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
Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady married for a second time on Saturday, in a sunset Costa Rica ceremony.
Weeks after the couple tied the knot in Santa Monica, California, they invited family and friends to join them to celebrate the union at the model's home in the central American country.
Around 25 guests gathered under a tent erected on the balcony and watched as the bride walked down the aisle at sunset.
The football star, 31, and Brazilian supermodel Bundchen, 28, first met two years ago. She previously dated Leonardo DiCaprio, and Brady has a 17-month-old child with ex-girlfriend Bridget Moynahan.
(c) 2009 WORLD ENTERTAINMENT NEWS NETWORK LTD. All global rights reserved. No unauthorized copying or re-distributing permitted.
MORE NEWS: Fawcett Hospitalized
Supermodel Gisele Bundchen and her new husband Tom Brady are set to stage a second wedding for close friends and family in Costa Rica.
The Brazilian stunner and the football hunk quietly exchanged vows in Santa Monica, California, on Feb. 26, but they've decided to celebrate the nuptials with a select few guests.
The newlyweds have reportedly invited friends and family to Costa Rica for a dinner party on April 3. The dinner will be followed by a second wedding ceremony and reception.
People.com reports the couple has been planning the wedding revamp for months.
(c) 2009 WORLD ENTERTAINMENT NEWS NETWORK LTD. All global rights reserved. No unauthorized copying or re-distributing permitted.
MORE NEWS: Efron No Longer 'Footloose'
Actor Edward James Olmos was sentenced Friday to spend 20 days behind bars after trespassing on U.S. Navy land on the Puerto Rican Island of Vieques during protests against Navy war games, Reuters reports. The Miami Vice actor was arrested on the Naval bombing range April 28 with environmental attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and New York labor leader Dennis Riviera, who both received 30-day sentences on the same charges. They completed their sentence on Aug. 1. "We need to do this. Puerto Ricans all over the world needs to understand this problem. We need to support Vieques," Olmos said.
'N Sync, Destiny's Child and Britney Spears were among the winners at the Teen Choice Awards, held Sunday at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles. Ben Affleck, who is currently in treatment for alcohol abuse, came out to receive two awards, including favorite actor, The Associated Press reports. The show will air Aug. 20 on Fox.
The Charlatans UK's keyboardist Tony Rogers has been diagnosed with testicular cancer. According to BBC News, Rogers has undergone chemotherapy and radiotherapy making his chances of recovery very high, the band said on their official Web site.
Russian director Stanislav Rostotsky, whose films revolve around life in the Soviet Union from World War II until the reforms of the late 1980s and early 1990s, has died of a heart attack at 79, BBC News reports.
Garth Hudson, founding member of The Band, has filed for bankruptcy for the third time. The musician, 64, faces foreclosure on his Hudson Valley home in New York, AP reports.
The struggle among SAG and AFTRA ended Friday, with members of both actors unions giving the new film-TV deal a 97 percent endorsement, Reuters reports.
Singer-actress Cher is selling her 14,000-square-foot, seven-bedroom Malibu home for $25 million after she finished building a new home on land that was purchased eight years ago, AP reports. Cher's home is on 2.5 acres with a guesthouse, a pool, tennis court and unobstructed coastline view.
Al Pacino and Colin Farrell will star in The Farm, a suspense thriller that revolves around a young CIA operative (Farrell) and his relationship with his doublecrossing mentor (Pacino). Jamie Foley will direct, Reuters reports.
Cary Elwes, from The Princess Bride andShadow of the Vampire, has joined the cast of The X-Files. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Elwes will play FBI assistant director Brad Follmer and the ex-boyfriend of special agent Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish). He will make his first appearance on the show's ninth-season premiere episode.
The owner of Boston's Bull & Finch pub, which inspired the television show Cheers, will open a new bar next week that replicates the sitcom's set, AP reports. The two-story restaurant, which will house Sam Malone's Red Sox jacket and Cliff's mail carrier uniform, will open in Faneuil Hall, owner Tom Kershaw said. The interior of the original bar, on Beacon Hill, bears no resemblance to the fictional Cheers bar.
Mexican singer Gloria Tevi has turned down a $40,000 offer by imprisoned Brazilian drug lord Luiz Fernando da Costa has offered to pay $40,000 to Mexican singer Gloria exclusive musical performance. Tevi has been in jail for more than a year as she waits to be transferred to Mexico, where she faces charges of sexual abuse.
Immune Deficiency Foundation member Carol Ann Demaret is campaigning against the release of Bubble Boy, a comedy about a teen-ager confined to live in a plastic bubble to fight an immune system disorder. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Demaret wrote letters accusing Disney of making fun of her son David, who lived that way until his death at the age of 12. Disney execs point out that the film was made by Touchstone, a subsidiary, and that it is the basis for a road-trip comedy and is not meant to portray any real-life person.
Perennial single guy Jerry Seinfeld finally threw in the towel Christmas Day, wedding public-relations executive Jessica Sklar in a small, hush-hush ceremony in New York City.
It is the first marriage for Seinfeld, 45; the second (in 18 months) for Sklar, 28. The bride's initial husband-and-wife teamup (with theater scion Eric Nederlander) ended when she started dating Seinfeld weeks after she returned from her 1998 honeymoon.
Seinfeld is, of course, best known for his long-running self-titled TV sitcom, "Seinfeld." Sklar is best known for dating Seinfeld.
According to the New York Post, some 40 guests watched the couple exchange their vows at a traditional Jewish service. Not among those 40 guests: the groom's ex-"Seinfeld" cohorts Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Michael Richards.
Comedian George Wallace served as best man. In the New York Daily News, Wallace described his toast to the newlyweds as "very dark and burnt."
No word on honeymoon plans.
OBITUARY: Curtis Mayfield, who composed the seminal score for the 1972 blaxploitation classic, "Superfly," died today at an Atlanta hospital. He was 57.
Mayfield had been paralyzed since 1990, when he was struck on stage by a lighting rig. In declining health, the songwriter/performer was considered too ill to attend his induction this past January in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In addition to his work for "Superfly," Mayfield's catalog of hits included: "What's Going On" (recorded by Marvin Gaye) and "Say It Loud--I'm Black and I'm Proud" (made famous by James Brown).
MORE TROUBLE: Sometime-actor/always-in-trouble Dennis Rodman ("Double Team") was arrested Dec. 22 in Southern California on suspicion of drunken driving.
The ex-basketball star remains free on $2,500 bail. He was booked in Costa Mesa, Calif., after being stopped by police for allegedly not wearing a seat belt. Rodman's problems mounted when, according to authorities, he failed a field sobriety test. Cops were said have been tipped off to Rodman's reputedly tipsy behavior by security officials at a local restaurant/bar.
This is Rodman's third arrest in four months. Charges in the previous three cases--including a Miami Beach catfight with ex-wife Carmen Electra--were either dropped or not pursued.
Rodman was last seen on a basketball court in April with the Los Angeles Lakers. He will next be seen on the movie (or straight-to-video) screen in "Cutaway," with Tom Berenger.