I can’t believe that the TV season is already coming to a close! It feels like just a few weeks ago we were eagerly anticipating all of our favorite shows to return to the magical boxes in our living rooms, and now we have to endure the long months of summer before we see our favorite primetime hits again. But while we prepare to bid adieu to some of our favorites — yes, I’m looking at you Suburgatory — we also get to say hello to some new deliciously dark dramas.
This week’s edition of Leanne’s Spoiler List has a lovely selection of five fantastic shows from all over the TV spectrum. Ready to know about this week’s killer prom on The Vampire Diaires? Read on for all the details on the gorgeous gowns and dangerous decisions. I chatted with the always wonderful Emilie de Ravin about Belle’s darker alter ego in this week’s all-new Once Upon a Time and caught up with the star of Awkward to bring you scoop on this season’s drastic character changes. Hannibal’s leading man Mads Mikkelsen reveals Dr. Lecter’s taste in women and I watched the world’s most perfect season finale on Suburgatory. Oh, and did I mention there's a lightning round?
1. The Vampire Diaries: Prom Problems
It's finally prom time for our favorite Mystic Falls seniors on The Vampire Diaries, but it's a bittersweet occasion considering at least half of everybody's friends and family are dead. Plus, there's that pesky business of Elena having turned her humanity off. The show returns Thursday at 8PM on The CW for "Pictures of You," the first of five brand-new episodes leading up to the Season 4 finale on May 16.
Since this is The Vampire Diaries we're talking about, there's a lot I can't tell you about what happens. But here's what I can reveal: Early in the episode, Caroline deems this year's prom a "friend dance." It's the perfect name, considering there are some lovely bonding moments between all of the seniors (except the friends Elena has shunned since her No Humanity thing). And shippers, take note: There's Klaroline, Steroline, (all of the -olines, basically), Delena, Stelena, and other coupled-up moments galore. Squee!
Let's see, what else can I tell you? Rebekah, the poor, dance-deprived Original, finally gets to a school dance. For real! And she looks great. Meanwhile, Bonnie learns some very important things about her magic (yes, they're Silas-related), and a prom king and queen are crowned — yes, we know them. Finally, just to get you ultra-excited for the episode, I'll leave you with this: You will see some familiar faces you might not expect. Yes, that was purposefully cryptic. No, I can't tell you any more!
2. Suburgatory: What a Perfect Finale Looks Like
There are many reasons why I completely adore ABC’s quirky comedy Suburgatory. In addition to the giggle-worthy characters and the amazing one-liners I also love their theme song — It’s so catchy! So you can imagine my delight when I was watching tonight’s season finale (Airing at 8PM!) and I heard a beautiful rendidtion of “Pleasant Nightmare,” song by the incredibly hunky Jeremy Sisto — like father like daughter, right?! I can’t reveal when or why George is gracing us with a song, but I can tell you that I definitely got a little misty-eyed. (Okay fine I was totally crying!)
I hate the fact that after tonight’s special two episode season finale, I will have to endure many Suburgatory-free months until next season. (Fingers crossed!) But luckily, the powers that be in Chatswin are sending fans off with one ass-kicking, truth-revealing, game-changing season finale. Be prepared for a change of scenery — and I hope you like leather!
Since so many amazing things are going to happen tonight, I’m going to give you a lightening round of spoilers: Noah is going to get his revenge on Dr. Bob and it is terrifyingly creative. Tessa and Dalia have the best girl on girl TV fight that I have seen in a long time. (Think Kill Bill but with the return of the “lesbian boots” from the pilot!) Ryan Shay will take your breath away with his silent sexiness, and let’s just say I’m curious about bathroom floors now. Lastly we’ll see a familiar face return to Chatswin just in time, and learn a shocking secret about one of our favorite couples.
3. Once Upon a Time: Racy Lacey
It’s finally almost here! After weeks and weeks of magic-free TV, Once Upon a Time finally returns to our lives this Sunday with a brand-new spellbinding episode. On Friday, I’ll be giving Once fans a more in depth article on what to expect from “Lacey,” but for now — to get you all as excited as I am — I just got off the phone with the incredibly sweet Emilie de Ravin to find out all the details on Belle’s new alterego, and just have to spill some secrets!
As all Rumbelle fans know, when we last saw Belle she was wearing a hospital gown, completely stripped of her memories. Luckily, in this Sunday’s episode her memories are restored — but unfortunately, they aren’t Belle’s memories. “Regina gave [Belle] this false memory to once again mess with Mr. Gold, and take away the one thing he loves," de Ravin explains. So, everyone, — let’s say hello to Lacey! De Ravin explains that Lacey is the complete opposite of the Disney princess we’ve all come to know and love.
“Compared to Belle she’s very free-spirited," she says. "She a smart girl, but she doesn’t want adventure and she doesn’t care about books. She’d rather hang out at the Rabbit Hole and drink and play pool." I also made sure to clarify an important distinction — we’ve seen in the past that Belle is very much about book smarts, so is it safe to assume that Lacey is more partial to street smarts?
“Ooh completely!" de Ravin says. "That’s a very good analogy. Belle will have a cup of tea, Lacey will have a double Jack on the rocks. Maybe three.” Oh, I can’t wait to meet her!
For more details on Rumple’s plan to restore Belle’s rightful memory and scoop on the fairytale flashbacks, check back to Hollywood.com Friday morning!
4. Awkward: More Mother/Daughter Bonding
How crazy was the Season 3 premiere of Awkward on Tuesday?! Not only is Ricky Schwartz no longer going to be ruining lives at PHHS, but we survived a almost-pregnancy-scare with Jenna, too! Thanks to Jake’s big mouth, things are now rocky between Matty — who now knows the truth —and Jenna. I caught up with the Awkward cast last week, and star Ashley Rickards told me that Jenna is not mad that the secret came out. “I don’t think that it was even a thought-out decision that she turned to Jake," she says. "I think that he was just there, and it just came out because she trusted him and their relationship."
Despite the fact that Jake might be regretting his “Jenna 4 Eva” tattoo right about now, there are bigger problems heading to our quirky heroine. Rickards told me that fans are going to see Jenna going to a much darker place this season. “I think she has spent two seasons trying to get where she is in life," she says. “There comes a point ... where she’s forced to wonder if this person is who she is — the person she wants to be. It’s sort of the first time she’s going to make some decisions that don’t turn out in her best interest.” Yikes!
At least we know that Jenna’s relationship with her mother is finally in a much better place, and Rickards teases that this relationship is really going to become important to Jenna’s dark days this season. “Between the letter and everything, what tore them apart also brings them closer," she explains. "They’re going to lean on each other — and subsequently Jenna is going to be leaning on Lacey’s fake boobs — a lot more this season.” Aww. Well, true to the show’s theme, that sounds awkwardly nice.
5. Hannibal: Deliciously Dark
If you're not watching NBC's smart, sick new drama Hannibal, you're totally missing out. Not only does it feature jaw-dropping performances from the likes of Hugh Dancy (swoon!) and Laurence Fishburne, but its lead Mads Mikkelsen offers a unique perspective on a well-tread serial killer that will have you both disgusted and mesmerized at the same time.
Although he's a horrible murderer, Hannibal's relationship with the other leads is quite fascinating — and when Jack Crawford (Fishburne)'s wife (Gina Torres) shows up as a patient in Dr. Lecter's practice who is dealing with cancer, we'll find out just how empathetic he can be. "[The cancer is] something that touches Hannibal," Mikkelsen tells Hollywood.com. "He likes to see emotions. He likes to see when people have emotions for certain things. He does have empathy — even though it is an act, a lot of it, he also… believes that this is sad. And his advice is sometimes very useful. It's not all a spin."
But despite his sympathy and compassion for Jack's wife, don't count on Hannibal getting a romantic lead of his own anytime soon — for very good reason! (Ahem, he eats people). Though the movie iteration of the character was drawn to Jodie Foster, it's more of a je ne sais quoi in women's personalities than a sexual attraction, Mikkelsen explains. "He finds them delicious," the actor says of women with a laugh. "I'm not sure [being in a relationship is] something he misses, but it's all very complicated. I think that we'll see more of [his relationship with women] — it's there in the first season, but we'll see more of it [down the line]." Eeek! Run away ladies!
Are you excited to see our favorite vampires at their senior prom? Intrigued to meet Lacey this week on Once Upon a Time? Sad to see Surburgatory go? Tell me everything in the comments below!
—Additional Reporting by Jean Bentley and Shaunna Murphy
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Most end-of-the-year "best of" lists from critics deplore the current state of movies before telling you about the few nuggets that came out that were actually (according to them) worth your time. The year 1999 was different. The critics didn't complain, and rightfully so.
The last of the 1900s marked a groundbreaking revolution in cinema. Films like "Three Kings," "American Beauty," "The Sixth Sense" and "The Blair Witch Project" expanded the boundaries of what traditional generic films could become. True oddballs like "Being John Malkovich" were made and even turned a profit. Sequels like "Toy Story 2" didn't suck.
Overall, going to the movies was about as dreadful as living through Y2K. Instead of suffering through a bunch of bummers, audiences were treated to a diverse, colorful celebration of life as we live it, and where it's headed.
Here is our list of the Top 10 films that quickened the pulses, stimulated our minds and sent us soaring. In an era of yuppie-fied java-pushing theater concessions, these babies required absolutely no additives to achieve maximum effect.
THE HOLLYWOOD.COM TOP 10
1. "The Insider": Who would have guessed that a story based on the cigarette industry could be so excellent, let alone interesting? Arguments could be made that director Michael Mann's absorbing and powerful tale about a "60 Minutes" producer and a tobacco-industry whistleblower is even more thrilling and consistently involving than his crime epic masterpiece, "Heat." No explosions or gun battles needed here. Believable human drama, real relationships and a time-tested theme about a thing called truth are all that's needed, plus some of the best performances of the year.
2. "Anna and the King": That's right. We'll chalk this one up as being the most unrecognized, unheralded classic in the making. Some would say the story's been done before -- but so what? This one, sans music, gets to the basics of the inherent poignancy of the relationship between the King of Siam and British schoolteacher Anna Leonowens. As portrayed by Chow Yun-Fat (our vote for best leading man of the '90s) and reliable Jodie Foster, the couple is a doozy. Add in some amazing cinematography, and this affecting period piece's built to last for future generations.
3. "Toy Story 2": As with its predecessor, "Toy Story 2" proves that the best cartoons are those made for kids and adults. Woody, Buzz and the rest of the gang made it back for another amazing, hilarious adventure. The pop-culture in-jokes were a bonus. The most surprising thing here was how much the people at Pixar and the voice talent (led by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen) could make you care about a toy's feelings. With a thing this good, another manufactured product doesn't sound half-bad.
4. "American Beauty": Praised for its blunt appraisal of suburban dystopia, this feature debut from theater director Sam Mendes burned with creative fervor, not to mention a cast working at the top of its collective talent. Kevin Spacey continued to show why he's America's favorite satirical Everyman, and newcomer Wes Bentley shone as the odd, mysterious peeping Tom next door. Every shot was a marvel to behold, and the movie itself was unlike any middle-American drama ever released. It's the Cleavers gone to hell -- and then some.
5. "The Winslow Boy": David Mamet fans had a hard time believing he could be responsible for this G-rated period piece set in proper Britain circa World War I. But the street poet is one smart cookie who realizes great drama and tension when he sees it. This tale of a court case to redeem a boy and his family's honor made perfect sense as a Mamet tale. It was also highly entertaining and enthralling, using the powers of subtlety and things left unsaid to sell its boiling dynamics. Combined with a command performance from Jeremy Northam, the film and its accompanying love story made for powerful, memorable stuff.
6. "Liberty Heights": Barry Levinson complimented his Baltimore trilogy ("Diner," "Tin Men," "Avalon") with another personal bit of filmmaking set in his hometown. Dealing directly with issues of racial separation in the 1950s, the director and his cast of fresh-faced talents provided painful, funny truth-telling. The look and feel was right, and Joe Mantegna gave the production the right air of fallible humanity as the patriarch of a Jewish family dealing with issues in an imperfect America.
7. "Bowfinger": Overlooked by the Golden Globes nominating committee was Steve Martin's dead-on, affectionate lambasting of the Hollywood industry and all its assorted characters. Martin's smart screenplay and Frank Oz's good direction were simply the trimmings. Eddie Murphy provided the final coup, playing both a lovable, earnest dummy and an egotistical action movie star. The scenes between Martin and Murphy were worth the price of admission alone. Same goes for the scenes with just Murphy.
8. "Last Night": Never seen or heard of it? Stay tuned to your local independent movie house, which could be showing this amazing gem from Canada, the winner of the country's equivalent of the Oscar for best picture and several other awards. Forget "Armageddon," "Deep Impact" or any other Hollywood-derived disaster flick. This movie's the real deal about what people would say or do to each other if the world were really going to end in six hours. Expect the unexpected from this defiantly independent and haunting film.
9. "The Hurricane": Denzel Washington's performance as real-life boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, imprisoned for 19 years for murders he didn't commit, was a true phenomenon. Norman Jewison told the story in expert fashion, and the supporting cast was excellent, especially Vicellous Shannon as a boy who sets out to help free Carter. But Washington rose above his (lofty) surroundings with a charismatic portrayal that is the embodiment of dignity and integrity. It's a landmark performance that ranks on par with his work in "Malcolm X" and his Academy Award-winning part in "Glory."
10. "Go": Largely overlooked by youth audiences and twentysomethings, this second effort from "Swingers" director Doug Liman was the perfect follow-up to "Pulp Fiction," and blew away all the hack, "Pulp" wannabes. Instead of copping Tarantino entirely, Liman cast a talented group of young actors including Sarah Polley and Taye Diggs, and threw them into a believable world of wild all-night raves and quick trips to Vegas. The end result was colorful, decadent, energetic and wonderfully cinematic. "Go," more than any other film of '99, captured the millennial spirit of the party in all its gross, absurd and youthful glory.
Jodie Foster's played an English schoolteacher, an FBI agent and a rocket scientist. Now she'll stretch further as a one-legged nun in "The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys."
Reports today say the two-time Oscar winner has agreed to play a supporting role in the $15-20 million film for Initial Entertainment Group. She'll also produce.
Shooting's scheduled to begin May 1. Commercial director Peter Care will helm the script by Jeff Stockwell and Michael Petroni. Based on Chris Fuhrman's novel, the story's about a group of Catholic youths who get caught drawing an obscene comic book. Next, they outdo themselves by planning a heist that will make them legends.
NOW, STOP ASKING! The speculation is over. (Really.) Steven Spielberg has officially said thanks but no thanks to Warner Bros.' "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" -- the planned big-screen adaptation of the insanely popular "Harry Potter" kids' books. Although Spielberg never actually was on board, a London Times report (and lots of subsequent media coverage) indicated that the movie was high on his to-do list. With Spielberg out of the picture, new names being tossed around include Robert Zemeckis, Chris Columbus and Brad Siberling.
IN THE RING: And the winner is ... "The Insider's" Michael Man, who will coach Will Smith to boxing glory as Muhammad Ali in the Columbia biopic "Ali." The project, which has been in development for eight years, could start shooting in July for a summer 2001 release, Hollywood trade papers say. The script by "Nixon's" Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen Rivele covers the boxer's early days as Cassius Clay, his rise in sports and politics, his refusal to fight in Vietnam and his comeback bouts against Joe Frazier and George Foreman.
BACK IN 'BLACK': While he waits to become Ali, Will Smith will don the suit and ray gun again to star in the Universal Studios Florida attraction "Men in Black Alien Attack." Complete with monitors, ride cars, 30-foot bugs (but minus crusty ol' Tommy Lee Jones), the interactive adventure allows Agent Jay (with a little help from Rip Torn) to save the day -- and start prepping for the next episode. The ride debuts in April.
'TROUBLE' AHEAD: Attempting to put "Wild Wild West" behind him, director Barry Sonnenfeld has signed up for Disney's "Big Trouble." The ensemble comedy's set to begin shooting this summer in Miami, which means Sonnenfeld's out of the loop for Warner Bros.' "The Ugly Truth," a starring vehicle for ex-sweethearts Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow.
OUT FOR BLOOD: Look a little closer at "American Beauty's" Wes Bentley, and check out his molars. The hot supporting player might get the call of the wild as lead vampire Lestat in Warner Bros.' "Queen of the Damned," based on Anne Rice's novel. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bentley would take over the role played by Tom Cruise in 1994's "Interview with the Vampire." This time, Lestat's a rocker whose tunes turn on the Queen of all vampires. He's also chased by a vampire hunter who's smitten by his bloodcurdling ways.
DECK THE HALLS WITH LAUREN HOLLY: Lauren Holly's set to complete the threesome in Paramount Pictures' "What Women Want." According to The Hollywood Reporter, she'll star opposite Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt in the romantic comedy that begins shooting this week. Directed by Nancy Meyers, it's the tale of a male chauvinist (Gibson) who suffers a freak accident that gives him the power to read women's thoughts.
NOT WILD FOR 'JUMANJI 2': Ken Ralston, the special-effects wizard responsible for the F/X in the first "Jumanji," has decided not to play with the animals as director on "Jumanji 2." Unlike the action-packed kids' pic, The Hollywood Reporter says the long-awaited sequel wasn't moving fast enough for Ralston, who parted on good terms with Columbia Pictures.