It takes a lot of effort for Hugh Jackman to look anything less than handsome at all times. Sure, there’s the occasional awkward running picture or a bad haircut for a period film, but for the most part, his dashing good looks prevail. However, nothing tests that theory quite like a dramatic new look, like the bald-head-with-full-beard that he’s currently rocking for his role as Blackbeard in Joe Wright’s upcoming film Pan. Jackman unveiled a picture of himself and his newly shorn head on Tuesday morning, and while we’re still torn on his new haircut, there’s no doubt that Jackman can pull off a pirate beard like very few others could.
After all, Jackman has a lot more experience with film-required facial hair than almost anyone in Hollywood. So, the real question here isn't whether Jackman still looks good with his new look - of course he does! - but whether this beard is better than all of the other movie beards that the triple-threat has grown over the years. Sure, it belongs to a legendary pirate, but is it better than the iconic Wolverine mutton chops? How about his scraggly convict look from Les Miserables? In order to prove, once and for all, which Jackman beard reigns supreme, we've ranked the actor's many movie beards.
7. Mountain Man Logan in The Wolverine You'd think it would be impossible to make Wolverine, one of the hottest superheroes of all time, unattractive, but it turns out that all it takes is the combination of a scraggly, unruly beard and some limp, greasy hair extensions.
6. Wace in Erkinsville Kings While Jackman's doing his best to make that patchy goatee work, it's just too uneven and awkwardly grown to properly highlight those cheekbones. Plus, it makes him look old and haggard, which are two words that should never be used to describe him.
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
5. Jean Valjean in Les Miserables If you consider that the prison Valjean spent 15 years locked away in mot likely didn't have things like razors, running water or the concept of basic grooming, the resulting beard isn't actually that bad.
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
4. Keller Dover in Prisoners It's not the best movie beard that Jackman has ever worn, but do you really want to be the one to tell that guy to shave it off? He'll probably strangle you if you even think anything bad about his facial hair.
3. Blackbeard in Pan Not since Johnny Depp put gold fronts on his teeth to play Jack Sparrow has an actor gone from "regular guy" to "full-blown pirate" so quickly. And Jackman didn't even need any extensions.
20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
2. Logan/Wolverine in the X-Men films It might seem blasphemous to deny Jackman's most iconic character the top spot, but when you really stop and think about it, that mutton chop/chin beard hybrid is pretty stupid-looking. It's a testament to Jackman's good looks that he manages to pull it off so well.
20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
1. Drover in Australia Australia might not be a very good movie, but it did give the world the gift of Jackman as a rugged, scruffy cowboy, and for that, we will be eternally grateful - although not grateful enough to stop making jokes about it.
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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If I can’t have either Jonathan Groff, Taylor Kitsch, or both Groff and Kitsch all to myself, at least they can have each other. The gorgeous Glee and Friday Night Lights heartthrobs, respectively, have just signed on to star as lovers in Ryan Murphy’s upcoming dramatic HBO film The Normal Heart.
The TV movie is based on a largely autobiographical 1985 play by Larry Kramer and focuses on the rise of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City in the early 1980s. Groff will take on the role of Craig, one of the early victims of the disease. Kitsch will play Bruce Niles, an investment banker who becomes an AIDS activist after falling in love with Craig.
Groff and Kitsch join Broadway actor/director Joe Mantello, who was just cast as Mickey Marcus, a man who was an instrumental member of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. Previously announced cast members include Julia Roberts as Dr. Emma Brookner (a disabled physician who treats the very first AIDS patients), Avengers star Mark Ruffalo as Ned Weeks (a gay activist witnessing the early outbreak of the disease), Matt Bomer as Felix Turner (Ned's lover), and Jim Parsons as Tommy Boatwright.
The Normal Heart will premiere in 2014 on HBO.
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Sunday night on TV is notoriously dramatic — from revenge-seeking socialites in the Hamptons, to fairy tales with deathly consequences, to zombie-fighting. So, why not take in the breath of fresh air that is The Makeover?
In this romantic TV movie, Hannah Higgins (Julia Stiles) is a smart and driven education consultant. She's so driven, in fact, that she runs for Congress to advance the cause of education reform. But Hannah is not a likable candidate, as her elitism turns off Boston voters big-time. However she and her business partner, Colleen Pickering (Camryn Manheim), don't give up easily, and in the following election recruit a candidate who definitely is a man of the people, beer vendor Elliot Doolittle (David Walton). The two make a bet on whether they can transform him into a political player.
What follows is a light romantic comedy-esque trope (mild spoiler alert… but not really if you’ve ever seen any romantic movie ever) with Hannah and Elliot doing the dance of we-hate-each-other-then-we fall-for-each-other. But the reason The Makeover stands out from the overpopulated crowd of romantic TV movies is the stellar acting from the cast behind the characters.
Stiles is a veteran actor, dating all the way back to the days of her iconic role in 10 Things I Hate About You, where she won the heart of Heath Ledger's bad boy, to her recent season-long stint on Dexter, as well as her brilliant yet smaller role as Jennifer Lawrence's sister in the award-winning Silver Linings Playbook. So what made her decide to take on this lighter role?
“I was really at a time in my life when I wanted to do something light and romantic and to go to work everyday and be able to laugh,” Stiles told Hollywood.com at the red carpet premiere of The Makeover. “I had been doing a lot of drama. And as much as that’s rewarding and challenging and great, I just wanted to do something romantic. I’m kind of a sucker for that stuff.”
NBC veteran Walton decided to take a break from the Peacock to get back to his Boston roots, but the challenge of taking on a deep Boston accent almost turned him off of the movie. “I grew up in Boston. And I was really scared to do a thick accent or any accent because I had never done one on a show, and being scared is always a good way to start things,” Walton told Hollywood.com. “I like that challenging aspect. And I thought it was just a really sweet story. I don’t really get a lot of chances to play nice guys. But he’s just a sweet, nice, kind of heroic guy and I liked that. It appealed to me.”
Walton was afraid of his attempt at a deep Boston accent becoming almost a parody of his hometown, and he strived to make it believable through a couple different ways. “Everything from going to the Cask’n Flagon in Boston, and listening to people, and trying to talk to all my old friends who live in Boston… I really just started talking like that basically and don’t stop for like two months,” Walton said. “And then trying to figure out the levels, basically was just the most extreme sounding SNL Boston accent and then dial it back like 10 percent. Just so that it didn’t seem like an SNL accent.”
ABC and Hallmark Hall of Fame's The Makeover premieres tonight at 9:00 PM ET/PT on ABC.
[Photo Credit: Erick Heinila/ABC]
Follow Sydney on Twitter @SydneyBucksbaum
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One of the best-kept secrets in teenage television (and book) history, the identity of Gossip Girl will finally be revealed in the sixth and final season of the CW drama. Executive producers Stephanie Savage and Sara Goodman reveal in a video released Friday that they know the identity of the mysterious, troublemaking, dirty-laundry-airing blogger, and soon fans will too. While Gossip Girl’s site was controlled by Georgina (Michelle Trachtenberg) and then held hostage by Serena (Blake Lively) for some time last season, the real Gossip Girl reclaimed control and is back in a big way come Monday night.
I, for one, can’t wait to find out just who has enough time on their hands to find out every single secret our favorite Upper East Siders have been hiding. And neither can the cast of GG: Watch them try to wildly guess who the titular mystery person is in the clip. You'll never guess who their most popular choice is...
Watch the video below, and hit the comments with your theories on who Gossip Girl is!
The final season of Gossip Girl premieres Monday on The CW.
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[Photo Credit: CW]
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Despite Jimmy Kimmel’s disappointing turn as host, the nighttime talk show host delivered an increase in viewers during this year's telecast, according to early ratings postings.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sunday night's broadcast raked in 13.2 million viewers, up from 2011's 12.4 million eyes.
Kimmel, however, couldn't quite go head-to-head with Sunday Night Football, which featured a Ravens-Patriots match-up and attracted 19.8 million viewers. After seeing some of Kimmel's eye roll-worthy stunts — a fake In Memoriam tribute? Really? — we couldn't blame the pigskin fans.
Listen up, Emmy: Want to compete with sports? You would find yourself with a win if you tap TV's funniest ladies — Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Melissa McCarthy, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus — to host. After all, they collectively delivered the best moments of the night.
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Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.
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.
Well it looks like things are finally happening with the billion and a half fairy tale movies heading towards production. Filming officially begun for Tarsem Singh's untitled Snow White comedy-action adventure. It follows Julia Roberts as the evil queen (duh) and up-and-comer Lily Collins.
This is of course, big news for Universal's adaptation of the same story, Snow White and the Huntsman, which stars Kristin Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron. I guess the race is on to see who can make the best Snow White-themed project.
Check out the press release below if that's your sort of thing:
(Beverly Hills, CA) June 15, 2011 – Filming on Relativity Media’s comedy action-adventure Untitled Snow White will begin on Monday, June 20, 2011, under the stylish direction of Tarsem Singh (Immortals, The Cell).
In Relativity's Untitled Snow White starring Oscar®-winner Julia Roberts and breakout star Lily Collins (The Blind Side), an evil Queen (Roberts) steals control of a kingdom, and an exiled princess (Collins) enlists the help of seven resourceful rebels to win back her birthright in a spirited adventure comedy filled with jealousy, romance, and betrayal that will capture the imagination of audiences the world over. The film also stars Armie Hammer (The Social Network) as the object of their affection, Prince Andrew Alcott, and Nathan Lane (The Birdcage) as the hapless and bungling servant to the Queen.
Rounding out the cast are: Mare Winningham (Brothers) as Baker Margaret, Michael Lerner (Elf) as Baron and Mark Povinelli (Water for Elephants), Jordan Prentice (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle), Danny Woodburn (Watchmen), Sebastian Saraceno (Bedtime Stories), Ronald Lee Clark (Epic Movie), Martin Klebba (Pirates of The Caribbean) and Joey Gnoffo (The Benchwarmers) as the Seven Dwarfs.
Singh’s behind the scenes creative team includes: Director of Photography Brendan Galvin (Behind Enemy Lines), Production Designer Tom Foden (The Cell) and the Oscar®-winning Costume Designer Eiko Ishioka (Dracula). Untitled Snow White will film entirely on location in Montreal, Canada.
The film's producers are Ryan Kavanaugh (The Fighter), Bernie Goldmann (300) and Brett Ratner (Rush Hour franchise). The script was written by Melisa Wallack (Meet Bill) and Jason Keller (Machine Gun Preacher).
Breslin made her Broadway debut in the show, about a young deaf and blind Helen Keller and her instructor, played by Pill, in New York on Wednesday night (03Mar10).
But the pair's performance, along with that of co-stars Matthew Modine and Jennifer Morrison, who play Keller's parents, were met with a lukewarm response - with director Kate Whoriskey being criticised by writers at trade publication Backstage for her "troubled staging".
A critic from the New York Times echoes the sentiment: "Surely this production, the first revival of The Miracle Worker to come to Broadway, could have highlighted the play's strengths more effectively... Ms. Whoriskey's production never finds its focus."
The reviewer also questions casting and direction, calling 13-year-old Breslin "probably a tad mature for the role of Helen", while adding Modine "appears to have been directed to speak loudly and in italics, as if the audience itself might be hearing-impaired".
The Hollywood Reporter was more receptive to Breslin's performance, dubbing it "deeply touching".
However, the publication was less kind to Whoriskey and supporting actors Modine and Morrison: "The action takes place in numerous locations, with pieces of furniture distractingly descending from the ceiling at various times... The supporting performances are less effective, with Matthew Modine too blustery as Helen's Civil War veteran father; Jennifer Morrison not making much of an impression as Helen's devoted mother."
The Miracle Worker is not the only big-name Broadway production to struggle to win over critics in the past year - Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig's turn in A Steady Rain proved to be a big hit with fans, but it was largely panned by theatre reviewers when it opened in September (09).
Meanwhile, Jude Law's Hamlet had writers split in their opinion and in October (09), Bill Pullman and Julia Stiles failed to wow critics with their performance in Oleanna.