Actors Alec Baldwin and Jason Alexander have teamed up to shoot a series of video ads urging New York politicians to stomp out corruption and pass new campaign finance reform laws. The stars have called on Governor Andrew Cuomo and members of the Senate to pass a new bill that would limit the influence of big money donors and force officials to rely on public financing to fund their election campaigns.
Encouraging legislators in the capital of Albany to take action, Baldwin says, "It's time to stop talking about cleaning up Albany, and start doing it. Pass Fair Elections for New York, and don't come home without it."
And, in his clip, former Seinfeld star Alexander adds, "I remember that old ad campaign, 'I Love NY'. Well, I did, and I do. And that's why I'm hoping Albany will get its act together and pass comprehensive campaign finance reform including small donor public financing. It will set the trend for the whole country, which is exactly what New York should be doing. Then we can all say, 'We will always love New York'."
Actresses Kathleen Turner and former Law & Order: Criminal Intent star Kathryn Erbe have also thrown their support behind the Fair Elections for New York Campaign.
Late rocker Levon Helm is to receive a permanent memorial in his adopted New York as officials move forward with plans to rename the road to Woodstock in his honour. The Band legend passed away last year (12) at the age of 71 after a battle with cancer, and local authorities plan to remember him with a special tribute.
Politicians have drafted legislation to rename a road in Woodstock, New York, where Helm lived, worked and held his famous Midnight Rambles gigs.
According to the plans, Route 375 will be given the new title of Levon Helm Memorial Boulevard and the proposal is expected to be given the green light by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Senator John Bonacic, who sponsored the bill, tells the New York Daily News, "(Helm) deserves this recognition... He's a national prominent artist and musician. He's touched many lives through his music."
Sift through comments on franchise sequel announcements and you'll find many crying afoul to Hollywood's insistence of resurfacing every last brand in their bank of titles. The desire for original content is reasonable but occasionally a cinematic follow-up does have the potential to be rich and rewarding. Revisiting characters who've seen time pass in their own lives is worthy of exploration — Peter Bogdanovich's Texasville Richard Linklater's Before Sunset and even A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas prove that theory. American Reunion reaches for that same dramatic arc reentering the lives of its core cast eight years after American Wedding. But instead of mixing comedy with any weighty issues the movie only tickles the nostalgia bone (and without f**king one pie in the process) — a hurdle that keeps American Reunion from being nearly as riotous as the original.
Life hits a wall for Jim (Jason Biggs) in 2012. He's a happily married man a father and a moderately successful employee of a faceless company. But after catching his wife Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) enjoying the company of a shower head it dawns on Jim that he's in need of a shake-up. Perfect timing: Jim packs up the family and heads to his hometown for his 13th high school reunion (sure why not) where he reunites with the old gang: Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) currently whipped into submission by his girlfriend Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) back from a trip around the world Oz (Chris Klein) now a superstar sportscaster fresh off a celebrity dance show stint and Steve Stifler (Seann William Scott) a law firm temp who continues to turn women into his own personal squeeze toys. The high school buddies devolve quickly into their old habits alcoholic antics and potty-mouthed rants by the red solo cupful. Good fun for Jim no fun for Michelle.
Instead of digging deep into its well-founded characters (which I swear is allowed in a raunchy R-rated comedy) American Reunion sticks to the familiar goofball scenarios of its predecessors. Which is passable because the core group who stuck through all three movies — Biggs Nicholas Thomas and Scott — make poop-infused pranks and slapstick shtick like a scene in which Jim and co. must get a drunken naked eighteen-year-old back into her parents' house without looking like total creepsters highly entertaining. Scott once again proves him an underused comedic talent making Stifler one of the few characters who can rattle off colorful cuss words while showing a glimmer of humanity. Same goes for Eugene Levy as Jim's Dad who finds his role beefed up now that he's once again single. Grieving for years over his wife's death Jim helps his advice-dealing pop hit the dating scene and Levy spins gold out of the silliest of situations.
The problem with American Reunion is everyone else. Chris Klein never clicks with the rest of the group (that's what he gets for skipping out on Jim's wedding) while the rest of the ensemble feel ham-fisted for cameo purposes rather than complimenting the storyline. Tara Reid and Mena Suvari return to the franchise to stand around and react to the ineptitude of their male counterparts. Natasha Lyonne is in and out faster than Jim's first time. Other brief character appearances are like bigfoot sightings. The idea of bringing the entire cast of the original back for more seems perfect but without proper pacing from writers/directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay) there's never a moment to enjoy it.
American Reunion is a flaccid entry servicing fans while coming through with enough laugh out loud moments to make one scream (In one scene Jim takes a page out of Michael Fassbender's Shame that will elicit audible reactions). If these were fresh characters we'd brush it off — but at the film's core is a lovable familiar bunch of knuckleheads that can't be ignored. And if Stifler wants to party you party.
The first five minutes of The Change-Up—a horrifying look into the world of late-night baby care complete with one of the more grotesque poop-to-face shots ever captured on film—sums up the movie's bait-and-switch. In most comedies this scene would be the first step towards a descent into hell that only Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Adam Sandler are capable of realizing. In The Change-Up it's a sequence that sets the bar as low as artistically possible so stars Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds can obliterate expectations with equally raunchy shocking and hilarious comedic stylings. Simply put The Change-Up is the funniest movie of the year.
Bateman plays Dave Lockwood a run-of-the-mill lawyer who works too hard juggles his parenting duties and struggles to find time to tell his wife he loves her. Dave's best friend Mitch (Reynolds) couldn't be more of the opposite—sleeping all day and spending his conscious hours wooing sexual partners while stoned out of his mind. The two are polar opposites making them the perfect candidates for a little bit of switcheroo magic. One particularly devastating night of alcohol and lamenting life's woes ends with the duo taking a leak into a magical fountain (go with it). Fate of course intervenes and when Dave and Mitch wake up they find themselves trapped in the one another's bodies.
There's no denying The Change-Up follows the Freaky Friday formula—but that's not a fault. The logic is already established giving Bateman Reynolds and director David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers) freedom to jump right into the crass humor hook. Bateman who's becoming a go-to straight man in Hollywood finds a refreshing opportunity in inhabiting Reynold's Mitch. The character's lack of self-censorship opens the floodgates for Bateman to poetically surface some of the English language's more horrendous sentences. A slang dictionary may be required to understand what bizarre body part synonyms are being dropped at rapid pace in this movie. Whether you comprehended them or not when they come out of Bateman's mouth they're priceless.
Same goes for Reynolds who escapes the box of fast-talking womanizer to play the uncomfortable family man. Judging an actor's versatility on a scene in which he's unwillingly placed at the center of a "lorno" (read: low-budget soft core pornography) may seem twisted but Reynolds sells it and makes it perfectly agonizing. Even obvious scenarios like "uh oh Dave's going to have to cheat on his wife in Mitch's body!" are twisted once twice three times over to pull the rug from under you.
The biggest surprise of The Change-Up is the movie's heart. Pummeling an audience with jokes is one thing but to sell genuine relationships underneath it makes it satisfying. The wavering friendship between the two lead knuckleheads is tangible and keeps an impossible plot device grounded while Leslie Mann (Knocked Up Funny People) as Dave's wife Jamie has her fair share of tender moments (as well as devilish laughs—there's a reason her husband Judd Apatow keeps casting her). In a movie that's constructed by textbook rules to have an ending that resonates with any sort of emotion is as surprising as watching a grown man toss a baby down next to a set of steak knives. Which coincidentally also happens in the movie.
In today's world where anything goes it's hard to whip up slapstick and one-liners that feel edgy and that leave your jaw on the floor. That's how The Change-Up hits—and it hits hard.
The Mean Girls star has followed in the footsteps of straight celebrities like reality TV star Kim Kardashian and rocker Pete Wentz and stepped in front of the camera to shoot a new advert for the viral photo project to end bullying.
The star's decision to join the campaign is particularly timely - Governor Andrew Cuomo made history on Friday (24Jun11) after signing a bill to legalise gay unions in New York.
And Lohan couldn't be more thrilled.
After the announcement, she took to her Twitter.com and wrote, "Proud to be FROM NY! Nice work to Gov. Andrew Cuomo"
Governor Andrew Cuomo made history on Friday (24Jun11) after signing a bill to legalise gay unions in New York, and within minutes of the news breaking, a host of celebrities were taking to Twitter.com to share their delight.
Openly gay actor Harris wrote, "It PASSED! Marriage equality in NY!! Yes!! Progress!! Thank you everyone who worked so hard on this!! A historic night!"
Gaga, a New York native and gay rights activist, posted a picture of herself and pals with their arms raised in celebration, adding: "I can't stop crying. We did it kids... The revolution is ours to fight for love, justice+equality. Rejoice NY, and propose. We did it!!!"
Lohan 'tweeted': "Proud to be from NY!" while Cyndi Lauper echoed the sentiment in a statement reading: "I have never been prouder to be a lifelong New Yorker than I am today with the passage of marriage equality."
Lesbian comedienne Ellen DeGeneres told her Twitter followers, "I'm thrilled about the news from NY. Marriage equality! Every day we get a little closer. What an amazing feeling," while gay singer Ricky Martin writes, "Time to celebrate!!! Marriage Equality for NYers! It's about... love!"
Singer Pink added, "Congratulations!!!!!!!!! About time!" and John Legend writes, "Happy that New York passed marriage equality tonight. A victory for human rights. Progress."
New York joins Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and Washington, D.C., where same-sex marriages are allowed. Gay weddings are expected to start in New York within 30 days.
Take Me Home Tonight directed by Michael Dowse is a comedy about the ‘80s but its futility is timeless: In just about any decade it would be considered generic and unfunny. Set in 1988 it stars the likable and witty Topher Grace as Matt a recent MIT grad with a crippling case of post-college career-indecision. Working as a lowly clerk at a video store he has a chance encounter with his high-school crush Tori (Teresa Palmer) who to his (and our) surprise actually displays faint interest in him. But Matt fails to pull the trigger and so he resolves to make up for his lack of cojones when he sees her later that evening at a party hosted by the preppy douchebag boyfriend (Chris Pratt) of his twin sister Wendy (Anna Faris).
This sets the stage for an eventual romantic union between Matt and Tori; until then there is insecurity to overcome and wacky adventures to be had. Many of the latter stem from the increasingly unhinged behavior of Matt’s best friend Barry (Dan Fogler). The film turns on a bag of cocaine Barry finds in the glove compartment of a Mercedes stolen from the dealership that fired him earlier in the day. Cocaine is renowned for its ability to induce euphoria in even the most mundane of settings but it has arguably the opposite effect on Take Me Home Tonight. I consider Fogler to be a legitimately funny guy but he has the irritating tendency to compensate for underwritten material by wildly overacting. Throw in a bag of blow and that tendency is amplified ten-fold.
A happy standout in the film is Palmer who brings a liveliness and dignity to the stereotypical rom-com role of the Otherworldly Hottie Who Inexplicably Falls for the Stammering Schlub. (It also helps that she's the only member of the main cast who is young enough to realistically portray a recent college graduate.) She is one of the more talented young Australian exports to arrive on our shores in quite some time and has the potential to become a saucier version of fellow Aussie Nicole Kidman. That is if she finds material better than Take Me Home Tonight.
Top Story: Angelina and Billy Bob Make It Official
Time to throw away those blood-filled amulets. Yes, the passionate but brief marriage between Oscar-winning Angelina Jolie, 27, and Billy Bob Thornton, 47, is officially a done deal. Reuters reports court documents were filed Tuesday by Jolie on the grounds of "irreconcilable differences" and uncontested. It was Thornton's fifth marriage and Jolie's second. Jolie's lawyers told Reuters the couple had reached an agreement over support and visitation rights for their adopted Cambodian son Maddox but she declined to reveal details.
Garner Takes a Break
In coping with her recent split with husband Scott Foley, Alias star Jennifer Garner took a much-needed hiatus in Hawaii and also visited her parents in West Virginia. In an interview to air Thursday on Access Hollywood, The Associated Press reports Garner told Pat O'Brien, "I have such great girlfriends, and I was able to go away with them to Hawaii for almost a week and I went home to my parents in West Virginia for a week, so I had a nice time away."
Harrison Ford Gets a Walk of Fame Star…Again
Harrison Ford will get a star on the famed Hollywood Walk of Fame Friday, even though he thought he had already received one. It turns out the other star belongs to a silent screen actor of the same name, who got the star in 1960. Ford was selected in 1984 to get a star but never responded. "Sometimes that happens with the nominations,'' Ana Martinez-Holler of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce told City News. "They'll change publicists, they'll change management, and aren't aware they had already been approved.'' The mistake came when Ford took the word of someone who informed him--incorrectly--that the other Ford's star was his, Martinez-Holler said. Whew. Glad they got it all straightened out.
Reeves Set to Make Millions Off Matrix Sequels
Exactly how much will Matrix star Keanu Reeves be making with the two Matrix sequels The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions? Good question. Variety reports the intricate back-end deal Reeves made in 1999 when he agreed to do the sequels--which included not only box office sales but DVD, video game, TV sales and ancillaries--could net the actor anywhere from $90 million to near $200 million, depending on the final estimates. His friends must be saying, "Dinner's on Keanu!"
More on Jackson's Legal Woes
The latest suit to enter the courtroom against Michael Jackson could be the singer's most costly, as details of his personal life may be revealed. Reuters reports a lawsuit brought by Jackson's former financial advisor, Myung-Ho Lee, and his firm Union Finance and Investment Corp., claims the onetime King of Pop is broke, having squandered his fortune in "bizarre" ways while egged on by a string of "charlatans." They are seeking $12 million for alleged breach of contract and fraud. Jackson has counter-sued, claiming that his trusted advisor--whom he called "Lawyer Lee"--and Union Finance stole millions from him and destroyed records to cover up their misdeeds, Reuters reports.
P. Diddy Joins Fight Against NY Drug Law
Sean "P. Diddy" Combs stood up with rap mogul Russell Simmons and U.S. housing secretary Andrew Cuomo to call for a repeal of New York's strict Rockefeller drug laws, AP reports. The laws, passed in the 1970s, can subject first-time offenders to 15 years to life in prison if convicted of selling as little as 2 ounces or possessing as little as 4 ounces of a controlled substance. Gov. George Pataki and the state Legislature have been unable to agree on how to reform or repeal them, AP reports.
Kelly Will Join Ozzy Onstage
Kelly Osbourne will team up with dad Ozzy later this year on a U.K. concert tour, Ozzy's first British gig in eight years, AP reports. "I couldn't be happier about doing my own dates in the UK and having Kelly on the bill with me," Ozzy said on the Web Site, www.ozzynet.com. "I decided that this would be a great opportunity to bring my full stage show over to rock the UK."
Role Call: Jovovich's Ultraviolet
Milla Jovovich has signed with Screen Gems to reprise her role in the Resident Evil sequel as well as to play the title character in Ultraviolet, a futuristic vampire tale. Variety reports the film is about a tough woman who finds herself the protector of a 9-year-old boy targeted for death. Backdrop is a civil war in the late 21st century between humans and a subculture turned into vampires.