"The future holds nothing else but confrontation." That's the first line of Public Enemy's song "Lost at Birth," and it fits this episode to a T. There are plenty of standoffs and staredowns here. There are some clear winners and some clear losers, and then there were some that were waiting to be resolved.
Chief Marshall Art Mullen: He gets to take on Elias Markos (Alan Tudyk), a clean-up man for the Detroit Mob, twice. The first time, he's in a restaurant with Wynn Duffy and Ethan Picker (John Kapelos) and just manages to avert a shootout, since Markos wants to kill Picker. The second time is in a warehouse, when he has Raylan Givens as backup. Despite Marcos having a Tommy Gun and several tins of ammo, Givens is able to shoot him. Added bonus: He's able to get Theo Tonin (Adam Arkin), the head of the Detroit Mob. This is a nice gift for his impeding retirement.
Johnny Crowder: For now. He looks to be in the catbird's seat after turning the tables on his cousin Boyd and Hot Rod Dunham. Who knows how long his victory will last before he has vengeance exacted on him by Boyd?.
Lee Paxton: First he gets set up by Lieutenant Nick Mooney for burning bodies at his funeral home to make money, and then Boyd stages his suicide by making him hold his own gun and shooting him to begin the episode.
Canadian Goon: Poor Will Sasso. He was just talking up how much he enjoyed acting on this show, and now his character gets shot by Markos at the beginning of the episode.
Mooney: He gets plugged by an associate of Boyd's who has the black lung and wouldn't live to see trial.
Mara Paxton (Karolina Wydra): After her husband's death and witnessing Mooney's murder, she learns that Boyd was giving her ransom money to the family of his soon-to-be-deceased hitman and was also told in no uncertain terms to leave Harlan and never come back.
Baptiste: He gets turned into "Haitian Hamburger" by Danny Crowe at the end of the episode after confronting him about his behavior towards his other family member. Tough break for Edi Gathegi. His character looks like a real badass for the first few episodes... and then he gets shot by a raging redneck.
Dunham: Johnny gets his own men to turn on him after arranging to turn Johnny over to Boyd. The scene ends with several guns pointed at him, though I'm not sure if they are discharged or not.
Boyd Crowder: Boyd winds up on the winning side with Paxton, Mooney, and Mara, though he loses with getting Ava free and it's unclear what will happen after he refused to give Darryl the cut of the money.
Darryl Crowe Jr. (Michael Rapaport) - His brother Danny is a loose cannon, recklessly killing Baptiste and he's got Boyd angry at him now. Let's not count on the Florida Crowe clan staying in Harlan for more than this season.
Givens: He gets Picker to give up Markos' whereabouts but who knows where his confession to Mullen at the end will lead?
Four people dead, five if Dunham does wind up getting lead deposited in him. That's mild compared to some other episodes, though.
Is Ava Crowder Free?
The hashtag #FreeAva was trending last night. Sadly, it was to no avail, as the episode sees her framed for shanking the same guard who almost raped her last week. She gets sent off to the State Penitentiary, triggering Boyd's fury to the extent that he needs to be held back by several guards upon learning of this.
-Boyd is going to rain hell down on the people that sent Ava back into prison. He was just so evil in the way he killed Paxton and Mooney and then calmly sat with Mara while she still had Mooney's blood on her and issued his ultimatum. You can't spell "High Body Count" without "Boyd."
-Things are REALLY going to get bad with Mullen and Givens. Next week's preview shows the older chief slugging his younger deputy.
-I'm still puzzling out what is going on in the Crowe clan. Baptiste's death further muddies matters and it's going to be interesting to see what sort of infighting goes on.
Was It a Good Episode?
Considering that I found my head spinning several times due to all the twists and turns, I would definitely say so. The only disappointments include that Gathegi, Sasso, Tudyk all expiring earlier than I would have liked. This week's is a bloody episode and a lot of things get pushed forward at a seemingly earlier time in the season. This is a show that unwinds at its own pace, with most of the action occurring later in the season. Considering that there's only one more season after this one, I'd predict that it's going to be a hell of a ride.
The State of Raylan
He's growing up. Raylan seems to man up at the end of the episode by apparently telling Mullen that he had been the one on the airport tarmac. The next step will be for him to spend some time with his daughter. Will this maturation be too late for the lawman, who has been living by the seat of his pants for far too long?
"Is this because I stuck my finger up your butt last time?" A hooker asking Dewey Crowe why he was waxing philosophical.
"You want to swap?" One hooker to the other after Dewey had given them a couple of crappy trinkets that reminded him of his ties with the Crowe clan in Florida.
"I've been called many things, but 'inarticulate' ain't one of them." Boyd to Darryl Crowe Jr.
"I want you to think about something. The only reason you're in the position to blackmail me is because of the things I do... that you witnessed me do." Givens in a not-so-subtle threat to Picker to get him to give up Markos' address.
"You could do the old thing." Wendy Crowe (Alicia Witt) to her brother Darryl about how to raise money. Now let's find out what that "old thing" is.
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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This week I’m in the middle of PaleyFest madness, which means a lot of long nights interviewing pretty TV actors, sitting through sneak-peek previews of new episodes, and enduring delightfully fun Q&A panels with the casts of some of my favorite shows. Wait, who am I kidding? I love PaleyFest! Even though it’s a bit exhausting, I love knowing that I’m gathering a plethora of spoilers for all you TV lovers out there, so it's all worth it.
From a supernatural drama to quick-witted procedural to a weekly dose of comedic perfection — this week’s edition of Leanne’s Spoiler List has a fun mix of of five top-notch shows. Hollywood.com chatted with Glee’s most sassy singer, Naya Rivera to bring you all the latest news from her NYC adventures, nabbed heartbreaking details from The Vampire Diaries’ boss lady Julie Plec, and talked with Joelle Carter to gather scoop about the season finale of Justified. Plus, I previewed upcoming episodes of Psych and Parks and Recreation and I’ve got all the hilarious highlights. Read on for all the TV craziness below!
RELATED: Leanne’s Spoiler List: Arrow, Happy Endings and Grimm
1. Glee: Santana Speaks!
Three weeks ago, Glee shocked audiences everywhere when besties with breasties, Santana Lopez and Quinn Fabray, hooked up at the almost-wedding reception. To discuss this drunken romp in the sheets, I caught up with the always-wonderful Naya Rivera last week at the Paley Center for Media to honor Ryan Murphy. (Psst! I also nabbed some awesome Glee scoop from Murphy right here!)
After ooh-ing and aah-ing over each other’s shoes, the actress revealed her first thoughts after reading the script for the “I Do” sex scene: “When I first read it, I was like, ‘That’s so weird! What’s going on?’ But when we shot it we had a bunch of fun running through the hallway, pretending to be wasted. So it just ended up being like a fun ha-ha moment,” she says. Now before you throw your laptops against the wall in outrage Brittana lovers, read on!
Rivera says that despite the hook up, Quintana will not become a full-fledged sweet lady-kissing couple, and she’s grateful for all the Brittana fans that are still standing strong. When asked if she had a special message for the Brittany and Santana shippers, Rivera immediate smiled and said, “Aww! Thank you for still supporting us!” Rivera added that the fans should “always” have hope for the couple. Now, by a show of tweets, how many of you Brittana fans are freaking out right now?
The actress says that her days are overflowing with laughter now that Santana is living in the loft in New York. “It feels very sitcom because it’s just like the four of us or the three of us and the banter is just very witty. Santana has never been funnier!” Rivera explains she was excited to discover brand-new sides to her character, saying, “She has all these weird quirks that you find out when you live with someone. She’s really funny and it’s great, I love it.”
Oh and get excited to see Santana’s new job! I can’t reveal what it is, but for those of you who have been guessing that she’ll be a Starbucks barista, Rivera has a few words for you: “Come on now, it’s Santana! You’ve got to think a little crazier.” Tweet me your guesses Glee-bees!
RELATED: Leanne’s Spoiler List: Smash, Revolution, Shameless etc.
2. Justified: Season Finale Scoop!
Still reeling from the big reveal that Sheriff Shelby is Drew Thompson? Us too. So Hollywood.com sat down for a chat with Justified's blonde bombshell, Joelle Carter (aka Ava) to find out more about what's coming up next. She revealed that there’s trouble down the line for her and Boyd (oh no!), and teased an epic finale that will shake up the lives of all of our Harlan County favorites.
"She listened to her moral compass [when she killed Delroy last year]," Carter says. "She still battles with that, you'll she in the next couple of episodes." Still, Carter emphasized that Ava isn't losing too much sleep over that decision, or the one to embrace the life of a redneck mafia wife. "As long as she can work out in her heart, mind and soul she's going to go down this road," she says. "Unless something stops her — which it looks like might happen this season." Yikes!
The one person who knows the secret behind Delroy's death — Ellen May — is still alive, so does this mean that Ava might spend time behind bars? Well… we're not sure. But Carter says that the March 26 finale will definitely be one you won't want to miss. "The finale isn't going to disappoint anyone… it's going to stand up there with all of the finales," she says. "It's really exciting. This finale is going to leave everyone in a different place than they've ever been. All of the main characters. It will be a true test for Ava and Boyd." We can’t wait!
RELATED: Leanne's Spoiler List: 'Once Upon A Time' Reveals The Father Of All Secrets
3. Parks and Recreation: A Second Saperstein!
Stop whatever your doing (which is reading this lovely spoiler-filled list) and get ready to do a happy dance. Not only does next week’s Parks and Rec feature the incredibly amazing return of Jean-Ralphio, but there’s also a second Saperstein headed to Pawnee: His twin sister!
SNL’s Jenny Slate is the epitome of perfection as Mona Lisa, Tom’s newest employee at Rent-a-Swag. Hmm, let’s see, how can I put this nicely? Mona Lisa is absolutely, one hundred percent, bats**t crazy! She steals, she’s lazy, and she’s intimidating as hell, but after some fatherly advice from Chris, Tom finds the perfect way to put Mona Lisa in her place.
In the same wonderful episode (which is entitled, “Bailout” p.s.) Leslie is doing her best to save the local Pawnee video store because she thinks that it brings culture and class to the city. Things are going absolutely Knope-tastic until Ron decides to step in. Let me just say if you thought this Ron Swanson GIF was the best thing to happen to the Internet, just wait until you see the one you’ll get after “Bailout.” It’s better than bacon. (Gasp!)
Also, Chris receives some advice on his decision to be a daddy from Ben and Jerry (no not that kind of Ben and Jerry!). Oh, and Ann and April spend some quality girl time together complete with pedicures, building the perfect man, and a very Romy and Michelle moment. Wait, what do you mean you’ve never seen Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion?! Watch this and you’ll thank me forever.
RELATED: Leanne’s Spoiler List: Kaley Cuoco’s Sister To Star On ‘Big Bang Theory
4. The Vampire Diaries: Sweet Caroline v. Erratic Elena
Even though Jeremy's death may have eclipsed Tyler's exit from The Vampire Diaries, that doesn't make the beloved hybrid's absence any less devastating. Watching Caroline leave increasingly sad, unanswered voicemails for Tyler during the tragic death episode was heartbreaking, and his absence will plague Caroline throughout the rest of the year.
Vampire Diaries boss lady Julie Plec tells Hollywood.com that Tyler's disappearance as he runs from Klaus will certainly continue to affect Caroline as Season 4 progresses, although she'll have a lot of other stuff on her plate when the show returns March 14. "Caroline gets caught up very quickly in the 'What can we do to keep Elena from feeding on the neighboring cheerleading squad?' storyline. It puts a big wedge between the two girls and their friendship takes a big hit when we come back," Plec says.
Caroline will have essentially lost two of the most important people in her life — Tyler and Elena — and those losses will compound to make things very difficult for her. "She's struggling with both the absence of Tyler, and the loss of her best friend in Elena, and trying to figure out how she can make things better," Plec says. Fingers crossed that the TVD gods find a new way to bring happiness into Caroline’s life. I hate it when my favorite character is sad.
RELATED: Leanne’s Spoiler List: Couple Alert! What’s Next for Nick and Jess on ‘New Girl’?
5. Psych: Lost in the Woods
Much like Castle and Bones, Psych is one of the few procedural shows that I genuinely enjoy watching — and that’s mainly because the characters involved are quirky, unique, and make me smile. So you can imagine my delight when Psych finally returned to our TV screens last week with Season 7.
Next week’s episode is a really fun and crazy experience. Even if you’re not the world’s biggest Psych fan, I highly suggest you tune in to “Lassie Jerky” because is a hair-raising good time. So here’s the sitch: Shawn and Gus team up with two students/aspiring filmmakers who are on the quest to capture Bigfoot. Oh yes you read that correctly: they’re creating a documentary to prove that the mythical creature is very much alive and extremely dangerous.
The really wonderful thing about episode — airing March 13 — is that the entire hour is told through the various cameras that Shawn, Gus and the film student have. Think The Blair Witch Project but without the bloody nose. (And more laughs.)
Here are just a few wacky moments you can look forward to: Someone’s foot gets caught in a bear trap, someone gets stabbed in the back (literally), one of the students is a overly blunt nymphomaniac, and Gus’s infamous sniffling skills are put to the test. Oh and Shawn saves the day with his “visions,” but I’m sure you already knew that part was going to happen.
What do you think Santana’s new job is going to be on Glee? Excited to see the season finale of Justified? Dying for the return of The Vampire Diaries? Tell me everything in the comments below!
Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera
—Additional reporting by Jean Bentley and Shaunna Murphy
[Photo Credit: FOX, The CW, FX, NBC, USA]
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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.
There's probably still someone somewhere that would fall for one of Sacha Baron Cohen's weird and wooly scenarios but let's face the facts: the days when Ali G. could snag an interview with Pat Buchanan or Gore Vidal are long gone. 2009's Bruno definitely let some steam out of Borat's tires not to mention the ensuing lawsuits. But it's refreshing to see Cohen and his Borat/Bruno cohort director Larry Charles flex their muscles in the fictional universe of The Dictator a vehicle that doesn't skimp on their signature cringe-worthy humor.
The world of The Dictator gives them the leeway to create crazy spectacles — at one point Cohen's General Aladeen rides down Fifth Avenue on a camel surrounded by a giant motorcade. Having a plot helps too; although part of the genius of Sacha Baron Cohen's schtick is how the viewer is made culpable by proxy by our amusement and horror at how he tricks and torments people who aren't in on the joke The Dictator continues the self-reflexive satirical bite. We're certainly not off the hook. Aladeen says and does truly outrageous things but they're also exaggerations of the world we live in. It might be a stretch to call Sacha Baron Cohen the British Lenny Bruce or George Carlin in a face merkin but rest assured that no topic is off limits. If you are offended by jokes about abortion rape feminists body hair race religion politics STDs war crimes ethnic cleansing necrophilia and/or bestiality don't even bother. However if you like the kind of comedy that makes you hide your face in your hands feeling like each laugh is being pried from you against your will you're in business.
Cohen eats up the screen as both General Aladeen and his incredibly dumb body double; the latter prefers the intimate company of one of his goats to a human while the former is a fairly stupid ruthless dictator whose own people are so disloyal to him that they actually ignore his commands to execute people. (He really likes to execute people.) When he arrives in New York City to attend a summit at the UN his uncle Tamir (Ben Kingsley) has the two switched so he can easily manipulate the "General" into signing a treaty to make Wadiya a democracy and reap the financial benefits. Aladeen finds refuge with Zoe a hairy-pitted activist who thinks he's a political dissident and is excited to be able to give him a safe haven in her touchy-feely Brooklyn grocery co-op. Instead of being typecast as another blonde dummy Anna Faris is finally given room to play as the wide-eyed naïf who takes Aladeen's very serious statements as jokes or simple miscommunications. She's a great foil to Baron Cohen who is easily half a foot taller than she is and has a wolfish grin. Their banter is often the most politically incorrect of the bunch but also the funniest.
Alas the plot. It's a bare bones situation to get a very broad character from A to B. Aladeen is obviously an outlandish mishmash of modern dictators; he spouts racist misogynist rhetoric endlessly and after a while...yeah we get it. However like all of Sacha Baron Cohen's humor The Dictator also takes a direct shot at Western countries (specifically the United States) which would be all fine and dandy if he didn't wedge an expository speech in about it as well. The problem with making a traditional narrative movie is that with some exceptions you've got to play within the guidelines. The Dictator isn't trying to do anything fancy; all it needs a few big beats and a neat ending to wrap it all up. It doesn't quite manage to tie it all together in a way that makes The Dictator more than an hour and a half or so of laughing and cringing.
Besides Faris and Kingsley there are a number of cameos by a very wide variety of comics and actors. Megan Fox plays herself Kevin Corrigan appears as a creepy dude who works at the co-op John C. Reilly is a racist security guard and Fred Armisen runs an anti-Aladeen café in New York's Little Wadiya district. The very funny Jason Mantzoukas has a large role as Nadal the former head of rocket science who was supposedly executed for not making Aladeen's nuclear warhead pointy. It's a good ensemble and hopefully Sacha Baron Cohen's next feature-length film will build on The Dictator's weaknesses.