After achieving international child stardom, Jacob Tierney became an acclaimed adult writer-director-actor. Born Sept. 26, 1979 in Montréal, Québec, Canada, Jacob Daniel Tierney was the...
While recent animated blockbusters have aimed to viewers of all ages starting with fantastical concepts and breathtaking visuals but tackling complex emotional issues along the way Ice Age: Continental Drift is crafted especially for the wee ones — and it works. Venturing back to prehistoric times once again the fourth Ice Age film paints broad strokes on the theme of familial relationships throwing in plenty of physical comedy along the way. The movie isn't that far off from one of the many Land Before Time direct-to-video sequels: not particularly innovative or necessary but harmless thrilling fun for anyone with a sense of humor. Unless they have a particular distaste for wooly mammoths the kids will love it.
Ice Age: Continental Drift continues to snowball its cartoon roster bringing back the original film's trio (Ray Romano as Manny the Mammoth Denis Leary as Diego the Sabertooth Tiger and John Leguizamo as Sid the Sloth) new faces acquired over the course of the franchise (Queen Latifah as Manny's wife Ellie) and a handful of new characters to spice things up everyone from Nicki Minaj as Manny's daughter Steffie to Wanda Sykes as Sid's wily grandma. The whole gang is living a pleasant existence as a herd with Manny's biggest problem being playing overbearing dad to the rebellious daughter. Teen mammoths they always want to go out and play by the waterfall! Whippersnappers.
The main thrust of the film comes when Scratch the Rat (whose silent comedy routines in the vein of Tex Avery/WB cartoons continue to be the series highlight) accidentally cracks the singular continent Pangea into the world we know today. Manny Diego and Sid find themselves stranded on an iceberg once again forced on a road trip journey of survival. The rest of the herd embarks to meet them giving Steffie time to realize the true meaning of friendship with help from her mole pal Louis (Josh Gad).
The ham-handed lessons may drag for those who've passed Kindergarten but Ice Age: Continental Drift is a lot of fun when the main gang crosses paths with a group of villainous pirates. (Back then monkeys rabbits and seals were hitting the high seas together pillaging via boat-shaped icebergs. Obviously.) Quickly Ice Age becomes an old school pirate adventure complete with maritime navigation buried treasure and sword fights. Gut (Peter Dinklage) an evil ape with a deadly... fingernail leads the evil-doers who pose an entertaining threat for the familiar bunch. Jennifer Lopez pops by as Gut's second-in-command Shira the White Tiger and the film's two cats have a chase scene that should rouse even the most apathetic adults. Hearing Dinklage (of Game of Thrones fame) belt out a pirate shanty may be worth the price of admission alone.
With solid action (that doesn't need the 3D addition) cartoony animation and gags out the wazoo Ice Age: Continental Drift is entertainment to enjoy with the whole family. Revelatory? Not quite. Until we get a feature length silent film of Scratch's acorn pursuit we may never see a "classic" Ice Age film but Continental Drift keeps it together long enough to tell a simple story with delightful flare that should hold attention spans of any length. Massive amounts of sugar not even required.
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox]
Written and directed by Jacob Tierney The Trotsky stars Jay Baruchel (She’s Out of My League Tropic Thunder) as Leon Bronstein a 17-year–old who believes that he is the reincarnation of October Revolution leader Leon Trotsky whose real surname also happened to be Bronstein. Upon realizing that his father’s employees only receive a half-hour break for lunch he stages a protest and subsequently a strike. His father David (Saul Rubinek) quells the demonstration quickly by having his son carted off in handcuffs. As punishment for his attempted revolution Leon's private school tuition is cut off and he’s forced to enroll in a public school.
Before he begins the new school year Leon attempts to sue his father and tries to enlist the help of a former protester Frank McGovern (Michael Murphy). While basically stalking the man he meets his daughter Alexandra (Emily Hampshire). (The real Trotsky’s first wife was also named Alexandra and just like the movie’s Alexandra apparently couldn’t stand her Leon either.)
At his new school he joins the Student Union humorously thinking that is an actual union. Led by Dwight (Jesse Rath) who Leon refers to as “my Stalin ” he unknowingly chooses “social justice” as the theme for the school dance. He then asks two union members Jimmy (Justin Bradley) and Caroline (Kaniehtiio Horn) if they want to form a real union in order for the students to have equal representation. To prove to the administration that they are not the generation of apathy they organize a student walkout much to the chagrin of Principal Berkhoff (Colm Feore who himself sports a peculiarly Trotsy–esque beard).
While a few online reviews have compared The Trotsky with Wes Anderson's Rushmore this is not the case at all. Yes both films feature awkward actors playing awkward students who fall for women that are older than them but that's where the similarities end. Rushmore degenerates into a witty catch-as-catch can between Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray for the affections of Olivia William's character while The Trotsky is in a quirky way a biopic of the historical Leon Trotsky told through the life of a misguided boy.
We've seen this kind of movie many times before: A charismatic kid rallies the varying masses of his school to band together and fight the system. But this formula is adhered to because it is a part of the story – Baruchel's Leon actually believes that he is the Bolshevik reincarnated and does his best to follow his life perfectly. The film takes what is tried and true in films like this and finds an innovative way to tell its story.
The actors do all that they can with the material and make the formulaic Trotsky enjoyable especially Rubinek as Leon's father David and Baruchel who has yet another outlet for his quirks that endear him to so many moviegoers. Tierney’s writing and direction are fairly tight and he should be commended on his sophomore effort. He tries to present an abridged version of Trotsky’s life and succeeds so well that by end of the film you almost hope for a sequel so this inventive way to tell a biography (or even a pseudo–biopic) and Leon Bronstein (the real and the film’s) life can be carried out to its grim conclusion.
After achieving international child stardom, Jacob Tierney became an acclaimed adult writer-director-actor. Born Sept. 26, 1979 in Montréal, Québec, Canada, Jacob Daniel Tierney was the son of producer Kevin Tierney and became a successful child actor, starring in such kid-friendly Canadian/American favorites as "Dracula: The Series" (syndicated, 1990) and "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" (YTV/Nickelodeon, 1991-2000). After landing the leading role of an older brother whose lie sparks a road trip with his younger brother in the dramedy "Josh and S.A.M." (1993), recurring on "Big Wolf on Campus" (YTV/Fox Family Channel, 1999-2002) and booking an episode of "Touched by an Angel" (CBS, 1994-2003), Tierney successfully reinvented himself as an adult actor, writer and director. He appeared on the Shakespearean festival comedy series "Slings and Arrows" (Movie Central, 2003-06) and wrote and directed "Twist" (2003), a modern-day, gay-hustler-themed reimagining of the classic novel by Charles Dickens. Nominated for a Best Screenplay Genie, Tierney won instead for Best Original Song for writing the film's signature song, "Pantaloon in Black." He scored an even bigger success by writing and directing the smash hit "The Trotsky" (2009), an intelligent coming-of-age comedy blending activism, Marxist-based theory and high school. Winning a Best Original Screenplay Genie for his bitingly funny script, Tierney also nabbed a slew of additional international awards. The multi-hyphenate then wrote and directed the thriller "Good Neighbors" (2010), casting two of his favorite collaborators, Emily Hampshire and Jay Baruschel, in the leads.