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The Quake Review: The Wave Gets a Worthy Sequel

The Quake doesn’t break the mold for natural disaster thrillers but, like The Wave, its humanist approach to the genre is refreshing and engaging.

The Quake is the sequel to The Wave, a Norwegian natural disaster thriller that earned strong reviews and eventually became the country’s highest-grossing film in 2015. Director Roar Uthaug would go on to helm the Tomb Raider movie reboot in the wake of its success, and The Wave itself has since becomes something of the gold standard for its genre, thanks to its emphasis on grounded human drama over mindless CGI-fueled spectacle. For the most part, fortunately, The Quake lives up to the standard established by its predecessor. The Quake doesn’t break the mold for natural disaster thrillers but, like The Wave, its humanist approach to the genre is refreshing and engaging.

The film picks up in real-time after the events of The Wave. Geologist Kristian Elkjord (Kristoffer Joner), who predicted the Åkerneset crevasse would collapse and ultimately create a giant tsunami wave in the first place, is still haunted by what he went through and cannot stop thinking about all the people who died because he wasn’t able to warn them in time. As a result, Kristian is now estranged from his family – including, his wife Idun (Ane Dahl Torp), daughter Julia (Edith Haagenrud-Sande), and son Sondre (Jonas Hoff Oftebro) – and lives by himself, far away from their home in Oslo.

However, when an old colleague is killed in (seemingly) a freak accident while investigating a tunnel near Oslo, Kristian begins to fear that a massive earthquake is about to hit the Norwegian capital. While his fellow geologist, Johannes Løberg (Stig R. Amdam), initially assures Kristian that his fears are unfounded, the latter soon finds proof to support his hypothesis… though, not before “The Quake” itself gets underway. Hence, it falls to Kristian and his former colleague’s daughter, Marit (Kathrine Thorborg Johansen), to reach and rescue his loved ones before it’s too late.

The Wave writing duo John Kåre Raake and Harald Rosenløw-Eeg returned to write the sequel, with longtime cinematographer John Andreas Andersen stepping in to call the shots in Uthaug’s absence. As a result, The Quake‘s script takes the same character-driven approach to its genre as The Wave, and spends much of its first act exploring the emotional fallout of the previous film (specifically, its effect on Kristian psychologically). The narrative settles into more of a familiar pattern from there and hits most of the expected plot beats – from Kristian gradually putting the clues together to his warnings of imminent danger being ignored by the authorities – before getting to the actual (earth)quake in its final third. Still, while The Quake struggles to offer much in the way of surprises or unexpected twists on the way to its final destination, its does a fine job of executing these tropes and building up to its climactic set piece(s).

Andersen and his team do an similarly nice job of bringing those set pieces to life, despite having a significantly smaller budget to draw from than that for the average Hollywood disaster tentpole. The Quake makes limited, but efficient use of CGI to portray the titular earthquake, in combination with practical effects and smart filmmaking choices that effectively disguise the project’s budgetary limitations. It helps that the film is sharply photographed in general, and no doubt benefits from Andersen’s experience as a cinematographer, in combination with The Wave DP John Christian Rosenlund’s clever shot choices and framing techniques this time around. Oslo itself is a big part of what sets The Quake‘s action and suspense-fueled sequences apart from those in related U.S. genre movies. The city’s unique architecture and layout naturally lends themselves to set pieces that couldn’t be staged the same way in your average American city.

As mentioned earlier, however, The Quake is as much a drama about Kristian being traumatized by the events of The Wave as it is a thrill ride – more so, in many ways. This allows Joner to really flex his acting muscles and dig deep into his character’s damaged mental state, as well as his struggle with survivor’s remorse and inability to let go of the guilt he feels. If there’s a downside to this approach, though, it’s that the rest of Kristian’s family are relegated to the background and The Quake ends up spending little to no time reflecting on their own survivor’s guilt and related problems. Still, the movie spends enough time developing Kristian’s relationships with Idum and Julia to get viewers invested in what happens to them, and even provides Marit with an arc of her own – allowing her to evolve from a grieving daughter to one of the film’s heroes.

While The Quake obviously requires some suspension of disbelief when it comes to the fact that Kristian has now foreseen two “unforeseeable” disasters, it still makes for a worthy continuation of The Wave franchise. Sequels in general aren’t exactly known for devoting much, if any, time to exploring how their protagonists have been traumatized by events in a previous film or films (with exceptions like, say, Iron Man 3), but that’s part of what makes this one such an unusual addition to the pile. The Quake is less groundbreaking than its predecessor in other respects – namely, the plot trajectory and, to a lesser degree, some of the technical elements – but it’s a notable franchise movie for that reason alone.

All in all, The Quake is a sequel that’s deserving of some attention, especially if you were a fan of The Wave in the first place. Of course, those who’ve seen that movie ahead of time will have a deeper understanding of Kristian’s backstory going in, but its sequel still (mostly) works as a standalone adventure, for those who missed its protagonist’s battle with a giant tsunami wave the first time around. The Quake will be playing in select theaters, but will be simultaneously available to watch at home – making it easily accessible for anyone who’s game to stay in and watch a foreign-language film this winter holiday season.

TRAILER

The Quake begins playing in select U.S. theaters and On Demand starting Friday, December 14. It is 106 minutes long and is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of peril and destruction, injury images, and brief strong language.

Let us know what you thought of the film in the comments section!



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2018-12-07 08:12:09

18 Best Sequels, According To Rotten Tomatoes (And 8 Stuck With 0%)

We live in an age where sequels are all the rage. Every major studio is chasing those franchises that can keep their cash flow healthy for years to come. Sometimes, they’re exhausting. Other times, they can be our most anticipated movies. Maybe we could do without more Transformers movies, but Marvel and Mission: Impossible sequels are event movies that drive us to the theater in droves.

Sequels are tricky and unpredictable, though. On one hand, they’re often necessary for expanding stories and the good ones continue sagas we want to see progress. On the other, some are soulless cash grabs that shouldn’t exist. In the worst cases, some of them completely derail promising franchises by failing to deliver the goods. Then again, in some instances, sequels can get a series back up and running after they’ve experienced setbacks.

This list will look at those rare sequels that are considered worthy — and even superior — follow-ups. Those rare beasts that make us grateful for multiple movies in a series. Furthermore, we’ll also be discussing the most maligned sequels that brought no critical good will to their respective franchises whatsoever. It’s more fun this way. In order to fully appreciate the best of the best, we also must acknowledge the worst of the worst. Without evil, we wouldn’t be able to understand all that’s good and pure. Without terrible movies, we wouldn’t be grateful for the good ones.

With this in mind, here are 18 Best Sequels According To Rotten Tomatoes (And 8 Stuck With 0%).

26 Best: Captain America: Civil War (91%)

The decision to keep the same team of writers for all three Captain America films paid off in the end. The trilogy just went from strength to strength with each passing entry, though some would argue that The Winter Soldier is equally as good — if not better — than Civil War. Either way, they’re both prime examples of how to do sequels right.

Civil War tackles the same themes you’d expect from a movie about a do-gooder like Cap, but where the film truly soars is during its wild third act. The airport showdown is the best action showdown in the MCU, and that’s saying something.

25 Worst: The Bad News Bears Go To Japan (0%)

If you didn’t know that sequels to The Bad News Bears exist then no one would think any less of you. While the first movie is a cult classic about an underdog baseball team, the sequels have faded from the collective memory with the passing of time, lost like tears in the rain. That’s for good reason.

None of the sequels are good, but The Bad News Bears Go To Japan is especially bad.

While the idea to relocate to Japan for a big game is good on paper, the sequel is just bland, forgettable, and was made to cash in on the brand name.

24 Best: Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (93%)

Some fans argue that The Force Awakens is essentially a retread of A New Hope in many ways. However, clearly the critics and audiences didn’t necessarily agree, given its stellar Rotten Tomatoes score and its audience score of 87%, not to mention its impressive box office haul.

As far as Star Wars movies go, it hits the spot. The new characters are great, the return of some old faces is a trip down memory lane, and the story still made significant effort to push the franchise forward. In those regards, the film definitely succeeded.

23 Best: War for the Planet of the Apes (93%)

Anyone who has a problem with classics being rebooted needs to watch the most recent Planet of the Apes trilogy.  The finale pits the apes in a brutal battle against the humans, which leads to an epic confrontation between the Caesar the Ape and humanity’s ruthless colonel (played by an utterly wicked Woody Harrelson). As far as concluding trilogies goes, War for the Planet of the Apes has everything.

By no means is this a pleasant movie, but it is rewarding. And not only does it wrap up an epic story, but the film boasts some of the great CGI wizardry out there. The action is also ridiculously impressive and compelling, which is crazy considering it’s a movie about people versus monkeys.

22 Best: Logan (93%)

James Mangold’s Logan, the gloriously violent and heartbreaking farewell to Patrick Stewart’s Professor X and Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, is an all-timer. Taking cues from the Old Man Logan comics, the movie has just as much in common with neo-westerns as it does with superhero yarns, which makes for a gritty, character-driven elegy to characters many of us grew up with.

Logan deserves praise for going R-rated and taking some stylistic risks.

The movie is proof that audiences will still flock to see superhero movies with some edge. If you’re going to send off some icons, this is the way to do it.

21 Worst: Return to the Blue Lagoon (0%)

Considering that no one liked The Blue Lagoon (it currently holds a 9% rating on RT), why anyone would want to return to the franchise is beyond comprehension. Of course, every sequel is a perfect opportunity to right some old wrongs if handled with care. Unfortunately, this was not. The story follows two children who are marooned on a tropical island as the grow up and fall in love, etc. The characters don’t wear enough clothes either, which makes for some weird, uncomfortable viewing.

There are some unintentional laughs to be had at the poor script and performances.

Otherwise the Blue Lagoon isn’t a scenic cinematic paradise worth spending time in unless you want to punish yourself for some reason.

20 Best: The Dark Knight (94%)

Few superhero movies are ever regarded as anything more than popcorn fare. However, if there were ever a superhero movie that proved the genre could be prestige cinema, it would be The Dark Knight. Christopher Nolan’s take on Batman is an exploration of chaos and just how far people are willing to go to achieve their goal.

The Dark Knight — for better or worse when you consider how devoid of fun some DC movies have been since — also brought a gritty, realistic touch to the genre. The movie feels more like a Michael Mann crime saga than it does a story about superheroes versus their outlandishly evil counterparts.

19 Best: Finding Dory (94%)

In recent times, Pixar has been criticized for relying too heavily on sequels, but if it ain’t broke… Finding Dory was released 13 years after Finding Nemo, and it was a smash with critics and audiences alike.

Its 94% on Rotten Tomatoes is complemented by an 84% audience score.

Upon release Finding Dory was praised for being as funny and thought-provoking as the first movie, while also adding a new dimension to the story. As with any Pixar movie, Finding Dory can be appreciated by audiences of all ages. 

18 Worst: Staying Alive (0%)

No other actor on the planet has experienced a career of ups and downs like John Travolta has. When he broke out he had the world at his dancing feet. After that, his career experienced a downturn until it was resurrected briefly following Pulp Fiction until it ultimately plummeted when he started starring in movies like Battlefield Earth. Staying Alive was released in 1983 when Travolta was experiencing his first fall from grace. Following up a classic like Saturday Night Fever was never going to be easy, but it shouldn’t have been this difficult, either.

The sequel lacks the gritty realism of its predecessor, and instead tries to get by on dance sequences. What’s the point in dancing when we don’t care about who’s doing it?

17 Best: Creed (95%)

No franchise tends to remain compelling seven sequels in, but Creed is proof that the Rocky franchise is the rare exception. Granted, some Rocky movies aren’t exactly knockouts, but Creed got things back on track and showed that it’s game for a few more rounds.

By serving as both a sequel and a spin-off/soft reboot, Creed gave the franchise a breath of new life.

It passed the gloves on to Michael B. Jordan as the eponymous character.  Creed 2 is right around the corner. Let’s see if it can do what the original saga failed to do and deliver a second outing that’s as good as the inaugural entry.

16 Worst: Leprechaun 2 (0%)

The first Leprechaun movie doesn’t come close to being certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, so it should come as no surprise that the sequels didn’t receive any critical acclaim. Especially not the second movie, which no critic seemed to enjoy at all.

Here, the infamous critter resurfaces in Los Angeles to find a bride, which leads to him abducting a young woman and trying to claim her as his own. This isn’t high art by any means, nor does it try to be.

15 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (96%)

The Harry Potter books were an emotional roller coaster that affected millions of readers worldwide. Reliving those adventures on the big screen was also a great time to be alive, and the grand finale lived up to expectations. In the final installment of the saga about the Boy Who Lived and his fight against the forces of darkness, the ultimate showdown finally happens as our hero and his pals face off against Voldemort in Hogwarts castle.

It’s a true epic in every sense of the word.

As far as wrapping up the story goes, Death Hallows: Part 2 delivered the goods and gave us cinematic closure in style.

14 Worst: Looking Who’s Talking Now (0%)

Look Who’s Talking is a perfectly serviceable comedy that should never have received any sequels. In a bid to end to the trilogy on a high following the disappointing previous sequel, Look Who’s Talking Too, someone thought it would be a good idea to introduce talking dogs to the mix for the series’ swan song. 

Needless to say, Look Who’s Talking Now wasn’t the glorious goodbye the series was looking for, but at least the film did cast some cute dogs.

13 Best: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (97%)

The third installment of Sergio Leone’s influential Dollars trilogy, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly is the creme de la creme of spaghetti westerns. 

The story centers around two men who form an uneasy alliance following a scam.

This leads them on a quest as it turns out there’s money buried in the desert and they want to find it. However, they have to compete against another who won’t hesitate to put a bullet in them to claim the prize. On top of being one of the most acclaimed movies out there, the film has been hailed as a major influence on directors like Quentin Tarantino.

12 Best: The Godfather: Part II (97%)

The continuation of Francis Ford Coppola’s Best Picture-winning 1972 crime saga, The Godfather: Part II chronicles Michael Corleone’s further ascendency in organized crime while simultaneously taking us back to the past to explore his dad’s humble beginnings.

Like its predecessor, the sequel also won Best Picture and is hailed by many a critic and film buff as one of the best movies ever made. Whether it’s better than the original is up for debate, but they’re like two sides of the same coin. These movies set the bar for mob pictures, and to this day, other directors are still trying to recreate the formula.

11 Mad Max: Fury Road (97%)

Director George Miller was in his seventies when he unleashed Mad Max: Fury Road, but the energy and madness imbued in every frame of this extravaganza suggest a man half his age.

Maybe we’ll never see another Mad Max movie, but the world needs a Furiosa spin-off eventually.

Fury Road is essentially one non-stop chase that barely lets up from the get-go all the way to the climactic ending. Furthermore, it’s a movie that defied expectation by taking the focus away from the titular character and making Charlize Theron’s Furiosa the real hero of the adventure. 

10 Worst: Jaws: The Revenge (0%)

Is Jaws: the Revenge a good movie? Definitely not. Is it an entertaining movie, though? Definitely yes.

How many other movies have sharks that make a conscious decision to get revenge on the humans that wronged them? Not only that, but the shark here followed its target to the Bahamas from Massachusetts. And why would someone who wants to avoid sharks go to an island surrounded by ocean? The movie is illogical, silly, nonsense, but it does offer sheer entertainment value for bad movie buffs.

9 Best: Aliens (98%)

Alien and Aliens are quite different in some regards, but they complement each other perfectly. The first is an exercise in pure suspense and terror. The sequel, on the other hand, retains the horror elements but adds a lot more action to proceedings.

Aliens shows how to make a successful sequel: acknowledge what came before but don’t be afraid to bring some fresh ideas to the table.

James Cameron was on fire in the ’80s and he wasn’t afraid to make Ridley Scott’s baby his own.

8 Best: Mad Max 2: Road Warrior (98%)

While George Miller’s inaugural Mad Max caper is a cult classic, most film buffs would agree that a couple of the sequels are slightly superior. Taking nothing away from the first movie, Road Warrior is a vast improvement when it comes to world building and sheer action spectacle. The story follows the eponymous character as he helps a group of people steal oil from a tyrannical madman and his band of goons.

As far as cinematic thrill rides go, few movies are on par with Road Warrior. Here, Miller turned up the volume significantly by making the post-apocalyptic terrains feel more dangerous and the action sequences more gung-ho and grander in scale.

7 Best: Evil Dead 2 (98%)

Sam Raimi’s first Evil Dead movie was a huge achievement for independent filmmaking when it was released back in 1981. The movie still holds up to this day with its innovative camera work, effective scares, and excellent cast as well.

The sequel is a triumph in its own right.

While the first movie contained moments of dark comedy, the sequel amps up the zaniness to become what is essentially the splatter flick equivalent of a Laurel and Hardy flick. For 90 minutes, Bruce Campbell is tormented by laughing ornaments and his own severed hand. As silly as that sounds, Evil Dead 2 still manages to pack more punch than your average MMA fighter.

6 Worst: Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (0%)

In the third installment of the Police Academy franchise, the cops are understaffed and in need of some help. Naturally, the force turns to America’s civilians to help aid in their mission. Things don’t go smoothly, for the characters in the film and the movie itself.

Rotten Tomatoes describes Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol as “Utterly, completely, thoroughly and astonishingly unfunny” and  a movie which sent “a once-innocuous franchise plummeting to agonizing new depths.” That sounds about right.

5 Toy Story 3 (99%)

Few franchises manage to strike three home runs in a row. Even The Godfather stuttered when it came to the third outing. Toy Story, on the other hand, never ceases to replicate the magic time and time again.

This emotional installment sees Andy get ready to leave for college and neglect his old toys.

He’s all grown up and has no use for them anymore, and what ensues is what is by far the most heartfelt movie in the series.

4 Worst: Highlander II: The Quickening (0%)

As far as pure entertaining action-fantasy goes, the first Highlander movie is a fun slice of popcorn entertainment that aficionados of cult cinema lose their head over. The sequel, meanwhile, is an incomprehensible mess.

Highlander II is too overplotted to explain, but the cusp of the story revolves around the hero from the first movie taking on a corporation after being led to believe that they don’t have the world’s best interests in mind. In this one, our hero is a defender of the ozone as well. What makes Highlander II so awful is that it completely retcons everything good about the original film and the mythology it introduced.

3 Best: The Bride of Frankenstein (100%)

We all desire to be loved by someone special– even bolt-head monsters made up of the remains of other people. But to find them a mate, one must dig up some more corpses and create a suitable partner that’s similar in genetic make-up. This is also the storyline behind James Whale’s 1935 masterpiece, Bride of Frankenstein.

There are too many Frankenstein movies to keep track of at this point, but this sequel remains the pinnacle of the original series.

The movie is a masterpiece that successfully blends campy fun with Gothic beauty and genuine chills that’s stood the test of time as a result.

2 Paddington 2 (100%)

No one expected the the first Paddington to be as good as it is. That movie is a bona fide classic in the making in its own right, but the sequel is some next-next level brilliance.

Paddington 2 sees the lovable bear go to prison and, unsurprisingly, all the mean criminals fall in love with him as well. Critics, like the fictional convicts, were also full of praise for the titular bear and his second big onscreen adventure as well. At one point, Paddington 2 was even the best reviewed movie in history.

1 Best: Toy Story 2 (100%)

Following up a movie like Toy Story was never going to be easy, but that didn’t stop Pixar from trying and succeeding. In this one, we find out that Woody is a collectible when he’s discovered and stolen by a greedy museum owner. Naturally this prompts Buzz Lightyear, Mr. Potato, and the rest of the gang into action and they set out to save their friend.

General consensus on Rotten Tomatoes states that Toy Story 2 is that rare sequel that improves upon its predecessor.

The sequel raises the stakes and ups the element of adventure while retaining the humor and heart that made audiences fall in love with the franchise in the first place.

What’s your favorite sequel? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-10 04:10:39 – Kieran Fisher

Classic & Modern Doctor Who TV Shows Get Honest Trailers

Screen Junkies dropped the Honest Trailers for both the BBC’s modern and classic Doctor Who TV series. The Doctor Who season 11 premiere was a ratings win, with over 9 million viewers tuning in across the UK. Jodie Whittaker’s debut as the debonair time-traveler has been met with considerable acclaim among critics and fans.

Since launching in 1963, the franchise has spawned thousands of episodes – some of which have vanished over the years – and over a dozen incarnations of the titular character. The BBC’s hiatus between the “classic” and “modern” series lasted from 1989 to 2005. Beginning with Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper’s entrance as the ninth Doctor and his companion Rose Tyler, the revival went on to become a huge hit. Thanks to booming digital effects, and a new generation of fans, Doctor Who has evolved from a quintessential campy, sci-fi show to a visually stunning tapestry of outer-space hijinks. While each actor to play the Doctor has brought something of their own, the tangible essence of what makes the show compelling and continuously draws people in fuels its ongoing success.

Related: Screen Rant’s Doctor Who Viewing Guide

In celebration of the new season premiere, Screen Junkies released the “modern” and “classic” Honest Trailers about an hour apart. Both pay tribute to the best remembered Doctors, companions, and aliens seen across the decades. Check out both trailers below:

While the Honest Trailers team point out the winning recipe of lighthearted comedy and fantastical adventure from both eras, the distinctions are made clear. The modern trailer highlights the larger-than-life, apocalypse-dodging, tortured hero themes, as well as the long line line up of famous guest stars. The classic trailer mocks the goofy special effects, 1960s outfits, and cringe-worthy racism in much earlier episodes. The trailers also help frame why the series has gotten away with repeating similar plot lines and classic villains, such as the Daleks, Cybermen and The Master over and over. Like Star Trek, the creators focus on finding new ways to tell incredible tales that resonate with legacy fans, whiling drawing in new ones. The point is to be able to start watching at any point, and still be engaged right away.

Doctor Who is among the oldest examples of a series that satisfies its fan bases by centralizing an enthralling, ever-advancing character that viewers love. Similarly, CBS’ Picard-focused Star Trek series has generated so much excitement because of how beloved the character is. The MCU has created a global fan base for their heroes by giving them increasingly complicated challenges, while keeping them true to their core characters. On the other hand, Luke Skywalker’s character shift in Last Jedi as described by Mark Hamil, indicates why some fans didn’t responded positively. With Whittaker already off to a great start embodying the incomparable Time Lord while adding her own sparkle, an amazing new season appears to lie ahead.

MORE: Doctor Who: Why Jodie Whittaker Is Already A Great Doctor

Source: Screen Junkies 1, 2



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2018-10-09 02:10:17 – Calvin Barr

Eddie Brock’s Notebook Reveals Carnage Backstory for Venom 2

Cletus Kasady’s backstory for Venom 2 is revealed thanks to Eddie Brock’s notebook from Venom. Sony’s decision to try and launch a cinematic universe of their own appears to have paid off. The Tom Hardy-led Venom just set the October opening weekend record, making a sequel almost inevitable. Through the use of its post-credits scene, Venom already established seeds for the sequel to grow as Woody Harrelson made a cameo as Cletus Kasaday, the psychotic killer who becomes Carnage in the comics.

It was originally just before production began on Venom that reports surfaced that Carnage would make an appearance. It was later reported that Harrelson had joined the film with speculation pointing to this being his true role. This began to see some fans expect to see Carnage fully realized at some point in the movie, despite him having no presence in the marketing. That is because director Ruben Fleischer is saving Carnage for the sequel.

Related: All the Spider-Villain Movies Coming After Venom

The post-credits scene for Venom only teased Kasady’s eventual escape from prison and his transformation into Carnage. As it turns out, Eddie’s interview with Cletus lasted far beyond what audiences saw. ComicBook shared an image of Eddie’s notebook that was on display at New York Comic Con, which details Kasady’s backstory that will be used for Venom 2. Between a massacre in New York and killing his grandmother, the Disciplinarian Administrator at St. Estes Home for Boys, and a random girl who wouldn’t go on a date with him, the notebook clearly establishes Kasady’s bloodlust.

Click Here To See The Notebook Photo

These details are instantly terrifying for fans and just goes to show how insane Kasady is, even before he becomes bonded with the Carnage symbiote. These multiple murders are villainous enough, but his twisted psyche is further highlighted by additional details. Eddie believes he has Oedipus Complex (the feeling of desire for the parent of the opposite sex) and is possibly the reason why he dug up his mother’s grave. Before that, Cletus tortured and killed his mother’s dog with a drill.

Kasady is a worthy villain for Venom and Eddie to hunt down based on his prior record and what he would surely do upon being freed. But, it would be the pairing of Kasady’s personality and the power of Carnage that makes him a supervillain-level threat. Since this notebook page and these details aren’t explicitly states in Venom, a sequel will likely retell parts of this backstory and maybe even show it through flashbacks. It could be difficult to do just that with a PG-13 rating, but Venom 2 isn’t expected to be R-rated either. However it happens, Carnage will be the villain of Venom 2 and at least we now know some of his backstory that Fleischer and company worked out for him.

More: Every Update You Need to Know For Venom 2

Source: ComicBook



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2018-10-08 09:10:59 – Cooper Hood

Harry Potter: 25 Behind-The-Scenes Photos That Completely Change Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows had a lot of ground to cover, as Harry had to destroy the remaining four Horcruxes that were hidden around Great Britain, while Voldemort was just beginning to take control of the wizarding world from the shadows.

The fact that there was so much content in The Deathly Hallows meant that the creators of the Harry Potter films decided to split the final book into two movies, which opened the door for the creators of the Twilight and The Hunger Games movies to do the same.

The process of creating the final two Harry Potter movies was an emotional one for everyone involved, as a series that took a decade to make was coming to an end. This wasn’t helped by the many beloved characters meeting their maker throughout the course of the story, meaning that there were a lot more emotional send-offs than in the previous movies.

We are here today to see what moments from behind-the-scenes of The Deathly Hallows movies were captured on film forever – from the last time that Remus Lupin & Severus Snape smiled, to the final day of the ten-year odyssey of the Harry Potter movie franchise.

Here are the 25 Behind-The-Scenes Photos That Completely Change Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2!

25 Lupin & Snape Getting Along

Alan Rickman so totally owned the role of Severus Snape that it’s hard to imagine any other actor playing the part. It’s also difficult not to hear Rickman’s voice whenever reading one of Snape’s scenes in the Harry Potter novels.

It’s also a surreal experience seeing Alan Rickman clowning around or smiling in any behind-the-scenes footage of the Harry Potter movies, as Snape never had anything close to a light-hearted moment or laughed at anything that was funny.

Remus Lupin and Severus Snape may have had a cold relationship in the movies, but that didn’t stop David Thewlis and Alan Rickman coming together for a photo on their last day of filming, which even resulted in a rare Snape smile.

24 Voldemort & His Tracking Dots

The Harry Potter movies decided to remove Voldemort’s nose in order to give him a more serpent-like appearance. This was only accomplishable due to advances in CGI and the fact that Voldemort generally didn’t appear that often compared to the other nose-bearing members of the cast.

In order to create the effect of Voldemort lacking a nose, Ralph Fiennes needed to have tracking dots applied to his face. These were necessary in order to tell the computers where all of the parts of Fiennes’ face where in relation to each other so that they could take away the nose and remove all traces of the dots on his face. Ralph Fiennes also had to wear other prosthetics, including a gross-looking set of fake teeth.

23 Talking Through The Nagini Chase

The scene where Neville slices Nagini in two with the Sword of Godric Gryffindor is one of the all-time greatest moments in the Harry Potter series. It is meant to reflect Harry defeating the basilisk in The Chamber of Secrets, with Neville finally becoming the hero that he was always meant to be and becoming worthy of drawing the sword from the Sorting Hat.

The movie version of The Deathly Hallows botched this scene somewhat by adding Hermione and Ron to the mix, as they attempt to deal with Nagini using spells. Neville had to rush in and save them, as they both suddenly developed the aiming skills of a Stormtrooper from Star Wars. 

22 The Dark Lord Of Clowning Around On Set

Ralph Fiennes has appeared in some of the greatest movies of all time, including the likes of Schindler’s List, The English Patient, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. He is known for his extensive theatre work and for taking on roles in serious and somber movies.

All of these serious roles may give you the impression that Ralph Fiennes lacks a sense of humor, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

He would never have taken on the part of Lord Voldemort if he was going to stick to roles that would win him Academy Award nominations. Ralph Fiennes must have known early on that the role of Lord Voldemort was going to become the one that he was most associated with, so he clearly leaned into it and had as much fun as possible with the part.

21 Hermione & Ariana

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows left us with a lot of unanswered questions about Albus Dumbledore, especially where his sister is concerned.

Ariana Dumbledore was attacked by a group of Muggle boys as a child, which left her emotionally scarred and unable to control her magic. The release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and the revelations concerning Credence Barebone have led some fans to suggest that Ariana Dumbledore was an Obscurial and that Grindelwald’s obsession with them was sparked by meeting her. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 neglected to reveal much about Ariana’s backstory, though we were at least given the chance to see her in the flesh.

20 Wandless Magic

Wands are an important aspect of the Harry Potter series, which means that they appeared all of the time in the movies. The props department always had to make sure that there were lots of spare wands ready at any moment, as they were pretty flimsy and easy to accidentally break during filming.

Daniel Radcliffe broke over eighty wands on the set of the Harry Potter movies, either through being too rough with them or for just wearing them down with overuse. This can be clearly seen in the behind-the-scenes footage where he has a tendency to use them as drumsticks when bored on set. Luckily for Daniel Radcliffe, there were times when wands were added in later with CGI, so he just had to pretend to hold one.

19 Draco’s Fear Of Flying

You might think that the flying broom sequences in the Harry Potter movies are accomplished using only green screen effects, but there is a practical element involved that is necessary in order to make the movement of the brooms seem more natural.

The flying broom is connected to a rig that looks like the mechanism used for a theme park ride, which is essentially what it is.

This flying machine can be moved in such a way as to make it look like the broom is tipping or changing direction, while the background can be added in using CGI in order to complete the illusion. Poor Tom Felton was stuck riding on a broom while looking like a wimp, as Daniel Radcliffe got to look like a super cool wizard.

18 Griphook’s Goggles

One of the most difficult aspects of wearing a prosthetic mask that covers your whole head is what it does for your sweat. Robert Llewellyn who played Kryten in Red Dwarf has talked about how his mask was so tight that the sweat was all squeezed down onto his back.

Warwick Davis is no stranger to prosthetics and masks, which is why he was well-prepared for the outdoor scenes involving Griphook in The Deathly Hallows movies. The Griphook outfit not only covers all of Warwick Davis’ head but also his hands. This is why he is seen wearing goggles during outdoor sequences, as they protect his eyes from the elements without risking him accidentally touching his eyes with his clawed hands.

17 Filming Helena Ravenclaw

In order to discover the truth about Ravenclaw’s diadem, Harry must seek out the Ghost of Ravenclaw House, who is revealed to be Helena Ravenclaw. She is the one who reveals to Harry that the diadem was stored within the Room of Requirement, as Voldemort was dense enough to believe that no future Hogwarts student would ever discover the existence of the room.

The meeting between Harry and Helena involved two separate sets, as she was a ghost and spent almost all of her scenes floating off the ground or passing through objects. This meant that Kelly Macdonald (the actress who portrayed Helena) and Daniel Radcliffe had to shoot their scenes separately, as Radcliffe wasn’t available during her shooting days.

16 Filch & Harry Make Up

David Bradley played Argus Filch in almost every Harry Potter movie, missing out on only Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. Filch’s role was greatly diminished from that of the books and he was mostly used as a comic relief character in the movies.

As one of the few actors who had remained with the franchise from the beginning, David Bradley made sure he was there for the final day of shooting, where he embraced Daniel Radcliffe.

On the surface, this image makes it seem like Harry and Filch finally made amends, which seems out of character for both of them, even though Filch did aid in the defense of Hogwarts during its hour of need. The other reason why Filch may be smiling so much is that he’s already planning his party for the Stark family.

15 Hagrid & The March Of The Death Eaters

The role of Rubeus Hagrid was mostly played by Robbie Coltrane throughout the eight Harry Potter movies. We say mostly because another actor also played Hagrid in many different scenes. Robbie Coltrane is slightly over six-feet tall, but that still isn’t tall enough to play the role of a half-giant. This meant that Hagrid was often played by Martin Bayfield for the purpose of being a body double and performing stunts, as Bayfield is almost seven-feet tall.

The version of Hagrid from the Harry Potter books was over eleven-feet tall, meaning that it would have been impossible to recreate him on film without using CGI. This meant that Robbie Coltrane and Martin Bayfield still had to wear bulky costumes in order to increase their size in order to make Hagrid look bigger than he was, as even carrying someone that is the same size as Daniel Radcliffe needs to look like an impressive feat of strength.

14 Luna Loves Harry Potter

Evanna Lynch had never acted professionally before auditioning for the role of Luna Lovegood in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. She was a huge fan of the Harry Potter novels and won the role because, as producer, David Heyman said: “The others could play Luna; Evanna Lynch is Luna.”

The passing of Dobby and his subsequent burial was filmed outdoors, which meant that Evanna Lynch had to find some entertainment while she waited for the crew to finish setting up each scene. This would normally result in the smartphone or tablet being whipped out at this point, but Lynch decided to go old school and read her copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. 

13 Dobby Relaxing On Set

The actor who played Dobby was a notorious drama queen on-set. This was partly due to trouble that started early on in his career, brought on by the numerous fake news reports that stated he was being sued by the Russian government due to his resemblance to Vladamir Putin.

The passing of Dobby is one of the most emotional scenes in The Deathly Hallows films, which is why it took so long for his actor to get into the right frame of mind in order to expire in Harry Potter’s arms.

You may think that the Dobby guy is sneaking in a few moments of sleep while on the set, but he’s actually using an advanced method of the Meisner technique in order to get into character.

12 The Secret Of The Brooms

We mentioned earlier that the broom sequences required the use of a moveable rig and a green screen in order to make the flying sequences seem realistic, but not all of the broom scenes involved high-speed chases. There were times when the brooms sat in a static position while floating in mid-air, as they waited for their owner to climb on top of them.

In order to create these scenes, the special effects team developed a standing rig for the brooms that would suspend them above the ground. These rigs had to be strong enough to hold the weight of an adult person, while also being slender enough to be easily removed later by the special effects team. The scene shown above comes from the Seven Potters sequence, where everyone is preparing to leave Privet Drive on broomsticks, save for Hagrid, who is using Sirius Black’s bike.

11 Bellatrix & Warwick Davis

The Harry Potter franchise was very kind to Warwick Davis, as he played Professor Flitwick since the first movie and Griphook in both of The Deathly Hallows films. He also voiced Griphook in the first movie, but the physical role was played by Verne Troyer, making him one of the few American actors to appear in the Harry Potter movie series.

Warwick Davis spent much of his time in the makeup chair, as even the reworked version of Professor Flitwick still required a fancy new hairdo and mustache. The picture above gives us a glimpse of Davis out of costume, but Helena Bonham Carter wasn’t so lucky, as she was fully adorned in the Bellatrix gear.

10 Bellatrix Posing

Bellatrix Lestrange may be one of the most loathsome characters in the Harry Potter series, as she is Lord Voldemort’s most devoted follower and will gleefully commit atrocities in his name. Bellatrix is responsible for disposing of Sirius Black, which immediately earned her a significant hatedom among the Harry Potter fans.

The movie version of Bellatrix is much more difficult to hate, thanks to an incredible performance by Helena Bonham Carter, who managed to turn Bellatrix into the Harley Quinn of the Harry Potter franchise.

Helena Bonham Carter never let the fact that she was playing a crazed murderer affect her on a personal level, as she can be seen clowning around in many different behind-the-scenes photos from the Harry Potter movie series.

9 The Weasley’s Prepare For Battle

The Battle of Hogwarts is probably the most chaotic moment in the series, with seemingly every important character showing up for the final conflict between the forces of good and evil.

There were moments of the battle that were sectioned off, in order to make them easier to film. One of these involved the final duel between Bellatrix Lestrange and Molly Weasley, which took place in the Great Hall as a battle raged on behind them. The duel scene was shot in such a way that you could only see directly behind Bellatrix & Molly, which meant that you only saw a small portion of the battle that was happening. This was likely done in order to make the scene easier to film.

8 Filming The Battle Of Hogwarts

The Battle of Hogwarts was incredibly difficult to film, which is true of all battle scenes that involve a lot of participants. The reason why the Battle of Hogwarts was even more difficult than normal was the fact that almost everyone involved was either using a supernatural weapon (usually a wand) or was some kind of magical creature.

There were parts of the Battle of Hogwarts which involved Harry running through a battlefield that was filled with dueling wizards, huge spiders, suits of animated armor, and giants, all of whom were fighting each other. The producers and special effects team that worked on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 rose to the challenge and created one of the greatest looking battles in movie history. They managed to capture the chaos of a large-scale conflict while also maintaining the fantastical elements that the Harry Potter series is known for.

7 The Burrow Set

One of the new scenes that were added to the movie adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince involved the Death Eaters attacking and burning down the Burrow, which is the home of the Weasley family.

This scene wasn’t popular with the fans, as it ignored aspects of lore and was totally pointless, as the Burrow needed to return for the wedding of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movies.

Harry and his friends return to the Burrow at the start of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, after escaping from the Death Eaters at Privet Drive. This scene involved showing the lands around the Burrow, which was accomplished with the use of a green screen.

6 Dobby’s Funeral Is Hilarious

Dobby the house-elf was created almost entirely with CGI in the Harry Potter movies, which was a necessity due to his size and stature. Dobby helps Harry Potter and his friends escape from Malfoy Manor, but takes a knife to the chest for his troubles. This results in a scene where Harry cradles an injured Dobby and comforts him as he slowly passes away, in what is one of the saddest moments in the series.

The scene of Harry holding Dobby required the use of a physical Dobby puppet that Daniel Radcliffe could hold, which could be altered with CGI at a later date. The puppet that is seen in the picture above is clearly in an unfinished state, which may be why the cast is having such a laugh, as Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint are certainly not in character.

5 Stylish & Wounded

Apparition is one of the most prized skills of any wizard, or at least it would be if it weren’t possible to block apparition within certain locations. Those who wish to apparate are required to pass a test, as those who do not perform the spell properly can screw it up and cause “splinching” which is the term used for leaving pieces of your body behind.

Ron manages to harm himself in The Deathly Hallows movies through splinching, which meant that Rupert Grint needed to have injury makeup applied. This didn’t stop Rupert from looking his best and pulling off his model pose while having holes added to his arms and shoulders.

4 The Real Father Of Delphini

Daniel Radcliffe is one of those people who is impossible to hate, except by the most bitter of people who despise the fact that he was given such an important and lucrative role at such a young age. He comes off brilliantly in interviews and seems like of the most genuine and nicest people you could ever meet.

It seems that the charms of the Harry Potter actor are even effective against Death Eaters, as Helena Bonham Carter was clearly fond of her on-screen mortal enemy.

The two of them can be seen clowning around together in various behind-the-scenes clips, which must have been a way to burn off some tension before they started chasing each other with wands again.

3 The Boring Wedding Of Bill & Fleur

The hardest part of any movie/television production on the part of the actors is the waiting around between shots. It can take a long time for the crew to set up each shot for even a simple production. When you have a movie series like Harry Potter which involves huge sets that need constructing and special effects work that needs preparing for, then it can take forever to set up even a few seconds worth of footage.

The wedding of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour would have required a lot of setting up, due to the sheer amount of extras that are engaging each other in the background of each shot. It’s no wonder that the main trio doesn’t look as interested as they should be.

2 Bellatrix’s Sound Check

The reason why Helena Bonham Carter is sitting on a set of benches is that this is the location where she filmed her final duel of the series. The movie version of Bellatrix’s demise is actually way more violent than what happened in the books.

In the book version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the duel between Bellatrix Lestrange and Molly Weasley ends when Molly fires a curse that strikes Bellatrix above the heart. We never find out what spell Molly cast, but it was enough to deal with Bellatrix for good. The movie version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 shows Molly freezing Bellatrix in place and then shattering her body into pieces.

1 The Last Day

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson were cast in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone at the age of eleven. They spent the next ten years of their lives working on the Harry Potter movie series, which meant that there formative years were spent in front of the cameras. An entire generation of Harry Potter fans grew up alongside them.

As Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 finished production, more and more of the actors were given a send-off for their final day of filming.

The most emotional of these last days was the one for the main trio, who had finally finished their decade-long odyssey and hugged on the set. These last moments can be seen on the home releases of The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and it’s hard for any fan of the Harry Potter series to remain dry-eyed when seeing them say goodbye to each other and to the roles that defined their youth.

What do you think of these photos? Do they completely change Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2 for you? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-08 02:10:12 – Scott Baird

6 Casting Decisions That Hurt It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (And 14 That Saved It)

There are sitcoms that everyone loves, and then there’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia — a series which has managed to turn off many with its despicable characters and depraved sense of humor. From faking cancer to trying to eat a homeless person, there are no depths that are too low for the owners of Paddy’s Pub. But you don’t get to thirteen seasons without making a few fans in the process.

While It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia might not pull in the biggest numbers, the show has maintained such a rabid following over the years that one has to wonder if they’ve accidentally gotten there hands on some raccoon meat. But the more likely scenario is that many people have just as twisted of a sense of humor as the makers of this FX series.

The sitcom was created by Rob McElhenney with the help of Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day, who would go on to portray Mac, Dennis, and Charlie on the series. Kaitlin Olson and Danny DeVito fill out the rest of the main cast as Dee and Frank Reynolds, and for over the last decade, fans have been happily following the bizarre misadventures of the Gang. Of course, it’s impossible to imagine anyone else in these leading roles. With over 130 episodes, there has been no shortage of supporting characters and celebrity cameo, some of which have been a lot better than others.

Here are 6 Casting Decisions That Hurt It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (And 14 That Saved It).

20 Saved: Glenn Howerton as Dennis Reynolds

In a sea of despicable characters, Dennis Reynolds has slowly revealed himself to be the most reprehensible of them all. Dennis may have begun the series as one of the more sensible members of the Gang — albeit one with an extremely short fuse, but he’s slowly revealed himself to be a cool and calculated sociopath. One who also happens to have a heavy side of narcissistic personality disorder.

While Glenn Howerton didn’t want to name the character after himself for fear of people drawing an unwelcome comparison, that hasn’t stopped Howerton from taking the character to some extremely dark places. He’s more than a little convincing when he lays out one of his manipulative plans. While his temper tantrums may be over-the-top, you never doubt the authenticity of the rage and frustration Howerton has embedded into his performance.

19 Saved: Mary Elizabeth Ellis as The Waitress

One of the most prominent recurring characters on It’s Always Sunny, the Waitress has been a part of the series since the very beginning. She is the unrequited love interest of Charlie throughout the majority of the show — though it seems like the tables have turned in recent episodes.

The Waitress is portrayed by Mary Elizabeth Ellis, who had previously worked with Charlie Day on an episode of Reno 911! The two were married shortly after It’s Always Sunny began, adding another layer of hilarity to the dysfunctional relationship between the two characters on screen.

Ellis fully commits to her performance as the down-on-her-luck waitress.

She’s an example of the tight-knit community working behind-the-scenes that has made the series such a success.

18 Hurt: Jason Sudeikis as Schmitty

While sitcoms usually lend themselves well to celebrity cameos, It’s Always Sunny has created such a distinct world that more often than not these cameos end up feeling out of place. There have been a few instances where they’ve managed to pull them off. Josh Groban popping up in one of Dee’s fantasies seemed fitting, and Dax Shepard manages to blend in fairly well into the episodes where Mac and Charlie join a cult.

In the case of Jason Sudeikis and a number of other celebrities, the cameos just end up coming across as distracting. There’s nothing inherently wrong with Jason Sudeikis playing Schmitty — an ex-member of the Gang who makes an unexpected return. The whole time, you never forget that you’re watching Sudeikis, which just doesn’t work for the tone of the series.

17 Saved: Mary Lynn Rajskub as Gail the Snail

Though she’s only appeared in three episodes of the series to date, Gail the Snail is definitely one of those side characters that we’d like to see more of. She first appeared back in the season five episode “The Gang Gives Frank an Intervention”, where she is the clingy cousin of Dennis and Dee who talks with a lisp and has the disgusting habit of slurping her saliva. Dennis and Dee have found that the only way to get rid of her is to dust her with salt, hence her nickname of Gail the Snail.

The character is portrayed by the talented Mary Lynn Rajskub, who is best known for playing Chloe O’Brian on 24.

This is undeniably a very different character, and it’s impressive just how committed Rajskub is to playing someone so hilariously obnoxious.

16 Saved: David Hornsby as Cricket

The Gang has dragged their fair share of individuals down into the dirt with them, but none are more apparent than Rickety Cricket. Portrayed by David Hornsby, Cricket is a former classmate of the Gang who was once infatuated with Dee. He debuted in season two as a clean-cut priest who has slowly transformed into the addicted hobo that we have today.

Hornsby has been such a prominent member of the show that last season he was given his own episode with “A Cricket’s Tale”, which cleverly intertwined the character’s other brief appearances throughout the season into the story. Hornsby has also been a big part of the show behind-the-scenes as well, serving as an executive producer and a writer of nearly 30 episodes.

15 Hurt: Brian Unger as The Attorney

It’s Always Sunny has a number of supporting characters who re-emerge every few seasons, only to be dragged down by the shenanigans of the Gang once again. Brian Unger plays one such character with the Attorney, who the Gang often visits for legal advice only to contradict everything the lawyer has to say.

As a former correspondent of The Daily Show, Unger is really good at playing the straight man.

In fact, he’s too good, which makes it hard to believe that he would put up with these self-centered, narcissistic characters for more than a few episodes. Often, these supporting characters are revealed to be a little bit off in their own right, but Unger is just too normal to make his character mesh with the series.

14 Saved: Danny DeVito as Frank Reynolds

Danny DeVito first popped up in season two of It’s Always Sunny, and his casting as Frank Reynolds quite literally saved the series. While the higher-ups at FX reportedly loved the first season, not enough people were watching to warrant a second outing. McElhenney, Howerton, and Day were given the ultimatum to add a bigger name or face cancellation. While they worried how DeVito would fit into the series, the veteran actor has more than proven himself as a worthy member of the Gang.

The insane things that DeVito will do for the character are a testament to the actor’s commitment. Even more impressive is how you never feel like you’re watching a performance. DeVito becomes Frank Reynolds. Even when he’s not delivering lines, just watching him futz about in the background is already hilarious enough.

13 Saved: Charlie Day as Charlie Kelly

It’s Always Sunny has turned all of its leading actors into stars, but Charlie Day is the biggest breakout of them all. Since appearing on the show, Day has worked on a number of hit films, including Horrible Bosses, Pacific Rim, and The Lego Movie.

His star power has no doubt helped the show remain on the air for so long.

Thanks to Day’s performance and musical talents, the character of Charlie has no shortage of memorable moments. Bird law aside, Charlie may be the least intelligent member of the Gang. In a lot of ways, he’s the heart of the show. Charlie certainly has his share of questionable moments, but they often stem from ignorance rather than malice, which set him apart from the other employees of Paddy’s Pub.

12 Hurt: Sean “Diddy” Combs as Dr. Jinx

Whenever Sean “Diddy” Combs pops up in a movie or TV show, he often plays a fictionalized version of himself. In It’s Always Sunny, he plays the unorthodox Dr. Jinx who utilizes alternative methods to treat his patients.

Not only is the cameo distracting, but Combs’ performance is pretty flat. It almost seems like the actor is reading off cue cards, and when Dr. Jinx is seen playing the bass guitar during a musical performance at Paddy’s Pub, it’s pretty obvious that Combs isn’t actually playing. The rapper may have stolen the show as Sergio in Get Him to the Greek, but whatever worked for him on that movie isn’t back on display in the sitcom.

11 Saved: Artemis Pebdani as Artemis

Artemis is one of the few supporting characters who can actually hang with the Gang without her life coming apart at the seams. She first appeared up in season one, where she befriends Dee after the two meet in an acting class. She’s also had a relationship without Frank throughout her time in the series.

The character is portrayed by Artemis Pebdani, who landed the role right at the start of her professional acting career.

While she’s continued to reprise her part as the fun-loving and wild Artemis, the actress has enjoyed success in a number of other shows, including Scandal and Masters of Sex. Though a number of supporting characters seem to have fallen off in recent years, Artemis has already popped up this season with “The Gang Beats Boggs: Ladies Reboot”.

10 Saved: Lynne Marie Stewart and Sandy Martin as Charlie and Mac’s Moms

Every since Danny DeVito debuted as Frank Reynolds, it was abundantly clear why Dennis and Dee are they way that they are. After all, Frank is just as self-absorbed and conniving as the twins. In that respect, we’ve also gotten to see how Mac and Charlie are a result of their childhoods by getting to know their moms over the course of the series.

Lynne Marie Stewart does a perfect job of playing Charlie’s mom, a kind-hearted woman who was far too overprotective of her son — which explains Charlie’s numerous irrational fears. Meanwhile, Sandy Martin is the total opposite, as Mac’s mom doesn’t seem emotionally invested in her son at all — which explains Mac’s constant desire for approval. Together, the two are a perfect comedy duo, which is on full display in “Old Lady House: A Comedy Situation”.

9 Hurt: Seann William Scott as Country Mac

In season nine, Seann William Scott made a one episode appearance as Mac’s cousin — who the Gang deems far cooler than Mac. Just like Jason Sudeikis as Schmitty, this is another star cameo that can’t help but feel distracting. Scott has made a career playing characters who are too cool for school thanks to movies like American Pie and Role Models. That might seem like he’s the ideal fit for Country Mac.

Wouldn’t it have been even funnier if the Gang idolized a character for no other reason than to get under Mac’s skin?

With the success of It’s Always Sunny, we’re sure that they could have a star cameo every few episodes. Since they’re kept to a bare minimum, it seems that even they know these roles can be a bit ostentatious.

8 Saved: Jimmi Simpson and Nate Mooney as Liam and Ryan McPoyle

The McPoyles are the perfect example of just how dark and twisted the humor on It’s Always Sunny can actually get. They are a large inbred family with the two most prominent members, Liam and Ryan, being former classmates of the Gang. They popped up in a number of episodes between seasons one and nine, where they’re often at odds with the owners of Paddy’s Pub.

Liam and Ryan are played by Jimmi Simpson and Nate Mooney throughout their time on the show. Both fully commit to the unsettling nature of these characters. They might be creepy, but that doesn’t stop them from being a hilarious comedy duo. Our only complaint is that they’ve been absent from the series for the last few seasons.

7 Saved: Catherine Reitman as Maureen Ponderosa

One of the weirdest characters in all of It’s Always Sunny, Maureen Ponderosa is the ex-wife of Dennis Reynolds who slowly makes her transition into becoming a cat in the later episodes of the show. Much like Rickety Cricket, her transition from seemingly normal to totally unhinged takes place over the course of a few seasons — better-allowing audiences to buy into the ridiculousness of it all.

Catherine Reitman seems totally devoted to this outlandish and often unsettling performance.

Since appearing on the show, Reitman’s notoriety has only continued to grow. She currently plays the lead on Workin’ Moms — a show which she also created — along with popping up as another recurring character in Black-ish.

6 Hurt: Guillermo del Toro as Pappy McPoyle

Writer/ director Guillermo del Toro was apparently such a big fan of It’s Always Sunny, that it was one of the reasons he cast Charlie Day in Pacific Rim. In return, del Toro was given this cameo appearance as Pappy McPoyle — who is most likely the grandfather of Liam and Ryan.

One problem right off the bat is that del Toro was cast to play someone who is most likely from Ireland— a fact which the director himself made fun of in a behind-the-scenes interview. This may have been the reason that Pappy McPoyle was given such an over-the-top appearance, which is really the worst part of the character. The McPoyle’s are indeed odd and unsettling, but they’re still somewhat believable.Pappy McPoyle, on the other hand, looks like some deranged wizard who has no place in the series.

5 Saved: Wade Boggs as Himself

The best episodes of It’s Always Sunny usually finds the Gang confined to a single area, where their personalities can do nothing but bounce off the walls and wreak havoc on themselves and anyone in their vicinity. This is what makes “The Gang Beats Boggs” one of the best episodes in the series.

The episode finds the five Philadelphia natives trying to beat Wade Boggs’ record of consuming 70 drinks during a cross-country flight.

While the Gang’s antics are usually based on nothing but nonsense, this true story only adds another level of hilarity to the episodes. The cherry on top is a brief appearance by Wade Boggs himself. In an interview, Charlie Day said that not only was Boggs happy to participate in the episode, but that his real-life record was a lot more impressive than previously thought.

4 Saved: Michael Naughton as the Waiter

Michael Naughton first appeared up in “The Gang Dines Out,” where he is a server at one of the finest restaurants in Philadelphia. He’s crossed paths with the Gang a number of times since, and every time the Waiter emerges worse for wear.

Just this season, Naughton appeared in “The Gang Beats Boggs: Ladies Reboot,” where he is now working as a flight attendant. Once again, the Waiter tries to get the Gang to acknowledge how they’ve sabotaged him in the past. But once again, the Gang can’t remember who he is.

Naughton plays the Waiter with a kind of obsessive desperation beneath his everyman facade; he seems like someone who really would let the Gang get the better of him. He’s also the kind of supporting character that rewards loyal fans every time he pops back up.

3 Hurt: Stephen Collins as Bruce Mathis

Stephen Collins popped up in season two and three of It’s Always Sunny, where he played Bruce Mathis, the biological father of Dennis and Dee. Bruce invests most of his time and money helping out various charities around the world, making him a polar opposite of his children. This also made Collins — who was best known for playing Reverend Eric Camden on 7th Heaven — seem like an ideal fit for the part.

In the years since, Collins has both been accused and admitted to being an abuser. The actor has obviously not appeared on the show since, but going back and watching these episodes with Collins can be more than a little discomfiting.

2 Saved: Kaitlin Olson as Dee Reynolds

With Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day, and Glenn Howerton working on the show right from the very beginning, the actors were afforded the opportunity to mold their characters as they saw fit. However, the character of Dee Reynolds was developed before an actress was cast, and she was originally meant to be the Gang’s voice of reason.

Thankfully, Kaitlin Olson nabbed the role, and over time Dee became just as hilariously pathetic as the other members of the Gang.

Being a former member of The Groundlings, Olson clearly had talent as a comedic performer — which might also explain why Dee fancies herself as a bit of an improv comic. The actress isn’t afraid to make Dee as embarrassing as possible, which adds an element of cringe-comedy to the show that’s not found in the other characters.

1 Saved: Rob McElhenney as Mac

Without Rob McElhenney, there would be no It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The struggling actor/writer decided to put plans for the series into motion after a number of other projects fell through. With the help of Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day, McElhenney made a short episode of the series, which he used to pitch the sitcom. Over a decade later, McElhenney still serves as an executive produces while continuing to write a number of episodes.

As far as his role of Mac is concerned, McElhenney isn’t afraid to take the character in different directions.

He put on a whopping 50 pounds for season seven and Mac finally came out of the closet for good last year — just a few of the many ways McElhenney has kept the show feeling fresh after thirteen seasons.

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Who’s your favorite actor on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia? Let us know!



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2018-10-07 02:10:26 – Dylan Dembrow

7 New Character Additions That Hurt Buffy The Vampire Slayer (And 13 That Saved It)

It’s been over twenty years since Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s groundbreaking pilot hit TV screens and it remains one the most beloved and influential shows of all time. The series subverted expectations, in the process shattering illusions of what people thought television was capable of. It forever altered the pop culture landscape, introducing audiences to a feminist icon they could truly identify with. The show popularized serialized storytelling at a time when TV programs were largely episodic and even changed the way that viewers talked by introducing them to “Buffy speak.”

By taking the idea that high school is Hell quite literally, Joss Whedon was able to use werewolves, witches, and vampires to explore themes of desire, female empowerment, and addiction. The writers personified feelings such as isolation, alienation and humiliation, using them to ground fantastical situations in those very real emotions.

Buffy was praised for a great many things, from snappy dialogue to clever plotting. However, one of the most vital elements of Whedon’s magnum opus was undoubtedly the amazing characters with which he chose to populate this world. These players were as lovable as they were relatable and the series continues to resonate with viewers of all ages. However, not all characters introduced to the series could be as awesome as Buffy, Willow, or Xander. While certain new additions had an undeniably positive effect on the series as a whole, there were also a few that BtVS would’ve been better off without.

Here are 7 New Character Additions That Hurt Buffy The Vampire Slayer (And 13 That Saved It).

20 Saved – Spike and Dru

Sunnydale got its very own Sid and Nancy when Spike and Drusilla showed up in season 2 episode “School Hard”, quickly establishing themselves as the new Big Bads in town. They were never meant to last as long as they did, but stellar performances from James Marsters and Juliet Landau gave both characters a stay of execution. These two didn’t just shake up Sunnydale, but the show’s entire mythology. They were living proof that vampires were capable of genuine emotion. Their intense bond and amazing chemistry made fans fall hard for the couple. 

Spike, of course, went on to play a much larger role in the series as a whole. Writers kept finding new ways to justify his continued existence and fans never complained, because no one wanted the vampire gone.

19 Hurt – Riley

Buffy needed to move on from Angel, but did she really have to take up with “Captain Cardboard”? Riley Finn (Mark Blucas) first appeared in the season 4 premiere, “The Freshman”, and went on to hurt the show in ways almost too numerous to list.

With him came the Initiative, which remains the storyline that most BtVS fans would rather forget.

Even after the organization was no longer part of the narrative, Riley continued to overstay his welcome. Viewers were forced to deal with his constant whining and eventually, his infidelity. These were all plot points that the show could’ve done without. It was sad when Riley helicoptered out of Buffy’s life, but only because we care about her feelings. Ultimately, no one really missed him.

18 Saved – Tara

Now this is how you create a new love interest. Oz and Willow had become one of the show’s most beloved couples and fans were as heartbroken as she was over his sudden departure. Replacing the werewolf was going to be just as difficult as finding a way for Buffy to get over Angel. However, the show chose to go in a new direction entirely with Tara Maclay, who debuted in season 4 episode “Hush”. Not only was she a woman, but she also complemented Willow in very different ways than Oz had.

Not all viewers embraced this storyline initially, but Amber Benson’s performance quickly won most of them over. Before long, fans became incredibly invested in Willow and Tara’s relationship. In many ways, they became the show’s central couple, as well as its emotional anchor.

17 Saved – Anya

Much like James Marsters, Emma Caulfield earned more time on the show through her impressive performance. Her arc wasn’t meant to last much past her first appearance in season 3 episode “The Wish”.  Anya Christina Emmanuella Jenkins went from human to vengeance demon and back again. She was over 1100 old, but had completely lost touch with her humanity before meeting the Scoobies.

It was more than Anya’s evolution that made her special, though. She was the character who posed the questions that most people want to ask but think that they shouldn’t. Whether ruminating on love, loss, or the simple cold truth of mortality, Anya always said exactly what she meant. Even her lack of tact was charming. The former demon brought a different perspective to the group, as well as some undeniable humor.

16 Hurt – Dawn

This is kind of a tough one, because the storyline surrounding Dawn’s existence was one of the show’s best. Her introduction in the season 5 premiere, “Buffy vs. Dracula”, was particularly genius. Dawn was dropped into the series as if she had always been there, leaving viewers wondering if they had missed earlier clues of Buffy having a sister.

Dawn herself was always little more than an annoyance to most fans.

It didn’t help that Michelle Trachtenberg played the character as younger than she was. This wasn’t all her fault, as Dawn was initially meant to be portrayed by a younger actress. The main problem wasn’t season 5 Dawn anyway. In later years, writers clearly weren’t sure what to do with her, giving Buffy’s sister one ludicrous plot line after another: “Dawn’s in trouble. Must be Tuesday.

15 Saved – Glory/Ben

Glory is one of the greatest Big Bads ever to appear on BtVS. Debuting in season 5 installment “There’s No Place Like Home”, she brought the season-long threat to a whole new level. Glory wasn’t just another demon. She was a literal god, just trying to get back to her home sweet Hell. However, it was more than just sheer power that made Glory such a great villain. Clare Kramer’s manic performance is what really set her apart.

Introduced an episode before Glory, Ben (Charlie Weber) was serviceable enough.

What really brought depth to the kind doctor was the revelation that he and Glorificus were sharing a body.

This was one of the show’s most successful twists. Seriously, no one saw it coming.

14 Saved – Wesley

While it can be argued that the character of Wesley Wyndam-Pryce was utilized far better on Angel, there’s no denying that the stuffy new Watcher was another great addition to the cast of BtVS. Debuting in season 3 installment “Bad Girls”, Alexis Denisof imbued Wesley with undeniable heart and humor, despite the character’s uptight personality.

Aside from Wesley himself, it was the dynamic between him and Giles that helped to elevate the series during season 3. We got to explore a whole new side Buffy’s Watcher. It was one thing to know about his “Ripper” past, but it was the juxtaposition of Rupert and Wesley that truly proved how awesome Giles actually was – not that we didn’t love him already.

13 Hurt – Warren

The Trio is kind of everyone’s least favorite Big Bad. However, while Jonathan and Andrew were both worthy additions to the series, Warren never had any redeeming qualities. He first appeared in season 5 episode “I Was Made to Love You” and proved himself a total creep immediately.

Although Warren started out as a punchline, he turned out to be a misogynistic monster.

Adam Busch did an excellent job of making the character incredibly unlikable, but it was Warren’s cruelty that brought season 6 to the lowest of places. “Dead Things” was one of the most brutal episodes of BtVS, and not in a good way. Plus, no Buffy fan will ever forgive him for firing the gun that took Tara’s life. Warren did a lot of damage and his character was never compelling or likable enough to outweigh that fact.

12 Saved – Oz

Fans fell in love with Daniel “Oz” Osbourne (Seth Green) around the same time that Willow did. From the moment he appeared in season 2 episode “Inca Mummy Girl”, he was pretty much smitten with her – even in her Hallowe’en costume. Unlike Xander, Oz actually realized how awesome Willow was and fans were overjoyed to see her finally properly appreciated.

Oz was so beloved, in fact, that even though he left under truly awful circumstances, many viewers were still torn when he came back for Willow. A lesser character could never have remained in fans’ hearts after such indiscretions. In the end, the writers found someone even better for Willow, but it speaks volumes that so many viewers were willing to forgive Oz after he locked himself in a cage with Veruca.

11 Hurt – Veruca

Veruca (Paige Moss) made her first appearance in season 4 episode “Living Conditions”. Oz may have thought that she was pretty cool, but viewers noticed that something was off about her.

Most Buffy fans are pretty protective of Willow and no one liked seeing her relationship with Oz threatened.

It’s not that it makes no sense that something would break up Willow and Oz. They dated in high school and many such relationships do not survive the transition to college. The main issue was the werewolf herself. Veruca was kind of over the top, from her musical performances to her evil machinations. Perhaps she was meant to be a two-dimensional mustache-twirling villain. Regardless, no one mourned Veruca after Oz ended her life.

10 Saved – Mayor Wilkins

Fans were introduced to Mayor Richard Wilkins in season 3 episode “Homecoming”. Sure, he was a major Big Bad whose ascension plans would’ve left the world in ruins, but he was also incredibly polite. BtVS has often excelled at creating villains that fans still kind of rooted for. The Mayor was one of the best, and not just because he was such a formidable opponent.

Richard’s relationship with Faith gave his character real depth. Much like the love that Spike and Dru shared with one another, the Mayor’s affections for his protégée made him much more human, which in turn made viewers care more about him. Plus, Harry Groener’s pitch-perfect performance made it impossible not to enjoy Mayor Wilkins.

9 Hurt – Kennedy

Kennedy was as much of an epic fail as Riley. The writers proved that they could craft more than one great love interest for Willow, so what happened with her? Introduced in season 7 episode “Bring on the Night”, Kennedy (Iyari Limon) was spoiled, argumentative and honestly, kind of bland. The key to a great TV relationship is making both characters compelling in their own right.

While fans came to love both Oz and Tara rather quickly, you’d be hard pressed to find many Kennedy fans out there.

There was nothing about Willow’s new girlfriend to even distinguish her from the other Potential Slayers, save her bad attitude. Willow deserved better and so did fans.

8 Saved – Faith

Shaking up things from the moment she arrived in season 3 installment “Faith, Hope and Trick”, Faith Lehane was Buffy’s dark reflection. The Slayers were incredibly different from one another and yet, undeniably two sides of the same coin. Eliza Dushku’s magnetic performance brought so much passion and energy to the role, and she had no trouble fitting in with the rest of the cast.

Faith provided new depth not only for the slayer line, but also to the idea of what it actually means to be Slayer. Before Faith’s arrival, fans had never seen a Slayer go rogue. However, it didn’t matter how far Faith went. Viewers were always hoping that she could somehow redeem herself. Thanks to her time on Angel, she was given that chance.

7 Saved – Robin

Robin Wood’s (D.B. Woodside) debut in season 7 premiere “Lessons” initially painted the new school principal as another villain lurking in the shadows. However, much like the rest of the characters on BtVS, appearances are often deceiving. Not only was Robin one of the good guys, but he was also the son of New York-based slayer, Nikki. The series teased this out slowly until fans realized the truth shortly before it was revealed.

It was a pretty genius move.

Although it’s easy to hate on Robin for his sneak attack on Spike, the vampire did off his mother, so his frustration can be understood. In the end, Robin turned out to be a great addition to the Scoobies, bringing both new perspective and an actual bag of tricks to the mix.

6 Hurt – Adam

Buffy almost always managed to deliver the goods when it came to the season-long Big Bad: compelling characters, with humor and even a bit of heart. The series excelled in that moral grey area, making viewers sympathize with villainous even as they committed unforgivable acts. Sadly, Adam (George Hertzberg) was a giant exception to this success.

The ersatz Frankenstein’s monster – or Walsh’s monster, as the case may have been – first appeared in season 4 episode “A New Man”. The only cool thing he ever really did was skewer his creator, Maggie, who was also not a great addition to the series. All in all, Adam was very powerful, but a boring villain. Defeating him required a major deus ex machina, which would’ve been fine if he had been a better character in the first place.

5 Saved – Andrew

Andrew Wells, aka Tucker’s brother, initially seemed as irredeemable as Warren Mears. When we met him in season 6 episode “Flooded”, he was a whiny coward with nothing even resembling a moral compass. After Andrew returned the following year, the first thing he did was take his best friend’s life.

Most fans weren’t happy to see him again, but somewhere over the course of season 7, this changed.

Like BtVS has done with the best of its characters – most of whom, let’s be real, have done some terrible things – the show found a way to endear him to viewers. Andrew may not have exactly been instrumental in Buffy’s battle with the First, but the former villain definitely brought some levity to a fairly dark season. He also provided an excellent example of the power of compassion.

4 Saved – Kendra

Interestingly, Bianca Lawson was originally cast in the role of Cordelia Chase. However, due to scheduling conflicts, the actress was forced to take a smaller part in BtVSIf we can all just put aside her painfully awful accent, everyone can probably admit that Kendra herself was a pretty cool addition to the series.

Fans were introduced to the other slayer in season 2 installment “What’s My Line Part 1”. She appeared initially to be another enemy, but instead proved vital in saving Angel’s life. Kendra’s existence answered important questions about the slayers and it was this new line, beginning with her, that later allowed for the introduction of Faith. The juxtaposition of Kendra and Buffy was also quite interesting, as they each approached their calling so differently. She also helped Buffy see that slaying was more than just a job.

3 Hurt – Forrest

Another irritating and useless season 4 addition, Forrest Gates (Leonard Roberts) was introduced in “The Initiative”.

He was little more than a foil for Riley and Buffy’s relationship.

Forrest’s feelings for his fellow soldier bordered on obsession and there was nothing interesting about him in his own right.Riley’s other pal Graham may have been boring, but at least he wasn’t so annoying. Forrest was self-righteous and obviously had very little going on in the way of an actual life. No one mourned him after he his passing. The worst part about Forrest’s demise was that it wasn’t even the last we saw of him, because Adam chose to reanimate his husk. Even then, he was still a total drag.

2 Saved – Jonathan

Jonathan Levinson (Danny Strong) had a continuing presence on Buffy the Vampire Slayer for years after his first appearance in season 2 installment “Inca Mummy Girl”. He was always on the periphery, being picked on, rescued or taken advantage of. Prior to joining the Trio, Jonathan was at the center of season 3 episode “Earshot” and season 4 installment “Superstar”. The former was incredibly poignant and the latter, a hilarious change of pace.

Many fans were surprised to see Jonathan pulled by the dark side, but he never fully committed like his cohorts did. Less obviously evil than Warren and not as easily manipulated as Andrew, he eventually saw the error of his ways. Sadly, by the time Jonathan made an effort to redeem himself, it was too late. That opportunity was stolen from him by his best friend.

1 Saved – Angelus

None of Buffy’s greatest Big Bads were quite as personal or painful to witness as Angelus. Aside from the unfortunate implications of essentially punishing Buffy for being intimate with her boyfriend, there is no denying that the second half of season 2 was the show at its best. This was due in large part to David Boreanaz’s villainous turn.

Two people who were so in love destroying each other was utterly brutal and completely gut-wrenching. It also led to some of BtVS’s most empowering moments. Buffy was just a teenage girl shouldering the weight of the entire world. Feeling as though she had lost everything led to the epiphany that she still possessed what mattered most. Much of the series is about surviving life on life’s terms. More than just enduring this pain, Buffy managed to recover from it.

What new characters do you feel hurt or saved Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-06 04:10:54 – Jamie Gerber

A Star Is Born’s Ending Is Bad (And Always Has Been)

WARNING: Major spoilers for A Star Is Born

A Star Is Born‘s ending undoes what could have been a Hollywood classic – but that’s not exactly Bradley Cooper’s fault. From its first version in 1937, A Star Is Born has always had a problematic resolution to its story, one that’s only got worse over the past century, and this latest version is no different.

A Star Is Born is a classic story that Hollywood loves so much it’s told it four times (with a suspiciously-similar earlier version, several failed attempts and many, many imitators). A top-of-his-game star (in 2018, Bradley Cooper’s rock star Jackson Maine) is suffering from alcoholism and in a stupor discovers a struggling artist (Lady Gaga as Ally, a waitress moonlighting in a drag bar), falling in love with both her and her talent. He provides her with a big break, sending her fame into the stratosphere just as his addictions begin to derail his career. The pair marry, but despite their love things begin to fray.

Related: Read Our A Star Is Born Review

It’s a tale of rags to riches, of falls from grace, of the power of love, and personal identity within all of that. And, for much of the runtime, A Star Is Born 2018 is genuinely a great version of all those stories. Gaga’s first major concert leaves you floating, Cooper shows mental affliction with grace, both perform their songs incredibly (to actual live crowds, no less), and are utterly believable as troubled lovers. It is, for much of its runtime, a very good film worthy of that deafening hype.

However, everything implodes into a black hole of pretentiousness as what could have been a great film its own right has to follow through on being called A Star Is Born

  • This Page: The Problem With A Star Is Born’s Ending
  • Page 2: A Star Is Born’s Ending Has Always Been Bad
  • Page 3: Why Bradley Cooper Couldn’t Fix A Star Is Born

What Happens In A Star Is Born’s Ending

We’ll stick with Cooper’s take for now before going deeper into the past. A Star Is Born‘s third act is kicked off by Ally winning the Grammy for Best New Artist – a major step for her career, undercut entirely by Jack drunkenly taking to the stage with her and relieving himself on live TV. He goes into rehab and she wrestles with where her focus should lie, eventually deciding to try and protect her recovering husband. She cancels her European tour when her agent, Rez, blocks the duo playing together.

As a result, Jack kills himself. He’s confronted by a seething Rez who has no sympathies or expectations of sobriety and states outright Jack’s ruining his wife’s career. When she matter-of-fact states the tour cancellation, he sees the impact of his actions and, while she plays a concert, he hangs himself in their garage.

Related: Every Song On A Star Is Born’s Soundtrack

This breaks Ally at first, leaving her emotionally distraught, before her understanding the meaning of Jack’s sacrifice – to enable her to truly become the star he always saw – helps her pull through. The film ends at a tribute concert in Jack’s memory. “My name is Ally Maine.” she declares before singing “I’ll Never Love Again”, a song based on their relationship they wrote together while he was recovering. A flashback shows the pair singing, she looks through the camera at the audience, the end.

Why A Star Is Born’s Ending Is Bad

Removing the ending of all presentation and self-imposed importance (a character looking into the camera at the end is an overused trope that Cooper simply doesn’t earn), in just writing down the events of A Star Is Born its problems should be obvious.

Jack decides to kill himself to save his wife, committing suicide because it’s the only way to set her free. This comes about two hours into a film which has slowly built up its numerous interpersonal relationships, and so comes as a drastic and rather unearned turn. Now, there is an argument to be made about accuracy to the unpredictability of mental illness, but given the intimacy audiences had with both Jack and Ally up until this moment, that doesn’t fit with the rest of the film. A Star Is Born, plainly, presents suicide as the only way out. It’s meant to come across as a selfless act but still values success as a true route to happiness, meaning anything emotional about the “gesture” is laced with hypocrisy.

But it’s what comes after and Ally’s coming to terms with her loss that’s so disquieting. For all her innate talent being the drive of the story and her freely made decision to step back what motivated Jack to kill himself, the final scene makes everything about Jack; the mononymous singer for the first time takes on her husband’s surname at his concert, where she performs a song that he helped her write in her original singer style. The suggestion is meant to be that Jack was holding her back, but in the shadow of the previous two hours the strange implication is that the act of a true star being born came from the adversity of Jack’s sacrifice. Making Ally’s success symbiotic to her dead husband is already heavily in the text of the film, but the final scene makes her final ascension even more indebted to his drastic act.

It’s hard to not read A Star Is Born‘s ending as trivializing suicide down to a plot point to give the fundamentally broken male lead the defining role in its female protagonist’s arc. It’s a weird move to make in 2018, although don’t believe this is just the product of an 80-year-old movie being remade. There’s something flawed at the heart of A Star Is Born.

Page 2: A Star Is Born’s Ending Has Always Been Bad

The True Story Behind A Star Is Born’s Ending Explains The Problem

There have been four versions of A Star Is Born: the 1937 Hollywood-skewering original starring Janet Gaynor and Frederick March, the 1954 musical starring Judy Garland and James Mason, the 1976 shift to the music industry with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, and the latest Cooper/Gaga release. Each one has its own quirks, but all endeavor to tell the same story of love and fame intertwined, and all have the same basic ending. But the 1937 version isn’t the start. While A Star Is Born‘s narrative is a fiction, it’s very much based on truth; each movie is rooted heavily in the entertainment industry of the time – Hollywood for the 1937 and 1954 versions, music for 1976 and 2018 – and aims to tell an encapsulating story. There are some real-life events that inspired it.

The established star falling for an unknown as she climbs to the top was seen in actors Barbara Stanwyck and Frank Fay’s relationship, with the pair marrying in 1928 when the former was an unknown after starring in a Broadway show together. Their marriage fell apart after she rose above him and he fell into alcoholism. They separated in 1935 after seven years of marriage, two years before A Star Is Born was released. This appears to have been composited with the death of silent film actor John Bowers, who died at sea in 1936 after failing to win a part (whether it was a suicide or not is unclear). There are others (as we’ll see) but these are regarded as the ones who powered the 1937 version.

Related: Lady Gaga Fans Are Trolling Venom With Fake Bad Reviews

Of course, there’s one key distinction between inspiration and movie: in real life, it was two unrelated stories. There are the famous lovers who piggyback success and the past-it star who takes his own life, but in all cases these two aspects are entirely independent; the woman goes on to greater success by cutting the man out, while elsewhere another man falls from grace. Both stories epitomize Hollywood together, and taken alongside each other rather than melded have an ingrained believability. A Star Is Born trades that for something more streamlined in having the suicide be the culmination of the romance, but it’s also idealistic and wistful, losing the real moral of either.

This is reflected in what is regarded as a proto-Star Is Born, the 1932 film What Price Hollywood? Released five years before the 1937 version and produced also by David O. Selznick (and directed by George Cukor, who was approached for the first A Star Is Born and directed the first remake), this is regarded as something of a dry run at the story. Obviously from the release year it can’t share the same real-life inspirations (although, because this is the Golden Age of Hollywood, there are others pointed to), but the core concept and even smaller story beats are there, albeit with one massive difference: the leads are not romantically involved. Lowell Sherman’s Max drunkenly finds Constance Bennett’s Mary and helps make her a star, eventually killing himself after he sees realizes how far he’s fallen and is hurting his friend, while Mary’s suffers an ill-fated marriage that breaks down due to her absences filming and is reconciled at the end.

Watched today, What Price Hollywood? has a cynicism about the film industry ahead of its time despite ultimately being a movie romanticizing Hollywood – and at the core of this is the tragic story of Max and its impact on Mary’s life. The title question is apt.

How The Remakes Have Tried To “Fix” The Ending

In contrast to What Price Hollywood?, A Star Is Born 1937 carries a self-awareness and charm, but in bridging the romantic and the career side of protagonist Esther creates the problematic suicide reading. It’s not helped by dated elements, including the defining part of Esther’s ascension being the actress known as Vicki Lester taking on her husband’s name with a declaration “This is Mrs. Norman Maine“. It works given the time period, but even 16 years later needed an update.

Related: Watch the Trailer For A Star Is Born

The 1954 version is, for the most part, a beat-for-beat remake, just with dance number expansion to make it a musical, but it does make some strides to justifying the ending. The toll that caring for a drunk has on Judy Garland’s Vicki Lester is shown gradually, most upsettingly in an off-stage breakdown she immediately returns to filming from: an unavoidable presentation of the line between art and performer. But, ultimately, it ends in the same way: Norman Maine overhears Vicki’s plans to quit acting to care for her husband, so he feigns going for a swim and drowns himself; after a traumatic period and being unmasked at her funeral (the invasion of the press), Vicki returns to the public eye where she declares herself “Mrs. Norman Maine“. Every issue discussed is here.

The 1976’s A Star Is Born is overall incredibly melodramatic, nowhere less than its handling of the ending. What it should be praised for is its attempts at giving the female lead a greater sense of autonomy: throughout Streisand’s Esther makes decisions that power the narrative, not just being led along by Kristoffersen as those who came before her, but that’s lost thuddingly in the finale. After his meltdown, John Howard has imposed isolation – not rehab – and when returning home immediately sleeps with a reporter wanting an interview for Esther. The couple tries to power past this, but John figures he’s still broken and crashes his car at high speeds. Again, Esther is sad before taking his name (and singing at a tribute event).

Like we’ve already explored with A Star Is Born 2018, all versions have tried to provide their own contemporary spin on the tale to iron out its kinks, yet all wind up having to repeat the same suicide-anger-name triple-tap that doesn’t belong. A degree can be accounted to the changing times, but that ignores that the original trio of movies released over nearly 40 years, and that Cooper wasn’t able to address it either.

Page 3: Why Bradley Cooper Couldn’t Fix A Star Is Born

Why Bradley Cooper Can’t Fix A Star Is Born

Bradley Cooper certainly tries to bring a modern slant to the worn tale of A Star Is Born. He invests heavily in making Jack and Ally’s opposite trajectories operate independently – Jack is suffering from tinnitus before he’s heard a note of “La Vie En Rose”, while Ally’s SNL appearance is deemed to contradict his advice – while making the love story more immediate. It’s a bigger story, more personal and considerably more consummately paced.

But, like all the others, the ending hits a snag. And some of his decisions make it worse. The method of final descent is different, with the awards show upset and rehab undone not by Maine going off the rails again as in every other take, but rather by Ally’s agent calling his supposed bluff. It’s implied from the British Rez knowing when exactly Jackson first toured across the pond that he was once a fan, now disillusioned with his hero, making him a millennial scapegoat to any affronting reading.

Related: 2018 Fall Movie Preview: The 30 Films to See

This generational push and pull could have been what sent A Star Is Born to greatness. Sam Elliott’s speech about there only being twelve notes played over and over, with the majesty coming from how the artist uses them is a beautiful sentiment that sees Cooper self-justifying another remake and appears like a zen view on the entertainment business that birthed it. Except it isn’t, because this idea is also trying to explain the ending, claiming that the music industry is cyclical and that stars are born and then new stars are born later; Jack’s death is enabling that. What the film seems to miss is that for one state to ever enter another, a star must always die. Ally will fall too. The raw textual argument is that the failures are as eternal as the successes, raising the question of worth, yet the film provides no further exploration and presents it as somehow immediately uplifting.

And that’s the hump that A Star Is Born 2018, like its predecessors, can’t get over. The story thinks it’s a biting, self-aware take on itself, but it’s too close to the subject to see that it’s really just propagating a harsh cycle. This isn’t helped by the film being weighted by so much – the casting of Lady Gaga, his writer-director-producer-actor whammy, even Sam Elliott as the Sam Elliott-type – although those concerns are also the key explanation for what’s really going on.

A Star Is Born Only Exists Because Of Ego

Throughout this article, there’s been one question dangling unspoken. Why are there four versions of A Star Is Born anyway? It’s a story that is flawed and dated, on a topic which has been tackled in more films than any other. Yes, each movie got serious Oscar nominations and wins, but that alone isn’t enough to justify going back. The true answer is enlightening.

1954’s A Star Is Born was conceived as a bid to restart Judy Garland’s career after it stalled over the 1940s. 1976’s A Star Is Born was Barbra Streisand’s attempt (along with then-husband Jon Peters) to boost her standing in Hollywood. And 2018’s A Star Is Born is Bradley Cooper’s grand attempt to win the Oscar that he believes he deserves (his entire post-Hangover career is a carefully played game of chess with a Golden Baldie the King). There are studio concerns too (before Cooper, Warner Bros had been attempting to get a remake off the ground since the early 2010s, although as a Beyonce vehicle has the same career expansion goals), but those are the primary purposes of each version. A Star Is Born is a vanity project on repeat.

Related: A Star Is Born Is An Oscar Favorite – But Could An Infamous Producer Hurt Its Chances?

Now, vanity projects needn’t be bad, and indeed a lot of good comes from each of these attempts. Indeed, each was ultimately successful in both their primary and commercial goals: Garland’s career was rejuvenated; Streisand won her second Oscar; and Cooper’s currently the front-runner in multiple categories for next year’s Academy Awards.

But this aspect appears to be why each version of A Star Is Born struggles to understand the real meaning of its ending. Each powering force believes this movie will be what takes them being a Norman/Jack Maine to a new Esther/Ally while missing that it’s built into the story to be impossible. They believe so much in the two contradictory Hollywood legends wholesale, so don’t see that the story is almost warning against such a thing.

A Star Is Born Is No Longer Needed

In recent years, we’ve seen Hollywood’s reliable rotation of movies about itself take a genuinely incisive slant. 2015’s Best Picture Winner Birdman was an ostentatious exploration of ego that too ended with the protagonist committing suicide, but there it was with the wry critique that fame and adoration are fleeting and that such a bold act was the only way for the self-involved hero to reach the heights he dreamed of. Then there’s 2017’s almost-Best Picture Winner La La Land, which was a celebration of Hollywood-gone-by looking at love in a city of stars, eventually concluding that success required the sacrifice of the central relationship.

Together, these take on all the ideas that A Star Is Born is playing with and apply them in a more thoughtful way. The messages are more widely applicable and their endnotes have considerably less of the hypocrisy. Birdman and La La Land may find joy in the arts, but they also uncover the trials of creativity and fame, keeping the brutal truths in earshot while presenting from a position of success.

A Star Is Born 2018 is a good movie, an undeniable achievement for both Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. But there is a flaw at the heart of the tale that just doesn’t ring true. Unless it’s made with a completely revisionist, ego-less eye, in twenty years we do not need another one.

More: Every Version Of A Star Is Born Ranked, From Garland To Gaga



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2018-10-06 01:10:52 – Alex Leadbeater

Predators is the Only Worthy Predator Successor

The Predator franchise has never escaped the shadow of the first movie, but the third installment, Predators, doesn’t get enough credit as the best Predator follow-up. After the 1987 original became an instant classic, none of the sequels or spin-offs, including a few Alien crossovers, have received nearly the same level of appreciation, but Predators was able to return to the core of what made the series so great, while updating the concept and adding to the established mythology.

To be fair, the competition isn’t exactly stiff. While Predator 2 has its defenders, it still fails to satisfy as a follow-up and the Alien crossovers are commonly seen as a source of shame for both franchises. While series like Alien and Terminator both had their stars return for widely praised direct sequels, Schwarzenegger never made a second Predator appearance, despite 4 attempts, making it hard to recapture the magic of the first film by continuing his story.

Related: How AvP Saved Predator (But Possibly Killed Alien)

Predators certainly didn’t make a huge splash at the box office or inspire a new string of sequels, but it did embrace the established mythology, improve on a number of franchise tropes, and offer a new direction for the series. If the original plan had been followed, it even could have been the salvation the predator franchise needed. Despite being followed by an 8-year gap before the next movie, The Predator, it’s still a solid, mostly satisfying, stand-alone action movie, and a worthy successor to the original.

  • This Page: Predators Has The Best Ensemble of the Franchise
  • Page 2: Predators “Gets” What the Predator Franchise Is All About

Predators Has The Best Ensemble of the Franchise

The Predator franchise is no stranger to ensembles, with the first one sporting Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, and Shane Black, but Predators sets a high bar, not only with a team of powerhouse talent, but also a cast of compelling and unique characters for them to play. Predators’ cast and plot is a great example of how good a Suicide Squad movie could be if they just made it a straightforward action romp. And, like a  proper Suicide Squad movie, its not precious with its characters. Everyone is disposable, and that becomes clear early on.

The cast included 2 academy award winners, Adrian Brody and Mahershala Ali (who was still a few years away from winning his award), along with big-name personalities like Alice Braga, Walton Goggins, Topher Grace, and Laurence Fishbourne. While the previous selection of characters in other Predator movies were mostly random soldiers and cops – some unfortunate people that happened to run into a killer alien – the characters in Predators are all the best at what they do, which is all some different type of killing.

Related: The Predator Is In The Original Canon – Here’s How

It’s not just that the crew of Predators is a team of lethal badasses, though. That may be cool enough in its own right, but the fact that they were chosen by the Predators for this exact talent sheds some light on the Predators themselves, making each individual on the team some sort of foil for the Predators hunting them. Yes, even (8-year-old spoiler alert) Topher Grace’s shifty serial killer is someone the Predators saw as a worthy opponent.

Page 2 of 2: Predators “Gets” What the Predator Franchise Is All About

Predators “Gets” What the Predator Franchise Is All About

One of the major things that has always drawn audiences to the Predator franchise is the subtle worldbuilding established through the way the villains hunt. With no overarching narrative, no returning characters or central story to explore, the only things shared by each movie are the Predators themselves, meaning the only franchise level storytelling to be had is what the audience can learn about the Predators as a species and civilization.

There’s never any Heat style sit down between the main character and the Predator he’s fighting. The way they learn about each other is by how they track, hide, attack, and defend. It’s through this game of cat and mouse that we learn things like the fact that they’re in it for the sport and have some kind of code of honor. Thus, the things we’re able to learn about the Predators could be compared to a deer learning about humans based on its encounters with deer hunters. Is there more to their society? Are they all hunters?

Predator 2 doesn’t offer much of that. Sure, it tries to mix things up from the first one, swapping a South American Jungle for a North American concrete jungle, but otherwise, the story is relatively the same. A Predator stalks his prey until there’s just one man standing, and he bests his alien opponent in a one-on-one match. Predator 2 has its issues, but it’s relatively enjoyable as a movie, but as a franchise installment, the only thing it really has to add is its mysterious tease at the end of multiple Predators, an Alien Easter egg, and a foot-in-the-door to tell stories set in different time periods. It’s interesting, but it’s the type of thing audiences would expect as a post-credits tease in a modern movie, so it doesn’t impact the story or give an opportunity for further examination, and since the Predator movies aren’t telling a shared story, it’s basically a dead end narratively.

Related: Can Alien And Predator Survive At Disney?

Predators, on the other hand, embraces the franchise’s disconnected stories in a way that, while clearly bound by a number of homages to the original, actually allows the Predators to grow and truly set the franchise up to potentially do something bigger moving forward. The team slowly discovers they’re essentially on an extra-terrestrial game reservation, they’re all selected because of the threat they could pose to a hunter, there are different predator clans and classes, and one even turns on the others after being saved by Adrien Brody’s Royce.

Two decades passed between the release of Predator 2 and Predators, but Predators had the opportunity to kickstart the franchise in a new direction. The role played by Laurence Fishbourne was originally intended to be Danny Glover’s character from Predator 2, and Schwarzenegger’s Dutch was also supposed to make a cameo at the end, decked out in Predator armor and leading a team of Predators. In the modern age of shared universes, that sets up a team-up movie for the ages and could have breathed new life into the series. Unfortunately, the connections were removed and Predators became another disconnected Predator sequel, meaning after The Predator, the franchise is still just a string of anthology stories.

There’s still a chance the franchise could unite the loose threads into a more cohesive universe and bring back big characters like Dutch, but with the lukewarm early reception to The Predator, that doesn’t seem likely. The Disney acquisition also calls into question how R-rated franchises like Alien and Predator will be handled under the Mouse House’s purview. It may be too early to say the Predator franchise is dead, but it is safe to say that Predators could be the best Predator movie fans will see for some time.

MORE: Arnold Schwarzenegger Almost Returned To Predator 4 Times



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2018-09-12 02:09:55 – Stephen M. Colbert