This Post Contains Spoilers for Season 4 of Game of Thrones.
It's always difficult when your favorite character gets killed on a television show. You've spent weeks getting to know them, growing to care about them, and watching them go on adventures, and so when the Grim Reaper finally comes for them, it's a bit like losing a family member. Nobody knows that pain nearly as well as those who watch Game of Thrones, which seems to kill off a beloved character every other week. Luckily, we have some good news for fans of Pedro Pascal's Oberyn Martell: you will get to see him again.
Technically, you'll only be seeing Pascal, who has been cast in the upcoming Netflix series Narcos, according to Deadline. The drama will follow the legendary drug kingpin Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura), and the efforts of the US government to take him down. Pascal will play Javier Pena, a DEA agent who is sent on a mission to capture and kill Escobar - as long as he doesn't get too distracted plotting his revenge. However, the Red Viper isn't the only person killed this season who will be popping up somewhere new, so in order to help you through the grieving process, we've rounded up all of the major characters who died this year on Game of Thrones, and where you can catch them next.
Pedro Pascal Who He Played: Oberyn Martell, Prince of Dorne, trader of barbs, seeker or revenge and bedder of anything with a pulse. How He Died: His head was smashed in by Ser Gregor Clegane during Tyrion Lannister’s trial by combat. What He’s Doing Next: Playing Javier Pena, a Mexican DEA agent on the upcoming Netflix drama Narcos, which is slated for a 2015 premiere. He’s also starring in the TV movie Exposed, about an investigative photojournalist, and the vampire film Bloodsucking Bastards.
Kate DickieWho She Played: Lysa Arryn, Lady of the Vale, widow of former Hand of the King Jon Arryn, new wife of Petyr Baelish, and overly attached helicopter parent of Robin Arryn. How She Died: She was shoved through the Moon Door by Petyr Baelish. Her death was ruled a suicide. What She’s Doing Next: Starring opposite James McAvoy in Filth, which is currently in theaters, as well as The Silent Storm with Homeland’s Damian Lewis, and the indies Take It Back and Start It All Over and A Northern Soul.
Burn Gorman Who He Played: Karl Tanner, one of the most disgusting, reviled people in the Seven Kingdoms... and considering the characters on this show, that’s quite an achievement. How He Died: Jon Snow ran him through with a sword during a raid on Craster’s Keep, which Karl had taken over. What He’s Doing Next: Currently starring on the AMC series Turn as the British commanding officer Major Hewlitt. He’s also playing Mr. Bran in the upcoming Disney film Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and is reuniting with his Pacific Rim director Guillermo del Toro for the upcoming vampire film Crimson Peak.
Jack Gleeson Who He Played: Joffrey Baratheon, the worst, most insufferable child king who ever lived. How He Died: He was poisoned at his wedding to Margaery Tyrell, in a plot by her grandmother, Lady Olenna and Petyr Baratheon. His uncle Tyrion has just been found guilty for his murder. What He’s Doing Next: Gleeson has retired from acting in order to focus on his studies – he’s currently enrolled at Trinity College in Dublin, where he’s studying Philosophy and Theology – and to pursue some more philanthropic ventures. Basically, the real King Joffrey is a wonderful human being.
Noah TaylorWho He Played: Locke, a hired hand who works for House Bolton, and the guy who cut off Jaime Lannister’s hand. How He Died: After he infiltrated the Night’s Watch and accompanied them on the raid to Craster’s Keep, his neck was snapped by Hodor after he attempted to kidnap Bran. Well, technically, he was killed by Bran, who was currently using his Warg abilities to inhabit Hodor’s mind. What He’s Doing Next: In addition to a playing a supporting role in Edge of Tomorrow, which is currently in theaters, Taylor will appear in the Ethan Hawke time-travel film Predestination and Welcome to Karastan opposite Matthew McFayden. He’s also doing voice work in the upcoming Maya the Bee Movie, alongside Jacki Weaver and Kodi Smit-McPhee.
Andy Kellegher Who He Played: Polliver, a Lannister man-at-arms who stabbed Arya’s friend Lommy and stole her sword. How He Died: Arya stabs him through the throat after re-enacting the way that he killed Lommy. What He’s Doing Next: Appearing in two Irish films: A Nightingale Falling, which takes place during the Irish War for Independence, and The Hit Producer, which follows a down on his luck music producer as he journeys into the underworld of modern-day Dublin.
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
As grand as the themes of good and evil, needs and deservings, power and responsibility and such forth are, superhero movies are generally pretty straightforward in premise: hero stops villain from wreaking havoc. As off-putting as this kind of simplicity might sound, it's usually the right way to go. If you pack enough substance into your characters and adhere your plot to these linear margins, you can actually wind up saying a healthy amount (and having a lot of fun). The Amazing Spider-Man 2 gets half of this formula down pat. Although Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker is still a moreover undistinguished identity, his emotional magnitude (re: his relationship with Gwen Stacy) is enough to keep him valid through the storm of lunacy that is his second feature. And it's not even that lunacy that holds him back. The problem isn't how wild his conquests are, how silly some of the action sequences feel, or how absolutely bonkers his villains turn out to be. It's all the other stuff (and yes, if you can believe it, there's a ton more going on in this movie than what I've already mentioned — that's the issue). All the plot twists, tertiary mysteries, ominous flashbacks, abject reveals, and weightlessly sinister pawns in this brooding game that, save for its fun with the baddies, takes itself way too seriously. All that stuff that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 thinks is necessary to make Peter Parker matter? It actually does just the opposite.
Peter is at his best when he's playing Tracy and Hepburn with the girlfriend he's perpetually disappointing (the eternally charming Emma Stone), or trying to win back the favor of the only remaining parental figure from whom he's rapidly slipping away (Sally Field, reminding us why she's a household name), or angling to connect with the mentally unstable engineer who just wants people to notice him (Jamie Foxx working his comic shtick with a frightening zest). We have the most fun with Peter when he's playing the simplest games, and we connect best with him on similar ground. But Peter and company, at the behest of The Amazing Spider-Man franchise's Sandman-sized aspirations, spend so much time exploring new avenues: the secrets surrounding the death and work of Richard Parker, the behind-the-curtains operations of OsCorp, the nefarious goings on in the waterside penitentiary Ravencroft.
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
As a result of the grand stab at world building, there is just so much stuff that Peter has to wade through in this movie, dragging the likes of Gwen and his boyhood friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan, mastering angst, menace, and upper-class privilege all at once) into the dark crevasses of narrative waste. With so many diversions into the emotionally vacant, deliberately joyless explorations of Parker family origin stories, secret brief cases, and underground subways — The Amazing Spider-Man 2 rivals Captain America: The Winter Soldier in complexity, but forgets the necessary ingredient of fun — we barely have enough energy left when the good stuff hits.
And in truth, the good stuff isn't really good enough to sustain us through all the duller periods. Garfield and Stone do have laudable chemistry. Foxx is a hoot as Peter's maniacal new foe, especially when paired with the grimacing DeHaan. And the action, while often straying from any aesthetic authenticity, is nothing shy of neat-o. It's all passable, occasionally worthy of a hearty smile, but rarely anything you'll be definitively pleased you took the time to see.
But beyond coming up short in the micro, the film's regal downfall is its scope. With so much to do, both in accomplishing its own necessary plot points and setting up for those to come in future films, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn't seem to take time to make sure it's having fun with its own premise. And if it isn't having fun, we won't be either.
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Warner Bros Pictures via Everett Collection
Even without having read Mark Helprin's novel Winter's Tale, I have the unshakable feeling that Akiva Goldsman's film adaptation does not do the story justice. Speckled throughout the moreover colorless movie are hints of an intriguing idea — a fantasy epic about an angel-demon bureaucracy coexisting with the human race throughout the span of 20th century New York City, operating within the parameters of a didactic miracle-granting system — an idea that doesn't come close to its full potential. In 118 minutes, we barely scratch the surface of the world in which an apparently immortal Colin Farrell finds himself. We see him cavort with Russell Crowe, a malicious gang-leader with netherworld origins, seek guidance from a mystical Pegasus, and carry out his destiny as the savior to a mysterious red-haired girl. But we never truly understand why any of this is happening. Not that it gets particularly confusing; on a plot level, it's all quite simple. But that's the problem — it shouldn't be.
The central conceit of the film is that everyone is put on this Earth with a divine "mission" to uphold. Farrell's gives us the narrative of Winter's Tale, introducing the various rules and officers of the supernatural regime along the way. Abandoned as a baby and brought up under the criminal regime of a Manhattanite from Hell (Crowe), Farrell ascends from orphan to petty thief to horse whispering renegade to whimsical lover of a dying Jessica Brown Findlay to ageless messiah... all without much clarity on the nature of the story (or stories) he's occupying, save for two ham-fisted scenes of exposition — one with Graham Greene (not the dead author) and one with Jennifer Connelly, who shows up halfway through the movie for some reason.
Warner Bros Pictures via Everett Collection
The world that Farrell is woven into has so many bright spots: we're on board for miracle quests, a magic-laden New York City, flying horses, and one of the biggest stars in Hollywood giving a cameo as the epitome of evil. Everything we see is fun, but it all flutters away as quickly as it arrives. We don't want quick bites of the way angels and demons do business with one another on the streets of Manhattan, we want the whole meal. A more thorough exploration of Helprin's world wouldn't just be doubly as interesting as the thin alternative we're offered in Goldsman's adaptation, it'd also fill in all the comprehensive gaps in Farrell's emotional throughline
We don't really understand so much of what happens to Farrell. Even when we're offered tangible explanations, we have no reason to understand why the Winter's Tale world works in such a way that Farrell might survive a 300-foot fall, develop amnesia, or sustain youth for a full century. What's more, we don't understand why Farrell's tale as a cog in this mystical machine is any more important than anyone else's. Or, if it's not, and we're simply asked to watch him carry out his quest as a glimpse into the vast, enigmatic system that Winter's Tale is ostensibly founded upon, we ... we don't understand enough of that world itself.
Warner Bros Pictures via Everett Collection
We're never invited close enough to any of the movie's attractive features for them to matter. So even when the movie does offer entertaining bits — in its fantastical elements, its detail of New Yorks old and new, or Farrell's admittedly charming romance with Findlay — we're not engaged enough to really connect with any of them.
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Still, the flying horse is pretty cool.
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It was the trickle of pee heard around the world. Cannes attendees were aghast and/or amused an infamous scene from The Paperboy that shows Nicole Kidman urinating on Zac Efron; this is apparently a great salve for jellyfish burns which were covering our Ken Doll-like protagonist. (In fact the term protagonist should be used very loosely for Efron's character Jack who is mostly acted upon than active throughout.)
Lurid! Sexy! Perverse! Trashy! Whether or not it's actually effective is overshadowed by all the hubbub that's attached itself to the movie for better or worse. In fact the movie is all of these things — but that's actually not a compliment. What could have become somethingmemorable is jaw-droppingly bad (when it's not hilarious). Director Lee Daniels uses a few different visual styles throughout from a stark black and white palette for a crime scene recreation at the beginning to a '70s porno aesthetic that oscillates between psychedelic and straight-up sweaty with an emphasis on Efron's tighty-whiteys. This only enhances the sloppiness of the script which uses lines like narrator/housekeeper/nanny Anita's (Macy Gray) "You ain't tired enough to be retired " to conjure up the down-home wisdom of the South. Despite Gray's musical talents she is not a good choice for a narrator or an actor for that matter. In a way — insofar as they're perhaps the only female characters given a chunk of screen time — her foil is Charlotte Bless Nicole Kidman's character. Anita is the mother figure who wears as we see in an early scene control-top pantyhose whereas Charlotte is all clam diggers and Barbie doll make-up. Or as Anita puts it "an oversexed Barbie doll."
The slapdash plot is that Jack's older brother Ward (Matthew McConaughey) comes back to town with his colleague Yardley (David Oyelowo) to investigate the case of a death row criminal named Hillary Van Wetter. Yardley is black and British which seems to confuse many of the people he meets in this backwoods town. Hillary (John Cusack) hidden under a mop of greasy black hair) is a slack-jawed yokel who could care less if he's going to be killed for a crime he might or might not have committed. He is way more interested in his bride-to-be Charlotte who has fallen in love with him through letters — this is her thing apparently writing letters and falling in love with inmates — and has rushed to help Ward and Yardley free her man. In the meantime we're subjected to at least one simulated sex scene that will haunt your dreams forever. Besides Hillary's shortcomings as a character that could rustle up any sort of empathy the case itself is so boring it begs the question why a respected journalist would be interested enough to pursue it.
The rest of the movie is filled with longing an attempt to place any the story in some sort of social context via class and race even more Zac Efron's underwear sexual violence alligator innards swamp people in comically ramshackle homes and a glimpse of one glistening McConaughey 'tock. Harmony Korine called and he wants his Gummo back.
It's probably tantalizing for this cast to take on "serious" "edgy" work by an Oscar-nominated director. Cusack ditched his boombox blasting "In Your Eyes" long ago and Efron's been trying to shed his squeaky clean image for so long that he finally dropped a condom on the red carpet for The Lorax so we'd know he's not smooth like a Ken doll despite how he was filmed by Daniels. On the other hand Nicole Kidman has been making interesting and varied career choices for years so it's confounding why she'd be interested in a one-dimensional character like Charlotte. McConaughey's on a roll and like the rest of the cast he's got plenty of interesting projects worth watching so this probably won't slow him down. Even Daniels is already shooting a new film The Butler as we can see from Oprah's dazzling Instagram feed. It's as if they all want to put The Paperboy behind them as soon as possible. It's hard to blame them.
A decade-long gap between sequels could leave a franchise stale but in the case of Men in Black 3 it's the launch pad for an unexpectedly great blockbuster. The kooky antics of Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) don't stray far from their 1997 and 2002 adventures but without a bombardment of follow-ups to keep the series in mind the wonderfully weird sensibilities of Men in Black feel fresh Smith's natural charisma once again on full display. Barry Sonnenfeld returns for the threequel another space alien romp with a time travel twist — which turns out to be Pandora's Box for the director's deranged imagination.
As time passed in the real world so did it for the timeline in the world of Men in Black. Picking up ten years after MIB 2 J and K are continuing to protect the Earth from alien threats and enforce the law on those who live incognito. While dealing with their own personal issues — K is at his all-time crabbiest for seemingly no reason — the suited duo encounter an old enemy Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) a prickly assassin seeking revenge on K who blew his arm off back in the '60s. Their street fight is more of a warning; Boris' real plan is to head back in time to save his arm and kill off K. He's successful prompting J to take his own leap through the time-space continuum — and team up with a younger K (Josh Brolin) to put an end to Boris plans for world domination.
Men in Black 3 is the Will Smith show. Splitting his time between the brick personalities of Jones and Brolin's K Smith struts his stuff with all the fast-talking comedic style that made him a star in yesteryears. In present day he's still the laid back normal guy in a world of oddities — J raises an eyebrow as new head honcho O (Emma Thompson) delivers a eulogy in a screeching alien tongue but coming up with real world explanations for flying saucer crashes comes a little easier. But back in 1969 he's an even bigger fish out water. Surprisingly director Barry Sonnenfeld and writer Etan Cohen dabble in the inherent issues that would spring up if a black gentlemen decked out in a slick suit paraded around New York in the late '60s. A star of Smith's caliber may stray away from that type of racy humor but the hook of Men in Black 3 is the actor's readiness for anything. He turns J's jokey anachronisms into genuine laughs and doesn't mind letting the special effect artists stretch him into an unrecognizable Twizzler for the movie's epic time jump sequence.
Unlike other summer blockbusters Men in Black 3 is light on the action Sonnenfeld utilizing his effects budget and dazzling creature work (by the legendary Rick Baker) to push the comedy forward. J's fight with an oversized extraterrestrial fish won't keep you on the edge of your seat but his slapstick escape and the marine animal's eventual demise are genuinely amusing. Sonnenfeld carries over the twisted sensibilities he displayed in small screen work like Pushing Daisies favoring bizarre banter and elaborating on the kookiness of the alien underworld than battle scenes. MIB3's chase scene is passable but the movie in its prime when Smith is sparring with Brolin and newcomer Michael Stuhlbarg who steals the show as a being capable of seeing the future. His twitchy character keeps Smith and the audience on their toes.
Men in Black 3 digs up nostalgia I wasn't aware I had. Smith's the golden boy of summer and even with modern ingenuity keeping it fresh — Sonnenfeld uses the mandatory 3D to full and fun effect — there's an element to the film that feels plucked from another era. The movie is economical and slight with plenty of lapses in logic that will provoke head scratching on the walk out of the theater but it's also perfectly executed. After ten years of cinematic neutralizing the folks behind Men in Black haven't forgotten what made the first movie work so well. After al these years Smith continues to make the goofy plot wild spectacle and crazed alien antics look good.
1. Ranking the Potential Ladies of Dark Knight Rises
Six women enter, only two will survive! Here is my take on the six women rumored to be pursuing the two remaining roles (love interest / villain) in the Biggest. Film. Ever.
6. Rachel Weisz: She's never shown me an adequate dark side, and she'd be too close to Katie Holmes on the love interest side. I dig her, but she's not right for the franchise.
5. Keira Knightley: You're not going to find a bigger Knightley apologist than me. Well, maybe Ma and Pa Knightley, but that's it. Still, she's not right for DKR. I could sort of see her as the villain, playing against type, but she's not wholesome enough to nail the love interest.
4. Anny Hathaway: Here's where it gets tough, because it's easy to see Hathaway as either the waifish love interest or as a Poison Ivy-esque redux. I could see it, but it's not our strongest play, if only because Love and Other Drugs proved she's aiming for Academy Awards from here on out.
3. Naomi Watts: I'm definitely getting vibes of Vicky Vale / Catwoman from the dynamic Ms. Watts. Still, we'll do a little better with:
2. Natalie Portman: An excellent choice as the villain, and her Thor casting means she's ready to work big budget. Portman can do pretty much anything she wants, from Closer's to the hard-edge V for Vendetta.
But the best potential casting choice is ...
1. Blake Lively: I know, I know, she doesn't have the pedigree of the other actresses on the list. But The Town really showed me something, and the distance between Gossip Girl and acting like you're from Southie is profound. She's got crossover talent. Plus, because being considered "sexy" is naturally fleeting (see: Fox, Megan) you've got to cast it when you see it. Kim Basinger had "it" and Blake Lively does right now too. Everyone on the list is attractive, but Lively demands attention. And when you're dealing with Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne you need a dynamic force. Lively for the win!
2. "Friends Who Start Dating" Movies on a Collision Course!
Every so often, all of Hollywood gets the exact same idea, at the exact same time. And generally speaking, there can be only one winner (See: Cop Out vs. The Other Guys). Which is what makes 2011's battle, Friends with Benefits vs. No Strings Attached so compelling, because they both feature actors you've heard of, in what seems to be extremely similar romantic comedies. Below are the respective trailers. WARNING: The 'Friends with Benefits' trailer is Red Band and may contain NSFW footage.
So who will triumph, given there can be only one Highlander? Here's the breakdown:
Lead Actors: If you were to seed these folks one through four you'd probably go 1. Portman 2. Kunis 3. Timberlake 4. Kutcher. So that's a wash, we'll give the point to No Strings Attached because Portman is best in show.
Supporting Cast: No Strings Attached features Cary Elwes, Lake Bell, Ludacris, and Kevin Kline. Respectable. But Friends with Benefits counters with Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Andy Samberg, Richard Jenkins, and Patricia Clarkson. No contest, Friends with Benefits ties it up.
Release Date: Friends with Benefits hits theaters in July, while No Strings Attached attacks in January. Portman and crew will strike first, but January is generally reserved for the films studios are slightly ashamed of. I'd rather have the summer release date, and Friends with Benefits takes the lead!
Trailer: Friends with Benefits is a much more straightforward offering, which makes me think they are playing their laughs closer to the vest. No Strings Attached has multiple story arcs, scenes, and gags, more of a "kitchen sink" attempt. Again, the win goes to Friends with Benefits.
Competition: No Strings Attached will take on a drama called The Way Back, starring Colin Farrell and Ed Harris. Friends with Benefits takes on the new Captain America movie. Yikes. It will offer a decent counter-programming option, but I'd still rather face a film not in the superhero genre. No Strings Attached gets the nod, and is now down 3-2.
Director: Friends with Benefits is helmed by Will Gluck, he's hot after directing Easy A. But No Strings Attached is directed by Ivan Reitman. The elder Reitman has had some bombs, but he also directed Ghost Busters. Advantage: Reitman, and it's all tied up!
Intangibles: So what matters more, top line talent or release date? Directing or the supporting cast? This is very close, but I'm going to go with Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake in Friends with Benefits, because I think July has a much higher ceiling than January. Most folks probably won't notice No Strings Attached in the cold and blustery January, but they should be primed for a date night in July. So say we all.
On that note, I hope you have a weekend full of high ceilings!
Check out last week's Movie Musings here
Laremy is the lead critic and senior producer for a website named Film.com. He's also available on Twitter.