Archives for the month of: October, 2013

Under The Dome Exigent Circumstances

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

You know, if you ignore pretty much every episode that came before it, “Exigent Circumstances” could be considered a pretty decent hour of television. Its plots worked together and they moved well without too many glaringly nonsensical moments (which isn’t to say there weren’t any, but by Under the Dome‘s standards they were at least minimal), and it was probably the most exciting episode since the pilot. But if the only way a season’s penultimate episode can be seen in a positive light is by divorcing it from the rest of said season, is it really such an accomplishment? “Exigent Circumstances” does little more than demonstrate how much better Under the Dome would have been were it a much shorter miniseries rather than the thirteen episode crap-fest it’s been.

At this point we’ve finally reached the stage the pilot so desperately wanted audiences to see, it’s just a shame the set-up has been such a silly, convoluted mess. Barbie’s on the run as Big Jim rallies his minions against the scapegoat and even the one legitimate police officer left in Chester’s Mill is behind the would-be dictator. This brings us to my first issue with “Exigent Circumstances.” As I already discussed in my review of the previous episode, Linda has just as much reason to hold Jim under as much suspicion as Barbie – if not much more – yet she consistently follows Jim’s every order like a mindless lapdog. Even when she begins to protest Jim’s approach she immediately acquiesces. As the only actual, trained law enforcement officer in the community she should be much more mindful of avoiding mob mentality and its dangerous and slippery slope. But no, turns out Under the Dome actually means to convey that the police are merely the means by which corrupt politicians uphold a broken system, a message I can actually get behind, ironically. But Linda’s actions are so senseless they undercut the plot by preventing it from holding anything audiences can connect to.

At least there is a balance to Linda’s stupidity. Caroline has reappeared after hibernating mourning the loss of her wife and just in the nick of time to try defending the rights of her daughter and Joe as Jim and his goons search Joe’s barn for the egg and detain them for questioning. Jim’s interrogation of Joe and Norrie was probably my favorite scene (other than Dodie getting shot, but more on that in a minute). Not that I actually like any part of this show, but if I had to pick one, Norrie is probably my favorite character because she is the only one besides Barbie who seems to consistently see through Jim’s bullshit, and she stands up to bullies be they high school jocks or used car salesmen with illusions of grandeur.

Dodie also stood up to Jim, but only after she decided of her own free will to completely ignore the fact that Jim sabotaged the radio because the miitary witnessed him murder the reverend, and after he pulled a gun on her. I was happy when Jim shot Dodie not only because she was a weak character (in that she was poorly developed), but because it made sense and was consistent with what we know of Jim. Plus, it added the faintest sense of stakes to see just how out of control Jim is know that he has accepted he’ll do anything to make sure he remains the big fish in a small pond.

Like his scene with Dodie, and because of its conclusion, the exchange Norrie had with Jim carried real tension. Both scenes where Jim intimidates women who suspect him of his malicious intent were adequately written which, again, by this show’s standards is practically Oscar worthy in comparison to the rest of the show. I liked these scenes because their dialogues illustrated just how slimy and greedy Jim is in his quest for power.

As much as “Exigent Circumstances” worked to illustrate Jim as the villain he’s gradually revealed himself to be, his status as an actual threat to the lives of those in his way and the rights of the citizens of Chester’s Mill is tenuous at best and undercut by its lack of credibility. Where does Jim seem to get his endless supply of goons? (I cracked up when that nameless dude in the glasses at the town hall meeting kept conveniently demanding Jim to do more because “It’s been two weeks,” since they’ve been trapped. He means to communicate how dire their circumstances are, but the exclamation only emphasized how laughably ridiculous the situation is. ) Why is Junior constantly flip-flopping between wanting to kill his dad and protect him? I understand patricide isn’t exactly a light decision to wrestle with even for a psycho who’s harbored aggression against his father for years, but Junior’s gone back and forth on this issue more than a ping pong ball at Forrest Gump’s house, which doesn’t exactly help audiences take his dilemma seriously since he’s just as likely to change his mind six more times before the end of the next episode. Why does Linda follow his orders when she knows he’s manipulating people to secure his own position of authority? I guess one could argue she may only be following his lead to get answers, but there’s nothing to suggest she wouldn’t literally jump off a cliff if Jim told her “answers” were at the bottom.

While I appreciate the momentum in “Exigent Circumstances” it doesn’t come close to compensating for a whole season’s worth of stupidity. By the end of the episode it looks like the mini-dome’s about to blow and Babrie’s plea of “not guilty” at his impromptu trial/hearing/death of due process is meant to be a cliffhanger of epic proportions, but it just falls as flat as this season’s collective character development. I half expect Barbie to convince the entire flock of sheep gathering of denizens in one Jeff Winger speech that Big Jim’s the Big Bad and they should probably just hang him right then and there. I know that won’t happen though. Instead I bet the military will show up again to somehow get Barbie to black ops the egg (yeah, I just used “black ops” as a verb and no, I don’t know exactly what I mean by that, but I picture Doakes from Dexter and Mac from It’s Always Sunny doing karate when I think of it). The strength of the episode would have gone a lot further in being effective if it weren’t buried under such poor execution up until this point.

Come back next week when I’ll use io9 s Charlie Jane Anders’ test to examine whether Under the Dome can redeem itself after the domest dumbest first season I’ve ever witnessed.

The post TV Review: Under the Dome 1.12, “Exigent Circumstances” appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Dallas Buyers Club

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Films about causes are pretty tricky propositions. The problem with causes is that, while their backers may be well intentioned and their objectives noble, far too often the focus of any cause becomes about the righteous indignation of whoever the followers feel is the primary opponent in seeing their cause through. In terms of cinema, this means that films primarily focused on a cause or “issue” tend to be overcooked and overdramatized, with swelling moments of patronizing emotion that make the devotees of the cause fill with pride, but crowd out any humanity that should be the foundation of any worthy movement to begin with.

In the case of the tragic AIDS epidemic in the 1980 s, the primary purpose of films dealing with the issue seemed to be to inform the public about the seriousness of the disease, as well as shaming them for not doing more and for coarsely dismissing the breakout as “a gay problem” in a homophobic matter. What we have not yet seen though is a film that presents the plight of sufferers of HIV and AIDS from their perspective, without simply using their dire circumstances as a blunt instrument to make a point. I think we finally have that film in Jean-Marc Vallee’s Dallas Buyers Club.

Now don’t get me wrong, the film has some furor (particularly at the FDA), and it does address issues of harsh homophobia, but it’s not the singular purpose of the movie. The film is first and foremost concerned with telling the true story of Ron Woodruff (Matthew McConaughey), a bull-ring loving Texan with a amorous appetite for female companionship. His care-free, sex-filled, drug-powered lifestyle unexpectedly catches up with him when his doctors inform him he has contracted AIDS and has roughly thirty days to live.

Dallas Buyers Club 39335

Not one to easily give up, Woodruff investigates the disease and finds that there are many treatments that deal with the symptoms of the disease and prolong the lives of the infected. Only problem: all these potential treatments on not approved by the FDA. To get around this, Woodruff smuggles these drugs in from countries such as Mexico and takes advantage of a loophole which doesn’t let him sell the drugs to AIDS patients, but allows him to charge AIDS patients a fee to be apart of a health club, the Dallas Buyers Club, and then hand out the drugs for “free” as a benefit of the membership. In order to help him with this operation and gin up membership, Woodruff overcomes his overt homophobia and teams up with a transvestite named Rayon (Jared Leto).

What works best about Dallas Buyers Club, is that for a film that could easily bog down in sappy manipulation instead chooses to tell its story in an unfussy manner. Straight forward, direct, and objective, the film matches the personality of its protagonist, which is fitting. There are a few predictable moments demonstrating the character’s homophobia early on, only to have a scene of showing his intellectual growth later on when he is forced to defend his new transvestite friend, but the film remains pretty low-key even in these scenes and does not abuse its relationship with the audience.

Now if you have been following any of the buzz for the film coming out of Toronto, you know that the majority of the response to the film has been about the movie’s two major performances from Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, and both men do give strong performances. Much has been made of the remarkable change in trajectory in the career of Matthew McConaughey and for good reason, as it is one of the most drastic thespian makeovers in the history of cinema. McConaughey’s performance in Dallas Buyers Club is another solid piece in his transformation into an A-list actor and it’s worthy of the awards buzz it has been receiving, although I personally was more impressed with some of McConaughey’s other recent performances (such as in The Paperboy and Killer Joe) and I do not think it reaches the level of “give-him-the-damn-Oscar” such as Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance in Lincoln did last year.

As for Leto, he gives a strong performance, wisely avoiding the broad-play angle actors tend to rely on when playing transvestites, and crafting a very real character. However, I have to say, I not nearly as enthralled with the performance as most seen to be, not so much because anything that Leto does, but more so because his character is surprisingly inconsequential and insignificant to the film. Leto’s character Rayon isn’t given very much to do that actually affects the plot and spends a large part of his time on screen just standing in the background. It’s a good enough performance that I won’t be upset when Leto is inevitably nominated, but it isn’t the earth-shattering turn that some have portrayed it to be.

Even with the good performances, Dallas Buyers Club isn’t a terrific film, and it will not end up in my top ten list at year’s end. Still, it’s a solid effort that deserves some kudos. In fact, for a film of this nature, it is probably about as good as it gets. Even so, the film fails to transcend the basic “human interest story” nature of its narrative, it just maximizes it to its full potential.

The post Toronto 2013: Dallas Buyers Club Review appeared first on WhatCulture!.

MV_LesMiserables

Welcome, movie fans! Given the number of articles I see in the Film section, this site is a haven for you. It is for me as well. I spend too much time and money at the movies and that’s even including trips to the dollar theater in my city. I have lists of movies that I want to see throughout the year and, being the book nerd that I am, a lot of them are ones that I look forward to with a very critical eye.

Coming up this year are some movies that I think will be done really well in book-to-blockbuster adaptation. But while we’re looking forward to Ender’s Game, Catching Fire, etc., I thought we’d start a new From Book To Film column with a big favourite from the turn of the year.

Introduction To This Idea

The premise of what I hope will be a series is simple: We’ll be looking at movies that have been made from books. We’ll mention some things that the movie added to it with success and without success. We’ll give you some spoilers on what you might not have caught because you haven’t read the book. We’ll leave it up to you whether you should watch it or not.

Essentially, this is the Cliff Notes for book adaptations so you can stop being hounded by your literarily-snobby friends who are quasi-hipsters and claim that you’re too mainstream if you’ve only seen the movie. I hope some of you will want to go from here to your local bookstore and/or Kindle Store or whatever you use so you can try it for yourself.

So, our agenda is to talk first about the play, then the movie and round it off with some good reasons why you should go out and find yourself a copy of this book.

The post From Book To Film: Les Miserables – Does The Film Live Up To The Musical? appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Rsz Dishonored Wallpaper

Let’s get one thing straight right here at the beginning. This is going to be a totally badass, consequence-free psychopath of an article. All of you that have a faint heart or something like that (I dunno, I don’t speak nancy) should close the browser and go sit in the corner. There will be blood, guts and dismemberment and we’re not ashamed of it.

On a serious note, any real gamer knows that violence is just a necessary byproduct of a thriving industry. The games are designed to make you feel like a hero (in most cases). What better way to achieve this than giving you a shiny sword and sending you on a crash course against all manners of obstacles. The most basic obstacle is, arguably, that dumbass goblin that tries to poke you in the eye with a sharpened stick. Games are giving us an alternate reality where we can actually change the world with little to no effort. So, let’s embrace the idea.

Also, the disclaimer ends here. Continue reading at your own risk.

9. Prototype – Everything

Rsz Prototype 11

“Oh, let me get that mosquito off your shoulder.”

If you have never played Prototype, I strongly encourage you to do so. It’s as if someone created a sandbox (pun totally intended) where you can murder everything that moves. Imagine the following. You’re walking down the road, killing zombies and minding your own business. Suddenly, a wild black ops unit appears and attacks you. Sure, you can pick up a gun and return fire if you’re into the boring stuff. But you could also turn your right arm in a mutated whip and crash some random helicopter on the military guys. Or simply beat them all into a bloody pulp.

While this game might lack storyline and character depth, it delivers twice the promised amounts of violence. There isn’t any particular kill that’s inventive here, but the fact that Alex Mercer himself is a transmutating weapon at your disposal. The Blacklight virus combined with a vast sandbox city allows us to approach any conflict intelligently. After that, we can block the intelligent part and just murder-punch everybody. There’s no similar game that lets you roam the game world and just do what you like without any repercussions. In Prototype, there’s no guilt, there’s no consequences and there’s no lack of blood.

The post 9 Most Inventive Kills In Gaming appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Leave it to Kate Moss to make green palazzo pants seem like something everyone should have in her closet!

The supermodel was spotted leaving the ultra swanky Loulou’s private members club in London on Friday, looking absolutely fabulous in the wide-leg trousers paired with a loose gray tank and black blazer.

Kate pulled the look together with a leather obi belt and silver Stella McCartney clutch.

Will she EVER get it wrong?!

[Image via Splash News.]

Cue the wedding march!

Rose McGowan is getting married in approximately eight days, and she’s doing it in seXXXy style!

The actress was spotted hitting up the Monique Lhuillier boutique in El Lay on Thursday where she couldn’t resist sharing a pic of herself covered in the brand’s exquisite Alencon lace and NOT MUCH ELSE!

We can almost see everything! And it’s HAWT!

Check out the NSFW pic … AFTER THE JUMP!!!

RAWR!

But before you jump to the conclusion that Rose is going to walk down the aisle flashing her guests with her spectacular tatas, guess again!

The 40-year-old admitted to an inquiring Instagram follower that she was just fooling! She said:

“It’s not my wedding gown I’m just messing around.”

Well, we’re sure the actual wedding dress will be GAWRGEOUS and we can’t WAIT to feast eyes on it!

Congrats on your upcoming nuptials, Rose!

Ch-ch-check out pics of the bride-to-be outside the Monique Lhuillier boutique in the gallery (below)!

[Image via Instagram.]

Dania Ramirez Pregnant Expecting Twins

Jason LaVeris/Filmmagic

When Dania Ramirez went to her doctor three weeks ago, she got some “incredible” news – the Devious Maids star was expecting twins!

“I had the first appointment and the woman who’s doing the sonogram looks and says, ‘Oh, I love to start my morning with great news!'” Ramirez, 33, tells PEOPLE. “My husband [John Amos Beverly Land] was like, ‘Okay, we already know she’s pregnant…’ and she goes, ‘Oh no – it’s going to be two!'”

“My husband was like, ‘What?’ And then she goes, ‘Hold on, let me look for a third,’ and my husband says, ‘Get that out of her right now!'” the actress recalls with a laugh.

Ramirez says she never expected to have twins – even though they do run in her family.

“My grandmother has twins and triplets, but it’s still shocking and it’s still surprising,” she says. “My older sister has two kids – and she didn’t get twins – so it wasn’t like ‘How could this happen?’ but at the same time, I was thinking one.”

The news is especially funny because Ramirez says that, even as a child, she was enamored with the idea of having twins.

“When I was younger I was like, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if I could just bang them out at one time?'” jokes Ramirez. “I’d never have to worry about it … wouldn’t it be great to only get fat one time?”

Speaking of weight gain, that’s exactly what Ramirez thought was happening when she first discovered her slight belly bulge a few months ago.

“I felt this little bump,” recalls Ramirez. “And I said, ‘Oh my God, let me do some crunches, I’m eating too much.’ That’s how I found out!”

She’s due this winter, although Ramirez doesn’t want to reveal how far along she is – at least at this time

“I’m keeping that to myself right now,” she says. “They’re still little … you saw the sonogram – you can barely see what’s going on!”

Ramirez doesn’t know the sex of the babies yet, but says she doesn’t have a preference either way.

“My husband has an 11-year-old son [Kai]. We got together when he was 8, so I’ve taken on that step-mom role and I started getting the baby bug. At this point I just want them to be healthy and that’s my main concern,” Ramirez explains.

“I come from a family full of women, so having boys would be great. I’m one of three and my mom is one of 10 girls!”

– Lee Hernandez

Sara Rue Daughter Talulah First Photo

Courtesy Sara Rue. Inset:Paul A. Hebert/Getty

She’s nothing less than perfect!

Sara Rue may have been showing off her headband handiwork, but the star of her sweet snapshot that she shared Friday on Twitter was her daughter, Talulah.

And no one knows that better than the new mom.

“Check out this headband that I made… OH, and also meet Talulah!!” the actress Tweeted along with a photo of her 5-month-old dimpled darling, dressed in a pink polka dot romper and matching floral hair piece.

The former Malibu Country star, 34, and her husband Kevin Price welcomed their baby girl in February, just shy of Valentine’s Day.

“Had the best Valentines Day w/ my husband & our new baby daughter Talulah!” Rue Tweeted at the time. “She was born a few days ago & we couldn’t be more in love w/ her.”

– Anya Leon

In a recent interview with celebrity news, TAYLOR SWIFT reveals that she’s never had a perfect fit with someone, despite having dated a handful of male celebrities.

Taylor Swift GlamourUK

Taylor Swift‘s controversial love life-or lack thereof-is definitely no secret, especially after getting into high-profile relationships that she can sing about.

So in a new cover interview with Glamour UK (via Daily Mail), the currently single country songstress openly admits that she doesn’t usually see the end right away, with her stupidly overlooking (most of ) the bad in her partners.

Swift shares:

“If you have enough natural chemistry with someone, you overlook every single thing that you said would break the deal. I’ve seen my friends take someone back after they’ve cheated because they fit perfectly. But I don’t know, because I’ve never had a perfect fit with someone.'”

Taylor Swift GlamourUK

After loving and getting hurt over and over again, Swift is thrilled to let us know that she’s now “single and happy.” But she’s not going to let herself be single forever, neither is she saying no to dating more famous celebrities in the future despite its obvious setbacks.

She explains:

“You can’t say, ‘I’m never gonna date a high-profile person in the arts!’ But whoever I date, famous or not – whether I ever date again! – all chaos will break loose. With fabrication and frantic obsession and who likes who more and how it ended.”

So she does know what’s written about her on the tabloids?

Not quite.

Taylor, who’s previously admitted that she never Googles herself, says she’s managed to “live an actual life” and avoid reading “hateful” things said about her because it “would lead to insanity.” As she puts it:

“Just because there’s a hurricane going on around you doesn’t mean you have to open the window and look at it.”

She also seemed to weigh in on Miley Cyrus‘ headline-making raunchy performance at the MTV VMA awards last month with Robin Thicke, when she said:

“There’s room for role models who make mistakes. There’s clearly room for role models who are made fun of at award shows, not that I necessarily enjoy being poked fun at! But that’s gonna happen to them too. Whether in a board meeting or in school or on Facebook, where they’ll get humiliated publicly. And if I can say, ‘Yeah, I’ve taken a few hits over the years and I’m still going, I’m still happy!’, maybe that’s an example.”

She declares:

“It’s not just about standing on top of the mountain with the wind blowing in your hair, looking fabulous.”

Read Taylor Swift‘s full interview in the November issue of Glamour UK magazine, which hits newsstands on October 3.

Photos Via Glamour UK

TAYLOR SWIFT has announced her first UK tour dates, according to entertainment news.

And we have the schedule here!

Taylor Swift Red Tour

Taylor Swift is bringing her successful “Red” tour to Europe after blowing her fans away in North America with tour buddy Ed Sheeran and a surprise appearance by Jennifer Lopez.

To kickstart her much-awaited string of concerts in her latest ex-boyfriend Harry Styles‘ homeland (we just had to say it!), the award-winning country songstress will be performing thrice in London’s famed O2 Arena, starting on February 1st in 2014.

Taylor Swift London Shows 2014

Check out her video announcement below:

Will you be catching Taylor at one of her London shows next year?

Photo By PR Photos

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