Los Angeles, May 21 (AP/UNB) — Fire rained down and heads came off. There was punishment, banishment and retribution. And that was just from the fans.
"Game of Thrones" aired its 73rd and final episode Sunday night, showing its gift for drawing record-setting numbers of viewers and for leaving those viewers deeply divided about the results, as they have been for finales from "Seinfeld" to "The Sopranos" to "Lost."
The final episode of "Game of Thrones" at least brought some clear winners, at least one clear loser and a major upset.
(MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD.)
Brandon Stark, who until recently appeared happy to remain a mystic philosopher forever, instead becomes philosopher-king, Bran the Broken.
Yet he doesn't get to sit on the Iron Throne (a dragon melted that) or rule the Seven Kingdoms (his sister Sansa broke one off to become queen of an independent North.)
And Daenerys Targaryen became the last of the show's many, many major character deaths, given a Shakespearean send-off by Jon Snow, who watched her burn thousands of innocents and believed she had become a mad tyrant.
"You are my queen, now and always," Jon says to Daenerys as he shoves a dagger into her, giving her what may have been the shortest reign of any monarch in Westeros.
It was the endgame of a heel-turn from a week earlier that brought more fan outrage than any other moment in the always provocative show.
Actress Emilia Clarke, who plays the role of Daenerys, told Entertainment Weekly that she cried when she first read the script in 2017 but defended the arc in the end, saying it was true to the character and she found her final moments "beautiful and touching."
"Hopefully, what you'll see in that last moment as she's dying is: There's the vulnerability — there's the little girl you met in season 1," Clarke said.
The negative reaction spilled into the finale, with fans on Twitter in particular expressing outrage about the outcome, even if many agreed it was reflective of the way the unjust real world works.
"Good morning to everybody except Bran," columnist Jemele Hill tweeted Monday, "who despite being a wack archer, sending Hodor and Theon to their deaths and chilling next to a fire while everybody was fighting, got to the king."
The episode's leaps from big event to big event to tie up its many plot threads did nothing to quiet criticism that the show that made its name on carefully meandering storytelling had given that up in the final two seasons in favor of attempts to please.
"Like most of Season 8, it felt like a Wikipedia summary more than a full story being told," Gina Carbone of CinemaBlend wrote.
Critics were genuinely divided. The episode had a 57 percent fresh score among reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes, and even positive reviews acknowledged the impossibility of pulling off an ending that would be broadly satisfying.
"It was everything nobody wanted, but it was still quite a thing: adequately just, narratively symmetrical and sufficiently poignant," Hank Stuever wrote in the Washington Post.
Regardless of how fans felt about the final season, they never stopped watching.
The finale brought in 19.3 million viewers across HBO's platforms, topping the previous episode's 18.4 million to make it the most-viewed episode of any kind in the channel's history.
Just after it aired on the East Coast, nine of Twitter's top 10 trending topics were related to the show.
Fans also noticed another gaffe, a plastic water bottle at the feet of Samwell Tarly, like the paper coffee cup clearly visible on a table next to Daenerys earlier in the season.
The show had a full-circle ending of sorts. Bran's surprise ascent to the throne would have been no shock at all to viewers just after the show's first episode — where he is clearly marked as a chosen figure, forced to witness a beheading by a father teaching him the ways of the world, and pushed from a high window only to survive, paralyzed.
He then over several seasons, while missing from the story for long stretches, became a mystical seer known as the Three-eyed Raven, with an essential role but distant presence and personality.
In the finale, a council of the remaining nobles of Westeros votes for Bran after a suggestion and major speech from Tyrion Lannister.
"People love stories," Tyrion says. "Who has a better story than Bran the Broken?"
(His sisters, just to name two, many fans thought.)
Bran actor Isaac Hempstead Wright was, unsurprisingly, thrilled with his characters ending.
"I find it an extraordinary character arc to see him go from a vulnerable character totally dependent on others to the one person who holds all the keys to understanding the world," he wrote Monday in The Hollywood Reporter.
Sansa's crowning as queen of the North was as predictable as the finale got — she'd clearly been headed for the role for a while.
While the night brought a big end for "Thrones" fans, its universe was far from over.
Author George R.R. Martin still intends to finish and release two more books in the series after the show passed him by years ago.
And spin-offs are in the planning stages. One pilot in production takes place in the same realm thousands of years earlier, and the finale might have hinted at another possibility.
Arya Stark, who saved humanity early in the season, decides to sail on to unknown lands, and her departure on a ship is among the series' final images.
"What's west of Westeros?" she asks her Stark siblings. "No one knows. It's where all the maps stop. It's where I'm going."
TV comedy writer Bess Kalb expressed a common response to this idea on Twitter: "Will watch Arya the Explorya."
New York, May 18 (AP/UNB) — To messages of support and puzzlement, Kim Kardashian West has, seemingly, revealed her newborn's name: Psalm West.
The beauty mogul, reality star, law student and wife of Kanye West took to her social streams to share the first look at their fourth child, born May 9. A photo of the boy nestled in a crib came in the form of a text message screen grab with her husband that called it a "Beautiful Mother's Day" and said the couple are "blessed beyond measure."
The baby is their second boy and the second to be born via surrogate because of a potentially life-threatening medical condition that complicated Kardashian West's two pregnancies.
The baby joins 5-year-old sister North, 3-year-old brother Saint and 15-month-old sister Chicago.
Los Angeles, May 15 (AP/UNB) — Tim Conway, the impish second banana to Carol Burnett who won four Emmy Awards on her TV variety show, starred aboard “McHale’s Navy” and later voiced the role of Barnacle Boy for “Spongebob Squarepants,” has died. He was 85.
Conway died Tuesday morning in a Los Angeles care facility, according to Howard Bragman, who heads LaBrea Media. Conway’s wife, Charlene Fusco, and a daughter, Jackie, were at his side. The cause was a disorder in which there is an excess of fluid on the brain, Bragman said.
Burnett said in a statement Tuesday that she was heartbroken. “He was one in a million, not only as a brilliant comedian but as a loving human being. I cherish the times we had together both on the screen and off. He’ll be in my heart forever.”
Tributes also came from across the comedy world, including from Conan O’Brien, who said “no one made me laugh harder than Tim Conway” and Kathy Griffin, who called him “a wildly talented, comedy giant.” Al Roker tweeted out a link to Conway playing a hysterically incompetent dentist.
A native of Ohio, Conway credited his Midwestern roots for putting him on the right path to laughs, with his deadpan expression and innocent, simple-minded demeanor.
“I think the Midwest is the heart of comedy in this country, and a little bit of the South, too,” he told the Wisconsin State Journal in 2005. “For some reason, we’re just more laid-back, more understanding. ... And Midwesterners have a kinder sense of humor.”
Those qualities probably contributed to his wide popularity on “The Carol Burnett Show,” which he joined in 1975 after years as a frequent guest. The show aired on CBS from 1967 to 1978 and had a short summer stint on ABC in 1979.
“We really didn’t attack people or politics or religion or whatever. We just made fun of, basically, ourselves,” he said.
The show operated with just five writers, one producer, one director and without network interference. The ensemble cast surrounding the redheaded star included Vicki Lawrence and Lyle Waggoner.
“I don’t think the network would allow a show like ‘The Carol Burnett Show’ now because we had such freedom,” Conway said in his interview with the State Journal.
Lawrence on Tuesday mourned the passing of her co-star, saying in a statement that “the angels are laughing out loud.”
“Hysterical, crazy, bold, fearless, humble, kind, adorable... all synonyms for Tim Conway. I am so lucky to ever have shared a stage with him.”
While America was laughing at Conway, so were his co-stars: Burnett and Harvey Korman were often caught by the camera trying not to crack up during his performances.
The short, nondescript Conway and the tall, imposing Korman were a physical mismatch made in comedy heaven. They toured the country for years with a sketch show called “Together Again,” which drew on characters from Burnett’s show.
Besides the four Emmys he won with Burnett (three as a performer, one as a writer), he won Emmys for guest appearances in 1996 for “Coach” and in 2008 for “30 Rock.”
Conway also had a modest but steady movie career, appearing in such films as “The Apple Dumpling Gang” (1975), “The Shaggy D.A.” (1976), “Cannonball Run II” (1984), “Dear God” (1996) and “Air Bud 2” (1998).
“The Apple Dumpling Gang” and “Cannonball Run II” allowed him to work with his comedic hero, Don Knotts, who died in 2006.
“If there’s any reason at all I’m in the business, I think it’s Don,” Conway once said. “He’s an icon in this business. He’s an icon that’s never going to be duplicated.”
He also found success in the 1980s in a series of comedy videos based on an oddly short character named Dorf. (Carefully costumed, Conway performed the bits on his knees.) Among them were “Dorf on Golf” and “Dorf Goes Fishing.”
More recently Conway voiced the role of Barnacle Boy for the hugely popular children’s series “SpongeBob SquarePants.”
He was born Thomas Conway in 1933 in the Cleveland suburb of Willoughby. He attended Bowling Green State University and served in the U.S. Army. He got his career start on local TV in Cleveland in the 1950s, where his duties included comedy spots on a late-night movie show.
He was spotted by Rose Marie of “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” who got him an audition for “The Steve Allen Show.” He became a regular on the show in the early 1960s. It was Allen who had advised him to change his name from Tom to Tim to avoid being confused with a British actor.
Following the Allen show, Conway gained attention as the incompetent Ensign Charles Parker on the Ernest Borgnine sitcom “McHale’s Navy” from 1962-66. That led to series of his own, including “Rango” and “The Tim Conway Show,” but they were short-lived.
“McHale’s Navy” fans loved watching Ensign Parker infuriate the ever-flammable Captain Binghamton (played by Joe Flynn), but it was Conway’s work on Burnett’s show that would bring him lasting fame.
Conway and his wife, Mary Anne Dalton, married in 1961 and had six children. The marriage ended in divorce. He later married Charlene Fusco.
In addition to his wife and daughter Jackie, Conway is survived by children Tim Jr., Patrick, Jamie, Kelly, Corey and Seann, as well as two grandchildren, Courtney and Sophia.
Los Angeles, May 13 (AP/UNB) — "Pokémon Detective Pikachu" gave "Avengers: Endgame" a run for its money this weekend at the box office, but the superheroes managed to hold onto the throne once again.
The Walt Disney Co. said Sunday that the Marvel blockbuster earned an estimated $63.1 million from its third weekend in North American theaters, bringing its domestic grosses to $723.5 million, surpassing the totals for "Black Panther" and "Avengers: Infinity War."
Internationally, it added $102.3 million, bringing its global total to just shy of $2.5 billion where it remains the second biggest worldwide release of all time behind "Avatar" ($2.8 billion.)
But three weeks into "Avengers" dominance, the market finally had some room for another film to make a substantial impact. Warner Bros. managed to draw a significant audience to its live-action "Pokémon Detective Pikachu," which opened on 4,202 screens and earned an estimated $58 million from ticket sales.
"What a terrific result," said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. head of domestic distribution. "It's so much fun to watch 'Detective Pikachu' have this kind of opening."
And there's no bad blood that "Endgame" powered past "Pikachu" in the end.
"It was fun to win Friday night, but as they say in golf, you play your own game and I'm thrilled with our result," Goldstein added.
It even beat "Endgame" internationally by a very slight margin with $103 million.
Ryan Reynolds voices the popular Pokémon character in the film, which notched a record of its own: Biggest video game adaption opening. The previous record-holder was the Angelina Jolie "Tomb Raider" from 2001, which opened with $47 million, not adjusted for inflation.
"Typically movies based on video games haven't been all that successful," Goldstein said.
It was a mixed bag for other newcomers looking for a piece of the market, including two women-led comedies strategically launching on Mother's Day: "The Hustle" and "Poms," which both attracted an overwhelmingly female audience.
"The Hustle," a gender-flipped spin on "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" with Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson, landed in third place with $13.6 million despite lackluster reviews.
Less lucky was the Diane Keaton cheerleading comedy "Poms," which grossed only $5.1 million in its debut against similarly negative reviews from critics. "Poms" placed sixth behind the thriller "The Intruder" ($6.6 million) and the Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron rom-com "Long Shot" ($6.1 million), which are both in their second weekends.
In smaller releases, "Tolkien," a biopic about the "Lord of the Rings" author starring Nicholas Hoult opened in ninth place on 1,495 screens with $2.2 million, while the documentary "The Biggest Little Farm" debuted in five locations and earned $101,012.
And while not every film was a hit this weekend, the diversity of content is important to the marketplace, noted Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for Comscore. Overall, the industry-wide box office continues to get stronger as the year goes on. The weekend is up around 23%, and the year is down around 9%. Three weeks ago, pre-"Endgame," that year-to-date deficit was at 17%.
"It should never be about just one type of movie," said Dergarabedian. "That used to be the thing about summer, it was about drawing in the 18-24 year olds with superhero movies and action movies. In today's world, summer offers a much more eclectic and diverse mix and that's paying dividends for Hollywood."
And May has more big movies to come, including "Aladdin," ''Rocketman," ''John Wick 3: Parabellum and "Godzilla: King of the Monsters."
"May could be a monster at the box office," Dergarabedian said.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. "Avengers: Endgame," $63.1 million ($102.3 million international).
2. "Pokémon Detective Pikachu," $58 million ($103 million international).
3. "The Hustle," $13.6 million ($13.7 million international).
4. "The Intruder," $6.6 million.
5. "Long Shot," $6.1 million ($1.6 million international).
6. "Poms," $5.1 million ($736,000 international).
7. "Uglydolls," $3.9 million ($522,000 international).
8. "Breakthrough," $2.5 million.
9. "Tolkien," $2.2 million ($200,283 international).
10. "Captain Marvel," $1.8 million.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to Comscore:
1. "Pokémon Detective Pikachu," $103 million.
2. "Avengers: Endgame," $102.3 million.
3. "The Hustle," $13.7 million.
4. "Capernaum," $8.3 million.
5. "Mom," $5.6 million.
6. "We'll End Up Together," $5.1 million.
7. "Miss & Mrs. Cops," $4.2 million.
8. "The Curse of La Llorona," $3.5 million.
9. "Pet Semetary," $2.4 million.
10. "Sweet Family," $2.2 million.
Dhaka, May 9 (UNB) – Mostofa Sarwar Farooki’s ‘Shonibar Bikel’ (Saturday Afternoon) is scheduled to be screened at the Sydney Film Festival 2019 at the Dendy Opera Cinema Hall.
The director and his wife, actress Nusrat Imroze Tisha, will leave Dhaka on June 9. They are scheduled to attend a question-answer session regarding this film.
Based on the Holy Artisan tragedy, this Bangladesh-Germany joint production has generated rave reviews even before its release.
The cast of the film includes Zahid Hasan, Tisha, Mamunur Rashid, Iresh Zaker, Intekhab Dinar, Nader Chowdhury and Gousul Alam Shaon from Bangladesh, while Indian actor Parambrata Chatterjee and Palestinian actor Eyad Hourani has also played major roles in this movie.
“Berlin Film Festival’s honorary ‘Silver Bear’ winning cinematographer Aziz Zhambakiyev’s extraordinarily impressive single shot in the audacious movie ‘Shonibar Bikel’ takes us into the frightening timeline, that replicated the merciless incident [that] happened at a restaurant in Dhaka,” the Sydney Film Fest committee wrote in their programme note.
“That is, however, not the main motive of director Farooki - rather his intention is to portray the humanity among people above social conflicts such as religion, race, cast and above terrorism.”
‘Shonibar Bikel’ recently participated in the 41st Moscow International Film Festival where it won two independent jury awards.
The film will be screened at Dendy Opera Quays Cinema 1 in East Circular Quay, Sydney on June 10 at 2pm and June 13 at 8pm (local time).