Is it possible that Girls, a dramatic comedy series about twentysomethings living in Brooklyn, could outgross its HBO brethren, Game of Thrones? Well, that depends on your perspective.
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When the fantasy series returned on Sunday night, it went out with a bang. Or should we say "a slice"? In the final scene, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) is in the market for an army to help her take the Iron Throne for herself. But she can't have just any gaggle of mercenaries; she needs the most ruthless killers possible (what with the Dothraki and their woozy tummies upchucking all over her ship). When the war lord du jour sees she's balking at the tenacity of his warriors for hire, he decides there's only one way to prove just how effective these fighters are. As he talks about how they've all been robbed of their manhood (which, as disgusting as it is, doesn't truly come as a shock), he casually lifts up an armor flap on one his men, and as casually as one would show off a new brooch or bauble, the warlord sticks a knife into the unlucky warrior's nipple and quickly sliced the whole damn thing off. The warrior is unfazed and Dany is terrified and intrigued. The rest of us at home were, for lack of a better term, losing our mother-loving minds.
RELATED: 'Girls' Recap: A Bloody Q Tip Unravels Adam
As the immediate appointment TV replacement for HBO's Girls, we couldn't help but think back to the second-to-last episode of Lena Dunham's darling TV baby, in which Dunham's Hannah lets her anxiety run so rampant she ruptures her own ear drum with a Q Tip. Just typing that turned my stomach, memories of the gutterally violent popping sound and Hannah's subsequent squealing rushing back into my brain. The nippel-ectomy was shocking, but the Q Tip moment was perhaps a little too close too home. (We've all got some Q Tips in our medicine cabinets, but how many of us find ourselves working for ruthless warlords with iron stomachs these days?)
GALLERY: TV's 19 Most Disgusting Moments
&amp;lt;a href="http://polldaddy.com/poll/7006544/"&amp;gt;Which HBO scene was more disgusting?&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt;
Follow Kelsea On Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credit: HBO (2)]
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When Matt Brubaker, President of the Theatrical and Theatrical Home Entertainment divisions of Trailer Park, talks cutting today's movie trailers it’s obvious he’s as passionate about his work as any Hollywood director or producer. He hears the cries of the fan community, but he knows if he sticks to his guns, he and his team can deliver a micro-sized work of art that will drive them in droves to the box office.
"Once people find out what you do, they ask, 'why do you show all the best scenes in the trailer?'" says Brubaker. "And it's because our job is to get people interested in the movie, to go to the theater. Whatever the best combination of story, humor, graphics, music, or whatever that gets you to the theater, that's what we're going to do."
Trailer Park describes itself as "the world's leading entertainment marketing and content agency" and they have the résumé to back it up, having cut trailers for Iron Man 3, The Dark Knight Rises, and Pacific Rim, designed posters for The Hobbit and Prometheus, and even constructed interactive websites for Wreck-It Ralph and Breaking Bad. Brubaker leads the theatrical side of the company, working with movie studios to develop trailers, TV commercials, and viral videos for the biggest, baddest blockbusters in town. With a body of work that speaks to their abilities, Trailer Park is assigned projects straight from the studios, given a creative brief with broad stroke ideas to inspire their work.
Often studios collaborate with filmmakers to make distinctive campaigns. Most notably, Warner Bros' innovative campaigns with visionary director Christopher Nolan. For the The Dark Knight Rises trailer. Trailer Park was given the task to make a trailer that "was anything but traditional." "Sound is a key component to the way we hang a trailer — the way we structure it, the way we sell it," says Brubaker. "[For Rises], it was almost more of an opposite. We went very quiet. It had a lot of emotion to it, but it had an understated simplicity to it that let the movie stand on its own."
"Sometimes, the process can last a year or more. Sometimes it lasts a week," says Brubaker. Trailer Park's road to the perfect trailer requires editing, re-editing, studio notes, complete overhauls, tiny tinkering, and painstaking work to find the right tone to hook audiences. But every time, the journey to the perfect trailer begins with an unlikely source: a script. "I know you don't think of writing scripts for trailers, but it's more about the feel and idea. Even if we don't have narration or copy, it's more about what the idea of the trailer is. The direction."
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After a few months of deliberation, the Trailer Park team will take a stab at piecing together footage. Brubaker and his team parse together ideas from an "assembly cut," or rough first cut, of the feature film. With piracy an ever-increasing issue, even in the industry, they may not even see that much. "Studios who will omit certain — we call them the 'black holes' — for security purposes take out sections of the movie," says Brubaker. "There are also filmmakers who don't want to give the entire movie, they'll give you sections out of order."
Brubaker explains that studios, much like the filmmakers they employ, have particular tastes for how they want to package their product. Some want the same return every time, utilizing a scientific trailer formula based on test audiences, previous research, and their own sensibilities. The choices are a mixed bag between the juggernauts of Hollywood, but familiarity is key. "Some studios like raunchy humor, some like safe humor. Some like pop music, some like big score. There are several clients within each studio, and they each have different tastes and for different types of sells."
Hollywood knows the importance of trailers has grown in the past two decades. They know people obsess over every detail when a trailer is released online. They even add to the hype — Brubaker chuckles when the idea of "trailers for trailers" comes up. "The smoke and mirrors of how we made trailers are gone," says Brubaker."Filmmakers are keenly aware of how trailers are scrutinized. The reactions to when a trailer launches — studios are very aware and reactive to [whether or not] their message [is] getting through or people [are] liking it."
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The weight a trailer carries has impacted every step of the creative process. According to Brubaker, a movie doesn't even need to exist when Trailer Park is called upon to whip up its first trailer. "There is a new trend where we're actually working on movies before they're even greenlit. Something called a rip-o-matic, which is we're making trailers to help the producers and studio executives to sell the movies for the greenlight," says Brubaker. Before the head honchos of a movie studio will fork over millions of dollars to make a movie, they want to know if it will make for a great trailer. Using footage and sounds from other movies, Trailer Park is able to design a conceptual teaser that evokes a mood. "It shows how important the trailers and marketing of a movie are, envisioning how this could be boiled down in two-and-a-half minutes."
NEXT: Adding An Edge and Dealing With Perfectionism...
While most of a trailer's style is born from broad studies and market research, there is wiggle room for innovation and actual artistry. Brubaker admits that in the age of the Internet, it's often the riskier trailers, ones that are "not exactly made for middle America, but they give a cool edge to a campaign," that garner the greatest response.
"Look at the teaser for [Nolan's] Superman trailer. You don't know it's Superman until the very end. It's done so subtly, and for such a big movie." Brubaker suggests that if Man of Steel didn't have the backing of a veteran like Nolan, Warner Bros. may not have taken this route. But he suspects it will pay off in the end. "If it was anyone else, they would question it. 'We're spending a huge amount of money to reboot Superman for the umpteenth time, and you're just going to show a slight indication at the very end that it's Superman?' It doesn't show the special effects that you normally would, it doesn't show the story you normally would… It's a breath of fresh air."
In some cases, Trailer Park cuts versions of the trailers that go against the requests of the studios — and these are often the versions chosen in the end. Taking a cue from director Baz Luhrmann's musical influence, Brubaker and his team decided to steer the trailer for The Great Gatsby in a new direction, being so enthused by the footage they were given. Still, it was risky. "Using a U2 song covered by Jack White — things that should not go together. Going against period deco Gatsby, which worked in my opinion, gave it an edge and a sensibility [that] the studio and Baz [were] looking for." The result is what Brubaker describes as "lightning in a bottle."
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Brubaker is frank when he describes the level of perfectionism needed to cut trailers in 2013 ("Fans — especially fanboys — will scrutinize. They're just cruel to the filmmakers in terms of how a movie will look"). But he also lights up when basking in the imagination required to pull it all off. Trailer Park, like any typical Hollywood-ready production house, packs editors who specialize in cutting action flicks, romantic comedies, and prestige dramas. Playing loose with the specializations is a key to their success. When Brubaker assigns a rom-com cutter to take a summer blockbuster trailer, "they are so driven to prove they can cut action, that they surprise me." It works both ways. "There are a couple of great action cutters, who are men, who cut the most emotional, sappy trailers."
Studio demands even have Trailer Park getting their hands dirty in the production side. "We did the Anchorman 2 teaser — that was a special shoot teaser that was written by the filmmakers," says Brubaker. "They wanted an announcement piece to let their fans know this was coming. At that time, the script wasn't finished." The company managed to assemble the trailer from shoot to completion in one week. For Pacific Rim, Trailer Park once again innovated a sound, a bellowing buzz to match the giant robot warriors conjured up by director Guillermo del Toro. The studio and del Toro were so happy with the results, the sound is now an integral part of the film's final sound design.
Reflecting on his early days in the trailer business — when Don Lafontaine would boom "IN A WORLD…," Brubaker fondly recalls when audiences actually had to go to the theater to see the latest "previews." Now, trailers are their own beasts — an even bigger challenge than just delivering a product. "You don't see that many movies a year, but you can see a lot of movie trailers. They're being seen as mini-movies," says Brubaker. "It drives us to make better work. Our job is to get people to the theaters to see the movie. With a more educated and advanced audience, we need to make better and better product to motivate them to go to the theater."
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Credit: Warner Bros., Marvel]
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September 19, 2012 10:30am EST
The This is Spinal Tap star was arrested for allegedly masturbating while watching a porn film at Hollywood's Tiki Theater in July (12), but he insisted it was all a big misunderstanding and managed to reach a deal with authorities to avoid formal prosecution.
As part of the agreement, lawmakers told Willard the case would be dropped if he completed an Alternative Prosecution Programme consisting of a two-week course.
The funnyman has since fulfilled his part of the deal and the investigation has now been closed.
He tells TMZ.com, "That's all over with. Everything's done... It was nothing. The charges were dropped."
The 73 year old maintained his innocence after the arrest, but the incident cost him his job as narrator for the PBS reality TV show Market Warriors, while ABC network bosses also axed the funnyman's improvisation series Trust Us With Your Life.
Actor Fred Willard is trying to "laugh off" his recent arrest on suspicion of lewd conduct, but insists the incident was both "painful" and "very embarrassing".
The This is Spinal Tap star was detained by police last week (18Jul12) on suspicion of masturbating during a porn film at the Tiki Theater in Los Angeles, but he will avoid prosecution after officials at the L.A. City Attorney's Office offered him a chance to
enrol on a counselling course instead of going to court.
He maintained his innocence after the incident and has now explained what happened during an appearance on U.S. TV show Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.
The 72 year old joked to the host, "It's the last time I'm gonna listen to my wife when she says, 'Why don't you go out and see a movie?'... I see this one (theatre), it had such an exotic look to it. I thought maybe there's hula dancers in there. Maybe there's Mai Tais! (It was) a trip down Alice in Wonderland and down the rabbit hole... (I was the) only awake and sober and conscious (person there)."
However, Willard admits the incident, which cost him his job as narrator for PBS reality TV show Market Warriors, was extremely stressful for him. He adds, "It's very embarrassing. It's embarrassing as hell! But let me say this: nothing happened. I did nothing wrong, everything's being sorted out as we speak...
"I have great respect for the authorities. I mean, when we need a policeman, God bless 'em, they're there. But, if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time, everything seems suspicious... But it's very embarrassing. Very painful. And I'm trying to laugh it off. But my summary of the evening is that it's an interesting theatre, boring movie, and a great place to take a nap."
The This is Spinal Tap star will avoid being formally charged if he completes a "pre-filing diversion program", according to the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office.
Spokesperson Frank Mateljan tells the Los Angeles Times, "I want to stress this was and is a filable case, and should the defendant choose not to enrol or not complete the program, we have the option of filing criminal charges within a year... Should he complete the course, we will consider the matter closed."
The course will cost Willard $380 (£238), but he has already lost his job as narrator for the PBS reality TV show Market Warriors.
Willard has maintained his innocence after the arrest for allegedly masturbating during a porn film at Hollywood's Tiki Theater.
The This is Spinal Tap star was taken into custody after undercover vice officers allegedly caught him masturbating while watching a porn film at Hollywood's Tiki Theater.
The headline-grabbing bust cost him his job as narrator for PBS reality TV show Market Warriors but, speaking to TMZ.com on Thursday (29Jul12), the star maintained his innocence.
Willard told a TMZ cameraman he is doing "fine" and "keeping busy," adding, "It's all being straightened out. I have great respect for (the police), there's just a difference of opinion. It's all being straightened out as we speak... It was a strange situation.
"It did not happen... It'll all be straightened out. My attorney said, 'You know, let them (handle the situation).'"
Oh, Fred Willard. If you thought yesterday wasn't your day, it's looking like today isn't, either. After being booked for a misdemeanor (and later released) for an alleged masturbation incident at an adult theater in Hollywood, The Hollywood Reporter is, well, reporting that Willard has been axed from his hosting duties on Market Warriors, a spinoff of their fan-favorite Antiques Roadshow. A PBS spokesperson confirmed to THR that Willard will no longer host the remaining episodes of the show, and that Roadshow host Mark Walberg (no not that one), will record voiceovers for the remaining episodes.
"Given the unfortunate news reported today, effective immediately, Fred Willard no longer will be involved with the Market Warriors series," said WGBH spokeswoman Jeanne Hopkins.
Meanwhile, over at TMZ, Willard's lawyer Paul Takakjian, released a statement stating "With all due respect to the individual officer, our belief is that Fred did nothing in any violation of any law. We will be working vigorously to clear his name in this matter."
Hollywood.com reached out for comment from PBS, but had yet to hear back at the time of publication.
Do you think Willard is guilty? Innocent? Do you think PBS' actions were justified? Sound off below!
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
'Anchorman' Star Fred Willard Arrested for Lewd Conduct: New Details
The Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy star, 72, was taken into custody on Wednesday night (18Jul12) after undercover vice officers allegedly caught him masturbating while watching a porn film at adult movie cinema Tiki Theater in Hollywood.
He was booked for the misdemeanour and released.
Willard's headline-grabbing bust has already had a negative affect on his career - PBS bosses have dropped the actor as the narrator of the network's Market Warriors reality show. The programme is a spin-off of the popular Antiques Roadshow.
A statement released by producers on Thursday (19Jul12) reads: "Given the unfortunate news reported today, effective immediately, Fred Willard no longer will be involved with the Market Warriors series."
Willard must appear in court at a later date to answer to the lewd conduct charge.
Meanwhile, the actor's lawyer, Paul Takakjian, has released a statement to TMZ.com, insisting his client is innocent.
He says, "With all due respect to the individual (arresting) officer, our belief is that Fred did nothing in any violation of any law. We will be working vigorously to clear his name in this matter."
Ironically, his arrest comes almost 21 years to the day that actor Paul Reubens, aka Pee Wee Herman, was booked for indecent exposure in July, 1991, after police officers allegedly caught him masturbating in an adult theatre in Sarasota, Florida.
Reubens released a statement denying the charges but later pleaded no contest, while maintaining his innocence, to avoid a trial.
He still maintains his arrest was the result of a misunderstanding.
S2E7: The Hawaii Five-0 showrunners sure wanted to give us some thrills for tonight's Halloween episode -- and boy, did they deliver, turning in easily the season's scariest hour.
It all starts, and revolves around, the murder of two young amateur documentarians who were killed while filming from an infamous local sacred graveyard, looking for the mythic "ghost warriors."
The Five-0 quickly arrive at the scene, and Danny, of course, disobeys the tradition of waiting for a priest to "bless" them before entering the scene of the crime, at which a hand belonging to the male victim is the only sign of the murder.
After the autopsy and some research, Max discovers fingerprints on the female victim that belong to a man named Greg Straithan, but he is immediately ruled out as a suspect, because he's dead -- murdered by his criminally insane girlfriend. Apparently, that is: McGarrett and Co. wonder if this was simply the perfect opportunity for Straithan to have faked his own death. And when they go to exhume Straithan's body, after a fruitless interview with his hospitalized gilfriend, it is missing, only fanning the flames of their theory.
But Max assures them that Straithan is, in fact, dead, his severed hand found in a bag at the original scene of the crime -- which is where they return to look for the rest of the body. It is also there that piece together other clues and conclude that a homeless man (guest star Robert Englund), who warned them previously not to investigate the murder in the first place, is the killer. He is quickly apprehended nearby almost quite literally holding the proverbial "smoking gun" (er, machete).
Alas, though, while he seems quite mean and possibly dangerous, the homeless man is ruled out, as the blood on his weapon was matched to that of an animal he'd hunted. And furthermore, as the Five-0 crew soon discovers, they're not looking for a serial killer but rather a "businessman who's selling cadaver parts on the black market."
At which point they turn to a new suspect: mortuary attendant Tyler Mitchell, who, in hindsight, was mysteriously apprehensive about helping to exhume Greg Straithan's body. For good reason! The full squad races to the mortuary at which he worked, only to find him dead and realize, yet again, that they had the wrong guy. Mitchell was in cahoots with a hospital employee named Jacob Garrison, who was using the lucrative "body-parts trade" to pay off his extensive debt.
His moneymaking days -- and non-moneymaking days -- come to an end, however, when he gets caught by Five-0 at his own house and opts to light himself (and his house) on fire rather than surrendering.
TOP FIVE MOMENTS FROM TONIGHT'S EPISODE
1. The opening scene, which features a Blair Witch Project-style slaying -- quite appropriate for the Halloween episode.
2. Max, always the comic-relief fall guy, briefs McGarrett and Danny on his autopsy findings in the super-serious murder case -- all while dressed as Neo from The Matrix in his Halloween-spirited office.
3. "Nice, Italian marble ... You know, by law, youre gonna have to disclose that there was a murder here. Probably have to cut the rent in half ... at least. I mean, most people -- they wont even rent a place where theres been a violent crime. Ya know, bad mojo, stuff like that. Me, personally, I never minded a little bit of blood." -Danny, talking to the landlord of the apparent victim Greg Straitham -- and hoping to movie into his apartment.
4. The scene in which a scary -- but not quite Freddie Krueger scary -- Robert Englund is found wielding a bloody machete (and a lot of dirt and grime).
5. The Five-0 gang busts into the mortuary looking for Mitchell, flashlight guns drawn, creaky doors, well, creaking. Lori finds Mitchell dead and in the unappetizing process of being embalmed. Thats when someone sneaks up on her from behind out of one of the many closed caskets in the room and bludgeons her with some sort of postmortem instrument. (She's somehow basically unharmed, though.) Boo!
Built from comic book auteur Frank Miller’s (Sin City) rock solid foundations 300 is based on his vision on the 1962 film The 300 Spartans filtered through the same tough-as-nails pulp sensibility that populates most of his comics work. Leaving such leaden wannabe sword-and-sandal epics like Troy and Alexander in the historical dust 300 reworks the real-life legendary tale of the Battle of Thermopylae in which a battalion of 300 elite Spartan soldiers heroically hold the line to protect ancient Greece from the invading Persian hordes. The story focuses on the Spartan King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) who must not only lead his small cadre of troops--each one honored since childhood into a razor-sharp battle-relishing warrior—into a battle they are unlikely to survive but he must also fight for the fate of Greece and its democratic ideals. As the bizarre seemingly endless marauding legions of the tyrant Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) descend upon the Hot Gates—a narrow passageway into Greece that Leonidas’ miniscule band can most ably defend—the soldiers take up arms without the usual post-modern anti-war hand-wringing that most war epics indulge in. These soldiers are both bred for battle and fighting a good fight and the film focuses squarely on the highly charged action. Meanwhile in a new plotline created specifically for the movie his equally noble and faithful queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) takes up arms in a more symbolic way as she also tries to keep democracy alive by taking on the political warlords of Sparta to secure relief for her husband’s troops. Butler has become a familiar and welcome on-screen presence in such films as The Phantom of the Opera and Reign of Fire but there has been little on his mainstream movie resume to suggest the kind of bravura fire he brings to the role of Leonidas. This is the stuff of an actor announcing himself to the audience in a major way akin to Daniel Craig’s star-making turn as James Bond. In a big bold performance that could have gone awry in any number of ways Butler plays even the highest pitched notes like a concerto perfectly capturing the king’s bravado bombast cunning compassion and passion each step of the way. Headey is his ideal match imbuing the queen with more steel and nobility in a handful of scenes than most actresses can summon to carry entire films. Fans of Lost and Brazilian cinema will be hard-pressed to even recognize Santoro whose earnest pretty handsomeness is radically transformed into Xerxes’ exotic borderline freakish form personifying a terrifying yet seductive force of corruption and evil that spreads like a cancer across the earth. And don’t forget to add in the most impressive array of rock-hard abs on cinematic display since well ever (think Brad Pitt in Troy times 300). Even bolstered by canny casting choices and their washboard stomachs helmer Zack Snyder (Dawn of the Dead) is the true undisputable star of 300 establishing himself firmly as a director whose work demands to be watched. With a kinetic sensibility that’s akin to Quentin Tarantino and John Woo and using CGI technology to its utmost effects both subtle and dynamic Snyder creates a compelling fully formed world that the audience is eager to explore. Snyder doesn’t literally match Miller’s signature artwork as meticulously as director Robert Rodriguez did with Sin City. Instead Snyder captures Miller’s essence be it raw brutality majestic size and scope the exotic and otherworldly carnal physicality or hideous deformity--even seemingly antiquated and potentially off-putting techniques like the repeated use of slow-motion are put to fresh effect making every blow and cut seem crucial. Yet even in the visual glorification of some of the most bloody and violent conflicts ever put to film Snyder infuses the tale—which ultimately is one big glorious testosterone-soaked fight sequence—with the sense of honor and sacrifice which characterizes the most noble of war efforts. Yes war can be hell but this is a case where some like it hot.