While recent animated blockbusters have aimed to viewers of all ages starting with fantastical concepts and breathtaking visuals but tackling complex emotional issues along the way Ice Age: Continental Drift is crafted especially for the wee ones — and it works. Venturing back to prehistoric times once again the fourth Ice Age film paints broad strokes on the theme of familial relationships throwing in plenty of physical comedy along the way. The movie isn't that far off from one of the many Land Before Time direct-to-video sequels: not particularly innovative or necessary but harmless thrilling fun for anyone with a sense of humor. Unless they have a particular distaste for wooly mammoths the kids will love it.
Ice Age: Continental Drift continues to snowball its cartoon roster bringing back the original film's trio (Ray Romano as Manny the Mammoth Denis Leary as Diego the Sabertooth Tiger and John Leguizamo as Sid the Sloth) new faces acquired over the course of the franchise (Queen Latifah as Manny's wife Ellie) and a handful of new characters to spice things up everyone from Nicki Minaj as Manny's daughter Steffie to Wanda Sykes as Sid's wily grandma. The whole gang is living a pleasant existence as a herd with Manny's biggest problem being playing overbearing dad to the rebellious daughter. Teen mammoths they always want to go out and play by the waterfall! Whippersnappers.
The main thrust of the film comes when Scratch the Rat (whose silent comedy routines in the vein of Tex Avery/WB cartoons continue to be the series highlight) accidentally cracks the singular continent Pangea into the world we know today. Manny Diego and Sid find themselves stranded on an iceberg once again forced on a road trip journey of survival. The rest of the herd embarks to meet them giving Steffie time to realize the true meaning of friendship with help from her mole pal Louis (Josh Gad).
The ham-handed lessons may drag for those who've passed Kindergarten but Ice Age: Continental Drift is a lot of fun when the main gang crosses paths with a group of villainous pirates. (Back then monkeys rabbits and seals were hitting the high seas together pillaging via boat-shaped icebergs. Obviously.) Quickly Ice Age becomes an old school pirate adventure complete with maritime navigation buried treasure and sword fights. Gut (Peter Dinklage) an evil ape with a deadly... fingernail leads the evil-doers who pose an entertaining threat for the familiar bunch. Jennifer Lopez pops by as Gut's second-in-command Shira the White Tiger and the film's two cats have a chase scene that should rouse even the most apathetic adults. Hearing Dinklage (of Game of Thrones fame) belt out a pirate shanty may be worth the price of admission alone.
With solid action (that doesn't need the 3D addition) cartoony animation and gags out the wazoo Ice Age: Continental Drift is entertainment to enjoy with the whole family. Revelatory? Not quite. Until we get a feature length silent film of Scratch's acorn pursuit we may never see a "classic" Ice Age film but Continental Drift keeps it together long enough to tell a simple story with delightful flare that should hold attention spans of any length. Massive amounts of sugar not even required.
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox]
The MTV Movie Awards this year showed us a lot of, well, stuff. It wasn't all bad, and it wasn't all good; but watching the awards show was an experience. Some people got awards, and a few of those awards were actually ones that they didn't make up on the spot. But we're here to bring you the best and worst moments from this year's big dance. In case you missed it, or didn't!
Best Red Carpet Moment:
Perks of Being a Wallflower Trailer Debut. The long-awaited film from the book with the same name is sure to be a hit among the MTV-and-older set. The book was nearly universally loved, so to see the trailer released (finally!) after years of waiting for the film is pretty exciting.
Get More: Nina Dobrev, Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, 2012 Movie Awards, New Movies
Worst Moment of Attempted Charlie Sheen Relevancy:
Every reference that MTV made to the man. Seriously, that's enough.
Best High-Fashion Blood-Splatter Dress:
Next: Pork pie hats and dog buttsBest Unsolicited Anger Moment:
Mark Wahlberg, getting angry at the random, inaudible person in the audience. I hope he said hi to his mother for Mark.
Onscreen Dirtbag. Because was that really the only name they could think of for this?
Best Audition for a Buster Keaton bio-pic:
Josh Hutcherson's hat
Best Impression of an '80s-Era Aerosmith Microphone:
Wiz Khalifa's microphone stand.
Next: Elvira wigs and Johnny DeppWorst Intro to a Category:
Best Kiss. Dog butthole jokes. America. COME ON.
Kristen Stewart's. Homegirl's dress was FIRE, y'all.
Best Middle-Aged Woman:
Joe Perry and his Elvira wig. (Steven Tyler's bellbottoms are really jealous, so let's not talk about it too much.)
Best Award Moment:
gfjhfduibhfdiuhfsiugdfh. I mean, Johnny Depp. Sorry, I type his name and have a reaction. Every time. That Johnny Depp; man, what a career, eh? He's like, some super talented fella, apparently! The whole intro reel was just radical and reminds the world that Johnny Depp is still totally the man. And to follow up with Johnny performing with The Black Keys? Be still my heart. That was one of those old school-style MTV moments that reminds you of the networks' heyday.
Get More: The Black Keys - Gold on the Ceiling featuring Johnny Depp (Live), Music, More Music Videos
Next: Fassbender is FassBETTER!Worst Use of a Joel McHale:
Joel McHale as Lester Boonshaft. If you have a Joel McHale, and you have an archer's uniform, why is there not more flitting about in tights and perhaps a remake of Robin Hood: Men in Tights?
Best Michael Fassbender:
Michael Fassbender. Just for being Fassbendery. Also I had no idea that Fassbender could get FassBETTER and then I saw him with a beard. And I won't make a d**k joke, I promise... even though I've seen Shame and know it is a glorious member of society.
Best Award Acceptance:
Elizabeth Banks for Best Transformation, featuring the boys from Magic Mike. It was stiff competition, but Joe Manganiello's shaft dance was truly a revelation.
Get More: MTV Shows
Next: Dark Knights and Ginger LadiesBest Earnest Moment:
Emma Stone. Golly gosh, girl. Not only are you sassy, adorable, hilarious, and a fellow ginger, but you also name-dropped another one of my Head Queen Goddess Boss Ladies, Gilda Radner. I think it's safe to say you deserve the honor of being a fellow Head Queen Goddess Boss Lady (even though this Trailblazer Award seems a bit of an odd choice)... Welcome, girl! You're America's Girl Crush.
The Dark Knight Rises. I JUST WANT TO SEE THE S**T OUT OF THIS MOVIE, YOU GUYS. And oh, hi, hello to you, too, attractive human specimen Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Get More: 2012 Movie Awards, New Movies
So that was the 2012 MTV Movie Awards. Are we a better or worse nation for it? Only time will tell.
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
[All images via MTV]
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In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.
There’s something about the Grammys that bring out the wackiest and wildest fashion fetishes in its attendant celebs. But who could have anticipated that Nicky Minaj would show up in a full leopard get-up, or that Lady Gaga would be escorted down the red carpet in an incubating egg? Or that Snooki would look….good? That’s right—it was a surprising night in more ways than one! Let’s check out the wackiest and the weirdest of the 2011 Grammy fashions!
Check out our full coverage of the Grammys fashions here or the photo, below.
ABOUT KATE DURBIN:
Kate Durbin is a Los Angeles-based writer, performer, and fashion artist. She is the author of The Ravenous Audience (Black Goat/Akashic, 2009), Fragments Found in a 1937 Aviator’s Boot (Dancing Girl Press, 2009), and Kept Women (Insert Press, forthcoming). She is founding editor of the project Gaga Stigmata: Critical Writings and Art About Lady Gaga, which has been featured by Salon.com and The Huffington Post, among others. Her fashion essay, .
This week, Eli Roth invites you to witness what he calls The Last Exorcism, but let's face the film facts here people: Priest's have been exorcising demons in Hollywood long before the world cared about him (does anyone even care now?). The religious method of cleansing the possessed is as much a myth as it is a mystery, but it has always been a great subject for movies. In honor of the spooky new film, which hits theaters this Friday, we've exercised our own knowledge of film history to bring you a Brief Timeline of Cinematic Exorcisms. Check out the history of this horror sub-genre below!
Blithe Spirit (1945) In what is more than likely the very first cinematic exorcism, Blithe Spirit focuses on a husband and his second wife who are haunted by the ghost of his first, named Elvira (coincidence? I think not). The married couple seeks the help of a medium named Madame Arcati, who contacts the deceased lover and tries to fix up this nasty little triangle. There are more chuckles than thrills in this Golden Age fantasy-comedy, but it deserves a spot in our timeline because I don’t think you’ll find an exorcism on film before it. The Devils (1971) In Ken Russell’s 1971 shocker, you will find many sequences of depraved acts that make an exorcism look tame. The film is a dramatized historical account of the rise and fall of Urbain Grandier, a 17th-century French priest executed for witchcraft following the supposed possessions of Loudun. You could view the film as a warm-up to The Passion of the Christ in terms of its graphic violence, but in addition to crucifixion and torture, this one’s got nuns involved in an orgy at the feet of a statue of Christ, as well as Vanessa Redgrave masturbating with a human bone. Chew on that, Father Merrin. The Exorcist (1973) Though there may have been examples of exorcisms in movies before it, William Friedkin’s incredibly frightening film has become the fictional benchmark for the religious practice. Both cinematically intense and controversial within the religious community, it is the most successful horror film of all time and rightly so: There are images within that you won’t easily forget. Martin (1977) A B-movie for the history books, George A. Romero’s Martin is a vampire-romance tale with just a touch of exorcism. The title character is an obsessive “serial feeder” (I just made that up) who preys on young women, grifters and criminals in and around Braddock, PA. His old-school Greek grand uncle attempts to shoo away the evil inside him by contacting two priests to perform an exorcism, but they are unsuccessful. Martin eventually meets a tragic fate as his own “blood” ironically kills him. The Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) Far from the success of its predecessor, the sequel to Friedkin’s masterpiece was directed by John Boorman, who presented a more allegorical and symbolic story that failed to captivate audiences the way the original did. In many ways it’s a rehash of The Exorcist, but it explores the positive side of the supernatural. Beetlejuice (1987) We’ll now take another break from William Peter Blatty’s satanic saga and travel to Winter River, CT, where the recently deceased Maitlands meet the afterlife’s leading bio-exorcist, Betelgeuse. Tim Burton gave horror fans a lighter look at the world of the dead as Michael Keaton’s wild and crazy supernatural swinger rids Barbara and Adam of their house’s new owners. Additionally, we get the rare opportunity to see what happens to ghosts who have been exorcised via the Lost Souls room. Exorcist III (1990) “Save your prayers, God is not here with us now” -- and neither is any sign of true quality in W.P. Blatty’s cinematic adaptation of his own novel, Legion, which he claimed was the true sequel to the original 1973 film. Though the film is cemented within the Exorcist canon, it’s really more of a standalone serial-killer/murder mystery hiding behind the title of the greatest horror movie ever. Repossessed (1990) No classic film is above being parodied, and The Exorcist was the victim of satire in this lowbrow comedy that cast Linda Blair as, essentially, Regan MacNeil all grown up with a family of her own. When the Devil possesses her once again, it’s up to Father Jebedaiah Mayii (Leslie Nielsen) to exorcise the demon. By this point, exorcisms were so ingrained in global pop culture that the magic of the film that made the religious practice a phenomenon had been nearly forgotten. Scary Movie II (2001) Continuing on in the tradition of mocking cinematic staples, the Wayans brothers conjured a blue-chip franchise by mashing together parodies of hit horror premises. The second film in the series featured a riotous vignette that at once parodies and pays homage to The Exorcist. Exorcist: The Beginning (2004) After 14 years and many spoofs, the horror franchise that made “exorcism” a household term returned to shock a new generation of moviegoers. Unfortunately, the tricks of ‘70s cinema didn’t work as well in a world of contemporary special effects, and though there were some frightening moments in the film, it didn’t reach the level of terror that fans were hoping for. Constantine (2005) In the decade of superhero cinema, Warner Bros. found a way to reinvent the exorcism with this underrated comic-book adaptation. Keanu Reeves plays an irreverent supernatural detective who casts away demons in Los Angeles. The exorcisms are physically brutal, and, with plausible makeup and prosthetics, the victims are genuinely horrifying. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005) The year 2005 gave the world a double dose of exorcisms. The second helping came in the form of a fictionalized account of the story of Anneliesse Michel, a German girl who authorities claim was truly possessed by the Devil. The film is an interesting mix of courtroom drama and true horror. Thanks in large part to Jennifer Carpenter’s chilling performance as Emily Rose, the film is a fitting companion piece to The Exorcist, one that attempts to scientifically explain demonic possession and exorcisms and also questions the moral and legal ramifications of performing one. The Last Exorcism (2010) As stated earlier, don’t think that this will be the last film to feature an exorcism, especially if it performs well. Eli Roth’s low-budget faux-documentary centers on a troubled evangelical minister who agrees to let his last exorcism be filmed. The trailer looks decent and the reviews are surprisingly good, so hopefully this will be another solid entry into the sub-genre of horror.