Focus Features via Everett Collection
If a film called The Martian is looking for a director, it only makes sense to run to the man behind Alien. Ridley Scott is in talks to helm the Matt Damon film now that Drew Goddard has left the project to direct the Amazing Spider-Man spinoff Sinister Six. Based on the book by Andy Weir, the story follows an astronaut who is stranded on a Martian colony and must survive until NASA can mount a rescue mission. The Martian marks a significant turning point in Damon’s career: his first stranded-somewhere-all-by-himself movie.
A longtime staple of the thriller genre, almost every big star in Hollywood has made a film in which they must survive on their own in the wilderness, outer space or a confined space, often to great acclaim. In honor of Damon’s first foray into the genre – which, thanks to the involvement of two Oscar winners is already receiving some awards speculation, despite it still being in the early stages of production - we’ve rounded up some of the most famous stranded-alone films and how things worked out for their stars. Awards-wise, we mean. They're all relatively straightforward, plot-wise.
Movie: GravityStar: Sandra BullockWhere She Was Stranded: Outer SpaceWith: George Clooney, for a short whileHow It Worked Out: The film was nominated for ten Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actress and won seven of them, including Best Director for Alfonso Cuaron
Movie: Cast Away Star: Tom HanksWhere He Was Stranded: A deserted islandWith: A volleyball named WilsonHow It Worked Out: Hanks was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar
Movie: BuriedStar: Ryan ReynoldsWhere He Was Stranded: Buried alive in a coffin that's slowly losing airWith: Close-upsHow It Worked Out: No Oscar nominations, although it did earn Reynolds some of the best reviews of his career
Movie: 127 HoursStar: James FrancoWhere He Was Stranded: In a narrow canyon, with his arm trapped by a boulderWith: A video cameraHow It Worked Out: It was nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor, and was the basis for an endless stream of jokes about Franco's career
Movie: MoonStar: Sam RockwellWhere He Was Stranded: In a spacecraft orbiting the moonWith: An awkward teenaged water park visitor who just needs some confidence... oh, wait, that was a different movieHow It Worked Out: Was nominated for two BAFTA awards, and won for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer for director Duncan Jones
Movie: Panic RoomStars: Jodie FosterWhere They Were Stranded: A panic room in their home as robbers attempt to force them outWith: Her diabetic daughter Kristen StewartHow It Worked Out: No major awards, but it did get very good reviews
Movie: Man on a LedgeStar: Sam WorthingtonWhere He Was Stranded: On the window ledge of a 21st floor hotel roomWith: A lot of press attentionHow It Worked Out: It got mostly negative reviews and everyone promptly forgot about it
Movie: Phone BoothStar: Colin FarrellWhere He Was Stranded: In a phone boothWith: A remarkably poor conversationalist on the other lineHow It Worked Out: No awards, but generally positive reviews
Movie: Life of PiStar: Suraj SharmaWhere He Was Stranded: On a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean With: A tiger named Richard ParkerHow It Worked Out: The film was nominated for 11 Oscars and won 4, including Best Director for Ang Lee
Movie: Snow DogsStar: Cuba Gooding Jr.Where He Was Stranded: In a cave out in the Arctic With: A pack of lovable huskiesHow It Worked Out: The less said about this one, the better
ABC Television Network
Every network has a tent pole series, but ABC has a tent pole show runner: Shonda Rhimes. So when the network unveiled their fall 2014-2015 schedule on Tuesday, nobody was surprised to see that Thursday nights are now all Rhimes, all the time. But one person can only develop so many shows, and luckily ABC has several other series lined up to fill in the hours that aren't produced by the woman behind Grey's Anatomy and Scandal, series that include a superhero spinoff, an immortal medical examiner who solves crime, and a sitcom about how kids these days are too obsessed with technology.
With so many new shows arriving this fall, it can be hard to figure out which ones are going to be worth your time, so we've rounded up all of ABC's upcoming shows and some clips from their first episodes to save you the hassle. Although, this batch features a next seasons' Trophy Wife and a replacement for Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23, so fans of those shows might want to tread carefully to avoid further heartbreak.
Selfie What It Is: Sitcom What It's About: After a 20-something woman finds herself the subject of an embarrassing viral video, she hires an image consultant to help her rebrand herself in the real world. Who's In It: Karen Gillan and John Cho What It Sounds Like: Pygmalion for the Internet age. How Good Will It Be: The premise (and title) are pretty ridiculous, but both Gillan and Cho are charming and talented, so they might just be enough to keep the show afloat. How Long It Will Last: Like Cougar Town and Trophy Wife before it, the terrible title will be its downfall. We’ll be surprised if it gets two seasons.Airs: Mondays at 8 pm
Manhattan Love Story What It Is: Sitcom What It's About: A romantic comedy about a couple in the beginning stages of their relationship that reveals their inner thoughts as well as their actions. Who's In It: Analeigh Tipton, Jake McDorman, Jade Catta-Preta and Nicholas Wright What It Sounds Like: Peep Show meets How I Met Your Mother How Good Will It Be: McDormand has been playing the loveable jerk for years now, and Tipton is charmingly awkward, but the inner monologue shtick seems like it will get annoying very quickly. How Long It Will Last: One and done.Airs: Mondays at 8:30 pm
Forever What It Is: Drama What It's About: A medical examiner who just happens to be immortal. Who's In It: Ioan Gruffudd, Alana De La Garza and Judd Hirsch What It Sounds Like: Remember New Amsterdam? No? Well, it’s basically the same thing. How Good Will It Be: It depends on how well the show is able to integrate the issue of him immortality, but there are so many “cop with a mysterious secret” procedurals on the air right now that this one does How Long It Will Last: Unlike New Amsterdam, it will probably get a full season. Airs: Mondays at 10 pm
Black-ish What It Is: Sitcom What It's About: An upper-middle class black man struggles to raise his assimilated, color-blind kids with a sense of cultural identity. Who's In It: Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis-Ross and Laurence Fishburne What It Sounds Like: The early episodes of The Fresh Prince that were actually about something How Good Will It Be: It’s got a cast full of TV vets and Larry Wilmore behind it, but it looks a little too generic to really stand out. How Long It Will Last: Even with Wilmore leaving for the Minority Report in October, the cast should be enough to earn it a second season. Airs: Wednesdays at 9:30 pm
Christela What It Is: Sitcom What It's About: An ambitious law student is torn between her dream job and her traditional Mexican-American family. Who's In It: Christela Alonzo, Carlos Ponce, Terri Hoyos, Andrew Leeds and Sam McMurray What It Sounds Like: If Leslie Knope were a character on George Lopez How Good Will It Be: Alonzo is an accomplished comedian, which will help the show in the long run, but thus far we haven’t seen anything that’s worth getting excited over. How Long It Will Last: Probably a yearAirs: Fridays at 8:30 pm
How to Get Away With Murder What It Is: Drama What It's About: A group of law school students find themselves entangled in a real-life murder mystery. Who's In It: Viola Davis, Alfie Enoch, Liza Weil, Matt McGorry, Aja Naomi King and Michael Gaston What It Sounds Like: Legally Blonde, minus the light-hearted goofiness, plus Scandal How Good Will It Be: Like Shonda Rhimes’ other shows, it will probably be campy and over-the-top, but completely addicting nonetheless. How Long It Will Last: Again, it’s Shonda Rhimes, so at least 7 seasons.Airs: Thursdays at 10 pm, after Grey's Anatomy and Scandal
Agent Carter What It Is: Drama What It's About: A female secret agent helps to establish S.H.I.E.L.D. in the days following World War II Who's In It: Hayley Atwell What It Sounds Like: It’s an extended version of the Agent Carter short film. How Good Will It Be: Marvel’s last TV show floundered, but Peggy Carter is an established character, a fan-favorite and is played by the very talented Atwell, so things should go a lot more smoothly this time around. How Long It Will Last: Thanks to the Marvel brand, it’s guaranteed at least two seasons.Airs: Between the winter finale and spring premiere of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
ABC Television Network
Galavant What It Is: Comedy What It's About: A musical fairy tale that follow a prince’s quest for revenge on the king who stole his true love. Who's In It: Vinnie Jones, Joshua Sasse, Timothy Omundson, Mallory Jansen, Karen David and Luke Youngblood What It Sounds Like: Once Upon a Time: The Musical! How Good Will It Be: If it doesn’t get bogged down in mythology and plot complications like Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, it could be entertaining in its ridiculousness. How Long It Will Last: Well, Once Upon a Time has been on for three years and Glee has been on for five, so four seasons sounds about right. Airs: Between the winter finale and spring premiere of Once Upon a Time
Fresh Off the Boat What It Is: Sitcom What It's About: Based on the memoir by chef Eddie Huang, it follows as 12-year-old boy as he and his immigrant family adjust to life in suburban Florida. Who's In It: Randall Park, Paul Sheer, Constance Wu, and Aubrey K. Miller What It Sounds Like: Aliens in America meets The Goldbergs, but set in the 1990s How Good Will It Be: It’s written by Nahnatchka Khan, who ran Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23, so it will probably be quirkily funny. How Long It Will Last: Like Don’t Trust the B, it will squeak its way to a second season.Airs: Midseason
Secrets and Lies What It Is: Drama What It's About: A man discovers the body of his neighbor’s son in the woods, sending the town into a tailspin that will reveal everyone’s hidden secrets. Who's In It: Ryan Phillipe, KaDee Strickland, Natalie Martinez, Clifton Collins Jr. and Juliette Lewis What It Sounds Like: Broadchurch, minus David Tennant, with a touch of Revenge. How Good Will It Be: It’s a pretty generic premise, but the cast is good, so like most of ABC’s dramas, you will become addicted to it but you won’t tell anybody about it. How Long It Will Last: It will either be cancelled in the middle of the first season, like Hostages, or it will run for at least four seasons. Airs: Midseason
American Crime What It Is: Drama What It's About: After a couple are attacked in their home, racial tensions are stirred up in a small California community. Who's In It: Felicity Huffman, Timothy Hutton, W. Earl Brown, Richard Cabral, Benito Martinez and Penelope Anne Miller What It Sounds Like: Crash: The TV Series How Good Will It Be: It’s a bit of a complicated topic for ABC's brand of soap-y drama, so we don't see things working out. How Long It Will Last: Cancelled after one season.Airs: Midseason
The Whispers What It Is: Drama What It's About: Aliens have invaded the earth by inhabiting the bodies of children. Who's In It: Lily Rabe, Barry Sloane and Milo Ventimiglia What It Sounds Like: The exact plot of Torchwood: Children of Earth, minus both Peter Capaldi and John Barrowman How Good Will It Be: It’s got a solid cast behind it, but the premise has been done before – and done really well – so we don’t have high hopes. How Long It Will Last: Well, Resurection got a second season, so this probably will too.Airs: Midseason
When Fox announced that they were dropping the standard pilot-season model of developing new TV shows; it earned them a great deal of attention from fans and critics. So when they unveiled their Fall 2014-2015 schedule, everyone's focus went straight to the slate of new shows premiering in the next few months — after all, they have to be good if Fox is willing to gamble on a brand new way of doing things. In certain cases, it seems like the gamble might just have paid off — you can't go wrong with Batman or British remakes, right? - but others seem like they'll only rub salt in the wound of recent cancellations.
We've run down all of Fox's upcoming series in order to predict which ones will live up to the hype and be worth your time come fall. Although sadly, none of them seem likely to fill the Enlisted-shaped hole in our hearts.
Gotham What It Is: DramaWhat It's About: Following Det. Jim Gordon and the Gotham City Police Department as they deal with the crime and corruption that plagues the city, and Gordon attempts to find Who's In It: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Sean Pertwee and Jada Pinkett-SmithWhat It Sounds Like: It's basically Batman, minus Batman himself. How Good Will It Be: Based on the first trailer for the show, it looks like it could be exciting and gritty, although tiny Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle do make us a bit wary. Still, it's got a talented cast on board, so if the show can keep the visuals and story interesting, it could be surprisingly good. How Long It Will Last: At least two seasons. Fox has thrown a lot of support behind Gotham, so they won't let it go easily.
UtopiaWhat It Is: Reality showWhat It's About: 15 people move to an isolated, undeveloped location for a year and attempt to build their own society from scratch. Who's In It: No word yet, but they have to be crazy if they're willing to sign up for this. What It Sounds Like: Big Brother meets Survivor, with a dash of Kid Nation. How Good Will It Be: It depends entirely on the cast, but our best bet is that it will either be outright terrible, or horrifically entertaining. How Long It Will Last: Unfortunately, it will probably run for ten years.
Red Band SocietyWhat It Is: Drama What It's About: A coming-of-age story set in the pediatric ward of a hospital that follows a group of patients as they grow, bond, and battle illnesses. Who's In It: Octavia Spencer, Griffin Gluck, Charlie Rowe, Dave Annable, Brian Bradley aka Astro, Ciara Bravo and Zoe LevinWhat It Sounds Like: One Tree Hill meets Grey's Anatomy, except only one person is in a coma. How Good Will It Be: Spencer is generally the best part of everything she does, but even she might not be enough to make the many elements of this show — comedy, drama, tear-jerking moments of triumph, general teenage drama, hospital administration — blend well together. How Long It Will Last: About a season. Even if it is good, it will probably struggle to find an audience.
GracepointWhat It Is: Drama What It's About: Based on the British series Broadchurch, it centers on a small town and the murder that upends the lives of all of its residents. Who's In It: David Tennant, Anna Gunn, Michael Peña, Jacki Weaver, Kevin Zegers and Jessica LucasWhat It Sounds Like: It's literally just Broadchurch with Tennant doing an American accent. How Good Will It Be: A lot depends on how much they take from the original, but since that was such a good series and they've got a fantastic cast on board, things look good for Gracepoint. How Long It Will Last: At least three seasons, regardless of how closely it hews to the original.
Backstrom What It Is: Drama What It's About: A crime procedural about an obnoxious and offensive, but brilliant detective who is brought back from exile to run the special crimes unit. Who's In It: Rainn Wilson, Dennis Haysbert, Thomas Dekker, Beatrice Rosen and Kristoffer PolahaWhat It Sounds Like: Every other "rogue cop" procedural that's hit the air in the last few year, but with Dwight from The OfficeHow Good Will It Be: It has a pretty decent cast, but the premise is something we've seen before many times, with varying levels of success, so there's a lot against it. A lot is riding on Wilson, although it's his first real foray into drama, which also doesn't bode well. How Long It Will Last: Like almost every other crime procedural premiering this fall, it will probably be canceled within the year.
Mulaney What It Is: SitcomWhat It's About: An aspiring stand-up comic gets a job writing jokes for a narcissistic comedian and game show host, which causes conflict between him and his two best friends and roommates. Who's In It: John Mulaney, Martin Short, Nasim Pedrad, Seaton Smith and Elliott GouldWhat It Sounds Like: Seinfeld meets New Girl, with a touch of 30 Rock How Good Will It Be: The cast is fantastic, but multi-cam sitcoms can be pretty hit or miss, and this one was dropped by NBC and then reworked before FOX picks it up. However, the combination of SNL alums and comic legends means this one will probably be one of your new favorite shows. How Long It Will Last: Sunday night at 9:30 is a tough slot, but we think this one will scrape its way to a second season.
EmpireWhat It Is: Drama What It's About: It follows Lucious Lyon, the head of a major hip hop record label and the ex-wife and family who are competing to take over the family business. Who's In It: Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Gabourey Sidibe, Bryshere Gray, Jussie Smollett, Trai Byers and Kaitlin DoubledayWhat It Sounds Like: Hustle and Flow meets Nashville How Good Will It Be: Empire has a lot of big-name talent behind it - in addition to the Oscar-nominated cast, it was created by Lee Daniels and written by Danny Strong — but it seems like the kind of show that would fare better on cable, so it might end up being a little lackluster. How Long It Will Last: Well, Nashville got three seasons, so we're predicting Empire will get the same.
Hieroglyph What It Is: Drama What It's About: After he gets caught stealing a magic scroll, a thief is brought to work for the Pharaoh, only to discover that court might be more dangerous than prison. Who's In It: Max Brown, Reece Ritchie, Condola Rashad, Caroline Ford and John Rhys-DaviesWhat It Sounds Like: Game of Thrones meets Sleepy Hollow, set in Ancient Egypt. How Good Will It Be: It's written by Travis Beacham, who wrote Pacific Rim, so it could turn out to be entertaining and campy. However, it's completely ridiculous-sounding, so the odds are against it. How Long It Will Last: Unless it manages to pull in a devoted audience like Sleepy Hollow, probably only one season.
Wayward Pines What It Is: Drama What It's About: An idyllic American town... that you can never leave. Who's In It: Matt Dillon, Carla Gugino, Melissa Leo, Tobey Jones, Juliette Lewis and Terrence HowardWhat It Sounds Like: The Stepford Wives meets The Twilight Zone How Good Will It Be: On the one hand, it's got an impressive A-List cast. On the other, it's executive-produced by M. Night Shamylan, so we're hoping it will be good, but expecting it to be terrible. How Long It Will Last: The Shamylan outrage will bring attention to it, resulting in it just barely earning a second season.
Bordertown What It Is: Animated sitcomWhat It's About: Set on a town that borders the US and Mexico, it follows two families as they navigate life, relationships and politics. Who's In It: Alex Borstein, Nicholas Gonzalez, Judah Friedlander, Missi Pyle and Efren RamirezWhat It Sounds Like: American Dad meets The Cleveland ShowHow Good Will It Be: The last time Seth MacFarlane made a show about racial and family dynamics, we got Dads, so we're not optimistic. How Long It Will Last: 5 years at a minimum
Last Man on Earth What It Is: SitcomWhat It's About: After an apocalypse wipes out all of humanity except one man, he wanders the earth looking for other survivors. Who's In It: Will ForteWhat It Sounds Like: Zombieland, minus the other peopleHow Good Will It Be: Forte is hilarious, and his recent dramatic turn in Nebraska will probably serve him well, but it's hard to see how this concept will last longer than one episode. How Long It Will Last: It's a quirky comedy from an SNL alum that isn't Amy Poehler, Tina Fey or Jimmy Fallon. It'll get a year if we're lucky.
Weird LonersWhat It Is: SitcomWhat It's About: Four relationship-phobic weirdoes find each other living next door to one another in a New York apartment. Who's In It: Becky Newton, Zachary Knighton, Nate Torrence and Meera KhumbhaniWhat It Sounds Like: New Girl meets Happy Endings, minus Damon Wayans Jr. How Good Will It Be: The cast is made up of actors who have primarily played the "best friend" role in comedies, so it could be the showcase they need to establish themselves as leading actors. However, the premise seems like a re-tread of most post-Friends comedies, with some forced "quirk," so we don't see things going well. How Long It Will Last: Three out of four actors were on shows that were cancelled relatively soon, so we'd be surprised if this one made it to a second season.
The dust has finally settled after the latest late-night shake up, and Stephen Colbert officially has a replacement: Larry Wilmore, who will take over the 11:30 Comedy Central slot as host of The Minority Report with Larry Wilmore. In a press release, the network described the show, which will feature a cast of minority comedians, as a "a comedic look at news, current events and pop culture from unique perspectives not typically on display in late night television." Wilmore, who has been the Senior Black Correspondent on The Daily Show since 2006, has written for numerous sitcoms, including The Bernie Mac Show (which he created), The Office (on which he appeared occasionally as a put-upon racial sensitivity trainer) and the upcoming Black-ish, where he will serve as show runner until The Minority Report kicks off in January.
Though his name didn't seem to come up much in the speculation that followed Colbert taking over The Late Show, Wilmore was apparently the first choice for executive producer Jon Stewart. Audiences have been clamoring for a more diverse late-night landscape for some time now, one that will talk about and deal with the news and issues that face the underrepresented parts of TV viewers, and Wilmore is the perfect person to step into that role. In addition to being an established comedian and show runner whose comedy has dealt with race and racial politics for many years, his time on The Daily Show has given him time to cultivate an audience who are interested in seeing him bring his trademark comedic style to late night.
Wilmore's comedy is often sharp and quick-witted, and his segments as Senior Black Correspondent are excellent takedowns of complicated racial issues, but his delivery tends to give the subject matter an injection of lighthearted goofiness. It keeps the subject matter from getting too dark for a comedy program while at the same time offering a slightly different take on a story that the 14-hour news cycle has already torn to death. His latest appearance on the show, on April 28, saw him take apart the Donald Sterling controversy to ultimately reveal his real mission: convincing Chris Paul to move to the Lakers.
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Wilmore's combination of absurdity and wit often comes to a head in some of his weirder, sillier bits, like when he took out a credit card swiper to discuss the "race card" or the First Annual Wilmore Awards, which were given to people who broke down barriers that didn't need breaking down. It's the kind of segment we wouldn't be surprised to see on The Minority Report: goofy enough to keep the tone upbeat, but still providing him plenty of opportunities for his more biting jokes, as well as allowing him some room to comment on events or issues from a slightly different perspective. Plus, it's undeniably funny, as best exemplified by him wrapping up the bit by silently sliding a Wilmore Award across the desk to Stewart.
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With so many cable news programs and comedic fake-news shows all competing for an audience, The Minority Report will need to stand out and gives the stories its covers a different spin or a new, unexpected angle. Wilmore's been doing just that on The Daily Show for years, subverting the viewers' expectations to keep things fresh and funny.
Though Wilmore has constantly come up with interesting and surprising ways to use his segments, The Minority Report gives him the opportunity to explore a wider range of topics, as well as the freedom to play around with different formats. As Senior Black Correspondent, his style works perfectly when dealing with race-related issues and policies, but it would work just as well covering major political scandals or newsworthy celebrity controversies. Though it's likely that The Minority Report will have a similar structure to its predecessors, Wilmore's long career in television means he's more likely to experiment with the format of the show. He not only know what makes a good segment, but he also knows what makes a good television show as a whole, which means that he's not as tied to the strict structure of The Daily Show.
It also means that he'll have the opportunity to conduct more interviews and interact with more people on the show, whether they're regular correspondents of guests. Wilmore plays off of other wonderfully, whether he's wearily putting up with Stewart's attempts to work rap lyrics into the conversation or pairing up with John Oliver for an investigative report. As the steady force of the show, his ability to connect with other will be an invaluable resource for the show, especially as new comedians and correspondents are introduced on the show. His rapport with Stewart and the various guests he interviewed is part of what made him a fan favorite on The Daily Show. In fact, the worst part about Wilmore hosting his own show is that it significantly cuts down on the amount of field interviews he'll get to do.
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Unlike Colbert, who carried much of his show himself, Wilmore's acerbic yet relaxed demeanor will make him the perfect host for a variety of comedians and correspondents, and we wouldn't be surprised to see The Minority Report become just as much of a launch pad for the careers of its correspondents as The Daily Show was. Though he's not yet revealed whether they will be looking at brand new talent or bringing in some already-familiar supporting players - critics are already predicting that breakout star Jessica Williams will make an appearance - there's no doubt that with Wilmore at the desk "The Best F*&#ing News Team Ever!" will have some friendly competition very soon. Especially if you’re looking for someone on late-night TV to host a friendly conversation about race.
On this week's Law and Order: Westeros, Tyrion Lannister finally gets his day in court for the murder of King Joffrey.
Much like the episode in which that murder took place, "The Laws of Gods and Men" spent much of its time on a single event, with all of King's Landing's biggest schemers showing up to offer testimony against Tyrion, who had resigned himself to execution in weeks ago. It's not entirely clear whether Tywin actually believes that his son killed Joffrey, but the second Ser Merryn takes the stand, it becomes clear that it doesn't matter what Tyrion did or didn't do. It's a sham of a trial designed only to humiliate Tyrion before finally sending him off to the executioner.
But Tyrion isn't the only one dealing with the consequences and trappings of justice: over in Mereen, Daenerys is discovering that being queen is slightly more complicated than building an army. As she meets with a nobleman whose father she had crucified in payment for killing those slave girls — a crime which he vehemently objected to and campaigned against — the discomfort of learning that she might have been unjust herself is clear on Emilia Clarke's face. Dany has always seen things in relatively black and white terms, punishing all those who have done something wrong, which means she has a lot to reevaluate if she's going to rule the morally grey King's Landing. Forcing Dany to deal with the actual day-to-day politics of ruling is a welcome development for the show, as it not only breaks up the repetive nature of her story, but it also puts her in the uncomfortable position of having to take judge her own policies and see what she needs to change about the way she sees the world in order to be the right queen for Westeros.
Meanwhile, in Braavos, Stannis is also in an uncomfortable position, attempting to convince the Iron Bank to fund his planned attack on King's Landing. The King of Dragonstone has never had strong people skills, a flaw which comes to the forefront in this conversation. His worst quality is that he seems to believe that everyone else in Westeros will simply do whatever he says becuase he has the right to the throne, which means that he is terrible at politics and coersion. And since the only thing Dragonstone exports is shadow demons, he needs all of the political savvy he can get to convince the Iron Bank to help him out.
Luckily, he has Ser Davos at his side, who is quickly proving himself to be an adept Hand of the King, despite his humble beginnings. Not only does Davos know the right way to approach the Bank, but he's also a suprisingly smooth talker when the situation requires it, showcasing his severed fingertips and advocating for Stannis as a just and fair man. It's a rare quality in Westerosi leaders, and it's clearly something that intrigues the Iron Bank enough to win them over. Stannis doesn't seem to know the advantage he has with Davos, as he's still relying far too much on Melisandre and the Lord of the Light. But after the fires burn out, he'll need someone smart enough to help him run the country, and Davos is clearly the best man for the job.
In an episode filled with sudden betrayal and underhanded deals, Davos' display of loyalty is one of only two, although the other one — between Reek and Ramsay Snow — is less rewarding. Yara Greyjoy has finally made her way across the sea in order to bring her brother home. But the person she finds in his place is no longer her brother, and instead of running to her side, he cowers in the corner of his dog cage. Alfie Allen's performance as Reek is one of the show's higlights, although it's hard to watch how sad and broken he is. His shuddering and screaming is a great contrast to Gemma Whelan's steady determination, and even when she heads back to the ships to leave the shell of her brother behind, it's clear that she won't let this development break her down. But the scene truly belongs to Iwan Rheon, who changes the whole nature of his face with a shift of his eyes. It's a slightly terrifying performance, as he easily moves between wide-eyed innocence and grinning madness, and while it's never easy to enjoy his scenes, he's always difficult to look away from.
However, all of that is just leading up to the real focus of the hour: Tyrion's trial. The concepts of justice and fairness established by the other characters are offset by how obviously the deck is stacked against Tyrion for a crime he didn't commit. From Tywin's hilariously pointed opening line — "Did you kill the king?" — things begin to go downhill for everyone's favorite Lannister. The writers' choice to have the witnesses recount the various times that Tyrion had threatened the "sainted" king, moments that we, as the audience cheered him on for, divorced from their original context give the trial a nice twist. Without Joffrey's behavior to balance out Tyrion's actions, those tiny moments of pride we felt when the first occured now seem monstrous, and only help to dig him a deeper grave.
Which makes Jaime's bargain with Tywin less satsfying than Tyrion's own desperate attempt at ensuring justice. Though Jaime manages to negotiate Tywin down to sending his brother to the Nightswatch (and why Jaime thought he could out-manipulate his father in the first place is mystifying), Tyrion throws the deal out the second Shae returns to take the stand. It's less about proving Tyrion guilty than it is about humiliating him totally and completely in front of the people of court, and Tyrion recognizes this. Peter Dinklage has had some great scenes this season, but the second Shae walks into the throne room, he unleashes a tour de force that begins with him half-collapsing in his seat at the sight of her.
Her arrival livens up what had thus far been a standard courtroom scene, with the tension building and building as she reveals the intimate screts of their relationship. Finally unable to bear the shame and hurt that Shae's testimony is causing him, Dinklage unleashes everything he has with a monologue that reveals every bit of fury that he's been carrying around his whole life. Watching it, you can practically hear the scene being shipped off to Emmy voters, because it's probably the best bit of scenery chewing that Dinklage has gotten to do since Season 1.
It culminates with Tyrion's desperate attempt to take his fate in his own hands as he demands a trial by combat. It's not done out of a hope of winning, as Tyrion seems to believe that he's living on borrowed time at the moment, but calculated to throw his father off-balance, and take the power out of his hands. It's clearly not a move that Tywin anticipated, nor one that Jaime appreciates, having just given away his life to Tywin in exchange for Tyrion's, but it's a last-ditch effort to go out on his own terms. Tyrion's right in that he's really on trial for being a dwarf, for killing his mother in childbirth, for the millions of other infractions that Tywin has counted against him all of his life, and after being humiliated by the woman he loves in front of all of the people he's ever hated in his life, Tyrion will be damned if he goes down without a fight.
This season of Game of Thrones has spent a lot more time on the events unfolding in King's Landing, but it's hard to be upset about it when the result is scenes like Tyrion's trial, with all of the scheming, dealing and snarking coming to a head in one, incredibly acted moment. Sure, the dragons are cool, but in the end, they've got nothing on Dinklage.
Episode grade: A-, or Two Whispering Varys', who made a much-welcome return this week to banter with Oberyn Martell. It was exactly as awesome as it sounds.
It takes a misunderstood artist to know one, so when Seth Rogen revealed that his good friend James Franco has plans to play Tommy Wiseau in an adaptation of The Disaster Artist: My Time in The Room, the world responded, "Well, of course." Rogen revealed the plans during an appearance on the Opie and Anthony radio show where he talked about the film, which he will produce with his writing partner Evan Goldberg. Based on the book by Greg Sestero - who co-starred in the infamous cult hit - the film will chronicle the production process of The Room, which was plagued by problems and cost its writer/director/producer over $10 million.
The Disaster Artist isn't the first time that Franco has expressed interest in Wiseau and his work. Last year, he wrote an in-depth piece about The Room for Vice, and described Wiseau as "ageless, muscled, sweet, and scary; he is part vampire, part Hollywood dreamer, part gangster, part Ed Wood, and super lonely." Franco's depiction of Wiseau as a tortured genius is fitting, especially considering Franco is sometimes portrayed as a underrated artistic icon as well. The fact that much of Franco's statement can be used to describe himself seems to illustrate exactly why the Francophrenia star is the perfect person to step into the shoes of Wiseau. It's just one of the many qualities that Franco and Wiseau have in common:
Both Are Multi-Hypenate Artists... Though Wiseau is primarily known for his work on The Room, which he wrote, directed, produced and starred in, he has also produced and acted in several other films, as well as creating a television show and two web series. Franco, meanwhile, has dabbled in almost every artistic medium there is, and in addition to acting, directing, screenwriting and producing. He is also a painter, poet, teacher and novelist. Plus, he starred in Spider Man 3, which is basically The Room of the superhero genre.
Whose Work is Not Taken Seriously.. Though most of the world loves The Room for being so terrible that it's entertaining, Wiseau seemed to believe it to be a great work of artistic genuis. He now seems to admit that it's not very good, though whether he's truly changed his mind about it or is just playing along, we'll probably never know. Similarly, much of Franco's non-acting work has received mixed-to-negative reviews from critics, many of whom dismiss him because of his celebrity status. Like Wiseau, he has also capitalized on the criticism to make fun of himself, although we're almost certain that he still truly believes himself to be an artistic genius.
And Are Famous For the Wrong Reasons. Wiseau's celebrity is due entirely to the fact that The Room is, according to Entertainment Weekly, "the Citizen Kane of bad movies," rather than any of his other, more successful projects. While Franco's been giving solid acting performances since his breakthrough role in Freaks and Geeks, he's more likely to get press coverage for things like taking half-naked selfies, inappropriate Instagram behavior, or fighting with critics on Twitter. And those are just from the last two months.
Both Are Enigmas...The little that is known about Wiseau's life comes from Sestero's book, which reads like the plot of a Nicolas Cage film. According to the story, Wiseau was born in communist Europe, moved to France and worked as a dishwasher before he was wrongfully arrested and tortured by the police. From there, he made his way to Louisiana, then to San Francisco, where he sold toys to tourists, changed his name and somehow made enough money to fund his film. Franco has revealed a lot more about his life, but he still makes it difficult for the public to get a grasp on who he is, primarily due to his strange career moves, various artistic endeavors and inability to open his eyes all the way. As Jonah Hill said at his roast "I've known you for years, and I'm still not sure I've ever actually met the real you."
Who Have Seen Their Writing Adapted Into Films...Franco's collection of short stories, Palo Alto, was recently adapted into a film by Gia Coppola - with Franco starring, obviously - which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival to largely positive reviews. Wiseau, however, preferred to direct his adaptation himself, and turned his 540-page novel into The Room. Since the final product wasn't 9 hours long, that means enough was cut from the novel to be the basis for an entire Room film franchise.
And Both Have a Connection To James Dean.According to Sestero's book, Wiseau was so enamored of the late actor that several lines The Room were based on the dialogue in the film Rebel Without A Cause. He also revealed that Wiseau frequently visited a restaurant owned by one of Dean's friends, although if he's looking for a tenuous connection to Dean, he's probably better off befriending Franco, who won a Golden Globe for playing Dean in a TV biopic. Besides, it'll save him a lot of money in the long run.
Also, They Look Alike Just put a long, dark wig on Franco's head and give him a healthy spray tan, and they could be twins.
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
The NBA season might be coming to a close, but it doesn't look like Lebron James will be taking a vacation any time soon. According to TheWrap, the Miami Heat star has joined the cast of Judd Apatow's upcoming comedy Trainwreck, along with rapper/actor Method Man. The film will star Amy Shumer, who also wrote the script, and follows a woman who has a knack for ruining everything in her life as she attempts to rebuild from the ground up. It hasn't yet been revealed what kind of role Method Man or James will play, but since the latter only has a short window of free time every year, it seems likely that his will be a smaller part.
The pair are the latest additions to Trainwreck's diverse cast, which includes indie darlings, Oscar nominees and Councilman Jamm, in addition to a rapper and an NBA champion. Upon first glance, the cast list might read as if several IMDB pages got mixed up, but this strange group of people actually make perfect sense together, because all of the big names involved with the project are connected. In fact, it's possible to connect every single person who has signed on to this film, from James to Bill Hader to Tilda Swinton, with a maximum of two degrees of separation between them - surprisingly, none of which are Kevin Bacon. Let's start with the director:
Judd Apatow directed Funny People, which starred Aziz Ansari, who was on Parks and Recreation with…
Jon Glaser, who plays Laird on Girls, which also featured…
Colin Quinn in the role of Hermie. Quinn is a Saturday Night Live alum just like…
Bill Hader who was on SNL at the same time as…
Vanessa Bayer, who is part of the current cast with Bobby Moynihan, who does voice work on Chozen alongside…
Method Man, who starred in The Sitter with Jonah Hill. Hill was in 21 Jump Street with…
Brie Larson, who guest starred on an episode of The Kroll Show, which airs on the same network as Inside Amy Shumer, which stars…
Amy Shumer, who appeared in Sleepwalk With Me, a film made by…
Mike Birbiglia, who had a role in Your Sister’s Sister with Emily Blunt. Blunt has acted opposite Tom Hanks, as did…
Barkhad Abdi, who was nominated for an Oscar, just like…
Tilda Swinton, who is in The Zero Theorem with Matt Damon, who appeared on Entourage with…
Lebron James, who is an athlete-turned-actor, as is…
John Cena, who guest starred on Pysch, which airs on the same network as Royal Pains, which featured a 5 episode guest spot from…
Ezra Miller, who starred in The Perks of Being a Wallflower with Paul Rudd, a perennial favorite of Judd Apatow.
See? It's not such a strange bunch after all.
The Weinstein Company
In an era where every franchise gets a two-part finale, The Weinstein Company is taking a different approach to releasing Ned Benson's film duality The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby. Retitled as The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them, the two distinct films (Hers and His) will be edited into one for a wide-release on September 26, while the individual installments will get a limited release later that fall. Starring Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby attempts to tell the story of a failing marriage from two different perspectives, with the audience finding the "truth" of the situation somewhere in the middle.
The original, two-part cut premiered to rave reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, but when Harvey Weinstein acquired it for distribution shortly afterwards, he approached Benson about cutting them together into one film. The result, Them, will premiere at Cannes before arriving in theaters in the fall. From a distribution standpoint, it makes a great deal of sense to combine the film, as the average moviegoer would be less likely to see two separate films that tell the same story than one coherent take on it.
Though studios often split films up in order to make double the profit at the box office, in this instance, it's a smarter move for Weinstein to release just one film, since there's no guarantee that a mainstream audience will flock to see one installment of the story, let alone two. Chastain and McAvoy are both well-known and well-respected actors, but neither one of them has established themselves as a major box office draw yet, and so Weinstein can't simply rely on their star power to bring in audiences to both parts of the movie.
And since it's easier to get people to watch one film instead of two, it will likely also help Weinstein earn the film some awards attention. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby's mission to tell the same story from different perspectives helps it stand out from the other movies being released in the run-up to Oscar season, but having a single, two-hour cut of it will help encourage voters and critics to see it.
However, Benson's story was designed to be told in two parts, so cutting it into one might mean that Them loses some of the impact that the two-part film would have. Since the director himself is the one who edited it, much of his vision for the film will likely stay intact, but the additional editing a release plan means that the audience who will get to experience the film the way he intended will be much smaller.
We'll have to wait until the Them premieres at Cannes to find out whether or not a single film is the best way to present the story, but in the meantime, here's hoping Peter Jackson has learned a thing or two from this situation.
Of course, the real issue is the incongruity in the function of the pronouns at the end of the titles. Hers and His are possessive, Them is not.
Now that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are returning to the big screen, it's time for another Saturday morning staple to follow in their footsteps. The Power Rangers are getting a live-action film, with the possibility of a franchise, reports MTV News. The project is still in its early stages, so it hasn't been revealed whether the film will be for children, like Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, or whether the rebooted Rangers will be targeting an older audience. Some are predicting that it will be a darker, grittier interpretation of the story, since the press released name-checked Lionsgate properties The Hunger Games andDivergent, but a different direction would deprive the Power Rangers of the fundamental ridiculousness...
...because Power Rangers is, at its heart, completely ridiculous. Between the awkward cuts between footage from the original Japanese shows, the terrible acting and monsters of the week that ranged from dumb to disturbing, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was filled with insanity. In honor of the movie news, and to prove that the franchise needs to be handled with a great sense of humor, we've rounded up 10 of the most insane, nonsensical or just plain stupid moments fromMighty Morphin Power Rangers. Feel free to take notes, Lionsgate.
The Gnarly Gnome One of Rita’s earliest plans involved using music to manipulate the Rangers, and so she transformed a Garden Gnome into a villain who could hypnotize people using his accordion. What better way to manipulate teenagers than with an instrument they would never listen to played by a terrifying lawn ornament they would never possibly go near?
“For Whom the Bell Trolls”There are so many strange things about this episode: Trini admitting to her high school class that she collects weird dolls, Rita stealing her evil plans from episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark, Mr. Ticklesneezer suddenly deciding he’s a good guy, Mr. Ticklesneezer himself, the weird dream cop-out ending, and a title that references Hemingway.
The Wedding of Zedd and Rita Every television show needs a big wedding, right? We’re assuming that was the logic behind a three-part episode centered on Rita marrying Zedd in the weirdest, longest, most elaborate intergalactic ceremony of all time. And they didn't even have the courtesy to invite the Rangers!
Zordon, Child Kidnapper In the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Christmas Special, Alpha 5 threw a holiday party for the Rangers, who were busy helping Santa save Christmas, so Zordon teleported a bunch of random kids into Command Central to sing carols with Alpha 5 and cheer him up. Heartwarming in theory, completely messed up in reality.
Dino Zords Are Birthed From Volcanoes The only thing cooler than giant dinosaur robots that fight alien monsters? Having those dinosaurs appear from an erupting volcano every time the Rangers transform, for no discernable reason other than the fact that the effects guys got a little over-excited one day.
The Origins of Rita RepulsaThe whole Power Rangers series kicked off after Rita Repulsa was freed from a space dumpster by two astronauts, allowing her to terrorize the rangers and attempt to take over the world. That’s right: the most fearsome villain in the universe was found in the trash and it was just readily accepted.
Alpha 5 and Dylan: BFFs Sure, Alpha 5 desperately wants to be a Ranger, but the way to go about that isn’t befriending random a random lost child in the park and then spending the entire episode just hanging out with him. Also, that kid should have been a lot more wary; Stranger Danger rules apply to robots as well.
“Power Ranger Punks” Another completely insane episode from start to finish, this one featured not only personality-changing potions (and a terrible, cheesy interpretation of punks), but also a giant toad that eats all the Rangers and a quest for a Singing Squash to create a potion antidote. Clearly Power Rangers has never heard the phrase “less is more.”
The Rangers Only Wear Their Designated Colors Either Zordon wants his Rangers to coordinate at all times, or the writers knew that the kids watching would be too hopped up on sugary cereal to bother learning the characters’ names.
Pumpkin Rapper Mighty Morphin Power Rangers had a lot of stupid villains, but the stupidest of them all might have been Pumpkin Rapper, an orange "person" with a giant Jack O’Lantern for a head that spoke in “hip hop” lyrics. This is a villain that appeared in multiple episodes.
Talk about an odd couple. According to The Hollywood Reporter, everyone's dream best friend Emma Stone has signed on to Woody Allen's next film, which will see her star opposite Joaquin Phoenix. The project is rumored to be a big ensemble piece, but even knowing more casting is still headed our way can't help us reconcile the idea of Stone and Phoenix sharing the screen. See, Stone is one of the bubbliest, warmest people in Hollywood, and she's become known for her charm and sense of humor. Phoenix, on the other hand, is the exact opposite: he's known for being aloof and slightly strange, onscreen and off. If there were a scale of movie star personalities, these two would mark the two extremes between outgoing and friendly and intimidating and off-putting. Don't believe us? Check out the scale for yourself:
Emma Stone Is there a single person on this planet who isn't charmed by Stone's warm, goofy personality? We thought not.
Aziz AnsariAziz Ansari might be one of the most outgoing people in Hollywood — he's practically a human Tiny Toon — still highly approachable, but occasionally too manic to handle.
Will SmithHe's the original king of sheer, unbridled enthusiasm, but you'd have to make your way through a pretty big entourage/family (and all that bravado) to get close enough to experience it.
Anna KendrickShe's charming and goofy, but something tells us that you better bring your funniest jokes and your wittiest banter if you want to befriend Kendrick.
Allison JanneyAllison Janney seems like the kind of person who's just as likely to invite you for drinks as she is to cut your down with a hilarious one-liner. She suffers no fools.
Mark Ruffalo Mark Ruffalo is the perfect celebrity median: charming and fuzzy, but also stoic to the point just below standoffish.
Mark Wahlberg Intimidating and charismatic in equal measure; the kind of guy you'd love to grab a beer with, even though you'd spend the whole time scared that a fight would kick off.
Kristen StewartHer reluctance to smile and goof off in interviews has become a trademark, but she's too frail to actually be frightening.
Christoph Waltz Christoph Waltz is the kind of charming where you're never quite sure if he's complimenting or insulting you, but you're just gonna agree with him anyway. (Or else...)
Dane DeHaanThere's a reason Dane DeHaan has primarily played villains thus far in his career, and that reason is that he's pretty terrifying.
Joaquin Phoenix Remember when Joaquin Phoenix made that weird movie about becoming a rapper and had a "breakdown" on Letterman? Yeah, that's why he tops this end of the scale.