With its potent combination of an award-winning director and star (Robert Zemeckis and Denzel Washington), a celebrated supporting cast (among them, Don Cheadle, John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood and Melissa Leo), dark, emotional subject matter (alcoholism) and expertly executed spectacle (most notably a terrifying plane crash), the new drama Flight is sure to be one of the fall's leading Oscar contenders. The film, which was penned by actor/screenwriter John Gatins, casts Washington as commercial airline pilot Whip Whitaker, who manages to land his free-falling plane with a minimal loss of life. He's celebrated as a hero for his actions... until it emerges that he's got serious personal problems that may or may not have contributed to the crash. Following the film's premiere at the recently concluded New York Film Festival, the cast and crew of Flight answered questions from the press, including how the project first began and whether it cured (or contributed to) their fear of flying.
We're a week into the grand experiment known as The Jeff Probst Show, the new daytime chat program starring the guy who is better known for forcing a bunch of castaways on a lush tropical island to compete in challenges and then interrogating them over a bonfire. So far, it's been a strange ride, as the Survivorman has traded tribal warfare for gushy sit-downs with cancer victims, corporate drones-turned Starbucks employees and two of the richest people in America. If you can't get a handle on what this show is trying to be, you're not alone. Here are the ten burning questions we've got about The Jeff Probst Show after its first week on the air.
In an alternate universe, Rob Riggle may have become a pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps. In this version of Earth though, the Kentucky-born Riggle enlisted with the Marines in 1990 only to leave the corps not long after to pursue a career in comedy (he's still a Lieutenant Colonel in the Reserve). It took about a decade, but that career move has paid off. A tour of duty with New York's Upright Citizens Brigade led to guest spots on shows like The Office followed by a high-profile stint as a Daily Show correspondent. These days, Riggle is an established scene-stealer on film and television, popping up in everything from Tina Fey's 30 Rock to Tom Hanks's Larry Crowne. This weekend, Riggle has a small, but crucial turn in 21 Jump Street, playing a kooky gym teacher named Mr. Walters, who crosses paths with two undercover cops-turned-high school students (Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum) investigating a student-run drug ring. Riggle spoke to us about impersonating a gym teacher, his sketch comedy background and why going to UCB was like attending graduate school.
I'm just going to jump right in and address the 800-pound sombrero-wearing gorilla in the room: This pilot is racist. I don't care how accurate the premise is to Rob Schneider's real life, many of the jokes rely entirely on ugly stereotypes of Mexican-Americans. Even worse, it's yet another show that forces Hispanic-American actors to take these kinds of roles if they want to be on network TV. I could see how a person may argue that it's more a shock-humor type of deal and that this show explores a group of people who aren't often shown to mainstream American audiences. That argument might carry more weight if Rob didn't basically take the worst parts about the already-bad Jack and Jill (it even features Eugenio Derbez!) and let's-just-say-ridiculous A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas and stretch them into a series starring already-annoying Schneider.
After the last couple of seasons, which have been uneven at best, we weren't really sure what could be done to get us interested in Heroes again. Well, consider us interested. This season, the Heroes cross paths with some sinister circus folk, including a folksy Robert Knepper (T-Bag from Prison Break) and a knife-wielding Ray Park (Darth Maul and Snake Eyes). The pair got on a conference call recently to talk to us about their characters, and we were treated to two awesome stories from Knepper -- about scaring people on elevators and hanging out with Christopher Walken -- and the startling revelation that Park once wanted to be Teen Wolf. Our minds have been blown. Read for yourself after the jump.
We love this show. We do. And while this season hasn't knocked it out of the park in quite the same way the first season did, it's still better than half the crap that's airing on TV. But honestly, this show leaves us with more questions than Lost. Here's what we're desperate to find out in the finale, but know these secretive sorts behind-the-scenes will probably keep us hanging during the long-long-long wait until Season 3 begins. That's if anything of any consequence actually even happens in the finale. Here's hoping. And fingers crossed that creator Matthew Weiner and the cast get those contracts signed soon so they can actually start making Season 3, when we'll likely be given even more questions and less answers.
One of the least egregiously wrong things about 1995's Batman Forever (aside from the inclusion of Seal's "Kiss from a Rose" on the soundtrack) was the fact that they didn't get Robin's origin completely wrong. Dick Grayson and his parents were acrobats in a traveling circus, and the parents were killed by a gangster. Why they were killed and by what gangster doesn't really matter, just that Batman took the orphaned boy in and taught him to fight crime, grooming the man who would one day be his successor... you know, if he doesn't get horribly killed in the line of duty first. Well, the producers of Smallville have decided that if Joel Schumacher himself can't destroy something that isn't broken, then they sure as hell can. The show's creators weren't allowed to do Batman: The Early Years, so now their successors are going to do Robin: The Beginning.
In the consumer culture we inhabit, company spokesmen have long been elevated to the equal status alongside their legitimate cartoon and comic-book brethren. Captain Crunch, Ronald McDonald and the football-playing Fox Sports Robot are among the corporate shills who have been immortalized as action figures, hanging on racks alongside G.I. Joe and Spongebob for nostalgic reasons, kitsch factor or sheer coolness of design alone. And I think that's awesome. But we are about to enter a new age: the age of the TV production company mascot toy.
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