Sunday, May 31, 2015

'Game of Thrones' Recap: 'Hardhome' Brings Epic Battle in Best Episode Yet

And that's how it's done. "Game of Thrones" Season 5, Episode 8, "Hardhome" just dropped the mic in a serious way -- and if you were bored by this one, check your pulse: You might be one of those (un)dead people at Hardhome. You'd have to be.

As Stefon would put it, this episode had everything -- perfect lay-down-the-law speeches from Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen, who just met and decided to team up; Arya basically turning into 00Stark; Sansa finally learning that Theon Greyjoy did not kill Bran and Rickon Stark (Rickon, where are you?!); Jorah Mormont continuing to rival Sansa for most tortured character; Cersei Lannister still awaiting her rock bottom; and the most exciting zombie battle "The Walking Dead" never staged. Jon Snow took on a White Walker, and even though Ghost wasn't on hand to play hero this time, Longclaw was.
Tyrion and Dany weren't the only ones giving great speeches this week -- Lord Commander Snow stepped up with the wildlings/free folk at Hardhome. (Jon Snow knows a lot more than nothing.) The Wall is entering a world of pain with all those newly dead ready to attack (yes, that is a classic "come at me, bro" pose from that one White Walker), but this is why Tyrion needs to advise Dany to grab her three dragons, somehow train them ASAP, and get thee north of The Wall to slay the White Walkers. 'Cause there's not enough dragonglass to go around, we need fire to take on the ice.

What an episode, though, no? Parts of this season have been frustrating (to put it mildly) but "Hardhome" delivered something for all GoT fans, including plenty of surprises (pleasant ones this time) for book readers. Or are you one of the purists who still cringes at any change from the books?

Read on for a recap of Episode 8:
MEEREEN
The episode started with Tyrion and Jorah in court, facing Dany. Two great characters finally talking. How could Dany trust that Tyrion was who he said he was? Tyrion told Dany her own story, as heard from Westeros. Why should she bring him into her service? He gives the right, and obvious response, that she doesn't know about Westeros the way that he does, and he was pretty darn good as Hand of the King. Dany asked what Tyrion would have her do with Jorah, since she swore she'd kill him if he ever returned. Why should the people trust a queen who cannot keep her promises? Tyrion approached her with both sides of the argument. Poor Jorah. "A ruler who kills those devoted to her is not one that inspires devotion." More wisdom from T-dawg. But that doesn't mean Jorah should stick around. Dany said to remove him from the city. Jorah, who still has greyscale, and Sansa should compete for Worst Luck in the World.
Later, Tyrion and Dany had a sit-down chat. They discussed what their fathers would've done. Tyrion may someday tell her why he killed Tywin. She knows her father earned the title The Mad King. Tyrion: "So here we sit, two terrible children of two terrible fathers." He wanted to see if she was the right kind of terrible. They debated the merits of Varys, Robert's former spymaster. Tyrion said Varys may be the only one in the world he trusts, besides his brother -- who killed her father. Where's Varys, though? He's going to be jealous of this meeting. Dany said she's not going to kill or banish Tyrion. He's going to advise her. (Yesssss.) Tyrion said she should come up with a better goal than The Iron Throne. Maybe she belongs there in Meereen. This is not her home, she said. Who would support her at home, Tyrion argued. He gave her the speech she needed to hear, and she gave him her "spokes on a wheel" speech. "I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel." DROP MIC. First massively badass moment of the episode. Not the last.

Oh, and Ser Jorah returned to the slaver to offer himself up for a fight in the great pits.

CERSEI IN DUNGEON
Cersei was urged to confess, and beaten every time she spoke anything other than a confession. She was still pissy and threatening at the start.

Qyburn visited Cersei and said a trial is coming, with charges including fornication, treason, incest, and her role in the murder of King Robert. Ser Kevan returned from Casterly Rock to be Hand of the King and preside over the small council. Tommen won't see anyone, he's distraught about his wife and mother being jailed. (Useless!) Qyburn said there's a way out, but Cersei still refused to confess. He said "the work still continues," so maybe she saw some hope there.

Cersei got more desperate as the episode progressed, licking drops off the ground in her thirst.
ARYA
Arya practiced being someone else, named Lana, and made up her story. She went out into Braavos with a brand new look -- love the hair -- and she made her way down to the docks to do her new job selling fish. But that's not her real job. She's like a spy getting information, then going full James Bond to take out threats. Assassin Stark! The other girl said Arya is not ready.

WINTERFELL
Theon brought more food to prisoner Sansa, who simply asked him "Why?" Why did Theon/Reek tell Ramsay about the candle escape plan? Reek said there is no escape, ever. Reek talked about Theon in third person, describing the flaying. Sansa said "good." If it wasn't for Theon she'd have a family. If she could do what Ramsay did to Theon she would. Theon said he deserved to be Reek. Sansa was furious about Bran and Rickon, but Theon told her the two boys who were killed weren't Bran and Rickon. Yeah, but they were still two little kids. They still didn't deserve to die. But now Sansa knows her brothers are still alive.

Meanwhile, Roose Bolton was having a war meeting. He said they're more prepared for a siege than Stannis could ever be; they just have to wait for Stannis to freeze. Ramsay and Roose debated what to do. Ramsay had his own plan.

THE WALL
Gilly helped the injured Sam, who got his butt kicked last week. They're both scared, they have no friends there. Except maybe Olly, Jon's steward, who brought Sam food and asked him a question about Jon going to Hardhome to save wildlings. Why is Jon saving them? Sam said wildlings are people just like them, there are good ones and bad ones. They'll need all the people they can get when the White Walkers come. Sam said not to worry about Jon, he always comes back. On that note...
HARDHOME
Jon led the boats sailing into Hardhome, a free folk village. They did not get the warmest welcome, and not just talking temperature-wise. Tormund approached the Lord of Bones, and Jon said he and Tormund were allies. Probably the wrong thing to say. Words did not go well, with Tormund beating the Lord of Bones to death for a d-ck joke. But they went inside and Jon Snow made his pitch as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch -- he said he's not there to make friends, it's about survival. The White Walkers don't care if they're free folk or crow. Jon broke out Sam's bag of dragonglass to show how you can fight them. Jon was asked about Mance, and he said Mance is dead. How? "I put an arrow through his heart." Probably not the best, or even most fair and accurate, way to report that news. Tormund took up the story to defend what Jon did, which was mercy for Mance. Jon went for the "think about the children" argument -- no one will forget the dead lost on both sides, this is about survival. He made a great speech, on par with the Tyrion and Dany talks. Great night for speeches. One of the free folk leaders said she could never trust a man in black (sorry Will Smith) but she trusts Tormund.
They started loading people on boats and it got a bit "Titanic," with Jon telling Tormund they're leaving too many people behind, and the wildling woman putting her kids on the boat and saying she'd be right behind them. (Foreshadowing!) Then the dogs started barking and things got ominous. White mist that looked like snow came down and they said to shut the gate. So many people were still behind the gate and we were left to just hear what was going on with a peep through a hole in the (flimsy-looking) wall.

That wall was not destined to hold and wights (like walkers on "The Walking Dead" mixed with the undead pirates of "Pirates of the Caribbean") broke through. Things got tense and hectic, and Jon led a battle to hold the gate while everyone else tried to get away on boats. Where's Ghost when you need him to save the day again?! At one point, Jon looked up and saw White Walkers on horseback. Where's the dragonglass? Jon had himself his own battle with a White Walker, one-on-one. SO EPIC. His blade, Valyrian steel, saved the day. Works like dragonglass. But the wildling woman was attacked by the dead and a ton of new dead just landed like a frozen zombie herd to attack. The episode ended with a White Walker putting his arms up like "come at me bro," and waking all those who were just killed as newly undead, ready to attack. Oh crap. It's on. Can they make it to The Wall?

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Critics' Choice TV Awards: Complete Winners List

5th Annual Critics' Choice Television Awards - Show
The fifth annual 2015 Critics' Choice Television Awards were handed out on Sunday night, honoring the best of the best in small screen entertainment. The award ceremony was presented by the Broadcast Television Journalist Association and hosted by "So You Think You Can Dance" MC Cat Deeley.

HBO was the event's big victor -- the network picked up a total of seven wins. "Oliver Kitteridge" received three wins and was the most honored program of the evening. Get a complete list of winners below and find out if your faves came out on top.

Best Drama Series
"The Americans" - WINNER
"Empire"
"Game of Thrones"
"The Good Wife"
"Homeland"
"Justified"
"Orange Is the New Black"

Best Comedy Series
"Silicon Valley" - WINNER
"Broad City"
"Jane the Virgin"
"Mom"
"Transparent" "
Veep" "You're the Worst"

Best Actor in a Comedy Series
Jeffrey Tambor, "Transparent"
- WINNER
Anthony Anderson, "Blackish"
Chris Messina, "The Mindy Project"
Johnny Galecki, "The Big Bang Theory"
Thomas Middleditch, "Silicon Valley"
Will Forte, "The Last Man on Earth"

Best Actress in a Comedy Series
Amy Schumer, "Inside Amy Schumer" - WINNER
Constance Wu, "Fresh Off the Boat"
Gina Rodriguez, "Jane the Virgin"
Ilana Glazer, "Broad City" J
ulia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep"
Lisa Kudrow, "The Comeback"

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
T.J. Miller, "Silicon Valley"​ - WINNER

Adam Driver, "Girls"
Cameron Monaghan, "Shameless"
Jaime Camil, "Jane the Virgin"
Tituss Burgess, "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"
Tony Hale, "Veep"

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Allison Janney, "Mom" - WINNER
Carrie Brownstein, "Portlandia"
Eden Sher, "The Middle"
Judith Light, "Transparent"
Mayim Bialik, "The Big Bang Theory"
Melanie Lynskey, "Togetherness"

Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series
Bradley Whitford, "Transparent"​ - WINNER

Becky Ann Baker, "Girls"
Josh Charles, "Inside Amy Schumer"
Laurie Metcalf, "The Big Bang Theory"
Peter Gallagher, "Togetherness"
Susie Essman, "Broad City"

Best Movie Made for Television
"Bessie" - WINNER
"Killing Jesus"
"Nightingale"
"A Poet in New York"
"Stockholm, Pennsylvania"

Best Limited Series
"Olive Kitteridge"​ - WINNER

"24: Live Another Day"
"American Crime"
"The Book of Negroes"
"The Honorable Woman"
"Wolf Hall"

Best Actor in a Movie or Limited Series
David Oyelowo, "Nightingale" - WINNER
James Nesbitt, "The Missing"
Kiefer Sutherland, "24: Live Another Day"
Mark Rylance, "Wolf Hall"
Michael Gambon, "The Casual Vacancy"
Richard Jenkins, "Olive Kitteridge"

Best Actress in a Movie or Limited Series
Frances McDormand, "Olive Kitteridge"​ - WINNER

Aunjanue Ellis, "The Book of Negroes"
Felicity Huffman, "American Crime"
Jessica Lange, "American Horror Story: Freak Show"
Maggie Gyllenhaal, "The Honorable Woman"
Queen Latifah, "Bessie"

Best Supporting Actor in a Movie or Limited Series
Bill Murray, "Olive Kitteridge" - WINNER
Cory Michael Smith, "Olive Kitteridge"
Elvis Nolasco, "American Crime"
Finn Wittrock, "American Horror Story: Freak Show"
Jason Isaacs, "Stockholm, Pennsylvania"
Jonathan Pryce, "Wolf Hall"

Best Supporting Actress in a Movie or Limited Series
Sarah Paulson, "American Horror Story: Freak Show"​ - WINNER

Claire Foy, "Wolf Hall"
Cynthia Nixon, "Stockholm, Pennsylvania"
Janet McTeer, "The Honorable Woman"
Khandi Alexander, "Bessie"
Mo"Nique, "Bessie"

Best Actor in a Drama Series
Bob Odenkirk, "Better Call Saul" - WINNER
Aden Young, "Rectify"
Charlie Hunnam, "Sons of Anarchy"
Freddie Highmore, "Bates Motel"
Matthew Rhys, "The Americans"
Timothy Olyphant, "Justified"

Best Actress in a Drama Series
Taraji P. Henson, "Empire"​ - WINNER

Eva Green, "Penny Dreadful"
Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife"
Keri Russell, "The Americans"
Vera Farmiga, "Bates Motel"
Viola Davis, "How to Get Away with Murder"

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Lorraine Toussaint, "Orange Is the New Black"​ - WINNER

Carrie Coon, "The Leftovers"
Christine Baranski, "The Good Wife"
Joelle Carter, "Justified"
Katheryn Winnick, "Vikings"
Mae Whitman, "Parenthood"

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Jonathan Banks, "Better Call Saul" - WINNER

Ben Mendelsohn, "Bloodline"
Christopher Eccleston, "The Leftovers"
Craig T. Nelson, "Parenthood"
Mandy Patinkin, "Homeland"
Walton Goggins, "Justified"

Guest Performer in a Drama Series
Sam Elliott, "Justified" - WINNER

Cicely Tyson, "How to Get Away with Murder"
Julianne Nicholson, "Masters of Sex"
Linda Lavin, "The Good Wife"
Lois Smith, "The Americans"
Walton Goggins, "Sons of Anarchy"

Best Reality Series
"Shark Tank" - WINNER

"Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown"
"Deadliest Catch"
"Married at First Sight"
"MythBusters"
"Undercover Boss"

Best Reality Competition Series
"Face Off"​ - WINNER

"The Amazing Race"
"America's Got Talent"
"Dancing With the Stars"
"Master Chef Junior"
"The Voice"

Best Reality Series Host
Cat Deeley, "So You Think You Can Dance"​ - WINNER

Anthony Bourdain, "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown"
Betty White, "Betty White's Off Their Rockers"
James Lipton, "Inside the Actors Studio"
Phil Keoghan, "The Amazing Race"
Tom Bergeron, "Dancing with the Stars"

Best Animated Series
"Archer" - WINNER
"Bob's Burgers"
"Gravity Falls"
"The Simpsons"
"South Park"
"Star Wars Rebels"

Best Talk Show
"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" - WINNER
"The Graham Norton Show"
"Jimmy Kimmel Live"
"Last Week Tonight with John Oliver"
"The Late Late Show with James Corden"
"The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon"


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Weekend Box Office: 'San Andreas' Destroys the Competition

Box Office: 'San Andreas' Wins Thursday Night With $3.1M
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson out-muscled the competition at domestic movie theaters as Warner Bros.' earthquake epic "San Andreas" hauled in an estimated $53.2 million over the weekend. It was his biggest debut for a movie where he's the top-billed actor, according to box office tracker Rentrak.

"Aloha," the critically maligned romantic comedy from director Cameron Crowe, opened in sixth place with $10 million.

After showings, audiences gave "San Andreas" 3.5 out of 5 stars on average, while giving "Aloha" just 2 out of 5.

Universal's "Pitch Perfect 2" came in second with $14.8 million, Disney's "Tomorrowland" was third with $13.8 million, Warner Bros.' "Mad Max: Fury Road" came in fourth with $13.6 million and Disney's Marvel superhero saga "Avengers: Age of Ultron," which grossed $10.9 million, finished fifth.


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Quiz: Was Morgan Freeman in These Movies?

Morgan Freeman has a birthday on June 1st, so let's celebrate the prolific actor by testing our knowledge of his very extensive filmography! Freeman's been in so many movies over the years that it's hard to keep track. Can you guess if he appeared in these films? Test your Morgan Freeman filmography prowess right now.


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Saturday, May 30, 2015

The 17 Best Disaster Movies on Netflix Right Now


If you can't see "San Andreas" this weekend, Netflix has plenty of disaster movies to tide you over. Sadly, there's no "Towering Inferno" or other classic '70s disaster films available at the moment, so why not watch Lloyd Bridges have a disaster-induced meltdown (pre-"Airplane!") while William Shatner saves the day in 1979's "Disaster on the Coastliner"?

You can also root for Brad Pitt to stay one step ahead of zombies in "World War Z," or watch LL Cool J get this close to being shark bait in "Deep Blue Sea."

But disaster isn't just the realm of fiction: Acclaimed documentaries revisit the tragedies on Mount Everest, conspiracy theories about a famous plane disaster and the devastating aftermath of China's Great Earthquake of 2008.

And if it's So Bad It's Good cheesiness you're after, we have one word for you: "Sharknado."

Movie availability on Netflix is subject to change without notice.



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Friday, May 29, 2015

Mariah Carey: 'American Idol' Was 'Worst Experience of My Life' (She Got $18M for 1 Year)

Mimi could not wait to be emancipated from "American Idol" and she's still trashing the life out of it two years later. Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj were judges in 2013's ill-fated Season 12, which seemed to be much more about the two women feuding than anything to do with the contestants. (Pop quiz: Who even won that season?*)

Mariah just talked to Kyle and Jackie O about "Idol," and they drama-baited her by asking if she'd return for the upcoming 15th season.

Hell no! Absolutely not. That was the worst experience of my life. I'm not going to get into what it was, but let's just say I don't think they had any intentions for us to have a good experience doing that show. Pitting two females against each other wasn't cool. It should have been about the contestants instead of about some nonexistent feud that turned into even more ridiculousness, and I would never want to be involved with it again. But everybody else did like it."

There's more, if you want to listen to it in the video below, where she goes on about the show being "boring" and "fake."


Here's the funny part, though. According to a People report from 2012, she was paid just under $18 million for one year on the show, with an option to renew, making her the highest paid judge on any reality show. So, um, yeah -- we're willing to be bored by a fake feud for even a quarter of that, thanks. Can someone please ask us to join Season 15?

*Who won Season 12? Candice Glover. But, really, everyone who skipped it.

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The 'Seinfeld' Cast: Then vs. Now

The Cast of Seinfeld: Then Vs. Now
It's hard to believe it's been over 17 years since "Seinfeld" premiered in 1998 -- especially since Julia Louis-Dreyfus forgot to age. Here's what the entire cast of "Seinfeld" looks like now versus when they started the show.

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New 'Game of Thrones' Spoilers on Final 3 Episodes: Be Excited, Be Afraid

Every "Game of Thrones" fan has an opinion on Season 5 so far, even if they think it's boring. (How?!) GoT has a history of building to big endings, and the end is nigh for Season 5. This Sunday, March 31 marks Episode 8 of 10, and HBO shared details on what's ahead, giving major hints to book readers but also raising some new questions. Some stuff will be entirely new -- like everything Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen say to each other -- and other things may be "remixes" in the realm of what "The Walking Dead" always does with its source material.

Here's a breakdown of what's ahead in the final three episodes.
EPISODE 8, "HARDHOME" (March 31)

Official HBO synopsis: "Arya makes progress in her training. Sansa confronts an old friend. Cersei struggles. Jon travels."

If they mean Theon as Sansa's old friend, that's kind of a stretch, but we'll see. Last we saw Jon, he was headed to Hardhome, a free folk village and the title of the episode, so it looks like he's still going there. Kit Harington previously teased an epic battle ahead, and it sounds like it's coming this week.

Here's a new "Hardhome" tease from Entertainment Weekly:

I hear Jon Snow and Tormund run into trouble after they reach the outpost of Hardhome, and the result is arguably the show's most ambitious battle scene-and certainly the most special effects intensive-that we've seen yet. According to GoT aficionado James Hibberd, it took nearly a month of shooting for a roughly 20 minute sequence, which is pretty insane for a TV series. Bonus: We'll also have Tyrion and Dany's first big sitdown chat, and it's everything fans have hoped for."

Here's more from Entertainment Weekly on the Tyrion and Dany talk:

Tyrion and Dany will have their first real conversation, and you can expect it to rank among the best scenes of the season. While some fans were upset by the death of Ser Barristan earlier this year, his demise means that Dany lost an experienced senior adviser with strong knowledge of Westeros at a time when her regime is under attack from insurgents. So Dany now has a real need for Tyrion's help. But whether she can bring herself to trust the son of Tywin Lannister is a big question."

Did they kill Ser Barristan just to make room for Tyrion? Troubling thought. But this may be where we hear Dany's speech about breaking the wheel:


All in all, it sounds like Episode 8 is going to be a corker.

EPISODE 9, "THE DANCE OF DRAGONS" (June 7)

Synopsis: "Stannis (Stephen Dillane) confronts a troubling decision. Jon (Kit Harington) returns to The Wall. Mace (Roger Ashton-Griffiths) visits the Iron Bank. Arya (Maisie Williams) encounters someone from her past. Dany (Emilia Clarke) reluctantly oversees a traditional celebration of athleticism."

That celebration of athleticism, and the episode title, should be ringing bells for book readers. But Stannis' troubling decision -- do you think he's seriously considering killing his own daughter, Shireen, as Melisandre suggested? They were last seen stuck in a storm and desperate measures may be taken. And who will Arya encounter from her past -- Syrio Forel? If only Sansa could find her way to Braavos.

EPISODE 10, "MOTHER'S MERCY" (June 14)

Synopsis: "Stannis marches. Dany is surrounded by strangers. Cersei (Lena Headey) seeks forgiveness. Jon is challenged."

The Cersei forgiveness should also ring some book-reader bells. Should we worry for Jon? Kit Harington said Jon would be at his lowest place at the end of the season. And if Stannis is marching, did he make that troubling decision to get him moving forward?

What are your thoughts on what's ahead for the rest of Season 5?

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'The Walking Dead' Spinoff Officially Premieres in August

"Fear the Walking Dead," a sort-of-but-not-quite prequel to "The Walking Dead," will launch the six episodes of Season 1 this August.

It's always nice when The Powers That Be do what makes the most sense, and this timing makes sense. Season 6 of the main "Walking Dead" show will premiere in October, so August is a fitting start for "Fear," to lead into the mother show. AMC has yet to announce specific premiere dates for either "Fear" Season 1 or "Walking Dead" Season 6 (guessing Sunday, October 11 for the Season 6 premiere), but Robert Kirkman -- who executive produces both shows -- dropped the August confirmation into a "Fear" Q&A with Fangoria.

Kirkman noted that "Fear" is being shot digitally, not on film, so it will have a different look from the main show. He also said the L.A.-set "Fear," which is set at the dawn of the zombie apocalypse, will have "more chaos" and be "more hectic" in its first season and moving into Season 2 than the first season of "The Walking Dead." Fangoria asked about the potential for a limited event series in another part of the "Walking Dead" universe, and that's when Kirkman talked about the August premiere and potential for more series:

There's always a possibility for [a limited event spin-off], and I certainly wouldn't rule it out even though I can say there are no current plans to do that. I think everyone is working hard on 'The Walking Dead' and 'Fear the Walking Dead' to make them the best series they can be, and I think everyone's happy with their work since we're all doing our jobs. I'm really excited for 'Fear the Walking Dead' to debut in August and for people to see just what we've done, but we're not in a hurry to continue expanding the world of 'The Walking Dead.'

It's important to note that AMC and the producers didn't rush to capitalize on the success of 'The Walking Dead' until we were going towards our sixth season. We're not going to be focused on too many different things right now. So let's see how 'Fear the Walking Dead' goes first and then we'll have nine spin-offs, and that'll be great."

We're very curious to see how "Fear" looks -- and also see how well it does in the ratings. TWD was a hit out of the gate and it keeps building steam each season. Will "Fear" do the same? Are you excited for this August premiere or will you wait to see what fans and critics say before deciding to invest your time?


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Emma Stone Facts: 13 Things You (Probably) Don't Know About the 'Aloha' Star


Emma Stone is one of the most delightful and adored ladies in show business, so it's no surprise that she's currently making Bradley Cooper fall in love with her in "Aloha." She's made us laugh in movies like "Easy A" and "Superbad" and wowed us with her dramatic acting chops in movies like "The Help" and "Birdman." What can't she do?

From the quirky way she convinced her parents to let her act to who she taught to text, here are the 13 things you probably didn't know about Emma Stone.
Peoples Choice Awards Show
[Source: IMDB, MTV, Nylon]

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Stoner Comedy 'American Ultra' Gets Killer Red Band Trailer

"Adventureland" co-stars Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg must be high -- really high -- on pretending they're in love, since they're back at it in "American Ultra." A new red band trailer was just release and it's pretty trippy, with Eisenberg playing a "stoned cold killer" (groan!) with Stewart as his girlfriend. It actually looks much better than it probably should, and since it co-stars Connie Britton, Topher Grace, Walton Goggins, Bill Pullman, Tony Hale, and a bunch of other random people we'd never expect to see in a stoner comedy, we're down for a viewing.

If you're wondering what makes this a red band trailer, there are a few f-bombs, mention of a titty bar, and of course drug talk. Check it out:
Got the munchies yet? "American Ultra" opens August 21.

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'Empire' Season 2 Gets Premiere Date, Upped Episode Count

Ask and you shall receive. An "Empire" fan wrote to actress Taraji P. Henson, asking when Season 2 would premiere, and she just helpfully tweeted this note:

Bring it, Cookie! It can be tough for freshmen series to find their footing, but "Empire" was an instant hit for FOX. The Season 1 finale ended with about 16.7 million viewers and a massive 6.5 rating/20 share in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic. As TheWrap noted, "Empire" will expand from 12 episodes to 18 for the 2015-2016 season, with the episodes split into two cycles. It'll retain its Wednesdays at 9 p.m. timeslot.

Here are two more Season 2 teases from Empire Writers:
It's safe to say fans are ready for round two. If you need to catch up before September 23, check out the 10 most scandalous moments from Season 1.

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Has Reality TV Reached the Tipping Point?

Robert Wagner And The Duggar Family Visit Remember when they used to call TLC "The Learning Channel"? Well, the scandal that's blown up during the last week surrounding TLC's "19 Kids and Counting" seems like it ought to be a teachable moment, but it's unclear if anyone will be learning the right lessons.

You'd think that the revelations about the Duggar family's cover-up of eldest son Josh's alleged molestation of five girls, including four of his own sisters -- and the corresponding revelation that TLC did a slapdash job of vetting the family, even though many people outside the family have known about this particular closet skeleton since 2006 -- would mark the end of a certain kind of reality show. You'd think sponsors would stop supporting them, networks would stop creating them, and viewers would stop watching them. But the market for these shows may be stronger than the shame of being associated with them.

Indeed, even as sponsors desert the show (nine of them at this writing), even as Hulu yanks its reruns from streaming, TLC has yet to cancel the series. In fact, the channel is still mulling a spinoff featuring Jessa and Jill Duggar and their husbands. Apparently, there's no brand so tainted that it doesn't have at least a little life left to leverage.

This marks TLC's second reality-related child molestation scandal in less than a year, after the channel yanked "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" when Mama June Shannon allegedly rekindled a relationship with a convicted sex offender who, grown daughter Anna Cardwell claims, assaulted her when she was a girl. Does this mean TLC will be more careful in the future about vetting its reality stars? Probably not. After all, the genre depends on finding unusual, colorful people to put before the cameras.

If TLC was still pretending to have an educational mission, it could even claim there's something educational about exposing viewers to the lives of unconventional people. Say what you will about the Duggars, or Mama June and her daughters, or the Robertsons of A&E's "Duck Dynasty," for that matter: at least they're not the kind of people you see on TV all the time.

On scripted TV, characters tend to be city dwellers or suburbanites, middle class or wealthy, well-educated, professional, secular, youthful, able-bodied, attractive -- people much like TV writers (except for the attractive part). We seldom see people who are rural or poor, people who are much bigger or smaller than the ideal body type, people who are old or physically challenged, or people who wear their religious beliefs on their sleeves. But these are the very people who make up a sizable percentage of reality stars.

Like the rest of American culture, TV has never been comfortable talking about class, or about the rural/urban divide, or about religion, or about any trait that challenges the American notion that we can all live comfortable middle-class lives if we just play by the rules. It used to be that real people whose lives contradicted that notion were considered freaks who were relegated to the sideshows of daytime TV, on confrontational talk shows like Jerry Springer's or Geraldo Rivera's or Ricki Lake's. Today, however, such people get not 15 minutes of fame but a whole season (or several) on reality TV.

But we don't watch these shows because we genuinely want to learn about the lives of people different from ourselves. We watch because we're voyeurs peeping in our neighbors' windows. We watch, not to see how such people succeed in life despite their challenges, but to see how they fail. There was actually a study done back in 2003, at the University of Missouri at Columbia, whose findings suggested that people enjoy reality TV because -- well, not exactly out of schadenfreude, but rather relief that they're not suffering the travails of the people on screen, a sense of "There but for the grace of God go I."

The latest show to capitalize on this feeling among viewers is "The Briefcase," the CBS series that debuted this week. It's being sold as uplifting, a look at how generous and selfless people can be even when they're in dire financial straits. But in practice, the show seems to pit two needy families against each other, with each offered a $101,000 windfall and told to keep or give away to the other family as much as they see fit, with the gimmick being that neither family is aware that they've both been offered an identical briefcase full of cash. You wouldn't be alone in finding this sort of spectacle to be cruel and gladiatorial. (As New York magazine's Vulture pointed out, CBS chief Les Moonves could fill both briefcases with less than a day's worth of his annual salary, but what would the entertainment value be in that?).

Here at last, we have people on TV who might be called poor, who might have been middle class once but fell into debt -- and we pit them against each other in a contest to see who is most morally fit to get out of debt. (Where's the moral test for the rich and powerful folks who sent their jobs overseas or who sent them off to be maimed on the battlefield? Is this show supposed to be educational and inspirational, or does it just reinforce stereotypes that poor people are poor because of some moral failing? Oh, and a question for the show's sponsors: Do you really think that consumers who spend an hour watching people agonize over money are going to be eager to drop disposable income on your products?

In a way, "The Briefcase" is an apt match with CBS's "Undercover Boss," which plays on the viewers' unspoken assumption that it's CEOs and not the rank and file who are reaping all the benefits of increased worker productivity, but which also doesn't question how the system came to be rigged that way, or what could be done to change it. Viewers are supposed to be moved by how grateful the workers are for small favors and not question why they appear so downtrodden in the first place. Miraculously, "Undercover Boss" has persisted for six years, even though you'd think employees would be wise to the sudden appearance of a mysterious new co-worker and a camera crew. Similarly, it's hard to see how "The Briefcase" could last beyond a season, once everyone is aware of its deception, but if "Undercover Boss" can do it, who knows?

One paradox is that, if reality TV perpetuates the notion that people are poor because they deserve to be, then it also presents rich people who by no means deserve their good fortune. Think of the various "Real Housewives" cast members and whose wealth routinely fails to bring them happiness. Yes, these shows do expose us to people unlike ourselves (the rich, like the poor, really are different from you and me), but if there's any educational value here, it's in learning that you wouldn't want rich people's problems, either.

On some level, viewers know that they shouldn't enjoy these shows, that they ought to feel queasy about watching cash-rich networks exploit people's misery for entertainment and profit. But while they tell pollsters what they think they ought to say, that reality as a genre is played out, they keep watching anyway.

And as long as we do, reality TV isn't going to become any more enlightening or less exploitative. As a recent Atlantic article makes clear, the makers of these shows rely on the audience to tell them where the limits of acceptable spectacle lie. Viewer outrage kept "Jersey Shore" from showing promised footage of Snooki getting sucker-punched in the face. But viewers of the "Bachelor" were OK with Jason Mesnick dumping fiancรฉe Melissa Rycroft on camera and proposing to runner-up Molly Malaney instead. Ratings and social media response seem to be the only guidelines the networks have for how much they can get away with. They're depending on us to be their conscience. Judging by the fact that TLC still, after a week of viewer disgust and advertiser defections, hasn't pulled the plug on "19 Kids and Counting" suggests that we viewers aren't doing our job forcefully enough to make a difference.


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Queen Latifah Rules 'Lip Sync Battle' By 'Cheating' With LL Cool J

It's about time someone pandered to the host of "Lip Sync Battle" with an LL Cool J song -- and who better than The Queen? Queen Latifah took on Marlon Wayans in Spike's May 28 battle. LL said he didn't know Queen Latifah would be doing his song, "Rock the Bells," but she did it, and she did it proud. Marlon wasn't happy about it, but too bad.

As usual, there were two rounds of battle. In round one, Marlon got "Happy" with Pharrell Williams' song, and the Queen went for a sexy, subtle version of "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)" by En Vogue. In round two, Marlon got emotional with Sam Smith's "Stay With Me" while Queen Latifah turned it up with "Rock the Bells." Was that enough to earn her the win? Probably. Marlon Wayans kept saying it was "cheating" but it was playing smart. That's why she's The Queen! Want more stuff like this? Like us on Facebook.


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These 7 Actresses Are Vying for Roles in 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them'

EXPRESS Spring Fling Event With Kate Upton, Union Square, San FranciscoThere's still plenty of secrecy surrounding "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," the "Harry Potter" spinoff centered around mysterious magizoologist Newt Scamander. Now, a new report suggests that some familiar faces are up for two key roles in the flick.

According to TheWrap, there are seven actresses in the running for the parts of Tina and Queenie, a pair of sisters. Producers have reportedly singled out Saoirse Ronan, Dakota Fanning, Lili Simmons ("True Detective"), and Alison Sudol ("Transparent") to potentially play Tina; Kate Upton, Katherine Waterston ("Inherent Vice"), and Elizabeth Debicki ("The Great Gatsby") are in contention for the part of older sister Queenie.

Eddie Redmayne has already been cast as Scamander, author of the flick's titular textbook, which was used by Hogwarts students in the "Harry Potter" series. "Fantastic Beasts" purportedly follows Scamander to New York, and takes place about six decades prior to the events of "Potter."

While J.K. Rowling's script for the film is finished (marking her screenwriting debut), not much is known about the plot of "Beasts." But Vanity Fair points out that Rowling herself has left some clues about who Tina and Queenie are: Scamander married a woman named Porpentina (perhaps Tina for short?), meaning Ronan, Fanning, Simmons, and Sudol could be vying for the part of Redmayne's love interest.

Studio Warner Bros. declined to comment on TheWrap's report, though the site writes that several of the actresses already have screen tests scheduled, and are slated to read for the roles opposite Redmayne. That process is expected to begin sometime in the next week.

Stay tuned to see if any more casting announcements are made.

"Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" is slated to hit theaters on November 18, 2016.

[via: TheWrap, h/t Vanity Fair]

Photo credit: Steve Jennings via Getty Images



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Duggar Molestation Scandal Gets a Scathing Funny or Die Spoof

The "Saturday Night Live" cast must be so frustrated that this whole Duggar scandal happened after they closed the season. Cue Funny or Die to pick up the slack with a new parody mocking Josh Duggar's parents, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, for how they handled the allegations that their son molested five girls (including his sisters) as a teenager.

In the 2 minute 22-second video, labeled "The Duggars Respond To Sexual Abuse Scandal," the actress playing Michelle first introduces herself as "baby factory for the Duggar family," then "Jim Bob"notes that, with more kids than an NBA team, they were bound to have one troubled child.

Michelle: "The point is we handled it, OK? When we were first told about Josh's mistake we did the right thing and we ignored the girl that came forward."

Jim Bob: "Girls lie all the time, it's what they do. One of our daughters, J-something -- I don't care -- once told us there was a frog in one of our 16 industrial washing machines..."

Michelle: "Here's the thing, some other girls did come forward, and some of them were our daughters. But, honestly, if you ask me which one I don't know. The brunette with the curly hair? We did the right thing and immediately waited three years before we called the authorities."

Fake Michelle also noted, "It's been terrible for us. And Josh. But those are the only three people affected by these mistakes." The couple said Josh has moved on in his life, and honored him for his work in warning Americans about the dangers of homosexuality. "Homosexuals prey on children and they do not deserve to walk on God's great earth!" They said they've been dealing with this in the best way they know how -- getting pregnant again.

It's pretty funny. Child molestation is no laughing matter, but absurdity and hypocrisy are what satire is for. Meanwhile, TLC has pulled "19 Kids and Counting" from the air.

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Here's Every Story Matthew Weiner Wanted on 'Mad Men''s Final Season

US-CULTURE-SMITHSONIAN-MAD MENIt truly was the end of an era when "Mad Men" signed off for good on May 17, and while the series finale divided some fans (did Don really achieve enlightenment? Was the Coke jingle meant to be sincere or cynical?), one thing everyone can agree on is that they wished some more fan favorite characters and storylines made the final cut. Now, creator Matthew Weiner has revealed that he, too, had a wishlist of people and things he wanted to feature in the final episodes -- and some of the items that were omitted from the series are heartbreaking.

At an event for the Writers Guild Foundation in Los Angeles Thursday night, Weiner appeared alongside "Mad Men" writers Janet Leahy, Erin Levy, Tom Smuts, Lisa Albert, Robert Towne, Jonathan Igla, Carly Wray, and Josh Weltman, and discussed said list, which Entertainment Weekly writer Anthony Breznican photographed and shared on Twitter (see below). While the notoriously opinionated Weiner has made it clear that he was pleased with the final episodes, we can't help but wonder what could have been based on this list, which has some items crossed off (hooray for addressing Peggy and Don's dynamic! Boo to bringing back creepy Glen!) that were covered throughout both parts of season seven.

Near the top of the list is dearly departed Sal, the closeted Sterling Cooper art director who was fired back in season three, and hadn't appeared on the series since. We would have loved to have seen him again, as well as Dr. Faye (also on the list), the only woman who ever really seemed suited for Don Draper, and who was unceremoniously dumped in favor of his secretary, Megan, at the end of season four.

It's easy to sit back and wonder what might have been with shows that are no longer on the air, but it's a bit harder to swallow knowing that Weiner and co. had the same desires, and ignored them in favor of weird waitresses and additional drama between Megan and her mother. "Mad Men" is still a masterpiece, but oh, the possibilities. If you want to feel depressed, check out the full list below.
[via: Anthony Breznican, h/t The Hollywood Reporter]

Photo credit: AFP/Getty Images



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'Outlander''s Tobias Menzies On Playing the 'Sadistic and Cruel' Black Jack Randall

Is there a nastier character on television than "Outlander's" Black Jack Randall? As cruel a schemer as "Game of Thrones'" Circei Lannister, as cunningly manipulative as "Gotham's" Oswald Copplepot, as homicidally ruthless as "Scandal's" Rowan Pope and as sexually sadistic as "GoT's" Ramsey Snow, Black Jack's may be the blackest hearted Big Bad of them all, played to malicious, all-too-believable perfection by Tobias Menzies.

With the first season of the Starz drama, adapted from novelist Diana Gabaldon's bestselling series by acclaimed writer-producer Ronald D. Moore, concluding on Saturday, Black Jack has only just begun his brutal, bloody torment of the heroic Highlander Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan), who sacrificed himself to her freedom for his time-traveling love Claire (Caitronia Balfe) - and, as readers of the books know, things get far, far uglier. In an exclusive conversation with Moviefone, Menzies meditates on the nature and motives behind monstrous Black Jack -- as well as his lookalike ancestor Frank Randall -- with some surprising perspectives.

**There are a few spoilers ahead for those unfamiliar with the flow of the first and second novels' storylines**

Moviefone: When "Outlander" first came your way, what was your initial reaction to it?

Tobias Menzies: I did think about it. It's always a particular type of commitment to sign up for multiple years on a TV show. However, I mean, the thing that initially drew me to it was, obviously, the opportunity to play two different people is an unusual thing for a TV show - and, obviously, interesting. And also Ron [Moore] - I had admired "Battlestar Galactica." That was a very character-driven - albeit sci fi, but really that wasn't the point. It was about the characters and very well-written, sort of psychological, really interesting. I thought it was really great TV.

So I was struck by the fact that he was going to be creating the show. And then, in a way, much later came the awareness of the books and Diana and the sort of global phenomenon that is "Outlander." But yeah, that was really the things that struck me first.

Which Randall were you most drawn to at first? Black Jack or Frank?

For obvious reasons, I think Black Jack is obviously the flashier and more sort of attention grabbing of the two, but I have really enjoyed having the variety of the two different people. It's been a really enjoyable job to do for that reason, really. And yeah, I am now, equally as fond of them for their different reasons. And I think they both bring sort of different textures to the overall kind of show. And I think one of Diana's strengths is she writes very good characters.

One of the things I enjoy about your performance is there's no gimmick to making one or the other work. There's no limp or moustache. How did you navigate making them very different individuals?

That's interesting. I'm glad that you brought that up. I'm interested that you like that, because that was something I was very keen to do, was not to ink in the difference too heavily. But obviously that comes with a certain amount of risk. The danger is that you don't quite delineate them enough. And obviously, I get asked this quite a lot, and I can't really come up with a satisfactory answer. It's been quite sort of -- it wasn't particularly logical. It was intuitive.

I remember the fittings, putting on the clothing, being very helpful. The very different sort of weight of cloth and made me stand differently, especially the uniform for Jack. But in a way, I just to a certain degree was daring to trust that the costumes and the script and the setting would do a lot of the work for me - and then daring to be maybe at times a little bit similar. And wanting the difference to be in the eyes rather than, as you say, the moustache or a limp.

But yeah, there's an element of risk about that. And I'm, obviously very encouraged that people do feel there is a definite difference between the two people. Because, as you say, I'm not doing anything particularly radically different with my face. But that was certainly much more interesting to me to have that rather than something very overt. Because in a way, then you take away what is kind of fun and interesting about having the same actor play two different people.

Once the scope of Jack's story was revealed to you -- and the fact that he's quite vicious -- how did you work with that to make him as evil as he needs to be, but also to make him a realistic person?

I think I was keen from the beginning -- and Ron had a similar kind of sensibility in this regard -- to make him as three-dimensional as I could possibly make him. Make him very much a product of his time, of his experiences, of the Jacobite rebellion, to root him very strongly in that. To avoid him being just purely evil, just sort of a black-and-white villain. I wanted him to be as complicated as I think Diana has written it, actually.

And so Ron and the writers really helped me to do that, with, for instance, taking what in the book is only, I think, half a page, which is the interrogation of Claire by Jack, and taking that sort of small piece of the book and folding that out in an entire episode, which then gave me the opportunity for us as an audience and as a show to look into the psyche and the thinking of Jack. And I think that's gone a long way to helping us fill him out a bit and give some context, some understanding, if not empathy, for how he behaves and what he does.

In every interaction with him, he goes to a cruel or vicious place. Is there another side to him that we're going to see or delve into what got him to that place?

I'm not completely clear about this, because I have not completely crossed the second book. But my understanding is that some of the softer sides of Jack are revealed in his interactions in the second book with his brother. His brother, Alex, comes into it -- who, in my correspondence with Diana, is of the opinion that really maybe that's the only person that he truly ever loved was this younger brother.

So it will be interesting to see what the writers come up with, but I think certainly that might be an opportunity to see a softer aspect of Jack in an intimate situation. Because you're right: thus far, he never lets anyone close. And whenever he becomes one-on-one, seeks to dominate. But so far, we haven't seen him interact with family. Family is, obviously, always different.

I think that's what's good about the character is you feel there's plenty of rope for us to sort of continue to understand and unpack what drives someone who, on the face of it, is so sadistic and cruel. It's inevitable that you then raise questions about why, how does someone arrive to this place?

When the sexual element of the character came up for you, was that an exciting place to go, or did you have to wrap your head around "How am I going to navigate these scenes?"

I wasn't nervous about it. I'm not nervous about nudity or portraying sexuality. But here's the one thing that I wrestled with a little bit was, the point of the sexuality. The sexual aggression or the sexual attacks that he does, I suppose I was very keen to make that a tool that he used, rather than the goal. That he's not about -- his interest is not to rape someone. His interest is to use rape to break someone down, as a tool of war in a way. Since war began, it's been a tactic that's been used, and Jack is no different.

And also, I feel that's, in a way, not completely the objective when it comes to Jamie as well. And I know there are plenty of people who probably disagree with me in that regard about Jack. Fans have written about the fact that he's in love with Jamie, and I'm not sure I completely agree with it. I was more interested in the attraction being more psychological and more about his sadism, about meeting someone who was his equal. Beginning with this event where he flogs him a hundred times after he had already been flogged a hundred times. And he finds or encounters a young man who is able to endure more pain than he's ever administered to anyone else.

And on his journey as a sadist, in his life, that is a red letter day. And so it functions on different levels. There may well be a sexual attraction, but that's only one of a mixture of things that attracts him or interests him about Jamie.

What makes me curious is the encounter with Jamie's sister Jenny, where Jack had the intent but not the ability. What did you make of that?

Again, I wanted that to be not just about a gay man not getting it up with a woman, because I'm not sure that that's what Jack is. I'm not sure he is. And also, the idea of homosexual was not even a language, or an idea that was really fully formed in that period. Sexuality was much more... the lines were less clearly drawn. So no, what interested me about that encounter was to see a chink in his armor, really.

For whatever reason, the sister stumbles on a response that unmans him. And I suppose that you could make that argument that out of tyrannical behavior, he's unraveled by ridicule or satire. That you could probably make the Nazi regime...one of the strongest against megalomania is satire and humor, and so it feels like quite a modern moment there. I think it was less about Jack not getting it up, but about what gets under his skin. And I think it makes it quite a peculiar kind of moment.

Tell me about the aspect of the cast having to go to those dark places and everybody coming away not too traumatized by the acting exercise. Has it been pretty smooth sailing with everybody?

I think the truth is, when you do it, you can't see what you're doing, so it's really cathartic - and often, by the nature of filming, it's strangely technical. About hitting that mark and not covering that light. And really, the true impact of it only really comes together when it's all cut together and the music, and then you see it on the screen. And you go, "Okay - that's what we made." But in a way, you're worrying about the details at the time. And so you rarely get a chance to look up and see the bigger picture, and that's probably a helpful thing [laughs].

After a day of that on set, do you shake it off right away?

The funny thing about that - and this may be a peculiarity of me, but I don't find it -- it's not something I have to shake off really. It feels... because it's a sort of cathartic thing, in the doing of it, in a way, you burn it. So no, I've never really had moments of going "Oh, I feel sullied or uncomfortable about what we've done." Because I think that's why we tell dark stories is because they can be the story and not in our lives, you know. And so I think that cathartic thing stops it maybe seeping into your life or feeling the need, as you say, to shake it off.

Did you and Sam use humor about these two characters' relationships amongst yourselves, so when you got to the point you had to act this out you had a comfort zone?

There wasn't that. I was always kind of wary of doing that. But it was interesting that people would sort of josh about it. In some ways, I was interested that we never really sat down and talked about it. And that's probably kind of right, that we sort of saved it for doing it in a way. Because I think you can drain something of energy, if you talk it to death. And for whatever reason, I noticed that we both avoided that conversation, I think [laughs]. Which is interesting.

For Frank Randall, what was the hook you saw in him?

I remember Ron saying something interesting when we first started working together, was he noticed that both Jack and Frank were products of war: men of war, who'd been through war. Frank had been through the Second World War. Jack had been through the Jacobite rebellion. So I think the war was certainly a touchstone for Frank. Understanding what that had been. Then, I feel like the main sort of thematic role that Frank plays in the stories and going forward is probably a study in loss, really. Obviously, in this story, it's the rather esoteric, sci fi example of someone disappearing through time. But in a way, I think we can all relate to losing people from our lives, however they live. Whether they just leave or whether they die. And that's what's beautiful about his story, I think. And going forward into the second book, when he then has to encounter her again, she returns to him with this apparently absurd story. And the fact that his love is able to transcend those barriers and those difficulties, speaks to a lot of stoicism in him, a lot of character.

And so that portrayal of love between Claire and Frank is a very different beast than the much more maybe youthful, romantic, dashing love that is between Claire and Jamie. But I think no less interesting and sort of heartfelt for all that. And so I look forward to bringing that different sort of colors of what love is, I suppose, into the story. Because, obviously, there's a huge amount of the sort of romantic aspect of it.

But of course, I turn 41 this year, and love and what it is becomes more and more multi faceted the older you get. I don't know whether you'd agree, but what love has to endure, what love is when it's had to encounter loss or disappointment or betrayal, it becomes maybe less idealistic, but maybe richer for it. I feel like that relationship between Frank and Claire is all about that, really.


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'Cruel Intentions' Reunion Alert! Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Selma Blair Hang Out, Kiss

Streaming Now: 'The Boxtrolls,' 'The Aviator,' and More

Stream On: 'The Boxtrolls,' 'The Aviator' & 'Suits' Season 4
If you're looking for an enjoyable family-friendly movie to enjoy this week, Stream On is here to let you know that "The Boxtrolls" has arrived. The visually stunning Oscar nominee comes to Netflix this week, and is among a slew of great options in streaming land. Speaking of Oscars, Scorsese's "The Aviator" is on Amazon, along with Season 4 of USA legal drama fave, "Suits."

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Marilyn Monroe Facts: 25 Things You Don't Know About the Hollywood Icon

Lifetime's mini-series "The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe" debuts on May 30, prompting the question: What possible secrets can there still be about Marilyn Monroe?

Quite a few, apparently, from the identity of her birth father, to the nature of her fatal overdose at age 36 -- was it suicide, accident, or murder? In 2012, on the 50th anniversary of her death, Moviefone previously published "25 Things You Didn't Know About Marilyn Monroe." Turns out that list barely scratched the surface. Here, then, are 25 more.

1. Monroe's birth certificate from 1926 lists her birth name as Norma Jeane Mortenson. The last name was a misspelling of the surname of her mother's second husband, Martin Mortensen, who separated from Gladys before she became pregnant. Soon after, she reverted to her first married name, Baker, and gave that name to her daughter.

2. Gladys later told Norma Jeane that her father was Gladys' boss, Charles Gifford, who looked like Clark Gable in the snapshot that Gladys showed her. Monroe never met him and never knew for certain who her father was.

3. Gladys Baker was a film cutter at Consolidated Film Industries, a Hollywood film lab. Believing herself to be incapable of raising the child, she left Norma Jeane with various foster families. More than once, the girl lived with Gladys's friend, Grace McKee. For a time, she even lived in the Los Angeles Orphans' Home, as a ward of the state.

4. When Norma Jeane was seven, Gladys bought a house and brought the girl to live with her. But within a few months, the mother suffered a nervous breakdown and was institutionalized.

5. Gladys had a history of suicidal depression in her family. Both her brother and grandmother had killed themselves.

6. In her memoir, Monroe claimed she had been sexually abused by several different people during her years in foster care. One of the abusers, she said, was the son of a great-aunt she lived with for a while. Another, she said, was Ervin "Doc" Goddard, the man Grace McKee married during one of Monroe's stays at her home.

7. In 1942, when Monroe was 16, Doc Goddard got a job in West Virginia. He and McKee were either unwilling or unable to take the girl with her when they moved. Rather than let her become a ward of the state again, they arranged for her to marry a neighbor, James Doughterty, who was 21.

8. During World War II, while James Dougherty was serving in the Merchant Marine, his wife was working in the Radioplane factory in Van Nuys, where her duties included inspecting parachutes and coating airplane parts with fire-retardant spray.

9. The official story of Norma Jeane Dougherty's discovery, put forth by Monroe's estate, had her walking down Sunset Boulevard in the summer of 1944, when the 18-year-old was spotted by photographer Bruno Bernard, a.k.a. pin-up pioneer Bernard of Hollywood, who gave her his business card and offered to take some test shots, insisting that he'd be "strictly professional." But it's not clear that he took any pictures of her before the fateful 1947 session at the Palm Springs Racquet Club, where she was to meet talent agent Johnny Hyde. By that time, she'd already been a pin-up for a couple of years and had already signed her first movie contract.

10. We may have Ronald Reagan to thank for Monroe's entry into modeling and show business. In June 1945, the actor and future U.S. president was a captain in the Army's 1st Motion Picture Unit, doing publicity and propaganda work. He ordered photographer David Conover to visit the Radioplane factory to shoot pictures of pretty girls contributing to the war effort. He was particularly struck by the beauty of the 19-year-old Norma Jeane Dougherty. She told him of her desire to become an actress, and he offered to take portfolio shots of her. He spent two weeks showing her how to pose and how to woo the camera. He also encouraged her to sign with the Blue Book Modeling Agency, where she was advised to dye her brown hair blonde.

11. By 1946, she was calling herself Marilyn Monroe. "Marilyn" supposedly came from 1920s performer Marilyn Miller, while Monroe was Gladys Baker's maiden name. 20th Century Fox talent scout Ben Lyon, who had seen Norma Jeane Dougherty's pin-ups and signed her to the studio, is generally credited with coming up with the stage name, whose "MM" alliteration he thought would be good luck.

12. Paradoxically, the actress' legal name became Marilyn Miller once she wed playwright Arthur Miller. She used that legal name as an alias when she visited doctors.

13. Monroe filed for divorce from her first husband in 1946, while he was still overseas. He claimed her reason for the divorce was that Fox wouldn't sign her unless she was single. ("They didn't want a pregnant starlet," she explained.)

14. A decade later, at the height of her stardom, Dougherty would anger his ex-wife by claiming in a magazine interview that she once threatened to kill herself by jumping off the Santa Monica Pier if he left her. Her version of the story was that she'd threatened suicide out of boredom.

15. People were surprised when Monroe, who had been married for nine months to Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio, married the intellectual Miller in 1956, but she was well-read. She had studied literature at UCLA and had a library of 400 books in her home, many of them first editions.

16. "Bus Stop" director Joshua Logan was impressed enough with Monroe to recall later that working with her was "the first time I learned that intelligence and, yes, brilliance, have nothing to do with education."17. "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" co-star and fellow bombshell Jane Russell tried to proselytize Monroe. The actress later joked, "Jane tried to convert me, and I tried to introduce her to Freud."

18. Monroe's billowing white dress from "The Seven Year Itch" was not her only famous movie costume. Tommy Hilfiger bought her jeans from "River of No Return" at an auction for $37,000. He gave them as a gift to Britney Spears.

19. The glittering Jean Louis gown she wore during her rendition of "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" at John F. Kennedy's birthday in 1962 was so skin-tight that she had to be sewn into it. In 1999, it was sold at auction for $1.3 million.

20. Monroe was infamous in Hollywood for being chronically late to movie sets and struggling with her lines. These problems apparently stemmed from her crippling insecurity that no one would take her seriously as an actress. Billy Wilder, who directed her twice (in "The Seven Year Itch" and "Some Like It Hot"), insisted that all the trouble she caused was worth it, given the results. "I have an Aunt Minnie who's very punctual," Wilder said, "but who would pay to see Aunt Minnie?"

21. "Some Like It Hot" co-star Jack Lemmon recalled decades later that nothing seemed to help Monroe remember her lines. Cue cards would be placed all over the set, outside camera range, even inside a drawer Monroe had to open in one scene. Yet it still look Wilder dozens of takes to get Monroe to deliver the lines as written. But when the daily rushes were screened, Lemmon recalled, something magical would happen. No matter what she was saying, the camera would capture a sparkling performance that the human eye had missed. She knew better than anyone how to act for the camera.

22. When Monroe's "The Misfits" co-star Clark Gable suffered a fatal heart attack at age 59 shortly after the shoot ended, Monroe blamed herself. She cited the stress she caused through her delay-generating behavior throughout the shoot. (Then again, Gable's insistence on doing his own stunts and his crash diet during the shoot may have been contributing factors.) Between the loss of Gable and the dissolution of her marriage to Miller, Monroe became so despondent that she nearly jumped out the 13th-story window of her Manhattan apartment in early 1961.

23. Alarmed by her depression, her psychiatrist committed her to the Payne Whitney clinic at Cornell University-New York Hospital. To her horror, Monroe had found herself institutionalized -- just like her mother. She managed to track down ex-husband DiMaggio, called him from the psychiatric ward and begged him to come spring her -- which he did. The two reportedly rekindled their relationship, and she was even supposedly planning to remarry him until her fatal overdose, which happened a few days before the August 1962 wedding date.

24. Marilyn Monroe's Facebook page has 13 million "likes." But her Twitter feed has just 228,000 followers.

25. Monroe's estate continues to use her image to work marketing magic. There's a line of Marilyn Monroe fashions at Macy's, a string of Marilyn Monroe beauty spas in various cities, Burton snowboards bearing her likeness, and a Marilyn Moments app for iPhones that lets users create their own Monroe-themed memes using portraits and quotations from the actress.


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Bob Saget Is On Board for 'Fuller House'

Jerry Seinfeld Hosts Inaugural Los Angeles Fatherhood Lunch To Benefit Baby Buggy
Aunt Becky just signed on for upcoming "Full House" spinoff "Fuller House," and now Danny Tanner has joined her.

Uncle Jesse himself -- a.k.a. John Stamos -- confirmed the news on Twitter late Thursday night, revealing that Bob Saget would indeed be a part of the continuing story of the extended Tanner clan. "This completes the perfect reun[i]on!" Stamos tweeted. Saget followed up with his own confirmation, tweeting out the sweet message "Love you Jesse!"
Saget joins Stamos, Lori Loughlin, Dave Coulier, Candace Cameron Bure, Jodi Sweetin, and Andrea Barber for the reunion/spinoff series, which focuses on D.J. (Cameron Bure) and her children. Sadly, the Olsen twins, who shared the role of Michelle Tanner, will not make an appearance. (We're wondering what kind of sappy story producers will come up with for the youngest Tanner sibling's absence.)

Despite that glaring omission, all parties involved seem psyched for the new show. Stamos has been the biggest cheerleader for the project since it was first announced (and a bit outspoken on social media when it looked like some actors were holding out for more money), and now that the gang will be (mostly) all back together, expect lots more insider-y details from the actor-producer.

"Fuller House" debuts on Netflix sometime in 2016.

[via: John Stamos]

Photo credit: Getty Images for Baby Buggy



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Thursday, May 28, 2015

New Movies: 'Aloha,' 'San Andreas,' & More

Weekend Watchlist: 'Aloha' & 'San Andreas'

This weekend, Bradley Cooper finds himself caught between Rachel McAdams and Emma Stone in "Aloha," while Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson goes on a dangerous mission to save his daughter after a massive earthquake hits California in "San Andreas."

Also in theaters this weekend:

  • "Results" stars Guy Pearce and Cobie Smulders as personal trainers whose lives are interrupted by an eccentric new client.
  • In "Gemma Bovery," a new spin on the novel "Madame Bovary," life imitates art when the tittle character and her husband move to the village where the classic tale was written a century before.
  • "Club Life" follows a man struggling with financial trouble as he attempts to make some fast cash in the Manhattan club scene.


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Andy Serkis's 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Character Revealed

" data-caption="LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Andy Serkis attends the European premiere of 'The Avengers: Age Of Ultron' at Westfield London on April 21, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)" data-credit="Getty Images" src="http://ift.tt/1HPvHUF" data-mep="833617" />
It was a no-brainer to assume that Andy Serkis's character in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" will be motion-captured, and now that belief has been confirmed.

Legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz spilled the beans during an interview with StarWars.com, where she discussed her photo shoot with actors from the flick for Vanity Fair's recent "Force Awakens" cover story. Leibovitz talked about the photo that Vanity Fair published of Lupita Nyong'o, whose character is also the result of motion-capture, and shared a shot of Serkis similarly rigged up with motion-capture trackers covering his face.

While the image, which you can see in full below, is dark and menacing -- Serkis is serving up a serious death glare -- we still don't know much about the character. But one detail that's now been supplied is his name: Supreme Leader Snoke.

It's a strange moniker, to be sure, and doesn't exactly reveal much, other than the implication that he's a villain. (Noble titles certainly worked well for Lord Vader and Emperor Palpatine, after all.) But we're going to have to wait a few more months to know for sure.

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" hits theaters on December 18.

[via: StarWars.com]

Photo credit: Getty Images; StarWars.com/Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair



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'Bachelor' Chris Soules Splits from Whitney Bischoff

Charity Screening Of
Like so many "Bachelor" and "Bachelorette" contestants before them, Chris Soules and Whitney Bischoff just couldn't make it work.

The couple, who got engaged during the 19th season finale of "The Bachelor" earlier this year, have officially called it quits. "Bachelor" creator Mike Fleiss tweeted out the news on Thursday, writing that it was "a sad day" for those involved with the show.
A rep for Soules confirmed the break-up in a statement, saying, "Whitney Bischoff and Chris Soules have mutually and amicably decided to end their engagement. They part with nothing but respect and admiration for one another and will continue to be supportive friends. They wish to thank everyone who has supported them through this journey."

Soules and Bischoff had been working on their relationship long-distance, after Soules was selected as a contestant on the recently-wrapped 20th season of "Dancing With the Stars." But according to Entertainment Weekly, Bischoff's frequent flights from Chicago to Los Angeles to cheer on her fiance weren't enough to keep the flame alive.

"Not long after the show's March finale, when Soules gave Bischoff a 4-carat Neil Lane rock, rumors began to circulate that their made-for-tv romance was not as touchy-feely as it seemed," EW reports. "In the finale, it seemed clear that Soules' preference was for another contestant, Becca Tilley."

Maybe things will work out better for the new Bachelorette?

[via: Mike Fleiss, Entertainment Weekly]

Photo credit: Getty Images



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'The Daily Show with Trevor Noah' Sets September Premiere Date

trevor noah, the daily show, the daily show with trevor noah, comedy central
Jon Stewart is set to pass the "Daily Show" torch to South African comedian Trevor Noah when the venerable host departs the program later this summer. Now, we know exactly when Trevor is taking over the gig.

Comedy Central announced this week that "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" is set to debut on September 28. Stewart is vacating his post on August 6.

The network also released the first promo for the show, with Noah taking a spin in Stewart's chair, and trying out his hosting chops. But it looks like Stewart may have a hard time letting go of his post.

Check out the goofy clip below, and get excited for the Noah era (which will apparently be "new and sexy," according to the promo). The 31-year-old comedian -- who was officially announced as Stewart's replacement back in March -- has already made a name for himself in his native South Africa (where he hosted his own late-night talk show) and has impressed in his handful of "Daily Show" appearances to date. We're eager to see what else he has up his sleeve.

[via: Comedy Central]

Photo credit: YouTube



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#TBT: Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Through the Years


Dwayne Johnson has gone from wrestling superstar to Hollywood A-lister right before our very eyes. The performer and athlete had breakout acting roles in films "The Mummy Returns" and "The Scorpion King" back in the early '00s, and has since gone on to star in some of the last decade's biggest blockbusters. This Friday you can catch him battling a mega-earthquake in "San Andreas," and he'll also be headlining HBO's football comedy, "Ballers," this June. Let's go back and revisit this charismatic entertainer's Hollywood career in photos for this week's edition of #TBT. Just look at that smile. (And that sweet vest-with-no-shirt ensemble.) What's not to love?



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