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Here are this week's highlights from VH1, Celebuzz, Flavorwire, and Hollywood.com.
Bryan Cranston is writing a memoir, devoting a chunk of it to secrets from the set of Breaking Bad. Flavorwire thinks it'll be called My Life's a Meth. Find out more details here.
Watch an edit of how How I Met Your Mother should have ended. Unhappy with the disappointing end? See an alternative at Celebuzz.
James Franco might have tried to hook up with a minor on Instagram. Yes, a minor. Yes, Instagram. Read the sordid story at VH1 Celebuzz.
Could Kanye West be a good role model? Hollywood.com thinks so. Read the case here.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In) has tweeted a new photo from the set of the movie due out May 23, 2014. And if this isn't a doozy to quicken the hearts of all true fans of the Apes franchise, I don't know what is. It's a shot of Reeves talking to Andy Serkis in his motion-capture suit (on the right) riding a horse! That means apes will be riding horses in the movie, just like in Charlton Heston's original 1968 classic, Planet of the Apes.
But what could be going on here? In 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Serkis' Caesar was last seen fleeing into Marin County's Muir Woods with his cognitively-enhanced simian companions after a battle on San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. He had violently rejected humanity after a series of gross misunderstandings and bid farewell to his former master James Franco and female tag-along (can't really call her a character) Freida Pinto. The final moments of Rise saw the plague Franco had engineered strickening all of humanity, presumably leading to our near-extinction. That means the apes can now make their conquest! Paging Roddy McDowall and Ricardo Montalban!
Except, if this photo is any indication, the apes still appear to be hiding out in the forest. Maybe they're just using Muir Woods — which movie fans will recognize immediately from Vertigo and Return of the Jedi — as their home base or staging area, because we do know that Gary Oldman has been cast as the leader of humanity's resistance to the ape threat. Oldman will be joined by Keri Russell (reuniting with her old Felicity exec producer Reeves), Judy Greer, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Zero Dark Thirty's Jason Clarke.
Does this photo make you excited for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes or what?
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
More: Keri Russell Joins ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ Gary Oldman to Lead the Resistance at the ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ Grabs Director Matt Reeves
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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]
Today marks the release of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The film features, in addition to a rather long title with multiple modifiers, James Franco as a scientist and Andy “Gollum” Serkis—through a great deal of CG magic—as a genetically enhanced ape that leads a simian revolt that may bring about a planet where apes evolve from men. Those maniacs!
Rise of the Planet of the Apes marks the seventh film in the Planet of the Apes franchise, dating back to the original in 1968. While many people are probably aware that this film is an unofficial prequel to the original series, what may not be such a matter of public knowledge is that it is also a quasi-remake…of the fourth film in the original series.
There is a discrepancy between the chronology of the releases of the films in the original series and their order along the timeline of that franchise’s singular story arc. In other words, if you were to line up all the events that lead from where we are now as a society to a planet dominated by apes, the first film is actually the fourth of five benchmarks. If you haven’t seen any of the original films, now is the time to cease reading because this may get spoilery. Thanks!
Earth sends astronauts into space only to have that same capsule crash down a few years later piloted by fully evolved, articulate apes from the future. They tell us of the dystopian society from wince they came, and that gets some people to thinking that maybe these apes, one of which is pregnant, should be destroyed, as they may be the catalysts for the eventual downfall of the human race. While we succeed in killing the adult mates, their child survives.
Years pass and the ape kid, Caeser, ends up leading a revolt against the oppressive humans; inciting a nuclear war. Eons later, the astronauts launched from Earth at the beginning of this epic tale arrive in the future to discover humans have devolved and are now subjugated to the apes. Later, one of these humans manages to discover a breed of nuclear mutants living underground who worship a massive atomic weapon, which he then uses to destroy the Earth.
Whew, that was a hell of a ride. But understanding this timeline of plot points is essential to grasping the importance of the fourth film in the original series: Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. This is the turning point, the moment when apes have reached the physicality and relative intelligence necessary to take control. All they needed was the right leader; an ape with enough intelligence to comprehend that his brethren were being unforgivably abused. Namely, Caesar. I count myself an enormous fan of the franchise and Conquest is far and away my favorite entry.
Forget the fact that Conquest was directed by 70s exploitation auteur, frequent Charles Bronson collaborator J. Lee Thompson and has some amazing action sequences. Forget the fact that it has Ricardo Montalban and Roddy McDowall playing the son of his own iconic Dr. Cornelius from the first film. The thing that makes Conquest so fascinating is how racially charged it is.
The film takes full advantage of the tumultuous time in which it was made and serves as a parallel for the struggle of African-Americans to obtain equality. In fact, many of the climatic battle scenes were modeled after the Watts Riots of the 1960s. So while on the surface, this is a campy sci-fi film that furthers the lineage of a campy sci-fi franchise, something far more interesting is at play here.
I would highly recommend picking up the Blu-ray of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and taking a gander at the unrated director’s cut. J. Lee Thompson takes the gloves completely off and creates a movie as violent and unsettling as was the climate of racial relations in America during that era. Seriously, this cut is mean. But, like it or not, it will give you unique insight into Rise of the Planet of the Apes which also centers on Caesar’s quest to topple the human race and prove which species truly rules the planet.
Previous rumors that Jermane and Randy Jackson had refused to attend the Jackson 5 reunion for the Michael Jackson: 30 Anniversary Celebration, The Solo Years can now be dismissed. All five brothers from the eponymous Jackson 5 music group have confirmed their attendance at the event.
After feuding for the last month with the show's producer, David Gest, over the ticket prices, the guest list and the lineups for the all-star events, Jermaine agreed on Friday to perform at the September 7 and 10 shows, to be held at New York's Madison Square Garden.
"Having been accused of not wanting to be a part of my brother's 30th anniversary concert for publicity reasons is not right," Jermaine Jackson said in a statement Friday. "My concern was that our loyal fans were not invited nor able to attend because of excessive prices," he told SonicNet.com.
A combined total of 40,000 tickets for the September 7 and 10 Michael Jackson celebration concerts--priced $45 to $2,500 per ticket--sold out just five hours after going on sale on July 31, Launch. com reported.
"I place my family above all else and I would like to perform with my brothers in spite of all that has gone on. I'm sorry that loyalty to my fans and family has been perceived as betrayal," Jermaine added.
The Jackson brothers convened in Los Angeles on Friday to begin rehearsing for the shows.
A complete list of confirmed special guests goes as follows:
Friday, September 7: Marc Anthony; Ray Charles; Deborah Cox; Destiny's Child; Gloria Estefan; Billy Gilman; Whitney Houston; James Ingram; Quincy Jones & the Legends of Jazz including Al Jarreau, Herbie Mann, Les McCann, David "Fathead" Newman, Jimmy Smith, Clark Terry & Cassandra Wilson; Liza Minnelli; Monica; Mya; *NSYNC; Jill Scott; Shaggy featuring Ricardo "Rikrok" Ducent & Rayvon; Britney Spears; Tamia; 3T; Usher.
Monday, September 10: Marc Anthony; Mary J. Blige; Deborah Cox; Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott; Gloria Gaynor; Al Jarreau; Gladys Knight; Lil' Romeo; Ricky Martin; Liza Minnelli; Monica; Mya; 98 Degrees; Jill Scott; Usher; Luther Vandross; Dionne Warwick.
In addition, stars from television, sports, movies, and the recording industry will honor Jackson during the concerts. Confirmed guests include: Marlon Brando; Elizabeth Taylor; Samuel L. Jackson; Willem Dafoe; William Shatner; Dr. Dre; Snoop Dogg; Yoko Ono; Sean Lennon; Jane Russell; Chris Tucker; Liam Neeson; Vanessa Redgrave; Franco Nero; Muhammad Ali; Kobe Bryant; Magic Johnson; Esther Williams; Gregory Peck; Jennifer Jones; Angie Dickinson; Master P; Robert Wagner; Jill St. John; Sir John Mills; Hayley Mills; Janet Leigh; Reggie Miller; Ann Miller; Jane Powell; Macaulay Culkin; Patricia Neal.