Articles on this Page
- 06/24/14--19:27: _Gary Oldman hates T...
- 06/24/14--19:38: _Gary Oldman issues ...
- 06/24/14--19:39: _Big Brother 16 Swim...
- 06/24/14--19:45: _switched at birth 3...
- 06/24/14--20:00: _After Ever After 2 ...
- 06/24/14--20:40: _Federal College Fin...
- 06/24/14--20:41: _Studio shortage thr...
- 06/24/14--20:42: _ A Peek Inside Lea ...
- 06/24/14--20:42: _Survivor Blood Vs W...
- 06/24/14--20:42: _New TV Series - 'DA...
- 06/24/14--21:00: _Barack Obama Englan...
- 06/24/14--21:01: _Justin Bieber in ca...
- 06/24/14--21:15: _FIFA to investigate...
- 06/24/14--21:19: _Fox Rebooting 'Pred...
- 06/24/14--21:33: _Model tells all abo...
- 06/24/14--21:52: _A WHO post: Matt Sm...
- 06/24/14--22:07: _Author John Gray: F...
- 06/24/14--22:16: _Eli Wallach passes ...
- 06/25/14--19:19: _Great Movie Showdow...
- 06/25/14--19:19: _Ed Sheeran hits No....
- 06/24/14--19:38: Gary Oldman issues apology to Anti-Defamation League
- 06/24/14--19:45: switched at birth 3x14 promo "Oh Future"
- 06/24/14--20:00: After Ever After 2 - Disney Parody
- 06/24/14--20:40: Federal College Financial Aid Tweet Offends Twitter
- 06/24/14--20:41: Studio shortage threatens $100m Artemis Fowl film
- 06/24/14--20:42: A Peek Inside Lea Michele's Fridge
- 06/24/14--20:42: Survivor Blood Vs Water (27) Castaway Caleb Bankston Dies
- 06/24/14--21:00: Barack Obama England World Cup mugs are selling fast
- 06/24/14--21:01: Justin Bieber in car crash after paparazzi chase
- 06/24/14--21:15: FIFA to investigate Luis Suarez biting incident
- 06/24/14--21:19: Fox Rebooting 'Predator' With Shane Black
- 06/24/14--22:07: Author John Gray: Feminism and free porn are ruining relationships
- 06/24/14--22:16: Eli Wallach passes away at 98
- 06/25/14--19:19: Great Movie Showdowns Are Too Rare In Recent Films
- 06/25/14--19:19: Ed Sheeran hits No.1 on iTunes in 65 countries with new album x
The Dawn of The Planet of The Apes star burns some bridges in blistering interview with Playboy
If you live in the Los Angeles area and happened to hear a blood-curdling scream earlier this evening, it might well have been 20th Century Fox's investors for Dawn of The Planet of The Apes getting word that the July/August issue of Playboy Magazine includes an in-depth interview in which star Gary Oldman slams "political correctness," defends Mel Gibson's anti-semitic rants and mused about calling U.S. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi "a f****** useless c***."
The famously private acting legend, whose stature as a rare conservative-leaning Hollywood presence has been long known, unloaded on these and a variety of topics toward the end of the lengthy interview when the subject turned to public controversies involving celebrities like Alec Baldwin and Gibson (whom Oldman describes as being "...in a town that's run by Jews and he said the wrong thing because he's actually bitten the hand that I guess has fed him") before segueing into a rant against Jon Stewart and Bill Maher being able to "hide behind comedy and satire." He also came to the defense of a Creationist schoolteacher being sued for discrimination by the parents of a Buddhist student.
Elsewhere in the interview (which is quite a fascinating if lengthy read), Oldman talks candidly about raising his sons, his battle with alcoholism and subsequent sobriety. He also offers negative appraisals of some of his most famous roles, some of which are guaranteed to shock many fans: Sid & Nancy? "I didn't want to make it in the first place." Immortal Beloved: "I was the wrong person to play Beethoven." The Fifth Element: "Oh no. I can't bear it." He also dismissed his fan-favorite roles in the Harry Potter and Dark Knight franchises with "It was work."
It wasn't all doom and gloom, though: Oldman did offer praise to the script of Apes, along with expressing admiration for conservative political commentator Charles Krauthammer, David Bowie and Demi Moore (who he credited with convincing him to get sober over a decade ago). After Apes, he will next be seen in Child 44.
Shut your mouth, Zorg
Gary Oldman has apologized for offending the Jewish community in a controversial interview with Playboy. The actor, who gave the interview to promote Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, was accused by the Anti-Defamation League of spreading anti-Semitic stereotypes:
Dear Gentlemen of the ADL:
I am deeply remorseful that comments I recently made in the Playboy Interview were offensive to many Jewish people. Upon reading my comments in print - I see how insensitive they may be, and how they may indeed contribute to the furtherance of a false stereotype. Anything that contributes to this stereotype is unacceptable, including my own words on the matter.
If, during the interview, I had been asked to elaborate on this point I would have pointed out that I had just finished reading Neal Gabler's superb book about the Jews and Hollywood, An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews invented Hollywood. The fact is that our business, and my own career specifically, owes an enormous debt to that contribution.
I hope you will know that this apology is heartfelt, genuine, and that I have an enormous personal affinity for the Jewish people in general, and those specifically in my life. The Jewish People, persecuted thorough the ages, are the first to hear God's voice, and surely are the chosen people.
I would like to sign off with "Shalom Aleichem"—but under the circumstances, perhaps today I lose the right to use that phrase, so I will wish you all peace - Gary Oldman.
Zap2it has an exclusive first look at the "Big Brother 16" group bikini photos from the glamorous photoshoot the hamsters did this week in the BB16 house. The hotties are above and the hunks are below. Needless to say, there's no shortage of good-looking contestants this year.
We're less than 24 hours away from the premiere and to recap what we know so far:
There are two Heads of Household and a new competition called "Battle of the Block" that means being HOH doesn't mean you are safe. How exactly this works remains to be seen, but we can't wait to find out, especially since live-feed subscribers get special voting power, so don't forget to sign up now.
The two-night premiere airs Wednesday, June 25 at 8 p.m. ET/PT and Thursday, June 26 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
Frankie is the bottom left fyi
I was not expecting that Matthew/Emmett twist!
Source - youtube: Paint
The federal financial aid agency known as FAFSA today tweeted an odd photo of a woman seated on an airplane with the caption, “Help me. I’m poor.”
The tweet was taken down about an hour after it appeared.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is required for anyone seeking financial aid from US colleges and tens of millions of students and parents fill one out online every year. The FAFSA offices were closed late Tuesday but the tweet did come from the agency’s official Twitter account. Twitter followers were not amused.
@FAFSA not everyone who completes a FAFSA is poor and mocking those who are at or below FPL is tasteless, offensive, and ignorant.— Kristen C.-Kappus (@kckappus) June 25, 2014
Along with deleting your tweet, you need to apologize to those that you offended that use this tool to try and better themselves @FAFSA.— Cody Conners (@gosutrolling) June 25, 2014
Being a broke college student funny to y’all? My tens of thousands of dollars in debt so I could get an education a joke? @FAFSA— Gino Corleone (@GinoTheGhost) June 25, 2014
Do you find the tweet offensive or funny?
Ireland's attempts to capture the $100m-budget Hollywood production Artemis Fowl, based on the fantasy novels of Wexford author Eoin Colfer, may be hit by delays in developing new studio space.
It is understood that senior Hollywood executives have visited Ireland in recent weeks to view potential locations and infrastructure. Disney and the Weinstein company are developing the movie, which has been given the green light to film. Industry insiders believe that the Artemis Fowl books could be turned into a major Hollywood franchise – becoming "the Irish Harry Potter". Filming movies of the eight books in Ireland could see investment well over €1bn from the Hollywood backers, generating thousands of high-quality jobs.
"This shortage of space is a serious issue and we would say that Ireland is losing business as a result. Whilst internationally, reaction to our new tax credit is very positive, there are genuine concerns about the lack of available studio space in Ireland to match the new business potential," according to Ardmore Studios boss Siun Ni Raghallaigh.
Ashford Studio founder Joe O'Connell has submitted a major planning application to expand his Wicklow Studio. However, his plans hinge on a change in government policy in relation to studios. Mr O'Connell has met with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and key officials from the Department of Arts and Department of Finance.
He is seeking to have treatment of studios changed from being classed as commercial buildings to being classed as strategic infrastructure. This would enable the studio to pay less in planning and development fees and business rates. Mr O'Connell estimates that he could pay business rates of up to €3m based on the size of his planned sound stages. This would render the project uneconomic.
Mr O'Connell believes that attracting Artemis Fowl to his studio would be an enormous coup and has pencilled in plans for a dedicated visitor centre as the jewel in the crown of his expansion project. He cites the experience of New Zealand, where 10 per cent of tourists visit the Lord of the Rings or Hobbit sets.
Last week, the Irish Film Board sought expressions of interest from key industry players about what they could commit to building if the State stepped in with an incentive package. "We believe that the changes to the Section 481 tax incentive have been very helpful and if there's something that can be done with the studios that would be helpful too," according to Irish Film Board chief executive James Hickey.
It is believed that high-level departmental meetings have discussed a government scheme to promote new movie infrastructure such as sound stages.
The shortage of film studio space has led to a number of movie projects being made elsewhere. Ashford Studios recently turned away a Chinese delegation as it did not have the space as it is hosting the $35m Vikings series.
Northern Ireland's film industry is becoming increasingly competitive, fuelled by tax breaks and direct grants. Northern Ireland Screen – the state film agency – has a £43m fund to attract productions. Northern Ireland has just snagged the Brad Pitt project The Lost City of Z, which may star Sherlock pin-up Benedict Cumberbatch.
It is understood that a number of international studios and movie infrastructure groups have considered building new facilities in Ireland.
Two industry sources told the Sunday Independent that Pinewood Studios, the home of the James Bond movie franchise, was interested in partnering with an Irish group about creating new studio space or facilities here.
A spokesman for Pinewood dismissed this, saying that the studio was concentrating on its expansion plans in the UK, after receiving the green light for a major redevelopment of its campus last week.
Anyone here read the Artemis Fowl books when they were younger?
Getting a peek inside someone's fridge is an act that feels particularly intimate—a privilege that rivals viewing a closet or medicine cabinet, if you ask us. When the fridge in question's owner is one of television’s leading ladies? That coveted fridge-peek becomes all the more special. After all, who wouldn't want to know which foods the most gorgeous and successful celebs in Hollywood keep in their fridge, what they'd never be caught dead with, and what they reach for as a midnight snack?
Since we want to know these things too, we caught up with the stunning and super-fit Lea Michele for the scoop on her fridge contents—the one item she always has on hand, her go-to ingredients for healthy snacks, and the foods her friends know will be in her fridge when they come over.
What is one thing you always have in your fridge? Come hell or high water, this item will be in there.
What's one thing we'd NEVER find in your fridge?
Michele: Whole regular milk (I only drink rice milk).
What would you like a lifetime supply of in your fridge?
Michele: Grapes and avocados.
What are your top five favorite items to have on hand for healthy last-minute meals?
Michele: Quinoa pasta, tomato sauce, mozzarella, tomatoes, kale.
If you had to describe your fridge in one word, what would it be?
Rest at: Source
What's in your fridge, ontd?
Fans of "Survivor" feel very close to the contestants of the show after getting to know them. On Tuesday, reports started to come out that Caleb Bankston (on right) passed away after a railroad accident. So far none of the big media outlets have picked up on this story but it is spreading like wildfire among the "Survivor" fans. Survivor Oz went to his Facebook page to share the news. He simply said, "Unconfirmed reports Caleb Bankston has passed away. Our thoughts are with Colton (left) right now at this difficult time."
The Republic shared a report about an accident that did kill someone. They do not share a name but it is being passed away that this is the cause of Caleb's death. It simply says a man died after an Alabama Warrior Railway in Birmingham accident.
If you don't remember Caleb, he played in "Survivor: Blood vs. Water." He was the loved one of Colton Cumbie. This was his fiance and the two were obviously very close. Watching them play you could see that he was Colton's rock and what kept him strong. These two had plans to get married and this has to be heartbreaking for Colton to go through. Nobody has ever had anything bad to say about Caleb at all.
The contestants from his season of "Survivor" have started to change their profile pictures to a picture of him. Several of them now have pictures of themselves with Caleb up on their page. Ciera changed her Facebook picture two hours ago. Jonathan Penner went to Twitter to try to find out if the news is true. At this time, the answers he has been receiving are just fan asking if it is true or not.
There is no information about exactly what happened or when the accident occurred. More information should continue to come out about this story.
Source - States as unconfirmed but several castaways from Survivor and other CBS reality shows have confirmed it.
I wasn't a fan of Colton but Caleb was awesome and you could see during BvW how much they cared for each other. Their wedding was set for this coming October. So sad :(
We all know how powerful temptations are, from taking the last cookie in the company kitchen, to sneaking peeks at surprise birthday gifts. But what happens when these fixations evolve from trivial to terrifying? From a stiletto obsession that turned sickening, Black Magic that ends in murder, and bondage that goes beyond, Investigation Discovery's new series, Dark Temptations uncovers the dark realities when perverse fascinations take deadly turns. Prying the lid off these Taboo worlds, each one hour episode offers viewers a rare glimpse of lives dictated by DARK TEMPTATIONS. The six-episode first season world premiere is Wednesday, July 2 at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.
"DARK TEMPTATIONS takes viewers directly into the disturbing psyche of fanatics, showing how strange behaviors, can have dangerous and, even, deadly consequences," said Henry Schleiff, Group President of Investigation Discovery, American Heroes Channel, Destination America, and Discovery Fit & Health. "The series steers ID viewers to a shadowy place, offering them a window into the hidden worlds of compulsive obsessions, bizarre infatuations, Twisted rituals and freaky fetishes - it's all here!"
Each episode of Dark Temptations features two stories interlaced with expert commentary from local authorities, true-crime experts, and psychologists, as well as first-person accounts from survivors and perpetrators.
The six episodes are:
Premiering Wednesday, July 2 at 10/9c
· Crush Me Okeechobee, FL (1999) When friends visit Bryan Loudermilk's Florida home one summer's afternoon, they find a shocking sight. Bryan is pinned under the rear wheel of his car, barely alive. He dies hours later. Is this a terrible accident? Or did someone deliberately run over Bryan? The answer is more horrifying than anyone can imagine. Bryan and his wife were embroiled in a sordid world of cruelty and perversion - that all began with a foot fetish.
· Black Magic Murder New York, NY (1949) Respected New York businessman Raymond Fernandez and Florida nurse Martha Beck meet through a Lonely Hearts column and quickly fall in love. For 200-hundred-pound Martha, this handsome gentleman is her dream-come-true. But she soon learns Raymond is not so much Prince Charming, as Voodoo Prince. Raymond practices voodoo, and is obsessed with Black Magic. Once he and Martha start dabbling in the dark arts, they start preying on lonely widows, and cross a line from magic to murder.
Premiering Wednesday, July 9 at 10/9c
· Snake Pit Scottsboro, AL (1991) When paramedics respond to a call from a frightened Darlene Summerford, they are stunned when Darlene drops the bombshell about the source of her two rattlesnake bites. According to Darlene, her husband, Pastor Glenn Summerford, forced her hand into the rattlesnake cage, in a bid to kill her. When police search the property, they uncover a tremendous collection of killer reptiles along with a Twisted ritual to prove their "faith."
· The Deepest Cut Bournemouth, England (2002) When Heather Barnett's children came home from school, they discovered the mutilated body of their mother in the bathroom. As police raced to the quiet English home, the children sought comfort from kindly neighbor, Danilo Restivo. Investigators struggle to connect the unique calling card- a lock of hair- with any leads, leaving the case a mystery for more than six years. But when police receive a call from Italian law enforcement, they discover a bizarre infatuation that goes too far.
Premiering Wednesday, July 16 at 10/9c
· Hollywood Bondage Los Angeles, CA (1957) In the 1950's, Playboy had just been launched and Hollywood was full of starlets willing to pose as glamorous "photographers' models", hoping to hit the big time. Several stunning pin-ups randomly disappear, leaving police lost until model Lorraine Vigil tells investigators about photographer Harvey Glatman. Obsessed with auto-erotic asphyxiation and bondage, investigators soon learn the perverse lengths Harvey went to in his search for pleasure.
· Thirst for Blood Parker, FL (2011) When 16 year old Jacob Hendershot went missing from his mother's home, police originally thought they were dealing with a runaway teen. While searching for Jacob, police made the eerie discovery of local cats killed in what looked like ritual slayings, just meters from the Hendershot's home. An informant quickly directed police attention to a group of youths living out their True Blood fantasies as members of a vampire cult.
Premiering Wednesday, July 23 at 10/9c
· Dungeon of Death Washington, NC (1988) Leith and Bonnie Von Stein were brutally attacked in their North Carolina home in the early hours, leaving Leith murdered and Bonnie severely injured. While the break-in looked like a robbery gone wrong, detectives find clues that suggest the theft was staged. The Von Stein's son, Chris, was away at college playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends, while their daughter, Angela, claimed she slept through the entire attack in the next room. Could these children be responsible for their parents' demise?
· If The Shoe Fits Salem, OR (1968) On a cold winter's day, pretty blonde Linda Slawson set out on another working day selling encyclopedias door to door, and was never seen again. Throughout the year, three more young women also Disappeared without a trace. With no real leads, investigators are lost until the mutilated remains of two of the missing women appear. The foot of one woman had been removed, and investigators discover how dangerous a secret shoe obsession can become.
Premiering Wednesday, July 30 at 10/9c
· No Leg to Stand On San Diego, CA (1998) When 79 year old New Yorker Phillip Bondy is found dead, with one leg Cut Off, in a San Diego hotel room, serious questions arise. Who killed him, and where is his leg? Investigators unravel a horrifying tale of shady deals with a doctor, Botched medicine in Mexico and a freaky fetish that quickly turns fatal.
· Devil in the OC Orange County, CA (1970) Beloved teacher and mother of five, Florence Brown, goes missing in the OC while en route to a PTA meeting. When her body is recovered, investigators make a shocking discovery - her heart has been removed from her chest. Police link the case to a cult that worships the devil. The cult leader believes he is the Son of Satan, and wants to please his "father" with a string of horrifying deeds. Premiering Wednesday, August 6 at 10/9c
· Recipe for Murder Paris, France (1994) When restaurateur Thierry Bisonnier is brutally killed in his own home, detectives trace the murder to a man obsessed with death. The suspect has robbed graves, tampered with corpses, and collects human teeth and bones. Has his obsession tempted him to commit murder?
· Tuned for Terror Stroudsburg, PA (2009) Two Pennsylvania teenagers with a passion for hard-core rap music take their song writing to the extreme. These self-proclaimed music junkies want to base their violent lyrics on real death. One frosty winter's night, they lure unsuspecting army veteran Michael Goucher into a deadly trap.
What are your temptations and fetishes ontd?
Unofficial England World Cup mugs, with the image of US president Barack Obama mistakenly used instead of defender Chris Smalling, are proving popular after being put on sale online.
They are now being sold off as novelty items.
A quarter of the consignment of 2,000 mugs were bought by people in the US.
Wholesale Clearance UK based in Poole, Dorset, bought the mugs as factory seconds after a mix-up by an employee at the manufacturers.
Andy White of Wholesale Clearance UK, which specialises in buying end-of-line stock and factory seconds, said it had knowingly bought the mugs when they were offloaded by a merchandising company.
He said a new employee had been tasked with sourcing images for a range of "unofficial market-stall type mugs", but the incorrect image was missed when the designs were checked.
Mr White said there were "not that many left", with 500 being sold to US buyers.
He admitted to having kept one for himself.
"Every now and again something strange crops up and, with the interest in social media, it goes crazy.
"They are a real novelty value. Once they are gone, they're gone."
The Dorset company in question (whose blushes we shall protect for now....maybe!) was given the seemingly easy job of sourcing royalty free pictures of each England squad player to use on the England mugs – along with other accompanying items such as England coasters, England mouse mats etc.
They passed this onto to their young, bright eyed and bushy tailed new apprentice. The designs were proofed and signed off by the Boss, who had clearly had a heavy night with the lads playing poker and before he’d had his first vat of coffee the following morning.
Due to our ongoing commitment to help local companies get their products noticed, last Wednesday 2,000 of each of the England items came into the warehouse. We eagerly unpacked them and on close inspection it turned out that the Chris Smalling cup had Barack Obama’s head on instead of Chris's.
The apprentice claims that he used that well known search engine, Google, to source the pictures. The thing is he’s more of a rugby fan and not very clued up on football. Suffice to say that when he Google image searched ‘Chris Smalling’ he copied the first picture he liked the look of and the result was that the President of the United States has ended up on an England cup instead of the English defender.
Source + buy 2,000 mugs for £2,000!
Justin Bieber was in a car accident in Bev Hills Tuesday at 2 PM PDT ... after a car driven by a paparazzo was chasing the Escalade in which Bieber was a passenger -- eyewitnesses tell TMZ.
We're told the Escalade was going down Canon Drive at a fast clip, trying to lose the photog, when a BMW was pulling out of a parking structure near Bouchon restaurant. An eyewitness tells us ... the BMW misjudged the speed of the Escalade and smashed into it.
We're told Bieber almost immediately got out of the SUV and into another car and sped off.
Law enforcement tells us no one was injured.
FIFA announced Tuesday it will look into the apparent biting of Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini by notorious Uruguay striker Luis Suarez during the teams' Group D match.
Per British Press Association reporter Martyn Ziegler, FIFA stated it will "gather all the necessary elements in order to evaluate the matter."
"There is no doubt Luis Suarez is a fantastic footballer but, once again, his actions have left him open to severe criticism," FIFA official Jim Boyce told the BBC. "FIFA must investigate the incident seriously and take whatever disciplinary action is deemed necessary."
With the match tied at 0-0 in the second half and Uruguay needing a win to advance, Suarez appeared to bite Chiellini in the shoulder. The Italian veteran swung an elbow at Suarez, clutched at his shoulder, and pulled down his jersey in an attempt to show the match referee apparent bite marks on his skin.
Chiellini told Italian TV that Suarez had bitten him, saying it was "ridiculous" he had not been ejected over the incident.
If proven, it would be the third such biting incident in Suarez's career, the 27-year-old Uruguayan superstar having previously bitten opponents while playing in both the Dutch Eridivisie in 2010 and England's Premier League in 2013.
FIFA has banned players from the World Cup for misconduct before, with the longest such ban an eight-game suspension for Italy's Mauro Tossotti in 1994.
Could FIFA impose a similar punishment in Suarez's case? Though it's borderline impossible to predict exactly what the world's most erratic sports organization will do, at this stage it seems unlikely Suarez will escape without at least a multi-match suspension. Chiellini will clearly testify that he was bitten, and nothing in the video of the incident suggests that his account can't be trusted. If photographs of Chiellini's shoulder or other player statements further confirm that account, FIFA won't have any choice but to act.
Suarez also won't be helped by his history of not just biting opponents, but displaying other unsporting behavior. His deliberate handball of a goalbound shot in the 2010 World Cup quarterfinals denied Ghana of what many would have said was its rightful semifinal place, and Suarez served another Premier League ban in the 2011-2012 season for racially abusing Manchester United player Patrice Evra.
It's that history that has made what would have already been heavy public pressure on FIFA to act into a deafening public outcry. And though in its somnabulant fashion FIFA doesn't always respond to public pressure as readily as many would expect, the idea of Suarez appearing in Uruguay's Round of 16 match after this is so appalling to so many viewers that it may have no choice.
The uneducated guess: Suarez receives a three-match ban, far short of the blood demanded by many but enough to keep him out until a hypothetical final -- one that without his services Uruguay is highly unlikely to reach. It will be a surprise if we haven't seen the last of Luis Suarez in this World Cup.
OT it's GROSS how the italian media and people and general are blaming balotelli and using him as a scapegoat. yeah well the rest of your team was playing like shit so stop goddamn racists. hope balotelli does big things wherever he ends up playing this year.
The Lethal Weapon creator and Iron Man 3 director will write the treatment and is attached to direct the project, which could relaunch the sci-fi action franchise.
The ’80s action classic Predator is getting the reboot treatment from 20th Century Fox.
But before some purists cry foul, they should know that this reboot comes with an interesting attachment: Shane Black, the venerable screenwriter behind Lethal Weapon and writer-director of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Iron Man 3.
Black will write the treatment for the project, then will hand over scripting duties to Fred Dekker, his university chum with whom he wrote 1987's Monster Squad. Black will oversee the writing and is also attached to direct.
John Davis, who produced the original with Joel Silver and Lawrence Gordon, is producing the reboot. Predator is the muscle-bound action 1987 movie that starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers and Jesse Ventura as commandos being stalked in a jungle by a fearsome alien. John McTiernan directed the film, which was one of the movies that cemented Schwarzenegger's star power.
Black actually appeared in a minor role in the original movie and how he became involved is part of Hollywood lore.
When Predator was being made in 1986, Black was already a screenwriting prodigy for his Lethal Weapon and Monster Squad scripts. The studio and producers wanted him to polish the script for Predator, which was then in pre-production. Black turned it down. A few weeks later, they approached him again. Once more, Black said no. Another few weeks went by, and then the studio called again. This time, however, he was told there was a small role in the movie and asked whether he would like to have it. Black said yes.
When he arrived to the South American set, the studio execs and producers greeted him and said, "By the way, would you mind taking a look at the script?" Black replied, "I’m still not rewriting it."
Fox has found ways to keep Predator alive since its initial outing. There was a Schwarzenegger-less sequel, Predators, in 1990. Robert Rodriguez produced an installment of the franchise in 2010. Fox also combined it with its Alien franchise for a couple of Alien vs. Predator movies released in 2004 and 2007, respectively.
Fox exec Matt Reilly is overseeing the reboot. Davis Entertainment's Ira Napoliello is also overseeing. This is proving to be a busy time for Black. He is trying to put together a cast for The Nice Guys, a 1970s crime movie that was originally earmarked for television. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe are circling the project, which is being produced by Silver but has no home just yet, and that could shoot this fall.
Black is also very actively developing Doc Savage, the adaptation of the 1930s pulp hero for Sony. He recently met with Chris Hemsworth for the title role, but it’s unclear when that project would shoot since it’s still grappling with budgetary issues. Sony, however, does consider Savage one of its priorities. Black is repped by WME, GreenLit Creative and Bloom Hergott. Dekker, who directed Monster Squad as well as Robocop 3, is also repped by WME.
The transsexual who had an affair with KENDRA WILINSON’s hubby HANK BASKETT tells ALL in an exclusive E̶n̶q̶u̶i̶r̶e̶r̶ ONTD interview!
Just days before Hank Baskett and Kendra Wilkinson were set to celebrate their five-year anniversary on June 27, the couple’s marriage was rocked by The ENQUIRER/RadarOnline’s exclusive report of claims he had hooked up with a transsexual.
In a bombshell exclusive interview with the transsexual mistress, Ava Sabrina London, who has come forward to tell her side of the story in light of the explosive reports about their shocking tgryst.
According to London, the affair started just two months ago, when Baskett first made contact. “I met Hank Baskett probably around the 22nd or 23rd of April this year,” London told The National ENQUIRER.“He contacted me through a video I had posted on YouTube and we exchanged information.”
“I gave him the address to my house, he came over,” she added. “I wasn’t expecting for him to come at the time he did, and I had just gotten out of the pool with my girlfriend.” Dressed only in a bikini, London says she answered the door to find the Kendra On Top star dressed in basketball shorts, sandals and sunglasses.
But at first, London claimed, she had no idea that the man standing before her was a celebrity, and the former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver took precautions to hide his true identity. “Hank never identified himself by his real name. But he used, I believe it was Steve as his name,” she said.
Baskett certainly would have had his reasons for attempting anonymity. Not only has the father of two been married to the former “Girl Next Door” star Wilkinson since 2009, but unlike his wife, the woman he allegedly contacted was actually born a man. “Hank absolutely knew that I was a transsexual and he told me that I was the only transsexual he’s ever been with,” London claimed. “He thought I was beautiful.”
In fact, it wasn’t long after their introduction, she said, that the couple became intimate behind closed doors. And although Baskett allegedly seemed nervous, London said the 31-year-old was the first to take his clothes off.
“We quickly went to my bedroom where things got a little hot because he had already had taken off his clothes and he was erected,” she said of their first alleged encounter. “I started giving him a hand job and he was playing with my penis ‘cause he was laying down and I was like, you know, above him, so that’s when I realized who he was.”
Although she claimed the two did not have sexual intercourse, she said Baskett still was satisfied. “He put my penis close to his face and that’s when he, you know, he came really quickly,” she alleged. “Hank and I gave each other hand jobs and he played with my breasts. And it didn’t really go that much further because he had already come.”
And, even more surprising, after the act Baskett casually took a shower in London’s bathroom to clean up, London claimed. But their intimate meet-up wasn’t for free, according to London. The model alleges that Baskett enjoyed their fling so much, he gifted her about $500 for the 20 minute romp.“I got up and he took a shower,” London said. “And he met my girlfriend after that, shook her hand and he left.”
Mods, last post was the story leaking. This is the full interview.
What makes Doctor Who the longest-running sci-fi series in history? A great team, a great cast, great characters...?
Matt Smith can tell you exactly why and he doesn't need many words to do so...
"Is there a better format for a show?" he asked the audience at the Wizard World Comic Con last weekend. "Man can go anywhere. Man picks up hot chicks. Man travels universe. Man fights aliens. Man can change. Beat that, television. James Bond's got nothing on us."
Well said, Matt Smith. Although we reckon Karen Gillan's hopes for new Doctor Peter Capaldi could make for an even better format. "I'm hoping he swears all the time and they bleep it out with Tardis sounds," she joked with the crowd of Whovians in Philadelphia.
Smith - who calls Capaldi a friend - also has high hopes for his successor. "I think he's going to bring his reinvention and I think it's going to be really bold and really interesting. He's a fabulous actor, he's having a great time. I think he's pretty tired now they're on week 24."
But the eleventh Doctor does have one bee in his bonnet... "Can I just add - not that I'm bitter - they're going to Mexico City, Rio, Seoul and Sydney. We went to Belfast. Belfast is a nice place but it's not Mexico City."
Smith: Doctor would have got mean
Matt Smith has admitted that if he had carried on playing Dr Who, his character would have ditched his good nature and become tougher.
According to the 31-year-old actor, who quit the sci-fi series last June, if he had stayed on the show longer, the 11th Time Lord would be fiercer.
Speaking at the Wizard World Comic Convention in Philadelphia he said: "If my Doctor had carried on he'd have become a bit meaner and a bit tougher."
He added: "The universe would have weighed on his shoulders a little more which would have been cool."
"Damn, I should have stayed," he continued.
Fans of the hit BBC show are eagerly awaiting Peter Capaldi's debut as the 12th Time Lord in August.
Matt is set to star in Ryan Gosling's directorial debut The Lost River and has been signed up for a role in Terminator: Genesis.
Doctor Who: Colin Baker calls Peter Capaldi ‘perfect’ and David Tennant & Matt Smith ‘bloody kids’
Everyone was very sad when 11th Time lord Matt Smith announced his decision to leave Doctor Who last June, but equally we were all excited to see who would be brought in to replace him.
Having had a dip in The Doctor’s age over the last few regenerations we had left our minds completely open as to who the next chosen one would be, with some people even predicting a female casting for the role.
So it almost came as a surprise when Scottish The Thick Of It star Peter Capaldi had been cast, because he was just so old school ordinary.
But that is precisely one of the many reasons why he will make such a great Doctor Who, as former Time Lord Colin Baker has been explaining in a recent interview.
When asked by Red Carpet News Flash if he thought Capaldi would make for a good Doctor Who, Baker excitedly replied:
“Peter is a perfect fit for the role. And if they hadn’t come up with the idea, eventually someone would have because his work leads inextricably to playing Doctor Who.”
He went on to add that Capaldi is a brilliant actor in his own right, and he’s delighted that he’s taking over. Not only that, he’s “grown up” unlike all the “bloody kids” who have been playing the doctor over the past decade.
But is the age of the Doctor really such an important thing? Apparently so, as Baker explained that Capaldi is around the same age as William Hartnell was when he first started playing the Doctor, so to him, it really is an important quality.
However, despite the last couple of Doctors being pretty young, Baker did praise both David Tennant (10th Doctor) and Matt Smith (11th Doctor) as their performances convinced him that they were 900 years old, going on to be 1,000.
He went on to add: “They have got a female market now because of those two young guys, girls are now watching it, and hopefully they will continue to once they see and older man playing the part superbly, which I absolutely know that Peter will!”
Doctor Who is currently filming its eighth series in Cardiff, with a view to being shown on BBC1 in August later this year!
He claims to have saved hundreds of thousands of marriages. But John Gray, author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, is worried about where relationships are going - notably online.
Free internet porn is "like taking heroin," while online cheating websites can also lead to sex addiction, Gray said.
Gray, whose books including the original 1992 classic have been published in 50 languages and sold 50 million copies, is also worried about feminism, which he blames for spiking divorce rates.
"The reason why there's so much divorce is that feminism promotes independence in women. I'm very happy for women to find greater independence, but when you go too far in that direction, then who's at home?" he asked.
In an interview with AFP, Gray said widespread feminism in America holds back sales of his books here, while other parts of the world - he cited Australia and Latin America notably - are more in tune with his basic message.
Men and women come from different planets, and the two sexes should stop trying to behave similarly, and embrace their own natural personalities, according to Gray.
"The most resistance I get to my message is in America. Wherever feminism has a strong hold, there's resistance to the idea that men and women are different," he said.
"When you go to Australia, for example, there's a very clear knowledge that men and women are different."
Gray also cited Latin American countries as places where "they love my books."
In Europe, he said his biggest fans are in France.
"I think it's because France is a romantic country, the language is more romantic, people care more about relationships," Gray said.
The 62-year-old - who says he has saved "at least" hundreds of thousands of marriages over the last two decades - meanwhile was ambivalent about the impact of technology on relationships.
Being able to meet people easily online has its pluses he said, citing notably the number of divorced people in their 40s and 50s who seek out former friends and partners from their younger days.
But he voiced concern notably about two online trends: internet porn, and the huge success of so-called cheating websites, where users can hook up with others seeking illicit affairs.
"With free internet porn, there's a massive addiction happening ... just millions and millions of people are experiencing their sexual satisfactions through total fantasy," Gray said.
"The effect that porn has on the brain is like taking heroin."
Cheating websites, while providing real physical sexual experiences, are equally dangerous to real, long-term loving relationships, the author cautioned.
Sites like ashleymadison.com and arrangementfinders.com go "along the same line of pornography," he said. "When you have impersonal sex.... 'It's OK, here are these cheating wives, men, they want to have sex with you.'
"So you go have sex with someone that you don't know and someone you don't love ... impersonal sex does promote addiction to sex," he said.
The character actor from Brooklyn was at his best playing banditos in that Clint Eastwood classic as well as in "The Magnificent Seven," just two highlights of his six-decade-plus career.
Eli Wallach, the enduring and artful character actor who starred as weaselly Mexican hombres in the 1960s film classics The Magnificent Seven and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, has died. He was 98.
Wallach, who won a Tony Award in 1951 for playing Alvaro in Tennessee Williams’ original production of The Rose Tattoo, made his movie debut as a cotton-gin owner trying to seduce a virgin in Elia Kazan’s Baby Doll (1956) and worked steadily well into his nineties, died Tuesday, his daughter Katherine told The New York Times.
No other details of his death were immediately available.
“As an actor I’ve played more bandits, thieves, warlords, molesters and mafioso that you could shake a stick at,” Wallach said in November 2010 when he accepted an Honorary Academy Award at the second annual Governors Awards to become the oldest Oscar recipient.
Among his survivors is actress Anne Jackson, his wife of 66 years.
The good-natured actor appeared in more than 90 films, including two released in 2010: Oilver Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer.
On television, Wallach won an Emmy for his role as a former drug merchant who is now in the aspirin business in ABC’s Poppies Are Also Flowers, a 1966 anti-narcotics telefilm produced by the United Nations from a story by Ian Fleming. He also earned noms for his work as a blacklisted writer on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip in 2006 and as an ailing patient on Nurse Jackie three years later.
Plus, he got loads of fan mail for playing Mr. Freeze (the third actor to do so) on TV’s Batman in the 1960s.
Click source for full article...
Luke and Vader, Batman and Bane, The Bride and Bill: Done well, cinematic fights elevate their pulpy surroundings. What makes for a good one?
The audiences who crowd theaters in the summertime know they can expect one thing from any given “event” movie: a showdown. As in, badass hero faces badass villain in a fight to the death. As in, impressive stunt choreography, wire works, or judicious photo-realistic CGI. As in, good guy dishes out punishment, bad guy returns same, and (spoiler alert) at the last possible second, perhaps with the help of a just in-reach weapon, good guy vanquishs his rival. (Optional: stirring music of the Williams/Shore/Zimmer variety.)
It’s a cliché. But it’s a worthwhile one. Roger Ebert called movies machines for empathy, and a good showdown is one of the chief fantasies for which viewers turn to the movies. These scenes give form to the forces in the world that challenge us, and they create a stage where we try to overcome those forces. It’s a potent dream, because life rarely spells out so clearly what we’re up against.
Most genres feature some kind of showdown, be they westerns, martial arts movies, sports movies, courtroom dramas, or musicals. Even purportedly “serious” movies borrow the language of the showdown when they pit stars of equal reputation and skill against each other to see who can outact the other. You can see showdowns across popular narratives, of course, from movies to TV shows, video games, and comic books. But they're also there in hip-hop, sports, politics, and business. They reflect a need for us-versus-them distinctions, for “bad guys” to muscle up against and smack down in some moment of self actualization. Further, they speak to our sometimes naïve desire for closure, to fashion our lives into coherent narratives with clearly marked dramatic episodes that begin and end.
Showdowns reflect a need for us-versus-them distinctions, for “bad guys” to muscle up and smack down. At the same time, the showdown reflects the kind of unpretentious craftsmanship and pleasure that marks the best American movies. They’re a way in which art can deepen our understanding of the world while still entertaining. So, showdowns matter. Yet despite $200 million budgets and A-list actors and auteur-ish directors and world-class composers, editors, set designers, and writers, these scenes rarely thrill. In fact, they generally disappoint.
Eight Harry Potter movies work toward an ultimate good-versus-evil showdown between the boy wizard and Lord Voldemort, but by the time we get there it proves an underwhelming finale. Sound and fury, etc. There is such a thing as too much build up, too many minor confrontations along the way. Or maybe it’s the way Voldemort becomes less menacing and more prissy as the films go on.
The recent Marvel movies? Thor and Loki? Captain America and the Red Skull? Iron Man and a bald Jeff Bridges, tatted up Mickey Rourke, or fire-breathing Guy Pearce? Come on. The Avengers versus—who were they fighting, again? Loki and some aliens from another dimension? No showdown with the meager Loki will ever be any good. In fact, the best Marvel showdown is probably when the Avengers tee off against themselves. But we know that no one’s going to really get hurt.
How about the James Bond movies of the Daniel Craig era? Certainly the films are the franchise’s best since the early ‘60s, but with an actor as physical and charismatic as Craig, they’ve yet to provide an antagonist who fully measures up. We need a showdown like the train fight between Bond and SPECTRE heavy Red Grant in From Russia With Love, where Robert Shaw not only convinced us that he was Sean Connery’s mental equal, but also looked like he could kill him with his bare hands.
As for the X-Men movies, they are built on the rivalry between Professor X and Magneto—whether played by Stewart and McKellen or McAvoy and Fassbender—but the films mostly skip a direct showdown between the two and instead spin them, and their attendant philosophies of accommodation and separatism, wearily around each other, forever unresolved. And why is it that Wolverine, one of pop culture’s great antiheroes, has yet to face even one antagonist worthy of him?
And what to say of the Star Wars prequels? People waited two decades to see what should have been the greatest showdown of all time: Anakin Skywalker versus Obi Wan Kenobi. Three movies of build up, best friends turned enemies, the galaxy hanging in the balance, a battle on a volcano planet, and it just cannot achieve anything close to the greatest of all modern blockbuster showdowns, the feverish Cloud City duel between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.
The showdown is like a jazz ballad. We all know the tunes, but a good artist should nevertheless be able to connect with us. Some movies still can, often by tweaking the showdown or our expectations. Sherlock Holmes and arch-rival Moriarty stage a clever battle in the otherwise average Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, in which they comment on their fight as its taking place. The Dark Knight can be understood as a movie about the Joker’s refusal to engage Batman in a traditional physical showdown, because he knows he will lose, instead trying to run a counter showdown designed to corrupt Batman’s ethical code. For all the traditional heroics of The Lord of the Rings movies, the real showdown does not involve Aragorn or Gandalf, but culminates in a tiny little fight between Frodo and Gollum, both corrupted by the ring and fighting each other to the death over it. The day is saved only by chance as Gollum, having gotten the ring by biting off Frodo’s finger, accidentally falls into a lake of lava, destroying both. Frodo lives, but never really recovers his soul. But these are the exception far more than the rule.
What is the problem here? Below, I’ve tried to sketch out some thoughts on what a showdown should contain. I doubt the points that follow constitute a comprehensive list—and a good showdown may only lean on a few of these—but really good showdowns appear to display many or all of the traits. I define a showdown as a direct and major confrontation between protagonist and antagonist, physical and psychological, that meaningfully impacts the characters or the story. It’s an imprecise definition, but the point is to say that there are many awesome set pieces, shootouts, fights, and chases—other staples of these kinds of movies—that are not really showdowns as I’m considering them.
It’s true that plenty of good showdowns feature in otherwise mediocre movies. And plenty of good movies feature weak ones. But a great blockbuster? I think it needs a great showdown.
Moviegoers rarely watch big-budget films in a two-hour sitting anymore. Instead we ingest bits and pieces for a year or two: behind-the-scenes footage, gossip, speculations, trailers, until the movie we’ve built in our heads is almost always better than the one we finally see.
Nevertheless, anticipation built within a film can be effective. A showdown is made sweeter by talking up the villain and delaying his entrance, or by allowing hero and villain to engage in a preliminary showdown that ends in a draw, and most especially by slowing down the moments before the final confrontation begins. Showdowns are highly ritualized, and good ones will allow that nice long pause, that full breath in and out, to let audiences savor what is about to happen.
No one pushes the idea of anticipation to its limits quite like Quentin Tarantino. His characters talk and talk and talk. They insinuate and surmise, bluff and counterbluff, threaten and defend, and then they talk a little bit more, and the pressure is building all the while, until a violent reckoning at last arrives.
The Kill Bill films are best thought of as a four-hour greatest hits collection of quippy, bloody showdowns. No fight scene capitalizes upon anticipation as effectively as the final showdown does, when Uma Thurman’s Bride confronts her old lover and boss, Bill (played by a rascally David Carradine), who left her for dead. It’s a conversation. They’re seated. Bill rather unapologetically explains why he tried to kill her. The sense of menace builds. Eventually even these folks will run out of things to say. When the fight finally starts, both Bride and Bill remain seated, and Tarantino stages a short and wittily choreographed fight, which culminates in the Bride deploying her five-point palm exploding heart technique. Then they resume their conversation, now with a new sense of affection—Bill is impressed she has mastered the technique, and it’s clear he appreciates her as his better for the first time—until his heart explodes a moment later and he dies.
2. The Weight of the Moment
Anticipation helps make the big moment big. But that “moment” must also stand on its own. How?
For one, the opponent must be formidable. The villain should be equal or superior to the hero—no minor minions—and the odds should at least slightly favor him. We can like the villain or fear the villain, but we must respect him: his skill or charisma or ruthlessness, his tragic dimension or his utter lack of human empathy. Villains can believe what they are doing is just, or they can know they are rotten bastards. They can be witty and urbane or cold and silent, but we must find them worthy foils. Moreover, the hero must find them worthy, too. Villains often seek respect from heroes, (“You and I are much alike,” “Surely you can understand the necessity of my plan,” etc.) and I find that when the hero reciprocates even a little, if in action if not words, then the showdown becomes more personal, almost intimate.
Further, the stakes must be right. The fate of the town/country/world by itself is not necessarily the right stakes. Those are abstractions. We must care first about specific people. We care about the heroine. What we are relating to in a showdown is the idea of a character who, in facing a nemesis, is really facing herself and the choices that define her life. The right stakes test the heroine’s character, her soul. (The Bride both wants revenge on Bill, but she still loves him.) The threat is not her death but her failure to live as well as she could have. The characters, somewhere along the way, should understand the stakes.
One of the great showdowns is the meticulous scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey where astronaut Dave Bowman, in a space pod and without his helmet, tries to gain access to the spaceship Discovery, against the wishes of the computer HAL, who has possibly gone insane and just murdered the crew. HAL knows Bowman had been plotting to deactivate him, so he refuses to let him back on the ship. The scene is great for any number of reasons—the convincing verisimilitude, HAL’s brilliantly dismissive indifference, the audaciousness of Bowman’s plan to blow himself back aboard through an airlock. That audaciousness is the whole point. There’s human pride, naturally, a determination not to be bested by a computer. That’s actually enough, but the way I read it, the stakes are bigger. Heretofore the humans we’ve seen in the movie have been deliberately presented as bland bureaucrats with little personality, charisma or character. The film has left us subtlety starved for drama, conflict, something to happen. And suddenly, Bowman is forced to shake off that blandness, to reclaim humankind’s capacity for daring, original action, the kind that proves the species is worthy to transcend to a higher level.
You might think of a good showdown as simply being about strength. But it’s about weakness, too. Most showdowns show us the hero’s physical vulnerability as he gets his ass kicked—and as he gets to his feet one last time, bruised and bloodied and never say die, we stand and cheer his resilience.
The problem, though, is that superheroes and villains these days can endure too much. Their strength is too long-lasting, as is their ability to take a beating. By the time we see any sign of weakness, we’ve long reached our empathetic limits. Few of us actually know what it’s like to get beaten up, anyway, and tough guys (and now tough gals) too often only seem emboldened by pain.
Pain can work in a showdown if you don’t overdo it, but what suggests vulnerability more convincingly is effort. Sweat counts more than blood. It tells us that the characters are being depleted, that they are pouring all their psychic and physical gifts into the moment but can’t keep doing so forever. This is something we can all relate to, whether trying to gut out that extra mile or rep, or struggling to tread water. Depletion helps undercut the emotional stoicism of the typical badass, and leads to a more interesting place, genuine fallibility.
(It should be noted that nakedness also works, whether it’s astronaut Bowman sans helmet or a literally naked Viggo Mortensen surviving a brutal knife attack in a London bathhouse in Eastern Promises.)
As with 2001, there are many reasons the duel in The Empire Strikes Back is a classic, but an overlooked and crucial contribution is Mark Hamill’s performance. He sweats. He looks at times like he can barely catch his breath. It helps sell the whole thing. Luke begins the duel with a brittle shell of confidence, but as we see his physical exertion, we see that shell shatter. In his effort to match Vader, Luke grows more and more aware of his desperate position. We see it in his face. He is in over his head. Yoda was right; he should have stayed on Dagobah and finished his training. He won’t be able to save his friends or himself. Indeed, he winds up on a gantry that leads nowhere, over a bottomless pit. He’s overwhelmed, and this is before he loses his hand and learns the truth about his father. Within moments he has passed from physical and mental fatigue, through to one severe experience of bodily trauma, then onto to an even greater emotional trauma. The only way he can save himself is to fling himself towards death.
In a good showdown, confronting your vulnerabilities is not a one-time event where you see the stakes, gather your courage, swallow hard, and dive in. It’s a constant unfolding. In The Matrix, Neo’s subway-station showdown with Agent Smith works marvelously because the whole movie has seen Neo gradually gain more power and more belief that he can beat the seemingly unbeatable agents who police the Matrix. And yet as the showdown progresses Neo is forced to summon more resolve—far beyond what he thought he was capable of—just to fight Smith to a draw.
An early showdown from Troy perhaps best illustrates the power of vulnerability. The young prince of Troy, Paris, a playboy, has run off with Helen, the wife of Greek King Menelaus. Menelaus and his brother, Agamemnon, bring a massive army to the shores of Troy to get her back. Hoping to stop the fighting, Paris summons up what little courage he has to challenge the much stronger Menelaus to a duel, thinking that if he wins, the Greeks will withdraw their forces.
Paris, played by a reedy Orlando Bloom, is no match for Menelaus, played by the bearish Brendan Gleeson. We see some of the action through Paris’s helmet as Menelaus pounds away at his shield, and we feel like Paris does, small and breakable. Paris puts up a poor fight; he is slow, clumsy, weak and afraid, and he is quickly defeated. A single sword slash across his thigh cripples him and carries more weight than a dozen slow-motion blows in a lesser contest.
And what tops it off? Instead of dying with honor—this duel was his idea, after all, and even his father, King Priam, urges his son to fight (and die)—he crawls back to his brother, Hector, as the whole city watches. We are simultaneously ashamed by his cowardice and sympathetic with his naked desire to live. Hector saves him by slaying Menelaus, but it’s an unsatisfying victory.
Obviously, then, a good showdown continues to propel the story forward. The principals don’t simply stop and beat each other up for five minutes. Character is exposed, revealed, tested, transformed. If there are any ideas the film has been cultivating, they should come to fruition here.
But there are other qualities that need to be in play. Some great showdowns would be impossible without special effects, but most suffer because of them. Why? For one, when heroes and villains dash around too much, it’s hard to follow the action. Two, as scenes become too elastic and insubstantial—and rapid-fire editing exacerbates this—so do the characters. We wind up with nothing or no one to hold onto.
Good showdowns tend to constrict themselves to a single or handful of distinct locations. Think of the courtyard duel in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon between Michelle Yeoh’s Yu Shu Lien and Zhang Ziyi’s Jen Yu. It moves, yes, and people fly about, but the clean camera work and quietly propulsive score bring the conflict down to earth. Or recall the claustrophobic setting for Batman’s beat down at the hands of Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. This fight successfully borrows bits from Empire: Part of the fight takes place on a long and narrow gantry, and sound effects create a moody atmosphere. There’s nowhere to run, and gradually Batman is ground down.
Even a weak film like The Hunted benefits from two terrific face offs between Benicio del Toro’s Special Forces commando, who has snapped and is killing hunters, and the man who trained him, played by Tommy Lee Jones. They duel twice (here’s the first) and the tight choreography gives the scenes a powerful sense of coiled energy, as if these two guys had been put inside a very small box. (Also, it doesn’t hurt that del Toro’s eyes convey tremendous vulnerability even in the midst of the brutal knife play. He’s seeking both to best his mentor and reach out in anguish for a father figure to save him.)
Fantasy and sci-fi movies can convey enough reality to make us buy in through tangible staging. Would you rather watch this overblown fight between Khan and Spock on top of a moving hovercraft in a towering cityscape, at the close of the baffling mash up Star Trek Into Darkness—or the comparatively static, but tactile and infinitely more satisfying showdown between Khan and Kirk in Wrath of Khan? You like the grandiose and splendidly digital showdown in Avatar, between a villain in a power suit, and a blue digital Na’vi riding some exotic digital animal? I’ll take Ripley’s real-world exosuit as she faces down the alien queen in Aliens. (Thirty years later and even James Cameron can’t make an exosuit that feels as believable as this one.)
5. The Iconic
Lastly, the best showdowns do not overextend themselves. This is in part a question of length. Neo and Agent Smith duel across an entire city over six minutes in The Matrix Revolutions, and at some point you start checking your watch. The same can be said of Superman and General Zod’s fight in Man of Steel, (here, here, and here). Allowed to go too long, a showdown, no matter how good, wears out its welcome.
But length is not really the issue, at least in showdowns when the fighting is less frenetic. What we want is a scene that somehow pares a confrontation down to something visually essential. Most showdowns are at best visually indistinct and suffer for it. Think of the smoky blues and oranges of the carbon freeze chamber in Empire, and of that magnificent ten-second shot of Vader and Luke on the gantry. Now think of the Emperor’s drab grey throne room in Return of the Jedi, where Vader and Luke duel a second time. It’s a far more mundane location and weakens the scene. The recent Captain America: The Winter Soldier ends with a good showdown between the two titular characters. It checks most of the boxes, but it falls short of being really good because it’s a little too busy, a little too generic, right at the moment when it needs to be streamlined and iconic.
The greatest of all movie showdowns is probably the exquisitely composed duel between Charles Bronson’s unnamed hero and Henry Fonda’s blue-eyed killer Frank in Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West. Leone takes his time, giving us long close ups of Bronson’s granitic face, static shots of the two men facing each other, like old trees trunks, stripped of branches and leaves. Ennio Morricone’s mesmerizing score suffuses the screen. It’s an unapologetically long buildup (again anticipation flirts with going too far), interspersed with the tragic flashback that reveals Bronson’s motivation. But the duel itself concludes in a moment, and despite the stately pace, our overall impression is one of crisp, perfectly controlled timing. It’s both a knowing pastiche of great western duels and something more—the physical manifestation of the end of the west. In a real sense both men are facing the same fate, obsolescence, and so both lose.
It’s magnificent filmmaking. And it demonstrates the fundamental contradiction of the showdown. Less is more, but more is more, too. Showdowns allow us to imagine ourselves as bigger, stronger, faster. Better. And yet a good showdown is essentialized to the struggles of vulnerable, fallible, fragile beings, too. They remind us of our smallness, and force us to confront our fears, our inadequacy, to reckon with who we are at that very moment we try to be more.
So showdown greatness comes not from making the stage bigger. It comes from making the stage denser, by plowing more feeling, more theme, more craft, more emotion, more soul, into a smaller, simpler frame. That’s the challenge of the form. When a movie pulls it off, it’s an event.
What is your fav cinematic showdown, ONTD?
Ed Sheeran has topped the iTunes sales chart in 65 countries with his new album x.
The singer's second studio collection - pronounced 'multiply' - was released earlier this week and has reached the top spot on digital stores in the UK, US, Australia and Germany.
Sheeran has also reached number one on iTunes stores in Denmark, France, Mexico, Italy, Egypt, Israel, Brazil, Portugal, Spain and South Africa.
The new album features his hit single 'Sing', along with new tracks 'Don't', 'One' and 'I'm A Mess'.
Sheeran dominated the UK iTunes songs chart last week after releasing a new track everyday in the run-up to his new album. At one point he occupied eight spots on the Top 10 best-selling songs chart.
The star will play the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury this weekend (Sunday, June 29), three years after performing on the BBC Introducing Stage at the festival back in 2011.
Never really liked Finster for some reason, but his album is pretty good