Just in time for Christmas comes Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel a giant furry lump of coal in the stockings of fans of quality filmmaking everywhere. The latest episode which picks up soon after 2007’s absurdly successful live action/CGI hybrid Alvin and the Chipmunks finds the titular singing rodents on uncertain ground after their manager/guardian Dave Seville (Jason Lee) is injured in a freak concert accident. (In a gimmick lifted right out of Revenge of the Nerds II he spends the entire film in the hospital bedridden.)
Dave’s befuddled substitute a videogame-obsessed ne’er-do-well named Toby (Zachary Levi wielding a strained slacker schtick even less convincing than his bumbling geek act in Chuck) is ill-suited to helping Alvin Simon and Theodore handle the rigors of high school or deal with the challenge of a rival all-female singing chipmunk trio the Chipettes. With dissension in the ranks and a decisive battle of the bands looming the three brothers must find a way to overcome their differences and rekindle the magic that first propelled them to the top of the charts.
In theory adding a girl group to the mix roughly doubles the selection of songs to choose from but the actual singing and dancing in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel presumably the whole point of this tedious exercise feels greatly reduced in comparison to the first film. (I wouldn’t know for sure — I’ll be damned if I sit through another screening torturous screening of it.) Which depending on your perspective may not be a bad thing. Personally I found it to be a double-edged sword: Fewer excruciating squeaky-voiced covers of songs like “We Are Family” and Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” means more room for lame jokes and awful acting both of which can be found in ample amounts.
As with its predecessor this Squeakuel is the perfect movie for those who find Teletubbies and Dora the Explorer a little too highbrow.
Hollywood.com is on the scene at the 55th Cannes Film Festival, seeing the films and sipping with the stars. Check in every day to get the latest!
Day 2: All bets are not off as to who will be the grand winner of the coveted Palm D'Or award, but on the beach, all tops seem to be off! The smell of suntan oil wafts over the Croisette as the crowd settles in very early in the morning to get a bird's-eye view of the stars and their escorts on the sand, including George Lucas, Natalie Portman, the Arquette sisters and many more.
Yachts are multiplying overnight. Beautiful ships are moored all along the rocky shores. Troma (famous for The Toxic Avenger series) is throwing their post-screening celebration at an antique ship docked in the Old Port. During the past two festivals the bodacious Troma team shot footage all over Cannes. The resulting film is All the Love You Cannes! - An Indie's Guide to the Cannes Film Festival. One of Troma's biggest claims to fame is turning Madonna down very early in her career. When she begged to be in one of their movies they told her, "Don't call us, we'll call you!"
Last night, into the wee hours, a moonlit dinner was served on the banks of the Mediterranean to 600 of Woody Allen's closest friends in honor of his latest flick Hollywood Ending opening the Cannes Film Festival." Enjoying the French cuisine at the same table with his wife, Soon Yi, was Treat Williams and Debra Messing. (Tea Leoni couldn't come. She's so pregnant, it's possible she's delivering at this very moment!)
Maybe it was the pure temptation of the chocolate dessert, curled and imprinted to look like film, as well as a huge disc of chocolate carved like a film canister, but Messing left early.
This morning the ultra-thin comedienne was spotted sashaying through the Martinez hotel lobby on the way to her room. Messing wore a gorgeous tangerine dress that seemed better suited for a night of tango rather than an early morning stroll. Star etiquette must require that you wear a brand new ensemble every single time you leave your suite.
May 16th should just be declared George Lucas Day and let the force be with us all! As part of today's worldwide opening, his Star Wars - Episode II: Attack of the Clones, will make its legendary debut tonight as Cannes' first-ever digitally screened film. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda--I mean Ewan McGregor and Frank Oz, along with petite beauty Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen, will traverse those crimson stairs tonight.
And there is another force along the Croisette that is being taken seriously--and that is woman power! "We need to start a revolution," smiled its wanna-be leader, Rosanna Arquette, who is making her directorial debut with Searching for Debra Winger. Flanked by her sister (and her movie's star) Patricia Arquette, quite chic in her jewel-encrusted olive corduroy pants and a T-shirt painted with Rosanna's film, a documentary featuring a series of candid and intimate conversations with such actresses as Whoopi Goldberg, Sharon Stone, Meg Ryan, Julianna Margulies, Teri Garr and Jane Fonda on how they balance art, career, family and issues of ageism in the entertainment industry.
Looking stunning in white bell-bottoms and a pink-and-white halter, Rosanna made clear, "I'm not here to say I'm a great filmmaker. That's why I call it a Rosanna Arquette experience. And by the way, today is Debra's birthday!" The big news here is that the sisters were adamant that contrary to popular belief, this isn't a bitchfest in any way and the actresses were all quite supportive of each other.
Sounds like a happy Hollywood Ending to this chapter…