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]
Last year director Garry Marshall hit upon a devilishly canny approach to the romantic comedy. A more polished refinement of Hal Needham’s experimental Cannonball Run method it called for assembling a gaggle of famous faces from across the demographic spectrum and pairing them with a shallow day-in-the-life narrative packed with gobs of gooey sentiment. A cynical strategy to be sure but one that paid handsome dividends: Valentine’s Day earned over $56 million in its opening weekend surpassing even the rosiest of forecasts. Buoyed by the success Marshall and his screenwriter Katherine Fugate hastily retreated to the bowels of Hades to apply their lucrative formula to another holiday historically steeped in romantic significance and New Year’s Eve was born.
Set in Manhattan on the last day of the year New Year’s Eve crams together a dozen or so canned scenarios into one bloated barely coherent mass of cliches. As before Marshall’s recruited an impressive ensemble of minions to do his unholy bidding including Oscar winners Hilary Swank Halle Berry and Robert De Niro the latter luxuriating in a role that didn’t require him to get out of bed. High School Musical’s Zac Efron is paired up with ‘80s icon Michelle Pfeiffer – giving teenage girls and their fathers something to bond over – while Glee’s Lea Michele meets cute with a pajama-clad Ashton Kutcher. There’s Katherine Heigl in a familiar jilted-fiance role Sarah Jessica Parker as a fretful single mom and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as the most laid-back cop in New York. Sofia Vergara and Hector Elizondo mine for cheap laughs with thick accents – his fake and hers real – and Jessica Biel and Josh Duhamel deftly mix beauty with blandness. Fans of awful music will delight in the sounds of Jon Bon Jovi straining against type to play a relevant pop musician.
The task of interweaving the various storylines is too great for Marshall and New Year’s Eve bears the distinct scent and stain of an editing-room bloodbath with plot holes so gaping that not even the brightest of celebrity smiles can obscure them. But that’s not the point – it never was. You should know better than to expect logic from a film that portrays 24-year-old Efron and 46-year-old Parker as brother-and-sister without bothering to explain how such an apparent scientific miracle might have come to pass. Marshall wagers that by the time the ball drops and the film’s last melodramatic sequence has ended prior transgressions will be absolved and moviegoers will be content to bask in New Year's Eve's artificial glow. The gambit worked for Valentine's Day; this time he may not be so fortunate.
Hollywood couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's new baby daughter, Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt, has been offered citizenship in Namibia.
The Tomb Raider beauty, 30, welcomed her first biological child in The Cottage Hospital in Swakopmund, Namibia, on Saturday. The handsome pair also have two adopted children Maddox, 4, and Zahara, 16 months.
Shiloh means "peaceful one," while Nouvel is French for "new." Jolie's mother, Marcheline Bertrand, is French.
Environment and Tourism Deputy Minister Leon Jooste released a statement, saying, "It is with enormous pleasure that I inform the Namibian nation about the birth of Angelina's healthy baby girl early this morning.
"The entire procedure went according to plan and there were no medical or other complications at all.
"Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt will, according to Namibian law, be allowed to obtain Namibian citizenship if the parents should choose to do so.
"The couple are thoroughly overjoyed and they have expressed their happiness to be able to share this experience in Namibia."
The Mr. and Mrs. Smith co-stars arrived in Namibia on April 5 with their children and their heavy security at the Burning Shores resort has prevented paparazzi intrusion.
Voight Thrilled to Be a Grandfather
Proud Jon Voight has sent his best wishes to his estranged daughter and her boyfriend Brad Pitt after learning the couple has become parents to baby Shiloh Nouvel.
Jolie, who turns 31 next weekend, gave birth to the baby girl on Saturday in Namibia, where she, Pitt and their adopted children, Zahara and Maddox, retreated to in April.
And her father is among the first celebrities to congratulate the pair.
He says, "This is wonderful. I am just so very, very happy for both of them. My love is always with them and I wish them all the happiness in the world. God bless them both."
Voight and his daughter have been estranged for four years after he went public with his concerns for the actress' mental health.
Meanwhile, Jolie's brother, James Haven, was reportedly pacing the corridors of the Cottage Hospital in Swakopmund, Namibia, where baby Shiloh was born. Pitt was at his girlfriend's bedside.
And Pitt's brother Doug has told In Touch magazine, "We just want them to relax and enjoy the whole thing. I just want him to be able to enjoy the experience as much as possible without too much pressure. It's going to be great for them."
Even Namibian politicians have joined the well wishers--Samuel Nuuyoma, the Governor of the Erongo region, where Shiloh was born on Saturday, has issued a statement saying, "I wish Angelina and Brad good luck and a healthy life with their beautiful daughter… Just like Angelina, this precious Namibian-born baby
will be our ambassador."
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