Miss America Pageant Finds Its Hosts: The 2013 Miss America Pageant will once again be hosted by Bachelor great Chris Harrison and Dancing With The Stars goddess Brooke Burke-Charvet. ABC has announced via release that the show will air on Jan. 12, 2013, from the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, as long as the world doesn't end first. Which would be awful, because then we wouldn't get to have another Miss America Pageant. [Zap2It]
Cinemax Original Programming Strikes Back: Original programming is so all the rage these days! Just ask Cinemax, who renewed their flagship original drama, Strike Back, for a third season today. This news comes two weeks before the debut of their second original primetime drama, Hunted, which will be followed by Banshee in 2013. Strike Back, which focuses on a special counterterrorism unit, will air ten new episodes in 2013. [Deadline]
Julia Roberts Turns Shrew for ABC: Legendary Hollywood starlet Julia Roberts will (kind of) bring Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew to ABC, via a sitcom of the same name that otherwise has nothing to do with the play. Roberts' Red Om Films has partnered with Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas of 3 Arts and ABC Studios to produce the half-hour workplace comedy, which will focus on a horrible boss and her employees. [Hollywood Reporter]
Big Trouble in Little Parenthood: Californication star slash Louie producer (slash rumored Louis C.K. girlfriend) Pamela Adlon is about to seriously shake things up on Parenthood. Adlon will recur as Marlana, a wealthy and seriously pissed off neighbor to Adam and Crosby's Luncheonette recording studio. She'll eventually file a noise complaint with the city, but hopefully the Braverman feel-good love will eventually thaw her icy hard heart. [TVLine]
Falling Skies Gets a Glimpse of Heaven: Well, not really. The alien-invaded world of Falling Skies is still a hot dystopian mess, but at least the leader of the not-so-free world will make an appearance in Season 3. Seventh Heaven vet Stephen Collins will guest as Benjamin Hathaway, a now combat-ready leader who wants to meet Noah Wyle's Tom for some tips on how to beat the bad guys. [TVGuide.com]
The Captain Hooks a Full-Time Role: ABC's fairy tale smash Once Upon a Time is officially enchanted by Colin O’Donoghue. O'Donoghue was originally set to recur throughout the season, but now he'll be an official series regular for the season’s back nine episodes, despite the fact that his character's — Captain Hook — first appearance hasn't even aired yet. He'll make his grand debut on Oct. 21, in an episode appropriately titled "The Crocodile." He's pretty steamy, so this decision shouldn't be a huge surprise for fans of the show, who have already seen a plethora of pretty new faces via last week's premiere. [EW]
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[PHOTO CREDIT: ABC]
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Widening the thematic scope without sacrificing too much of the claustrophobia that made the original 1979 Alien universally spooky Prometheus takes the trophy for this summer's most adult-oriented blockbuster entertainment. The movie will leave your mouth agape for its entire runtime first with its majestic exploration of an alien planet and conjectures on the origins of the human race second with its gross-out body horror that leaves no spilled gut to the imagination. Thin characters feel more like pawns in Scott's sci-fi prequel but stunning visuals shocking turns and grand questions more than make up for the shallow ensemble. "Epic" comes in many forms. Prometheus sports all of them.
Based on their discovery of a series of cave drawings all sharing a similar painted design Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) are recruited by Weyland to head a mission to another planet one they believe holds the answers to the creation of life on Earth. Along for the journey are Vickers (Charlize Theron) the ruthless Weyland proxy Janek (Idris Elba) a blue collar captain a slew of faceless scientists and David (Michael Fassbender) HAL 9000-esque resident android who awakens the crew of spaceship Prometheus when they arrive to their destination. Immediately upon descent there's a discovery: a giant mound that's anything but natural. The crew immediately prepares to scope out the scene zipping up high-tech spacesuits jumping in futuristic humvees and heading out to the site. What they discover are the awe-inspiring creations of another race. What they bring back to the ship is what they realize may kill their own.
The first half of Prometheus could be easily mistaken for Steven Spielberg's Alien a sense of wonder glowing from every frame not too unlike Close Encounters. Scott takes full advantage of his fictional settings and imbues them with a reality that makes them even more tantalizing. He shoots the vistas of space and the alien planet like National Geographic porn and savors the interior moments on board the Prometheus full of hologram maps sleeping pods and do-it-yourself surgery modules with the same attention. Prometheus is beautiful shot in immersive 3D that never dampers Dariusz Wolski's sharp photography. Scott's direction seems less interested in the run-or-die scenario set up in the latter half of the film but the film maintains tension and mood from beginning to end. It all just gets a bit…bloodier.
Jon Spaihts' and Damon Lindelof's script doesn't do the performers any favors shuffling them to and fro between the ship and the alien construction without much room for development. Reveals are shoehorned in without much setup (one involving Theron's Vickers that's shockingly mishandled) but for the most part the ensemble is ready to chomp into the script's bigger picture conceits. Rapace is a physical performer capable of pulling off a grisly scene involving an alien some sharp objects and a painful procedure (sure to be the scene of the blockbuster season. Among the rest of the crew Fassbender's David stands out as the film's revelatory performance delivering a digestible ambiguity to his mechanical man that playfully toys with expectations from his first entrance. The creature effects in Prometheus will wow you but even Fassbender's smallest gesture can send the mind spinning. The power of his smile packs more of a punch than any facehugger.
Much like Lindelof's Lost Prometheus aims to explore the idea of asking questions and seeking answers and on Scott's scale it's a tremendous unexpected ride. A few ideas introduced to spur action fall to the way side in the logic department but with a clear mission and end point Prometheus works as a sweeping sci-fi that doesn't require choppy editing or endless explosions to keep us on the edge of our seats. Prometheus isn't too far off from the Alien xenomorphs: born from existing DNA of another creature the movie breaks out as its own beast. And it's wilder than ever.
It's 1987 and the only thing cute-but-slightly awkward Jenna Rink (played by Christa B. Allen as a girl) wants for her 13th birthday -- besides a date with Rick Springfield -- is to be cool. But when the popular girls ruin her party she finds herself wishing to leave her teenage angst behind and just be 30 instead. Zap! The next morning Jenna (now Jennifer Garner) wakes up in 2004 having skipped over the last 17 years and landed plunk in the middle of her dream life: fancy Manhattan apartment closet full of designer clothes plum executive editor job at fashion magazine Poise. But it doesn't take 13-year-old Jenna long to discover that her 30-year-old self isn't a very nice person. With the help of childhood best friend Matt (Mark Ruffalo) -- who was unceremoniously ditched long ago in Jenna's pursuit of popularity -- Jenna does her best to navigate the challenges of her new life and fix the mistakes she can't remember making.
Every week on Alias Garner proves that she's both an able dramatic actress and a champion butt-kicker gamely juggling complex plots and bullet-ridden action scenes. She's even done amnesia -- this season her character woke up in an alley and discovered that she'd lost the last two years of her life. All of which seems to have been excellent preparation for 13 Going on 30. Not only does Garner throw herself wholeheartedly into the film's physical comedy sequences (the "Thriller" scene is of particular note) but she also makes Jenna's initial confusion about -- and gradual delight with -- her new life completely believable. Like Tom Hanks in Big Garner is wholly convincing as a kid stuck in a grown-up's body; her earnest wide-eyed expressions and gawky movements ring true. Ruffalo has an understated appeal as Matt the hipster photographer whose inner fat kid is still insecure and very afraid of having his heart stomped on again. He makes Matt's gradual warming to Jenna's mix of helplessness and sunny optimism seem inevitable. Judy Greer is perfect as Jenna's two-faced friend Lucy and Andy Serkis (that's Gollum to you) who plays Jenna's boss Richard is like a hyper more dapper version of Rowan Atkinson's Mr. Bean.
Gary Winick must have known from the minute he signed on to direct 13 Going on 30 that comparisons to Big would be inevitable. And rightly so -- the two films have a lot in common from magical wishes that transform adolescents into adults overnight to ultra-competitive businesses that are transformed by the main character's innocent enthusiasm. What sets 13 Going on 30 apart is that a huge part of Jenna's life has passed her by; unlike Big's Josh whose surroundings stay more or less the same while he changes Jenna has to cope with both a new body and 17 years' worth of memories she doesn't have. That difference offers Winick the opportunity to play up one of the movie's most entertaining themes: '80s nostalgia. The MTV generation is going to get a huge kick out of the opening act's 1987 setting (side ponytails and bright colors galore) not to mention the mostly-'80s soundtrack. Almost as fun -- from a props perspective anyway -- is seeing Jenna incorporate '80s fads like Trapper Keepers into her 30-year-old life. It's that kind of detail combined with a lively script by Cathy Yuspa and Josh Goldsmith that only occasionally strays into cheeseball territory (Jenna's big presentation at work almost crosses the line several times) that makes 13 Going on 30 that rarest of things -- a genuinely sweet truly entertaining Hollywood romantic comedy.