Doctor Who abandoned Daleks and instead delivered “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” in this week’s episode, bringing guest stars Mark Williams, David Bradley and Rupert Graves along for a rip-roaring adventure – but did it match up to the high standards of the series 7 premiere? This article contains episode spoilers.

With series 7, the producers aimed to make every episode of Doctor Who a cinematic installment in the series’ canon, with showrunner Steven Moffat being quoted as saying “write it like a movie poster.” On the evidence so far, they’ve certainly gone a long way to maintain that mantra. However, the world of movies is big and diverse with a range of different genres – and within those genres there’s a lot of variation in quality. If “Asylum of the Daleks” was The Empire Strikes Back, then “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” was more like Transformers: incredible special effects, lots of action and amusing one-liners, but no real impact. The sort of entertainment that’s great with a bag of popcorn and a significant other, but not all that wonderful if you were looking for something with a lasting impression.

Doctor WhoImage: BBC

That’s not to say Doctor Who series 7’s sophomore effort was bad (it did exactly what it said on the tin), just that “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” adds little to the show’s legacy other than some excellent CGI and prosthetic work. Writer Chris Chibnall (“42,” “The Hungry Earth”/”Cold Blood”) litters the script with amusing gags throughout, keeping the tone light but also reducing most of the threat. More could have been made of the Silurian spacecraft’s impending destruction, which was largely glossed over – resulting in a sudden denouement that seemed rushed and out of place. That said, the imaginative strands of the narrative do (sort of) tie together.

Director Saul Metzstein leaps straight from Pond Life into his show debut, balancing the stylish visuals with limited computer effect time confidently. He directs the all-star cast with aplomb, focusing as much on the character moments as he does the episode’s surprisingly few set pieces. Major props must also go to the actors themselves, particularly to Harry Potter alumni David Bradley (Solomon) and Mark Williams (Brian), who steal nearly every scene they’re in. We can’t forget Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill who continue to excel as The Doctor, Amy, and Rory in spite of less meaty roles than recent escapades have brought. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Sherlock star Rupert Graves’ Riddell and Riann Steele’s Queen Nefertiti. Despite excellent performances from both, the writing fails to develop the characters leaving us with one-dimensional cutouts. That’s always the danger of ensemble pieces, though – some balls will always be dropped in the juggling act.

Doctor WhoImage: BBC

“Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” doesn’t really add up to the sum of its parts, a surprise for an ensemble adventure with a mash-up of narrative devices and ideas. Assured directing, imaginative writing, excellent acting and impressive effects deliver an exciting romp with popcorn appeal but no weight or lasting legacy. While it doesn’t quite reach the heights of its predecessor, the episode remains an entertaining adventure with plenty of laughs and a rip-roaring pace.

“Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” analysis

As stated above, the latest installment doesn’t contribute too much to the canon of Doctor Who, but we’re still left with a few tidbits to analyze. First of all we met Brian Williams, the first parent of a companion to travel in the TARDIS since Matt Smith took the keys to the blue box. Actor Mark (also Williams) had great chemistry with Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill, building a genuine father figure with far less high-emotion and screaming fits than the parents of Rose Tyler and Donna Noble. He warms to the concept of time travel fairly quickly, and before long he’s making plans The Doctor couldn’t fathom and pulling an assortment of bits, bobs and balls (cue an awkward yet hilarious testicle joke) from his pockets to spectacularly save the day. Enlightened by his adventure aboard the crashing cargo ship, Brian ventures out to see the world and universe beyond. While we’re not quite sure if his travels in the TARDIS make him a fully-fledged companion we’ll say this – it’s a shame the character has been introduced this late into the Ponds’ tenure, and we can’t wait to see him in “The Power of Three.”

“Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” picks up ten months after episode 1, and as the Doctor has continued exploring obliviously, the Ponds have continued growing older. Rory reveals he is now 31, meaning ten years have passed since Amy first stepped into the TARDIS the night before her wedding. Young Amy and Rory aren’t quite so young anymore, and a few exchanges between Mrs. Pond and the Doctor seem to foreshadow their eventual departure – River’s “The Angels Take Manhattan” quote about the Time Lord not liking endings will definitely seem all the more significant as we see the couple grow older. With Amy and Rory now living in 2020, who knows how many years will have elapsed when their swansong eventually arrives?

Doctor WhoImage: BBC

A brief though significant cameo from Silurian Malohkeh expands the species history, though largely leaves them in the same retired state that they started the episode in. The spectacular return (and survival) of dinosaurs shows them relocate the former planet of homo reptilia. This certainly leaves the door open for a return in the near future, with the pre-historic population potentially growing and becoming a major threat.

Finally, the Doctor’s increasing ambiguity to the universe’s inhabitants is once again referenced in a tense – albeit short – scene. That thread has frequently been expanded upon since “the question” was revealed in “The Wedding of River Song” – we know it’s leading somewhere, but exactly WHERE we’re going and WHEN the show’s title will become significant still remain a mind-boggling mystery.

What did you think of “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”? Will it make a memorable impression on your Doctor Who experiences or do you agree that it’s nothing but rip-roaring popcorn fluff?

In interesting but potentially brilliant casting news, comedian Amy Schumer will be taking on the role of Barbie for a live-action film.

Take a moment to soak in the news. Now revel in the idea. This could be awesome.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Amy Schumer is not only leading the project on screen, but she’ll also have an influence on the script.

Read full article

In interesting but potentially brilliant casting news, comedian Amy Schumer will be taking on the role of Barbie for a live-action film.

Take a moment to soak in the news. Now revel in the idea. This could be awesome.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Amy Schumer is not only leading the project on screen, but she’ll also have an influence on the script.

Last year, Sony had their pick of three complete scripts for a live-action Barbie movie. Of those three, they chose Hilary Winston’s. Now that Schumer is on board, THR says to expect her and her sister, Kim Caramele, to rewrite Winston’s original idea.

The plot, given that Schumer doesn’t change the major details, “begins in a perfect land of Barbies where one woman slowly awakens to the fact that she doesn’t fit it. She is expelled from the idealistic land and journeys to the real world, where she discovers that being unique is an asset.”

The outlet also addresses the fact that Mattel has had to deal with plenty of criticism regarding body image and race when it comes to the Barbie toys. Schumer’s casting is a great way to speak to some of those issues, and will hopefully provide a positive and uplifting message by the movie’s end.

There will be, of course, some hesitation given Schumer’s previous work. One only has to look as far as Trainwreck and Inside Amy Schumer to see her comedy is often brutally honest and raunchy. Barbie would be shocked.

But Schumer is an actress, after all, and a brilliant comedian. For this “contemporary spin on beauty, feminism and identity,” she seems like just the right fit.

What do you think of Amy Schumer as Barbie?

It’s arguably the biggest day for Hamilton fans since the release of the original Broadway recording: The Hamilton Mixtape has arrived!

Following years of development, the Hamilton Mixtape was released around the world on Friday, December 2. Mixtape features, well, remixes of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton hits, sung by artists both big and small from various genres.

To celebrate the album’s release, a special #Ham4Ham was hosted at the Richard Rodgers Theater on Thursday night, where names like Ashanti, Ja Rule, Regina Spektor, and Andra Day performed their songs from Mixtape:

Read full article

It’s arguably the biggest day for Hamilton fans since the release of the original Broadway recording: The Hamilton Mixtape has arrived!

Following years of development, the Hamilton Mixtape was released around the world on Friday, December 2. Mixtape features, well, remixes of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton hits, sung by artists both big and small from various genres.

To celebrate the album’s release, a special #Ham4Ham was hosted at the Richard Rodgers Theater on Thursday night, where names like Ashanti, Ja Rule, Regina Spektor, and Andra Day performed their songs from Mixtape:

Stream ‘The Hamilton Mixtape’:

Spotify users can easily stream The Hamilton Mixtape below. You can also listen here via Apple Music.:

And you can purchase a physical copy from Amazon here (you know all the Hamilton fans in your life will want a physical copy):

Hamilton Mixtape tracklist

1. No John Trumbull (Intro) – The Roots
2. My Shot (feat. Busta Rhymes, Joell Ortiz & Nate Ruess) [Rise Up Remix] – The Roots
3. Wrote My Way Out – Nas, Dave East, Lin-Manuel Miranda & Aloe Blacc
4. Wait For It – Usher
5. An Open Letter (feat. Shockwave) [Interlude] – Watsky
6. Satisfied (feat. Miguel & Queen Latifah) – Sia
7. Dear Theodosia (feat. Ben Folds) – Regina Spektor
8. Valley Forge (Demo) – Lin-Manuel Miranda
9. It’s Quiet Uptown – Kelly Clarkson
10. That Would Be Enough – Alicia Keys
11. Immigrants (We Get The Job Done) – K’naan, Snow Tha Product, Riz MC, Residente
12. You’ll Be Back – Jimmy Fallon & The Roots
13. Helpless (feat. Ja Rule) – Ashanti
14. Take A Break (Interlude) – !llmind
15. Say Yes To This – Jill Scott
16. Congratulations – Dessa
17. Burn – Andra Day
18. Stay Alive (Interlude) – J.PERIOD & Stro Elliot
19. Slavery Battle (Demo) – Lin-Manuel Miranda
20. Washington’s By Your Side – Wiz Khalifa
21. History Has Its Eyes On You – John Legend
22. Who Tells Your Story (feat. Common & Ingrid Michaelson) – The Roots
23. Dear Theodosia (Reprise) – Chance The Rapper & Francis and The Lights

What are our favorite performances on ‘The Hamilton Mixtape’?

Chris Pratt is currently on a press tour for Passengers. Jennifer Lawrence may or may not be there too.

Passengers, the new sci-fi epic starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, comes out later this month. The promo tour has kicked off in Europe, with the two stars on hand to answer all our questions.

To entertain himself (and his fans!), Chris Pratt has been updating his Instagram with funny photos and captions from the tour.

Read full article

Chris Pratt is currently on a press tour for Passengers. Jennifer Lawrence may or may not be there too.

Passengers, the new sci-fi epic starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, comes out later this month. The promo tour has kicked off in Europe, with the two stars on hand to answer all our questions.

To entertain himself (and his fans!), Chris Pratt has been updating his Instagram with funny photos and captions from the tour.

There’s some real gold in there, but the best part is when he realizes that fans really want to see some pictures of Jennifer Lawrence — who doesn’t have her own social media accounts — and proceeds to very decidedly not include her!

Update: He did it again.


See some of the hilarious posts from Chris Pratt below:

Finally got that selfie with Jen y'all wanted. #passengersmovie

A photo posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Just hanging with my bestie Jen. #passengersmovie

A photo posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Here Jen and I pose with @elrubiuswtf

A photo posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Here's an extremely artistic and meaningful video I made in which Jen is heavily featured. #passengersmovie

A video posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Another day down with me and my best buddy Jen. #London #passengersmovie

A photo posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Not going to lie — we’re almost as excited for the press interview videos as we are for the movie itself!

‘Passengers’ hits cinemas on December 21