Young adult fiction sure loves dividing people into cliques. In the Harry Potter series, we had the four houses that made up Hogwarts. In The Hunger Games, we have the districts of Panem. And now in Divergent, the teens of a dystopian version of Chicago are split into five different factions. But instead of a charming musty hat guiding you to your destiny, the people of Divergent have to take a test to determine which caste you belong to. Take a look at our guide to see what each faction is all about, and which group you'd fit into if the factions existed in the real world.
The Erudite are the thinkers of the Divergent society, and uphold the values of knowledge, curiosity, and intelligence. In real life, the Erudite would be the scientists and engineers that strive to move humanity forward while the rest of us are waiting on the next BuzzFeed poll to tell us what to do next.Favorite TV Show: Bill Nye The Science Guy. While the rest of us slack jawed yokels were too busy watching Power Rangers as kids, the members of Erudite were brushing up on their chemisty with Mr. Nye on Saturday mornings, right before settling into some light calculus computations before nap time. Favorite Movie: Gravity. Members of Erudite absolutely love to hate-watch Gravity and point out all of the bad science. "Ugh! Look at the arc of George Clooney's trajectory. People actually like this? Can't they see the inaccuracies?" Consequently, members of Erudite are not invited to many movie nights.Celebrity Icon: Neil DeGrasse Tyson. When an astrophysicist somehow breaks into the public consciousness and becomes a pseudo celebrity, you can bet that members of Erudite will follow him to the end of the universe, except any member of Erudite worth his Mensa membership will tell you that the universe is infinite and the notion of following someone to the end of it is utter drivel.
In Divergent, Abnegation is the bastion for the selfless. They live to serve the community before themselves and make up the society's council. In our world, the members of Abnegation would probably be the kinds of people who give up their seats on the bus, or the guy that lets you cut in line when you only have one item. They are truly the best of us all.Favorite TV Show: How I Met Your Mother. Ted's kids must have the patience of a Buddhist monk to listen to the inane ramblings of their father for nine straight years. Just get to the point already. They only wanted to be polite, and now a decade of their lives are gone. That story better have one heck of an ending.Favorite Movie: Toy Story. These little plastic and plush characters live solely to entertain a gigantic human child-monster named Andy for a couple years, only to end up in the five cent bin at a yard sale. Those toys are truly selflessCelebrity Icon: Sean Bean. No single actor has sacrificed himself in more films than Bean has. He's made dying for other people his signature move.
In Divergent, Amity is the home of the peaceful. The faction is full of hand-holding, friendly smiles, and togetherness. In real life, members of Amity are those impossibly cheeful people that are way too chipper on their morning commutes.
Favorite TV Show: The Joy of Painting. What's more peaceful than watching Bob Ross paint a woodsy landscape? The gentle brushstrokes, the soothing instruction in that soft voice. All that encouragment. Bob Ross is Amity personified.Favorite Movie: Despicable Me. Few things are more peaceful than watching the icy heart of a super villain melt in the hands of three little girls.Celebrity Icon: Michael Cera. The most harmless living thing on the planet. We can't imagine the mush-mouthed actor raising his voice above a low whisper. A fistfight with Cera probably feels like a gentle hug from a good friend.
In Divergent, the Candor faction lives by truth. They only see the world in black and white, which makles them excellent upholders of the law. In real life, the members of Candor would be those people with serious foot in mouth syndrome. "Oh really? I gained some weight? Thanks for noticing so loudly."
Favorite TV Show: Veep. Veep cuts through all the political fluff and honestly shows how politicians really get down when the cameras aren’t trained on them. We all know the people on Capitol Hill are constantly swearing like crusty pirates. Joe Biden loves himself a four-letter word.Favorite Movie: Liar Liar. Watching Jim Carrey being forced into telling the truth in every aspect of life is probably the most satisfying thing a member of Candor can achieve. Yes, that pen is definitely blue, Mr. Carrey.Celebrity Icon: Jennifer Lawrence. Known for lacking any sort of filter, Lawrence seems to like to say whatever loose rambling thought pops into her mind, yet she still manages to be charming. Most people who are way too honest tend to be the absolute worst. Take notes members of Candor, be more like JLaw.
The Dauntless faction are the brave. They are the warriors of the Divergent society, and are tasked with protecting the community at large. In real life, members of Dauntless would still be soldiers, but fighting real conflicts and skirmishes across the globe. They would also be the thrill-seekers, jumping off buildings and out of perfectly good airplanes for fun.Favorite TV Show: Game of Thrones. Swords, sorcery, dragons, and betrayal. The would-be soldiers of Dauntless would love getting their hands dirty in the land of Westeros.Favorite Movie: Brave. Well, duh.Celebrity Icon: Tom Cruise. A man brave (or crazy) enough to do all of his own stunts, and brave (definitely crazy) enough to be the posterboy for Scientology. The man has no fear.
Divergent hits theaters March 21. You can check showtimes and purchase advanced tickets at Movietickets.com.
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Every year, ABC's Dancing with the Stars ropes in a varied new batch of players to compete for a seat in Congress. (That's what the winner gets, right?) And every year, the amassed collections of actors, athletes, television personalities, and the odd astronaut have become more, let's say, "creative." Producers have shirked minor details like celebrity relevance in putting together eclectic teams for the competition series, taking the cake with their Season 17 lineup. Yes, the reactions to this year's players will range from "Not her again!"s to "Boy, he's really up and coming!"s to, "I had no idea he was still alive." Peruse the new DWTS contestants below, list compiled by Hollywood.com's Relevance Ranking (from least to most):
Corbin BleuAs the fourth billed star of the High School Musical movies, 24-year-old Bleu is the least relevant of the troupe, hardly even a thing back when he was a thing.
Jack OsbourneNot far ahead of Chaz Duckworth, or whatever it was, is the youngest and least significant member of a flavor-of-the-week MTV reality show that aired back in 2002 (and lasted, despite your recollection, all the way to '05).
Bill EngvallNeck and neck with Jackie O is Bill Engvall, best known for his frequent proximity to Larry the Cable Guy.
Christina MilianWhen you cap your music career by reading tweets on that reality show that people watch when Idol is out of season, you know you're a prime candidate for DWTS.
Brant DaughertyAdmittedly, Daugherty's role on the conversation piece Pretty Little Liars could justify a more prominent placement on this list. But he's also in The Starving Games, which kind of robs him of any of those points.
Keyshawn JohnsonRight in the middle of the pack is Keyshawn Johnson, who used to play football. Football is still cool, right?
Elizabeth BerkleyThanks to the onslaught of '90s nostalgia perpetuated by our generation's nagging inability to grow up, we have granted Saved by the Bell star Elizabeth Berkley an everlasting spot at the corner of our conscience. Remember when she took the caffeine pills? Of course you do. Hey, that might work on this show!
Leah ReminiLeah Remini's name has been thrown around a lot lately, mostly in connection to The Talk firings and Sharon Osbourne controversies. Hmm, perhaps we'll find a bit of a rivalry between her and Sharon's son Jack? That could bump him up an Engvall or two.
Amber RileyShe's on Glee, so there that is.
Valerie HarperTo be sincere for a minute, we pay legitimate credit to Valerie Harper, who is not only tackling cancer, but has long served as an inspiration to fellow sufferers, not to mention actors (she rejects the word "actress") and women everywhere. Some pop culture relevance is the kind you earn.
Snooki...and some, alas, is the kind that forms atop your head in the shape of a ravenous koosh ball. As much as it pains us to say this, Jersey Shore star and new mom Snooki is DWTS' big get of the season.
But that's only 11. What about the last new contestant?
Ah, yes, Bill Nye the Science Guy. A man who exists beyond the realms of pop culture relevance. A man who cannot be defined, but who himself doles out definition. A man against whom all other men are measured. Often in Berzelius beakers. Science rules.
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In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.
For some time now, we've heard whispers of the return of MTV's Punk'd, but until now it was not entirely official, leading some to believe that it we were all being...well, you know. But doubt no further: MTV has officially ordered a new Punk'd series.
The new version of Punk'd will vary a bit from the old: Kutcher will only play producer as opposed to on-screen host. The new Punk'd will feature a different celebrity host every week, starting with Justin Bieber on the premiere. A while back, it was reported that Bieber might be the show's permanent host, but the one-host-per-week format might serve better in keeping the show fresh and lively. Bieber alone is a big enough sell for an episode of the prank series, but his victim will be just as noteworthy a member of the pop music world.
MTV will be releasing further information about the revival of Punk'd during its NYE in NYC 2012 special on Dec. 31.
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.