Another summer, another Transformers film. With Transformers: Age of Extinction, The series is embarking on new, LaBeouf-less territory. This time, a fresh, plucky group of humans have found the rusted remains of Optimus Prime in the heartland. American flags waft patriotically in the breeze, a shadowy organization wants to harvest the Autobots for their cool metal bodies, and there is consistent promise of city-smashing chaos. Yup, it sounds like a Transformers movie.
So it may look exactly like the last few Transformers movies, but at least this one has Dinobots... that's marginally interesting, right? In fact, there are plenty of marginally interesting things in this new footage! Here's our rundown of the 10 most passably acceptable things in the trailer:
10. Mark Whalberg’s arms are pretty big, huh?
9. That one Decpticon looks sorta like a dragon.
8. A boat exploaded. Boats don't usually explode in these movies; that's more of a car thing.
7. Stanley Tucci plays with a piece of floaty metal!
6. That one Transfomer’s face turns into a gun.
5. That one Transformer is munching on a cigar.
4. And he also has a beard made of... coils... or wires… wait, why would a robot even have a beard?
3. Optimus Prime is riding a Dinobot. It breathes fire.
2. That one guy gets hit in the face with a car.
1. Stanley Tucci screams “Oh my God.” Just like in your wildest nightmares.
In a masterful stroke of marketing magic, The CW decided to air both of its shows starring a member of the Amell clan on Wednesdays. Arrow and The Tomorrow People have brought fans together to celebrate “Amell Wednesdays.” But let’s answer the question that’s on everyone’s mind: who’s better, Stephen Amell or Robbie Amell?
The CW Shows
If we’re pitting Arrow, a reboot of the DC Green Arrow superhero, against The Tomorrow People, a reboot of a 1970s British sci-fi show, it’s not hard to choose. Arrow, now in its second season, has grown into its own as the best superhero show on TV while The Tomorrow People still has some kinks to work out.
Stephen 1, Robbie 0
However, if we take a look at Oliver Queen and Stephen Jameson, who would you really want to be the hero of your city? They’ve both got the selfless thing down — they’re willing to do anything to save someone’s life, especially if that person is someone they love — but while Oliver is good with a bow, Stephen has actual superpowers: telekinesis, telepathy, teleportation, and he can stop time.
Stephen 1, Robbie 1
Both Stephen and Robbie have plenty of roles under their belts. Stephen bounced around with small bit parts before landing bigger roles on Hung, Private Practice, and Heartland. Meanwhile, Stephen stuck to media geared toward a younger crowd: Life with Derek, True Jackson VP and Scooby Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster.
Stephen 2, Robbie 1
The Bring-Him-Home-to-Mom Factor
While both the Amells can be charming, imagine bringing them home. Every sister, female cousin, aunt, and teenaged niece would be vying for Stephen’s attention, while Robbie could woo the whole family with his boy-next-door thing.
Stephen 2, Robbie 2
Now, this is a hard one (pun not intended.) Both Stephen and Robbie look fantastic shirtless — though Stephen is more often without a shirt than Robbie on their respective shows — but this one is going to have to go to Stephen. Have you seen those promo shots for Arrow? Even Felicity Smoak agrees with us; her favorite pastime is watching Oliver Queen work out.
Stephen 3, Robbie 2
Winner: Stephen Amell!
(Sorry Robbie, we still love you.)
As director Alexander Payne has grown more complex in his storytelling over the years, so have his unusually driven characters. Some might argue that Payne's films feel a tad too convoluted. But even those living steadfastly in this camp should loosen up their expectations and be prepared to be surprised by Nebraska, which could be consider Payne's purest (and most melancholy) work yet.
It’s no wonder Payne chose to shoot this minimalist film in black and white. The movie offers a rather stark portrait of a man in his twilight years, following Woody Grant (Bruce Dern), who has fallen so far down a spiral of complacency, his only hope for a worthwhile future is some vague promise from a Publisher's Clearing House-like sweepstakes letter.
Dern plays a man so unkempt, his nose hair has grown to become part of his beard. Woody seems to have long given up on life until he receives the fateful sweepstakes packet in the mail. His wife Kate (June Squibb taking misanthropy to grand passive-aggressive heights) and his son David (Will Forte playing restrained with wounded heart) can only roll their eyes. So Woody decides to walk to the address on the envelope in Lincoln, Nebraska from his ramshackle Billings, Montana home with his "winner's certificate" in hand.
The bleak wintery landscape Woody tries to shamble across — until David catches up with him on several occasions — provides the perfect metaphor for this zombie of a father. David ultimately caves and offers to drive him. Along the way, mom joins the trip, as does their second son Ross (Bob Odenkirk). As they pack into David's vintage Subaru Forester, the road becomes much more than a route to redemptive treasure. It becomes a sort of time machine, as they meet close relatives who have become distant and encounter old family friends who still hold a grudge.
Working from a script by newcomer Bob Nelson, Nebraska has a darker tone than usual for Payne. But, as ever, Payne knows how to linger on a reaction shot for levity, especially if it's a dim, open-mouthed face. The film is mostly about the performances. Squibb particularly rises to grand task, timing her denouncements of those alive and dead with grim humor. Dern infuses Woody with a subtle fragility below a stubborn, cantankerous exterior. The pain of regret weighs heavy on this man, but Dern keeps his emotions buried as deep as possible. One cannot forget praise for Forte, who must play a sort of straight-man to his scenery-chewing elders. In the end, the viewer will come to understand the relationship that so closely binds this family together.
Because the performances are so strong and, as usual, the characters so soulful, it seems a shame that Payne succumbs to a temptation for retribution for David, during one brief scene toward the end. He reaches too far beyond his character. But it’s a slight misstep in an otherwise modest film. Even when the filmmakers must offer a resolution that some might fault for too much sugar coating, there is a subtle flip side that what has happened is only a bitter-sweet bandage on the inevitable. As he did with his last film, The Descendants, Payne does not resort to sentimental hokum but offers a poignant portrait of aging with the burden of regret.
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Erik WeissWith The Killers set to release their first career retrospective, Direct Hits, next month, here's a countdown of their four studio albums, plus Brandon Flowers' solo effort, from worst to best.5. CrossfireFailing to make the most of the time away from his day-job, Brandon Flowers' solo album was a disappointingly lazy affair which apart from the glorious title track sounded like it had been cobbled together from rejects from The Killers' previous three records. Let's hope he doesn't play it so safe for next year's proposed follow-up.4. Battle BornDespite recruiting no less than five different producers, The Killers' fourth LP once again suggested that Flowers and co. were stuck in a creative rut with a string of overblown chest-beating numbers which were unfavourably compared with the likes of Meat Loaf and Bryan Adams.3. Sam's TownA deliberate attempt by Flowers to embrace his American heritage, Sam's Town was a blustery Springsteen-esque heartland rock affair which all but abandoned the Anglophile leanings of its predecessor with mixed results.2. Day & AgePossibly the band's most divisive record, Day & Age saw the band hook up with Madonna cohort Stuart Price on a glossy '80s-tinged effort which ventured into everything from electro-pop to Afrobeat to jazz-funk.1. Hot FussHome to a string of classic singles ("Mr. Brightside," "All These Things That I've Done," "Somebody Told Me," "Smile Like You Mean It"), 2004 debut Hot Fuss was a triumphant blend of new wave, post-punk and British indie-rock which instantly positioned The Killers as one of the greatest mainstream guitar bands of their generation.
WENNFrom a thunderous club banger by the Princess of Pop to a return to form from one of the world's biggest stadium rock bands, here's a look at five of the best tracks to have been unveiled over the past seven days.
Britney Spears – "Work B**ch"The jury's still out on Britney's solo return. On one hand, the faux-British accent, whip-cracking lyrics and obscenely dirty synths provide one of the more distinctive EDM-pop crossovers this year. But on the other, there's absolutely no semblance of a tune. Nevertheless, like previous will.i.am collaboration "Scream & Shout," it will still be utterly inescapable for months to come.
The Killers – "Shot At The Night"After disappointing with the dreary heartland rock of Battle Born, The Killers have thankfully rediscovered their synth leanings for the lead single from upcoming compilation, Direct Hits. Produced by M83's Anthony Gonzales, "Shot At The Night" possesses a similar neon-lit cinematic quality as the Frenchman's recent work without sacrificing the band's signature sense of pomp and bluster.
Katy B – "5AM"Continuing to distance herself from her previous Queen of Dubstep tag, Katy B builds on the lush house-pop that defined last year's superb Danger E.P. with this deceptively downbeat tale of a Saturday night out which appears to have ended in tears.
R. Kelly - "Genius"Never backwards in coming forwards when it comes to matters in the bedroom, R. Kelly self-appoints himself as a sex god on a smooth falsetto-led neo-soul jam which, alongside his unexpected hook-ups with Phoenix, won't do any harm in the quest to reclaim his King of R&B throne.
Katy Perry – "Dark Horse"The first track to live up to Perry's claims that third album, Prism, will be a much darker affair than Teenage Dream, "Dark Horse" is an intriguing slice of rap-inspired pop which allows the former Mrs. Russell Brand to unleash her femme fatale side, while Juicy J adds to the sense of menace with a guest rap which references cannibalistic killer Jeffrey Dahmer.
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Model/actor Tyson Beckford has recalled his brush with gun crime during his upbringing in New York, revealing he has been "shot at" in the past. The star was raised in The Bronx when it was a notorious gangster heartland during the 1970s and '80s, and in his youth, he experienced the tough reality of life on the streets first hand.
He is adamant his background has made him immune to fear and he was unruffled when he was recently bombarded with death threats on Twitter.com relating to his judging role on U.K. TV talent show Britain and Ireland's Next Top Model.
Beckford reported the threats to bosses at the series' Sky network, and he now makes sure he keeps his personal details offline and never gives away his location.
He tells Britain's The Sun newspaper, "I got a lot of negative tweets... I got death threats: 'We're coming to shoot you when you come to London'. I come from America, I'm coming from ganglands. It ain't like I haven't been shot at before. Bring it on buddy! But I did alert Sky. And I don't say where I am on Twitter. I might tweet a photo, but if anybody rocks up (arrives there) they'll find I left a few hours ago. But I'm not worried."
Toby Keith turned down the chance to play a home state benefit gig to aid Oklahoma storm relief organisations a week after tornadoes ripped through suburbs of Oklahoma City - because he needed more time to reflect on the damage. Fellow Oklahoman Blake Shelton reached out to Keith and invited him to headline May's (13) Healing in the Heartland concert, which raised over $6 million (£3.9 million) for local charities, but the Beer For My Horses singer wasn't ready to perform alongside stars like Usher, Reba McEntire, Vince Gill, Shelton and his wife Miranda Lambert.
And, as he prepares for Saturday's (06Jul13) benefit gig which he has organised, Keith tells Country Weekly, "The first concert they did, that Blake and those guys did, was wonderful because it was a TV show and it pumped a lot of money in quick and fast.
"I just couldn't do it five or six days after (the storms) because it was just too soon for me to be downtown playing music. I had, you know, stuff to deal with here."
Keith's mega fundraiser in Norman, Oklahoma will feature performances by Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Ronnie Dunn, Trisha Yearwood and rocker Sammy Hagar, while another state native, Carrie Underwood, will appear via satellite from the Grand Ole Opry stage in Nashville, Tennessee.
Tickets for Toby Keith's upcoming Oklahoma Twister Relief Concert sold out in less than three hours on Friday (21Jun13). The 6 July (13) gig at the Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman will feature performances by Keith, Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Trisha Yearwood, Ronnie Dunn and Sammy Hagar.
After learning all 80,000 tickets had been sold, Keith went online and posted: "As of this time, there are no #TKOKrelief tickets avail (available). Once we finalize production, it is possible that there will be addt'l (additional) tix (tickets) released!"
Blake Shelton's televised Healing in the Heartland concert in Oklahoma City in May (13) helped raise more than $6 million (£3.9 million) for the recovery effort in Moore, Oklahoma, which was left ravaged by a deadly twister.
Kings of Leon and The Flaming Lips will co-headline another show benefiting victims of the storms on 28 July (13).
Toby Keith, Ronnie Dunn and Garth Brooks' Oklahoma Twister Benefit concert will take place on 6 July (13). The trio will hit the stage at the Oklahoma Memorial Stadium alongside Mel Tillis, Brooks' wife Trisha Yearwood, Willie Nelson and rocker Sammy Hagar.
The charity gig comes several weeks after Keith's fellow Oklahoma native Blake Shelton staged his Healing in the Heartland concert at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City with his wife Miranda Lambert, Usher, Vince Gill and Reba McEntire.
The televised concert helped raise more than $6 million (£3.9 million) for the recovery effort in Moore, Oklahoma, which was left ravaged by a deadly twister last month (May13).
Kings of Leon and The Flaming Lips will co-headline another show benefiting victims of the storms on 28 July (13).
We have a winner!
Yes, Season 4 of The Voice has come to a close. Michelle Chamuel, Danielle Bradbery, and The Swon Brothers sang their little hearts out to force judges Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Usher, and Shakira to turn their chairs around over 28 episodes. But there can be only one winner. And that winner is...
Yep, the country crooner sang Patty Loveless, Pam Tillis, and Sara Evans in the finale to enter the hearts of heartland viewers and win it all. Chamuel, whose tastes were all over the musical map, singing everything from Taylor Swift to U2, came in second. And The Swon Brothers, who are maybe now realizing just how uncool The Eagles and Kenny Loggins — artists they covered during the finale — really are.
Happy with the results?
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt | Follow Hollywood.com on Twitter @Hollywood_com
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