Andrea Howlett / Splash News
Before we begin, I want to state for the record that I am one of the few humans — and quite possibly the only woman between the ages of 18 and 34 — who hated Gillian Flynn's mystery thriller Gone Girl. While the novel may have been one of a small number to achieve both critical acclaim and bestseller status, I would have stopped reading if not for a particularly punishing book club. That being said, the novel's saving grace for me was that I thought it might just make a fun movie. But now, as the cast for the actual movie adaptation of this bonkers husband/wife murder plot continues to grow, I'm becoming skeptical once again.
First came Ben Affleck for the lead role of Nick Dunne — a choice I found odd mostly because Affleck is so inherently likable while Nick is supposed to be a sleazy a**hole. Plus, he seemed a little old for the role. Then came Rosamund Pike for Nick's sweet-or-deranged-depending-on-the-chapter wife Amy — a choice I was willing to go with because I like Pike so much (seriously, is there a woman more beautiful?). And now we have 21-year-old Emily Ratajkowski, the stunning model who became a household name this summer after starring in Robin Thicke's notorious "Blurred Lines" music video, making her acting debut as Andie, Nick's mistress, TheWrap reports.
Add to that motley crew Tyler Perry (as Nick's defense attorney) and Neil Patrick Harris (as a former beau of Amy's who... nevermind, I won't spoil it for you) and you've got the most whackadoo combination of actors we've seen this side of The Holiday.
David Fincher is at the helm of this ship to crazytown, so let's hope he can steer it closer to wildly eccentric than bats**t.
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You can't say that the upcoming anthology film Movie 43 doesn't value versatility. As we learned from the trailer, the varying premises of its dozen or so separate comedy vignettes range from a flirtatious game of Truth or Dare gone terribly awry (a sketch featuring Halle Berry and Stephen Merchant), to the seizure of and attempt to bridle a hostile leprechaun (starring Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott), to a basketball coach's (Terrence Howard) invocation of racial stereotypes to inspire his team to victory, to a couple of parents' (Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber) trying to reproduce an "authentic" high school experience for their home schooled son. But many of the film's sketches remain largely mysterious.
Below are three new, exclusive images from Movie 43, featuring stars Kristen Bell, Justin Long, Josh Duhamel, and Elizabeth Banks. We might not know exactly what these actors' sketches have in store, but we can tell the following: Bell and Long play superheroes (Supergirl and Robin, respectively) who are apparently both participants a speed dating venue. Duhamel's character is, ostensibly, some sort of hard-partying frat boy type, and one with ready access to a pool. And Banks... well, she just looks kind of mortified. With the sort of attitude that Movie 43 seems to have, the source of this horror could be quite extreme.
Check out the exclusive images below. Movie 43 hits theaters Jan. 25.
[Photo Credit: Relativity Media (3)]
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The Les Misérables premiere's red carpet is the best example I've seen in a long time of what happens when bad wardrobe choices happen to good — or at least beautiful — people. Have you ever seen a group that is filled at once with so many attractives and so few good outfits? From Anne Hathaway's wings/capelet/webbed arms (seriously, what is that?), to Amanda Seyfried's unfortunate ruffle and drunk crazy posing, there was a lot going on. To say the least. But where to begin? I guess Hathaway is as good a place as any.
We get it. You're skinny, you can wear anything. But that doesn't mean you have to. Put down the flying squirrel-goes-to-tea dress and back away slowly.Amanda Seyfried
You're killing me with that ruffle.Eddie Redmayne
Well, the blue velvet suit was certainly a bold choice.Gillian Anderson
I'm not really sure why you're at this premiere, but your dress fits you, so bravo! But minus 10 points for matching your dress to your shoes to the carpet.Helena Bonham Carter
Put your hands. On your hips. It's like Red Carpet 101. Also, I expect more wacky from you, Helena. In this film, you play a bawdy, child-abusing innkeeper with bird nest hair — let your crazy flag fly!Hugh Jackman
You're Hugh Jackman, so you win always.Isabelle Allen
You're cute, and you're a child, and that dress is perfectly age appropriate, so I'm going to let this one go. But… know this, honey: it's usually best to avoid dresses that are the exact same color as your skin. Just, you know, for next time.Isla Fisher and Sacha Baron Cohen
Sacha, keep up the good work. Isla, it's a bad sign that seeing you in this dress made me Google to find out if you were pregnant again. (She's not.)Matthew Morrison
Matthew Morrison wants to be in this movie so badly he decided to crash the carpet. Take your overly large bowtie and go back to Glee!Russell Crowe
Tonight, the part of the sad old man will be played by Russell Crowe!Rosamund Pike
Who invited the circus ringleader? No, seriously. Why is she here?Samantha Barks
I think I like this (she said tentatively). But I could do with a little less of the mesh. Basically, this dress tells me that Ms. Barks would look fabulous in Hilary Swank's 2005 Oscar gown. If she had worn that, I would've loved it.
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As with seemingly every other tentpole release to hit the multiplex this summer the action thriller Cowboys & Aliens is based on a comic book – albeit a lesser-known one. It’s directed by Jon Favreau whose previous comic-book adaptations Iron Man and Iron Man 2 proved how much better those films can be when they’re grounded in character. Unfortunately his latest effort is grounded not in character but a hook an alt-history scenario best expressed in the language of the average twelve-year-old: “Like wouldn’t it be awesome if like a bunch of 1870s cowboys had to fight a bunch of crazy aliens with exoskeletons and spaceships and super-advanced weapons?”
Like perhaps. The hook was compelling enough to get someone to pony up a reported $160 million to find out and the result is a film in which the western and science-fiction genres don’t so much blend as violently collide. After the wreckage is cleared both emerge worse for wear.
Daniel Craig stars as Jake Lonergan a stranger who awakens in the New Mexico Territory with a case of amnesia a wound in his side and a strange contraption strapped to his wrist. After dispatching a trio of bandits with Bourne-like efficiency he rides to the nearby town of Absolution where he stumbles on what appears to be an elaborate Western Iconography exhibit presented by the local historical preservation society. There’s the well-meaning town Sheriff Taggart (Keith Carradine) struggling to enforce order amidst lawlessness; the greedy rancher Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) who really runs things; his debaucherous cowardly son Percy (Paul Dano); the timid saloonkeeper Doc (Sam Rockwell) who’s going to stand up for himself one of these days; the humble preacher Meacham (Clancy Brown) dispensing homespun spiritual advice; et al.
Jake of course has his own part to play – the fugitive train-robber – as we discover when his face shows up on a wanted poster and a sneering Dolarhyde fingers him for the theft of his gold. The only character who doesn’t quite conform to type is Ella (Olivia Wilde) who as neither a prostitute nor some man’s wife – the traditional female occupations in westerns – immediately arouses suspicion.
Jake is arrested and ordered to stand trial in Federal court but before he can be shipped off a squadron of alien planes appears in the sky besieging Absolution and making off with several of its terrified citizenry. In the course of the melee Jake’s wrist contraption wherever it came from reveals itself to be quite useful in defense against the alien invaders. Thrown by circumstances into an uneasy alliance with Dolarhyde he helps organize a posse to counter the otherworldly threat – and bring back the abductees if possible.
Cowboys & Aliens has many of the ingredients of a solid summer blockbuster but none in sufficient amounts to rate in a summer season crowded with bigger-budget (and better-crafted) spectacle. For a film with five credited screenwriters Cowboys & Aliens’ script is sorely lacking for verve or imagination. And what happened to the Favreau of Iron Man? The playful cheekiness that made those films so much fun is all but absent in this film which takes itself much more seriously than any film called Cowboys & Aliens has a right to. Dude you’ve got men on horses with six-shooters battling laser-powered alien crab people. Lighten up.
Craig certainly looks the part of the western anti-hero – his only rival in the area of rugged handsomeness is Viggo Mortensen – but his character is reduced to little more than an angry glare. And Wilde the poor girl is burdened with loads of clunky exposition. The two show promising glimpses of a romantic spark but their relationship remains woefully underdeveloped. Faring far better is Ford who gets not only the bulk of the film’s choicest lines but also its only touching subplot in which his character’s adopted Indian son played by Adam Beach quietly coaxes the humanity out of the grizzled old man.
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.