It’s particularly impressive when a movie whose premise alone seems to have been written with the intention of incurring heavy gasps can actually conjure up something rather genuine. Whereas Starred Up’s central maneuver — sticking a delinquent teenager in adult prison right alongside, as it just so happens, his no good father (“Oh my!”) — seems like the kind of contrivance that entails thick melodrama and Oscar reel-friendly climactic scenes, the movie plays everything close to the ground. It favors kindling over explosives, a paced climb over vertical leaps, and — most importantly — criminal men over criminal monsters.
In fact, the victory of the film is just how reasonable its characters seem from the get-go. While the crime and prison genres more often than not approach their antiheroes with the mission of giving audiences an unexpected look at the humanity within bad men, Starred Up takes the reverse — more original and perhaps more valuable — approach: slowly waking its viewers up to the badness that inflicts these humans.
Yes, we have an immediate understanding of how the malicious and unpredictable Eric (Jack O’Connell) wound up in prison ahead of his years, but at no point are we dealing with a character whose erraticism drags him all the way south of empathetic comprehension. Though a more patient and poised man, Eric’s father Neville (Ben Mendehlson) is too understood from all fronts: he’s a survivor whose Machiavellian instincts would have more than likely landed him in prison at one point or another. It’s this intellect and wisdom, though, that endears him to us. And to Eric.
We’re not forced to wade through a marshland of temperate drama before we see Eric and Neville “finally make up.” Right off the bat, we’re given the relationship the movie wants us to see, steeped in the conversation it wants us to have: one about masculinity. Between the two men, within the contexts of Eric’s mandatory group therapy sessions with counselor Oliver (Rupert Friend) and a collection of seasoned inmates — don’t worry, this flick never goes that false and sappy route that most therapy movies employ — and scattered throughout various corners of the prison, we witness talk of masculinity. But once again, Starred Up isn’t hitting us over the head with gaudy exclamations. The power of this movie is in its lack of interest in the dramatic and its preference, instead, of the humane.
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It’s ironic for a show with such a great format, amazing challenges, and a generally insane season to have a finale that feels like a chore. This season of Ink Master was epic. Scott Marshall was a trash-talking mercenary set on winning the seasonal competition. He enlisted Matti Hixson in an attempt to get Sausage eliminated, but instead Sausage made it to the top two. He was talented, quiet, and a generally nice guy. Frontrunner Halo got eliminated despite being sure he’d make it to the finals. Three people had breakdowns. Returning contestant, Kyle Dunbar trashed a fellow artist for freaking out then physically attacked judge, Chris Nunez. All that, and there was a freaking appearance by Hugh Jackman. But this finale felt crammed with so much wasted time.
After years as a rock star, Dave Navarro is not afraid of anything. Especially cutting people off on a reality show. This season finale didn’t opt for juicy reality TV moments. Whenever things would get really tense, Navarro would cut everyone off. They took time to read real tweets including one that accused the judges of favoritism in the Scott vs. Sausage beef. Given the large number of boos from the audience, this may be the case. They also were pretty short when they talked to past contestants. Halo was cut off despite having a debate with another contestant about how he “played the game.” He was one of four former contestants who even said anything.
We were also robbed of the whole point we were there. This is a competitive reality show. We didn’t get a chance to see any elapsed footage of the elaborate 35-hour back pieces getting done. Instead we saw them as sketches and saw them completed. Viewers were asked to vote before even getting the chance to really look over these pieces or hear the judges critiques. Plus, anyone anxiously awaiting the return of Kyle Dunbar to see what he had to say it was cut off. He was a favorite to win but was a bit all over the place all season. Rather than hear what he had to say for himself he got cut off.
Instead of hearing from the former contestants, seeing the current participants working, or even hearing what the judges had to say we got to watch Season 3 winner Joey Hamilton live-tattooing. But honestly, by the time he’s in the studio and they’re filming he’s just adding details. The tattoo doesn’t look particularly different at any point that the show cuts to him. Also, there was more time discussing the format for Season 5 than spending any time with the cast. Season 5 will revolve around rivals and bring back Season 3 rivals Joshua Hibbard and Jason Clay Dunn. We didn’t really need a reel of them fighting to add any excitement to this finale.
In the end, Scott wins amid boos from the audience. It isn’t clear why he won and from Twitter it seemed like Sausage was a favorite. But it’s pretty funny that they did close to the same tattoo. It was a great season and the final pieces really were of equal intensity. However, this finale was overly saturated with product placement, had undefined relationship lines, and seemed both rushed and too long.
As our Latino Prince gears up to meet his future amor, he puts in some bro time with last season’s “Batch-oh-lure” (as Juan Pablo says it), Sean Lowe. “Who else I was gonna call?” He’s da guy” JP reminds us. Lowe’s sage advice? Kiss as many gals as you like, but make sure the other women don’t see you and stay open minded. Well it worked for Sean and his fiancé Catherine. With that it’s time for our boy to embark on his “aventura.” That’s Juan Pablo for “journey.”98 minutes of pre-cap and re-cap in, bring on the women! All 27 of them. There’s typically only 25 but Juan Pablo has been so popular that he gets an extra two to reject. He starts to sweat as the first limo pulls up. "How am I going to send anyone hooooome?" An exhaustive list of the courtesans is below, but if you don’t like getting prematurely attached, here’s what we can learn about Juan Pablo (and men in general) from this episode.- Guys don’t like hair color that doesn’t exist in nature (Kylie)- Never cry on a first date. Insecurity is not cute (Lauren)- Dress elegantly and compose yourself as a lady. Save the freaky stuff for the fantasy suites. Juan Pablo is looking for a role model for Cameeeela after all (well played, Sharleen aka Miss “first impression” rose)- Seem uninterested. Make them do the begging (you win again, Sharleen ... except you’re not really playing, you’re just really not that into him. Get it together, girl!)- He looks better in clothes. Did I just commit "Bachelor" blasphemy?- JP takes great comfort in talking to the cameramen
The list of contenders follows. I’d skip to the highlight reel if I were you, or just watch the episode. It’ll be quicker. But if you’re bored at work, carry on "Bachelor" Nation:
Amy L, 27, Orlando - The local news reporter is first out of the limo. She offers up a wholesome hug and an otherwise dull introduction. Step it up, sister.Cassandra, 21, MI - She’s a retired NBA cheerleader turned makeup artist. Deep! There’s a horribly uncomfortable pause after they hug which she makes worse by pointing out how awkward the moment is. “We’re good. We’re on the same page,” Juan Pablo assures her. And on to the next.Christy, 24, IL - Her white gown really brings out her spray tan and bleached hair but Juan Pablo seems smitten. She’s the first to illicit a “Wow, gorgeous!” from JP. Guess he’s into blondes.Christine, 23, Miami - The “Police Support Specialist” (secretary?) gets another “Oh my God” from JP. Point 2 for blondes! She offers him a name bracelet to give Camila. Nice touch, Christine. But it's not enough. Nikki, 26, Kansas City - Despite the weird back tattoo, I'd first impression rose the heck out of this one. She’s a baby nurse who brings a stethoscope so Juan Pablo can listen to her heart / graze her boobs a little bit. After her he exclaims “No more leeemos” to no one in particular. Seriously, Juan Pablo, who are you talking to?Kat, 29, AZ - She breaks the touch barrier by requesting an impromptu salsa lesson. Juan Pablo is game. And I crack. This naysayer is officially Team Pablo.Chantel, 27, CA - She’s spilling out of her blue bandaid dress. Otherwise, we're sure she's a lovely girl. Victoria, 24, FL - The Brazilian exchanges a few Portugese words with Juan Pablo but she’s completely overshadowed by the next out the gate.Lucy, 24, CA – Her job description is “free spirit” (read: unemployed and trust-funded) so it’s not surprising when she flutters out in some wispy Urban Outfitters hippy dress and bare feet, badly in need of a pedicure. Juan Pablo seems to be charmed by her act. Maybe he doesn’t have a type after all.Danielle, 25, MO – She has curly hair. Curly haired girls historically don’t do well on the Bachelor.Lauren S, 26, TX – The music composer rolls in (literally) playing the piano. JP’s reaction is nothing short of adorable, even though she flubs a few of the last notes. He even musters a tear when she tells him that she composed the song for him because, duh, “Music is mi vida.” Our prediction: the other girls will eat this geek alive. Until then, play on sweet Lauren.Chelsie, 24, Ohio – She’s a “science educator” so it totally makes sense that she brings JP a little experiment accompanied by the not so sly “Instead of doing chemistry, why don’t we have chemistry?” (that's not a real sentence, teacher lady!) After she removes her safety goggles (wayfarers) manic laughter proceeds. In the pre-cap we see her recruiting a random Hispanic woman in the park to give her rudimentary Spanish lessons. Resourceful! He very obviously checks out her silver lame-covered booty as she walk away. Again with the blonde thing.Valerie, 26 CA, - Miss “I’m a pretty girl but I’m not afraid to scratch someone’s eyes out” is a personal trainer who rocks some cowgirl boots under her tacky dress, presumably to stomp on the other girls with? She doesn't get the chance. Elise, 27, “Forty Fort” PA – Besides being dressed like a disco ball, there are no real disasters to report here.Ashley, 25, Dallas - She gives Juan Pablo a gold star sticker, like she does her first grade students which he promptly loses by the time the next girl comes out of the limo.Clare, 32, CA – Because nothing attracts a man more than carrying another guy’s baby, Clare straps on a big ol’ preggers belly and basically asks JP to put a kid in her. Chick’s crazy. But her father died of brain cancer so we’ll give her a pass. Plus, before he went, he made DVD for her to give to her future husband. The number one (15th?) rule of cinema is you don’t show a gun if you ain’t going to shoot it. I look forward to sobbing 6 episodes from now Juan Pablo watches this DVD and then sends her off alone in that black car to hell.Alli, 26, Chicago She comes out kicking around a soccer ball which Juan Pablo decides to keep. Greedy. Amy, 31, LA Watching this massage therapist sensually knead some guy’s body while a distorted version of yoga was a lowlight for me.Renne, 32, FL, She’s a single mommy who likes to run half-naked on the beach so they have tons in common. She’ll stick around for awhile. As she sashays away Juan Pablo calls out “Bye Mama!” as the JP swoon factor swells to an all time high.Lauren, 25, OK She’s a “mineral coordinator” - which we can only assume means that she works in the salt section of the local grocery store – who was recently dumped by her fiancé. She’s a wounded bird who’s interests include pondering life lakeside and watching other people get married across said lake like a creepy, sad, voyeur.Maggie, 24, SC The “personal banker” (has a checking account?) gives Juan Pablo the gift of a fishing hook (which is not a gift) in hopes that he’ll be a good catch. He sends her back.Kelly, 27 & Molly the dog – She’s a “dog lover” by trade so naturally she brought her pup to do the charming on her behalf.Lacy, 25, CA When she’s not caring for old people in the nursing home she owns, she’s looking after her 9 special needs family members. Heart of gold much? As if she couldn’t be any kinder, she gives Juan Pablo a prescription from “Cupid’s Pharmacy” to cure his headache. Sadly they’re just red hots. He politely chokes one down.Alexis, 24, FL She makes a feeble attempt to speak Spanish, because that hasn’t been thought of before.Kylie, 23, IL Her orange hair and pretty, pretty princess dress makes her oh so Tinkerbell-chic. Not a good look as she walks away mid conversation.Sharleen, 29, Germany, Lots of side boob happening for this frigid opera singer in her otherwise concealing drapey chiffon dress which Juan Pablo is all about. His compliment does nothing to lighten her up. “I can’t wait to hear you sing.” (eyeroll) “I’ll hear you, I promise” (foreboding). She walks away, head held high, leaving a cool breeze in her wake. “Singers, I like singers…” he says to no one.Andi 26, Georgia The producers saved (one of) the bests for last. Juan Pablo is clearly smitten this assistant DA (frankly, we’re intimidated). She’s hot and she prosecutes gangs.And now, let the accelerated champagne drinking commence! Juan Pablo, who’d henceforth like to be referred to as the “dancing Bachelor” kicks off the party by breaking it down with the ladies. Between the music and the photo booth this Sweet 16 is off to a fantastic start as he puts most of holiday Barbies at ease. We gotta say, Juan Pablo is really owning it.
The party highlights:Most awkward moment: Amy massages Juan Pablo over his suit. She groans. He spends the rest of the party covered in essential oil.Worst way to stand out: Tear-stained Lauren kicks off her conversation with Juan Pablo with “I don’t want to lead with this, but I just broke off an engagement a month ago.” It was nice knowing you.Best cover for not knowing someone’s name: Juan Pablo says to Renee “how are you mom?” before opening up about his ex and tells her that Camila was the best goal of his life (is that a gross sperm reference?) He does manage to remember Renee’s kid’s name. A sign that she’ll go strong for many episodes until she offs herself because she misses her son (aka, fears humiliation of rose ceremony send-off)Most ESL moment: While “free spirit” Lucy splays her dirty feet atop Juan Pablo he remarks that she seems like a “happy camper” yet he miraculously keeps her around. How does that make you feel, other rejects?Most Oblivious Moment: Juan Pablo just can’t get over how elegant opera singer Sharleen is. Clearly this is because she’s the only girl not showing cleavage. Juan Pablo’s takeaway from her diatribe about her quest to find a vegetarian pea soup in Germany is that she’s “cultured” and therefore will be a good mate and so while she sits uncomfortably draped in his jacket, telling the cameras how disappointed she was that she felt no connection with Juan Pablo, he goes off to fetch her the first impression rose. She coldly responds “Thank you, sir.” Sir? Seriously? Clueless Juan Pablo confides “I know she’ll sleep well tonight because I gave her a rose.” We think you’re cute.Cringiest Moment (spoiler alert): When Juan Pablo calls Kat’s name in the rose ceremony and Kylie steps forward. Shudders.And the survivors are…Clare, Nikki, Renee, Andi, Alli, Chantel, Lauren S, Kelli (& Molly), Cassandra, Danielle Chelsea, Lucy, Victoria, Kirstie, Kat, Lucy, and a very smug Amy LAs a reward for making it through the longest night (and recap. sorry), we end by watching Juan Pablo teach Sean how to salsa dance. Simply adorable. Now let's find you a wife!
After months of controversy and a set of not-so-secret secret emergency showcases, Saturday Night Live has chosen Sasheer Zamata to join the cast midseason as a Featured Player, making her the first black woman to be cast on the show since Maya Rudolph left in 2008. She is set to make her first appearance on the January 18 episode, alongside host and musical guest, Drake. While we're sure that almost immediately after she starts working at Rockefeller Plaza she'll be asked to play Michelle Obama, Beyonce, and Oprah Winfrey in rapid succession, we're really looking forward to seeing some of the original characters and sketches she will bring to the table. As an established writer, comedian and actress, a lot of her work is available online, including her web series, Pursuit of Sexiness, which has given us a glimpse at what's to come when she debuts on SNL.
In anticipation of her debut, we've taken a look at her original characters to try and determine where they would best fit in on Saturday Night Live, and which current cast members would work well opposite them.
Character: Thandie Snood, Host of "Fresh Findings"From: Her character reelHow It Would Work: Of all of the characters featured in Zamata's online videos, Thandie Snood feels the most ready to make the jump to Saturday Night Live. Firstly, she comes with a "talk show" premise already, and since the show has been relying more and more on talk and game show based sketches as of late, this could be a big advantage to helping Thandie Snood make it to air. In addition, the on-air breakdown that includes Thandie giving herself a pep-talk in the mirror and comparing a broken ukulele to the demise of her marriage make the character the right amount of odd to make it easy to expand the character into a longer sketch, resulting in a bigger freak out, or allowing other character the opportunity to react, both of which are things that SNL specializes in when it comes to developing sketches. Just add Kenan Thompson staring at Thandie with his signature wide-eyed confusion, and it could air right away.
Character: Jen at the GymFrom: Her character reelHow It Would Work: If Thandie was the most SNL-ready character that Zamata has in her arsenal, Jen at the Gym needs the most work to make it the viable focus of a sketch. However, the character's awkward nature and penchant for over-sharing mean that she could easily fit in with SNL's roster of weirdos and oddballs with a little bit of polishing. We could see Jen playing well off of another character or two, maybe as some sort of a double-act, or as the kind of character that pops up briefly for bit parts in sketches, just to add a bit of insanity to the proceedings. Think Triangle Sally meets Sally O' Malley.
Character: Sassy Mama Girlfriend, Host of "Watch Yo Mouth"From: Her writing reelHow It Would Work: There's no doubt that SNL will want to have at least one "sassy" character in their docket, so why not take Zamata's vegan cooking show host and find a way to work her into other sketches? While the cooking show featured in Zamata's reel is a great way to showcase the character, and features a great punchline about the side effects of cutting an onion, we see Sassy Mama Girlfriend hosting a character-based talk show. The best SNL talk shows have always revolved around some sort of outlandish, over-the-top host, like with "Bronx Beat" or the "Barry Gibb Talk Show," and we could see this character fitting in well amongst all of those other segments. It would also allow Zamata to keep the beats of sadness and frustration that are featured in the "Watch Yo Mouth" clip, but would also give her more time to explore them while giving Sassy Mama Girlfriend some characters to play off of. Consider it the perfect alternative to "Waking Up With Kimye."
Character: Melanie Mostnik, Host of "Morning After Meals"From: Her writing reelHow It Would Work: Both SNL and Zamata appear to be big fans of "host" characters, which would give her plenty of opportunities to come up with sketches that work with the tone of the show. But while Melanie would make a decent basis for a game show host, we love the premise of her hosting a cooking show in the kitchen of her one night stands, and think it would work perfectly as a filmed sketch, with Taran Killam or Brooks Wheelan playing the surprised guy. With the right amount of nervous energy on his part, and the right amount of annoyance and forced pleasantness on hers, we could easily see this fitting in on the show. SNL has been utilizing a lot of filmed sketches this season, with varying levels of success, but we think that "Morning After Meals" has an original enough premise that it would wind up being one of the better ones this season.
Character: N/A, "White Ad Executives Make Commercials for Black People"From: Her writing reelHow It Would Work: Zamata doesn't actually appear in this sketch, which is one of many commercial parodies that she has featured on her reels, but of all of them, it feels like it would work the best on SNL. Between the Morgan Freeman narration and the ridiculous acting, the sketch balances silliness with satire, which would make it a good fit for the commercial slot on the show. SNL has always been well-known for its commercial parodies, and Zamata's reel proves that she has experience writings ones that are snappy and memorable. Plus, her writing talent will help her establish herself on the show quickly, and would allow her voice from getting lost in bit parts and one-off characters. And since we're sure someone on that show has a Morgan Freeman impression ready to go, she won't have to waste any time when it comes to developing new commercials.
Character: Male Stand-upFrom: Chioke Nassor's Storytime SeriesHow It Would Work: Zamata uses an obnoxious, aggressive male stand-up character when she is re-imagining an incident where she was flashed on the street from his perspective. He starts off the story loud and brash, full of confidence, and then, as his set goes on, he starts to become sad about the bad first impression he made, and the possible loss of a genuine connection. We could see this character working well as "one of the guys" in a sketch with Jay Pharoah, but the real similarity is with Kyle Mooney, whose Internet sketch group Good Neighbor features a surfer dude named Todd, who also has moments of genuine self-reflection and existential crisis. Mooney's digital sketches have been among the highlights of the new season, and we think that he and Zamata would work well together, creating weird situations and characters that feel the need to think back on their life choices. Together, they will be laughing and learning.
Character: Cashier; BaristaFrom: Inside Amy Shumer; Totally Biased with W. Kamau BellHow It Would Work: Both of these characters are smaller, side characters, who are more of the straight-men than many of Zamata's other characters. However, both show that she plays off of other people really well, which is always an asset in sketch comedy, and that she has the ability to make a quieter character just as memorable as one that is loud and over-the-top. As a featured player, it's likely that Zamata will have to play a similar role in many of the sketches she's in this season, and her annoyed cashier on Inside Amy Shumer proves that she will likely be able to keep from getting lost in all of the insanity that is coming her way. It also would make her a good counterpoint for someone like Kate McKinnon, who specializes in weirdos, as she wouldn't be bowled over the force of McKinnon's characters. Plus, her barista on Totally Biased will hopefully give her the basis for a lot of character whose oddity is scaled down, which would help balance out the structure of the show.
Too busy preparing Thanksgiving dinner instead of catching the late night shows? Watch Christina Aguilera's revealing performance on The Tonight Show and find out what the rest of the late night shows were thankful for this year.Remember you can catch all the late night highlights every week right here on Hollywood.com.
Thank You for Your ServiceAs a tribute to the selfless men and women who serve to protect this country, Christina Aguilera wore an incredibly sexy sailor outfit that received a standing ovation from the all-military audience of The Tonight Show on Thanksgiving night. Later on, she performed the song "Candyman" from her fifth studio album, Back to Basics.
Girls Night KaraokeHow did Jimmy Fallon spend his Thanksgiving? Singing Thanksgiving-themed parodies of Katy Perry, Lorde, and Miley Cyrus songs with Rashida Jones and Carrie Underwood!
A Thanksgivukkah PageantThe planets aligned this years for the very rare occurrence when Thanksgiving and the first night of Hanukkah happen to fall on the same day. To celebrate this once in a lifetime moment (apparently, this won't happen for another 79,000 years!), the very adorable students of Shepard Hill Elementary put on a play about it on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
#CandyPatinkinA very special guest made a timely late night appearance to help Jimmy Fallon advance to the next level of Candy Crush.
Tracy's Troubling ThanksTo show everyone what he's thankful for, Tracy Morgan listed exactly 28 Thanksgiving-y thoughts that'll really make you think.
An All-Star DocumentaryIt was bound to happen: Ken Burns plans to make a documentary about Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Martha Stewart.
A Different Sort of Hunger GamesInstead of fighting to the death, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire star Josh Hutcherson shot some hoops with Jimmy Fallon, playing a game of H-O-R-S-E using Thanksgiving food instead of a basketball.
Walking Down Memory LaneHaving appeared on The Tonight Show many times, Garth Brooks was treated to a retrospective reel of his past visits when he sat down to chat with Jay Leno on Wednesday.
In his first movie, Thor's story was a simple one: stop being a jerk. Ego deflation is a common theme among fictional princes or aristocrats — before achieving greatness, you must obtain goodness (I think I stole that from Oz the Great and Powerful, which only furthers my point). Although it works as a narrative device, it also stands as, arguably, the least interesting of the arcs that face the subjects of the Avengers Initiative. Steve Rogers had an underdog story — the "little guy" becomes the hero (comic book fans are suckers for that kind of thing). Bruce Banner struggled with major psychological traumas and an existential crisis. Tony Stark... well, he also kind of had the "stop being a jerk/ego deflation" thing, but he was a lot funnier about it.
And then, the powers. Captain America is a mortal man imbued with superhuman might and spirit. The Hulk is a behemoth, nearly impenetrable monster, but one undone by his own inability to control himself. Iron Man is only as good as the gadgets he himself can invent and bring to life... and those gadgets, mind you, are immutably cool. And Thor... he's a bulky demigod, one who has never toed the line of true peril, with a gigantic hammer. Even here, he stands as the least interesting of the bunch.
As such, when filmmaker Kenneth Branagh delivered a clunky, distracted story in his Thor, there was far too little intrinsic value in the character to keep us optimistic. The principal merits of Branagh's movie were its stars: even with dumpy material, Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, and Stellan Skarsgard were charismatic enough for a few bits of fun. With a vastly improved script in Thor: The Dark World — which ups the ante on the stakes, the excitement, the cleverness, and the humor — the returning players can shine even brighter.
The followup feature, this time from television director Alan Taylor, is the second Marvel Universe film to release after The Avengers, and the second to really harness itself to this Whedonized vision for these characters. Like Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World makes its sense of humor a chief priority, allowing its story of intergalactic warfare and the apocalyptic threat of a Dark Elf's accumulation of mystical power feel quite intimate. Piercing through these grand, fantastical elements, which command our attention just enough to set up their narrative importance but then fade to the background of some great character work, is the relationship between Thor (Hemsworth) and Loki (Hiddleston) — brothers who, despite everything they've been through in these past two years, have not entirely abandoned their love for one another. Beside them, we have the team back home: scientist Jane (Portman), who has been trying to get her life back in order since her otherworldly beau high-tailed it back to Asgard. We pick up with Jane in the middle of a blind date with an affably nervous Chris O'Dowd (I hope he, somehow, stays in the Marvel canon), carting her into the action when her plucky sidekick Darcy (Kat Dennings) alerts her of a wormhole of sorts located in a London back-alley.
That's as scientific as I'm able to get, both because I got a C in physics and because Thor: The Dark World is never all that concerned with laying down the rules of quantum mechanics. Jane will begin to blather on about the nature of some space-time anomaly before the movie shuts her up, content (as is its audience) with employing suspension of disbelief. "Just accept that these things are happening," Thor 2 says, "because we need them to happen. Besides, they're no more ludicrous than anything else you've seen so far, right?" Maybe a little — The Dark World is beyond the biggest purpetrator of Marvel's reliance on some weirdo hocus pocus — but that's what we signed up for. Kooky magic. And with the Dark Elves, the hellish planets, the intergalatic portals, and the venemous smoke monsters, there's a lot more impressive wizardry to behold than in Hemsworth's previous installment.
But it's not any of the elements of Thor: The Dark World that are the problem. The plot works, the magic works, the comedy works (even when it feels like Joss Whedon's B reel), and the character material works in spades — Thor and Loki's arc will both thrill and surprise everyone who has stuck with them through Thor and The Avengers. The only thing holding us back from really latching onto Thor: The Dark World is Thor. Standing up against Iron Man and Captain America, it might simply be that Thor cannot prove himself worthy of our independent attention. With the competition of these two riveting heroes, he and his films can come off primarily as filler material — what we'll take until Captain America: The Winter Soldier, preparation for The Avengers: Age of Ultron. We might never feel as fulfilled with a Thor movie as we do with a Captain America or Iron Man standalone feature. But at the very least we can admire this one critically. If Thor: The Dark World was about a hero we could really care for, it'd be one hell of a movie.
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Reel FX/Relativity Media
Over the past few years we've seen the pop culture world lose a few points in originalities. With a surplus of sequels, remakes, adaptations, and whatever a "reimagining" is, we've been left wanting for original stories. But this movie season looks to satisfy our craving for the unknown. Just this past weekend, we saw Gravity — a film consistently heralded as "unlike anything we've ever seen" — break a slew of box office records. And hot on the space epic's tail is another sci-fi feature bearing a wild new lens: Free Birds, the very first animated movie about turkeys who use the resources of the White House to travel back in time to the first Thanksgiving and retcon the tradition of consuming their brethren on the annual November holiday. At least, the very first that I know of.
In addition to the appeal of a premise so peculiar, we have the vocal talents of Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson as the continuum-bending poultry. Wilson plays Reggie, a farm-raised fowl who is adopted by the First Family and spoiled to complacency until he is apprehended by Jake, a dutiful wild bird who vies to travel back in time and save the turkey race for good.
Reel FX/Relativity Media
Reel FX/Relativity Media
The film also boasts a wide array of impressive supporting stars, including Amy Poehler as 17th century turkey Jenny, Colm Meany as English military officer Myles Standish, and George Takei as a mysterious entity known as S.T.E.V.E..
Catch Free Birds, co-written and directed by Jimmy Hayward (Horton Hears a Who!) when it hits theaters on Nov. 1.
Reel FX/Relativity Media
More:How Brooding with Noah Baumbach's Animated 'Flawed Dogs' Be?Man Attempts to Cross Atlantic via Balloons, Just Like in 'Up'Every Pixar Movie Has a Non-Pixar Equivalent
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From Our Partners:A Complete History Of Twerking (1993-2013) (Vh1)15 Stars Share Secrets of their Sex Lives (Celebuzz)
Fans of British sitcom The IT Crowd have been waiting three years for this. The show is returning — after a hiatus that would make the wait between Mad Men seasons feel like a commercial break — for a one-off finale on Sep. 27. We're dying to see what the Reynholm Industries IT department have been up to (and what they think about the iPhone 5c launch). While we wait these last few agonizing days for the return of Roy (Chris O'Dowd), Jen (Katherine Parkinson), and Moss (Richard Ayoade), let's take a look back at some of their best moments.
"This, Jen, is the Internet."
Roy and Moss lend tech-virgin Jen "the Internet" for her Employee of the Month presentation, but only after a blessing from the "elders" and a de-magnetizing by Stephen Hawking, of course.
Looking normal: easier said than done.
Jen, thrilled to be dating a "proper normal," is less than thrilled to have to invite her work mates to a couples dinner party. But, socially-challenged nerd or not, who doesn't feel awkward in situations like these?
"Wow. A gun!"
Reynholm heir Douglas (Matt Berry) finds a hidden note and emergency handgun in his father's old desk and tests it out in the safest way possible.
0118 999 881 999 119 725…3
Of course the easier-to-remember phone number for England's new-and-improved Emergency Services shows up in another episode. It's so catchy!
Roy describes humanity, concisely and accurately.
Well, he does.
Moss accepts a challenge.
Street Countdown is much the same as the regular British game show Countdown, except we play it on the street. And it can get awfully chilly. Moss has his thermals on though, so he's ready to roll.
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To paraphrase the late Gil Scott-Heron, the revolution will not be televised — it will be streamed. Given the surge of popularity of streaming devices and entertainment, Target recently announced that they'd be joining the streaming bandwagon with their new "Target Ticket" service.
In the age of "binge-watching," it almost seems archaic to watch episodic television on a weekly basis. Why must we give in to the draconian schedule of broadcasters we cry! Old Blockbuster stores will serve as the post-apocalyptic backdrop to the latest original series on Netflix and on-demand cable is just a thumb in the dam — blocking the imminent flood of streaming entertainment.
Target's catalog of 15,000 movies and shows may seem measly compared to Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, Netflix and Apple TV libraries, but they've just entered the game. While quantity is a huge appeal to viewers, quality is what will beat out the competition. One of the main reasons why movie fans flocked to Netflix and streaming services in the first place was to find alternative titles than the wall full of Garfield DVD's that would greet you at your local video store. Now Apple TV even streams movies before they hit theaters — giving indie films a whole new audience, especially for those don't have access to art-house venues.
Besides catering to niche interests using fancy algorithms and shifting libraries, original programming seems to be the new frontier of which many of these services are shooting for. With the advent of Amazon's new production company and Netflix nabbing 14 Emmy nominations for their original series, these companies are no longer just a platform. Their definition of streaming devices as "inexpensive smart TV adapters," is apt considering the way we consume entertainment now.
Despite their convenience and cost, these services still have to answer to the big entertainment companies who continue to drive up the cost of their content. Just this year, they also lost 1800 titles due to contracts with MGM, Universal, and Warner Brothers that were not renewed causing a massive backlash against this "streamageddon" by users. But for every title lost, another one takes its place, as the company announced a new deal with the Weinstein Co. that will give Netflix the exclusive streaming rights to the company's first-run films starting in 2016. The costs are understandable, considering the sheer numbers that go into making the content. And until these companies find some sort of mutually beneficial solution, your favorite titles will continue to fluctuate. Although now Netflix will update you when something is about to expire.
Our televisions have become thinner, hi-def, 3D but have they become any smarter? While the cable companies battle it out with broadcasters, Sony, Intel, Google and other companies are looking to sidestep cable altogether by offering packages of channels via online. Nobody wants to settle for exorbitant cable packages and be stuck with useless shopping channels. As the Internet would reply — "ain't no one got time for dat."
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After Dark Films
It seems a bit odd to take on a movie review of Courtney Solomon's Getaway, as only in the loosest terms is Getaway actually a movie. We begin without questions — other than a vague and frustrating "What the hell is going on?" — and end without answers, watching Ethan Hawke drive his car into things (and people) for the hour and a half in between. We learn very little along the way, probed to engage in the mystery of the journey. But we don't, because there's no reason to.
There's not a single reason to wonder about any of the things that happen to Hawke's former racecar driver/reformed criminal — forced to carry out a series of felonious commands by a mysterious stranger who is holding his wife hostage — because there doesn't seem to be a single ounce of thought poured into him beyond what he see. We learn, via exposition delivered by him to gun-toting computer whiz Selena Gomez, that he "did some bad things" before meeting the love of his life and deciding to put that all behind him. Then, we stop learning. We stop thinking. We start crashing into police cars and Christmas trees and power plants.
Why is Selena Gomez along for the ride? Well, the beginnings of her involvement are defensible: Hawke is carrying out his slew of vehicular crimes in a stolen car. It's her car. And she's on a rampage to get it back. But unaware of what she's getting herself into, Gomez confronts an idling Hawke with a gun, is yanked into the automobile, and forced to sit shotgun while the rest of the driver's "assignments" are carried out. But her willingness to stick by Hawke after hearing his story is ludicrous. Their immediate bickering falls closer to catty sexual tension than it does to genuine derision and fear (you know, the sort of feelings you'd have for someone who held you up or forced you into accessorizing a buffet of life-threatening crimes).
After Dark Films
The "gradual" reversal of their relationship is treated like something we should root for. But with so little meat packed into either character, the interwoven scenes of Hawke and Gomez warming up to each other and becoming a team in the quest to save the former's wife serve more than anything else as a breather from all the grotesque, impatient, deliberately unappealing scenes of city wreckage.
And as far as consolidating the mystery, the film isn't interested in that either, as evidenced by its final moments. Instead of pressing focus on the answers to whatever questions we may have, the movie's ultimate reveal is so weak, unsubstantial, and entirely disconnected to the story entirely, that it seems almost offensive to whatever semblance of a film might exist here to go out on this note. Offensive to the idea of film and story in general, as a matter of fact. But Getaway isn't concerned with these notions. Not with story, character, logic, or humanity. It just wants to show us a bunch of car crashes and explosions. So you'd think it might have at least made those look a little better.
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Three contestants compete and each receives $250 betting money. The game begins with "The Film Clip Round." A category topic is revealed and players wager money on their ability to answer the forthcoming question. The question is read and players write their answers on a card. A clip from a movie is shown and the correct answer is revealed. Players with the correct answers receive the bet amount added to their score while an incorrect answer deducts the wagered amount of money. Each of the three film clip rounds is divided by a question-and-answer session wherein three questions are asked regarding the subject of the film clip round. Correct answers score $25; incorrect responses deduct that amount. The player with the highest cash score is the winner.