American actor Lloyd Hamilton was half of the successful "Bud and Ham," two comedians who made close to 200 short silent comedies at Kalem. Hamilton started out as a vaudevillian and musical comedy pe...
Elton John is hoping to bring Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's musical Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat to the big screen after signing up to help adapt the project through his production company, Rocket Pictures. The Bennie and the Jets hitmaker has teamed up with Webber's The Really Useful Group to develop the film into an animated movie that his husband, David Furnish, will co-produce with Steve Hamilton Shaw.
Shaw says, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is one of the most popular musical experiences ever conceived. We are excited about the huge potential of a contemporary animated version, and we're thrilled to bring this to the big screen in partnership with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice."
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was originally created in 1968.
Webber says, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat started in a school and was the first step on the path that led to my musicals with Tim Rice. It is now being performed all over the world by a fourth generation of school kids, and a great movie can only help Joseph being part of the lives of many more."
Rice adds, "I have always thought Joseph was a strong contender for an animation production, and I'm delighted this is now going to happen."
In just about every one of Kevin Hart's scenes in Ride Along, there's a joke that is just aching to find its way out of the diminutive, rascally comic actor. Hart is a small-scale physical comedian — of the same ilk as Jack Black — who puts nuclear-degree energy into his facial contortions, anatomical outbursts, and the delivery of every gag in general. If only he had material that was crafted with the same energy.
Unfortunately, nothing else about Ride Along seems at all "hard at work." Not the script, which pads a lifeless story with lazy comedy, and certainly not his screen partner Ice Cube, whose only stage direction seems to be "frown, and be taller than Kevin Hart." So lifeless is Ice Cube that even his machismo-obsessed straight man bit doesn't really work. Instead of the virile and intimidating "bad cop," he comes off as a disapproving middle aged dad without much to show for his own life.
But the script pairs the wily, overzealous high school security guard and video game junkie Ben (Hart) with no-nonsense lawman James (Ice Cube) on the titular ride along, with the scrappy cop-wannabe hoping to prove to the force veteran that he's good enough to marry the latter's younger sister. In earnest, he's not. Ben never puts any respectable effort into learning the tools of the trade, insisting on employing his amateur style and controlling the radio despite his proclamations that he wants, and deserves, James' trust. And James is no saint either — he's irresponsible on crime scenes, violent with perps, and disgruntled to the point of being unable to work with anybody else on the force. These are not good police officers... of course, you'll say, this is a comedy. But where are the laughs, then?
They're not absent entirely, you just have to look for them. In a movie so focused with big, broad humor, it's the smaller comedy that actually lands best. Hart's background mutterings and fumblings, his emoticon-laden texts to girlfriend Angela (Tika Sumpter, whose only stage direction seems to be "smile, and never wear a full outfit of clothing"), and a bizarre repetition of the word "weird" from supporting player John Leguizamo. All good for unexpected chuckles, while jokes like Hart facing off with a pre-teen or being blown backwards into a brick wall after firing a large gun are all lazy, familiar, and flat.
Structurally, the script is a mess. Ride Along spends far too much time on set up — we get it, Hart and his soon-to-be-brother-in-law Ice Cube don't get along — and far too much time on wrap-up — there's a gigantic, dramatic warehouse shootout that, in any other movie, would be the climax, but there's plenty more to go after that — without any cohesive middle to make the movie feel like... a movie.
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Hart, who leaps at every comic opportunity like a kangaroo (wallaby would be more appropriate), is suited just right for a buddy cop comedy, but he needs something fresh with which to work — a real character, an interesting story, actually funny jokes. Even just one of these would be fine!
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Somewhere along the timeline of his formative years, Kansas-raised Clark Kent comes to the realization that he can take a punch like nobody's business. He determines on one fateful afternoon that he has the ability — and as his internal makeup commands, the duty — to save a sinking school bus filled with his horrified classmates after it careens off a delicate bridge into one of the Sunflower State's many proud bodies of water. It is this journey, told exclusively through flashbacks, that comprises the very best of Man of Steel.
A young Clark has no understanding of himself, his origins, his powers, or his place in the world. And the boy's soft-spoken, earnest adoptive father Jonathan has nothing but compassion to offer his struggling son. He muddles pieces of conflicting advice, telling Clark simultaneously that he needs to hide his abilities in order to safeguard himself from the intolerant planet Earth, all the while prophesying the day when the Krypton-born navel gazer will have to decide, once and for all, what sort of man he wants to be. But no amount of the senior Kent's empathy and wisdom can foster our young hero through his turmoil. "Man," we think during the movie's earliest childhood scenes. "All this groundwork is going to pay off big time when he finally gets that suit."
But like the preteen Clark, Zack Snyder's Man of Steel has an identity crisis. While an early adulthood Superman should still be struggling with the issues presented in his extensive maudlin memories, the second half of the movie seems to suppress these ideas. Instead of the probing "Who am I?” and "Who am I supposed to be?" questions that make Superman (despite scathing criticisms) a genuinely interesting character, the film opts for a warfare between Clark and Zod that represents the war between Earth and Krypton — both for claim to the planet and for claim to Clark's psyche.
Of course, the themes interweave. Zod invades Earth in hopes of retrieving the grown Kal-El (who holds the genetic code for a populace of unborn Kryptonians) and using the planet as a new breeding ground for his people. As such, the decision is posed to Clark: live among the Earthlings, a race from which you've been forced to hide your true identity, or among your own kind. It seems like it should translate effectively to the sort of gripping questions introduced vaguely by the powerful boyhood material. But the whole ordeal — which plays out with an hour long mêlée between Superman (that's what they're calling him, so says a humble military man) and Zod through the war-torn streets of Metropolis — feels far less personal than what was promised.
Man of Steel sets itself up as close to the heart of the Kryptonian immigrant as possible. While the legacy undertaken from birth father Jor-El is vast and imbued with intergalactic consequence, what separates Man of Steel (or what is meant to) is the earthbound backstory. But the conflict planted by a sobbing Jonathan Kent, played tear-inspiringly by Kevin Costner, calls for more than it eventually pays off to be.
The Clark Kent we see in the vivid, hard-to-choke-down flashback scenes deserves more than the us-or-them breathless battle that the film's third act takes. This chapter isn't without its appeals: the action is unprecedented. The acting — that of Michael Shannon and Russell Crowe's Prometheus-like ghost — is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, the conclusive arc's biggest enemy is how good the early parts of the movie are. With so much to live up to, so much to deliver, Superman's face-off with General Zod seems to fall in the territory of the DC character's older, less substantial material. Thus, the film on the whole — even its near perfect days in somber small town Kansas — suffers. While Man of Steel does tinker with the idea that Superman's greatest enemy is himself, I don't think this is how they meant that.
As far as an effort to reconstruct Superman might go, Man of Steel is a noble one. If anything, Zack Snyder tried to inject too much into his project: the vast array of identity issues that Clark might face, a melding of DC past with the sophistication of the present pop culture psyche, and — of course — the sort of action that you can't avoid in a superhero flick like this. Each, individually, is a success. But together, the components start stepping all over one another, leaving little room for the sort of expansion that the most valuable facets deserve. As a result, Man of Steel isn't fun enough or deep enough to satisfy either end of the superhero movie spectrum. It's got a little of both, but not enough of either. Some might call it the nature of the beast. But sweeping accusations aside, Superman can be an interesting character. We just have to decide what it is that is interesting about him.
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Widening the thematic scope without sacrificing too much of the claustrophobia that made the original 1979 Alien universally spooky Prometheus takes the trophy for this summer's most adult-oriented blockbuster entertainment. The movie will leave your mouth agape for its entire runtime first with its majestic exploration of an alien planet and conjectures on the origins of the human race second with its gross-out body horror that leaves no spilled gut to the imagination. Thin characters feel more like pawns in Scott's sci-fi prequel but stunning visuals shocking turns and grand questions more than make up for the shallow ensemble. "Epic" comes in many forms. Prometheus sports all of them.
Based on their discovery of a series of cave drawings all sharing a similar painted design Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) are recruited by Weyland to head a mission to another planet one they believe holds the answers to the creation of life on Earth. Along for the journey are Vickers (Charlize Theron) the ruthless Weyland proxy Janek (Idris Elba) a blue collar captain a slew of faceless scientists and David (Michael Fassbender) HAL 9000-esque resident android who awakens the crew of spaceship Prometheus when they arrive to their destination. Immediately upon descent there's a discovery: a giant mound that's anything but natural. The crew immediately prepares to scope out the scene zipping up high-tech spacesuits jumping in futuristic humvees and heading out to the site. What they discover are the awe-inspiring creations of another race. What they bring back to the ship is what they realize may kill their own.
The first half of Prometheus could be easily mistaken for Steven Spielberg's Alien a sense of wonder glowing from every frame not too unlike Close Encounters. Scott takes full advantage of his fictional settings and imbues them with a reality that makes them even more tantalizing. He shoots the vistas of space and the alien planet like National Geographic porn and savors the interior moments on board the Prometheus full of hologram maps sleeping pods and do-it-yourself surgery modules with the same attention. Prometheus is beautiful shot in immersive 3D that never dampers Dariusz Wolski's sharp photography. Scott's direction seems less interested in the run-or-die scenario set up in the latter half of the film but the film maintains tension and mood from beginning to end. It all just gets a bit…bloodier.
Jon Spaihts' and Damon Lindelof's script doesn't do the performers any favors shuffling them to and fro between the ship and the alien construction without much room for development. Reveals are shoehorned in without much setup (one involving Theron's Vickers that's shockingly mishandled) but for the most part the ensemble is ready to chomp into the script's bigger picture conceits. Rapace is a physical performer capable of pulling off a grisly scene involving an alien some sharp objects and a painful procedure (sure to be the scene of the blockbuster season. Among the rest of the crew Fassbender's David stands out as the film's revelatory performance delivering a digestible ambiguity to his mechanical man that playfully toys with expectations from his first entrance. The creature effects in Prometheus will wow you but even Fassbender's smallest gesture can send the mind spinning. The power of his smile packs more of a punch than any facehugger.
Much like Lindelof's Lost Prometheus aims to explore the idea of asking questions and seeking answers and on Scott's scale it's a tremendous unexpected ride. A few ideas introduced to spur action fall to the way side in the logic department but with a clear mission and end point Prometheus works as a sweeping sci-fi that doesn't require choppy editing or endless explosions to keep us on the edge of our seats. Prometheus isn't too far off from the Alien xenomorphs: born from existing DNA of another creature the movie breaks out as its own beast. And it's wilder than ever.
Enigmatic and deliberate Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy makes no reservations while unraveling its heady spy story for better or worse. The film based on the bestselling novel by John Le Carre is purposefully perplexing effectively mirroring the central character George Smiley's (Gary Oldman) own mind-bending investigation of the British MI6's mole problem. But the slow burn pacing clinical shooting style and air of intrigue only go so far—Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sports an incredible cast that can't dramatically translate the movie's impenetrable narrative. Almost from the get go the movie collapses under its own weight.
After a botched mission in Hungary that saw his colleague Jim (Mark Strong) gunned down in the streets Smiley and his boss Control (John Hurt) are released from the "Circus" (codename for England's Secret Intelligence Service). But soon after Smiley is brought back on board as an impartial observer tasked to uncover the possible infiltration of the organization. The former agent already dealing with the crippling of his own marriage attempts to sift through the history and current goings on of the Circus narrowing his hunt down to four colleagues: Percy aka "Tinker" (Toby Jones) Bill aka "Tailor" (Colin Firth) Roy aka "Soldier" (Ciaran Hinds) and Toy aka "Poor Man" (David Dencik). Working with Peter (Benedict Cumberbatch) a conflicted younger member of the service and Ricki (Tom Hardy) a rogue agent who has information of his own Smiley slowly uncovers the muddled truth—occasionally breaking in to his own work place and crossing his own friends to do so.
Describing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as dense doesn't seem complicated enough. The first hour of the monster mystery moves at a sloth's pace trickling out information like the tedious drips of a leaky faucet. The talent on display is undeniable but the characters Smiley included are so cold that a connection can never be made. TTSS sporadically jumps around from past to present timelines without any indication: a tactic that proves especially confusing when scenes play out in reoccurring locations. It's not until halfway through that the movie decides to kick into high gear Smiley's search for a culprit finally becoming clear enough to thrill. A film that takes its time is one thing but Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy does so without any edge or hook.
What the movie lacks in coherency it makes up for in style and thespian gravitas. Director Tomas Alfredson has assembled some of the finest British performers working today and they turn the script's inaccessible spy jargon into poetry. Firth stands out as the group's suave slimeball a departure from his usual nice guy roles. Hardy assures us he's the next big thing once again as the agency's resident moppet a lover who breaks down after a romantic fling uncovers horrifying truth. Oldman is given the most difficult task of the bunch turning the reserved contemplative Smiley into a real human. He half succeeds—his observational slant in the beginning feels like an extension of the movie's bigger problems but once gets going in the second half of the film he's quite a bit of fun.
Alfredson constructs Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy like a cinematic architect each frame dripping with perfectly kitschy '70s production design and camera angles that make the spine tingle. He creates paranoia through framing similar to the Coppola's terrifying The Conversation but unlike that film TTSS doesn't have the characters or story to match. The movie strives to withhold information and succeeds—too much so. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy wants us to solve a mystery with George Smiley but it never clues us in to exactly why we should want to.
Score another one for Ice Cube.
The rapper-turned-actor churned out another No. 1 box office winner this weekend with his road trip comedy Are We There Yet?, which took in a respectable $18.5 million, pushing last week's champ Coach Carter into the second spot with $11 million.
"[Are We There Yet?] is a total family picture," Rory Bruer, president of distribution for Sony Pictures told The Associated Press. "It's very funny and Ice Cube did a terrific job. He's just hysterical in it."
The other newcomer Assault on Precinct 13, a remake of the 1976 John Carpenter "cult classic" about cops and criminals joining forces against a jail siege by gang members, took in $7 million in its first weekend and finished sixth in the box office tally.
This weekend, the Top 12 films grossed an estimated $85.6 million, down 27.29 percent from last weekend's $117.7 million take but up 3.87 percent from last year's draw of $82.4 million.
The top three films at the box office this time last year were: New Line's R-rated The Butterfly Effect, which opened at No. 1 with $17 million in 2,605 theaters, averaging $6,551 per theater; Universal Pictures' PG-13 rated Along Came Polly dropped to second place in its second week with $16.3 million in 2,995 theaters, averaging $5,460 per theater; and DreamWorks' PG-13 rated Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!, which opened in third place with $7.3 million in 2,711 theaters, averaging $2,700 per theater.
BOX OFFICE TOP 10, ESTIMATES:
(Source: Exhibitor Relations, Inc.)
No. 1: Are We There Yet? (Sony Pictures, PG)
Gross: $18.5 million
Weeks opened: NEW!
Per-theater average: $6,829
No. 2: Coach Carter (Paramount Pictures, PG-13)
Gross: $11 million (-55%)
Weeks opened: 2
Theaters: 2,552 (+28)
Per-theater average: $4,310
Cume to date: $43.2 million
No. 3: Meet the Fockers (Universal, PG-13)
Gross: $10.2 million (-47%)
Weeks opened: 5
Theaters: 3,446 (-108)
Per-theater average: $2,960
Cume to date: $247.7 million
No. 4: In Good Company (Universal, PG-13)
Gross: $8.5 million (-41%)
Weeks opened: 4
Theaters: 1,963 (+397)
Per-theater average: $4,330
Cume to date: $28 million
No. 5: Racing Stripes (Warner Bros., PG)
Gross: $7 million (-49%)
Weeks opened: 2
Theaters: 3,185 (unchanged)
Per-theater average: $2,217
Cume to date: $27.3 million
No. 6: Assault on Precinct 13 (Focus Feature/Rogue Pictures, R)
Gross: $7 million
Weeks opened: NEW!
Per-theater average: $3,057
Cume to date: $8.5 million (opened Wednesday)
No. 7: Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera (Warner Bros., PG-13)
Gross: $5 million (+39%)
Weeks opened: 5
Theaters: 1,511 (+604 in an expanded release)
Per-theater average: $3,319
Cume to date: $33.5 million
No. 8: White Noise (Universal, PG-13)
Gross: $5 million (-59%)
Weeks opened: 3
Theaters: 2,247 (-32)
Per-theater average: $2,225
Cume to date: $49.4 million
No. 9: The Aviator (Miramax, PG-13)
Gross: $4.8 million (-5%)
Weeks opened: 6
Theaters: 2,261 (+305)
Per-theater average: $2,133
Cume to date: $58 million
No. 10: Elektra (20th Century Fox, PG-13)
Gross: $3.8 million (-70%)
Weeks opened: 2
Theaters: 3,204 (unchanged)
Per-theater average: $1,194
Cume to date: $20.2 million
American actor Lloyd Hamilton was half of the successful "Bud and Ham," two comedians who made close to 200 short silent comedies at Kalem. Hamilton started out as a vaudevillian and musical comedy performer. He eventually moved to Fox to star in their Sunshine Comedies. He founded his own production company in 1924 and starred in many more popular two-reelers and occasionally in a few feature films.