Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day has more questionable elements than it has titular adjectives. Elements that make you wonder just how certain parties — the ones involved that you love and to whom you choose to extend countless benefits of the doubt — signed off on this mess.
We watch these parties — Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, and guest stars Megan Mullally and Dick Van Dyke — trot through the muck of a day that just gets worse for all parties. Carell and Garner play parents to Alexander Cooper (Ed Oxenbould), a 12-year-old boy who is no stranger to bad days. When Alexander wishes that his family would finally know what it's like to live under Murphy's Law, the whole Cooper clan — including both parents, a lovestruck older brother (Dylan Minnette), and a budding thespian middle sister (Kerris Dorsey) — succumb to misfortune in the least creative of ways.
While the simple children's book source material gives way to a film intended for the same demographic, it shows that director Miguel Arteta has only worked in more "mature" material up to this point. A legion of poop jokes result from a fatal misprint in the picture book published by mother Kelly (Garner). Dad Ben (Carell) nearly fouls up his son's birthday party when he orders burly strippers instead of... well, we actually don't know what he thought they were. But worst of all, teenage sister Emily (Dorsey) gets loopy after downing an entire bottle of cold medicine, an antic that is played for laughs.
Then we have the more tame material, which lands lazily, unfunnily, and without any energy whatsoever... a miracle, considering how hectic this film is. With so many characters running around between job interviews, prom dates, school plays, and public book readings, you'd imagine a burst of life force to come to fruition somewhere along the line. Instead, the effectively charmless, brainless, and occasionally toxic movie falls very short of its electric source material... but very much lives up to its title.
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Hugh Jackman, Whoopi Goldberg, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kelly Osbourne were among the stars who mourned the death of legendary comedienne Joan Rivers at her funeral in New York on Sunday (07Sep14). Record mogul Clive Davis, actors Matthew Broderick, Rosie O'Donnell, Alan Cumming, Kristin Chenoweth and Bernadette Peters, funnywoman Kathy Griffin, fashion designers Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera and Michael Kors, property mogul Donald Trump and newswomen Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer also turned out to pay their final respects to Rivers, who was remembered in a private ceremony at the Temple Emanu-El synagogue, where she was a member.
Hundreds of fans lined the streets outside the temple as inside, U.S. shockjock Howard Stern delivered a touching eulogy to the comedic icon, crediting her with fighting "the stereotype that women couldn't be funny".
He even managed to raise a few laughs from guests by quipping, "(Rivers was) the best friend in the world... a big sister... a crazy aunt at a bar mitzvah."
Broadway star Audra McDonald performed Nat King Cole classic Smile, before additional tributes from news anchor Deborah Norville, New York Post columnist Cindy Adams and Rivers' only child, daughter Melissa, who thanked everyone for their condolences, saying, "We are humbled."
X-Men star Hugh Jackman helped to bring the ceremony to a close, honouring Rivers' memory with a rendition of Peter Allen song, Quiet Please, There's a Lady on Stage, which features the repeated lyrics, "Put your hands together", while a band of bagpipe players performed as mourners filed out of the temple.
Rivers died on Thursday (04Sep14), a week after suffering a cardiac and respiratory arrest during a routine throat operation.
The exact cause of death is still under investigation after an initial autopsy proved inconclusive.
The 81 year old's body had been cremated on Saturday (06Sep14), ahead of Sunday's funeral service.
Reports suggest she will be laid to rest at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California, where fellow late icons Michael Jackson, Clark Gable and Walt Disney are also interred.
Rivers' publicist has asked for donations to be made to her favourite charities, meal delivery service God's Love, We Deliver, Guide Dogs for the Blind and California grief support centre Our House, in lieu of flowers.
Studio executives behind hit movie Frozen are battling a copyright lawsuit from an animator who alleges the teaser trailer rips off her short film.
Kelly Wilson filed suit in March (14) claiming the trailer for the popular Christmas movie, which features the voices of Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel, copies the premise of her 2D computer animated short The Snowman.
Bosses at The Walt Disney Company asked for the case to be dismissed, but a judge has ruled there are too many similarities between the trailer and Wilson's project for it to be thrown out without going before a jury.
Wilson's clip tells the story of a snowman who loses his carrot nose, and while this isn't the storyline of Frozen it is the tale portrayed in the trailer for the family film.
California federal judge Vince Chhabria writes in his ruling, "The sequence of events in both works, from start to finish, is too parallel to conclude that no reasonable juror could find the works substantially similar."
Chhabria notes a number of similarities including a snowman losing his carrot nose, the nose sliding to the middle of a frozen lake, and the snowman racing against an animal to get the nose back.
The case will now go to trial before a jury unless a settlement is reached.
For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
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Who would have thought, back when Elton John was writing the music for Disney's The Lion King, that 20 years later he'd be giving the House of Mouse a run for its money?
John's Rocket Films recently announced plans to make an animated version of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The musician's company already scored an international hit in 2011 with Gnomeo & Juliet, and has a sequel to it in the works called Sherlock Gnomes. In addition, the company has another project by the Gnomeo director Kelly Asbury called Will Gallows and the Snake Bellied Troll in the pipeline and is developing an animated version of the Michael Buckley N.E.R.D.S. books.
Back in the '70s and '80s, it would've seemed unfathomable that the singer would become one of the leading animation producers in the world… despite his occasional on-stage antics in a Donald Duck suit. That was before The Lion King.
John, who worked with Rice on the film, provided a different sound for the Disney effort, mixing in world beats with pop sensibility and cheeky humor to arrive at something fresh and exciting. The film won John an Academy Award for "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" and grossed nearly a billion dollars in international box office (and added another billion as a Broadway show).
The funny part of John's subsequent success is that he originally tried to continue working with Disney. Gnomeo & Juliet started out as a Disney production, with John even appearing at industry functions in support of it. When the company's animation division merged with Pixar, however, the project was abandoned. Disney did eventually have a hand in the distribution of the film after it was completed, releasing it on the company's nearly defunct Touchstone Pictures imprint… a decision that John made no bones about being upset with.
Now John gets to bring Joseph, one of the most enduring stage shows in history, to the big screen with the full blessing and cooperation of Webber and Rice. Another success along the lines of Gnomeo and Disney might soon regret not working harder to continue its relationship with a man who helped launch one of the company's biggest hits… if it doesn't already.
Betting against the Rocket Man to deliver animated fare that audiences want to see would seem to be a billion dollar mistake.
You expect a bit of schmaltz from a movie about the making of Mary Poppins. But schmaltz doesn't entail a sentiment lathered so thickly that it's feels like an anti-depressant commercial, or material so broad that it's insulting to believe that audiences above the age of five can relate to the emotionality onscreen. Saving Mr. Banks takes for granted that its viewers are fans of traditional Disney, seeming to confuse Disney fans for Disney characters, and insinuating that we bear the intellectual sophistication thereof.
The real victim, of course, is the character of P.L. Travers (Emma Roberts, charming as she can be with this material), who incurs a fraction of a storyline about overcoming (or learning to live with?) her latent childhood traumas. As a young girl in Australia (as we learn in intermittent flashbacks — by and large the dullest part of the movie, but such a hefty piece of it), young Travers adored her merry, whimsical alcoholic father (Colin Farrell, playing a character that feels as grounded in reality as Dick Van Dyke's penguin-trotting screever Bert), enchanting in his Neverland mannerisms while her chronically depressed mother watched the family crumble into squalor.
Forty-odd years later, the themes of Travers' childhood inform (sometimes directly, right down to presciently repeated phrases) her resistence to allow her novel Mary Poppins to take form as a Disney movie. In the absence of a reason for why she might have a sudden change of heart about a feeling to which she has apparently held so strongly for two decades, Travers opts to fly out to California to meet Walt Disney (Tom Hanks, wading through the script without any of the energy we know he has in his back pocket) and discuss the adaptation process.
When it's not insisting upon clunky "melting the ice queen" devices — like nuzzling Travers up to an oversized stuffed Mickey Mouse to show that, hey, she's starting to like this place! — the stubborn author's time in the Disney writer's room is the best part of the movie. Working with (or against) an increasingly agitated creative team made up of Bradley Whitford, Jason Schwartzman, and B.J. Novak, Travers protests minor details about setting and character, driving her colleagues mad in the process. It is to the credit of the comic talents of Whitford and Schwartzman (who play reserved agitation well beside Novak's outright hostility — he's doing mid-series Ryan in this movie, FYI) that these scenes offer a scoop of charm. But Travers' gradual defrosting poses a consistent problem, as it is experienced over the slow reveal of her disjointed backstories in a fashion that suggests the two are connected... but we have no reason to believe that they are.
The implications of the characters' stories — depression, child abuse, alcoholism, handicaps, and PTSD — are big, and worthy of monumental material. But the characters are so thin that the assignment of such issues to them does a disservice to the emotionality and pain inherent therein. A good story might have been found in the making of Mary Poppins, and in the life and work of P.L. Travers. Unfortunately, Saving Mr. Banks is too compelled to turn that arc into a Disney cartoon. And much like Travers herself, we simply cannot abide that.
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Breaking Bad has a number of great villains swirling around the Albuquerque desert, but few were as entertaining as the tea-sipping Lydia. She is pure evil in a grey pantsuit, and would easily have her enemies dispatched while taking in a soothing slurp of herbal tea (sweetened with Stevia of course). Now, the actress behind the character, Laura Fraser, has joined ABC’s upcoming series The Black Box, TV Line reports.
We're excited to see an actor as talented as Fraser continue to find work in this post-Breaking Bad world we now inhabit, but we're also hoping, in the irrational parts of our brains, that she might make some kind of appearance in the upcoming Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul. Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan said he would like to have Breaking Bad stars make cameos in the new show so lets keep hope alive. Let's also push down nagging questions like "Does that make sense chronologically?" deep into our guts where they can't interfere with our reckless TV wishes.
The Black Box is a limited series that focuses on Elizabeth Black (Kelly Reilly), a gifted Neuroscientist who struggles with mental illness. We’re hoping that Fraser brings her own version of 100 percent naturally sweetened evil to ABC's upcoming drama.
Before we were mesmorized by the enchanting tip that "a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down," Walt Disney had to convince Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers to hand over the rights to her novel. And that story-behind-the-story will be told in Saving Mr. Banks. The first trailer for the movie, which boasts the same caliber of charm as Mary Poppins, reveals how the Disney mogul convinced the beloved author to allow him to whisk up the now classic flick.
Directed by Kelly Marcel, who is oddly enough also penning the script for the Fifty Shades of Grey film adaption, Saving Mr. Banks stars Tom Hanks as Walt Disney – don't worry, this is before the magical Disney mastermind had his head frozen!
Jazzy tunes play over the vibrant trailer, which reveals the fascinating tale about how Disney forged a relationship with Travers to land the rights to Mary poppins. Not only do Mickey and Minnie make a cameo, Saving Mr. Banks also features a slew of A-Listers: Emma Thompson, Colin Farrell, Ruth Wilson, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, and a few more fine thespians.
So, open up your umbrella and fly off to the cinema on December 25 to tune into Saving Mr. Banks.
Follow Cori on Twitter @gimmegimmeCOR Follow Hollywood.com on Twitter @Hollywood_comMore:Tom Hanks to Play Walt Disney in 'Saving Mr. Banks' Colin Farrel Joining Tom Hanks in 'Saving Mr. Banks'?Tom Hanks Aims to Star in WWII Drama In the Garden of Beasts
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As cherished as Walt Disney Pictures' animated output has been — with a public fondness dating all the way back to the company's very first feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs — there is one persistent source of controversy attached to the lot: its illustration of women.
The esteemed position of Disney Princess often comes with little more than God-given physical beauty and a penchant for lying around all day waiting for some rugged fellow to save you from the clutches of a nefarious villain. Recent Disney exploits have striven to distance their princesses from these limitations, with the latest lass to make the list, Brave's arrow-wielding Princess Merida, perhaps being the best attempt yet. But it still isn't quite enough.
On May 11, as reported by /Film, Scotland's own Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) will become the eleventh character to make the list of official Disney Princesses, and the first Pixar heroine to earn this honor (although, she didn't exactly have much competition there, unless you count Jesse... or Dory... or EVE).
Merida does indeed reign superior to a good number of her peers on the list. The Snow Whites, the Sleeping Beauties, the Belles... yes, Belle was well-read and courageous, but in the end she really just succumbed to Stockholm Syndrome and settled for marrying a brawny dude with a lot of fancy dishware. And though Merida may not be perfect, opting to emulate her male companions rather than uphold her feminity as a source of heroism, she's at least a step in the right direction. As President of Women in Film Cathy Schulman told Hollywood.com upon the release of Brave, "This [movie] is a really good example of challenging the stereotypes and showing that the box office can be your friend when you do that."
But those discouraged by the subjugated characters of past, the Ariels and Jasmines, and the murky future in which our Rapunzels are headed, let us not forget that this list does have some great names: Pochahontas, Tiana, Mulan... we need more of these ladies, Walt.
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So, you're watching a romantic movie. Does this movie have a boat? Is one of the characters terminally ill? Do you know from Scene 1 that you'll be crying by the end of the movie? Does everything work out in favor of romance in a fashion so unrealistic, you wonder if there's something you missed? Do you feel emotionally manipulated at the end?
Then you might be watching a Nicholas Sparks movie.
RELATED: Do You Have What It Takes to Star in a Nicholas Sparks Movie?
Now, it's a guilty pleasure we're all guilty of, but it's not hard to see the signs. When you sit down for a Nicholas Sparks movie, you know what's coming. But how well do you know? We've laid out a few movie details for you to test your Sparksian knowledge. So without further ado:
Is this a Nicholas Sparks movie?
1.The Runaway and the Widower?
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Stars: Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel
Filming Locations: North Carolina
Couple Stats: Katie is a "mysterious stranger" living a transient life, Alex is a widower and he's super great.
Over-involved parents: Not so much, but the guy's got kids.
The Story: She's anti-attachment or staying in one place because she's running from a man in her past, Alex tries to be her shelter.
Potential for tear-jerking: It comes out Friday, but in the meantime just know it involves deceased wives, letters, and potentially fire.
Is this a Nicholas Sparks movie?
Click to find out if you got it right!
Answer: Yep! Safe Haven is from the mind of Mr. Sparks.
RELATED: Watch the 'Safe Haven' Trailer
2. Love in Cape Cod?
Stars: Kevin Costner, Robin Wright Penn, and Paul Newman
Filming locations: Maine, Chicago, and Wilmington, North Carolina
Couple Stats: Theresa is a former reporter, Garret is a widower with a boat named Happenstance.
Over-involved parents: Yep (but it's Paul Newman, so how bad could it be?)
The Story: She finds messages in a bottle, he wrote them to his dead wife, he and Theresa fall in love.
Turning Point: Garret finds the letters Theresa has been hiding and angrily confronts her.
Tear-jerking outcome: Garret's dad tells Theresa, a year after their fight, that Garret died at sea... while trying to save someone... and that he wrote his dead wife a new letter... and it says he loved Theresa.
Is this a Nicholas Sparks movie?
Are you two-for-two?
Answer: Yes! Message in a Bottle was written by Sparks.
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3. Love, interrupted?
Stars: Channing Tatum, Rachel McAdams
Filming Locations: Chicago
Couple Stats: Artist Paige and Recording studio owner Leo Collins are married, but she loses her memory after a car accident.
Over-involved parents: Yep (and they want amnesiac Paige to dump Leo for her rich high school boyfriend).
The Story: Leo works tirelessly to get his ansesia-stricken wife to remember him while her parents use it as an opportunity to put her back on her path to boring lawyerhood.
Turning Point: After making progress to win Paige back, Leo punches her ex boyfriend and then officially divorces her.
Tear-jerking outcome: They end up together, but it's not the same, because Paige never regains the memory of her past life with Leo.
Is this a Nicholas Sparks movie?
Did Rachel McAdams really do two Sparks flicks?
Answer: Nope! The Vow is based on a true story, not a Sparks book.
4. One month only?
Stars: Charlize Theron, Keanu Reeves
Filming Locations: San Francisco
Couple Stats: Sara is a mysterious free spirit, Nelson is a guy who just lost his job and his girlfriend so he's got lots of free time.
Over-involved parents: Nope, but Keanu's Nelson does befriend a fatherless kid named Abner.
The Story: Two young, wacky San Fransisco lovers spend one Sweet November together.
Turning point: Nelson spends most of November in Sara's apartment, falling in love with her, but when he decides he's going to marry her, he finds out she has terminal cancer.
Tear-jerking outcome: Sara leaves Nelson alone so she can go die in peace with her family, and Keanu is left to cry alone in the park where they went on their first date.
Is this a Nicholas Sparks movie?
Could it be?
Answer: Nope! But man, does Sweet November sound like one.
5. Love letters, not bound by time or space?
Stars: Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves
Filming locations: Chicago, other parts of Illinois
Couple Stats: Kate is a doctor living in 2006 who leaves a letter in her the mailbox of the house she's leaving, Alex is an architect living in 2004 who somehow gets that letter in 2004 because time travel, guys.
The Story: Their letters travel through time. Because magical lake house. And time travel. And love. Stop asking questions, that will just ruin it. Gosh.
Turning Point: Kate learns that Alex stood her up for their time travel-proof date, because he's the guy she saw get hit by a car and he's now dead.
Tear-jerking outcome: She writes him a last-minute time travelin' letter and tells him to come to the lake house instead, which means he's undead now and they get to kiss and live at the lake.
Is this a Nicholas Sparks movie?
Perhaps Keanu did take a trip with Sparks after all...
Answer: Nope. And thank goodness Sparks isn't responsible for The Lake House, or we'd think he's losing his touch. Or whatever he has.
6. The Ballad of Liam and Miley?
Stars: Miley Cyrus, Liam Hemsworth, Greg Kinnear, Kelly Preston
Filming locations: Savannah, Georgia
Couple stats: Ronnie is a rebellious young piano prodigy who refuses to go to Julliard and is sent to learn some manners by living with her estranged father, Will is a perfect popular guy who volunteers and he doesn't care about Ronnie's arrest (Too much information too fast? Sorry.).
The Story: Ronnie's a problem child and her mother sends her away from New York to get wholesome-ized with her father in Georgia, but she's an immediate out-case there. Somehow, the popular guy takes an interest in her...
Turning Point: Will lets Ronnie's cancer-stricken father be blamed for burning down the church when he knows it was his friend.
Tear-jerking outcome: Ronnie finishes writing her dad's composition as he dies, then plays it for the town, including Will who really likes it and who tells her he's going to Columbia for college so he can be with her. But he only let a crime be blamed on your sick dad, you should totally get back together with him, Miley.
Is this a Nicholas Sparks movie?
Answer: Yep. The Last Song is something only Nicholas Sparks could give us.
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credit: Relativity, Screen Gems, Warner Bros (3), Walt Disney Pictures]
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