College. A time to find yourself, grow, branch out, and... endure yet another love triangle. Glee's heroine Rachel Berry has been the object of many a rivalry: Finn vs. Puck, Finn vs. Jesse, Finn vs. Jacob Ben Israel. But a new basis for conflict is on the horizon: with Rachel and Finn still in love, but many miles apart, it leaves their relationship on uneven ground. Fox has announced two new cast members for the upcoming season of Glee, and one will present a bit of a conflict in the realm of the Rachel/Finn department: Dean Geyer (Terra Nova) will play NYADA student Brody Weston, who develops an interest in freshman Rachel. Also joining the Glee cast is Jacob Artist, who will play Puck's trouble-making half-brother. Both actors will appear in the series' season premiere on Thursday, Sept. 13.
More info straight from Fox: Animation Domination is lining up several impressive stars to lend their voices to The Simpsons, the Seth MacFarlane lot, and Bob's Burgers for each program during the upcoming television season:The Simpsons: Zooey Deschanel returns to Springfield as Mary, Bart's estranged wife and daughter of Cletus the Slackjawed Yokel.The Cleveland Show: Kanye West and Bryan Cranston return to the series, with newcomers Nicki Minaj, Bruno Mars, Sofia Vergara and Nick Offerman.Family Guy: Johnny Depp brings his Edward Scissordhands character to Family Guy; Jon Hamm, Kellan Lutz, Elizabeth Banks, Ryan Reynolds, J.J. Abrams, Christina Milian, and Dick Wolf will also make appearances.American Dad: Patrick Stewart returns to the show as Stan's boss Avery Bullock, with Sarah Michelle Geller, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Nathan Fillion, Danny Glover, and Hogwarts grad Rupert Grint also appearing.Bob's Burgers: Zach Galifianakis will play a department store owner in love with a mannequin; Nick Offerman joins this show as well, along with real life wife (and Parks and Rec ex-wife) Megan Mullally, and Parks costar Aziz Ansari. Jeffrey Tambor, Bill Hader, Sarah Silverman, and Kevin Kline also appear.A piece of unconfirmed news surrounding the HBO series Game of Thrones: Screen Crush mentions Misfits star Iwan Rheon as a possible new cast member. Rheon, who played Simon Bellamy on the outstanding United Kingdom sci-fi series, has been mentioned in attachment to the character Ramsay Snow, a.k.a. Ramsay Bolton, the bastard son of Roose Bolton.
Speaking of superhero veterans: TVLine reports that Jack Coleman, star of NBC's Heroes (as well as a recurring player on The Vampire Diaries), will be taking a role on Castle as a problematic U.S. Senator... kind of like he does on The Office.
Finally, TVLine reports that Hart of Dixie is adding Golden Brooks (Girlfriends) to its cast for the upcoming second season. She will play a recurring character who returns to Bluebell and befriends the main character.
[Photo Credit: Fox]
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Based on Chris Van Allsburg's enchanting award winning children's book the story begins on a snowy Christmas Eve where a doubting young boy lies in his bed waiting to hear the sound he doesn't know if he believes in anymore: the tinkle of Santa's sleigh bells. What he hears instead however is the thunderous roar of an approaching train where no train should be: it's the Polar Express. Rushing outside in only a robe and slippers the incredulous boy meets the train's conductor who urges him to come onboard. Suddenly the boy finds himself embarking on an extraordinary journey to the North Pole with a number of other children--including a girl who has the tools to be a good leader but lacks confidence; a know-it-all boy who lacks humility; and a lonely boy who just needs to have a little faith in other people to make his dreams come true. Together the children discover that the wonder of Christmas never fades for those who believe. As the conductor wisely advises "It doesn't matter where the train is going. What matters is deciding to get on." Gives ya goose bumps doesn't it?
Talk about a vanity project for Tom Hanks. He portrays several of the characters in the film--the conductor the hobo who mysteriously appears and disappears on the Polar Express the boy's father. Wait isn't that Hanks playing Santa Claus as well? But if anyone can pull off some cheesy dialogue about the spirit of Christmas this Oscar-winning actor can. Interestingly the film also incorporates adults to play the children (none of the characters have names actually) with Hanks as the Hero Boy; Hanks' Bosom Buddies pal Peter Scolari as the Lonely Boy; The Matrix Revolutions Nona Gaye as the Hero Girl; and veteran voice actor Eddie Deezen as the Know-It-All Boy. Everyone does a good job but trying to make CGI-created people seem real is a difficult undertaking. With
The Polar Express director Robert Zemeckis has created an entirely new way to do computer animation called "performance capture." "[It's a process that] offers a vivid rendering of the Van Allsburg world while infusing a sense of heightened realism into the performances. It's like putting the soul of a live person into a virtual character " visual effects wizard and longtime Zemeckis collaborator Ken Ralston explains. Oh is that all? Problem is no matter how hard they try it doesn't work--not completely. Similar to flaws in the 2001 Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within virtual characters just can't convey human emotion as well as real-life actors plain and simple. And with a touching story like Polar Express that real-life connection is missed at times.
Of course like the images in the book it's still an exceptionally beautiful film to watch. Zemeckis enjoys being a filmmaking innovator. He charmed audiences with a lively blend of live action and manic animation in the 1988 classic action comedy Who Framed
Roger Rabbit? and then wowed them with the 1994 Oscar-winning Forrest Gump blending authentic archival footage of historic figures with the actors. Now with The Polar Express it's this performance capture which gives Zemeckis unlimited freedom in creating the world he wants. And boy does he make use of it. True the story is a classic but the director knows he has to make The Polar Express exciting for the tykes-- simply riding around in a train to North Pole without any thrills certainly wouldn't be enough for the ADD world we live in. To accomplish this the film is padded with exhilarating scenes such as the train going on a giant roller coaster ride through the mountains and across frozen lakes (too bad Warner Bros. doesn't have a theme park) and the boy's race across the top of the snowy Polar Express. Even the North Pole is a booming magical Mecca filled with some pretty boisterous (and weird looking) elves who like to send Santa off in style Christmas Eve--watch out for Aerosmith's Steven Tyler making a cameo as a jammin' elf. Ho-ho-ho!