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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A student accused of involvement in a plot to blackmail British socialite Tamara Ecclestone has been cleared. Jakir Uddin, 21, was accused of sending an email to the Formula 1 heiress demanding money in exchange for the silence of her former fiance Derek Rose, who was threatening to sell intimate secrets of the couple's sex life.
Uddin's previous trial on a blackmail charge collapsed after the jury failed to reach a verdict, and he has now been found not guilty after the case went back to Southwark Crown Court in London.
Speaking after the not guilty verdict, Uddin, from Birmingham, England, said, "I am very pleased and it is a huge relief. It has been going on for such a long time, and now justice has been done."
Rose, 33, of north London, was jailed for four years in February (13) after he was found guilty of blackmail at an earlier trial.
This week’s penultimate episode of Once Upon a Time took us to a brand new, yet oh-so-familiar world: Kensington Gardens in Victorian London. That’s right, fairytale fans, we’re starting to learn the truth behind what happened to Bae after Rumplestilskin abandoned him and how he stayed so young (and cute) for all these years. Meanwhile, in Storybrooke Emma and Neal learned all about Tamara’s dark side, what really happened to Greg’s father, and a shocking twist that left us with one very important question: Where did Neal go?! Read on for all the bewitching details from “Second Star to the Right.”
Fairytale Land Flashbacks: The episode picked up right where we left off with Bae back in Season 1 when his father chose magic and power over family and love. Bae found himself alone in a brand new world: Kensington Gardens in Victorian England and when we fast-forward six months we see that he’s cold, dirty, and very hungry. Bae snuck into the open window of a posh flat and after stuffing his face with as much bread as he possibly can (clearly he doesn’t know the damaging effects of carbs) he met the ultra-sweet Wendy Darling.
In fact, the entire Darling family is the epitome of kindness because they invite Bae to stay with them and be apart of their family — something that Bae has never really had. Bae soon found out that there is magic in this world but it’s a dark type of magic called “The Shadow.” Wendy and her brothers are intrigued and delighted by the shadow saying it can change into all sorts of fun shapes and can fly around but Bae warned the children not to go near it because all magic comes with a price.
Of course, Wendy doesn’t listen and she lets The Shadow whisk her away to a far off place called Neverland where there are no adults and you never grow old. Bae is devastated but just after dawn Wendy returns to the Darling house with a solemn look on her face declaring that she was in Neverland for much longer than just a night. “I guess time works differently in Neverland,” she whispered to Bae. Wendy told Bae that although Neverland had it’s perks, (mermaids, fairies, etc.) at night all of the children would cry for their parents because once you step foot on the soil, you can never leave. The Shadow only let Wendy return because he wanted a boy in her stead.
The next night, the Darling children prepared to fight off the dark creature but they are no match for The Shadow’s powers. In order to save the Darling children, Bae sacrificed himself to be The Shadow’s victim and take off flying through London as the Neverland Lord’s prisoner. Just as they were about to reach the new land, Bae wrestled free from The Shadow’s grasp and fell into the sea—only to find himself upon the Jolly Roger and looking into the smoldering guyliner-ed eyes of Captain Hook.
Storybrooke Sacrifices: The psychotic twosome — Greg and Tamara — have Regina strapped down to bed and they kept mumbling on and on about how proud the “Home Office” is going to be with all of the magical data they’ve collected. They believe that magic is “unholy” and it should never belong in this world, so they’ve snatched her three magic beans, temporarily disabled her magic, and found the trigger that could destroy all of Storybrooke. (But they don’t know the trigger can do that… yet.)
Emma was determined to find the truth behind Tamara because she has a hunch that she’s an evil, man-stealing, b**ch, and Snow is determined to find Regina because she still feels terrible for the whole killing-her-mother thing. Neal and Emma begin searching on the beach and the have a sweet heart to heart where Neal revealed how horrible he feels for letting Regina go to jail in his stead and he has thought about her everyday and wishes things had turned out differently.
Snow and Charming discovered where Regina is being held captive by using a spell that they obtaineded from Rumple. The he spell allows Snow to see through Regina’s eyes and feel everything she was feeling — which was immense pain because Greg was basically electrocuting the queen to death in order to learn what really happened to his father. As it turned out, Regina killed Greg’s father shortly after Greg’s chubby past-self left Stroybrooke and she buried him at their old campsite.
While Snow and Charming were busy letting The Blue Fairy restore Regina back to health, Emma and Neal discovered that Tamara is, in fact, a taser-wielding psycho who never ever loved Neal. Ouch, that hits you right in the gut... literally as she shot Neal in the stomach. Just as Emma was about to kill the magic-crazed fake-fiancé, Tamara threw down one of Regina’s magic beans and a portal to the unknown opens in the middle of the floor and Tamara snuck away. Emma and a very wounded Neal tried to escape the swirling green vortex, but the floor started to break and Neal hung on to Emma’s hands for dear life.
Neal worried that their son will left an orphan and he told Emma that she has to let go saying, “Henry can’t lose both of us, and grow up like we did.” (It was all a very sweet Titantic-esque moment.) The twosome exchanged “I love you’s” and Neal slipped through Emma’s grasp and fell through the portal into an unknown world while Emma is left heartbroken and devastated. Meanwhile, over with the two magic-hating loons, Tamara revealed that the “Home Office” knows what the trigger can do and they are tasked with an important and deadly new mission: “We have to blow Storybrooke off the map!” Yikes.
What did you think of "Second Star to the Right?" What realm do you think Neal ended up in? Were you surpsied to learn about The Shadow and the perils of Neverland? Cast your spell in the comments below!
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More:'Once Upon a Time' Recap: Misplaced Memories and Dark Turn On's'Once Upon A Time' Recap: Don't Tase Me Bro!'Once Upon A Time' Recap: A Fresh Start And A Blackened Heart
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Dental worker Martin Peckham, from Essex, England, is alleged to have made a series of phone calls to the billionaire businessman saying he would snatch Tamara, 27, unless he was handed the cash.
Peckham has been charged with blackmail and is due in court in London on Friday (13Jul12).
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.
Enigmatic and deliberate Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy makes no reservations while unraveling its heady spy story for better or worse. The film based on the bestselling novel by John Le Carre is purposefully perplexing effectively mirroring the central character George Smiley's (Gary Oldman) own mind-bending investigation of the British MI6's mole problem. But the slow burn pacing clinical shooting style and air of intrigue only go so far—Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sports an incredible cast that can't dramatically translate the movie's impenetrable narrative. Almost from the get go the movie collapses under its own weight.
After a botched mission in Hungary that saw his colleague Jim (Mark Strong) gunned down in the streets Smiley and his boss Control (John Hurt) are released from the "Circus" (codename for England's Secret Intelligence Service). But soon after Smiley is brought back on board as an impartial observer tasked to uncover the possible infiltration of the organization. The former agent already dealing with the crippling of his own marriage attempts to sift through the history and current goings on of the Circus narrowing his hunt down to four colleagues: Percy aka "Tinker" (Toby Jones) Bill aka "Tailor" (Colin Firth) Roy aka "Soldier" (Ciaran Hinds) and Toy aka "Poor Man" (David Dencik). Working with Peter (Benedict Cumberbatch) a conflicted younger member of the service and Ricki (Tom Hardy) a rogue agent who has information of his own Smiley slowly uncovers the muddled truth—occasionally breaking in to his own work place and crossing his own friends to do so.
Describing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as dense doesn't seem complicated enough. The first hour of the monster mystery moves at a sloth's pace trickling out information like the tedious drips of a leaky faucet. The talent on display is undeniable but the characters Smiley included are so cold that a connection can never be made. TTSS sporadically jumps around from past to present timelines without any indication: a tactic that proves especially confusing when scenes play out in reoccurring locations. It's not until halfway through that the movie decides to kick into high gear Smiley's search for a culprit finally becoming clear enough to thrill. A film that takes its time is one thing but Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy does so without any edge or hook.
What the movie lacks in coherency it makes up for in style and thespian gravitas. Director Tomas Alfredson has assembled some of the finest British performers working today and they turn the script's inaccessible spy jargon into poetry. Firth stands out as the group's suave slimeball a departure from his usual nice guy roles. Hardy assures us he's the next big thing once again as the agency's resident moppet a lover who breaks down after a romantic fling uncovers horrifying truth. Oldman is given the most difficult task of the bunch turning the reserved contemplative Smiley into a real human. He half succeeds—his observational slant in the beginning feels like an extension of the movie's bigger problems but once gets going in the second half of the film he's quite a bit of fun.
Alfredson constructs Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy like a cinematic architect each frame dripping with perfectly kitschy '70s production design and camera angles that make the spine tingle. He creates paranoia through framing similar to the Coppola's terrifying The Conversation but unlike that film TTSS doesn't have the characters or story to match. The movie strives to withhold information and succeeds—too much so. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy wants us to solve a mystery with George Smiley but it never clues us in to exactly why we should want to.
Gemma Arterton had a busier schedule than most in 2010, but as any up-and-coming performer in Hollywood will tell you: "when you're hot, you're hot" - which means her star power won't be cooling off anytime soon. Total Film is reporting that the actress, who appeared in mega-budgeted blockbusters like Prince of Persia: The Sand of Time and Clash of the Titans as well as indies like The Disappearance of Alice Creed and Tamara Drewe this past year, is in talks to co-star in Michael Mann's buzz-worthy biopic of famed war photographer Robert Capa.
The project is set up at Sony and is said to focus primarily on the torrid two-year romance between Capa and fellow photographer Gerda Taro during the Spanish Civil War. Arterton would of course portray Taro, but what's even more interesting is who the director is looking at to play Capa. When asked about the film, the beautiful Brit seemed to spill the beans about the lucky young thespian who could take role:
[the biopic about the combat photographer Robert Capa] is confirmed, so I should be working with your hottest actor, Andy Garfield!"
This is the first that we're hearing about Garfield's involvement in the project, but considering his acclaimed performances in The Social Network and Never Let Me Go and his starring role in the new Spider-Man film (which strengthens his relationship with Capa's distributor/financier/production company Sony) it's not totally unreasonable to assume that the coveted part could be his.
We'll be following this award-worthy project closely as it gears up to shoot in 2011, so stay tuned for more information.
Source: Total Film
The Clash of The Titans star admits he just couldn't leave the area after the Stephen Frears film wrapped.
He says, "We finished in November and I actually went and hired a house down there and I took my family down there and we spent Christmas there.
"The air is fresh... It's a beautiful part of Britain. If I could afford a house there I would. The houses there are expensive."
"It had a charmed life, this film. The weather was suddenly miraculously good, the actors were a delight, it was a joy to shoot and the cows did just what they were told to do." Moviemaker STEPHEN FREARS on the thrill of shooting new film TAMARA DREWE in rural England.
Arterton stars as Drewe, a young newspaper journalist torn between two lovers, in the dark comedy, which is based on the graphic novel by Posy Simmonds.
But the star admits her pals struggled to recognise her in costume - and couldn't believe it was the former Bond girl under the disguise.
She tells WENN, "I'm very excited about Tamara Drewe and I play her. Stephen Frears directed that. It's a black comedy.
"She is a journalist who grew up in this little village in England and she was a really ugly duckling; she had this huge hunk, a massive nose. I'm wearing a prosthetic nose and it's fantastic.
"It's quite a shock when you see it. My friends saw it and they said, 'Is that you?!' I have the picture of me with the nose in my bathroom and people always say, 'Is that you in there?'"