Hit musical The Lion King is continuing its reign over the Broadway box office after banking almost $97 million (£64.7 million) in ticket sales in 2013. The stage show, featuring the songs of Sir Elton John and Sir Tim Rice, has been a popular choice among theatregoers ever since it opened in New York in 1997, and 16 years later, it has been crowned the year's highest-grossing production on the Great White Way.
The Lion King, which recently became the first Broadway show to earn $1 billion, pulled in $2.8 million (£1.87 million) over nine performances in the week leading up to Sunday (29Dec13), setting a new record for the Minskoff Theatre, which has staged the show since 2006.
The Book of Mormon, created by South Park cartoonists Trey Parker and Matt Stone, finished the year in second place on the Broadway League group's new poll with $90.4 million (£60.3 million).
Other big hits on Broadway in the past 12 months include Kinky Boots, Chicago and Wicked, which became the first Broadway show ever to break the $3 million (£2 million) barrier in a single week by scoring $3.2 million (£2.13 million) at the box office last week (ends29Dec13).
Kanye West and his fiancee Kim Kardashian became figures of fun on U.S. cartoon series South Park on Wednesday night (11Dec13) as part of a skit about body types. Show creators and writers Trey Parker and Matt Stone unloaded on the reality TV star after character Butters told friends he wouldn't date an overweight classmate because she didn't look like his dream girl, Kardashian.
Another regular character, Wendy, then stated, "Kim Kardashian is a short overweight woman who manipulates her image and makes average girls feel horrible about themselves... In real life, Kim Kardashian has the body of a Hobbit!"
An animated West then appeared and attempted to convince the show's characters that his partner is not a character from Lord of the Rings.
The stars of legendary comedy troupe Monty Python decided to reunite for a live performance after South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker begged them to make a comeback. The five funnymen - John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin - confirmed on Thursday (21Nov13) that they are getting back together for a huge show at London's O2 Arena in July (14).
It will be their first time working together in 30 years, and Jones has now revealed the unlikely inspiration behind their reunion.
He tells London newspaper Ham & High, "The South Park people brought us together, Matt Stone and Trey Parker. They approached us and suggested we should get together and do something together. That's what triggered the interest in the show."
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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South Park has been shut down by a power cut. Creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker and their animators missed their deadline to complete an episode for the first time in 17 seasons when their studios were left in darkness following the outage.
A statement from Parker reads: "It sucks to miss an air date, but after all these years of tempting fate by delivering the show last minute, I guess it was bound to happen."
So, instead of the previously scheduled new episode, titled Goth Kids 3: Dawn of the Posers, a repeat aired in America on Wednesday night (16Oct13). The scheduled show will air next week (23Oct13).
Singer/actor Justin Timberlake credits his role as Napster co-founder Sean Parker in The Social Network with furthering his acting career. The SexyBack hitmaker landed several small film roles before appearing in the 2010 movie about Facebook.com founder Mark Zuckerberg, but he feels David Fincher's Oscar-winning drama properly launched him as an actor.
He tells U.S. breakfast show Today, "I'll tell you what sort of changed things for me was literally when (director) David Fincher hired me. It did open up a huge door for me. And the opportunities started to... happen."
One opportunity Timberlake could not pass up was the lead role in Joel and Ethan Coen's upcoming music movie Inside Llewyn Davis.
He continues, "Before we started working on that movie, I randomly ran into Matt Damon and he said something that stuck with me. He said, 'You know the Coen brothers, that's... a call that any actor, it doesn't matter what age, you just hope that one day you get a shot at that.' I was kind of blown away at that.
"If I would've got a call from Joel and Ethan Coen saying, 'Hey, we'd like you to write music and work on some music in our film,' I would've peed in my pants."
Funnyman Sacha Baron Cohen is set to be honoured at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles' Britannia Awards in November (13). The Les Miserables star will receive the Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence in Comedy on 9 November (13).
A statement from Gary Dartnall, the Chairman of BAFTA Los Angeles, reads, "Sacha's bravery and comic ingenuity is richly deserving of an honor that bears the name of Charlie Chaplin. We are delighted to be honoring him at this year's Britannia Awards."
Previous honourees include Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Ben Stiller and Betty White.
Benedict Cumberbatch, George Clooney, Kathryn Bigelow and Sir Ben Kingsley will also be feted at the ceremony.
After Dark Films
It seems a bit odd to take on a movie review of Courtney Solomon's Getaway, as only in the loosest terms is Getaway actually a movie. We begin without questions — other than a vague and frustrating "What the hell is going on?" — and end without answers, watching Ethan Hawke drive his car into things (and people) for the hour and a half in between. We learn very little along the way, probed to engage in the mystery of the journey. But we don't, because there's no reason to.
There's not a single reason to wonder about any of the things that happen to Hawke's former racecar driver/reformed criminal — forced to carry out a series of felonious commands by a mysterious stranger who is holding his wife hostage — because there doesn't seem to be a single ounce of thought poured into him beyond what he see. We learn, via exposition delivered by him to gun-toting computer whiz Selena Gomez, that he "did some bad things" before meeting the love of his life and deciding to put that all behind him. Then, we stop learning. We stop thinking. We start crashing into police cars and Christmas trees and power plants.
Why is Selena Gomez along for the ride? Well, the beginnings of her involvement are defensible: Hawke is carrying out his slew of vehicular crimes in a stolen car. It's her car. And she's on a rampage to get it back. But unaware of what she's getting herself into, Gomez confronts an idling Hawke with a gun, is yanked into the automobile, and forced to sit shotgun while the rest of the driver's "assignments" are carried out. But her willingness to stick by Hawke after hearing his story is ludicrous. Their immediate bickering falls closer to catty sexual tension than it does to genuine derision and fear (you know, the sort of feelings you'd have for someone who held you up or forced you into accessorizing a buffet of life-threatening crimes).
After Dark Films
The "gradual" reversal of their relationship is treated like something we should root for. But with so little meat packed into either character, the interwoven scenes of Hawke and Gomez warming up to each other and becoming a team in the quest to save the former's wife serve more than anything else as a breather from all the grotesque, impatient, deliberately unappealing scenes of city wreckage.
And as far as consolidating the mystery, the film isn't interested in that either, as evidenced by its final moments. Instead of pressing focus on the answers to whatever questions we may have, the movie's ultimate reveal is so weak, unsubstantial, and entirely disconnected to the story entirely, that it seems almost offensive to whatever semblance of a film might exist here to go out on this note. Offensive to the idea of film and story in general, as a matter of fact. But Getaway isn't concerned with these notions. Not with story, character, logic, or humanity. It just wants to show us a bunch of car crashes and explosions. So you'd think it might have at least made those look a little better.
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The announcement that Ben Affleck would play Batman in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman movie sent shockwaves around the Internet. Twitter, Facebook, and comic book forums lit up as millions of geeks expressed their opinion that Affleck was seriously miscast. While we haven’t yet seen Affleck don the armor of the Dark Knight, we have seen past failures when superstar and superhero don’t quite merge harmoniously.
George Clooney as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Batman & Robin (1997)One could fill an entire list of miscasts from this movie alone, but the worst decision was to cast George Clooney as Batman. The debonair Clooney certainly is a talented actor, but none of that talent surfaced during this two-hour campfest.
Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern/Hal Jordan, Green Lantern (2009)There’s nothing inherently wrong with infusing lightheartedness into a film adaptation of a comic book, but there has to be some sort of plausibility to it. Casting Ryan Reynolds as a man without fear is simply laughable. The man lacks a serious bone in his body, and we’re to believe he can stand up to the embodiment of evil?
Brandon Routh as Superman/Clark Kent, Superman Returns (2006)He may have looked and sounded like Christopher Reeve, but he was certainly no Superman. More of a Superboy, Brandon Routh just didn’t have the gravitas, charisma or machismo to play the Man of Steel.
Warner Bros/Everett Collection
Halle Berry as Catwoman, Catwoman (2004)Halle Berry’s Catwoman may not be the Selina Kyle most people associate with the famed comic cat burglar, but even the re-imagined sexy alternative didn’t suit the Academy Award winning actress. Her acting was simply so abysmal that some critics thought she should return her Oscar for Monster's Ball as a penalty for pitiful performance.
Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man/Peter Parker, Spider-Man TrilogySam Raimi’s Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 were two of the best superhero movies of all time (the less we talk about Spider-Man 3, the better), but Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man really didn’t conform to his comic book counterpart. Lean, wiry and with a smart-ass personality, Spider-Man was not the lovesick puppy dog that Tobey Maguire portrayed, who resembled more like Clark Kent than Peter Parker.
Edward Norton as Bruce Banner, The Incredible Hulk (2009)Another capable actor who just didn’t seem like a right fit for the role, Edward Norton was grossly miscast as Bruce Banner. In real life, Norton’s a very intelligent man, but he could never exude the genius-level intellect of Bruce Banner. But most importantly, Norton just doesn’t possess the inner rage that would manifest itself into an unstoppable, hulking green force.
Shaquille O’Neal as Steel/John Henry Irons, Steel (1997)Where to begin? For starters, Shaquille O’Neal is a basketball player with no acting skills, despite having appeared in several films by now. Second, while Shaq may possess more inches than required to reach the imposing height of John Henry Irons, he doesn’t have the chiseled physique nor the hardened look to strike fear into criminals.
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Calling all Gleeks! Are you ready for a brand new season of sensational songs, high-energy performances, and jaw-dripping drama? Well, then get excited because we're just a few short months away from premiere and the first celebrity guest star of Season 5 has just been announced!
Hollywood.com has confirmed that American Idol star Adam Lambert will be joining the cast of Glee for Season 5. No news has been released just yet regarding the number of episodes Lambert will star in or who his character will be. However, we do know one thing: he’s got some big shoes to fill!
Glee is a champion when it comes to snagging celebrity guest stars. It doesn’t matter if that A-lister appears for a brief one-episode cameo or shimmy and shakes for a whole season — Glee always knows how to attract the big names. So let's take a look at the top ten Glee guest stars of all time and see if Lambert has what it takes to blow these talented celebs out of the McKinley Hall of Fame.
1. Kate Hudson
Kate Hudson joined Glee in Season 4 as Rachel's terrifyingly fabulous dance teacher Cassie July. She was fierce, fabulous, and a complete and total badass. Plus, her dance movies were incredible and her abs made us want to cry from jealousy.
2. Idina Menzel
Idina Menzel — also known as the flawless queen of everything ever — has appeared on Glee for multiple episodes. The Broadway legend plays Shelby Cocoran, Rachel’s mother and the woman who adopted Quinn’s baby girl Beth from Season 1. Menzel has graced us with many songs, but when she sings with her onscreen daughter life is especially perfect.
3. Sarah Jessica Parker
The former Sex and the City star joined the New York side of Glee in Season 4 as Isabelle Wright, Kurt’s boss at Vogue.com. Parker stunned us with her Carrie Bradshaw-esque personality and lead one of the most energetic and creative performances of the season with "Let’s Have a Kiki."
4. Matt Bomer
As Blaine’s older brother, Cooper Anderson, Matt Bomer joined Glee for one episode and pretty much made every girl and guy swoon. As an overly confident singer/actor, Cooper Anderson often overshadows his younger brother — but hey, when you're the star of the Free Credit Rating Today commercials it's hard not to let that fame get to your head.
5. Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow entered the halls of McKinley High in Season 2 as Holly Holiday, a substitute teacher who helped to loosen things up a bit in the glee club. She was energetic, fun, and oh-so talented. Plus, she helped bring one of the greatest couples ever — Brittana, duh! — together and for that we will always be eternally grateful.
6. John Stamos
Super hot Uncle Jesse — um... we mean John Stamos — came to Glee in Season 2 as Emma’s newest beau-turned-husband. Although the marriage didn't last long, we were still graced with a few performances from this heartthrob.
7. Kristin Chenoweth
Another Broadway legend, Kristin Chenoweth, has made multiple appearances on Glee throughout the years. Playing April Rhodes, Will's former high school crush, Chenoweth has popped in an out of Lima, but she always brings lots of energy with her when she returns.
8. Ricky Martin
Ricky Martin shook his bon bon on one episode of Glee in Season 3 as David Martinez, the uber sexy Spanish teacher. Martin was mucho caliente in "The Spanish Teacher" and we're beyond bummed that we haven't seen him since.
9. Jonathan Groff
Jesse St. James is a recurring character that Jonathan Groff introduced Gleeks to in Season 1. He's cocky, talented, and seems to get underneath Rachel's skin like no one else can. All we know is that Groff is wickedly talented and we'd pay money to watch him sit in a room and just breathe.
10. Neil Patrick Harris
It's Neil Patrick Harris, need we say more? This Tony legend has only appeared on Glee once, but goodness gracious it was one hell of an episode — he even won an Emmy for it! Back in Season 1, Harris played Bryan, Will's former rival and star of the Glee club. Fingers crossed he finds his way back to McKinley this year for another episode.
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