After Dark Films
It seems a bit odd to take on a movie review of Courtney Solomon's Getaway, as only in the loosest terms is Getaway actually a movie. We begin without questions — other than a vague and frustrating "What the hell is going on?" — and end without answers, watching Ethan Hawke drive his car into things (and people) for the hour and a half in between. We learn very little along the way, probed to engage in the mystery of the journey. But we don't, because there's no reason to.
There's not a single reason to wonder about any of the things that happen to Hawke's former racecar driver/reformed criminal — forced to carry out a series of felonious commands by a mysterious stranger who is holding his wife hostage — because there doesn't seem to be a single ounce of thought poured into him beyond what he see. We learn, via exposition delivered by him to gun-toting computer whiz Selena Gomez, that he "did some bad things" before meeting the love of his life and deciding to put that all behind him. Then, we stop learning. We stop thinking. We start crashing into police cars and Christmas trees and power plants.
Why is Selena Gomez along for the ride? Well, the beginnings of her involvement are defensible: Hawke is carrying out his slew of vehicular crimes in a stolen car. It's her car. And she's on a rampage to get it back. But unaware of what she's getting herself into, Gomez confronts an idling Hawke with a gun, is yanked into the automobile, and forced to sit shotgun while the rest of the driver's "assignments" are carried out. But her willingness to stick by Hawke after hearing his story is ludicrous. Their immediate bickering falls closer to catty sexual tension than it does to genuine derision and fear (you know, the sort of feelings you'd have for someone who held you up or forced you into accessorizing a buffet of life-threatening crimes).
After Dark Films
The "gradual" reversal of their relationship is treated like something we should root for. But with so little meat packed into either character, the interwoven scenes of Hawke and Gomez warming up to each other and becoming a team in the quest to save the former's wife serve more than anything else as a breather from all the grotesque, impatient, deliberately unappealing scenes of city wreckage.
And as far as consolidating the mystery, the film isn't interested in that either, as evidenced by its final moments. Instead of pressing focus on the answers to whatever questions we may have, the movie's ultimate reveal is so weak, unsubstantial, and entirely disconnected to the story entirely, that it seems almost offensive to whatever semblance of a film might exist here to go out on this note. Offensive to the idea of film and story in general, as a matter of fact. But Getaway isn't concerned with these notions. Not with story, character, logic, or humanity. It just wants to show us a bunch of car crashes and explosions. So you'd think it might have at least made those look a little better.
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Basically, we could have called this two months ago. The X Factor's season 2 finale was about as predictable as any singing competition denouement we've ever seen. That's right, folks. America cast 35 million votes and determined Tate Stevens to be the winner! Now he can buy $5 million worth of ten-gallon hats. Instantly dispelled was the question about whether America was ready for a country-singing X Factor winner. The question of whether we need any X Factor winner, or X Factor period, however, remains.
The three finalists, Stevens, Carly Rose Sonenclar, and girl-group Fifth Harmony (deemed by Simon Cowell Wednesday to be possible successors to One Direction) all pranced down the red carpet singing "All You Need Is Love," in a kind of harmonic free-for-all that, as nearly all "All You Need Is Love" covers do, that completely missed John Lennon and George Martin's intricate sonic layering. If I finally hear a cover of this song that also weaves in a string-heavy sample of "Greensleaves," as in the original, then I'll be happy.
After that, nearly two hours of pure, unadulterated adulteration followed. A night of astounding filler. First, a montage of Simon's nasty barbs set to "Mr. Grinch' as if this were 2002 and we were just discovering Brit-imported reality-show snark. Were quotes like "You're a mouse trying to be an elephant" and "You sang like a dog trying to lay an egg" really worthy of anchoring a supercut of Cowell barbs? Speaking of which, now that I've spent a better part of the fall TV season staring at Simon's square head and chest hair, I think the time is right to ask the following: what the hell has happened to his appearance? His face is so much fuller than it ever used to be; his eyes are getting all squinty and immobile a la Kenny Rogers and Bruce Jenner; and his hair is sculpted into an Arsenio Hall flat-top circa 1990. Someone's got their work cut out for them in the off-season.
Lest you forget, X Factor reminded us all evening that Christmas is upon us. Stevens did his typically solid, if forgettable, thing, with Charles Brown's "Please Come Home for Christmas." But Fifth Harmony. Oh, Fifth Harmony committed sonic heresy by attempting a multi-part cover of Darlene Love's peerless 1963 classic "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)," a song that, for my money, is just a tiny rung below 'White Christmas' for the title of Greatest Christmas Song of the 20th Century. With Fifth Harmony's cover, gone in its entirety was Phil Spector's wall of sound. It's one thing to lose that song's cascading piano chords, but to not even have one decent vocalist (out of five!) tackle that soaring 'They're singing deck the halls/ But it's not like Christmas at all" pre-chorus was tragic. Instead we got one girl with a life-sized tropical-drink umbrella, and another wearing a giant bow on her head like Aretha Franklin. Except this girl is not a gift to us all. Then to top it off, they even did a soft-shoe with candy-cane canes. Luckily, we still have the actual Darlene Love slated to perform "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)" on the Late Show With David Letterman Friday, as she does every year before Christmas, as a palate cleanser. Because if I had to choose between a lump of coal in my stocking and having to hear Fifth Harmony mangle Phil Spector's masterpiece, I'd take the coal.
Next up was a montage of Britney Spears' repertoire of odd facial expressions. It was set to Edvard Grieg's crescendo-ing "Peer Gynt,' as Brit Brit's face became ever more contorted. I suppose we should admire X Factor's subtlety in their musical selection for the Britney montage. I'd have likely picked "Ride of the Valkyries" as accompaniment myself.
Carly Rose Sonenclar then followed that up with a better, albeit similarly anemic, rendition of Mariah Carey's latter-day staple "All I Want for Christmas Is You." But she sang it next to a hearth and Christmas tree that made it seem like she was smack in the middle of Dr. Stahlbaum's house and was about to sing a duet with a nutcracker come to life. I really expected that Christmas tree to suddenly grow. Alas, it did not.
Finally, it was time for some results. Fifth Harmony was deemed to have placed third. Group member Ally tried to insert the word "ya'll" as many times as she could into one sentence. She's folksy!
Time for more filler. Pitbull did his usual Absolut-fueled Miami party-starting thing, including requisite untied bow-tie. Then One Direction came out, performed, and showed the two remaining U.S. X Factor finalists a level of fame and success that they will never achieve. I particularly loved the eight-bit videogame aesthetic of their performance. This has been a great year for arcade side-scrollers what with this, Wreck-It Ralph, and Community's "Digital Estate Planning" episode.
Finally, it was time for the winner to be declared and a runner-up to be chosen to head back into obscurity and despair. Tate and Carly, along with respective mentors L.A. Reid and Spears, marched out to "Requiem for a Tower," just to emphasize all the more what a battle this is. Let they, whose X Factor journey is about to come to an end, salute you, America! Well, Tate obviously won. He was by far the best of the group and deserved it. I was a little freaked out by Mario Lopez' slightly ominous declaration immediately thereafter, "Tate Stevens is about to go start a whole new life, a life he only ever dreamed of." I'm hoping that new life involves a gravelly baritone-off with Trace Adkins and Randy Travis. And hey, Carly Rose Sonenclar has only lived a third of Stevens' 37 years. There are so many other reality shows ahead of her.
And that's a wrap! How will you guys bear to go nine months before X Factor graces your lives once again?
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
[Photo Credit: FOX]
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
The uber-anticipated sequel Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen picks up shortly after the events of the blockbuster first film. With evil Megatron’s carcass buried at the bottom of the ocean Optimus Prime and his Autobot comrades working together with an elite group of human soldiers are now focused on hunting the remaining Decepticons scattered across the globe. Sam Witwicky hero of the 2007 movie is busy preparing for his first year at college while his unlikely girlfriend Mikaela Barnes stays behind to tend to her father’s auto-repair shop. Little do they know however that back on Cybertron a Decepticon elder known as “The Fallen” is hatching a scheme to invade Earth where hidden somewhere on the planet is the last known source of energon the life-blood of all Transformers. If he succeeds the devastation left in his wake will no doubt spell the end of the human race. With the fate of Earth hanging in the balance Sam and Mikaela must once again have to team up with Optimus and the Autobots to defeat this powerful new foe.
WHO’S IN IT?
All the major human players from the first Transformers film are back for the sequel including Shia LaBeouf Megan Fox Tyrese Gibson Josh Duhamel and John Turturro. Newcomers include Ramon Rodriguez who plays Sam’s conspiracy-obsessed college roommate Leo and The Office’s Rainn Wilson who enjoys a notable cameo as a pompous physics professor.
Of course the actors merely serve as background filler for the real stars of the show: those titular talking-alien robots. And director Michael Bay fills up the screen with enough mechanical eye candy to dazzle even the most skeptical gearhead. Returning characters include Optimus Prime Bumblebee Ratchet Ironhide Barricade Jazz (don’t act surprised) Starscream Frenzy and Megatron (again don’t act surprised).
Several new Autobots are introduced to the mix: Mudflap and Skids a pair of jive-talking ceaselessly annoying hatchbacks; Jolt a Chevy Volt; Sideswipe a silver Corvette; and Jetfire an elderly Decepticon turncoat who walks with a cane speaks with an English accent and transforms into an SR-71 Blackbird. Additions to Decepticon side include: The Fallen who we learn is the Decepticons’ real head honcho (consider him the Emperor Palpatine to Megatron’s Darth Vader); Soundwave a communications specialist who sinks his tentacles into a satellite and spies on us from above; Ravage a panther-like creature; Wheelie a radio-controlled truck who talks like Joe Pesci; “the Doctor ” a sort of mad scientist who speaks with a German accent (naturally); and the Constructicons a group of construction vehicles that fuse together to form a massive four-legged beast.
No director does over-the-top explosion-laded action better than Michael Bay and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen features several staggering set pieces. The CGI work on this film makes the last one look like it was designed on a Commodore 64.
Any scene in which people talk — and several of the ones in which robots talk too. Just as the action and visual effects are beefed up for the sequel the bad jokes and cringe-worthy dialogue are as well. Highlights include two dogs humping John Turturro in a thong a robot humping Megan Fox’s leg a sequence involving Sam’s stoned mom and a glimpse of a very large pair of testicles on one very large Decepticon. The latter will likely go down as the “nipples-on-the-Batsuit” moment for the Transformers franchise.
The show-stopping climax set in the Egyptian desert is one extended riotous battle royale packed with so much robot-on-robot action you’ll feel overwhelmed at times.
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX?
This big-budget spectacle begs to be seen at the multiplex — IMAX if possible. Just bring a pair of earplugs for the dialogue sequences. You might want to bring some Dramamine as well as Mr. Bay went a little overboard with his trademark circling-camera sequences this time around.
The 30th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards nominations were announced Wednesday, with the ABC soap All My Children leading the pack with 17 nominations--more than any other show on daytime TV. CBS' Guiding Light was close behind with 14 nods while PBS' Sesame Street earned 13.
ABC was also the winner in the network race, collecting 59 nominations. CBS was followed with 52 nods and PBS with 47.
The major categories were announced live on the ABC morning talk show The View, which snagged nominations in the categories of talk show and talk show host (for Barbara Walters, Meredith Vieira, Star Jones, Joy Behar and the now-departed Lisa Ling). The show, which debuted in 1996, has never won an Emmy.
As the World Turns, The Bold and the Beautiful, Port Charles and The Young and the Restless all received nominations for best drama, while last year's winner, One Life To Live, was shut out.
For lead actor in a drama series, the nominees were Anthony Geary (General Hospital), Maurice Benard (General Hospital), Grant Aleksander (Guiding Light), Ricky Paull Goldin (Guiding Light), Thorsten Kaye (Port Charles) and Doug Davidson (The Young and the Restless).
For lead actress in a drama series, the nominees were Susan Flannery (The Bold and the Beautiful), Nancy Lee Grahn (General Hospital), Kim Zimmer (Guiding Light), Eileen Davidson (The Young and the Restless) and Michelle Stafford (The Young and the Restless).
Conspicuously missing from the nominations was All My Children star Susan Lucci. Carolyn Hinsey, Soap Opera Weekly Executive Editor, told The Associated Press that Lucci wasn't among those on the list because her character, Erika Cane, had relatively little exposure on the soap last year.
Oprah Winfrey protégé Dr. Phil McGraw received a nomination in the talk show host category for his syndicated self-help program, Dr. Phil. Comedian Wayne Brady also received a talk show nod for The Wayne Brady Show.
Hollywood Squares, Jeopardy!, The Price is Right, Wheel of Fortune and Win Ben Stein's Money were nominated in the game or audience participation category.
Art Linkletter, former host of Kids Say the Darndest Things, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award this year when the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences hands out The 30th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on May 16 at Radio City Music Hall. ABC will broadcast the ceremony live.