"I was very lonely. I would find cats in the street and take them with me. I raised a lot of cats in that period." Actress Penelope Cruz befriended local stray cats when she first moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in Hollywood.
Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is one of the most successful of all-time with the first three films earning a global total of $2.7 billion. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides opened in 4,155 theaters earning $90.1 million for the weekend after $4.7 million in midnight screenings. The first Pirates movie to be released in IMAX and 3-D, On Stranger Tides follows in the very large footsteps of its predecessors and shattered IMAX’s global record with $16.7 million in 394 theaters and a whopping $61,000 per screen. On Stranger Tides posted the biggest international debut of all-time with $256.3 million and the 4th biggest global opening of all-time with $346.4 million. Johnny Depp proves the continued popularity of his iconic Capt. Jack Sparrow character while Penelope Cruz clearly added to the global appeal of this important franchise.
Strolling down the aisle in second place with $21 million is the Judd Apatow produced female-driven comedy Bridesmaids from Universal. As one of the strongest word-of-mouth movies released this year, the R-rated and raunchy sensibility of the film boosted it to first place in the mid-week box office top 10. Starring Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph, the film’s appeal to both men and women looking for edgy summer fun at the multi-plex was realized in a mere 20% second weekend drop and a domestic total to date of $59.5 million.
Paramount’s Thor has been a box office God having topped the chart for its first two weekends and thus proving the continued drawing power of super heroes in the summer. Boasting a terrific ensemble cast and director Kenneth Branagh known more for his Shakespearean endeavors at the helm, this above average effort has generated solid buzz among audiences and a 3rd weekend gross of $15.5 million and domestic total of $145.4 million.
Universal’s Fast Five refuses to leave the top 5 and has been in the driver’s seat for a month building on continued support from audiences that cannot get enough of this hyper-kinetic popcorn epic. An impressive fourth place 4th weekend finish with $10.6 million, the film is making a fast and furious run toward the $200 million mark at the domestic box office.
The very popular and angry birds of Fox’s Rio did battle with Sony’s Priest to take 5th place with a gross of $4.65 million. Rio enters its 6th weekend of release having dominated the family film marketplace since its debut while Priest is movie catnip for the fanboys coming in just $50,000 behind Rio.
Last year’s comparable weekend saw the $70.8 million debut of Shrek Forever After and a solid 3rd weekend for Iron Man 2. However, this weekend’s top 5 led by Pirates gave us our 2nd consecutive up weekend at the nation’s theaters.
Weekend Box-Office Estimates
Top Movies - For Weekend of May 20, 2011
Movie Weekend Gross Total to Date
1 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (PG-13) $90.1M $90.1M
2 Bridesmaids (R) $21.1M $59.5M
3 Thor (PG-13) $15.5M $145.4M
4 Fast Five (PG-13) $10.6M $186.2M
5 Rio (G) $4.65M $131.6M
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
The prolific Woody Allen seems to never stop working. Over the last few years he's globe-trotted from location-specific shoots in London, Barcelona and Paris, but will now venture to Rome for his latest, an untitled offering that he'll direct from his own screenplay (as usual). Variety has just gotten the scoop on who'll be performing for the seasoned filmmaker, and the cast includes some Allen vets and some newcomers.
Alec Baldwin, who appeared in Allen's 1990 film Alice, has been cast alongside Penelope Cruz (who won an Oscar in 2008 for her work on the director's Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Jesse Eisenberg and Ellen Page. It's an eclectic cast, and though there are no plot details available, I think we can assume that Baldwin's character might make some moves on Cruz' while Eisenberg and Page will undoubtedly cozy up to one another.
If you can't wait for this helping of Woody Allen, sucks to be you, but you will be able to see his 2011 film Midnight In Paris, starring Marion Cotillard, Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and more, when it has its limited release on May 20th.
The Oscar-winning actress gave birth to the baby boy back in January (11) at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, but the Hollywood couple has remained coy about their new arrival and even refused to reveal the tot's name.
The Spanish stars have now been pictured out and about with the youngster for the first time since his birth.
The photograph, obtained by Us Weekly, shows Bardem cradling the infant in his arms while his wife walks beside him wearing a baby carrier across her chest.
Reports suggest they have named the baby Leo Encinas.
The Oscar winner tried to keep her cool on a sweltering hot Los Angeles day, wearing a figure-hugging purple dress and high heels.
Cruz's husband Javier Bardem was also at the ceremony as was the actress' Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Nine director Rob Marshall, who inducted her into the famous sidewalk.
Jimmy Kimmel welcomed Penelope Cruz last night and I have to say, the interview started off a little awkward. But then they started talking about music and apparently Cruz really likes karaoke. She also apparently likes rap and when you combine the two, she busted out a little Eminem and the result was fantastic. But not nearly as fantastic as she looks considering she popped out a baby two months ago.
Gilbert Gottfried apparently has some time on his hands and appeared as a little girl on Leno. Hope those tweets were worth it Gilbert!
Finally, Colin Quinn was a guest on Jimmy Fallon and it proves my point I've been thinking about for a while now: when Fallon has on his old (or new) SNL pals he just doesn't even care. He just starts joking and riffing. While it might not be the best interview, it's usually fairly entertaining and funny. I approve.
The Desperate Housewives star, 35, was first linked to singer Eduardo Cruz, 25, in December (10) when they were spotted together at Longoria's Los Angeles home.
Her representative shot down speculation they were dating, insisting the Latin stars were simply "friends", but the couple has now been snapped sealing its romance with a kiss while on vacation at the weekend (05-06Feb11).
A source tells UsMagazine.com, "They have been on a few dates in L.A. They're having fun together, but he is young - he knows Eva is just out of a long-term relationship and he's not really looking for anything too serious."
It's the TV beauty's first relationship since splitting from basketball star Tony Parker in November (10). Their divorce was finalised in January (11).
Comic book slut Ryan Reynolds is about to get an unlikely co-star in Zach Galifianakis. The lovable laugh man is in talks to co-star with Hollywood's favorite hunk in R.I.P.D. - an adaptation of the Dark Horse comic book created by Peter Lenkov, who is currently running CBS' Hawaii 5-0.
The film centers on the revenge sought by the recently murdered policeman Nick Cruz (Reynolds) and his subsequent patrol of the supernatural underworld. Galifianakis would play another dead police officer who partners with Cruz. Robert Schwentke (RED) will direct from a script by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi.
The thought of a Reynolds-Galifianakis partnership is tantalizing. Each could carry a comedy on their own; together, the film is sure to be riotous. And with a healthy dose of supernatural action/adeventure, R.I.P.D. could be a genre-bending smash hit. Universal Pictures is producing the picture with Neal Moritz and aims to shoot over the summer, when both stars have openings in their schedules.
Source: 24 Frames
Reports emerged late on Tuesday (25Jan11) suggesting the Spanish beauty had been admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles earlier this week (begs24Jan11) and gave birth on Tuesday.
But, according to Cruz's spokeswoman, the actors actually welcomed a son last week (ends23Jan11).
She says, "Both parents and baby are doing great."
No other details, including the tot's name, were revealed.
The child is the couple's first. They wed in a secret ceremony in July (10).