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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Kim Rubenstein, founder of the fashion blog Miami Fashion Revolution, held her Google+ hangout called Give It To Me Now! Thursday to talk about the latest in pop culture news.
Rubenstein was joined at her South Beach loft by Miami Beach realtor Allan Blank. Her first guest was local musician LMJ, whose latest music video 'D.R.I.T.S.' got over 260,000 YouTube views. Her second guest was her sister Carolyn Rubenstein, of the blog a beautiful ripple effect and founder of the stationery company Two Rubies.
The hangout covered what's next for the judges of American Idol and The Voice and a possible relationship between Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine. They also debated — along with most of the Internet — whether or not Beyoncé was pregnant. And they talked Kelly Rowland's anger towards Beyonce after the Destiny's Child days.
You can watch Give It To Me Now! Thursdays at 8 p.m. And with Beyonce's new single leaked, I think I have an idea what they'll be talking about this week.
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Talk about coming clean. Former Destiny's Child singer Kelly Rowland just released a revealing new single, "Dirty Laundry," which tells the story of her past abusive relationship and bravely delves into her once testy relationship with Queen B herself, Beyoncé. (I guess that's what happens when someone turns down Rowland's mic at the Super Bowl halftime show.)
Rowland's vocals are supported by a simple, stripped-down beat that keeps the focus on her lyrics which are gritty and emotional, telling Rowland's personal story of endurance.
The first verse focuses on Rowland resenting Beyoncé after Destiny's Child broke up, as well as the difficulties of the music industry. The lyrics "Bittersweet / She was up and I was down" and "Post-'Survivor' she on fire / Who wanna hear my bulls**t?" get at the root of her past issues with her friend and former colleague. She sings about her anger — not just towards Beyoncé but towards everyone.
The second and third verses get darker as they add more details about the non-Beyoncé-related abuse Rowland dealt with, like her boyfriend "hitting the window like it was me / until it shattered." The song gives stark insight into what Rowland went through during this relationship. Her lyrics are straightforward and revealing, and she doesn't hold back about her experiences.
Rowland isn't the first woman to get stuck in an abusive relationship, and she won't be the last. But maybe her single will help women see that they don't need to be stuck. Will this be a step forward for other women looking to do their own dirty laundry?
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