For a while there, we could set our watches to Christopher Guest's directorial schedule. Every three-and-a-half years, the mockumentarian would release another gem: Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, For Your Consideration. All dry and satirical, all celebratory of their shared performers' mile-deep pools of talent, all unique. But the pattern halted after the latter, Oscar-mocking picture, leaving us without a cinematic Guest gem since 2006. But if he's just been spending all that time developing his new HBO comedy Family Tree, then we can probably forgive him. Especially since he's roping in the comedy world's new prince, Chris O'Dowd.
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The below trailer for the film lands Irish O'Dowd among Guest's usual clan of American, British, and American-feigning-British heroes, including Michael McKean, Jim Piddock, Ed Begley, Jr., Don Lake, Bob Balaban, and (the powerhouse) Fred Willard. Will the rest of the troupe show up for the program? Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey? We can hope... but for now, we're just pleased with what we're already seeing:
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[Photo Credit: Ray Burmiston/HBO]
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To those of you who’ve been holding out for a Blu-ray version of Footloose, have we got news for you. Namely, that there’s a Blu-Ray version of Footloose coming out on September 27th. The special release will include brand new special features, including interviews with Kevin Bacon and Sarah Jessica Parker, Kevin Bacon’s original screen test, and two commentary tracks. The Blu-ray and DVD re-release is set to overlap with the release date of the remake on October 14. This way, when people see the trailer for the new film and are confused about why there’s an exploding bus, they can watch the warm and fuzzy original version. Let’s hear it for the cross-promotional opportunities!
Footloose is the story of a small midwestern town that bans dancing, and the young man (Bacon) who starts a revolution by dramatically dancing through an empty warehouse.
The special edition Footloose Blu-ray and DVD will be availible for purchase on September 27th. The new film Footloose, starring Kenny Wormald, is due out October 14th. In the meantime, here’s Bret from Flight of the Conchords doing his best Kevin Bacon impression below.
Here's the full list of specs for the release:
The FOOTLOOSE Blu-ray is presented in 1080p high definition with English 6.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 2.0 Dolby Surround, Spanish Mono and Portuguese Mono with English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The Deluxe Edition DVD is presented in widescreen with English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround EX, French 2.0 Dolby Surround and Spanish Mono with English, French and Spanish subtitles. Both discs include the following:
NEW Special Features:
- Let’s Dance! Kevin Bacon on Footloose
- From Bomont to the Big Apple: An Interview with Sarah Jessica Parker
- Remembering Willard
- Kevin Bacon’s Screen Test
- Kevin Bacon Costume Montage
Additional Special Features:
- Commentary by Kevin Bacon
- Commentary by producer Craig Zadan and writer Dean Pitchford
In addition to the above, the Blu-ray also includes:
- Footloose: A Modern Musical – Part 1
- Footloose: A Modern Musical – Part 2
- Footloose: Songs That Tell A Story
- Theatrical Trailer
Rexxx is a superstar dog in Hollywood with movies such as Jurassic Bark and The Fast and the Furrious on his plate. On the set of his latest movie he is being a diva refusing to come to the set because one of the spotted coats in his trailer reminds him of a snooty Dalmation who broke his heart. Eventually Rexxx’s people convince him he can outlive the Taco Bell Chihuahua dog's legacy if he performs this one great stunt. But while diving out of an airplane Rexxx forgets his parachute and lands in a truck full of tomatoes. He ends up running into a boy Shane (Josh Hutcherson) who’s really not into dogs. Shane’s dad is a fire captain (Bruce Greenwood) and the boy’s extended family is a group of well-meaning misfit firefighters at the Dogpatch Station. They're in constant competition with their rival fire station and the city manager (Steven Culp) is warning the Dogpatch Station that they will soon be closing down. On top of it all there are lots of mysterious fires breaking out around Dogpatch. Can Rexxx help save the day? Hutcherson is an amiable child star. After his recent dramatic role in Bridge to Terabithia and as the older brother in Zathura it's clear he's got a long career ahead of him. He comes across as clever and sensible while the world around him is often going haywire. And the young actor has a superb connection with Greenwood as his distant father. Also doing a fine job is Culp as the city manager and Greenwood’s best friend. The last time these two veteran character actors starred together was in Thirteen Days. Teddy Sears (TV’s Ugly Betty) is particularly funny and charming as the fireman who keeps sliding on top of his fellow firefighters when going down the pole. But of course this is a dog's movie and the four Irish setters used to play the lead pup do some pretty cool stunts and reaction shots. Rexxx comes across as delightfully personable even though he smells bad. Director Todd Holland certainly knows how to direct family stories after winning three Emmys for Malcolm in the Middle. This father-son story centers on a recent tragedy and neither of them deal well with it instead becoming more and more distant from each other. Of course the dog’s intrusion brings them together but the storyline cleverly dances a fine line between the stereotypical genres. Firehouse Dog has both laugh-out-loud moments as well as warm fuzzy teary-eyed moments that feel very real. Of course some of the absurd facial expressions and Matrix-like moves by the dog are computer generated but it's not distracting--and not too obvious. The movie is fun for kids and parents to see together especially if they have a dog at home.
Consideration follows the making of a small independent film Home for Purim the debut feature from director Jay Berman (Guest) about a Jewish family's turbulent reunion set in the 1940s. When Internet-generated rumors begin circulating that three of the film's stars--faded luminary Marilyn Hack (Catherine O'Hara) journeyman actor and former hot dog pitchman Victor Allan Miller (Harry Shearer) and ingénue Callie Webb (Parker Posey)--may be considered for golden statuettes award fever infects the entire production. Unit publicist Corey Taft (John Michael Higgins) talent agent Morley Orfkin (Eugene Levy) and producer Whitney Taylor Brown (Jennifer Coolidge) are all primed to milk this thing for as long as they can. Even Hollywood Now TV anchors Chuck Porter (Fred Willard) and Cindy Martin (Jane Lynch) pick up the buzz. As the hopeful Purim team careens toward the end of production and the upcoming award season tenuous relationships and brittle dreams play out in unexpected ways. The gang from Waiting for Guffman Best in Show and A Mighty Wind are all back and raring to go. Each actor once again comes up with their own unique character quirks and personalities--some of course more outrageous than others. Stand-outs in that department include Higgins as the uptight militaristic publicist Corey; Willard as the bombastic TV host with a “faux” Mohawk with the plastic Lynch smiling sweetly--and completely insincerely—by his side; and Coolidge as yet another dumb hat-wearing push-up bra-strapping blonde who delivers some of the funnier lines in the movie. But the real surprise is O'Hara as Marilyn the veteran actress who has all but given up on the dream of making it big—until she gets caught up in all the excitement and starts to believe again. It's actually more than a little heartbreaking to watch as O'Hara provides an emotional core amidst the sea of cut-ups. For Your Consideration might be director/writer Guest’s most introspective production to date. Done more as a straightforward film than a mockumentary this time Guest and co-writer Eugene Levy obviously felt it was time to make fun of the one thing they know a whole lot about. No dog shows small-town community theater or folk singing in this one. Yet in turning their satirical eye on themselves Guest Levy and the whole improvisational cast have created something that may hit a little too close to home and in doing so loses some of that hysterical exaggeration we’ve come to expect from their movies. Don't get me wrong its still hilarious much of the time but it's not quite as laugh-out-loud funny as say watching a panicked woman desperately trying to find her dog's favorite toy or an upbeat folk singer talk about her past as a porn star. While its subtle approach may disappoint some fans For Your Consideration is still a worthy—and somewhat refreshing—change of pace for the Guest crew.
Last we heard in last year’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman Madea (Tyler Perry) was solving social cultural and familial problems. What a busy lady! Well she’s done gone and done it again after a whole new crop of problems pop up that need fixing. This time the conflicts revolve primarily around two sisters Vanessa (Lisa Arrindell Anderson) and Lisa (Rochelle Aytes) both of whom are wary of their financial-minded mother Victoria (Lynn Whitfield). Vanessa is deathly afraid to love again after her husband left her and two kids and fears she might’ve met Mr. Right in the form of a bus driver (Boris Kodjoe). Meanwhile Lisa is in a physically abusive relationship with Carlos (Blair Underwood) “Atlanta’s most eligible bachelor ” but is afraid to leave him. Madea the antithesis of gold-digging Victoria solves these and many more problems as the family reunion nears. After Mad Black Woman’s surprise box office take last year bigger names were less reluctant to sign on. Accordingly the new actors in Reunion are very solid—borderline stellar collectively. The lone exception is Perry as Madea (as well as a few other characters) whose over-the-topness although expected reduces the air of professionalism from the rest. Underwood is so damn good at being so damn bad as the abusive fiancée Carlos while Whitfield matches him chill for chill in a very icy performance. The relative unknowns/newcomers are the most pleasant surprises however. Aytes has breathtaking beauty that would normally overshadow acting but not here. Anderson whose last film was ‘95’s Clockers is equally beautiful and evocative as a single mother torn. And for the female eyes there’s Kodjoe whom girls will likely fall for even more when they learn he can actually act. Perry wears many hats in Family Reunion: writer director producer star--and oh yeah he also wrote the popular stage production from which the film is adapted. Perhaps Perry’s workaholic attitude contributes to the film’s thematic overkill. There are a number of kinks in the film’s completely uneven story and the way it is told but perhaps the biggest problem stems from the fact that it still feels like a stage play. Sometimes that’s a plus for a film but it’s hard to think it was intended. This feeling is elicited by the sum of the story’s parts. Perry will be in one scene telling the tale of a beleaguered battered woman amid a linear and conventional storyline and in the next scene become Madea in her cartoonish and campy getup dishing out her tough love techniques. No doubt Reunion is an enjoyable play--only if you agree with Perry’s comedic remedies for serious issues.
Helen McCarter (Kimberly Elise) thought she had the perfect life with lawyer husband Charles (Steve Harris): a big house lots of creature comforts and a stable--albeit staid--marriage. But Helen's world shatters when Charles tells her on the eve of their 18th wedding anniversary that he wants a divorce and literally kicks her out of their spacious mansion to make room for another woman. Devastated she runs to her beloved pot-smokin' gun-totin' grandmother Madea (Tyler Perry) who lets Helen know she's a proud beautiful black woman who nonetheless should whoop the bastard's ass. As hurt as she is Helen really just wants to pick up the pieces and move on if she can. She finds guidance and empowerment from her family and friends including new friend Orlando (Shemar Moore) a drop-dead gorgeous construction worker whose sweet and sincere ways more than help Helen get through her pain. And he cooks too. Really there's no contest.
The main cast members aptly portray their roles formulaic as they are. Kimberly Elise (The Manchurian Candidate) as the grievously wronged wife has the toughest job trying to convey all the crazy mixed-up feelings Helen has for the ex-husband while trying to jumpstart her life. Steve Harris (TV's The Practice) as the callous husband and Shemar Moore (TV's The Young and the Restless) as the too-good-to-be-true suitor represent the two opposites sides of the coin. Even Cicely Tyson makes an appearance as Helen's invalid mother who seems just a little too healthy to be in a nursing home. But it's Tyler Perry who turns out to be the true mad black woman. The film comes alive when he's onscreen either playing the outrageous Madea--complete with wig makeup and padding--or Madea's brother Joe a lecherous old coot. Perry even gets to play it straight as Helen's kindly cousin Brian who has a junkie for a wife (played by Tamara Taylor with the usual vacant twitchy neediness). It would have been a long hour and a half without him.
Perry obviously writes from the heart having struggled through his younger years to become a well-known playwright. And with music video director Darren R. Grant at the helm Diary of a Mad Black Woman has all the best intentions. It's certainly a buoyant portrait of African-American life and culture that also speaks to anyone who has had to grapple with betrayal and hurt at the hands of those they love. But the stage-trained Perry somehow misses the subtleties of writing for film. Diary doesn't know what kind of genre it wants to be jumping from raucous comedy á la Big Momma's House to mind-numbing drama á la Waiting to Exhale. The characters don't have any complexities and are drawn very black or white. It also takes an awfully long time for our heroine to figure out what direction she's going to take when we could tell her in the first 30 minutes as to whom she should end up with. In the meantime we must endure several melodramatic set pieces filled with elaborate speeches about revenge love relationships redemption religion and all that which are meant to hit us hard with their poignancy. Perry might consider keeping the highfalutin writing for the stage and think about an acting career in film.
A pathetic shell of a man shy milquetoast Willard Stiles (Crispin Glover) leads a lonely life caring for his dying mother in their dirty and decrepit old mansion where his late father's portrait (of Bruce Davison Willard in the 1971 original) hangs in gloomy watch over his urn of ashes no lights are ever on and rats are overrunning the basement. He's got a miserable desk job working for the cruel man who took over Willard's family business and who gives him nothing but grief day in and day out. When his mother orders Willard (whom she calls "Clark" as she hates his given name) to kill the rats breeding downstairs he not only can't bring himself to do it he goes so far as to make pets of them. Socrates gets favored-rat status inspiring resentment in Ben a huge black rat that Willard requently and unceremoniously throws into the basement by its thick tail. But befriending them doesn't end there; when Willard discovers that he can psychically command his new--and quickly multiplying--friends to do things like "tear it up " he employs this four-legged army to exact revenge upon his enemies. Willard's control is short-lived however and when jealous Ben takes charge of the rat pack nothing can stop the roiling hordes from "tearing up" whatever--and whoever--they want.
Crispin Glover (The River's Edge Back to the Future) was born to play seething manic Willard. Sadly Glover is one of Hollywood's most underrated actors no doubt because he chooses off-putting movies and characters like these that are devastatingly funny pitiable and abhorrent all at once. Here he delivers an ace performance as a troubled young man who gradually slips down the slope of madness into utter dementia. Ultimately Willard is as awful as anyone else yet the gut-wrenching emotional roller-coaster ride Glover takes us on creates a weird empathy for this antihero as his snarling features twist from doubt to anger to fear to sadness in the blink of an eye. R. Lee Ermey is a monster as Willard's boss Frank Martin; Jackie Burroughs as Willard's ghastly revolting mother is given some of the movie's funniest lines; and Socrates and Ben (rat? CGI? Chinchilla?) bring it home.
Written and directed by Glen Morgan (screenwriter Final Destination X-Files) Willard is a fascinating character study made even more so by its subtext of betrayal. The term "rat" can be used to describe one who betrays and everyone in this movie is a "rat " so to speak: Willard's family is betrayed; Willard's parents betray him; Willard betrays his animal friends; Willard is betrayed. The only non-"rats" are in fact the furred-and-whiskered ones who repulsive as they may be are loyal until given reason not to be. The production values and editing are outstanding the script is tight some of the lines are laugh-out-loud funny and the blacker-than-black humor will appeal to the sort of people who won't mind watching a kitty cat meet its demise to Michael Jackson's schmaltzy "Ben." That said animal lovers beware: Even though you know it's not real Willard contains some horrifying scenes. Still despite the vile turns the movie takes you have to hand it to Morgan who is unafraid nay eager to go there. You on the other hand may not be so willing.