Actress Megan Fox returned to the red carpet in Los Angeles on Friday (07Dec12) for the first time since giving birth to baby boy Noah in September (12).
The Transformers beauty was joined by her husband Brian Austin Green as she posed for photos in a fitted white lace dress at the March of Dimes Celebration of Babies luncheon, where another new mum, Reese Witherspoon, was honoured by the parenting charity.
The Legally Blonde star - who also welcomed a son, named Tennessee, in September (12) - was the guest of honour at the event and was presented with the March of Dimes organisation's Grace Kelly Award by Elizabeth Banks in recognition of her status as a parental role model.
Accepting the award, mum-of-three Witherspoon recalled a story about a pregnant pal who called her as she went into labour to find out what to expect from the birthing experience.
The Oscar winner told the star-studded crowd, "She wanted to know how she was going to feel in that moment and what it would be like when you meet your baby for the very first time. And I was talking to Jim, my husband, and I said, 'Can you imagine describing that moment of pure joy that happens when your child is in your arms for the very first time?' I mean, what are the words?!
"We are parents that know the joy of having a beautiful, brilliant, joyful, perfect baby. That somehow heaven has opened up and delivered us an angel (who) looks adorable in every angle of an iPhone photo. And, in my case, looks gorgeous printed on a bag or a pillow or an iPhone cover - anything you can get on TinyPrints (printing website)!"
Model/actress Molly Sims and Hilary Duff and her husband, retired hockey player Mike Comrie, also attended the charity event.
March of Dimes was founded by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938 to combat polio and now works to help women through pregnancy and new motherhood.
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As its title suggests Rupert Wyatt’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes is intended to lay the foundation for a new franchise of sci-fi flicks in which humans and super-intelligent apes battle for earthly supremacy. Its duty then is to explain within the span of two hours and with a modicum of credulity how exactly our simian friends might come to supplant us atop the animal kingdom. The scenario was at least partially addressed in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes the fourth entry in the original series’ convoluted and time-warped canon and while Wyatt's film draws inspiration from Conquest it is by no means a remake. Nor for that matter is related in any way to Tim Burton’s underwhelming 2001 entry. (And thank goodness for that.)
The titular rise begins as with many of the world’s great catastrophes with the actions of one highly irresponsible man. Will Rodman (James Franco) is a genetic scientist of prodigious talent and questionable ethics who works at a fancy San Francisco biotech firm called Gen-Sys (subtle!). His effort at producing a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease carries an ulterior motive: His father (John Lithgow) suffers from it and is close to entering its final stages. Will is close to a breakthrough when one of his chimpanzee test subjects goes well apesh*t causing his company’s suitably callous CEO Steven Jacobs (David Oyelowo gamely spewing lines like “I run a business not a petting zoo!") to order the research facility’s entire chimp population liquidated.
Will is busy carrying out the grim mandate when he discovers that one of the test chimps has borne an offspring one he can’t bring himself to euthanize. Instead he and his primatologist girlfriend Caroline (Frieda Pinto gorgeous and superfluous) partners in appallingly bad decision-making decide to raise the infant chimp as their own naming it Caesar. Having inherited his mother’s gene modifications he shows signs of advanced intelligence and quickly develops a close bond with his adoptive human parents. But Caesar soon outgrows his domestic habitat and eventually must be shipped off to a simian “sanctuary” that is in reality anything but.
At this point we’re halfway through the film – and miles away from erudite apes and enslaved humans. To get us on track director Wyatt executes a rather audacious tonal shift transitioning abruptly from what was heretofore a fairly sober Project Nim dramatization into the balls-out apes-gone-wild summer action flick promised by the film’s trailers. His efforts are aided tremendously by his screenwriters Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa whose clever absorbing script offers just enough plausibility in the first half to make its increasingly loony second half not just palatable but downright enjoyable. Wyatt strikes a delicate thematic balance respecting the subject matter while acknowledging its inherent silliness. (Scattered throughout the film are sly nods to previous Planet of the Apes films as well as a glimpse of Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments.)
The silliness accelerates seemingly by the frame in Rise’s latter half as Caesar mounts a conspiracy to escape his Dickensian squalor exact revenge upon his cartoonishly malevolent captors and take his simian revolution to the streets. And it only gets crazier from there – the third act is basically a PETA wet dream. As far as cautionary tales go Rise is about as cautionary as they come.
Andy Serkis who performed all of the performance-capture work for Caesar is a marvel in the role though the question remains as to how the credit should be divvied up between him and the technicians at WETA digital who “painted” the character’s CG features. And make no mistake Caesar is very much a character – as well-rounded and fully-formed and convincing as they come and easily more compelling than any of his non-digital counterparts. Franco for his part is credible enough as a scientist who in spite of his academic credentials is a bit of a dolt (and perhaps a tad disturbed) and Lithgow tackles a relatively thankless role with grace. But the real stars are all those damn dirty apes.
In yet another variation on the shopworn road picture in which two mismatched former buddies are forced to cross the country together Soul Men’s uneasy brand of overly broad humor and contrived situations is saved intermittently by some cool musical numbers. But alas it’s not enough. Louis (Samuel L. Jackson) and Floyd (Bernie Mac) are part of a major musical group led by Marcus Hooks (John Legend) who goes solo leaving Floyd and Louis in the lurch. Fast forward 20 years Hooks has died and Louis and Floyd who did not end on good terms and have not spoken since have been coerced into appearing a tribute show for Hooks at New York’s famed Apollo Theatre. Afraid to fly they get in Floyd’s 1971 Cadillac El Dorado accompanied by a talented young woman (Sharon Leal) who may be Floyd’s daughter. Along the way they try to get their act up to speed by appearing in various redneck honky tonks filling the interminable 103-minute running time with a lot of unfunny sexual encounters and unbelievable situations. The late Bernie Mac was a terrific comic talent and is highly wasted in this mishmash in which he is constantly encouraged to mug for laughs. Mac is so much better than the lowbrow material he has to work with here that it’s a shame this film should stand as one of his last (at least there’s Madagascar 2). Faring even worse however is Samuel L. Jackson who is out of his element in a musical comedy and seems to be taking none of this hokum seriously. Thankfully the soulful musical numbers reminiscent of classic ‘60s Sam and Dave R&B are well chosen and capably performed even though neither Mac nor Jackson are known for their singing. Best number in fact is fronted by John Legend making his acting debut as Hooks. As the young eager beaver manager trying to get Floyd and Louis back together Sean Hayes is way too broad. Faring better is newcomer Adam Herschman as Hayes’ mop-topped intern who uses his fanboy infatuation with the pair to nice advantage. And there’s a nice now bittersweet bit near the end with the late Isaac Hayes. Malcolm Lee (Undercover Brother Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins) is a director who tends to go for the slapstick when a little subtlety and believability would be more in order. With a great Sunshine Boys premise and some nifty musical material to pepper the proceedings Lee still manages to drop the ball letting his talented actors down and encouraging them to chew up every scene. The corny silly situations certainly doesn’t help matters with the road trip device feeling more like padding than anything else. Soul Men doesn’t find the right rhythms.
Post-Sept. 11, will audiences derive much humor from the ordered shooting down of a small civilian airliner?
That's the huge stumbling block facing director Barry Sonnenfeld's Big Trouble, a black comedy based on the best-selling novel by humorist Dave Barry.
Touchstone wisely yanked Big Trouble from its Sept. 21 release following the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. The Miami-set ensemble farce, headlined by Tim Allen and Rene Russo, revolves around a nuclear bomb that ends up in the grubby hands of unsuspecting smalltime crooks Tom Sizemore and Johnny Knoxville.
Seven months later, though, Big Trouble remains a risky prospect. Its tricky final act--decidedly unfunny pre- and post-Sept. 11--will certainly alienate audiences in the wake of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon attacks.
Not that Big Trouble has much going for it to begin with, considering it is unsurprisingly flat and visually unexciting for a comedy from the director of The Addams Family and Men In Black. Big Trouble's meager laughs come from the nefarious antics of harried co-stars Stanley Tucci and Dennis Farina and Barry's dead-on observations about life in southern Florida.
Accordingly, Big Trouble will likely earn less than half of the $12.7 million that Sonnenfeld's last crime caper, the cool-as-ice Get Shorty, opened with in 1995.
That's bad news for the major principals involved.
Sonnenfeld is coming off the overblown Wild Wild West, which earned a disappointing $113.8 million for a high-priced Will Smith vehicle. No one paid much attention to Allen's Joe Somebody ($22.7 million). The lights are fading fast on Russo's Showtime, the Robert De Niro/Eddie Murphy cop comedy that has made a lousy $34.4 million through Wednesday.
Don't feel too bad, though. Sonnenfeld should bounce back this summer with Men In Black II. Allen has The Santa Clause 2: Mrs. Clause scheduled for Nov. 8.
With Big Trouble unlikely to cause much of a stir, High Crimes should emerge as the top choice among this weekend's new release.
A military courtroom thriller directed by One False Move's Carl Franklin, High Crimes reunites Kiss the Girls stars Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd. Law professor Judd enlists Freeman to help her defend her husband, Jim Caviezel, on trial for his alleged role in a mass killing in El Salvador.
Audiences seem to like Judd better when she's fighting off serial killers and murderous husbands. Kiss the Girls earned $60.5 million, while Double Jeopardy became a $116.7 million smash. Judd's subsequent forays into drama (Where the Heart Is, $33.7 million) and comedy (Someone Like You, $27.3 million) aroused little interest, in comparison.
Freeman reprised his role as Alex Cross in last year's Kiss the Girls prequel, Along Came a Spider, which managed to make $74 million even without Judd's presence.
High Crimes arrives without much fanfare, considering it pairs Freeman with Judd. It also doesn't help that High Crimes is sandwiched between two other thrillers featuring tough women, Jodie Foster's Panic Room and Sandra Bullock's Murder By Numbers, due April 19. That could result in High Crimes struggling to match Kiss the Girls' $13.2 million opening.
What value does the National Lampoon moniker have these days?
Not much, given that the name's been attached to nothing but groan-inducing cable fodder for the past decade. Remember Dad's Week Off? Or Golf Punks? Didn't think so.
Recent theatrical releases, such as Loaded Weapon 1 ($27.9 million) and Senior Trip ($4.6 million), failed to enjoy the popularity of Animal House or the Vacation series. (Oddly, 1997's Vegas Vacation hit theaters minus the National Lampoon label.)
Now comes National Lampoon's Van Wilder, or Van Wilder: Party Liaison, as it was known before National Lampoon slapped its name on the delayed college comedy. Two Guys and a Girl's Ryan Reynolds plays a popular student facing graduation after seven wild years in college.
Saddled with an R rating, National Lampoon's Van Wilder arrives in theaters at a time when restricted teen-oriented fare falls harder than a freshman after a kegger. The most recent victim: Sorority Boys, with $8 million through Sunday.
Serving as a lure for American Pie lovers, Tara Reid is no insurance policy as a reporter out to nail Reynolds. Her recent flops include Body Shots ($699,964), Dr. T and the Women ($13 million), Just Visiting ($4.7 million) and Josie and the Pussycats ($14.2 million).
The National Lampoon label might pique the curiosity of Animal House fans, plus attract vacationing college students, resulting in a possible $8 million to $10 million opening for National Lampoon's Van Wilder. But this slacker won't reverse the flagging film fortunes of the once-mighty comedy empire. Expect a fast fade before hitting $20 million total.
Without stiff competition, Panic Room should retain its box office crown.
The cat-and-mouse thriller debuted last weekend with $30.1 million, a record opening for both Jodie Foster (previous best: Contact's $20.5 million) and director David Fincher (previous best: Alien 3's $23.1 million).
By reaching $38.1 million through Wednesday, Panic Room surpassed the $37 million that Fincher's last film, Fight Club, made during its entire run. Panic Room, which could enjoy a second weekend tally of $20 million, looks set this weekend to become Fincher's biggest hit since Seven if it passes Alien 3's $54.9 million and The Game's $48.2 million.
Panic Room will also erase memories of Foster's disappointing Anna and the King, which grossed a less-than-royal $39.2 million in 1999. Panic Room is a long shot to become Foster's biggest hit--The Silence of the Lambs, at $130.7 million, holds that distinction-but it could outshine Maverick ($101.6 million) and Contact ($100.9 million).
Robin Williams' first attempt to reinvent himself as a bad guy backfired with Death to Smoochy.
The black comedy, featuring Williams as a disgraced kids TV entertainer out to kill his replacement, opened with a cheerless $4.3 million. That's a little better than Jakob the Liar, which debuted in 1999 with an abysmal $2 million, en route to a $4.9 million total. But it's a far cry from the dizzying heights of Patch Adams ($25.2 million) or The Birdcage ($18.2 million).
With $5.3 million through Wednesday, Death to Smoochy follows the failures of Jakob the Liar and Bicentennial Man. This disastrous debut won't cause too much of a headache for Insomnia, featuring Williams as a murder suspect, because it is a thriller headlined by Al Pacino. But it might prove problematic for One Hour Photo, a drama starring Williams as an obsessed photo lab technician.
Death to Smoochy also ranks as the weakest opener for a film directed by Danny DeVito (previous low: Hoffa's $6.4 million).
Dennis Quaid knows how it feels to flounder at the box office. He's endured a string of flops--including Innerspace, Great Balls of Fire, Everybody's All-American and SwitchBack--that relied heavily on his considerable charms. The Rookie, however, could be his first no-hitter.
The uplifting baseball drama, with Quaid portraying high-school science teacher-turned-Tampa Bay Devil Rays pitcher, turned in career-high $16 million opening for Quaid.
The Rookie fared well in comparison with another G-rated Disney sports bio, Remember the Titans, which opened in 2000 with $20.9 million. The high-school football drama ended its run by scoring a $115.6 million touchdown.
Buoyed by sterling reviews, The Rookie has $21.6 million through Wednesday. Quaid could enjoy a hit on the scale of $60 million to $70 million.
Time didn't exactly grind to a halt for Clockstoppers. The teen-targeted adventure, helmed by Star Trek: The Next Generation's Jonathan Frakes, opened with an OK $10.1 million. With $14.1 million through Wednesday, Clockstoppers will likely wind up with about $30 million.
Clockstoppers did cause The Time Machine to blow a gasket. The much-maligned updating of the H.G. Wells classic novel crashed 57 percent in its fourth weekend, from $5.3 million to $2.2 million. Its total through Sunday: $52.6 million.
Slaying mutated vampires took its toll on Wesley Snipes. After a stunning $32.5 million debut, Blade 2 fell 60 percent in its second weekend to $13.5 million. That's about typical for a horror yarn that isn't likely to become a cultural phenomenon a la The Sixth Sense or The Others. The same happened with Bram Stoker's Dracula, which dropped 51 percent in its second weekend from $30.2 million to $15 million.
With $59.1 million through Wednesday, Blade 2 will easily outpace its predecessor's $70.1 million and end up with a little more than the $82.4 million lapped up by Bram Stoker's Dracula.
Resident Evil also took a nasty tumble, falling 56 percent in its third weekend from $6.7 million to $2.9 million. The video-game adaptation has $35.1 million through Tuesday.
The war is almost over for Mel Gibson's We Were Soldiers. The bloody Vietnam epic took in $3.7 million in its fifth weekend, down an acceptable 35 percent from $5.7 million, for a total of $68.7 million through Wednesday. We Were Soldiers should match Braveheart's $75.5 million total.
The Oscars kept A Beautiful Mind swirling. The John Forbes Nash Jr. biography dropped a mere 5 percent the weekend after winning four Oscars, including Best Picture, from $4 million to $3.8 million. A Beautiful Mind has $162 million through Wednesday.
Last weekend saw two milestones at the box office.
Ice Age became the first new 2002 release to crack $100 million. With $124.9 million in its first 20 days, Ice Age is running behind both Monsters, Inc. ($163.7 million) and Shrek ($156.4 million) but stands a grand chance of cracking $175 million before confronting a deluge of would-be summer blockbusters.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring battled its way to $301.3 million. The addition of footage from the upcoming The Two Towers allowed Peter Jackson's saga to enjoy a 15th weekend take of $2.3 million, or a 1 percent increase in business from the previous weekend. It ranks as No. 11 on the list of the U.S. top grossers, just behind Independence Day ($306.1 million).
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial moved closer to displacing Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace as No. 3 on the list of U.S. top grossers. The Steven Spielberg classic has $426.3 million through Wednesday, with $26.5 million generated via its 20th anniversary reissue. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial could pass Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace's $431 million by Sunday or Monday. Looks like the reissue will give our favorite alien enough loose change to make another phone call home.
Rapper Jay-Z must wait until Sept. 5 to face assault charges related to the alleged December 1999 stabbing of music executive Lance "Un" Rivera, Launch.com reports. The trial was originally scheduled to start Monday, July 16.
The King of Pop is once again making noise about making movies. Michael Jackson will lend his voice to a character in the $75 million animated ecological fantasy The Way of the Unicorn, the Endangered One, The Associated Press reports. Jackson's character, Sailor, is an orphan who tries to save the planet with the aid of a group of endangered animals. Jackson, who flirted with acting with 1978's The Wiz and 1986's Disney 3-D theme park offering Captain Eo, tried unsuccessfully in the late 1980s and early 1990s to launch a film career.
Like Michael Jackson, Walter Cronkite is feeling animated these days. The former news anchor will voice Benjamin Franklin in a new PBS animated TV series called Liberty Kids, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The show chronicles the American Revolution through the eyes of two teens toiling in Franklin's print shop.
Guess Napster is no longer the music industry's whipping post. U.S. album sales dropped a total 2.8 percent during the first half of the year, with current releases-less than 18 months old--dropping 8 percent, Reuters reports. With the controversial online song-swap service out of commission for much of the year, industry insiders blame the decline in sales on the sluggish economy and the absence of big-name sellers.
Will Friedle doesn't know whether he's coming or going. The former Boy Meets World star thought he was joining the cast of the WB sitcom Off Centre, and was even set to go to Pasadena, Calif., this week to promote the show before TV critics. Then he learned that UPN is exercising a prior commitment for him to headline another sitcom, Random Years, according to Variety. UPN, which has not placed Random Years on its fall schedule, denied accusations that it is preventing Friedle from working. "This had absolutely nothing to do with the WB," UPN CEO Dean Valentine said. UPN recently poached Buffy the Vampire Slayer from bitter rival the WB.