Last week, we delved into the theory that Girls was tackling the same themes as Spike Jonze's latest film Her — which we can now call Spike Jonze's Oscar winning film Her. This time around, the HBO series borrows a few elements from another Academy highlight, Nebraska: most obviously, the casting of June Squibb as Hannah’s ailing grandmother Flo, the going-home-again story that frames the episode, and more subtly, in the soft touches of humanism that we don't often see in Girls, but which were plentiful in Alexander Payne's spectacular dramatic comedy.
If you didn't see Nebraska, you should (it's just as necessary as Her), but here's a brief recap: delusional octogenarian Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) believes himself to have won a million dollar sweepstakes and heads back to his home state of Nebraska to claim his prize money, stopping in his old neighborhood along the way with his put-upon son (Will Forte) and belligerent wife (Squibb) in tow.
It's not as deftly connected, thematically, to Hannah's exploits this week as Her was last time, but there are certainly similarities. Hannah heads back home, at her mother's behest, to say goodbye to her grandma in the hospital before she passes. We meet Hannah's aunts Margot — high-strung and hostile — and Sissy — frazzled and spacey — and her contentious med student cousin Rebecca (Sarah Steele), with whom Hannah attempts a friendly connection that turns into a bitter argument and eventually a minor car accident.
But the seasonal throughline is Hannah and Adam's relationship, which is brought to the forefront when Mrs. Horvath asks Hannah to tell her dying grandma that she and her bozo boyfriend are getting married. Hannah resists on the grounds of progressivism at first, but her mother's request Hannah with an abrupt realization of her own desires to maintain a life with Adam — a desire she defends when Mrs. Horvath suggests to Hannah that she might want to consider "other options."
After Hannah and her cousin incur a fender bender — the result of an in-car argument about preadolescent masturbation — Adam rushes into down via the good graces of Desi's motorcycle to make sure that she's okay. Hannah's mother notes appreciation for his kindness, but dubs him "such an odd man," as well as "angry" and "uncomfortable in his own skin." It's actually a very ominous scene, building upon last week's subtle hint that Hannah and Adam will, soon enough, grow apart... but this time around, it's Hannah outgrowing Adam that is suggested. But she won't hear any of it — she's committed to him.
Even Hannah's protests seem sad, implying that she's adhering to this man not out of genuine love but perhaps out of something a bit darker, like fear. The idea that Hannah is masking inner turmoil is noted in her grandma's final scene, when Flo curtly but caringly says, "You don't look good." Hannah responds with a sullen hesitation, a quick review of her own life and inner makeup, trying to take a glance from the kind of earnest perspective that only a grandmother can boast. She's not happy with who she is, but she's not ready or capable to come to grips with an honest look at herself just yet.
Still, it's perhaps the most tender episode of Girls we've seen in ages, hearkening back to the demeanor of Squibb's latest big screen foray. We've come to expect a cynicism from Lena Dunham's series, but we're pleased to see that it can still hit its marks just as effectively when playing it soft.
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A launch party for rapper Rick Ross' new album Mastermind ended in gunfire early on Monday morning (03Mar14). Reports suggest a DJ who was working at the Velvet Room nightclub in Atlanta, Georgia opened fire on two off-duty police officers after they went outside to investigate the sound of gunshots.
The DJ was hit in the leg when the cops, who were working at the nightclub, returned fire. He was subsequently arrested and taken to Grady Memorial Hospital where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries.
The local area's Public Safety Director Cedric Alexander tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "For whatever unknown reasons, it appears that this DJ who was involved in the shooting with some others turned and shot at the officers, and that's when they returned fire... They (the cops) were doing what they were trained to do. They took all the necessary actions to protect themselves and each other."
No one at Ross' album launch party, which is also believed to have involved Sean 'Diddy' Combs, is thought to have been caught up in the shooting.
"My original script was called California and it was about a couple of teenage boys trying to score some weed." Nebraska screenwriter Bob Nelson jokes about his screenplay for director Alexander Payne's hit film. Nelson picked up two screenplay honours for Nebraska at the Independent Spirit Awards in California on Saturday (01Mar14).
Bernard Walsh/History/A&E Networks
Vikings began its raid on the small screen last season, coming away with a bounty of ratings riches. Surprising everyone, the show became the number one new cable series of the year with an average of over 4 million viewers. Now Vikings is sailing back to the small screen with an ambitious, dark, and dangerous new season.
When we last left off our favorite raider Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) was battling with brother Rollo (Clive Standen) while complicating his love life. On a raid he spent time with the beautiful Princess Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland) while at home his wife Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) was dealt the crushing blow of seeing daughter Gita die. And former monk Athelstan (George Blagden) was finally starting to take to the Viking way of life.
Hollywood.com was lucky enough to chat with Vikings stars Travis Fimmel, George Blagden, and Alyssa Sutherland to get the scope on Season 2. Here’s what they let slip:
Athelstan has embraced the Viking way of life... or has he?As the season begins, Athelstan has seemingly thrown his lot in with the Vikings entirely. But has he really given up on his Christian faith?
“We leave Athelstan in Season 1 in a very conflicted place. The most interesting characters to play as an actor and watch as an audience are the ones that have deep conflicts running throughout. It would have been far too easy to make Athelstan a completely converted pagan and gung-ho into Viking life,” actor George Blagden said about his character.
“What you see throughout the first few episodes of Season 2 is an attempt and potentially a bit of a bluff on his part. Hopefully what we’ve been able to capture this season is the ongoing conflict that Athelstan has.”
Ragnar’s love life gets complicatedWith his relationship with the tough-as-nails Lagertha on the rocks, Ragnar spends some quality time with the beautiful Princess Aslaug. The repercussions of their momentary fling are far-reaching in Season 2, especially when Aslaug shows up in town pregnant.
“He wants it to be like the Brady Bunch, Ragnar does,” star Travis Fimmel said about Ragnar’s hope of combining both families. “People are putting 21st century values on it, but that stuff happened back then. He had to give it a shot anyway, you know?”
Bjorn grows upSometime in the first four episodes, we jump forward in time four years. This allows little Bjorn to grow up into The Hunger Games actor Alexander Ludgwig.
“We loved Nathan O’Toole, he’s such a great little actor and we were really sad to see him leave. But Alexander’s fantastic too, so he was very well replaced,” Fimmel said. “And he’s a big, big boy. He grows quick in four years.”
Lagertha changes in Season 2Her husband’s betrayal and her daughter's death lead to a much different Lagertha in Season 2.
“Lagertha seems to be chasing a bit more power now,” Fimmel said. “She wants to be Earl. She’s had a taste of power and she’s more about that now.”
Aslaug isn’t a homewreckerAslaug’s appearance on the scene broke up power couple Ragnar and Lagertha, a relationship fans were already deeply invested in after only nine episodes.
“I think it’s really cool that we get to bring this idea to modern audiences,” actress Alyssa Sutherland said. “It’s interesting to me how they struggle with the idea and dilute it down into Aslaug being a “homewrecker” or the other woman, and I question whether that concept would have even existed back then. I like the complication of that storyline.”
Sutherland points out that Aslaug’s goal wasn’t to break up Ragnar and Lagertha when she shows up in town pregnant.
“It seems like a bold move, but what other pregnant chick wouldn’t chase down the baby daddy?”
But Aslaug might have special powersThe world of Vikings has always been filled with mysticism and Princess Aslaug is no different. In Season 2, we find out she might have the power of second sight.
“What I love about the way [writer and creator] Michael Hirst does it is you’re not totally sure if these magical elements that he weaves in every now and then are really happening or if it’s just what they believed at the time,” Sutherland said. “I like that it’s left up to the viewer to decide. I certainly think that Aslaug, whether she was a seeress or not, she certainly believed it and the people around her believed it.”
The season starts with a dramatic battle sceneSeason 2 gets off to a action-packed start with a full-tilt battle between brothers Ragnar and Rollo. But they’re not the only ones doing battle.
“The director shouted ‘cut’ and there was silence and you could just hear this giddy laughter soaring over the forest. And it was me, standing amongst the shield wall, just off my face on some adrenaline high,” said Blagden of his first Viking battle. “Because there’s no pretending; when they smash into the shield wall they really smash into the shield wall.”
Series star Fimmel remembers the dramatic season-opening battle a little differently though.
“Those two days we shot it were some of the hottest days on record in Ireland. A lot of people passed out that day and there were a few injuries,” Fimmel said. “That’s what I remember most about that day.”
Things remain complicated between Ragnar and Rollo How do you fix a relationship like Ragnar and Rollo’s? The two brothers have found themselves almost consistently at odds since the series began, since Rollo’s jealousy often transforms into betrayal.
“It’s going to be pretty hard to ever trust Rollo again,” Fimmel says. “But he’s blood and that’s an important thing to Ragnar. There are certainly big obstacles to overcome with Rollo. The two brothers have a good arc this season, and it’s a lot different from last season.”
Vikings returns for Season 2 on February 27 at 10 PM on the History channel. Will you be watching?
Actress Hayden Panettiere's future brother-in-law Vitali Klitschko has officially announced plans to run for president in his native Ukraine following the ousting of leader Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych went into hiding last week (ends21Feb14) following days of violence on the streets of the nation's capital Kiev, where more than 80 people were killed following violent clashes between protesters and police officials.
Members of parliament voted to replace him at the weekend (22-23Feb14) and named speaker Alexander Turchinov as acting president, with plans to bring forward the 2015 elections to 25 May (14) in a bid to put an end to the political unrest in the country.
Now former boxing champion Klitschko has become the first candidate to enter his name into the race for his country's highest office, stating, "I will be on the ballot."
The ex-sportsman, who previously unveiled plans to run for president in 2015, tells the BBC, "We don't have much time (until the election). I want to make Ukraine a modern European country. If I can do that through the president's position, I will do my best."
Candidates have until 4 April (14) to register for the presidential election.
Actress Panettiere is engaged to wed Vitali's brother, boxer Vladimir Klitschko. The celebrity couple has previously voiced its support for oppressed Ukrainians fighting for political change.
While most people spent their Valentine's Day out with their significant others or cuddling up with a tub of cookie dough ice cream (aka the best significant other in the world), Ellen Page spent the day at the Time to THRIVE conference in Las Vegas changing her life. She gave an articulate and heartwarming speech (see below) in which she came out for the first time in public. On top of the many obvious reasons why we can applaud this, there's also the victory over not having to pretend that she's awkwardly dating Alexander Skarsgard anymore. Page's genuinely moving speech garnered an overwhelming amount of support, not only at the Las Vegas Human Rights Campaign Foundation function, but also in the online celebrity world, with many of Page's peers commending her for her courage.
Love love LOVE @EllenPage & the message she sent out today! What a perfect way to end Valentines Day!
— Jesse Tyler Ferguson (@jessetyler) February 15, 2014
Ellen Page. ..nothing but Love and Respect
— Luis Guzman (@IamLuisGuzman) February 15, 2014
Very beautiful Ellen Page!!! IM very happy for you!!! You are free! http://t.co/F3upFobC7g ... http://t.co/uHep8tPTmO
— Ricky Martin (@ricky_martin) February 15, 2014
Yay @EllenPage Yay @EllenPage Yay @EllenPage Yay @EllenPage Yay @EllenPage Yay @EllenPage Yay @EllenPage Yay @EllenPage @EllenPage #brave
— Sara Bareilles (@SaraBareilles) February 15, 2014
Congrats @EllenPage for sharing your Light, integrity and truth with us all. Both onscreen and off. I have great admiration for you.
— Jaime King (@Jaime_King) February 15, 2014
Congrats @EllenPage for sharing your Light, integrity and truth with us all. Both onscreen and off. I have great admiration for you.
— Jaime King (@Jaime_King) February 15, 2014
Be mine fellow Canadian babygirl xo @EllenPage xo
— Hannah Simone (@HannahSimone) February 15, 2014
Never underestimate the courage it takes to be yourself. Giant hugs to @EllenPage
— Tegan and Sara (@teganandsara) February 15, 2014
Beautiful, eloquent speech!! We love you @ellenpage http://t.co/wbHJ4M61y1
— mia farrow (@MiaFarrow) February 15, 2014
Props to @EllenPage for helping so many people through their daily struggles by courageously leading by example and coming out on V Day!
— Emile Hirsch (@EmileHirsch) February 15, 2014
Hey @EllenPage...Be my Valentine? #respect
— Kate Mara (@_KateMara) February 15, 2014
I just watched Ellen Page come out! Wow! What a speech! Congrats!! #HRC #TimeToThrive http://t.co/XqKyusVq9A
— Lance Bass (@LanceBass) February 15, 2014
Mad mad mad mad mad mad crazy love and praise for @EllenPage today. Congrats to you, you light, talent, and beauty.
— Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) February 15, 2014
Rivited by @EllenPage's fabulous speech. So honest & funny & articulate. She Shines. Happy Valentines day to ALL. http://t.co/s6fRvd8CNj
— Kristen Bell (@IMKristenBell) February 15, 2014
Wow I'm so moved by this and proud to be 1 Degree from #ellenpage http://t.co/tI11le7XQK
— Kevin Bacon (@kevinbacon) February 15, 2014
Just wanted to take a moment to say how moved I am by all the support. I feel profoundly grateful right now. xxxx
— Ellen Page (@EllenPage) February 17, 2014
"I liked it because it taught self defence and discipline. We had a lot of troubled kids that were wrestlers and it really changed their lives; it changed mine." Actress Jaimie Alexander was a wrestler at high school.
"I broke a guy's nose and gave him a bloody eye once, with my elbow. It was an accident, kind of. It was actually at a Hollywood party and he made a pass at me and then he got p**sed because he had to see Madonna the next day." Thor: The Dark World star Jaimie Alexander recalls lashing out at a creepy studio executive.
NBC Universal Media
Jerry Seinfeld is known to most people for his iconic hit television sitcom Seinfeld (1989-1998), but his latest web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is clearly his best work.
Interest in the show has been growing since its 2012 premiere, and the recent Seinfeld "reunion" tie-in with the Super Bowl has introduced many audiences to the show for the first time. The show, which streams on Crackle, is straightforward, and the brilliant title is not at all misleading. In each episode, Seinfeld and another comedian drive around in a classic car and share a cup of coffee. It's like a late night talk show but more genuine: Seinfeld chooses fellow comedians he is fond of, his guests aren't there to promote anything, and the conversations feel spontaneous and honest. Although we'll never know if the show is planned like other talk shows, there's a sense that the conversations are mostly improvised, and because Seinfeld's guests are fellow comedians, we trust that they aren't censoring themselves in front of the cameras as, say, a politician or movie star would.
Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is preferable to his famous sitcom because it is his purest artistic statement to date. At this point in his career, the respected comedian can do whatever he wants, and that he chooses to push the creative boundaries with each project is remarkable. In this case, Seinfeld offers a meta-commentary on the art of comedy. His encounters with guests like Louis C.K., Tina Fey, Chris Rock, and Larry David provide glimpses into the entertainment industry and the experience of being a professional comedian. More interestingly, they demonstrate what draws individuals to comedy in the first place. Comedy, Seinfeld and his guests suggest, is the ability to laugh at the absurdity of life and the irrational, meaningless experience of being in it. Whether it is Chris Rock's articulation of why bullying benefits children, Larry David's rant on why it doesn't matter whether he drinks coffee or tea, or Louis C.K.'s justification that he went into debt to buy a boat, there's a sentiment that none of it matters so they might as well laugh at it while they can.
Seinfeld has always been a brilliant observational comic, and most critics and fans deem his self-titled sitcom "a show about nothing." However, Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee is the ultimate show about nothing, but the irony is that as we follow Seinfeld and friends as they talk about the meaning of comedy and the meaning of life, nothing inadvertently becomes everything. It is doubtful that Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee will become as popular as Seinfeld, but as an artistic and comedic expression, it is by far Seinfeld's greatest achievement.