It's remarkable how much Veronica Mars feels like coming home again. Ms. Mars has had nearly a decade off from her detective duties, but the character and the series at large saunters right back into form with such a confident swagger, it feels like she never really left at all.
The product of a now infamous Kickstarter campaign, Veronica Mars is the film sequel to the much beloved but scarcely watched CW series that followed the adventures of a teenage private eye. Mars solved mysteries surrounding the seedy denizens of the fictional Neptune California, a beach town where the rich socialites and working class heroes clash quite frequently and often violently. The series was a terrific mix of Nancy Drew and Raymond Chandler, give or take a Buffy, airing for three seasons before being canceled. But thanks to creator Rob Thomas' audacious Kickstarter and a brewing cult of fans, Veronica Mars has been given a second chance at life, a chance that precious few shows receive.
The film picks up with Veronica (Kristen Bell) knocking on 30's door and enjoying a comfortable life in New York City with her long time boyfriend Piz (Chris Lowell). Her youthful gumshoe years are well behind her, but her old life comes back into swing when former flame Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring) is charged with murdering his starlet girlfriend. Veronica tells herself that she only wants to consult a friend, but Neptune's magnetic pull becomes too hard to resist.
The film is a ton of fun. It's still as whip smart as the series ever was, and the quips whiz by effortlessly and constantly... often right over the heads of those who aren't already baptized by the gospel of Veronica. The show quickly falls back into familiar rhythms, and the nine years away haven't dulled the character's verbal barbs. Prepare to be bathed in waves of wit. Even outside of the near-relentless banter, the show maintains a nice and heavy sense of tension when the mystery sets in, and things get serious. While the actual mystery itself is far from brilliant, it's still engaging enough to entertain. In any case, the main course here is the characters, and they are as stellar as ever. Keith Mars (the fantastic Enrico Colantoni) is still the easy frontrunner for dad of the millennium.
The most remarkable thing about the film is how much it feels like the Veronica Mars of old, and that's the best compliment we can pay it. The returning cast members slip into their old roles with so much ease, and the film never feels like it's straining to regain that old Neptune spark. It turns out that watching a near 30 Veronica is just as much fun as watching the sleuth in her teenage years. And the fact that the show's general formula doesn't feel out of place now that we're following a load of late 20-somethings instead of high schoolers probably says something about how smartly and strongly crafted the original show was in the first place.
Rob Thomas clearly isn't trying to broaden his formula to catch new fans, and it doesn't make sense that he'd do so anyway. This is clearly a film built from the ground up for Veronica Mars fans, as it should be. A hefty intro montage at the beginning tries its best to get newcomers caught up on the three seasons of the television show, but if you didn't spend at least a couple hours cruising along the seedy streets of Neptune all those years ago, some of the film's charm might be lost on you.
The Veronica Mars film, at its core, is basically a damned good two hour episode of the original series. Now, that's not exactly ambitious, but the fans that put down their hard earned money to fund the film weren't necessarily paying for ambition. What we have here is unquestionably and purely Veronica Mars. So self-assured and comfortable in it's own celluloid skin, it's a film that dutifully embraces everything that made that series so brilliant and fun in the first place. Welcome home, Veronica, it's been a while.
Kristen Bell marked her low-key wedding with Dax Shepard last month (16Oct13) by filming a love scene with her best friend's husband. The Forgetting Sarah Marshall star secretly tied the knot with her beau of six years in a spontaneous ceremony at a Beverly Hills, California courthouse - a wedding so small it only cost $142 (£88) and Bell's best friend, Amy Russell, was the only person on hand to serve as a witness.
In an interview with U.S. talk show host Ellen DeGeneres on Tuesday (26Nov13), Bell recalled their big day ended with her shooting love scenes for her TV series House of Lies - with Russell's real life husband.
Bell explained, "The interesting thing about that is her husband is an actor, Ryan Hansen, and I was going to work later that day and had a fairly intimate scene with him. So when I left my wedding I said to my best friend, 'Thanks for witnessing my wedding, I'm going to make pretend love to your husband... and I did."
When asked if Shepard ever gets jealous of her intimate scenes with her on-screen paramours, she admits, "He's surprisingly not jealous. He's so open and honest and wants to talk about everything. He's like a girl. No, he's super trusting and trustworthy. He could care less (sic)."
Bell and Hansen also worked together on cult TV show Veronica Mars, and both will star in the fan-funded big screen adaptation of the series, which is due out next spring (14).
After six years, one baby, and a memorable sloth incident, celeb couple Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell finally got married. According to reports, on Thurs. Oct 17, Shepard and Bell were visiting the Beverly Hills County Clerk's office to get their marriage license when a court employee offered to do the deed right then! The pair went for it, and apparently a photographer on sight snapped a few photos of the happy couple, with office employees saying Bell cried during the ceremony. Although Shepard and Bell probably weren't planning on getting married yesterday, it seems to be the kind of low-key ceremony they were hoping for. When discussing her wedding last year, Bell told USA TODAY, "I don't want another day where I get dressed up and wear makeup and celebrate myself. We really don't want any attention for it."
While the wedding may not have been a grand or public affair, both Bell and Shepard have been very vocal about their plans not to get married until the ban on same-sex marriage was overturned. In 2012, Bell said, "I don't feel appropriate taking advantage of a right that's denied to my friends."
When the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages would be allowed in California, Bell re-proposed to Shepard via Twitter (the two were formally engaged in Jan. 2010).
.@daxshepard1 will you marry me? Xo #marriageequality #loveislove”
— Kristen Bell (@IMKristenBell) June 26, 2013
Shepard responded with:
DOMA is dead. Prop 8 is dead. Now let's bring my big, gay marriage to @IMKristenBell to Life!!!!
— dax shepard (@daxshepard1) June 26, 2013
Together, Shepard and Bell have a daughter, Lincoln, born in March 2013. This will be the first marriage for both actors.
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The fifth season of NBC family drama Parenthood kicks off on Thursday, September 26th at 10 PM ET, and there aren't enough tissues in the world to get us ready.
We can always count on the Braverman clan to make us feel things. Sure, modern life has made us cynical, immovable robot-people. But then cancer patient Kristina (Monica Potter) teaches her autistic son Max (Max Burkholder) to slow dance or Jabbar (Tyree Brown) calls Crosby (Dax Shepard) "Daddy" for the first time, and we robot-people melt into puddles of emotion, kind of like when all the black-and-white people turn into color in Pleasantville.
While it's difficult to imagine anything that could make us more weepy than little Victor's adoption ceremony, we're sure that the Parenthood creative team has some heartwarming and heartbreaking moments in store for this year. In an effort to store up the emotional reserves and spare our loved ones our worst ugly-cry faces, let's attempt to guess how our fictional extended family will hit us where it hurts.
This 30-second promo spot for the new season confirms what producer Jason Katims predicted at this year's Paleyfest: the premiere leaves off eight to nine months after the events of the season four finale. Jasmine (Joy Bryant) has given birth to a happy and healthy baby, which means that there will be plenty of opportunities to swoon as senstive Crosby falls in love with another kid. (Shepard must have drawn some inspiration from his real-life new dad status.) Ray Romano's grumpy photographer Hank is clearly back in the picture; hopefully perpetual man-fixer Sarah (Lauren Graham) will finally be lucky in love. Amber (Mae Whitman) seems as in love with ex-soldier Ryan (Matt Lauria) as she was when we last saw them, window-shopping for wedding rings. But the casting of All American Rejects' frontman Tyson Ritter may hint that their relationship will be tested. (Haven't you learned not to trust rock stars yet, Amber?) Rough waters might also be ahead for Sydney (Savannah Paige Rae) and Victor's (Xolo Mariduena) mom and dad; Sonya Walger will play an architect who will get close to contractor Joel (Sam Jaeger), and David Denman will be an unemployed dad who helps workaholic Julia (Erika Christensen) transition into being a stay-at-home mom.
Adam (Peter Krause) and Kristina have weathered her breast cancer ordeal (and how adorable is Potter's new shoulder-length cut?), but is she out of the woods for good? Max made huge strides at his mainstream school last year, but his Asperger's still presents constant challenges. Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) brushed off his family's worries about his heart problems in season four; was that foreshadowing for a serious health scare? Drew (Miles Heizer) had a tumultuous year with Amy's pregnancy and the move into and out of Mark's apartment. How will college pressures weigh on the unexpressed emotions he's still holding in? We assume that Haddie (Sarah Ramos) now knows that her parents kept the truth from her about the severity of Kristina's diagnosis. Does she resent them for their good-intentioned lie?
Whatever happens, we can be sure that Parenthood will wage war on our tear ducts with no shortage of grace and nuance. In fact, we can't wait to be destroyed by this TV family all over again.
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Actress Kristen Bell is planning to shun a traditional wedding ceremony when she ties the knot with fiance Dax Shephard, in favour of a more low-key affair. The new parents, who have been engaged since 2010, originally did not want to wed until same-sex marriage was legal in America, but now that gay unions are recognised by the federal government, the Forgetting Sarah Marshall star reveals the couple will tie the knot - but don't expect a big, lavish affair.
She says, "We're not having a wedding. It's not a desire of either of ours to have any sort of day of celebration for us. I feel like we get enough attention in our daily lives and we just want something sort of private that involves pen and paper."
Instead, Bell insists they want the marriage process to be more casual.
She continues, "It could be any day. Honestly, I could go home and we could do it today, there's no forethought really going into it.
"We do want all of the legal opportunities that come with a binding marriage, especially now that we have a kid. It's very important, there are a lot of things that you need to make available and have in writing for your kid...Yeah, one of these days though."
Bell and Shepard welcomed a baby daughter in May (13).
A noisy mockingbird is costing new mum Kristen Bell sleep. The Forgetting Sarah Marshall star, who recently welcomed a baby girl with partner Dax Shepard, is loving motherhood, but she'd love more peace and quiet as she tries to drown out the mating calls of a randy mockingbird.
She says, "Lincoln is not keeping me up at night, but I am up at night because I'm being tortured by a devil bird. Have you heard of these? They're called mockingbirds and it's their mating season and I have a bachelor in my tree that starts squawking at about midnight and gives it up around 7am, and the baby sleeps, that's the irony, but this bird..."
Bell believes the feathered noisemaker has been around since last year (12).
She explains, "I have seen him, we have made eye contact, I have had numerous interactions with him. He did this to me last year and he's schizo and I'm always yelling up at the tree, 'Nobody wants to date you'. He's trying to get a date and believe me no one wants to come within 10 feet of this guy."
The actress has tried unsuccessfully to get the bird to leave the neighbourhood, even using a water gun to shoo him away.
She continues, "There's a bunch of empty water bottles lodged in the tree from when I was chucking things at him trying to get him to go away. Sometimes I would get up in the middle of the night and shake the branches. I can't hurt him, because unfortunately he's protected under California's Migratory Bird Act; I've looked it up, there's legal ramifications...
"I got a Nerf gun last year and I've been shooting soft pellets to try to get him to go away... And this year, I bought a super soaker (gun), because I heard that you can hose them, and I need more range, because when I open the door, he hears the knob and he stops and he freezes and then flies to a tree that is, like, 10 feet away, where I can't reach him, so he's on to me. But, I've ordered this 35-foot range super soaker and I think we're going to wrap this up this year."
The noisy creature is not the first neighbour Bell has had a problem with - last year (12), the couple complained about Justin Bieber's loud house parties.
Hollywood couple Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard are beginning to appreciate the struggles gay couples who want to wed and enjoy legal and financial security face after becoming parents. The pair became engaged in 2010 and declared there would be no marriage until their gay friends could legally wed across America, but now they're really being challenged after Bell gave birth to baby Lincoln in March (13).
The Forgetting Sarah Marshall star explains, "One thing we've learned since having the baby is that, prior to this... we have been fine not being legally married, but there are a crazy amount of steps that you have to go to to insure 'What if someone is on a ventilator? What you do with your will? Where does the money go...?' All these things about raising a child that made it very real to us.
"Now we feel, first hand, why we're fighting for it (gay marriage)... It can be done but it's too frustrating and it's not necessary. If you have a child or love each other you should be able to get married."
What happens when '60s radicals go underground, take on new identities, and resurface to live downright suburban lives?
So many of us can look back at different eras of our lives and say that we were different people, but for some members of groups like the Weather Underground, it's quite literally true. The Company You Keep takes its cues from those members of the Underground who left the group and remained fugitives, whether literally on the run or figuratively, with new names and lives. What's especially interesting is that these radical leftists, who some have called terrorists, are now our parents and grandparents, our lawyers and professors, living normal — one might even say bourgeois — lives.
That's the case with Jim Grant (Robert Redford), an upstanding citizen, father, and lawyer who takes on the sort of do-gooder cases that are usually the bread and butter of avowed bleeding hearts and not well-to-do widowers. When a former Weather Underground member named Sharon Solarz (Susan Sarandon) turns herself in, the story falls in the lap of Ben Shepard, a hungry young reporter played by a bespectacled and smarmy Shia LaBeouf. Once Ben starts sniffing around, Jim's guard goes up, which only makes the journalist more curious. What unfurls is a network of former Weathermen, some of whom still live under the radar and on the run, and others that left the group before things got too hairy. None of them are particularly thrilled to see their former comrade come calling, either. Ben's trying his damndest to stay on top of the story even as the trail takes him across the country, but Jim's one step ahead of him. The question is what he's running away from or, as Ben suspects, towards.
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The Company You Keep gives up its secrets too readily. Sharon Solarz is more than happy to grant her only jailhouse interview to Ben so she can expound on her radical values, though it's not clear why she was planning to give herself up or how the FBI managed to catch her beforehand. The FBI agents are just a tad too cartoonish, like Terrence Howard's suspicious Agent Cornelius and Anna Kendrick's Diana, who helps Ben out a little simply because he's the kind of jackass who would ask a former flame for such a favor. Other flourishes get lost in the mix; there are nods to the changing landscape of journalism, like Ben's harried boss played by Stanley Tucci, and a truncated subplot that gives you the feeling something was left on the cutting room floor, to the detriment to the story.
It's hard to deny the gravitas of Robert Redford, whether as a patron of the arts, a director, or an actor. His strength of character lends The Company You Keep an air of seriousness that benefits this promising thriller, but neither he nor the impressive cast can keep this film moving. Some of the scenes are wonderfully tense, but the energy lags when the focus shifts to Ben's storyline. He does get journalism points for using a microfiche reader, though.
The movie already clocks in at 125 minutes, so some of Jim's cross-country travels could have been trimmed. The quality of the filmmaking, from cinematography to the music by Cliff Martinez, is hard to find fault with, but The Company You Keep doesn't linger after the credits roll.
[Photo Credit: Sony Classics]
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Parenthood won't just be the name of a show that Dax Shepard stars on anymore, it will be his reality. The funny 37-year-old actor and his fiancée, 32-year-old actress Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) are expecting their first child together this spring. The couple's rep confirmed the happy news to People.
A friend of Bell and Shepard's told the mag, "They’re so excited — they’re both ecstatic. They can’t wait to become parents. Kristen had a little bit of morning sickness early on but she just started shooting the second season of House of Lies and is feeling great now.”
Bell and Shepard, who starred together in this summer's Hit and Run, have been dating since 2007. The universally liked Bell — who shared with The Advocate earlier this year that she and Shepard are "hesitant" to get married when so many gay couples in the country are still denied the very same right — also told Larry King during an interview this year that they are "not really worried about" the possibility of having a child out of wedlock.
Of course, if Bell reacted to her pregnancy news anything like this, expect it to go viral in no time.
[Photo Credit: Wenn]
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The Forgetting Sarah Marshall star became engaged to the actor in 2009 and they are now set to become first-time parents.
A representative for Bell has confirmed the happy news to Usmagazine.com.
The actress previously revealed she doesn't want to wed until same-sex unions are made legal across the U.S., telling The Advocate magazine, "The reason we're not rushing to get married is because I don't feel appropriate taking advantage of a right that's denied to my best friends.
"That's why we've been so hesitant. Dax and I have talked about it a lot, and this issue is very important to both of us. We're just standing up for what we believe in. Period."