The genesis of Universal's 47 Ronin is almost as tragic as the actual history that the movie is culling from. As the story goes, Universal saw the sprigs of talent sprouting from fresh faced director Carl Rinsch, whose previous experience was limited to just a couple of commercials and a nifty short film. The studio decided to ease the new director into feature filmmaking by cutting him what amounts to virtually a blank check, and giving him charge over a multi-national samurai fantasy epic. Almost impossibly, the film isn't a complete disaster. It's just a minor one.
47 Ronin follows the classic story of the titular team of warriors, a group of disgraced samurai who band together to seek revenge against a merciless warlord that betrayed and killed their master. But this isn't your grandfather's version of the story. 47 Ronin is an international affair, and it's covered with a veneer of Japanese mysticism and a thick coating of Hollywood lacquer, but east meets west rather uncomfortably, and it's mostly due to Keanu Reeves. Reeves' character is clearly crowbarred into the story that has no room for him, and it's plainly obvious where the seams of the story were stretched in order to patch him into the narrative. Reeves plays Kai, a half Japanese, half English orphan who is adopted by the samurai clan. His character serves no real purpose beyond being white, slicing things until they die, and playing the male lead of the most superfluous love story of the year. Rinsch simply can't make the inclusion of the character feel organic in any way, and "Kai" ends up feeling like a calculated studio move. It's a shame that the film spends so much time on Reeves when the real star is clearly Hiroyuki Sanada, who plays off the stoic samurai most believably among the rest of the cast.
It's also shame that with all the mysticism pumped into the story, there's no magic in the actual center of the film, the ronin themselves. The only personality trait a samurai is allowed to possess seems to be unerring stoicism, and between all 47 ronin, there are probably only three distinct samurai with any discernible character traits beyond an intense need to brood, and you'll probably only remember those three by the time the credits roll, only to promptly forget about them only a few hours later. Thankfully, Rinko Kikuchi's slinky and treacherous witch adds some much needed camp and personality to the mostly forgettable human characters.
And that's the issue with 47 Ronin. It's largely forgettable. When your film takes on a historical legend like the tale of the 47 ronin, a story that has been told and told again ad nauseum over the years, you really need to justify your own version. There are reels and reels of film dedicated to this story, and 47 Ronin doesn't manage to add anything significant to the canon. It promises to weld myth and history together, but does so clumsily, and while some of the action scenes are exciting, especially a particularly inspired set piece that involves the ronin noiselessly breaking into a heavily guarded fortress, the film is a bore when it's not clanking swords together.
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47 Ronin is a film with many stories. As much as it is a tale about the revenge of four dozen masterless samurai, it's also the tale of an inexperienced filmmaker swallowed up by the enormity of blockbuster filmmaking. Most of all though, It's proof that you shouldn't cram Keanu Reeves into a movie that doesn't really need Keanu Reeves. What you're left with is a dull and bloated samurai epic that has its moments, but feels largely unnecessary.
The pre-votes are in, and we finally have the nominee list for the 2014 People's Choice Awards thanks to the People's Choice blog. And man, oh, man is it a hefty list.
With a total of 58 categories, the awards show covers music, movies, and television with categories from "Favorite Action Movie Star" to "Favorite TV Anti-Hero" to "Favorite TV Bromance." This year's top contenders are Glee (with 8 nods), Katy Perry (5 nods), and Sandra Bullock (5 nods). And don't worry about Bullock's Gravity co-star George Clooney feeling left out — the two of them snagged a nod for "Favorite Duo." (You already know what we think about their magical pairing.)
We've got the entire list of nominees for you... have fun scrolling!
Favorite MovieDespicable Me 2Fast & Furious 6Iron Man 3Monsters UniversityStar Trek Into Darkness
Favorite Movie ActorChanning TatumHugh JackmanJohnny DeppLeonardo DiCaprioRobert Downey Jr.
Favorite Movie ActressGwyneth PaltrowJennifer AnistonMelissa McCarthySandra BullockScarlett Johansson
Favorite Movie DuoChris Pine & Zachary Quinto (Star Trek Into Darkness)Jennifer Aniston & Jason Sudeikis (We’re the Millers)Robert Downey Jr. & Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man 3)Sandra Bullock & George Clooney (Gravity)Sandra Bullock & Melissa McCarthy (The Heat)
Favorite Action MovieFast & Furious 6Iron Man 3Star Trek Into DarknessThe WolverineWorld War Z
Favorite Action Movie StarBrad PittChanning TatumHugh JackmanRobert Downey Jr.Vin Diesel
Favorite Comedic MovieGrown Ups 2The Hangover Part IIIThe HeatInstructions Not IncludedWe’re the Millers
Favorite Comedic Movie ActorAdam SandlerBradley CooperChris RockJames FrancoZach Galifianakis
Favorite Comedic Movie ActressEmma WatsonJennifer AnistonMelissa McCarthySandra BullockScarlett Johansson
Favorite Dramatic MovieCaptain PhillipsGravityThe Great GatsbyLee Daniels’ The ButlerPrisoners
Favorite Dramatic Movie ActorChanning TatumChris HemsworthHugh JackmanLeonardo DiCaprioRyan Gosling
Favorite Dramatic Movie ActressAmy AdamsEmma StoneHalle BerryOprah WinfreySandra Bullock
Favorite Family MovieDespicable Me 2Monsters UniversityOz the Great and PowerfulPercy Jackson: Sea of MonstersThe Smurfs 2
Favorite Horror MovieCarrieThe ConjuringHansel & Gretel: Witch HuntersInsidious: Chapter 2Mama
Favorite Thriller MovieA Good Day to Die HardThe CallNow You See MeRed 2White House Down
Favorite Network TV Comedy2 Broke GirlsThe Big Bang TheoryGleeHow I Met Your MotherModern Family
Favorite Comedic TV ActorChris ColferDarren CrissJesse Tyler FergusonJim ParsonsNeil Patrick Harris
Favorite Comedic TV ActressJane LynchKaley CuocoLea MicheleMelissa McCarthyZooey Deschanel
Favorite Network TV DramaChicago FireThe Good WifeGrey’s AnatomyNashvilleParenthood
Favorite Dramatic TV ActorJim CaviezelJosh CharlesKevin BaconMark HarmonPatrick Dempsey
Favorite Dramatic TV ActressJulianna MarguliesMariska HargitayPauley PerretteSandra OhStana Katic
Favorite Actor in a New TV SeriesAndy SambergJonathan Rhys MeyersJoseph MorganMichael J. FoxRobin Williams
Favorite Actress in a New TV SeriesAllison JanneyAnna FarisMing-Na WenRebel WilsonSarah Michelle Gellar
Favorite TV Crime DramaBonesCastleCriminal MindsThe MentalistNCIS
Favorite Competition TV ShowAmerica’s Got TalentDancing with the StarsMasterChefThe VoiceThe X Factor
Favorite Cable TV ComedyAwkward.Cougar TownHot in ClevelandMelissa & JoeyPsych
Favorite Cable TV DramaDownton AbbeyPretty Little LiarsSons of AnarchyThe Walking DeadWhite Collar
Favorite Premium Cable TV ShowCalifornicationGame of ThronesGirlsHomelandTrue Blood
Favorite Cable TV ActressAngie HarmonClaire DanesCourteney CoxLucy HaleMaggie Smith
Favorite TV Anti-HeroDexter Morgan (Dexter)Jaime Lannister (Game of Thrones)Norman Bates (Bates Motel)Rick Grimes (The Walking Dead)Walter White (Breaking Bad)
Favorite TV BromanceBlaine & Sam (Glee)Ryan & Esposito (Castle)Sam, Dean & Castiel (Supernatural)Sheldon, Leonard, Howard & Raj (The Big Bang Theory)Ted, Marshall & Barney (How I Met Your Mother)
Favorite TV Gal PalsCaroline & Max (2 Broke Girls)Lily & Robin (How I Met Your Mother)Meredith & Cristina (Grey’s Anatomy)Penny, Bernadette & Amy (The Big Bang Theory)Rachel & Santana (Glee)
Favorite On-Screen ChemistryCastle & Beckett (Castle)Damon & Elena (The Vampire Diaries)Derek & Meredith (Grey’s Anatomy)Emma & Hook (Once Upon A Time)Kurt & Blaine (Glee)
Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV ShowBeauty and the BeastOnce Upon A TimeSupernaturalThe Vampire DiariesThe Walking Dead
Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV ActorAndrew LincolnIan SomerhalderJared PadaleckiJensen AcklesStephen Amell
Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV ActressEmilia ClarkeGinnifer GoodwinKristin KruekNina DobrevTatiana Maslany
Favorite TV Movie/MiniseriesAmerican Horror StoryBehind the CandelabraThe BibleSharknadoThe White Queen
Favorite Daytime TV Host(s)Ellen DeGeneresKelly Ripa & Michael StrahanDr. Phil McGrawRachael RaySteve Harvey
Favorite New Talk Show HostArsenio HallBethenny FrankelJenny McCarthyQueen LatifahRoss Mathews
Favorite Late Night Talk Show HostConan O’BrienDavid LettermanJimmy FallonJimmy KimmelStephen Colbert
Favorite Streaming SeriesArrested DevelopmentBetween Two Ferns with Zach GalifianakisHouse of CardsLosing It with John StamosOrange Is the New Black
Favorite Series We Miss Most30 RockBreaking BadDexterFringeThe Office
Favorite New TV ComedyBrooklyn Nine-NineThe Crazy OnesDadsThe GoldbergsThe Michael J. Fox ShowThe MillersMomSean Saves the WorldSuper Fun NightTrophy Wife
Favorite New TV DramaMarvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.BetrayalThe BlacklistDraculaHostagesOnce Upon a Time in WonderlandThe OriginalsReignSleepy HollowThe Tomorrow People
Favorite Male ArtistAviciiBlake SheltonBruno MarsJustin TimberlakeMichael Bublé
Favorite Female ArtistBritney SpearsDemi LovatoKaty PerryP!nkSelena Gomez
Favorite Breakout ArtistAriana GrandeAustin MahoneIcona PopImagine DragonsLorde
Favorite Pop ArtistBritney SpearsBruno MarsDemi LovatoJustin TimberlakeKaty Perry
Favorite Country ArtistThe Band PerryBlake SheltonCarrie UnderwoodLady AntebellumTaylor Swift
Favorite Country Music IconAlan JacksonGeorge StraitTim McGrawToby KeithWillie Nelson
Favorite Hip-Hop ArtistDrakeJay ZKanye WestLil WayneMacklemore & Ryan Lewis
Favorite R&B ArtistAlicia KeysCiaraJustin TimberlakeRihannaRobin Thicke
Favorite BandImagine DragonsMaroon 5One DirectionOneRepublicParamore
Favorite Alternative BandFall Out BoyImagine DragonsMumford & SonsMuseParamore
Favorite SongJust Give Me A Reason (P!nk feat. Nate Ruess)Mirrors (Justin Timberlake)Radioactive (Imagine Dragons)Roar (Katy Perry)When I Was Your Man (Bruno Mars)
Favorite AlbumThe 20/20 Experience (Justin Timberlake)Bangerz (Miley Cyrus)Based on a True Story… (Blake Shelton)Blurred Lines (Robin Thicke)To Be Loved (Michael Bublé)
Favorite Music VideoBest Song Ever (One Direction)Heart Attack (Demi Lovato)Just Give Me A Reason (P!nk feat. Nate Ruess)Roar (Katy Perry)Wrecking Ball (Miley Cyrus)
Favorite Music Fan FollowingBritney Army (Britney Spears)Directioners (One Direction)KatyCats (Katy Perry)Little Monsters (Lady Gaga)Lovatics (Demi Lovato)
We're impressed you read the whole list.
The 40th annual show will be hosted by 2 Broke Girls stars Beth Behrs and Kat Dennings on CBS on Jan. 8 at 9 PM. Final voting ends on Dec. 5.
Actress Olivia Newton-John and singers Martina Mcbride and Gladys Knight cheered on Ashley Judd's driver husband Dario Franchitti as he won the Indianapolis 500 for the third time on Sunday (27May12).
The Scottish racer, who married actress Judd in 2001, completed a total of 200 laps at break-neck speed and crossed the finish line ahead of the pack at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana to take home the top prize.
Thousands of fans withstood the near-record-breaking heat to watch the sporting event, which drew a huge crowd of celebrities including McBride, who sang the national anthem, Grammy winner Knight and Newton-John.
The Grease star, who was with husband John Easterling, told reporters, "We are having a blast. We haven’t stopped. It’s very exciting - great energy."
Also among the spectators were rocker Rick Springfield, musician/actor Derek Hough, celebrity chef Guy Fieri, and TV personalities David Letterman and Howie Mandel.
And other stars who couldn't attend the spectacle enjoyed watching the game in the comfort of their own home. Actress Melissa Joan Hart tweeted, "Loving watching the Indy 500 with my boys and explaining the sport! And cheering on my old buds (Tony) Kanaan and Franchitti!", while TV star Kirstie Alley added, "why the hell am I not at the Indy 500?!?!?! Ugh....I need an EVENT calendar !!!!"
Car-loving actor Patrick Dempsey declared, "Dario is a truly great and classy winner!" and Judd posted a picture from the winner's circle, alongside a caption which read, "There is just a little excitement in the @dariofranchitti pit."
Franchitti previously scooped the honour in 2007 and 2010.
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