The Iron Man 2 star, whose parents split when she was a baby, broke the news to fans on Wednesday (30May12).
Taking to her Twitter.com page to pay tribute to her second mum, she writes, "My stepmother just lost her battle with cancer. She was a wonderful person who was loved dearly and who loved fully. Rest in Peace, Donna."
It's been a tough few days for Munn - she tweeted about her fears for her family's safety on Tuesday (29May12) after they were forced to take shelter from severe storms in her native Oklahoma, where tornado warnings had been issued in certain areas.
A decade-long gap between sequels could leave a franchise stale but in the case of Men in Black 3 it's the launch pad for an unexpectedly great blockbuster. The kooky antics of Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) don't stray far from their 1997 and 2002 adventures but without a bombardment of follow-ups to keep the series in mind the wonderfully weird sensibilities of Men in Black feel fresh Smith's natural charisma once again on full display. Barry Sonnenfeld returns for the threequel another space alien romp with a time travel twist — which turns out to be Pandora's Box for the director's deranged imagination.
As time passed in the real world so did it for the timeline in the world of Men in Black. Picking up ten years after MIB 2 J and K are continuing to protect the Earth from alien threats and enforce the law on those who live incognito. While dealing with their own personal issues — K is at his all-time crabbiest for seemingly no reason — the suited duo encounter an old enemy Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) a prickly assassin seeking revenge on K who blew his arm off back in the '60s. Their street fight is more of a warning; Boris' real plan is to head back in time to save his arm and kill off K. He's successful prompting J to take his own leap through the time-space continuum — and team up with a younger K (Josh Brolin) to put an end to Boris plans for world domination.
Men in Black 3 is the Will Smith show. Splitting his time between the brick personalities of Jones and Brolin's K Smith struts his stuff with all the fast-talking comedic style that made him a star in yesteryears. In present day he's still the laid back normal guy in a world of oddities — J raises an eyebrow as new head honcho O (Emma Thompson) delivers a eulogy in a screeching alien tongue but coming up with real world explanations for flying saucer crashes comes a little easier. But back in 1969 he's an even bigger fish out water. Surprisingly director Barry Sonnenfeld and writer Etan Cohen dabble in the inherent issues that would spring up if a black gentlemen decked out in a slick suit paraded around New York in the late '60s. A star of Smith's caliber may stray away from that type of racy humor but the hook of Men in Black 3 is the actor's readiness for anything. He turns J's jokey anachronisms into genuine laughs and doesn't mind letting the special effect artists stretch him into an unrecognizable Twizzler for the movie's epic time jump sequence.
Unlike other summer blockbusters Men in Black 3 is light on the action Sonnenfeld utilizing his effects budget and dazzling creature work (by the legendary Rick Baker) to push the comedy forward. J's fight with an oversized extraterrestrial fish won't keep you on the edge of your seat but his slapstick escape and the marine animal's eventual demise are genuinely amusing. Sonnenfeld carries over the twisted sensibilities he displayed in small screen work like Pushing Daisies favoring bizarre banter and elaborating on the kookiness of the alien underworld than battle scenes. MIB3's chase scene is passable but the movie in its prime when Smith is sparring with Brolin and newcomer Michael Stuhlbarg who steals the show as a being capable of seeing the future. His twitchy character keeps Smith and the audience on their toes.
Men in Black 3 digs up nostalgia I wasn't aware I had. Smith's the golden boy of summer and even with modern ingenuity keeping it fresh — Sonnenfeld uses the mandatory 3D to full and fun effect — there's an element to the film that feels plucked from another era. The movie is economical and slight with plenty of lapses in logic that will provoke head scratching on the walk out of the theater but it's also perfectly executed. After ten years of cinematic neutralizing the folks behind Men in Black haven't forgotten what made the first movie work so well. After al these years Smith continues to make the goofy plot wild spectacle and crazed alien antics look good.
"Seriously?! Was just listening to donna summer this morning before i heard. R.I.P." Actress Evan Rachel Wood is stunned by the disco queen's death. Summer lost her battle with cancer on Thursday (17May12).
A real romance is set to give the West End's Mamma Mia! a spark - actor Gary Milner is to join his wife Sally Ann Triplett in the hit Abba musical. Milner will play Sam Carmichael opposite his wife's Donna Sheridan in the production from June (12).
The diva and her husband James Brolin marked her age milestone by inviting 80 guests, including her stepson Josh Brolin, his wife Diane Lane, actor Pierce Brosnan, designer Donna Karan and saxophonist Kenny G, to Taverna Tony in Malibu, California, where they enjoyed traditional Greek food.
Streisand reveals it was a night full of memories - and her favourite moment came when her son Jason Gould hit the stage and showed off his vocal talents.
She tells People.com, "It was an intimate magical event with only very close friends, people I've known and loved more than 20 years.
"The highlight of the evening was my son's film that he made for me. People kept asking, 'Who is that singing?' And when I said it was Jason, everyone was blown away by the beauty and soulfulness of his voice. Quincy Jones wanted to sign him on the spot."
And that wasn't all: "My friends made it an evening of surprises for me, flying in the remarkable Israeli mentalist Lior Suchard and gifting me with the performance of my favorite singer, Johnny Mathis, and many, many more highlights."
In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.
In This Means War – a stylish action/rom-com hybrid from director McG – Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) and Chris Pine (Star Trek) star as CIA operatives whose close friendship is strained by the fires of romantic rivalry. Best pals FDR (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy) are equally accomplished at the spy game but their fortunes diverge dramatically in the dating realm: FDR (so nicknamed for his obvious resemblance to our 32nd president) is a smooth-talking player with an endless string of conquests while Tuck is a straight-laced introvert whose love life has stalled since his divorce. Enter Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) a pretty plucky consumer-products evaluator who piques both their interests in separate unrelated encounters. Tuck meets her via an online-dating site FDR at a video-rental store. (That Lauren is tech-savvy enough to date online but still rents movies in video stores is either a testament to her fascinating mix of contradictions or more likely an example of lazy screenwriting.)
When Tuck and FDR realize they’re pursuing the same girl it sparks their respective competitive natures and they decide to make a friendly game of it. But what begins as a good-natured rivalry swiftly devolves into romantic bloodsport with both men using the vast array of espionage tools at their disposal – from digital surveillance to poison darts – to gain an edge in the battle for Lauren’s affections. If her constitutional rights happen to be violated repeatedly in the process then so be it.
Lauren for her part remains oblivious to the clandestine machinations of her dueling suitors and happily basks in the sudden attention from two gorgeous men. Herein we find the Reese Witherspoon Dilemma: While certainly desirable Lauren is far from the irresistible Helen of Troy type that would inspire the likes of Tuck and FDR to risk their friendship their careers and potential incarceration for. At several points in This Means War I found myself wondering if there were no other peppy blondes in Los Angeles (where the film is primarily set) for these men to pursue. Then again this is a film that wishes us to believe that Tom Hardy would have trouble finding a date so perhaps plausibility is not its strong point.
When Lauren needs advice she looks to her boozy foul-mouthed best friend Trish (Chelsea Handler). Essentially an extension of Handler’s talk-show persona – an acquired taste if there ever was one – Trish’s dialogue consists almost exclusively of filthy one-liners delivered in rapid-fire succession. Handler does have some choice lines – indeed they’re practically the centerpiece of This Means War’s ad campaign – but the film derives the bulk of its humor from the outrageous lengths Tuck and FDR go to sabotage each others’ efforts a raucous game of spy-versus-spy that carries the film long after Handler’s shtick has grown stale.
Business occasionally intrudes upon matters in the guise of Heinrich (Til Schweiger) a Teutonic arms dealer bent on revenge for the death of his brother. The subplot is largely an afterthought existing primarily as a means to provide third-act fireworks – and to allow McGenius an outlet for his ADD-inspired aesthetic proclivities. The film’s action scenes are edited in such a manic quick-cut fashion that they become almost laughably incoherent. In fairness to McG he does stage a rather marvelous sequence in the middle of the film in which Tuck and FDR surreptitiously skulk about Lauren's apartment unaware of each other's presence carefully avoiding detection by Lauren who grooves absentmindedly to Montel Jordan's "This Is How We Do It." The whole scene unfolds in one continuous take – or is at least craftily constructed to appear as such – captured by one very agile steadicam operator.
Whatever his flaws as a director McG is at least smart enough to know how much a witty script and appealing leads can compensate for a film’s structural and logical deficiencies. He proved as much with Charlie’s Angels a film that enjoys a permanent spot on many a critic’s Guilty Pleasures list and does so again with This Means War. The film coasts on the chemistry of its three co-stars and only runs into trouble when the time comes to resolve its romantic competition which by the end has driven its male protagonists to engage in all manner of underhanded and duplicitous activities. This Means War being a commercial film – and likely an expensive one at that – Witherspoon's heroine is mandated to make a choice and McG all but sidesteps the whole thorny matter of Tuck and FDR’s unwavering dishonesty not to mention their craven disregard for her privacy. (They regularly eavesdrop on her activities.) For all their obvious charms the truth is that neither deserves Lauren – or anything other than a lengthy jail sentence for that matter.
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The catwalk queen headed to Paris Fashion Week on Tuesday (24Jan12) to attend the runway shows and she was the guest of honour at a lavish bash thrown by bosses at top design house Prada.
Moss was put in charge of the DJ set, and she played a series of dancefloor-fillers, including songs by Madonna, Donna Summer, Grace Jones, and her pals Primal Scream.
The star danced to the tunes as hundreds of revellers took pictures of her on their camera phones.
A relatively little-known (or at least little-publicized) factoid about this week’s Mark Wahlberg-starring action thriller Contraband: It's a remake of the 2009 Icelandic film Reykjavík-Rotterdam. The American remake of a foreign film happens pretty often, and while the former is rarely – very rarely – as good as the latter, there have been some pretty solid remakes. Here are our favorites.
Based on: Infernal Affairs (China)
Martin Scorsese scored his biggest box office hit and first-ever Best Director Oscar (don’t get us started on how long overdue he was) with this remake of Hong Kong’s similarly themed Infernal Affairs. American moviegoers, critics and award voters were pretty much smitten across the board, but Infernal’s co-director, Andrew Lau, and co-star, Andy Lau, expressed then what we all probably feel now: The Departed is very good, if not great, but it’s not without flaws. And it’s long!
Based on: La Totale! (France)
James Cameron’s extended remake of the very like-minded (but much shorter) French film La Totale! represents probably the least serious and stuffy movie of his career. And – thanks to the stunt work commissioned by the director and the action/comedy in his script … and, yes, Ah-nold – maybe his most fun offering.
Based on: Funny Games (Austria)
Both versions were directed by Michael Haneke, and both were divisive, love-it-or-hate-it exercises in testing audiences’ tolerance and bloodlust. Count us among the fascinated (partly because of the stellar performances that are under-appreciated because most people didn't see them through).
Based on: Ringu (Japan)
The success of The Ring was largely responsible for the annoying PG-13-horror trend – as well as “Let’s remake every Japanese horror movie”-mania – but most people would agree that Gore Verbinski’s faithful remake of Hideo Nakata’s 1998 Japanese original was entertaining at the least, horrifying at the most.
Based on: Insomnia (Norway)
The most overlooked film in Christopher Nolan’s resume – OK, maybe it’s The Prestige. Or Following...– changed quite a bit from the Norwegian film on which it is based (different setting, different arcs for the main characters, slightly different plots overall), but both are modern-noir, psychological-thriller classics.
Let Me In
Based on: Let the Right One In (Sweden)
Thanks to some fumbling by the marketing team, not many people saw Let Me In, but it’s one of the few remakes that matches, if not exceeds, the original movie on which it is based in terms of quality. Do yourself a favor: Watch both and be the judge.
Based on: Brothers (Denmark)
The American version didn’t fare quite as well as Susanne Bier’s original five years earlier, but the star-studded cast (Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman) turned in unforgettable performances.
Scent of a Woman
Based on: Profumo di Donna (Italy)
Al Pacino won a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal as the blind Frank Slade in Scent, which scored several other big noms – basically matching the critical praise of the Italian version on which it was based.
Based on: La Jetee (France)
It’s hard to believe that an American movie that feels so contemporary and even futuristic could be based on a 1962 short film from France, but that’s the case with Terry Gilliam’s masterful 12 Monkeys and Chris Marker’s influential La Jetee (“The Pier”) – even if the former is merely a loose conceptual update of the latter.
Based on: Interview (Netherlands)
The Birdcage (1996)
Based on: La Cage aux Folles (France/Italy)
Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986)
Based on: Boudu Suave des Eaux (France)
The Debt (2011)
Based on: The Debt (Israel)
The actress, who played tomboy Elly May Clampett in the long-running U.S. series, launched a legal battle against bosses at CBS Corp. and Mattel Inc. in May (11) after alleging both companies neglected to seek her permission before inking a partnership to make the doll.
She has come to an agreement with the companies' bosses. Her attorney, Philip Shaheen, filed court documents in Louisiana on Tuesday (27Dec11) indicating a settlement had been reached, but the details of the case are being kept under wraps.
According to the Associated Press, the 78 year old originally sought at least $75,000 (GBP46,875) in damages.