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12 lessons we learned from 2014's summer movies

Transformers-Age-of-Extinction-poster

What a summer at the movies! The galaxy got guarded. The future days went past, like some sort of extinct age. The planet of the apes stopped rising and started dawning. Our stars had a fault. And also: Lucy!

Hollywood had a rough season at the box office in summer 2014, with overall box-office receipts falling precipitously from last year’s flurry of mega-grossers. Going into this weekend, Guardians of the Galaxy, the highest-grossing film at the summer box-office, has earned about $256 million–which would have made it the fifth highest-grossing movie of summer 2013. READ FULL STORY

'Cedar Cove' star Andie MacDowell was a 'hard rocker' in high school

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Andie MacDowell, who currently stars on Hallmark Channel’s sun-soaked series Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove, may have grown up watching Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons, but there was definitely a wild streak. After explaining that she still doesn’t sit down long enough to watch a lot of TV—unless it’s binge-watching the first season of Girls with one of her daughters —the subject turns to daughter Margaret Qualley working with Liv Tyler on The Leftovers.

 

“She went to see Aerosmith. And I did go see Aerosmith when I was in high school,” MacDowell says. “I was a hard rocker when I was in high school. Not very me now, but I was diggin’ it, big time.” What does she remember about her concert experience? “I’ve been very open and honest with my children on what not to do. I told them the truth: there are a lot of things I wish I hadn’t [done]. I was straight by the time I was in the eleventh grade—and that’s a pretty scary comment—but I did go see Aerosmith in the tenth grade,” she says. “I was not legally drinking, but I was drinking. We drank tequila, and there were three of everybody by the time I got to the concert. I went to the bathroom, and I thought it was very strange that everybody parted when I walked in. But thank goodness I got that out of my system really fast, and by the time I was in my senior year, I was making really good grades and I had my act together….We’re laughing about it now, but it really was sad. I regretted it.”

What else can you learn about MacDowell through pop culture? Watch the video and read the full transcript below. Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove airs Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on Hallmark. READ FULL STORY

'Goosebumps' writer R.L. Stine on fear: 'I've never experienced it'

R.L. Stine doesn’t exactly sympathize with victims in horror movies. “When I go to a movie or something, and the shark jumps up on the screen and eats the girl, I’m the one in the theater who’s laughing,” the Goosebumps author tells EW. “Horror always makes me laugh.”

Something else that makes Stine laugh? Mostly Ghostly: Meet My Ghoulfriend, a film based on Stine’s Mostly Ghostly book series that coms to DVD Sept. 2. In the movie, Max (Ryan Ochoa) plays a teenage boy who’s trying to impress his crush (Bella Thorne) but faces an otherwordly obstacle: The Berserker Ghoul, a ghost that inhabits him every so often and makes him go, well, berserk at inopportune times. READ FULL STORY

It's okay for Alicia and Kalinda to be apart on 'The Good Wife'

Female friendships are few and far between on television. And good female friendships are even harder to find. So when BuzzFeed brought up the point that The Good Wife‘s Alicia and Kalinda haven’t appeared in the same room together in more than 30 episodes (that is, a season and a half), I immediately felt as if the show were doing a injustice to women—and specifically, to the friendship that these two characters had formed.

But upon further thought, I realized that just the opposite was happening.

Alicia and Kalinda aren’t like most female friends on TV. Unlike the girls of The Big Bang Theory or just about any pairing on Glee, they don’t become fast friends because they need to gossip. At first, they barely speak about anything unrelated to a case. Their friendship is a slow burn: It starts as Kalinda offering Alicia a ceremonial drink after her first court case and evolves into drinks on a semi-regular basis, but it only ever gets personal after the two have spent hours and hours trying to get a read on each other. And even then, it’s never sappy or sentimental. These are two women who each need someone in their life who isn’t a liar, trying to sleep with them, or trying to ruin their careers. And it helps that they actually, you know, like each other.

So why isn’t it a travesty that such great friends haven’t been in the same room for a season and a half? Because it’s actually a testament to how strong they are as individual characters. The Good Wife has ensured that each character’s identity is not tied up in the other person. Both Alicia and Kalinda have compelling narratives on their own. They’re smart, and they’re funny, and viewers are invested in their individual stories. There’s more to them than the fact that they’re friends, and there always has been. Alicia has always been a mom first, and some of her richest stories come from balancing her family life while reestablishing her career. Not to mention that Kalinda’s relationship with Will and her original decision to quit her job have no overlap with Alicia. Even in the seasons they are together, most of their best storylines only sort of intersect, and usually only where work is involved.

Yes, watching Kalinda and Alicia’s falling-out in season two after Alicia’s discovery that Kalinda slept with Peter was difficult for fans of their friendship. But it was something most fans knew wouldn’t last forever. Now that time has passed, though, and Alicia has gotten over that event, why aren’t they back together? Why didn’t they hug and cry on each others’ shoulders when Will died?

Because it wasn’t necessary. Female friendships come in all forms, and there is no rule that says they need to involve late-night bottles of wine and girl talk.

Which brings me to another reason it’s perfectly all right for Kalinda and Alicia to have taken a break: They’re not the only strong female friendship on the show. Whether Diane and Alicia are having drinks after Will’s funeral or Diane and Kalinda are talking strategy, The Good Wife is full of dynamic female characters forming adult friendships, almost all of which extend beyond the typical “girl talk” that often stands in as shorthand for female friendship on TV.

And at this point in the show, these are two characters who are too damn busy to worry about getting together for a drink. In the wake of Will’s death, Alicia’s firm has been busier than ever, and Kalinda’s had to work that much harder to help Diane. To that point, they each understand the importance of what the other is doing, and they’re not about to get in the way of the other’s professional life to have a quick chat face-to-face when a phone call will do the trick. To conveniently add in extra hours in the day for Kalinda and Alicia to hang out together would undermine the show’s notably thoughtful and human portrayal of successful, career-oriented women.

But perhaps most importantly, their separation has in no way affected the quality of the show. In fact, the only full season they spent apart was season five—which many consider to be the strongest to date.

So, as much fun as it is to watch Alicia and Kalinda interact face-to-face, the notion that Alicia and Kalinda needed to be in the same room to do their friendship justice was wrong. Essentially, I worried that that their friendship couldn’t stand on its own. But upon further reflection, the fact that viewers still consider them friends after all this time spent physically apart is a testament to the solidity of both The Good Wife‘s characters and this pairing.

Lance Reddick talks 'Destiny,' and making sci-fi 'more mainstream'

If you pick up Bungie’s highly anticipated new game Destiny this September, you might hear some familiar voices on your journey across the universe. The voice cast is stacked with actors from much-loved TV shows like Firefly and The Walking Dead, lending their voices to a number of characters players will interact with in Destiny’s sci-fi universe.

One of those actors is Lance Reddick, of The Wire and Fringe fame. Reddick voices a character named Commander Zavala, who will give players who choose the game’s Titan specialization their marching orders. It’s not Reddick’s first video game role — he’s voiced characters in 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand and a forthcoming adaptation of FutureDude’s Parallel Man comics — but it gives the actor an opportunity to be a part of a new sci-fi world, a genre he has a lot of affection for.

“I feel like there’s so much potential to do great storytelling in sci-fi,” says Reddick, in a call from the set of the upcoming Amazon series Bosch. “I feel like it’s becoming more and more mainstream.” With analysts projecting that Destiny might make up to $900 million, Reddick–along with his costars—might be a small part of pushing sci-fi further into the mainstream.

The full voice cast is as follows:

Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) – The Ghost

Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead) – The Exo Stranger

Nathan Fillion (Castle) – Cayde-6

Bill Nighy (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) – The Speaker

Lance Reddick (Fringe) – Commander Zavala

Lennie James (The Walking Dead, Snatch) – Lord Shaxx

Gina Torres (Serenity, The Matrix Revolutions) – Ikora Rey

Peter Stormare (Fargo, The Big Lebowski) – Arach Jalaal

James Remar (Dexter, Django Unchained) – Executor Hideo

Erick Avari (The Mummy) – Master Rahool

Will Comic-Con leave San Diego?

“Probably not, but maybe” is the short answer to the question in the headline. The event known once upon a time as the Golden State Comic Book Convention has been in San Diego for over four decades now, and since 2000, it has rapidly grown into an essential event on the pop-culture calendar, bringing massive crowds to the city and essentially turning all of downtown San Diego into a geek mega-festival.

The Comic-Con organizers are currently contracted to stay in the San Diego convention center through 2016. But from there, it gets a bit hazy. READ FULL STORY

The Russo Brothers talk 'Winter Soldier,' 'Cap 3' and returning to 'Community'

Captain America: The Winter Soldier triumphantly arrives on DVD/Blu-Ray on Sept. 9, after marching to the top of the 2014 box office and earning critical accolades. The film departs wildly from the original Captain America, refocusing Steve Rogers in our brave new freaked-out world. Cap 2 was directed by brothers Joe and Anthony Russo, heretofore best known as ace TV directors. EW caught up with the Russo brothers to talk about Winter Soldier, their work on 2016’s Cap threequel, Agent Carter, and their impending return to Community. READ FULL STORY

The Summer of Butts: An exhaustive booty trend timeline

Ah, the summer of 2014: It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times. Though mostly, let’s face it, it was the worst. Yet even as horrific violence and heartbreakingly premature deaths and hemorrhagic fevers have marred the past few months, there have also been a few spots of levity. And most are thanks to butts.

True, the humble hiney is no stranger to celebration, especially when it’s warm outside. (You may, however, be shocked to learn that Sisquo’s “Thong Song” was actually released in January.) But this summer went above and beyond, prominently featuring ladies’ posteriors in movies, TV shows, and, more than anywhere else, music. As the season unofficially comes to a close over Labor Day Weekend, let’s take a look back at the Butts of Summer.

May 2
Consider this tasty little news story an appetizer: Word breaks that Japanese Godzilla fans are incensed about the monster’s appearance in Gareth Edwards’ upcoming reboot. Why? Because it’s just so… round, and out there: “It’s fat from the neck downwards and massive at the bottom,” one says. Clearly, nobody appreciates a big ol’ booty like Americans do—as the next three months will prove.

May 21
You know how summer movie season begins over Memorial Day weekend, even though summer doesn’t technically start until mid-June? Well, the Summer of Butts officially launched when Jason Derulo first crooned “You know what to do with that big fat butt” in the music video for “Wiggle.” READ FULL STORY

Labor Day marathon guide: Meet the 'Housewives of Melbourne' and more

Three-day weekends are an excuse to be lazy, kick back with a glass of wine (or five), and meander around the home in a constant state of bliss. Then again, that’s the life of a Real Housewife everyday of the week.

For the plebes of the world with a few days off from toil, this Labor Day weekend is the perfect time to catch up on the marathon of shows playing on television, that range from gross (Botched) to fecund (19 Kids and Counting) to a marathon that’s finally coming to an end (The Simpsons). EW has compiled a list of television marathons running from Saturday to Monday, so get out the neck pillow and a thing of cheesy snacks, because it’s going to be a whole lot of sitting.

READ FULL STORY

Nintendo reveals New 3DS

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From the early days of the original Game Boy to its most recent system, the 3DS, Nintendo has made a habit of releasing several different, improved systems that iterate on earlier versions of its handhelds. Today, the house of Mario continued in its tradition by announcing two new 3DS models with a host of new features to correspond with some major upcoming games.

Via one of the company’s occasional Nintendo Direct videos, the New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL—a version that has larger screens—debuted with a few cosmetic and functional alterations. (Worth noting, however: Nintendo has only announced the New 3DS line to release in Japan in October. Release dates for America have not been confirmed, though the system is not expected to debut until 2015.)

The most prominent change to the system is actually small in size. A small nub dubbed the C-stick has been placed above the 3DS’ A, B, X and Y buttons. This addition will allow for dual analog-controlled games that mirrors how players can control games on the company’s home console, the Wii U.

The New 3DS will also have additional shoulder buttons, placed next to the L and R buttons that already exist, again making the 3DS almost like a Wii U controller in its setup. Some games with a major following in Japan, like new entries in the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest franchises, are already set to take advantage of these new features to make games easier to control for players.

Perhaps the most important changes to the system are those players won’t be able to see on the 3DS’ surface. Nintendo is improving the battery life, increasing the internal CPU for a smoother experience, and including functionality that will interact with Nintendo’s upcoming line of Amiibo figures. These statues, modeled after some of the company’s most famous characters like Mario, Samus, and Link will be used not just to look good on your shelf, but also to improve the experience of upcoming games like Super Smash Bros. for 3DS. 

This may seem like a strange move, and the changes appear slight. But this type of release is a common practice for Nintendo. The 3DS’ predecssor, the Nintendo DS, saw four different models in its lifetime, as did the original Game Boy. Some of these changes are also clear callbacks to Nintendo’s history, as the C-stick was also the name for a nub on the Nintendo GameCube controller, and the A, B, X, and Y buttons are now colored to reflect the buttons on a Super Nintendo controller. An update was inevitable for the 3DS, and it looks like Nintendo is using this improvement to marry its handheld and home console presence while celebrating the company’s past.

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