‘Jesus Christ,’ Performing Live Isn’t Scary At All For Alice Cooper

If, during Alice Cooper’s heyday as a shock rocker in the ’70s, you were to tell us, “Someday he’ll play King Herod” we might have answered with something just as unlikely. Like, “Yeah, and Donald Trump will be President of the United States.” So here we are, in 2018, with Trump in the Oval Office and Cooper starring in NBC’s live production of Jesus Christ Superstar. While Cooper has made plenty of TV and movie appearances (most memorably in this funny scene from Wayne’s World), he’s never acted in a live broadcast performance before. But he says he’s not too worried about doing it for the first time. (Click on the media bar below to hear Alice Cooper)

Jesus Christ Superstar will air live this Sunday night, starting at 8/7c on NBC.

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Posted by AC

Who Says Crime Doesn’t Pay? It Did For Steven Spielberg!

Every successful Hollywood star has a story about how they got their big break. Some are more interesting than others. Some are just plain unbelievable. And some aren’t even legal! Take the case of Steven Spielberg: The man who would someday become the leading director of his generation got his start by trespassing on the Universal studios movie lot — every day!  (Click on the media bar below to hear Steven Spielberg)

Spielberg’s latest movie, the cyber-thriller Ready Player One, is in theaters now.

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Posted by AC

Remembering His Genius Friend: Jim Parsons On Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking was a brilliant man. He was a medical miracle, living well beyond his expected life span. And he was also a frequent guest star on The Big Bang Theory, making seven appearances on the hit CBS comedy. So when he died earlier this month, it came as a big blow to Big Bang star Jim Parsons. At a press event, he spoke about how learning of Hawking’s death affected him emotionally. (Click on the media bar below to hear Jim Parsons)

The Big Bang Theory airs Thursday nights at 8/7c on CBS.

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Posted by AC

Review: ‘Ready Player One’ Game for Spielberg’s Next Great Adventure

Five decades into his career, it’s good to see that director Steven Spielberg has not lost his passion for adventure. In fact, his latest release, Ready Player One, recalls the fascination that came along with his early screen work in a very modern and futuristic tale.

Penned by Zak Penn using Ernest Cline‘s novel for inspiration, Ready Player One is set in two worlds — the futuristic but somewhat dystopian future of real life Columbus, Ohio and the escapist gaming centric world of the Oasis.

The Oasis is the creation of a mastermind named Halliday (a nearly unrecognizable Mark Rylance) where those who enter the virtual world can achieve what they want and be who they want to be in a variety of adventures and in the sad state of modern affairs, this world is an escape for many and has become an everyday part of life for most, including a young player named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), whose closest friends he only knows as their avatars while playing under the name Parzival. In real life, Wade lives in a less than ideal family situation, cared for by his aunt in the stacks (think a futuristic trailer park) after his parents passed away in his youth. But at the Oasis, Parzival regularly competes in an attempt to uncover the three keys that Halliday left behind as an easter egg following his death. Those unable to retrieve the keys will become heir to Halliday’s fortune and the Oasis itself.

Parzival and his pal Aech are regular race participants, often attempting to best the Sixers, a group of gamer trainees hired by Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn), Halliday’s onetime assistant and chief of the second biggest gaming organization hoping to lay claim to the riches left by their primary competition. When Parzival and Aech are joined by the fearless Art3mis (Olivia Cooke) in yet another race that falls short of completion, something Art3mis says triggers the clue that Parzival needs to become the first person ever to retrieve one of the keys. Eventually, Parzival is joined by Art3mis, Aech and two other frequent competitors — Sho (Philip Zhao) and Daito (Win Morisaki), who start to form a loose alliance in attempting to solve the riddles that had eluded many for so long.

Parzival’s victory upsets Sorrento, who starts to take a more active role in trying to eliminate his competition, while things suddenly become all too real for Wade/Parzival in the real world.

Though set in the future, there are plenty of nods to the past in Ready Player One. Much of the soundtrack is set in the ’80s, an era where Spielberg’s star shone at its brightest. There are also nods to the era where video games first came to prominence, with clues cleverly based among the games that started it all. And yes, there are even nods to Spielberg’s peers, with shoutouts to Robert Zemeckis and Stephen King among others. It’s a pop culture treasure trove for those paying attention, with Spielberg going meta and offering any number of easter eggs while telling a story about trying to find the ultimate easter egg.

And while the film is very much about gaming and a virtual reality world, there is a lesson to be had about staying grounded in every day life as well. Halliday’s final adventure is riddled with clues of his own life, regrets and triumphs, one that lays the path for the future with only the rightful gamer being able to solve it all. Ultimately, it’s a film about connections made and finding hope in the adventure. A visually impressive feature, Spielberg continues to show why he’s one of the most lauded directors in history and this film serves both as a love letter to his past while showing he still has so much more left to give.

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Posted by: Ari Coine

For ‘Acrimony,’ Taraji P. Henson Moved Heaven, Earth, And ‘Empire’

We know that Taraji P. Henson loves working with Tyler Perry. How much? When the filming of Perry’s new movie, Acrimony, didn’t look like it would be compatible with Henson’s Empire shooting schedule, she went out of her way to make it work. (Click on the media bar below to hear Tyler Perry)

Tyler Perry’s Acrimony opens in theaters this Friday.

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Posted by AC