‘Awkward’ Season 3 Junior Year: “The Thursday Night of High School”

Jenna (Ashley Rickards) and Matty (Beau Mirchoff) Awkward episode "Cha-cha-cha-changes"  Thursday of high school

Jenna (Ashley Rickards) and Matty (Beau Mirchoff) Awkward episode “Cha-cha-cha-changes” Junior year is the Thursday night of high school

Lacey (Nikki Deloach) and Jenna (Ashley Rickards) Awkward episode "Responsibly Irrisponsible" 16 and Pregnant

Lacey (Nikki Deloach) and Jenna (Ashley Rickards) Awkward episode “Responsibly Irrisponsible” 16 and Pregnant

Tamara (Jillian Rose Reed), Jake (Brett Davern) and Jenna (Ashley Rickards) Awkward Episdoe "Cha-cha-cha-changes" Jakara is born.

Tamara (Jillian Rose Reed), Jake (Brett Davern) and Jenna (Ashley Rickards) Awkward Episdoe “Cha-cha-cha-changes” Jakara is born.

Collin (Nolan Funk) and Jenna (Ashley Rickards) Awkward episode "Cha-cha-cha-changes" Mr. Hart's class

Collin (Nolan Funk) and Jenna (Ashley Rickards) Awkward episode “Cha-cha-cha-changes” Mr. Hart’s class

Tamara (Jillian Rose Reed), Jenna (Ashley Rickards) and Ming (Jessica Lu) Awkward episode "Cha-cha-cha-changes" Flow

Tamara (Jillian Rose Reed), Jenna (Ashley Rickards) and Ming (Jessica Lu) Awkward episode “Cha-cha-cha-changes” Flow

Jenna (Ashley Rickards) and Matty (Beau Mirchoff) Awkward episode "Resonsibly Irresponsible" Sanctuary Love

Jenna (Ashley Rickards) and Matty (Beau Mirchoff) Awkward episode “Resonsibly Irresponsible” Sanctuary Love

Jake (Brett Davern), Tamara, Matty (Beau Mirchoff) and Jenna (Ashley Rickards) Awkward episode "Responsibly Irresponsible" RIP Ricky

Jake (Brett Davern), Tamara, Matty (Beau Mirchoff) and Jenna (Ashley Rickards) Awkward episode “Responsibly Irresponsible” RIP Ricky

Jenna (Ashley Rickards) and Jake (Brett Davern) Awkward episode "Responsibly Irresponsible" Keggers and Confessions

Jenna (Ashley Rickards) and Jake (Brett Davern) Awkward episode “Responsibly Irresponsible” Keggers and Confessions

Jenna (Ashley Rickards) and Matty (Beau Mirchoff) Awkward episode "A Little Conversation" Okay babe

Jenna (Ashley Rickards) and Matty (Beau Mirchoff) Awkward episode “A Little Conversation” Sure babe

Ming (Jessica Lu) and mute Henry Awkward Episode "A Little Conversation"

Ming (Jessica Lu) and mute Henry Awkward Episode “A Little Conversation” The beard

Jake (Brett Davern), Tamara (Jillian Rose Reed), Ming (Jessica Lu) and Matty (Beau Mirchoff) Awkward episode "A Little Conversation" BFGFBFF

Jake (Brett Davern), Tamara (Jillian Rose Reed), Ming (Jessica Lu) and Matty (Beau Mirchoff) Awkward episode “A Little Conversation” BFGFBFF

Ming (Jessica Lu), Jenna (Ashley Rickards) and Tamara (Jillian Rose Reed) Awkward Episode "A Little Conversation" Ming is on the down low with Fred Wu

Ming (Jessica Lu), Jenna (Ashley Rickards) and Tamara (Jillian Rose Reed) Awkward Episode “A Little Conversation” Ming is on the down low with Fred Wu

 

(Spoilers)

MTV’s Awkward season 3 premiered last week with back-to-back episodes: “Cha-cha-cha-changes” and “Responsibly Irresponsible.”   Every year is marked by a mystery.  This year seems to be the mystery of who was responsible for Ricky Swartz’s (Matthew Fahey) death.  Is it me or is Lissa (Greer Grammer) a little too upset about Ricky having a peanut allergy?  Makes me wonder if she wasn’t one of his many hookups.  He did get a lot of yogurt over the summer.  RIP Ricky Swartz.  Who knew you were such a budding boob artist.  He took his mother’s prolonged breast-feeding and man-whore ways as inspiration for his pimp self-portrait.

Everyone reacts to Ricky’s death differently.  Matty gets all touchy-feely because unlike Ricky, he is still alive.  He wants to spread his love around by trying to have sex with Jenna in public.  He then embraces Jake and advises him to tell Tamara how he feels.  Tamara is feels guilty and thinks she is responsible for Ricky’s death.  He online spells and voodoo doll of Ricky must have did the trick.  She lashes out by saying everyone even Jake is being insensitive about Ricky’s death.

At the end of season 2, Jenna (Ashley Rickards) picked Matty (Beau Mirchoff) over Jake (Brett Davern).   She then made the decision to stay with her boyfriend over the summer instead of going on the Europe trip with Tamara (Jillian Rose Reed).

The season opens up with Jenna coming out of her Matty bubble and feeling apprehensive about the new school year.  She didn’t speak to BFF Tamara or Ming (Jessica Lu) all summer.  It’s assumed her first day jitters are from feeling out of the loop with her friends but turns out to be much more.  Val (Desi Lydic) enrolled her into a creative writing class without her knowledge.  The sadistic tyrant of a teacher, Mr. Hart is wonderfully portray by Anthony Michael Hall (Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles fame).  He yells at the students and has them quaking in fear.  Mr. Hart has everyone write down their fears and he reads them out loud.  One fear in particular catches everyone’s attention: “I am debating my fear of life and death and wondering if it should be my choice.”  Prep school transfer and potential new crush Collin (Nolan Funk of Glee) points out the fear is about pregnancy and not suicide.  He’s cute, deep and smart.  Matty better watch out.

Jenna later confesses to Matty she is afraid of being left behind and all alone.  Matty assures Jenna that won’t happen because she has him.  Everyone is in their own little world and Jenna has no one to confide in except her mom, Lacy (Nikki Deloach).  They have come along way since the care-frontation letter.  Jenna sees that out of everyone, her mom will understand what she is going through.  Turns out all the feelings of doubt Jenna is going through is from a pregnancy scare.  She realizes after talking to her mom that if she was pregnant, she would make the choice to keep the baby like her mom decided to keep her.  Disaster averted for now.  Jenna is not going to be a new character on 16 and Pregnant.  With some words of wisdom from her mom and a plaque on the OBGYN wall, Jenna realizes she has to be the vigilant one because girls get pregnant and not boys.  After weeks of fending off Matty and keeping quiet about the pregnancy scare, Jenna gets birth control, gets drunk at the Ricky Swartz kegger memorial, and blurts out to Jake about almost being preggers.

Tamara and Jake made a connection while on their Europe trip.  They declare their love in French and call one another “TT” and “Jacque.”   It is quite hilarious and I especially love Jake’s Euro scarf and sunglasses.  They are morphing into one person, even creating a couple’s Facebook page.  Tamara is still a little uncertain if the connection was only a vacation fling or if it will translate into a lasting relationship now that they are state side.  Jake is a self-proclaim serial monogamous so it isn’t long before Tamara gets the DTR she needs.  Jakenna is dead and Jakara is in business.

Ming (Jessica Lu) revealed she was working for her grandparents in Moorpark all summer and learning Mandarin.  She seems a little secretive with her Asian Mafia reconnect and having quiet Asian boy, Henry follow her around.  Henry doesn’t say much and seems to only be available for boob grabs and “tune-ups” at the sanctuary.  The Asian mafia and Becca (Jessica Van) notices.  They grill Ming about Henry and the relationship.  As it turns, out Ming is playing the mafia.  Henry is her beard because she is still seeing Fred Wu (Kelly Sry) on the down low.  The Asian mafia had Fred’s house re-districted so he had to transfer to a new school.  Ming is fighting back with her newfound Chinese language skills and staying one step ahead of the mafia.

Sadie (Molly Tarlov) is still bitchy and biting but not exactly acting like herself.  She is seen throwing up in the bathroom and overeating that leads everyone to think she is carrying Ricky Swartz’s love child. The school goes from offering condolences to suspecting she had something to do with Ricky’s death.  Sadie quickly turns into the school pariah.  Sadie’s family is broke.  Her father left town and her mother is in rehab for exhaustion.  Sadie is alone at school at home.  She confides in Matty and turns to him for a shoulder to cry on.  Sadie isn’t throwing up because of a bun in the oven but from a possible eating disorder.  Jenna tries to console Sadie but she won’t have Hammil-toe feeling sorry for her.  Sadie’s dislike for Jenna stems from seeing in Jenna strengths that she, herself doesn’t possess.  Jenna was the school cliché two years ago and she survived it by not letting it destroy her.  Then Jenna gets Matty, the guy that Sadie has always crushed on.  Sadie is question by Val and a private investigator.  Ricky’s death was sexual in nature so Sadie being the last girl he was with is the main suspect.  Sadie reveals it couldn’t be her because she is still a virgin.

The third episode, “A Little Less Conversation” aired Tuesday, April 23.  Matty knows about the pregnancy scare from Jake at the end of episode 2.  He was upset but now wants to talk to Jenna.  Fearing Matty may want to break-up Jenna uses all types of tactics to avoid being alone with Matty.  She tries to distract him with sex and then resorts to going on a BFGFBFF double date with Tamara, Jake, Ming, and mute Henry.  Chinese fire drills (no offense Ming and Henry) and charades only makes things worst.  Jake and Jenna have an almost Vulcan mind meld with their skills of guessing each other’s clues and having inside jokes about songs.  Tamara who is not one to keep quiet calls Jenna out on it saying she isn’t borrowing Jake like the necklace Jenna let her wear that Jake gave her.  Tamara and Jake are together now.  Jenna needs to stop avoiding the conversation because she doesn’t want to be hurt.  Only now she is hurting Matty. Jake comes in and apologizes to Tamara after taking only a few minutes to figure out the Jenna/Jake show wasn’t sitting well with Tamara or Matty.   Tamara admits Jake is the girl so it makes them both the girls in the relationship.  The moment of truth.  Jenna overhears Matty talking to Sadie about how he would like o come over but has to talk to Jenna first.  They finally come clean about everything.  Matty wonders why it can’t be easy with them like it is with Jenna and Jake.  Jenna tells Matty her and Jake are friends and she has always found it easy to talk to Jake.  Could it be because Jake always told Jenna how he felt.  She never had to wonder.  Matty wants to be the one Jenna confide in.  He doesn’t want to only feel connected with her when they have sex.  Jenna finally tells Matty she is afraid that if anything goes wrong he will bail.  She always felt he was ashamed of being with her.  He tells her that is not true.  They finally have the talk and seal it with a kiss while Fred is seen jumping over the fence in the background.

I like how this season is expanding beyond the Matty-Jake-Jenna universe to allow Tamara, Ming and Sadie to shine a little.  Things still seem up in the air with Matty and Jenna.  Their relationship was built on casual hook-ups.  How do you overcome the baggage and hang-ups to move the relationship into something more meaningful?  Only time will tell.

Watch Awkward Tuesdays 10/9 C on MTV.

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The Multi-talented Actor and Musician: John Gallagher, Jr.

Stark Sand, Michael Esper and John Gallagher Jr. American Idiot

Stark Sand, Michael Esper and John Gallagher Jr. American Idiot

John Gallagher Jr. American Idiot

John Gallagher Jr. American Idiot

John Gallagher Jr. Spring Awakening

John Gallagher Jr. Spring Awakening

John Gallagher Jr. Spring Awakening

John Gallagher Jr. Spring Awakening

Lea Michele, Jonathan Groff and John Gallagher Jr. Spring Awakening

Lea Michele, Jonathan Groff and John Gallagher Jr. Spring Awakening

springawakeningjgjr200

John Gallagher Jr. Spring Awakening

John Gallagher Jr. Newsroom

John Gallagher Jr. Newsroom

John Gallagher Jr. is a 28-year-old actor/musician from Delaware who started his Broadway career playing tortured heroes.  He is also fast becoming my new crush.

The talented young star won a Tony for his performance as the ill-fated Mortiz Stiefel in the Tony Award winning rock musical Spring Awakening.  The musical was adapted from a controversial German play written in 1891 by Fred Wedekind.  The play touched on taboo subject matters for its time such as rape, incest, abortion, homosexuality, child abuse, and masturbation.  Spring Awakening had music composed by 90s pop musician Duncan Sheik and a book and lyrics from Steven Sater.  The musical tells the story of teenagers as they struggle through adolescents during a tumultuous time of sexual discovery.  The play also starred then-unknowns Lea Michele (Glee) and Jonathan Groff (Starz Boss).

John Gallagher Jr. went on to star in American Idiot, the musical adapted from the Green Day album of the same name.   He starred as druggie musician Johnny along-side Stark Sands (Generation Kill) and Michael Espar (Do No Harm).  They portrayed three dissatisfied young men coping with life in a post-911 America.  The musical won two Tony Awards and ended its Broadway won in 2011.

The multi-hyphenate star is now starring in the new HBO series Newsroomwritten by Academy and Emmy Award winner Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network).   The drama debuted in 2012 and was picked up for another season.  The series chronicles the behind-the-scene events in the fictional cable network Atlantis Cable News (ACN).  Gallagher Jr. is part of a talented ensemble cast that includes Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, Alison Pill, Olivia Munn, Dev Patel, Thomas Sadoski and Sam Waterston.

In Newsroom, John Gallagher Jr. portrays the shy, affable and too-polite Senior Producer, Jim Harper.  In Aaron Sorkin’s world, everyone is witty and articulate with no qualms about sharing every emotion and thought to co-workers or whoever is there to listen.  Newsroom is a news show we all hope really existed a show where content was based on informing and not titillating in hopes of grabbing more viewers so the powers-that-be could garner more advertising dollars.

The gifted John Gallagher Jr. has the ability to morph in to every role he has taken on.  As Jim Harper, he fits in perfectly with the mega-talented cast.  Gallagher Jr. as Jim Harper is so lovable and considerate that you want to bottle him up for yourself.  Newsroom portrays a very unrealistic world but a world a we all wish we could step in to; especially if Jim Harper is a character we have a chance of meeting.

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“The Borgias” Season 3: The Season of Sin

The.Borgias.S03E03 Snapshot 2013-04-23 16-10-27 Lucrezia-and-Cesare-cesare-and-lucrezia-32103200-299-320 Snapshot 2013-04-23 16-09-09 11.1t777.borgias--300x300 AXook8VUNX0dVm4f2HIdaA1406662_595 Snapshot 2013-04-23 16-08-42 Snapshot 2013-04-23 16-09-34 1280px-015_Siblings_episode_still_of_Alfonso_of_Aragon_and_Cesare_Borgia Snapshot 2013-04-23 16-11-53 Snapshot 2013-04-23 16-12-18

We are three episodes into season 3 of Showtime’s The Borgias.  This season seems to center on the rise and fall of power of Pope Alexander VI/Rodrigo Borgia (Jeremy Irons) and his eldest son Cesare Borgias (Francois Arnaud).  One of the main arcs this season will be the rise of Cesare as a dominant political and military force.  We finally get to see the ruthless Cesare that history has come to know.  The series is still rooted in the pope as the central force.  This season he tries to hold on to his power base while trying to stop the insurgency around him.  We see a more paranoid and weaken pope both physically and emotionally.  Cesare is coming out from under his father’s shadow.  He is taking the reigns and being more than merely a sounding board or errand boy for his father.

(Spoilers)

In episode one “The Face of Death”, the pope survives his poisoning after quick thinking by his daughter Lucrezia (Holliday Granger).  He comes out of the event questioning his faith and untrusting of everyone around him.  Cesare hunts down the perpetrators that carried out the attempt on the pope’s life and thwarts an attempt to kill his family.  Cardinal Della Rovere (Colm Feore) is discovered to be the mastermind behind the plot against the pope.  He is imprisoned but escapes with the help of Cardinal Orsini.   In the pope’s weaken state, the vultures circle waiting for their chance to succeed as the new pope.  The Borgias’ enemies are plotting against the family with Caterina Sforza (Gina McKee) emerging as the main threat.

By episode 2 “The Purge”, the pope appoints Cardinal Sforza to conduct an inquisition to determine the loyalty of the College of Cardinals and who else may be plotting against him.   The pope uses this opportunity to strip the Cardinals deemed disloyal of their position and confiscate their property.  Cardinal Orsini attempts to kill the pope by asking for a private confession after he is stripped of his position.  The pope survives by killing Cardinal Orsini.  The pope is back to his narcissistic self when he believes that God must have wanted him to live after all.    Be careful of a scorned woman.  Caterina Sforza has her assassin-for-hire, Rufio (Thor Lindhardt) convince the other Romagna families to form an alliance against the Borgias.

Promoted as the moment we were waiting for – Lucrezia and Cesare inch closer to consummating their lustful love.  Lucrezia is angered by her fiancé Alfonso of Aragon (Sabastian De Souza) after he tells her the King of Naples will not welcome her illegitimate son Giovanni into the court of Naples.   Lucrezia runs to Cesare to ask him to plead her son’s case when he goes to negotiate the terms for her marriage to Alfonso with King of Naples.  Cesare as always vows to do what ever it takes to make her happy even if it means to wage war against Naples.

Alfonso, the feeble lightweight also informs Lucrezia he is a virgin and won’t bed her until after they are married.  He does not give in even after much coaxing by Lucrezia.   Alfonso doesn’t intend to break his vow of chastity to Saint Agnes and that takes precedence over his fiancée’s needs. Feeling spurned and un-loved, Lucrezia invites Cesare to her room where he finds her lying naked on her wedding gown.  Cesare is uncomfortable at first and wants to leave but is urged by Lucrezia to come closer.  He is entranced by her but knows this is one of her games.  She tells him this is “a game of want and wanting.”  Lucrezia confesses Alfonso is a virgin and won’t touch her.  Cesare tells her he is sure she has the means to change that history.  Lucrezia ask if her body has the necessary charms and pulls him on to her bed.  She tempts him by saying he looks but does not touch.  They are interrupted mid-kiss by a knock at the door.  Lucrezia toying with Alfonso and then Cesare was like a cat toying with mice before it devours them.  Alfonso spurned her while Cesare did everything she asked.

In episode 3 “Siblings”, Lucrezia goes to Cesare to ask him if Alfonso could accompany him to Naples.  She reminds him of the importance of this meeting.  Cesare asks why Alfonso didn’t ask him directly and Lucrezia shares that Alfonso is frightened of him.  Lucrezia tells him to hurry back because she does not feel safe if he is not near her.

Cesare enters a Naples stripped of armor and weapons after the French occupation.  Only beggars and ruins surround the palace.  The meeting with King Ferdinand (Matias Varela) doesn’t turn out as intended.  He refuses to allow Lucrezia’s child at court even after Cesare points out it is only a small matter.  Cesare threatens King Ferdinand by stating Rome could seek alliances with other states if the king refuses this one request.  King Ferdinand calls Cesare’s bluff citing Rome needs Naples.  Cesare turns his anger against Alfonso when he stays silent and does nothing to plead Lucrezia’s case.  Cesare regrettably informs Lucrezia of the king’s refusal and she wonders why she can’t be happy.  Cesare promises her he will make her happy.

The ambassador from France comes to the pope seeking an annulment for the King of France. The pope sees this as a chance to seek an alliance with France and task Cesare with going to France after the wedding.  He also request Cesare find a bride when he is there.  Lucrezia finds out Cesare will leave for France after her wedding.  She knows her father’s ambitions will take Cesare away from her.  Cesare finds Lucrezia looking at the seating board for the wedding.  Lucrezia shows Cesare she has him sitting next to her and ask if he is still at her side.  Cesare promises, “Of course I am at your side.  What ever happens… France, Naples, Spain – it could all crumble to dust for all I care as long as you…”  He pulls Lucrezia in for a passionate kiss that leaves them both a little taken a back.

Later that night when Lucrezia tries to de-flower Alfonso, he discovers his name on the seating board with a question mark on it.  He is upset that her family thinks this little of him and abandons Lucrezia on their wedding night.  Lucrezia creeps upstairs, disrobe and crawls into bed with a naked Cesare.  A shocked Cesare turns to her as she asks if she is so hard to love.  Cesare tells her, “Lucrezia, we can not.” Lucrezia responds by shoving Cesare’s hands on her ample bosoms and says, “But I must.  Only a Borgia it seems can truly love a Borgia.  They already whisper it of us throughout the whole of Italy.  Why deny us the pleasure of which we are already accused of?”  Cesare brings up her husband and Lucrezia tells him, “You are my husband, tonight.”  That’s all the convincing Cesare needs.  Cue 70s porn music and they are off.  The whole scene is cut with scenes of Alfonso crying himself to sleep.  Can they make this poor guy any more of a pussy?

Is incest the new frontier?  We have been seeing it more as a plot device in such shows as HBO A Game of Thrones between twin siblings Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Cersei Lannister-Baratheon (Lena Headey); Sundance Top of the Lake with newly discovered maybe-half-siblings/lovers Johnno Mitcham (Thomas M. Wright) and Robin Griffin (Elizabeth Moss); and then in last year’s That’s My Boy between siblings Jaime (Leighton Meester) and Chad (Milo Ventimiglia).

In the case of The Borgias, they always portrayed Cesare and Lucrezia more as star- crossed lovers even in the beginning when creator Neil Jordan denied they would explore their relationship any further.  Maybe that helped to soften the ick factor and get us to root for what one person lovingly deemed Borgias-cest.  The story of Cesare and Lucrezia were prevalent in the video gameAssassin’s Creed and other films so much so that their dynamic almost seems normal and maybe thus acceptable.

I felt sad for Cesare and Lucrezia while watching the love scene.  They finally allowed themselves to express feelings they have denied for so long.  What’s tragic is the fact that their love life continues to be used by their father as a means to further his political stronghold.   I think Lucrezia felt Cesare slipping from her and she did what she did as a way to hold on to him one last time.   For all the violent and ruthless acts Cesare carries out, his love for Lucrezia almost redeems him.  He loves someone so much that he will do anything for her regardless of the consequences.  His love for his sister is both his weakness and his strength.  He killed Giovanni Sforza for his treatment of Lucrezia thus eliciting the wrath of Caterina Sforza further.  His threats to the king of Naples on behalf of Lucrezia and her son causes the king to invite all the Borgias’ enemies to the wedding as a way to show the pope that he has other options besides Rome.  Cesare finally decides to kill his brother after Juan dangles Giovanni from the balcony.  Last season, drug addled Juan (David Oakes) suspected his brother had “congressed” with his “angelic sister” but who could take Juan seriously since he was seen earlier trying to carry on a conversation with his penis.

History has Cesare married off to Charlotte of Albret, a French noble woman.  Cesare’s military prowess and rise to power was used as a cautionary tale in Machiavelli’s novel, The Prince.    For now on The Borgias, it will be interesting to see how far Cesare’s ambitions will take him from his heart’s desire.

Watch current episodes of The Borgias before it airs on Showtime Anytime.  The Borgias airs Sunday 10/9c on Showtime.

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‘Mad Men’ Season 3 Promo Photos

Aaron Stanton, Rich Sommer, Robert Morse, John Slattery and Christina Hendricks Mad Men Season 3

Aaron Stanton, Rich Sommer, Robert Morse, John Slattery and Christina Hendricks Mad Men Season 3

Elizabeth Moss and Jon Hamm Mad Men Season 3

Elizabeth Moss and Jon Hamm Mad Men Season 3

January Jones, Kiernan Shipka, Jessica Pare and Jon Hamm Mad Men Season 3

January Jones, Kiernan Shipka, Jessica Pare and Jon Hamm Mad Men Season 3

mad-men-season-6-christina-hendricks-600x450

John Slattery, Jon Hamm, Christina Hendricks, and Vincent Kartheiser Mad Men Season 3

It seems like forever since season 5 of Mad Men ended.  The wait is almost over.  Season 6 will kick off with a two-hour premiere April 7 9/10 c on AMC.

Don Draper (Jon Hamm) doesn’t look too happy flanked by the women in his life – daughter Sally (Kiernan Shipka), ex-wife Betty (January Jones) and trophy wife Megan (Jessica Pare).

Joan (Christina Hendricks), now a partner in the firm stands in the thick of things with the men – Roger (John Slattery), Pete (Vincent Kartheiser), Ken (Aaron Stanton), Harry (Rich Sommer) and Bert (Robert Morse).  Peggy (Elizabeth Moss) still seems out in the cold all by herself.  Wonder what is in store for Peggy now that she left Sterling Cooper Draper.

Plot details for the new season are non-existent so we have no idea what is in store for all our favorite characters this season.  Less Megan and more Roger is always a good thing in my book.

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Character Posters for ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 3

Emilia Clarke Game of Thrones

Emilia Clarke Game of Thrones

Maisie Williams Game of Thrones

Maisie Williams Game of Thrones

Jack Gleeson Game of Thrones

Jack Gleeson Game of Thrones

Richard Madden Game of Thrones

Richard Madden Game of Thrones

Kit Harrington Game of Thrones

Kit Harrington Game of Thrones

Lena Headey Game of Thrones

Lena Headey Game of Thrones

Sophia Turner Game of Thrones

Sophia Turner Game of Thrones

Peter Dinklage Game of Thrones

Peter Dinklage Game of Thrones

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau Game of Thrones

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau Game of Thrones

Season 3 of Game of Thrones kicks off March 31 on HBO.  New character posters were released in anticipation of the new season.  The new season will cover the first half of Storm of Swords, the third novel in George R. R. Martin‘s book series.  New characters will be introduced in an already huge cast of characters.  That only means more characters on the chopping block for this series that doesn’t sentimentalize its characters.

Emilia Clarke is Daenerys Targaryen; Maisie Williams is Arya Stark; Jack Gleeson is  Joffrey Baratheon; Richard Madden is Robb Stark; Kit Harrington is Jon Snow; Lena Headey is Cersei Lannister; Sophia Turner is Sansa Stark; Peter Dinklage is Tyrion Lannister; and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is Jamie Lannister.

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Character Posters and Photos for the Upcoming ‘Hunger Games: Catching Fire’

Lenny Kravitz Catching Fire

Lenny Kravitz Catching Fire

Jeffrey Wright Catching Fire

Jeffrey Wright Catching Fire

Jennifer Lawrence Josh Hutcherson Catching Fire

Jennifer Lawrence Josh Hutcherson Catching Fire

Sam Claflin Jennifer Lawrence Catching Fire

Sam Claflin Jennifer Lawrence Catching Fire

Jena Malone Catching Fire

Jena Malone Catching Fire

Jennifer Lawrence Catching Fire

Jennifer Lawrence Catching Fire

Josh Hutcherson Catching Fire

Josh Hutcherson Catching Fire

Liam Hemsworth Catching Fire

Liam Hemsworth Catching Fire

Woody Harrelson Catching Fire

Woody Harrelson Catching Fire

Elizabeth Banks Catching Fire

Elizabeth Banks Catching Fire

Stanley Tucci Catching Fire

Stanley Tucci Catching Fire

I spent the weekend re-reading Catching Fire in anticipation of the upcoming movie.  There is so much going on in the book that it will be interesting to see what plot points are incorporated into the movie and what points are dropped.  I am sure most of the movie will center on the games.

Here are some photos from the upcoming movie and character posters  that were released.

Elizabeth Banks is Effie Trinket and Stanley Tucci is Ceaser Flickerman.  Effie reminds me of a poodle and Ceaser looks like he stepped out of a mob movie from the 80’s.

Jennifer Lawrence looks very ethereal as Katniss Everdeen.   Is this Katniss’ wedding gown that she is forced to wear for the interview segment during the 74th games known as the Quarter Quell? Woody Harrelson is mentor Haymitch Abernathy.  Woody Harrelson revealed in an interview for the Hunger Games that he stole his brother’s look for Haymitch.   Kenny Kravitz is Cinna, Katniss’ friend and stylist.

Katniss’ bookends – Peeta and Gale.  Liam Hemsworth plays fiery Gale and Josh Hutcherson plays hopeful Peeta.

Catching Fire was directed by Francis Lawrence.  Eight months and counting until the movie comes out.  What’s your favorite poster so far?

 

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The 85th Annual Academy Awards Show

Christoph Waltz best supporting actor winner 2013 Oscars

Christoph Waltz best supporting actor winner 2013 Oscars

2013 Oscar winners

2013 Oscar winners

Anne Hathaway 2013 Oscars

Anne Hathaway 2013 Oscars

Quentin Tarantino wins best original screenplay for Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino wins best original screenplay for Django Unchained

Ang Lee wins for Best Director for Life of Pi

Ang Lee wins for Best Director for Life of Pi

Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron dance together at the 2013 Oscars

Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron dance together at the 2013 Oscars

Cast of Les Miserables sings at 2013 Oscars

Cast of Les Miserables sings at 2013 Oscars

Adele wins best song for Skyfall at 2013 Oscars

Adele wins best song for Skyfall at 2013 Oscars

Ben Affleck accepting Oscar for Best Picture Argo

Ben Affleck accepting Oscar for Best Picture Argo

Daniel Day-Lewis 2013 Oscars

Daniel Day-Lewis 2013 Oscars

Adele sings Skyfall at 2013 Oscars

Adele sings Skyfall at 2013 Oscars

Best Actress Winner Jennifer Lawrence 2013 Oscars

Best Actress Winner Jennifer Lawrence 2013 Oscars

Jennifer Lawrence 2013 Oscars

Jennifer Lawrence 2013 Oscars

Qentin Tarantino 2013 Oscars

Qentin Tarantino 2013 Oscars

Joseph Gordon-Levitt nad Daniel Radcliffe join Seth McFarland to open 2013 Oscars show

Joseph Gordon-Levitt nad Daniel Radcliffe join Seth McFarland to open 2013 Oscars show

The Avengers Cast 2013 Oscars

The Avengers Cast 2013 Oscars

Argo Wins Best Picture 2013 Academy Awards

Argo Wins Best Picture 2013 Academy Awards

Ben Affleck 2013 Oscars

Ben Affleck 2013 Oscars

The 85th Annual Academy Award show took place on Sunday, February 22.

This year’s Oscars ran like any other year’s- too long and very little in the way of surprises.  It was nice to see the dancing and musical numbers being performed again.  I like the salute to musicals and James Bond.

There were some nice moments during the broadcast such as the opening performances.  Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron dancing to “The Way you Look Tonight” sung by Seth McFarland was adorable.  Loved Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Daniel Radcliffe’s song and dance number.  When will these two be in a musical together?  Adele gave a great performance of her song “Skyfall”.  Oscars have been missing these musical numbers.  The cast of The Avengers even minus  Scarlett Johansson was nice to see.  I also thought the cast of Les Miserables led by Hugh Jackman gave a great live performance.  Would be great to see and hear them all sing the entire musical live on stage.

Most of the winner in the main categories had acceptance speeches that were spontaneous, gracious and heart-felt.  Do go on stage and thank the people who helped you campaign and deliver the performance that got you on that stage in the first place.  Don’t act like your win is a big surprise when you have won all the other awards prior to the Oscars and then try to throw in some feel good blurb in reference to your character’s plight.

Many of the acceptance speeches were genuine and humble save for Anne Hathaway’s insufferable acceptance speech.  Christoph Waltz acknowledged the other actors in his category and praised Quentin Tarantino.  Jennifer Lawrence acknowledged her near face plant and wished fellow nominee, Emanuelle Riva a happy birthday; thus making her speech less about praising herself.  Her speech was brief and real unlike  Anne Hathaway who tried so hard to do what Lawrence did so effortlessly.  You could tell who was the cool girl in the group and who was the insufferable overachiever.  Daniel Day-Lewis barely batted an eye for his third and history making win.  He joked and showed what a true talent does when you win – be gracious and thankful.  You are winning an Oscar not a Noble Peace Prize.  Adele was emotional and truly happy for her win.  Ang Lee acknowledged all the people who helped makeLife of Pi a reality when everyone else said it couldn’t be done.  Ben Affleck’s speech was the stand out of the night.  He acknowledged his first win years ago for Good Will Hunting and his stumbles along the way to get to this moment.  He showed why he is becoming one of the top filmmakers of his time.  Even Quentin Tarantino made his speech about the actors that helped bring his characters to life.   I was bummed that George Clooney didn’t get to speak because he always gives such great speeches.  He is a class act for knowing to let Ben Affleck have his moment.

Here’s a list of some of the winners:

Best Picture: Argo – Producers Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and George Clooney

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln 

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook 

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables

Best Director: Ang Lee for Life of Pi

Best Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained

Best Original Song: “Skyfall” from Skyfall Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth

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Say Goodbye to 2012 – What Did You Think Were the Best TV Moments This Year?

With 2012 coming to a close and the world not ending as predicted, it’s a good time to look back at the television moments that riveted us and made us come back for more.  What do you think were this year’s highlights?

The box office gave us some good movies but more so than none recycled the same formulaic movies.  It seems television; especially cable was still the place to tune in for great writing and thought-provoking shows.  This is just one writer’s opinion of what stood out this year.

(Spoilers)

Hands down, the best show this year was season two of Homeland.  I am still reeling from the season finale.  Every episode kept us glued to the TV wondering what turn they could possibly come up with next.  The premise of the show could have easily turn into a Twin Peaks or The Killing situation where the show could only sustain one season because the writers wrote themselves into a corner.  Claire Danes as Carrie Matthison, the smartest bipolar CIA agent on TV was both kick-ass and heart-breaking.  Her partner in crime, Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody’s POW turned terrorist, turned double agent was so good at keeping us wondering if he was actually cooperating with the CIA or just stringing them along as a cover for some Al Qaeda plot.  Even Carrie who fell in love with him still didn’t completely trust him.  Yet against Saul Berenson’s (played by the brilliant Mandy Patinkin) doubts and words of wisdom, Carrie went full steam ahead to help Brody out of his predicament and get the CIA to work with him.  Time and time again she was there to save his ass even going so far as to get him out of the country after the attack on CIA headquarters left him as the prime suspect.  Lets hope he doesn’t pay back Carrie’s devotion to him by still being involved with the terrorist.  I doubt that is the case since Brody killed Vice-President Walden (Jamie Sheridan) to save Carrie, but the beauty of this show is you never know for sure.  The quick pace of the show feels like a thrilling roller coaster ride.  Plot points are not drawn out at length.  Shows with a single premise should take note of how Homeland is changing the game.

With all the cable provider’s threatening to drop AMC, it makes you wonder if the cable channel is worth all their demands.  The answer is yes.  AMC is getting high ratings for quality story-telling.  The Walking Dead is another show that is getting better with age.  The show keeps us on our toes and you never know who is going to be killed off next.  Lori Grimes (Sarah Wayne Callies) was a divisive character, fans seemed to hate her more times than like her but her death was still traumatic.  Like Rick (Andrew Lincoln), you were angry at her more times than not but her death left a hole in the show.  The fact that she died giving birth to her daughter had to make up for some of the harsher things she’s done.  Not so little Carl (Chandler Riggs) is coming into his own and killing his mother shows how far he has come in understanding the world he lives in now.  The introduction of The Governor (David Morrissey) this season kicks the show up a notch by giving us a character that is so unlikeable.  He’s another villain with a vague agenda and questionable intentions but his nice guy act just makes him creepier.

With the addition of Michone (Danai Guira) this season, we finally get a female character that isn’t whiney or bitchy and is actually smart and strong.  She holds her own against the men and could probably take a few them out single-handedly.

Downton Abbey is an addictive past-time.  The lives of the aristocrats and the staff that care for them may not seem the most likely choice for a hit show but the actors and the writing for the show make it must-watch TV on both sides of he pond.  Now that Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery) and Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) have ended the will-they-or-won’t-they story-line, the anticipation is ratcheting up for their upcoming nuptials and to find out if they get their happily-every-after.  The talented Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess, Violet Crawley lends her smart tongue and wit to a part that could be stuffy and condescending in less capable hands.  She’s easily everyone’s favorite character and the addition of Shirley MacLaine  as Lady Grantham ‘s (Elizabeth McGovern) mother, Martha Levinson will be a nice contrast to the outspoken matriarch.  Season 3 is already airing in England with American fans having to wait until January 6 to catch up with our favorite Crawley clan and staff.

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Hello Again!

Bourne Legacy Bourne Legacy Wanderlust In the Valley of Elah Pitch Perfect

It’s been a trying few weeks and it pained me that I haven’t been able to post on a regular basis.  I was laid up a few weeks from an accident and getting ready for the holiday.  Things are good now and in my absence so much entertainment news has happened.    While convalescing I had the movies to keep me company.  I was able to catch up on some movies I hadn’t gotten around to and discovering new ones.

Bourne Legacy was one of those must see summer movies and I was anticipating its July premiere.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get to catch the movie when it came out.  Jeremy Renner as rogue agent, Aaron Cross with enhanced genetic altering abilities reinvigorated the franchise and took it in a different direction.  The stunts were kick-ass and I wouldn’t mind Jeremy Renner coming to my rescue.  Rachel Weisz brought her considerable talent to the role of Dr. Marta Shearing and made the role more than the damsel in distress.  She held her own going toe-to-toe with Renner.  Marta saved Aaron just has much as he saved her.  I can’t wait for the inevitable sequel.

Pitch Perfect came out in October and was one of those movies that looked like a fun movie to watch.  I found myself laughing out loud more than once.  Rebel Wilson as Fat Amy made the movie.  Anna Kendrick deserves all the accolades she has gotten since graduating from playing a secondary character in the Twilight Franchise.  It’s good to see her coming into her own and becoming a stand out actress.  Pitch Perfect draws inspiration from Glee but doesn’t take itself too serious.  The story is formulaic but the music is fun.  Kendrick and Wilson raise the movie from being a mediocre musical comedy with their performances.  Newcomer Skylar Astin as Jesse is charming and he plays well off of Kendrick’s Beca.

Wanderlust  came out October 2011 and starred Paul Rudd and Jennifer Anniston stars as New York yuppies, George and Linda Gergenblatt who find themselves forced to move in with George’s pompous brother in Georgia after being down sized.  They stop by a hippie commune bed and breakfast and encounter a free-spirited group living there.  Paul Rudd delivers another funny performance playing uptight George and Justin Theroux is a stand-out as stuck-in-the-past Seth.

In the Valley of Elah came out in 2007 and was directed by Paul Haggis.  The movie starred Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron and Susan Sarandon.  The movie was based on Mark Boal’s article, “Death and Dishonor” that was originally published in Playboy magazine in 2004.  Mark Boal’s also wrote the screenplay for Zero Dark Thirty.  The title refers to the biblical valley where David and Goliath did battle.  The film follows Jones as veteran Hank Deerfield as he investigates the disappearance and eventual murder of his son, Mike ( Jonathan Tucker).  Theron is the local police officer who assist in the investigation and Susan Sarandon is Hank’s wife, Joan.

Jones carries the movie as the emotionally stunted veteran who has lost one son to the war and now has lost a second son in a random act of violence as a result of the post traumatic stress disorder suffered by the returning soliders.  The best scene in the movie is when Hank tells the story about David and Goliath to Theron’s son in the movie.  The moment is telling of the challenges he is facing investigating his son’s death and the interaction between Theron’s son in the movie is telling of the relationship with Hank’s own son.  Theron and Sarandon are nice bookends as the two women trying to help Hank make sense of what happened.

I feel I have been in a vacuum so many apologies if I am posting some old news.   I hope you are enjoying the holidays and getting to see some good movies.

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New Movie Images From ‘Les Miserables’

 

Every time there is a movie adaption of a beloved story, I get nervous about the casting. This is the one time where I felt all the talent involved in a film was spot on.  I have no doubt this is the best cast to bring a beloved Broadway musical to life.

Here are some images from the much anticipated Les Miserables to tie us over until the film’s Christmas debut.

New comer Samantha Barks seems to hold her own against the very talented cast.  Perennial Broadway talent, Aaron Tveit (Broadway Catch Me if You Can) had a misstep when he squandered his talent appearing on Gossip Girls but I am glad we will get to hear his wonderful voice on the big screen.

I am already humming all the classic songs in my head.  It will be nice to finally hear these wonderful songs coming from the voices of Hugh Jackman, Russell Crow, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Barron Cohen and Anne Hathaway.

Les Miserables opens Christmas day.

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