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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Just weeks before entering court-ordered rehab — the actress is currently a patient at the Betty Ford Center — Lindsay Lohan sat down with Piers Morgan for a candid interview about her transformation from beloved child star to tragicially wasted has-been. And though we thought the revealing New York Times piece about her bizarre behavior on the set of The Canyons was as close as we would get to the troubled 26-year-old actress, Morgan managed to convince Lohan to discuss her drug history and her sexual history. Read below for the eight craziest quotes from the interview and try not to shed a tear remembering how much you loved The Parent Trap.
On Her First Drink: "I got really sick and Mum made me sleep with vomit still on me so I’d understand how it felt. I didn’t drink again throughout high school. I was too scared!"
On How Often She Uses Cocaine: "Everyone thinks I’ve done it so many times. But I’ve only done it maybe four or five times in my life ... I took it four times in a period from about the age of 20 to 23, and I got caught twice."
On Her Drug of Choice: "Pot, obviously. And ecstasy. I liked that better than the others (giggles). I didn’t drink on it, so I was just chilling. It’s something that a lot of people experience when they’re in college. I just should have known that being in the public eye, someone was bound to say something or try to make some money off it."
On Her Drinking Habits: "I’ve never been a huge drinker. I’ve never woken up in the morning and had a drink."
But, On Second Thought...: "But when I was younger I was definitely going out too much and I was drinking too much."
On Rehab: "I’ve been court-ordered to do it six times. I could write the book on rehab. Constantly sending me to rehab is pointless. The first few times I was court-ordered to rehab it was like a joke, like killing time."
On Whether or Not She's Bisexual: "Not really. I like being in a relationship with a guy. But there’s something just different about it with a woman. When I was with Samantha (Ronson), I didn’t want to leave, because I didn’t want to be alone. It was very toxic. And her family controlled anything she did ... I know I’m straight. I have made out with girls before, and I had a relationship with a girl. But I think I needed to experience that and I think I was looking for something different."
Still, the craziest moment of all happened post-interview, when Lohan and Morgan filmed a video that proved their interview and the fact that perhaps Lohan takes her demons a bit too lightly:
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There was a time when it seemed like The Canyons didn't have a friend in the world. Less than a month ago, the decadent Lindsay Lohan starrer was rejected by SXSW, with the film festival citing "quality issues" as its rationale. Even with Paul Schrader (writer of cinematic benchmarks like Taxi Driver and Raging Bull) directing the movie, The Canyons seemed to live in exile. But no longer will the Los Angeles-set drama walk this lonely road — IFC Films has opted to pick up the movie for distribution.
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In an official press release, the company announced that it would be releasing the film, with IFC President Jonathan Sehring calling Lohan's starring performance "terrific," and citing the movie as "a wild ride through the psyche of [writer] Bret Easton Ellis." The film, rumored to be to riddled with as much controversy offscreen as viewers will see on (all stories attributed to tabloids-mainstay star Lohan), centers on a group of L.A.-based 20-somethings launched into a catastrophic plane of debauchery.
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With IFC standing behind The Canyons, the film's future looks a good deal brighter than it might have just a week ago. But as the connotations sprouting from SXSW's rejection are sure to follow the movie through its release, we wonder if Schrader's picture will ever fully recover.
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter.
[Photo Credit: IFC]
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While Lindsay Lohan was busy trying to get out of her latest court date (and then showing up anyway), her father was busy with something much more important: welcoming newborn son Landon Major Lohan, his sixth child, with girlfriend Kate Major.
According to TMZ, Michael Lohan and Major's first child together arrived at a Florida hospital at 2:39 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 30. Landon weighed in at 7 lbs 5 oz and measured 19 3/4 inches long. The happy father was present for the birth and even cut the umbilical cord, in case that is a thing you wanted to know. (Now you do. Sorry.)
Listen, kid, life is not going to be easy as a member of this family. Between Lindsay and Michael's legal troubles, Dina's possibly drunk TV appearances, Ali's maybe-plastic surgery, and the fact that you have a half-sister most of your siblings didn't even know about until she was a teenager, you're in for some crazy times. And that's not even mentioning the fact that at various points in time your parents have had restraining orders out against each other, and even a no-contact order from the courts.
But there's hope for you, Landon! Your parents have already moved away to Florida for a slightly less media-saturated life. (Nevermind the fact that your dad constantly talks to the press about his famous daughter's problems when he has absolutely nothing to do with them.) Maybe in a bliss-fueled state following your birth they really will retreat from the public eye. You can go to preschool without TMZ wanting pictures of you for some inexplicable reason.
Here's your ticket to becoming the most well-adjusted Lohan of all: Unless your parents change their ways (which they very likely could!), just do the exact opposite of what they do.
Follow Jean on Twitter @hijean
[PHOTO CREDIT: Wenn]
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Turns out good publicity from bad publicity could only last so long. Less than two weeks after The New York Times released their much-discussed play-by-play from the disastrous set of Lindsay Lohan's upcoming film, The Canyons, the Paul Schrader-directed film has been dealt its first post-Lohan setback. (We designate it that specifically, as there were many, many pre-Lohan setbacks, according to the Times piece.)
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the nudity-fueled film co-starring porn star James Deen — which was host to many of Lohan's breakdowns and professional misbehavior — has been rejected by SXSW, with a source citing "quality issues." "It's got an ugliness and deadness to it," an "insider" tells Hollywood Reporter. (SXSW has not yet responded to Hollywood.com's request for comment.)
Of course, this hardly marks Lohan's first setback. In fact, since 2007, the actress has been rejected at least 10 times from various projects. In 2007, she was let go of The Edge of Love and Poor Things following a stint in rehab and her infamous DUI arrest; in 2008, her guest role in Ugly Betty was cut short following rumors of rumbles on the set, while the Obama campaign rejected her desire to get involved in his election; in 2009, the actress' comeback film Labor Pains was rejected from theatrical release and Lohan's panned Ungaro line from fashion elite; in 2010, Lohan was fired from her role as Linda Lovelace in Inferno and her Underground Comedy 2010 rejected by distributors; and in 2011, Donald Trump deemed Lohan too troubled to star alongside the likes of Gary Busey and LaToya Jackson in Celebrity Apprentice.
Fans of the actress can still hope for a Robert Downey Jr.-esque comeback, but it's a safe bet The Canyons won't allow her to climb out of the D-list abyss.
[Image Credit: Sodium Fox]
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Each week, Hollywood gives us something to whine about, and the week of Jan. 7 was no different. We could make a drinking game out of this week, but that would be too dangerous. Instead, we'll stick to the usual formula: varying levels of alcoholic respite depending on how bothersome the week's issues are. Is your biggest complaint this week a flimsy one? How about a light cocktail to take the edge off? Got a real bone to pick with a celeb or entertainment entity this week? Go ahead, grab a drink that'll put hair on your chest. Here are the week's entertainment stories that are forcing us to seek a bubbly or boozy refuge. And maybe an idea or two about how you should wash them down.
Take the Edge Off With a Hot Toddy
Lindsey Lohan is Still Being Lindsay Lohan
The difference is that this time, there’s a record of all her movie set misdeeds in the New York Times Magazine.
Jesus Fresco: Part Deux?
Not quite, but Kate Middleton’s reaction to her first ever Duchess portrait speaks volumes.
We Should Probably Apologize for Losing Our Minds Over Two Very Important Music News Stories.
Nevermind. New Justin Timberlake and a Destiny’s Child reunion, y’all!
Make it a Double
Tracy Morgan Is Making Us Cry Our Own Tears.
He’s going to miss 30 Rock so much, he’s going to take it behind the bleachers and get it pregnant singing the cast a lovely farewell song.
Britney Spears is Really Leaving The X Factor
Which means no more of this awesomeness:
The Monopoly Thimble is in Great Peril!
If you don’t vote for it on Facebook. THIS is American Id...er, pick-the-best-piece-from-a-game-you-always-quit-before-you-finish-playing-because-it-takes-way-too-f**king-long.
Taylor Swift Has Another New Boyfriend!
Okay, so it’s actually Sad Keanu and it’s only happening in our dreams. Psych! It’s also happening right here.
We Now Have to Contemplate What the Phrase “That M.I.A. Album Is Too Positive” Means
That’s got to reflect poorly on society, right?
Nevermind, Just Give Me Some Whiskey
Really, Academy of Motion Picture Sciences? Really?
They have to have lost Kathryn Bigelow’s votes. How else they can explain snubbing this incredibly talented director? Even the Director’s Guild gave her a nomination.
This Happened. And We’re Still Laughing About It.
Al Roker pooped his pants and told the world, even though he could have lived an entire lifetime without ever telling a soul. And now none of will ever forget, no matter how hard we try.
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credit: Jonathan Olley/Columbia Pictures]
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Following New York Times Magazine's publication of Stephen Rodrick's phenomenal "Here Is What Happens When You Cast Lindsay Lohan in Your Movie," Google News was overrun with headlines even more negative than the Times article itself. "Lindsay Lohan Is Awful to Work With." "Lindsay Lohan — Tales of Drunken, Crying Debauchery on Movie Set." "Lindsay Lohan Was Drinking and Driving, Popping Pills During The Canyons Filming." The list would continue — between tales of the actress' frequent emotional breakdowns (crying outside director Paul Schrader's hotel room for 90 minutes), professional mishaps (failing to show up to set on numerous occasions), and possibly illegal activity (driving while under the influence of alcohol) on the set of Paul Schrader's The Canyons, editors had plenty of content to choose from.
Yet, with all the focus on Lohan's well-reported problems, editors and pop culture fans are missing the bottom line of Rodrick's article: The piece is the best thing that's happened to Lindsay Lohan in years.
It might not seem that way at first. After all, after reading the piece, an understandable course of action for any producer or director courting Lohan would be to fly to the opposite end of the world faster than you can say "an eavesdropping Dina Lohan." But while Rodrick's story presented Lohan as a immature nightmare whose behavior only got worse after she was fired, it also proved that the actress is a Hollywood figure as fascinating as she is shrewd. Lohan is no spoiled Hollywood princess famous for being famous — she's a scrappy manipulator who knows the system as well as the "f**k u" on the back of her hand.
Take this choice excerpt from Rodrick's article:
Lohan suggested shooting the scene at the Grove, a tony West Hollywood shopping center.
“Look, we can shoot at the Grove, and we can get it for free.”
Pope looked at her with confusion.
“We’ll have ‘Access Hollywood’ pay for it. They’ll film it, I’ll answer three questions about the movie and then they’ll pay for it. It’s really easy.”
Pope and Schrader were unconvinced. But Lohan was insistent as she left the room.
“They’ll do it. You just have to know how to work it.”Or this portion of the piece, showcasing Lohan's relationship with the paparazzi:
Over at the mall, Schrader paced nervously. “We need to get three shots, and we’re not going to get a second chance.” He was worried about attracting the attention of mall security. An hour later, Lohan arrived in her black Porsche trailed by four or five paparazzi. Schrader threw up his hands and said, “That’s it.”
Lohan told him, politely, to shut up.
“Paul, we can do this.”
She climbed out of her car and turned to the photographers.
“I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll give you a good shot, but then you have to go.” Lohan turned to her good side and hiked her floor-length skirt up to show a little leg.
“O.K., five, four, three, two, one. Now you have to go.”It's tidbits like these that elevate Lohan past the desperate Sean Young status she's enjoyed since her first DUI arrest in 2007. Of course, Lohan isn't someone to feel sorry for or someone to root for — she has participated in heinous illegal activity. But, now, following Rodrick's article, she's someone to invest in. After all, Lohan's story in 8,000 words turned out to be more interesting than Norma Desmond, Vicki Lester, and Neely O'Hara's combined. She's terrible. She's irrational. She's incorrigible. But she's brilliant. And, as she herself has said, she's a fighter — for better or for worse. (Okay, mostly worse.)
And now we can't help but be strapped in, waiting to find out whether Lohan will get a TKO or tap out in the next round. There's no denying whatever little curiosity you had about The Canyons prior to reading Rodrick's article has since increased tenfold. (Heck, you might actually see it.) And there's no denying that, while reading the piece, you finally cared about Lindsay Lohan. And that's a feeling no Tonight Show interview, Lifetime movie, or Playboy spread could invite.
Thanks to Rodrick's article, for the first time in years, we're not looking back, fondly remembering the days Lohan charmed us in critically acclaimed fare like The Parent Trap and Mean Girls. Instead, pop culture fans actually want to see what happens next in Lohan's life. And that's the best thing that could ever happen to her. Well, besides normalcy, of course.
[Image Credit: Kmm-Sasha-Jack-RS/X17online]
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First thing's first: Magic Mike delivers on the eye candy. Club Xquisite the wildest male strip club in Tampa sports an ensemble of muscled men ready to flash their ridiculous moves in even more ridiculous dance numbers (this crew has never seen a pair of assless pants they didn't like). Bringing a few dollar bills to the movie is recommended — Magic Mike is shot up close and personal enough that flailing them about will come naturally.
But between the codpieces air humping and penis pumps Magic Mike tells a surprisingly relatable funny and poignant parable centered on a character all too familiar to anyone with an ounce of ambition. Mike (Channing Tatum) leads a triple life: By day he's a roof tiler; by night an exotic dancer; and in his dreams he's a furniture craftsman and entrepreneur. When Mike first crosses paths with Adam (Alex Pettyfer) his worries about the future are dispelled slipping right into mentor mode to show the 19-year-old the wonders of sex drugs and rock and roll. Adam's broke and without direction — the perfect state of being for a stripper-in-the-making. Mike's sales pitch is irresistible and when Adam unwillingly takes the stage for the first time he feels the rush of a dozen woman screaming groping and stuffing singles down his jock strap. There's no question: A stripper's life is a journey worth embarking on.
In his typical fashion director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic Erin Brockovich) defies conventions sticking with Mike's ups and downs rather than transforming Magic Mike into a Goodfellas-esque "newbie in over his head" story. Between playing protector to the mesmerized Adam and attempting to strike up an actual relationship with Adam's sister Brooke (Cody Horn) Mike finds himself for the first time looking inward. Does a job define a man? He's convinced it doesn't but as Adam loses himself to the profession becoming the Xquisite's cutthroat owner Dallas' (the wonderfully slimy Matthew McConaughey) right-hand man and parlaying the gig into more dangerous ventures Mike realizes breakdancing in thongs may be more poisonous to his dreams than he ever realized.
Exploitation Magic Mike is not. The film's dance sequences are sexy and sleek but only to clue the audience into the job's allure. Backstage is equally important; Soderbergh does an amazing job constructing the boy's club atmosphere that keeps Mike and Adam coming back. Lively characters like Ken (Matt Bomer) and Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello) say little but speak volumes in the background of every scene. They're palling around and when they finally do reach out to Adam to profess their friendship it makes perfect sense. For a guy without a family the dancers are a perfect replacement.
While the cast is stellar Tatum continues his streak of star-making performances in the role of Mike. Obviously the man can dance — and he blows any memories of Step Up into oblivion. Beyond that he's perfectly in tune with Soderbergh's naturalistic style cool on his feet with the comedy and devastatingly subtle in the drama. His rapport with Horn who is equally striking in her casual approach is sweet and real a constant reminder that even a guy who lap dances in a fireman costume for a living has feelings too. Soderbergh enhances each of his performers with spot on photography: His Tampa is gritty and yellow-tinged the interior of the club a safe haven from the blase nature of reality. Magic Mike carries a full package.
Magic Mike hits all the right notes of comedy and drama that's completely unexpected in the summer blockbuster surroundings. Come for the stripping stay for the high-caliber filmmaking. Magic Mike is one of the year's best.
Another day, another scare for Lindsay Lohan. Less than one week after the actress was hospitalized following a car crash with an 18-wheeler, paramedics were rushed to Lindsay Lohan's hotel room Friday morning after the actress was found unconscious in her room at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Los Angeles. A spokesperson for the L.A. Sheriff's Office tells Hollywood.com that when staff arrived at Lohan's room to wake her for work on the Lifetime movie Liz & Dick, "they couldn't wake her, so they called 911. When paramedics arrived, she was able to become conscious." Lohan's rep says the actress was not taken to the hospital, and plans on continuing work on the set later today.
According to a statement from Lohan's rep, "Lindsay was examined and is fine, but did suffer some exhaustion and dehydration. Lindsay was never taken to a hospital; reports to the contrary are false. She is resting now and is hoping to be back on set later this afternoon."
So what was responsible for Lohan's health setback? If the actress' rep is to be believed, simple fatigue led to the 911 call. "Lindsay worked a grueling schedule the past few days," he said in a statement. "She was on set last night at 7 pm and worked through the night until 8 am this morning. She took a nap before shooting her final scene. Producers were concerned when she did not come out of her room and called paramedics as a precaution."
Lohan is eyeing a comeback with Liz & Dick, a film centered around the iconic Hollywood romance between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Earlier this year, she successfully completed a longstanding probation stemming from two DUI arrests in 2007. (Reporting by Lindsey DiMattina)
[Photo Credit: David Edwards/Daily Celeb]
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