Universal is shutting down production on “Fast & Furious 7″ after the death of star Paul Walker, the studio said Wednesday.
The studio cited the need to assess all option to move forward in the franchise and to provide support to Walker’s family and those involved in the movies.
“Right now, all of us at Universal are dedicated to providing support to Paul’s immediate family and our extended ‘Fast & Furious’ family of cast, crew and filmmakers,” the studio said. ” At this time we feel it is our responsibility to shut down production on ‘Fast & Furious 7′ for a period of time so we can assess all options available to move forward with the franchise.
“We are committed to keeping ‘Fast & Furious’ fans informed, and we will provide further information to them when we have it. Until then, we know they join us in mourning the passing of our dear friend Paul Walker.”
Production on the film was more than halfway done when Walker and business partner Roger Rodas died in a fiery car accident on Saturday. The two were on their way back to an event for Walker’s charity, Reach Out Worldwide. Production was on break for the holidays.
Universal Pictures, the producers and director James Wan have been in constant consultation this week to decide on different ways to proceed. TheWrap reported Tuesday that the movie’s producers have explored scrapping all the footage and starting the story from scratch. Yet sources cautioned no decision has been made.
Walker, a 40 year old Southern California native and car fanatic, was one the central figures in the popular movie franchise, playing cop turned criminal Brian O’Conner, a member of the racing crew led by Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto.
The series began with O’Conner working Toretto as an undercover cop before , and that relationship served as the basis for most of the movies. Walker appeared in every movie save the third film, “Tokyo Drift.”
Most still expect Universal to make the movie, the latest installment in one of the studio’s most significant franchises. “Fast & Furious 6″ grossed nearly $800 million at the worldwide box office, the most of any movie in the franchise.
Universal was already developing an eighth film, yet it has turned its focus to forging a new path for “Fast & Furious 7″ after a tragedy involving one of its biggest stars.
The next movie was set to come out next July, and that date now seems impossible to reach. For now, Universal is giving the cast and crew time to mourn — and its creative team, led by Wan, producer Neal Moritz and writer Chris Morgan, time to figure out the next move.
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If they gave out Emmys for cigarette smoking, Robin Wright would be a lock to win.
The “House of Cards” star and her lungs are front and center in a wordless teaser that Netflix released Wednesday for the returning political thriller. The 30-second spot is scant on plot and heavy on atmosphere.
It’s shot in moody black and white and features Wright, who plays Kevin Spacey’s manipulative wife on the addictive series, taking a long, deliberate drag on her cancer stick while staring ahead. If Lady MacBeth was a smoker, this is how she’d exhale.
“House of Cards,” which focuses on the wheelings and dealings of a morally compromised congressman, returns to the subscription service on Feb. 14, 2014. The second season finds Wright’s character struggling to adapt to life in the media limelight after her husband is tapped to be vice president.
In addition to costarring in the series, Wright will direct an episode of the show.
Watch the video above.
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“Fast & Furious” star Paul Walker died of the combined effects of traumatic and thermal injuries, the Los Angeles county coroner’s office said Wednesday.
Walker’s friend and business associate Roger Rodas, who was driving the Porsche that he and Walker were riding in when it wrecked Saturday afternoon, died of multiple traumatic injuries, the coroner found.
Both deaths were found to be accidental. Toxicology results are still pending, with the results estimated to arrive in six to eight weeks.
The injuries were found to be sustained from “auto versus fixed object.”
Walker, 40, and Rodas, 38, died in a fiery car wreck in Santa Clarita, Calif., on Saturday, during a charity event for Walker’s organization Reach Out Worldwide.
Though initial reports suggested that a second car might have been involved, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said earlier this week that it had received no eyewitness accounts mentioning another vehicle. A spokesman for the department told TheWrap that, while the investigation had not entirely ruled out the possibility that drag racing was involved in the crash, investigators were moving more toward the possibility that the speed of a single vehicle as the cause of the accident.
On Wednesday, Universal Pictures announced that production had been shut down on “Fast & Furious 7″ so that “we can assess all options available to move forward with the franchise.”
Gal Gadot, the Israeli model and actress who played a supporting role in the past three “Fast & Furious” films, has been cast as Wonder Woman in Warner Bros. upcoming untitled sequel to “Man of Steel,” the studio announced Wednesday.
Gadot’s casting confirms that Wonder Woman will, in fact, be a part of the “Batman vs. Superman” film, which was still a matter of speculation. She will star opposite Henry Cavill as Superman, and Ben Affleck, who Warner Bros. convinced to take the Batman role earlier this year.
Gadot had been one of a few names on the wind for the female lead in the film; Olga Kurylenko and Elodie Yung had also been in the mix, and “Thor: The Dark World” star Jaimie Alexander faintly hinted that there was interest in her direction, too.
“Wonder Woman is arguably one of the most powerful female characters of all time and a fan favorite in the DC Universe,” said director Zack Snyder. “Not only is Gal an amazing actress, but she also has that magical quality that makes her perfect for the role. We look forward to audiences discovering Gal in the first feature film incarnation of this beloved character.”
Gadot was named Miss Israel in 2004 and competed in the Miss Universe pageant that year at age 19. She got her acting start in Israeli TV in 2007, but her break came in 2009, when she beat out six other actresses for the role of Gisele Harrabo in Universal’s “Fast & Furious.”
She would reprise the role in 2011′s “Fast Five” and this year’s “Fast & Furious 6,” and was in the middle of production on “Fast & Furious 7″ when co-star Paul Walker died over the weekend in a fiery car crash. The following day, Gadot tweeted:
— Gal Gadot (@GalGadot) December 1, 2013
Just minutes after her casting was announced Wednesday by Warner Bros., Universal said it was indefinitely shutting down production on “Fast 7″ while it decides how to proceed with that film. As TheWrap first reported Tuesday, one of the options on the table is to scrap the production altogether and start over.
“Batman vs. Superman” — just a working title, mind you, but it could wind up being official — is set for July 2015. The film is considered a sequel to “Man of Steel,” though not Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy, hence Affleck in the Batman role.
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Jim Kennedy is leaving Sony Corporation to serve as chief communications officer of News Corp., the media company said Wednesday.
He will begin his new role on Dec. 9, reporting to News Corp. Chief Executive Robert Thomson. He joins the company following its spin-off last summer.
Last June, News Corp. split into two separate, publicly traded companies. One company, 21st Century Fox, is comprised of Rupert Murdoch’s television and film holdings, while the other, which retained the name News Corp., consists of publishing and education assets such as the Wall Street Journal, HarperCollins and the New York Post.
Kennedy offers a mix of corporate, media and Beltway experience. In addition to working for eight years in communications at Sony, Kennedy served in the Clinton White House. His roles there included deputy assistant to President Bill Clinton and deputy press secretary.
He also headed communications for the White House Counsel’s office, Vice President Al Gore, Senators Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman, the Connecticut Attorney General’s office, and the Clinton Foundation.
“Jim Kennedy is the canniest of communicators and the wisest of wordsmiths,” Thomson said in a statement. “His global experience and Washington expertise mean that he has a contact network that extends from Tokyo to Tucson.”
Also read: Sony to Cut More Than $100M in Coming Months
At Sony, Kennedy’s titles included head of communications for Sony Pictures Entertainment and, as of 2011, senior vice president for strategic communications at Sony Corporate. His departure comes after Steve Elzer, senior VP of media relations for Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, announced this fall that he will be leaving Sony in December after a 12-year run at the studio.
Kennedy will be based in New York with Deputy Head of Communications Ashley Huston, who joined News Corp. from Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal in January.
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Ad time for Fox Sports’ broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII has sold out, a month earlier than ad time sold out for last year’s game, Fox announced.
Forty-three advertisers have signed on for spots ranging from 30 seconds to two minutes, including Anheuser-Busch InBev, Butterfinger, Chevrolet, Doritos, GoDaddy.com, Hyundai, Intuit, Jaguar, Mars, Oikos, PepsiCo Beverages, and Wonderful Pistachios. Fox took advantage of the sell-out news to helpfully note that ad space is still available during its live stream of the game.
Also read: How Comcast Wants to Change TV Advertising
“The demand for in-game advertising time for Super Bowl XLVIII is actually greater than the supply, which is a terrific problem for us to have,” said Neil Mulcahy, executive vice president of FOX Sports Sales.
Mulcahy said Fox can also offer ad time during shows on FOX Sports 1 in the run-up to the game, as well as during pregame programming. Lucky you.
Coverage begins with the “Fox Super Bowl Kick-Off” at 10 a.m. ET on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 2. The game itself airs at 2 p.m. ET.
The Super Bowl is easily the most-watched show of the year and often sets new viewership records. This year’s game, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., is the first-ever to be played at an outdoor, cold-weather location.
Rock on, AXS TV and your famous musician impersonators.
Mark Cuban and Ryan Seacrest’s cable network has ordered a 15-episode third season for the one-hour live concert series, “The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands.”
Hosted every Monday by Katie Daryl (formerly of “TMZ”), the show features musical acts performing tributes to some of rock’s most iconic bands, with live concerts the network bills as looking and sounding just like the real thing.
“The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands” third season premiere will be on Monday, Jan. 6 at 11 p.m. ET, with the new run airing through mid-April. This season, the show is moving to the world famous “Whisky A Go-Go” club on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, from its previous home at The Roxy Theatre.
“To make things even cooler, Whisky A Go-Go is celebrating its 50th anniversary this January, and many of the bands we plan to pay tribute to this season have actually rocked out on the ‘Whisky A Go-Go’ stage!” Daryl said in a statement.
This season’s acts bring greater musical diversity than previous seasons, the network said. After dedicating the first two years primarily to classic rock, new acts include tributes to Prince, Garth Brooks and the Beastie Boys.
The show will still feature tributes to many classic rock favorites, such as KISS and Aerosmith.
Here is the Season 3 schedule:
Jan. 6 – Purple Reign – A Tribute to Prince
Jan. 13 – Bella Donna – A Tribute to Stevie Nicks
Jan. 20 – Rhymin’ N Stealin’ – A Tribute to the Beastie Boys
Jan. 27 – The Long Run – A Tribute to The Eagles
Feb. 3 – The Garth Guy – A Tribute to Garth Brooks
Feb. 10 – No Duh – A Tribute to No Doubt
Feb. 17 – True 2 Crue – A Tribute to Motley Crue
Feb. 24 – The Pettybreakers – A Tribute to Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
March 3 – Draw The Line – A Tribute to Aerosmith
March 10 – Wings Band – A Tribute to Paul McCartney
March 24 – Bruce in the USA – A Tribute to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
March 31 – Abbacadabra – A Tribute to ABBA
April 7 – The Nirvana Experience – A Tribute to Nirvana
April 14 – Bonfire – A Tribute to AC/DC
April 21 – Mr. Speed – A Tribute to KISS
Watch a promo video for the new run of tribute concerts:
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I am loath to compare any movie to Martin Scorsese’s 1991 masterpiece “GoodFellas,” one of the most singularly vibrant films in the history of cinema. In the case of “American Hustle,” however, I will say that this latest triumph from director and co-writer David O. Russell has the kind of throbbing pulse, wicked snap and sheer moviemaking bravado that makes it one of a very few films that can be mentioned in the same breath as that earlier classic.
As with his previous gem, “Silver Linings Playbook,” Russell takes an idea that on paper absolutely shouldn’t work — four different unreliable narrators guide us through a funhouse version of the ABSCAM entrapment scheme — and makes it fly. More than that, actually, he makes it loop-de-loop and zoom to the clouds and buzz the tops of trees.
The movie opens with a pot-bellied Christian Bale elaborately gluing a toupee to his head and fluffing his comb-over around it, and for the next two-plus hours, “American Hustle” maintains that level of outrageous watchability. Bale plays Irving Rosenfeld, a dry-cleaner who runs successful art-forgery and personal-loan scams on the side. We see him fall madly in love with Sydney (Amy Adams), a self-made woman who shares his gift for fakery.
Despite the deepness of their bond, all is not well. For one thing, Irving’s got a wife, Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence), whom he calls “the Picasso of passive-aggressive.” (Indeed, at one point, Irving confronts Rosalyn over blurting out information that could cost him his life, and by the end of the conversation, he’s thanking her for it.) Rosalyn has a son, whom Irving has adopted, and she uses the boy to hang on to her man, refusing to grant him a divorce.
Irving’s bigger headache is Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper), an FBI agent who has busted Sydney and Irving on one of their scams and is now forcing them to use their skills at duplicity to nab him some bigger fish. What starts out as a straightforward bust against beloved Camden, N.J., mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner), whom Richie hopes to nab skimming a percentage of the money going into the construction of Atlantic City casinos, gets out of control very quickly.
Before long, Richie’s fake investment scheme is taking in not only congressmen and senators but also hardcore mobsters, the ones who aren’t going to play nice when this shell game eventually blows up. “American Hustle” forces us to change our affiliations constantly: Does Irving deserve Sydney? Is Sydney falling for Richie, or merely playing him? Is Carmine really a good guy at heart? Is Richie more duplicitous than the fraudsters he prosecutes? Does Rosalyn deserve happiness, and will she ever use a microwave oven without burning down the house?
Russell and Eric Singer’s whiz-bang script makes us wait for the answers, but part of what makes “American Hustle” so great is its ability, like its characters, to juggle multiple identities simultaneously. It’s a character piece, a thriller, a dark comedy and a con game all rolled in one, playing genre against genre in a way that’s riveting from start to finish.
Russell never plays the Carter-era excess for laughs, but he and his crew get the 1970s look just right, summoning yellows and browns and greens that haven’t been seen on film since “Good Times” went off the air. And fitting perfectly among the flocked wallpaper and turntables is his extraordinary ensemble cast.
Bale has never been funnier, but he never plays his chubby and be-wigged sleazeball for easy laughs. We see why his and Adams’ character go completely gaga for each other, but their portrayals don’t condescend; for all their aspirations and lapses in taste, they are the lids to each other’s pots. (After all, he’s a British actor playing American, and she’s playing an American who occasionally lapses into a hilariously iffy British accent as part of her crooked persona.)
And it’s not just the reuniting stars of “The Fighter” that excel here; so do “Silver Linings” vets Cooper and Lawrence, playing outsized eccentrics that could have been two-dimensional twits in lesser hands. (Lawrence also manages to give Adams a run for her money in Michael Wilkinson’s flashy, cleavage-riffic costumes.) Renner’s terrific, too, as a family man whose veneer of charm might hide some dark corners or, shockingly, genuine goodness.
Russell is one of this generation’s great directors of actors, and his entire ensemble is a thrill to watch, down to the walk-ons. (There are two immensely satisfying supporting turns from actors whose identity you should allow to be a surprise.)
Any number of movies have attempted to mimic the style and content of films by ’70s mavericks like Scorsese and Robert Altman, but rather than quote the masters, Russell instead channels their bravado, their chutzpah and their love of working without a net. The result is one of 2013’s most memorable movies, one that’s strong enough to have been one of 1979’s best as well.
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NBC topped Tuesday thanks mostly to a rebound performance from “The Voice” as Fox’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” climbed slightly in its midseason finale.
Airing entirely repeats, CBS managed to beat Fox and ABC in the key demo.
NBC was first in ratings with a 2.6 rating/7 share in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic and second in total viewers with an average of 9 million, according to preliminary numbers. ”The Biggest Loser” at 8 earned a 2.0/6 and 6.7 million viewers. “The Voice” at 9 received a 3.3/9 — the highest of the evening — and 11.9 million viewers. “Chicago Fire” at 10 got a 2.3/7 and 8.3 million viewers.
Also read: Super Bowl TV Advertising Sold Out, Fox Says
CBS was second in ratings with a 1.4/4 and first in total viewers with 10.1 million, with the all-repeat lineup.
Fox was third in ratings with a 1.3/4 and fourth in total viewers with 2.9 million. “Dads” at 8 earned a 1.4/4 and 3.3 million viewers. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” at 8:30 received a 1.6/5 and 3.7 million viewers. Following a repeat, “The Mindy Project” got a 1.2/3 and 2.4 million viewers.
ABC, Univision and The CW all tied for fourth in ratings, each with a 1.1/3. ABC was third in viewers with 3.6 million. Univision was fifth with 2.8 million. The CW was sixth with 2.5 million viewers.
For ABC, following a rerun, “The Goldbergs” at 9 earned a 1.4/4 and 4.5 million viewers. “Trophy Wife” at 9:30 earned a 1.1/3 and 3.5 million viewers. The premiere of “ABC News: What Would You Do?” at 10 got a 1.0/3 — down 41 percent from last season’s premiere, which was on a Friday in September — and 3.3 million viewers.
For The CW, “The Originals” at 8 earned a 1.1/3 and 2.4 million viewers. At 9, “Supernatural” received a 1.1/3 and 2.5 million viewers.
Telemundo was seventh in ratings with a 0.6/2 and in total viewers 1.5 million.
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Has “Jeopardy” host Alex Trebek ended the debate over how to pronounce “GIF”? Or reignited it?
People have pronounced GIF with both a hard and soft G since Steve White created the Graphics Interchange Format back in the 1980s. But in a “Jeopardy” answer Tuesday, the show noted that White says the soft G is correct. And Trebek took White’s side by pronouncing it that way.
As a Greg, I will never accept that. But I’m biased. I like my G’s hard.
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Jude Law is rude, crude and addicted to mayhem in “Dom Hemingway,” and the latest trailer makes the British crime comedy look especially enticing.
Law ditches his courtly persona to play a safecracker with anger issues. He gets released from prison and goes on a wild bender before trying to collect what he’s owed from the kingpin (Demian Bichir) he didn’t rat out. While he seems to have more than a few enemies after him, his biggest enemy appears to be himself.
“Game of Thrones” star Emilia Clarke plays his daughter in the April 4 release, directed by Richard Shepard (“The Matador”). But she doesn’t make an appearance in the red band trailer filled with topless women and a bottomless Law.
I guess you could say the trailer is NSFW.
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Paul Rudd and Vanessa Bayer are freaking out about Saturday’s musical guest, One Direction, in this week’s “SNL” promos.
If only the grown-man fanboy could memorize Bayer’s name, or she could stop stealing his lines. Fortunately, the “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” actor devises a mnemonic device to remember.
Later, the duo impress with some movie-magic special effects, getting patriotic in the process. And it’s revealed that Rudd may have hooked up with George Stephanopoulos while researching his role as newsman Brian Fantana.
The “Anchorman” sequel hits theaters Wednesday, Dec. 18.
Watch the promos for Saturday’s show:
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Nothing says Valentine’s Day like an acidic political thriller, so Netflix has chosen the date to unveil Season 2 of “House of Cards.”
The streaming service announced the date Wednesday. “House of Cards” follows the machinations of a congressional leader, brilliantly portrayed by Kevin Spacey, his calculating wife (Robin Wright) and an ambitious reporter (Kate Mara).
All 13 episodes will be released simultaneously. Earlier this week, Netflix appeared to be experimenting with the binge-watching format it popularized when it announced that it would offer episodes of the Dreamworks series “Turbo FAST” in staggered installments. It’s not messing with a formula that helped make “House of Cards” addictive company, however.
To get fans in the proper frame of mind for “House of Cards,” Netflix released a short, black and white teaser video of Wright dragging menacingly on a cigarette. Nicotine dependency has rarely appeared more menacing.
The second season finds Spacey’s character, Francis Underwood, threatened by the president’s billionaire confidante Raymond Tusk (a returning Gerald McRaney) while his wife must confront the increasing glare of the media spotlight. Confirmation hearings, roll calls and other Beltway power plays will likely factor in to the proceedings.
“House of Cards” has been integral to Netflix’s recent resurgence and has been a contributing factor in sending the online video pioneer’s stock to new highs. With “Orange is the New Black” and the revived “Arrested Development,” it proved Netflix could give match cable networks in terms of quality.
The company does not release ratings information, but some analysts have estimated that programs such as “Arrested Development” have added more than 100,000 domestic subscribers to the Netflix’s rolls.
“House of Cards,” which is produced by David Fincher (who won an Emmy for directing the first episode) has once again lined up some impressive behind-the-camera talent. Among this season’s directors are James Foley (“Glengarry Glen Ross”), Jodie Foster and Wright.
The series also stars Mahershala Ali (“Treme”), Sebastian Arcelus (“Person of Interest”), Kristen Connolly (“The Cabin in the Woods”), Nathan Darrow (“Rigged”), Sakina Jaffrey (“Definitely Maybe”), Michael Kelly (“The Adjustment Bureau”) and Molly Parker (“Deadwood”).
Media Rights Capital financed, packaged and produced the series for Netflix.
Watch the video:
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“Nebraska” star Will Forte returned as Ted Turner to “Conan” Tuesday — and complained that Conan O’Brien is running TBS into the ground.
“I founded TBS with one purpose — so people could enjoy Steven Seagal films without the nudity,” Forte-as-Turner said. “The way they were meant to be enjoyed. I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit here and watch my vision ruined by some sickly wig stand.”
The tough-talking media mogul didn’t mince words with the ginger-haired comic, labeling him a ”deformed Ron Howard,” “Molly Ringwald” and a “bulimic pumpkin.”
Turner also took the boots to Forte, branding him a “D-list bottom feeder” and threatening to kick him in the lips. But he conceded the former “Saturday Night Live” regular does a good impression of him, nailing “the voice, the look, the buffalo I’ve had surgically attached between my legs.”
Forte is currently earning some of the strongest reviews of his career for playing against type in “Nebraska.”
“‘MacGruber’ thinks he’s a dramatic actor now,” Turner practically spit. “Another fantastic decision by Hollywood. Hey, remember that guy who played a drag queen on ’30 Rock’? Me neither.”
Watch the video:
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Jon Stewart wondered on the “Daily Show” Tuesday what it’s like for Fox News to inhabit a “world of pure fear and despair” — especially around the holidays.
Stewart noted several recent Fox News stories, including one about a YMCA hosting a special swim class for Muslim girls, and another about people being robbed on the street.
“What is it like to inhabit a world of pure fear and despair where every inconsequential change in what was becomes a harbinger of a dystopian, post-America apocalypse where only Muslims can swim, and the sidewalk game where decent law-abiding white folk are randomly knocked out has replaced baseball as our national pastime?”
He says the network’s “sense of persecution” is always at its worst around the holidays — when it flags constant evidence of the “war on Christmas.” One story noted that a school isn’t allowing faith-based Christmas music.
“How can I enjoy my Christmas,” Stewart asked, “when I know that somewhere a little Jewish boy isn’t being forced to sing ‘Oh Little Town of Bethlehem’?”
He also made the case that the Pope — with his recent remarks against unchecked capitalism — may be waging the most aggressive war on Christmas.
Watch the video:
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Stephen Colbert, our nation’s self-proclaimed “most famous Catholic,” knew there was something funny about the newish holy leader — but what he didn’t realize until now is that Pope Francis is Batman.
Rumors have emerged that Pope Francis sneaks out of the Vatican at night in regular priest clothes and ministers to the homeless.
“Holy Holy Father, Nation!” Colbert exclaimed on Tuesday’s “Colbert Report.”
He then ran down the similarities between the high priest and Bruce Wayne, which are staggering: Both are wealthy bachelors who live alone in giant mansions, and each has his own special “mobile.”
“Not only that, Batman talks to Morgan Freeman, and the Pope talks to God — who is also Morgan Freeman,” Colbert pieced together.
The “Colbert Report” host added, “And just like the Bat-suit, the Pope-suit has nipples.”
So there’s that.
Watch the clip:
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A new trailer for Spike Jonze’s “Her” shows how two actual women in the life of Joaquin Phoenix’s character react to the news that he’s dating a computer.
Amy Adams plays a friendly acquaintance of Phoenix — a lonely, divorced writer. She is surprisingly accepting of his relationship with his operating system, Samantha, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. Rooney Mara plays his ex-wife, and she’s not nearly as cool with it.
“You always wanted to have a wife without the challenges of actually dealing with anything real,” Mara says in the video (above). “I’m glad that you found someone.”
What a buzzkill.
“Her” opens in limited release on Dec. 18 before expanding wide on Jan. 10.
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Fans of Frank Darabont’s former show, “The Walking Dead” like to defend its recent dull moments by saying it just has a slow pace. They should check out Darabont’s new limited-run series, “Mob City,” to see how a show can burn slowly and brightly at once.
It may feel like not much happens on “Mob City” – until you realize how much you’ve missed. The blind spot is a classic noir motif, and viewers watching “Mob City” have lots of them. The show’s pace feels like Darabont giving us a sporting chance of spotting clues we’ll probably miss anyway.
The setting is 1947 Los Angeles, where Hollywood glitz meets gangland slayings. The first two episodes, which air Wednesday, also flashback to the 1920s setting of “Boardwalk Empire.” The show airs two more back-to-back episodes for each of the next two weeks.
Darabont wrote and directed the first two episodes, and the “Shawshank Redemption” writer hasn’t lost his wit with his return to TV. He’s also happily reunited with Jon Bernthal, even better here than he was as the skulking Shane on “The Walking Dead.” As a morally ambiguous L.A. cop, he’s a joy to watch.
So is pretty much everyone. Ed Burns makes a great Bugsy (sorry, he hates that name) Siegel, a gangster with movie-star looks. Neal McDonough’s golden boy appeal is perfect for his role as future L.A. police chief (and Parker Center namesake) William Parker.
But the breakout star is Alexa Davalos, a veteran of Darabont’s 2007 “The Mist. She plays femme fatale Jasmine Fontaine, a shutterbug with neon lights outside her darkroom. The show’s second episode belongs largely to her, and she channels 1940s glamour down to the jaded transatlantic accent.
We’ve seen these characters before: the charming gangster, the loner with the dubious moral center, the incorruptible cop. They’ve aged well. Our familiarity with these types and their real-life inspirations make it easy to get comfortable with “Mob City” quickly. So does the Art Deco backdrop. The more it embraces the “Dick Tracy” brightness, the prettier its palate.
Set right between “Boardwalk” and “Mad Men,” it isn’t quite beautiful as either – but it does have by far the best cars. This is Los Angeles, after all.
It also lacks the snap of either period show, so far. Not every slow moment feels essential. But in two episodes, the show caught me completely off-guard twice. There’s no question Darabont knows what he’s doing.
“Mob City” premieres Wednesday on TNT at 9 p.m., followed by an episode at 10 p.m.
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We go into this week’s eliminations knowing that someone really good has to leave NBC’s “The Voice.” In the end, I think America righted a wrong that it made last week with its Instant Save.
Before we get to the results, “The Voice” had several fine musical guests on Tuesday’s show.
A pregnant Kelly Clarkson performed “Underneath The Christmas Tree” from her new holiday album and she’s still at the top of the game. By the way, was Carson Daly throwing shade at “American Idol” when he kept referring to their inaugural champ as “family”?
Watch her performance above.
It was also a homecoming for Season 1 alum Xenia. She reunited with her coach, Blake Shelton, on “Silver Bells.” I’ve always enjoyed Xenia’s style, but she really kept it very much low key for this song. I still remember her amazing rendition of Jessie J’s “Price Tag.” I’m going to have to check iTunes for what she has been up to since the show.
“The Voice” threw in another surprise by bringing on Extreme’s Nuno Bettencourt on “More Than Words” with Will Champlin, James Wolpert and Cole Vosbury. It was just as sentimental, cheesy and awesome as when it was on the charts in the early-’90s.
Now, to the semifinalists. The first three were revealed in this order: Team Christina Aguilera’s Jacquie Lee, Team Blake’s Cole Vosbury and Team Adam Levine’s Tessanne Chin.
Also read: ‘Blacklist’ Renewed for Season 2 by NBC
That leaves three very good singers in the Bottom 3: Team Christina’s Matthew, and Team Adam’s Will and James. Of the three, Will is the most naturally talented musician and thankfully he gets the pass into semifinals.
Between Matthew and James, I have to admit that James feels more authentic. I still don’t get what kind of musician Matthew is. And, honestly, his song choices haven’t helped – they have been all over the place. He’s a talented vocalist, but I don’t see him as an artist. I also felt he should have left last week instead of Ray Boudreaux.
Your semifinalists are Jacquie Lee, Cole Vosbury, Tessanne Chin, Will Champlin and James Wolpert.
Are you happy with the Final Five?
The post ‘The Voice’ Top 6 Results: The Better Musician Gets America’s Save (Video) appeared first on TheWrap.Related stories from TheWrap:
Newsweek plans to resume a weekly print edition in 2014 after stopping the presses last year — and its news backers want it to resemble The Economist more than long-time rival Time magazine.
Newsweek’s editor-in-chief Jim Impoco confirmed the magazine’s revival Tuesday following a report in the New York Times indicating Newsweek will reappear a 64-page weekly issue beginning in January or February.
The magazine, which had published weekly since 1933, ran what was expected to be its last print issue on Dec. 31, 2012.
“It’s going to be a more subscription-based model, closer to what The Economist is compared to what Time magazine is,” Impoco, who was formerly an editor at the New York Times, told the paper. “We see it as a premium product, a boutique product.”
Newsweek had been plagued by declining ad revenues, dwindling distribution and subscriptions, and increasing production costs for years before it was sold to audio engineering mogul Sidney Harman for $1 in 2009 – in exchange for Harman assuming all of the magazine’s debts and obligations.
The magazine merged with online news site The Daily Beast in 2010, but the unification of the two outlets was rocky from the start. Barry Diller, CEO of Daily Beast parent company IAC/InterActiveCorp announced his intention to sell Newsweek in April 2013, saying the purchase was a “mistake.”
“Printing a single magazine is a fool’s errand if that magazine is a news weekly,” Diller said at the time, citing the difficulty in competing with instant news through the internet and social media.
Also read: Newsweek Sold to IBT Media
“We have a very, very solid newsroom, [but] I don’t have great expectations,” he added. “I wish I hadn’t bought Newsweek. It was a mistake.”
IBT Media bought the magazine in August 2013 and installed Impoco as editor in September. Impoco indicated the new publisher was negotiating deals to save money on production costs, and hoped to build circulation to 100,000 in the first year of resumed print.