ABC Television Network
TV shows Modern Family, Top Of The Lake and Lilyhammer were among the winners at the 54th Golden Nymph Awards at the Monte-Carlo Television Festival on Wednesday (11Jun14). Detective series Top Of The Lake was the night's big winner, scooping the trophy for Best Miniseries while its stars Elisabeth Moss and Peter Mullan took home the gongs for Best Actress in a Miniseries and Best Actor in a Miniseries respectively.
Mockumentary comedy Modern Family scooped the International TV Audience Award for comedy, while the show's star Julie Bowen won the prize for Best Actress in a comedy series. The award for Best International Comedy Series went to Norway's Lilyhammer, and actor Steven Van Zandt received the Best Actor in a comedy series prize for his role in the show.
American show The Bold & The Beautiful won the International TV Audience Award for a telenovela/soap. Also honoured were British series Episodes, which took the Best European comedy prize, Hostages, which scooped the Best International Drama Trophy, and crime drama NCIS which won the International TV Audience Award for drama.
A kids’ movie without the cheeky jokes for adults is like a big juicy BLT without the B… or the T. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may have a title that sounds like it was made up in a cartoon sequel laboratory but when it comes to serving up laughs just think of the film as a BLT with enough extra bacon to satisfy even the wildest of animals — or even a parent with a gaggle of tots in tow. Yes even with that whole "Afro Circus" nonsense.
It’s not often that we find exhaustively franchised films like the Madagascar set that still work after almost seven years. Despite being spun off into TV shows and Christmas specials in addition to its big screen adventures the series has not only maintained its momentum it has maintained the part we were pleasantly surprised by the first time around: great jokes.
In this third installment of the series – the trilogy-maker if you will – directing duo Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath add Conrad Vernon (director Monsters Vs. Aliens) to the helm as our trusty gang swings back into action. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stuck in Africa after the hullaballoo of Madagascar 2 and they’ll do anything to get back to their beloved New York. Just a hop skip and a jump away in Monte Carlo the penguins are doing their usual greedy schtick but the zoo animals catch up with them just in time to catch the eye of the sinister animal control stickler Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand). And just like that the practically super human captain is chasing them through Monte Carlo and the rest of Europe in hopes of planting Alex’s perfectly coifed lion head on her wall of prized animals.
Luckily for pint-sized viewers Dubois’ terrifying presence is balanced out by her sheer inhuman strength uncanny guiles and Stretch Armstrong flexibility (ah the wonder of cartoons) as well as Alex’s escape plan: the New Yorkers run away with the European circus. While Dubois’ terrifying Doberman-like presence looms over the entire film a sense of levity (which is a word the kiddies might learn from Stiller’s eloquent lion) comes from the plan for salvation in which the circus animals and the zoo animals band together to revamp the circus and catch the eye of a big-time American agent. Sure the pacing throughout the first act is practically nonexistent running like a stampede through the jungle but by the time we're palling around under the big top the film finds its footing.
The visual splendor of the film (and man is there a champion size serving of it) the magnificent danger and suspense is enhanced to great effect by the addition of 3D technology – and not once is there a gratuitous beverage or desperate Crocodile Dundee knife waved in our faces to prove its worth. The caveat is that the soundtrack employs a certain infectious Katy Perry ditty at the height of the 3D spectacular so parents get ready to hear that on repeat until the leaves turn yellow.
But visual delights and adventurous zoo animals aside Madagascar 3’s real strength is in its script. With the addition of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg The Squid and the Whale) to the screenwriting team the script is infused with a heightened level of almost sarcastic gravitas – a welcome addition to the characteristically adult-friendly reference-heavy humor of the other Madagascar films. To bring the script to life Paramount enlisted three more than able actors: Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston) Gia the Leopard (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Italian Sealion (Martin Short). With all three actors draped in European accents it might take viewers a minute to realize that the cantankerous tiger is one and the same as the man who plays an Albuquerque drug lord on Breaking Bad but that makes it that much sweeter to hear him utter slant-curse words like “Bolshevik” with his usual gusto.
Between the laughs the terror of McDormand’s Captain Dubois and the breathtaking virtual European tour the Zoosters’ accidental vacation is one worth taking. Madagascar 3 is by no means an insta-classic but it’s a perfectly suited for your Summer-at-the-movies oasis.
Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.
Carlo died earlier this month (Nov10) aged 61 following a five-year battle with Lou Gehrig's disease.
The writer was laid to rest last week (11Nov10) in Brooklyn, New York, but several funeral guests were unhappy because the service contained very few references to Carlo's life and achievements.
Taxi star Danza interrupted the eulogy by taking over with his own personal speech, according to New York Post gossip column PageSix.
A source tells the publication, "Tony, who was one of Carlo's closest friends, walked right up to the priest and said angrily, 'Excuse me, but this is not about you. It's supposed to be about my friend, and if you can't do that, maybe you should let someone else speak!'
"People were stunned, while the priest was visibly shaken. He tried talking about Carlo before quickly wrapping things up. Danza took over and eulogised Carlo with memories from their younger days."
Carlo's widow Laura adds, "The funeral went very well, and we know Phil would have been very happy. We all agreed that the priest had to go and leave it to Phil's friends to come to the rescue."
Carlo passed away aged 61 following a five-year battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a degenerative neurological condition also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
The author was famed for writing insights into the minds of mass murderers, including a 2006 best-seller about assassin Richard Kuklinski - also known as the Ice Man.
Rourke had been racing to complete his big screen portrayal of Kuklinski so Carlo could see the adaptation of his book, and the actor was devastated when he heard his friend lost his battle with illness.
He tells the New York Post, "I was friends with Phil for 30 years. I never met someone who suffered so much and who refused to quit."
Carlo was also fighting cancer at the time of his death. His funeral will be held in New York later this week (begs08Nov10).
The star will also team up with the author of the original 2006 book, Phil Carlo, to produce the forthcoming picture.
Rourke will portray multiple killer Richard Kuklinski, who worked for several Italian-American crime families.
Kuklinski claimed to have murdered more than 200 men over 30 years before his arrest in 1986 and subsequent death in 2006.
And Carlo is delighted that The Wrestler star is taking on the role, because they became instant pals when they met earlier this year (09).
He tells New York Post gossip column PageSix, "We hit it off beautifully. He's really looking forward to being the Ice Man, and I think he'll do a great job.
"We're producing it together. We'll shoot in the spring in New York, New Jersey and Florida."
And Rourke is convinced the role could have a huge effect on his career, similar to the notoriety Robert De Niro gained when he portrayed boxer Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull in 1980.
Carlo adds, "He's talking about it being his Raging Bull."
Phil Carlo optioned the rights to his novel The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer, which tells the tale of vicious mob hitman Richard Kuklinski.
The author struck a deal with Hollywood producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura - the brains behind Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra - but the 18 month option expired in July (09).
Carlo has now denied Bonaventura's request to extend his hold on the story until he could secure financing - because of a disagreement over casting.
The writer admits movie bosses wanted Tatum to tackle the role of Kuklinski, but he would have preferred to see Mickey Rourke take the lead - and the feud now means the book is unlikely to make it on to the big screen.
Carlo tells New York Post gossip column PageSix, "I had to turn him down. I really hated the idea of Channing Tatum. I told di Bonaventura that this is not the guy to play one of the most feared killers of the 20th Century. I think Mickey Rourke would really be good. He's got that sense of danger, and there's a similarity between the two. But it's not Channing Tatum.".