Good morning, San Diego! Do you hear those loud noises? Is the smell of rich mahogony wafting across your shores once again?
All good things, as the sights and sounds of greatness are descending upon your fair city once more.This time, however, Harrison Ford is joining in on the fun. Indeed, the esteemed actor is joining the cast of the upcoming Anchorman 2 (currently known as Anchorman: The Legend Continues). By the beard of Zeus! (Or in this case, Han Solo.) Who knew Morning Glory would start a trend in Ford's career, eh?
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According to THR, Ford's part is said to be that of an iconic and widely-respected newsman (think Walter Cronkite) — someone who is sure to be both a hero and a jealousy-inducing entity for Rob Burgundy (also known as Will Ferrell). No word on how large his role is or how his character fits in, but it's safe to say that you'll be laughing it up, fuzzball.
Ford joins the already stacked cast, which includes Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Christina Applegate, Vince Vaughn, Luke Wilson, Ben Stiller, Kathryn Hahn, Chris Parnell, Jack Black, Fred Armisen, as well as fellow new kids on the block Kristen Wiig, James Marsden, Seth Rogen, and John C. Reilly (allegedly).
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Are you excited that Ford is joining the cast? Are you the one person on the planet holding out hope for a Morning Glory sequel? Let us know in the comments!
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
[Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures]
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It's an impressive feat for a movie to be strange and forgettable, subversive yet littered with crass product placement. Escape from Planet Earth manages to be all of these things and more. In this world, aliens are abducted by government officials, Roswell is an intergalactic work camp, an Army general is conducting an online affair with a sexy alien lady, and the stoners who work or hang out or whatever at 7-11 ply their new little blue friend with a matching blue Slurpee. Sounds promising, right?
Not entirely. For the most part, the plodding plot is driven by a lackluster sibling rivalry between Gary Supernova (Rob Corddry) and his lantern-jawed brother Scorch (Brendan Fraser). These little blue dudes live on the planet Baab and work at BASA, which is (obviously) Baab's version of NASA. Gary's the nerdy mission control guy who saves his brother's butt when Scorch is off being a bad ass astronaut. A plodding series of events lands them both on Earth, a planet full of violent, devolved creatures where aliens from across the galaxy routinely go missing. There, they find the devious General Shanker (William Shatner) is snatching otherwise peaceful aliens and putting them to work on building a giant weapon that will destroy the universe. The other aliens Gary and Scorch run into are way more interesting and fun than the folks they left behind on Baab — a cafeteria food fight between Roswell employees and the aliens is more entertaining than 90% of the interactions between Gary and Scorch — which is a bummer since Gary's wife Kira (Sarah Jessica Parker) is hot on their heels to rescue them. Lena, the head of BASA, is a lovelorn villainess (Jessica Alba) who would be willing to blow up the world for a hot human with an Elvis pompadour that she met online. She and Kira used to be coworkers but now Lena's like, whatever, now you're a stay-at-home mom! And Kira's like, I will kick your butt. And so on. The female characters in the movie are pretty decent, all things considered.
Still, Escape from Planet Earth is a bit of a mess. Are we rooting for family values? Or railing against how silly humans are? Or constantly, odiously plugging 7-11? There is also auto-tuned music on the soundtrack, although it's not clear if this was yet another invention of the aliens (like the iPhone, Facebook, the Internet, and Pixar, according to one montage) or yet another example of how humans have devolved. Adding to the confusion: a sexy news reporter alien voiced by Sofía Vergara.
Escape from Plant Earth seems like its plot was originally cooked up by some sorta cool goofy dudes — I mean, Steve Zahn and Chris Parnell as stoners who work at 7-11? Pretty funny! — that was then wrangled into something a little more family-friendly. (Vis the website, which is littered with seals of approval from the Parents Television Council and the Dove Foundation.) It's not that it's particularly bad, it's just not something that sticks with you in any meaningful way. The rest of the voice cast is pretty good, like Craig Robinson as a cool talk radio "therapist" alien and Jane Lynch as a one-eyed librarian from the sun with anger management problems. It's just that there's so much other stuff happening that isn't particularly gripping. Like the crux of the entire story. Who cares if Gary and Scorch ever make up? Who cares that Kip thinks his dad is a pantywaist? You really don't. In a world where film-lovers of all ages can be challenged, entertained, and moved by animated film, it's entirely fair to expect more of family films.
(Escape from Planet Earth is available in 3D, but for expediency's sake, I saw the 2D version.)
[Photo Credit: The Weinstein Company]
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If this week’s new episode is any indication, 30 Rock is going to be pretty bittersweet from hereon out. It’s not that the subject matter of this first rejoinder back from winter hiatus is at all dire or particularly sentimental — in fact, it keeps perfectly in step with the show’s usual brand of raucous absurdity. But the ep, titled “Game Over,” forced us to bid a solemn farewell to three recurring characters who have stood fast as fan favorites since first gracing the nutjob world of Liz Lemon and company: Dr. Leo Spaceman, Devon Banks, and Len Wosniak.
Goodbye, Dr. Spaceman!
That morally bankrupt, mortifyingly incompetent physician (and pretty good dentist) known as Dr. Leo Spaceman (Chris Parnell), who has been tending to the ailments of the NBC staff for the past seven seasons, treats America to an extravagant series wrap in the opening tag of the episode, barging in on Liz in the middle of her appointment with another, presumably more qualified, medical professional. After basking in an acerbic, long overdue tongue-lashing from Liz over his derelict sensibilities and scattered knowhow, Spaceman is actually apprehended by a pair of police officers… informing him that he has just been named the United States’ Surgeon General. And so, as Leo is dragged out the door, offering only a meta proclamation of his character’s 30 Rock conclusion (“That’s a series wrap for Leo Spaceman!”), we are forced to bid adieu to the man who has treated Jack to so many a colorful pill, who has chuckled so giddily at the hard “k” sound in “kidney,” and who has promoted the use of crystal meth as a viable weight loss option.
Meanwhile, Liz is grappling with her decision to become a mother — each of her options seems to present a roadblock. If she tries to induce fertility and have the baby herself, she runs the risk of health problems for her child, due to her age. If she waits to adopt a newborn, she’ll be almost 50 before becoming a mother. And she fears that the choice to adopt an older child at the present time will present a whole separate set of challenges in the realm of parenting. But we’ll get back to all hubbub that after we focus on the more important issue at hand: saying goodbye to Devon Banks.
Jack’s arch nemesis. The only man with a business sense, unquenchable thirst for power, and Batmanian voicebox on par with those of Donaghy himself. Devon (Will Arnett) resurfaces in this episode when Jack actually calls upon him for help: in an effort to squash his top competitor for the position of KableTown CEO, Hank Hooper’s granddaughter Kaylie (Chloe Moretz, also back for a final swing this week), Jack joins forces with Devon to form the ultimate duo of dirty tricks. First, a bit of context:
Old-fashioned Hooper (Ken Howard), retiring as of his forthcoming 70th birthday (an event he holds sacred, as with each of his birthdays), wants to keep KableTown a family business. But Devon feeds Jack the sordid secret that Kaylie is actually the illegitimate child of Hooper’s daughter-in-law and the family pool boy, thus recanting her KableTown birthright. Jack machinates a plan to apprehend Kaylie’s DNA to prove her not the true child of Hank’s son, whom Devon reveals to be gay… but everything seems to backfire when Kaylie reveals that she and Devon have been working together all along, planting tall tales in Jack’s head in order to sway him into sending false accusations the way of Hank against his own granddaughter… but everything then unbackfires (frontfires? backices? goes swimmingly?) when Jack discloses his cognizance of the pair’s plan all along. He, in fact, was playing them, conning Kaylie and Devon into putting so much time into their devious ploy that they would in fact forget all about Hank’s birthday, thus losing his favor, which would fall duly in the lap of Jack… who, instead of false accusations about Kaylie, actually sent ol’ Hank a thoughtful birthday card. Donaghy, you’ve done it again.
But back to our farewell to Devon. Throughout the game of double agency, Devon employs all his old goldmines for comedy: desperate greed, childish competitiveness, and an apparent incapability to avoid making sexual innuendos while facing off with his archenemy. As with every one of his descents back into the dark cavern from which he sprouted, the farewell we bid to Devon this time around is not one that sees him off to happier locale. Having failed miserably, once more, in his warfare with Jack, we know not what the future will hold for young Banks: is he still living happily as a husband and father of three in Brooklyn? Or has his personal life fallen apart in light of his egomania? We’ll never know. But we’ll always have cold pizza to remember him by.
The least prominent of this episode’s recurring characters but perhaps the most recognizable of its guest actors is Len Wosniak (Steve Buscemi), Jack Donaghy’s bungling private eye whose personal life is always straddling the gutter. Jack brings Len on to aid his quest of defeat over Kaylie and Devon, knowing not that he would actually be unleashing Len onto the next chapter in his life. See, in going undercover as Kaylie’s female substitute teacher, Len discovers a happiness in this new identity like none he’s ever known. He feels free, he loves teaching, and he even gets engaged to a fellow instructor! It’s all-smooth sailing from hereon out for our pal Len, and we’re glad to see him off with such a bright future. No more clinging to the joys of free ice from the GE Building cafeteria or hats from his gym, or giving his gun to his pastor in times of the gloomies — things are going to be different now.
But back to Liz, who, as we must remember, is the main character of the show. See, it is surprisingly a conversation with none other than Tracy that answers her question about which option to explore in the vein of child rearing. When Tracy, who is now producing a film about Harriet Tubman with Octavia Spencer as the star, laments the perils of dealing with a difficult actor (Spencer, playing a loony version of herself, is twice the nutjob that Tracy is), Grizz and Dot Com help him realize that Liz was always the one to straighten him out when he got out of hand. Tracy forwards this message to Liz, recalling how she shaped him from a maniacal man-child into some semblance of a reasonable human being… and if she can do that with Tracy, she can do that with any kid. Thus, Liz phones Bev at the adoption agency (hey, Megan Mullally’s back, too!) to declare that she wants to adopt an older child right away!
But wait, shouldn't Liz talk to Criss about any of this? No? James Marsden’s not available this week? Yeah, okay, fine, just focus on Dr. Spaceman.
[Photo Credit: Ali Goldstein/NBC (2)]
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By the time host/musical guest Mick Jagger performed The Rolling Stones' classic "The Last Time" alongside special guests The Arcade Fire during last night's landmark episode of Saturday Night Live, the song had already taken on a whole new meaning. It had become quite apparent early into the episode that the rumors of Kristen Wiig's exit (and quite possibly Andy Samberg and Jason Sudeikis, as well) were no longer rumors: This was Wiig's SNL swan song.
When the show opted to exchange its usual political cold open to make way for another installment of The Lawrence Welk Show, it was obvious we were going to have to start saying goodbye to some of Wiig's most iconic characters, starting with the wonderfully grotesque Junice. The giant-headed, tiny-handed sister was up to her same old tricks of saying and doing wildly inappropriate things, only this time she finally caught the eye of a gentleman (Wiig's Bridesmaids co-star Jon Hamm dropped in to play a suave Italian fellow that falls for Junice's, er, charms.) If this was bad, I don't ever want to be right. Watch again and pop some bubbles in Wiig's honor:
It seemed fitting, really, to have a comedy rock star's last episode be hosted by the ultimate rock star: Mick Jagger. The legend did what he does best last night: stand still and talk. Just kidding, the lively (seriously, does this guy ever slow down?) rocker turned out to be one of the season's best hosts, thanks to his commitment to each bit, his willingness to make fun of himself, and oh yeah, being the coolest guy on the planet. After a delightful opening monologue in which a relaxed Jagger answered his most-asked questions (for the record, his favorite Rolling Stone is himself), the rocker earned even bigger laughs during the latest "Secret Word" sketch. Playing a 1960s action star with a not-so-secret hidden sexual preference, Jagger held his own during what would be Mindy Elise Grayson's (another of Wiig's classics) final bow on the game show she was so very, very terrible at. The sketch, which usually fell into the trap of running too long, felt just right and was a proper goodbye to the best/worst Broadway starlet ever.
If Jagger didn't mind playing against type for "Secret Word," than he definitely didn't mind doing it again for the sketch that followed. Playing a life insurance salesman named Kevin who looked and sounded an awful lot like Mick Jagger, but didn't quite have the swagger or confidence of Mick Jagger, the rocker grinned and beared it as Fred Armisen and Bobby Moynihan did their best Jagger impressions during a karaoke night. Major props to Armisen and Moynahan for pulling a Jimmy Fallon and making fun of a rock god right to his face, but the sketch was all Jagger's, thanks to his impeccable comic timing and that bizarre and amazing a cappella version of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction."
Thankfully, that wasn't the only time we'd get to hear Jagger sing. Not only did he perform the aforementioned "The Last Time" with The Arcade Fire, but he also jammed with fellow living rock legends Foo Fighters on "19th Nervous Breakdown" and later in the evening with professional shredder Jeff Beck for a new politically charged song that included the line "If you want to sleep in the West Wing, you've got to strategize a bit" and dropped the "s" bomb. (On live television! Rock n' roll!) If someone ever tries to argue that Studio 8H is simply not a welcoming environment for musicians and that everyone sounds terrible, simply point them in the direction of those three Jagger performances and promptly tell them to eat crow.
As it turned out, Jagger wasn't the only one with something to sing about last night on SNL. Six years after the wildly popular "Lazy Sunday" went viral, Samberg returned with old pal Chris Parnell for another hardcore rap about the least hardcore things imaginable. This time around, the weekenders swapped cupcakes (that line at Magnolia Bakery is too long) and Chronicles of Narnia for brunch and an evening performance of Sister Act on Broadway. While this wasn't quite as catchy as the original (though the line "We take more shots in the theater than John Wilkes Booth" was inspired), if this episode also marked the end of the SNL road for Samberg, his 101st Digital Short was a raucous, riotous sendoff. Check it out here:
But the fun hardly stopped there. Just how great did this episode continue to be? So great that they managed to make Kenan Thompson downright hilarious as a very confused Al Sharpton (sorry, A.L. Sharpton) in a CNBC sketch and then ushered in the return of –– yay! –– Stefon. Bill Hader's beloved late night party monster stopped by the Weekend Update desk to tell us all about New York's hottest clubs this summer, some of which feature a different kind of Build-A-Bear, his best friend Joel, evil celebrity chef Wario Batali, and frat boy guru D-Bag Chopra, among many other gloriously deranged things only Stefon would know about. Please never leave, Bill Hader.
As someone who is a huge Dave Matthews fan and someone who has attended, and danced at, an outdoor music festival, I really got a kick out of the "So You Think You Can Dance at an Outdoor Music Festival" sketch. Though 2009's "Super Mellow Show" sketch was slightly better, you didn't have to be a crunchy granola hippie to get a kick out of Hader's Matthews imitation again or appreciate Jagger poking fun at Steven Tyler. You don't need to be from California either to appreciate the TORRRTARRRLY awesaaaaaaaahm "Californians" sketch. The only thing funnier than listening to the cast members speaking in inane Valley Girl and surfer boy accents was watching Jagger attempt one and a bleach blonde Steve Martin showing up to, like, totally ask for directions. Easily the best of all the "Californians."
Then it was time to say goodbye. But not just to one of the best episodes in quite some time or to Season 37 as a whole. It was also, sadly, time to say goodbye to Kristen Wiig once and for all. In the final sketch, Jagger helped Wiig graduate from the school of comedy, Saturday Night Live. "You've meant quite a lot to us over these past seven years," he told a teary-eyed Wiig in a cap and gown. No kidding. In one of the sweetest moments on SNL, or all of television for that matter, Jagger had Arcade Fire play "She's a Rainbow" into "Ruby Tuesday" for the departing star as she shared final dances with her castmates, including a particularly broken-up Moynihan, Hader, and Sudeikis. (In fact, Sudeikis could barely compose himself during the tribute to his friend, but if the rumors are true and this was also his last episode, the moment must have been understandably difficult to get through for so many reasons.)
Also joined on stage by her boss Lorne Michael and all the evening's surprise visitors — like SNL alums Amy Poehler, Chris Kattan, Rachel Dratch, and Will Forte — Wiig enjoyed her final glorious moment on the SNL stage. If you, like Wiig and Hader and Sudeikis, couldn't help but cry at the bittersweet moment, you definitely weren't alone. (Dear readers, I admit I cried like a baby — Wiig is a personal hero.) Of course, from here on out, we'll can still expect Wiig to make us cry again... only from laughing so hard as we watch her move on to bigger and better things. Watch her lovely goodbye here:
Were you just as amazed by how great the Saturday Night Live season finale was? Did you get emotional during Kristen Wiig's finale, too? Which Mick Jagger performance blew you away the most? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Photo credit: NBC]
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Much like Christopher Guest comedies (Best in Show A Mighty Wind) The Grand’s loose style set up by writer/director Zak Penn allows the actors to have free rein onscreen. Jack Faro (Woody Harrelson) is our hero a ladies’ man with an eye patch and long drug history. Faro owns the aging downtown Las Vegas casino The Rabbit’s Foot and is struggling to keep it afloat hunted by a nefarious hotel developer Steve Lavisch (Michael McKean). He enters the Grand Championship of Poker as a way to raise money and become one of a cast of lively poker players. His competitors include a brother-and-sister team (David Cross and Cheryl Hines) from a dysfunctional family a Star Wars nerd/numbers expert (Chris Parnell) and an eccentric gangster known as The German (Werner Herzog). Each person is a pile of quirks and self-effacing irony. The final six-way poker showdown is an entertaining battle of comedy wits. Hammy performances prevail but all almost all are universally funny in different ways. Harrelson is at his coolest--a coltish youngster-turned-failure. Hines’ Lainie Schwartzman is a sharp-edged recreation of the poker pro Annie Duke bearing on her shoulders the weight of her father’s (Gabe Kaplan) uneven pressure. Both she and David Cross who plays her brother Larry have improv experience and are quick on their feet. The Grand’s most hilarious performance however is from iconic director Herzog (Rescue Dawn) who plays The German. His deadpan delivery and droopy eyes are spot-on to this caricature of a globe-trotting gamesman who boasts of winning water in a desert from a yak bone. Saturday Night Live’s Parnell plays the neurotic vitamin-drinking nerd Harold Melvin well. Ray Romano and Jason Alexander round out supporting roles to mixed results: Romano stands out a little more as a stay-at-home Mr. Mom to Lainie Schwartman’s high-earner status while Alexander plays it a little over the top as Dr. Yalov Achmed. The performances may be the film's weakest links but they are entertaining nonetheless. Zak Penn is mostly known as a screenwriter striking gold at age 23 with Last Action Hero. He set about making a niche as a major-studio flick specialist writing movies like Inspector Gadget Behind Enemy Lines and X-Men: The Last Stand. The Grand is Penn’s second directorial effort after the faux-documentary Incident at Loch Ness with his star Herzog. Both movies reflect a polar opposite in approach to Penn’s regimented paint-by-numbers day job writing big-budget movies. Penn brings a polished touch to independent film. The shiny graphics and poker-playing segments would make even the Farrelly Brothers envious. The Grand is shot like one of the many popular poker TV shows complete with graphics and play-by-play to help make the quick-moving poker action easier to understand. They are a little uneven in their execution sometimes--but then again this movie is supposed to be outrageous.