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Review: Mark Wahlberg tempts fate in the sly and stylish 'The Gambler'
Credit: Paramount Pictures

Review: Mark Wahlberg tempts fate in the sly and stylish 'The Gambler'

Why isn't Brie Larson in every scene in this film?

For the purposes of this review, it doesn't matter that there's a movie from the '70s starring James Caan that is a key piece of the James Toback mythology as created by James Toback himself that is also called "The Gambler." This film doesn't exist without that film as a springboard, but screenwriter William Monahan, director Rupert Wyatt, and star Mark Wahlberg have made something that lives and dies on its own merits, in its own voice, worthy of its own conversation.

"The Gambler" details a week in the life of a desperate man. Setting a ticking clock is an easy way to get the audience hooked early. In "A Most Violent Year," someone signs a business deal that has a hard 30-day-pay-or-quit clause built in, and you know that you're going to see every second of every one of those days of someone struggling to meet that deadline. In this film, from the start, they're telling you there are seven days left. Then six. Then five. We see we're counting backwards. To what, we're not sure, and the movie keeps you guessing until the final insane act. Jim Bennett (Wahlberg) is never presented as anything less than a degenerate, a man who will seriously do anything in pursuit of a very specific high. He's just good enough to make it heartbreaking, and he's just smart enough to know what he's doing to himself.

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<p>Misha Collins on the &quot;Supernatural&quot; red carpet</p>

Misha Collins on the "Supernatural" red carpet

Credit: Daniel Fienberg/HitFix

'Supernatural' 200th episode reflections from Misha Collins, Felicia Day and more

Mark Sheppard and Genevieve Padalecki also reflect on the milestone episode

VANCOUVER, BC. To recap, back in October I worked the red carpet at a special 200th episode gala in Vancouver for The CW's "Supernatural."

Last night, I posted my red carpet Q&As with series creator Eric Kripke, plus long-time EP Robert Singer and slight-less-tenured EP Adam Glass.

Now it's time for my interviews with the assortment of beloved "Supernatural" supporting players who attended the 200th episode party, actors who may not have been around for the duration of the show, but have made their marks in different ways.

That certainly includes Misha Collins, whose Castiel didn't arrive until the fourth "Supernatural" season, but has played a key role in the move to shift the drama from its monster-of-the-week format to the higher Heaven-and-Hell stakes that have characterized its later years. 

Showing up a season later was Crossroads demon Crowley, played by Mark Sheppard. Thanks to "Supernatural," "Doctor Who," "Battlestar Galactica" and "The X Files," few actors have the body of cult-favorite work accumulated by Sheppard.

So I talked with both Collins and Sheppard about their role in the longevity of "Supernatural."

Genevieve Padalecki may only have appeared in 12 episodes as Ruby, taking over the role in the fourth season from Katie Cassidy, but she also married Jared Padalecki in 2010, giving her a unique perspective on the "Supernatural" phenomenon.

And while Felicia Day's Charlie Bradbury has only been in four episodes thus far (with another on the day), few performers are more tapped into the world of online phenomena, which "Supernatural" surely is, than the woman behind "The Guild" and other Internet ventures.

So check out my Q&As with Misha Collins, Felicia Day, Mark Sheppard and Genevieve Padalecki below. And remember that the 200th "Supernatural" episode airs on Tuesday, November 11.

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<p>&quot;The Gambler&quot;</p>

"The Gambler"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Mark Wahlberg is great in 'The Gambler' but give us more John Goodman

Rupert Wyatt's remake premiered at AFI Fest Monday night

Rupert Wyatt's "The Gambler," which premiered at the 2014 AFI Fest Monday night, puts a stylish spin on Karel Reisz's 1974 James Caan drama of the same name. In adapting James Toback's original script, Oscar winner William Monahan ("The Departed") has laced it with crackling dialogue and heady witticisms that land like cards of a rapid fire blackjack deal. Greig Fraser has captured it in cool digital hues with '70s lenses that pay tribute to an era. And Mark Wahlberg, seemingly starved down to a 60-pounds-less frame, anchors it with a performance that is committed and interesting, a complete 180 from the popcorn blast of the summer's "Transformers: Age of Extinction." But will it find a jackpot from the Oscar season or a bad beat?

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Sleepy Hollow - Heartless
Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Sleepy Hollow' - The heroes could stand to be a little more 'Heartless'

Succubus mating habits are super weird, y'all.

After a last minute abortion last week — everyone calm down, it was a demonic abomination — Katrina has officially reunited with her husband and joined the team. But there are problems: Abbie is still solidly Team Kill Henry while the Cranes are vehemently against it. Ichabod doubts his wife, and Katrina now has to figure out how to live in the 21st century.

Can our expanding Scooby gang learn to get along, or will they remain “Heartless” towards each other?


The Cranes are sitting in bed, engaged in a modern day marriage ritual: watching reality television. Somehow they have gotten sucked into “The Bachelor” and, like the rest of America, cannot look away. Ichabod feels the show is a terrible mockery of love while Katrina is more optimistic about the TV couple’s chances.

Shhhh. No one tell her.

Of course, the Cranes can’t watch a show about True Love™ without the conversation turning to their own marital problems. Because couples therapy didn’t exist in colonial times, they’re trying to work through Katrina’s lies and Ichabod’s trust issues on their own. This is going better than expected. But before they can really get to making up, Abbie bursts into the cabin with dumb old apocalypse news.

Oh right, Henry’s still out there. And since they aborted Moloch, he’s probably pretty pissed off at them. The gang tries to figure out what their next move should be. But they shouldn’t have worried, it is totally not War’s style lay low. Case in point, as our heroes debate the merits of Real Housewives, Henry is busy pulling a beating heart from an urn. This seems promising. 

The Horseman of War delivers. One magical Latin incantation later, a super fine naked lady demon is brought forth to sow dissent. And get her party on at a local rave. I mean, what else would a succubus do? How do we know she’s a succubus? Other than the visual cues of being a smoking hot female demon? Well, the changing herself into a hot nerd girl after noticing her prey lusting after a nerdy acquaintance was one hint. Sucking the life out of the poor nerd boy in the backseat of his car before he even got to second base was another one. This is some straight up PG “Jennifer’s Body” shit, right here.

After proving himself last week, I guess Reyes is cool with Ichabod tagging along again. So both Crane and Mills are called in to the scene of the crime. The succubus is long gone, but her victim is a crusty husk. No matter how much you want to dismiss supernatural murder, there’s not a lot of normal explanations for this one. So everyone just seems to be deferring to the supernatural experts. 

Abbie is pretty pissed that Henry has fired up the old demon-murder machine again. Ichabod is still beating a dead horse with “My son can be saved from this evil.” Oh God, Katrina’s willful blindness is contagious. Get these naive fools into quarantine, STAT!

Back at the Carriage House, Abraham aka Headless is whining about Ichabod stealing his girl. I’d say it’s impossible for someone to steal another person, but it’s actually a pretty common occurrence in this universe. Henry is unimpressed. Apparently Moloch has commanded the horseman of Death to stay away from Katrina…at least according to War. Henry cuts the mirror-call short as the succubus shows back up. Moloch has a new plan and it clearly involves regurgitating souls into a mason jar.


At the Exposition Library, the gang is coming up blank as to what could’ve killed the nerd boy.  But Katrina recognizes the creature was basically using supernatural acupuncture. By figuring out which vitae point they accessed to kill the victim, the gang can narrow the search parameters. Katrina’s usefulness is cut short as a vision hits from out of nowhere. A cradle and a crying baby and a heart flash before her eyes. 

In a moment of accidental bitchiness, Katrina’s response to neither Abbie nor Ichabod having tea on them is to say “Well Abraham always had the brand of tea I liked.” Girl, no. You’re in danger of letting Stockholm Syndrome ruin your marriage. 

A quietly hurt Ichabod takes his wife home, leaving Abbie to stew about having to follow up on the demon that’s you know, murdering people, alone. Speaking of which, the next victim has been spotted. Random third wheel lesbian goes down for the count within seconds. A good succubus does not discriminate based on sexual identity. 

Without any solid leads, Abbie resorts to finding another supernatural expert. Awwww yessss, it’s the return of Hawley aka Southern Gentleman Aquaman. But alas, SGA is no help at all. He’s never seen anything like these victims before. He tries to salvage the night by asking Abbie to join him for a drink, but she’s too caught up on not getting romantically involved with anyone to just loosen up and get some. Which is probably for the best since SGA has slept with her sister. 

Yeah, that’s gonna get weird later. 

Anyway, Hawley excuses himself to go flirt with more willing partners and Abbie runs off to meet up with Ichabod. The whole Hawley scene could be written off as time filler but suddenly Mills realizes the only reason anyone would be in the backseat of their own car would be to get some. Ichabod adorably tries out his modern word of the week — macking — and the gang puts two and two together to figure out what the audience has known forever: they’re dealing with a succubus. 

As a witch, Katrina is a font of useful information. When it comes to succubi — and presumedly incubi — the more secret the desire, the more the demon can see you and mimic what you want most in order to eat your sweet, delicious soul. Using a tracing spell, Mrs. Crane is able to locate the succubus’s current location. She’s down at the docks. At Hawley’s pier.

Dun dun dunnnnnnnnn.

Abbie and Ichabod race to the rescue but no one rescues Southern Gentleman Aquaman. Hawley saves his damn self…temporarily. In the end, it becomes a group effort. Hawley burns the succubus with a magical artifact, Crane beans her with a metal pipe, and Abbie empties some bullets into the demon’s back. Of course, demons almost always take Endurance as their main stat and the succubus flees into the night. But at least Hawley still has most of his soul.

Having part of your soul removed apparently makes you woozy and Crane comes to Hawley’s rescue. Oh? What’s that? The beginning a grudging mutual respect? Whatever, I will use this moment of physical contact to ship the ever-living hell out Crawley. Crane half-heartedly tries to dispel the sexual tension — SHUT UP LET ME HAVE THIS — by warning Hawley to stay away from Abbie but SGA is like “I do what I want.”

And then they make-out.

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Credit: FOX

Review: 'Gotham' - 'The Mask'

Gordon tries to bust up a corporate fight club, while Bruce faces a bully at school

A review of tonight's "Gotham" coming up just as soon as I ask you for your broach...

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VH1 to pit twins against each other on a 'Twinning' reality show
Credit: Associated Press

VH1 to pit twins against each other on a 'Twinning' reality show

HBO developing Iaac Asimov’s 'Foundation' for TV

VH1 to pit twins against each other on a “Twinning” reality show
Twelve sets of twins will go through a series of challenges that will test their twin connection.

HBO developing Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” for TV
Jonathan Nolan, who frequently collaborates with his brother Christopher Nolan, is working on a TV series based on Asimov’s “Foundation” series. He’s already working on “Westworld” for HBO.

Bill Cosby’s Meme generator backfires
"Go ahead. Meme me!” tweeted Cosby’s official Twitter account. That resulted in numerous memes created to comment on the rape allegations against Cosby.

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Why Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in 'Suicide Squad' would be important for DC movies
Credit: Paramount Pictures

Why Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in 'Suicide Squad' would be important for DC movies

This is one way I'd be excited about Jared Leto as the Joker

The Joker is not some sacred, impossible-to-touch character simply because Heath Ledger did a great job playing him in "The Dark Knight."

Far from it, actually. The Joker remains one of the most potent, richly-imagined villains in all of pop culture, and the notion of DC movies being made moving forward without any version of The Joker popping up at any point is, frankly, ludicrous. As long as you are telling Batman stories, you will also at some point be telling Joker stories, and that's fine.

However, there's no denying that Ledger's version of The Joker is an impressive one. The mere fact that it was so well-liked after Jack Nicholson's version had been anointed by pop culture back in 1989 was impressive. After all, you could argue that without Nicholson, that first film doesn't become the phenomenon it eventually became. I think 25 years is long enough for me to let go of my resentments about that version, and more than that, I think the real lesson is that The Joker can survive any reinterpretation.

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<p>&quot;American Sniper&quot;</p>

"American Sniper"

Credit: Warner Bros.

AFI Fest announces title of secret screening: Clint Eastwood's 'American Sniper'

Back-to-back coups for the Hollywood event with this and 'Selma'

It's going to be a busy night at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood Tuesday night. Paramount had initially set a footage presentation for 6pm in tandem with AFI Fest. Then a secret screening was added to the slate following that event. Then, suddenly, Paramount decided to run with a full exhibition of "Selma," while AFI Fest has revealed the title of the secret screening: Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper."

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<p>Shep Gordon and Mike Myers</p>

Shep Gordon and Mike Myers

Credit: AP Photo

'Supermensch' Shep Gordon looks back on a wild ride of sex, drugs and rock and roll

The subject of Mike Myers' documentary pens up from a famed rock haven

LOS ANGELES — You might not know who Shep Gordon is, but you've certainly felt his impact. As a manager extraordinaire who has shepherded the careers of everyone from Alice Cooper and Teddy Pendergrass to Emeril Lagasse and Wolfgang Puck, Gordon has had a wild ride. He was there for the early rock explosion, not just rubbing shoulders with people like Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, but working with them, figuring out the business of show with a whole crop of exciting artists as a defining fixture of that bedrock. Naturally, then, someone was going to be interested in trying to capture that presence in a film.

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<p>Ben Affleck in &quot;Gone Girl&quot; (left) and Carlos de Abreu at the 17th annual Hollywood Film Awards</p>

Ben Affleck in "Gone Girl" (left) and Carlos de Abreu at the 17th annual Hollywood Film Awards

Credit: 20th Century Fox/AP Photo

Off the Carpet: 'Gone Girl,' Cumberbatch and more brace for Hollywood Film Awards

Phantom Oscar boost or a night that actually matters? Either way, here they come...

Do the Hollywood Film Awards matter? Ask publicists and film marketers eager to lap up any and all opportunities to position movies and talent this time of year, then yeah, they do. Have they long been a ham-fisted attempt to capitalize on awards season and a scheme to line one ambitious individual's pockets? Ask the same group and you'll get another affirmative. "I don't want to deal with this, but I guess I have to," one deflated publicist told me of the upcoming show, which will be broadcast for the first time ever on CBS Friday.

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<p>&quot;Evil Dead&quot;</p>

"Evil Dead"

Starz orders 'Evil Dead' series starring Bruce Campbell

'Ash Vs. Evil Dead' will premiere in 2015

Strap on your chainsaw arm and get ready for the return of Ash.

Starz announced on Monday that it has ordered a series version of "Evil Dead," a project announced by Sam Raimi back at San Diego Comic-Con in July. 

The 10-episode order for "Ash Vs. Evil Dead" is full of intriguing elements.

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Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels say only they can play their 'Dumb & Dumber' roles
Credit: HitFix

Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels say only they can play their 'Dumb & Dumber' roles

And it sounds like they had fun torturing Kathleen Turner

One of the strangest things about "Dumb and Dumber To," and there are plenty, is watching Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey step back into the characters they last played twenty years ago. The film was part of the first big push of Jim Carrey's movie stardom, and it was the announcement of the Farrelly Brothers as comedy filmmakers. Jeff Daniels was, by far, the most experienced part of the puzzle. For all of them, the film was a very special moment.

When I recently sat down with Carrey and Daniels, the main question I had for them was about making something now that somehow honors or lives up to not only the first film, but also the way people feel about that film.

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