The actress' 1981 death was ruled accidental and new information which prompted the reopening of the case in 2011 proved inconclusive.
However, earlier this month (Jan13) Wood's death certificate was amended after a new Los Angeles County Coroner's report concluded that bruising on the actress' body was consistent with injuries from an assault before she fell into the water of the coast of California and drowned.
Wagner has maintained that his widow fell into the icy waters near Catalina Island from the couple's yacht for over three decades, and his lawyer, Blair Berk, insists the star has no more information to give to investigators.
Berk tells E! News, "Mr. Wagner has fully cooperated over the last 30 years in the investigation of the accidental drowning of his wife in 1981. Mr. Wagner has been interviewed on multiple occasions by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and answered every single question asked of him by detectives during those interviews.
"After 30 years, neither Mr. Wagner nor his daughters have any new information to add to this latest investigation, which was unfortunately prompted by those seeking to exploit and sensationalize the 30th anniversary of the death of his wife and their mother."
This week’s episode of Once Upon a Time sailed equally between the rough waters of Fairytale Land’s past and the slightly choppy seas of Storybrooke’s present. Although Emma, Snow and Regina were completely absent for the entire 47 minutes, viewers were rewarded with an in-depth look into Rumpelstiltskin’s past and were hooked on the mystery surrounding the most famous pirate in all the land. So batten down the hatches, grab your sword, and some hot guy-liner because we’re about to walk the plank into everything you missed in “The Crocodile.”
Fairytale Land Foes: It’s time for another pre-magic Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) flashback! Fun-fact: Did you know that Rumple was married? We are quickly introduced to Milah, a total guys-girl who is currently evading her motherly responsibilities with booze and does not seem to think too highly of Rumple. “Oh, it’s no one. Just my husband,” she sneers at her hubby to a bar filled with men. After coaxing his drunken wife to return home with him, Rumple learns that Milah wishes that her husband had died “like a man” in the ogre wars, instead of returning home to his family as a coward. Come on girl, that’s way harsh.
It turns out the men that Milah was flirting with are not the nicest fellas—they’re pirates and they’ve taken her captive as their ship wench. In an attempt to get her back, Rumple hobbles aboard the ship and comes face-to-face with the most famous pirate of all time Jack Sparrow Killian Jones (Colin O'Donoghue). Jones agrees to give up his plank-skank if Rumple can win her fair-and-square in a duel, but “the coward” refused to even pick up the sword. Jones taunts, “A man not wiling to fight for what he wants, deserves what he gets,” and Rumple is forced to return home to raise his son Bae without a mother.
Fast-forward and we see Rumple wheeling and dealing in a bar as “The Dark One” clearly enjoying the fear his magic causes in those around him. One smarmy man with a red knit cap approaches Rumple promising to give him a magical bean that has the power to jump between worlds in exchange for eternal youth. Rumple who is very keen on the idea of escaping to a different land, agrees to the deal, but just as he was about to leave the bar his old nemesis Captain Jones waltzes into the pub. Rumple purposely brushes by Jones in hopes of getting a rise out of the hotheaded pirate. It works. “Even gutter rats have more manners than you,” Jones jeers to the man who bumped into him, but once the sea traveler gets a closer look at Rumple’s scaly skin, he quickly changes his insult: “I was wrong, not a rat at all. More like...a crocodile!” Rumple then reveals his face and instantly Jones recognizes him as both The Dark One and the man whose wife he stole many many years ago. Whoops! But it turns out “She’s dead. Died a long time ago,” Jones regretfully admits after Rumple demands to know the fate of Miss Milah.
Rumple decides that it’s time that he and Jones finally have their duel, so the next morning at dawn The Dark One sets to battle the beyond-handsome pirate. Jones quickly realizes that he is nowhere skilled enough to defeat all that dark magic and bows down, awaiting the blow from the sword. “No!” Rumple snarls, “Do you know what it’s like to have your wife stolen from you? To feel powerless to stop it? It feels like having your heart ripped from your chest.” And just as Rumple is about to snatch the pirate’s heart, a woman emerges from the shadows screaming for him to stop. Holy crap, Milah is back from the dead!
Okay, not really. As it turns out Milah fell in love with Jones way-back-when that night in the bar and actually chose to leave with him so that she could live a life with an adventurous man. Milah (like a true pirate) says that she captured the man with the red hat and will trade the magic bean for their freedom. Unfortunately, The Dark One does not like it when he’s not in control and once Milah added insult to injury (“I never loved you!”) Rumple ripped out his wife’s heart and crushed it to dust. The magic-crazed man tells Jones, “I want you alive because I want you to suffer like I did,” and then quickly slices off the pirate's hand clutching the bean.
Apparently Jones is as clever as he is cute. The pirate tricked Rumple, and, with a small slight-of-hand, he managed to keep the bean. (Too bad it cost him a limb to be able to pull off this beginner’s magic trick.) We soon learn that the man with the red hat is named Smee and he agrees to join Jones’ pirate crew once he learns of their next destination—a place where no one ages: Neverland. Jones throws the bean into the ocean and as the ship prepares to travel into the swirling vortex to their new land, the captain decides that a large silver hook would look quite nice where his hand once was.
Fast-forward once again to present-day Fairytale Land and we see that Captain Hook has become quite chummy with Cora. The mother-of-all-evil shows the pirate her vile filled with magical ashes and says it’s the start they need to travel to a “curious” place known as Storybrooke. “Excellent.” Hook smiles darkly, “You’ll be able to see your daughter, and I can skin myself a crocodile.”
Storybrooke Secrets: The episode opens on a rather sweet note for our modern day beauty and the beast. Rumple is giving Belle (Emilie de Ravin) a gorgeous diamond-encrusted necklace in celebration for being together in an “honest” relationship. Belle coos, “Thank you for what you are doing and how you are changing.” But before the happy couple can have their night out on the (sleepy) town, Grumpy bursts into the shop all grumpy-like demanding his ax be returned to him and then calls Belle out on what we were all just thinking, “How can you be with such a monster?” Her boyfriend lunges at the dwarf and just as Belle yells at him to stop, Rumple’s appearance twists into his former “Dark One” look: complete with scales, glitter and a snarl. Turns out it was all just a bad dream, but when Belle goes off searching for her beloved in the middle of the night, she is shocked and confused to see Rumple up to his old magical ways spinning straw into gold. The next morning Belle confronts Rumple about his new midnight hobby, but he evades the truth and retells her that magic is power. Belle snaps back, “You don’t need power Rumple. You need courage to let me in.” Burn.
Down in the mines, the dwarves—only six of them this time—are swinging away in hopes of finding the much needed fairy dust. And just who is right next to them lending a helping hand? Charming (Josh Dallas) of course! We then get a much appreciated glance at Charming’s bulging biceps and perfectly chiseled chest and can all agree that Snow is definitely one lucky lady. Henry (Jared Gilmore) is in the mine too, but he’s just awkwardly standing there, eating a muffin and not helping at all. Rumple discovers that Belle is missing and even though she is completely fine and having some well-deserved girl bonding time with Red (Meghan Ory) at Grannies, he is still in a panic. He immediately heads over to confront Belle’s father, who coincidently has been desperately searching for his daughter since the curse was lifted. Upon reaching a dead-end with Belle’s befuddled papa, Rumple decides to beg Acting Sheriff Charming to help him find her. What Rumple doesn’t know is Belle’s dad has hired the smarmy man we know to be Smee to kidnap his own daughter for him.
After getting over the shock of being snatched off the street, Belle is delighted to see her father. She explains that ever since the curse had been lifted she was willingly staying with Rumple. “He wasn’t holding me captive, I chose to be with him.” Her father is not pleased with this news and demands that she stay away from “The Dark One.” Naturally being a grown woman, Belle does not appreciated being told what she can and cannot do and she turns to storm out. Unfortunately, the book-loving babe is then re-kidnapped when her father orders Smee to take her away darkly telling him, “Do it.”
Using Red’s newly re-discovered scent-tracking abilities (“I guess it’s because of the wolf thing.”) Charming and Rumple confront Belle’s father. They quickly realize that the man’s over-protectiveness has caused him to take drastic measures against his daughter. He tells Rumple with a super intense look in his eyes, “I have to make her forget about you no matter the cost. Even if it means she forgets me too.” The crazed father has ordered Smee to use the mine’s tunnels to push Belle past the Storybrooke boundaries, thus erasing all of her memories. Just as the mining cart was about to whirl towards the edge of town, Rumple used his recently perfected magic to pull her out of harm's way. Her memory is still intact but Belle is all kinds of pissed at the two men in her life, and she turns to her newfound friend Red for comfort and pancakes. While enjoying her breakfast, Belle receives very special gift—the key to the closed library. As it turns out, Rumple pulled some (purse)strings and the building full of books is now Belle’s. He also takes an opportunity to tell his lady the truth as to why he brought magic back to Storybrooke: to find his son Bae. “After he left, I dedicated myself to finding him, I went down many many paths until I found a curse that could take me to the land where he’d escaped. Now I find myself in this little town.” Rumple says he is determined to break the new curse so that he may be able to leave Storybrooke and find Bae. Remember the random man from the very beginning of the season two premiere? Ding ding ding! I think we’ve found ourselves a winner!
What do you think of “The Crocodile”? Intrigued to see what happens with Rumple and his long-lost son? Bummed that we didn’t see Emma and Snow? Cast your spell in the comments below!
Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera
[Photo Credit: ABC]
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While recent animated blockbusters have aimed to viewers of all ages starting with fantastical concepts and breathtaking visuals but tackling complex emotional issues along the way Ice Age: Continental Drift is crafted especially for the wee ones — and it works. Venturing back to prehistoric times once again the fourth Ice Age film paints broad strokes on the theme of familial relationships throwing in plenty of physical comedy along the way. The movie isn't that far off from one of the many Land Before Time direct-to-video sequels: not particularly innovative or necessary but harmless thrilling fun for anyone with a sense of humor. Unless they have a particular distaste for wooly mammoths the kids will love it.
Ice Age: Continental Drift continues to snowball its cartoon roster bringing back the original film's trio (Ray Romano as Manny the Mammoth Denis Leary as Diego the Sabertooth Tiger and John Leguizamo as Sid the Sloth) new faces acquired over the course of the franchise (Queen Latifah as Manny's wife Ellie) and a handful of new characters to spice things up everyone from Nicki Minaj as Manny's daughter Steffie to Wanda Sykes as Sid's wily grandma. The whole gang is living a pleasant existence as a herd with Manny's biggest problem being playing overbearing dad to the rebellious daughter. Teen mammoths they always want to go out and play by the waterfall! Whippersnappers.
The main thrust of the film comes when Scratch the Rat (whose silent comedy routines in the vein of Tex Avery/WB cartoons continue to be the series highlight) accidentally cracks the singular continent Pangea into the world we know today. Manny Diego and Sid find themselves stranded on an iceberg once again forced on a road trip journey of survival. The rest of the herd embarks to meet them giving Steffie time to realize the true meaning of friendship with help from her mole pal Louis (Josh Gad).
The ham-handed lessons may drag for those who've passed Kindergarten but Ice Age: Continental Drift is a lot of fun when the main gang crosses paths with a group of villainous pirates. (Back then monkeys rabbits and seals were hitting the high seas together pillaging via boat-shaped icebergs. Obviously.) Quickly Ice Age becomes an old school pirate adventure complete with maritime navigation buried treasure and sword fights. Gut (Peter Dinklage) an evil ape with a deadly... fingernail leads the evil-doers who pose an entertaining threat for the familiar bunch. Jennifer Lopez pops by as Gut's second-in-command Shira the White Tiger and the film's two cats have a chase scene that should rouse even the most apathetic adults. Hearing Dinklage (of Game of Thrones fame) belt out a pirate shanty may be worth the price of admission alone.
With solid action (that doesn't need the 3D addition) cartoony animation and gags out the wazoo Ice Age: Continental Drift is entertainment to enjoy with the whole family. Revelatory? Not quite. Until we get a feature length silent film of Scratch's acorn pursuit we may never see a "classic" Ice Age film but Continental Drift keeps it together long enough to tell a simple story with delightful flare that should hold attention spans of any length. Massive amounts of sugar not even required.
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox]
A kids’ movie without the cheeky jokes for adults is like a big juicy BLT without the B… or the T. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may have a title that sounds like it was made up in a cartoon sequel laboratory but when it comes to serving up laughs just think of the film as a BLT with enough extra bacon to satisfy even the wildest of animals — or even a parent with a gaggle of tots in tow. Yes even with that whole "Afro Circus" nonsense.
It’s not often that we find exhaustively franchised films like the Madagascar set that still work after almost seven years. Despite being spun off into TV shows and Christmas specials in addition to its big screen adventures the series has not only maintained its momentum it has maintained the part we were pleasantly surprised by the first time around: great jokes.
In this third installment of the series – the trilogy-maker if you will – directing duo Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath add Conrad Vernon (director Monsters Vs. Aliens) to the helm as our trusty gang swings back into action. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stuck in Africa after the hullaballoo of Madagascar 2 and they’ll do anything to get back to their beloved New York. Just a hop skip and a jump away in Monte Carlo the penguins are doing their usual greedy schtick but the zoo animals catch up with them just in time to catch the eye of the sinister animal control stickler Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand). And just like that the practically super human captain is chasing them through Monte Carlo and the rest of Europe in hopes of planting Alex’s perfectly coifed lion head on her wall of prized animals.
Luckily for pint-sized viewers Dubois’ terrifying presence is balanced out by her sheer inhuman strength uncanny guiles and Stretch Armstrong flexibility (ah the wonder of cartoons) as well as Alex’s escape plan: the New Yorkers run away with the European circus. While Dubois’ terrifying Doberman-like presence looms over the entire film a sense of levity (which is a word the kiddies might learn from Stiller’s eloquent lion) comes from the plan for salvation in which the circus animals and the zoo animals band together to revamp the circus and catch the eye of a big-time American agent. Sure the pacing throughout the first act is practically nonexistent running like a stampede through the jungle but by the time we're palling around under the big top the film finds its footing.
The visual splendor of the film (and man is there a champion size serving of it) the magnificent danger and suspense is enhanced to great effect by the addition of 3D technology – and not once is there a gratuitous beverage or desperate Crocodile Dundee knife waved in our faces to prove its worth. The caveat is that the soundtrack employs a certain infectious Katy Perry ditty at the height of the 3D spectacular so parents get ready to hear that on repeat until the leaves turn yellow.
But visual delights and adventurous zoo animals aside Madagascar 3’s real strength is in its script. With the addition of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg The Squid and the Whale) to the screenwriting team the script is infused with a heightened level of almost sarcastic gravitas – a welcome addition to the characteristically adult-friendly reference-heavy humor of the other Madagascar films. To bring the script to life Paramount enlisted three more than able actors: Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston) Gia the Leopard (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Italian Sealion (Martin Short). With all three actors draped in European accents it might take viewers a minute to realize that the cantankerous tiger is one and the same as the man who plays an Albuquerque drug lord on Breaking Bad but that makes it that much sweeter to hear him utter slant-curse words like “Bolshevik” with his usual gusto.
Between the laughs the terror of McDormand’s Captain Dubois and the breathtaking virtual European tour the Zoosters’ accidental vacation is one worth taking. Madagascar 3 is by no means an insta-classic but it’s a perfectly suited for your Summer-at-the-movies oasis.
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.
At some point in the early years of the 21st century a bunch of Hollywood executives must have gotten together and decided that animated films should be made for all audiences. The goal was perhaps to make movies that are simultaneously accessible to the older and younger sets with colorful imagery that one expects from children’s films and two levels of humor: one that’s quite literal and harmless and another that’s somewhat subversive. The criteria has resulted in cross-generational hits like Wall-E and Madagascar and though it’s nice to be able to take my nephew to the movies and be as entertained by cartoon characters as he is I can’t help but wonder what happened to unabashedly innocent animated classics like A Goofy Movie and The Land Before Time?
Disney’s Winnie The Pooh is the answer to the Shrek’s and Hoodwinked!’s of the world: a short sweet simple and lighthearted tale of friendship that doesn’t need pop-culture references or snarky dialogue to put a smile on your face. Directors Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall found some fresh ways to deliver adorable animation while keeping the carefree spirit of A.A. Milne’s source material in tact. Their story isn’t the most original; the first part of the film finds Pooh Piglet Tigger and Owl searching for Eeyore’s tail (a common plot point in the books and past Pooh films) and hits all the predictable notes but the second half mixes things up a bit as the crew searches for a missing Christopher Robin whom they believe has been kidnapped by a forest creature known as the “Backson” (it’s really just the result of the illiterate Owl or is it?).
The beauty of hand-drawn animation all but forgotten until recently is what makes Winnie the Pooh so incredibly magnetic. There’s an inexplicable crispness to the colors and characters that CG just can’t duplicate. It’s a more personal practice for the filmmakers and should provide a refreshing experience for audiences who have become jaded with the pristine presentation of computerized imagery. The film is bookended by brief live-action shots from inside Robin’s room an interesting dynamic that plays up the simplicity of youth ties it to these beloved characters and brings you right back to memories of your own childhood.
With a just-over-an-hour run time Winnie the Pooh is short enough to hold the attention of children but won’t bore the parents who will love the film mainly for nostalgic musings. Still it’s the young’uns who will most enjoy this breezy bright and enchanting film that proves old-school characters can appeal to new moviegoers.