Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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I woke up this morning to the news that one of my favorite actors, Alan Rickman, had died of cancer. This is the second high-profile acting death from cancer this week (David Bowie passing a couple of days ago), and again a case of someone being taken far too young, at 69 years old.

While most of the news outlets are saying he’s most famous for his role as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, for me, Rickman will always be Hans Gruber, the master thief and arch-villain to Bruce Willis’s John “Yippee-ki-yay” McClane in Die Hard. His odd German/English accent, his goatee, his slowly boiling-over frustration – he stole the show in what is one of my favorite Christmas films.

And then I saw him in Galaxy Quest as cynical British stage actor Alexander Dane, permanently cursed with being associated with one small (to him) role in an American science-fiction series, and his place as a personal go-to became firmly entrenched. Watching him ease a gentle soul to his final rest (“You shall be avenged”), and then turning, hair flying wildly from his prosthetic head piece, yelling and charging at the alien who had shot the fatal blast and bludgeoning it to death – I knew then that this was a rare actor indeed, with a tremendous range from quietly menacing, to full-on comedic mania within his repertoire. From then on, just knowing he was in a film made me want to watch it, which is something I can say about very few actors.

Besides Die Hard and Galaxy Quest, some other films which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching Rickman in are Bottle Shock, Love Actually, and the oft-forgotten Quigley Down Under with Tom Selleck. Even in the truly bad films he was part of – Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves – he was clearly the best thing about them, stealing every scene he was in. Another that didn’t do terribly well at the box office, but which I enjoyed, is Blow Dry, which plays off as a sort of modern-day Romeo and Juliet set in a British hairdressing competition, with Rickman and Bill Nighy facing off as the fathers of a pair of star-crossed lovers. Worth a watch if only for the Rickman/Nighy factor.

And of course there are the Harry Potter films. Severus Snape could simply not have been played by any other actor. Rickman combined the ability to make you both love and hate him at the same time, with a wonderfully charming screen presence that was impossible to ignore. A lesser actor would not have been able to pull of the big twist with this character and make it both believable and sympathetic. Loved him in that role.

But again, for me, Rickman will always be Hans Gruber. To quote: “This time John Wayne does not walk off into the sunset with Grace Kelly.” Rest in peace, Mr. Rickman.

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Comic Con is up to its usual tricks, giving us all kinds of cool news and trailers for upcoming geekery. This morning’s panel on The Walking Dead saw the release of a heavy-weight trailer for Season 6, weighing in at a massive four-plus minutes – which makes sense, when you realize that the season premiere will be 90-minutes long, just like last season’s finale. Click through for the trailer and some commentary on what it reveals heading into October 11th’s release date.
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This afternoon, HBO announced the new cast members for the upcoming fifth season of Game of Thrones, and released a short video wherein the primary players introduce themselves. The casting looks perfect across the board, with luminaries such as Jonathon Pryce (more than one hundred credits over the last forty years, including the starring role in Brazil (1985)), genre favorites like Alexander Siddig (Dr. Julian Bashear in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), and experienced young actors like Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider). Click through for introductory video, as well as brief introductions of each actor and the role they’ll be playing.

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Whether it be as a stable worker at Winterfell, a companion and bearer of Bran Stark, or as a warg’d fighter of incredible strength, Hodor is one of my favorite characters in Game of Thrones. He doesn’t have a lot of lines, but Hodor actor Kristian Nairn manages to put a whole bunch of emotion into it every time he says his name. Below, I’ve collected several shots of Kristian Nairn both in and out of character, and have an interesting take on the title song that fans of Hodor will appreciate. Click through for some Hodor facts and fun.

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This is the fourth photo series from Game of Thrones I’ve put up, and the second comparing the actors as they appear in GoT with a (usually earlier) role they’ve had. Last week took us from Peter Dinklage [Tyrion Lannister] and Lena Headey [Cersei Lannister] with 36 appearances apiece, down to a four-way tie at 26 episodes between Alfie Allen [Theon Greyjoy/Reek], Charles Dance [Tywin Lannister], Jack Gleeson [Joffrey Baratheon], and Rory McCann [Sandor “The Hound” Clegane]. This week we’ll round out the top twenty-five actors on the show, based on number of appearances. We begin with:

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Last week I posted a set of ten pictures of Game of Thrones stars in candid and out-of-character moments. It proved quite popular, so I decided I’d track down a few more for your enjoyment. Click through after the break for ten more shots of your favorite characters as you’ve likely not seen them before.

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Only two more episodes to go in Season 4, one tonight and the wrap-up next Sunday. Tonight, in anticipation of the penultimate episode (which airs in just a few hours), I’m putting up the second in my series of behind-the-scenes photos of the actors who make the characters we love to love, and love to hate even more.

The characters have been through a lot in these four years – those that are still alive, that is. When actors get associated with such iconic and bigger-than-life characters like those created by George R.R. Martin, it’s easy to forget that they had careers before the show we know them for. Below the break you’ll find a bunch of before and after photos of the stars of Game of Thrones, the first shot from an earlier (or sometimes concurrent) role, and the second from the HBO series. Rather than doing it in alphabetical order, I’m going to follow number of appearances in the show, based on their stats at IMDB. Without further ado, we begin with…
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It’s about a year and a half before the official release date of the J.J. Abrams helmed Star Wars Episode VII (currently planned for December 18th, 2015), but already the “leaks” have begun from the set in Abu Dhabi. Recently, TMZ got hold of a whole slew of photos; below, I’m sharing a series taken inside a warehouse where sets and props are being built from the ground up. It looks as though Abrams intends to shoot with tangible items rather than relying on CGI all the time – and I have to say, I believe this is the right choice. The original trilogy used models and built sets, and the movies hold up well all these years later; but some of the CGI in the prequels already looks dated. If you want to avoid spoilers regarding Star Wars Episode VII, don’t click through – for the rest of you, enjoy the photos!

<<Spoiler Alert: The following pictorial contains photos that give away information about the upcoming Star Wars Episode VII film. Do not click through if you want to remain spoiler-free.>>
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Much like the Red Wedding from last year’s episode “The Rains of Castamere,” this past week’s episode held a pretty major shock for those of us who hadn’t read the books. Without revealing anything here, click through after the break to watch peoples’ reactions to yet another gruesome death on Game of Thrones.

<<Spoiler Warning: Don't watch this video if you haven't yet seen Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 8 “The Mountain and the Viper.” In addition, warning for language.>>

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Game of Thrones deals with some serious subject matter, and you never know who’s going to die next. It’s good to know, then, that the cast and crew are still having fun behind the cameras. Click through after the break to see some candid shots of your favorite characters, out of character.

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