Veteran actress Dame Angela Lansbury was the toast of the West End on Tuesday night (18Mar14) when she made her London stage comeback after an absence of nearly 40 years. The Murder, She Wrote star last appeared on stage in the British capital in a 1975 production of Hamlet at the National Theatre, but she has made a triumphant return in a revival of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit.
The play opened at the Gielgud Theatre, the same stage once graced by Lansbury's actress mother Moyna MacGill in 1918, on Tuesday and won rave reviews and a standing ovation for its star.
Paul Taylor of The Independent newspaper hails Lansbury's portrayal of kooky medium Madame Arcati as "deliciously erratic" and "funny and endearing" while Charles Spencer of The Daily Telegraph awards the show a maximum of five stars, adding, "Lansbury brings astonishing energy and comic panache to her performance. It is a comedy that still startles and delights... She is terrific... But the whole show is a treat."
Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail also gives the play five stars, adding, "She is perfect. Makes it look effortless," while Henry Hitchings of the London Evening Standard concludes, "Angela Lansbury's return to the West End... is something to treasure... Her fans will be entranced by the charm, balance and precision she brings to such a well-known role."
Mission BriefingThis week on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the terrorist organization Centipede pops its furry little legs into the mix once again. Three of its Extremis powered muscleheads break into a high security prison to extract an inmate named Edison Po, a former marine and tactical expert that can help Centipede go up against S.H.I.E.L.D. The S.H.I.E.L.D. gang decides to fight fire with fire by enlisting Mike Peterson (guest star J. August Richards) in his first appearance since the show's pilot.
The AgentsGuest agent Mike Peterson gets the spotlight this time. Since his near-explosive stand off with the team in the premiere, Mike has been spending his time pushing bulldozers across football fields under S.H.I.E.L.D’s watch. Coulson recruits an eager Peterson for his first special ops mission, but he’ll have to take on three other Extremis powered foes without much help from the other, more fragile members of the team.
Mission FalloutThe team tracks down Centipede to an abandoned shipping warehouse and the two sides do battle. Peterson proves his usefulness by holding his own against the three soldiers, even though he’s outnumbered, but is wounded when one of the enemies stabs him in the side with a nasty piece jagged metal. S.H.I.E.L.D. is able to take down one of the soldiers, but the man is killed remotely by the same cybernetic eye device that the organization has used previously to dispatch its cornered agents. A wounded Peterson calls his son, but discovers that he has been kidnaped by Centipede. Centipede wants to trade Peterson for his son’s safety, and S.H.I.E.L.D. sets up the trade, realizing there’s nothing they can do. During the fateful trade, Centipede reveals that they really want Coulson, and that Peterson was in on the gambit. Coulson gives himself up for the boy’s safety and Centipede whisks him away in a helicopter while the rest of the team can only stand back and watch. Peterson tries to save Coulson, but is presumably killed after Centipede lets off an explosion that rips through the night (though there is no body shown, which means, by comic book rules, that Peterson will most likely show up again at some point in the future). While flying to safety, Centipede reveals to Coulson that they are looking for the same answers that he himself has been searching for all season: How did he come back from the dead?
Mission Highlights and Lowlights— Can this be the very last “He’s standing right behind me, isn’t he?” scene in anything forever? Pretty please?
— What kind of shoe string budget are S.H.I.E.L.D. missions running on that they can’t be bothered to send more forces after three soldiers juiced up with Extremis? I guess the economy has hit everyone pretty hard. Even the massive clandestine government security organizations need to pinch their pennies.
— The scene with Peterson getting measured for his super suit by Fitz/Simmons was cringeworthy for all the wrong reasons.
ToeiWith the release date of Catching Fire now only weeks away, fans don't have too long to wait to see the heroics of Katniss Everdeen back on the big screen. But for those struggling to contain their excitement, here's a look at five other contemporary fight-to-the-death movies that might just help to fill the Hunger Games-sized hole between now and November 22.Battle RoyaleThe final film directed by the innovative Kinji Fukusaku, Battle Royale sees a group of classmates drugged and taken to a mysterious island where they are forced to compete in a sadistic game of survival. Incredibly violent and regularly shocking, but not without traces of pitch-black humor, it's like The Hunger Games cranked up to 100.Series 7: The ContendersA darkly comic satire on the rise of reality television at the beginning of the new millennium, Series 7: The Contenders may have had about a hundredth of The Hunger Games' budget. But it's no less thrilling as a group of people, selected at random by a national lottery, are paid to hunt and kill each other entirely for the satisfaction of the voyeuristic viewing public.Live!Another reflection on the 'ratings at all costs' nature of the TV industry, Live! stars Eva Mendes as a ruthless executive who develops the 'ultimate game show,' a twisted version of Russian Roulette which offers six willing participants five million dollars for potentially blasting their own brains out in front of the nation. Death RaceIn a surprisingly decent remake of the 1975 pedal-to-the-metal thriller Death Race 2000, Jason Statham continued to cement his status as the '00s finest action hero as a wrongly convicted criminal forced to take part in a three-part race that would either secure his freedom or lead to his death.The TournamentUnfairly overlooked on its 2009 release, The Tournament sees the world's richest businessmen devise a brutal "last man standing" game which gathers thirty deadly assassins in one unsuspecting small town for the chance to win ten million dollars. Like The Hunger Games, if it was set in suburban Northern England rather than post-apocalyptic America.
Saturday Night Live has come under fire for their lack of diversity. When asked about having African American female cast members on the show, Kenan Thompson told TV Guide, “Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready.” This is ironic considering Thompson has been doing sketch comedy since he was a child and barely seems "ready."
SNL has shown poor stats across the board. Fred Armisen, due to his Venezuelen and Japanese roots, was holding down double duty as the show’s longest running Latino and Asian cast member. SNL has only had one full-fledged Asian cast member if you count parts of Armisen and Rob Schneider. Nasim Pedrad holds down the fort as the only Middle Eastern cast member on the show. Kate McKinnon made history as the first out lesbian cast member on the show. She is one of three LGBTQ actors to ever be series regulars on the show. Terry Sweeney was out on the show and Danitra Vance was posthumously confirmed to be a lesbian.
Here are some of our recommendations for cast members that could help diversify the popular sketch comedy series.
Goldman co-starred with Mckinnon on The Big Gay Sketch Show. She does amazing impressions including Liza Minelli and Suze Orman, she sings, and tours the country doing stand up. She stars in a bunch of web series with her comedy partner Brandy Howard. She is currently starring on Bravo’s The People’s Couch.
Johnson has already been a cast member on Mad TV and had multiple stand up specials. A clip of her character, Bonquiqui, has received over 60 million hits on YouTube.
Nyima Funk is more than ready to be on SNL. She has performed on nearly every improv and sketch comedy show. Her credits include CW’s Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, NBC’s Thank God You’re Here, MTV’s Wild ‘N Out and Short Circuitz, and The George Lopez Show. Plus, she’s topical enough to get a video out at the start of this controversy.
Droege is one of the hardest working gay men in Hollywood. He has become a YouTube celebrity with his impersonation of Chloë Sevigny. He’s done sketch, improv, impersonations and starred in Hot In Cleveland, Key & Peele, How I Met Your Mother, Up All Night, and New Girl to name a few.
Shangela (D.J. Pierce)
Kenan Thompson may not want to do drag but comedian D. J. Pierce would be happy to. He made a name for himself as Shangela Laquifa Wadley. He was the first contestant to be brought back for a second season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. He has starred on Glee, Community, Terriers, Dance Moms, 2 Broke Girls, Detroit 187, and The Mentalist. He also stars in a hilarious web series with actress and singer, Jenifer Lewis.
Villaseñor recently appeared on America’s Got Talent where she showcased her musical impressions. Not only can she impersonate celebrities like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Zooey Deschanel, she can sing like them too. A reel of her impressions got over a million YouTube views.
Like Thompson, Iglesias also starred on All That with Amanda Bynes and Nick Cannon. He was a contestant on Last Comic Standing. He even starred with Channing Tatum’s abs in Magic Mike.
These are just a few of the many comedians, impressionists and actors that could bring not only comedy but diversity to SNL. Who would you recommend?
Steven Soderbergh's Liberace biopic Behind The Candelabra was the big winner at the 65th annual Emmy Awards, picking up major honours for the director, his leading man Michael Douglas, and landing the night's Outstanding Miniseries or Movie prize. The TV film was also honoured by Sir Elton John during the ceremony - he dedicated his new song Home Again to Liberace as part of a tribute to the flamboyant pianist.
He said, "This year a television film about a musician scored 50 Emmy nominations... That musician was Liberace and this guy played a mean piano. His programme aired in England and I was keenly aware of his enormous talent and his impact on the musical world and my dress sense, of course."
Douglas played the gay entertainer in the film and Matt Damon his lover, Scott Thorson. Both stars were nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie, and Douglas heaped praise on his co-star as he accepted the honour.
He said, "This was a two-hander and Matt, you're only as good as your other hand... You were magnificent and the only reason I'm standing here is because of you, so you really deserve half of this, so do you want the bottom or the top?"
Otherwise, the 2013 Emmys were full of surprises - Merritt Wever and Tony Hale beat a host of favourites to claim the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series trophies for Nurse Jackie and Veep, respectively, at the start of the ceremony, and Claire Danes and Bonny Cannavale were shock winners in the Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series (Homeland) and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Boardwalk Empire) categories.
Double winners on the night included The Big Bang Theory, Veep, Homeland and Breaking Bad, which was named the Best Drama Series. The big snubs included Mad Men, Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey, which failed to pick up a single award.
Highlights included Carrie Underwood's Beatles tribute to 1963 and the impact the news from that year had on America, host Neil Patrick Harris' mid-show song-and-dance number with actor Nathan Fillion and comedienne Sarah Silverman and Will Ferrell's comic climax - he ambled onto the stage at the Nokia Theatre in shorts, sandals and a T-shirt with three kids to present the night's Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Comedy Series awards and joked, "Unfortunately Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith dropped out at the last second and they (Emmy producers) called me, literally, 45 minutes ago, and I couldn't find childcare.
"We had a soccer game, there was a neighbour's birthday party, a nut allergy, I didn't have time to do my hair."
Ferrell kept a straight face as he bickered with the three kids about their use of electronics and the need to use the restroom while onstage.
The winners list is:
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Merritt Wever - Nurse Jackie
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
Tina Fey & Tracey Wigfield - 30 Rock
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Tony Hale - Veep
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Julia Louis-Dreyfus - Veep
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Melissa Leo - Louie
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Bob Newhart - The Big Bang Theory
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series
Gail Mancuso - Modern Family
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Jim Parsons - The Big Bang Theory
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries Or A Movie
Laura Linney - The Big C: Hereafter
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
Henry Bromell - Homeland
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Anna Gunn - Breaking Bad
Outstanding Reality - Competition Program
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Bobby Cannavale - Boardwalk Empire
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Jeff Daniels - The Newsroom
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Claire Danes - Homeland
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Carrie Preston - The Good Wife
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Dan Bucatinsky - Scandal
Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series
David Fincher - House of Cards
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series
The Colbert Report
Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series
Don Roy King - Saturday Night Live
Dancing With The Stars - Derek Hough
Outstanding Host For A Reality or Reality-Competition Program
Heidi Klum & Tim Gunn - Project Runway
Outstanding Variety Series
The Colbert Report
Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special
Abi Morgan - The Hour
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries Or A Movie
James Cromwell - American Horror Story: Asylum
Outstanding Directing For A Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special
Steven Soderbergh - Behind the Candelabra
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Ellen Burstyn - Political Animals
Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries or a Movie
Michael Douglas - Behind the Candelabra
Outstanding Miniseries or Movie
Behind the Candelabra
Outstanding Drama Series
Outstanding Comedy Series
Some Philistines claim that gravel-voiced wifebeater aficianado Vin Diesel is a purveyor of wooden acting. Well, "wooden" acting could be exactly what's required for one of his next roles: the tree-like Groot in Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy. Though not officially a done deal yet, Diesel has been very transparent about the fact that he's in talks with Marvel for a major role in one of their upcoming films. Here are seven reasons why we think Groot may have Diesel's name carved all over it.
1. Diesel Posted a Comic Book Image of Groot on His Facebook Page — The Fast & Furious actor posted an image of the walking/talking tree from the most recent Guardians of the Galaxy comic series for the pleasure of his 45 million Facebook fans. But what's more, he made it his cover photo...only to take it down quickly thereafter, even removing the original post. Could Marvel have intervened because Diesel wasn't supposed to let this dribble of information slip?
2. He's Been Teasing his Marvel Involvement for Awhile — Back in June, Diesel said that Marvel Studios had "requested a meeting" with him. Then, at the Comic-Con panel for Riddick last month he said that fans could expect a "major announcement" from Marvel by the end of the month. But July passed and we weren't treated to any such announcement. In the meantime, he kept throwing out teases like a shot of him standing in front of an old Avengers comic-book cover. Something is brewing...
3. Groot Has Been a Major Part of the Guardians of the Galaxy Team Since Its Relaunch in 2006 — Groot was originally conceived as a villain by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1960. He was a tree-like alien scientist who experimented on humans. Groot could absorb wood to gain strength and heal, and he could psychically possess other, non-sentient trees. But in the 2006 Guardians relaunch, Groot was reimagined as a key member of the spacefaring superhero squad, and since that's the version of Guardians' lore that's serving as the basis for the movie it makes sense he'd be included. In fact, Marvel has already released the following concept art for the character. No other voice actor has been attached to the part, however.
4. It's An All-CGI, Voice-Heavy Role — There aren't too many hairless, musclebound characters left in Marvel lore who Diesel could play, really, so it makes sense that the studio would want to take advantage of one of his other assets: his voice. That basso profundo roar could be a way to give Groot an instant personality...except for the fact that most people, unable to understand his language, can only hear him say "I am Groot." But imagine what Diesel could do with those three words!
5. Groot Suits Diesel's Sensibility — Groot is a character whose imposing physical presence often overshadows his keen intellect. He is a supremely intelligent scientist, but he doesn't often get the credit he deserves. Kind of like Diesel, if you think about it. Most of the time he's billed as just a testosterone-fueled heavy, but he does have acting ability and also something more ineffable: awareness. He's an action star with an internal life. Even the great Sidney Lumet said in 2006, when promoting his Diesel-starring film Find Me Guilty, that the actor was "as accomplished as any I've worked with in my career." And that's a career that includes Henry Fonda, Al Pacino, William Holden, Albert Finney, and many others, so he knew what he was talking about.
6. Groot Is One of the Good Guys — ...But he's not exactly a "nice guy." Kind of like Diesel in every movie ever.
7. Guardians of the Galaxy Would Fit Into His Production Schedule — Diesel is about to start production on next summer's Fast & Furious 7, followed immediately by a film called The Last Witch Hunter. That might make shooting Guardians of the Galaxy difficult, since it's coming out August 1, 2014, but Groot will be an all-CGI character. Diesel will have a brief window to record his dialogue, but that's easier than showing up on set. Also, his recording sessions will probably just involve him reciting dozens of different variations on "I am Groot."
What do you think of Diesel's possible casting as Groot? And do you think he or any other members of the Guardians team might also show up for The Avengers: Age of Ultron?
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
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It's a good thing we don't have adamantium claws getting in the way, because we found ourselves scratching our heads pretty vigorously after seeing The Wolverine. Does Hugh Jackman's Logan have an endless wardrobe of wife beater tank-tops? Did Hiroyuki Sanada really make the right choice in leaving Revenge to play a walking example of generational decline? Could we possibly be any more excited for Days of Future Past? Well, we can't really answer those questions for you, but we do take a stab at these eight. But beware, major SPOILERS are ahead.
1. Is the plot of The Wolverine eerily similar to the plot of Prometheus?Well, both movies feature a quest that's spurred by an old man obsessed with immortality (Will Yun Lee in The Wolverine, Guy Pearce in Prometheus) who is presumed dead before it is revealed that he faked his death and is surviving due to extreme artificial methods. (I love the idea of Will Yun Lee's Yashida at some point announcing, "Okay, I'm going to fake my death. But I'll continue to run my multi-billionaire dollar company from inside the comfort of this Silver Samurai suit!") In their respective quests to live forever, both men also seem to have become a bit homicidal.
Also, the heroes of both movies (Hugh Jackman's Logan and Noomi Rapace's Dr. Elizabeth Shaw) discover they possess unwanted parasitic intruders in their bodies. And they must surgically remove them. All by themselves. Luckily, Yashida's medical scanners are on par with the late 21st century technology seen in Prometheus.
2. What is a "love hotel"?"Love hotels" are lodgings geared entirely for short stays. As in, couples check into a room for a tryst and then check out. They're geared entirely around sexual encounters, so love hotels may not have the amenities that hotels that accommodate longer stays might have. But they do have themed rooms like "nurse's office," "police station," and "mission to Mars," as seen in The Wolverine when Logan and Mariko (Tao Okamoto) rent one in which to hide out. Love hotels have existed in Japan in one form or another since the late 1800s, but became particularly popular in the '60s. Free love, baby!
3. Wolverine showed off some mighty wood-cutting skills. Is that just yet another opportunity for Hugh Jackman to flex his muscles, or something more?You might be excused for thinking that moment when Wolverine picks up an axe to clear away a fallen tree is a pretty self-indulgent excuse just to see his ripped biceps. Not so! This was a nod to Logan's on-again, off-again career as a lumberjack, as seen in the comics over the years.
4. Was that "I didn't know there was a pool there" joke ripped off from Diamonds Are Forever?Both movies feature somebody getting thrown from a great height into a pool. Both movies then crack a joke about somebody getting thrown from a great height into a pool. You draw your own conclusions.
5. What's the Silver Samurai like in the comics?The depiction of the Silver Samurai in The Wolverine is wildly different from that in the comics. There, he wasn’t the father of Shingen Yashida, but his son. He was also a mutant with the ability to charge his katana — kind of like what Gambit can do to playing cards — which, in combination with his silver armor, made him pretty much invincible. In the movie, it seems like his charged katana is the result of technology more than natural ability.
When he made his first appearance, in Daredevil #111 in 1974 fighting the blind hero, Silver Samurai was a professional criminal by trade. He'd end up fighting Nick Fury, Spider-Man, and, yes, Wolverine over the course of his career. And just like in The Wolverine, he'd team up with Viper, who in the comics was more of an international terrorist. But rather than being her employer, he usually served as Viper's bodyguard. He totally needed a promotion to make the jump to the big screen.
6. What is Trask Industries?In the post-credits sequence, it's two years later and Wolverine is standing in line at a U.S. airport. He's watching a TV monitor and is greeted by an ad for Trask Industries. It's the kind of ad you'd expect from a major security contractor and weapons manufacturer — it's all about how it's going to keep you safe. But given what we know of Days of Future Past, we'd bet that they're talking about protecting the rest of humanity from the mutants. And that they intend to do so by building giant Sentinel robots.
7. Is Svetlana Khodchenkova's Viper the campiest comic book villain since Sharon Stone's cosmetics mogul in Catwoman?Since Viper's villainy is pretty much defined by her ever more ridiculous array of costumes, we'd say yes.
8. Wait... Magneto has his powers back and Xavier is alive? How did this happen?Who cares? As long as it erases the horrible plot turns of X-Men: The Last Stand that saw Magneto robbed of his abilities and Xavier exploded by the Phoenix, we'll take it. And Bryan Singer, while you're at it, why don't you bring back James Marsden's Cyclops? Dude deserved better than an offscreen death.
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt | Follow Hollywood.com on Twitter @Hollywood_com
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On Thursday, Sopranos creator David Chase was called to say goodbye to his muse and friend James Gandolfini, by delivering a eulogy for the man who headlined his immersive dramatic television series for six seasons. Gandolfini died suddenly last week at age 51, leaving brilliant writer Chase to, as he admits, struggle over the construction of an appropriate summation of his feelings about the man who immortalized Tony Soprano.
Humble forewords aside, Chase managed to craft a speech that, delicately and powerfully, illustrated the kind of man Gandolfini was in his eyes and the sort of relationship the two shared. Covering the full range of the rapport between the Jersey-born men, Chase's stories ranged from funny to sad to monumentally touching.
Chase introduces his eulogy with the darkly comic, a memory about Gandolfini raining blows upon a Sopranos set refrigerator:
one day toward the end of the show — maybe season 4 or season 5 — we were on the set shooting a scene with Stevie Van Zandt, and I think the set-up was that Tony had received news of the death of someone, and it was inconvenient for him. And it said, "Tony opens the refrigerator door, closes it and he starts to speak." And the cameras rolled, and you opened the refrigerator door, and you slammed it really hard — you slammed it hard enough that it came open again. And so then you slammed it again, then it came open again. You kept slamming it and slamming it and slamming it and slamming it and went apeshit on that refrigerator. And the funny part for me is I remember Steven Van Zandt — because the cameras are going, we have to play this whole scene with a refrigerator door opening — I remember Steven Van Zandt standing there with his lip out, trying to figure out, "Well, what should I do? First, as Silvio, because he just ruined my refrigerator. And also as Steven the actor, because we're now going to play a scene with the refrigerator door open; people don't do that." And I remember him going over there and trying to tinker with the door and fix it, and it didn't work. And so we finally had to call cut, and we had to fix the refrigerator door, and it never really worked, because the gaffer tape showed on the refrigerator, and it was a problem all day long. And I remember you saying, "Ah, this role, this role, the places it takes me to, the things I have to do, it's so dark." And I remember telling you, "Did I tell you to destroy the refrigerator? Did it say anywhere in the script, 'Tony destroys a refrigerator'? It says 'Tony angrily shuts the refrigerator door.' That's what it says. You destroyed the fridge."
Later, following a somber memory about Gandolfini's crisis of faith, Chase delves into his understanding of the inner workings of the tirelessly complex man:
The paradox about you as a man is that I always felt personally, that with you, I was seeing a young boy. A boy about Michael's age right now. 'Cause you were very boyish. And about the age when humankind, and life on the planet are really opening up and putting on a show, really revealing themselves in all their beautiful and horrible glory. And I saw you as a boy — as a sad boy, amazed and confused and loving and amazed by all that. And that was all in your eyes. And that was why, I think, you were a great actor: because of that boy who was inside. He was a child reacting. Of course you were intelligent, but it was a child reacting, and your reactions were often childish. And by that, I mean they were pre-school, they were pre-manners, they were pre-intellect. They were just simple emotions, straight and pure. And I think your talent is that you can take in the immensity of humankind and the universe, and shine it out to the rest of us like a huge bright light. And I believe that only a pure soul, like a child, can do that really well. And that was you.
Finally, Chase concludes his speech with a sweet, heartrending proposal for how he'd conclude "this episode," saying goodbye to James (and Tony) in the way that comes most naturally to him. And it really hits home:
You know, everybody knows that we always ended an episode with a song. That was kind of like me and the writers letting the real geniuses do the heavy lifting: Bruce, and Mick and Keith, and Howling Wolf and a bunch of them. So if this was an episode, it would end with a song. And the song, as far as I'm concerned, would be Joan Osborne's "(What If God Was) One Of Us?" And the set-up for this — we never did this, and you never even heard this — is that Tony was somehow lost in the Meadowlands. He didn't have his car, and his wallet, and his car keys. I forget how he got there — there was some kind of a scrape — but he had nothing in his pocket but some change. He didn't have his guys with him, he didn't have his gun. And so mob boss Tony Soprano had to be one of the working stiffs, getting in line for the bus. And the way we were going to film it, he was going to get on the bus, and the lyric that would've one over that would've been — and we don't have Joan Osborne to sing it:
If God had a faceWhat would it look like?And would you want to seeIf seeing meant you had to believe?And yeah, yeah, God is great.Yeah, yeah, God is good.Yeah, yeah, yeah.
So Tony would get on the bus, and he would sit there, and the bus would pull out in this big billow of diesel smoke. And then the key lyric would come on, and it was
What if God was one of us?Just a slob like one of us?Just a stranger on the busTrying to make his way home.
And that would've been playing over your face, Jimmy. But then — and this is where it gets kind of strange — now I would have to update, because of the events of the last week. And I would let the song play further, and the lyrics would be
Just trying to make his way homeLike a holy rollin' stoneBack up to Heaven all aloneNobody callin' on the phone'Cept for the Pope, maybe, in Rome.
We thank Alan Sepinwall at HitFix for transcribing the eulogy. You can read Chase's full speech here.
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter | Follow hollywood.com on Twitter @hollywood_com
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It's hard to know what excites Goths, but if anything has the potential to elicit a smile behind all that cake-powder makeup it's this: that remake of The Crow finally appears to be going forward. However, what might make purist Goths say "Ugh" and shrug, though probably not those poseur Hot Topic Goths, is that Tom Hiddleston, actor and professional genre hopscotcher, is in talks to headline the movie, according to The Wrap.
Not familiar with The Crow or its revered standing in Gothdom? First published as a comic book series in 1989 by James O'Barr, The Crow really broke through with its critically acclaimed movie adaptation by director Alex Proyas in 1994, starring Brandon Lee as the titular avenger. In the movie, Lee played Eric Draven, an eyelinered rock guitarist who's savagely beaten by a gang of thugs on Devil's Day (Oct. 30 for those of you not interested in the occult) in Detroit (the Devil's City! No, not really.) and forced to watch his fiancee get brutally raped by their attackers as the last thing he sees before he's thrown out of a window to his death. And all on the day before he was set to get married! So, yes, he dies. But he later rises from the grave as "The Crow," seeking to avenge himself on the people who murdered him.
The comics and the Proyas film were notable for their intense emotionalism and undercurrents of melancholy and dread. But the film truly rose to Goth Totem status because of the melancholy and dread surrounding its production: namely, the accidental death of Brandon Lee from a self-inflicted gunshot wound — he thought the gun was loaded with blanks — as filming was wrapping up. Lee's death in 1994 is akin to Heath Ledger's death in 2008 before the release of The Dark Knight. It only enhanced The Crow's legend.
It almost seems like the attempts to revive the franchise with a remake of the original film have been cursed. In 2008, rightsholders Relativity Media announced they wanted to give Proyas' Goth-flavored original a Nolan-style do-over, even suggesting that the new take might be "documentary-style" in its grittiness. In 2010, Mark Wahlberg was in talks for the lead, but he quickly dropped out. Shortly thereafter, Bradley Cooper was also attached, but he too left the part in August 2011 as the film languished without a script or director. In January 2012 F. Javier Gutierrez signed a deal with Relativity to direct and speculation resumed once again about who could play The Crow himself. Channing Tatum, Ryan Gosling, and James McAvoy were all rumored to be in the mix.
But now it looks like Tom Hiddleston is going to be the one wearing the guyliner. And it makes us wonder: When you have the actor who played Loki in Thor and The Avengers getting Emo bangs and an all-leather wardrobe to play The Crow, does it mean Goth culture has truly became mainstream?
Sure, the gentrification of Gothdom began with the proliferation of mall-staple retailers, Hot Topic. Real Goths would never have set foot inside, ugh, a mall. As my colleague Brian Moylan puts it, "After six months, if they don't follow through on their death-hunting ethos and kill themselves, any Goth has to admit they are poseurs and change." Now that Hiddleston is nearly cast as their greatest comic book icon they must face the fact that they are no longer a niche unto themselves but have been homogenized into mainstream conformity.
Hiddleston's already won over fans of the Comic-Con set, Swedish mystery novels (as Magnus Martinsson on PBS' Wallander), Woody Allen aficionados (as F. Scott Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris), Film Forum cinephiles (The Deep Blue Sea), and, shortly, all of humanity with his lead role as the Great Escapo in The Muppets...Again! Why not add in the Goths? It only means that this group that has prided themselves on their dark moods and darker looks has been irrevocably whitewashed.
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
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Well that was certainly unexpected. When the kind folks behind The Walking Dead promised 27 deaths during Sunday's finale, I (and probably, all of you) was picturing utter mayhem. Baby Asskicker dying in Carol's bloody arms. Beth singing Tom Waits as she was slowly drained of life from her bullet wounds. Maggie shooting herself because she couldn't live without Glenn, who had been decapitated by Martinez. Rick and the Governor standing in the street for a high noon showdown, which only one would survive. You know, the usual stuff. Instead, we saw the mental deterioration of one character, and the death of another character that any reader of Robert Kirkman's comics certainly never saw coming. [WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD]
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So, Andrea died. Andrea — being one of the comics' most popular and long-running characters — just never quite "made it" on this show. She had, essentially, everything it took to become a beloved member of the team. Guts. Strength. Determination. Shiny hair. But the writers just never seemed to know what to do with her. When she wasn't whining about not having enough pull in the group, she was sleeping with and/or pining over the wrong guy. It was frustrating, and instead of turning her around, they listened to the fans and killed her.
But I will not crucify TWD's writers in this recap, because her death was pretty damn spectacular. She didn't die in a bizarre blaze of glory like Merle, but her ticking time bomb death with Milton — which was, let's face it, something right out of a Saw movie — was absolutely horrifying. The Governor delivered a fatal blow to Milton in the first few minutes, then gave him (and Andrea) his final farewell: "You're gonna die, and you're gonna tear the flesh from her bones." He locked her in a room with her own death. So she could know it. For hours.
As Milton faded, he asked Andrea — who, as my colleague pointed out, should really have tried multitasking as she chatted and considered her own doom — why she didn't go back to her friends once she found out that they were alive. "Well," she explained. "The Governor has a really huge penis." That's not actually what she said, but I'm sure that she spent her final moments feeling preettttyyyy stupid over that decision she made a few weeks ago, when she thought that she could change Woodbury for the better so she stuck around, even though she was dating this world's most obvious psychopath. She saw the zombie heads in the tanks and the weird pit-fights, and still didn't run away. I have a hard time believing that any human woman (with a law degree!) could be this stupid.
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And Milton, being a kindly fellow, pointed out that there was a pair of pliers on the ground — he had dropped the Governor's unused tools on the ground before the Governor stabbed him, and hidden this fact from his captor. If Andrea could move her foot just so, she could grab them with her pedicured toes and free herself, then stab Milton in the head before he turned. She finally did it after some fumbling, but it was way too late. In my humble opinion, she could have tried a whole lot harder. Remember a few months back, when Glenn killed a Walker with his hands tied behind his back? Andrea just… stayed Andrea till the very end. She just was never quite good enough.
So, yeah. The Governor, that Martinez everyone is talking about, and basically everyone else in Woodbury besides Tyreese and Sasha (who explained that they would fight the dead, not the living) raided the prison with a s**t ton of automatics and a thirst for blood. But like — nothing really happened. The Grimes Gang had booby trapped the place with Walkers, and all the Governor managed to do was blow up their watch towers and explode some of the Walkers that were surrounding the place, which was actually sort of a favor for the Gang of Grimes. So — thanks? This was the best well-executed bloodless defense plan ever. The gory, devestating shootout we were anticipating just never happend.
Instead, our main drama at Camp Grimes was the moral degradation of Carl Grimes. Before the Governor raided, Carl took a final look at his family picture and his father's badge and said, "Screw the noble path. I'm going to embrace a life of crime!" Since putting trust in others had had tragic results in the past — they trusted that prisoner and he ended up unleashing Walkers that ultimately killed Lori, and didn't kill the Governor and he ended up killing Merle — so, Carl was just going to kill everyone from now on. I guess he was snoozing during Rick's inspiring morality speech last week.
He ended up killing a left behind member of the Governor's failed militia. The kid was handing over his gun, and Carl shot him right in the head in front of a horrified Hershel. This, of course, came right around the time when Rick proudly told Michonne (who forgave him for almost giving her up, because she's awesome now) that it was Carl who displayed his burgeoning maturity by allowing her into the group.
So I guess Carl is going to be next Governor now — and we're going to spend at least a season dealing with Rick emotionally grappling with Carl's lost innocence as he becomes this hardened, brutal solider. The thing is though, that kid did look mighty suspicious as he handed over that gun. If he had dropped it and Carl had shot him, I would be quicker to condemn him for his actions. He's seen a lot of people die due to mercy and/or indecision, so he acted on instinct. He's adapting to the world around him, which is making him a not so great person, but a good soldier. He's at war, and he's acting like it.
The Governor, bee tee dubs, responded to his failure by massacring the entire Woodbury army (minus one pretty curly haired lady who played dead) except for Martinez and one other beefy dude. They drove off into the sunset, and I'm still not sure how I feel about this. We've spent an entire season waiting for this showdown. Why didn't it happen? I get that TV is a different medium than comic books, and that we as an audience are more attached to these on-screen characters than their page counterparts, so killing too many of them at one time could alienate TWD's audience. Still, we all really wanted, and were waiting with great anticipation for, an epic battle. And now the Governor just... gave up? When will we see him again?
Now, with (Glen Mazzara and his vision for the show) exiting Season 4 with the Governor still alive, I just have absolutely no clue where we're headed. I'd love to see the Grimes Gang manage to get more than 10 miles away from where they started two years ago, which could be a potential blank slate fresh start for the new showrunner Scott Gimple. I'd also love less episodes weighed down by tiresome trips into Rick's psychosis. Like, on Breaking Bad, we don't get entire episodes where Walt sees the ghosts of the bodies he's responsible and loses his s**t ("Fly"is an excellent example of a protagonist losing his mind episode — Walter was compelling and terrifying) and on Game of Thrones when someone kills someone, we don't spend the next episode watching them deal with the emotional aftermath.
But, anyway. Moving on. Andrea's death was touching, but, really, that was only because of Michonne. Daryl, Rick, and Michonne — you know, The A-Team — went in to raid Woodbury, but there was nothing left to raid. The fighters had all been massacred, and since they had rescued the pretty curly haired lady who vouched for them, Tyreese and Sasha let them through. They found Andrea and Milton — who had been successfully put down by his victim — minutes too late. She had a nasty Walker-hickey on her neck, and was getting ready to shoot herself with a gun that no one would have let her use back in Season 1.
Now, this death wasn't particularly heartbreaking because of Andrea herself, since, as I said earlier, the show never figured out what to do with her and not many will be devestated to see her go. It worked because of Michonne's touching reaction — she cried, and sat with her friend till the very ugly end. Michonne right now is like the antithesis of Andrea — I'm extremely impressed with what they've done with Michonne, who was nothing but a scowly nonentity with a cool sword until "Clear," when she became oddly likable. Now she's like my favorite person to watch besides Daryl, who maybe I shouldn't count because I find him to be extremely sexually attractive and that clouds my judgment.
So, here we are: other than Carl's innocence, Andrea, Milton, the Governor, and the people he mercilessly slaughtered, everyone made it through. The 27 promised dead bodies were not our friends (unless you count Andrea), they were of mainly faceless strangers. The newly Lori-free (I think?) Rick Grimes welcomed the remaining Woodbury-ians into the prison, so it looks like we're in for tons of random zombie-bait B characters next season, and a location change is seeming less likely.
But I'm perplexed, kids. I could be wrong. Where do you think they're going with this? Do you want the Governor to be a major part of next season, or are you hoping for a totally new game? Are you sad to see Andrea go? Also, do you have a good therapist you could recommend for Carl? Shout it out in the comments, and I'll see you next fall! (Unless you also watch Game of Thrones, in which case, see you next Sunday.)
Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna
[Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC]
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The Emmy-nominated series returns in an all new quest -- to find the funniest new comedian in the world. The search starts in New York City, continues to Montreal, Canada and then to San Antonio, Texas.
Episode 2. Auditions #2
In part two of the season premiere, the international search continues for the funniest comic in the world.
Episode 3. Auditions #3
The international search continues down under as the talent scouts go from Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia in their search to find the funniest new comedian in the world.
Episode 4. Auditions #4
The international search for the funniest new comic in the world continues to jolly old England.
Episode 5. Tempe Auditions
The international search takes the talent scouts to Tempe, Arizona, in their search to find the funniest new comedian in the world.
Episode 6. Semi-Finals #1
Tom Arnold joins in on the fun at the last comic semi-finals as a guest talent scout.
Episode 7. Semi-Finals #2
In the final round of the semi-finals, top comedians from around the world perform their funniest routines in hopes to secure the last five finalist spots. The final ten will later compete for the title. Tom Arnold returns as a guest talent scout.
Episode 8. Challenge No. #1
Top 10 comic finalists face first challenge and head-to-head showdown.
Episode 9. Challenge No. #2
The remaining eight comics are tasked with making six very different people laugh, including six "Deal or No Deal" models, in their second challenge -- Speed Laughing. At the end of the challenge, the "laughers" vote for their favorite comic who will be granted immunity in the head to head voting.
Episode 10. Challenge #3
The remaining six comics are tasked with making six "Deal or No Deal" models guest star laugh.
Episode 11. Performance #1
Final five perform and for the first time ever the UK, Australia and Canada join America in voting.
Episode 12. Performance #2
Final four perform and the UK, Australia and Canada join America in voting.
Episode 13. Performance #3
One more comic is eliminated, leaving only three comedians to compete.
Episode 14. Final Performance
Final two comedians battle it out and UK, Australia and Canada joins America in voting.
Episode 15. Winner Revealed
The winner is revealed in a star-studded two-hour season finale.
In the season premiere, Richard Belzer and Steve Schirripa scout for talent at NY auditions, while Fred Willard and Kathy Najimy audition comics in Tempe, Arizona.
Episode 2. Episode 602
Angela Kinsey and Oscar Nunez scout for talent in Los Angeles, while Neil Flynn and Alfonso Ribeiro audition comics in Houston.
Episode 3. Episode 603
French Stewart and Josh Gomez scout for talent in San Francisco, while Dave Foley and Richard Kind audition comics in Toronto.
Episode 4. Episode 604
George Wendt and John Ratzenberger scout for talent in Nashville, while Kate Flannery and Brian Baumgartner audition comics in Minneapolis.
Episode 5. Episode 605
Celebrity talent scouts Lonny Ross and Keith Powell from "30 Rock" go looking for laughs during a special audition held in Miami for international comics.
Episode 6. Episode 606
The international search for the funniest comics is over, and now the best of the best come to Las Vegas for a night of laughs performing at the Paris Las Vegas. In the first of two semi-finals, the top 12 comedy acts are chosen as finalists and the first set of finalists is revealed!
Episode 7. Episode 607
The international search for the funniest comics is over, and now the best of the best are in Las Vegas for a night of non-stop laughs performing at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. In the second semi-final, the last set of funny finalists is chosen to complete the list of top 12 comedy acts to compete to be the "Last Comic Standing"! In the end, Esther Ku and the duo God's Pottery are eliminated.
Episode 8. Episode 608
Instead of brawn, the contestants must rely on their brains, and instead of punches, jokes will be thrown at their opponents. The comics meet head-to-head in the ring for three lightning-fast rounds.
Episode 9. Episode 609
The comics newest challenge tests their ability to make comic gold out of items found at Bed, Bath and Beyond. In the end, it is Papa CJ that's eliminated.
Episode 10. Episode 610
The eight remaining comics are surprised with a trip to the Playboy Mansion. They quickly realize they are there to work, not play, when Bill Bellamy announces the challenges. They must create a bedtime story to tell Hugh Hefner's girlfriends, Holly, Bridget and Kendra, after he tucks them into bed. In the end, Paul Foot and Ron G are eliminated.
Episode 11. Episode 611
The five finalists will perform, three will go home, leaving only two to compete for the title of "Last Comic Standing".
Episode 12. Episode 612
Jon Lovitz and last season's winner Jon Reep perform before the winner is announced at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. Gilbert Gottfried, Penn and Teller, Joel McHale and the 12 finalists also perform. And the winner is, Iliza Shlesinger.
Reality show following a nationwide talent search for comedians, both professional and non-professional, with the first two hours depicting the auditions of the would-be comics. The latter portion of the competition cover the semifinals that filter the aspiring comics to 10 finalists. Comics then battle one-on-one to stay in the house with an audience choosing the winner. The overall winner will receive a talent contract with NBC as well as a standup special on Comedy Central.