If there's a cinematic alchemy award to be given this year director Bill Condon deserves to take it home after magically turning the tedious Twilight franchise into entertainment gold. 2011's Part 1 was a horror camp romp that turned the supernatural love triangle — the naval gazing trio of Bella Edward and Jacob — on its head. Breaking Dawn - Part 2 continues the madcap exploration of a world populated by vampires and werewolves mining even more comedy thrills and genuine character moments out of conceit than ever before. The film occasionally sidesteps back into Edward and Bella's meandering romance (an evident hurdle of author Stephenie Meyer's source material) but the duller moments are overshadowed by the movie's nimble pace and playful attitude. Breaking Dawn - Part 2 will elicit laughs aplenty — but thankfully they're all on purpose.
Part 2 picks up immediately following the events of the first film Bella (Kristen Stewart) having been turned into a vampire by Edward (Robert Pattinson) to save her life after the torturous delivery of her half-human half-vampire child Renesmee. She awakes to discover super senses heightened agility increased strength… and a thirst for blood. One dead cougar later Bella and the gang are able to focus on the real troubles ahead: Renesmee is rapidly growing (think Jack) and vampiric overlords The Volturi perceive her a threat to vampiric secrecy. Knowing the Volturi will travel to Forks WA to kill the young girl (a 10-year-old just a month after being born) The Cullens amass an army of bloodsucking friends to end the oppression once and for all.
Packed with an absurd amount of backstory and mythology-twisting plot points (some vampires can shoot lightning now?) Condon and series screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg mine revel in the beefed up ensemble of Breaking Dawn - Part 2 and thanks to a wildly funny cast it never feels like pointless deviation. Along with the usual suspects Lee Pace adds swagger to the series as a grungy alt-rock vampire Noel Fisher appears as a hilarious over-the-top battle-ready Russian coven member and Michael Sheen returns has Volturi head honcho Aro and steels the show. Flamboyant diabolical and a steady stream of maniacal laughter Sheen owns Condon's high camp vision for Twilight and he lights up the screen. There are a few throw away nations of vampires — the oddly stereotypical Egyptian and Amazonians sects are there mostly there to off-set the extreme whiteness — but the actors involved bring liveliness to a franchise known for being soulless. Even Stewart Pattinson and Taylor Lautner give personal bests in this installment — a scene between Bella and her dad Charlie (Billy Burke) is genuinely heartfelt while Jacob's overprotective hero schtick finally lands.
Whereas Breaking Dawn - Part 1 stuck mostly to the personal story relying on the intimate moments as Bella and Edward took the big plunge into marriage and sex Part 2 paints with broader strokes and Condon has a ball. Delving into the history of the vampires and the vampire world outside Forks is Pandora's Box for the director. One scene where we learn why kids scare the heck of the Volturi captures a scope of medieval epics — along with the bloodshed. Twilight might be known for its sexual moments but Breaking Dawn - Part 2 will go down for its abundance of decapitations. The big set piece in the finale is something to behold both in the craftsmanship of the spectacle and in its bizarre nature.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 had the audience hooting hollering and even gasping as it twisted and turned to the final moments. There's little doubt that even the biggest naysayer of the franchise would do the same. No irony here: the conclusion of Twilight is a blast.
S7E16: Wait a minute, How I Met Your Mother. We’re going down this road again? Ted and Robin? What about Robin and Barney? What about Ted and the mother? What about Ranjit and The Captain? ANY other combination would make more sense!
But here we are: on the roof of the apartment building, with Ted professing his love to Robin after a particularly heartbreaking Valentine’s Day for the both of them. Let’s backtrack…
“Goat cheese? Fascinating! What else are you allergic to?” – Ted
Robin and Kevin accompany Marshall and Lily to a Valentine’s Day getaway in Vermont. The slightest provocation in the form of a compliment about their relationship from Kevin sends Marshall and Lily into an endless summation of what makes the perfect relationship—which, of course, in typical sitcom hypocrisy, backfires and erupts into a weekend-long spat. But that is the most uninteresting and inconsequential plotline in a particularly uninteresting and only-consequential-by-default episode.
Kevin proposes to Robin—cue a resounding “No!” from audiences nationwide. Robin hesitates to respond, concerned that she must tell Kevin the truth about her infertility before she can answer. She does, but this does not deter him—which seems to disappoint her, a little. Robin continues on to explain that she not only can’t have kids, but also does not want to have kids—this rules out adoption, surrogacy, Scarlett Johansson cloning, the works. But Kevin persists. Again, Robin seems disappointed. While we’re led to believe that he is the only who eventually comes to realize, thanks to Robin’s probing, that he cannot happily marry a woman who does not want children, what I really believe happened (we don’t actually see their breakup take place in entirety; just the disheartened look on Kal Penn’s face leading up to the discussion) is that Kevin realized that Robin was so against the idea of marrying him that she was practically begging him to find a reason not to want to marry her. At least, I hope that’s what the show was doing. Robin not being in love with Kevin is far more important than Kevin not being in love with Robin. He shouldn’t be right for her, not the other way around.
“A backwards baseball cap really youngs me down.” – Ted
Back in the New York Metropolitan Area, we find Barney and Ted, who have just discovered, thanks to Lily and Marshall, the Drunk Train: the last train out to Long Island from Manhattan, filled with inebriated passengers too drunk and stupid to turn any sexual prospect down. Barney jumps at the opportunity to try his luck with the women on the Drunk Train—women who are quite a long leap from the Long Island stereotype, and more closely familiar to Brooklyn denizens in a movie from the ‘90s. Seriously, Long Islanders have their (our) share of flaws ripe for parody, but we’re treated instead to a bunch of My Cousin Vinny Marisa Tomeis. To HIMYM’s credit, the Drunk Train is a real thing. But it is much less fun than what we see on this episode. Much darker…sadder…a place where you come face to face with the grotesqueness of human nature.
“Last week, I went out with a girl whose favorite band was Glee.” – Ted There’s an important plot point that the episode reminds us of every ten minutes or so—but that doesn’t really resonate in the interim periods for whatever reason. We see in flashbacks that, on the night prior to their railroad adventure, Ted had employed Barney as a wingman on his date with a girl who turned out to be both uninteresting and uninterested. But Barney really hit it off with Ted’s date’s wingwoman. Quinn, played by Becki Newton, is a quick-witted, brazen and sardonic young lady who sees right through all of Barney’s B.S. Naturally, this draws him to her—so much so that even through his Drunk Train endeavors—both his unsuccessful sober one and his second, more profitable intoxicated one—Barney can’t stop thinking about Quinn. In fact, after Ted calls Barney out on his feelings for her, Barney even cuts short a date with a Trainee, deciding he’d rather pursue something more substantial with Quinn. Who, by the way, is a stripper—but he doesn’t know that yet. “Good circling, Ted.” – Barney “This ain’t my first word search.” – Ted Again, resounding “No!”s. I don’t think I’m in the minority in hoping that the wedding set to close this seventh season will be between Barney and Robin—not Barney and Quinn, or Barney and Nora, or Barney and anyone else. But if that does end up being the case, we’ve got an awful lot to wade through before then: Barney’s pursuit of Quinn and, of course, that whole Ted-loves-Robin-again/still thing I mentioned earlier. Barney isn’t the only one who realizes on the train that he wants more. Ted admits sadly that all he wants is to love someone, but that there is no one for him to love. Upon returning home, he finds Robin, sad, alone and with cigarette on the roof. After she explains to him what happened with Kevin, Ted proudly and earnestly professes his love to her. “I was all, do I look like I’m from Ronkonkoma?” – Barney “Ohhh!” – Long Islanders So what the hell are we supposed to do with this? Unless there is some sort of reality-altering paradox, we know that they can’t end up together. Once we all came to terms with that, we figured, “Well, Robin and Barney would be a pretty sweet deal!” But now, How I Met Your Mother is doing everything in its power to complicate that ride. I still do believe that by the end of the season, Robin and Barney will wind up with one another. But I don’t really know what’s going to come from this whole fiasco. Also, apparently, Barney went to MIT. What did you think about this week’s episode? Which duo are you pulling for: Ted and Robin? Robin and Barney? Barney and Quinn? Robin and Kevin? Let us know whose camp you’re in in the comments section or on Twitter (@MichaelArbeiter).
So, what's it like when you sell your movie at Sundance? Like this: You drive through the streets whooping, yelling, cranking up the stereo and tossing black Adidas ski hats to the unwashed (and un-picked-up) masses.
The groovesters of "Groove" are, yes, grooving. A day after Sony Pictures Classic snapped up the low-budget slice-of-rave-life flick, the film's players were partying in the streets here this afternoon. And to hear one of its stars tell it -- this was situation normal, big-time movie deal or no.
"We've been partying since Day One of shooting and that's all it was, was 28 days in a warehouse, dancing 18 hours a day," actor Steve Van Mormer told Hollywood.com while dancing atop the SUV-anointed "Groove" Mobile. "And we haven't stopped since."
Not that the Sony deal hasn't made the day of even the most veteran party animals.
"It is unfathomable," said Van Wormer, who plays a club promoter in the flick. "It was always in the back of our minds, but it's a total, total dream. ... It's unbelievable. I don't even know what else to askfor."
Meanwhile, in other Park City happenings:
BIG "BUCK": "Chuck & Buck," a different kind of buddy film starring the directing-producing brothers behind 1999 summer smash "American Pie," was bought today -- reportedly for $1 million-plus -- by Artisan Entertainment, the distributor behind that other 1999 summersmash, "The Blair Witch Project." The deal was completed after the "Groove" one, leaving that film with the distinction of being the first Park City buy. "Chuck & Buck," with hot "Pie" sibs Chris and Paul Weitz, is the second feature from Miguel Arteta, who became a Sundance star with 1997's "Star Maps."
GOLDEN GLOBES? WHAT GOLDEN GLOBES? OK, so tonight's official Sundance party was billed as the DirecTV Golden Globes party -- except, like, it started at 9 p.m. local time (or roughly just as the award show was ending) and, like, nobody cared anyway.
Reports Hollywood.com's Gerry Katzman: "Fifty percent of the people there had very little concept that the Golden Globes were even going on." The other half were juiced that Alan Ball took a Globe for his screenplay for "American Beauty" (almost like an indie -- except for the DreamWorks part).
And then there was the matter of Barbra Streisand. (She picked up the Globe's lifetime achievement award.) The word that came up most often, Katzman says, in describing Streisand's acceptance speech was, um, "rambled."
MAYBE WE WERE AT THE WRONG PARTY: The big shindig in town tonight (perhaps the one that emptied the streets) was apparently the MGM-sponsored Globes bash. This one wasn't for journalist types -- it was for "the special people," in the words of a fellow journalist type (i.e., a nonspecial person).
THE ORIGINS OF BUZZ: "Oh, it's really good." -- A cell phone disciple on her way out of Saturday's premiere of boxing chick flick (and Dramatic Competition hopeful) "Girlfight" at the Park City LibraryCenter.
HOW TO PARK IN PARK CITY: Stop your SUV in the middle of Main Street -- and get out. (Leaving the engine running is optional, if not recommended. At least that's how three drivers -- two in one lane, one in the opposite -- did it at the same time here Sunday night, much to the delight of their fellow motorists.)
PARKING ASIDE, WE'RE A WELL-BEHAVED BUNCH: Park City police Sgt. Sherm Farnsworth told us today all has been pretty quiet in packed Park City -- flier controversy or no. The Slamdance types, as we reported earlier, have been complaining that their filmmakers are being hassled over handbills and threatened with $2,000 fines. Farnsworth said no actual citations had been issued through the weekend. He also denied that police were springing a new law on festivalgoers -- as Slamdance had suggested. ("Why they say that ... I have no idea," Farnsworth said.) The anti-flier ordinance has been on the books for a while, the official said, adding that police are just cracking down this year. In other civic news, Farnsworth estimated that the biggest Park City population crush is yet to come, with up to 30,000 expected to be milling about town Wednesday and Thursday. No word on how many will come bearing fliers.
WHO SAID MOVIE PEOPLE HAVE NO STANDARDS? "I can't just whip out a power schmooze -- 'How 'bout them Knicks?'" -- A conflicted guy overheard tonight on Main Street.
THE MOST WELL-INFORMED MALL IN AMERICA: Park City's Main Street Mall (home to the No Dance Festival), where the communal TV sets are inexplicably always tuned to CNN.
HOW TO ELIMINATE THE COMPETITION: New to Park City this year is the Independence Film Festival. It's the brainchild of filmmaker David Merwin, who has a very specific agenda: To screen his short, "The Regular Menu," as many as 100 times by Wednesday morning. "The Regular Menu," in fact, is the only film on the menu at the Independence Film Festival, based near Slamdance headquarters at the Treasure Mountain Inn. Said Merwin: "We could have hustled up some other entries, but I kind of liked the idea of being the guaranteed grand-prize winner thisyear."
MOVIES WE SAW:
1. "Songcatcher" (Sundance Dramatic Competition) -- We had to get up early to watch this stuff? Janet McTeer plays a 1920s musicologist who chooses to move to hillbilly country to live with her lesbian sister schoolteacher (Jane Adams) and discovers the joy of native folk songs. Unfortunately, almost every freakin' scene features dirty-faced mountainfolk breaking into song. It's both annoying and unrealistic -- as if the hillbilly lifestyle was not too divorced from that of a Broadway gypsy. A great performance by Aidan Quinn (as McTeer's love interest, a hillbilly with a heart of gold) and an unbelievable supporting turn by Pat Carroll ("The Little Mermaid") can't make up for the film's contrivances. (-- AnonymousSource)
2. "Double Parked" (Slamdance Competition Feature) "Tumbleweeds" (and/or "Anywhere But Here") with a New Yawk accent. Like those two wacky-mom/put-upon-kid flicks, "Double Parked" gives us a wacky single mom (who, in a twist, is as a tough-talkin' meter maid name of, ugh, Rita) and a put-upon kid (who, in a twist, is sickly). Though heartfelt, this is the kind of film that shows up on IFC or the Sundance Channel full of a self-congratulatory sense of entitlement that says, "We're indie. We're better than Hollywood because no cars were crashed to make this film." Well, no cars were crashed to make "Anywhere But Here," either, and it's just as cloying as that, so what's the point? (-- J.R.)
MOVIES WE WANTED TO SEE BUT COULDN'T GET TICKETS TO EVEN THOUGH WE WAITED OUT IN THE BITTER COLD FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF: "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" (Sundance Documentary Competition).
SPOTTED: Indie god Steve Buscemi ("Living in Oblivion") at today's "Songcatcher" screening at the Eccles Theatre; indie guru John Pierson (TV's "Split Screen"), animation icon Craig "Spike" Decker (of Spike and Mike's Festival of Animation) and James Woods ("Any Given Sunday") at the Independent Film Channel bash tonight at the Harry O's nightclub. We also thought we saw Kato Kaelin (The People vs. O.J. Simpson) at the IFC shindig, but upon further review it was determined it wasn't Kato, after all. (It was that kindof night.)
LOOKING AHEAD: The Jason Priestley-directed documentary "Barenaked in America" (about the pop band Barenaked Ladies), plays Slamdance on Monday; the buzz-a-rific "Happy Accidents" (with Marisa Tomei) unspools at Sundance; alternafest SlamDunk begins its run at Harry's O.