Can the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII possibly live up to expectations? It already has for director Kevin Smith. Last week, the filmmaker took to Instagram, posting a teary-eyed selfie after visiting the set for J.J. Abrams' upcoming sequel. Unfortunately, Smith was unable to say much else about his visit, thanks to a hefty non-disclosure agreement signed before seeing the set, but the visit was clearly a transformative one.
Now, thanks to Slashfilm, a video of Smith's Q&A at the Neuchatel International Film Festival in Switzerland has surfaced, in which the filmmaker talks at length about his recent visit to the London-based set. With the signed NDA still looming over his head, Smith couldn't get into specifics about what he saw, but he does talk about his time aboard the new Millennium Falcon and how witnessing the nostalgic sights and sounds of the new production made even the admittedly jaded filmmaker cry geeky tears of joy. Here are the snippets of Smith's interview that have us the most excited.
Here, Smith talks about the lack of green screen in the production and the reliance on live sets and practical effects:
"What I saw, I absolutely loved. It was tactile. it was real. It wasn’t a series of f**king green screens and blue screens in which later on digital characters would be added. It was there, it was happening."
"As I walked up that ramp [of the Millennium Falcon set] I realized that the something that was missing from [the prequels] and its now in these movies. And its not the obvious like hey the Millennium Falcon or hey the characters that we know are returning. Its something else entirely — he’s building a tactile world, a world you can touch. And hes replicating with all the love of someone who has the world’s greatest collection of Star Wars figures."
Smith talks about how the new film has many returning elements from the original trilogy:
"I saw old friends who I haven’t seen since my childhood... I saw uniforms, I saw artillery I haven’t seen since I was a kid. I saw them shooting an actual sequence in a set that was real. I walked across the set, there were explosions. And it looked like a shot right out of a f**king Star Wars movie."
"If he captures just 10 percent of what I felt, they're going to make a gazillion dollars. It's going to be the top grossing film of all time. Because it's old home; it's seeing everybody you want to see again in a brand new adventure moving forward. I can't wait."
Finally, Smith details how seeing scenes and sequences from the film turned Smith into a teary-eyed believer:
"[Abrams] showed me cut scenes, he showed me sequences, images, pictures. I cried. I cried and I hugged that guy. And I’m sure as I was crying and hugging on him that he was thinking 'time is money' because they're making a movie. But he got it. He was very flattered. And I was like 'Honestly dude, you’re doing it. You’re making my childhood again. You’re doing our Star Wars.' What I saw, blew me away."
The full video is below. Smith's comments about his Episode VII set visit start around the 35 minute mark.
In the past six months, we've said goodbye to a king and hello to another, met some new clones, traveled the flat circle of time, and had an old friend for dinner. So far, it's been a stunning year for television. We've seen so many wonderful, gripping horrifying, funny, and poignant moments blaze across our television screens in 2014, so it's hard to fathom that we're only halfway through the year. Here's a list of some of our favorite moments in television this year... so far. (Beware spoilers!)
The Mountain Crushes the ViperShow: Game of ThronesEpisode: "The Mountain and the Viper"
It was all too easy for Oberyn, who was doing backflips and chanting accusations while easily besting the Mountain in combat. But style, grace, and most importantly, honor have no place in the world of Game of Thrones. A lesson the show has painfully reiterated time and time again. What really gets things done in Westeros is brutal efficiency. So when the Mountain grabs hold of Oberyn by the scruff of the neck, unlike his competitor he wastes no time in gouging the prince's eyes out and crushing his head in horribly graphic fashion. The scene was a disgusting display of SFX wizardry and we've been wincing for weeks.
Three Years Later...Show: Parks and RecreationEpisode: "Moving Up"
For the past six years, Leslie has served Pawnee with moxie and unbridled enthusiasm, but it soon became clear that the devoted public servant was becoming too big for her little Indiana town. Pawnee after all, is somehow simultaneously the greatest town in America and hell on earth for anyone with more than two brain cells rubbing together. We knew Leslie would have to move on eventually, we just didn't know it would be so soon. In a brave gambit, Parks and Recreation jumps ahead three whole years and catches up with Leslie working a new job in Chicago with three toddler-aged kids. Ben is also inexplicably wearing a tuxedo. We've sometimes criticized Parks and Rec for growing a little stagnant formula-wise, and this was a brilliant shake-up for the series.
Helena ReturnsShow: Orphan BlackEpisode: "Governed as it Were by Chance"
At the end of the first season, Sarah shot her “seestra” Helena and left her for dead, but in the second, she found out that it takes more than a gunshot to take out the most unpredictable clone of all. Their reunion in the bathroom is one of Tatiana Maslany’s finest performances, a tense, terrifying moment that highlights the differences between all of the clones. As Helena, she’s creepy and otherworldly and desperate to be loved and protected; as Sarah, she’s terrified and traumatized, shaking uncontrollably and unable to breathe. It’s everything that’s exhilarating and mesmerizing about Maslany’s work on the show condensed into a powerhouse of a scene.
The Dinner PartyShow: HannibalEpisode: "Mizumono"
Season 2 of Hannibal opened and closed with a deadly dinner that was nothing short of a game-changer. The season's slow burning tragedy ended with a shocking, bloody, and audacious final 10 minutes that leaves Will Graham and essentially the entire principal cast bleeding out, dead, or dying, while Hannibal escapes into the night. It's hard to think of a moment of television in 2014 that left us more gutted.
The Long TakeShow: True DetectiveEpisode: "Who Goes There"
These days, television is on a definite winning streak, with some even proclaiming that the lowly boob tube has even transcended film. TV has certainly come a long way in the past 10 years, and even in the last five, but one area where television has always felt lacking is in cinematography. Directing on television can sometimes feel largely perfunctory, a means to an end. But then we saw the fourth episode of True Detective. And then we forgot what movies even were for a couple days. When undercover cop Rust Cohle is caught up in a white supremacist robbery gone wrong, he escapes in a breathtaking six-minute long take that's not only absurdly complex and seamless but so unflinchingly thrilling. We can't even begin to comprehend how Cary Fukunaga put this one together.
The Coming Out PartyShow: ShamelessEpisode: "Emily"
Generally, when characters come out as gay on television, they do so through a heartfelt confession underscored to soft piano music. But Mickey Milkvoich is not a typical character and Shameless is not a typical show. So when Mickey came out, he did so by getting into a bar fight with his abusive, homophobic, alcoholic father. It’s a testament to Noel Fisher’s performance that he’s not only turned Mickey from a one-off bully into one of the most sympathetic – if not necessarily likeable – characters on the show, but he also created a scene that it simultaneously touching and triumphant.
Ding Dong, the King is DeadShow: Game of ThronesEpisode: "The Lion and the Rose"
With the Starks scattered in the winds, Stannis virtually army-less, and Daenerys still tying to be the Abe Lincoln of Essos, we expected Joffery, the cruel boy king of Westeros, to sit on the Iron Throne for decades. to come. Luckily, Game of Thrones doesn't give a crap what we expect, and in the midst of Joffery's garish wedding celebration, right when Joffery was being his Joffery-est, the king is murdered. And when the big moment finally happens, it isn't triumphant or cathartic like we had always imagined, but horrifying. Watching the life slip out of this child (a fact that's so easy to forget) as he clutches for his mother, and seeing his terrified face go blue then grey, with eyes wild and confused, struggling to understand what was happening, the scene is actually deeply sad. We even felt pity for the poor monster. But we felt even worse for the people caught in the blowback of his assassination.
Mind Your MannersShow: Orange Is the New BlackEpisode: "We Have Manners. We're Polite."
You know all that catharsis we were missing from the death of Joffery on Game of Thrones? Well, we sure felt it in spades here. Vee spent Season 2 of Orange Is the New Black terrorizing and manipulating the inmates of Litchfield. So when Rosa crunches into Vee with her stolen prison van, extinguishing the menace for good... Let's just say we've never felt better about seeing someone get hit with a car.
Ginsberg Looses His S**t... and NippleShow: Mad MenEpisode: "The Runaways"
Most of Mad Men's psychological traumas occur beneath the skin. But Michael Ginsberg, the least "polished" of the Sterling Cooper & Partners troupe, found a way to bring his issues to the surface in one of the weirdest scenes in the series' history: he removed the valve. He cut off his own nipple, exemplifying a bout with what can only be presumed to be paranoid schizophrenia at the behest of a mechanical interloper. Mad Men is all about metaphors... and we're still clawing at this one to figure out what it means.
Emmett and Leanne's KillerShow: The AmericansEpisode: "Echo"
On FX, there is a show that is every bit as good as Game of Thrones, Hannibal, or True Detective, but only a scant few are watching. The Americans wrapped up its sophomore season in brilliant fashion, letting loose a twist that shocked to the core. After spending the season searching for the killers of fellow undercover KGB agents, Emmet and Leanne, Philip and Elizabeth discover that the real killer was none other than their friends' own son, who was admitted into the KGB behind his parents' back. As the young man revealed his misdeeds between bloody gasps and blind soviet patriotism, everything about the second season was suddenly turned on its head. The most frightening revelation: Paige and Henry, Elizabeth and Phillip's own kids, are next in line to become operatives. Is it 2015 yet?
Coming in at a svelte 1:40, the new Horrible Bossess 2 teaser does what teasers are made to do, but so few actually manage to. It teases.
It doesn't spoil your appetite; it piques your interest. Most importantly, it leaves you wanting. Too often, film marketing pummels audiences with trailers chock-full of all the good stuff: Plot points, jokes, action scenes, and surprises that deserve their grand unveiling on the big screen and in the actual film, not squeezed onto a computer monitor at a shameful bitrate or pounded into the head of theater goers so that when the jokes finally do pop up in the actual movie, they hit like a wet noodle. Just look at how much the trailer for A Million Ways to Die in the West tells you about the film. Another trailer even lets loose the film's best cameo.
Warner Bros. Pictures
This, on the other hand, is the perfect teaser. It tells you everything one should need to know about the film: The guys (Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day) are back, there will be a kidnapping at some point, someone that looks like Chris Pine is stuffed into a car trunk, Kevin Spacey is in jail, Jennifer Aniston would very much like to become a bed pan, Motherf**ker Jones still hasn't found a decent barber, and shenanigans will most definitely ensue. Why is all of this madness happening? Who cares right now! Let's find out while we're actually watching the movie.
We all know the big marketing push is on the horizon, and with it comes trailers stuffed with too much plot, too many jokes, and the big cameo appearance spoiled months ahead of release. It's inevitable. The sun rises and trailers spoil movies. But lets enjoy being in the dark while it lasts.
Despite being nowhere near the announced cast list for Judd Apatow's upcoming comedy Trainwreck, Daniel Radcliffe and Marisa Tomei were revealed to be a potential part of the film by way of some curious set photos from the New York City shoot. In the photos, Radcliffe and Tomei are seen covered under a blanket of poodles. Radcliffe is also shown walking a big group of dogs solo. If the two actors are, in fact, part of the movie they would join a seriously odd and wondrous cast that including the likes of Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Colin Quinn, Vanessa Bayer, Ezra Miller John Cena, and Barkhad Abdi.
Since we doubt that Mr. Radcliffe has morphed into some sort of crazy dog person in the ensuing years since the Harry Potter went on permanent recess, we're just going to ignore this little tweet from director Judd Apatow denying Radcliffe's involvement and assume that he's in the film, albeit in a small cameo role. Whatever Radcliffe's role in the film turns out to be, it looks hilarious, and the images of the actor corralling a half dozen dogs at a time are all so wonderfully caption-able, we couldn't help put take a stab at them with our best one-liners.
Getty Images/Steve Sands
“No, it’s okay. You just have to sing to them and they’ll calm down. I saw it in a movie once.”
Harry Potter had to take up dog walking after earning that useless Philosophy of Magic degree from Wizard State University.
“I don’t know why you expect me to control them; I think a few of these dogs are bigger than me!”
“I’m starting to rethink this whole ‘quit showbiz to become a dog walker and search for your inner happiness’ thing.”
"I'm not sure, but one of these may be my uncle."
“Get some dogs, they said. It’ll help you recover from the trauma of losing Sirius, they said. Don’t worry, they almost never trample you to death, they said.”
“…And then the spell must have ricocheted off of something, because everyone in the Gryffindor common room turned into a dog and Ron keeps terrorizing the hot dog carts and I don’t know what to do.”
Getty Images/Steve Sands
“What, you think I’m scared of a few dogs? I conquered the Dark Lord. I am invincible.”
“I mean, once you learn how to ride a dragon, other animals just don’t seem that intimidating anymore.”
"Lean Parseltounge at Hogwarts, they said. You'll never need to know Poodletounge, they said. The poodles will never attack… "
“Could Cripple Billy do this? No. No he could not.”
“You wanna start something? I’m Harry Potter, I will curse you into next week. I will command these poodles to lick you to death.”
“What? Have you seen rent prices recently? That Harry Potter money doesn’t cover everything.”
HBO's glum new series, The Leftovers ponders what would happen if two percent of the worlds population were to suddenly vanish... apparently, such an event would make everyone left in really, really bad moods for no less than three years. The new series is nothing short of a tidal wave of televised angst, a study in gloom and post-crisis nihilism, as the people left behind struggle to put everything back together after the rapture-like event tears their lives asunder. Showrunner Damon Lindelof fills his latest series with just as many twists, turns, and questions as his earlier series Lost. Here are the mysteries that have us scratching our heads after just the first hour. Warning: spoilers to follow!
What's with the cult?Perhaps the most mysterious element of the pilot — you know, besides the whole people vaporizing into thin air thing — is the GR: a cult whose members spend their time staring at empty picture frames, eating regularly scheduled "sustenance," smoking like chimney stacks to "proclaim their faith," and mercilessly following specified targets. What's the end game here?
Why does Chief Garvey's wife join them?We spent the premiere assuming that our main character, a police chief and father named Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) lost his wife on that fateful day three years past. But the final moments of the episode reveal that Kevin's wife Laurie didn't vanish in the event, but instead joined up with the GR. She doesn't seem entirely brainwashed by the cult, looking pretty heartbroken upon seeing her husband. So what's making her stay? Does she just like smoking wherever she wants without judgment?
And why does Liv Tyler ask to stay with them?Right after she doles out a hostile slap to a pair of GR agents who follow her and her fiancé around town, she pays a visit to the cult's compound, asking to stay a couple days. Whatever their plan is, the recruiting tactics seem to work.
What's with the other cult?What's worse than one cult? Two, obviously. While we have some sort of handle on what the GR are and what they might stand for (some sort of spiritual guidance in the wake of the "rapture"), we still have no idea who or what The Leftovers' second mysterious group, which works meditative miracles in the desert, is up to.
Who is Wayne?We do know that their apparent leader, Wayne, is the "real deal." Whatever that means...
And what did he say to the congressman in that room?Wayne continued to confuse by taking an uptight Texas congressmen into a room and somehow "unburdening" him. What did Wayne say to the guy to make him so chipper? It must have been more than just the cool British accent.
Why did Tom, Garvey's son, join this desert organization?This rapture thing really hit the Garvey family hard. But Tom doesn't seem as mentally harangued as his poor mother.
And what's with the girls by the pool?Tom has taken a liking to one of the girls at the compound he works for, but they seem to be under lock and key. Why are they being so strictly guarded?
Why won't Tom talk to his dad?Maybe some lingering tensions from the mom going away?
And how did he get those scars?Does it have to do with why everyone went missing?
What’s coming now that “grace period is over?”Wayne's super ominous warning doesn't bode well for anyone. Now that three years have past, humanity is in a heap of trouble. Garvey isn't too thrilled that the mayor is bent on throwing a memorial parade to celebrate the lost.
Why can't the parade have clowns?Clowns are fun and not creepy at all, right?
Is that Kathy Geiss?Yup. Same actress who plays the perpetually silent, unicorn-obsessed interim head of NBC on 30 Rock is a cult member on The Leftovers.
Why the dogs are going crazy?In genre fiction, dogs are often acute to the supernatural. There's definitely something coming, and it likely has something to do with "grace period" being over.
Are gummi worms really the preferred candy of the rapture?We would have gone with Peach Os.
Where do I download that spin the bottle iPhone app?And does it have Twitter integration?
Why did Gary Busey get taken?And Shaq for that matter? Why them? And what is the world doing without them?!
What’s with the deer imagery?I thought Hannibal had the market cornered on that.
What’s with that huge tattoo on Garvey's back?The huge back piece seen on actor Theroux's character is a real tattoo, but we wonder why the series didn't bother digitally removing it? Will it figure into the story later on (like Jack's tats did on Lost), or was it just easier for the series to leave them be?
What the hell is up with Justin Theroux's hairline?This is the biggest mystery of them all.
Here are this week's highlights from VH1, Celebuzz, Flavorwire, and Hollywood.com.
They grow up so fastFrom scruffy Jazz crooner to pop-megastar, Celebuzz takes a look back at Adam Levine's career evolution.
Wait, what did he just say!?Ever really stop and listen to that new favorite song of yours? Flavorwire counts down the top 10 teen pop songs with decidedly disturbing lyrics.
Romance in the rainWhat's better than a smooch in the rain? Not much. From The Notebook to Spider-Man, VH1's list of epic rain kisses prove that wetter is better.
Not all Disney films are created equalLikely to start fierce arguments amongst your friends, Hollywood.com has ranked all 53 Disney animated films
After detailing our thoughts on the best and worst aspects of the second season of Orange Is the New Black, we realized that there's just too much craziness going on at the Litch for one article. The season is chock-full of great moments, but also a few regrettable ones. We've decided to compile another list of the best and worst aspects of Orange Is the New Black's second season.
Good: Morello is actually crazyNasty casual racism aside, Morello was a interesting background player in Season 1, but the revelation about the true nature of her engagement with Christopher was remarkably executed. We've been hearing Lorna drone on about wedding plans and a perfect fiancé since the first episode, but to learn that they were really the delusions of a profoundly delusional woman was one of the show's finest Season 2 shockers.
Bad: And Sister Ingalls is hardly a nunYet more proof that you never really know someone, the outwardly pious sister Ingalls was revealed to be a fame-hungry rock star wannabe who saw herself as the Bono of charity work (so, basically just Bono). It was an interesting curveball for the character, but it doesn't quite line up with everything we gleaned about her from last season.
Good: Everything with RosaWho knew the mostly silent cancer-stricken inmate would become such an endearing character in Season 2? Orange Is the New Black excels at adding dimension to characters who could have easily been written off as one-note background figures. Rosa's character, with her pessimistic snark and heartbreaking storyline, became a huge highlight of Season 2.
Bad: Nothing for Ramos and GonzalesWhile so many characters got beefier roles in Season 2, inmates Maritza Ramos and Marisol Gonzales weren't given the same upgrade. There was the short subplot where the duo blackmailed Bennett into sneaking contraband into the prison via his leg, but they didn't have much to do beyond that. We really want to learn why Gonzales has such an unhealthy fascination with The Smiths.
Good: Vee's demiseAfter terrorizing the Litch for a full season, it looked like Vee might slip away in the wind, but good ol' Rosa, patron saint of manners, made sure Vee received the ultimate lesson in etiquette. "So rude, that one!" Vehicular manslaughter has never felt so cathartic.
Bad: ...Vee's demiseThere's a pendulum of feelings regarding the death of Vee swinging in our minds right now. Carnal satisfaction is bumping up against proper storytelling logic, and as nice as it was to see Vee get exactly what was coming to her, it did leave a slightly sour taste in our mouths behind all that sweetness. Vee hit Litchfield like a tempest, but there doesn't seem to be much debris in her wake. We worry that Rosa mulling down Vee with the prison van hit a factory reset on the show, and everything will now, more or less, go back to normal. It feels like too tidy of an ending for such a great storyline. At least Caputo is experiencing the biggest headache of his life.
Good: The Crazy Eyes flashbackThe best flashbacks on Orange Is the New Black help to shed light on the characters' current situations in prison, and perhaps our favorite one of the season was Crazy Eyes'. We thought that the visual gag of Crazy Eyes' posh white parents from season one was a one-off joke, but the series followed up on it, delivering a great glimpse at why Crazy Eyes has such a craving for affection, and why it's so easy for Vee to wrap Suzanne around her little finger.
Another good: Nicky's near relapseDespite her truckloads of sarcasm, Nicky still has some dangerous demons swirling around inside. Seeing the character struggle with her heroin addiction yet again was a great callback to Season 1. Now that the character is sitting on a truckload of the drug thanks to Vee, it will be interesting to see if she can maintain her sobriety in Season 2.
Bad: The way Alex is returning to LitchfieldSure, fans went into a series of convulsions when they heard that Laura Prepon would only be appearing in a few scant episodes of Season 2, but the character's disappearance from the Litch led the way for some interesting things story-wise, especially with regards to Piper. Thus, the way Alex is presumably returning for Season 2 feels a bit contrived. It was just too easy for Piper to manipulate Alex back into prison.
Another bad: The wait until Season 2A drawback to watching every episode of Season 2 in one mad binge is that we all have to wait for an entire year for more. It's going to be a long, long year spent refreshing Netflix on our browsers.
Back when their stars didn't shine quite as brightly, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon produced Project Greenlight. The HBO series gave first-time writers and directors a chance to helm a feature film. The gonzo idea took a fresh-faced writer or director chosen from a pool of submissions, and taught them every step in making Hollywood feature. The show went on for three seasons before petering out, but not before creating three films, one of which starred a young Shia Labeouf. Sadly, none of them were ever remotely profitable, and the series was cancelled.
Now, seven years later, Project Greenlight is back, with Affleck and Damon returning to produce. In a new video released by HBO, a beefy, Batman-sized Affleck and regular-sized Damon introduce the newest incarnation of the series, which invites novice directors to submit a three-minute short film. The winner will direct a full-length script and lead other aspects of production.
The timing of Project Greenlight's return seems quite apropos. In the ensuing years since the last Project Greenlight closed up shop, we as fans have developed an interesting relationship with the media we consume. Nowadays, there's more collaboration between fans and creators than ever before. In the age of crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, people seem more keen to give small-time, unproven creators new opportunities to show their mettle and create something new. Thus, we think the idea of letting the public vote on their favorite directors, and having the winner create a feature film is an idea that would flourish moreso now than it did in 2001. In fact, other Hollywood productions seem to be following similar patterns of audience participation - the recently announced Jem and the Holograms film similarly invited people to submit their own ideas and creations for the film. Perhaps the first three seasons of Project Greenlight were just ahead of their time.
Thirteen hours of betrayals, shankings, geriatric prison escapes, and nun protests later, Orange Is the New Black wrapped up its sophomore season in spectacular fashion, creating a more self-assured and deeper season of television than the first. While the show corrected some of the first season's biggest stumbles, there are still some adjustments to be made in creating an even better third season. Here are our thoughts on the best and the worst aspects Orange Is the New Black's second round in the clink.
Good: VeeLitchfield was hardly ever a place of racial harmony and tranquil repentance, but whatever semblance of peace that did exist in those grey walls, Vee smacked it in the head with a giant lock in a sock. Vee was the spark that lit all of the tensions floating around Litchfield ablaze, and her war with Red reverberated through every cell and bunk in the prison. It's going to be tough to find a villain as twisted and alluring as Vee for Season 3.
Bad: SosoVee wasn't the only new face at Litchfield. There's a really tricky balance at play when creating a character who is purposefully annoying. OITNB struggled to find that balance with its other new inmate, Brook Soso, whose long asides about Bonnaroo, gluten, cancerous deodorant quickly dovetailed from enjoyable to insufferable.
Good: Season 1's villains are given more depthOrange Is the New Black managed to find strands of humanity in the deep black pit of bigotry and gloom that is Mr. Healy, and even the bible-thumping psychosis of Pennsatucky. Even a character like Caputo is revealed to have a good amount of integrity. There's a war of good vs. evil brewing in every soul, and OITNB excels at creating dynamic, flawed characters that are believable.
Bad: ...But Larry is still terribleFirst, it should be known that I was a staunch defender of Larry during Season 1. His screw-ups were just as mean and twisted as Piper's, so really they were both semi-horrible people that were made for each other. Unfortunately, Larry has somehow found a way to become even more insufferable in Season 2. Larry's storyline took up a lot of real estate that would have been better used at the Litch.
Good: More PousseyIn Season 2, Poussey graduated from wisecracks and witty asides (as fun as those were) and became much more of a fully realized character. Her strengths, flaws, and passions were all on full display as her friendship with Taystee was stretched to its breaking point.
Bad: Less SophiaWhile Possey received a boost in screen time, we got a lot less Sophia. Sure, we got to see the sassy stylist give a full crash course on female anatomy, but the character was sadly left IN the background for most of the season. We did get a tender moment between her and her son, but not much else. Here's hoping we see more of her once Season 3 rolls around.
Another Bad: Where's the Big Boo backstory?We thought this season was sure to deliver a Big Boo flashback, but the season came and went without a glimpse into the character's past. We got a Black Cindy flashback for heaven's sake, but still no info on Big Boo's life before the Litch. A character as raw and entertaining as Boo certainly needs some fleshing out.
Good: The show is even more of an ensembleWhile the rundown to the Season 1 finale was very much about the battle between Pennsatucky and Piper, Season 2’s emphasis is much more focused on the other inmates at Litchfield. There's a mosaic of characters, rivalries, friendships, and relationships in place and Piper is but one little piece in a much larger and vibrant picture. Inmates that were mostly background fodder in Season 1 had their characters and stories fleshed out in Season 2, and the world of Litchfield feels deeper and richer because of it.
Bad: Piper's storyline was pretty gratingWhile the series did well stretch its focus to the other inmates this season, it feels like Piper's storyline got the short end of the stick. Next to the tense face-off between Vee and Red and Caputo's mission to expose Fig's corruption, Piper's little squabbles with Larry and her attempts to get furlough seemed petty and dull in comparison. There were simply way more interesting things going on this season.
Good: It's funnier and weirder than everThe world of Litchfield has managed to get even weirder in Season 2. Carrier cockroaches, hunger strikes, the gaggle of nuns at the front gate, and catholic candles straight killing people with the power of Jesus all helped make season 2 even weirder than the first.
Brad Pitt is being deployed once again. This time, in David Ayer's upcoming war drama Fury, which centers on a five-man tank crew making one last push against the Germans in the final weeks of World War II. But the team finds itself terribly outnumbered and behind enemy lines. Pitt's Sergeant Wardaddy (nope, that's not a joke, that's really his name) stands at the center of Fury. He's a hardened, weary-eyed patrol leader that has marched his tank squad across the numerous fronts of WWII. Now his team is preparing to strike at the heart of the Nazi war machine, but the long battle has chipped away at their souls. Through its grit and intensity, the Fury trailer serves foremost as a reminder that Pitt might very well be at his best when playing a war hero.
His rugged good looks, strong jaw, and steady voice perfectly mirror the type of brave men we imagine were really stomping through the fields of Europe and Africa during the real WWII. Wardaddy seems eerily similar to Inglourious Basterds' Lt. Aldo Raine, a man who also fought Nazis behind enemy lines... though we don't think Wardaddy will be as scalp-happy as Lt. Raine. Both men had scars that told stories and experienced events during the war that fundamentally changed them.
Pitt is great at giving these soldiers layers. Wardaddy is a man putting on a brave face, even as his foundations are cracking at the joints. Looking as far back as 1994's Legends of the Fall, Pitt has always been great at giving soldier characters a sense of duty, honor, toughness, and vulnerability; all things that seem to be rolled into Pitt's portrayal of Wardaddy. We'll have to wait and see to be sure, but Fury looks like the latest in a line of good war performances from Brad Pitt.
Fury hits theaters November 14.