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Murder mysteries are so commonplace on TV that each week offers seemingly dozens of them on police procedural series and detective shows. But in the movies, whodunits are surprisingly rare, and really good ones rarer still. There's really only a handful of movies that excel in offering the viewer the pleasure of solving the crime along with a charismatic sleuth, often with an all-star cast of suspects hamming it up as they try not to appear guilty.
One of the best was "Murder on the Orient Express," released 40 years ago this week, on November 24, 1974. Like many films adapted from Agatha Christie novels, this one featured an eccentric but meticulous investigator (in this case, Albert Finney as Belgian epicure Hercule Poirot), a glamorous and claustrophobic setting (here, the famous luxury train from Istanbul to Paris), and a tricky murder plot with an outrageous solution. The film won an Oscar for passenger »
- Gary Susman
At this time of year, it's good to be reminded that contemporary TV offers such a cornucopia of riches. This past year, in particular, has offered plenty to give thanks for -- in terms of both what's on the air and what is not. Among the things I'm thankful for:
That "The Flash" is actually good.
That I don't work at the "Today" show.
That this is the last season for "Two and a Half Men."
That "Seinfeld" reruns still hold up pretty well.
That Casper Kelly made '80s sitcom parody "Too Many Cooks." Whether or not you like the finished product -- and it's often pretty disgusting -- I'm glad someone had the impulse to make it. »
- Gary Susman
Few directors can be said to have changed the way films are made, but Mike Nichols, who died Wednesday at 83, was one of them. His first film, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966), ended decades of Hollywood censorship of adult content and freed the movies for mature language and subject matter ever after. His second film, "The Graduate," was the first serious mainstream movie to feature a rock soundtrack (spawning Simon and Garfunkel's hit "Mrs. Robinson") and, through its casting of Dustin Hoffman, expanded Hollywood's notion of what a leading man ought to look and sound like.
Nichols wasn't born in America (he and his family escaped from Nazi Germany when he was a child), but he was one of the best chroniclers of contemporary America -- its politics, its aspirations, its dreams, its aristocracy, and its successes and failures -- in movies. His youth in Manhattan as the son »
- Gary Susman
If all goes according to Angelina Jolie's plan, you will no longer see the 38-year-old actress on the big screen.
In a candid new interview with DuJour magazine, Angelina confirms she's planning to give up acting entirely.
"Absolutely," she tells the magazine about her future plans of no longer appearing in films. "I've never been comfortable as an actor; I've never loved being in front of the camera."
Video: Angelina Jolie is Officially a Dame!
And she's already taking the next steps to retiring from acting by getting plenty of buzz as a director, especially for her latest project Unbroken, which is based on the incredible life story of Olympic runner-turned-u.S. airman Louie Zamperini.
"I didn't ever think I could direct, but I hope I'm able to have a career at it because I'm much happier," she says about her new role behind the camera.
This isn't the first time Angelina has talked about quitting »
"I love you, too."
And with those four little words — the entire Big Bang Theory fandom collectively squealed with delight during last week's prom-tastic episode.
Now that Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy (Mayim Bialik) have exchanged the "L" word, it's time to look ahead at what's next for the slow-burning duo, and figure out if Penny (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) will ever actually tie to knot.
Only Et's Kevin Frazier was on the set of CBS's beloved geeky comedy and he asked the cast to spill what's next for our favorite couples.
News: How 'Big Bang Theory' Shocked Fans with Billy Bob Thornton!
When asked if a Shamy hook-up is on the horizon, Bialik was quick to shut this suggestion down. "I think we're as together as we need to be right now," the former Blossom star said. "I think there's a lot of anticipation and for me I think that's a lot of »
The Santa Clause is 20 years old today—and while the series spawned a trilogy of family-friendly holiday films, we can't forget the franchise's dark origins. Tim Allen's Scott Calvin becomes Santa Claus by accidentally causing the original St. Nick to fall to his doom. Sure, the film pushes a "seeing is believing" message and includes plenty of warm and fuzzy holiday cheer—but it still starts off with the death of Santa Claus. The Santa Clause isn't the only movie to put a dark spin on the holiday season; there's a long and storied cinematic history of strange, bleak, »
- Jonathon Dornbush
21 Years: Richard Linklater
Most filmgoers don’t know Richard Linklater’s name but his effect has been felt through the American independent film scene since the debut of Slacker in 1991. For the star-studded cast of commenters sitting down for some insights into Linklater, it’s hard to imagine a world without him. He is the unicorn who managed to build an entire career of passion projects, a rare opportunity indeed.
Written and directed by Michael Dunaway and Tara Wood, 21 Years: Richard Linklater seeks perspectives on one of cinema’s most underrated directors via interviews and stories shared by notable filmmakers Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Jack Black, Keanu Reeves, Billy Bob Thornton, Jason Reitman, Kevin Smith, the Duplass brothers, and Matthew McConaughey. To provide a unique spin on talking heads, Dunaway and Wood splice in animated »
- Colin Biggs
As a midway celebration of one of American independent cinema’s most vital careers, “21 Years: Richard Linklater” makes for a disappointingly hollow hagiography: gushy, superficial and strangely overdue — arriving significantly later than its title prescribes. This year, “Boyhood” sparked a serious reappraisal of Linklater’s oeuvre by film lovers everywhere (Brit film journal Little White Lies dedicated an issue to the helmer’s career, while Variety’s own critics ranked his 17 features to date), but this VOD-bound overview adds little to the conversation, beyond fresh endorsements from the likes of Ethan Hawke, Jack Black and Matthew McConaughey, embellished by amusing animated segments.
Given helmer Michael Dunaway and co-director Tara Wood’s evident affection for their subject’s contributions to cinema, it’s weird that they didn’t leverage their project as an excuse to gain access to the Austin-based auteur. Instead, the pair travel far and wide to interview his collaborators, »
- Peter Debruge
The holidays are almost upon us, and if you just can't wait to re-watch seasonal classics like "White Christmas" or "The Muppet Christmas Carol," they're available right now on Netflix. There are also a few Thanksgiving-themed movies you can stream, our favorite being, of course, "Planes, Trains and Automobiles."
There's something for almost every taste, whether you want something nice like an animated film for the kids or something very naughty, like "Bad Santa."
1. "American Son" (2008) R
Nick Cannon stars as a young Marine who's just completed basic training and is about to ship out to Iraq: But first, he's home for a volatile four-day Thanksgiving with friends and family.
2. "The House of Yes" (1997) R
- Sharon Knolle
Executive producer Steve Molaro spilled the details of Thursday night's big guest star surprise to ETonline
Did you catch the surprise last night?!
That's right — the Academy Award-winner stopped by TV's most-watched comedy for an unpublicized appearance as Dr. Oliver Lorvis, a urologist who misunderstands Penny’s (Kaley Cuoco) workplace flirtations and attempt to woo her at her apartment.
So how did the powers-that-be at Bbt keep such a monumental guest a surprise? Executive producer Steve Molaro exclusively spilled the details to ETonline. "It's crazy—it actually worked!" he exclaimed Friday morning.
Watch: 3 'Big Bang Theory' Secrets All Fans Need to Know!
"It started with Billy and his people saying, 'Hey, what if we kept this a secret?'" Molaro revealed. "And we thought, 'That sounds »
CBS' The Big Bang Theory pulled off quite the impossible: A surprise guest star. In an era where spoilers are increasingly hard to avoid, TV's No. 1 comedy surprised millions of diehard fans by bringing in Oscar winner and Emmy nominee Billy Bob Thornton for a guest gig as Penny's suitor. See more 'The Big Bang Theory's' Nerdiest Guest Stars During the episode, Thornton's Dr. Oliver Lorvis came calling to his favorite pharmaceutical rep: Penny (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting). While Leonard (Johnny Galecki) took issue with the fact that his bride-to-be hides her engagement ring in a bid to boost sales, Lorvis winds up having more in common with all the
- Lesley Goldberg
The Big Bang Theory moved back to Thursday night with nothing short of a miracle: The show was able to keep a surprise cameo under wraps ahead of airing, an act that's nearly unheard of in an age where spoilers freely leak long before episodes debut. The CBS comedy welcomed Oscar winner Billy Bob Thornton, who played Dr. Oliver Lorvis, a urologist who misunderstands Penny’s (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) flirtation while working and attempts to woo her. How did the cameo come to be? "A few months ago, we had seen an interview with Billy Bob talking about shows he likes. »
- Natalie Abrams
We’ve got questions, and you’ve (maybe) got answers! With another week of TV gone by, we’re lobbing queries left and right about shows including Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Criminal Minds, Nashville and The Vampire Diaries!
1 | Did Top Model‘s decision to show a disembodied shot of Adam’s naked torso strike you as exploitative, or was he pretty much courting that kind of treatment when he declared, “Every time that I get to shoot with my shirt off, it really does play to my strengths”?
2 | On Hawaii Five-0, did McGarrett’s new lady friend give you »
There comes a time when all groups of friends need some new blood to freshen up their routines. For the Big Bang gang, that meant a surprise guest-appearance by Billy Bob Thornton, and it resulted in an instant classic episode of the series. Bbt played Oliver Lorvis, “doctor to the stars’ urinary tracts,” and he carries James Cameron’s kidney stone in a tiny glass vial on his key chain to prove it. Dr. Lorvis shows up at Penny’s door with a bouquet of roses and an “unnecessarily graphic” note, hoping to woo his pharmaceutical sales rep after she winked at him and touched his arm for “two Mississippis” (“one Mississippi, two Mississippi”).Dr. Lorvis bonds with Sheldon on his walk up the stairs to Penny’s pad, and Sheldon — after a brief rebuke of Leonard for forgetting the extra peanut sauce he requires for his takeout dinner — gives »
- Kimberly Potts
This review contains spoilers.
8.7 The Misinterpretation Agitation
Some modern sitcoms can still be funny while they’re touching on social issues or the struggles of their characters, without turning nasty or bungling the landing. Community does it from time to time, and even The Mindy Project and New Girl have had their moments, but The Big Bang Theory often struggles to transcend its comfort zone even when the writers may have good intentions.
This episode, The Misinterpretation Agitation, made no secret of the fact that it was about Women's Issues, something I have had problems with even in the space of the six episodes I’ve reviewed this season. With Penny doing well in her career and heading towards marriage with Leonard, as well as the now-established structure of having dual girls/boys storylines each week, »
(Spoiler alert: Do not read on if you have not yet seen “The Big Bang Theory” Season 8, Episode 7 entitled “The Misinterpretation Agitation.”) CBS's “The Big Bang Theory” has had a lot of major guest stars over the years, but they've usually shouted the castings from the rooftops. Not so the celebrity who had a surprise role on the show's first Thursday episode of the season. See photos: Halloween in Hollywood Costume Contest – You Be the Judge! (Photos) Fresh from his Emmy-nominated performance on FX's “Fargo,” Billy Bob Thornton joined the show as a urologist who develops an unrequited crush on. »
- Jason Hughes
CBS' The Big Bang Theory returned to its Thursday time slot with a massive bang in the form of an Oscar winner and Emmy nominee. After revealing that he was a fan of the comedy from exec producers Chuck Lorre, Bill Prady and Steve Molaro, Billy Bob Thornton guest starred during Thursday's "The Misinterpretation Agitation" episode. And while Thornton's performance as a sad urologist to the stars will likely earn the Fargo alum a guest actor in a comedy Emmy nomination, the best part of Thursday's episode was the fact that it was largely kept under wraps. See more'The Big Bang Theory's' Nerdiest Guest Stars During the episode, Thornton's Dr. Oliver Lorvis came calling to his favorite pharmaceutical
- Lesley Goldberg
Here's another reason to love Sandra Bullock - she is quick to move into action during emergencies. TMZ reports that the actress came to the aid of an extra who collapsed on the set of her newest film, Our Brand Is Crisis, in New Orleans on Sunday. Photos showed Sandra surrounded by crew members and attempting to cover the fallen woman with shade. She also reportedly gave the woman, who suffered heat stroke, water while they waited for EMTs to arrive. Billy Bob Thornton was also spotted looking on while crew members helped out the collapsed extra. According to TMZ, the heat has been unbearable on set, as Nola's weather is famously hot and humid and the movie, which follows how American political tactics are used in South American elections, calls for the cast to wear warm clothes. »
Sandra Bullock should be recruited to help with the Ebola crisis ... because she's a decisive chick in the face of medical emergencies.Sandra beat 911 by a mile when an extra on her current movie set collapsed. It was pretty apparent it was a case of heat stroke ... Sandra is shooing "Our Brand Is Crisis" under the blazing sun in New Orleans.Sandra took charge ... giving her fallen comrade water and fanning her in a shady »
- TMZ Staff
Zombieland star Heard plays Jude, the daughter of a famous crooner Paul Lombard (Walken), but for the proud, feisty Jude, spending time with her egocentric, impossible-to-please father becomes her worst nightmare as he plots his big comeback.
Producers are Parts & Labor’s Lars Knudsen and Jay Van Hoy (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints), Chris Maybach, Saemi and Saerom Kim at Maybach Film Productions (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Ferne Pearlstein and Lucas Joaquin (Beasts of the Southern Wild).
- email@example.com (Andreas Wiseman)
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