On Sunday night, the TV-viewing public — or at least a relatively small, geeky-ish fraction thereof — let out a collective gasp when Melisandre (spoiler alert!) gave birth to Lost’s smoke monster on HBO's Game of Thrones. We’re still in a little bit of a head-scratching haze over the development, which got us wondering about 2012’s TV moments that’ve rocked our world, because even though the year is not even yet six months old, there have been WTF?! moments aplenty. Here are our top seven picks!
Game of Thrones: Smoke Baby (Duh!)
This show is known for pushing every conceivable boundary, but it took an interesting turn when new character Melisandre gave birth to a smoky demon while Davos Seaworth, and viewers, looked on in horror. She stripped down to her birthday suit in a wet, gloomy cave, revealing a very pregnant belly that wasn't there last week. Whatever was in there began making its way out violently, resulting in a horrifying birthing scene that consisted of a reincarnation of Lost's smoke monster grabbing her calves and pulling its way out. Then, it disappeared into the night while Melisandre smiled. She's weird! -Shaunna Murphy
Next: Don Draper did what? Mad Men: Don's Fever Dream
Don's murderous fever dream was shocking. Even though we knew it was a dream Don clearly has some terrible stuff creeping up on his subconscious. Things aren't going to end well with him and Megan, but this dream may have been a sign of how bad it could get. -Aly Semigran
We all sighed when we thought Don Draper had broken his vows to new wife Megan when he pounced on an old girlfriend while home sick. But then, following their regrettable romp, we all gasped watching Don pounce on her again… and strangle her to death. Of course, we know there was something as suspect as Pete Campbell about the moment — we are way too far away from Mad Men's finale for the murder to be real. Though it turned out to be a fever-inducing hallucination, realizing that the character is capable of killing — even only in his dreams — was a shocking setback for the new Don. -Kate Ward
Next: The Parks and Rec relationship heard 'round the world.Parks and Recreation: Anne + Tom Sittin' in a Tree
Ann is actually dating Tom. For real. And she didn't even pass his "Oh-no-no" test. How can Tommy Fresh have a boo-bear who doesn't even know who Ginuwine is? GINUWINE! Until this relationship hits a wall, I will perpetually be found making Ron Swanson's hernia face. -Kelsea Stahler
Next: Idol voters' temporary insanity.
American Idol: Jessica Sanchez (Almost) Gets the Boot
Jessica Sanchez receiving the lowest number of votes, while Hollie Cavanagh sat comfortably on the safe couch. How voters allowed the best singer this show has seen in years feel the sting of elimination (before the judges rightfully saved her talented tushie) while Hollie, the unpolished-pixie-wonder, enjoys waves of votes is absolutely inconceivable. Are they not watching the show? Do they not notice how deathly silent CBS studios gets every time the judges slam Hollie's performances? -Kelsea Stahler
Next: Ru-Paul's Drag Race gets slimy.RuPaul's Drag Race: Vomit-gate
The action on this campy reality show is usually straight forward: the queens put on their dresses, lip sync for their lives, and one of them is sent home. On one episode this season, things didn't go according to plan. Willam, one of the favorites in the race, was safe from elimination when he just started barfing all over his platform pumps. After two other contestants were up for being voted out, Ru called Willam back on stage and told him he had broken the rules and to pack his bags. He wiped the vom off his lips and sashayed off the show, without any further explanation given. Seriously, everyone, WTF to all of that! -Brian Moylan
Next: The Bachelor gets schooled.The Bachelor: That Awkward "Kissing Lesson"
On dating shows like this you're always going to encounter a few (many) awkward moments. But Jamie Otis took things to a whole new level when she decided to straddle Bachelor Ben Flajnik (in a very short dress, might I add) and instruct him on how to kiss properly. No man at any age wants to be told that he's not kissing the right way! Any chance of this girl winning Ben's heart went out the window at this precise moment. It was all kinds of awkward times ten. -Kelly Schremph
Next: Old Favorites on the 'Town.The Scrubs Cast on Cougar Town
As a Scrubs fan from the early indie-dramedy style days right down to the cartoon-esque finale season, it couldn’t have been more of a thrill than it was to see Cougar Town accumulate five surprise Scrubs alums for the purposes of a 30-second joke at the very end of its Season 3 episode “A One Story Town.” As Sam Lloyd (Scrubs’ Ted) begins to freak out that everyone around him resembles people from his old job at a hospital, the jokes become more and more absurd, climaxing with Zach Braff showing up as a pizza boy and Rob Maschio (The Todd) requesting a high five. It was nuts, and incredibly fun. Oh, and yes, I watch Cougar Town. -Michael Arbeiter
In This Means War – a stylish action/rom-com hybrid from director McG – Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) and Chris Pine (Star Trek) star as CIA operatives whose close friendship is strained by the fires of romantic rivalry. Best pals FDR (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy) are equally accomplished at the spy game but their fortunes diverge dramatically in the dating realm: FDR (so nicknamed for his obvious resemblance to our 32nd president) is a smooth-talking player with an endless string of conquests while Tuck is a straight-laced introvert whose love life has stalled since his divorce. Enter Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) a pretty plucky consumer-products evaluator who piques both their interests in separate unrelated encounters. Tuck meets her via an online-dating site FDR at a video-rental store. (That Lauren is tech-savvy enough to date online but still rents movies in video stores is either a testament to her fascinating mix of contradictions or more likely an example of lazy screenwriting.)
When Tuck and FDR realize they’re pursuing the same girl it sparks their respective competitive natures and they decide to make a friendly game of it. But what begins as a good-natured rivalry swiftly devolves into romantic bloodsport with both men using the vast array of espionage tools at their disposal – from digital surveillance to poison darts – to gain an edge in the battle for Lauren’s affections. If her constitutional rights happen to be violated repeatedly in the process then so be it.
Lauren for her part remains oblivious to the clandestine machinations of her dueling suitors and happily basks in the sudden attention from two gorgeous men. Herein we find the Reese Witherspoon Dilemma: While certainly desirable Lauren is far from the irresistible Helen of Troy type that would inspire the likes of Tuck and FDR to risk their friendship their careers and potential incarceration for. At several points in This Means War I found myself wondering if there were no other peppy blondes in Los Angeles (where the film is primarily set) for these men to pursue. Then again this is a film that wishes us to believe that Tom Hardy would have trouble finding a date so perhaps plausibility is not its strong point.
When Lauren needs advice she looks to her boozy foul-mouthed best friend Trish (Chelsea Handler). Essentially an extension of Handler’s talk-show persona – an acquired taste if there ever was one – Trish’s dialogue consists almost exclusively of filthy one-liners delivered in rapid-fire succession. Handler does have some choice lines – indeed they’re practically the centerpiece of This Means War’s ad campaign – but the film derives the bulk of its humor from the outrageous lengths Tuck and FDR go to sabotage each others’ efforts a raucous game of spy-versus-spy that carries the film long after Handler’s shtick has grown stale.
Business occasionally intrudes upon matters in the guise of Heinrich (Til Schweiger) a Teutonic arms dealer bent on revenge for the death of his brother. The subplot is largely an afterthought existing primarily as a means to provide third-act fireworks – and to allow McGenius an outlet for his ADD-inspired aesthetic proclivities. The film’s action scenes are edited in such a manic quick-cut fashion that they become almost laughably incoherent. In fairness to McG he does stage a rather marvelous sequence in the middle of the film in which Tuck and FDR surreptitiously skulk about Lauren's apartment unaware of each other's presence carefully avoiding detection by Lauren who grooves absentmindedly to Montel Jordan's "This Is How We Do It." The whole scene unfolds in one continuous take – or is at least craftily constructed to appear as such – captured by one very agile steadicam operator.
Whatever his flaws as a director McG is at least smart enough to know how much a witty script and appealing leads can compensate for a film’s structural and logical deficiencies. He proved as much with Charlie’s Angels a film that enjoys a permanent spot on many a critic’s Guilty Pleasures list and does so again with This Means War. The film coasts on the chemistry of its three co-stars and only runs into trouble when the time comes to resolve its romantic competition which by the end has driven its male protagonists to engage in all manner of underhanded and duplicitous activities. This Means War being a commercial film – and likely an expensive one at that – Witherspoon's heroine is mandated to make a choice and McG all but sidesteps the whole thorny matter of Tuck and FDR’s unwavering dishonesty not to mention their craven disregard for her privacy. (They regularly eavesdrop on her activities.) For all their obvious charms the truth is that neither deserves Lauren – or anything other than a lengthy jail sentence for that matter.
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The Four Weddings & A Funeral star is so beloved among film fans, he's mostly forgiven for his liaison with prostitute Divine Brown 13 years ago - a scandal that would have ruined many men.
Instead, Grant bounced back with a string of hit movies like Notting Hill, Two Weeks Notice and Bridget Jones's Diary, in which he played the perfect cad.
Away from Hollywood, he has dated two of the world's great English beauties in Elizabeth Hurley and Jemima Khan and he's a huge fan of golf, soccer and cricket.
To many, he's an example of all that is good - and bad - about the upper-crust British bloke, and we salute Hugh!
To mark his 50th, we dug through his archive for 10 things you might not have known about Hugh John Mungo Grant:
- he won a scholarship to England's prestigious Oxford University.
- the editors of British film bible Empire picked him 43rd in their 100 Sexiest Stars in movie history list in 1995.
- ex-girlfriend and business partner Elizabeth Hurley called their production company Simian Films, because she thought Grant looked like an ape.
- top star Vincent Cassell used to dub Grant's voice for the French release of his films - even though Grant is fluent in French.
- he is working on a script about his grandfather's real-life escape from a prisoner of war camp during World War Two.
- like Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, he's a big fan of London soccer club Fulham.
- he was originally cast as Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
- Andrew Lloyd Webber's mother taught the young Hugh how to play the piano.
- he pleaded no contest to lewd behaviour after police officers found him and hooker Divine Brown in a car on Los Angeles' Sunset Boulevard and was fined $1,180 (£787).
- Hugh shares his birthday with Leo Tolstoy, Otis Redding, infamous rock groupie Pamela Des Barres, Adam Sandler, model Rachel Hunter and U.S. drug kingpin Frank Lucas, who was portrayed on film by Denzel Washington in American Gangster.
The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.