A-List: Eva Green

Eva Green

“I think this [Showtime's Penny Dreadful] and Sin City 2 have officially ended Eva Green’s time on the ‘It’ list.”

The quote above comes from a commenter on the Lebeau’s Le Blog FB Page.  (If you haven’t already done so, like us already!)  The comment sparked a bit of debate between myself and the commenter.  Even after the conversation had concluded, I was thinking about Green and her status in Hollywood.  I don’t think anyone would argue that Green is currently on the A-list.  But she certainly has the potential to be.  Following her turn as a Bond girl in the 2006 hit, Casino Royale, her name was on everyone’s lips.  But in the eight years that followed, Green has yet to become a star.

I could almost ask, “What the hell happened?”  But I think it’s still too early to write off Green’s chances of A-list stardom.  Because even though she has starred in two disappointing movies this year, I actually think Green is having a very good 2014 career-wise.

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Pop Culture Quiz: What the Hell Happened Quiz #3 *Results*

what the hell happened big

It’s time to review the results of another What the Hell Happened Pop Culture Quiz.  I have collected all the papers and the grades are in.  Let’s see how everyone did.

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Review: Maleficent

Jolie - Malificent

There is nothing Hollywood likes more than a formula.  You can hardly blame them.  Given the astronomical budgets of modern movies, studios like to play it safe.  That means recycling old ideas in hopes of enticing audiences into seeing them one more time.  Disney’s Maleficent follows a formula laid out by previous revisionist fairy tales like the studio’s previous hits, Oz the Great and Powerful and Alice in Wonderland.

Not surprisingly, first time director Robert Stromberg served as the production designer on both of those films.  So he knows how to create a wonderful fairy land out of CGI.  Maleficent is, if nothing else, a feast for the eyes.  Although those with a low tolerance for CGI-created wonderlands may find themselves screaming “enough already!” before the story even takes flight.

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Elvis Costello: Celebrate 60 with my top 10!


Yesterday was Elvis Costello’s 60th birthday. Kind of hard to believe, despite the fact that he’s been cranky for most of his years. He’s also been my absolute favorite recording artist since I got ahold of a copy of his “Girls Girls Girls” compilation about 25 years ago. When I shared an article in which somebody else named his 10 biggest songs yesterday, two people (one of my best friends and my brother) challenged me to proclaim my own 10 favorite songs of Mr. Costello’s. So here I am.

I will be including only songs which he had a hand in writing, so his fantastic covers of songs like “(What’s so Funny ’bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding,” “Don’t Let Me be Misunderstood,” “She,” and “I’m Your Toy” will not show up here. You will see and hear a nice variety of recordings from throughout his career, not just the early stuff.

I expect this to be very difficult, not in finding 10 worthy songs, but in the pain of cutting the list down to that small number. Let’s get started!
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Poll: Which Super Hero Should Get Their Own Movie?

Guardians of the Galaxy

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy reclaimed the top spot at the box office four weeks into its run.  The movie which features a bunch of comic book characters even comic book fans were not familiar with has officially become the biggest movie of the summer.  Marvel gambled on some of their least-beloved characters and the gamble paid off big time.  You can bet that success will open the floodgates for other obscure super heroes to start getting their own movies in the near future.

Since they are coming whether you like it or not, let’s pick who should be making the leap over a tall building and onto the big screen in a single bound.

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A-List: Chris Pratt

Chris Pratt 2014
The summer movie season is winding down as kids across the country are mostly back in school  It’s been a lousy summer for Hollywood.  It’s been so bad, that the studios could barely breathe a sigh of relief when two late summer releases over-performed.  Last week, the third and likely final movie in the Expendables franchise tanked.  This weekend, Expendables 3 dropped out of the top five entirely leaving a lot of aging action stars crying in their beers.  The lone hold out from The Expendables 3, Bruce Willis, returned for Sin City 2, the long delayed sequel to the 2005 comic book noir hit.  Even without the convenient excuse of an internet leak, Sin City 2 opened below The Expendables 3.  That shredding sound you hear is everyone in Hollywood losing Frank Miller’s phone number.

The biggest new release this week was the adaptation of the YA novel, If I Stay.  That movie, which starred Chloe Moretz, opened at #1 on Friday but fell behind during the remainder of the weekend.  It will land at #3 for the weekend behind the massively popular holdovers, Guardians of the Galaxy and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  The space adventure from Marvel Studios reclaimed the #1 spot during its fourth week in theaters and will officially become the highest grossing film of the 2014 summer box office.  Which is a dubious distinction considering how poorly the summer box office has performed, but appropriate for a movie about losers who come out on top.

As the lead of Guardians of the Galaxy, Chris Pratt is now poised for big things.  He’s launched a charm offensive by entertaining sick kids in costume and posting one of the more memorable ice bucket challenge videos.  But has the Summer of Pratt earned the actor a spot on the A-list?

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Boardwalk Empire Season 5: Quick, Shoot Everybody!

For the past few years, readers here at le Blog have seen me offer up short recaps and thoughts about most every episode of the HBO gangster drama Boardwalk Empire. Despite an enthusiastic core audience and plenty of Emmy awards love, the series has not been able to rustle up consistent enough ratings to keep going. Because of this (and other rumored reasons) this autumn will see the fifth and final season about Nucky Thompson and the cast of other prohibition era schemers.

So what can we expect from showrunner Terence Winter, who has never been unwilling to shake things up, now that the ending date of the series has already been declared? Well, if you’ve been watching religiously for the last four years and don’t mind a few spoilers based on easily googled historical facts, then click below as I discuss what’s been revealed.
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Pop Culture Quiz: What the Hell Happened Quiz #3

what the hell happened big

We’re celebrating four years of WTHH with a series of quizzes to see what you have learned!

The quiz starts after the jump.  No cheating off your neighbor!

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New Fantasyland Review: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

seven dwarfs concept art

The Fantasyland Expansion project at Walt Disney World was completed this year.  New Fantasyland, as it is sometimes referred to, is being touted as the most significant addition to the Disney World Resort in years and the biggest expansion in the history of the Magic Kingdom.  These claims are true if you look at the entire project as one cohesive expansion.  But New Fantasyland was rolled out in several stages over the course of more than two years.  I covered all of New Fantasyland at a high level in my 2014 trip report.  But I also wanted to review the individual components of the project and see how they add up.  So I’ll be doing that here in the New Fantasyland Review.

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Poll: Who is your favorite “old school” action hero?

"The Expendables 3" Stunt Photocall & Press Conference

It was a rough weekend to be an old school action hero.  The third movie in The Expendables franchise got spanked at the box office.  It didn’t just get beat by popular hold-overs like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Guardians of the Galaxy.  It came in 4th place behind the $7 million dollar comedy, Let’s Be Cops.

There were extenuating circumstances to be sure.  An internet leak allowed millions to watch the movie for free weeks before it opened in theaters.  Clearly, that had an impact.  But it’s still a bad sign for the franchise.  Which is bad for old action dude everywhere.  For a lot of these guys, a shot at an Expendables movie is the best thing going.  With the franchise on life support or critically wounded, a lot of these guys are looking at spending the rest of their careers in video limbo.

But let’s not dwell on the sad fate that awaits many of our favorite brawny senior citizens.  Instead, let’s remember them for their glory days.  Who was your favorite old school action hero?

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