WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
Pixar makes it ten gems in a row with this enchanting animated story of 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen a recent widower who decides to fulfill his (plus his late wife’s) lifelong dream of tying thousands of balloons to their house and floating off to a mountaintop in South America. But he soon discovers a stowaway in the form of Russell a precocious eight-year-old “Wilderness Explorer” who he reluctantly allows to accompany him on his journey. Together the unlikely pair embark on the adventure of a lifetime encountering Kevin a rare 13-foot tall-flightless bird; Dug an overly-friendly talking pooch; and Charles Muntz a once-famous adventurer who now lives alone in a massive airship surrounded by a pack of attack dogs.
WHO’S IN IT?
Sticking to their general custom of casting actors not big stars in key voice roles Pixar assembled a superb cast for Up led by veteran TV star Ed Asner (The Mary Tyler Moore Show) as the aged Carl who takes flight in his house and finds there is a lot to learn about life even as you near death. Asner’s grumpy delivery provides the perfect counterpoint to nine-year-old Jordan Nagai’s Russell a bright and optimistic kid who proves an invaluable assistant to Carl throughout their journey. Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music) is authoritative and intriguing as the obsessed Muntz and John Ratzenberger (Cheers) extends his streak of Pixar films to 10 as a construction engineer who tries to convince Carl to sell his house. Bob Peterson does delightful double duty as two of the key dog voices lovable Dug and the menacing Alpha head of the pack.
Like Pixar’s previous Oscar-winning masterpiece Wall-E Up is a ‘toon that is not content to explore the same places we’ve seen in previous animated blockbusters. Centering an action comedy around a 78-year-old man isn’t a strategy you’ll find in the youth-obsessed Hollywood recipe book but it pays great dividends here with a moral that life’s greatest adventure is the one you share with someone you love. The non-humans — particularly Kevin and Dug — are hilarious and unique and a silent sequence detailing the courtship and marriage of the Fredricksens is a sweet touch that could have come straight out of a Charlie Chaplin movie.
With a string of critically-acclaimed hits that includes Toy Story Finding Nemo The Incredibles Ratatouille Wall-E and now Up Pixar is ruining it for everyone else. There is simply no way they can be topped when it comes to pushing the boundaries of animated movies. Bad for other studios. Good for us.
Could Up which just became the first animated film to open the Cannes Film Festival also become the first to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar since Beauty and the Beast in 1991 (before the Animation category was even established)? At this point in the year it’s actually a good bet. Whatever the case expect Up to earn several nominations come Oscar time.
A swashbuckling swordfight across the skies between two near-octogenarians? It’s the best action scene in a summer full of ‘em.
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX?
Oh pleeeeeease! Get to a theater fast. Up is also available in 3-D at select locations. Either way it’s a must-see.
John Stamos files for divorce from Rebecca Romijn-Stamos
John Stamos has filed for divorce from wife Rebecca Romijn-Stamos after separating in April. The Hollywood couple, who met at a Victoria's Secret fashion show in 1994, were married for five years. At the time, publicist Lewis Kay said the split was cordial. "It's very amicable," said Kay. "There's no third party. There's no real reason except they've decided to go in separate directions." According to The Associated Press, court papers were filed Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. In June, Stamos told the syndicated TV entertainment show Access Hollywood that the breakup has been difficult for the both of them. "It's been really hard for us," Stamos said in the interview. "The publicity is terrible, and it just undermines the importance of our 10-year relationship." The 41-year-old actor, best known for his role as Jesse on the late-'80s sitcom Full House, also said he was still on good terms with Romijn-Stamos, 41. "We're really good friends, and I adore her and she adores me. It's so weird because ... you are so crazy in love and all of a sudden weird things happen."
Usher denies rivalry with Justin Timberlake
R&B singer Usher tells The Boston Globe in Friday's editions he has no beef with Justin Timberlake. Reports of a frosty feud between the two singers surfaced after former 'N Sync leader Timberlake was crowned "the new King of Pop" over Usher by Rolling Stone magazine. "I'm not in competition with Justin. I'm not in competition with anyone but myself," he told the paper. "I'm not looking for that bad-boy image, I'm not a person who goes out looking for trouble." Usher, whose latest album, Confessions, has sold more than 5 million copies, added: "It's not just about a hit record, it's not just the marketing behind an album, it's about the talent, and I go out there and I work hard. No one can just take your spot. If you really work hard, no one can take your spot."
The Scream painting stolen
Edvard Munch's famous painting The Scream was stolen by gunpoint Sunday from an Oslo, Norway, museum in a dramatic daylight raid, Reuters reports. The two masked thieves walked into the crowded Munch Museum in broad daylight, yanked the pictures, which were not insured against theft, from the wall and left through the front door and straight into a waiting car. Norwegian authorities were trying to pinpoint the motive behind the theft amid criticism that the museum security was too lax. "We have many tips…we're keeping all possibilities open," Oslo assistant police chief Iver Stensrud said of the robbery of The Scream and Madonna, both Munch masterpieces and worth tens of millions of dollars.
Alan Alda joins West Wing
Five-time Emmy winner Alan Alda will join the cast of NBC's White House drama The West Wing next season as a Republican from California with presidential ambitions, Reuters reports. In 1999, Alda did an Emmy-nominated stint on ER which is executive produced by West Wing producer John Wells, but this latest role marks his first major series commitment since his award-winning run on CBS' M*A*S*H*. Joining Alda on board West Wing will be Marley Shelton, (Uptown Girls), who will play a former feature reporter mentored by Timothy Busfield's character Danny Concannon, who becomes White House deputy press secretary.
U.N. praises Bollywood HIV/AIDS film
Indian actress-turned-helmer Revathy Menon won rare praise from the United Nations for her film Phir milenge (We'll Meet Again), for choosing for the first time to focus on HIV/AIDS in a mainstream Bollywood film, Variety reports. The story revolves around a successful career woman who learns she is HIV-positive. "When Bollywood, one of the world's largest film industries with massive audiences, produces a film about AIDS, everyone has to sit up and take notice," Peter Piot, executive director of the joint U.N. Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), said in a statement released in Mumbai on Friday.
Malkovich, Leigh top Sarajevo film fest guest list
John Malkovich, Mike Leigh and Gerard Depardieu made guest appearances as Sarajevo's annual film festival, AP reports, to help celebrate the Balkan capital's 10th anniversary of a cultural event that began as a simple act of defiance during the country's 1992-1995 war. With people cut off and under attack, the festival was created to remind the world that Sarajevans were starved for culture as well as food, and give moviemakers from southeastern Europe the chance to network and find distributors. This year nine movies from the region competed for awards, with Leigh heading the jury.