Paramount via Everett Collection
A quarter of the way into Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit's far-too-long runtime, the titular hero takes note of a war-time portait in his adversary Viktor Cherevin's office. "Napoleon," Ryan says, proudly identifying the subject of the painting. "Ah," the nefarious Cherevin smiles. "I see you know your history." You'd think we'd get a bit more academic sophistication in a film directed by Kenneth Branagh... hell, in a line delivered by Kenneth Branagh. But this is par for the course in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit's script. And even more problematic, it's the thing that sticks with me most only a few days after seeing the movie. Well, that and the fact that Chris Pine and Keira Knightley make for the most compatibly attractive onscreen couple I have ever seen. Aside from these standout elements, the film dissolves into a 105-minute (jeez, it feels twice that) blur of running, driving, choking, shooting, and the like.
But it's not a painful jaunt all the while, and this is thanks almost entirely to Pine. An actor who we remember popping up in early Lindsay Lohan movies and thinking little of, Pine has earned his place at the center of franchises like Star Trek and, this weekend's box office intake permitting, Jack Ryan. He maintains character and personality in the movie's heightened scenes of "the first kill" and pulling the long con on Cherevin. With a better, smarter script, Pine could thrive in an action hero role like Ryan, but here he's only left to occasionally cut through a staunch layer of boredom.
Paramount via Everett Collection
The other winning factor of Jack Ryan is in its female lead: Knightley and her character Dr. Cathy Mullins. Another pervasive charmer, Knightley manages to inject a wealth of vitality into the movie at the points most desperate for some flavor — so much so that we're not simply thrilled, but relieved when she shows up unexpectedly to tag along with boyfriend Jack on his mission to... to... well, it's something to do with stopping terrorism. Trust me, you'll forget the specifics as soon as you leave the theater, if not sooner. But the most impressive part is that Shadow Recruit actually gives Knightley something to do as Mullins. She doesn't just wait around and lament the life choices of her danger-prone boyfriend, she gets in on the action. And we're glad for it. Without her, it'd just be Pine. And as much as we like him, he needs somebody else with a personality to play off (sorry, Kevin Costner, but you're not exactly playing your A Game here).
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In short, there's almost nothing to say about Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, which in itself says a lot — it's dull, it's slow, and it's got two stars who deserve a lot better than the material they're dealt. Aw hell, maybe the sequel (yeah, we've come out of denial... it's gonna happen) will up the ante on the script, and not mistake knowing who Napoleon is for being a history expert.
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What do Randy Newman, Heart, Public Enemy, Rush, Donna Summer, and Albert King have in common? (This is not the set-up for a terrible joke, promise). Aside from all being decidedly un-rock and roll (with the exception of Rush), they are the inductees for the 2013 class of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers. And while they may not be as traditionally rockin' as one might expect, they are certainly music industry veterans worth celebrating—the last two, Summer and King, posthumously.
This year's inductees seem well-aware of how un-traditional their induction is for a hall that recognizes rock and roll music, but with the blurring of genres and the loose definition of "rock and roll" as an entity, they also understand their own importance to music in general. While speaking to Rolling Stone, Ann Wilson of Heart explained it thusly: "Some people have an idea of what the shape of rock & roll is supposed to look like ... We're not really it. Personally, that's why I think it's taken quite a while ... We're always traveling and out there doing it. It can start to feel like you're a tree falling in the forest, but nobody notices. So this kind of acknowledgement is really sweet."
That said, their roles in the world of music are nothing to poo-poo. Albert King, an iconic blues guitarist, passed away in 1992, was considered one of the "Four Kings of Blues Guitar," forever defining a style of music born and raised in the United States.
Summer, a five-time Grammy Award winner, was also the first artist to have three consecutive double albums reach number one on the United States Billboard chart, and also charted four number-one singles in the United States within a 13-month period. And she managed to do all that while maintaining a fabulous image and being one of the queens of the disco era in the late 70s.
If you've watched a movie in the last 40 years, you've probably heard the music of Randy Newman. Having penned iconic songs from Toy Story, Monsters, Inc, Pleasantville, Seabiscuit , he also had a steady and impressive career in songwriting since he was 17 years old. Newman is also no slouch in the awards departmentL he' been nominated for an astounding 20 Academy Awards and has won twice. He also has three Emmys, five Grammy Awards, and the Governor's Award from the Recording Academy (the people that host the Grammy Awards).
For Public Enemy, their inclusion is also historic, as they are only the fourth hip-hop act to be inducted. (Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five were inducted in 2007, Run-D.M.C. in 2009 and the Beastie Boys in 2012). There's more to the group than simply being a jump-off for Flavor Flav's ridiculous catchphrases: the group have frequently pushed the limits with their politically-charged lyrics in their 30 years together.
Probably the most rock-related of the inductees, both Heart and Rush have found lots of success in Canada, and made headway into the United States in the 70s and 80s, having sold over 30 and 40 million albums, respectively.
This year's induction ceremony will be held on April 18th, 2013 at the Nokia Theater and broadcast on HBO May 18th.
Are you surprised or happy about this year's nominees? Let us know in the comments!
[Photo Credit: Jack Barron/Rex USA]
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While recent animated blockbusters have aimed to viewers of all ages starting with fantastical concepts and breathtaking visuals but tackling complex emotional issues along the way Ice Age: Continental Drift is crafted especially for the wee ones — and it works. Venturing back to prehistoric times once again the fourth Ice Age film paints broad strokes on the theme of familial relationships throwing in plenty of physical comedy along the way. The movie isn't that far off from one of the many Land Before Time direct-to-video sequels: not particularly innovative or necessary but harmless thrilling fun for anyone with a sense of humor. Unless they have a particular distaste for wooly mammoths the kids will love it.
Ice Age: Continental Drift continues to snowball its cartoon roster bringing back the original film's trio (Ray Romano as Manny the Mammoth Denis Leary as Diego the Sabertooth Tiger and John Leguizamo as Sid the Sloth) new faces acquired over the course of the franchise (Queen Latifah as Manny's wife Ellie) and a handful of new characters to spice things up everyone from Nicki Minaj as Manny's daughter Steffie to Wanda Sykes as Sid's wily grandma. The whole gang is living a pleasant existence as a herd with Manny's biggest problem being playing overbearing dad to the rebellious daughter. Teen mammoths they always want to go out and play by the waterfall! Whippersnappers.
The main thrust of the film comes when Scratch the Rat (whose silent comedy routines in the vein of Tex Avery/WB cartoons continue to be the series highlight) accidentally cracks the singular continent Pangea into the world we know today. Manny Diego and Sid find themselves stranded on an iceberg once again forced on a road trip journey of survival. The rest of the herd embarks to meet them giving Steffie time to realize the true meaning of friendship with help from her mole pal Louis (Josh Gad).
The ham-handed lessons may drag for those who've passed Kindergarten but Ice Age: Continental Drift is a lot of fun when the main gang crosses paths with a group of villainous pirates. (Back then monkeys rabbits and seals were hitting the high seas together pillaging via boat-shaped icebergs. Obviously.) Quickly Ice Age becomes an old school pirate adventure complete with maritime navigation buried treasure and sword fights. Gut (Peter Dinklage) an evil ape with a deadly... fingernail leads the evil-doers who pose an entertaining threat for the familiar bunch. Jennifer Lopez pops by as Gut's second-in-command Shira the White Tiger and the film's two cats have a chase scene that should rouse even the most apathetic adults. Hearing Dinklage (of Game of Thrones fame) belt out a pirate shanty may be worth the price of admission alone.
With solid action (that doesn't need the 3D addition) cartoony animation and gags out the wazoo Ice Age: Continental Drift is entertainment to enjoy with the whole family. Revelatory? Not quite. Until we get a feature length silent film of Scratch's acorn pursuit we may never see a "classic" Ice Age film but Continental Drift keeps it together long enough to tell a simple story with delightful flare that should hold attention spans of any length. Massive amounts of sugar not even required.
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox]