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Kim Kardashians Says She and Her Sisters Fight After They Watch Episodes of *KUWTK*

With Keeping Up With the Kardashians now marking its 15th season of petty fights and rich people drama on the network, its main star, Kim Kardashian, has reached a creative milestone in her own right. The reality star appeared on the latest episode of Ashley Graham’s podcast to talk about the longevity of her career, revealing that E! has always given her unprecedented creative control when it comes to editing and approving scenes for the show. “I’m not in the actual editing room but I watch every cut and every edit,” she explained. “And that, I think, has always been the magic to being ourselves and showing everything, because we know that we could really have a say in it. [It’s] really rare for them to give us that from the start.”

Kardashian’s control is similar to the one her mother, Kris Jenner, has possessed for many years on the network, which has been criticized for the sheer scope of its influence—by fellow E! stars, no less. Still, Kardashian makes it clear that her creative involvement isn’t to make her look better in comparison to other family members: “We’ve never really edited out crazy content.” All of their infamous on-screen fights, in fact, have become a fundamental tenet of the show—as silly as that sounds—but re-watching those moments when they air still isn’t a fun experience for the family.

“When you watch it, you get heated all over again. We literally start fighting all over again over the same thing,” Kardashian continued. “Even if we like are so crazy mad at each other, it won’t be long before we’re all good. The fact that so many people text me even now if a rerun comes on, they’re like, ‘Are you and Kourtney okay?’ And I’m like, ‘We went on vacation together. This has been months since we filmed that.’” Ah, the magic of television.

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Timothée Chalamet, Steve Carell, and Director Felix van Groeningen Discuss Addiction and Fatherhood

BOY, INTERRUPTED From left: Carell and Chalamet— who co-star in this month’s Beautiful Boy—with director van Groeningen, photographed in the Crystal Ballroom of the Omni King Edward Hotel in Toronto. Van Groeningen is in a Dries Van Noten jacket, $1,240, and pants, $770, Corridor, 209 Mott Street, New York, Rag & Bone shirt, $250, rag-bone​.com, Vans shoes, $50, vans​.com; Chalamet is in an Hermès sweater, $1,150, hermes​.com, Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello pants, $690, Saint Laurent, 3 East 57th Street, New York, A.P.C. shoes, $310, usonline.apc.fr. Carell wears his own Isaia jacket, $3,490, shirt, $795, and pants, $495, isaia.it.
BOY, INTERRUPTED From left: Carell and Chalamet— who co-star in this month’s Beautiful Boy—with director van Groeningen, photographed in the Crystal Ballroom of the Omni King Edward Hotel in Toronto. Van Groeningen is in a Dries Van Noten jacket, $1,240, and pants, $770, Corridor, 209 Mott Street, New York, Rag & Bone shirt, $250, rag-bone​.com, Vans shoes, $50, vans​.com; Chalamet is in an Hermès sweater, $1,150, hermes​.com, Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello pants, $690, Saint Laurent, 3 East 57th Street, New York, A.P.C. shoes, $310, usonline.apc.fr. Carell wears his own Isaia jacket, $3,490, shirt, $795, and pants, $495, isaia.it. Photo: Mark Peckmezian for WSJ. Magazine; STYLING BY Emma Wyman

ON A QUIET stretch of beach in Northern California, a father takes his son surfing. Bodies flat against their boards, they paddle away from shore. As the waves grow bigger the boy, forging ahead on his own, disappears behind a curtain of water. Then, just as the father begins to panic, the boy emerges, triumphant, riding a wave back to him.

The scene, which arrives early in Belgian director Felix van Groeningen’s English-language debut, Beautiful Boy—co-written with Luke Davies—casts a long shadow over the rest of the film. Adapted from a pair of best-selling memoirs by a father and son, David and Nic Sheff, the story recounts the painful transformation of one family grappling with drug addiction. David, a well-meaning journalist played by Steve Carell, has always been close to his son Nic (Timothée Chalamet), but as Nic begins experimenting with drugs, eventually spiraling into a full-blown addiction to crystal meth, David is forced to question just how well he knows his boy, where he went wrong and how he can get him back.

Beautiful Boy—produced by Plan B Entertainment (Moonlight, 12 Years a Slave) and shot over 40 days in Los Angeles and San Francisco—has a nonlinear structure, with devastating episodes that reveal the extent of Nic’s dependency (“It takes the world from black-and-white to Technicolor , ” he says of crystal meth) played against sweeter moments between father and son. The film comes as drug addiction remains a national pandemic, but while it poignantly humanizes a difficult issue, it’s not on a mission. Its appeal lies in more universal preoccupations: what it means to be a family, the conflicting impulses in any parent to both protect their children and set them free, and the search for wholeness and identity.

Last month, van Groeningen, Carell and Chalamet reunited for the film’s premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and for their first group interview about the project. The mood in the room was playful and tender as everyone greeted each other with hugs. While they sat for their portraits, fiery R&B tracks floated down from a sound system; at times, struggling to sustain serious, camera-ready expressions, the trio burst into fits of laughter. Were there similar moments of levity on the set of Beautiful Boy, despite the grave subject matter?

“Oh, sure,” Carell says. “We wanted to honor the material, but we actually had a lot of fun, too. Because that’s part of life. Even within the darkest moments.”

Thomas Gebremedhin: This is a heartbreaking movie. How do you prepare for something like this?

Felix van Groeningen: I’ve touched on the subject [drugs] in my other films, but in a very different way. So I went to Al-Anon and AA meetings. I visited rehab centers. But, obviously, David and Nic were the biggest source of information for me. Getting the details felt important, and so my bibles were the memoirs.

Steve Carell: Being a father really gave context to my approach. Specifically, my love for my own children gave context to how I was approaching this guy, which isn’t too far from how I would imagine trying to navigate this experience if it was something that fell into my life. A week before we started shooting, my son, who was 11 or 12 at the time, out of the blue asked whether marijuana is a gateway drug. This was on the way home from school; it’s clearly something that they’d been discussing. We’d had vague conversations about the dangers of drugs, but not a more adult conversation about it. It’s terrifying on even such a simple level having that discussion. I didn’t want to make a wrong turn. I assume David went through many of the same things, wanting to do everything right but realizing there is no right or wrong path.

Timothée Chalamet
Timothée Chalamet Photo: Mark Peckmezian for WSJ. Magazine; STYLING BY Emma Wyman

Timothée Chalamet: For me, the first thing to pull from is the experience of being a son, a son in a family, and having a great relationship with my father. There is a recognizable physical context to that. From a hundred feet away you can tell by the way people hug whether they’re family.

TG: I want to touch on that father-son dynamic. The chemistry between you two is so apparent in the film. How do you create that connection off-camera?

SC: I don’t think you do. I don’t think it’s something you consciously generate. I don’t want to speak for Timmy, but we immediately liked each other. We immediately felt a connection. I never felt there was an acting exercise that we were using to try to feel more connected. In Timothée I saw an incredible, soulful, generous person. I liked him enormously from day one. And since I’m exactly the same kind of person, I expected him to feel the same about me. [Laughter] But it was very natural.

TC: I feel so immensely filled with gratitude that I have Steve and Felix and other people that I’ve been able to work with at a young age that have been, I don’t want to say paternal towards me, but it’s a form of that, and I…. [Felix gets up to pour himself water] As he’s leaving!

SC: [Laughing] Felix doesn’t feel the same way.

FVG: I was so happy we took two weeks to rehearse. I always do it. It gave us time to know each other. I was very nervous in the beginning, and it gave me time to calm down and to be myself. English isn’t my first language and, I mean, I’m working with movie stars! I needed that time. But as Steve said, it wasn’t like we were artificially getting there.

TC: I was very soothed by Steve’s warmth and kindness—

SC: Keep going.

TC: But really, I was and am a huge admirer of Steve’s work, and I knew this was going to be a bridge for me to cross. It was good for me to realize upfront, OK, that’s going to be a hurdle, especially [since we’re playing] father and son. I needed to get it out of my head.

TG: What were the most challenging scenes for you to film?

The greatest gift I got from Nic was the confidence to be Nic. I felt an understanding.

—Timothée Chalamet

TC: I found the sequences on the phone challenging. It’s the nature of the movie that those phone calls are emotional climaxes. And generally, as an exercise, phone calls are challenging as an actor because you don’t typically have the other person there with you. So I was very grateful that each time there was something on the phone, whether it was Andre Royo [who plays Nic’s AA sponsor, Spencer] or Steve, we were always there for each other.

Steve Carell
Steve Carell Photo: Mark Peckmezian for WSJ. Magazine; STYLING BY Emma Wyman

SC: For me, it was when the character of David makes choices that would be difficult for me, or any father, to make. There’s a sticking point in your subconscious, maybe, about how you would handle a situation. By his own admission, David makes tough choices, and sometimes as an actor, or just a human being, you evaluate what those choices are. Sometimes they conflicted with what I imagined I would do, but ultimately I realized it’s probably what I would do. Making that shift was interesting to me.

TG: Right, there are several forks in the road for both David and Nic throughout the movie, but the scene that felt critical to me is when David has to establish some kind of boundary with Nic.

SC: It was a terrifying scene. A moment any parent would dread. It’s hard to even imagine getting to that point, where you have to make that kind of choice while still desperately loving your child. The whole thing is terrifying and tragic and common. That’s the other thing—every day while we were shooting this, if any of us mentioned to other people what we were working on, the stories and personal connections were a bit overwhelming.

TG: Well, last year was the deadliest on record for overdoses.

TC: Yeah, more than car crashes.

TG: This isn’t a preachy film, but how do you hope it will play a part in that discussion?

FVG: I think it’s about giving people a face and a voice. I hope this film gives insight into how complex [addiction] is. A lot of movies touch upon it from just one side. But there’s something unique about [Beautiful Boy]. It’s two points of view of the same story.

TG: When you went back home to your families after a day on set, were you able to leave work at work?

TC: Certainly in any film, whether it’s your relationship to the characters or people or the context of environments, it naturally blends with your experience. It would be dramatic to say that there was no escaping it, and yet we were in it—we shot for 40 days or something, and I just kept thinking, Keep moving, keep going.

SC: This one was hard to leave on set. Every night I came home and hugged my kids a little tighter. My wife and I would talk every night about what we shot that day and how it felt and just the vibe. It didn’t feel like a job. We had to be invested in this because, beyond the fact that it’s a harrowing and relevant story, it’s true. These are real people. I definitely brought it home.

TG: On a lighter topic, there’s the film’s soundtrack: Nirvana, Neil Young, Fiddler on the Roof. It’s all over the place. Felix, how does music inform the story? And Steve and Timothée, as actors, how did you use music to creatively build out these roles?

FVG: The idea came from the books. Music was so important to David and Nic. There’s something beautiful about how it unites them. David mentions in his book a lot of songs that he can’t listen to anymore. So we put some of those songs in the movie. At some point my editor [Nico Leunen] and I wanted to use a classic film score together with songs, but then [Leunen] came up with the idea to drop the score and just use the songs. It made us take a risk.

SC: It’s a language that David and Nic used to speak to each other. As the addiction sets in, their relationship becomes frayed and that language does as well. Music is David’s bread and butter; these are the people he interviews. And he incorporates his son into that world at an early age—it’s both of their worlds.

This one was hard to leave on set. Every night I came home and hugged my kids a little tighter.

—Steve Carell

TC: Yeah, music was a big part to Nic’s character. I remember we were shooting on the campus of USC, and we got into trouble because my portable speaker was playing “Heart-Shaped Box” too loudly. For Nic it was Nirvana; I was listening to Eminem when I was 5 or 6 years old, and it did feel important. It’s an effect of growing up in America, or the world, in a digital, consumerist age, that you’re communicated these messages of self-destruction and alienation.

TG: Timothée, you’ve played coming-of-age roles before, most notably as Elio in Call Me By Your Name. Elio is different from Nic, but they’re also both struggling with their identity. Did you take anything from that role and put it into this one?

TC: That’s a really good question. If there’s a through line it’s the immediacy and the urgency, the moment-to-moment visceral nature of what it is to be young. For Elio that’s a life circumstance that all of us should be so fortunate to go through, to fall in love, but also he’s coming to terms with his sexuality. For Nic, it’s facing this goliath of an obstacle, not only addiction but to one of the most powerful substances known to man.

TG: Did David and Nic give you all any advice?

SC: I didn’t meet Nic until we were shooting, but I met with David. He couldn’t have been more gracious. I think [he’s] very brave to even allow this movie to be made. There’s an incredible trust that he put into Felix and everyone involved that we’d get it at least marginally right. But he took a very hands-off approach with me.

TC: I went out with Nic and [his sister] Daisy to eat, and it was just as Steve said, the greatest gift I got from Nic was the confidence to be Nic. I felt an understanding. I think they understood our biggest goal and mission was to get their story right.

Felix van Groeningen
Felix van Groeningen Photo: Mark Peckmezian for WSJ. Magazine; STYLING BY Emma Wyman

FVG: But just in the authenticity and in the heart of it—we didn’t have an obligation to it. It’s not a biopic in that sense, and that’s an advantage, I guess.

TG: Steve, you’re also playing Donald Rumsfeld in Backseat and Mark Hogancamp in Marwen—what’s different about playing a real, living person as opposed to a fictional character?

SC: A fictional character leaves much more to the imagination in terms of the performance and development and backstory. One is complete invention, and the other is completely tethered to the real world. It’s not easier or harder to portray either. I’m really excited that David and Nic [are attending the premiere]. From time to time I would talk to David and ask, “How surreal does this feel to you?” There was one day we were doing a scene on the beach, and David and [his wife] Karen [Barbour] came to visit. It was a simple scene, nothing overly dramatic, but David was elated. He was so full of emotion. I could tell that it really hit him.

TG: What do you ultimately hope this movie communicates? What do you think the lasting impression will be?

Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carell
Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carell Photo: Mark Peckmezian for WSJ. Magazine; STYLING BY Emma Wyman; grooming by lucy halperin (Carell), Jhizet Panosian (Van Groeningen) and Kumi Craig (Chalamet)

FVG: It’s a harrowing story, but it’s a beautiful family. To see all of this happen in a family where there’s so much love and understanding makes it even more harrowing, maybe, but it’s a family that believes in unconditional love, and they use that as a way out.

TG: That’s a great note to end on. I do have one last question though, unrelated to the movie. Timothée, have you seen the Instagram account @chalametinart?

TC: Yes! [Laughs]

FVG: What is that?

TG: It’s an Instagram account where they photoshop Timothée into classic paintings.

FVG: Oh, yeah! Wasn’t there an account about just his hair, too?

SC: [Looking at @chalametinart on a phone] Oh, it’s beautiful. [To Timothée] Well, you have your selection of Christmas cards now. •

President Donald Trump Openly Mocked Christine Blasey Ford’s Testimony Against Brett Kavanaugh

President Donald Trump may have stooped to a new low Tuesday night, when he decided to openly mock Christine Blasey Ford and her allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during a rally in Mississippi.

And honestly, the only thing that’s surprising is that it took this long to happen. Gone are the headlines that touted the president’s “restraint,” like CNN’s, which read “Aides Quietly Stunned by Trump’s Respectful Handling of Kavanaugh Accuser.” In the piece, two sources quoted Trump as saying, “Why would I attack her?”

But last night that’s exactly what he did, going so far as to imitate Ford.

“’I had one beer.’ Well, do you think it was… ‘Nope. It was one beer.’ Oh good. How did you get home? ‘I don’t remember.’ How did you get there? ‘I don’t remember.’ Where is the place? ‘I don’t remember,'” Trump said, prompting laughter from those in the crowd. “How many years ago was it? ‘I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.’ What neighborhood was it in? ‘I don’t know.’ Where’s the house? ‘I don’t know. Upstairs. Downstairs. I don’t know. But I had one beer that’s the only thing I remember.'”

“And a man’s life is in tatters,” Trump continued. “A man’s life is shattered.” Then, echoing his comments from earlier in the day when he expressed fear for young men in the age of #MeToo, he claimed that he had many “false allegations” against him, adding that the crowd should “think of your son” because men are “guilty until proven innocent.”

Perhaps even more jarring than Trump’s own outrageous words is the laughter and applause of the crowd. Many social media users made the astute connection between the reactions at the rally and Ford’s poignant testimony about her memory of the alleged attack: “Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter, the uproarious laughter between the two,” she said of the one thing she remembers the most about that night more than 30 years ago.

Senator Jeff Flake (R–Ariz.), who helped request the FBI investigation into Kavanaugh which delayed the confirmation vote, appeared on the Today show Wednesday morning and condemned Trump’s speech. “There’s no time and no place for remarks like that,” he said. “I wish he hadn’t have done it. It’s kind of appalling.”

Twitter agreed—and many wonder how this type of rhetoric will affect senators like Flake, Lisa Murkowski (R–Alaska), Susan Collins (R–Maine), and Joe Manchin (D–W.V.), who are thought to be on the fence regarding their Kavanaugh nomination votes.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.) has said that the Senate will vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination this week.

MORE: Christine Blasey Ford Cites ‘Uproarious Laughter’ as Strongest Memory of Alleged Kavanaugh Assault

Meghan Markle Loves & Other Stories as Much as You Do

We know Meghan Markle loves her custom Givenchy. We also know the duchess of Sussex loves her off-the-rack Aritzia, J.Crew, and other more affordable brands she probably shopped during her preroyal days. While making her first official trip to Sussex with Prince Harry, Markle wore an outfit that proved we have more in common with a duchess’s wardrobe than we might think.

Markle went with a monochromatic look, sticking with an olive green color palette for her base layer and a cream coat up top to visit Edes House. The fashion blog Meghan’s Mirror, which tracks Markle’s outfits, identified her polished button-down as from & Other Stories, the beloved Swedish fast-fashion brand (which, by the way, is having an amazing sale right now.)

The Duke & Duchess Of Sussex Visit Sussex

PHOTO: Karwai Tang

The rest of her outfit was a lot more luxe: Her coat was from Emporio Armani, her leather pencil skirt was from Hugo Boss, and her nude pumps were from Stuart Weitzman. She also carried a Gabriela Hearst bag.

The Duke & Duchess Of Sussex Visit Sussex

PHOTO: Karwai Tang

Though it was in stock for a bit this morning, Markle’s $99 & Other Stories top has since sold out in her chosen green hue. It’s still available in black, white, and off-white, though.

& Other Stories Straight Fit Silk Shirt, $99, & Other Stories

& Other Stories Straight Fit Silk Shirt, $99, & Other Stories

& Other Stories Straight Fit Silk Shirt, $99, & Other Stories

That wasn’t the only affordable element of the duchess’s look: Hello! brought attention to Markle’s new signet ring, which the publication identified as Missoma’s Mantra Open Heart Signet Ring, available online for $110. (Meghan’s Mirror pointed out that her favorite $44 Catbird Threadbare Rings also made an appearance.)

The Duke and Duchess Of Sussex Visit Sussex

PHOTO: Samir Hussein

She also wore Missoma’s Double Chain Bracelet ($89) and Rainbow Moonstone Beaded Leaf Bracelet ($97.)

Royals: They online-shop just like us.

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Kylie Jenner Skin Care Products Could Soon Be on Their Way

If Kylie Jenner hasn’t already hit that billionaire threshold—”self-made” or not—this could certainly move her into the 10-figure mark. Rumor has it that the 21-year-old is looking to expand her $800 million makeup empire to also include skin care.

As The Cut reports, it appears Jenner’s company, Kylie Cosmetics, recently filed three trademark applications: one for Kylie Skin by Kylie Jenner and two for Kylie Skin. That’s a whole lot of Kylie, to be sure, but forgetting the fact that she has the skin of 21-year-old multimillionaire, the move would be one that makes so much sense. Now that quality skin care is becoming more accessible (and Instagrammable), the category is outpacing sales for makeup. Skin care is also admittedly easier to buy online than a lipstick or concealer. Meaning, there’s a whole lot of money to be had in the race for all of our top shelves.

Looking more closely at the applications, it’s clear Jenner has plans to go hard. Her company filed trademarks for pretty much every product imaginable under the skin care umbrella: moisturizers, cleaners, face scrubs, toners, serums, masks, peels, and face mists, among others. “Body powders” is also mysteriously on the list.

It’s safe to say, her stans are stanning it.

Just think about all the possibilities for product names. Kylie Skin Insta-Filter Mist? Kylie Skin x Dr. Ourian Glow Peels? Kylie Skin Kylotion? (No? Doesn’t work?)

Where things get even more interesting is the second trademark application, which comes with this tidbit: “Retail store services featuring skin care products, skin care preparation products, cosmetics, cosmetic preparations, and gifts.” A Kylie Skin…spa? Imagine! But more likely, if we had to guess, it could mean that Kylie is launching an in-store skin care service at Ulta, where her makeup products will be launching in brick-and-mortar locations for the holiday season.

Time will tell. We’re just waiting for the Stormi Baby Skin trademark to come out.

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How This Is Us Set The Stage For A Major Conflict Between The Big Three

Warning! The following contains spoilers for This Is Us Season 3 episode, “A Philadelphia Story.” Read at your own risk!

This Is Us‘ latest episode was rife with drama and just when things finally looked to be settling down towards the end, Kevin opened his mouth and ruined it all. Granted, he didn’t mean to make waves when he recapped the drama of the day to brother Randall and offhandedly mentioned that Kate wanted to have a baby so someone in the family could carry on their father’s legacy. Executive producer Isaac Aptaker explained why the statement hit Randall so hard, and how it set the stage for a major conflict between The Big Three:

As Isaac Aptaker points out, Randall was wounded and seething at the implication that only Kate or Kevin could carry on the legacy of Jack. Kate’s poor choice of words made it sound as though Randall can’t live or pass on Jack’s legacy to his children simply because he’s not blood-related. Is this really how Kate feels, or did she simply forget about Randall while arguing with Kevin and Rebecca earlier in the day?

Obviously, there’s going to be some fallout on This Is Us for the statement, and executive producer Elizabeth Berger assured viewers in the chat with Variety that they won’t have to wait long to see Randall call out his sister for what she said:

Randall does have a track record of making incredibly uncomfortable family moments with confrontations, so it’s unsurprising he’s wasting no time in calling out Kate for the statement. We’re pretty sure Kate doesn’t actually think Randall is an illegitimate Pearson or incapable of carrying on Jack’s legacy, and if Randall really sat and thought about it, he’d probably realize his sister more than likely misspoke. Unfortunately, the adopted Pearson is in a weird place right now and in a mindset where he’s feeling like an outsider wherever he goes, so we doubt his cooler head will prevail before starting a classic This Is Us sibling throwdown.

As tense as the moment was, it doesn’t seem guaranteed this fight will be a huge part of This Is Us‘ next episode. Randall will probably understand fairly quickly his sister didn’t mean what she said, and Kevin will probably get some blame from Kate for telling Randall about the argument out of context. The upcoming sibling showdown didn’t even make the preview for the next episode, so its more likely this argument is just a vehicle for Randall’s ongoing Season 3 story of finding his purpose and honoring both of his father’s legacies. Still, we’ll have to wait and see.

This Is Us airs on NBC Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m. ET. Keep up with all the new things coming to television in the coming weeks by visiting and bookmarking our fall premiere guide.

NBC’s Chicago Crossover Will Put Some Characters Through A Family Crisis

Fans of Dick Wolf‘s Chicago shows have a big night ahead of them this Wednesday, as the big, three-show crossover is going down early in the new season. And, while we already knew that a big fire will play into this crossover, now we also know that some beloved characters will be going through quite a family crises when the drama picks up. Specifically, brothers Jay and Will Halstead will be dealing with a very scary situation. When I spoke with actor Nick Gehlfuss, who plays Will on Chicago Med, at One Chicago Day a few weeks ago, he revealed that the siblings will be worried sick about their dad, Pat.

Here, what happens is, it’s part of the crossover. Our father, we’re not sure if he’s caught in a fire. So, I’m at the hospital receiving patients coming in and he’s on the scene, [we’re] really trying to find out where our dad is. We moved him to a new building, because our childhood home, we came to find out, was falling apart, so we wanted to give him a better living arrangement. And, it just so happens that a fire starts at this big, high rise building.

Eesh. Talk about a shitty day at work. Can you imagine how (undeservedly) guilty you’d feel if you were trying to help out one of your parents by paying for them to have a much better home, but then that home turns into a towering inferno? Add to that the fact that neither Jay nor Will is going to know whether or not their father was actually caught in the fire, injured or even killed, and you can tell that the anxiety for these two is going to be even more off the charts than usual when dealing with a mass casualty situation.

While the Halstead brothers haven’t always had the best relationship, they’ve been pretty close for some time now. Much of that seems to be due to the fact that neither of them were particularly close to their father growing up or in young adulthood, and, as of a few years ago while Jay was still in the military and deployed to Afghanistan, they lost their mother to cancer. So, they seemed to have mended their relationship as a way to cope with not having much other reliable family to depend on. One of the best parts about watching these two characters has been seeing them grow as brothers, as well as characters in general. It’s always nice to watch them banter, stand up for one another or just give each other caring, brotherly advice.

Of course, even though they weren’t close to Pat for most of their lives until this point, each brother has recently made great strides to mend the father-son bond with him, as well. And, it’s worked well enough that Will and Jay banded together to try to give dear old dad a better life. Let’s hope that their efforts, and newly formed closeness to Pat, hasn’t ended up impairing his health or costing him his life. Jay and Will would likely have a very hard time getting over that.

You can see how the Halstead family drama gets resolved when Chicago Fire, Chicago Med and Chicago P.D. air the big crossover tomorrow, starting at 8 p.m. EST on NBC. To see what else you can catch on the small screen, be sure to check out our 2018 fall premiere guide.

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Venom Reviews Are In, Here’s What The Critics Think

The reaction to Venom has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride, and one that might work in the symbiote’s favor. Early buzz was mixed. Then, after the world premiere, social media began to weigh in, saying Ruben Fleischer’s origin story for the alien symbiote wasn’t nearly as bad as some feared, and might even be pretty damn funny (even if some of the laughs were unintentional). Now the full review embargo has lifted, so what are critics saying?

We’ll go first. In a two-star review, CinemaBlend complained that removing Spider-Man from the Venom story is a death-blow, saying:

Arguably, you can’t have Venom without first having Spider-Man… which, in a nutshell, is the main reason that Venom, the movie, doesn’t work. Sure, director Ruben Fleischer and his seven credited screenwriters (!!) cook up an alternate origin story for both Brock and the symbiote. But removing Spider-Man from the overall equation creates too many narrative potholes around which Venom fails to weave with any sort of grace or style. Eventually, the movie gets a metaphorical flat tire, and wrecks itself on the Hollywood superhero highway.

Todd McCarthy, writing for The Hollywood Reporter, dismisses Venom as bland, stating:

At a time when the Marvel universe is both expanding adventurously (Black Panther) and wrapping up other storylines (Avengers: Infinity War), Venom feels like a throwback, a poor second cousin to the all-stars that have reliably dominated the box-office charts for most of this century. Partly, this is due to the fact that, as an origin story, this one seems rote and unimaginative. On top of that, the writing and filmmaking are blah in every respect; the movie looks like an imitator, a wannabe, not the real deal.

Matt Patches from Polygon praises Tom Hardy, even though he’s making a different movie from everyone else:

Venom would be another anonymous notch on the superhero movie belt if not for Hardy, whose dedication to batshit nonsense is a saving grace — and reason enough to make a second movie. The pieces are in place for a Venom 2 in which Eddie spends 100% of his time wrapped up with the symbiote; in which Williams, who makes a thankless role so much more than it could have been, has a character whose life extends beyond tracking her animalistic ex’s path on Waze; in which any risks are taken.

JoBlo seems to be the movie’s loudest champion, stating:

Ultimately, VENOM is better than I expected. Tom Hardy is terrific, and the actor is having a great time playing Eddie along with his new best alien pal. While the story is a bit obvious, I enjoyed the throwback to sci-fi alien invasion flicks. Ruben Fleischer has delivered a superhero feature that is frenzied and perhaps a little too facetious at times. Yet, when Venom attacks, it is a glorious thing to watch. This is the kind of movie that you can sit back and take it all in, just don’t think too hard about it. Add to that a couple of inspired cameos and you have a genuinely appealing Marvel flick.

Make the call for yourself once Venom opens in theaters later this week! Also, keep it here on CinemaBlend for a lot more from our interviews with the cast and crew at the Venom press junket in Los Angeles.

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Lethal Weapon Cast A New Partner That Could Be The New Riggs

Lethal Weapon went through a massive change between Season 2 and Season 3 when Fox went ahead and fired Clayne Crawford in response to alleged misconduct on set. The maverick who lived to break the rules, push boundaries, deal with demons, and form an unlikely friendship with his straight-laced partner was killed off, with his death taking place with Crawford nowhere to be seen in the Season 3 premiere. Lethal Weapon exists without Riggs. Now, however, the show has cast a new character who basically sounds like the maverick we came to know and love, and she’ll partner Bailey. Lethal Weapon head honcho Matt Miller describes the situation as Bailey “getting her own Riggs,” and he went on to say this:

Well, maybe spending a couple years dealing with Riggs and — perhaps more importantly, watching Murtaugh deal with Riggs — will help Bailey deal with having a Riggs of her own in Season 3. Her new partner is named Louie “The Gute” Gutierrez and will be played by Paola Lázaro. The Gute joins the Robbery/Homicide division after getting out of a year of undercover work, which pitted her against the Mexican cartel and probably brings her back with her fair share of baggage and even trauma. This new character would rather act than think in high-stakes situations, and that isn’t exactly the way Bailey tends to handle her work as a detective.

The casting of Paola Lázaro may be a sign that Lethal Weapon intends to give Bailey more screentime and more time in the field, although it’s too soon to say. Lázaro doesn’t debut on Lethal Weapon until the sixth episode of Season 3, which also happens to feature actress Keesha Sharp as director, in a departure from her usual role as Trish. The maverick and shoot-first-think-later characteristics of The Gute also seem to indicate that Lethal Weapon is not planning on slowly turning Cole into Riggs 2.0.

Obviously Cole didn’t premiere as a character with a ton in common with Riggs, and his background is certainly different than Riggs’, but given that Riggs is a legendary character and half of a legendary dynamic on large and small screens alike, it was entirely possible that Lethal Weapon would slowly transition him into a Riggs-esque partner for Murtaugh. Instead, Bailey will deal with her own version of Riggs, and that could be a lot of fun… for viewers. Bailey, not so much. Matt Miller went on in his chat with TVLine to explain why Bailey’s previous partner Zach was being replaced by The Gute:

Zach lost his spot as Bailey’s partner once the new co-lead started taking on some similar characteristics. Bailey’s dynamic with her new parter will undoubtedly be very different and involve some very different struggles. Since Lethal Weapon is primarily Murtaugh and his partner’s story, we likely won’t see as much of Bailey and The Gute as we will of Murtaugh and Cole. Still, Paola Lázaro could be a fun addition to the cast in the new Riggs-less era. We have a new Riggs-type character without Clayne Crawford on the scene!

Tune in to Fox on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET to catch new episodes of Lethal Weapon in the fall TV lineup.

Venom Review

Venom, as a character, needs Spider-Man. Introduced in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man comics, Venom was an amalgamation of bitter newspaper reporter Eddie Brock and an alien symbiote that had been rejected by Spider-Man. Both entities hated Peter Parker, and their shared animosity fueled the creation of the vengeful and murderous Venom.

Arguably, you can’t have Venom without first having Spider-Man… which, in a nutshell, is the main reason that Venom, the movie, doesn’t work. Sure, director Ruben Fleischer and his seven credited screenwriters (!!) cook up an alternate origin story for both Brock and the symbiote. But removing Spider-Man from the overall equation creates too many narrative potholes around which Venom fails to weave with any sort of grace or style. Eventually, the movie gets a metaphorical flat tire, and wrecks itself on the Hollywood superhero highway.

Why isn’t Spider-Man in Venom? It’s complicated, but it boils down to the fact that while Sony owns the rights to the character, it recently loaned him out to Marvel Studios so that Peter Parker (played by Tom Holland) could play alongside Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.). Brilliant move for Marvel, and good for Sony in that it allowed them to co-produce the winning Spider-Man: Homecoming. But the cost proves great, as it means Sony needs to jumpstart its disconnected Spider-Man Universe without Spider-Man, leaving Venom (and possibly movies that follow it) feeling incomplete.

Here’s why: Because Venom can’t use the symbiote’s real origin from the Marvel Secret Wars limited series, it has to cook up a new entity. Enter the Life Foundation, is a generic laboratory dedicated to space research that’s funded by the blandly sinister Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed, playing a Textbook Bond Villain). The Life Foundation explores the stars because, well, the reasoning is unclear. Something about the solutions to our planet’s — fill in the blank here — ecological, medical or societal woes potentially waiting for us in the galaxies. Don’t worry, all of that gets chucked to the side once Drake obtains the symbiote from one of his errant space crafts.

Across town, Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is an entrepreneurial, hard-news bloodhound who has established his name and reputation by going after suits like Drake, and defending the voiceless Every Man. Eddie has a steady girl, Anne (Michelle Williams), and a promising gig, but he decides to jeopardize them both when, coincidentally, he’s assigned to write a puff profile on… you guessed it, Carlton Drake.

There’s a lot of story being set up here, and that story is just as quickly discarded, because the symbiote’s about to show up and pull focus, entirely. And that’s an important note, because Venom — without the benefit of having multiple comic book issues to draw on — has to race through narration and character development in a hope that we will care an ounce about Eddie, about Anne, and about the evil machinations of Carlton Drake. And we just don’t.

Venom improves once the symbiote shows up, but by then, it’s too little, too late. Venom is an alien, a slithering blob of a creature who absorbs into its host and can communicate, almost Jekyll and Hyde style, with its carrier. But the symbiote also feeds off of and decimates its host, like a parasite, unless it makes a perfect match. In the comics, the symbiote bonded with Eddie because they both hated Spider-Man. In the movie, Venom bonds with Eddie because… well, because the seven credited screenwriters decided they needed it to. The symbiote also creates perfect bonds with Anne. Oh, and with Carlton Drake, forming the menacing Riot. How convenient that the three people at the heart of Venom also happen to be ideal surrogate hosts for the murderous alien symbiote brought to Earth!

Narratively, Venom is a mess. Eddie Brock has no concrete motivation to go after Carlton Drake, no credible reason to flush his relationship with Anne, and no discernable situation where bonding with the symbiote is the right choice. He can’t understand Venom. There’s no explanation given for their team up. It’s just understood and accepted, not convincingly explained. The screenplay’s also vulgar and stupid. Eddie talks about symbiosis with the alien as having the symbiote “up your ass.” At one point, the symbiote possesses a purse dog, and it’s played for laughs. There’s a lot of comedy in Venom, actually, though most of it generates uncomfortable and unintentional laughter.

The special-effects work is sporadically impressive, and the symbiote, in general, looks great. Time and money went into creating Venom’s look, and fans simply looking for an improvement over Topher Grace’s atrocity will be comforted by the fact that Fleischer’s CGI team brought Venom to life. But at the same time, the action is choppy, a motorcycle chase through downtown San Francisco uses a laughable amount of green screen (I’m convinced Tom Hardy wasn’t on set on the days those scene were filmed), and the final confrontation between Venom and Riot disappoints.

The whole movie disappoints, actually, including the mid-credits tease for a sequel that won’t ever happen. This was supposed to be a launch pad for stories in this Spider-Man universe that could essentially keep the lights on in parts of the wallcrawler’s world until Marvel and Sony figured out credible ways to bring Peter Parker back into this fold. If Venom worked, stories built around Morbius the Living Vampire, Silver Sable, Black Cat and Kraven the Hunter could advance, fleshing out this universe and showing that Spider-Man would be a welcome, but non-essential, inclusion.

Instead, Venom convinced me of what I initially feared. It doesn’t make sense to create stories around Spider-Man characters if you can’t use Spider-Man in them.

Rating:
movie reviewed rating
2.0/5

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