Actor Manny Perez has married his fiancee in his native Dominican Republic. The Homeland and Rescue Me star exchanged vows with Yumilka Valerio on Friday (04Jul14) in a private ceremony in Puerto Plata.
A statement issued to People.com reads, "This is the happiest and most blessed moment in our lives."
Where we left off: Saul (Mandy Patinkin) continued to track down those responsible for the Langley attack, Quinn (Rupert Friend) struggled with the death of the young boy he shot, Dana (Morgan Saylor) and Jessica (Morena Baccarin) attempted to fix their family problems, Carrie (Claire Danes) went off the deep end (thanks to Saul and the CIA), and Brody (Damian Lewis) was nowhere to be seen. (Check out our recap of Homeland season three, episode two if you need more of a refresher.)
"Tower of David"So long, Dana, and hello, Brody! In contrast to the previous two episodes of Homeland, which have been filled to the brim with Dana-drama, the third episode of the season kicks the angsty teen to the curb (and almost everyone in the main cast except for Carrie) and focuses in on daddy dearest.
Let's focus on the positives first: Brody is in our lives once again, and he's brought back the suspense that the show's been missing. The episode opens up in Venezuela with Brody frantically being transferred from one truck to the next because of bullet wounds to the gut and an insane amount of blood being spilled out of him. Cut to him in a poorly-lit warehouse being shot up with heroin (for the pain) before a suspicious looking (and sounding) doctor operates on him with the help of a little boy (the doctor might be a pedophile). Within minutes, there’s already almost enough suspense to make up for the lack of excitement in the first two episodes.
For an unknown period of time, he's cared for by Esme, a sweet young woman who can barely speak any English, and visited by El Niño (Manny Perez), Esme's father and the ringleader of the group that is keeping him hostage/safe. Unable to take being locked away in a decrepit, towering building looking over the city (and unable to stomach the sight of anyone else being pushed off the building to their death), he escapes his confines and seeks refuge in a mosque that he sees from his room. Assuming that those at the mosque will keep him safe, he graciously accepts the comfort of an imam's home only to be set up by the imam and attacked by Venezuelan police. Luckily for Brody, El Niño's men come to his rescue and quickly (and mercilessly) kill the police, the imam, and the imam's wife. Thanks to naïve Brody, the suspense and murder, which clearly makes the show what it is, is once again an integral part of Homeland.
As for Carrie, she's still locked up in the psych ward, but it looks as if she’s finally succumbed to taking her meds again – even though it's just for show. She doesn't want to be back on her meds, and she doesn’t want to be doing anything they're making her do (like building popsicle-stick model homes, an activity which drives her to bang her head against a mirror until she's bleeding), but she’s just doing it so she can go back home. Towards the end of the episode, a lawyer comes to visit her on behalf of an unknown associate who wants to work with her, but Carrie refuses his plea assuming that they want her to turn on the CIA. The episode ends with shots of both Carrie and Brody alone in their own personal cells.
And now for the bad, or rather, the shaky aspects of the episode: it tries too hard to mirror the "stuck-in-a-hole" positions that both Carrie and Brody are in (we get it, they're both alone), and for as much time as it spends on Brody, it doesn’t really explain too much of what's actually happening. Brody's plotline has brought back the suspense that has clearly been missing from the show, but it doesn't explain why Brody is in Venezuela, who El Niño is, what the creepy doctor is up to, or what they're planning on doing with him. You would think that at least one of those questions would be answered during the nearly 40 minutes that were devoted to Brody.
But in the end, while there are definitely some issues with the pacing and focus of the episode, Brody is finally back and that gives us hope that things are looking up for Homeland.
Highlight of the episode: When the imam calls out Brody for what he really is: "You’re not a Muslim. You’re a terrorist."
A kids’ movie without the cheeky jokes for adults is like a big juicy BLT without the B… or the T. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may have a title that sounds like it was made up in a cartoon sequel laboratory but when it comes to serving up laughs just think of the film as a BLT with enough extra bacon to satisfy even the wildest of animals — or even a parent with a gaggle of tots in tow. Yes even with that whole "Afro Circus" nonsense.
It’s not often that we find exhaustively franchised films like the Madagascar set that still work after almost seven years. Despite being spun off into TV shows and Christmas specials in addition to its big screen adventures the series has not only maintained its momentum it has maintained the part we were pleasantly surprised by the first time around: great jokes.
In this third installment of the series – the trilogy-maker if you will – directing duo Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath add Conrad Vernon (director Monsters Vs. Aliens) to the helm as our trusty gang swings back into action. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stuck in Africa after the hullaballoo of Madagascar 2 and they’ll do anything to get back to their beloved New York. Just a hop skip and a jump away in Monte Carlo the penguins are doing their usual greedy schtick but the zoo animals catch up with them just in time to catch the eye of the sinister animal control stickler Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand). And just like that the practically super human captain is chasing them through Monte Carlo and the rest of Europe in hopes of planting Alex’s perfectly coifed lion head on her wall of prized animals.
Luckily for pint-sized viewers Dubois’ terrifying presence is balanced out by her sheer inhuman strength uncanny guiles and Stretch Armstrong flexibility (ah the wonder of cartoons) as well as Alex’s escape plan: the New Yorkers run away with the European circus. While Dubois’ terrifying Doberman-like presence looms over the entire film a sense of levity (which is a word the kiddies might learn from Stiller’s eloquent lion) comes from the plan for salvation in which the circus animals and the zoo animals band together to revamp the circus and catch the eye of a big-time American agent. Sure the pacing throughout the first act is practically nonexistent running like a stampede through the jungle but by the time we're palling around under the big top the film finds its footing.
The visual splendor of the film (and man is there a champion size serving of it) the magnificent danger and suspense is enhanced to great effect by the addition of 3D technology – and not once is there a gratuitous beverage or desperate Crocodile Dundee knife waved in our faces to prove its worth. The caveat is that the soundtrack employs a certain infectious Katy Perry ditty at the height of the 3D spectacular so parents get ready to hear that on repeat until the leaves turn yellow.
But visual delights and adventurous zoo animals aside Madagascar 3’s real strength is in its script. With the addition of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg The Squid and the Whale) to the screenwriting team the script is infused with a heightened level of almost sarcastic gravitas – a welcome addition to the characteristically adult-friendly reference-heavy humor of the other Madagascar films. To bring the script to life Paramount enlisted three more than able actors: Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston) Gia the Leopard (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Italian Sealion (Martin Short). With all three actors draped in European accents it might take viewers a minute to realize that the cantankerous tiger is one and the same as the man who plays an Albuquerque drug lord on Breaking Bad but that makes it that much sweeter to hear him utter slant-curse words like “Bolshevik” with his usual gusto.
Between the laughs the terror of McDormand’s Captain Dubois and the breathtaking virtual European tour the Zoosters’ accidental vacation is one worth taking. Madagascar 3 is by no means an insta-classic but it’s a perfectly suited for your Summer-at-the-movies oasis.
After garnering widespread praise (and an Oscar nomination for screenwriting) for his 2000 directorial debut You Can Count on Me Kenneth Lonergan was in-demand. In September 2005 the writer/director began production on a follow-up feature: Margaret which touted Anna Paquin Matt Damon Mark Ruffalo Matthew Broderick Allison Janney as well as legendary filmmakers Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) as producers. The movie wrapped production in a few months time. The buzz was already growing.
Now six years later the movie is finally hitting theaters. So…what took so long?
The journey to this point hasn't been an easy one and it shows. If a film's shot footage is a block of granite and the editing process is the careful carving that turns it into a statuesque work of art Margaret feels like it was attacked by a blind man with a jackhammer. The film is a cinematic disaster a mishmash of shallow characters overwrought politics and sporadic tones. The story follows Lisa Coen (Paquin) a New York teenager who finds herself drowning in chaos after distracting a bus driver (Ruffalo) causing him to hit and kill a pedestrian (Janney). Initially Lisa tells the police it was all an accident but as time passes regret takes hold and the girl embarks on a mission to take down the man she now regards as a culprit. That's just the tip of the iceberg–along the way Lisa deals with everyday teen stuff: falling for her geometry teacher (Damon) combating her anxiety-ridden actress mother losing her virginity dabbling in drugs debating 9/11 and the Iraq War cultivating a relationship with her father in LA and more. There are about eight seasons of television stuffed into Margaret but even a two and a half hour run time can't make it all click.
For more on Margaret check out Indie Seen: Margaret the Long Lost Anna Paquin/Matt Damon Movie
The first time we meet José (Eduardo Verástegui) the up-and-coming soccer star is boasting to a bunch of kids about the big-time contract he's just signed. The next thing you know he's slaving away as the chef at his ungrateful brother's upscale restaurant. How did he go from riches to rags so quickly? Bella takes its sweet time fully revealing the circumstances leading up to José's fall from grace though you can pretty much deduce for yourself what he did just by the way his eyes tear up whenever he gazes at a child playing on the street. For some unfathomable reason José abandons his post to comfort Nina (Tammy Blanchard) a waitress who's just been fired for her tardy ways. Turns out Nina's pregnant and has her mind set on having an abortion. Rather than butt out of Nina's business and go back to work José takes it upon himself to gently persuade Nina to have the baby. Clearly José's seeking a little redemption for his own past transgressions and what better way to achieve this than by making Nina see the error of her ways. Nina's willing to play along especially when José lands her a new job without any effort. Thus begins Bella's leisurely-though quite uneventful-stroll around New York City. The decision Nina makes won't come as a surprise but Bella's epilogue will likely leave you shaking your head in disbelief. It's pretty clear why the distraught Nina would happily spend the day hanging out with a handsome co-worker she barely knows. The soft-spoken Eduardo Verástegui—the Mexican model pop singer and actor who starred as the three-timing himbo in Chasing Papi—exudes an easy charm that would make any woman feel safe and comfortable in his presence. José obviously has an agenda—one born of guilt not religious zealotry—but Verástegui's casual demeanor ensures that the chef never comes across as pushy anxious or judgmental. But every now and then Verástegui allows us a glimpse at the terrible pain and suffering that's reduced José to a shadow of the man he once was. Tammy Blanchard who develops a nice rapport with Verástegui brings a necessary sense of fear and confusion to the role of Nina. That said Blanchard also makes Nina seem particularly strong willed so you never really think that José's soft sell would be enough to make this unemployed waitress change her mind about being a single mother or putting her child up for adoption. As José's unsympathetic brother Manny Perez does his best impression of Gordon Ramsey on a bad day. Perez never quite gets the comeuppance he deserves though he does share a nice moment with Verástegui at the end of Bella that shows that some brotherly bonds are hard to break. Oh and supermodel Ali Landry puts in an appearance during a couple of Bella's many flashbacks for no other reason than she's married to the director. José is a man on a mission. But is director Alejandro Gomez Monteverde? Bella does not appear to be a film overtly driven by faith and the politics of abortion do not serve as a motivating factor for José's decision to persuade Nina to keep her baby. So it is unclear whether Monteverde's using Bella to subtly advance an anti-abortion agenda or to implore women to think long and hard before making their decision to terminate their pregnancy. Either way it's not hard to imagine activists on either side of the abortion issue co-opting Bella for their own purposes. After all it’s Nina who makes the choice admittedly with a bit of prodding from José. Unfortunately Bellas biggest problem is that you never truly feel that José's accomplished what he set out to do even though the outcome is never in doubt so the big reveal at the end doesn't ring true. In other words Bella's just too sunny to end on a pessimistic note. Perhaps Monteverde intended to leave the door open for a sequel one that has romance on its mind. But Monteverde leaves too many gaps left unfilled for us to accept that this is the decision Nina would make no matter how much she is touched by the kindness of a relative stranger.