TIME movies

See Hobbit Characters Romp in ‘The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made’

How do Hobbit characters get to Middle-earth? They fly Air New Zealand, of course

Air New Zealand would like to welcome you to Middle-earth with what it very justly calls: The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made.

A new flight-safety video from Air New Zealand — the “official airline of Middle-earth,” as the company puts it — heralds the upcoming release of the latest Hobbit movie with an elfin stewardess, an orc in an oxygen masks, and Elijah Wood, Peter Jackson and Richard Taylor as airline passengers.

In the four-minute video, two Hobbit superfans board an Air New Zealand flight and are flabbergasted to find that Wood, a.k.a. Frodo, is seated across the aisle. The surprise continues as an elfin stewardess opens the safety video in Middle-earth — that is, New Zealand.

The clip is a romp through the Tolkien universe: a giant helps Jackson put on his oxygen mask; a wizard astride an eagle explains the crash position; an elf presents a tiny life jacket for children or hobbits. And Wood, safely in the Shire, concludes the clip with warm wishes: “May your path always be guided by the light of the stars and may the future bestow upon you all the happiness and adventure our Middle Earth has to offer.”

The video is a follow-up the airline’s 2012 Middle Earth-themed video, An Unexpected Briefing. That golden-hued clip, in which the plane is full of well-armed but chummy Tolkien characters, has almost 12 million views on YouTube.

The third and last film in the Hobbit trilogy, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, opens in December.

TIME movies

Marvel Releases Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer Early After Leak

"Dammit, Hydra"

Updated at 9:30 p.m. ET

Marvel Entertainment released its new Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer almost a week ahead of schedule Wednesday, hours after a bootleg version leaked onto the Internet, sending social media aflutter.

Marvel played it cool the whole time, at first tweeting with mock ire at the leaked trailer:

The trailer was originally scheduled for release during Agents of Shield next Tuesday, the Verge reports. But with the secret already out, Marvel decided to just give folks what they wanted.

The official film will hit theaters in May 2015.

[The Verge]

TIME celebrities

Beyoncé and Jay Z Renew Vows Amid Divorce Rumors

Beyonce and Jay-Z perform during the "On The Run Tour: Beyonce And Jay-Z" at the Stade de France on Sept. 12, 2014 in Paris.
Beyonce and Jay-Z perform during the "On The Run Tour: Beyonce And Jay-Z" at the Stade de France on Sept. 12, 2014 in Paris. Myrna Suarez—Getty Images

Rejoice, Beyhive!

Superstar couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z have renewed their vows, despite rumors that the two were on the road to Splitsville.

During the Carters’ summer-long “On The Run” tour, the Beyhive was on edge, People reports. Worries about an imminent divorce gained momentum following the infamous elevator incident earlier this year, in which Beyoncé’s sister Solange appeared to attack Jay-Z in TMZ-leaked security footage.

Yet now the two seem happy in the wake of the tour, gallivanting throughout Europe with baby Blue Ivy in tow. The entertainers and proud parents may also be looking to make a home across the pond—they’ve reportedly been house hunting in Paris.

[People]

TIME movies

Watch the Trailer for The Gambler with Mark Wahlberg

Mark Wahlberg plays a gambler in major trouble in the remake of the 1974 film

Mark Wahlberg has played a porn star, a fisherman and a Boston cop. With The Gambler, he adds gambling addict to the list. Directed by Rupert Wyatt, best known for 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Gambler offers a modern remake of the 1974 film of the same name, which starred James Caan. The original script was based on the experiences of screenwriter James Toback, and though the remake includes a new script by William Monahan, the narrative appears mostly unchanged. Wahlberg plays Jim Bennett, an English professor whose addiction has him pinned beneath the weight of his massive debt.

The expletive-laden Red Band trailer includes Jessica Lange as Bennett’s mother, Brie Larson as his girlfriend, and John Goodman as a loan shark. Martin Scorsese was originally attached to the project, with rumors of muse Leonardo DiCaprio starring, but Wyatt and Wahlberg picked it up when Scorsese left the project in 2012.

Though Wahlberg dropped 60 pounds for the role, he insists that his biggest challenge was playing a convincing professor, as the actor dropped out of high school and only recently completed his diploma online. “Being believable as a teacher was one of my greatest challenges and most rewarding,” he told USA Today. Of the role he played 40 years ago, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination, Caan said, “It’s not easy to make people care about a guy who steals from his mother to pay gambling debts.” Sounds like a welcome challenge for Wahlberg, and big shoes to fill at that. We’ll see whether Wahlberg manages to breathe new life into the character when the movie hits theaters on Dec. 19.

TIME celebrities

Sofia Vergara on Taking Risks as an Actor: “It’s Not Like We’re Doing Brain Surgery”

Sofia Vergara
Follow The Script Campaign/AbbVie

...And other advice from the Modern Family star

Most know Sofia Vergara for her role as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on the long-running hit ABC comedy Modern Family. But many don’t know that Vergara, the highest-paid actress on TV, is also a survivor of thyroid cancer. Diagnosed at 28, Vergara had her thyroid removed, developed hypothyroidism and has been on medication ever since. Vergara is now a spokesperson for the Follow the Script campaign, which aims to raise awareness about hypothyroidism.

TIME sat down with Vergara to talk about surviving cancer, that controversial Emmys skit and how actresses can lean in.

TIME: You were criticized this year for your Emmys skit in which you were placed on a pedestal. Were you surprised by that?

Sofia Vergara: Yes, I was. Obviously it was a joke. It was something that was staged. It wasn’t like I was tricked into it. So we were laughing about how some people have to bully others for no reason.

I’ve read that the character of Gloria is based on you. How similar are you two?

I play her the way I see my mother and my aunt behave as Latin women. And now the writers know more about the Latin culture than when I started doing the show, and they know me better, too. So at this point, I pretty much follow the script.

But before you would improvise more?

Well, not improvise. I would talk to them and tell them, “We wouldn’t do this.” One time we were at a party with Colombians, and the Colombians were dressed like Mexicans. So I went to the writers and was like, “Colombians don’t dress like that.” Little things like that, but now they’re really good about it.

Latina women are underrepresented in Hollywood. Do you feel like it’s gotten better since you started your career?

Yes. There’s more scripts now. But it takes time. I cannot blame the writers because when you’re a writer, you write about what you know. So you cannot tell an American writer to just write about some other culture and think it will be as natural as writing about an American person.

Do you hope to see more Latin writers working for TV shows?

I think that would be ideal, because there are plenty of Latin actors out there. We just need a little bit more material.

So what do you look for in a movie or show?

I started acting so late in my life, I’m still just trying figure out what I do right. I realized when I started doing auditions that I was good for comedy. Growing up I always tried to make my friends laugh, but I didn’t know I was going to be able to make a living out of it. But then I got really good feedback when I was doing comedy, so that’s what I do.

Gloria is very protective of Manny, her son. Do you have a similar relationship with your son?

Yes, of course. I’m a Latin mother, so it’s like we never let go of our kids. My son is almost done with college now, and I’m already like, “So you’re coming back home, right?”

Obviously one of the hardest parts of getting diagnosed with thyroid cancer and then hypothyroidism is talking to your family about it. How did you discuss it with your son?

It was scary, because I was only 28 years old. When they tell you you have cancer, you don’t know that much about it and think you’re going to die immediately. That’s why it’s important to educate yourself. When I told him, I tried to not panic him, because it’s your kid and you don’t want him to have a horrible time dealing with it. I tried to make it as light as I could.

What have you had to change about your lifestyle since you had your thyroid removed?

I take a hormone pill every day. The only way to know exactly what amount of hormone I have to take is by doing a blood test, so I’m very religious about that.

You are the most well-paid actress on TV. Do you have any tips for young women or actresses about negotiating for what they want?

You really don’t have anything to lose if you are in the entertainment business, because it’s not like we’re doing brain surgery where you can actually kill someone. The worst thing that will happen is nobody goes to your movie. So I try to take risks and have fun with it.

 

TIME movies

Here’s the Trailer for That Drumline Sequel You’ve Been Waiting For Since 2002

And yes, Nick Cannon is in it

Twelve long years later, they’re making a sequel to Drumline, and it’s called —what else? — Drumline: A New Beat. After two teasers, we finally have an official full-length trailer.

In the sequel, a Brooklyn girl named Danielle disobeys her parents in order to attend Atlanta A&T and pursue her dream of becoming the first female section leader of the once-great drumline. There will be romance. There will be rivalries. There will be Nick Cannon returning in some sort of mentor capacity. (Sadly, Zoe Saldana was presumably too busy to do the same.)

 

 

TIME Music

Yes, Jennifer Lopez Should Do a Las Vegas Residency

Variety's 2014 Power Of Women Event In LA Presented By Lifetime
Jon Kopaloff—FilmMagic/Getty Images

The American Idol judge could rake in millions with a steady gig in Vegas

Jenny from the Block may soon be Jenny on the Strip. TMZ reports that the flygirl-cum-actress-cum-diva was spotted over the weekend with her manager at Britney Spears’ Piece of Me show and Shania Twain’s Still the One performance — possibly doing research for her own iteration of the Vegas residency.

Though there’s no word yet from J.Lo herself, a stint in Sin City wouldn’t be an altogether surprising move at this stage in her career. Where a Las Vegas residency once spelled doom for fading musicians’ careers, today it’s a normal — not to mention enormously lucrative — gig in the rotation for megastars like Madonna, Elton John, and the ever-in-love Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. And while performers certainly skew middle-aged and older, Vegas dealmakers appear to be consciously appealing to younger crowds, opening up residencies to DJs like Deadmau5 and Tiesto. (Though Lopez is middle-aged herself at 45, her fan base tends to skew younger than that of the Dions and the Meatloafs and the Chers.)

A sojourn in Las Vegas spells a few things for an artist like J.Lo: stability, breathing room, and major cash. Residencies are essentially like a tour, minus the grueling travel schedule. They often consist of a handful of shows each week for four or five months, which would leave time for the other projects in Lopez’s multi-hyphenate career: judging American Idol, managing her lifestyle brand, and overseeing the foundation she started with her sister Lydia to improve health care access in under-served communities.

It would also allow Lopez some time to regroup from her 2014 album A.K.A., which disappointed with the lowest sales of her eight studio albums, selling just 60,000 copies in the U.S. She could — and likely would — return to some of the more crowd-pleasing hits from her earlier career as she mulls over where to go next.

And if none of these reasons is enough, then the six-figure nightly intake stands a solid chance at sealing the deal. Even after a tumultuous decade for Britney Spears and a rough run with her most recent album, Britney Jean, the onetime chart-topper is now raking in more than $300,000 per show, on track to gross more than $30 million over two years. Her love may not cost a thing, but J. Lo’s turn on the Vegas stage most certainly would.

TIME Television

Time Is a Round Donut: The Graze-Watching Possibilities of Simpsons World

THE SIMPSONS: Join (L-R) Maggie, Marge, Lisa, Homer and Bart Simpson for the 21st season premiere episode "Homer The Whopper," of THE SIMPSONS airing Sunday, Sept. 27 (8:00 - 8:30 PM ET/PT) on FOX. THE SIMPSONS ™ and © 2009 TCFFC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
'The Simpsons' Fox

The addictive new Simpsons website proves that there's more than one way to binge on TV. Mmmm.... TV.

Make 550-some episodes of any TV show, and some unusual coincidences start to turn up. Tuesday, I was playing around with Simpsons World, the immersive website/app that allows cable subscribers access to every Simpsons episode ever made. The very first two episodes I watched–one randomly served for me by the site, the other chosen after I did a search on “Marvin Monroe”–both began with Homer wrecking his car after a toy got lodged under the brake pedal. As one does. (The episodes: season 21’s “Rednecks and Broomsticks” and season 15’s “Diatribe of a Mad Housewife.” You can check it for yourself.)

I mention this not to criticize The Simpsons as repetitive–again, 550-some episodes–but as an example of the different kind of experience that this new kind of TV streaming promises. Put hundreds of hours of TV programming online in a searchable, customizable form, with 25 years of TV equally accessible, and you’re going to find yourself discovering some strange connections.

One of the major influences on TV’s current cultural glory days is “binge-watching”–the marathon viewing of a show first enabled by VHS and DVD sets, which really took off after services like Netflix made it frictionless. Bingeing allowed new audiences to discover great serials like Friday Night Lights, while turning dramas like Breaking Bad from cult shows to blockbusters as they addicted viewers between seasons.

Besides bringing in viewers, bingeing helped elevate TV’s cultural status, by underscoring its similarity to the novel. If the original airing of The Wire, week by week, recalled Dickens’ publishing serial novels in English newspapers, bingeing it several episodes at a time allowed you to go through it the way we read Dickens now.

Bingeing, however, tends to confer that prestige on a particular kind of show: the ambitious serial drama, which compels you to begin the next episode after the last ends. This is one genre that has taken advantage of the TV medium’s strength for telling linear stories, which begin at a beginning and can take much more time than movies to drive forward toward an end.

But that’s not the only kind of expansive storytelling that TV’s open-endedness makes possible. Sitcoms, in particular, don’t generally drive in a straight line from a beginning to an end–not even, necessarily, more serial recent ones like The Office. Comedies, like The Simpsons, create immersive worlds rather than propulsive narratives. You can certainly binge a sitcom as much as you can a drama–Netflix, for instance, is counting on you to do that in the new year with Friends. But you don’t need, or necessarily even want, to do it in a particular order.

If a serial drama creates its effects by driving forward along a track, like a train, something like The Simpsons expands outward, like a cloud, or maybe a spiral galaxy extending from a center. You can live inside it, jumping from point to point, discovering new corners or echoing themes, skipping from season 2 to season 23 as if through a space-time wormhole.

The Simpsons World site is still incomplete; it went live Tuesday but has yet to add features like allowing people to find and share customized clips. (You’ll know when that feature is added, because they will be everywhere on the damn Internet.) Yet you can already see that this kind of format has the potential to do for this kind of TV show what binge-watching did for serials. You can search for terms, for instance–episodes involving the inanimate carbon rod, or Hans Moleman, or gambling. You can skip around and explore the series like a character inside a massively-layer online game universe.

It’s not binge-watching, exactly, though it could be just as time-suckingly immersive. Maybe we can call it graze-watching. (Or gorge-watching, for those with more Homer-like appetites).

And while it’s not every show that could take advantage of this kind of destination viewing, it could work for more than The Simpsons. If Friends hadn’t done a streaming deal with Netflix, for instance, I could easily imagine a Friends World, letting you customize clips, search for favorite quotes and skip around through every possible permutation of who’s dating whom. It doesn’t even need to be comedy-only: imagine creating a Law and Order World, with the rights to each season and spinoff of the franchise, searchable and drilled deeply for data and themes. (I’m envisioning a vast crime map of NYC with everyone murdered by L&O plotted on a block-by-block level.)

TV is still figuring out what it’s going to do with streaming and what streaming will do to it. But one thing that excites me about Simpsons World is that it suggests that different kinds of streaming can work better to show off TV’s different strengths–and thus to celebrate different kinds of TV greatness. Not all “Golden Age” TV–or whatever you want to call it–is about stories that drive in a straight line from this thing to the next thing. Some is about world-building that allows you to skip from this thing to that thing to that thing.

One of the new patron saints of serial drama, Rust Cohle, said that time was a flat circle. In Simpsons World time is, maybe, more like a round doughnut.

TIME movies

Watch Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking in Exclusive The Theory of Everything Clip

The young Hawking was quite the charmer, as this new clip shows

Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has accomplished so much professionally (his countless contributions to science) as well as personally (he was given two years to live following his motor neuron disease diagnosis) that director James Marsh could have easily made his upcoming film The Theory of Everything a straightforward biopic. But the movie is a love story at heart, and Jane Hawking, played by Felicity Jones, is as much a part of it as Hawking, played by Eddie Redmayne in a performance that’s already garnered plenty of early Oscar buzz.

Adapted from Jane Hawking’s memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life With Stephen Hawking, Marsh’s film spends plenty of time exploring the couple’s early courtship after they met as students at the University of Cambridge. In this scene, premiering exclusively at TIME today, Hawking’s remarkable curiosity about how the world works starts to win over Jane during the university’s famous annual May Ball.

TIME photography

See Breathtaking Aerial Views of Fall Foliage

Autumn is here, and photographers everywhere are capturing the changing colors of the season. Poland-based photographer Kacper Kowalski captured the most unique views of all, opting to shoot his country’s fall foliage by paraglider (and sometimes gyroplane), creating these magnificent images of the landscape.

“I fly alone as the pilot and photographer,” Kowalski told TIME. “I use a regular reportage camera in my hand. [In this] way I can have control over the image, I can decide by myself where, how and when I will fly to take the image.”

The pictures are part of a larger body of work by Kowalski where he has captured both rural and urban parts of Poland over several years. “I work and live in Gdynia in the northern part of Poland . . . very close to Gdansk at the Baltic sea. The landscape is very rich. And the nature. It is absolutley amazing. Because of the climate in this geographical location it is different each week.”

You can see more of Kowalski’s work and read more about his process here.

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