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.
TV executives announced earlier this year (11) that the beloved show would come to an end this month (Sep11) after 41 years on air as part of a cost-cutting initiative.
Lucci, who portrayed Erica Kane on the series since its launch in 1970, co-hosted Friday's (23Sep11) The View, which was dedicated to All My Children, and she took a trip down memory lane as she was joined by former co-stars, including Cameron Mathison, Rebecca Budig and Thorsten Kaye.
But Lucci was already struggling to keep her composure at the start of the programme, which was taped on Thursday (22Sep11), because for 30 years, the soap was filmed in the same New York studio The View now occupies.
Welling up on camera, she said, "First of all thank you so, so much for this special tribute... It's just incredible. Thank you for the celebration of a wonderful show... It's an emotional time; it's a very happy time. So much to be grateful for. But coming back here today was so very touching to me."
The show also brought together one of All My Children's most famous couples, Greg Nelson and Jenny Gardner, played by Lawrence Lau and Kim Delancey. Delancey's character Jenny died in a tragic jet ski accident in a 1980s storyline.
Vincent Irizarry, Alicia Minshew, Darnell Williams and Debbie Morgan also took part in the reunion.
The All My Children series finale aired in the U.S. on Friday (23Sep11).
The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.
The 62-year-old has played seductress Erica Kane in the soap opera for nearly 40 years and is now uprooting her life for the series.
Lucci will move West when the show leaves its longtime New York studios and begins production across the country early next year (10).
Her co-stars Thorsten Kaye and Ray MacDonnell, who has starred as Dr. Joe Martin in the series since its inception, have retired from the show and will not be making the cross-country move.
All My Children will tape its last episode in New York on 11 December (09). Production will resume in Los Angeles on 4 January (10).
Ellen DeGeneres will get the chance to defend her title as America's favorite TV personality after scooping two nominations for this year's Daytime Emmy Awards.
Last year, the comedian took home the title of Outstanding Talk Show Host, but her star-studded program The Ellen DeGeneres Show lost out for the first time in the Outstanding Talk Show/Entertainment category since its first nomination in 2004.
This time around, she'll face competition for the hosting award from Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa (Live with Regis and Kelly), TV chef Rachael Ray, and The View talk-show hosts Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Sherri Shepherd and Joy Behar.
Meanwhile, DeGeneres and her show's producers will face off against Live with Regis and Kelly and Rachael Ray to take back the Best Show title.
However, veteran actress Susan Lucci has been snubbed from the list of nominees, after missing out in the Lead Dramatic Actress category in favor of All My Children co-star Debbie Morgan. Morgan will go up against Maura West (As the World Turns), Susan Haskell (One Life to Live), Susan Flannery (The Bold and the Beautiful) and Jeanne Cooper (The Young and the Restless).
In the male category, nominees for Outstanding Lead Actors in a Drama include Thorsten Kaye (All My Children), Peter Reckell (Days of Our Lives), Anthony Geary (General Hospital), Daniel Cosgrove (Guiding Light) and Christian LeBlanc (The Young and the Restless).
Supermodel-turned-talk-show host Tyra Banks will also have a chance to follow up her 2008 Daytime Emmy with another prize: The Tyra Banks Show is nominated alongside Dr. Phil and new program The Doctors in the Outstanding Talk Show/Informative category.
PBS' Sesame Street will receive the lifetime achievement award.
The 36th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, hosted by actress/singer Vanessa Williams, will air on Aug. 30.
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The 30th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards nominations were announced Wednesday, with the ABC soap All My Children leading the pack with 17 nominations--more than any other show on daytime TV. CBS' Guiding Light was close behind with 14 nods while PBS' Sesame Street earned 13.
ABC was also the winner in the network race, collecting 59 nominations. CBS was followed with 52 nods and PBS with 47.
The major categories were announced live on the ABC morning talk show The View, which snagged nominations in the categories of talk show and talk show host (for Barbara Walters, Meredith Vieira, Star Jones, Joy Behar and the now-departed Lisa Ling). The show, which debuted in 1996, has never won an Emmy.
As the World Turns, The Bold and the Beautiful, Port Charles and The Young and the Restless all received nominations for best drama, while last year's winner, One Life To Live, was shut out.
For lead actor in a drama series, the nominees were Anthony Geary (General Hospital), Maurice Benard (General Hospital), Grant Aleksander (Guiding Light), Ricky Paull Goldin (Guiding Light), Thorsten Kaye (Port Charles) and Doug Davidson (The Young and the Restless).
For lead actress in a drama series, the nominees were Susan Flannery (The Bold and the Beautiful), Nancy Lee Grahn (General Hospital), Kim Zimmer (Guiding Light), Eileen Davidson (The Young and the Restless) and Michelle Stafford (The Young and the Restless).
Conspicuously missing from the nominations was All My Children star Susan Lucci. Carolyn Hinsey, Soap Opera Weekly Executive Editor, told The Associated Press that Lucci wasn't among those on the list because her character, Erika Cane, had relatively little exposure on the soap last year.
Oprah Winfrey protégé Dr. Phil McGraw received a nomination in the talk show host category for his syndicated self-help program, Dr. Phil. Comedian Wayne Brady also received a talk show nod for The Wayne Brady Show.
Hollywood Squares, Jeopardy!, The Price is Right, Wheel of Fortune and Win Ben Stein's Money were nominated in the game or audience participation category.
Art Linkletter, former host of Kids Say the Darndest Things, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award this year when the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences hands out The 30th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on May 16 at Radio City Music Hall. ABC will broadcast the ceremony live.
Some of Hollywood's biggest stars had come together, but there weren't any paparazzi, expensive designer gowns or screaming fans at this event. Michael Douglas, Muhammad Ali and Susan Sarandon were among the celebrities who gathered at U.N. headquarters Monday to talk about their fame and how they've used it to fight for causes for the United Nations, Reuters reports. Spice Girl Geri Halliwell spoke on her numerous campaigns for safe sex, while Ali talked about using religion in daily life and Douglas spoke on his work with a guns-for-jobs program in Albania.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan invited the Hollywood stars, along with about 40 other celebrities from around the world. All are goodwill ambassadors for the United Nations, including Mia Farrow and singer Harry Belafonte, fighting for human rights, drug control and world poverty.
The event marked the first time celebrities had gathered to discuss their work since 1954, when actor/comedian Danny Kaye became the first ambassador for UNICEF.
Commenting on her fight against AIDS, Halliwell, also know as Ginger Spice, said: "Fame is like a bright light," adding that sometimes people listened to her for all the wrong reasons. But if only two people hear a message on safe sex or the dangers of AIDS, "that's brilliant and overrides all the cynicism."