The mothers of superstars Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys and Adam Levine have stepped into the spotlight to urge young Americans to register for healthcare. Lopez's mum Guadalupe Rodriguez, Levine matriarch Patsy Noah, and Teresa Augello, whose daughter is singer Keys, front a new TV campaign to highlight the deadline for registering for U.S. President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act before 31 March (14).
They reminisce about their talented kids' early days, alongside Jonah Hill's fiery mother Sharon Feldstein, who states: "Trust me, us moms put up with a lot. But one thing we should never have to put up with is our kid not having healthcare.
"Seriously do you want your mother to have a nervous breakdown? You need health insurance. It's imperative that you have health insurance."
First Lady Michelle Obama also appears in the public service announcement.
Singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles has reportedly hired Bruno Mars' music man Brandon Creed after falling out with her longtime manager, Jordan Feldstein. The Brave hitmaker reportedly split from Feldstein, who represents acts including Maroon 5 and Robin Thicke, within days of the Grammy Awards last month (26Jan14), following rumours he was embroiled in an ugly spat with rock matriarch Sharon Osbourne.
During Clive Davis' annual pre-Grammys party, photographs appeared to show Osbourne hurling her drink over Feldstein, and he was pictured soaking wet as he walked away as Osbourne pointed her finger in anger.
After the alleged incident, speculation arose that Bareilles decided to part ways with Feldstein, who is Jonah Hill's brother, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, she has now moved on to hire Creed, who also handles the career of superproducer Mark Ronson.
Creed is a former A&R executive at Epic Records, where Bareilles is currently signed.
A representative for Bareilles has yet to confirm the hiring.
TriStar Pictures via Everett Collection
An hour and change into Pompeii, there's a volcano. You'd think there might have been a volcano throughout — you'd think that the folks inhabiting the ill-fated Italian village would have been dealing with the infamous volcano for the full 110 minutes. After all, volcano movies have worked before. Volcano, for instance. And the other one. But for some reason, Pompeii feels the need to stuff its first three quarters with coliseum battles, Ancient Rome politics, unlikely friendships, and a love story. But we don’t care. We can't care. None of it warrants our care. Where the hell is the volcano, already?
To answer that: it's off to the side — rumbling. Smoking. Occasionally spiking the neighboring community with geological fissures or architectural misgivings. Pretty much executing every trick picked up in Ominous Foreshadowing 101, but never joining the story. Not until Paul W.S. Anderson shouts, "Last call," hitting us with a final 20-odd minutes of unmitigated disaster (in a good way). If you've managed to maintain a waking pulse throughout the lecture in sawdust that is Pompeii's story, then you might actually have a good time with the closing sequence. It has everything you’d expect — everything you had been expecting! — and delivers it with gusto. Torpedoes of smoke running hordes of idiot villagers out of their homes and toward whatever safety the notion of forward has to offer. Long undeveloped characters rising to the occasion to rescue hapless princesses who thought it might be a good idea to set their vacation homes at the foot of a lava-spewing mountain. The whole ordeal is actually a lot of laughs. But it amounts to a dessert just barely worth the tasteless dinner we had to force down to get there.
TriStar Pictures via Everett Collection
To get through the bulk of Pompeii, we recommend focusing all your attentions away from the effectively bland slave/gladiator/hero Kit Harington — sorry, Jon Snow (he's actually called a bastard at one point) — and onto his partner in crime: a scowling Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje — sorry, Mr. Eko (he and Snow actually trade valedictions by saying "I'll see you at another time, brother" at one point) — who warms up to his fellow prize fighter during their shared time in the klink, and delivers his moronic material with a sprinkle of flair. Keeping the working man down is Kiefer Sutherland — sorry, Jack Bauer — as an ostentatious Roman senator, doling out vainglory in Basil Fawlty-sized portions. When he's not spitting scowls at peasants, ol' JB is undermining the efforts of an earnest local governor Jared Harris — sorry, Lane Pryce (he actually calls someone a mad man at one point) — and his wife Carrie-Anne Moss — sorry, Katherine O'Connell from Vegas (joking! Trinity) — and finagling the douchiest marriage proposal ever toward their daughter Emily Browning — sorry, but I have no idea what she's from.
But questionable television references and some enjoyably daft performances by Eko and Jack can't really make up for the heft of mindless dullness that Pompeii passes off as its narrative... until the big showstopper.
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In truth, the last sequence is a gem. It's fun, inviting, and energizing, and might even call into question the possibility that Pompeii is all about how futile life, love, friendship, politics, and pride are when even the most egregiously complicated of plots can be taken out in the end by a sudden volcanic eruption. But you have to wade through that egregious complication to get there, and you shouldn't expect to have too much of a good time doing so.
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As Hollywood faces their own Olympic challenge, battling for audiences sucked into the athletic competitions overseas at London 2012, this weekend's box office sees The Dark Knight Rises once again pulling through to take the top spot over newcomers Total Recall and the third installment of the kid-franchise Wimpy Kid. Here's how the top five fared:
The Dark Knight Rises - $36.4 million, 41% weekend drop / $354.64 million to dateTotal Recall - $26.0 millionDiary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days - $14.7 millionIce Age: Continental Drift - $8.4 million / $131.9 million to dateThe Watch - $6.35 million / $25.4 million to date
Warner Bros.’ The Dark Knight Rises has earned $354.638 million in North America in its first 17 days of release. By way of comparison, 2008’s The Dark Knight had banked $393.751 million by the end of its third weekend. The highly-praised drama has led the Mid-week derby with $8.16M on Monday, $8.77M on Tuesday and $7.33M on Wednesday. 2008’s The Dark Knight had a 43% third weekend drop (taking in $42.66M) and The Dark Knight Rises had a third weekend gross of $36.44 million against a tiny 41% drop which shows continued interest in the film by audiences. The IMAX locations accounted for $5.7 mil for the F-S-S, down only 26% and accounted for 16% of the weekend. IMAX global cumulative is $70 mil after 17 days.
Sony Pictures re-boot of the sci-fi classic Total Recall stars Colin Farrell as the Douglas Quaid/Hauser character that Arnold Schwarzenegger played in the 1990 hit directed by Paul Verhoeven and co-starring Sharon Stone. Based on the Philip K. Dick short story "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale,” this new version adds its share of kick ass eye candy with both Jessica Biel (Blade Trinity) and Kate Beckinsale (Underworld franchise) acquitting themselves nicely in the strong female roles that they have so effectively inhabited in the past. The 1990 film was the seventh highest grossing film released that year and opened at number one with $25.5 million in 2,060 theaters. This PG-13 update of the R-rated original could not unseat
The Dark Knight Rises but wound up in second place with a respectable $26 million in its debut.
Trying to prove it’s no wimp at the box office, Twentieth Century Fox’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise was looking toward maintaining its box office consistency with its third installment Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. 2010’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid was a surprise success taking the number 2 spot with $22.1 million in its debut and going on to earn $64 million in North America. The second installment, 2011’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules opened at number one with $23.7 million and went on to $52.7 million and like the first film was a March release. The highly competitive summer time-frame gave this film a challenge and thus a debut of $14.7 million.
Vying for that family audience is Twentieth Century Fox’s own Ice Age: Continental Drift which enters its fourth weekend after maintaining an impressive second place mid-week performance behind only The Dark Knight Rises as it continues to make a huge splash overseas and enters its fourth weekend with over $121 million in North America and a worldwide tally of over $635 million! In its fourth weekend this 3-D family animated release continued its winning ways despite new competition. A gross of $8.4 million this weekend bossted its fortunes over the $130 million mark in N. America by Sunday night.
The Watch from Twentieth Century Fox starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill had a fairly modest debut of $12.7 million last weekend, but has held steady in third place in the mid-week box office race where it has been neck and neck with Lionsgate’s Step Up Revolution. This weekend it took fifth place with $6.35 million and a 10 day cume of $25.36 million.
Universal’s comedy smash Ted, Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man re-boot starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone and Disney’s 3-D Pixar animated “Brave” will also continue to be a factor in this relatively slow period at the nation’s theaters. Luckily Universal’s The Bourne Legacy and Warner Bros.’ The Campaign will lend their support next weekend as we head into the final few weeks of the summer season of 2012.
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[Photo Credit: Warner Bros.]
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Sony Pictures re-boot of the sci-fi classic Total Recall stars Colin Farrell as the Douglas Quaid/Hauser character that Arnold Schwarzenegger played in the 1990 hit directed by Paul Verhoeven, which also co-starred Sharon Stone. Based on the Philip K. Dick short story "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale,” this new version adds its share of kick-ass eye candy with both Jessica Biel (Blade Trinity) and Kate Beckinsale (Underworld franchise) acquitting themselves nicely in the strong female roles that they have so effectively inhabited in the past. The 1990 film was the seventh highest grossing film released that year and opened at number one with $25.5 million in 2,060 theaters. This PG-13 update of the R-rated original will battle The Dark Knight Rises for first place with a gross in the $28 million to low $30 million range in 3,601 theaters.
In honor of the original Total Recall, Here is a fun look at the Top Ten releases of 1990 (pretty impressive):
RANK TITLE DOMESTIC GROSS RELEASE DATE
1 HOME ALONE $285,761,243 Fri, 11/16/90
2 GHOST $217,618,602 Fri, 7/13/90
3 DANCES WITH WOLVES $184,208,848 Fri, 11/9/90
4 PRETTY WOMAN $178,406,268 Fri, 3/23/90
5 TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES $135,265,915 Fri, 3/30/90
6 HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER $120,709,868 Fri, 3/2/90
7 TOTAL RECALL $119,394,840 Fri, 6/1/90
8 DIE HARD 2 $112,540,947 Wed, 7/4/90
9 DICK TRACY $103,738,726 Fri, 6/15/90
10 KINDERGARTEN COP $91,466,137 Fri, 12/21/90
Warner Bros.’ The Dark Knight Rises has earned $311.4 million in North America in its first 13 days of release. By way of comparison, 2008’s The Dark Knight had banked about $31.3 million more at this point and $393.7M by the end of its third weekend. The highly-praised drama has led the Mid-week derby with $8.16M on Monday, $8.77M on Tuesday and $7.33M on Wednesday. 2008’s The Dark Knight had a 43 percent third weekend drop (taking in $42.66M) and The Dark Knight Rises is on track for a third weekend gross in the high $20 million/low $30 million range. IMAX has contributed strongly to the success of the film over $40 million in giant screen dollars since its North American debut and the film should have around $340 million in total revenue by Sunday night after 17 days of release.
Proving it’s no wimp at the box office, Twentieth Century Fox’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise is looking toward maintaining its box office consistency with its third installment, Diary of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. 2010’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid was a surprise success, taking the number two spot with $22.1 million in its debut and going on to earn $64 million in North America. The second installment, 2011’s Diary of A Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules opened at number one with $23.7 million and went on to $52.7 million and like the first film was a March release. A likely debut in the high teens and perhaps the low 20s will await the gang this weekend in the more competitive summer release period.
Vying for that family audience is Twentieth Century Fox’s own Ice Age: Continental Drift, which enters its fourth weekend after maintaining an impressive second place mid-week performance behind only The Dark Knight Rises as it continues to make a huge splash overseas and enters its fourth weekend with over $121 million in North America and a worldwide tally of over $635 million. In its fourth weekend, this 3-D family animated release should continue its winning ways despite new competition. A gross of just under $10 million this weekend will boost its fortunes over the $130 million mark in North America by Sunday night.
The Watch from Twentieth Century Fox, starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Jonah Hill, had a fairly modest debut of $12.7 million last weekend, but has held steady in third place in the mid-week box office race, where it has been neck-and-neck with Lionsgate’s Step Up Revolution. With an $11.7 million debut last weekend, this latest in the Step Up series had a tough time in its debut, but will try for a spot in the Top 5 this weekend with around $6 million plus, as it competes in a box office “dance-off” with The Watch.
Universal’s comedy smash Ted, Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man re-boot starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone and Disney’s 3-D Pixar animated Brave will also continue to be a factor in this relatively slow period at the nation’s theaters. Luckily Universal’s The Bourne Legacy and Warner Bros.’ The Campaign will lend their support next weekend as we head into the final few weeks of the summer season of 2012.
Troubled by unfortunate event after unfortunate event The Watch sidesteps faux pas to come out on top as a consistently funny sci-fi comedy that doesn't let its high concept tangle up a bevy of one-liners. The script penned by Jared Stern Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg assumes you've seen a few movies before entering the theater (mainly any sci-fi movie made in the 1980s). "Summer movie logic" is the foundation for The Watch's ridiculous plot which finds four adult nincompoops teaming up to form a Neighborhood Watch trying to solve the murder of a local Costco employee and eventually pursuing a killer extraterrestrial. Instead of making sense of it all The Watch wisely focuses on its four leads: Ben Stiller Vince Vaughn Jonah Hill and The IT Crowd's Richard Ayoade — a quartet whose bro banter goes a long way in spicing up the dust-covered material. There's nothing revelatory to be found in The Watch but the cast's knack for improv a poetry of the profane makes the adventure worth…viewing.
Director Akiva Schaffer (Hot Rod) establishes his two-dimensional characters quickly and bluntly smashing together broad personality types like a Hadron Collider of cinematic comedy. Stiller's Evan is a micromanaging do-gooder who can't find time for his wife; Hill's Franklin is a mildly disturbed weapons enthusiast yearning to join the police; Ayoade is the quaint weirdo who joins the Watch to fill the void left by his divorce; Vince Vaughn is Vince Vaughn: a loud crass gent looking for a bit of male bonding. The ragtag team assembles to fight crime but they spend most of their time drinking beers in a minivan — an affair they dub "stakeouts." A perfect opportunity for banter.
For a movie about enforcing the law and alien invasions there's a surprising lack of action in The Watch. Long stretches of the film see the central players yapping back and forth about everything: Russian nesting dolls peeing in cans or the similar viscosities of alien goo and human excrement. Charisma goes a long way and Vaughn does much of the heavy lifting making up for lost time out of the spotlight (he's been virtually nonexistent since 2005's Wedding Crashers). The man spits out jokes like no other — the rest of the cast barely keeps up. Ayoade balances out Vaughn's bombardment with a tempered timed delivery that's uniquely British and rarely found on the American big screen. Even when nothing's happening in The Watch it's rarely boring.
The Watch is at its best when it goes a step further mixing the group in with outsiders and throwing them off their rhythm. Billy Crudup cuts loose as a creepy neighbor and its delightfully weird while the always-impressive Rosemarie DeWitt as Evan's wife Abby brings unexpected warmth to the couple's relationship. Sadly The Watch mishandles its greatest asset: the aliens. The film never finds a pitch perfect blend of comedy and science fiction (Ghostbusters or Galaxy Quest this is not); a few scenes where the two come together hint at the best possible scenario but more often than not The Watch avoids its sci-fi roots. A moment in which the guys haul a dead alien back to their man cave plays like an E.T.-inspired version of The Hangover credits. It's lewd and ridiculous but the rest of the film struggles to maintain that energy.
Stiller Vaughn Hill and Ayoade have all proved themselves able funnymen capable of taking weak and tired material up a notch which they're forced to do in every moment of The Watch. Schaffer can handle his talent but his direction isn't adding anything to the mix. By the third slow-motion-set-to-gangster-rap scene The Lonely Island member's obsession with non-cool-coolness is officially just an attempt at being cool (which is not all that funny). The Watch has a greater opportunity than most comedy blockbusters to go absolutely bonkers: it's rated R. But instead of taking its twist and running with it the movie plays it safe. In this case safe is non-stop jokes about the many facets of human reproduction.
Jay and Mark Duplass broke into the movie-making scene as part of the lo-fi movement dubbed "mumblecore." Films like The Puffy Chair and Baghead kept the action intimate the situations low-key and the dialogue off-the-cuff. As they stretched their wings and continued to evolve as with 2010's Jonah Hill/John C. Riley-starring Cyrus their roots were always planted firmly in the grit of realism.
Their latest Jeff Who Lives at Home is their most successful attempt to blend mumblecore sensibilities with mainstream techniques. The production value is amped up but the situation is still pleasantly simplistic; Jeff (Jason Segel) is a manchild settled in his mother's basement but with plenty of introspection existential thought and marijuana to get him through his days. His brother Pat (Ed Helms) is a retail pawn too obsessed with owning a Porsche to see that his marriage to Linda (Judy Greer) is crumbling. Sharon their mother with the basement is in her own rut. Still grieving after the loss of her husband Sharon's cubicle existence is shaken when an instant message from a secret admirer pops up on her computer.
The Duplass Brothers who also wrote Jeff weave their three story threads together smoothly thanks to a tremendous amount of heart the duo slathers on liberally. Jeff obsessed with the interconnectivity of the world (an idea sparked of course by M. Night Shyamalan's Signs) embarks on a journey to retrieve wood glue eventually sidetracked by a kid named Kevin—who he believes is part of a greater plan. His adventure eventually (and expectedly) crosses paths with Pat who sees his brother Jeff as nuisance and the worst kind of burnout. Together they track Linda—who may or may not be having an affair—and help each other to reflect on what the heck is wrong with both of them.
Much like their directing counterparts Segel and Helms too have been carving out their own unique identities in Hollywood each with blockbuster projects in 2011 (The Muppets and Hangover II respectively). But Jeff Who Lives at Home is easily the best work either have done on the big screen performances stripped of caricature or over-the-top behavior that are still wickedly funny. Helms with his straight-out-of-suburbia goatee captures the complications in trying to live that "perfect life " while Segel never settles for Jeff being a big-dreaming stoner stereotype. Their dynamic as they navigate the streets of Baton Rogue is always charming always troubling and always twisted. These two guys feel like brothers—a layered relationship that takes more than a written explanation to establish.
Jeff Who Lives at Home isn't perfect—the movie wanders along as an enjoyably simple character story before blowing up with Hollywood scope in the last stretch of the race—but the real treat is watching a spot-on cast do their thing for 90 minutes. The warm and fuzzy feeling rarely comes along these days and two watch Segel and Helms deliver it with such gravitas is a gift. Or a sign?
Idealistic Jerome (Max Minghella) heads to the Strathmore Institute to fulfill his lifelong ambition of becoming the next great artist like his idol Picasso. He falls hard for the beautiful art class model Audrey (Sophia Myles) certain she’s the muse he’s always waited for. But Jerome also finds an unlikely nemesis--the clean-cut Jonah (Matt Keeslar)--whose painting style wows everyone including Audrey. Jerome has to find a way to get her attention and make a splash like Jonah. A subplot about a series of murders by “The Strathmore Strangler” hijacks the last third of the film and feels grafted on. Minghella is appropriately sullen as shy underdog Jerome but lights up whenever Audrey is around--and as his golden girl Myles is indeed captivating. But it’s Confidential’s supporting cast that is surprisingly high-profile. John Malkovich is a hoot as Jerome’s laid-back art professor who’s more concerned about getting his own works shown than nurturing young talent. Jim Broadbent rants effectively as a bitter alcoholic failed painter. Anjelica Huston is serene and above it all as an art history professor and Steve Buscemi is the colorful local whose cafe serves as a launching pad for Strathmore grads. Some of the biggest laughs are courtesy of Ethan Suplee (TV’s My Name Is Earl) as a Kevin Smith-esque filmmaking student whose films are funded by his grandfather anxious to see shoot ‘em ups. Director Terry Zwigoff and writer Daniel Clowes previously brought Clowes’ quirky comic Ghost World to the big screen--a terrific heartfelt film with a stellar star turn by Thora Birch. Now Clowes and Zwigoff are team up again to bring another Clowes’ comic Art School Confidential to life. They certainly capture the same tone as Ghost World telling the story with the same hip deadpan wit. But unfortunately Confidential pales in comparison. With a less than appealing protagonist the story just isn’t as engaging. It might be better to wait until Confidential comes out on DVD with all the fun extras.