Actress Sandra Bullock and pop superstar Justin Timberlake were the toast of the 2014 People Choice Awards after each taking home a handful of top honours. The Hollywood beauty claimed the first three prizes of Wednesday's (08Jan14) ceremony as she picked up the title for Favorite Movie Actress and was handed trophies for Favorite Comedic and Dramatic Movie Actress, too.
Her space disaster film, Gravity, was also named Favorite Dramatic Movie and her onscreen work with George Clooney landed her the Favorite Movie Duo award.
Timberlake was a triple threat at the Los Angeles ceremony, claiming Favorite Male Artist, R&B Artist and Favorite Album for The 20/20 Experience.
Robert Downey, Jr. was another big winner - he walked away as the Favorite Action Movie Star, while his superhero blockbuster Iron Man 3 was named Favorite Movie and Favorite Action Movie.
Newlywed Kaley Cuoco was given another couple of reasons to celebrate - she was handed the Favorite Comedic TV Actress honour for The Big Bang Theory, while the sitcom was also the winner of the Favorite Network TV Comedy category.
As she accepted her acting accolade, Cuoco, who wed tennis player Ryan Sweeting on New Year's Eve (31Dec13), gave a special shout out to her new husband, saying, "This is the second best thing that happened to me all year; the first was marrying you baby! I love you."
Meanwhile, Jennifer Hudson fought back tears as she was hailed the Favorite Humanitarian for her work with the Julian D. King Gift Foundation, the children's organisation she founded in 2008 to help underprivileged kids following the murder of her seven-year-old nephew.
She stepped onstage with her sister Julia to accept the award and paid tribute to her late mother and brother, who were also killed in the family tragedy, telling the crowd: "We wanna dedicate this to our mother, who taught us... that without family, you have nothing, and our brother, who was the most giving."
Awards co-hosts Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs kicked off the show with a skit straight from the diner of their hit sitcom 2 Broke Girls, featuring guest appearances by The Vampire Diaries' Ian Somerhalder, The Crazy Ones' Sarah Michelle Gellar, Christina Aguilera, Ian Ziering, The Big Bang Theory co-stars Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch, and talk show host Arsenio Hall. Cuoco also made a cameo in the opening sketch, handing over the honour of presenting the prizegiving after joking that she was going to be busy on the night of the event.
Musical performances came from the likes of Brad Paisley and OneRepublic, and presenters included LL Cool J, Zac Efron, Heidi Klum, Jessica Alba and Malin Akerman.
The full list of winners is as follows:
Favorite Movie - Iron Man 3
Favorite Movie Actor - Johnny Depp
Favorite Movie Actress - Sandra Bullock
Favorite Movie Duo - Sandra Bullock and George Clooney (Gravity)
Favorite Action Movie - Iron Man 3
Favorite Action Movie Star - Robert Downey, Jr.
Favorite Comedic Movie - The Heat
Favorite Comedic Movie Actor - Adam Sandler
Favorite Comedic Movie Actress - Sandra Bullock
Favorite Dramatic Movie - Gravity
Favorite Dramatic Movie Actor - Leonardo DiCaprio
Favorite Dramatic Movie Actress - Sandra Bullock
Favorite Family Movie - Despicable Me 2
Favorite Horror Movie - Carrie
Favorite Thriller Movie - Now You See Me
Favorite Network TV Comedy - The Big Bang Theory
Favorite Comedic TV Actor - Chris Colfer (Glee)
Favorite Comedic TV Actress - Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory)
Favorite Network TV Drama - The Good Wife
Favorite Dramatic TV Actor - Josh Charles (The Good Wife)
Favorite Dramatic TV Actress - Stana Katic (Castle)
Favorite Actor in a New TV Series - Joseph Morgan (The Vampire Diaries)
Favorite Actress in a New TV Series - Sarah Michelle Gellar (The Crazy Ones)
Favorite TV Crime Drama - Castle
Favorite Competition TV Show - The Voice
Favorite Cable TV Comedy - Psych
Favorite Cable TV Drama - The Walking Dead
Favorite Premium Cable TV Show - Homeland
Favorite Cable TV Actress - Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars)
Favorite TV Anti-Hero - Andrew Lincoln (The Walking Dead)
Favorite TV Bromance - Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins (Supernatural)
Favorite TV Gal Pals - Lea Michele and Naya Rivera (Glee)
Favorite On-screen Chemistry - Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)
Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show - Beauty and the Beast
Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actor - Ian Somerhalder
Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actress - Kristin Kreuk (Beauty and the Beast)
Favorite TV Movie/Miniseries - American Horror Story
Favorite Daytime TV Host - Ellen DeGeneres (The Ellen DeGeneres Show)
Favorite New Talk Show Host - Queen Latifah (The Queen Latifah Show)
Favorite Late Night Talk Show Host - Stephen Colbert (The Colbert Report)
Favorite Streaming Series - Orange Is the New Black
Favorite Series We Miss Most - Breaking Bad
Favorite New TV Comedy - Super Fun Night
Favorite New TV Drama - Reign
Favorite Male Artist - Justin Timberlake
Favorite Female Artist - Demi Lovato
Favorite Breakout Artist - Ariana Grande
Favorite Pop Artist - Britney Spears
Favorite Country Artist - Taylor Swift
Favorite Country Music Icon - Tim McGraw
Favorite Hip Hop Artist - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Favorite R&B Artist - Justin Timberlake
Favorite Band - One Direction
Favorite Alternative Band - Fall Out Boy
Favorite Song - Roar by Katy Perry
Favorite Album - Justin Timberlake (The 20/20 Experience)
Favorite Music Video - Roar by Katy Perry
Favorite Music Fan Following - Demi Lovato's Lovatics
Favourite Humanitarian - Jennifer Hudson.
Lovelace, which features the Mamma Mia! beauty as the adult actress-turned-anti-porn advocate, premiered at the Utah independent movie event on Tuesday (22Jan13) and was warmly received by critics.
A reviewer for the Hollywood Reporter described it as "surprisingly good on several fronts", while a Screen International writer applauded directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman for making the film "both breezy and weighty at the same time".
Lovelace, which chronicles the complex relationship between the Deep Throat star and her manager/husband Chuck Traynor - portrayed by Peter Sarsgaard, was promptly snapped up by The Weinstein Company's RADiUS-TWC division and will now be released in America this autumn (13).
Other popular picks at Sundance include Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut Don Jon's Addiction and Daniel Radcliffe's new film Kill Your Darlings, in which he portrays beat poet Allen Ginsberg.
Lovelace is the first of two new biopics about the former porn icon - actress Malin Akerman is also portraying her in rival project Inferno: A Linda Lovelace Story, although that film has stalled due to financing issues.
Since his days directing sketches for comedy troupe The State and his seminal debut feature Wet Hot American Summer David Wain has been expertly calculating ways to make his brand of absurdist humor work within the rigid conventional world of Hollywood movies. His latest Wanderlust is the perfect example of a hollow rom-com template that Wain fills to the brim with bizarre jokes and perfectly timed physical humor. His soldier of fortune is Paul Rudd who brings the golden ratio: looks of a leading man and a comedic gravitas that is unmatched. Rudd's at the top of his game whether he's landing a one-liner stretching his face to Jim Carrey-like proportions or reacting to his maniac co-stars the actor delivers—making Wanderlust charming deranged and very funny.
George (Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston better suited for this wacky comedy than you'd think) are a happily married couple living in New York attempting to live the dream lifestyle without any of the reality to fall back on. It doesn't work—George loses his job Linda fails to sell her documentary on penguin testicular cancer and the two find themselves forced to sell their "micro-loft" in the West Village and move in with George's brother in Atlanta. During their epic car ride George and Linda make a pit stop at a local Georgian B&B only to discover it's a counterculture commune home to an eclectic group determined to live on their own alternative terms. The inhabitants of "Elysium" range from nudists to tai chi experts to organic farmers but they all have one goal: live free. Realizing they don't have too much else going on in their lives (their alternative is shacking up with George's materialistic misogynistic businessman brother Rick played by the amazing Ken Marino) George and Linda dive head first into the off-beat world of Elysium.
Wanderlust dishes out its fair share of oddities when exploring the world of Elysium but isn't content in simply exploiting those quirks. Wain who co-wrote the script with Marino fleshes out the ensemble and makes keen choices so that no character is just a face in a crowd. Comedy pros like Justin Theroux Alan Alda Malin Akerman Joe Lo Truglio Kathryn Hahn Kerri Kenney Lauren Ambrose and more round out the cast and help color the world of Elysium piling laughs on top of laughs with every scene. Theroux stands out as Seth a spiritual leader for the group who begins to woo Linda away from George with his savvy guitar skills and potent herbal teas. Seth's slow and steady demeanor is a welcome change from the usual rapid-fire style seen in the modern comedy (the movie was produced by Judd Apatow so it wouldn't have been a surprise to see the approach replicated in Wanderlust) making us laugh in a zen fashion.
Meanwhile George just can't get anything right from group "truth circle" exercises to drinking coffee made of dirt to Elysium's "free love pact " which gives both he and his wife the chance to sexually explore outside of their relationship. The couple quickly realizes the freedom of their new home divides them and Wain's sensitivity to story and character evolve the relationship in a rather conventional yet desirable fashion.
Wanderlust falls somewhere between a Katherine Heigl romantic comedy vehicle and the pleasantly obscene work of Wain's past—and it may catch some off guard. The movie doesn't mind throwing in a bit of male nudity playing with abrasive repetition or those who find laughs in patience. The movie fully embraces the weird while never lettings its characters slip fully into caricature. Much like George and Linda's own dilemma Wanderlust wants to find harmony between the mainstream and the not-so-much. Thankfully it achieves inner peace.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
Adapted by Bret Easton Ellis (Less Than Zero The Rules of Attraction American Psycho) from his own 1994 novel about the excesses of the rich and not-so-lucky in Hollywood circa 1983 this shallow film seems out of touch now in a time of economic turmoil — even if it is disguised as a period piece. Presented as a multi-story look at L.A. at its sordid best The Informers introduces us to a sleazy movie executive his estranged wife her poolboy lover a coked-out British punk rock star a fading newscaster a voyeuristic doorman a slimy ex-con and any number of beautiful vapid sexed-up twentysomethings who seem to spend their days either partying or snorting immune to any kind of social consciousness in an era marked by the dawn of the AIDS epidemic.
WHO’S IN IT?
The ensemble cast is split between older stars who’ve seen better days and a promising group of new talent unfortunately caught up in this mess. Billy Bob Thornton sleepwalks through the studio exec role while a pre-Wrestler Mickey Rourke (in a glorified cameo) shows us the kind of dreck he’s been stuck in the last few years as a tough ex-con who seems obsessed with someone called “the Indian.” Kim Basinger survives intact as a long-suffering Hollywood wife looking for a human connection from anyone who crosses her path while Winona Ryder projects just a shadow of her once-promising career as the aging newscaster. The late Brad Renfro who himself apparently fell victim to a drug-induced lifestyle is oddly touching as the peeping-tom doorman. Filling in the lost youth part of the equation are Jon Foster Amber Heard Austin Nichols Lou Taylor Pucci and amusing British star Mel Raido who do the best they can with their clothes on and off. Chris Isaak and Rhys Ifans also turn up in minor roles.
For what it’s worth The Informers has been handsomely shot and does capture emotional deadness well but unfortunately there’s nothing behind the façade of a group of characters we just don’t care about.
Ellis covered this all in Less Than Zero — same era same losers — so did we really need a LESS THAN Less Than Zero in 2009? It’s also a shame to see a fine group of actors so completely wasted both on screen and off.
BEST STONED-OUT LOSER SCENE:
The tenor of the whole film is summed up in the ice cube-filled bathtub sequence where a drunken almost catatonic British rocker proceeds to nearly kill himself trying to light a cigarette and answer a phone that NEVER stops ringing.
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX:
This movie may already be available on DVD before you finish reading this review.
In the late 19th century Dr. Gabriel Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) a misunderstood monster hunter is summoned to Transylvania to ferret out Count Dracula (Richard Roxburgh) and kill him once and for all. When Van Helsing gets to the small village where the vampire was last spotted he discovers he also must contend with Dracula's three seriously twisted vampire brides Dracula's angry henchman/werewolf--and a lovely gypsy princess named Anna Valerious (Kate Beckinsale) who is hell-bent on eradicating Dracula and his bloodsucking kind for slaughtering her entire family. Oh and let's not forget Frankenstein's Monster (Shuler Hensley) who holds the key to Dracula's evil master plan--something about releasing his minions of unborn bat-like children from their goo-filled cocoons so they can wreck havoc on the world. Yuck. Sounds like our resident monster stomper and his sword-swinging gal pal have their work cut out for them. If Van Helsing does manage to kill all his monster foes does that mean he's out of a job?
Jackman has the whole antihero thing down pat. He adequately embodies the younger more virile Van Helsing dishing out as much pain and torture as he can on the undead--but the Aussie actor isn't given nearly as much meat to chew on as he did say delving into the complicated Wolverine in X-Men. Instead the monster hunter is relegated to carrying big weapons wearing a big hat and muttering something about having bad dreams to a past he can't remember. Same goes for Beckinsale. The British actress was oh-so-cool on the other side of the fence playing the chic vampire Selene in Underworld cutting her way through a myriad of werewolves. As Van Helsing's heavily accented female counterpart Anna however she just runs around with her sword blurting out such pathetic dialogue such as "Dracula took everything away from me and now I'm alone in the world" while Roxburgh's Dracula--who can't hold a candle to other far more charismatic Draculas before him--wails about being so very alone as his luscious brides hang upside down in front of him. Give me a break. At least Australian actor David Wenham (The Lord of the Rings) provides much-needed comic relief as Van Helsing's sidekick Carl a Catholic friar who doesn't much like playing hero.
With the requisite dark mood and tone action sequences and snazzy CGI-creations including the winged vampire brides and formidable werewolves you can see exactly where writer/director Stephen Sommers (The Mummy) spent Van Helsing's nearly $150 million budget. But even all the bells and whistles can't tie together the film's vacuous nonsensical mumbo jumbo as Sommers attempts to bring classic movie monsters together in the same movie. Maybe in a tongue-in-cheek Abbott and Costello movie it could work but as a serious action-packed thriller clearly Dracula Frankenstein and the Wolf Man do not need to meet. On top of that Sommers steals from other movies as well such as recent films Underworld (the whole vampire vs. werewolf conflict) and The League of Extraordinary Gentleman (Van Helsing defeats a rather familiar-looking Mr. Hyde at one point). Whatever originality there is in the film leaves you either scratching your head--Dracula has kids?--or rolling your eyes--Anna needs to kill Dracula so her nine-generations of family can reunite in Heaven? Please.