Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube
Jimmy Fallon might be revered as the late night kingpin after taking over The Tonight Show and boosting its ratings, but competitor Jimmy Kimmel is up for the challenge. His Jimmy Kimmel Live! has been on a roll since last fall, hitting the marks not just with late night ratings but on social media.
First, there was the viral video "Epic Twerking Fail," showing a girl accidentally setting her leg on fire while dancing… a story that appeared on several newscasts before it was revealed to be just a Kimmel prank using a stunt woman. Then, the host suckered an international audience when he got Olympic luger Kate Hansen to post a video of a wolf walking down a hotel hallway in Sochi, Russia. The "hotel," of course, was later revealed to be Kimmel's offices.
As funny as the pranks have been, Kimmel and his staff have gone into overdrive with their parody shorts, topping anything that Saturday Night Live has done since Andy Samberg and his Lonely Island cohorts were at the top of their game. Here's a sampling of the spoofs that have made Kimmel's late night show and YouTube channel such a hotbed of comedy.
True Detective 2
We all know that Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson aren't returning for another season of HBO's True Detective, but who knew that Kimmel and buddy Seth Rogen were in line to take their places? The duo's slap-fight turned… well, we're still not sure what it turned into but it was very uncomfortable… would be disturbing even for the most hardened premium cable aficionados.
In a multi-part series, Kimmel's loyal lackey Guillermo stars as the president in the Spanish-language telenovela version of Scandal. Women fight over him, men want to kill him, and he even gets to share a bed with the real Olivia Pope, Kerry Washington. Por qué? We don't know, but it's awfully funny.
Kimmel has been doing a post-Oscars show for a while now and had viral hits with Movie: The Movie and Movie: The Movie 2, where A-List celebrities mocked the trappings of Hollywood films. This year, however, Kimmel and his team outdid themselves, choosing to show what viral YouTube sensations would be like if they got the big screen treatment. There's one that features Queen Latifah as "Ain't nobody got time for that"-spouting Sweet Brown (and features the real Brown interrupting Kimmel's archenemy, Matt Damon). In Bitman, though, Chris Hemsworth agonizes over the search for his disgraced brother to their mother, Meryl Streep. What has the brother — played by his real-life sibling Liam Hemsworth — done that has wronged him? He bit him, of course. And, now the brother that Charlie bit wants revenge for his finger. It did really hurt, after all.
How do you get Kevin Spacey to dress up as a piano playing 19th century cat, Christoph Waltz to play his nemesis, the "hamster on a piano eating popcorn," and Ben Kingsley, Gary Oldman, and Mandy Patinkin to be the courtiers they are both trying to impress? No, seriously, we want to know how you manage to get so many great actors to play along with such a goofy premise. The result is hysterical but good luck getting the "Cat Playing Piano" music out of your head afterwards.
David After the Dentist Double Rainbow Oh My God! in 3D
It's a little creepy seeing Joseph Gordon-Levitt portraying a grown version of poor little painkiller affected David from the viral video… until Catherine Zeta-Jones arrives as a sexy tooth fairy singing Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." Amping up the weirdness, Samuel L. Jackson portrays the scariest dentist since Little Shop of Horrors and Rogen pops up as the overly effusive "Double Rainbow" guy. We're not sure that Kermit the Frog would approve of Jackson's new lyric for "Rainbow Connection," but we actually could envision Baz Luhrmann directing something like this.
A kids’ movie without the cheeky jokes for adults is like a big juicy BLT without the B… or the T. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may have a title that sounds like it was made up in a cartoon sequel laboratory but when it comes to serving up laughs just think of the film as a BLT with enough extra bacon to satisfy even the wildest of animals — or even a parent with a gaggle of tots in tow. Yes even with that whole "Afro Circus" nonsense.
It’s not often that we find exhaustively franchised films like the Madagascar set that still work after almost seven years. Despite being spun off into TV shows and Christmas specials in addition to its big screen adventures the series has not only maintained its momentum it has maintained the part we were pleasantly surprised by the first time around: great jokes.
In this third installment of the series – the trilogy-maker if you will – directing duo Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath add Conrad Vernon (director Monsters Vs. Aliens) to the helm as our trusty gang swings back into action. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stuck in Africa after the hullaballoo of Madagascar 2 and they’ll do anything to get back to their beloved New York. Just a hop skip and a jump away in Monte Carlo the penguins are doing their usual greedy schtick but the zoo animals catch up with them just in time to catch the eye of the sinister animal control stickler Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand). And just like that the practically super human captain is chasing them through Monte Carlo and the rest of Europe in hopes of planting Alex’s perfectly coifed lion head on her wall of prized animals.
Luckily for pint-sized viewers Dubois’ terrifying presence is balanced out by her sheer inhuman strength uncanny guiles and Stretch Armstrong flexibility (ah the wonder of cartoons) as well as Alex’s escape plan: the New Yorkers run away with the European circus. While Dubois’ terrifying Doberman-like presence looms over the entire film a sense of levity (which is a word the kiddies might learn from Stiller’s eloquent lion) comes from the plan for salvation in which the circus animals and the zoo animals band together to revamp the circus and catch the eye of a big-time American agent. Sure the pacing throughout the first act is practically nonexistent running like a stampede through the jungle but by the time we're palling around under the big top the film finds its footing.
The visual splendor of the film (and man is there a champion size serving of it) the magnificent danger and suspense is enhanced to great effect by the addition of 3D technology – and not once is there a gratuitous beverage or desperate Crocodile Dundee knife waved in our faces to prove its worth. The caveat is that the soundtrack employs a certain infectious Katy Perry ditty at the height of the 3D spectacular so parents get ready to hear that on repeat until the leaves turn yellow.
But visual delights and adventurous zoo animals aside Madagascar 3’s real strength is in its script. With the addition of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg The Squid and the Whale) to the screenwriting team the script is infused with a heightened level of almost sarcastic gravitas – a welcome addition to the characteristically adult-friendly reference-heavy humor of the other Madagascar films. To bring the script to life Paramount enlisted three more than able actors: Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston) Gia the Leopard (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Italian Sealion (Martin Short). With all three actors draped in European accents it might take viewers a minute to realize that the cantankerous tiger is one and the same as the man who plays an Albuquerque drug lord on Breaking Bad but that makes it that much sweeter to hear him utter slant-curse words like “Bolshevik” with his usual gusto.
Between the laughs the terror of McDormand’s Captain Dubois and the breathtaking virtual European tour the Zoosters’ accidental vacation is one worth taking. Madagascar 3 is by no means an insta-classic but it’s a perfectly suited for your Summer-at-the-movies oasis.
Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.
At some point in the early years of the 21st century a bunch of Hollywood executives must have gotten together and decided that animated films should be made for all audiences. The goal was perhaps to make movies that are simultaneously accessible to the older and younger sets with colorful imagery that one expects from children’s films and two levels of humor: one that’s quite literal and harmless and another that’s somewhat subversive. The criteria has resulted in cross-generational hits like Wall-E and Madagascar and though it’s nice to be able to take my nephew to the movies and be as entertained by cartoon characters as he is I can’t help but wonder what happened to unabashedly innocent animated classics like A Goofy Movie and The Land Before Time?
Disney’s Winnie The Pooh is the answer to the Shrek’s and Hoodwinked!’s of the world: a short sweet simple and lighthearted tale of friendship that doesn’t need pop-culture references or snarky dialogue to put a smile on your face. Directors Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall found some fresh ways to deliver adorable animation while keeping the carefree spirit of A.A. Milne’s source material in tact. Their story isn’t the most original; the first part of the film finds Pooh Piglet Tigger and Owl searching for Eeyore’s tail (a common plot point in the books and past Pooh films) and hits all the predictable notes but the second half mixes things up a bit as the crew searches for a missing Christopher Robin whom they believe has been kidnapped by a forest creature known as the “Backson” (it’s really just the result of the illiterate Owl or is it?).
The beauty of hand-drawn animation all but forgotten until recently is what makes Winnie the Pooh so incredibly magnetic. There’s an inexplicable crispness to the colors and characters that CG just can’t duplicate. It’s a more personal practice for the filmmakers and should provide a refreshing experience for audiences who have become jaded with the pristine presentation of computerized imagery. The film is bookended by brief live-action shots from inside Robin’s room an interesting dynamic that plays up the simplicity of youth ties it to these beloved characters and brings you right back to memories of your own childhood.
With a just-over-an-hour run time Winnie the Pooh is short enough to hold the attention of children but won’t bore the parents who will love the film mainly for nostalgic musings. Still it’s the young’uns who will most enjoy this breezy bright and enchanting film that proves old-school characters can appeal to new moviegoers.
Britney Spears has been given a $1,500-per-week debit-card allowance by a Los Angeles judge.
Superior Court Commissioner Reva Goetz set the "Toxic" singer's spending limit at a Spears estate conservatorship hearing on Monday.
As her court-appointed conservator, Spears' father, Jamie, fought for the allowance, explaining the cash would give the singer more freedom.
His attorney, Geraldine Wyle, told the court the allowance would allow Spears to "spend money, have her freedom, and make choices about how she wants to enjoy her life."
Spears herself skipped the hearing, despite being advised to attend by her attorney Samuel Ingham--who revealed to reporters that she objected to elements of the hearing.
In court, it was also revealed that a probate commissioner has hired two specialist lawyers to help Spears, who is worth an estimated $100 million, and her legal team to organize her estate.
The first, Tom Hansen, will be paid $15,000 per month to preside over Spears' entertainment contracts.
The second, Jorge Hernandez, will pick up a $25,000 retainer to act as a consultant on all questions relating to the conservatorship.
Meanwhile, at a separate hearing concerning Spears' ongoing custody battle with her ex-husband Kevin Federline, her lawyer Stacy Phillips objected to her client paying Federline's $500,000 legal bill.
Phillips told the hearing that Spears has already spent over $1 million for custody of her two sons and shouldn't have to pay her former spouse's legal expenses too.
Spears' lawyer also accused Federline of paying his attorneys too much, and leading an overly excessive lifestyle.
She cited an example of one incident, during which Federline allegedly left a $2,000 tip on a $365 restaurant bill, arguing that if he can afford to be so frivolous with money then he should pay his own legal costs.
Commissioner Scott Gordon didn't rule in the private hearing, although Superior Court spokesman Allan Parachini says a ruling may be made on Tuesday.
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Bobby Garfield (David Morse) returns to his small hometown to attend the funeral of his childhood friend and remembers the fateful summer in 1960 when his whole world changed. The story flashes back to when 11-year-old Bobby (Anton Yelchin) and his best friends Carol (Mika Boorem) and Sully-John (Will Rothhaar) capture the pure joy of youthfulness. When a mysterious stranger named Ted Brautigan (Anthony Hopkins) moves upstairs and starts to pay attention to Bobby the boy suddenly realizes what's truly missing from his life--the love of a parent. Bobby's mother Liz (Hope Davis) is embittered by the death of Bobby's father and shows little compassion for her son's growing needs. Ted fills a void with the boy opening his eyes to the world around him and helps Bobby come to terms with his real feelings for Carol--and his mother. But Ted also has some deep dark secrets of his own and Bobby tries hard to stop danger from reaching the old man.
The performances make the film especially in the genuine camaraderie of the kids. Yelchin Boorem and Rothhaar never deliver a false move with an easiness that makes us believe we are simply watching three 11-year-old children grow up together. Yelchin in particular is able to get right to the heart of this young boy who misses his father and clings to the only adult who will listen. And his scenes with Boorem simply break your heart. (Davis) does an admirable job playing a part none too sympathetic. She manages to show a woman whose been beaten down but who does truly love her son in her own way. Morse too is one of those character actors you can plug in any movie and get a performance worth noting. In Hearts you want to see more of him. Of course the film shines brightest when Hopkins is on the screen. It may not be an Oscar-caliber performance but the actor is unparalleled in bringing a character to life--showing the subtleties of an old man looking for some peace in his life.
If you are expecting the Stephen King novel you may be disappointed. Screenwriter William Goldman and director Scott Hicks (Shine) deftly extracted the King formula of telling a story through a child's eye and explaining how the relationships formed as a child shaped the adult later. Hicks did an amazing job with his young actors especially Yelchin and Boorem. But where the novel continued into a supernatural theme explaining Brautigan's fear of being captured by "low men in yellow coats" (a reference to King's The Dark Tower series) the movie downplayed the mystical elements instead giving real explanations for Brautigan's man-on-the-run. That was the one problem with Hearts--we needed more danger. Introducing men from another dimension may not have been the way to go but had there been more tension the film would have resonated more especially when Bobby risked his own safety to save Ted.