Great stuff from Jimmy Fallon and Will Smith on the former's first time in charge at The Tonight Show. The best line from the new king: "I'll be your host ... for now." [YouTube]
2013's House of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey as a ruthless politician on his way to the top, was based upon 1990's House of Cards, starring Ian Richardson as a ruthless politician on his way to the top. They are both brilliant shows (catch a scene from the earlier version above), and an excellent illustration of the differences between American and British politics, drama and humor.
The comparison between the U.S. and U.K. versions of this program shows something about why I feel so profoundly American (rather than British), but also why the Brits excel at just this kind of thing. There are lots of tough breaks in Kevin Spacey's House of Cards, but in the end there is a jauntiness to it. People kill themselves; politicians lie and traduce; no one can be trusted -- and still, somewhere deep it has a kind of American optimism. That's us (and me). USA! USA! It's different in the UK version. Richardson's Francis Urquhart reminds us that his is the nation whose imagination produced Iago, and Uriah Heep, and Kingsley Amis's "Lucky Jim" Dixon. This comedy here is truly cruel -- and, one layer down, even bleaker and more squalid than it seems at first.
Both editions are on Netflix—the UK one is only a four-hour miniseries, too.
Delaying the resolution of a cliffhanger can be tricky business. It risks rendering the previous chapter less enthralling, taking credit for a sometimes unexpected leap in the plot, and disappointing viewers by feinting one way then pulling back on boldness.
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Shirley Temple Black, child movie star and adult diplomat, has died. She was 85. Above, Temple sings "On the Good Ship Lollipop" in the 1934 film Bright Eyes. (New York Times)
A brilliant Justified strings together seemingly infinite conflicts in a pressure cooker [Episode 5 recap]
There are few shows that know how to tell an audience right off the bat they will not be messing around on a given night better than Justified. In the first four episodes of this season, Lee Paxton would have wondered about Boyd’s death, stewed about it for 10 minutes of screen time while other schemes commenced, leading up to a final turn that reveals Boyd is still alive—before kicking the narrative can down the road to another episode for the fireworks. But not this week; Boyd has decided to embrace the ego that says he’s still Boyd Crowder, the rightful criminal ruler of Harlan County, hangers-on and high-class pushers be damned. He’s ready for action, so when Lee Paxton pulls that lamp chain, there’s Boyd, sitting in a bedroom chair, a deadly snake with a venomous snake ready to deliver unto Paxton an impassioned final monologue:
With Pierce’s essence preserved in an energon pod and Troy off circumnavigating the world in a sailboat with LeVar Burton, the cast of Community has thinned out. And instead of another madcap theme episode or a special meta-commentary on death or saying goodbye to friends, Community can now get back to its own special kind of normal. Too much philosophizing can get distracting, so it’s nice that this week shifts to the joke-a-minute pace within a plot that explores the Greendale underbelly as a reflection of the real-world political favors needed to accomplish even the simplest task.
“Analysis Of Cork-Based Networking” divides rather easily into three discrete plots with just a hint of overlap; so this review breaks down to follow that organizing principle.
Ron Miller posts a gallery of stunning, if rather small images at io9: "In the beginning there were sketches...thousands of sketches. Almost all of these were done by the brilliant production designer Tony Masters. ... These were eventually incorporated into the production paintings I created.."
And so, without any immediate family left in town, Raylan Givens gets drawn back to Harlan because of poor, stupid Wade Messer. He’s one of the dumber men who tried to kill Raylan, but also one of the few who nearly succeeded, conspiring with Dickie Bennett to string Raylan up in a tree for torturing. So it’s not surprising that Raylan greets news that the U.S. Attorney’s office used Messer as a Confidential Informant with contempt, both at the choice and that he wasn’t told.
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How do you say goodbye to someone you love? Do you shake a hand, give a hug, and then get it over with? Do you write an epically long letter and leave it under the windshield wiper of a car and hope it’ll get read? Or do you create an elaborate party game designed as a mental coping mechanism and stall tactic to deny that you ever really need to say goodbye at all?
“Geothermal Escapism” is essentially a Community paintball episode without the paintball, and without the external conflict of an invading rival school. In fact, it’s an even more juvenile version of those episodes, since “Hot Lava” is a game for little kids (and the occasional freshman dorm), and the logic behind the game starting stems from Dean Pelton’s affinity for the study group, as opposed
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Raylan Givens has trust issues. I don’t mean that in the conventional sense, although he does seem to exist as an island too remote for any permanent bridge to reach. Raylan’s problem is that he’s tempted to trust too much, and the implications of his trust suggest that he’s waiting for people to disappoint him so that he can intervene in the most macho way possible that allows him to channel his innate anger and violence into his work.
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Carrie Fisher told TV Guide that she is due on the set of the next Star Wars film later this spring and that Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill will be joining. The movie is due out at the end of 2015.
"I'd like to wear my old [cinnamon buns] hairstyle again — but with white hair," she said. "I think that would be funny."
As reported in The Guardian, JJ Abrams, who is directing, confirmed that the script is complete and that he has met with Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad) and others about roles in the movie.
“Cooperative Polygraphy” attempts to wrangle an incredible amount of different goals that it wants to accomplish in the span of 20 minutes. It’s an episode that deals with the death of a major character, beginning the arc that will see off a second character, comments on both actors leaving the show behind the scenes, loops in references to those actors’ relationships with creator Dan Harmon, and once again attempts to air all grievances between a group of longtime friends prone to secrecy and frustration.
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Russell Johnson, who played iconic DIYer "The Professor" on Gilligan's Island, has died. He was 89. (CNN)
Mike Figgis, director of films like Leaving Las Vegas, Hotel, and Suspension of Disbelief interviewed David Lynch, director of films like Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, and Inland Empire.
"I interviewed David in Lodz, Poland at the cinematography festival in about 2008 after the premiere of INLAND EMPIRE," Figgis says. "This clip went onto the DVD of that film. I shot it and edited it immediately, screened it at the festival, much to the chagrin of the guys from KODAK who seemed pissed off at David's comments about film versus digital."
I was entranced watching Lynch's hands as he spoke.
The last time Raylan Givens saw Loretta McCready, she had become the surprising but not unexpected beneficiary of pot empress Mags Bennett’s money, and Raylan instructed her not to spend all of it on a Lexus or having Van Halen perform at her birthday party, lest he’d come around to haul her off for spending ill-gotten gains. Over a season later, Loretta lives at a nicer house (it certainly looks better given where Raylan drops her off toward the end of the episode). But everyone knows better: you can take the girl out of Harlan, but you can’t take the Harlan out of the girl.
Behind the scenes shot of the "opening crawl" filming from Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back. The Star Wars opening crawls were inspired by those used in the Flash Gordon (at right) and Buck Rogers film serials of the 1940s.
"The crawl is such a hard thing because you have to be careful that you're not using too many words that people don't understand," Lucas has said. "It's like a poem."
More on the Star Wars Opening Crawls at Wikipedia.
(Photo via @TheWookieRoars)
• "On-set Star Wars photos from Peter "Chewbacca" Mayhew"
Kenneth Anger is a legendary underground filmmaker, actor, chronicler of 1960s Hollywood scandals, and devoted follower of occultist Aleister Crowley. He's perhaps best known for his book Hollywood Babylon (1965) and the Magick Lantern Cycle of films, including the above Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954), Scorpio Rising (1963), and Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969). In the 50s, 60s, and 70s, he palled around with then-marginal characters like Alfred Kinsey, Tennessee Williams, Jimmy Page, Marianne Faithful, and Keith Richards. Esquire UK's Mick Brown recently spent two days in Los Angeles with Anger, now 86 years old. Read the rest
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Benjamin Bratton, Associate Professor of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego, explains what's wrong with TED—at a TEDx event in San Diego. "My talk is about TED: what it is, and why it doesn't work." [via Gawker]
"Michael Bay just walked on stage, flubbed his lines, and walked off at a Samsung CES press conference," reports Gizmodo's Leslie Horn. "It was weird."
MICHAEL: How is everyone today? My job as a director is I get to dream for a living.
HOST: Michael, you're known for such unbelievable action. What inspires you? How do you come up with these unbelievable ideas?
MICHAEL: I create visual worlds that are so beyond everyone's normal life experiences, and Hollywood is a place that creates a pure escape. And what I try to do, as a director... uhhhh ... argh! The type is all off. Sorry, but I'll just wing this.
HOST: Tell us what you think.
MICHAEL: Yeah. We'll wing it right now. I try to take people on an emotional ride and, um.
HOST: The Curve [TV]. How do you think it's going to impact how viewers experience your movies?
MICHAEL: Excuse me, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. *flees*
HOST: Ladies and gentlemen, let's thank Michael Bay for joining us!
If you listen hard enough, you can hear the Adobe DRM server creaking under the weight of everyone firing up After Effects to add massive explosions into the above video.
Councilman David Waddell of Indian Trail, North Carolina resigned from his position with a letter written in Klingon. According to Reuters, he wrote in Klingon "because the fierce-looking science fiction characters valued integrity, honor and duty." Waddell is now planning to run for US Congress. Indian Trail mayor Michael Alvarez responded perfectly, saying "Live long and prosper!" (Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!)