The genesis of Universal's 47 Ronin is almost as tragic as the actual history that the movie is culling from. As the story goes, Universal saw the sprigs of talent sprouting from fresh faced director Carl Rinsch, whose previous experience was limited to just a couple of commercials and a nifty short film. The studio decided to ease the new director into feature filmmaking by cutting him what amounts to virtually a blank check, and giving him charge over a multi-national samurai fantasy epic. Almost impossibly, the film isn't a complete disaster. It's just a minor one.
47 Ronin follows the classic story of the titular team of warriors, a group of disgraced samurai who band together to seek revenge against a merciless warlord that betrayed and killed their master. But this isn't your grandfather's version of the story. 47 Ronin is an international affair, and it's covered with a veneer of Japanese mysticism and a thick coating of Hollywood lacquer, but east meets west rather uncomfortably, and it's mostly due to Keanu Reeves. Reeves' character is clearly crowbarred into the story that has no room for him, and it's plainly obvious where the seams of the story were stretched in order to patch him into the narrative. Reeves plays Kai, a half Japanese, half English orphan who is adopted by the samurai clan. His character serves no real purpose beyond being white, slicing things until they die, and playing the male lead of the most superfluous love story of the year. Rinsch simply can't make the inclusion of the character feel organic in any way, and "Kai" ends up feeling like a calculated studio move. It's a shame that the film spends so much time on Reeves when the real star is clearly Hiroyuki Sanada, who plays off the stoic samurai most believably among the rest of the cast.
It's also shame that with all the mysticism pumped into the story, there's no magic in the actual center of the film, the ronin themselves. The only personality trait a samurai is allowed to possess seems to be unerring stoicism, and between all 47 ronin, there are probably only three distinct samurai with any discernible character traits beyond an intense need to brood, and you'll probably only remember those three by the time the credits roll, only to promptly forget about them only a few hours later. Thankfully, Rinko Kikuchi's slinky and treacherous witch adds some much needed camp and personality to the mostly forgettable human characters.
And that's the issue with 47 Ronin. It's largely forgettable. When your film takes on a historical legend like the tale of the 47 ronin, a story that has been told and told again ad nauseum over the years, you really need to justify your own version. There are reels and reels of film dedicated to this story, and 47 Ronin doesn't manage to add anything significant to the canon. It promises to weld myth and history together, but does so clumsily, and while some of the action scenes are exciting, especially a particularly inspired set piece that involves the ronin noiselessly breaking into a heavily guarded fortress, the film is a bore when it's not clanking swords together.
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47 Ronin is a film with many stories. As much as it is a tale about the revenge of four dozen masterless samurai, it's also the tale of an inexperienced filmmaker swallowed up by the enormity of blockbuster filmmaking. Most of all though, It's proof that you shouldn't cram Keanu Reeves into a movie that doesn't really need Keanu Reeves. What you're left with is a dull and bloated samurai epic that has its moments, but feels largely unnecessary.
Many of us reveled in the days when our Monday nights would kick off with, "My name is Rhoda Morgenstern." Ever since breaking out with her acerbic but compassionate character Rhoda on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which begat her nominal spinoff (which opened each week with the aforementioned proclamation), Valerie Harper has been a beacon of courage and strength on the small screen. Maintaining the fortitude that she has carried with her throughout her long career, Harper will pay a visit to the medical television series The Doctors to speak openly about her recent diagnosis with terminal brain cancer.
RELATED: Valerie Harper Diagnoses with Terminal Brain Cancer
The Hollywood Reporter reports that Harper will be appearing on the show, hosted by reality television mainstay Dr. Travis Stork, along with her husband Tony Cacciotti, and her friends and former Mary Tyler Moore costars Cloris Leachman and Ed Asner. Following a bout with lung cancer several years back, 73-year-old Harper discovered that she would be facing the even more serious disease in January. "I didn’t get [the prognosis] because my husband hid it," Harper said during taping of the episode. "Poor baby — he was so bereft."
RELATED: Sending Good Thoughts to Revolutionary Valerie Harper
After meeting with Harper, who was given between three and six months to live as of her January diagnosis, Dr. Stork expressed an admiration for the actor's spirit. "I have to tell you I am blown away by her resilience and her resolve in the face of such a dire, dire diagnosis." Harper will be sharing this impressive temperament with the world come her Monday appearance on The Doctors.
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[Photo Credit: Joseph Marzullo/WENN]
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The daytime gang came out strong tonight to serve up its 39th Emmy Awards ceremony, with nary a mention of the of the earlier murder-suicide that occurred late last night at the Beverly Hilton--where the awards were taking place. The show started off with a very lost Anthony Geary, having trouble finding the stage after a sing-songy intro between Oscar the Grouch and Anderson Cooper.
So let's get down to brass tacks and talk winners and losers, alligators, dry skin jokes (Thanks, Bethenny Frankel), and THE Susan Lucci!
Almost as a parting gift to the legacy of Regis Philbin, Live! With Regis & Kelly won several trophies in their respective categories. General Hospital was the big winner of the evening, bringing home several of the biggest trophies of the evening--including Outstanding Drama Series. But enough of us yammering on; check out the full list below of the biggest winners (winners are bolded) and the ones who shocked 'em all at the awards.
Outstanding Drama Series
All My Children (ABC)
Days Of Our Lives (NBC)
General Hospital (ABC)
The Young And The Restless (CBS)
Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series
Crystal Chappell, as Dr. Carly Manning Days Of Our Lives (NBC)
Debbie Morgan, as Angie Hubbard All My Children (ABC)
Erika Slezak, as Viki Lord One Life To Live (ABC)
Heather Tom, as Katie Logan Spencer The Bold And The Beautiful (CBS)
Laura Wright, as Carly Corinthos Jax General Hospital (ABC)
Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series
Maurice Bernard, as Michael “Sonny” Cointhos, Jr. General Hospital (ABC)
Anthony Geary, as Luke Spencer General Hospital (ABC)
John McCook, as Eric Forrester The Bold And The Beautiful (CBS)
Darnell Williams, as Jesse Hubbard All My Children (ABC)
Robert S. Woods, as Bo Buchanan One Life To Live (ABC)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Bradford Anderson as Damien Spinelli (General Hospital, ABC)
Matthew Ashford as Jack Deveraux (Days of our Lives, NBC)
Sean Blakemore as Shawn Butler (General Hospital, ABC)
Jonathan Jackson as Lucky Spencer (General Hospital, ABC)
Jason Thompson as Patrick Drake (General Hospital, ABC)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Melissa Claire Egan as Annie Chandler (All My Children, ABC)
Genie Francis as Genevieve Atkinson (The Young and the Restless, CBS)
Nancy Lee Grahn as Alexis Davis (General Hospital, ABC)
Elizabeth Hendrickson as Chloe Mitchell (The Young and the Restless, CBS)
Rebecca Herbst as Elizabeth Webber (General Hospital, ABC)
Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series
Eddie Alderson as Matthew Buchanan (One Life To Live, ABC)
Chad Duell as Michael Corinthos (General Hospital, ABC)
Chandler Massey as Will Horton (Days of our Lives, NBC)
Nathan Parsons as Ethan Lovett (General Hospital, ABC)
Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series
Molly Burnett as Melanie Layton (Days of our Lives, NBC)
Shelley Hennig as Stephanie Johnson (Days of our Lives, NBC)
Christel Khalil as Lily Winters (The Young and the Restless, CBS)
Jaqueline Macinnes Wood as Steffy Forrester (The Bold and the Beautiful, CBS)
Outstanding Talk Show — Entertainment
The Ellen DeGeneres Show (Syndicated)
Live With Regis And Kelly (Syndicated)
The Talk (CBS)
The View (ABC)
Outstanding Talk Show — Informative
The Dr. Oz Show
Outstanding Lifestyle/Culinary Host
Giada De Laurentiis, Giada At Home
Rick Bayless, Mexico One Plate at a Time with Rick Bayless
Nate Berkus, The Nate Berkus Show
Paula Deen, Paula's Best Dishes
Sandra Lee, Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee
Outstanding Culinary Program
Bobby Flay's Barbecue Addiction
Giada At Home
Guy's Big Bite
Outstanding Game Show Host
Ben Baily (Cash Cab, Discovery Channel)
Todd Newton (Family Game Night, The HUB)
Wayne Brady (Let's Make A Deal, CBS)
Meredith Vieira (Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Syndicated)
Outstanding Talk Show Host
Anderson Cooper (Anderson, Syndicated)
Dr. Mehmet Oz (The Dr. Oz Show, Syndicated)
Regis Philbin, Kelly Ripa (Live with Regis and Kelly, Syndicated)
Rachael Ray (Rachael Ray, Syndicated)
Dr. Lisa Masterson, Jillian Michaels, Dr. Andrew Ordon, Dr. Jim Sears, Dr. Travis Stork, Wendy Walsh (The Doctors, Syndicated)
Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show
Cash Cab (Discovery Channel)
Let's Make A Deal (CBS)
Wheel of Fortune (Syndicated)
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire (Syndicated)
Outstanding Legal/Courtroom Program
America's Court with Judge Ross
Judge Joe Brown
Last Shot with Judge Gunn
We the People with Gloria Allred
Oustanding Morning Program
Good Morning America (ABC)
Today Show (NBC)
Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team
All My Children (ABC)
Days of Our Lives (NBC)
General Hospital (ABC)
The Young and the Restless (CBS)
Oustanding Children's Animated Program
Curious George (PBS)
Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness (Nickelodeon)
Peep & The Big Wide World (American Public Television)
Penguins of Madagascar (Nickelodeon)
Sid the Science Kid (PBS)
SpongeBob SquarePants (Nickelodeon)
Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series
Dakota Goyo as Josh (R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour The Series, The HUB)
Leslie Carrara-Rudolph as Abby Cadaby (Sesame Street, PBS)
Kevin Clash as Elmo (Sesame Street, PBS)
Caroll Spinney as Big Bird (Sesame Street, PBS)
Lifetime Achievement Award
What did you think of this year's awards? Anyone you were surprised or happy to see recognized? Let us know in the comments!
[Image Credit: HLN]
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The finale of ABC’s latest installment of The Bachelor just aired last week, but the romance between Dr. Travis Stork, an emergency room physician, and Sarah Stone, an elementary school teacher, is already history.
The latest version of the reality show was set in Paris, France, and deployed 25 women to vie for Stork's affections during a series of glamorous dates in the romantic city.
In a joint interview with The Tennessean newspaper Monday, the pair admitted that they are no longer a couple.
The show prohibited the couple from dating or being together in public between the end of the show's taping in November and the final episode which aired Feb. 27.
Stork explains, "You're in Paris and you're part of this incredible experience, this fantasy world, and then suddenly you come back to Nashville (Tennessee), and living in the same city.
"I think we thought that was going to be a great thing. But instead you're forced to pretend you don't know someone, for essentially the last four months.
"And now that we're back in Nashville, over time when you're not allowed to see someone you grown apart."
Both parties remain single and unattached and say they have no regrets about doing the show.
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