According to The Hollywood Reporter, Channing Tatum, Zoe Saldana, Diego Luna, and Christina Applegate will star in Book of Life, an animated feature from the twisted mind of Guillermo del Toro.
Jorge Gutierrez is directing Book of Life, which centers around Manolo, a young man who embarks on an incredible adventure that spans three fantastical worlds, where he must brave his biggest fears.
The cast also includes Ice Cube, Kate del Castillo, Ron Perlman (duh!), and a bevy of actors including Cheech Marin, Hector Elizondo, Placido Domingo, and Ana de la Reguera. Given the cast and the information released about the film, it seems that the feature is going to have a rich Latin flair. It is also being reported that the film will offer a fresh take on current pop songs.
Del Toro is known for his ability to create impressive and imaginative visuals with gothic undertones. We’re excited to see what a visionary director can do with a full-length animated movie, especially after watching his creepy Simpsons opener that still has us checking under the couch for monsters. Even though del Toro is only producing, we're positive that his vision and influence will spill into all aspects of production.
Basketball star Lebron James married his fiancee in a lavish ceremony in San Diego, California on Saturday (14Sep13). The Miami Heat star exchanged vows with his longtime partner, Savannah Brinson, the mother of his two sons, at the city's Grand Del Mar Hotel.
The couple kept the nuptials private, ushering guests into the ceremony under the cover of tents, according to the Associated Press.
Guests reportedly included James' Miami Heat teammates, including Dwyane Wade and his actress girlfriend Gabrielle Union, who posted a picture of her wedding outfit on her Twitter.com page, and singer Ne-Yo.
The wedding celebrations reportedly kicked off with a barbecue feast on Friday evening (13Sep13), and will conclude with a farewell brunch on Sunday (15Sep13).
Rapper Sean 'Diddy' Combs sent the newlyweds a message of congratulations via Twitter.com, writing, "Congrats to (LeBron James) getting married!!!!! Every King needs a Queen that holds him down!!"
After Boardwalk Empire’s earth-shattering season finale, HBO gave viewers a taste of their newest offering: Luck. The official premiere is Jan. 29. The series’ pilot, directed by Michael Mann and written by Deadwood creator David Milch, enjoyed a sneak preview and we caught a glimpse of what this Dustin Hoffman-starrer is really going to offer. You should be warned that the world of gambling at the racetrack is new to me – I bet 10 bucks on a single race at the Del Mar Racetracks one summer, and while I walked away with $20, I’m anything but an expert. Plus, I should warn you this breakdown includes some spoilers.
1. Horse Racing is majestic and heartbreaking.
Mann’s direction is obvious from minute-one. The pilot makes strides to bring us into the likely unfamiliar world of the racetrack and the excitement that accompanies it. For most of us, Seabiscuit and Secretariat are the closest images we have to this world, but Luck delivers a much more visceral, carnal element to the realm. We see the horses’ glistening haunches; we watch them run with their hooves pounding the moistened track and their defined muscles working tirelessly to navigate every curve. And just as we start to get high on the beauty of it all, the pilot hits us with reality: there’s a dark side. We witness a jockey’s heartbreaking task as he strokes one injured creature’s wilting head as the vet puts it down for good. The scene is arguably the most powerful moment in the entire pilot and an element that allows the series to be more than just a gambling romp.
2. Betting on Horses is an all-engrossing undertaking.
Of course, it is still a show about that consuming vice: betting. There’s corruption; there’s significant, crippling loss; there’s redemption; there’s hopeless addiction; and all of this means there’s plenty of trouble to be had. We see this world from all angles. We meet the trainers, the horse owners, the track agents, the jockeys, the horses themselves, the downtrodden, lowly betters so addicted to the game they bet their happiness on it. While we only caught a glimpse of what this world has to offer in the pilot, the realm is cracked wide open, offering a huge playing field for the series.
3. Dustin Hoffman is fantastic, just as we all assumed he would be.
Why did anyone tune into the pilot last night? Insomniacs aside, I can safely say that Hoffman’s involvement is the number-one draw for most viewers. We’ve grown up watching the man deliver fantastic performance after fantastic performance. His name is synonymous with countless classic films, and with the cinematic series that often land on HBO, our expectations are rather high. His role in the pilot as the newly freed jailbird, Ace Bernstein, is rather small, but he assumes it adeptly and it’s very obvious that he’s about to take us into another captivating world. Side note: did anyone else get a little, nerdy satisfaction out of the notion that Hoffman is playing another Bernstein – the first one being Carl Bernstein in All The President’s Men?
4. It’s going to be a slow burn; the pilot is just an introduction to the lifestyle.
Not a whole lot happened in the pilot. It sort of felt like a more detailed version of the first 20 minutes of any movie. Countless shots of gleaming horses racing reel us into the action and excite us. Hoffman’s cagey conversations behind closed doors intrigue us. The buncha losers’ big win gives us a taste of that sweet, yet fleeting sense of victory. And the jockeys’ and trainers’ POV makes us feel like we’ve got a bird’s eye view of everything. Yet, the pilot was all set-up. There were no big reveals and the typical HBO signatures – boobs and blood – were completely absent. Those things and the bigger storylines are coming, but it appears they’re coming very slowly and methodically. It seems we’ll all just have to…hold our horses. (I’m sorry for that – couldn’t help myself.)
5. Dumbledore is coming.
Part of that slow burn includes the road to Michael Gambon’s role on the series. His role is shrouded in some significant secrecy, but we do know that he’ll be a rival to Hoffman’s Ace Bernstein, which is a delicious notion worth sticking around for.
Did you watch the pilot? Share your thoughts in the comments and on Twitter. [@KelseaStahler]
Former Miss California CARRIE PREJEAN has married American footballer KYLE BOLLER in a private ceremony in San Diego, California. The couple wed on Friday (02Jul10) at the Grand Del Mar resort. The controversial beauty queen hit the headlines last year (09) when she was stripped of her crown after violating her contractual obligations by failing to make a string of public appearances.
Set during the Spanish Civil War of the 1940s—a favorite area of exploration for writer-director Guillermo del Toro—the story follows dreamy 11-year-old Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) as she’s uprooted and relocated to a remote military outpost when her sickly mother (Ariadna Gil) marries the wantonly cruel camp commander Captain Vidal (Sergei Lopez). With the compassionate but secretive housekeeper Mercedes (Maribel Verdu) as the closest thing to a friend she has in the oppressive environment Ofelia escapes into a richly textured fantasy world. She follows a dragonfly she believes is a fairy into a landscaped but neglected garden maze she recasts as the lair of the goatish godling Pan (Doug Jones). He tells her she’s the last heir to a magical otherworldly kingdom and charges her with several tasks to help her reclaim her birthright. As her personal world grows more and more grim—the impending birth of her half-brother threatens her mother’s health her step-father grows colder and colder in his bid to crush the resistance and Mercedes’ hidden agenda places her in jeopardy as well—Ofelia soon finds herself tangling with hideous monsters both imagined and all too real often having difficulty distinguishing which is the more dangerous. The astonishingly real performance of the amazing young Spanish actress Baquero as Ofelia anchors the film firmly in both its real world and fantasy environments as only the convincing imagination of a child could. Lopez is an equally compelling discovery as the callous Vidal pitiless vicious and malevolent while still remaining believably human throughout. He’s unblinking in his depiction of a thoroughly vile and cruel man but avoids any aspect of cartoonish evil. And Verdu (Y Tu Mama Tambien) as Mercedes is a wonder as well with her remarkably expressive face unlimited by the film’s Spanish language barriers. Kudos too to Doug Jones a whisper-thin actor who specializes in “creature” roles (he’s played Abe Sapien in del Toro’s Hellboy and will be the Silver Surfer in the Fantastic Four sequel) who somehow magically delivers fully-formed performances as both the faun Pan and the freakish Pale Man through layers and layers of latex. Pan's Labyrinth is unquestionably Guillermo del Toro’s finest film work to date as pure an artistic vision as is likely to be committed to celluloid. He wisely worked outside the Hollywood system in his native Spain to bring his dark tale to life. The story exists in that shadowy netherworld between childhood and adulthood innocence and awareness of the world’s more sinister nature and its characters and themes are explored in ways that no mainstream film would ever allow. On the surface the trappings are Tim Burton-esque but the dark corners Pan's Labyrinth peers into are grim and gloomy indeed; del Toro is never afraid to delve into the murkiest of directions that to audiences used to more conventional movies are heart-wrenching even gut-churning but ultimately emotionally honest and in unexpected ways as immensely satisfying as they are haunting. The film is the announcement of the complete arrival of a major filmmaker and we can only hope that the qualities del Toro brings to this work do not get lost in the maze of Hollywood for future films.
Ignacio (Jack Black) has never been particularly adept at anything but he has great passion for the things that matter to him: cooking and wrestling. Growing up in a Mexican orphanage ‘Nacho’ always dreamt of becoming a “luchador”--the term for a Mexican wrestler--and he even had the paunch to boot but alas it was highly forbidden by the religious orphanage. Now grown up he works as a chef for the only home he has ever known. He’s subjected to constant criticism at the hands of monks for the slop he calls food but claims he isn’t paid enough for quality ingredients. So as he sees it his only solution for more money is to pursue the forbidden fruit of becoming a luchador. He picks up a rail-thin peasant (Hector Jimenez) along the way to form a tag-team duo. Together they’re so horrendous that fans line up just for a laugh. But that makes them underdogs and we all know the fate of underdog characters in movies.
Jack Black maybe the best comedic actor of his extraordinarily gifted generation is a sight to behold. In Nacho Libre his mere pose which invariably sees him showcasing his belly as if a trophy is enough to arouse laughter. But once he opens his mouth forget it! Nacho’s broken English-and-Spanish dialect is tailor-made for Black as is his character’s penchant to break into Tenacious D-style song to profess his love for a nun (Ana de la Reguera). The problems with Black are due to his improper utilization at times (see “direction”) not his performance which is about as flawlessly inane as verbal/physical comedy gets. He taps into mania with an ease that hasn’t been seen since John Belushi. As Nacho’s equally hopeless sidekick Esqueleto Jimenez garners his fair share of laughs thanks mostly to the wrestling scenes. But his high-pitched yelps forced ineptitude and blank expressions grow old quickly.
Director Jared Hess should’ve quit after his first feature Napoleon Dynamite. Only because expectations for his follow-up in this case Libre simply cannot be met. That said he doesn’t only make sophomore mistakes; there is promise and talent on full display here. For instance Hess again exhibits an ability to find and/or create the most outlandish characters from the star all the way down to the unknown Mexican extras. But even at just over 90 minutes long the film drags and seems like a hilarious skit stretched way too far. That’s because although conceptually hilarious the story (which Hess co-wrote with wife Jerusha and veteran Mike White) is as thin as Nacho is portly. And as Hess has learned the hard way with bigger budgets come bigger constraints such as not-so-subtle humor (fart jokes pratfalls) to appease the teen masses. Hess’ fatal flaw however despite what will again be an underrated offbeat effort was to not stray further from his trademark movie thus keeping the animal that is Black caged--albeit in a large cage.
The Crusades were a series of religious wars in which the Christians tried to reclaim Jerusalem from the Muslims who had conquered the Middle East in the 7th century. With the battle cry of "God wills it! " thousands of Europeans answered the call and were able to retake the fabled Holy City in the 11th century. Kingdom of Heaven begins in 1186 between the Second and Third Crusades. A fragile peace prevails mostly through the efforts of Jerusalem's enlightened Christian king Baldwin IV (Edward Norton) and the military restraint of the legendary Muslim leader Saladin (Ghassan Massoud). But it's difficult to maintain the peace. There are extremists within the Christian brigades--known as the Knights Templar--who want to wipe every Muslim off the face of the Earth. On top of that King Baldwin's health is failing. Once he's gone war is sure to follow. If ever there was a need for a hero this is the time. Enter the young French blacksmith Balian (Orlando Bloom) who is in deep despair over the loss of his family. He joins the Crusades after the father he never knew Godfrey (Liam Neeson) comes back from Jerusalem and convinces him it's a quest worth fighting for. As Godfrey passes his sword to his son he also passes on that sacred knightly oath: to protect the helpless safeguard the peace and work toward harmony between religions and cultures so that a kingdom of heaven can flourish on earth. No pressure or anything though.
Orlando Bloom carries his first major motion picture very well easily handling the chores of being such a gallant conscientious and morally upstanding knight. As Balian the Troy costar plays the gamut. He broods over his lost wife and child has father-son epiphanies upholds his knightly duties on a regular basis falls in love with a beautiful but troubled princess and finally bravely defends the Holy City from the encroaching Muslim army thus becoming a legend. Not bad for a day's work eh? There are even times especially toward the end when Balian is standing before the denizens of Jerusalem urging them to fight when you swear you can see a little of Bloom's The Lord of the Rings alter-elf Legolas creep in. The supporting cast also does an adequate job painting a picture of some trying times. Chief among them: Jeremy Irons as King Baldwin's right-hand man Tiberias; Marton Csokas (The Bourne Supremacy) as the evil leader of the Knights Templar; Massoud as the great warrior Saladin; and lovely Eva Green (The Dreamers) as Princess Sibylla King Baldwin's sister who captures our hero's heart but makes some bad choices with dire consequences.
Even if these sword-and-armor epics are all blending together you've got to give props to the directors who make them. These films are massive undertakings and Kingdom of
Heaven with the expert Ridley Scott at the helm is no exception. The Oscar-winning director of course has had his fair share of recreating history first with the classic Gladiator and then with the contemporary Black Hawk Down. But in recreating the Crusades Scott faces his toughest challenge to date and takes on the responsibility very seriously. He is painstakingly meticulous with details even as he is building a 12th-century Jerusalem or corralling 2 000 heavily costumed extras for the colossal climactic battle sequences. And it is always a good thing when a historical film can teach you something you may not have known like what the heck the Crusades were really all about. No Kingdom's biggest obstacle is timing. While it certainly has more substance than Alexander it is not nearly as intense and stirring as The Lord of the Rings trilogy or the granddaddy of them all Braveheart. Too many of its ilk has come before and the concept has unfortunately worn thin.
Completely stripping Catwoman of her "Batman" connections the geniuses behind this comic-book movie--at least as bad as Spider-Man 2 is good--also stripped it of any pleasure. Neither campy a la Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt of the old TV series nor sexy vamp like Michelle Pfeiffer of Batman Returns Halle Berry's Catwoman is well one lost little kitty in the big city. Actually she's Patience Philips--an annoyingly mousy graphics designer for a top cosmetics firm who despite her job has no fashion sensibility no self-confidence and no boyfriend. (Yeah riiiight!) She is befriended by a mystical Egyptian Mau cat which--courtesy of lousy digital effects--often looks disturbingly like Toonces and sounds like Linda Blair in The Exorcist when it meows; moreover its way of befriending Patience is to lure her into a suicide attempt--one of many plot points lacking a rationale. When Patience discovers that the cosmetics firm's villainous owner (Lambert Wilson) and aging supermodel wife (Sharon Stone) are marketing a toxic disfiguring facial cream she is killed--flushed through a drainage system into the ocean. But here comes that darn cat again to revive her as she's lying in sludge and mud. Next thing she knows she's sleeping on her apartment's bookshelf eating tuna by the caseload looking longingly at Jaguar hood ornaments as if they're long-lost relatives and jumping about walls basketball courts and whatnot faster than a speeding bullet. She also takes to wearing a pointy-eared black-leather dominatrix outfit along with too much makeup but at least no whiskers. She also starts sniffing around that foul cosmetics firm which leads to a martial-arts showdown with Stone. What the Oscar-winning Berry doesn't do regrettably is get a CAT scan to see what kind of ailment convinced her to make this lamebrain movie.
I've seen better acting on 7-Eleven surveillance videos than in Catwoman. Berry is cloying in the film's early stages when she's playing insecure lonely Patience and she's more pathetically childlike than anything else. Once she's Catwoman though she's really terrible tilting her head for endless close-ups and giving lots of wide-eyed stares meant to conjure feline curiosity but that more recall George W. Bush's "deer-in-the-headlights" gaze. The screenplay makes a few lame attempts to observe the duality of women in the way Patience changes to Catwoman but it's not there in the performance. Yet Berry's turn is a career-peak gem compared to Stone who can't decide whether to play the power-mad Laurel Hedare as a broad cartoonish send-up or as someone connected to reality. Looking like a vampiric Susan Powter and barking sarcastic lines without a hint of emotional connection to her character Stone is just awful. On the plot's fringes Benjamin Bratt does his best as a police officer (gee what else) who is both infatuated with Berry and suspects her of murder.
The one-named French director Pitof (short for "pitoful"?) supposedly is a digital-imaging expert who has worked with City of Lost Children's Jean-Pierre Jeunet but you'd never know it here. Either he doesn't know much about directing actors or maybe he only gives directions in French. The effects--especially action scenes involving a digitalized version of Berry--move at such a chaotic breakneck pace that she looks completely phony. Plus there's absolutely no sequential logic whatsoever to where Catwoman moves and when--apparently invisibility is one of her superpowers. These awkward clumsy scenes are usually accompanied by distractingly loud music. Pitof's only other directing credit is some obscure French flick starring Gerard Depardieu…one hopes Catwoman will be his last.