Author

Julia Emmanuele
  • Connecting the Cast of 'Trainwreck' From Judd Apatow to Ezra Miller
    By: Julia Emmanuele May 08, 2014
    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. Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //
  • 'The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby' Is the Opposite of 'Divergent'
    By: Julia Emmanuele May 07, 2014
    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. Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //
  • The 10 Weirdest Things That Ever Happened on 'Mighty Morphin Power Rangers'
    By: Julia Emmanuele May 07, 2014
    FOX/Getty Images 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. Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //
  • The Scale of Movie Star Personalities from Emma Stone to Joaquin Phoenix
    By: Julia Emmanuele May 06, 2014
    WENN/Getty Images 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.  Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //
  • Can Anyone Beside Harmony Korine Make a Harmony Korine Movie?
    By: Julia Emmanuele May 06, 2014
    Annapurna Pictures via Everett Collection Looks like spring break really is forever. According to ScreenDaily, a sequel to Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers is in the works, and is currently in the middle of acquiring a cast and funding. But if you're looking to see Brit, Candy, Cotty, and Faith go on more insane, illegal spring break adventures, we've got some bad news for you: Spring Breakers: The Second Coming will focus on brand new characters. Though there will be a few allusions to the girls from the original film, the sequel will introduce a new group of spring breakers, who must take on "an extreme militant Christian sect that attempts to convert them." Writer/director Korine is also not returning for the next installment, and those responsibilities are being taken over by Trainspotting novelist Irvine Welsh and famed music video director Jonas Akerlund. There's been talk about a possible sequel to Spring Breakers for some time now, although the most common rumor was about a prequel centered on the friendship between James Franco's Alien and Gucci Mane's Archie. However, Korine has seemed reluctant to make a sequel, so his absence from The Second Coming isn't surprising, but it does mean that Akerlund and Welsh are faced with the challenge of essentially creating a Harmony Korine film of their own.  The biggest challenge facing the pair is matching the tone of the first film. Spring Breakers relied on a balance between a commentary on pop culture and society, the shock value of the sex-drugs-gun culture that these girls embrace, and the neon-colored aesthetics of a spring break party movie. Therefore, it would be easy for The Second Coming to lean too heavily in one of these directions, resulting in a cheesy, stereotypical film about spring break, or a movie that attempts to be even more outrageous and controversial than the original at the risk of losing the message underneath the debauchery. Without that balance, the artistry of Korine's film is lost, and the cultural commentary becomes less important than the controversial surface. It's not the ridiculous behavior of the characters that makes Spring Breakers a successful film, but the way it uses that ridiculousness to make a point.  Though Korine's method of shooting tends to differ from project to project, all of his films feature some shared stylistic elements that characterize them as a "Harmony Korine film." While his use of abstract images and non-linear storytelling might seem easier to emulate than a director with a very rigid, direct cinematic style, it also means there is more room for interpretation, and therefore will be harder for Akerlund and Welsh to match Spring Breakers in tone and style. Since the sequel features both new characters and a new creative team, the tone of the films is needed to keep them connected; otherwise, it's just a film about college students on vacation, that happens to be using the Spring Breakers name to gain attention.  However, both Akerlund and Welsh have an advantage over many other directors and writers who might ahve signed on for the project, thanks to their individual styles and experience. Spring Breakers utilized both pop music and pop culture references and imagery in order to comment on modern culture, and so Ackerlund's time working with artists like Lady Gaga and Britney Spears makes him a great choice to take over the directors chair and bring the neon-lit world of spring break back to life. His videos tend to have a distinct style - dramatically lit to give the clips a distinct mood, artistically shot, and featuring plenty of abstract imagery - which is very similar to the kind of pop video imagery that Korine used. His glossy, high-concept style will be balanced out by Welsh's gritty realism, as his most acclaimed work proves that he won't shy away from the darkness and debauchery of the spring break culture, and isn't afraid of depicting the grim reality of a situation, even if it's controversial.  Which means that while we wait and see whether Ackerlund and Welsh's styles will combine to make another entertainingly insane installment of Spring Breakers, we can focus our attention on predicting which actor will whisper about spring break through their grills this time around.  Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //
  • 13 Instances Where the 'Friends' Characters Were Terrible People
    By: Julia Emmanuele May 06, 2014
    NBC Universal Media May 6, 2014 marks the 10th anniversary of the series finale of Friends, a television event the likes of which we still haven't seen, even after Walter White took on a gang of white supremacists and Ted Mosby revealed that his wife had been dead the whole time. But while we often look back on Monica, Chandler, Ross, Rachel, Phoebe and Joey with fondness and joy, we tend to overlook the fact that these characters could often be terrible human beings. Those funny, charming New Yorkers you always wanted to hang out with often behaved in a way that was better suited to the gang at Paddy's Pub. What makes Friends even more evil than It's Always Sunny, though, is that so many of the gang's despicable deeds were simply glossed over by the writers. In honor of the finale's 10th anniversary, and the celebratory marathon you're no doubt planning, we've rounded up the gang's worst behavior, and the ways that the show taught us to look past it. Think of it as adding some much needed balance to your sitcom nostalgia.  Rachel Making Barry's Wedding About HerIt should be said from the start that Rachel’s ex fiancé Barry is the worst. But that still doesn’t exclude her from making his wedding to her best friend Mindy all about her. Yes, he placed a bet on how much torture she’d endure, but your friends' wedding is not the place for your big, redemptive speech about how you’ve moved on, forgiven them, and become a better person in the end. Just write it in the card!  Monica Wearing Emily's Wedding DressWhile it’s not nearly as morally reprehensible as some of the actions on this list, Monica secretly wearing her future sister in law’s wedding gown around her apartment, just to boost her own self-esteem is a pretty rude (and weird) thing to do. It’s not your day, it’s not your dress, and it’s not about you!  Chandler Pressuring Rachel to Start SmokingChandler’s been a smoker since the age of nine, and even though he managed to give up cigarettes, he’s apparently still a big fan of the smell. So much so that he would pressure Rachel to take up smoking just so he wouldn’t have to give up the smell along with the cigarettes... even though it could, say, get her addicted and possibly lead to a great deal of health problems.  Rachel Spreading Lies About Tag's Sexual Orientation to Keep Him Single Tag was a hot, single guy in an office full of women, so naturally Rachel had some competition for his affections. However, her plan to tell everyone else in the office that he was gay in order to get them to back off wasn't the way to handle that. Generally speaking, making up elaborate stories about friends', coworkers', and (especially!) hopeful significant others' sexual identities is a pretty psychotic move. Monica Not Checking On Her Infant Nephew After He Hit His HeadIn all fairness to Monica, baby sitting can be tough. But when you accidentally hit your nephew’s head on the ceiling, your first though shouldn’t be “How can I hide this from his father so that I don’t get in trouble?” but rather, “Hey, is my toddler nephew okay? He hit his head pretty hard, and I wouldn’t want him to be seriously injured.” Ross Firing Emma's Nanny Because He's a GuyEmma's first nanny, Sandy (Freddie Prinze Jr.), was everything a parent could want: he was smart, competent at his job, good with Emma, and he even taught Joey a thing or two. But Sandy didn't stick around for very long purely because Ross couldn't wrap his head around the idea of a male nanny. Because apparently, it doesn't matter how good you are at caring for a child; if you're not a lady, you're not fit to raise Ross' kid. That's just bona fide sexism from the would-be intellectual. NBC Universal Media Chandler Constantly Mistreating JaniceWe’re not going to deny that Janice’s laugh is really annoying. But that still doesn’t make it okay for Chandler to have Phoebe dump her so he doesn’t have to, call her whenever he’s lonely, sleep with her, and then dump her again the next day. Or lie about moving to Yemen just so she won’t bother him. Or pretend to be in love with her, even though he knows she still has feelings for him, in order to manipulate her into moving away. Turns out Chandler was a total jerk.  The Gang (and Show) Endorsing a Relationship Between an Adult and a MinorEverybody remembers that Phoebe was a surrogate for her brother, Frank, and his wife Alice, so that they could have a family. What they tend to forget is that Frank and Alice started dating when he was a minor and she in her 40s. He was a student in her Home Economics class in high school, and that he often referred to her as “Mrs. Knight” rather than by her first name. Monica, Rachel, and Ross were all guilty of similar malfeasances with younger lovers. Oh, but they were all madly in love, so the statutory rape is totally fine.  Rachel Convincing Bonnie to Shave Her HeadWhen Phoebe decides to set her friend Bonnie up with Ross, Rachel is supportive only because she remembers that Bonnie is bald, and knows that Ross wouldn’t find that attractive. So, when it turns out that Bonnie’s hair has grown back and Ross is interested, Rachel convinces her to shave he hear again, gives her the razor to do it with, and then confesses her feelings to Ross while he and Bonnie are in the middle of a fight. But as long as Ross and Rachel end up together, who cares what happens to everyone else, right?  Monica Getting Drunk in Front of Her Alcoholic BoyfriendWhen Monica’s boyfriend Fun Bobby realizes that he has a drinking problem and gets sober, rather than being supportive of him, she just becomes upset that he’s not “fun” anymore – the gang even goes so far to rename him “Ridiculously Dull Bobby” – and she starts drinking heavily in order to endure her dates with him. Because if your boyfriend is really, really boring, it’s okay to get rid of him by any means necessary... even if it means tempting him with the very substance he's worked very hard to kick. Manipulating People Who Were Mentally IllNo, it’s not okay to threaten your roommate or watch him while he’s sleeping. But you know what else isn’t okay? Taking advantage of someone’s mental illness as a way of tricking them into move out of your apartment and leaving you alone, which is exactly what Chandler did to his roommate Eddie. Also not okay? Convincing a mentally unstable woman who thinks Joey is actually his soap opera character Dr. Drake Ramoray to run away to Salem to “be with Drake” in order to get her to stop stalking him. At least they’ve got that peace and quiet now, though, right? So... Many... Homophobic Jokes...Whether someone was making wisecracks about Chandler and Joey's friendship or Ross was freaking out over his ex-wife's new wife, it's hard to name a post-Season 4 episode of Friends without a single homophobic joke in it. They were practically a fundamental part of Chandler's characterization, especially when the show delved into his relationship with his father. And yet everybody just went along with Chandler and Joey keeping barnyard animals as pets. Clearly, the writers were mining the wrong territory for jokes.  And worst of all... Nobody Ever Made the Effort to Go to Phoebe's Place!Phoebe made that trip across town every single day to hang out with her friends. Every single day. And they just about never returned the favor by heading over to her neighborhood. Sure, most of them lived in one building and Central Perk was nearby, but it would have been nice of them to give their friend a day off from schlepping all the way across the city just to have yet another conversation about the relationship status of Ross and Rachel. Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //
  • Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with These Movies and TV Episodes Set in Mexico
    By: Julia Emmanuele May 05, 2014
    20th Century Fox Broadcasting Cinco de Mayo: a day of celebration, remembrance, education, and margaritas. Originally a way for Mexican-Americans who were in the United States at the time to commemorate the Battle of the Puebla, when an outnumbered Mexican army crushed the French forces invading the country, it has since become a holiday dedicated to the celebration and education of Mexican heritage and history. And what better way to celebrate their culture than with a playlist of television shows and movies set in Mexico? Whether you're looking for something to entertain your friends at a party or you want something to binge watch while you relax with a plate full of traditional Mexican dishes, we've got you covered. In honor of Cinco de Mayo, we've rounded up the best television episodes and films set in Mexico, perfect for enjoying alongside your gorditas, tamales and chilaquiles. We've even pulled an important lesson from each, so that you can learn while you laugh.  Arrested Development, "Amigos" In this second season episode, Michael discovers that George Sr. has escaped to Mexico, and heads south of the border to track him down. However, G.O.B. thinks that Michael is the one fleeing the country, and sends a bounty hunter after him. After Michael has to double back to Mexico to pick up Ann (who got left behind in the ensuing chaos), G.O.B. confronts his brother about what he believes is a plan to leave the company. Meanwhile, Buster hides out in Michael's trunk, intending to escape to Mexico to spite Lucille, only to end up at Lupe's house, which he believes to be in Mexico. What This Episode Teaches Us About Mexico: You know the Bluth family's infamous chicken dances? They're considered to be a grave insult south of the border. Also, be conscious of where you park your stair car.  Y Tu Mamá Tambien Tenoch and Julio are two teenagers who meet Luisa, the twenty-something wife of Julio's cousin at a wedding. To impress her, they invite her along on a trip to see la Boca de Cielo, the most beautiful beach in the country. When Luisa discovers that her husband has been cheating on her, she takes the boys up on their offer to see the beach... which doesn't exist. They set out anyway, and the three of them go on a journey of discovery about themselves, their relationships and what the future holds for them. What This Movie Teaches Us About Mexico: There is no beach so beautiful it's nicknamed the "Mouth of Heaven," but there are plenty of other lovely beaches worth seeing - although you should maybe think twice before inviting that beautiful stranger to tag along on your road trip.  King of the Hill, "Lupe's Revenge"Peggy takes the Spanish class she's substitute teaching on a field trip to Mexico, where she quickly abandons the itenerary and takes the kids to a butcher's shop. As the class is boarding the bus to head back to Texas, she forces a young girl named Lupe to get on the bus, thinking she's one of her students. Because Peggy can't actually speak Spanish, she doesn't understand the girl's protests, which results in her being arrested for kidnapping when she finally drives Lupe back to Mexico. Instead of using the defense that she doesn't understand Spanish, and it was a misunderstanding, Peggy's pride takes over. Luckily, her lawyer is smart enough to put her one th stand, where the jury can see just how little Peggy actually understands, and they let her off. What This Episode Teaches Us About Mexico: You really, really should learn a few key correct phrases before you visit. Or, at the very least, don't force strange children to get on your school bus if they're not actually your student.  Orion Pictures Corp via Everett Collection Three Amigos!When a bandit named El Guapo begins terrorizing the Mexican city of Santo Poco, a young woman sends a telegraph requesting help from the heroes she saw in a movie, believing them to be real. The Three Amigos, who are actually actors, travel to the city, thinking they're being hired for a show. They come face to face with El Guapo and his band of men, and rely on their Hollywood tricks to help defeat him. However, he comes back the next day with a full army, looking for revenge. What This Movie Teaches Us About Mexico: The people who live in Mexico are generally very friendly, and sometimes cunning and terrifying. Also, never trust the telegraph guy. He'll edit your message and you'll end up with actors instead of soldiers.  Monk, "Mr. Monk Goes to Mexico"After the son of a prominent businessman dies in a skydiving accident, Monk and Sharona are sent down to Mexico to investigate the suspicious circumstances surrounding his death. However, between his suitcases getting stolen, the imminent threat of dehydration - Monk, unsurprisingly, refuses to drink anything by the water he brought, which was in the stolen suitcase - and someone attempting to kill him, Monk might not live to see the investigation through. What This Episode Teaches Us About Mexico: If you're a rich kid from San Francisco, you should spend spring break somewhere other than San Marcos, and it's better to risk drinking the water than to almost die of dehydration in a foreign country.  Frida The story of the iconic Mexican painter Frida Khalo, the film traces her life from the accident that caused her life-long health problems at 18 through her death at age 47. As she recovers from the accident, she begins painting, and soon marries the muralist Digeo Rivera. However, their relationship is a tempestuous one, with both parties frequently engaging in affairs. Khalo later meets the Russian revolutionary Leo Trotsky, who was granted political asylum in Mexico, but shortly after Rivera discovers their affair and requests a divorce, Trotsky is murdered. During this time, her health began to deteriorate, and she was forced to amputated several toes and her left leg. What This Movie Teaches Us About Mexico: It wasn't the safest place to hide out if you were a Russian Marxist revolutionary in the first half of the 20th century, although the vivid artistic culture kind of makes up for it.  The Bridge Set on the Mexican-American border, this FX series follows two detectives, one American and one Mexican, as they attempt to catch a serial killer who is terrorizing both of their jurisdictions. But in addition to catching a killer, Det. Sonya Cross (Diane Kruger) and Det. Marco Ruiz (Demián Bichir) also need to deal with the police corruption and drug cartels that are complicating things. What This Show Teaches Us About Mexico: Border towns are some of the most interesting cities in the country, as some elements of the cultures blend together seamlessly, while others keep the citizens separated. And no matter what country you're in, every detective miniseries will feature the same character archetypes.  The Road to El Dorado Tulio and Miguel, two 16th century con artists, win a map claiming to show the location of the golden city of El Dorado by cheating at a dice game. In an attempt to escape, the hide on a ship that happens to belong to the explorer Hernan Cortes, and wind up in the fabled city, where they are mistaken for gods. In order to get their gold and get out of El Dorado, they need to rely on a local woman, Chel, who will help them maintain the illusion for her share of their treasure. What This Film Teaches Us About Mexico: The alignment of the stars is of vital importance to any proper tribute. Also, take some time to learn about the local culture so you don't find yourself in over your head pretending to be an ancient god. Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //
  • 'Game of Thrones' Recap: 'First of His Name' Is All About the Women
    By: Julia Emmanuele May 04, 2014
    HBO Out with the old king, in with the new one.  "First of His Name" opens at the start of a new reign for Westeros, that of King Tommen, although instead of signaling a time of peace or a few months of stability for the realm, it really means that everything is more precarious than ever. The Lannisters are hoping to rectify this by solidifying their alliance with the Tyrells - looks like Margaery might get another shot at being queen after all - which they need less for political reasons than financial ones.  The main thread of the episode seems to be power, and it's one that's told primarily through the show's female characters, who get most of the focus this week. Even though Tommen is the one being coronated, the scene quickly shifts its focus to the battle of wits happening in the balcony between Cersei and Margaery. Both women are aware that the other is their only true rival, with Margaery angling for the throne that Cersei has always coveted. Lena Headey and Natalie Dormer play off of each other fantastically, Margaery all light sweetness and Cersei pure steel.  With a new, more malleable king on the throne, the stakes for this contest have been raised. Sure, it was more of a feat to attempt to tame Joffrey, but he was the kind of king who would only really love himself in the end. They could influence him, but neither woman would ever be able to control him, to rule through him, which is ultimately what they want. It's an interesting position for Cersei, who has spent so much time trying to hold as much power as possible. Now that she is finally in a position to rule the kingdom vicariously, she's losing a grip on all aspects of her power.  Much of the Lannister's influence comes from their wealth, which Tywin reveals is completely gone. They need the Tyrells now, which means Cersei is facing down yet another unwanted marriage, one that would ultimately place her in a lower position than she currently holds. There's no way that her marriage to Loras will ever become a reality, but it's forcing Cersei to face the fact that her influence in King's Landing is waning. It surely doesn't help that neither Tywin nor Oberyn Martell is outwardly willing to let her decide their verdict at Tyrion's trial. (Both Tyrion and Peter Dinklage were dearly missed this week, which was sadly light on witty banter.) The fact that he's allowed a trial at all is upsetting enough to her, but her inability to convince her father to vote in her favor seems to be a harsh reminder of how quickly she's falling in rank.  Meanwhile, across the seas, Daenerys is just rising to power. Now that she's fought her way across the land, she seems poised to head to King's Landing and attempt to take back her throne. But after finding out that much of her work in Slaver's Bay has been undone by slave masters and opportunistic leaders, she decides to rule the land as Queen, in order to prove to the people of Westeros that she is capable of reigning over them as well. It's a smart move for Dany, whose desperate desire to take back her throne has sometimes blinded her to the realities of what's going on. Establishing herself as queen not only gives her the practical experience of ruling, but it also makes it harder for the assassins of Westeros to take her out. Nobody but her khal would have noticed if she disappeared before, but now that she commands armies and rules over a nation of her own, there's a bigger chance that people will rise up against anyone who harms their queen. It's also a much-needed shot in the arm for Dany's plot, which had started to become stale over the past few weeks.  But "First of His Name" is not just about the queens and Khaleesis of Westeros, but about all women's relationship to power. Over in the Vale, Sansa has given hers up almost entirely, hiding out with Littlefinger and her aunt Lysa Arryn in their fortress. Just because she's safe from the Lannisters, it doesn't mean that she's entirely safe, as her aunt seems to view her as a rival for Littlefinger's affections, since she looks so much like Catelyn. It's a wonderful scene, one that turns from familial affection to bitter contempt in a second, as Kate Dickie reveals Lysa's desperate need for Littlefinger's love, and the lengths she's willing to go for it, while Sophie Turner wonderfully handles the shock and terror that Sansa feels at finding out that the Vale might not be the safe haven she thought it was.  Lysa holds power of Sansa, who is not only pretending to be a lower rank than she is, but is also entirely reliant on her aunt's protection. However, the real power in the Vale is wielded by Littlefinger, who told Lysa to poison her husband, Jon Arryn and tell Cat that it was the work of the Lannisters - you know, the little event that kicked this whole thing off in the first place. Littlefinger has manipulated his way up from a commoner to Lord of the Vale, but something tells me that now that he's lord, his reliance on Lysa will end badly, either for her or Sansa. He's got his power now, so it's only a matter of time before he starts to wield it.  "First of His Name" also plays around with some other depictions and definitions of power: Arya, still travelling with the Hound, learns that sometimes all the preparation in the world isn't a match for brute force, and Bran comes to rely on his power to save himself and his friends from Locke. Arya has very little control over anything right now, but what she can control is herself and her knowledge of combat, so when the Hound knocks her to the ground and that illusion out from under her,  she's forced to re evaluate what power she actually has. Bran, tied up in Craster's Keep and being threatened by Karl, seems to have the least amount of agency of all the characters. Even if he could free himself, he's unable to get away from there, and so he taps into what he does have: his ability to warg.  Having Bran inhabit Hodor's body and kill Locke before he could hurt anyone was a bit of a surprise for a show that usually prefers to double down on the misery. It's a victory, even if it's a slightly twisted one, but more importantly, it gives Bran the ability to choose where his story goes next. He could call to Jon and go to Castle Black, where he would be safe and reunited with his family, or he can continue on his quest and discover something important about himself. The story gives Bran, a character who is almost wholly reliant on other people now, the agency to control his own story, to make his own decisions and pursue what he chooses.  Craster's Keep also gives a different look at female power when the Nightswatch successfully defeats Karl and his merry band of mutineers. After Jon Snow and his brothers raid the keep, it's one of Craster's wives that ultimately wins the battle, stabbing Karl to keep him from killing Jon, and giving John the opening to pierce Karl through the mouth. But when Jon offers to bring the wives with him back to Wall to protect them, they decide that they're going to make their own way in the world instead. It's a dangerous choice, considering the rising threat of the imminent Wilding raid, but these are women, who have been mistreated by men for so long, decide that they're going to revel in the little bit of freedom they now have. They would rather die on their own terms than live under another group of men that they will never trust, and so they're exerting their power in whatever small ways they can. It's the emphasis on power that makes the final image of Craster's Keep burning to the ground so cathartic, a hard-earned victory for the characters on the show who needed one most.  Episode grade: B, or three Podrick Paynes burning dinner. HBO, I'm still waiting on that road trip sitcom spin off with him and Brienne.  Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //
  • A Timeline of Time Travel Movies for Matt Smith
    By: Julia Emmanuele May 02, 2014
    BBC One Looks like all that experience flying the TARDIS is about to pay off for Matt Smith: he’s just joined the cast of the upcoming Terminator: Genesis in an unspecified-but-important role. Deadline reports that the former Doctor will play a character with a strong connection to John Connor (Jason Clarke), who will also play a major role in the film’s sequels. Smith is the latest nerd-friendly addition to a cast that includes Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke, Divergent villain Jai Courtney, and Dayo Okeniyi from The Hunger Games. And of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger will be back to step back into his signature cyborg armor. The franchise is a good fit for Smith, who already has plenty of experience jumping from time period to time period and planet to planet on Doctor Who. In fact, Smith is so good at handling rifts in time and space that we could see him fitting in, no matter when or where in time you dropped him. To prove this theory, we’ve crafted a timeline of Smith’s possible time travel adventures, using the most iconic time travel-based movies and TV shows. We start, of course, with the first major civilization… - 410 BC: Smith’s first trip goes back to Ancient Greece, where he hopes to sit in on one of Socrates’ lectures, only to find out from one of the other students that “So-Crates” had hopped into a time machine and set off for the future to help two slackers in their intellectual pursuits. (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure)- 528 AD: Smith finds himself in Camelot, where he convinces the King to make things right with his people before Merlin and Morgan Le Fay manage ursurp him. But first, there’s a little matter of jazzing up all that boring old chamber music… (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court)- 1400s: Climbing through a hole in the fabric of time, Smith arrives in Sherwood Forest, where he is recruited by Robin Hood his Merry Men, and a band of dwarves to help give to the poor. Well, he intends to, but once he finds out how insane Robin Hood is, he decides it might be better to head elsewhere and avoid getting killed. (Time Bandits)- 1621: Smith arrives in colonial America to find two talking turkeys scrambling around in an attempt to escape some hunters and put a stop to the first Thanksgiving. He decides to help them, thinking it will be funny, but discovers they’re just dumb and so he leaves it up to them to figure it out. How much trouble can two turkeys with a time machine cause, after all? (Free Birds)- 1920s: After he accidentally gets into the wrong car, Smith finds himself transported to 1920s Paris, where he hops from party to party with the Fitzgeralds and a fellow time traveler who wanted writing advice. He doesn’t remember much but he’s pretty sure someone actually had a lampshade on their head at one point. (Midnight in Paris)- 1955: There’s another mix up with cars, and Smith ends up crashing the Pine Valley prom, where he discovers that his best friend is actually his son. It takes a while to process, but his future wife is really pretty, even if there’s some weird tension there with their son. (Back to the Future)- 1959: Smith hops forward a few years, where he meets the smartest dog of all time and not-so-bright boy, and helps them work on a time machine of their own called the WABAC. They invite him to join in on an adventure, but Sherman accidentally hits the wrong button, and Smith is sent forward in time by himself… (Mr. Peabody)- 1981: To the early ‘80s, where he meets Alex Drake, who is determined to figure out how she ended up in the past (although if you ask Smith, he thinks she should be more concerned with the clown that’s following her around.) Luckily, he remembers a few things about Sam Tyler that should help nudge her investigation along, even if she probably won’t like what she discovers. (Ashes to Ashes)- 1984: Smith hops forward a few years, only to find himself caught in the crossfire of a murderous cyborg with an Austrain accent, and a human soldier who is trying to keep the cyborg from killing an innocent woman. Once he realizes that he will soon get to act out this scenario on a safe, closed, set, he hightails it out of there. (Terminator)- 1993: Somehow, Smith manages to jump to an alternate universe, and finds himself at Hogwarts castle, so he immediately searches out Harry, Ron and Hermione, and helps them save Buckbeak, then rides the hippogriff off into the sunset. It all goes smoothly, although Harry is confused as to why Smith keeps calling him “Dan.” (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)- 1994: The time turner can only turn so far, and Smith ends up a year in the future, where he agrees to help Max Walker investigate a crooked politician. He doesn't really care about the plot, he really just wanted the chance to hang out with Jean Claude Van Damme. (Time Cop)- 2004: After Smith and Walker arrive in 2004, he heads to a charming lake house to get in some R&R, only to find a guy staring forlornly at a mailbox, waiting for the flag to raise. It’s a little too sappy and maudlin for him, so he tells the guy to go chase after his love, or at the very least, to find a red pill that would put him in a more exciting sci-fi universe. (The Lake House)- 3000: Smith rockets forward to the end of the millennium, where he stumbles across a cargo-delivery company run by the most dysfunctional group of people he has ever met. Still, he lets himself get roped into drinking with the robot and his friends, and it’s the most fun he has on his whole trip. Too bad the accident-prone intern cut the party short by accidentally sending him forward in time. (Futurama)- 3978: Smith washes up on the beach of a weirdly familiar-looking planet, only to find that the natives – all of whom appear to be apes – aren’t thrilled with his presence. He manages to escape his capture and follows the shoreline in order to find a way home, only to discover, to his horror, the ruins of the Statue of Liberty. (Planet of the Apes) Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //
  • Dakota Fanning Vs. Elle Fanning: Which Sister Reigns Supreme?
    By: Julia Emmanuele May 02, 2014
    Dominique Charriau/WireImage If you're a filmmaker looking for a young, blonde Hollywood darling to star in your next project, the first place you look is usually the Fanning household. So it makes sense that when Charlize Theron optioned the rights to Susannah Calahan's memoir Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, she picked Dakota to star in it. According to Deadline, the actress will play Calahan in a story that follows her year-long battle with an autoimmune disease that resulted in brain inflammation, paranoia and seizures. As of right now, there are no writers or directors attached to the project yet, but with two big names already on board, the film shouldn't have any trouble attracting interest.  Brain on Fire is just the latest high-profile project on Dakota's slate, and her upcoming releases include the eco-terrorism thriller Night Moves, the Errol Flynn biopic The Last of Robin Hood and the Richard Gere vehicle Franny. However, she's not the only Fanning with plenty of attention-grabbing films hitting theaters soon, as Elle is bookending the summer with Maleficent and The Boxtrolls. It's clear that in the battle of the blonde Hollywood starlets, the Fanning sisters reign supreme, but what about the sisters themselves? When it comes to a sibling showdown, which Fanning ends up on top? We’ve decided to put them to the test, and put Dakota and Elle head to head in five key categories in order to determine which Fanning would win this sibling showdown. Breakthrough Role:  Though both Dakota and Elle have been working since they were small children, they started gaining attention at different points in their careers. Dakota's big breakthrough role came at age seven, when she starred opposite Sean Penn in I Am Sam, a role that quickly lead to her becoming Hollywood's go-to child actress. Elle played a younger version of Dakota's character in that film, but she didn't manage to break out herself until she starred in Super 8 at 12. While it did help her gain the industry's attention, it didn't manage to catapult her to the same heights that Dakota's turn in I Am Sam did.  Winner: Dakota Career Highlight:  Though she's since starred in many attention-grabbing films, Dakota's biggest project to date still remains her breakthrough film, I Am Sam, for which she became the youngest actress to ever be nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award, as well as the youngest member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, which admitted her in 2006. Elle, however, seems to be hitting her stride now, with her buzziest film yet, Maleficent, arriving in theaters later this month. Since it's a summer blockbuster, it seems unlikely to get the kind of awards coverage that I Am Sam did, but it has established her as one of the hottest actresses currently working, which means plenty of big opportunities are headed her way.  Winner: Elle  Career Lowlight:  Every actor has one or two terrible films under his or her belt, and the Fanning sisters are no exception. For Elle, it was Daddy Day Care, one in a long line of Eddie Murphy-fronted flops, and one of her first movies. For Dakota, it was The Cat in the Hat, the strange adaptation of the classic Dr. Seuss book. And while neither film will be remembered for its quality, at least Daddy Day Care didn't give the world the terrifying image of Mike Myers dressed as a giant anthropomorphic cat. If he didn't haunt your nightmares for years afterwards, you have a sturdier constitution than we do.  Slightly Less of a Loser: Elle  Famous Directors:  Both Dakota and Elle have worked with some major Hollywood players, and despite their young age, they've each got several films with prestigious directors under their belts. One of Elle's breakout roles was in Sophia Coppola's 2010 film Somewhere, where she played the daughter of Stephen Dorff's washed-up Hollywood actor. Incidentally, Elle was also in Twixt, one of Francis Ford Coppola's least revered pictures. Dakota's most famous director was Stephen Spielberg, who helmed the 2005 remake of War of the Worlds, in which Dakota played Tom Cruise's daughter. Though the Coppola family's films are often held in high esteem, the combination of Somewhere and Twist doesn't quite manage to outrank Spielberg, who is regarded as one of the biggest, most influential directors in cinematic history.  Winner: Dakota  Fashion Contracts:The Fanning sisters have established themselves as major fashion players in recent years, and have become fixtures at fashion week and have appeared in ads for several big fashion houses. Elle's first major campaign was for Marc Jacobs when she was 13, and she has since gone on to be the face of Miu Miu and appear in ads for J.Estina alongside her sister. Dakota has appeared in 2 campaigns for Marc Jacobs, including her infamous ads for his Oh, Lola! perfume, which were banned in the UK, as well as playing muse to houses like Uniqlo, Rodarte and Prada.  Winner: Dakota  Overall Winner: Dakota, with three wins to two. Of course, with Elle gaining more and more attention and both sisters lining up big projects for the future, the Battle of the Fanning Sisters is still anyone's game. Dakota did have a head start, after all. Let us know your thoughts below! Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //