Little-known Canadian actor Izaak Smith and industry newcomer Chattrisse Dolabaille have been respectively cast as producer Timbaland and rapper Missy Elliott in a new TV biopic based on the life of tragic R&B star Aaliyah. Nickelodeon regular Alexandra Shipp recently stepped in to replace Zendaya Coleman as the late Try Again hitmaker for the film project, and now TV bosses have found the people they want to play Aaliyah's music mentors.
Smith previously appeared in 2010's Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief and 2012's Mirror, Mirror, while Aaliyah: Princess of R&B will mark Dolabaille's professional acting debut.
However, the latest casting decisions have not gone down well with many fans, who have taken to Twitter.com to express their disappointment, insisting slim and light-skinned Dolabaille, in particular, looks nothing like Elliott, who was previously known for her short stature and heavy frame.
One Twitter user wrote, "Whoever is doing the castings for @lifetimetv needs to be fired with the quickness (sic)... Did you even try with the Missy Elliott casting? Like you know she's like seven shades darker with hips right? #LifetimeCastings", while another joked, "Lifetime should let (basketball icon) Magic Johnson's son play Missy in the Aaliyah movie @lifetimetv #lifetimecastings".
Lifetime executives have yet to respond to the criticism.
It's not the first time the project's casting directors have come under scrutiny - Coleman faced a similar backlash when she was first picked to play Aaliyah in June (14), before dropping out weeks later.
The biopic has also been blasted by members of Aaliyah's family, who have since announced plans for their own big screen film based on Aaliyah's life story, with singer B. Simone in the lead role.
The singer was just 22 when she died in a plane crash in 2001.
It's felt like 800 years since we last saw our favorite murderer-with-a-heart-of-gold (OK, so maybe it's just gold-plated or something. Shiny exterior, really, really bad interior). But in the world of Miami (People should really probably move away from there, huh? There's like, definitely a lot of serial killers there, you guys), it's been mere seconds. Which is a very, very good thing for us viewers.
First off, let's just get this out of the way right now: holyZOMGcanyoubelieveitohmyf**kinggod! This was an episode, my friends. For a show that arguably had a bit of a lurch there for the seasons after Trinity came in and murdered television (pun intended, and also in a good way), they really brought this one back to life with the quickness.
The premiere of Dexter's seventh season picks up right where season six left us: Dexter's sister has finally met his ~dark passenger~. BOOM! Travis Marshall is dead because he's exactly the same as Dexter (fake dead person telling him what to do, believing his killing is servicing some greater good, etc etc...) and right before she sees him murder Travis, Deb realizes that she maybe loves Dexter but we're all going to keep our fingers crossed that story line disappears.
But first: a frantic Dexter is running away from something! His credit cards are all declined! Is he on the run? Will he ever get to Budapest? Why would he want to go to Budapest? S**t is, well, ominous, you guys! But we'll get back there.
Deb is swearing up a storm because she just doesn't f**king understand why the f**king f**k this motherf**king a**hole is wrapped in plastic, Dex! S**t! (She's so eloquent, this one.) So Dexter decides to weave a web of lies. He's sad! You know, about that ex-wife of his that died 57 years ago, Rita. He snapped and well, he's a forensics guy so of course it was instinctual to not leave a trail? Even when you're saying you snapped? For the moment (temporary insanity is definitely strong here), Deb believes this stuff. Even though you can tell the wheels are turning in her head and she knows ain't nothing about any of Dexter's reasoning that makes sense.
But, we also know that Deb is really into mentally and emotionally stable guys--and does have an accidental fondness for serial killers, so we'll see what happens later on in the season. Deb agrees to go along with Dexter's Plan B (Plan A was "hey, let's move the body!" which was definitely the worse of the two options when your sister has seen you murder a dude), which is to light the place on fire and make it look like a suicidal tableau. (If you recall, Travis Marshall was convinced the world was ending, but it didn't (SUCKER!), so at least this part of their cockamamie plan is logical.)
NEXT: Flashbacks and Creepy Louis Alerts!
So now it's flashback time! Puppies in the Morgan household = bad! Why? There's a baby ~dark passenger~ on board, of course. Keep all easily-murderable things away from baby Dexter, family. So the pooch has got to go. But more on that later.
The incredibly normal Morgan duo burn the church to bits--but uh oh, Dexter's signature keepsake-token thing--the slide of blood--has fallen out of his pocket, unbeknownst to him. Perfect bait for LaGuerta (UGH, LaGuerta) later.
But later is now: the two crime-committing Morgans return to the scene and Deb is everything short of green in the gills. Homegirl is totally not on her poker face game. But, she pulls it together to help keep Masuka away from Travis' tootsie where a lone piece of plastic had made itself a cozy little home. Sloppy Dexter? We never thought we'd see the day. But I guess your whole world and life unravelling might even get a sociopath a bit unnerved, huh?
LaGuerta shows up and notices the slide and gives it to evidence. That never ends well.
And now it's time for a Creepy Louis alert! "You know, the more I get to know you, the weirder and weirder you get," says Jamie Batista, and well, duh. Way to deduce, Captain Obvious. My dude Louis here has set his tractor beam to "HEEBIE JEEBIES x 1,000,000,000" and is no doubt in for a seriously creepy story line this season. Oh and also he stole all of Dexter's credit card information while he was at Dexter's house and now is canceling all of Dexter's credit cards because he's cranky and weird and probably figures it's only a matter of time before Dexter tries to flee the country. Also Dexter is a total jerk or something whatever. Cover the bases! PSA: password protect your laptops, America. Especially if you're a serial killer.
Next up is the oldest trick in the horror book: Detective Mike Anderson is going to get it. Man, did they really have to go and kill him like that? And to have it be the black guy? Insult, meet injury. Some hokey horror movie tropes die hard, and on television. Anyway, yes, Mike Anderson gets himself murdered dead trying to help a dude who has a flat tire and a dead hooker in a trunk. Woopsies! Sorry dude, we really hardly knew ye.
Back at Normalcy Ranch, Deb's got a boatload of questions for the brother she might've maybe loved before in a creepy way but now probably has some pretty conflicting feelings about. How was Dexter so magically prepared to kill Travis? What did he mean by he knew what he was doing? Something is amiss, and she knows it.
Flashback time! Goodbye Banjo the dog. I won't even do a 'screwed the pooch' joke here because I love dogs and I'm just glad you got out of there before baby Dexter murdered you.
Next up, Dexter's checkin' finger prints on his iPhone because yes, there is an app for that. Apparently! Technology. Very impressive. But the car's been wiped clean: this missing murderer obviously knows what he's doing. Nefarious! Nefarious! More on this dweeb later, though.
NEXT: Deb sleuths, Dexter claims some baggage.
Back to Deb's mental unraveling of the facts: she's having flashbacks to that time she was almost murdered by her boyfriend/serial killer/step brother's secret brother/Rudy Cooper/Brian Moser. For those with faint memories of season one, Brian was mimicking Dexter's killing style, so when Deb notices the similarities in the set-ups, she digs into some old evidence to confirm her suspicions. Somethin' AIN'T RIGHT HERE, she knows it. Look at smart Deb go! (We love smart Deb, though we worry for how much longer she'll be alive.)
There's a brief interlude wherein Quinn and Angel hang out at a Ukranian-run strip club. (Did you all see Calista Flockhart in there? Look again if you missed it.) It's time for questions to be answered about our slain sex worker.
But first back to the struggle for Deb to understand that her brother killed a person and what-it-all-means. After a pause for some serious sad-person side-eye, Deb confronts Dexter on the facts she's found. He is, of course, naturally cagey with the details and just tries to shrug it off with all "well I was there so maybe that's how I knew what to do?" Uh huh, sure, OK dude. You know Deb isn't buying it but for now, Dexter needs to leave because he's found the name of the murderer thanks to INTERPOL (not the band, guys. The really important international body of policing one).
So now we've caught up to where the episode began, and Dexter decides that now is definitely the best time to go to the airport, find Viktor, and murder him. Because right now is definitely the best time to kill someone, yay! Listen, Dex, we know you need to kill people who are bad and also as a weird control thing, but like...I don't know, maybe murdering someone at a very busy International Airport right after your sister discovered you murdering someone else, is not a good idea. But apparently the TSA in Miami is run by a bunch of crackerjacks because when they find all of Dexter's murder syringes in his bag, he's all "hey these are for my diabeetus!" and naturally the TSA animal cracker--let me tell you they are just SO lax about security all of the time!--was like "nah bro, it's cool go through."
So Dexter's about to get on that murder tip, finds a totally empty bathroom (because those also exist in airports) and puts Viktor in a wheelchair with his go-go juice murder syringe juice and wheels him off to a totally-never-checked-on unclaimed baggage room. So he spreads out, gets down to prepping his business, waits for the guy to wake up--probably has some tea or something. I don't know! I don't know how long it takes for these bozos to wake up. But apparently in this completely locked room filled with valuables that totally wouldn't have a camera system set-up or whatever because who needs to keep an eye on people's things, Dexter and his buddy hang out until it's late at night time. And then Dexter murders Viktor who is all "yo I have bad friends that will probably try to kill you, too" which Dexter shrugs off because he has a ~dark passenger~, but we as the handy-dandy watchers know that's totally not going to happen. Because it's all connected! Viktor, the dancers who are totally being human trafficked over to the United States so the rich guy in Ukraine that the bar owner calls on the phone can stay rich. It's all interwoven. And they're expecting Viktor home, so when he doesn't show up, people will ask questions and calamities with the Russian/Ukranian/whatever mob will ensue.
Intermission - The Joey Quinn Poetry Jam: "She's like a ghost in a g-string" - Quinn, your words are so beautiful, so true. So deep. (Sidenote: those are some meth addiction levels of weight loss, my dude. Why so skinny? Are you going method on us?)
There's a few seconds in a bar that we don't really care about, but do establish that Quinn and Angel's bromance is slowly on the mend.
So back to Deb who is running and also scared and probably running scared and then she realizes something! Time to call Dexter's house, but oh wait! He's not home. He told Jamie that he was working late (which he does all the time!). Deb knows this is some major BEE-ESS on Dex's part since Masuka told her earlier that he and Dexter had a deal so he could leave work early.
We also get a quick scene between Masuka and LaGuerta chatting about blood slides on the scene and Masuka mentions what LaGuerta already knows: the only time someone's brought blood slides on the scene of a crime was the murderer (who everyone still thinks is the long-dead-because-Dexter-framed-and-murdered-him, Sergeant Doakes). The Bay Harbor Butcher, in fact. Dun dun dun! LaGuerta nabs that evidence back and you know she's going to figure out that something is afoot at the Circle K.
FLASHBACK time! Again! Dexter's step-dad is all "yo never tell Deb that you're a total monster because then she'll be scared of you, because you're a total monster, and you'll be forever alone!" This is the perfect segue to...
DEB KNOWS DEXTER IS A MURDERER WHO MURDERS ALL THE TIME NOT JUST ONCE BY ACCIDENT OR WHATEVER.
Yessir! Tis true. Dexter comes home and finds Deb has torn his apartment apart. And she's found everything. The slides, the knives, his kit. The whole shebang. And she asks him point blank if he's a serial killer. And in the most perfectly-filmed agonizing moments, Dexter finally comes clean: yes, he is a serial killer.
What did you think of the season premiere of Dexter? Did you like it as much as we did? Sound off in the comments!
[Photo Credit: Showtime]
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
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I'd be lying if I said I wasn't shocked with the Dancing With the Stars results show on May 22. I was so sure William Levy had this thing in the bag with his smoldering good looks and overall dance talent, but instead football pro Donald Driver came out victorious. This isn't a bad outcome by any means, especially given this season's overwhelming talent, but it's something I really should have seen coming. Athletes have historically been far more successful than any other celebrities on the show, having come in either first or second place ten out of the fourteen times since this competition aired in 2005.
This can't be a coincidence.
In general, athletes have somewhat of an advantage over other competitors given the physical attributes that come with being athletic: strength, agility, quickness, balance, and stamina — which are all very important qualities in a dance competition. In fact, DWTS expert Louis van Amstel told Hollywood.com at the very beginning of the season that athletes are the ones to watch out for.
"It’s funny that the football players are far away from ever having learned to dance, but the confidence, the flexibility ... they just have a natural ability somehow," he says. Not to mention the fact that athletes are highly competitive in nature, making them much more likely to put their all into each and every performance, perfecting their technique down to the very last head tilt. But these factors alone aren't enough to create such a monumental surge in athlete victories — it's also because they cater to the majority of the show's demographic. It should come as no surprise to learn that the majority of people who watch DWTS are women, ranging between the ages of 18-54. And, according to Entertainment Weekly, it's the most popular show for adults 50 and older, earning a whopping 16.5 million in ratings during Monday night's show. What does this have to do with why athletes win so often? Well, four out of the ten athletes to have reached the finals have been Olympic medalists. It's safe to say that pretty much everyone watches the Olympics and tend to view the competitors as patriotic symbols. So it's pretty easy to see how these competitors could win over the audience. Plus, two of them were figure skaters, and if spending childhood weekends with my grandmother taught me anything, it's that older people love to watch figure skating competitions. Seriously, Scott Hamilton performing a back-flip was treated like winning the Superbowl in that house. But that still doesn't explain how football stars keep finding their way into DWTS finales. Out of the ten athletes who have made it to the finals, half of those contestants were former or current football pros. And since we've established the majority of show's demographic consists of older women, I couldn't quite figure out what appeal NFL stars could've had over them — that is until I realized where a majority of the votes were coming from. DWTS former pro Louis van Amstel exclusively told us this year that Donald Driver stood a very good chance of winning the competition because he came from a place where the majority of DWTS viewers live: the Midwest. "He’s a football star from the Midwest, and Dancing with The Stars’ demo is the Midwest," Amstel explained. So it's no wonder all these football stars normally do so well — football is huge to Midwesterners. Emmett Smith (winner of Season 3) was a prominent member of the Dallas Cowboys for many years; Hines Ward (winner of Season 12) has been a popular Wide Receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers; and Donald Driver is a Texas-born, Green Bay Packers star. These guys are a Midwest woman's bread and butter throughout the competition, and the fact that they could actually dance (and dance well) only helped to work in their favor. So when the All-Star cast gets chosen this fall, look to see which football stars will be returning — cause the odds are they'll most likely be the ones to beat. Touchdown! More: DWTS Final Results: And The Winner Is... DWTS Final Performances Feature 10s Galore... and Another Perfect Score DWTS 50 Shades of Bruno: Porn or Bruno? [Image: ABC]
“Even a man who is pure of heartand says his prayers by nightmay become a wolf when the wolfbane bloomsand the autumn moon is bright.”
I’m sorry about that but I’m pretty sure that any review of the new remake of The Wolfman is required by law to start off with that famous quote. Thankfully this version of the story only speaks it in the opening as opposed to the almost mantra status it achieves in the original. And yet there’s no question that director Joe Johnston’s interpretation is more heavy handed. Or heavy pawed as the case may be.
Benicio del Toro was cast in the role that Lon Chaney Jr became famous for in the original 1941 Universal classic presumably because there’s a definite facial resemblance between the two. He plays Lawrence Talbot a famed actor who is forced to abandon his theatrical tour in London when he hears of his brother’s disappearance. He returns home to his family estate as the prodigal son and meets with his father Sir John (a scenery chewing Anthony Hopkins). It is established to Lawrence that when he was a child he was put in a mental institution after his mother committed suicide. Pay attention this MacGuffin might come up again later.
Lawrence’s brother’s body turns up horribly mauled and when he goes to claim it he overhears accusations against a local group of gypsies along with whispers of werewolves. He visits the local gypsy camp on a full moon looking for answers along with a group of disgruntled locals. While he is there something attacks killing indiscriminately left and right both gypsies and angry townspeople disappearing into the woods with bloodcurdling screams. Lawrence sees a young boy run off into the woods and chases him down but is himself attacked by the creature and bitten before it’s run off by the townsfolk. What could possibly go wrong from here?
Emily Blunt plays the dead brother’s fiancee who returns to Talbot Hall to help the seemingly mortally wounded Lawrence return to health which he does with surprising quickness. But omens and portents loom ominously everywhere menace drips off every frame and a recently arrived police investigator (Hugo Weaving) is looking at Lawrence as his prime suspect for the local violence because of his past mental problems (see it came up again). Mysteries become revealed (to the characters anyway the audience if they’re even vaguely intelligent will have figured them out long before then) Lawrence gets the 1800’s version of psychiatric care (not a good thing) and the blood starts a’ flowing.
It’s the rare production as riddled with troubles as this one was that turns out to be a ‘happy accident’ like Apocalypse Now or Jaws. The Wolfman is merely an over-crowded mess of a film but it’s impossible to lay blame entirely at the director’s feet. Johnston was merely the last in a line of directors before him who started to work on it and then dropped off. That along with major studio meddling led to a film that has just enough good stuff in it to give one a picture of what could have been great but not enough to be very entertaining as is.
The biggest problem is that there are so many things crammed in but nothing is explored adequately. Even with the added 17 minutes into the Blu-Ray’s “Director’s Cut” it merely serves to drag more. The relationship between Lawrence and his father seems silly and overwrought there’s not a shred of chemistry between del Toro and Blunt Weaving seems only there as an afterthought and the mystery the film hides is obvious and uninteresting...the only thing added to the original story with any weight at all is the torturous psychiatric care Lawrence is put into which ends the second act with a satisfyingly bloody crescendo but it’s over way too soon.
Horror buffs might be the one demographic that attach themselves to the film as The Wolfman doesn’t exactly skimp on the gore. Folks get all-kinds of ripped apart left and right at various points and the camera doesn’t shy away from showing it. What WILL upset horror fans is that even though multiple Oscar winner Rick Baker worked on the film and built the basic Werewolf makeup time didn’t allow for him to create the transformations as he did so memorably (and still the best version of it ever done) in 1981’s An American Werewolf in London. The CG that is used here certainly is passable but there’s something missing there a quality lost by using computers instead of the traditional practical effects that leaves an indelible and unmissable scar on the film.
At the very least Blu-Ray owners will be pleased by some of the bonus features. Those with their player online can watch the original Wolfman film streamed through the BD-Live function. In addition to that there are: five deleted scenes that are actually pretty good; the ‘U-Control’ function which lets you add a pop-up trivia track during the movie and PiP comparisons to the original film as well as video commentary by the production crew; Two alternate endings which aren’t really all that alternate; “The Beast Maker” - an interview with Rick Baker about his werewolf fixation; “Transformation Secrets” - examining the soulless CG effects during the man-to-wolf scenes; “The Wolfman Unleashed” - a look at the stunt work; D-box motion enabling for those who have a few thousand bucks lying around to buy their own home motion chair; and a digital copy of the movie.
If The Werewolf is good for anything it’s as an object lesson. Too many cooks spoil the broth. Glimmers of what could have been abound but it’s weighed down by it’s own sense of self-importance. If a werewolf fix is called for most times you’d be better served by renting The Howling Dog Soldiers Ginger Snaps or the aforementioned An American Werewolf in London. Johnston’s tale will likely be only of serious interest to completists and whoever tries to remake the classic movie again in ten years or so.