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Author: Tim Stack (1-10 of 208)

'House of Cards': The 6 episodes you should watch before season 2

Netflix’s amazing House of Cards returns for its second season next Friday, February 14th. The first season is a riveting 13-episode political drama about Congressman Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), his wife Claire (Robin Wright), and their ruthless attempt to gain power and position in Washington. Thirteen hours in five days is doable and I recommend watching the entire, brilliant series. But just in case you don’t have that time and want to be part of Cards conversations next weekend (and there definitely will be one), here are the 6 episodes I think you need to see to be prepared for season two.

Since most of the delight of Cards lies in its surprises, I’ll keep the descriptions vague.

Chapter 1
The introduction to Cards’ world of power players and those who they play. All the hallmarks of the series debut: Frank’s address to the camera; the Underwood’s late night smoking; insight into their marriage (Frank about Claire: “I love that woman. I love her more than sharks love blood.”). But every small detail (Zoe and Frank’s initial meeting; Peter’s dalliance with a prostitute) proves to be important.

Chapter 4
Zoe’s profile rises within the media world and her relationship with Frank takes a dramatic leap. Meanwhile, Frank’s begins to exert his control over Peter.

Chapter 8
A rare detour out of the world of politics and into the past of Frank Underwood. He and Claire visit his college, The Sentinel, a South Carolina military college. Not only do you see what Frank was like before power corrupted him but you learn he was in love with one of his male classmates.

Chapter 10
This episode is worth watching alone for a scene where Claire enters Zoe’s apartment and slinks around like a lion sniffing its prey. Peter’s disastrous radio interview is also one of the most difficult scenes to watch and is just the beginning of his character’s tragic descent.

Chapter 11
The fallout from Peter’s radio interview provides the material for Cards most shocking and ultimately heartbreaking episode. The fact that Corey Stoll didn’t get an Emmy nom for this episode is a tragedy.

Chapter 13
It’s probably best for me to say nothing about this chilling cliffhanger, only that I could not be more excited to see where season two takes viewers.

Agree with me Cards fans? Are there different episodes you’d suggest for Cards virgins?

Why 'Point Break' is the best summer movie EVER

Summer is no fun without a truly insane, over-the-top action movie. Fast & Furious 6 seems to be the one to beat this year…. unless The Smurfs 2 has a really incredible Parkour chase. But even Vin Diesel vs. a tank cannot come close to the ludicrous brilliance of 1991’s Point Break. It’s got a pretty beach setting. An even prettier cast (Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze). A non-brain-taxing plot (Surfing bank robbers!). And Gary Busey! What more do you need? Okay, well here are a few more reasons why it’s the best summer movie of all time:

  • Because it’s about surfing bank robbers who dress up like former Presidents when they commit crimes.
  • Because Keanu Reeves character is a former college football star named Johnny Utah and no one ever giggles.
  • Because Patrick Swayze’s character is named Bodhi and no one ever giggles.
  • Because Kathryn Bigelow directs the hell outta this movie. Surfing and skydiving have never looked better on film.
  • Because Keanu says lines like, “You gotta go down!” and no one ever giggles.
  • Because Red Hot Chili Peppers front man Anthony Kiedis plays a character named Tone.
  • Because Swayze has got great hair in this movie (see above photo). Bangs!
  • Because Patrick says lines like “Back off Warchild, seriously.” and no one ever giggles.
  • Because Lori Petty starred in this and like four other movies before completely disappearing. Where are you, Lori?
  • Because there’s an entire action sequence that hinges on a lawnmower malfunctioning.
  • Because Gary Busey’s performance is the least insane part of the movie.
  • Because the foot chase between Johnny and Bodhi through alleyways is still one of the most viscerally thrilling action scenes ever.

Disagree PopWatchers? Then what do you think is the best summer movie?

Follow Tim on Twitter: @EWTimStack

First Look: See Jane Lynch as Miss Hannigan in Broadway's 'Annie' -- EXCLUSIVE PHOTO

Glee‘s Jane Lynch begins a summer run on May 16 in the Broadway revival of Annie, playing the boozy and bawdy orphanage manager Miss Hannigan, who torments the titular red-haired girl. (Lynch is replacing current star Katie Finneran.) The actress rehearsed for the part this winter in L.A. while she wrapped up the fourth season of Glee.

Lynch admits that the role shares similarities with her villainous Glee character, Sue Sylvester, and says the two characters would probably be pals in real life. “I think Miss Hannigan would look up to Sue because Sue is much more stealth and much more successful at being manipulative,” says Lynch. “Miss Hannigan is just sloppy. She’s kind of a mess.”

Lynch adds that her Glee costar Darren Criss, who stepped in for Daniel Radcliffe in the Broadway run of How to Succeed…, gave her some good advice. “He said ‘Make yourself comfortable.’ You have to really save your energy and your angst for the show.” Lynch admits that performing live on stage every night is  going to be a test of endurance. “I had a rehearsal onstage for the first time and I got to the point where I was doing ‘Little Girls’ and I was out of breath,” she says. “So I have to learn how to conserve my energy.”

She’s also not gonna be preoccupied with any potential Glee castmates or other pals coming to see her. Says Lynch, “I’ve told them I don’t want to know when anyone’s coming. I just wanna show up and do the show. I don’t want to think oh so-and-so is out there. I met Patti LuPone last night and she was like, ‘I’m going to come see you.’ And I was like, ‘You cannot let me know when.’ I do not want to know when Patti LuPone is coming to see me!”

Read more:
‘Glee': Kate Hudson and Lea Michele perform Stevie Wonder’s ‘Uptight (Everything’s Alright)’ — EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
‘Glee’ season finale recap: All or Nothing
‘Glee': Listen to three songs from this week’s Stevie Wonder tribute — EXCLUSIVE

Follow Tim on Twitter: @EWTimStack

Why Janet Jackson's performance is the best Super Bowl halftime show of the last 10 years

Jeff Haynes/Getty Images

Jeff Haynes/Getty Images

The answer is simple: It was ACTUALLY memorable. Granted, it became a gigantic scandal after Jackson’s bare breast was exposed by co-performer Justin Timberlake, but it also made the halftime show feel like a true event. More often than not, this break in between quarters (Football is quarters right?) feels like something you’d see at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and not something more fitting the audience of gagillion people watching.

READ FULL STORY

'Glee': Is Finn about to put on some Superman tights? -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

This week’s Glee hour, called “Dynamic Duets,” finds Finn attempting to inspire New Directions with the titular lesson but also perhaps a little superhero tribute. In this exclusive clip, Beiste (Dot Marie Jones), dressed in her own superhero duds, tells the new glee coach that he should take a page from Superman when motivating his students. Or at least a page from Superman’s wardrobe choices. Watch it below.

READ FULL STORY

Is 'Skyfall' basically James Bond meets 'Home Alone'?

Francois Duhamel

[SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN SKYFALL

The answer is Yes…at least in my opinion. Now, I really enjoyed Skyfall — don’t get me wrong. It’s the most beautiful Bond movie I’ve ever seen and I always enjoy a villain who wears linen. But the last half-hour with Bond (Daniel Craig) fending off breathable fabric-lover Silva (Javier Bardem) and his gang of baddies with booby traps in his dilapidated childhood home was basically a combo of Home Alone and Home Alone 2.

Think about it—Bond rigs his house with loose floor boards and explosives; light sockets that explode with nails. All that’s missing is the dapper secret agent using a tarantula to freak the evil guys. Also, Judi Dench is just a few dirt smudges away from being the bird lady in Home Alone 2 and Albert Finney is totally giving Home Alone Old Man with the Shovel vibes. Frankly, I’m surprised there wasn’t a scene where Old Judes and Albie rode down the stairs in a sled.

I guess my big issue with this climax is that I love Bond movies for the gadgets and gizmos. I don’t really wanna see 007 being low-tech and running around with a sawed off shotgun—Bruce Willis’ John McClane can do that just fine.

What do you think, PopWatchers?

Follow Tim on Twitter: @EWTimStack

Darren Criss talks tonight's Broadway debut in 'How to Succeed' and his connection to Daniel Radcliffe

BROADWAY-BUSINESS-CRISS

Darren Criss can cross “Broadway debut” off his New Year’s resolution list. The 24-year-old Glee star takes over for Daniel Radcliffe in the hit Broadway musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying for three weeks, beginning tonight. (After that, singer Nick Jonas will play corporate-ladder climber J. Pierrepont Finch.) EW talked to the University of Michigan theater major about the show, what this means for his TV gig, and his connection to Radcliffe’s famed Harry Potter role.

Broadway was a no-brainer: After spotting him on Glee, How to Succeed producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Hairspray) thought Criss would be the ideal choice to succeed Radcliffe when the Harry Potter star left the show after 10 months. “We asked Darren if he was interested in doing a limited run in the show, and he got on a plane and snuck into the theater one matinee to check out the part,” says Zadan. “He called when he got out and said, ‘I have to play this role!’” Adds Criss, “It seemed too good to be true, so I made it a priority.” READ FULL STORY

'Young Adult': Is it wrong to relate to Charlize Theron's horrible character?

Phillip V. Caruso

So, I loooooved Jason Reitman’s Young Adult, which opened wide this weekend. Charlize Theron gave the performance of her career and the fantastically bleak script by Diablo Cody may even be better than her work on Juno. More so, I relished seeing such a complicated character study. There’s no redemption for Theron’s young adult author Mavis Gary. She doesn’t turn a corner or have the standard movie-plot revelation that she’s a truly vile human being and must change her ways. For me, that was an awesomely brave twist.

But as I walked out of the theater, the lingering thought in my head was, “Wow. That character was a real beast… and I kinda relate to her!” READ FULL STORY

'Glee' scoop: Why next week's sex-themed episode, 'The First Time,' is a game-changer

Gleeks you MUST tune in for next week’s episode of Glee, called “The First Time.” It’s without a doubt one of Glee‘s best installments ever and features two popular couples on the show having sex for the first time.

SPOILER ALERT! STOP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT TO HEAR DETAILS!  READ FULL STORY

'American Horror Story': Check out our Twitter interview with Ryan Murphy!

Ray Mickshaw/FX

Tonight, American Horror Story co-creator Ryan Murphy answered EW’s questions and also a few queries from EW readers in a Twitter interview on EW’s Twitter feed, @EW. Will the Harmons ever get out of that house? What’s the deal with Constance? Will there be a season two of AHS? Find out the answers to these and more in the full transcript of our interview below. Warning: SPOILERS FOLLOW! You can also tune in to watch tonight’s episode, titled “Murder House,” at 10 p.m. ET on FX, and open up a second screen at EW’s ViEWer to chat about what unfolds, live or even if you catch up with it later on DVR!  READ FULL STORY

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