February 28, 2013 2:56pm EST
The credits for Stoker, the new Chan-Wook Park movie that debuted at Sundance Sunday night, run backwards. Yes, instead of blooming up from the bottom of the screen and traveling up, they pour down from the top in a slow cascade. You'd think this wouldn't make that much of a difference, but it is extremely unsettling, seeing something you're so used to seeing but going in the opposite direction.
Likewise, in this world where spoiling the ending of a movie for someone is tantamount to cutting off one of their digits, I shouldn't be starting a review of a movie with the end, but I think that Stoker deserves it. When Park, who directed the brutal Oldboy, was introducing the movie, he said it is meant to be a dream or a fairy tale, but it is more like a waking nightmare. Everything is slightly off in the movie. Everything is either too large, too small, too modern, too old fashioned, too fast, too slow, too dirty, or too cleanly. It is our world, but tremendously askew, kiltering in one direction and then another, like trying to walk in a straight line after rolling down a hill.
The style only serves the story of India (Mia Wasikowska) who tells us at the beginning of the film that she has super powers: she can see far-away things clearly and hear sounds that no one else can hear. The morose teen gets even sadder when her beloved father dies in an accident and she is left in the care of her cold mother (Nicole Kidman) and her father's brother (Matthew Goode), who appears mysteriously after being absent for decades. The story unspools in unexpected ways as India starts to get interested in boys and discovers her sexuality thanks to the proximity of her handsome uncle. There are also several mysteries to unravel, each one leading to a new one with unexpected, horrible violence leading to even more violence until a shocking conclusion.
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The performances are all stellar with Wasikowska telegraphing ever-shifiting emotion without barely saying a word. Kidman, who speaks much more, is at her finest as a disinterested mother. She shows fear and disdain in the most subtle ways, never overplaying a character that could turn into a campy arch villain with just the tiniest bit of scene-chewing. And Goode is the most menacing of all, the malevolent force that hides behind the facade not only of normalcy but of something attractive that you know is incredibly dangerous.
As for the meaning, I'm not sure what screenwriter Wentworth Miller (yes, the same guy who wore all those tattoos for seasons on Prison Break) is going for. Can this fairy tale teach us anything about humanity or sexuality? The ending leads it in a direction that would take some of the more outrageous elements and turn them into a farce. It also makes the story more central to Wasikowska's character when the thing up until that point had been an exercise in showing us all how messed up our teen years can be.
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But this isn't a farce, it is a fairy tale, complete with a girl in peril who has to fight to save herself. There's running through the woods, magical intervention, and everything we've come to expect for the 13 Snow White movies that came out last year. Still this is like a more chilling version of Beetlejuice, except this gothic fun house has none of the whimsy of Tim Burton. Here every strange perspective is meant to make you uncomfortable. Some of the elements of the story are so outrageous to be unbelievable and many will probably find this film to be groanworthy and insane in a bad way. Still it is unlike anything you've ever seen and will stick in your mind like a spider crawling across your skull. Love it or hate it, you'll be transfixed from beginning to end – when the credits start to roll backwards, making even your final moments with this film particularly off-putting.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
February 24, 2013 11:56pm EST
Sunday night marked the 2013 Academy Awards, when the best and the brightest in Hollywood gathered to celebrate the best and the brightest filmmaking of the year. And the ceremony came complete with a few surprises. Not only did Life of Pi walk away with the most wins of the evening — four Oscars — but the film's Ang Lee eked out David O. Russell and Steven Spielberg for Best Director. But there were some expected finishes as well: Jennifer Lawrence won Best Actress, Daniel Day-Lewis took Best Actor, and Adele even scored Best Original Song for "Skyfall."
But who else picked up awards? Check out the full list of winners below!
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The 2013 Academy Award Winners:
Best Picture:Beasts Of The Southern WildSilver Lingings PlaybookZero Dark ThirtyLincolnLes MiserablesLife Of PiDjango UnchainedWinner: ArgoAmour
Best Actor:Winner: Daniel Day-Lewis, LincolnDenzel Washington, FlightHugh Jackman, Les MiserablesBradley Cooper, Silver Linings PlaybookJoaquin Phoenix, The Master
Best Actress:Naomi Watts, The ImpossibleJessica Chastain, Zero Dark ThirtyWinner: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings PlaybookEmmanuelle Riva, AmourQuvenzhane Wallis, Beasts Of The Southern Wild
The 2013 Academy Award Winners:Best Director:David O. Russell, Silver Linings PlaybookWinner: Ang Lee, Life Of PiSteven Spielberg, LincolnMichael Haneke, AmourBenh Zeitlin,Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Best Writing, Original Screenplay:Flight, Written by John GatinsZero Dark Thirty, Written by Mark BoalWinner: Django Unchained, Written by Quentin TarantinoAmour, Written by Michael HanekeMoonrise Kingdom, Written by West Anderson and Roman Coppola
Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay:Beasts Of The Southern Wild, Screenplay by Lucy Alibar and Benh ZeitlinWinner: Argo, Written by Chris TerrioLincoln, Written by Tony KushnerSilver Linings Playbook, Written by David O. RussellLife Of Pi, Written by David Magee
Best Original Song:"Before My Time," Chasing Ice, Music and Lyric from J. Ralph"Pi Lullaby," Life Of Pi, Music by Mychael Danna; Lyric by Bombay Jayashri"Suddenly," Les Miserables, Music by Claude-Michel Schonberg; Lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boubill"Everybody Needs a Best Friend," Ted, Music by Walter Murphy; Lyric by Seth MacFarlaneWinner: "Skyfall," Skyfall, Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
Best Original Score:Anna Karenina, Dario MarianelliArgo, Alexandre DesplatWinner: Life Of Pi, Mychael DannaLincoln, John WilliamsSkyfall, Thomas Newman
Best Production Design:Anna Karenina, Sarah Greenwood (Production Design); Katie Spencer (Set Decoration)The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Dan Hennah (Production Design); Ra Vincent and Simon Bright (Set Decoration)Les Miserables, Eve Stewart (Production Design); Anna Lynch-Robinson (Set Design)Life Of Pi, David Gropman (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration)Winner: Lincoln, Rick Carter (Production Design); Jim Erickson (Set Decoration)
Best Achievement in Film Editing:Winner: Argo, William GoldenbergLife Of Pi, Tim SquyresLincoln, Michael KahnSilver Linings Playbook, Jay Cassidy and Crispin StruthersZero Dark Thirty, Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg
Best Supporting Actress:Sally Field, LincolnWinner: Anne Hathaway, Les MiserablesJacki Weaver, Silver Linings PlaybookHelen Hunt, The SessionsAmy Adams, The Master
Best Achievement in Sound Editing:Argo, Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der RynDjango Unchained, Wylie StatemanLife Of Pi, Eugene Gearty and Philip StocktonWinner: Skyfall, Per Hallberg and Karen Baker LandersWinner: Zero Dark Thirty, Paul N.J. Ottosson
Best Achievement in Sound Mixing:Argo, John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, and Jose Antonio GarciaWinner: Les Miserables, Andy Nelson, Mark Peterson, and Simon HayesLife Of Pi, Rob Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill and Drew KuninLincoln, Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, and Ronald JudkinsSkyfall, Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell, and Stuart Wilson
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Best Foreign Language Film of the Year:Winner: Amour, AustriaNo, ChileWar Witch, CanadaA Royal Affair, DenmarkKon-Tiki, Norway
Best Documentary Feature:5 Broken CamerasThe GatekeepersHow To Survive A PlagueThe Invisible WarWinner: Searching For Sugar Man
Best Documentary Short:Winner: Inocente, Sean Fine and Andrea Nix FineKings Point, Sari Gilman and Jedd WiderMondays At Racine, Cynthia Wade and Robin HonanOpen Heart, Kief Davidson and Cori Shepherd SternRedemption, Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill
Best Live Action Short Film:Asad, Bryan Buckley and Mino JarjouraBuzkashi Boys, Sam French and Ariel NasrWinner: Curfew, Shawn ChristensenDeath Of A Shadow (Dood Van Een Schadow), Tom Van Avermaet and Ellen De WaeleHenry, Yan England
Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling:Hitchcock, Howard Berger, Peter Montagna, and Martin SamuelThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater, and Tami LaneWinner: Les Miserables, Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell
Best Achievement in Costume Design:Winner: Anna Karenina, Jacqueline DurranLes Miserables, Paco DelgadoLincoln, Joanna JohnstonMirror Mirror, Eiko IshiokaSnow White And The Huntsman, Colleen Atwood
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Best Achievement in Visual Effects:The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, and R. Christopher WhiteWinner: Life Of Pi, Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. ElliottMarvel's The Avengers, Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams and Dan SudickPrometheus, Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley and Martin HillSnow White And The Huntsman, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould and Michael Dawson
Best Achievement in Cinematography:Anna Karenina, Seamus McGarveyDjango Unchained, Robert RichardsonWinner: Life Of Pi, Claudio MirandaLincoln, Janusz KaminskiSkyfall, Roger Deakins
Best Animated Feature:FrankenweenieThe Pirates! Band Of MisfitsWreck It RalphParaNormanWinner: Brave
Best Animated Short Film:Adam And Dog, Minkyu LeeFresh Guacamole, PESHead Over Heels, Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O'ReillyMaggie Simpson In "The Longest Daycare," David SilvermanWinner: Paperman, John Kahrs
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Best Supporting Actor:Winner: Christoph Waltz, Django UnchainedPhilip Seymour Hoffman, The MasterRobert De Niro, Silver Linings PlaybookAlan Arkin, ArgoTommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
[Photo Credit: Joe Klamar/Getty Images]
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January 11, 2013 12:14pm EST
You can spend all the time you like building up your own self-esteem, investing in things like your propensity for kindness and the bounty of love you share with friends and family. But the truth is, people who win things are better than you. They're better than all of us. What it all boils down to is that whoever leaves this Earth with the most gold-plated statues in his or her possession has triumphed over us all.
A good many actors have taken home the coveted Golden Globe Award (granted it's not Oscar-caliber coveting, but still some pretty ample coveting) since the organization's inception in 1944. But among this lot of victors are the superhuman, the creme-de-la-creme who hold the records for most awards won, most nominations earned, most categories dominated, and the like. Here's a quick look at who in Hollywood has the most bragging rights in the eyes of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Achievements: Most Golden Globe wins overall (8) and most Golden Globe nominations overall (27) (All of Steep's wins and nominations have been in acting categories)
Achievements: Most Golden Globe wins for a male (6) (All in acting categories)
Francis Ford Coppola
Achievements: Most Golden Globe wins for a director (5)
Achievements: Most Golden Globe nominations for a male (22) (All in acting categories)
Sigourney Weaver, Joan Plowright, and Kate Winslet
Achievements: Only individuals to win multiple Golden Globe Awards at a single ceremony (2 each) (All in acting categories)
Achievements: Most Golden Globe nominations at a single ceremony (3) (All in acting categories)
Achievements: Oldest individual to win a Golden Globe Award (at 80 years old) (She won Best Actress for her role in Driving Miss Daisy in 1990)
Achievements: Oldest male to win a Golden Globe Award (at 76 years old) (She won Best Actor for his role in On Golden Pond in 1982)
Achievements: Youngest individual to win a Golden Globes (at 9 years old) (He won Best New Star of the Year for The Champ in 1980)
[Photo Credit: Paul Drinkwater/NBC]
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January 10, 2013 4:15am EST
The historical epic will go head-to-head for Best Picture with the likes of Argo, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Zero Dark Thirty and Life of Pi, which trails with 11 nods.
Daniel Day-Lewis, who portrays former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln in the movie, scored a mention for Best Actor, while Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones both picked up nods for their supporting roles and Steven Spielberg landed a nomination for Best Director.
It also earned a spot in the Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score categories, while the remainder of Lincoln's nods were for technical achievement, such as film editing and costume design.
The nominations were announced by actress Emma Stone and ceremony host Seth MacFarlane on Thursday (10Jan13), with the winners being unveiled during the Los Angeles prizegiving on 24 February (13).
The complete list is as follows:
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
Michael Haneke - Amour
Ang Lee - Life of Pi
David O. Russell - Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg - Lincoln
Benh Zeitlin - Beasts of the Southern Wild
Actor in a Leading Role:
Bradley Cooper - Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis - Lincoln
Hugh Jackman - Les Miserables
Joaquin Phoenix - The Master
Denzel Washington - Flight
Actress in a Leading Role:
Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva - Amour
Quvenzhane Wallis - Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts - The Impossible
Actor in a Supporting Role:
Alan Arkin - Argo
Robert De Niro - Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman - The Master
Tommy Lee Jones - Lincoln
Christoph Waltz - Django Unchained
Actress in a Supporting Role:
Amy Adams - The Master
Sally Field - Lincoln
Anne Hathaway - Les Miserables
Helen Hunt - The Sessions
Jacki Weaver - Silver Linings Playbook
Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Life Of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Amour - Michael Haneke
Django Unchained - Quentin Tarantino
Flight - John Gatins
Moonrise Kingdom - Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola
Zero Dark Thirty - Mark Boal
Animated Feature Film:
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Foreign Language Film:
A Royal Affair
Before My Time - Chasing Ice
Everybody Needs A Best Friend - Ted
Pi's Lullaby - Life of Pi
Skyfall - Skyfall
Suddenly - Les Miserables
Dario Marianelli - Anna Karenina
Alexandre Desplat - Argo
Mychael Danna - Life of Pi
John Williams - Lincoln
Thomas Newman - Skyfall
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Life of Pi
Marvel's The Avengers
Snow White and the Huntsman
Makeup and Hairstyling:
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Seamus McGarvey - Anna Karenina
Robert Richardson - Django Unchained
Claudio Miranda - Life of Pi
Janusz Kaminski - Lincoln
Roger Deakins - Skyfall
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Life of Pi
Jacqueline Durran - Anna Karenina
Paco Delgado - Les Miserables
Joanna Johnston - Lincoln
Eiko Ishioka - Mirror Mirror
Colleen Atwood - Snow White and the Huntsman
5 Broken Cameras
How to Survive a Plague
The Invisible War
Searching for Sugar Man
Mondays at Racine
Short Film - Animated:
Adam and Dog
Head over Heels
Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare
Short Film - Live Action:
Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)
William Goldenberg - Argo
Tim Squyres - Life of Pi
Michael Kahn - Lincoln
Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers - Silver Linings Playbook
Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg - Zero Dark Thirty
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty
Life of Pi
January 10, 2013 2:47am EST
While the Golden Globes may be the best party in town, there's no denying that the Academy Awards ceremony is the biggest event in Hollywood. And on Thursday morning, Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone announced the 2013 Oscar nominations, celebrating the greatest works and performances on screen from the past year. Lincoln leads the pack with 12 nods, while Life of Pi followed right behind with 11 nominations. But other greats are also in the running.
Check out the list of the nominees for the 85th annual Academy Awards below.
The 2013 Academy Award Nominations:
Beasts of Southern Wild
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
Life of Pi
Daniel Day Lewis, Lincoln
Denzel Washington, Flight
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Best Supporting Actor:
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Alan Arkin, Argo
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Best Supporting Actress:
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Amy Adams, The Master
Read: Oscar Nominees 101: Everything You Need to Know About the Stars and Their Movies
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Michael Haneke, Amour
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Best Writing, Original Screenplay:
Flight, Written by John Gatins
Zero Dark Thirty, Written by Mark Boal
Django Unchained, Written by Quintin Tarantino
Amour, Written by Michael Haneke
Moonrise Kingdom, Written by West Anderson & Roman Coppola
Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay:
Beasts of the Southern Wild, Screenplay by Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin
Argo, Written by Chris Terrio
Lincoln, Written by Tony Kushner
Silver Linings Playbook, Written by David O. Russell
Life of Pi, Written by David Magee
Best Animated Feature:
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Wreck It Ralph
Best Foreign Language Film of the Year:
War Witch, Canada
A Royal Affair, Denmark
Read: Kathryn Bigelow and Ben Affleck Lead This Year's Oscar Snubs. Who Else Was Ignored?
Best Original Score:
Anna Karenina, Dario Marianelli
Argo, Alexandre Desplat
Life of Pi, Mychael Danna
Lincoln, John Williams
Skyfall, Thomas Newman
Best Original Song:
"Before My Time," Chasing Ice, Music and Lyric from J. Ralph
"Pi Lullaby," Life of Pi, Music by Mychael Danna; Lyric by Bombay Jayashri
"Suddenly," Les Miserables, Music by Claude-Michel Schonberg; Lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boubill
"Everybody Needs a Best Friend," Ted, Music by Walter Murphy; Lyric by Seth MacFarlane
"Skyfall," Skyfall, Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
Best Achievement in Cinematography:
Anna Karenina, Seamus McGarvey
Django Unchained, Robert Richardson
Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda
Lincoln, Janusz Kaminski
Skyfall, Roger Deakins
Best Achievement in Costume Design:
Anna Karenina, Jacqueline Durran
Les Miserables, Paco Delgado
Lincoln, Joanna Johnston
Mirror Mirror, Eiko Ishioka
Snow White and the Huntsman, Colleen Atwood
Best Documentary Feature:
5 Broken Cameras, Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi
How to Survive a Plague
The Invisible War
Searching for Sugar Man
Best Documentary Short:
Inocente, Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine
Kings Point, Sari Gilman and Jedd Wider
Mondays at Racine, Cynthia Wade and Robin Honan
Open Heart, Kief Davidson and Cori Shepherd Stern
Redemption, Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill
Best Achievement in Film Editing:
Argo, William Goldenberg
Life of Pi, Tim Squyres
Lincoln, Michael Kahn
Silver Linings Playbook, Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers
Zero Dark Thirty, Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg
Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling:
Hitchcock, Howard Berger, Peter Montagna, and Martin Samuel
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater, and Tami Lane
Les Miserables, Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell
Best Production Design:
Anna Karenina, Sarah Greenwood (Production Design); Katie Spencer (Set Decoration)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Dan Hennah (Production Design); Ra Vincent and Simon Bright (Set Decoration)
Les Miserables, Eve Stewart (Production Design); Anna Lynch-Robinson (Set Design)
Life of Pi, David Gropman (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration)
Lincoln, Rick Carter (Production Design); Jim Erickson (Set Decoration)
Best Animated Short Film:
Adam and Dog, Minkyu Lee
Fresh Guacamole, PES
Head over Heels, Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly
Maggie Simpson in "The Longest Daycare," David Silverman
Paperman, John Kahrs
Best Live Action Short Film:
Asad, Bryan Buckley and Mino Jarjoura
Buzkashi Boys, Sam French and Ariel Nasr
Curfew, Shawn Christensen
Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schadow), Tom Van Avermaet and Ellen De Waele
Henry, Yan England
Best Achievement in Sound Editing:
Argo, Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn
Django Unchained, Wylie Stateman
Life of Pi, Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton
Skyfall, Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers
Zero Dark Thirty, Paul N.J. Ottosson
Best Achievement in Sound Mixing:
Argo, John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, and Jose Antonio Garcia
Les Miserables, Andy Nelson, Mark Peterson, and Simon Hayes
Life of Pi, Rob Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill and Drew Kunin
Lincoln, Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, and Ronald Judkins
Skyfall, Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell, and Stuart Wilson
Best Achievement in Visual Effects:
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, and R. Christopher White
Life of Pi, Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott
Marvel's The Avengers, Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams and Dan Sudick
Prometheus, Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley and Martin Hill
Snow White and the Huntsman, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould and Michael Dawson
Make sure to check out our predictions piece to see how our call-outs measured up. And watch the live stream of the nominations announcement below!
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
[Photo Credit: Albert Watson/©A.M.P.A.S.]
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December 03, 2012 4:20pm EST
While the annual Sundance film festival continues to be a place that launches young filmmaking talent, over the years it's also become a star-studded publicity machine attracting big names looking to debut their new films. The list of celebs attending the 2013 festival for the out-of-competition premieres of their new movies should not disappoint.
The most anticipated premiere won't happen until the end of the festival, when the Steve Jobs biopic jOBS, starring Ashton Kutcher as the Apple guru, is honored as the closing night film.
Oscar-winning screenwriters (and sometime sitcom stars) Nat Faxon and Jim Rash will make their directorial debut with a film they wrote called The Way, Way Back, starring Steve Carell and Toni Collette.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt will take it one step further by starring in his self-penned directorial debut, DonJon's Addiction, alongside Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore.
There's also Lovelace, with Amanda Seyfried as the titular '70s porn star, the third union of Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Before Midnight, and Jane Campion's six-hour epic Top of the Lake, among many others.
The documentaries premiering out of competition cover diverse topics, including Wikileaks, Jeremy Lin, multiple sclerosis, Dick Cheney and more.
The 2013 Sundance Film Festival runs from Jan. 17-27, 2013.
A.C.O.D. / U.S.A. (Director: Stuart Zicherman, Screenwriters: Ben Karlin, Stuart Zicherman) — Carter is a well-adjusted Adult Child of Divorce. So he thinks. When he discovers he was part of a divorce study as a child, it wreaks havoc on his family and forces him to face his chaotic past. Cast: Adam Scott, Richard Jenkins, Catherine O'Hara, Amy Poehler, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clark Duke.
Before Midnight / U.S.A. (Director: Richard Linklater, Screenwriters: Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Richard Linklater— We meet Jesse and Celine nine years on in Greece. Almost two decades have passed since their first meeting on that train bound for Vienna. Before the clock strikes midnight, we will again become part of their story. Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Xenia Kalogeropoulou, Ariane Labed, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick.
Big Sur / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Michael Polish) — Unable to cope with a suddenly demanding public and battling advanced alcoholism, Jack Kerouac seeks respite in three brief sojourns to a cabin in Big Sur, which reveal his mental and physical deterioration. Cast: Jean-Marc Barr, Kate Bosworth, Josh Lucas, Radha Mitchell, Anthony Edwards, Henry Thomas.
Breathe In / U.S.A. (Director: Drake Doremus, Screenwriters: Drake Doremus, Ben York Jones) — When a foreign exchange student arrives in a small upstate New York town, she challenges the dynamics of her host family's relationships and alters their lives forever. Cast: Guy Pearce, Felicity Jones, Amy Ryan, Mackenzie Davis.
Don Jon's Addiction / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Joseph Gordon-Levitt) — In Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s charming directorial debut, a selfish modern-day Don Juan attempts to change his ways. Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Glenne Headly, Rob Brown.
The East / U.S.A. (Director: Zal Batmanglij, Screenwriters: Zal Batmanglij, Brit Marling) — An operative for an elite private intelligence firm goes into deep cover to infiltrate a mysterious anarchist collective attacking major corporations. Bent on apprehending these fugitives, she finds her loyalty tested as her feelings grow for the group's charismatic leader. Cast: Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, Toby Kebbell, Shiloh Fernandez, Patricia Clarkson.
The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete / U.S.A. (Director: George Tillman Jr., Screenwriter: Michael Starrbury) — Separated from their mothers and facing a summer in the Brooklyn projects alone, two boys hide from police and forage for food, with only each other to trust. A story of salvation through friendship and two boys against the world. Cast: Skylan Brooks, Ethan Dizon, Jennifer Hudson, Jordin Sparks, Anthony Mackie, Jeffrey Wright.
jOBS / U.S.A. (Director: Joshua Michael Stern, Screenwriter: Matt Whiteley) — The true story of one of the greatest entrepreneurs in American history, jOBS chronicles the defining 30 years of Steve Jobs’ life. jOBS is a candid, inspiring and personal portrait of the one who saw things differently. Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Lukas Haas, J.K. Simmons, Matthew Modine. CLOSING NIGHT FILM
The Look of Love / United Kingdom (Director: Michael Winterbottom, Screenwriter: Matt Greenhalgh) — The true story of British adult magazine publisher and entrepreneur Paul Raymond. A modern day King Midas story, Raymond became one of the richest men in Britain at the cost of losing those closest to him. Cast: Steve Coogan, Anna Friel, Imogen Poots, Tamsin Egerton.
Lovelace / U.S.A. (Directors: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman, Screenwriter: Andy Bellin) — Deep Throat, the first pornographic feature film to be a mainstream success, was an international sensation in 1972 and made its star, Linda Lovelace, a media darling. Years later the “poster girl for the sexual revolution” revealed a darker side to her story. Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Hank Azaria, Adam Brody, James Franco, Sharon Stone.
The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman / U.S.A. (Director: Fredrik Bond, Screenwriter: Matt Drake) — Traveling abroad, Charlie Countryman falls for Gabi, a Romanian beauty whose unreachable heart has its origins in Nigel, her violent, charismatic ex. As the darkness of Gabi’s past increasingly envelops him, Charlie resolves to win her heart, or die trying. Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, Rupert Grint, James Buckley, Til Schweiger.
Prince Avalanche / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: David Gordon Green) — Two highway road workers spend the summer of 1988 away from their city lives. The isolated landscape becomes a place of misadventure as the men find themselves at odds with each other and the women they left behind. Cast: Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch.
Stoker / U.S.A. (Director: Park Chan-Wook, Screenwriter: Wentworth Miller) — After India's father dies in an auto accident, her Uncle Charlie comes to live with her and her mother, Evelyn. Soon after his arrival, India suspects that this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives but becomes increasingly infatuated with him. Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Dermot Mulroney, Jacki Weaver, Nicole Kidman.
Sweetwater / U.S.A. (Directors: Logan Miller, Noah Miller, Screenwriter: Andrew McKenzie) — In the late 1800s, a fanatical religious leader, a renegade Sheriff, and a former prostitute collide in a blood triangle on the rugged plains of the New Mexico Territory. Cast: Ed Harris, January Jones, Jason Isaacs, Eduardo Noriega, Steven Rude, Amy Madigan.
Top of the Lake / Australia, New Zealand (Directors: Jane Campion, Garth Davis, Screenwriters: Jane Campion, Gerard Lee) — A 12-year-old girl stands chest deep in a frozen lake. She is five months pregnant, and won't say who the father is. Then she disappears. So begins a haunting mystery that consumes a community. Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Holly Hunter, Peter Mullan, David Wenham. This six-hour film will screen once during the Festival.
Two Mothers / Australia, France (Director: Anne Fontaine, Screenwriter: Christopher Hampton) — This gripping tale of love, lust and the power of friendship charts the unconventional and passionate affairs of two lifelong friends who fall in love with each other’s sons. Cast: Naomi Watts, Robin Wright, Xavier Samuel, James Frechevile.
Very Good Girls / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Naomi Foner) — In the long, half-naked days of a New York summer, two girls on the brink of becoming women fall for the same guy and find that life isn't as simple or safe as they had thought. Cast: Dakota Fanning, Elizabeth Olsen, Boyd Holbrook, Demi Moore, Richard Dreyfuss, Ellen Barkin.
The Way, Way Back / U.S.A. (Directors and screenwriters: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash) — Duncan, an introverted 14-year-old, comes into his own over the course of a comedic summer when he forms unlikely friendships with the gregarious manager of a rundown water park and the misfits who work there. Cast: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph, Liam James.
2013 DOCUMENTARY PREMIERES
ANITA / U.S.A. (Director: Freida Mock) — Anita Hill, an African-American woman, charges Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas with sexual harassment in explosive Senate hearings in 1991 – bringing sexual politics into the national consciousness and fueling 20 years of international debate on the issues.
The Crash Reel / U.S.A. (Director: Lucy Walker) — The jaw-dropping story of one unforgettable athlete, Kevin Pearce; one eye-popping sport, snowboarding; and one explosive issue, traumatic brain injury. An epic rivalry between Kevin and Shaun White culminates in a life-changing crash and a comeback story with a difference. SALT LAKE CITY GALA FILM
History of the Eagles / U.S.A. (Director: Alison Ellwood) — Using never-before-seen home movies, archival footage and new interviews with all current and former members of the Eagles, this documentary provides an intimate look into the history of the band and the legacy of their music.
Linsanity / U.S.A. (Director: Evan Leong) — Jeremy Lin came from a humble background to make an unbelievable run in the NBA. State high school champion, all-Ivy League at Harvard, undrafted by the NBA and unwanted there: his story started long before he landed on Broadway.
Pandora's Promise / U.S.A. (Director: Robert Stone) — A growing number of environmentalists are renouncing decades of antinuclear orthodoxy and have come to believe that the most feared and controversial technology known to mankind is probably our greatest hope.
Running from Crazy / U.S.A. (Director: Barbara Kopple) — Mariel Hemingway, granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, strives for a greater understanding of her family history of suicide and mental illness. As tragedies are explored and deeply hidden secrets are revealed, Mariel searches for a way to overcome a similar fate.
Sound City / U.S.A. (Director: Dave Grohl) — Through interviews and performances with the legendary musicians and producers who worked at America's greatest unsung recording studio, Sound City, we explore the human element of music, and the lost art of analog recording in an increasingly digital world.
We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks / U.S.A. (Director: Alex Gibney) — In 2010, WikiLeaks and its sources used the power of the Internet to usher in what was for some a new era of transparency and for others the beginnings of an information war.
When I Walk / U.S.A., Canada (Director: Jason DaSilva) — At 25, filmmaker and artist Jason DaSilva finds out he has a severe form of multiple sclerosis. This film shares his personal and grueling journey over the next seven years. Along the way, an unlikely miracle changes everything.
Which Way is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington / U.S.A. (Director: Sebastian Junger) — Shortly after the release of his documentary Restrepo, photographer Tim Hetherington was killed in Libya. Colleague Sebastian Junger traces Hetherington's work across the world's battlefields to reveal how he transcended the boundaries of image-making to become a luminary in his profession.
The World According to Dick Cheney / U.S.A. (Directors: R.J. Cutler, Greg Finton) — How did Dick Cheney become the single-most-powerful nonpresidential figure in American history? This multi-layered examination of Cheney's life, career, key relationships and controversial worldview features exclusive interviews with the former vice president and his closest allies.
Follow Jean on Twitter @hijean
[Photo Credit: Dale Robinette/Millennium Films]
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August 14, 2012 7:20am EST
The concept for 2010's sensory overload The Expendables was simple: get every action star from the '80s, '90s, and '00s and put them all in a movie together and let them blow a bunch of s**t up. The formula paid off, as the all-star bonanza — which featured the likes of Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, and Bruce Willis — earned nearly $275 million worldwide.
So when it came to the inevitable sequel, the filmmakers applied the old adage, "If it's broke, Jason Statham probably destroyed it." Well, that and, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." The Expendables 2, which hits theaters this Friday, is taking the same formula (and cast members) from the original and throwing in a few more action heroes, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Liam Hemsworth, and Chuck Norris.
With both Expendables films having now compiled just about every male action star on the planet and a possible third with all the ones they missed this time around, we here at Hollywood.com think it's high time female action stars get their turn in the franchise. (Sorry, Charisma Carpenter, we know you're there to represent!)
From legendary action stars like Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hamilton (pictured, being totally awesome in Terminator 2: Judgment Day), to hot newcomers like Gina Carano, we see no reason why there can't be an all-female Expendables. Here are our picks for the lady Expendables. Hollywood, take note: these fearless, gun-toting, power-packed ladies know how to kick ass, take names, and would no doubt make for a big opening weekend.
Sigourney Weaver: When it comes to the most knock-out, drag-down bad-ass female in movie history, there's no one comparable to Weaver's iconic Ripley. While there were plenty of powerful female action stars who came before her (think Tura Santana in Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!) Weaver has become the gold standard for tough movie heroines. In The Expendables world, she would be the seasoned vet of the bunch, like the Stallone or the Schwarzenegger of the crew, only with acting skills to boot. Weaver made the crowd go wild with just a cameo in The Cabin in the Woods, so imagine an entire movie of her being awesome (and hopefully reviving her classic Aliens line "Get away from her, you bitch!").
Linda Hamilton: Like Weaver's Ripley, Hamilton's Sarah Connor is one fierce mama. Just how awesome was Hamilton in The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day? (Well, first, see photo above. If that isn't that very definition of female badassery, we don't know what it is.) She turned the genre on its head by turning the female lead from a damsel in distress to an all-out tough-as-nails action figure.
Jane Fonda: Before she was kicking all of our asses on her workout tapes, Fonda was kicking intergalactic ass in the 1977 classic Barbarella. While it's been a little while since Fonda was in action heroine mode, she certainly hasn't forgotten what it's like to be a tough, take-no-prisoners lady in Hollywood.
Pam Grier: No one dared to mess with Grier in movies like Coffy (pictured below), Foxy Brown, and of course, Jackie Brown — and they most certainly wouldn't now either.
Brigette Nielsen: Think of her as the Lady Lundgren: tall, blonde, and damn intimidating. Before she was Flava Flav's love interest (a superhero feat onto itself), Nielsen was a bona fide action star, working alongside the likes of Schwarzenegger (Red Sonja) and her ex-husband Stallone (Rocky IV, Cobra).
Grace Jones: Jones would be a Lady Expendables double threat. Not only would she be able to harkon back to her action heroine days a la A View to Kill and Conan the Destroyer, but she could also provide the kick-ass soundtrack.
Lucy Lawless: A lady Expendables movie without Xena? Ayiyiyiyiyiyiyi! We wouldn't stand for it.
Michelle Yeoh: No all-star action movie ensemble would be complete without a martial arts phenomenon. Yeoh has wowed audiences for years with her skills in flicks like Super Cop (pictured below), Tomorrow Never Dies, and the Oscar-winning masterpiece Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. No one has ever made kicking ass look so graceful as Yeoh.
The Next Generation
Milla Jovovich: Jovovich has carried an entire action franchise (the Resident Evil films) for a decade, but at just 36 the model/actress still has plenty of on-screen butt-kicking years ahead of her. In addition to bringing iconic video super heroine Alice to life, Jovovich has one of the most memorable movie costumes of all-time with her bandaged duds in sci-fi favorite The Fifth Element.
Carrie-Ann Moss: Same goes for Moss, actually. Not only does she have one of the most famous movie costumes of the 90s (who didn't dress like Trinity and Neo?) but she was the female face of the wildly successful Matrix franchise. Sure Keanu was the top-billed star, but Carrie-Ann was the one who had moviegoers saying, "Whoa!"
Gina Carano: The true rookie of the new generation of female action stars. Sure, Carano may be new to the big screen (she beat some of Hollywood's hottest guys, including Channing Tatum and Michael Fassbender, to a pulp in 2012's action caper Haywire) but she's been a full-fledged action star for years. The 30-year-old is a world champion mixed martial arts fighter and was once an American Gladiator. No stuntwoman necessary here, Carano, pictured here in a scene from Haywire, is the real deal.
Angelina Jolie: Every Expendables movie needs a cameo (for the sequel it's tennis great Novak Djokovic) and who would be a bigger, better cameo than Angelina Jolie? The most famous woman in the world may be a beautiful, serious Oscar-winning actress (and mother and humanitarian and Brad Pitt's fiancee), but she's also a bona fide action star thanks to her roles in movies like Salt (pictured below), Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Wanted, Beowulf, Gone in Sixty Seconds, and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. With a resume like that, it's amazing any paparazzi ever try to get in her way.
Would you see an Expendables movie with an all-female cast? Who would you want to see in it? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
[Photo Credits: Hamilton: TriStar Pictures; Weaver: 20th Century Fox; Grier: American International Pictures; Yeoh: Dimension Films; Carano: Lionsgate; Jolie: Relativity Media]
Follow Aly on Twitter @AlySemigran
The Best Female Action Movies
The Ladies of Total Recall and the Best Female Badasses in Movies
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July 29, 2012 7:49am EST
This week's Total Recall sees the coupling of two of Hollywood's biggest female badasses: Jessica Biel and Kate Beckinsale. The former has clocked plenty of time roughing up bad guys in movies like Blade Trinity and A-Team, while Beckinsale has made a career out of her vampire hunting franchise Underworld. Recruiting them both — and pitting them against each other — for one big sci-fi showdown is an action fan's dream come true. As if women don't get enough time to shine in the action genre, suddenly we get two buttkickers for the price of one.
To bide some time before Total Recall's fight of the leading ladies, Hollywood.com has compiled some of the biggest female ass kickers in movies. The only distress these damsels are experiencing is the sweat they breaking after taking down their enemies:
Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) from Haywire
Getting physically close to Channing Tatum and Michael Fassbender is something most woman can only dream of. Of course, in those dreams, we're probably not kicking their asses into oblivion. In 2011s action thriller, mixed martial arts fighter turned actress Gina Carano played Mallory Kane (man, even her name was badass) a highly trained, lethal operative who must go up against those who have betrayed her. And man, did those fellas (which also included the likes of Ewan McGregor and Antonio Banderas) pay the price dearly. Not only did Carano's background make the thrilling fight sequences look authentic (and damn painful) but she managed to look stunning doing it. Eat your heart out, guys. The only disappointing thing about Carano and Haywire? The box office disappointment likely won't get the multiple-sequel lady Bourne franchise it so richly deserves.
The Bride (Uma Thurman) from Kill Bill
Unnamed (until the denouement), unforgettable, and seemingly unkillable, Uma Thurman's The Bride in Kill Bill Volumes 1&2 is the definition of badass. While she is directly responsible for the deaths of dozens of gangsters and assassins, it is The Bride's will to survive that makes her so truly kick-ass. She survives a shot to the head, a coma, rape, multiple instances of hand-to-hand combat, and — in one of cinema's most claustrophobic scenes — being buried alive. The Bride's ability to rise up, brush the dirt off her shoulders (literally), and fulfill her mission to avenge her daughter is about as close to superhuman, and superawesome, a girl without superpowers can get.
Diana Guzman (Michelle Rodriguez) from Girlfight
Some kick ass ladies save the world, some just beat the poo out of their enemies for revenge. A select few, like Diana in Girlfight, punch the living daylights out of their adversaries just to earn a buck. An aggressive teen still dealing with her mother's death, Diana focuses her aggression towards the world of boxing — much to her father's dismay. There she takes down boxers of both genders while learning a thing or two about life. The good kind of fighting!
Miss Scarlet (Lesley Ann Warren) from Clue
Sure, she gets arrested in the end for committing six murders in the space of an evening, but there is something seriously kick ass about Clue's killer-in-chief Miss Scarlet. First of all, she runs an espionage ring out of her brothel which, if the world had relaxed morals, would be pretty much the coolest job of all time. And then she manages to off all of her accomplices in a creepy old house without anyone knowing for hours which takes the guile of a genius and the quietness of a cat. Let's not forget that, like most butt kicking ladies in the movies, she really has a way with a revolver. ("I am your singing telegram." Bang!) If only she wasn't taken down by her truly terrible math skills. After all who could figure out two plus one plus two plus one plus one....CRASH!
Ridley (Sigourney Weaver) from the Alien films
It takes a good amount of poise, knowhow, and agility to defeat a carnivorous killing machine that has wiped out every last one of your coworkers. In Ridley Scott’s original masterpiece Alien, Sigourney Weaver played Lt. Ripley with an exceptional degree of heroism. Alone, she faced and defeated the titular beast who was out to destroy her (and her cat) after having taken down the rest of her crew. But the talented Miss Ripley was too smart, too skilled, too monumentally badass to let some narrow-minded (and -faced) extraterrestrial take her down.
Who else earns their place in the pantheon of female ass-kickers?
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[Photo Credit: Sony Pictures, Relativity, Miramax, Screen Gems, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox]
Female Ass Kickers
June 15, 2012 9:40am EST
The magical R-rating is both a gift and a curse to Adam Sandler's signature brand of lowbrow humor. In That's My Boy the comedian returns to the dim-witted roots that made him a star in early outings like Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore (complete with high-pitched mushmouth accent) but with a ramped up "ew" factor. Unrestrained Sandler piles on as many expletives and gross-out scenarios as a two-hour movie can hold — and it works out quite well. With costar Samberg nailing the disgusted straight man role Sandler's penchant for acting like a fool is enhanced by the sick stylings of director Sean Anders (Sex Drive) and only occasionally teetering into truly offensive territory. Laughs aren't guaranteed but the movie provokes (which is a big step up from Jack and Jill).
Back in the '80s Donny had a secret relationship with his teacher Ms. McGarricle that resulted in a son Han Solo (he's a middle schooler what do you expect?). The torrid affair put McGarricle in jail Donny into celebrity tabloid spotlight and Han Solo in the hands of a tween father. Thirty years later everyone's screwed up: Donny (Adam Sandler) is a drunk on the brink of jail time for tax evasion McGarricle's still in jail and Han Solo (Andy Samberg) now "Todd " is a successful number-cruncher with severe social issues. On the weekend of Todd's wedding Donny reenters his life hoping to bring revive their relationship and reunite him with his mother — that is on camera so Donny can make $50 000 from a gossip TV show and stay out of the slammer. Posing as Todd's long-lost best friend Donny stirs up trouble becoming buddies with Todd's friends and family and acting like a imbecile.
The wedding setup is overdone but always prime for comedy: plenty for a numbskull to screw up logical progression (there's a wedding at the end!) and a bachelor party scene to squeeze in the most disgusting bits and have them make sense. That's My Boy makes the most of its conventions — including what we all know and expect from a Sandler comedy — by continually one-upping itself. After a night of heavy drinking at the local strip club/omelette bar that results in do-it-yourself ear piercing and robbing a convenience store with Vanilla Ice Todd returns home to expel the night's worth of drinking all over his fiancee's wedding dress. Then he makes love to the dress. Then his fiancee (Leighton Meester) wakes up to find the dress. Then it goes even further than one would care to imagine. Grossed out yet? Amazingly lower-than-low brow material is handled with clever timing and great delivery. It's just that the foundation is bodily fluids.
That's My Boy falters when it throws in gags that serve zero purpose to the story. Strange racist humor a mentally retarded bar patron played by Nick Swardson (a Sandler mainstay) random allusions to Todd Bridges' drug habits — barrel-scraping one-offs that have nothing to do with the movie. At two hours the movie needs slimming and the fat is apparent. Thankfully the main ensemble goes to great lengths to make the hard R comedy click with Sandler and Samberg playing well off each other (although Samberg doesn't have the making of a leading man after this movie) and SNL alums like Will Forte Rachel Dratch and Ana Gasteyer driving by to bring the funny. Even Vanilla Ice's extended cameo fits the anything-goes tone playing a version of himself that befriended Donny in his celebrity days. Now he works at an ice skating rink.
After a few lame ducks That's My Boy is a return to form for Sandler. It wavers in quality but it has energy and color. A cash-in this is not and for any Sandler fan with a stomach for hardcore bathroom humor it's a must-see.
June 14, 2012 7:55am EST
A jukebox musical is the epitome of reverse-engineered entertainment. Take a set of songs linked together by a common thread arrange them for Broadway belters and fill in the gaps with enough narrative to convince the audience they're not sitting through a large-scale cover band concert. Silly satisfying and familiar — the perfect combination for a crowd-pleaser. Rock of Ages the big screen adaptation of the hit stage musical manages to make the simplistic formula feel even lazier. Starting off like a full-on '80s movie spoof Rock of Ages quickly loses footing with a bombardment of overproduced tunes lip-synced by its celebrity cast. Simply put: it doesn't rock. At all.
The film opens with small town Kansas gal Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough) hopping on a bus to make it big in Hollywood. There's a glimmer of hope as she duets Night Ranger's "Sister Christian" with a bus driver — maybe Rock of Ages really will be this fun and absurd. But when Sherrie arrives at The Bourbon Room the city's premiere rock club and only second to Disneyland as the least threatening place in L.A. the movie spins out of control. Sherrie quickly strikes up a relationship with bartender/aspiring musician Drew (Diego Boneta) is hired by club owner Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin) and his second-in-command Lonny (Russell Brand) and becomes entangled in the joint's big attempt to stay afloat: the legendary Stacee Jaxx's (Tom Cruise) last concert before going solo.
Sticking with Sherrie as she explores the crazy hair metal scene is fun but director Adam Shankman (Hairspray Bedtime Stories) and his team of writers insist on piling more and more stuff on to Rock of Ages shoulders. There's politician wife Patricia Whitmore (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and her campaign against The Bourbon Room. There's Rolling Stone reporter Constance Sack (Malin Åkerman) who hopes to land one more interview with Jaxx. There's Jaxx's manager Paul Gill (Paul Giamatti) who responds to the fading rock scene with ambitions of starting a boy band with Drew. Anything that can open the door for more songs — pointless as the plot points may be — Shankman throws into the shuffle. Unfortunately the ears can only take so much autotune.
The upside of the clunky script is some genuinely funny moments souped up by the comedic prowess of the supporting cast (a baboon named HeyMan throwing bottles at Giamatti Cruise singing "I Want to Know What Love Is" into Ackerman's butt). Hough and Boneta have nothing to contribute to Rock of Ages hammy leads with no material who pale in comparison to their '80s romantic predecessors. But the rest of the crew throw up sign of the horns and try their best to crank up the craziness Baldwin and Brand making a case for a spin-off with their wacky rapport. A musical number in which the duo finally realizes their passion for one another would have made a great Funny or Die video but padded with the filler of Rock of Ages it has no room to shine. Even Cruise who kills whenever he's musing full rock star mode struggles to make the paper thin Stacee Jaxx work in his musical moments. The recordings are flat and lifeless automatically putting a strain on the performers.
The music and the movies of the '80s share a similar aesthetic. They're over-the-top they're hot and sweaty and they're about not giving a damn. Raw fun. Rock of Ages fails to capture that feel in both visuals and song blowing out the flame of every lighter-waving moment with its stale recreation. For an energetic entertaining two hours of classic rock tunes stick to karaoke.