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    The 20 Best Movies of 2014 (So Far)

    Filed under: Movies, Best Movies Ever
    best movies 20142014 is shaping up to be a really, really great year for movies.

    When last we checked in, we gave a list of 10 of the best movies of the year. And as the months have worn on, we'd decide to check back in, and give you another sampling of the best the year has to offer.

    There were some notable omissions and things that we left off just because they haven't come out yet, but what strikes us about this crop of films is just how different they are -- there are personal epics and outer space fantasias; movies about apes, trains and abortion (not to mention Scarlett Johansson, throwing people through walls). What could be better than that?

    So read on for our list, revisit the last one (the latter slides below), and let us know what we left off, what we screwed up on -- and what you're looking forward to in the months to come.

    Best of Late Night TV: Serena Williams' Shattering Serve and Giada De Laurentiis' Game of Catchphrase (VIDEO)

    If you're like us and value your sleep, you probably nodded off into your Ambien dreamland before the party started on post-prime time TV. Don't worry; we've got you covered. Here's the best of what happened last night on late night.

    Let's get started with a game of Catchphrase on "The Tonight Show," shall we? Food Network's Giada De Laurentiis teamed up with Jimmy Fallon against Artie Lange and Steve Higgins, and...um...she's kind of insanely competitive. Let's just say she takes winning very seriously. Also, let's just say that her pronunciation of the word "spaghetti" alone makes this clip worth watching.

    Of course, Giada couldn't get away from "The Tonight Show" without whipping up some food (she is a chef, after all!), and forced Jimmy to pound out a bunch of veal while he mocked her pronunciation. In other news, Giada should probably start saying "ravioli" in a normal way before she has a late night uprising on her hands.

    Josh Brolin also made an appearance on "The Tonight Show," where he promptly whipped out a red bandana and celebrated the 30th anniversary of our favorite childhood movie, "The Goonies." But would he star in the cult classic's rumored sequel? (Spoiler alert: he totally would.)
    Jennifer Lopez visited "Chelsea Lately" to celebrate Chelsea's final month of being a talk show hostess with the mostess, and chatted about life as a single lady. Turns out Jenny From The Block isn't one to "whore around" (her words!) and wants to be in another committed relationship. The real question: does she like older guys or younger guys better?

    Finally, Serena Williams made an appearance on "The Late Show," and competed with David Letterman to see who could break the windows of a New York City deli...by serving a tennis ball. You can guess how that turned out for David. Hilariously.

    New 'Walking Dead' Teaser Features Screaming, Uncertainty, and...Gas Masks? (VIDEO)

    Walking Dead, Walking Dead Season 5, Daryl Dixon
    "We don't know what's coming next," a character intones during the new teaser for the upcoming fifth season of "The Walking Dead." Based on the clip's ambiguous imagery and super-short running time, viewers don't know, either -- but it seems that they should be afraid.

    Marked by anguished screams and imagery of ominous, gas mask-wearing folks, it seems that there's some serious mayhem awaiting Rick and his people at Terminus, the mysterious settlement at which the group arrived -- and was detained -- at the end of season four. Based on fan speculation, the population of Terminus is believed to be (SPOILER) a group of cannibals, and it certainly seems like someone is about to become dinner in this clip.

    There are also very brief glimpses of Rick and Daryl hiding in the shadows, as well as what appears to be a person lying on a table, with someone else hunched over them. Who are those people, and what are they doing? Whatever the answer, it's most likely pretty unappetizing.

    Season five of "The Walking Dead" premieres on AMC on October 12.

    via: Uproxx

    Photo credit: YouTube

    Chris Pratt Dressed as Star-Lord for a Visit to a Children's Hospital, Melting Our Hearts in the Process

    Filed under: Movies
    The Cinema Society With Men's Fitness & FIJI Water Host A Screening Of
    After starring in "Guardians of the Galaxy," Chris Pratt is proving to be a real-life superhero, too, after making a visit -- in costume -- to a children's hospital, where he hosted a "Guardians" screening, passed out toys, and posed for pictures with patients.

    Pratt visited Children's Hospital Los Angeles on Wednesday for a special screening coordinated by Marvel and Children's Miracle Network, and snuck out during the show to don his Peter Quill/Star-Lord costume, surprising everyone when the lights came up. The actor spent more than three hours meeting with patients and their families, signing autographs, taking hundreds of photos, giving out "Guardians" toys, and letting kids try on his costume. Pratt also met with patients who were too sick to attend the screening, including one 8-year-old boy who recognized the actor's voice from his starring role in "The Lego Movie." Pratt and the boy "spent about 10 minutes reciting different scenes from the film," according to E!.

    This is just the latest example of Pratt using his newfound fame for good, after he surprised a group of kids attending a charity-sponsored "Guardians" screening in New York City last month. "This is what it is all about," Pratt told the New York Daily News at the time.

    Three cheers to Pratt for making these kids' days. Now excuse us, we've got something in our eyes...

    [via E!, h/t Yahoo! Movies]

    Photo credit: Getty Images

    13 WTF Moments In MTV VMAs History (VIDEO)

    Filed under: TV
    2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Show
    If there's one award show out there where pretty much anything can happen, it's gotta be the MTV Video Music Awards. Sure, MTV isn't really in the music video airing business anymore, but that doesn't mean this annual ceremony isn't still an event where music's brightest stars get to go a bit wild.

    The 2014 Video Music Awards air this Sunday, August 24 and we can't wait to see what kind of ridiculousness will go down. Whether it's the crazy fashion, out-there performances, or totally random incidents (we're talking about you, stage crashers), the VMAs have continuously left us going ... "what just happened?"

    It's been quite the ride over the years. Let's take a look at some of the most outrageous, totally WTF moments from MTV VMAs past:

    'Sin City: A Dame to Kill For' Review: 10 Things You Need to Know About the Comic-Book Sequel

    Filed under: Movies, Reviews
    sin city a dame to kill for reviewIf you have forgotten a little bit about "Sin City," we can't blame you.

    The original film came out way back in 2005, before the onslaught of comic book adaptations, when a time of 1:1 approximations and largely computer-generated backgrounds were something to behold. Since then, we take these things for granted. Not that there's been anything like "Sin City" in the 10 years since it's been released -- it remains something of a technical and narrative achievement, an anthology film that Xeroxed images and tableaus from the comic book almost perfectly and retained its nifty film noir style and structure.

    Now, director Robert Rodriguez and co-director Frank Miller (who also wrote and drew the original comic books) are back, with "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For," which stars Eva Green (as the titular dame), Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Josh Brolin.

    But is it worth it to return to "Sin City"? Or are you better off staying at home, pouring a tall glass of whiskey, and enjoying the first one all over again? Read on to find out!

    1. It's Pretty Similar to the First One...
    What's sort of surprising is how similar this "Sin City" installment is to the first film. Visually, it's almost identical, with one notable exception (more on that in a minute). But more than that the feel of "Sin City" -- that rainy, black-and-white gloom that is such a big part of the franchise. Mickey Rourke, back in his extensive Marv prosthetics, looks like he had just come off of the set of the first movie (ditto Jessica Alba and Bruce Willis) and the structure is almost identical, with a string of interlocking vignettes that all deal with lowlifes, criminals, femme fatales, and scumbags.

    2. ... Except a Bunch of Cast Members Have Been Replaced
    One of the odder elements of "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For," though, is the fact that so many characters from the original film return, but have been replaced by other actors. The most notable example of this is Josh Brolin, who takes over from Clive Owen. In the first film, someone notices that the character of Dwight has "changed his face." In the story in this "Sin City," which takes place before the events of the first film, we see a very different Dwight. (Instead of just having Clive Owen come in, though, Brolin just wears funky make-up in the final scene.) Additionally, Dennis Haysbert takes over from Michael Clarke Duncan, who passed away before filming commenced on the sequel and Jamie Chung essaying Miho (Devon Aoki played the character in the first film but couldn't return). Also, weirdly, Jeremy Piven plays a character that was played by Michael Madsen in the first film, even though that character gets killed here in a story that predates the original "Sin City." It's enough to make your head spin.

    3. The 3D Is Really Terrific
    "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" co-director Robert Rodriguez has always been high on 3D. When he released "Spy Kids 3D," it predated "Avatar" and "Alice in Wonderland" in terms of being a wide-release digital 3D movie (even if you still had to wear the lame blue-and-red glasses). So when it came to applying 3D to "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For," he did so with gusto. And the results are pretty breathtaking. For the black-and-white shots, the 3D is accomplished by giving the blacks a velvety blue shimmer, when some sequences screaming to be in 3D -- like when Eva Green splashes down into a pool and Rodriguez mirrors the image. It's really something.

    4. Lady Gaga Has a Cameo
    Just thought you should know.

    5. Eva Green Continues to Kill It
    Earlier this year, Eva Green co-starred in "300: Rise of an Empire," a sequel/prequel/spin-off of sorts from "300." Both "300" and "300: Rise of an Empire" were based on comic books written and drawn by Frank Miller (in the case of the latter, the book has yet to be published). Now she's starring in another Frank Miller adaptation, playing another feisty femme fatale, and totally killing it. She is very much a dame to kill for, but does her own killing too. She's stunningly gorgeous, funny, and quite witty, and she slinks around "Sin City" like she's lived there for years. The role might have been intended for Angelina Jolie, but Eva Green makes for an even better dame.

    6. Some of the Stories Are New
    Fans of the comic book will still get a kick out of the new material that's been folded into "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For." Two of the four stories are brand-new, and they're both pretty terrific. "The Long Bad Night" features a cocksure gambler (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who runs afoul of villain Senator Roark (Powers Boothe). This story rules. The second new addition to the canon is "Nancy's Last Dance," which follows Jessica Alba's character from the first film as she deals with the fallout of Bruce Willis' death and plots her own revenge against Roark. This is also the only story to take place after the events of the first "Sin City," I believe.

    7. It's Spectacularly Violent
    Just in case you were curious -- there are still a lot of lobbed-off heads.

    8. Not Every Actor Is Comfortable With Rodriguez's Shooting Style
    At Comic Con this year, Josh Brolin recounted a story from the production of the movie. Rodriguez had wanted Brolin to come onboard "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" (the two had been friends since Rodriguez shot second unit on Guillermo del Toro's "Mimic," which starred a young Josh Brolin) and was finally able to secure him. When he got to the set, Brolin asked where Mickey Rourke was. Working with Mickey Rourke had been a dream of Brolin's and one of the primary reasons he agreed to sign on. "Oh," Rodriguez said. "He finished his part three months ago." Brolin was sort of mad, but took it in stride. The way Rodriguez puts these movies together is that he gets the actors to come in and film their parts separately. It takes about three days, and they usually don't work with other actors, just a few props, photographed against a large green background. Most of the actors in the movie seem pretty comfortable with this... Others do not. Christopher Meloni, for one, who plays a cop wooed by Eva Green's character, feels wooden and uncomfortable.

    9. Eva Green Is Naked a Lot
    Woo!

    10. "Sin City 3" Is Very Much Worth Looking Forward To
    Overall, the feeling you get while watching "Sin City: A Dame to Kill" is a good one -- warm, and gooey, like blood trickling down your forehead. The world that Rodriguez and Miller have creative is vivid and engrossing. And you kind of want another installment sooner rather than later. Prolonged time away from Sin City is never a good thing.

    Kristen Stewart & Nicholas Hoult's Ice Bucket Challenge Is a Little Different (VIDEO)

    Filed under: Movies, Worth Watching

    Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult are the latest celebs to join the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge craze, and posted a video in which they not only douse themselves with water, but stick their heads in their full buckets for good measure.

    The clip features "Equals" co-stars Stewart and Hoult, alongside friend Scott Fahrendorf, calling out Anne Hathaway (who nominated Stewart), then dunking their heads in their buckets before pouring the contents over their entire bodies. Hoult and Fahrendorf then dump an even larger bucket onto the sopping wet Stewart.

    After the stunt, Stewart nominated her pals Jenny Lewis and Brie Larson (with whom she recently starred in the music video for Lewis's tune "Just One of the Guys"), as well as her "Equals" costar Jacki Weaver. Hoult nominated a trio of former costars: Craig Roberts ("Kill Your Friends"), Joe Dempsie ("Skins"), and Colin Firth ("A Single Man"). They also urged people to be responsible with water conservation in drought-plagued California, noting that all their water was dirty bathwater leftovers.

    Check out the video below, and just try not to shiver.



    [via: Popsugar]

    Photo credit: Getty Images

    Matthew Weiner on the Downside of Technology, the Warmth of Zack Galifianakis, and the 'Mad Men' Finale

    Filed under: Interviews, Movies
    Matthew Weiner Are You Here Interview"Are You Here" writer and director Matthew Weiner spent the last two decades in television, in which he was instrumental in bringing not one but two of the most popular and important TV shows of the era, "The Sopranos" and "Mad Men" to the small screen. Once production wrapped on HBO's acclaimed mob series, Weiner started work on a '60s-era drama centered on New York's most prestigious ad agencies, "Mad Men," ultimately winning seven Emmys in as many years. Now, with the latter almost in his rear-view, he turns his attention to the big screen.

    As Weiner told Moviefone, he's concerned with storytelling and less focused on the medium, be it television, film, or theater. With that attitude, it should come as no surprise that the USC Film School alum makes his directorial feature debut this summer. His new movie, "Are You Here," stars Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis, and Amy Poehler in a tale of two childhood friends on a road trip home in the wake of a father's death.

    In a candid conversation with Weiner, after revealing the five road trip movies he loves the most, we discussed the ill effects of technology, the warmth of Zack Galifianakis, and the "Mad Men" finale.

    Moviefone: I recently re-watched your appearance on "The Colbert Report." You seem very interested in America and its transitionary period of the 1960s and '70s.

    Matthew Weiner: I am. With "Are You Here," I really was trying to make a '70s movie and what I see in it is, there's a kind of social consciousness that's taken for granted and it just sorta made its way into the movie. What you get is a kind of grittiness, there's this mixture of tone that is closer to real life than the movie version of life. And a recognition that the world is changing around us and it's a strange feeling. The answer to this depressing question of What can I do about everything changing? Or what's happening to the country? Or what's happening to the world? Or is it just me getting older? is that you have an amazing gift of just being alive. And that's what I feel in a lot of these [road trip movies] no matter what the endings are like. There's always a kind of an answer to the question -- and it's certainly what I try to do in "Are You Here" –- saying, there is gratitude for friendships, there is gratitude for food. There's so much that is smaller than everything else we concentrate on, that is right in front of us, which we take completely for granted –- mostly other people.

    Do you think as the country has developed, particularly with technology, we've gotten away from that a little bit?

    I think that whenever there is a technological revolution, people tend to get irrational [laughs] and embrace things that are not substantiated by science or reason and that can be scary also. They can revert back to religion, either fanatical or intolerant. They can cling to the past, but I think for the most part it can be a reformation of the best parts of us, and we've done it on the show ["Mad Men"] about littering. We talked about garbage. Just the idea that there's consciousness about throwing garbage out the window.

    I'm not a luddite; I love phones. I'm not a vegetarian. I just like to appreciate the fact that I don't want to be driven further and further away from people and from nature. And I think it is a reaction to massive technological change.

    How did the cast of "Are You Here" come together?

    When you make an independent movie, everything is dependent on casting. Probably, when you make any movie at this point. What you hope is that the actors are interested in the material and interested in working with you. I wrote the movie for Owen [Wilson]. It was about seven or eight years ago, and I got to meet him... and I said I want you to read this movie, I wrote it for you, and he said "yes."

    Zack [Galifianakis] was not someone I knew about when I was writing it, but in the back of my mind, these two characters were Chevy Chase and Jon Belushi. Jon Hamm introduced me to Zack and Zack's work, and it was right before "The Hangover." I was like, this guy is so, so funny, so physical, and he has so much heart. I think you can see it in everything he does. His warmth counteracts anything he can ever say; you can just feel it. Amy [Poehler] I was a huge fan of, and I thought she would be amazing for Zack's sister. The casting, once you have the script, is the most important part of getting any film off the ground. I was very lucky everything coincided.

    Why did you venture into filmmaking at this point, especially with "Mad Men" still on the air?

    The script is something I wrote when I was at "The Sopranos." I always thought it would be my first movie, and it was a story that I knew was a movie, and something I had to say. I'm kind of motivated by story and then I kept trying to get it going and never really had time, or couldn't get an actress... The cast has to get a lot of traction on it... We actually shot the movie, did a season of "Mad Men," and then finished the movie.

    If you could produce only TV or movies for the rest of your career, which would you choose?

    I don't know. I hate to say it, but I don't even think of it that way. You have ideas for storytelling and it's a very specific thing. What story becomes a short story? What story becomes a play? What story becomes a novel? It's really that different. And the idea for a TV show has to have such a complex premise to sustain a long period that it's a different kind of idea. The idea for a movie has to have a climax built into a very short space and have a real sense of resolution. That's not really part of TV. You think of an idea for a play, you're like, I think this happens in one room, or two rooms; it's like four or five people. That would be the most boring movie in the world.

    One thing is that I love watching TV, and I love watching movies, but I had no idea that I would end up being a television dramatist. I had no idea. It's been incredible. I didn't even know the [TV] world existed when I went to film school, and it turned out to be so exciting and fulfilling. I never expect to have this kind of success again with a TV show, but the pleasure of how quickly things are done once the show is running. And writing scripts that you don't have to sell because you have to shoot another one tomorrow. It's literally just blueprints of story. It's a very different environment.

    Are you nervous about the audience's expectation to the "Mad Men" finale?

    Not yet. We were all so happy with how it came off from a production standpoint. It was something I'd wanted to do for years, and the writers all felt good about it, that it was the right thing. But I have no idea how the audience will react to anything. I'm not kidding. [laughs] I'm never right, I'm never right. [laughs] Because I've been so lucky to have people be enthusiastic about the show, I still don't know all the time what they like or don't like. I can't work backwards that way. I use the audience that I have access to, which is my wife, my writers, my actors, certainly, and the people that I work with. Those are the people. No one lies to me around here. One of the great things about this experience, and I don't know if it's just my personality, but no one has ever hesitated to tell me that they don't like something.

    It gets to the point where you just can't worry about the audience. They've put enough trust in you so far.

    I would not say I don't worry about them because I am an entertainer, and I really am on my knees to them half the time. I'm always trying to excite them, and surprise them, and please them, but what will actually happen, I have no idea. And, in fact, there are so many stages of reaction at this point. "Mad Men" came about as the recapping thing happened. There was a little bit of it at the end of "The Sopranos," but the internet blew up, really, probably from the finale of "The Sopranos."

    There are the people who write about the show while they're watching it, and then there are the people who write about it the next week, and then there are the people who write about it the next season. And then there are the people watching it on Netflix six years later. I'm carrying all of that and it's all different, ya know? It's all different.

    George R.R. Martin Teases Lots of Death in the Next 'Game of Thrones' Books

    Filed under: TV
    HBO's
    Readers have been anxiously awaiting the next installment of George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series, a.k.a. the books that spawned the hit HBO show "Game of Thrones." But they may not be too happy to hear that Martin plans to off a bunch of characters in the next few novels.

    While appearing at a roundtable event in London with fellow fantasy author Robin Hobb this week, Martin dropped the bomb that as he plans out the next chapters in the "Ice and Fire" series, he's preparing some serious bloodshed.

    "The way my books are structured, everyone was together, then they all went their separate ways and the story deltas out like that," Martin explained, "and now it's getting to the point where the story is beginning to delta back in, and the viewpoint characters are occasionally meeting up with each other now and being in the same point at the same time, which gives me a lot more flexibility for killing people."

    Ah yes -- nothing like some flexible killing, right? But before "Game of Thrones" fans throw a fit at the thought of losing more beloved characters, Martin reminded them that the series wouldn't be nearly as compelling without all its twists, turns, and, yes, death.

    "I could have written a story about a well-adjusted family," the author said. "Ned Stark comes down to King's Landing and takes over and solves all their problems. Would that have been as exciting?"

    We're guessing not.

    [via: BuzzFeed, h/t Uproxx]

    Photo credit: Getty Images

    'Harry Potter' Director David Yates May Work His Magic on 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them'

    Filed under: Movies
    "Harry Potter" spinoff "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" may be adding a familiar face to the director's chair.

    Variety reports that David Yates, who helmed several "Potter" films, including the two-part "Deathly Hallows," is in serious negotiations to direct "Beasts." So far it seems he's just in contention for the first film in the planned trilogy, based on the titular fictional textbook used by Harry and his friends in the "Potter" books and movies.

    According to Variety, there is no production schedule in place just yet for "Beasts," and Yates is currently tied up with filming another flick, "Tarzan," until November. But the trade notes that his existing relationship with studio Warner Bros. -- following his direction of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1," and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" -- made him a prime target to direct "Beasts."

    " ... [T]he studio had always wanted to approach a person who was familiar with the 'Harry Potter' landscape and Yates, director of the last four films in the franchise, was a no brainer for WB," Variety writes. "The move draws comparisons to other filmmakers like Peter Jackson returning for 'The Hobbit' and Sam Mendes on 'James Bond,' who, after insisting they were done with a certain franchise, ultimately came back to a piece of material they were comfortable tackling again."

    "Beasts" follows textbook author Newt Scamander, a magizoologist who works with mythical creatures, as a young man living in New York City. The story is set about 70 years before the events of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," and author J.K. Rowling is making her screenwriting debut with the script.

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

    [via: Variety]

    Photo credit: Getty Images

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