I know, that headline is trouble. You're always treading dangerous ground when you insist on defining what makes a good this or the right kind of that, as if there is no room for change or improvement when it comes to classic properties. Of course there is — Jason Segel's 2011 Muppet film approached the concept from an entirely different direction. It didn't hit all of its marks, but it prevailed overall in its conceit: make a movie not about Muppets, but about Muppet fandom. But Muppets Most Wanted, in absence of a clear mission statement and fueled largely by the monetary glimmers of the sequel game (the film's opening number admits this outright), has fewer marks readily available to hit. Landing in the ambiguity between the classic Muppet adventure formula and Segel's post-modern Henson appreciation party, Most Wanted feels like a failure on both counts. It doesn't know which kind of movie it wants to, or should, be. So it doesn't really be anything.
On the one hand, there's the half-cocked "get-the-band-back-together" through line, mimicking but not quite accomplishing the spirit of the 2011 picture. None of the Muppets are particularly likable or charming in this turn, and even fewer of them actually given anything to do. Kermit loses his s**t in the first act after a spat with Piggy and a barrage of insubordination from his troupe (provoked by the nefarious Dominic Badguy, Ricky Gervais), storms off in a huff, and gets swept up in a case of mistaken identity when his criminal doppelganger Constantine pulls the old switcheroo, landing Kermit in a Russian gulag. You'd think this would be a good opportunity for the second tier of Muppet favorites — Piggy, Fozzy, Gonzo, Scooter, Rowlf, et al — to go on a search and rescue... but save for a very brief sequence at the tail end of this achingly long film, none of the other Muppets are giving anything to do. They just hem and haw and perform the occasional "Indoor Running of the Bulls" while Dominic and Constantine scheme, rob banks, and bicker.
Meanwhile, Kermit has some fun in prison — a far more endearing plot that sees him befriending the merry convicts, organizing a penitentiary revue, and even winning the heart of the vicious warden Nadia (Tina Fey). If only we could spend more time with real Kermit and less time with fake Kermit and his second banana Gervais, an effectively boring pair.
On the other hand, though, there's the Muppet shtick that fans of The Great Muppet Caper and Muppet Treasure Island — and yes, The Muppet Show itself — will deem the movie's best material: CIA Agent Sam Eagle and Interpol Agent Jean Pierre Napoleon (Ty Burrell) hot on the trail of Constantine and Dominic. Here, we get a different type of Muppet movie entirely from what Segel and the A-plot in Most Wanted are opting: the old fashioned vaudeville act, with Sam standing as an independent entity from his googly-eyed brethren, on a goofy, musical prowl with Burrell that fuels the film with its best and most consistent chuckles. Their "Interrogation Song" number is outstanding, exemplifying the many talents of Flight of the Conchords' Bret McKenzie, who wrote all the music for this and the previous film.
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Unfortunately, Muppets Most Wanted isn't sure that it wants to be The Great Muppet Caper, beheld so stubbornly to its Segelian roots. There's a palpable compulsion to stick with this agonizingly self-aware, nostalgia-crazy, brimming-beacons-of-the-past-in-a-callous-today theme that doesn't work a fraction as well as it did in the 2011 film. Without a legitimate celebration of any of our favorite characters, how could it? With so much going on in this movie, and such a lengthy runtime at just under two hours, it's a sure sign of failure that we walk away feeling like we spent barely any time with the Muppets.
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The house that Mouse built, Disney, is on a bit of a rampage when it comes to its upcoming release slate. So much so that the company's cinematic arm has announced a bevy of release dates for some of its most-anticipated upcoming films. Mondays
But it's not all new news, either: some of the movies are completing a rousing rendition of the Release Date Shuffle. The films getting new wide dates are Pirates Of The Caribbean 5, with a new release date of July 10, 2015. The hotly-anticipated, Tina Fey-fronted The Muppets 2 will roll into theaters on March 21, 2014, and the what-the-heck-is-this-movie, no-seriously-what-is-it-all-about-project from Damon Lindelof and director Brad Bird titled 1952 got a new date of December 19, 2014 — just enough time for George Clooney to get acclimated to the 3D world in which this film will be shot.
Unfortunately for those looking for a more old-school Disney film experience, they'll have to wait a little bit longer. The Little Mermaid, purported to be the next film from the Disney vaults to get a 3D re-release ala The Lion King and Finding Nemo, has been removed from the schedule. It had been slated for a September 13, 2013 release.
Check out our full breakdown of the cinematic proceedings, below: The Muppets 2Release Date: March 21, 2014Film will star Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, and Tina Fey. It will be produced by Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman, with James Bobin at the helm. Returning to scripting duties is Nick Stoller alongside Bobin.
Captain America: The Winter SoldierRelease Date: April 14, 2014The Marvel feature will be available in 3D.Film will star Chris Evans. Directed by the brothers Anthony and Joe Russo, the story will pick up where The Avengers left off: with Steve Rogers struggling to accept the modern world and his place within it.
MaleficentRelease Date: July 2, 2014 (originally: March 14, 2014).Film stars Angelina Jolie in the title role, as well supporting players Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Miranda Richardson, Juno Temple and Lesley Manville. It will be released in 3D and is produced by Joe Roth, directed by Robert Stromberg, and written by Linda Woolverton.Film is said to be a bit of an origin story about the Disney villainess from the 1959 animated classic, Sleeping Beauty.
Guardians of the GalaxyRelease Date: August 1, 20143D film is a Marvel feature about a futuristic team of superheroes tasked with protecting the galaxy from danger, will be voiced by a cavalcade of characters, and directed by James Gunn.
1952Release Date: December 19, 2014The highly-secretive film will star George Clooney, with direction from Brad Bird, and a script/producer in Damon Lindelof.
Pirates of the Caribbean 5Release Date: July 10, 2015Film stars Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. It will be produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and written by Jeff Nathanson.
Looking forward to any of these films? Let us know in the comments!
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First thing's first: Magic Mike delivers on the eye candy. Club Xquisite the wildest male strip club in Tampa sports an ensemble of muscled men ready to flash their ridiculous moves in even more ridiculous dance numbers (this crew has never seen a pair of assless pants they didn't like). Bringing a few dollar bills to the movie is recommended — Magic Mike is shot up close and personal enough that flailing them about will come naturally.
But between the codpieces air humping and penis pumps Magic Mike tells a surprisingly relatable funny and poignant parable centered on a character all too familiar to anyone with an ounce of ambition. Mike (Channing Tatum) leads a triple life: By day he's a roof tiler; by night an exotic dancer; and in his dreams he's a furniture craftsman and entrepreneur. When Mike first crosses paths with Adam (Alex Pettyfer) his worries about the future are dispelled slipping right into mentor mode to show the 19-year-old the wonders of sex drugs and rock and roll. Adam's broke and without direction — the perfect state of being for a stripper-in-the-making. Mike's sales pitch is irresistible and when Adam unwillingly takes the stage for the first time he feels the rush of a dozen woman screaming groping and stuffing singles down his jock strap. There's no question: A stripper's life is a journey worth embarking on.
In his typical fashion director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic Erin Brockovich) defies conventions sticking with Mike's ups and downs rather than transforming Magic Mike into a Goodfellas-esque "newbie in over his head" story. Between playing protector to the mesmerized Adam and attempting to strike up an actual relationship with Adam's sister Brooke (Cody Horn) Mike finds himself for the first time looking inward. Does a job define a man? He's convinced it doesn't but as Adam loses himself to the profession becoming the Xquisite's cutthroat owner Dallas' (the wonderfully slimy Matthew McConaughey) right-hand man and parlaying the gig into more dangerous ventures Mike realizes breakdancing in thongs may be more poisonous to his dreams than he ever realized.
Exploitation Magic Mike is not. The film's dance sequences are sexy and sleek but only to clue the audience into the job's allure. Backstage is equally important; Soderbergh does an amazing job constructing the boy's club atmosphere that keeps Mike and Adam coming back. Lively characters like Ken (Matt Bomer) and Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello) say little but speak volumes in the background of every scene. They're palling around and when they finally do reach out to Adam to profess their friendship it makes perfect sense. For a guy without a family the dancers are a perfect replacement.
While the cast is stellar Tatum continues his streak of star-making performances in the role of Mike. Obviously the man can dance — and he blows any memories of Step Up into oblivion. Beyond that he's perfectly in tune with Soderbergh's naturalistic style cool on his feet with the comedy and devastatingly subtle in the drama. His rapport with Horn who is equally striking in her casual approach is sweet and real a constant reminder that even a guy who lap dances in a fireman costume for a living has feelings too. Soderbergh enhances each of his performers with spot on photography: His Tampa is gritty and yellow-tinged the interior of the club a safe haven from the blase nature of reality. Magic Mike carries a full package.
Magic Mike hits all the right notes of comedy and drama that's completely unexpected in the summer blockbuster surroundings. Come for the stripping stay for the high-caliber filmmaking. Magic Mike is one of the year's best.
It seems that while the big Hollywood donkeys got their rest after Day One of the Democratic National Convention, President Clinton had a little more partying to do. Especially since he was about to receive Tinseltown's biggest honor.
Yep, that's right -- after he wistfully practiced an acceptance speech with Kevin Spacey's Academy Award (and having Spacey take it away from him) during his famous "Clinton: The Final Days" video spoof, President Clinton finally received an "Oscar" for Best President at the Democratic Party's Welcoming Party Monday night.
The trophy, in true Hollywood fashion, was presented by California Gov. Gray Davis at Paramount Studios. Clinton, accompanied by wife Hillary and daughter Chelsea, joked, "I had Kevin Spacey's Oscar and he was ungracious enough to come and take it away from me just because he won it and I didn't.
"So now that I have one of my very own, I'll be able to lord it over him."
But the real question of the evening was not whether Gov. Davis was hoarding one of the missing Oscar statuettes all this time, but where the "star-studded" part of the evening was to commence. After all, the biggest stars on the red carpet (lined with 'Academy Award' statues, of course) were Jim Carrey (well, actually a pretender, complete with Ace Ventura hair and talking out of his butt) and Marilyn Monroe (ditto, but no butt-talking).
Where were all those high-profile Gore supporters, like TV's "West Wing" president, Martin Sheen, or Kevin Costner, or Dylan McDermott? Where was Enrique Iglesias?
Presidential Partyer Gary Busey By 9 p.m., much to the infuriation of all reporters, the biggest star on the scene was ... Gary Busey. Nonetheless, Busey drew such a desperate press frenzy (likely the largest of his career) that one journalist was asking, "Who is that? Is that God?"
By 9:30 p.m., with press cages bare and reporters sipping Coronas, hope of finding any famous face among the thousands faded quickly.
"My friend thinks she saw Jeff Bridges pull up in a car," one lady offers. We think we spot the skimpy-dressed Christina Aguilera -- until she looks our way. (Turns out we were off by 30 years).
Other sightings included Tobey Maguire, Carmen Electra, Anjelica Huston, Victoria Rowell ("The Young and the Restless"), Johnny Rotten of The Sex Pistols and '80s popster Tiffany.
Meanwhile, the available star power did their best. Actor Joe Pantoliano ("The Matrix") and Kevin Pollak ("The Whole Nine Yards") made the introductions, the latter bombing through a number of stand-up jokes (including impressions of Ross Perot and Gore's running mate Joseph Lieberman). Celebrity Democracy Readings featured Frances Fisher, Noah Wyle, Laurence Fishburne and Alfre Woodard reciting famous orations by John F. Kennedy and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to name a few.
We'd like to think that Whoopi and Barbra didn't pass the disorganized but ultra-tight security entrance, but we're pretty sure they were hiding out in the V.I.P lounge instead, laughing as the masses sway to "Lean On Me," meant to be a unifying Democratic anthem, led by Michael Bolton.
Yes, Michael Bolton. And no, Gary Busey did not join in.
MTV has yanked its controversial Jackass series following the resignation of its popular host, Johnny Knoxville. The show set off a blaze of political controversy after several youths were injured attempting to recreate stunts performed on the show -- causing Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman to remark: "There are some things that are so potentially dangerous and inciting, particularly to vulnerable children, that they simply should not be put on TV, and this is clearly one that crosses the line." As an apparent result of the controversy, MTV cut back on promotions for the show, something that Knoxville, in an interview with Monday's Knoxville News-Sentinel, described as "frustrating." He told the newspaper that he wanted to quit while he was still ahead. "With this kind of comedy," he said, "people become inured to the shock value."
Four Weddings and a Funeral star Andie MacDowell accepted an engagement ring from her college sweetheart, Rhett Hartzog, 43, last week, The Associated Press reports. "I am very happy for her," said MacDowell's father, Marion McBride. The couple plans to marry in November in Asheville, N.C, where MacDowell lives, McBride said. This will be her second marriage. MacDowell is currently promoting her new HBO movie Dinner With Friends, starring Dennis Quaid and Greg Kinnear. The movie will begin airing Aug. 11.
Madonna settled a $5 million breach-of-oral contract last week involving a film that she had allegedly agreed to appear in but later backed out of making. According to court papers, the case dates back to 1998 when Madonna made an agreement with independent filmmaker Millennium Films to make a cameo appearance in the movie Going Down, Launch.com reported. In exchange, the singer and Madguy Entertainment, the production company that she oversees with Maverick Records partner Guy Oseary would receive a co-producer credit in the film. The settlement was reached after Madonna and her lawyers were sanctioned by the court for walking out on a court-ordered deposition. The lawsuit was dismissed once the settlement was reached.
Actors Burt Reynolds and Julianne Moore will receive tributes at the 27th annual Deauville Festival Cinema, joining previously announced honoree producer Joel Silver. Among the movies in the competition are Bart Freundlich's World Traveler, starring Billy Crudup and Moore, as well as Reynolds' Tempted, directed by Bill Bennett and costarring Saffron Burrows. In addition to a Stanley Kubrick retrospective, and a sidebar programmed by Oliver Stone, the festival will honor James Dean's memory with screenings of the three features in his short filmography, capped by Mark Rydell's new biopic, James Dean, starring James Franco, Reuters reports. Among the artists confirmed to appear at the Aug. 31- Sept. 9 event include Steven Spielberg, Shannon Elizabeth, Johnny Deep, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Helen Hunt, Charlize Theron, Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman.
French Canadian diva Celine Dion and husband Rene Angelil, baptized their six-month-old son Rene-Charles on Wednesday at Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal, Quebec, Reuters reports. Among 250 friends and members of the family attended the event while more than 1,500 onlookers and photographers cheered the singer outside of the church. The child, born Jan.25, was conceived through in vitro fertilization in New York. Dion, 33, is on a three-year sabbatical from show business to take care of her son. She will make a comeback in a musical in Las Vegas in 2003.
Russell Simmons, founder of the Def Jam record label, crashed a Senate hearing Wednesday on the entertainment industry and told Congress not to censor music or blame society's ills on violent and sexually explicit lyrics. Congress and entertainment figures have clashed over whether and how the industry targets explicit content to young people, Reuters reported. "Some of the songs you may find offensive, protest songs and other songs, are actually a reflection of the reality that needs to be expressed. The real issue is how do we address these issues," Simmons told members of the Congress. The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee chairman, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), had rejected a request from Simmons earlier this week to speak to the committee, saying the witness list was full. The hip-hop recording mogul spoke his mind after having sat through actor William Baldwin's testimony, in which the actor said the media did not cause violent behavior.
The Recording Industry Association of America is launching a new campaign to attract attention to the Parental Advisory stickers placed on albums containing explicit sexual or violent content, Rolling Stone reports. The RIIA will produce public service announcements for TV and radio featuring legendary record producer Quincy Jones and print out a new Parental Advisory brochure to PTA groups, school principals, as well as local and federal officials involved with children's issues.
A trip to see Planet of the Apes this weekend could cost you as much as $10 a ticket if you live in Boston. Loews Cineplex recently opened its Boston Commons 19 megaplex movie theatre, with tickets costing $10 on weekends and $9.50 weekdays. According to Reuters, for a $15 ticket price, patrons can get reserved theater seating and the availability of valet parking, with $2 of the extra ticket charge refundable if moviegoers patronize the theater's bar.
Nicole Kidman will star in Danish director's Lars von Trier's new project Dogville, costarring Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgaard. The plot of the movie will be set in a small American mountain village in the 1930s and filmed in Sweden next year, has not been revealed, The Associated Press reported. Last year, von Trier won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival for
This turbo-charged film centers on street racing and the people who live for it. Dominic Toretto (the aptly named Vin Diesel) is one of them rebuilding high performance racecars by day and racing by night. Since the money he makes for winning a race (up to $10 000) barely covers his overhead costs Toretto and his band of staunch followers supplement their incomes by hijacking electronics-filled 18-wheelers. The FBI which has narrowed down the suspects to either Toretto or his arch rival Johnny Tran (Rick Yune) sends in undercover officer Brian O'Connor (Paul Walker) to get the evidence they need and arrest the right guy. O'Connor gets a job at a local high-end auto supply store and soon infiltrates Toretto's gang despite repeated warnings from its leader's steadfast cronies. He wins Toretto's respect and after predictably falling for his sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) begins to question his loyalties. It's a stale story line with all the typical elements but who cares? In The Fast and the Furious the story is a mere formality.
Most of the actors in this film have been typecast but for once that's not a limiting thing. It almost seems as though Diesel (Boiler Room Pitch Black) was born to play commandeering ringleader Dominic Toretto. With his gravelly baritone voice and menacing screen presence he dominates every scene he is in. Unfortunately the script calls for him to utter obvious lines like "You break her heart I'll break your neck." Michelle Rodriguez (Girlfight) is in her element as his cagey girlfriend but could almost be mistaken for a rottweiler on a leash. She scowls and glares over the rim of her shades one too many times but demonstrates once again that she can pack a mean punch. There is a small but surprisingly funny performance by Chad Lindberg as Jesse the mechanical genius whose ADD drove him to a life of crime. But Walker (The Skulls) is as bland as his white-bread character O'Connor and the object of his affection Mia (Brewster The Invisible Circus) is equally unimpressive. But as with the story The Fast and the Furious is not about the acting.
Furious makes up for what it lacks intellectually with pure and unadulterated action. The overly choreographed scenes of cars driving in V-formations are eclipsed by the cars themselves which are the highlight of the film. The race sequences alone will practically leave you feeling compressed and the souped-up Nissans Hondas and Toyotas will make this film an instant cult classic within the car culture. Craig Lieberman one of the import car consultants on the film even provided his own 1994 Toyota Supra--complete with Greddy Turbo and NOS nitrous upgrades three TV screens VCR Sony Play Station 19" Dazz wheels and a $7 000 custom paint job. If the car didn't actually belong to a real person it might be too decadent to be believed. All in all Furious is a dizzying frenzy of noise and speed that serves up what films like Gone in 60 Seconds and Driven promise but never come close to delivering. Despite its screeching drag races and hair-raising crashes Furious probably won't appeal to the masses but expect it to fly when it gets released on DVD.
He may not be our new vice-president, but Senator Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) is still using his power to battle the evils of Hollywood.
According to Reuters, Lieberman, who made a name for himself in the past election as a critic of the lack of morals in the entertainment industry, has set his sights on MTV’s hit show “Jackass." On Monday, January 29, Lieberman publicly condemned MTV and “Jackass” in connection with the airing of a stunt that may have caused a teenager to be set on fire.
Jason Lind, 13, a Connecticut viewer, had gasoline poured on his legs and feet by friends on Friday, January 26, after they had watched the show. According to police accounts, another friend then lit Lind on fire.
As of Monday, January 29, Lind remained hospitalized in critical condition. At that point, Lind's father contacted Lieberman's Capitol Hill office and asked that the senator become involved. The father wanted Lieberman to personally request that MTV and its parent company, Viacom Inc., make drastic changes to “Jackass.''
“Jackass,” which airs on Friday at 10 p.m. ET and Sundays at 9 p.m. ET, features host and masochist Johnny Knoxville performing off-the-wall pranks and mind-bogglingly dangerous stunts. On the segment in question, Knoxville, who wore a fire-resistant suit hung with steaks, laid down on a barbecue, as his fellow cast members squirted him with lighter fluid. Lind apparently wanted to re-enact the stunt in his friend’s backyard.
Lieberman released the following statement: "It is irresponsible for MTV to air these kinds of stunts on a program clearly popular with young teens, to air it at a time when many of them are likely to be watching and to do so without adequate warnings."
He went on to say: “I recognize that the program is rated for adults and that it comes with general disclaimers. But there are some things that are so potentially dangerous and inciting, particularly to vulnerable children, that they simply should not be put on TV, and this is clearly one that crosses that line.”
Lieberman has vowed that he will ask MTV to tone down and add stronger warnings to “Jackass,” move it to a later time slot, or to cancel it all together. He said: “MTV is an enormously influential force in the world our children inhabit and with that power and the right to exercise it comes a certain level of responsibility. I intend to make clear to the network's owners that we expect more from them.''
In response, MTV released a statement stating: "It is made extremely clear through the show, through the use of written and verbal warnings, that none of the stunts featured should be tried at home."