Daniel Radcliffe, Pitbull, Pharrell Williams and Will Ferrell will be among the celebrities unveiling stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015.
The selection of next year's inductees was announced on Thursday (19Jun14). The Hollywood Chamber and the Walk of Fame Selection Committee members will also welcome author Raymond Chandler posthumously, Jennifer Garner, filmmaker Peter Jackson, Paul Rudd, Melissa McCarthy, Christoph Waltz, chef Bobby Flay, Seth MacFarlane, Julianna Margulies, Chris O'Donnell, Jim Parsons, Sofia Vergara and Kool & The Gang, among others, to Hollywood Boulevard.
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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Friday Night... Fights?: Minka Kelly is a TV cheerleader no more. The Friday Night Lights vet is returning to her Charlie's Angels roots (sort of) in J.J. Abrams' much abuzzed, but still untitled, new pilot. It's a futuristic buddy-cop show where all LAPD officers are partnered up with androids, but sorry pervs — she's an actual living cop. To get specific, she's a "uniformed cop with a strong moral compass who believes the best of people." Sounds great! [Deadline]
Josh Lucas and Lynn Collins Get Witchy: After a long, complicated casting process, Josh Lucas and Lynn Collins have been cast as the leads in A&E's drama pilot The Occult. The pilot has a fancy pedigree: it will be produced by Michael Bay and written by X-Files alum James Wong, and focus on an X-Files/Fringe hybrid FBI duo that solves cases rooted in the occult. [Deadline]
No Rest For The Wicked: Good news, Pretty Little Liars fans — the hiatus between seasons 3 and 4 of this immensely popular show will only be a couple of months long. Liars will wrap up its third year next Tuesday, March 19, then return this summer on Tuesday, June 11 for Season 4. [TVLine]
Martin Mull is a New Dad!: On TV! Sitcom vet Martin Mull has landed one of the leads in Seth MacFarlane's new Fox comedy show, Dads. The show, which has already received a six-episode order, will feature two successful video game entrepreneurs whose "nightmare" fathers suddenly move in with them. Mull will (duh) play one of those nightmares. [TVLine]
Mr. and Mrs. Bing To Go On: Ring ring — it's the '90s calling. Just to let you know, we're never, ever going away — and now, we're reuniting former Friends lovers Chandler Bing and Monica Gellar-Bing (err, Matthew Perry and Courteney Cox) on Perry's new NBC-com Go On. Because, let's face it, your heart for '90s nostalgia will always go on. The pair will go on a set-up date on the April 2 ep of the series. It has not yet been confirmed whether Lisa Kudrow will provide acoustic entertainment. [TVLine]
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Friends Turned Lovers... Twice? The NBC comedy Go On is reuniting a couple of Friends when Courteney Cox guest stars on an episode of Matthew Perry's show. Cox will join Perry, her former onscreen husband Chandler Bing, for an episode airing in April. She will play a woman whom Anne (Julie White) tries to set up with Perry's Ryan. It marks the duo's first small-screen reunion since the Emmy-winning NBC comedy ended its 10-season run in 2004. [THR]
Malibu is Getting a Lot More Country: Blake Shelton will play Reba McEntire's brother on the ABC comedy Malibu Country. The Voice coach will appear in the Friday, March 1 episode. Back in October, McEntire said she was courting Shelton for a guest role. "I've already talked to Blake and Kelly [Clarkson] and they said ... that they would appear, so we just got to get the script right when we need 'em in here," she said. [Huffington Post]
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Vampire Diaries Spinoff Finds Its Big Bad: Charles Michael Davis has just been cast as the big villain Marcel in The Vampire Diaries spinoff, The Originals. Co-starring opposite Joseph Morgan, Daniel Gillies and Phoebe Tonkin, the potential spinoff will be introduced in the April 25 episode of the CW drama. Written by TVD co-creator/executive producer Julie Plec, the show centers on the Original family of vampires, as Klaus (Morgan) returns to the supernatural melting pot that is the French Quarter of New Orleans — a town he helped build centuries ago — and is reunited with his diabolical former protégé Marcel (Davis). Wicked, wild and charismatic, Marcel is a former kicked-around street rat who now calls the shots in the supernatural playground of New Orleans. As a modern-day vampire, he’s fierce and bold, able to accomplish as much with his charm as he is with his strength. Elijah (Gillies), intent on helping his self-destructive brother find redemption, must side with Marcel’s enemies in order to keep Klaus in line. [Deadline]
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Arrow's Throwing a Party! DJ and producer Steve Aoki will make a cameo appearance as himself in an upcoming episode of The CW’s hit action series Arrow. Airing Wednesday, March 20 at 8 PM ET/PT, the episode features the long-awaited opening of Oliver Queen’s Starling City nightclub. Since money is no object for a billionaire like Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), he hires the world’s most in-demand DJ — Aoki — to play opening night at his new club. Tracks from Aoki’s recently released EP, It’s the End of the World As We Know It, will be included in the episode, in addition to tracks from affiliated artists on Aoki’s Dim Mak music label. [The CW]
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Game of Contracts: Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin just signed a two-year overall deal with HBO. Martin will continue as co-executive producer on GOT, whose Season 3 premieres March 31. Additionally, he will develop and produce new series projects for the network. [Deadline]
Extra Castle, It's What You Crave: ABC has just ordered an additional episode of Castle, making its season 5 a total of 24 episodes. The extra episode will air in April instead of a repeat. This is very good news for fans of the series who are waiting on an early Season 6 pickup. [EW]
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The remake of Total Recall never escapes the shadow of its Arnold Schwarzenegger-led predecessor — and strangely it feels like a choice. With a script that's nearly beat-for-beat the original film Total Recall plods along with enhanced special effects that bring to life an expansive sci-fi world and action scenes constructed to send eyes flipping backwards into skulls. Filling the cracks of the fractured film is a story that without knowledge of the Philip K. Dick adaptation's previous incarnation is barely decipherable. Those who haven't seen Paul Verhoeven's 1990 Total Recall? Time to get a few memory implants. 2012 Recall makes little sense with the cinematic foundation but it does zero favors to those out of the know.
Colin Farrell takes over duties from Schwarzenegger as Douglas Quaid a down-on-his-luck factory worker hoping to escape his stagnate existence with a boost from Rekall a company capable of engineering fake memories. Quaid calls the damp slums of "The Colony" home (one of two inhabitable parts of Earth) but he dreams of moving to the New Federation of Britain a pristine metropolis on the other side of the planet. When the futuristic treatment goes awry — caused by previously existing memories of our blue collar hero's supposed past life as a secret agent — Quaid emerges from Rekall with lethal power hidden under his mild-mannered persona. He quickly goes on the run escaping squads of soldiers robots and his assassin "wife " Lori (Kate Beckinsale) all hot on his tail. Total Recall turns into one long chase scene as Quaid unravels the mystery of his erased memories.
But when it comes to answers and heady sci-fi Total Recall falls short. Farrell isn't a hulking action star like Schwarzenegger but he's a performer that can sensitively explore any human crisis big or small. Director Len Wiseman (Underworld Live Free or Die Hard) never gives his leading man that opportunity. Farrell makes the best of the films occasional slow moment but the weight of Recall's mindf**k is suffocated in a series of fist fights hovercar pile-ups and foot chases pulled straight out of the latest platformer video game (a sequence that sends Quaid running across the geometric rooftop architecture of The Colony looks straight out of Super Mario Bros.). When Jessica Biel as Quaid's former romantic interest Melina and Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston as the power-hungry politico Cohaagen are finally woven into Farrell's feature length 50 yard dash it's too late — the movie isn't making sense and it's not about to regardless of the charm on screen.
The action is slick and the futuristic design is impeccable but without any time devoted to building the stakes Total Recall feels more like a HDTV demo than a thrilling blockbuster. The movie's greatest innovation is the central set piece "The Fall " an elevator that travels between the two cities at rapid speed. The towering keystone of mankind is a marvel but we never get to see it explore it or feel its implications on the world around it. Instead it's cemented as a CG background behind the craze of Farrell shooting his way through hoards of bad guys.
Science fiction more than any other dramatic genre twist demands attention to the details. New worlds aren't built on broad strokes. But Total Recall tries to get away with it in hopes that audiences will recall their own movie knowledge to support its faulty logic. The movie repeatedly prompts viewers to think back to the 1990 version with blatant fan service that's absolutely nonsensical in this restructured version (no longer does Quaid go to Mars but there's still a three-breasted alien?). The callbacks may have given Total Recall a "been there done that" feel but rarely is it coherent enough to get that far. By the closing credits you'll be struggling to remember what you spent the last two hours watching.
Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.