Author

Julia Emmanuele
  • 8 Classic Hanna-Barbera Cartoons That Deserve Movies Before 'Scooby Doo'
    By: Julia Emmanuele Jun 18, 2014
    CBS Proving that there’s nothing Hollywood won’t reboot if given then chance, a new Scooby Doo movie is reportedly in the works at Warner Bros. According to Variety, the studio is looking to send Scooby, Shaggy, and the gang on another spooky adventure, which will be written by Randall Green. The news comes just a year after Warner Bros. also announced plans for an animated Scooby Doo movie, which is reportedly still on track. Though the last live-action Mystery Gang outings, 2002’s Scooby Doo and its sequel Monsters Unleashed, did well commercially, they weren’t received well by critics and fans of the series, which is why it’s surprising that Warner Bros. would be so intent at taking a third shot at big-screen adventure. After all, the live-action Scooby Doo’s were only slightly better than Yogi Bear. There are plenty of other great classic Hanna-Barbera properties that would make for great films, so why does Scooby get a third shot at big screen success? Think about all of the possibilities that are open… Wacky Races Concept: Think The Lego Movie meets Speed Racer, with a touch of Mega Mind thrown in. Plot: Set at the Wacky Races Grand Prix, a sprawling, dangerous race that spans three days and covers a variety of terrains, the film charts the highs and lows of all your favorite racers, from Penelope Pitstop to the Ant Hill Mob to the Gruesome Twosome, and sees Dick Dastardly’s desperate attempts to finally experience the glory for himself. Starring: Charlie Day as Dick Dastardly, Isla Fisher as Penelope Pitstop, Bill Hader as Clyde the leader of the Ant Hill Mob, Amy Poheler as the Red Max, and Tom Hanks as the Narrator. Directed By: Edgar Wright. Inch High, Private Eye Concept: The Maltese Falcon meets Osmosis Jones.Plot: The city is being terrorized by a robber who keeps stealing priceless works of art and jewels from museums and homes. The police are understaffed, and the detectives are at their wits’ ends, and the case has reached a dead end. Then, Mrs. Gotrocks hires Inch High, Private Eye, the most brilliant and tortured detective around to look into the case. But she might not like what he finds… Casting:  Casey Affleck as Inch High, Kate Mara as Lori, Josh Brolin as Gator, Tommy Lee Jones as Mr. Finkerton and June Squibb as Mrs. Gotrocks. Directed By: The Coen Brothers. ABC Hong Kong Phooey Concept: Think 22 Jump Street, but sillier.   Plot: Penry Pooch has always wanted to be a cop, but his enthusiasm for the job doesn’t quite balance out his complete incompetence. After failing out of the police academy, he takes a job working as a janitor under the watchful eye of the constantly frustrated Sergeant. One night, when he’s the only one at the precinct, he stops and apprehends a robber, which inspires him to take up crime fighting as Hong Kong Phooey. Luckily, he’s got Spot to help him out of whatever jams he finds himself in. Casting: Will Arnett as Penry, Keith David as Sarge, Anna Kendrick as Rosemary, the telephone operator, and Nick Frost as Spot. Directed By: Shane Black. The Jetsons Concept: August: Osage County in space. Plot: George Jetson is an ordinary man, living an ordinary life. He loves his family, endures his job and spends his time relaxing with his dog, Astro. But when he catches his wife having an affair with his boss, his world comes crashing down around him, and he’s forced to re-evaluate everything he knew about his life, and decide whether to move forward or move on. Starring: Joaquin Phoenix as George, Sandra Bullock as Jane, Hailee Steinfeld as Judy, and Steve Buscemi as Mr. Spacely, with Art Parksinson as Elroy and Scarlett Johansson as Rosie. Directed By: Spike Jonze. ABC JabberJaw Concept: Almost Famous meets Jaws, with a dash of Star Trek .Plot: The Neptunes were on their way to becoming the hottest rock band under the seas, until their drummer abruptly left. Then, they discovered Jabberjaw, a 15-foot-tall shark with the skills of Keith Moon, and it seemed like they had it made. But the path to rock stardom is paved with dangers and it’s time for the Neptunes to face them. Starring: Chris Pratt as Jabberjaw, Adam Levine as Clamhead, Malin Ackerman as Bubbles, Zoe Kravitz as Shelly, and Oscar Isaac as Biff. Directed By: John Carney. Quick Draw McGraw Concept: A better homage to Blazing Saddles than A Million Ways to Die in the West .Plot: The Wild West is a dangerous place, thanks to outlaws, frequent dueling and a lack of modern medicine, but one man is there to keep order in place, and uphold justice where ever he goes… Sherrif Quick Draw McGraw. Unfortunately, he might have finally met his match when the deadliest outlaw in the west rides into his town. Starring: Damon Wayans Jr. as Quick Draw McGraw and Fred Armisen as Baba Looey.Directed By: Mel Brooks, in an ideal world. CBS Space Ghost Concept: It’s basically Guardians of the Galaxy, but with a monkey instead of a raccoon. Plot: After Zorak, Space Ghosts’ nemesis, escapes from prison, he recruits Black Widow (no, not that Black Widow) and Brak and Sisto in order to form a league of villains that will take over the galaxy and allow chaos to reign, but in order to do so, they need a gauntlet of power, one that only Space Ghost’s sidekick Jace possesses. Can Space Ghost and Jan rescue him and save the universe before it’s too late? Starring: Channing Tatum as Space Ghost, Emma Stone as Jan, Miles Teller as Jace, Idris Elba as Zorak, Dwayne Johnson as Brak, Jason Statham as Sisto, and Nicole Beharie as Black Widow (see, told you she was different!).Directed By: Joss Whedon, of course. Top Cat Concept: Dancing on the Edge meets GoodFellas.Plot: Set in the 1940s, a group of rag-tag musicians are groomed to become a proper jazz sensation. But in order to do so, they’ll have to overcome prejudice, corrupt managers, in-fighting, and substance abuse and stick by each other through everything. Starring: Anthony Mackie as TC, Lamorne Morris as Brain, Albert Tsai as Choo-Choo, Michael B. Jordan as Fancy-Fancy, Josh Gad as Benny the Ball, Ruth Negga as Trixie, and Sean Penn as Officer Dibble.Directed By: Martin Scorsese. You're welcome, Hollywood.  Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //
  • Is There Any Hope For 'Jersey Boys,' 'Annie' and 'Into the Woods?'
    By: Julia Emmanuele Jun 18, 2014
    Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection Clint Eastwood, famous for gritty westerns, intimidating squints and asking punks if they’re feeling lucky, wouldn’t be the first person you’d think of to direct a glitzy movie musical. He’s about as far removed from the world of production numbers and intricate choreography as you could possibly get, so it’s something of a surprise that he’s the director bringing the hit musical Jersey Boys to the big screen. Though the film is based on the lives and careers of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, the film’s real star power is behind the camera, which should help it stand out in an unusually crowded field of movie musicals.  Though it's been a few years since we've seen a full-blown spectacular on screen, 2014 has three iconic musicals receiving the Hollywood treatment. After Jersey Boys has gotten moviegoers warmed up, December will bring a new, modern take on Annie as well as the star-studded film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's iconic Into the Woods. But which of these upcoming musicals are the real show-stoppers, and which are you better off skipping? We've run down the year in movie musicals, along with their potential for greatness, both critically and commercially.      Jersey Boys Opens: June 20 What It’s About: The story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and their journey from being four guys harmonizing under a streetlight to becoming one of the biggest bands in the world, including the gambling debts, mob threats and personal crises that almost stood in their way. Star Power: Director Clint Eastwood and Christopher Walken in a supporting role. The main cast is made up of primarily unknowns, although John Lloyd Young won a Tony Award for playing Frankie back in 2006. How Good It Looks: Thus far, it’s gotten mixed reviews, with many critics taking issue with its by-the-book approach to an interesting, conflict-filled story. That weird, grey filter that Eastwood uses can’t be helping matters, either. Box Office Potential: The film hasn’t gotten a lot of promotion ahead of its release, but the Four Seasons are a recognizable enough name that Jersey Boys should be able to pull in a decent amount of money. The show’s still going strong on Broadway 8 years later, after all. Awards Potential: It’s being released too far from awards season, and the early reviews aren’t strong enough to make Jersey Boys a real contender, but we’d be surprised if Eastwood or Young’s name didn’t come up in conversation once or twice - but only once or twice. Number Worth Waiting For: “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You,” of course.     Annie Opens: December 19 What It’s About: Business tycoon Benjamin Stacks takes in Annie, a foster child who has been living in the evil Miss Hannigan’s orphanage since she was born, in order to help his Mayoral campaign. Star Power: A pretty star-studded cast, including Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, Rose Byrne, and of course, Quvenzhane Wallis. How Good It Looks: Every production of Annie lives and dies by its hero and its villain, and while Wallis seems to be a charming and entertaining Annie, Diaz’s Miss Hannigan seems downright terrible. This is definitely a film that can go either way. Box Office Potential: A beloved, classic, family-friendly musical with a Christmas release date and a big-name cast? It’s probably going to rake in the cash. Awards Potential: Very little. Unless it’s animated, the Academy doesn’t really pay attention to child-friendly films, and anyway, this Annie is more about spectacle than substance. Number Worth Waiting For: “Hard Knock Life.” We’d say “Easy Street,” which everyone knows if the best number in the show, but it’s probably best to wait and see some more of Diaz’s Miss Hannigan before we get too excited for it. Into the Woods Opens: Christmas What It’s About: Set in a fairy-tale forest, a witch attempts to teach various characters important lessons about  life and love. Star Power: Off the charts: Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Chris Pine, Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt and Christine Baranski, to name just a few. How Good It Looks: Not much has been released about the film yet, so it’s hard to tell, although Streep does look fantastic as the Witch. Box Office Potential: If the A-List cast or theater pedigree doesn’t bring in a big audience, the massive marketing push that Disney will inevitably roll out should do the trick. Expect this one to do very well with moviegoers. Awards Potential: Of the three films on this list, Into the Woods has the best shot at any awards recognition, even if it’s just because Streep gets nominated every time she leaves the house. We’d be surprised if Sondheim’s new music doesn’t become a major contender in the Best Original Song race, and depending on how well the film is received, Kendrick, Blunt and director Rob Marshall – all former nominees – could have a decent shot at a nomination as well. Number Worth Waiting For: “No One is Alone,” which is not only the most well-known song from the show, but will also be sung by Kendrick, everyone’s dream best friend. Follow @hollywood_com Follow @julesemm
  • Jared Leto Has Completely Changed Our Perception of 'Brilliance'
    By: Julia Emmanuele Jun 17, 2014
    WENN/WENN Imagine a typical Jared Leto film: serious and independent, helmed by a critically-acclaimed director and requiring Leto to undergo some kind of drastic transformation. Now, imagine a standard Will Smith movie: action-packed and exciting, stocked with an equal amount of laughs and explosions, and featuring Smith as the wisecracking hero. Until this point, their filmographies had very little, if any, common ground, but that might be about to change. Deadline reports that Leto is in talks to replace Smith as the lead in the upcoming sci-fi thriller Brilliance, based on the book by Marcus Sakey. With the exception of their shared ability to stave off aging, and each actor's claim to a lead role in a great ‘90s series, Smith and Leto are polar opposites, which is why it’s a surprise to see him possibly step into the shoes that Smith has so recently vacated. However, it’s even stranger that Leto’s rumored involvement in Brilliance actually has us excited for the film, whereas a Smith-led version only left us lukewarm at best. Our perception of Brilliance has completely shifted based on this small piece of casting news. Most of that has to do with the kind of films that Leto and Smith tend to choose. The former is notoriously picky about his projects, often waiting years between each film, and his selectivity has paid off in terms of the overall quality of his movies. Smith, however, is in the middle of a downturn, with many of his recent films coming off as unoriginal, formulaic blockbusters. Until now, there was no reason to believe that Brilliance, which centers on a group of people born with extraordinary gifts and the FBI agent who must use his to track down an equally brilliant terrorist, would be anything other than another schlocky Smith vehicle, all flash and no substance. But Leto wouldn’t pick just any old thriller; if he’s looking at Brilliance, that must mean there’s some hidden originality or depth to the film that isn’t evident based on the summary. Our change in perspective is helped along by the fact that the premise of Brilliance is general enough that it could go either way. With Smith on board, it seemed like another action film attempting to make a deeper point along the way, but with Leto, it has the possibility to go darker, deeper, and smarter. Leto’s coming off of an Oscar win, after all, and he wouldn’t pick just any generic action film as hid follow-up. He’d want something with some substance and grit, something that would live up to his award-winning performance. And while Smith’s films are generally fun and entertaining, they’re not quite on the same level as Dallas Buyers Club. That doesn’t mean that the depth and substance we’re now seeing in Brilliance wouldn’t have been there with Smith in the lead, but adding Leto’s name to the cast holds a different kind of weight than Smith’s does. It’s usually easy to predict whether one of Leto’s films will be good based on only the description, but Smith’s career has been so hit-or-miss lately that it’s generally better to hold off on making a judgment until the first trailer is released. Audiences have a different set of connotations and expectations for each actor, and those affect the way that we see the same project. Of course, there’s still a chance that the movie will turn out terrible, even with Leto on board, and Smith’s new project about NFL-related concussions will be the better of the two, but either way, it seems like Legendary has finally found a way to get people talking about Brilliance. Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //
  • It's Too Soon To Make a Bowe Bergdahl Movie
    By: Julia Emmanuele Jun 17, 2014
    Getty Images/U.S. Army It’s not shocking that the media frenzy surrounding Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. Army Soldier who was controversially traded for five Guantanamo Bay prisoners after spending five years as a prisoner of the Taliban, release is still going strong. But it is somewhat of a surprise that just three weeks after he was freed, two separate films have already been launched about his story, one by Zero Dark Thirty helmer Kathryn Bigelow and the other by relative newcomer Todd Field. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the former will center her film on the events leading up to his extraction from the Taliban, while the latter has optioned the Rolling Stone article, “America’s Last Prisoner of War,” as the inspiration for the project.  But while the conversation regarding these projects seems to be centered on whether Bigelow or Field will finish their film first (or whose final product will be better, or who will finally option the rights to Berdgdahl’s life), one fact is continually overlooked. Namely, that it is way too soon for Hollywood to make a movie about Bergdahl and his release. There’s no denying that his story has all of the makings of a great film, and both Bigelow and Field will likely do an excellent job with the material, but now is not the time for that film to be made. Though there are countless articles, opinion pieces, comments and exposes available about Bergdahl’s time in the Army and his rescue from the Taliban, very little of those contain any actual facts about the case, because there simply aren’t very many available. Most of the Army’s investigations and findings are classified, and they haven’t released much to the media other than general statements. Almost everything that is known about Bergdahl’s case is conjecture, which means that there is very little objective truth for Bigelow and Field to base their films on. Basing a film primarily on conjecture and evidence that has been pieced together by the media will result in a movie that is heavily biased, no matter which way it leans. Admittedly, all films are biased in some way, but Bergdahl is such a controversial figure that whatever the films’ biases are, they will be used by the media to support or refute any points they want to make, which will color the public’s consciousness towards the situation, and make it more difficult for the truth to come out. And since the government and the Army are still looking into the circumstances that surrounded Bergdahl’s release, those perceptions could impact the outcome of those investigations. Whatever impact these projects have on the public consciousness could help sway the decision in Bergdahl’s case, rather than allowing the objective facts to decide. In addition to the public implications that Bigelow and Field’s films could have, making them now is just insensitive. Bergdahl hasn’t even been out of captivity for a month, and already Hollywood is attempting to capitalize on his story. He has yet to return to his home and his family – he hasn’t even returned to the United States at all yet – and already directors are circling to try and profit off of him. No matter your personal feelings on Bergdahl or his actions, the fact remains that he should be allowed to recover from a traumatic experience before people attempt to turn those experiences into other people’s entertainment. At the very least, consider his family and loved ones, who deserve the right to spend some time with Begdahl and celebrate his return home before they have to work through their feelings about the films. We’re not saying that a film should never be made about Bergdahl; we’re just saying that it doesn’t need to be made now. Hollywood should wait until we, as a nation, have some perspective about the situation, or at least until the 24-hour news cycle has found something else to focus on. Wait until the ongoing investigation has concluded, wait until we have some answers to support the media’s endless theories, or even just wait until Bergdahl arrives back on American soil. It doesn’t matter when the film finally does get made, as long as it's not right now.  Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //
  • Why Is the UK 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Trailer So Serious?
    By: Julia Emmanuele Jun 17, 2014
      Thus far, all of the marketing for Guardians of the Galaxy has played up its goofy insanity, with trailers that focus on Rocket’s bloodlust and Peter Quill’s lack of badass reputation, and big action moments timed to the beat of cheesy classic rock songs. All in all, the trailers give off one clear message: these aren’t your typical superheroes.  That’s not to say that the Guardians of the Galaxy can’t be serious, but rather that it’s hard to evoke a gritty, dramatic atmosphere when your team of heroes includes Andy Dwyer, a gun-toting, chain-smoking raccoon, and a tree creature with a limited vocabulary. These are true losers, people who would just as soon save the planet as they would accidentally blow it up. This is a group of funny, strange, deadly misfits, and this film is going to be a hell of a good time. Which is why it’s so surprising that the new UK trailer has taken such a different approach to the Guardians of the Galaxy. Instead of introducing this band of weirdoes one by one and playing up the things that make them so strange, the new trailer focuses squarely on the plot of the film, the origins of Star Lord, and everything that’s at stake for this group of former outlaws. Sure, there are jokes, but they take a back seat to action, explosions, and dramatic speeches. And there isn’t a single note of Blue Swede to be found. Don’t get us wrong, it’s still a great trailer, and it still has us counting down the days until August 9. But it’s so far from the tone of the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy promos – and, we assume, from the tone of the film itself – that we’re confused as to why Marvel would choose such a drastically different route for its international marketing. The lack of music can be explained by copyright and licensing fees, but where has all of the humor and insanity gone? Marvel Studios Is Marvel concerned that the jokes in Guardians of the Galaxy won’t translate to an international audience? Do they think that the rest of the world will be more enticed by the standard action/adventure superhero fare? This trailer certainly offers a more traditional blockbuster than the earlier Guardians clips did, so perhaps Marvel is looking to play on audiences’ familiarity with the genre, rather than win them over with everything that makes these guys different. The studio could simply be trying to use its connection to Thor, Captain America and The Avengers  to bring in moviegoers, as this trailer has a lot more in common with Marvel’s established cinematic universe than the other ones suggest. Or, perhaps they’re just concerned that the rest of the world doesn’t recognize Chris Pratt as the comedic gift that we in the U.S. hail him to be. Whatever the reason for Marvel’s abrupt shift in tone, one thing still remains, and it is of such vital importance to the film as a whole that even the lack of banter, obscene hand gestures and classic rock can’t take it away. Above all else, the Guardians of the Galaxy are going to save the universe, and they’re going to show you a damn good time while doing so.  Follow @hollywood_com Follow @julesemm
  • What to Watch in 2014 Now That 'Game of Thrones' Is Over
    By: Julia Emmanuele Jun 16, 2014
    HBO After weeks of watching, re-watching, live-tweeting, recapping, analyzing, and debating, the fourth season of Game of Thrones has finally come to an end, leaving a void in both our hearts and our Twitter feeds. Once the fanfare and discussions about the shocking deaths and the major changes from the books finally die down, we will be faced with an unbearable winter without Westeros. How will we carry on without Dany and her dragons? How can we stay calm when we don’t know what’s happening with Tyrion? How will we survive the long months before we get new episodes? Well, by watching TV of course. Game of Thrones may have ended, but there are plenty more shows with all of the fantasy, politics, blood and nudity that we have come to rely on David Benioff and D.B. Weiss for, and we don’t even have to wait until next year to enjoy them. We've run down all of the shows airing in 2014 that will help fill the Westeros-sized hole in your heart, and how long you have to wait to get your fix. And if that doesn't work, there's still several thousand pages of George R.R. Martin's writing available for you to read. That should help pass the time.  True Blood How Long We Have To Wait: One week until June 22. What It’s About: The seventh and final season of the Southern vampire drama picks up with most of the characters dead or seemingly dead, an outbreak of Hep-V terrorizing the vampire population and everyone gaining and losing characters quicker than alliances shift on Game of Thrones. How It Will Fill the Void: True Blood and Game of Thrones have two key elements in common: blood and nudity. Expect plenty of both in the upcoming season.Airs: Sundays at 9 PM on HBO. Tyrant How Long We Have To Wait: A week until June 24.What It’s About: The second son of a dictator leader of a foreign country returns from a self-imposed exile in Los Angeles, and must deal with the conflicts that arise between the culture of his homeland and the US and his oppressive father. How It Will Fill the Void: If you’re looking for political intrigue, culture clashes, a struggle for power and a father/son dynamic reminiscent of Tywin and Tyrion Lannister, this is the show for you.Airs: Tuesdays at 10 PM on FX. The Leftovers How Long We Have to Wait: Two weeks until June 29.What It’s About: Set two years after 2 percent of the population disappears in the rapture, the series follows the rest of the world as they struggle to understand what happened to their loved ones, and attempt to move forward with their lives. How It Will Fill the Void: Like the White Walkers, the Children, and everything Melisandre is doing with the Lord of the Light, The Leftovers centers on a strange, unexplained supernatural phenomenon, and explores the personal drama that results.Airs: Sundays at 10 PM on HBO. The Strain How Long We Have to Wait: Four weeks until July 13.What It’s About: Created by Guillermo del Toro, The Strain is about a viral strain that turns people into horrifying, bloodsucking monsters that are terrorizing the population. It’s also based on a trilogy of books by Chuck Hogan, in case you’re all caught up on A Song of Ice and Fire. How It Will Fill the Void: It’s got horror, terror, suspense, excitement, supernatural elements and – we’re assuming – plenty of gore. Plus, it has Walder Frey himself, David Bradley, presumably on a mission to traumatize as many viewers as humanly possible.Airs: Sundays at 10 PM on FX. Showtime Masters of Sex  How Long We Have to Wait: Four weeks until July 13.What It’s About: The pioneering work on human sexuality done by William Masters and Virginia Johnson in the 1950s. The second season will see Masters and Johnson grow closer, and the challenges it presents their personal and professional relationships. How It Will Fill the Void: All of the nudity and explicit sexual situations, but presented in a way that not only serves a narrative purpose and raises important questions about society and the human body, but also isn’t degrading towards women. What a novel concept!Airs: Sundays at 10 PM on Showtime. Outlander How Long We Have to Wait: Two months until August 9.What It’s About: Based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon, the series follows Claire, a World War II nurse who is mysteriously sent back in time to the 1700s. There she is forced to marry Jaime Fraiser, a romantic and chivalrous Scottish soldier, and she is torn between two very different lives. How It Will Fill the Void: It’s a sweeping period epic that incorporates sci-fi, adventure, war, and romance that should help you move on from the tragic ending of Jon and Ygritte’s relationship.Airs: Saturdays at 9 PM on Starz. Sleepy Hollow How Long We Have to Wait: Four months until September 22.What It’s About: The surprise hit of last year centers on Ichabod Crane, who is sent forward in time to 2014, where he solves supernatural crimes with Det. Abbie Mills, and the two of them attempt to stop the apocalypse. How It Will Fill the Void: Witty banter, well-matched partners, a supernatural threat, colorful characters, a spooky witch you should probably be wary of and some truly gruesome crimes – throw in a giant and it’s practically Game of Thrones’ fourth season.Airs: Mondays at 9 PM on Fox. Gotham How Long We Have to Wait: Indeterminate, although it’s likely to premiere in September or October.What It’s About: Before Bruce Wayne grew up to be Batman, it was Det. Jim Gordon who cleaned up the crime and corruption on the streets of Gotham, even if that meant taking on some super villains of his own.   How It Will Fill the Void: Like Ned Stark in King’s Landing, Jim Gordon is a noble man trying to bring justice to the murder, manipulation and scheming that runs amok in the city. Let’s hope he fares a bit better.Airs: Mondays at 8 PM on Fox. Better Call Saul How Long We Have to Wait: Six months until November. What It’s About: A spinoff of Breaking Bad that focuses on Bob Odenkirk’s Saul Goodman, a lawyer who will do anything to keep his operations running smoothly. How It Will Fill the Void: You’ll probably become addicted to it, just as you were to Breaking Bad, which will help pass the time until Game of Thrones returns. Airs: On AMC, although a night and time hasn’t been revealed yet.  Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //
  • Should 'Game of Thrones' Add Lady Stoneheart or Not?
    By: Julia Emmanuele Jun 16, 2014
    Instagram/iamlenaheadey This post contains spoilers for the Game of Thrones finale and the book A Feast for Crows.  While the fourth season finale of Game of Thrones had everything from shocking deaths to gruesome fights to dramatic entrances, fans of the books were disappointed by one key absence: Lady Stoneheart. Despite being rumored to appear at the end of the episode like she did during the epilogue of A Storm of Swords, the former Catelyn Stark was nowhere to be found, leaving many confused and worried about the upcoming seasons. However, according to director Alex Graves, she was never scheduled to pop up at all this season, as there were far too many significant moments to cram into the last hour. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Graves revealed that her resurrection was never in the cards for Season 4, and it was instead an Internet rumor that gained traction. (If they’re looking for a point of origin, Lena Headey’s Instagram seems like a good place to start.) No matter where it came from, fans felt let down when the episode came to a close without Lady Stoneheart killing the Frey’s men in a bloody act of revenge. Though she only makes a few small appearances in the novels, Lady Stoneheart is a vitally significant character, and not just because she used to be Catelyn Stark. Her resurrection and reanimation by Beric Dondarrion – who himself was resurrected by Thoros and the Lord of the Light after he was fatally wounded by the Hound – connects several plots and characters together. She’s one of the last ties that anyone has to the character affected by the Red Wedding, her plan for revenge brings both the Freys and the Lannisters into the picture, her resurrection through the Lord of the Light ties her to Stannis and Melisandre as well as the Brotherhood and her most notable interaction in A Feast For Crows involves Brienne and Podrick Payne. Keeping her out of the finale simplifies things somewhat, and keeps many of the other shocking events from losing their impact, but it does mean that adding her into the fifth season will now be less dramatic and shocking. Now that book fans are counting down the time until she reappears and show-only fans know to look out for “Lady Stoneheart,” the writers are going to have a difficult time finding a way to introduce her character so that it has the same weight that her first appearance does in the books. And that’s if she even appears at all. Graves went on to reveal that he had no idea if show runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have plans to incorporate her into the ensemble at all in the future, citing the difficulties of working her character into the show, and the fear of wasting Michelle Fairley on a bit part. But cutting out Lady Stoneheart completely will have a major impact on the events of the next few seasons, particularly on Brienne’s plot, which culminates in her arriving face to face with the woman she swore allegiance to. Without Lady Stoneheart, Brienne and Pod are just wandering aimlessly on their journey to find the Stark girls. Their encounter with Lady Stoneheart gives their journey a final destination for the next season to work toward, while still leaving plenty of room for the writers to change and add new elements to their trek, like last night’s fight with the Hound. HBO Of course, it might not make sense to work Lady Stoneheart into the show at all at this point. Brienne and Pod meet the Brotherhood without Banners after perusing the Hound, who is rumored to be travelling with one of the Stark girls. However, based on the finale, she now knows that the Hound is likely dead and that it is Arya, not Sansa, that he was with and she doesn’t plan on going with Brienne at all. They could still run into the Brotherhood on the way to the Vale, but it doesn’t have the same potential for shock that the original plot in the books had, with the Brotherhood rescuing them from Rorge and Biter, only to have Lady Stoneheart turn around and threaten them with death. Outside of this important scene with Brienne and Pod, Lady Stoneheart has no significant moments in the books. She travels around the woods with the Brotherhood, killing anyone even tangentially associated with the Freys and Lannisters as revenge for killing her son and spooking everyone with her curdled-milk skin and inability to speak without holding her slit throat shut. While it would be worth it for many fans to have her pop up occasionally to terrify and torture people, it does bring the issue of wasting Fairley to the forefront. With an actress as talented and beloved as Fairley is, the writers would likely want to give her as much screen time as possible, which means adding in original scenes for her, and considering how many plots they will attempt to incorporate next season as well as the original plots and arcs that the show has been developing, it makes adding her into the show a lot more complicated. There’s also the issue of explaining Beric Dondarrion’s importance as well as the magic that helped him and Lady Stoneheart cheat death. Though the show has dipped into some of the magic and mythology behind the Lord of the Light, it has mostly been brought up in vague, general terms during Stannis’ few scenes with Melisandre. In order to properly explain how Catelyn became Lady Stoneheart, the show will have to delve into a lot of the fantasy elements that they have thus far shied away from. Though working Lady Stoneheart into the show at this point will involve some creativity from the writers, thanks to the many plots and twists they’ve added this season, she would be a worthy addition to the show. After all, she represents all of the bloodlust and desire for revenge that the writers love focusing on and it would give them the opportunity to stage numerous vivid, horrifying deaths. Both she and Catelyn are also fan favorites, and her return is a moment that fans have been impatiently waiting for. To deny them a character this interesting, compelling and violent, especially after all of the controversy that seemed to rage this year, would be a terrible disappointment. Besides, Headey’s already posted about it, so it has to happen now; her Instagram is law. Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //
  • 'Game of Thrones' Season Finale Recap: It's Father's Day in Westeros
    By: Julia Emmanuele Jun 16, 2014
    HBO After a season that has seen the death of a king, the gruesome head-smashing of our newest hero, heartbreak, betrayal, and giants, it's somewhat surprising that "The Children" ends on such a hopeful note, with Arya Stark staring out over the sea, on her way to a new life in Braavos.  It's a fitting and satisfying ending for a season that has seen power shift so drastically, one that has taken the status quo, or whatever comes closest in Westeros, torn it apart, and scattered the pieces to the wind. It's an ending full of possibility, change and even some excitement, one that firmly places both the children and the Children in the spotlight for next year, by focusing firmly on the future. And it's the capper to what is perhaps Game of Thrones' best season finale yet, an episode that managed to have thematic coherence and shocking twists and turns, and to have put the pieces for upcoming seasons in place while still being an entertaining hour of television. Even if Lady Stoneheart never showed up.  Normally, Game of Thrones packs the biggest shocks of the season into its penultimate episode, leaving the finale open as the time when characters can react and recover from whatever tragic and gruesome death (because it is always a tragic and gruesome death) just shook everything up. It would be easy for "The Children" to be nothing but a reaction episode showing the way the Battle for Castle Black and Tyrion's trial by combat has caused shock waves through the Seven Kingdoms, and saved all of the big shocks for next season. But the fourth season of Game of Thrones subverted its expected formula early, killing off Joffrey in the second episode and packing at least one major twist or death in every episode since, some more successfully than others. Joffrey's death has had the biggest, most expansive impact on the series since Ned Stark was beheaded. Like that original shock it has the biggest impact not on the old guard who used to hold the power in the Seven Kingdoms, but on the next generation, and "The Children" saw that generation inherit their legacy, their future, and in the case of Tyrion, their fathers' worst characteristics. If the final shot of Arya on the boat is a perfect summation of the episode's themes and of the possibility that awaits these characters in seasons to come, the shot of Tyrion threatening his father with a crossbow while the latter is on the toilet is also fitting, a physical representation of the circle of abuse, desire for power, and hatred coming to a close. Though Tyrion has never been the most noble center, he had a goodness to him that Jaime and certainly Cersei were lacking, and that separated him from the father who never wanted to claim him as his son. However, killing Shae, the only woman he has ever loved, by strangling her in his father's bed is such a characteristically Tywin act that it connects the two in a way that Tyrion has never anticipated or wanted. Peter Dinklage gives a great performance here, exhibiting all of the horror and heartbreak he feels at her second betrayal and his reaction to it, as well as the shock at what he's capable of. Even Tyrion seems to know that he wasn't justified in his actions, that they were cruel and unforgivable and exactly what Tywin would do in that situation.  HBO So when he holds that crossbow up to his father, and declares with a cold sincerity "I am your son. I have always been your son," he's not just making sure that Tywin faces up to his legacy before he dies, he's also admitting the harshness and cruelty that was always there, under the surface. Despicable though he was, Tywin was a wonderful character to watch, always capable of shaking things up without warning, and he will be missed. Charles Dance gives his last lines a dry wit, bantering easily with Dinklage before taking a stake to the chest, and it's hard not to regret the death of someone who can make sitting on the toilet an act of dignity and grace. But Tyrion shows no mercy, leaving his father there to die in humiliation before being spirited away on a ship with Varys in tow.  His last moments of the season aren't the only parallel to Arya's storyline. She too is forced to choose between mercy and cruelty when faced with a dying Hound, who has been brutally beaten and fatally wounded by Brienne. In a way, she chooses both, ignoring his taunts and pleas for her to kill him and simply walking away, leaving him to the long, agonizing process of dying. Though Arya doesn't put him out of his misery, she can't bring herself to murder the man who, admittedly in a dangerous and unconventional fashion, protected her on her journey. Arya has another parallel in Brienne: they are two strong, self-sufficient women who were more interested in learning to sword fight than in adhering to the way society expects them to behave. Both have seen cruelty and abuse, both have pulled themselves up by the bootstraps and continued on through everything, and both need to go their own ways and set out on their own journeys. Brienne is offering protection and shelter, but Arya knows that she can only rely on herself now. She never fully trusted the Hound, and she certainly doesn't trust Brienne; as these two surrogate parents battle over custody of her, Arya makes the decision to protect herself, and in that moment she grows up more than she ever did by stabbing a man with Needle.  Just as one of Arya's journeys has thankfully come to an end, so has her brother's. Both Arya and Bran had some exciting moments this season, but the vast majority of their screentime was spent wandering around in the wilderness, and frankly, it was one of the less interesting plots of the year. But watching Arya set sail for a new life and Bran-as-Hodor beat up skeleton zombies makes everything worth it, if only because it sets up some truly exciting arcs for next year. Bran comes into his own on a trek to see The Children, the ancient people who have inhabited Westeros since the beginning of time, and who will exist until the end. Still, in order to gain anything in Game of Thrones, you must first lose something of value, and in order to grow into his Warging abilities and his future, Bran must watch Jojen get killed by a skeleton, although the sadness was somewhat undercut by the hilariously awkward CGI the moment involved.  It's a price that Jon Snow knows all too well, having watched the love of his life die last week. Now in command of Castle Black (in action, if not in name) he sets out on a suicide mission to establish a peace treaty with Mance Rayder, only to have the moment interrupted when Stannis Baratheon rides in with an army to rescue Castle Black. Despite Stannis having the army, it's Jon who has the power here, finally getting to embrace his legacy as Ned Stark's son, rather than being shunted aside as his bastard. Like Ned, Jon is one of the few truly noble men in Westeros, but he's seen more than his father did, and he understands that the world and the people who inhabit it aren't black and white, so he has a chance at making it further in the game than Ned did. For Jon, it's not only about right and wrong, but about what's smart, what's merciful, and what's best for each individual situation.  "The Children" also sees Cersei and Daenerys making difficult choices in order to protect their children. Cersei, desperate not to be separated from her last child, reveals to Tywin the truth about her relationship with Jaime. Lena Headey's performance has gone mostly underappreciated as Cersei slides further and further into despair, and her wild-eyed delivery as Cersei plays the final card she has up her sleeve in a bid to hold onto what little power is left to her is pitch perfect. Dany, meanwhile, is forced to choose between her dragons and her people, and must lock her "children" away for everyone's protection. It's a sad, ironic moment for the woman who prides herself on being the "Breaker of Chains," but it's a crucial part of Dany learning to be a great leader, an ancestral legacy left for her by her own family.  In the process of establishing the significant changes that these characters have gone through and the new futures that await them on the other side of the hiatus, "The Children" also drives home how loose the show's structure has become. It still struggles to find a way to balance the numerous storylines so that the important moments have the right amount of impact and weight, but with every character at a different point in the journey that was laid out for them in the books, it's difficult to predict what the show is going to cover in the upcoming seasons, and just how well it will be able to keep a hold on everything. Just like Arya's future is laid out ahead of her in endless possibilities, the show's future is just as uncertain, and there are endless ways that events can play out, and endless changes that can be made.  Episode grade: A-, or Two flame-throwing child fairies that live in the woods. Here's hoping things get even more otherworldly and fantastic in the episodes left to come.  Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //
  • 'My So-Called Life' Fans Should Be Excited for 'Roadies'
    By: Julia Emmanuele Jun 13, 2014
    ABC Legions of Angela Chase fans are about to have a new hero to worship. Winnie Holzman, the creator of the cult hit My S0-Called Life, will be the showrunner for the upcoming Showtime series Roadies, the pilot of which was written and directed by Cameron Crowe. In a plot reminiscent of Crowe's film Almost Famous, the ensemble comedy will take place on a rock tour across the United States, and will focus on the people who work behind the scenes. A pilot is currently in development, and according to NikkiFinke.com, if the network decides to move forward with Roadies, Holzman will take over starting with the second episode. It might not be a My So-Called Life reunion, but for fans of the show, it's still worth getting excited over.  Though it only lasted one season, My So-Called Life has become a cult hit thanks to its honest, realistic protrayal of teenagers and the issues they deal with, and Angela Chase, Rayanne Graff, Rickie Vasquez and Jordan Catalano have turned into cultural touchstones. Since its cancellation, fans have been looking for another show that will fill the void left by the loss of their favorite characters and another teen TV show that isn't too preachy or unrealistic. And while it's been too long since the time we spent at Liberty High School for a renunion or reboot, it seems like Roadies might be just what fans need to move on.  In subject, Roadies is nothing like My So-Called Life; where one was about regular students in a normal high school, the other will be set on a rock tour, which is perhaps the most glamourous and intriguing location imaginable. However, Roadies isn't about the celebrities on stage. It's about the regular people who do the hard work of setting up and tearing down equipment and keeping the show running smoothly. They have the least glamorous job on the tour, but they're the most in touch with reality. By focusing the show on the roadies, Holzman will be able to keep things grounded and authentic in much the same way that she was able to make Angela feel like a real person you might have hung out with.  ABC Exploring that realism is part of the reason why it makes sense to air Roadies on a channel like Showtime, which gives the writers more freedom with what they can include. Though showbusiness is glamorous and fun, it has a dark side, and it wouldn't be realistic for the show to leave those aspects out. On Showtime, Holzman and the writers would be able to showcase some of the seedier things that happen on a rock tour, without having to worry about network standards and censors. But while many shows would glmaorize the darker elements of the rock and roll lifestyle, Holzman will likely find the right balance in order to keep things grounded and avoid showcasing twisted or disturbing things just for the sake of shock value. It might sound like an impossible feat, but if anyone will be able to keep a show about rock stars grounded, it will likely be Holzman. Plus, thanks to her work on Broadway with the hit show Wicked, she'll also be able to ensure that the show has enough flash and spectacle, without letting it overwhelm the characters at its heart.  Moving to a more mature channel is also fitting for a follow-up show to My So-Called Life. Just as the fans of My So-Called Life have grown up and now have more adutl conflicts and concerns, so does Holzman's show. Though we're sure that Roadies will deal with the usual television issues of identity, friendship and romance, the content of the show will likely be a lot more mature, and will probably have larger consequences than many of the issues that My So-Called Life dealt with. Of course, it's thanks to that show's darker, more dramatic storylines that we can have confidence in Holzman's handling of whatever conficlts arise on Roadies, as well as her talent at giving the stories the right amount of depth and emotional weight.  My So-Called Life dealt with a lot of the same issues that Crowe handles in Almost Famous: struggling to figure out who you are, breaking away from the preconceptions that people held about you, learning that the people you idolize and worship might not be worth your attention, how to car for a friend who is struggling, navigating complicated relationships and love triangles of every permutation. That's why Holzman is the perfect choice for Roadies, which seems as if it will focus on a lot of the same elements as Almost Famous. Her expereince with those themes will help Roadies hit the right emotional beats and make sure that it stays true to its message, and maybe even help it become another classic. Besides, William and Angela, Russell and Jordan and Penny Lane and Rayanne already have plenty in common, so Holzman should have no problem handling whatever new characters Crowe comes up with.  It might not be the same as My So-Called Life, but Roadies has the potential to be just as entertaining, relatable, and long-lastig thanks to Holzman's involvement. Sure, Crowe is the bigger name, but when it comes to writing shows with heart and autheticity, there's nobody we'd trust more than her. Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //
  • A Rundown of DC's Superhero Film Schedule, from 'Batman V Superman' to 'Green Lantern/Flash'
    By: Julia Emmanuele Jun 13, 2014
    DC Comics Between Marvel's ever-expanding cinematic universe, Sony's tangled web of Amazing Spider-Man characters, and the way Fox keeps rolling out X-Men films, Hollywood is in the middle of a veritable superhero onslaught. However, NikkiFinke.com reports that things are only just getting started, with DC and Warner Bros. planning to roll out their own interconnected series very soon. In addition to Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the studios are working on a Justice League movie and solo films for Wonder Woman and Shazam, as well as a Flash/Green Lantern crossover and yet another outing for Superman. Warner Bros. was set to officially unveil the plans at this year's Comic-Con, along with new details about the upcoming Sandman film with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and a tentative release schedule that would take them well into 2018. According to the site, the studio has been working on this for some time, and even delayed the release of Batman Vs. Superman so that it would better fit with the rest of the planned universe. With so many films lined up for such a short period of time (expect at least two DC films a year for the next four years) it can be a little difficult keeping track of everything on the slate. We've run down everything we know about the upcoming DC/Warner Bros. universe, along with the reasons you should get excited about them. Although it is kind of hard to be enthusiastic about two Man of Steel sequels. Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice Release Date: May 2016 Who's In It: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, and Laurence Fishburne will all reprise their roles from Man of Steel, and will be joined by Ben Affleck as Batman, Jeremy Irons as Alfred, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. What We Know About It: Plot details are still being kept under wraps, but it will feature Superman facing off against a "older, worn-down" Batman in some capacity. The film's also supposed to be both a follow up to Man of Steel and a prequel for the Justice League movie, so Wonder Woman and Cyborg will be involved in some capacity, although thus far it's not known how much screen time they'll get. How Excited We Are For It: Anything that gets fans as riled up as this film has is definitely worth seeing. As of right now, though, it's hard to predict if it will live up to all of its hype. Shazam Release Date: July 2016 Who He Is: Originally known as Captain Marvel, Shazam is the altar ego of sports reporter Billy Baston, who was given magical powers by an ancient wizard who wanted Billy to help people. When he says "Shazam!" he is transformed into a super-human with powers from six mythical heroes: wisdom from King Solomon, strength from Hercules, stamina from Atlas, the power of Zeus, courage from Achilles, and speed from Mercury. What We Know About It: Not much. A Shazam film was rumored to be in the works until recently, when Peter Segal (who was on board to direct) left the project, citing the difficulties of turning Shazam's story into a film. Nobody was expecting it to turn up on the schedule, especially with such a close release date. How Excited We Are For It: It's hard to be excited about a project that nobody saw coming, but we're definitely intrigued to find out more. However, if this is indeed the secret DC character that The Rock has been hinting at recently, we're officially on board. Sandman Release Date: December 2016 Who's In It: Joseph Gordon-Levitt is set to produce the project, and is also rumored to be starring as Dream. What We Know About It: To start, it has nothing to do with the other comic book movies that Warner Bros. is working on. The film, which is based on Neil Gaiman's wildly popular series, has been in development for 25 years, but this time Gaiman is involved in production, which is a good sign. However, the script is being written by David Goyer, which could cancel out some of that goodwill. How Excited We Are For It: Cautiously optimistic. The release date is the biggest sign of confidence we've seen so far, but there are still too many elements up in the air for us to to completely drop our guards. Justice League Release Date: May 2017 Who's In It: Thus far, we're guaranteed to see Affleck, Cavill, and Gadot as Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, respectively, as well as Ray Fisher as Cyborg. The studio has yet to cast the remaining team members, although Matt Damon and Jason Momoa have both been rumored for Aquaman. What We Know About It: It will be DC and Warner Bros' answer to The Avengers, so expect lots of action, explosions, and angst. It should also be connected to Batman Vs. Superman in some way, but that's all that's been revealed thus far. How Excited We Are: We're going to have to see Batman Vs. Superman first, but we're definitely looking forward to this one. Hopefully, the studio will use this as an opportunity to add some much-needed levity to the dark, gritty universe they're currently building. What's the point of a superhero film without the wisecracks? Wonder Woman Release Date: July 2017 Who's In It: The only one we can say for sure is Gadot as Diana Prince a.k.a. Princess Diana of Themyscira a.k.a. Wonder Woman.What We Know About It: Next to nothing. DC and Warner Bros have wavered for so long on making a Wonder Woman movie that we have no idea what to expect, although we do have very high hopes. How Excited We Are For It: Are you kidding? We'd buy tickets now if we could. Fans have been clamoring for a Wonder Woman movie for so long that it's hard not to be a little skeptical about its chances of actually making it into theaters, but until we hear otherwise, we're just going to enjoy knowing that a Wonder Woman film is finally on its way. Flash/Green Lantern Release Date: December 2017Who's In It: Though the DC universe technically already has a Green Lantern in Ryan Reynolds, they haven't hinted at whether he'll be reprising his role, or if they're looking in a new direction (probably the latter).What We Know About It: Again, next to nothing. We don't even know which iteration of the Green Lantern will be part of the team. It would make sense to continue with Hal Jordan, but if they're looking to differentiate this Lantern from Reynolds', they might be better off choosing a different alter ego. How Excited We Are For It: Not very. The last Green Lantern film was terrible, so we don't have a lot of confidence that this one will be better, and we can get our Flash fix with the upcoming CW show, so we won't be marking our calendars for this one just yet. Man of Steel 2 Release Date: May 2018 Who's In It: Cavill, of course. We also wouldn't be surprised to see Adams, Fishburne, and Diane Lane come back, since they've all signed on for Batman Vs. Superman... unless any of them faces a grim fate in that film, which isn't too unlikely.What We Know About It: It will most likely deal directly with the events of Batman Vs. Superman and Justice League, although we are suprised to hear of this "official" Man of Steel sequel, considering Warner Bros. has been billing Batman Vs. Superman as such for some time now. How Excited We Are For It: We're in favor of anything that promises to get the memory of the first Man of Steel out of our head. Here's a chance to fix your mistakes, Warner Bros.