This morning Neil Patrick Harris and Aaron Paul, fillng in for Kate Mara, whose flight was delayed, announced the 2013 Emmy Awards nominations. Here's the full list of nominees. Did your favorite make the cut?
Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey Damian Lewis, Homeland Kevin Spacey, House of Cards Jon Hamm, Mad Men Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey Claire Danes, Homeland Robin Wright, House of Cards Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men Connie Britton, Nashville Kerry Washington, Scandal
Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra Matt Damon, Behind the Candelabra Toby Jones, The Girl Benedict Cumberbatch, Parade's End Al Pacino, Phil Spector
Outstanding Lead Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Asylum Laura Linney, The Big C Helen Mirren, Phil Spector Sigourney Weaver, Political Animals Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake
Outstanding Host For A Reality Or Reality-Competition Program Ryan Seacrest, American Idol Betty White, Betty White's Off Their Rockers Tom Bergeron, Dancing With The Stars Heidi Klum, Project Runway Tim Gunn, Project Runway Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance Anthony Bourdain, The Taste
Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series Jason Bateman, Arrested Development Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory Matt Leblanc, Episodes Don Cheadle, House of Lies Louis C.K., Louie Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series Laura Dern, Enlightened Lena Dunham, Girls Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation Tina Fey, 30 Rock Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Outstanding Reality - Competition Program The Amazing Race Dancing With The Stars Project Runway So You Think You Can DanceTop Chef The Voice
Outstanding Variety Series The Colbert Report The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Jimmy Kimmel Live Late Night With Jimmy Fallon Real Time With Bill Maher Saturday Night Live
Outstanding Miniseries Or Movie American Horror Story: Asylum Behind The Candelabra The Bible Phil Spector Political Animals Top Of The Lake
Outstanding Comedy Series The Big Bang Theory Girls Louie 30 Rock Veep
Outstanding Drama Series Breaking Bad Downton Abbey Game Of Thrones Homeland House Of Cards Mad Men
Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series Bobby Cannavale, Boardwalk Empire Jonathan Banks, Breaking Bad Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad Jim Carter, Downton Abbey Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones Morena Baccarin, Homeland Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
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Doing the near impossible by eclipsing the warp speed of 2009's Star Trek, J.J. Abrams' sequel is wall-to-wall action empowered by the strong characters set up in the original. Star Trek Into Darkness, from geek-friendly writers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof, hones in on the destructive heroism of James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), the Captain's friendship with all-too-logical Spock (Zachary Quinto), and a worthy adversary for the crew: the superhuman terrorist John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch). The approach leaves the ensemble, elegantly woven into the adventure of the first movie, on the sidelines. Instead of reminding us why we love the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise, Into Darkness floods the screen with spectacle and relies on memories of the past to fill in the blanks. What's the Klingon word for "overload?"
From the first notes of Michael Giacchino's rousing score, we're thrust into the middle of the action. A chase scene on a lush planet jumps to an escape from volcanic eruption jumps to Kirk and Spock back on Earth defending themselves against Federation punishment (a dialogue scene that taps snappy dialogue and big emotion to keep the momentum going). Kirk is under fire for going against the "Prime Directive," stating that the Starfleet won't interfere with the internal development of alien civilizations. Standing down isn't his style — and it costs him Spock as his right hand man, the Enterprise, and a career. He's pulled back in by Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller), who needs Kirk's renegade style to catch Harrison. A format Starfleet officer, Cumberbatch's Harrison is more than meets the eye, but violent attacks against the Federation are enough to light a fire under Kirk's ass. The rage-filled Captain recruits his former crew to boldly go after Harrison.
Into Darkness lacks the camaraderie that made Star Trek pop — and even Cumberbatch's scenery chewing instincts are stymied by surface-level drama — Abrams never blinks an eye when it comes to the direction. He finds tension with the grand CG set pieces (a spaceship chase through the canyons of an alien planet is basically a proof of concept for Star Wars 7) and finds all the right angles for a intensely close-up space jump scene through a field of debris. The movie acknowledges that this is repeat business, essentially the same scene from movie one, but it's expertly crafted and a thrill thanks to Abrams' knowhow.
With all the innovation on display, Star Trek Into Darkness can't escape the shadow of its dramatic cues. It's completely indebted to Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan — a foundation that must be bewildering to the non-fan. The movie also functions as a 9/11 allegory. Or, more specifically, the conspiracies surrounding 9/11. With a large portion of action taking place on Earth, trauma strikes among skyscrapers and screaming pedestrians in an on-the-nose fashion. It wrenches the gut, but it's easy. True drama between Kirk and Spock exists thanks to Pine and Quinto's vivid portrayals, but it's all for naught when the inciting incidents are nostalgic riffs rather than freshly born situations.
Star Trek had its fair share of plot holes, but they were swept up in the fun factor of watching a motley crew of young actors figure out teamwork. Into Darkness is missing the team, and missing the fun. Abrams takes a dark turn with his follow-up and promises an epically-scaled sparring match between Kirk and Cumberbatch. The movie winds up moving so quickly, glossing over so much to get to that final clash, that Star Trek Into Darkness fizzles out by its finish.
What do you think? Tell Matt Patches directly on Twitter @misterpatches and read more of his reviews on Rotten Tomatoes!
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Actor Nicolas Cage has a lot in common with his superhero counterpart Ghost Rider featured once again on the big screen in the pseudo-sequel Spirit of Vengeance. Much like the daemon-infested crime fighter Cage has the power to make anything he touches explode into a wild blazing inferno thanks to his unique performance techniques. Cage does not simply deliver a line he detonates it; He does not simply react to his co-stars he executes an interpretive dance; He does not simply throw a punch he unleashes physical armageddon. Occasionally the style provokes unintentional laugher but in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance anything less would be unrealistic.
The new adventure finds Ghost Rider aka Johnny Blaze a former stunt man cursed after begging the Devil to save his father's life hiding out in Eastern Europe where he believes his soul-sucking alter-ego can remain silent. But Blaze's TLC session is cut short when Moreau (Idris Elba) an Algerian priest with connections to the Devil's latest diabolical plan arrives. Seems Satan who walks the Earth under the alias Roarke is hellbent on inhabiting Danny the young son of Nadya who made her own deal with the Prince of Darkness. If he succeeds Roarke will continue existing in the world of man—so of course it's up to Ghost Rider to put the kibosh on the end-of-the-world scenario.
If you didn't see the first Ghost Rider movie don't fret; the sequel isn't confined by any established mythology nor is it that concerned with the logic of its own story. Directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor employ a manic eye for action displayed in earlier films like Crank and Gamer shooting motorcycle chases shootouts and flaming skull transformations with adrenaline-infused camerawork that should leave anyone susceptible to motion sickness running to the bathroom. The 3-D transfer of the movie is a non-factor the post-convereted stereoscopic effects rarely intrude on the zippy camerawork. Unlike the Crank films Ghost Rider contends with its script dragging when the movie tries to explain what the heck is going on and only picking up when the directing duo and Nic Cage are allowed to play.
A host of solid supporting actors breath traces of life into half-baked villain and characters—Ciaran Hinds stands out as Roarke playing him like a forgotten Dick Tracy baddie—but at the end of the day Spirit of Vengeance is all Cage's show. With the fire of hell burning inside Blaze is in a constant fight against himself and Cage embodies the monstrous struggle with cockeyed rage and growling vocals. Neveldine and Taylor make the most of their larger-than-life lead and Cage spends most of the film teetering on the edge ballistic fury. That's not to say the movie doesn't take its quiet moments–a scene between Cage and Elba where Blaze begs Moreau to remove the Ghost Rider curse is surprisingly dramatic—but the movie has goals: to rattle you at 100 miles per hour.
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance isn't as fun flashy or poignant as some of its recent comic book contemporaries but for 90 minutes Neveldine and Taylor revel in the ridiculous wringing their character and lead actor for every ounce of mayhem. This is a greasy gritty grunge Ghost Rider purposefully disgusting and low-fi. While a stronger emphasis on story would only help the spotty action flick Spirit of Vengeance proves a decent alternative to the faithful boyscouts and friendly neighborhoood superheroes that fill our big screen blockbusters. Ghost Rider belches magma pisses fire and plays nasty—you probably already know if this movie is for you.
Previously on Harry Potter: Big bad Voldemort steals the Elder Wand from Dumbledore's grave while Harry mourns the loss of his wee elf friend Dobby and begins his search for the remaining Horcruxes.
If that recap leaves you with hazy memories of last year's Deathly Hallows - Part 1 you may want to pop in the DVD before taking on the Harry Potter franchise's grand finale Deathly Hallows - Part 2. The eighth film in the series doesn't pull any punches demanding your knowledge of the saga's previous events and crescendoing off a foundation of character and connection built over a decade of cinematic excursions. That's not a fault -- Deathly Hallows - Part 2 serves hardcore fans and dedicated patrons of the franchise alike bouncing elegantly back and forth between explosive action and emotional conclusions. At this point that's what matters.
Whereas Deathly Hallows - Part 1 took Harry Hermione and Ron on a gritty race through the real world Part 2 brings the trio back to their home base Hogwarts School of Magic and Child Death where their colleagues and professors find themselves defending it against the empowered Voldemort and his band of Death Eaters. Similarly to Transformers: Dark of the Moon Deathly Hallows - Part 2 spends most of its run time following various established characters as they navigate the epic battle. Unlike the clunky erratic action of TF3 director David Yates manages to execute the sequences in Potter with bravado making sure we give a damn every time Potter discovers a secret from the past blows a Death Eater out a window or glances upon one of his closest friends lying dead on the floor.
For all its otherworldliness Potter is and always has been a human story one that puts its characters before spectacle. But when Yates and his team of FX wizards do unleash their bag of spells on the screen they do it with a very BIG bang. Deathly Hallows - Part 2's scope is on par with the Lord of the Rings trilogy bringing everything from trolls to spiders to animate statues into the wizards' massive assault. The franchise hasn't seen action on this scale before but Yates never misses a beat or opportunity to dazzle with visual eye candy. Turning the crumbling of Hogwarts castle into a riveting poignant experience -- true magic.
Once again Daniel Radcliffe Emma Watson Rupert Grint and a cast of veteran British thespians deliver the necessary gravitas to anchor Potter's fantastical elements in reality. With everything finally on the line in Deathly Hallows - Part 2 each performance is at its best and Radcliffe steps up to the plate to make his final showdown with Voldemort one to remember. He spends most of the movie covered in dirt encrusted blood on his face and a harrowing sense of death behind his eyes. Heavy material but Radcliffe pulls it off.
Few franchises have the chance that Harry Potter has been fortunate enough to receive to follow the same familiar faces through years of ever-complicating story. Thankfully Deathly Hallows - Part 2 doesn't squander the opportunity. The saga swells with a triumphant final act one that never forgets why people love the movies in the first place. The adventure the awe the comedy the thrills the people the places the things -- those are the elements that make Harry Potter grand and they return in perfect form once more to say good-bye.
For a few years in the '60s and '70s producer Gerry Anderson made "supermarionation" all the rage in the world of British children's television. His stop-motion puppets starred in a number of sci-fi adventure series most memorably Thunderbirds which followed the exploits of International Rescue -- a team comprised of ex-astronaut Jeff Tracy and his sons. Based out of their secret fortress on Treasure Island the Tracys (aided by lovely secret agent Lady Penelope) used their amazing rocket-powered vehicles to prevent disasters and save lives around the world. Now 40 years after Thunderbirds' TV debut Star Trek vet Jonathan Frakes has brought Anderson's characters to life on the big screen. Front and center is youngest son Alan Tracy (Brady Corbet) who dreams of the day he too can pilot one of his family's fab ships and lead missions. But first he has to prove himself to his father Jeff (Bill Paxton). That opportunity comes sooner than either expects when mysterious villain The Hood (Ben Kingsley) strands Jeff and the older Tracy boys in space and attacks Treasure Island. With only his friends Tintin (Vanessa Anne Hudgens) and Fermat (Soren Fulton) to help him Alan has to grow up quickly if he wants to save his family ... and the world!
It would be easy to mock several of the performances in Thunderbirds-- to chide Paxton for his earnest seriousness as Tracy patriarch Jeff to dismiss Corbet's angst-tinged eagerness as Alan to roll your eyes at Kingsley's over-the-top mystical fierceness as The Hood and to wince at Fulton and Anthony Edwards' nerdy stuttering as science whizzes Fermat and his dad Brains. But actors are only as good as their script and the one Frakes has given his cast (courtesy of screenwriters William Osborne and Michael McCullers) is weak and clichéd at best filled with after-school-special-worthy lessons for Alan to learn. "You can't save everyone " Jeff tells his son somberly and even Tintin has a moral for her crush when he's feeling selfish and indulging in self-pity: "This is hard on all of us Alan." Talk about insight! What makes it even more frustrating is knowing that the actors are capable of much more even the kids: Both Corbet and Hudgens did well with supporting roles in Thirteen. Thunderbirds' only real bright spot is Sophia Myles as Lady Penelope. A cross between Reese Witherspoon's Elle in Legally Blonde and Jennifer Garner's Sydney on Alias Myles' Lady P doesn't let her pink couture wardrobe prevent her from coolly kicking ass when the situation demands it. Attended by her droll driver/man-of-all-trades Parker (Ron Cook) Lady Penelope is a fresh feisty heroine with all of the film's best lines -- and the coolest car to boot.
Frakes cut his directorial teeth on episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and his first feature film was Star Trek: First Contact so he would seem like a natural choice to bring a cult sci-fi TV show to the big screen. Unfortunately while he does an admirable job re-creating (and improving on) the original Thunderbirds' mod sets cool ships and special effects (which are fine if a bit more TV-sized than summer blockbustery) Frakes can't seem to decide who his audience is. If he was aiming at grown-ups who remember the show fondly from their own childhood he should have embraced the source material's campiness (à la Starsky and Hutch) rather than restricting it to the Tracys' plastic Barbie-like furniture and Lady P's bouffant hairdo. If on the other hand Frakes was hoping to entertain today's kids he should have really reinvented the show for a 21st-century world (à la Stephen Hopkins'1998 Lost in Space) rather than clinging to the '60s references As it is he's stuck somewhere in the middle leaving adults bored during the kids-on-an-adventure bits and children mystified by the handful of jokes aimed at their parents.
As Love Actually begins we are told that perhaps the world isn't such a dire and hateful place that "love actually is all around." Around London anyway. The film explores no less than seven different romantic scenarios within the bustling British capital--all of which interconnect and eventually resolve on Christmas Eve. There's the newly elected dashing Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) who is smitten with his secretary the earthy Natalie (Martine McCutcheon); Karen (Emma Thompson) whose husband Harry (Alan Rickman) has strayed with his seductive secretary Mia (Heike Makatsch); Sarah (Laura Linney) the American wallflower who has a crush on her colleague Carl (Rodrigo Santoro); Jamie (Colin Firth) who falls for his pretty Portuguese housekeeper Aurelia (Lucia Moniz)…there are lots more but you get the gist. As love goes things may not get tied up neatly in brightly colored packages for everyone but there's still enough good cheer to spread around.
Showcasing some of Britain's finest actors Love Actually doesn't have a bad banana in the bunch. Floppy-haired Hugh Grant turns in an endearing performance and proves there isn't a romantic comedy he can't handle. He has an uncanny knack for connecting with any actress he happens to be romancing; in this case it's the adorable McCutcheon best known for the hit British TV drama EastEnders. Rickman and Thompson are quite good as the couple whose long-term marriage is beginning to crack; Thompson especially does a nice job trying to hide her pain while being a happy mom. Linney too shines as Sarah who glows with excitement when she finally gets what she so ardently wished for. Veteran stage and film actor Bill Nighy (Underworld) however steals the show as a carefree aging rock star desperate for a comeback. His Billy Mack smacks of Mick Jagger Keith Richards and Rod Stewart all rolled into one.
"I'm worried that we don't have the word 'massacre' in the title " writer/director Richard Curtis fretted to Entertainment Weekly referring to how horror-loving American audiences might not take to his new romantic comedy that is already a huge hit in Britain. True perhaps a romantic comedy starring a multitude of A-list British actors might not bring in the required masses. But who cares about the money (did I just say that)? Curtis who has written some of the best romantic comedies of the last decade including Four Weddings and a Funeral Notting Hill and Bridget Jones' Diary steps behind the camera for the first time here and is able to give each story a unique point of view from the lovesick to the wacky. There actually may be too many stories in Love Actually but it's a small gaffe. Love Actually is a refreshing good old fashioned warm and gushy movie that takes your mind off the bad things for the holiday season and Curtis should feel confident about his directing debut.