliber determination and Office Space schlubbiness — he's a man so entrenched in his job (the "catching terrorists" racket) that his identity beyond the margins of worktime hours seems limited to sips of scotch and silent glowers. Unsurprisingly, Hoffman is A Most Wanted Man's greatest triumph: his access of the obsession and self-deprecation in a man who might have otherwise been a dimensionless vehicle not only rescues his character, but the otherwise stark A Most Wanted Man in entirety.
Roadside Attractions via Everett Collection
Without Hoffman, there is no movie. Despite acceptable turns from costars Grigoriy Dobrygin (as a Chechen Muslim targeted by Hoffman's organization), Rachel McAdams (as the diplomatic attorney driven to help Dobrygin find asylum), and — best of all — Nina Hoss (as Hoffman's colleague and friend), Hoffman is the principal feature keeping A Most Wanted Man alive.
But even at its liveliest, the film never feels particularly vibrant. Always smart, meticulous, and impressive, A Most Wanted Man lacks the nominal imperfections — the quirks and peculiarities — that might result in an active pulse. Ultimately, we are welcome to marvel at A Most Wanted Man, but it'd be nearly impossible to revel in it.
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Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
For whatever reason, there's been a flood of sword and sandal epics charging toward the screen. But Brett Ratner's Hercules, already the second film starring the mythical demi-god to be released this year, is the best of the lot. Unsurprisingly, this feature lacks the polish and ambition of the year's weightier blockbusters like Captain America: The Winter Soldier or the sublime Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. But what it lacks in ambition, it makes up for in pure thrills.
It's been years since Hercules completed his mythical labors, and stories of his gallantry have spread far across Greece, which benefits Herc and his merry band of mercenaries just fine since a résumé that can double as a child's bedtime story is worth its weight in gold. But when King Cotys of Thrace (John Hurt) enlists Hercules to end a rebellion that threatens to send his city into chaos, a quest that has the untrained Thracian soldiers whispering nervously of monsters, beasts, and an evil sorcerer, the mighty son of Zeus might not have the gods on his side.
Who knew a film by Brett Ratner and starring Dwayne Johnson would have more than two brain cells to mush together? Hercules boasts a narrative that's all about the power of mythmaking; it examines the way legends grow, spread, balloon, and deflate, and takes the classic Hercules story in unexpected directions in a nicely subversive, clever way.
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
The Rock's brawny good looks do the Greco-Roman demi-god his due justice, and the hulking hero's physique looks like a supreme feat of nature (and the gym). But even through the muscles and leather armor, Johnson's natural charisma shines through. While The Rock is the centerpiece of the film, the true highlights are his supporting cast of heroes, who fire off expertly loaded quips when necessary. The standout here is Ian McShane's soothsaying Amphiaraus, whose quest to meet his fate often requires standing right in the way of flaming spears. The jokes sometimes feel anachronistically modern, but they mesh well enough into a story that's wholly uninterested in adhering to classic representations of ancient Greecian myths.
Hercules is by no measure a great film. Hell, I'd even be cautious to call it a good film. The suspect CGI and cheesy costumes break the spell all too often, but it's such a cheerfully ridiculous take on Hercules myth that it's nearly irresistible. The film is knowingly doofy and hits every rung of the standard action adventure, but does so with such a spirited commitment to the material and swashbuckling sense of fun, it's hard not to buy into its legend.
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection/Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
This weekend, you have two choices in the way of fantastical, action-packed blockbusters. On the one hand, you have something from the old stockyards: Brett Ratner's Hercules, a light-hearted take on the Ancient Greek myth about the epitome of alpha-male machismo (with, appropriately, Dwayne Johnson playing the lead). On the other, we have something rather new: the limit-pushing Lucy, which draws ideas from the most progressive of quantum theories and packs them into a Scarlett Johansson shoot-'em-up. Surely there is room enough in our summer movie schedule for these heroes of past and future glory, respectively. But when faced off against one another, which comes out the champion?
POWERS AND ABILITIES
Hercules' super strength, while mighty impressive in its own right, pales in comparison to everything Lucy's got going on in her rapidly evolving brain. Things kick off with simple tricks like mind-reading and telekinesis... but pretty soon (without spoiling anything), Lucy's abilities get far more expansive.
We never really get to know much about Lucy. She likes her club music and loves her mom, but what else do we have to sink our teeth into? But there's no anonymity with Hercules, with whom we're all familiar enough thanks to our sixth grade English teachers.
The Rock has charisma, sure, and sold a few laughs in Michael Bay's supreme Pain & Gain. But Johansson is a bona fide actor, capable of charm and chills alike. Although she's not giving a performance at the caliber of Lost in Translation or Her in Lucy, she's still adept in every sequence.
Hercules is all about believing in yourself, standing up for what's right, sticking by your friends, making your own destiny... all that . Lucy is essentially about the meaninglessness of human existence. Less fun.
BOX OFFICE PREDICTIONS
Even with the benefit of its familiar source material and likable central star, Hercules is predicted to suffer at the hands of ScarJo's Lucy.
MOST IMPORTANLY, HOW ARE THE MOVIES?
Both good, neither great. We'd give Lucy the edge for originality and Luc Besson's superior visual flair, although Hercules' spirit is indelibly more inviting. Check out our reviews for Hercules and Lucy, and sound off below with your own votes.
Drafthouse Films via Everett Collection
Wealthy bachelor Colin lives in Paris, where his hobbies include developing his pianocktail (a cocktail-making piano) and devouring otherworldly dishes prepared by his trusty chef Nicolas. When Colin learns that his best friend Chick, a fellow acolyte of the philosopher Jean-Sol Partre, has a new American girlfriend, our lonely hero attends a friend's party in hopes of falling in love himself. He soon meets Chloé, and before they know it they're dancing to Duke Ellington and plunging headfirst into a rapturous romance. But their whirlwind courtship is tested when an unusual illness plagues Chloe a flower begins to grow in her lungs. To save her, Colin discovers the only cure is to surround Chloe with a never-ending supply of fresh flowers.
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Pop star Kesha spent one high school summer enrolled in a religious studies course at New York's prestigious Columbia University, all in the name of fun.
The TiK ToK hitmaker was so fascinated by religion, she travelled from her family home in Nashville, Tennessee to the Big Apple so she could learn all about the different beliefs and practices across the world at one of America's top schools.
She explains, "I started coming to New York when I was 16. People don't know this about me and I think it's an odd fact - I used to come here and study at Columbia University when I was in high school, Comparative Religion, for fun, in the summer."
"I thought it was really fun. I've kind of always been fascinated by religion and leaders of religion and leaders of cults... Then I dropped out (of school) and got my GED (high school diploma) and look at me now!"
Jesse Eisenberg flew to Israel this week (beg21Jul14) shortly before U.S. authorities imposed a travel ban due to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, and he has refused to let the violence ruin his trip.
The Social Network star jetted to the region for his first ever visit to Israel amid escalating tensions and bloody military strikes, which prompted America's State Department to urge citizens to defer all non-essential travel to Israel.
Eisenberg made the trip for the premiere of the Hebrew adaptation of his 2013 Off-Broadway play The Revisionist on Thursday night (24Jul14), and he took part in a question-and-answer session at the end of the show.
During the event, the actor/writer revealed he decided against cancelling his visit in light of the military action, telling the audience at the Beit Lessin Theater in Tel Aviv, "If there was any sign that I would be endangered somehow, I would have hesitated to come, but that wasn't the case. Israel is a wonderful country, and it is an unfortunate time, of course, for people living here, but for me this has been a very good week."
Eisenberg also revealed he had been sightseeing with a friend and enjoyed a day trip to Jerusalem, according to the Israel Hayom.
Stars including Neil Young, Paul Anka, and the Backstreet Boys have all cancelled concerts in Israel due to the violent clashes between Israeli and Palestinian fighters in recent days.
Pharrell Williams' global smash hit Happy has been declared one of the biggest-selling U.K. singles of the last 20 years. The song has reached triple platinum sales figures (1.8 million copies), and joins only three other songs - Barbie Girl by Aqua, Sir Elton John's Candle in the Wind tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, and Will Young's Anything Is Possible/Evergreen - to reach triple platinum status since 1994.
The Happy news was announced after officials at the British Phonographic Industry incorporated online streaming into sales figures this month (Jul14), with 100 plays registering as one sale.
Veteran British entertainer Joe Longthorne is recovering after undergoing cancer surgery. The singer was diagnosed with throat cancer earlier this year (14) after doctors found a lump, and he is now in recovery after an operation.
Longthorne faces a tough few weeks as he bounces back from the procedure, but insists he is now cancer-free.
In a video posted on his website, he says, "There's no sign of any more cancer in me. So that's a great thrill. What a chance to be able to say the cancer's gone now. It's just a question of rebuilding. My face for instance is (so swollen) I feel like I've got nine boiled eggs in my mouth. But seriously I'm feeling good. All the prayers and the cards and wishes you've been sending me are truly working, I really do believe that. Thanks a lot."
Longthorne, 58, overcame leukaemia in 2006 after undergoing a bone marrow transplant. He is due to return to the stage in Blackpool, England on Sunday (27Jul14) for a show with fellow British entertainer Darren Day.
20th Century Fox via Everett Collection
Star Wars actor Mark Hamill has branded Harrison Ford's on-set accident "really terrible" but insists the Hollywood legend is now "doing really well".
The Indiana Jones star, 71, broke his leg on the set of the new installment of the sci-fi franchise, Star Wars: Episode VII, last month (Jun14) in an accident involving a prop spaceship.
Ford returned to the U.S. after he was released from hospital and could be out of action for several months as he recovers from his injury, but his original Star Wars co-star Hamill, who also appears in the new movie, is adamant his pal will be back on his feet soon.
Hamill tells the BBC, "I was not on set. It sounded really terrible but I hear he's doing really well. It will take more than that to stop Harrison Ford."
The actor, who plays Luke Skywalker, adds of the Star Wars project, "It was certainly unexpected (to return). I (my character) already had a beginning, middle and end. I never thought we'd come back. I still can't believe it's happening... To go on to those sets that evoked so many memories. It is just astonishing."