Donnie Wahlberg, Olivia Wilde, Kim Kardashian and Eliza Dushku are among the stars who expressed their relief on Friday night (19Apr13) after a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings was caught following a massive police manhunt in Massachusetts. Cops swooped on the Watertown area late on Thursday night (18Apr13) as they attempted to apprehend two brothers wanted in connection with the atrocity at the annual race on Monday (15Apr13), when three people were killed and more than 170 injured after two bombs exploded near the finish line.
Shots were fired in Watertown, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the two lead suspects, later died from his injuries, while his sibling, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, evaded capture.
Police embarked on a massive manhunt on Friday, advising people across the city of Boston to stay inside and going door-to-door in the area in a bid to track down the 19 year old, but it was only after the lockdown was lifted at night that one local reported seeing blood near a boat in his backyard - prompting cops to descend on the area and corner Dzhokhar.
The huge scale hunt was documented live on TV, and celebrities flocked to Twitter.com to heap praise on Boston authorities and express their delight that the suspect had been captured.
Boston native Wahlberg declared, "Time to take our city back. Start the healing process & turn our attention to the victims & their families", while Dushku, who grew up in the town, shared, "Watertown way to stay strong. Breathe & get some sleep now - much gratitude to all the responders. Boston is my blood - peace & love to all."
Wilde wrote, "So goddamn relieved. Boston, I love you. May the bars stay open til dawn", Kardashian offered, "This is insane. I'm glad they finally captured the 2nd suspect!!!", while actor Chris Evans praised authorities: "GREAT work Boston PD (Police Department), FBI, and everyone involved in successfully bringing this chaos to an end. Job well done!!"
New Kids on the Block star Joey McIntyre, who ran the marathon on Monday, told fans, "Grateful for some kind of relief from this sad week. And for all armed services- heroes all! Thank you THANK YOU THANK YOU", while rocker Ryan Adams wrote, "Let the good people of Boston breathe easy tonight. We love you" and Josh Groban tweeted, "So happy that the brave city of Boston can breathe some sigh of relief tonight after being held hostage."
Shannon Elizabeth, Emmy Rossum, Hank Williams, Jr., Debra Messing, John Legend, Alyssa Milano and Ricky Gervais also took to their Twitter.com accounts as news of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's capture emerged, while U.S. President Barack Obama gave a televised speech to applaud locals for their response to the devastating attack and subsequent manhunt.
He declared, "Tonight our nation is in debt to the people of Boston and to the people of Massachusetts after a vicious attack on their city. Bostonians responded with resolve and determination. We've closed an important chapter in this tragedy. There are still many unanswered questions. How did young men who grew up and studied here as part of our communities and country resort to such violence? The families of those killed so senselessly deserve answers."
Boston, Massachusetts native Donnie Wahlberg and actor Michael Chiklis were among the concerned Americans who took to Twitter.com on Monday (15Apr13) in a bid to make sure loved ones and friends in the city were OK after the double blast that marred the famous marathon. Wahlberg was hoping to get an update from his New Kids On The Block bandmate Joey McIntyre, who was running in the race, while Chiklis just urged family members to get in touch with him.
McIntyre assured Wahlberg and his followers he was OK, revealing he had crossed the finish line just five minutes before the blasts sent debris and smoke towering over the last stretch of the marathon, killing two people and injuring many more.
Relieved to hear his bandmate was unharmed, Wahlberg tweeted: "Going to be off twitter for a while today. Many friends and loved ones to check in on. Please #PrayforBoston and all those impacted by this."
Meanwhile, Chiklis wrote, "To all my people back home. Please let me know that you are alright."
And thoughts and prayers were tweeted by Justin Timberlake, Miley Cyrus, Rob Lowe, Elizabeth Hurley and Simon Cowell, who wrote: "Watching the news. Horrendous. Please god no more bombs. Stay safe America."
Bette Midler urged her followers not to jump to conclusions about possible terrorist attacks, adding, "Terrible news out of Boston. But before we jump to conclusions about the perps (perpetrators), we should wait; too many crazies (with agendas) to count."
And Alicia Keys tweeted: "Shaken… My thoughts and prayers are with the city of Boston and those affected by this tragedy," while her pop peer Pink added, "Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by the explosions in Boston."
Earlier in the day, Lindsay Lohan, Eva Longoria and actress Chloe Grace Moretz were among the first celebrities to comment on the shocking incident, and U.S. leader Barack Obama staged a press conference at the White House, in which he stated, "The American people will say a prayer for Boston tonight... We don't have all the answers but we do know that multiple people have been wounded, some gravely."
He added, "Make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this and we will find out who did this and we will find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice."
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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Last year director Garry Marshall hit upon a devilishly canny approach to the romantic comedy. A more polished refinement of Hal Needham’s experimental Cannonball Run method it called for assembling a gaggle of famous faces from across the demographic spectrum and pairing them with a shallow day-in-the-life narrative packed with gobs of gooey sentiment. A cynical strategy to be sure but one that paid handsome dividends: Valentine’s Day earned over $56 million in its opening weekend surpassing even the rosiest of forecasts. Buoyed by the success Marshall and his screenwriter Katherine Fugate hastily retreated to the bowels of Hades to apply their lucrative formula to another holiday historically steeped in romantic significance and New Year’s Eve was born.
Set in Manhattan on the last day of the year New Year’s Eve crams together a dozen or so canned scenarios into one bloated barely coherent mass of cliches. As before Marshall’s recruited an impressive ensemble of minions to do his unholy bidding including Oscar winners Hilary Swank Halle Berry and Robert De Niro the latter luxuriating in a role that didn’t require him to get out of bed. High School Musical’s Zac Efron is paired up with ‘80s icon Michelle Pfeiffer – giving teenage girls and their fathers something to bond over – while Glee’s Lea Michele meets cute with a pajama-clad Ashton Kutcher. There’s Katherine Heigl in a familiar jilted-fiance role Sarah Jessica Parker as a fretful single mom and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as the most laid-back cop in New York. Sofia Vergara and Hector Elizondo mine for cheap laughs with thick accents – his fake and hers real – and Jessica Biel and Josh Duhamel deftly mix beauty with blandness. Fans of awful music will delight in the sounds of Jon Bon Jovi straining against type to play a relevant pop musician.
The task of interweaving the various storylines is too great for Marshall and New Year’s Eve bears the distinct scent and stain of an editing-room bloodbath with plot holes so gaping that not even the brightest of celebrity smiles can obscure them. But that’s not the point – it never was. You should know better than to expect logic from a film that portrays 24-year-old Efron and 46-year-old Parker as brother-and-sister without bothering to explain how such an apparent scientific miracle might have come to pass. Marshall wagers that by the time the ball drops and the film’s last melodramatic sequence has ended prior transgressions will be absolved and moviegoers will be content to bask in New Year's Eve's artificial glow. The gambit worked for Valentine's Day; this time he may not be so fortunate.
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.