Every hero needs a good villain. John McClane had Hans Gruber, Sarah Conner had the Terminator, and Chris Pine's Jack Ryan has Viktor Cherevin, the terrifying Russian tycoon played by Kenneth Branagh. But great villains aren't just born; they're carefully crafted, a combination of several fine-tuned elements that come together to create the perfect evil-doer.
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
In this exclusive featurette clip from the Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Blu-ray takes a look at everything that went into transforming Branagh from director into the perfect blockbuster villain. For Cherevin, it takes a delicate balance of the dignity that comes from an experienced Shakespearian actor, the authority that comes from directing prestige pictures and blockbuster fare alike, a rich history of British spy films from which to draw inspiration, and a very shiny suit. How else will people be able to tell that you're the bad guy if your clothes don't telegraph your nefarious intentions?
You can check out the decisions that went into creating Cherevin in the clip above, and pick up Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit on Blu-ray on June 10. And if you think you've got what it takes to take on a villain like Cherevin, you can click here to try the Shadow Recruit training for yourself, and see what kind of action hero you'd make.
This post contains spoilers for season 4 of Game of Thrones, as well as the books A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons.
With the fourth season of Game of Thrones coming to an end on Sunday, there’s still one big question looming over the Seven Kingdoms. No, not the fate of Tyrion Lannister or whether Jon Snow will be able to hold off the second Wildling invasion. It’s the issue of whether or not the show will be able to maintain its current momentum as it runs out of source material to draw from. It’s a topic that both the showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and author George R.R. Martin have discussed many times in the past, but the fifth season is when the question becomes less hypothetical and much more real.
Thus far, Martin has published five out of the seven planned novels in the series, with Book 4 – A Feast For Crows – and Book 5 – A Dance with Dragons – covering the same period of time from different characters’ perspectives. The show, meanwhile, has just finished adapting the third book, having split the content of A Storm of Swords into two seasons. At the moment, the plan is for Benioff and Weiss to adapt books four and five together, so that the storylines run concurrently on screen. However, while they can easily get two or three more seasons out of those novels, the writers are still faced with the issue of pacing, seeing as they’ve already run through the source material for several characters already. Over the course of the last season, Sansa Stark has managed to escape from King’s Landing, been taken by Petyr Baelish to her aunt in the Vale, dealt with her aunt’s jealousy, witnessed her murder, helped cover up that murder, and is now fully disguised as Alayne Stone and set to accompany her cousin Robin and Lord Baelish on a tour of the Eyrie. While it’s been exciting to watch the way her character has changed and adapted over the course of the year, there’s one glaring issue with where the show left off with her: there’s no more plot to draw from the books for her.
Sansa’s story in A Storm of Swords ends with Lysa Arryn being sent through the moon door, but because the show moved that event to the middle of the fourth season, the writers needed to draw on A Feast For Crows in order to find enough material to resolve her plot. Most of her storyline in that novel covers the time after Lysa’s death and the reveal of Lord Baelish's plan to disguise her as Alayne Stone until she can claim Winterfell and ally her home with the Vale. While the events of Season 4 diverge slightly from the text, it still leaves us at the same place that we are now, with Sansa willing to play along in order to get back to Winterfell. Season 5 gives the writers the option to take Sansa’s story in any direction they wish, now that they’ve covered almost all of her source material. Though Benioff and Weiss have revealed that Martin has told them where the books are headed so that they can all write towards the same ending, they are free to interpret the major plot events however they choose. Using up all of Sansa’s material in A Feast For Crows early means that they now have to decide how closely her story on the show will align with the events of the novels.
It’s not just Sansa who is affected by the differing paces that the writers are taking with the various storylines; almost all of the main characters are at different points in the novels. There’s still a great deal left of Tyrion’s story from A Storm of Swords which hasn’t been covered yet, and depending on how much the writers decide to pack into the finale, they could soon find themselves at the end of his plot as well. It’s going to be difficult for the show to drag out Daenerys’ storyline into two seasons, let alone three, as A Dance with Dragons focuses on her rule of Mereen. Meanwhile, Bran’s still journeying to find the Three-Eyed Crow, and considering how infrequently he’s appeared in Season 4, the writers are going to have their work cut out for them attempting to get three seasons worth of material from his plot. And if the show is working towards on particular twist, as Lena Headey’s Instagram account has been hinting, they’re going to need to hurry Brienne along in her quest, because she’s still nowhere near where she needs to be in order for everything to fall into place.
Though this past season has seen the show diverge significantly from the novels, it’s really the fifth season that marks a significant turning point for Game of Thrones. With so many storylines matching up with various markers in the novels, Benioff and Weiss have more freedom to put their mark on Westeros than they ever have before, which means that even fans who have read the books may soon have no idea what’s coming for their favorite characters. The choices that they make in Season 5 will determine how closely the show will hew to the book for its last few years, or whether they will throw out the novels altogether, and create a universe of their own.
Until we see the finale on Sunday, it’s hard to predict which direction Denioff and Weiss will take, but there are a few things we can guess about the next few years of Game of Thrones. For one thing, there’s still tons of material for Stannis, Davos and Melisandre left to cover, and so we'll probably spend a lot more time with the King of Dragonstone next year. The Greyjoys are in a similar position, as is Ramsay Bolton and there’s an important journey for Arya to go on. All of those stories are likely going to play a major role in the next season or two in order for Benioff and Weiss to set the characters up for the sixth and seventh novels. Though the long period of time that Martin takes in between each novel has become a joke among fans, it’s going to have a major impact on the show very soon. The end of the fourth season will leave the writers with several important decisions to make, which will affect the show for the rest of its run, and while Sunday’s episode will no doubt end with a cliffhanger of some sort, next season will have to answer a lot more questions than one episode could possibly raise.
This post contains spoilers for the most recent episode of Game of Thrones.
Just as we were recovering from the death of Oberyn Martell, another fan favorite met her untimely end on this week’s Game of Thrones. The Wildlings finally mounted their attack on Castle Black, and Ygritte finally found Jon Snow, intent on murdering him as revenge for breaking her heart, betraying her and the rest of the Wildlings and defecting back to the Night’s Watch. Unfortunately, as we’ve learned all too recently, plots of vengeance rarely go well in Westeros, and Ygritte’s hesitance to kill Jon resulted in her getting an arrow through the heart.
During her time on Game of Thrones, Ygritte was known for three things: her red hair, her fearless attitude, and her constant need to remind Jon that he knows nothing. She even used her final words to drive the point home with one last “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” But while they may have been fitting last words for Ygritte, they had to be harsh for Jon to hear as his love died in his arms. It’s not the first time that Ygritte’s used that phrase at the wrong time, and she’s often used it to bluntly make a point, when other words would have been just as effective, and not nearly as rude. So what should she have said instead? We have a few ideas:
The First Time – Season 2, Episode 7 Context: After Ygritte is captured by Jon Snow after a raid, she lectures him about why the Free Folk are better than the rest of Westeros, and taunts him about his inexperience with women. What She Says: “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” What She Should Have Said: “You think that you can take me prisoner just because you’re a Crow, but that doesn’t give you the right to do whatever you want. Our society functions a lot better than yours does, but because you have a king and a Wall you think you’re superior. Also, I’m really upset that you’ve taken me hostage, but I’m starting to feel like there might be something between us, and I feel we should explore that possibility.”
The Second Time – Season 3, Episode 5 Context: Jon and Ygritte hide out in a cave so they can be alone, and she attempts to convince him to prove that he’s no longer a “Crow” by breaking his vow of chastity. What She Says: “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” What She Should Have Said: “Apparently, you know a few things, Jon Snow, and I shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions just because you’re inexperienced and spend all of your time in a giant castle with nothing but other men and snow. Also, there is definitely something between us, and we should definitely continue to explore it further.”
The Third Time – Season 3, Episode 7 Context: After the Wildlings scale the Wall, they prepare to make their attack on Castle Black. As they wait, Jon attempts to dissuade Ygritte from attacking, telling her that Mance’s army will fail just as every Wildling army before them did. What She Said: “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” What She Should Have Said: “You know, everyone thinks you’re still not on our side and when you say things like that, it makes me question you as well. You might know the North, but you don’t know us and what we’re capable of and we’re going to win and then you and I can live in your castle together as Free Folk. Just trust me on this.”
The Fourth Time – Season 3, Episode 10 Context: After it’s revealed that Jon is still loyal to the Night’s Watch, Ygritte confronts him over his betrayal. He admits that he loves her, but that he is ultimately loyal to his Brothers and needs to go back to them, so she shoots him with three arrows. What She Says: “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” What She Should Have Said: “I don’t care what your reasons are, you lied to me and your betrayed me and you broke my heart. I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to forgive you, so please stop acting like we can just move past this and everything will be okay, even though you’re going to sell out my friends and family. I sincerely hope one of these arrows pierces your heart. Good day, sir.”
The Fifth Time – Season 4, Episode 9 Context: Jon and Ygritte’s reunion is interrupted by Olly shooting her with an arrow, and as she lays dying in his arms, they reminisce about the cave. Jon promises that they’ll get back there one day. What She Says: “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” What She Should Have Said: “I’ve very clearly about to die here, and while I appreciate your attempts to comfort me in my final moments, we both know that what you’re saying is garbage, so how about I just bleed out in peace while you brood over my lifeless body. I’m going to miss you, Jon Snow.”
When drag queens, rock and roll legends, murderous social climbers and tap dancing gangsters come together, it can only mean one thing: the Tony Awards. The biggest night on Broadway made its way to Radio City Music Hall Sunday night to celebrate the best and most unforgettable performances of the season, and while the show had its fair share of historical moments, show-stopping numbers and mind-blowing spectacle, the 2014 Tonys stood out for another reason – they were just plain weird.
From the moment that host Hugh Jackman hopped his way across the screen as part of the opening number it was clear that this year’s awards were going to be a memorable event, and between the impromptu rap numbers, the countless teleprompter issues and Neil Patrick Harris giving everyone a lap dance, the night only got stranger and stranger. It might be hard to believe that there's anything stranger than the idea of Barney Stinson in heels and a miniskirt or Rocky becoming a hit musical, but this year's Tonys managed to make both of those things seem downright normal with all of the confusing moments and odd numbers they unveiled, starting with that opening bit...
Hugh Jackman Bounces Back to Broadway After handing over hosting duties to Harris for the last several years, everyone was expecting Jackman to go big for his return to the Tonys stage. Instead, he went old-school, and spent four minutes hopping around Radio City Music Hall, meeting with all of the actors and checking out all of the shows, in an homage to Bobby Van’s “Take Me to Broadway.” It was a nice tribute to his love of the theater, but for an award show that prides itself on big production numbers and a host who loves a great song-and-dance moment, it was a slightly confusing, slightly underwhelming choice.
Clint Eastwood Loses the Teleprompter We’re not sure if the teleprompters weren’t working or if the champagne was just flowing a little too freely backstage, but almost every presenter struggled to get their words out (or, in Fran Drescher’s case, to read the names in the right order). However, no mispronunciations or flubbed cues held a candle to the rambling, confusing speech that Eastwood gave before giving out the directing awards. We think it had something to do with directing, the theater and the importance of remembering your glasses before you head out onstage, but we’d be lying if we said we could follow any of the nonsense he mumbled.
Neil Patrick Harris Licks Samuel L. Jackson’s Glasses Well, technically Hedwig did. During his raucous performance with the rest of the cast of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Harris took to the audience to make Orlando Bloom take part in a “car wash,” give Sting a lap dance, and make out with his husband David Burtka. Somewhere in there, he decided to steal the glasses of the most intimidating man in the audience, thoroughly clean them with his tongue and the place them delicately back on his face. See that mix of bewilderment, fear, and excitement on Jackson’s face? That’s the only appropriate reaction to have in a situation like that.
Jackman, T.I. and LL Cool J Rap The Music Man If you’ve ever listened to a recording of The Music Man and thought that what Harold Hill really needed were some sick beats, we have some good news for you. Over a beat from Questlove, Jackman, T.I. and LL Cool J (because the Tonys air on CBS) freestyled about the hardships of making a living by selling trombones, while the older members of the audience stood there uncomfortably, looking confused and terrified.
Rocky: The Musical Is All Scrap, No Song Look, when your whole show builds to an elaborate, full-contact boxing match complete with an announcer, jumbotron and full-scale ring, you want to show off all of the hard work and preparation that went into putting that number together. Still, would it have killed the Rocky producers to have their leading man Andy Karl sing a few bars? This is the Tony Awards, after all; if we wanted to watch people fight without bursting into song, we’d switch over to Game of Thrones.
Jennifer Hudson Gets an 11 O’Clock Number (Literally) We’re all for producers using the Tonys to preview some of the shows headed to the Great White Way in the upcoming season, but that doesn’t explain why the number promoting Finding Neverland – a show that won’t open for another year, featuring a performer who isn’t even part of the cast – interrupted the biggest awards of the night and forced the producers of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder to rush through their Best Musical acceptance speech. Maybe if someone had kept Eastwood on script, Hudson’s diva moment could have come at a more appropriate point in the show. Like as a replacement for whatever dreary song Sting broke out.
Sting is Writing a Musical This one’s self-explanatory.
Who Wrote Jackman’s Bits? If nothing else, this year’s Tony Awards were an experiment to see whether a three-hour show could be carried on nothing but Hugh Jackman’s charisma. Most of his bits were a little odd, relying on his good looks and smooth voice to carry him through to the next introduction, as if the whole show were thrown together during his downtime on the X-Men press tour. The fact that everything still worked is a testament to the sheer force of Jackman’s charm, and our willingness to forgive a great deal for a well-executed soft shoe.
With the writers teasing the Battle for Castle Black all season, and the reveal that it would be the focus of a full hour of the show, fans were expecting "The Watchers on the Wall" to be a major, show-stopping episode. What they got was... well, fine.
That's not to say that it wasn't impressive — it was, with dramatic action moments, an excellent tracking shot through the carnage of the battle, and a CGI woolly mammoth. "The Watchers on the Wall" is reportedly the most expensive episode in Game of Thrones' history, and the high production values show in the stunning (if gruesome) visuals and the myriad creative ways in which people meet their ends. But while the episode succeeds on a visual level, it falls flat on an emotional one, downplaying or even ignoring some of its more significant moments and cutting out on an ending that doesn't seem to resolve anything.
Centering an entire episode of Jon Snow is always going to be a gamble for a show that thrives on conniving and snark. Though I personally feel both he and Kit Harington have grown more compelling over the past few seasons, he's never going to light up the screen the way Peter Dinklage or Lena Headey does, which is why it's so frustrating that the emotional beats of his story don't seem to have any resonance or depth. The episode is clearly setting up Jon's ascension to Lord Commander, based on the way he takes control of the Wall before running into the fray at the last moment to save the day, and yet the show doesn't give his decision to take the helm any real weight.
Jon's arc this week has three main points: his conflict with Ser Allisair, his relationship with Ygritte and stepping into an authoritative role. The first is resolved in a conversation between the two atop the Wall, as they gaze out at the thousands of Wildlings preparing to attack. Ser Allisair finally admits that he should have listened when Jon warned them about the impending raid, explaining that leadership means listening to everyone criticising your decisions, but never second-guessing them yourself - a life lesson that seems designed to cover up the fact that Ser Allisar just doesn't like Jon. The parallels between the two characters are obvious, with both of them heading down to the gates at different points in the battle, but it's all undercut somewhat by Allisair simply being dragged offscreen after taking a swipe to the side.
Then there's Ygritte. From the outset of the episode, it's clear that this battle is just as much about their relationship as it is the Wildling's and the Night's Watch. These two characters were at their best together — whatever Harington lacks in charisma, Rose Leslie has in spades, while he gives her more to do than just sharpen arrows and threaten other Wildlings — and their quiet standoff in the middle of the battle is where the episode has the most tension. But her death, due to a well-timed arrow by Ollie, doesn't have the impact it should have. However, the aftermath of her death does allow Harington to give one of his best performances, as his permanent grimace gives way to defeated weariness while he helps the Brothers capture the last of the Wildings. That exhaustion is clear in his last few scenes with Sam, as he stares fixedly ahead and marches into the snow, determined to keep fighting for the Wall, no matter the cost.
If Jon's arc is about maturing into an authoritative role, Sam's is about maturing into a protector, someone who can look after Gilly and the other Brothers. His frantic plan to lock Gilly away is a direct contrast to the experienced sarcasm he shares with Pyp as they attempt to take out some Wildings from the gates. He might not be a man when it comes to his relationships with women, but he's got enough steel to guide a nervous Pyp through his first real battle. Though he connects Jon's story to the Brothers down below, the ones who haven't faced down Mance Rayder and White Walkers, he doesn't get much to do, and his triumphant return to Gilly never earns its feeling of victory.
And yet the sight of Sam returning to the storeroom, blood on his clothes and exhaustion in his face, to find Janos Slint cowering behind the door does feel like a small triumph for the "coward" of the Night's Watch. Though he spent much of his first few scenes talking about how scared he was about dying so soon, once the battle started, Sam instantly snapped into soldier mode, proving that he's already on his way into becoming the man he's always wanted to be. Watching him coach a shaking, terrified Pyp into taking out a Wildling is what makes the former's untimely death heart-rending. Not enough time has been dedicated to Pyp as a character to give his death the same kind of weight as Ygritte's, but the show does manage to drive home the horrors of war (and Westeros) by sending an arrow through his throat right after he gazes at Sam with boyish pride. Not every boy in Westeros will live to become a man.
Still, any point that "The Watchers on the Wall" attempts to make about maturity and masculinity and war interrupting both of those journeys pales in comparison to the real star of the episode: the effects. Director Neil Marshall does a great job with the action, cutting between large-scale fights and smaller attacks. He even manages to add some humor to some of the more gruesome killings, showing cocky, taunting Wildlings being immediately struck down by arrows, driving home the size and power of the giants by catapulting a Brother into the air, only to have him land clear on the other side of the Wall, and showcasing the effectiveness of the scythe with a close-up of a lone, detached arm. He uses a lot of the same visual tricks that he used on the show's last full-hour battle episode, "Blackwater," lighting everything with flames and showcasing the epic scale of the fight before pulling in to focus on the individuals fighting.
But where "Blackwater" managed to combine the violent spectacle with character beats that would have a long-term effect on the show, "The Watchers on the Wall" feels like all flash and no substance. The battle ends for the night, and Jon warns that there's more fighting left to come, which seems to lessen the impact any of the deaths would have had. While it makes a nice point about war having a clear or easy victor, the lack of resolution leaves me feeling like the Battle for Castle Black didn't need an entire episode to itself. There's a great deal about this particular battle in the books that would have easily fit into this hour, and would have helped the writers tie several elements of the show together nicely. As it is, sending Jon back into the fray leaves us with an ending to a drawn-out story that simply lacks any payoff.
Grade: C+, Or One Terrified Pyp and One Brave Grenn. With you gone, there will be nobody left to add some much-needed sass to the dour Castle Black.
This Post Contains Spoilers for Season 4 of Game of Thrones.
It's always difficult when your favorite character gets killed on a television show. You've spent weeks getting to know them, growing to care about them, and watching them go on adventures, and so when the Grim Reaper finally comes for them, it's a bit like losing a family member. Nobody knows that pain nearly as well as those who watch Game of Thrones, which seems to kill off a beloved character every other week. Luckily, we have some good news for fans of Pedro Pascal's Oberyn Martell: you will get to see him again.
Technically, you'll only be seeing Pascal, who has been cast in the upcoming Netflix series Narcos, according to Deadline. The drama will follow the legendary drug kingpin Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura), and the efforts of the US government to take him down. Pascal will play Javier Pena, a DEA agent who is sent on a mission to capture and kill Escobar - as long as he doesn't get too distracted plotting his revenge. However, the Red Viper isn't the only person killed this season who will be popping up somewhere new, so in order to help you through the grieving process, we've rounded up all of the major characters who died this year on Game of Thrones, and where you can catch them next.
Pedro Pascal Who He Played: Oberyn Martell, Prince of Dorne, trader of barbs, seeker or revenge and bedder of anything with a pulse. How He Died: His head was smashed in by Ser Gregor Clegane during Tyrion Lannister’s trial by combat. What He’s Doing Next: Playing Javier Pena, a Mexican DEA agent on the upcoming Netflix drama Narcos, which is slated for a 2015 premiere. He’s also starring in the TV movie Exposed, about an investigative photojournalist, and the vampire film Bloodsucking Bastards.
Kate DickieWho She Played: Lysa Arryn, Lady of the Vale, widow of former Hand of the King Jon Arryn, new wife of Petyr Baelish, and overly attached helicopter parent of Robin Arryn. How She Died: She was shoved through the Moon Door by Petyr Baelish. Her death was ruled a suicide. What She’s Doing Next: Starring opposite James McAvoy in Filth, which is currently in theaters, as well as The Silent Storm with Homeland’s Damian Lewis, and the indies Take It Back and Start It All Over and A Northern Soul.
Burn Gorman Who He Played: Karl Tanner, one of the most disgusting, reviled people in the Seven Kingdoms... and considering the characters on this show, that’s quite an achievement. How He Died: Jon Snow ran him through with a sword during a raid on Craster’s Keep, which Karl had taken over. What He’s Doing Next: Currently starring on the AMC series Turn as the British commanding officer Major Hewlitt. He’s also playing Mr. Bran in the upcoming Disney film Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and is reuniting with his Pacific Rim director Guillermo del Toro for the upcoming vampire film Crimson Peak.
Jack Gleeson Who He Played: Joffrey Baratheon, the worst, most insufferable child king who ever lived. How He Died: He was poisoned at his wedding to Margaery Tyrell, in a plot by her grandmother, Lady Olenna and Petyr Baratheon. His uncle Tyrion has just been found guilty for his murder. What He’s Doing Next: Gleeson has retired from acting in order to focus on his studies – he’s currently enrolled at Trinity College in Dublin, where he’s studying Philosophy and Theology – and to pursue some more philanthropic ventures. Basically, the real King Joffrey is a wonderful human being.
Noah TaylorWho He Played: Locke, a hired hand who works for House Bolton, and the guy who cut off Jaime Lannister’s hand. How He Died: After he infiltrated the Night’s Watch and accompanied them on the raid to Craster’s Keep, his neck was snapped by Hodor after he attempted to kidnap Bran. Well, technically, he was killed by Bran, who was currently using his Warg abilities to inhabit Hodor’s mind. What He’s Doing Next: In addition to a playing a supporting role in Edge of Tomorrow, which is currently in theaters, Taylor will appear in the Ethan Hawke time-travel film Predestination and Welcome to Karastan opposite Matthew McFayden. He’s also doing voice work in the upcoming Maya the Bee Movie, alongside Jacki Weaver and Kodi Smit-McPhee.
Andy Kellegher Who He Played: Polliver, a Lannister man-at-arms who stabbed Arya’s friend Lommy and stole her sword. How He Died: Arya stabs him through the throat after re-enacting the way that he killed Lommy. What He’s Doing Next: Appearing in two Irish films: A Nightingale Falling, which takes place during the Irish War for Independence, and The Hit Producer, which follows a down on his luck music producer as he journeys into the underworld of modern-day Dublin.
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
Nobody in Hollywood embodies the "hit or miss" phenomenon to a greater degree than Tom Cruise does. Some love his energy, some think he's a wacko. With some of the most iconic movies of the past few decades and some of the most infamous clunkers to boot, Cruise is a master of keeping us guessing. After a string of lesser performances, his latest film Edge of Tomorrow reminds us of the sort of talent Cruise can embody when he's got the right role. It's the latest "great" in a long line, interwoven with an equally long line of "terribles." Here's a quick rundown of the lion's share of Cruise's roles, assessing which side of the coin he ends up on with each:
The Outsiders Great: Steve Randle isn't the biggest or most iconic character in the film, but it's hard to imagine the ensemble working so well together without him. Stay gold, Cruise.
Risky Business Great: Sometimes you can pinpoint the exact moment that someone becomes a star. For Cruise, it was that first tighty-whitey clad sock-slide through his living room.
Top Gun Terrible: Yeah, it might be his most iconic role of all time, but what do you really remember from this movie: Cruise’s empty smile or their planes doing barrel rolls? That’s what we thought.
Rain Man Great: Dustin Hoffman might have the more memorable role, but it would be nothing without Cruise’s quietly excellent performance.
Born on the Fourth of July Great: Cruise deservedly earned his first Oscar nomination for his intense, transformative performance as a paralyzed Vietnam War veteran. Sometimes it's easy to forget just how well the guy can act.
Days of ThunderGreat: Sure, it's basically Top Gun with cars, but at least Cruise has some personality in this one.
A Few Good Men Great: It takes a lot of talent to hold your own opposite Jack Nicholson, but Cruise managed to do that, and then some.
Interview with the VampireTerrible: The most memorable thing about Cruise's take on the legendary vampire Lestat was the frizzy, straw-like wig that the production team plopped on his head.
Mission: Impossible I - IVGreat: No action hero brings out the best in Tom Cruise quite like Ethan Hunt.
Jerry MaguireGreat: It might be hard to believe in these post-couch jump days, but once upon a time Cruise was the most charming heartthrob in Hollywood, and this is the performance that scored him that title.
Eyes Wide ShutGreat: Before Keith and Nicole and before TomKat, Cruise and Kidman were Hollywood's hottest power couple, and Eyes Wide Shut is a showcase of both stars' big screen prowess.
MagnoliaGreat: Whenever Cruise steps away from the heroic leading men he normally plays, something magical happens, and his performance in Magnolia is the best example of that law in action.
Vanilla SkyTerrible: What Vanilla Sky needed was a strong, complex, layered performance to anchor the film. What it got was an overly smarmy, obnoxious, befuddled Cruise.
Minority Report Great: Carrying a blockbuster film is tough. Carrying a blockbuster film that's also an iconic sci-fi epic with time travel, crime, plot twists, murder, and intrigue? That requires Tom Cruise.
The Last Samurai Terrible: We can only imagine that Cruise's "Keanu Reeves in a Samurai film" impression is what eventually inspired Universal to make 47 Ronin.
CollateralGreat: Cruise was a long way into his career before he finally played the villain in a film, but he seemed to be a natural at it. Maybe it's that manic grin that makes him so convincing.
War of the Worlds Terrible: It’s not really his fault. Everything about this movie was terrible, but Cruise’s flat, blank-stared hero definitely didn’t help matters.
Tropic Thunder Great: Nobody expected Cruise to be the breakout star of this movie, but it proved that it’s not heroic action movies where he truly shines – it’s in a fat suit and a comb-over.
Valkyrie Terrible: You know what? The less we say about this one, the better.
Rock of AgesTerrible: Because when you think "sexy, legendary, bad-boy rock star," you think of the guy who played Jerry Maguire, right?
Jack ReacherTerrible: It only took one shot of Cruise failing to look intimidating while surrounded by thugs in the trailer for audiences to realize that the lead was gravely miscast. It was like watching a kindergartener take on the fifth graders.
Oblivion Terrible: This movie is solidly mediocre, but a charmless Cruise sinks it to subterranean levels.
Edge of TomorrowGreat: As it turns out, all Cruise needs to get back whatever career mojo he's lost is an interesting concept, a giant robot suit and the freedom to be a complete and total jackass.
20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
Warning: Spoilers for The Fault in Our Stars to follow!
Even if you know nothing else about The Fault in Our Stars, you’re probably aware of the fact that it is going to make you cry. The book will make you cry, the film — which opens June 6 — will make you cry, the music videos for the soundtrack will make you cry, and if you’re a particularly dedicated fan, even the word “Okay” can make you shed a tear or two. But lest you think that The Fault in Our Stars contains nothing but moments perfectly calibrated to leave you a sobbing mess on a movie theater floor, there are several moments in the film that won’t make you misty-eyed.
Seven of them, to be exact. And it is precisely those small reprieves from the two-hour roller coaster of devastation that will help you make it through The Fault in Our Stars in one piece. Just when you think you can't physically cry any more, these tiny segments of happiness will come along and bolster your spirits before, giving you the strength you need to make it to the end of Hazel and Gus' love story. Because we want you to be able to savor those fleeting moments of joy when they come around, we've rounded them all up so that you'll be able to recognize the perfect time to blow your nose and wipe your eyes when it comes along.
The Opening Scenes, with Hazel Moping Around the House Wait, stay with us! It sounds like it would be terribly depressing to watch a teenage girl with cancer lie on the couch and watch television, but it is actually one of the few non-life ruining scenes in the film. In fact, Laura Dern’s relentlessly up-beat demeanor actually makes it pretty funny.
Anything with Mike Birbiglia Any time you see Mike Birbiglia, a.k.a. Patrick, the obliviously uncool support group leader onscreen, you should savor those moments. He only gets three scenes (and an acoustic ditty about Jesus), but they’re the most traditionally comedic moments in the whole movie. So, enjoy the laughs while they’re coming, because the second Hazel and Gus make eye contact, it’s all over.
Hazel Waiting for Gus to Call After the initial meet-cute, but before they fall completely in love, there’s a small sequence in which Hazel waits impatiently for Gus to text her. Cherish these moments, and the quiet, hopeful look on Shailene Woodley’s face. Cherish the way she lights up when he finally does text. Cherish the way your heart is warmed, but your eyes remain clear – this is the last time this will happen.
Isaac Handling His Breakup by Breaking Things Sure, you’re going to want to focus on Hazel and Gus flirting in the foreground of this scene, but you should really be focusing on Isaac (Nat Wolff) smashing trophies behind them. Revel in the hilarity that the juxtaposition of these two scenes causes and remember the awkwardness of helping your friend though a breakup. Isaac and Monica are the only relationship in this movie that won’t shatter your heart, so appreciate that.
Gus Gets a Reply from Pete Van Houten Depending on how emotional you are or how well you know the book, this might make you tear up a little bit, but hold strong. This is a happy scene, a moment of triumph and celebration. From here it’s nothing but heartbreak and bawling into a bucket of popcorn the size of your head. Choose this moment to save your tears.
Hazel, Gus, and Isaac Egg Monica’s House This is it: the last moment of joy left in this film. By now, you’ve probably experienced the first wave of tears, so really take a moment to revel in the happiness that three teenagers throwing eggs at a car can bring you. Feel the thrill of watching Isaac avenge his broken heart. Every single scene after this will leave you devastated, so allow this fleeting scene of exhilaration to bolster you through the last act of this movie. Trust us, when it’s all done, you’ll look back on this moment fondly, and then you’ll probably cry with nostalgia.
See, it's not all completely gut-wrenching and heartbreaking!
Walt Disney Pictures via Everett Collection
With Frozen still raking in cash months after it first hit theaters and Maleficent dominating last week’s box office, it seems like Disney princesses are once again an unstoppable force. The studio is hoping to extend its current hot streak by bringing Beauty and the Beast, one of their most beloved properties back to the big screen in a live action movie. Variety reports that Dreamgirls director Bill Condon has been tapped to helm the feature film, which is just one of several live-action adaptations that Disney has in production.
Thus far, no details have been released about what direction they’re planning for the film, although hiring Condon does seem to imply that they might be interesting in making a full-scale musical. However, Condon has a handful of non-musical blockbusters on his resume – including the final installments of the Twilight Saga – so there are plenty of creative options open. In the interest of helping Disney and Condon narrow things down a bit, we’ve outlined the things we think Disney and Condon should keep in mind while putting together their live-action Beauty and the Beast. Although if we're honest, as long as there's an adorable talking teacup involved, we'll be fine.
DO: Throw in a Few of the Old Musical Numbers We’re not saying that Condon has to turn this film into a gigantic, musical spectacular, but if you went to see a Disney interpretation of Beauty and the Beast and didn’t hear even a few notes of that classic theme song, wouldn’t you feel disappointed? Throw a few songs in there, make the silverware dance around a little bit, either way, this film needs a little musical magic – although, feel free to drop “Something There” if there’s no room for it. It won’t be missed.
DON'T: Give It a Modern Setting Look, we like a modern re-working of a classic tale as much as anybody, but Disney should stick to what it does best: ball gowns, castles, and long, sweeping shots of stunning vistas. If people are looking for a metaphorical, city-set version of the tale, they can watch the CW. We prefer our Disney movies to feel like a fairy tale from a storybook.
DO: Add More Fairy Tale Magic For an animated film about a fairy tale princess, Beauty and the Beast featured surprisingly little magic. There was the dancing silverware, of course, and the dramatic transformation from Beast back into the prince at the end, but the film could have used a bit more pixie dust. For the live-action version, we’re hoping Condon pulls out all of the CGI tricks he learned on the Twilight films and sprinkles a little magic on this story. After all, it seems a shame to kick off a film with a drastic, dark transformation and then never show any actual witchcraft.
DON’T: Downplay the Beast’s Beastliness Giving your hero a few scars on his face has got to be cheaper and easier than turning him into a full-scale beast, but that doesn’t make it feel like any less of a cop-out. The films and shows that use tattoos and a “beastly attitude” instead of movie magic have had a good run, but we’re hoping Condon will ensure that this time around, our cursed prince gets a full-scale transformation this time around. Besides, everyone knows that Disney’s Beast looked better before he turned back into a prince.
DO: Work in Lumiere, Cogsworth, and Mrs. Potts The best part of the animated Beauty and the Beast isn’t the love story between Belle and the Beast or the elaborate, catchy musical numbers. It’s the hilarious banter between the permanently-at-odds Lumiere and Cogsworth and the sensible, motherly Mrs. Potts, which is why we don’t understand why these characters – or their modern-day equivalents – are constantly left out of adaptations of this story. Every fairy tale needs a wise-cracking sidekick or three, Disney. Don’t deny Belle and the Beast theirs.
DON’T... FORGET: Gaston Every fairy tale needs a villain, and nobody’s better, meaner, scarier or more ruthless than Gaston. There’s a whole song about it, if you don’t believe us.
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
Picking a title for a movie is hard. That one small phrase needs to be broad enough to encapsulate everything that the movie deals with but narrow enough to let the audience know what it's about, while also being catchy enough to stick in people's heads, but not so specific that it dissuades people from coming to see it. And on top of all of that, it needs to look good on a movie poster. So when it came time for the producer of Tom Cruise's latest film to name their blockbuster, they must have cracked under the pressure, and settled on the completely generic Edge of Tomorrow.
As a title, Edge of Tomorrow doesn't reveal anything about the movie. It doesn't clarify whether it's an action film or a coming-of-age story, it doesn't hint at the alien apocalypse at the center of the story, it isn't catchy enough to stay with you long after you watch the trailer, and it doesn't even look that great on billboards. Without Cruise, it would be almost impossible to identify Edge of Tomorrow... it could be any film, about any topic. Don't believe us? We've rounded up the plots of nine films with the most boring, uninspired titles in Hollywood. Can you pick match the film to its incredibly generic name?
1. While settling his recently deceased father's estate, a salesman discovers he has a sister whom he never knew about, leading both siblings to re-examine their perceptions about family and life choices. A. Life as We Know It B. People Like Us C. A Fine Mess D. Let Me In
2. A British investment broker inherits his uncle's chateau and vineyard in Provence, where he spent much of his childhood. He discovers a new laid-back lifestyle as he tries to renovate the estate to be sold. A. A Good Year B. Begin Again C. Life as We Know It D. Edge of Tomorrow
3. An officer finds himself caught in a time loop in a war with an alien race, and must use the new skills he acquires each time to help defeat the enemy. A. Tomorrow Never Dies B. Live and Let Die C. Edge of Tomorrow D. Begin Again
4. Two single adults become caregivers to an orphaned girl when their mutual best friends die in an accident. A. An Unfinished Life B. A Fine Mess C. Life or Something Like It D. Life As We Know It
5. A bullied young boy befriends a young female vampire who lives in secrecy with her guardian. A. Live and Let Die B. People Like Us C. Life or Something Like It D. Let Me In
6. Two friends discover a plot to fix a horse race and try to get in on it, but their actions send a group of mobsters after them. A. Life as We Know It B. People Like Us C. A Fine Mess D. Once
7. A dejected music business executive forms a bond with a young singer-songwriter new to Manhattan. A. Let Me In B. Once C. A Good Year D. Begin Again
8. A reporter interviews a psychic, who tells her that she's going to die and her life is meaningless. A. Life or Something Like It B. Life Itself C. Life Is Beautiful D. Life as We Know It
9. A busker and an immigrant spend a week together, writing songs, playing gigs and falling in love. A. Once B. Begin Again C. Let Me In D. A Fine Mess
Answers: 1) B; 2) A; 3) C; 4) C; 5) D; 6) C; 7) D; 8) B; 9) A