The stars of Napoleon Dynamite celebrated the 10th anniversary of the film's release by reuniting to unveil a bronze statue of the titular character in Los Angeles on Monday (09Jun14). Since its release in 2004, the comedy has become a cult favourite, and a decade later, the cast including Jon Heder, Haylie Duff, Efren Ramirez, Tina Majorino, Sandy Martin, Shondrella Avery, and director Jared Hess gathered at the Fox Studio lot in Los Angeles to celebrate the movie's success.
The cast revealed a bronze statue of Napoleon Dynamite himself, wearing his signature 'Vote for Pedro' shirt and moonboots, and also participated in a question and answer session following the unveiling.
The comedy starring Heder as a hapless high school student grossed nearly $45 million (£28 million) at the U.S. box office and went on to become a top-selling home release.
Most people had Michael Cera "figured out" around the time Scott Pilgrim vs. the World came and went from theaters in 2010. Arrested Development introduced us to his signature brand of mumbly, improvised comedy. Superbad solidified it. By Scott Pilgrim, people wanted something more from the actor — even though the movie was something more.
In what might be seen as a quest of reinvention (but is likely simply Cera's efforts to challenge himself with unique material), the 24-year-old actor rode the critical praise and soft box office numbers of Scott Pilgrim all the way to Chile, where he connected with director Sebastián Silva (The Maid), a relative unknown here in the States. The plan was to costar in one of Silva's movies — the psychological thriller Magic Magic — but along the way their collaboration spawned a second project, Crystal Fairy & the Magic Cactus and 2012. In an unexpected move, Sundance premiered both of the films in the span of one week. But it was far from Cera overkill; the only things the two films have nothing in common are the presence of the actor and the effect they have on the perception of him. You haven't seen these sides of Michael Cera.
Silva's Crystal Fairy is closer to the Cera's American films, a dramedy fueled by drugs and entranced by the world of Chile. Cera plays an American stoner, Jamie, desperate to hunt down and stew the San Pedro, a cactus packing a legendary high. He has friends in the South American country, but to the driven druggie, they're more tour guides than faithful companions. When Jamie isn't pressing his buddies to help him find the cactus, he's snorting up coke or smoking weed, a perpetual state of lackadaisicalness. The kind of high that could keep a guy staring at a Hieronymus Bosch painting for an hour (and does).
Jamie floats through the lush landscapes, eventually embarking on a trip to the coast where his ritualistic "taking of the San Pedro" will commence. But the plan is thrown a curveball when his posse crosses path with a hippie named Crystal Fairy (a long awaited return from Gabby Hoffman). Having accidentally invited Crystal to tag along to the beach, Jamie engages the crystal-loving, organic-food-eating, zen mistress in a battle of wits, while his pals annoyingly embrace her lifestyle. A simple conflict with plenty of opportunities for Cera to cut loose and find an less desirable side to his personality. Jamie needs a wakeup call in life and he finds it through the antics of Crystal Fairy.
Silva matches the lethargic nature of Crystal Fairy's performances with loose camera work and natural light — it's clear the film organically grew from the pair's work on Magic Magic, with direction that feels like they picked up the camera and hit the road. It's the antithesis of his style choices in the latter film, a character-driven ensemble piece that's dramatically lit and perfectly framed. Perfectly framed to drive the audience insane.
Cera takes a costar role in Magic Magic, paving the way for a breathtaking performance by Juno Temple as a co-ed stricken with intense anxiety. When Alicia (Temple) arrives in Chile to visit her cousin Sarah (Emily Browning), she's seemingly normal. But as soon as the pair head out to Sarah boyfriend Augustin's vacation home, along with his sister Barbara (Catalina Sandino Moreno) and their flamboyant, douchebag friend Brink (Cera), Alicia's mind starts to slip away. She's nearly panphobic, the littlest provocation sending her off the deep end. Conversing with new people, the sound of birds at night, a dog humping her leg, even the slightest jab from Brink — one minute Alicia is calm, the next she's hyperventilating and bawling her eyes out.
Like Rosemary's Baby and the greats of psychological horror, Magic Magic is a sensory assault calibrated to bore into the audiences' mind. It's hard to recommend Magic Magic — it's bound to give a few people actual panic attacks — but it's a brave experiment and one worth stumbling upon without much anticipation. While Silva's darker film is Temple's stage, Cera makes an impact — especially when juxtaposed against Crystal Fairy. If you checked out of Cera's "shtick" years ago, Sundance sports two performances that will make you rethink the actor. At least until Arrested Development returns this year.
[Photo Credit: Braven Films]
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
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Welcome to the third annual WTF Movie Awards, our annual celebration of the most baffling and bizarre moments in cinema. Our congratulations to this year's winners of the coveted Frank Trophy (pictured right):
Most Surprising Hit: The Lion King 3D
There were few surprises to be found among this year’s highest-grossing titles. Even Bridesmaids, widely regarded as 2011’s breakout hit, had a boatload of rhapsodic buzz that presaged its success. With audience enthusiasm for 3D lukewarm at best, who could have predicted that a 3D-refurbished Lion King would earn upwards of $94 million?
Most Inexplicable Flop: Happy Feet Two
So dominant has been animation’s hold over the box office in recent years that a $100 million-plus domestic tally for even the weakest of major-studio releases seemed a given. Not so for Happy Feet Two, which has yet to break the $60 million mark after over a month in theaters.
Best Unintentional Comedy: Abduction
The field in this category was perhaps the most competitive in years. With its formidable comic one-two punch of Leighton Meester and Minka Kelly, The Roommate emerged as the clear-cut favorite in the early going, fending off such early challengers as Red Riding Hood and Sucker Punch. Its victory seemed all but assured until September, when it was overtaken by the hilariously ill-conceived Taylor Lautner action vehicle, Abduction.
Best Inadvertent Horror Flick: New Year’s Eve
Over the course of 118 soul-sucking minutes, Garry Marshall and his celebrity minions cycle through one cringe-worthy moment after another in this relentless blitzkrieg of schmaltz.
The Ewan McGregor Award for Achievement in Male Full-Frontal Nudity: Michael Fassbender, Shame
Outside of Anthony Weiner, no public figure earned more press for his exposed naughty bits this year than Fassbender, whose “Fassboner,” as it has been affectionately christened, could propel him all the way to the Oscar stand. (Well, that and his haunting depiction of the soul-deadening effects of sex addiction. Details.) Fassbender stands a solid chance of being the first actor nominated for both an Academy Award and an AVN Award in the same year.
WTF Performer of the Year: Andy Serkis
As the super-smart ape Ceasar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Serkis not only put forth the first convincing case for CGI performance-capture filmmaking, he outshined his human co-star, James Franco, who appeared far less life-like in comparison.
WTF Movie of the Year: The Skin I Live In
In a year when reliable WTF directors David Cronenberg and Lars von Trier produced films disappointingly lacking in stomach-churning imagery, Pedro Almodovar stepped up with a work of pure, unmitigated deviance: gorgeous, grotesque, and meticulously discomfiting.
The theatrical reimagining of Pedro Almodovar's 1988 movie opened in October (10) with veteran actress Patti LuPone leading the bill, and it was due to run until the end of January (10).
But after weeks of disappointing box office takings, producers have decided to close the show on 2 January (11), according to the New York Times.
Broadway shows have seen a slump in tickets sales over the last few weeks and bosses have been forced to bring the curtain down on a number of high profile productions.
Sir Patrick Stewart's A Life In The Theatre, David Hyde Pierce's La Bete and Brendan Fraser's Elling have all shut early.
Penelope Cruz and Gwyneth Paltrow have been giving the Cannes Film Festival paparazzi plenty to flash about over the last couple of days with Madonna, Sharon Stone and a return visit Tuesday night from Angelina Jolie still to come.
Paltrow’s new romantic drama Two Lovers world premiered in the 10:00 pm competition slot Monday night and was well received, earning Paltrow, co-star Vinessa Shaw and co-writer/director James Gray a five minute standing ovation for the simple and touching film that is looking for a distributor. Co-star Joaquin Phoenix was a no-show but with this cast Two Lovers should have no problems finding a home.
Paltrow is on a roll right now with her recent release Iron Man soaring at the box office and headed for at least $300 million in the U.S. alone. She was every bit a star as she posed for pictures up and down the Palais red carpet even though it started pouring rain when the film finally let out around midnight.
Meanwhile, the day before, we sat down for Sunday brunch with Vicky Cristina Barcelona stars Penelope Cruz and Rebecca Hall, along with writer/director Woody Allen, to talk about the incredible reception Allen’s hilarious new comedy (which also stars no-shows Scarlett Johansson and Javier Bardem) got at its out-of-competition premiere the night before.
Allen was in a talkative mood, covering everything from European sexual fantasies (he has them) to his creative process (the “idea” is everything, comedy, drama or musical) to the French kiss for Jerry Lewis (he thinks he’s a brilliant comic but “quarrels” with some of his film choices).
Penelope Cruz was happy to be back in Cannes where she has come many times with Pedro Almodovar films. She was taken aback by all the sudden praise and Oscar talk for her hilarious comic performance as the Spanish spitfire ex of Bardem and said Allen encouraged them to ditch the script and make up all their many Spanish language lines since Woody doesn’t exactly write in that language..
“We improvised so much. I thought he’s gonna get so mad at me for saying so many bad words!”
Ratings board beware!
Britney Spears reportedly burst into tears at the American Music Awards last night after taking offense to a joke host Jimmy Kimmel made at the expense of her estranged husband Kevin Federline.
The pop star initially refused to take to the stage after watching Kimmel savage Federline in a skit where he called him "the world's first no-hit wonder."
The comedy sketch at Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium concluded with a Federline doppelganger getting placed in a "soundproof box," wheeled offstage, loaded onto a lorry and then unceremoniously thrown into the waters off the port of San Pedro.
Comedian Kimmel then introduced award presenter Spears as "the new bachelorette," prompting the singer to fight back tears of anger and upset as she read out the first nominees, according to Life & Style magazine.
A source backstage says, "She said she didn't want to go out there," and then "she ran off the stage in tears... She was just devastated."
Spears filed for divorce from her husband of almost two years earlier this month.
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N.Y. Film Critics honor Sideways
The indie comedy Sideways, which received seven Golden Globe nominations Monday, continued raking in accolades yesterday as the New York Film Critics Circle named it the best picture of 2004. The film stars Paul Giamattiand Thomas Haden Church as two middle-aged best friends who go on a wine-tasting road trip outside Santa Barbara, Calif. Thelma Adams, a critic for Us Weekly magazine, told The Associated Press the film's appeal was a generational thing. "I don't think this is a twentysomething movie. I think it's a movie that works for the over-30 crowd," she said. "This is an indie movie. It has Virginia Madsen--it doesn't have Julia Roberts. It has Sandra Oh--it doesn't have Natalie Portman. It hinges on Paul who? Giamatti, a guy with hair on his shoulders--and a great, great actor. And these are the people who are overlooked." Sideways also earned acting honors for Giamatti and Madsen, and for its screenplay, which director Alexander Payne co-wrote with Jim Taylor. The N.Y Film Critics also honored Clint Eastwood as best director for Million Dollar Baby; Christopher Doyle as best cinematographer for the martial-arts epic Hero; and writer-director Joshua Marston as best first film for Maria Full of Grace. In the film categories, Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 was named best nonfiction film; Pedro Almodovar's Bad Education was awarded best foreign-language film; and Pixar's The Incredibles won best animated film. Acting nods also went to Imelda Staunton in best-actress category for Vera Drake and Clive Owen was named best supporting-actor for Closer.
Jackson's lawyers want charges dismissed
Lawyers for Michael Jackson have filed a motion Dec. 10 to dismiss the child molestation charges against the pop star on grounds of "vindictive prosecution and outrageous government conduct," the AP reports. Jackson's legal team also filed a motion to push back the Jan. 31 trial date set by Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville. The motions stem from an unexpected search of Jackson's Neverland ranch on Dec. 3 and 4--the eve of a deadline for turning over all discovery materials--during which authorities also took a DNA sample from Jackson. The motions are scheduled for argument in hearings to begin Dec. 20. Jackson, 46, has pleaded not guilty to charges of child molestation, conspiracy and administering an intoxicating agent, alcohol, to his alleged victim.
Clark bows out of New Year's Eve celebration
After suffering a minor stroke last week, Dick Clark will not be able to host his annual Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve--the first time he's had to miss the festivities in more than three decades, Reuters reports. Citing the fact he needs more time to recover, the 75-year-old Clark has arranged for morning talk show host Regis Philbin to take his place. "I'm so glad that Regis hadn't yet made any New Year's plans," Clark said in a statement. "It'll feel strange watching it on TV, but my doctors felt it was too soon. I'm sure Regis will do a great job and I'm thankful that he was able to step in on such short notice." Said Philbin: "It's the greatest 'temp job' in the world. I just hope I can uphold the standards Dick Clark has set for this annual event, and I look forward to his return next year."
Madonna's tour tops the year's most profitable
Madonna's blockbuster Re-Invention concert tour was named tour of the year, bringing in $125 million in total box office gross, Reuters reports. According to Billboard Boxscore, Madonna sold out 55 of 56 performances worldwide, with an average nightly take of $2.23 million. "My Re-Invention tour was by far the most creatively satisfying experience I have ever had," Madonna told Billboard. "I was able to put everything I love into one entertaining event: film, music and dance." Prince's Musicology tour came in second, drawing nearly 1.5 million people and grossing $90.2 million. Shania Twain was third, reporting grosses totaling $62.5 million and playing to nearly 950,000 fans. The rest of the top 10 included Simon & Garfunkel ($59 million), Metallica ($53.8 million), Bette Midler ($53.3 million), Sting ($52.4 million), Kenny Chesney ($49.3 million), David Bowie ($46 million) and Toby Keith ($44.3 million).
Dench honored for contribution to theater
Oscar-winning actress Judi Dench received a standing ovation Monday as she accepted a special honor given to her to mark the 50th anniversary of the Evening Standard Theater Awards, the AP reports. "I've only been given this award for 47 years of doing a job that I absolutely adore," Dench said. "I didn't set out to be an actress but I changed my mind and I couldn't be more pleased that I did." Nathan Lane and Lee Evans, who star in the West End version of The Producers, accepted the best musical award for the Mel Brooks' musical. Sex and the City star Kim Cattrall, who will appear in the West End starting next month in Whose Life Is It Anyway?, attended the ceremony, as did Christian Slater, who is currently starring in a stage version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
U2, Pretenders tagged for Hall of Fame
Irish rockers U2, along with The Pretenders, soul veterans Percy Sledge and the O'Jays, and blues guitarist Buddy Guy will be inducted into the 20th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony, Mar. 14, Reuters reports. U2's induction will come shortly after they begin a world tour in Florida on Mar. 1, promoting their recently released new album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, which topped the charts around the world and garnered three Grammy nominations last week.
"Three Kings," David O. Russell's Gulf War actioner, was named Best Picture by the Boston Film Critics Association today.
The film, which also won Russell a Best Director award, follows American soldiers who find a map in the desert leading to an arsenal of stolen gold bullion. As they hunt for the treasure, the trio encounter atrocities of war and face moral dilemmas.
Starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube, "Three Kings" grossed about $58 million at the box office and was earlier named one of the National Board of Review's top 10 of the year. It's the second year in a row Clooney has starred in the association's top picture; the 1998 Best Picture was Steven Soderbergh's "Out of Sight," co-starring Jennifer Lopez.
Hilary Swank picked up her third critics' award of 1999, named Best Actress for "Boys Don't Cry." She plays Brandon Teena, a Nebraska woman who masquerades as a man before her brutal murder. Swank was earlier named Best Actress by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and Best Breakthrough Performance by the National Board of Review. The 25-year-old actress, whose biggest roles to date were "The Next Karate Kid" and a part on "Beverly Hills, 90210," is now a likely strong Oscar contender.
The film also won a second Best Supporting Actress award for Chloe Sevigny and a second Best New Filmmaker award for director Kimberly Peirce.
Jim Carrey, who picked up a Golden Globe last year for his dramatic showing in "The Truman Show," was named Best Actor for his portrayal of late comedian Andy Kaufman, who died of cancer at age 35. The Best Supporting Actor award went to "The Insider's" Christopher Plummer, for his role as "60 Minutes" correspondent Mike Wallace. It is Plummer's second award for the film, which was voted Best Picture by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
Other awards went to Charlie Kaufman for his screenplay for "Being John Malkovich" and Emmanuel Lubezski for "Sleepy Hollow's" cinematography. Pedro Almodovar's "All About My Mother" continued its sweep of Best Foreign Film awards, and "Hands on a Hardbody," about contestants competing for a free truck in Texas, was named Best Documentary.
Missing from the awards list is "American Beauty," which was named Best Picture by the National Board of Review, and other critics' award winners "The Talented Mr. Ripley," "Magnolia" and "Tumbleweeds."
The group also cited five film series: a John Ford retrospective (Harvard Film Archive); "Scandalous Cinema: The Films of Catherine Breillat" (Museum of Fine Arts); "The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of: Marcello Mastroianni" (MFA); "Shoot the Director: The Films of Francois Truffaut" (MFA); and the Boston Jewish Film Festival. In addition, the association cited five discoveries and rediscoveries: ''The Man Who Laughed,'' ''Mighty Peking Man,'' ''The Third Man,'' ''Grand Illusion'' and ''The Three Stooges & Co.''
The awards season has officially kicked off, and "American Beauty" has its first trophy on the mantle.
The dark satire was named Best Film of the year Dec. 8 by the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. Directed by first-timer Sam Mendes and starring Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening, "Beauty" was released in September to widespread acclaim and solid box office.
Anthony Minghella, the Oscar-winning director of "The English Patient," was named Best Director for "The Talented Mr. Ripley," starring Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow, which was reportedly shown to the board in an unfinished print.
Best Actor honors went to Russell Crowe for his portrayal of tobacco industry whistle-blower Dr. Jeffrey Wigand in "The Insider," co-starring Al Pacino, and British actress Janet McTeer was named Best Actress for the mother-daughter film "Tumbleweeds."
After "American Beauty," the rest of the group's top 10 were named in order: "The Talented Mr. Ripley," "Magnolia," "The Insider," "The Straight Story," "Cradle Will Rock," "Boys Don't Cry," "Being John Malkovich," "Tumbleweeds" and "Three Kings."
"Magnolia," directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and opening Dec. 17, won honors for Philip Seymour Hoffman and Julianne Moore. Hoffman was named Best Supporting Actor by the New York-based board for his performance in both "Magnolia" and "The Talented Mr. Ripley." Moore was named Best Supporting Actress for four films: "Magnolia," "A Map of the World," "An Ideal Husband" and "Cookie's Fortune." Anderson's film also won an award for its ensemble, which includes Jason Robards, William H. Macy and Tom Cruise.
"The Insider" director Michael Mann won a Freedom of Expression award, along with Joan Chen for "Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl." Tim Robbins, who wrote and directed "Cradle Will Rock," will receive an award for Special Achievement for Filmmaking in 1999.
"Boys Don't Cry" director Kimberly Peirce was named Best Debut Director, and star Hilary Swank was chosen for the Breakthrough Performance award along with Wes Bentley for "American Beauty."
Best Screenplay honors went to novelist John Irving for adapting his novel "The Cider House Rules," which stars Tobey Maguire, Charlize Theron and Michael Caine. Clint Eastwood was the recipient of the group's Career Achievement Award, and director John Frankenheimer received the board's Billy Wilder Award.
Pedro Almodovar's "All About My Mother" was named Best Foreign Film. The rest of the top five was "Run Lola Run," "East-West," "The Emperor and the Assassin" and "Cabaret Balkan."
This year, the Board of Review gave special nod for outstanding independent films. They are "A Map of the World," "A Walk on the Moon," "Election," "Go," "Limbo," "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," "Man of the Century," "Stir of Echoes," "This is My Father" and "Twin Falls Idaho."
The 90-year-old board, which includes film teachers, actors, writers, critics, film production workers and others, will present the awards at its annual dinner Jan. 18 in Gotham's Tavern on the Green in New York.
Awards by film critics' groups, which also includes the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the New York Film Critics Circle, are deemed early indications for the Academy Awards, which take place March 26 in Los Angeles.