Summit via Everett Collection
You can imagine that Renny Harlin, director and one quadrant of the writing team for The Legend of Hercules, began his pitch as such: We'll start with a war, because lots of these things start with wars. It feels like this was the principal maxim behind a good deal of the creative choices in this latest update of the Ancient Greek myth. There are always horse riding scenes. There are generally arena battles. There are CGI lions, when you can afford 'em. Oh, and you've got to have a romantic couple canoodling at the base of a waterfall. Weaving them all together cohesively would be a waste of time — just let the common threads take form in a remarkably shouldered Kellan Lutz and action sequences that transubstantiate abjectly to and fro slow-motion.
But pervading through Lutz's shirtless smirks and accent continuity that calls envy from Johnny Depp's Alice in Wonderland performance is the obtrusive lack of thought that went into this picture. A proverbial grab bag of "the basics" of the classic epic genre, The Legend of Hercules boasts familiarity over originality. So much so that the filmmakers didn't stop at Hercules mythology... they barely started with it, in fact. There's more Jesus Christ in the character than there is the Ancient Greek demigod, with no lack of Gladiator to keep things moreover relevant. But even more outrageous than the void of imagination in the construct of Hercules' world is its script — a piece so comically dim, thin, and idiotic that you will laugh. So we can't exactly say this is a totally joyless time at the movies.
Summit via Everett Collection
Surrounding Hercules, a character whose arc takes him from being a nice enough strong dude to a nice enough strong dude who kills people and finally owns up to his fate — "Okay, fine, yes, I guess I'm a god" — are a legion of characters whose makeup and motivations are instituted in their opening scenes and never change thereafter. His de facto stepdad, the teeth-baring King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins), despises the boy for being a living tribute to his supernatural cuckolding; his half-brother Iphicles (Liam Garrigan) is the archetypical scheming, neutered, jealous brother figure right down to the facial scar. The dialogue this family of mongoloids tosses around is stunningly brainless, ditto their character beats. Hercules can't understand how a mystical stranger knows his identity, even though he just moments ago exited a packed coliseum chanting his name. Iphicles defies villainy and menace when he threatens his betrothed Hebe (Gaia Weiss), long in love with Hercules, with the terrible fate of "accepting [him] and loving [their] children equally!" And the dad... jeez, that guy must really be proud of his teeth.
With no artistic feat successfully accomplished (or even braved, really) by this movie, we can at the very least call it inoffensive. There is nothing in The Legend of Hercules with which to take issue beyond its dismal intellect, and in a genre especially prone to regressive activity, this is a noteworthy triumph. But you might not have enough energy by the end to award The Legend of Hercules with this superlative. Either because you'll have laughed yourself into a coma at the film's idiocy, or because you'll have lost all strength trying to fend it off.
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Alright, Gleeks — before we get started I need to clarify something for you. We all know that there are plenty of other Glee recaps out there in the interwebs, but this is what make Hollywood.com's version so different: I love this show. There it is, plain and simple.
I’m not going to mock the actors, diss the songs, or make snarky comment on how “unrealistic” a scene is. Come on y’all, it’s Glee. It’s supposed to be unrealistic. We watch it because it’s a way for us to escape from our stressful, boring, music-free lives. With that said, let’s get started! In my recaps you’ll find quick (and hopefully fun) blurbs to help get you caught up on the gleevents. I’ll also be sprinkling in some “Side-Notes” which are my own thoughts, questions, or opinions on what just happened. It’s going to be a wild ride this season, and I’m here to fill you in on what you missed and to help get you excited for the storylines to come.
So Here's What You Missed On Glee:
NYADA Ain’t So Nice: The episode opens on Rachel (Lea Michele)’s first dance class, and right away we see that her new teacher Cassandra July (Kate Hudson) is definitely not someone you want to mess with. After verbally assaulting a girl by the name of “muffin-top,” Cassandra quickly turns on our beloved Rachel, nicknaming her “Little Miss David Schwimmer.” Ouch! Rachel’s rude awakening gets even worse when Cassandra gives her a big New York City welcome: “You suck.”
When we next see her, Rachel admits that she hasn’t heard from Finn (Cory Monteith) in two months! “Maybe he’s just trying to give me the space I need to make it on my own,” she ponders. (Side-Note: I’m sorry, but where oh where are you Finn? What, have you neglected your shining star? I hate to say it, but not cool, love.) Rachel is tired of people making fun of her extensive nighttime rituals, so she's started showering at 3 AM. And through the steam of the shower we meet our newest and nakedest eye-candy of the episode: Brody Weston (Dean Geyer). There’s no denying that he and Rachel instantly click. He gives her a mini pep-talk and then makes it extremely clear that he is straight.
(Side-Note: I just want to make it clear that yes, I do ship Brody. But not Brody and Rachel, no way. I’m a fan of Brody and Leanne. Leady? Broanne? Whatever, I dig it. Plus this new relationship will help keep the Finchel fans from wanting to kill him, something that would make me very very sad.) The next day we see Rachel telling Kurt (Chris Colfer) about her new NYADA encounter, but when her best gay asks if she likes Brody Rachel quickly responds, “No, you know I’ll always love Finn.” Breathe y’all.
The New Directions Have A New Attitude: Jacob Ben Israel (Josh Sussman) is back (sporting a shorter doo) and introducing us to McKinley High’s newest celebrities. Let’s break it down, shall we? Artie (Kevin McHale) is currently tight with the jocks and chummy with the Cheerios. Sam (Chord Overstreet) is quite pleased with his newfound fame and a flock of giggling girls. (Side-Note: It’s kind of a bummer that he spent all of season three trying to woo back Mercedes and she’s not even mentioned.) And Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) has got a tude! She practically assaults her personal assistant with a non-organic banana and we quickly learn that although she still loves Mike, she is now officially a single lady for the first time in two years! Oh and she now has a tattoo that she had to change from “Mike Chang Forever” to “Make Change Forever.
Later in the choir room, Mr. Schue (Matthew Morrison) introduces the newest member of the New Directions: Vocal Adrenaline’s MVP Wade Adams, aka Unique (Alex Newell). Rather than welcoming the newbie with open arms, Blaine (Darren Criss) and Tina rather rudely say that they don’t need any more “stars” in the group. Boom! And the gauntlet is thrown! Blaine, Tina, Unique, and Brittany (Heather Morris) are battling for the title of the “New Rachel” and Artie is putting his director skills to the test, because they’ve appointed him as the official judge. We are now treated to the first song of the fourth season of Glee: “Call Me Maybe.” (Side Note: Yay for Brittany singing and Tina getting time to shine!”)
The Music Is Still Amazing: Cassandra shows up for dance class a wee bit intoxicated, and after Rachel calls her out in front of the entire class, the sexy teacher proves that she’s still got it with a jaw-dropping mash-up of “Americano” and “Dance Again.” (Side-note: Does Kate Hudson age? Like, at all? She’s flawless.) Bad move, Miss Berry. Over at the Glee club auditions we finally get to meet newbie Jake Puckerman (Jacob Artist) and he blew everyone away with his version of “Never Say Never” by the Fray. (Side-Note: Artist told me that was the song that he originally auditioned with in front of Ryan Murphy.) After Mr. Schue cuts his song short, Jake throws a minor temper tantrum (he throws a microphone stand) and we can really see the resemblance to his older brother. Now it’s time for our first kinda sorta duet of the season. Rachel at NYADA and Marley (Melissa Benoist) at McKinley are both singing “New York State of Mind” and my oh my, it is just lovely. NEXT: Marley's Got a Secret!
Marley’s Got A Secret: In the lunch room, we get the first glimpse at newbie Marley, and a big look at the glee club members (I’m looking at you Artie, Blaine, Tina and Sam) acting like pretentious brats, making Unique feel like an outcast, and making fun of the new lunch lady’s weight. Unfortunately that new lunch lady is Marley’s momma, and she is without a doubt the second sweetest character we’ve met on Glee. (Side Note: Ms. Pillsbury (Jayma Mays) is first.) We soon learn that Marley left her old school because she was severely teased by her peers for being the lunch lady’s daughter. Her mom is determined to give Marley a new chance to be “popular” so she sews designer labels into her hand-me-down clothes and keeps their relationship a secret.
Later we see Kitty (Becca Tobin —the new Cheerio, trying to be a mix of Santana and Quinn) and some random jocks once again making fun of Marley’s mom in the lunchroom. After a particularly snarkey comment from Sugar (Vanessa Lengies), Marley finally admits the truth to her newfound “friends” and storms off. The always wonderful Sam explains to Marley that he knows what it’s like to have a family that struggles financially, and he tries to coax Marley to stay in the club.
And The "New Rachel" Is: Blaine! That’s right, Artie makes his choice and he decides that the former Warbler is the best one to lead the New Directions to a second National victory. According to Artie, Brittany was a “close second.” Speaking of Brittany, she finally reveals some desperately wanted Brittana scoop. Santana (Naya Rivera) is currently extremely busy with cheerleading practices, so she and Britney have been doing their best to keep up communication. However, apparently “it’s hard making out on Skype. You can’t really scissor a webcam.” Best of luck to you with that, Brittany!
Back to Blaine — after a short but oh-so sweet talk with his beau Kurt, Blaine decides to use his newfound position as head gleek to perform “It’s Time” in the quad, complete with Cheerios, jump ropes, cups, and a group of slightly random kids and some well-placed male dancers. (Side-note: I cherish Klaine. I literally started tearing up when Blaine was singing to Kurt because they have such a kind and honest relationship. When they hugged it was cute but to be quite honest, that moment needed a kiss.)
Kurt's Stuck In A Rut: He’s working at the Lima Bean, waiting to start community college classes and going back to McKinley more often than Puck probably did during his entire high school career. After meeting Coach Sue’s (Jane Lynch) new baby Robin and getting hit with one of Kitty’s well-placed verbal claws, he begins to realize that hanging around his alma matter is not necessarily the best thing for his future. Blaine’s amazing music-filled blessing to leave for New York was enough to get him to the airport but it was Kurt’s amazing father Burt (Mike O’Mally) who got him on the plane. (Side-Note: This is by far my favorite father/son relationship of all time. Also, I’m totally still crying.)
The Final Five: We gleeks know that a lot happens in the last five minutes of every episode, so here is your wrap-it-up rundown: The New Directions have a huge group epiphany when apologizing to Marley, and realize that the quest for popularity was not worth becoming mean-spirited snobs. Kitty kicks them out of the popular table, and the jocks promptly slushy Marley and Unique. Welcome to Glee, you two! Mr. Schue reads Jake’s file, and finds out that he is Noah’s younger half-brother. But when he tells Jake that he needs to lose the attitude, he says no thanks and declines the offer to join the club. (Side-Note: Nooooo! Jake, come back! I love you!)
Marley belts out a truly beautiful version of “Chasing Pavements” and slowly but surely starts to realize that she finally has a group of friends who care about her. Meanwhile in New York Rachel finally admits to Kurt that she is having a miserable time in New York. She sobs into her phone, “I lied, I’m not okay.” And just like the ending to a perfect love-story, Kurt tells Rachel to turn to around: Her best friend is there waiting for her, and they are ready to tackle NYC together.
Most Heart-Warming Moment: The smile on Rachel’s face when running into Kurt’s arms.
Most Heart-Breaking Moment: Watching Burt and Kurt say goodbye at the airport.
“No your name is muffin-top. And from now on it’s rice cakes and ipicap or cut off a butt cheek because you need to drop a few.”—Cassandra
“C U Next Tina!” —Jacob Ben Israel
“In case you were wondering, which you were, I’m straight.”—Brody
“I had a song in my heart Blain Warbler and you killed it. Now I have a dead song in my heart and pretty soon the corpse of my dead heart song will start to smell.”—Brittany
“If you’re not scared it just means you’re not sticking your neck out far enough.”—Burt Hummel
Vote it out:
&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href="http://polldaddy.com/poll/6533733/"&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;What was the best song of the night?&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;NEXT: Shipper Scoop!
Finchel: At last night’s Glee premiere Lea Michele was all smiles when talking about the highly-anticipated Finchel reunion. “Aww, well she’s so excited to see him and he comes to New York,” she revealed. Even though Rachel is looking forward to their reunion, she also warns fans that it’s going to be a “tough” one. “I think that he’s been through a lot, and she’s been through a lot, and they’re doing their best,” she said. Many fans will not be pleased to hear that the formerly engaged couple has not spoken in over two months. However, Michele offered up some hope: “Well, his explanation is understandable.” Hmm… color me curious.
Jarley: We saw that Sam and Marley had a sweet moment in the McKinley halls, but we also clearly saw that she was checking out our baby Puck earlier in the episode. I chatted with the always delightful Chord Overstreet, and he’s says fans should get pumped for Jarley, “I think probably the best thing for the show is Jake and Marley because they’re a little bit younger…you can see that relationship go through a bunch of different turns.” Plus, we already know that they make an adorable couple.
Fabrevans: So now that we know that Jarley is officially a go, many fans have been hoping that Sam and Quinn (Dianna Arron) can still rekindle their old flame. Overstreet agrees. “I sure hope so — I mean I love doing scenes with Diana," he said. "She’s absolutely awesome, and I love her to death.” Many fans were completely freaking out when Agron was not in any of the new promo pictures, but Overstreet teased that our favorite Yale student is heading to Lima. “Right now she’s traveling back and foth from France, but I think she’s coming back pretty soon. All the seniors that have graduated are kind of coming in and out. You never know what could happen, but I would love to do more stuff with Diana.”
Wemma: When I caught up with Matthew Morrison Wednesday night, I made it very clear that I had a mini-heart attack when Emma was completely absent in the premiere. The Glee club vet was quick to respond. “I would too!" he said. "She needs to be in every episode.” Preach! Morrison said that our favorite guidance counselor will be returning soon — “Probably in the second episode.” However, I did receive some rather unfortunate news. When asked if Mr. Schue has any solos lined up, Morrison responded: “Not as of yet. It’s okay to cry. You can have my shouldered to cry on.” And, obviously, I took full advantage of that. Although Morrison wants to be singing, there is one thing that he wants to most of all this season — a wedding. “I would love for [Will and Emma] to get married,” he said. And I just so happened to guess the big date! Check back Wednesday in Leanne’s Spoiler List to get the full details on what to expect from Wemma this season, including when we’ll be hearing those wedding bells chime!
What did you think of tonight’s premiere? Are you excited for your favorite couples to be reunited? Who had the song of the night? Shout it out in the comments below!
Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera
[Photo Credit: FOX]
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Oh baby, baby! Even though the new season of Glee hasn't premiered yet, we’re already obsessing looking forward to the second episode. What makes this episode so special, you may ask? It’s Britney, bitch!
Whip out your best schoolgirl skirt, crop top, and fuzzy hair accessories because Glee is once again channeling the Princess of Pop, Britney Spears. And we don’t know how it’s possible, but this episode looks like it’s going to be even more incredible than the first one. FOX just released the official episode summary and we’re currently thanking the TV gods for keeping for keeping our favorite Fondue for Two host at McKinely High this year:
"Brittany S. Pierce (Heather Morris) is in a funk and turns to her icon Britney Spears' music for inspiration! Meanwhile, Rachel (Lea Michele) struggles to adjust to life in New York, but is helped by her newfound NYADA friend, Brody Weston (Dean Geyer)."
It’s been confirmed that Rachel and Brody are teaming up to impress their overly harsh NYADA teacher Cassandra (Kate Hudson) with super sexy, ridiculously steamy version of “Oops!… I Did It Again.” We can practically hear a collective hiss from the Finchel fandom, but remember guys, it’s just a dance. To help get you just as psyched as we are, we’ve gathered up your first look photos of “Britney 2.0," pulled out all our favorite Britney CDs, flipped through the tracks, and found the best lyrics to describe each picture.
Warning: If you still think Rachel is going to dress like “one of the bait girls on How To Catch a Predator” (Santana’s words, not ours) in this Britney episode, then you'll definitely want to proceed with caution...
"Stronger": ‘Cause now I’m Stronger than yesterday. Now it’s nothing but my way. My loneliness ain’t killing me no more.
"I’m a Slave 4 U": All you people look at me like I'm a little girl. Well did you ever think it'd be okay for me to step into this world?
"Boys": You're a sexy guy, I'm a nice girl. Let's turn this dance floor into our own little nasty world.
"If U Seek Amy": Love me, hate me, say what you want about me. But all of the boys and all of the girls are begging to if you seek Amy.
NEXT: More Britney-Inspired Awesomeness!
"Circus": There's only two types of people in the world: The ones that entertain and the ones that observe. Well baby, I'm a put-on-a-show kind of girl, Don't like the backseat, gotta be first!
"(You Drive Me) Crazy": Baby, I'm so into you. You got that somethin, what can I do? Baby, you spin me around. The Earth is movin, but I can't feel the ground
"Toxic": “Baby, can't you see? I'm callin'. A guy like you should wear a warnin'. It's dangerous, I'm fallin'.
"Me Against The Music": If you really wanna battle, saddle up and get your rhythm. Tryin' to hit it, cuz in a minute I'ma take a you on!
Are you excited for the new Britney tribute episode? What do you think of the sexy new photos? Tell us your favorites in the comments below!
Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera
[Photo Credit: FOX]
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Last year director Garry Marshall hit upon a devilishly canny approach to the romantic comedy. A more polished refinement of Hal Needham’s experimental Cannonball Run method it called for assembling a gaggle of famous faces from across the demographic spectrum and pairing them with a shallow day-in-the-life narrative packed with gobs of gooey sentiment. A cynical strategy to be sure but one that paid handsome dividends: Valentine’s Day earned over $56 million in its opening weekend surpassing even the rosiest of forecasts. Buoyed by the success Marshall and his screenwriter Katherine Fugate hastily retreated to the bowels of Hades to apply their lucrative formula to another holiday historically steeped in romantic significance and New Year’s Eve was born.
Set in Manhattan on the last day of the year New Year’s Eve crams together a dozen or so canned scenarios into one bloated barely coherent mass of cliches. As before Marshall’s recruited an impressive ensemble of minions to do his unholy bidding including Oscar winners Hilary Swank Halle Berry and Robert De Niro the latter luxuriating in a role that didn’t require him to get out of bed. High School Musical’s Zac Efron is paired up with ‘80s icon Michelle Pfeiffer – giving teenage girls and their fathers something to bond over – while Glee’s Lea Michele meets cute with a pajama-clad Ashton Kutcher. There’s Katherine Heigl in a familiar jilted-fiance role Sarah Jessica Parker as a fretful single mom and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as the most laid-back cop in New York. Sofia Vergara and Hector Elizondo mine for cheap laughs with thick accents – his fake and hers real – and Jessica Biel and Josh Duhamel deftly mix beauty with blandness. Fans of awful music will delight in the sounds of Jon Bon Jovi straining against type to play a relevant pop musician.
The task of interweaving the various storylines is too great for Marshall and New Year’s Eve bears the distinct scent and stain of an editing-room bloodbath with plot holes so gaping that not even the brightest of celebrity smiles can obscure them. But that’s not the point – it never was. You should know better than to expect logic from a film that portrays 24-year-old Efron and 46-year-old Parker as brother-and-sister without bothering to explain how such an apparent scientific miracle might have come to pass. Marshall wagers that by the time the ball drops and the film’s last melodramatic sequence has ended prior transgressions will be absolved and moviegoers will be content to bask in New Year's Eve's artificial glow. The gambit worked for Valentine's Day; this time he may not be so fortunate.
Bobby Garfield (David Morse) returns to his small hometown to attend the funeral of his childhood friend and remembers the fateful summer in 1960 when his whole world changed. The story flashes back to when 11-year-old Bobby (Anton Yelchin) and his best friends Carol (Mika Boorem) and Sully-John (Will Rothhaar) capture the pure joy of youthfulness. When a mysterious stranger named Ted Brautigan (Anthony Hopkins) moves upstairs and starts to pay attention to Bobby the boy suddenly realizes what's truly missing from his life--the love of a parent. Bobby's mother Liz (Hope Davis) is embittered by the death of Bobby's father and shows little compassion for her son's growing needs. Ted fills a void with the boy opening his eyes to the world around him and helps Bobby come to terms with his real feelings for Carol--and his mother. But Ted also has some deep dark secrets of his own and Bobby tries hard to stop danger from reaching the old man.
The performances make the film especially in the genuine camaraderie of the kids. Yelchin Boorem and Rothhaar never deliver a false move with an easiness that makes us believe we are simply watching three 11-year-old children grow up together. Yelchin in particular is able to get right to the heart of this young boy who misses his father and clings to the only adult who will listen. And his scenes with Boorem simply break your heart. (Davis) does an admirable job playing a part none too sympathetic. She manages to show a woman whose been beaten down but who does truly love her son in her own way. Morse too is one of those character actors you can plug in any movie and get a performance worth noting. In Hearts you want to see more of him. Of course the film shines brightest when Hopkins is on the screen. It may not be an Oscar-caliber performance but the actor is unparalleled in bringing a character to life--showing the subtleties of an old man looking for some peace in his life.
If you are expecting the Stephen King novel you may be disappointed. Screenwriter William Goldman and director Scott Hicks (Shine) deftly extracted the King formula of telling a story through a child's eye and explaining how the relationships formed as a child shaped the adult later. Hicks did an amazing job with his young actors especially Yelchin and Boorem. But where the novel continued into a supernatural theme explaining Brautigan's fear of being captured by "low men in yellow coats" (a reference to King's The Dark Tower series) the movie downplayed the mystical elements instead giving real explanations for Brautigan's man-on-the-run. That was the one problem with Hearts--we needed more danger. Introducing men from another dimension may not have been the way to go but had there been more tension the film would have resonated more especially when Bobby risked his own safety to save Ted.