October 26, 2011 6:44am EST
The message expressed by the new poster for the movie ParaNorman is (as you can read below), "You don't become a hero by being normal."
Good. I am an enthusiastic proponent of instilling into kids who feel "different" a sense of great appreciation for their uniquity. And I know what you're thinking, readers. You're thinking that the only reason I so passionately endorse ParaNorman and the sentiment it conveys is because I have some monetary investment in the success of Focus Features. Well, joke's on you! It's because I was lonely and picked on as a kid. So HA!
ParaNorman is the story of a young boy—a poetic outsider...aknight of the shadows, if you will—who can communicate with the dead. Ostracized for his oddities, Norman comes to use his powers to fend of supernatural forces in order to save his town from evil.
Starring as Norman in this animated film by some of the people who worked on Coraline and Flushed Away is Kodi Smit-McPhee (who can brood with the best of 'em), Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, John Goodman, Leslie Mann and Vanessa Huxtable.
October 11, 2011 8:56am EST
The headlining duo of The Company You Keep is already a double demographic: Robert Redford and Shia LaBeouf are a pair that fiftysomething fathers and their preteen daughters can enjoy together. But the film seems to have advanced this retrieval of the omni-audience to a do-or-die mission.
August saw the film grab the very up-and-coming Brit Marling, and, shortly after, a slightly older collection of stars including Susan Sarandon, Richard Jenkins, and Julie Christie. The film is pulling in the gruff and grumbling Chris Cooper, and the kempt and cerebral Stanley Tucci. And somewhere along the line, Nick Nolte found his way into this production. And now, expansion continues, with a wide variety of new supporting actors:
Anna Kendrick (born 1985): The tragicomic firefly known best for the Twilight films, but most astonishing in movies like Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and (especially) 50/50. Also, Up in the Air.
Sam Elliott (born 1944): The slow-speaking cowboy who has played to much applause the Wise Old Man figure in many a film (immortalized, to my generation, as the Stranger in The Big Lebowski). Also, Up in the Air.
Terrence Howard (born 1969): A stalwart supporting player in hits including Iron Man, Crash, Mr. Holland's Opus and The Best Man (and possibly its upcoming sequel).
Brendan Gleeson (born 1955): Harry Potter fans will reognize Gleeson as Professor MadEye Moody, although his career has included roles in Gangs of New York, Troy and In Bruges.
Jackie Evancho (born 2000): Um, she's eleven. So...not much yet on the movie front for her. But this is where it all begins.
Who knows what other actors will be drafted to the all-encompassing army of The Company You Keep cast? YOU could be next!
October 02, 2011 8:32am EST
Warner Bros.’ Dolphin Tale in 3-D swims upstream and tops the chart in a surprise second weekend number one performance. Dropping just 26%, the film earned $14.2 million and has thrived in the fall family film marketplace. Starring Harry Connick Jr., the PG-rated film garnered a rare A+ CinemaScore rating and thus performed swimmingly this weekend with an impressive gross and a total of $37.5 million by the end of the weekend.
Moneyball from Sony has been hitting home runs with audiences maintaining its second place position in its second weekend with $12.5 million. Great word-of-mouth has made it a must-see fall film and the Brad Pitt sports biography has won praise across the board from critics and audiences alike. As it continues to swing for the fences the film is on its way to a long term run and has earned $38.5 million to date.
Disney’s The Lion King, which has been the surprise early fall season leader, has had an unprecedented re-release run as this new 3-D version takes in another $11 million in its third weekend in the jungle. An amazing $79.6 million total domestically and $98.7 million worldwide have made this one of the great fall success stories.
Summit Entertainment’s 50/50 starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen as best friends who have to deal with a cancer diagnosis, has received positive pre-release praise and made its debut in fourth place with $8.48 million. The R-rated comedy boasts a terrific cast including Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard and Anjelica Huston and should hold steadily as word-of-mouth builds in the coming weeks.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the weekend is the faith-based drama Courageous from Sherwood Pictures which is distributed by Sony/Tri-Star. The PG-13 film about four police officers who struggle with their faith and their roles as husbands and fathers was not to be underestimated in terms of its potential strength at the box office. Grass roots marketing and a devoted audience voted with their dollars and gave the film a fifth place finish with $8.8 million and the highest per-theater average of any wide release of $7,580.
Two other new releases hit screens this weekend with Universal’s PG-13 mystery thriller Dream House starring Daniel Craig debuting in sixth place with $8.2 million and Fox’s R-rated comedy What’s Your Number? starring Anna Faris opening in eighth place with $5.6 million.
Weekend Box Office
Top Movies for Weekend of September 30, 2011 (estimates)
Movie Weekend Gross Total to Date
1 Dolphin Tale (PG) $14.24M $14.24M
2 Moneyball (PG13) $12.5M $38.5M
3 The Lion King (G) $11.0M $79.6M
4 50/50 (R) $8.85M $8.85M
5 Courageous (PG-13) $8.8M $8.8M
September 30, 2011 8:31am EST
As devourers of pop culture we're quick to categorize our entertainment for our own safety. Comedy drama thriller sci-fi horror—everything we have the chance to consume has a label to ensure that we know exactly what we're getting.
Occasionally a movie defies classification. While not a revolutionary piece of cinema 50/50 is especially gratifying simply because of its abandonment of genre and the baggage that comes with owning one. The movie starts with a simple inciting incident: one day 27-year-old Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) learns that he has a life-threatening tumor growing on his spine. Of course the news doesn't sit well with the public radio producer who's in the middle of work on an exciting piece for his station just adjusting to living with his girlfriend Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard) and sees his life as a lengthy exciting prospect. Adam never smokes he waits to cross the street he always tucks his shirts in and keeps his sweater vests tidy—what did he do to deserve this?
But Adam doesn't go on a quest to find his true self or spend days writing a bucket list. He lives his life—and its friends and family who feel the tremors of his disease. Rachael quickly finds herself off balance and unable to cope with Adam's situation while his mother Diane (Anjelica Huston) tries to coddle him finding a new opportunity she never found with her Alzheimer's-stricken husband. His co-workers throw him a guilt-induced party.
At a total loss Adam finds comfort in his pal Kyle (Seth Rogen essentially playing himself) who uplifts his spirits through dedication marijuana and loose women. Nothing seems to out-weigh the punch-in-the-gut feeling of losing his hair to chemotherapy or barely being able to walk around his house without feeling winded but Adam stays afloat thanks to Kyle's incessant goofiness and a newfound friendship in his therapist Katherine (Anna Kendrick). Equally out of water in her new job the two bond over their discovery of humanism in the scientific process of beating cancer and while the growth of their relationship is one of the few things in the film that feels remotely contrived it gives Adam hope in the face of his possibly-fatal surgery.
50/50 isn't sugar sweet nor is it stone cold serious. Director Jonathan Levine allows the events to unfold in a unique and reserved realism allowing the movie to bounce from laugh-out-loud funny (thanks in a large part to Rogen's star talent in a supporting role) to tearjerker drama without any broad segues. Gordon-Levitt has established himself as one of modern cinema's best watchers the type of actor who can float through a picture without making too much a ruckus but who's identifiable and helps us understand his surroundings. But he fits right in to the Apatow-style comedy Rogen and Levine conjure up throughout the movie. In one scene Adam chows down on some pot brownies courtesy of his elderly chemo-mates (Philip Baker Hall and Matt Frewer) leading him to groove around the hospital hall spaced out and loving it. It's an uproarious moment but poignant too—finally Adam can let go of a bit of his grief.
Providing a foundation for 50/50's minimalist tactics are the supporting cast. Howard once again proves her versatility turning an unsympathetic character into a dimensionalized presence. What Rachael does in the film isn't admirable but thanks to Howard's performance not entirely unreasonable. Huston and Kendrick are strong and grounded enough that when Adam begins to check out of life as surgery looms they don't disappear from the film. But it's Rogen who really steals the show perhaps because his friend and 50/50 writer Will Reiser based the movie on their real life experiences but the comedy-first actor steps up later in the film when the weight of reality starts to bring everyone down.
50/50 isn't a comedy or a drama but a portrait of real people surviving real hardships. Shedding a few tears over the course of the film is perfectly acceptable—the jokes are that funny and the emotion that powerful.
September 26, 2011 7:50am EST
50/50 comes out this Friday, September 30, after some long and ardent anticipation. This is when we'll be able to see for sure just how well the film holds up to its projection as a sincere story of a young man's battle with cancer, highlighting both the tragedy and hilarity that come with the experience.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Adam, who, at 27, gets diagnosed with cancer and is suggested by his doctor to have a "fifty-fifty" chance at surviving the disease. Seth Rogen plays Adam's best friend and primary support system Kyle, who endures the emotional rollercoaster of his illness along with him. Anna Kendrick plays his greenhorn therapist who is both trying to help her new patient and trying to prove to him (and to herself) that she is capable of this job.
The series of clips depict different scenes from the film, both funny and dramatic. Based on the real experiences of former cancer-patient, and the film's screenwriter Will Reiser, 50/50 (directed by The Wackness helmer Jonathan Levine) promises to be something monumentally inspiring.
Adam and Kyle decide to use the former's disease to attract women.
Adam struggles with weight loss as a result of his cancer.
Adam attempts to deter his overbearing mother from moving in with him once she finds out about his sickness.
Adam wants to get the edge on his cancer-related hair loss by giving himself an ill-conceived haircut.
Adam's new grief therapist is a little bit younger and less experienced than he expected.
Adam freezes while he and his parents endure a begrudging hospital staffer.
September 09, 2011 5:36am EST
Last night, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's Charlie Day appeared on Conan to talk about the wise philosophy behind fellow Sunny cast member Rob McElhenney's (Mac) choice to gain fifty pounds for the upcoming season. He also mentioned that we would be seeing a Jersey Shore themed episode this year...one showing both the highs and very low lows of the area and its people.
The incredibly likeable Michael J. Fox showed up on The Late Show to offer some rare kind words about Charlie Sheen (seriously, there's no punchline). The video ends with a profound quote about actors in general.
Khloe Kardashian stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live to bring up her husband's ill-conceived attempts at prank calls, and her stringent "no whorebags in the house" rule from when her brother was living with her.
Finally, Anna Kendrick visited The Tonight Show to talk about the end of her Twilight career with the upcoming series-ender, Breaking Dawn, and her experience bumping into a couple of people who were not very big fans of the franchise.
September 02, 2011 6:02am EST
Anna Kendrick has been scaling the rock wall of fame. Probably most recognizable for her role as Jessica in Twilight, the actress has more recently expanded her notoriety to Elsewhere (in which she starred), Up in the Air, and the more-fun-than-skeeball movie Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Now, she'll be headlining a romantic comedy called Pitch Perfect, which sounds a little like the Glee movie we may never see.
The film will be set at a college, at which Kendrick will play a gothy-type student. She, naturally, resents the fact that her father, yet to be cast, is a professor at the same school. Through a series of events and plausibly after a good deal of resistance, Kendrick's character comes to be the star member of the campus a capella team.
Anna Kendrick is a winner in spades. This role in particular sounds perfectly suited for her: at her best, Kendrick is brazen, a little antisocial, and unflappable. And in this role, it is unlikely that we will see her become flapped whatsoever. Also starring in the film is Rebel Wilson, who you'll recall as one of Kristen Wiig's poorly chosen British roommates in Bridesmaids.
The film is based on a nonfiction novel by Mickey Rafkin that covered the high-stakes underworld of competitive a capella. If that turns you off, just remember: Anna Kendrick. She's a hand grenade of talent.
August 19, 2011 11:39am EST
In case you haven't seen the heartwarming trailer, 50/50 is a dramedy about a young man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who finds out he has cancer—with a fifty-fifty shot at surviving the disease. His support system includes his best friend (Seth Rogen) and a greenhorn therapist (Anna Kendrick).
In the below video, Gordon-Levitt, Rogen and the film's writer Will Reiser (who happens to be Rogen's close friend) discuss the film, Reiser's and Rogen's real-life experiences with the former's cancer, and a project that Gordon-Levitt is greenlighting. Through his production company HitRecord, Gordon-Levitt hopes to compile video diaries of people telling their own stories, moments of hardship where they were able to find humor. After the submission process, the actors hopes to turn the best ones into short films.
Watch the video to learn more about the project, how you can participate and gain a little insight into the upcoming 50/50, which reaches theaters September 30.
August 11, 2011 4:26pm EST
A new trailer for 50/50 has made its way online, offering more of the same of what we saw back in May: tragedy, comedy and inspiration in the face of cancer.
Some of the footage is recycled bits from first trailer -- bromantic sentimentality between stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt (the cancer-stricken) and Seth Rogen (the awkwardly concerned friend) -- but this updated version does offer a bit more in the way of costar Anna Kendrick.
Have a look at the new trailer for 50/50, which hits theaters Sept. 30...
July 21, 2011 10:31am EST
At the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con, fanboy met fangirl when Twilight invaded Hall H for the first time, but it wouldn't be the last. Stephanie Meyer's supernatural love story proved as addicting to female audiences as Batman and Superman comic books were to males and before you know it, the Con had a new mainstay. Hollywood also had three new mainstays as The Twilight Saga made movie stars out of Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner, who were all present at today's panel for the fourth film in the franchise, Breaking Dawn Part 1 (as with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, this was the final book in the canon, but will be split into to movies with the last chapter coming November 2012).
Team Edward vs. Team Jacob discussions abound, Hall H is filled nearly to capacity for the much anticipated arrival of the cast and crew behind one of this winter's most anticipated films. As director Bill Condon took the stage to introduce the very first look at the film, thunderous applause followed, but nothing compared to what happened when the holy trinity of stars joined. But on to the footage!
*Keep returning to the site for instant updates as the panel continues!*
The first scene shown involved a conversation between Jacob and Edward's parents Carlisle and Esme. They discussed keeping Bella safe and tensions were high as Jacob continues to not trust the Cullen's. The second scene followed Jacob as he talks with his estranged werewolf family. They do not respect or trust him anymore as he is aligned with the vampires now, but he swears he will keep Bella unharmed.
The third clip was decidedly less serious: following Edward and Bella as they enter their honey moon suite and think curiously about the debauchery that will follow. Edward wants to jump into the rough stuff, but Bella wants to make things as picture perfect as possible and says she'd like to shower first - "I need a few human moments," she says. Edward proceeds to take his clothes off and head to a romantic beach outside their honeymoon shack. Bella channels Michelle Pfeiffer in One Fine Day and showers, shaves her legs, brushes her teeth and contemplates what lingerie to wear before simply joining her husband on the beach, removing her towel and entering the water.
On shooting the wedding: "I've been waiting four years to film that scene" - Kristen Stewart
On the series as a whole: "I'm very grateful for what Twilight has done for me" - Taylor Lautner
On the scenes that they are most excited for audiences to see: "I've got to give Bill some major credit here: The birth scene is phenomenal!" - Taylor Lautner
On working with beautiful women like Nikki Reed and Kristen Stewart: "Every way you can appraoch this answer is either inappropriate or wrong (laughs) - it's the greatest thing in the world. That's why i became an actor!" - Robert Pattinson
On telling a far-fetched and fantastic story: "This film feels the most real, in terms of what can really happen in your life." - Kristen Stewart
On fight scenes: "My fight scenes - I'm usually a wolf (laughs). It's a bummer because I wish I could do what my CGI wolf does" - Taylor Lautner
On the growth of their characters: "It's always been fun playing Alice but the nice part is that throughout the series you get to see her defend her family which you don't see in the first film. In Breaking Dawn she's kind of at her peak." - Ashley Greene
On the growth of their characters: "Bella and Rosalie really connect in the film. It was nice to have Rosalie happy for five minutes" - Nikki Reed
On having the movies be as close to the books as they can: "Having Stephanie Meyer there was crucial" - Bill Condon
On what they'll miss most now that filming is complete:
"We had some really special moments together and I'll miss that community feeling" - Nikki Reed
"I'll miss getting up for work at 4AM and eating jalepeno cheese for breakfast. No seriously you don't get experiences like this often in your career and I will truly miss that, working with great directors and people." - Liz Reaser
On their favorite films in the saga: Lautner - "Breaking Dawn 1 though I loved the book Eclipse" --- KStew --- "Twilight was something different but I love the book New Moon"
Lots of hype surrounded this introductory panel at the 2011 SDCC; almost as much as that which will follow Breaking Dawn Pt.1 into its November 18 2011 release. Make sure you catch the film, which co-stars Jamie Campbell-Bower, Dakota Fanning, Ashley Greene, Anna Kendrick, Nikki Reed, Maggie Grace, Jackson Rathbone, Kellan Lutz, Billy Burke and more.