Hollywood actor Russell Crowe has paid tribute to tragic Australian cricketer Phil Hughes following his death on Thursday (27Nov14). The 25-year-old sports star passed away at a hospital in Sydney two days after suffering a serious head injury during a match, and his death has sparked an outpouring of grief among cricket fans across the world.
Crowe, who lives in Australia and owns a Sydney ruby club, admitted the news had hit him hard, writing in a post on Twitter.com, "Just heard. In shock. My deep condolences to the family of Phillip Hughes."
One Direction singer Harry Styles was also among those who paid tribute to Hughes, adding, "Heard the news about Phil Hughes. Thinking of you brother. All the love."
Country singer Billy Ray Cyrus writes, "Heavy heart for my friends in Australia. Thoughts and prayers are with you. RIP Phillip Hughes." Other tributes have come in from stars including model/actor Tyson Beckford, former cricketer Shane Warne, and actors Kevin Connolly and Teresa Palmer.
20th Century Fox via Everett Collection
In the era of the World Wide Web, the story for Home Alone would go something like this: young Kevin wakes up and realizes that his family is nowhere to be found. Wanting to make sure that they haven't disappeared, he grabs his iPad, checks Buzz's Twitter feed which says, "On the way to the airport. Can't wait to check out Paris babes!" Relieved, Kevin brings up FaceTime to contact his mother and let her know that he was left behind. She takes a cab back to the house, goes onto the airline's website to change their flight and the two of them fly out a short while later to enjoy Christmas. The end.
When British scientist Tim Berners-Lee drew up his proposal in 1989 for what would become the World Wide Web, he was just hoping to share information within the scientific community. Instead, 25 years later the Web has changed daily life for most people in ways that are too numerous to list. The rise of the Web also did something else that wasn't anticipated… it changed movies.
From a practical standpoint, the entertainment industry has taken full advantage of the Web. Every new movie release has a web presence for marketing purposes. Websites like Netflix and Amazon deliver streaming films. There are sites to tell you when movies are playing, that rate them, that show trailers and that sell movies. Thanks to Kickstarter, there are even websites that help finance productions.
What the Web has also done is changed the way that filmmakers have to tell their stories. Besides Home Alone, there are a variety of plot points that had to be abandoned once the Web became an omnipresent part of life. Sam's family in Sixteen Candles wouldn't have forgotten her birthday, because they all would've gotten Facebook reminders. Dr. Richard Kimble doesn’t have to go all over Chicago to find his wife's killer in The Fugitive; he just needs access to Google. Ferris Bueller would've been busted as soon as his parade antics went viral on YouTube. In Sleepless in Seattle, Jonah would've just brought up Annie's profile on the Baltimore Sun website and said "See, she's pretty!" Die Hard basically wouldn't have a plot left… same with My Cousin Vinny and numerous others.
Screenwriters and directors now have to account for the Web (and cell phones), when plotting out their stories. Want to update Romeo & Juliet? Have fun trying to work around the leads not e-mailing, Skyping or texting. Want to remake The Usual Suspects? Better have an answer for why that picture of Keyser Soze isn't available on any law enforcement websites.
Anyone wishing to tell a story with farcical elements has to work harder than ever to create the ruse, because no part of it can hinge on information that is readily available on the Web. If the character could look it up on Wikipedia, it's kind of hard to explain why they wouldn't just do that.
While some have skirted the issue by finding the few corners of the world that technology hasn't reached — think Babel — a number of filmmakers have instead sought solace in the past. Whether it's Ben Affleck with Argo, David O. Russell with American Hustle, Quentin Tarantino with Django Unchained or J.J. Abrams with Super 8, big name directors are opting to tell stories from before the dawn of websites as a way around dealing with the issue. Of the nine Best Picture nominees this year, four were set before 1990… and two of the others took place in the middle of the ocean (Captain Phillips) and in space (Gravity).
Of course, one of the other nominees showed a different path that filmmakers can now explore to tell new and interesting stories. Spike Jonze's Her made technology a character all on its own. Instead of just altering the ways that filmmakers tell stories — and studios produce and market movies — maybe over the next 25 years of its existence the World Wide Web will become a movie star in its own right. Hey, it's not any more farfetched than the various John Hughes plot devices from the '80s that the Web has rendered obsolete.
For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
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Tribeca Film via Everett Collection
For a film that involves a love triangle, mental illness, a Bohemian colony of free-spirits, an impending war and several important historical figures, the most exciting elements of Summer in February are the stunning shots of the English country and Cornish seaside. The rest of the film never quite lives up to the crashing waves and sun-dappled meadows that are used to bookend the scenes, as the entertaining opening never manages to coalesce into a story that lives up the the cinematography, let alone the lives of the people that inspired it.
Set in an Edwardian artist’s colony in Cornwall, Summer in February tells the story of A.J. Munnings (Dominic Cooper), who went on to become one of the most famous painters of his day and head of the Royal Academy of Art, his best friend, estate agent and part-time soldier Gilbert Evans (Dan Stevens), and the woman whom they both loved, aspiring artist Florence Carter-Wood (Emily Browning). Her marriage to Munnings was an extremely unhappy one, and she attempted suicide on their honeymoon, before killing herself in 1914. According to his journals, Gilbert and Florence were madly in love, although her marriage and his service in the army kept them apart.
When the film begins, Munnings is the center of attention in the Lamorna Artist's Colony, dramatically reciting poetry at parties and charming his way out of his bar tab while everyone around him proclaims him to be a genius. When he’s not drinking or painting, he’s riding horses with Gilbert, who has the relatively thankless task of keeping this group of Bohemians in line. Their idyllic existence is disrupted by the arrival of Florence, who has run away from her overbearing father and the fiancé he had picked out for her in order to become a painter.
Stevens and Browning both start the film solidly, with enough chemistry between them to make their infatuation interesting. He manages to give Gilbert enough dependable charm to win over both Florence and the audience, and she presents Florence as someone with enough spunk and self-possession to go after what she wants. Browning’s scenes with Munnings are equally entertaining in the first third of the film, as she can clearly see straight through all of his bravado and he is intrigued by her and how difficult she is to impress. Unfortunately, while the basis of the love triangle is well-established and entertaining, it takes a sudden turn into nothing with a surprise proposal from Munnings.
Neither the film nor Browning ever make it clear why Florence accepts his proposal, especially when they have both taken great pains to establish that she doesn’t care much for him. But once she does, the films stalls, and both Stevens and Browning spend the rest of the film doing little more than staring moodily and longingly at the people around them. The real-life Florence was plagued by depression and mental instability, but neither the film nor Browning’s performance ever manage to do more than give the subtlest hint at that darkness. On a few occasions, Browning does manage to portray a genuine anguish, but rather than producing any sympathy from the audience, it simply conjures up images of a different film, one that focused more on Florence, and the difficulties of being a woman with a mental illness at a time when both were ignored or misunderstood.
Stevens is fine, and Gilbert starts out with the same kind of good-guy appeal the won the heart of Mary Crawley and Downton Abbey fans the world over. However, once the film stalls, so does his performance, and he quickly drops everything that made the character attractive or interesting in favor of longing looks and long stretches of inactivity. He does portray a convincing amount of adoration for Florence, although that's about the only real emotion that Gilbert expresses for the vast majority of the film, and even during his love scene, he never manages to give him any amount of passion.
Cooper does his best with what he’s given, and tries his hardest to imbue the film with some substance and drama. His Munnings is by turns charming, brash, and brooding, the kind of person who has been told all of their life that they are special, and believes it. He even manages to give the character some depth, and even though he and Browning have very little chemistry, he manages to convey a genuine affection for her. It’s a shame that Munnings becomes such a deeply unlikable character, because Cooper is the only thing giving Summer in February a jolt of life – even if it comes via bursts of thinly-explained hostility. It's hard to watch just how hard he's working to connect with his co-stars and add some excitement to a lifeless script and not wish that he had a better film to show off his talents in.
Unfortunately, by the time Florence and Gilbert are finally spurred into activity, the film has dragged on for so long that you’re no longer invested in the characters, their pain, or their love story, even if you want to be. Which is the real disappointment of Summer in February; underneath the stalled plot and the relatively one-note acting, there are glimmers of a fascinating and compelling story that’s never allowed to come to the forefront.
When you need to get some cash out from the ATM, you normally just stick your card in the machine, grab your mula and head out. But TBS's new hidden camera comedy series shakes things up, which makes this casual errand into a nightmare and a half. Yikes! Get ready to throw your head back in hysterics with Hollywood.com's exclusive look at the upcoming episode full of pranks on tonight's brand new epsiode of Who Gets The Last Laugh?
On this week's show, three hilarious stars compete to be coined as the most successful prankster. In this sneak peek, comedian Russell Peters turns ATM customers into criminals. During Peters's shennangian, an ATM machine winds up eatting the customers' cards. After a series of dumbfounded facial reactions, customers begin kicking and shaking the machine until the inside of the machine opens up to reveal the money inside the ATM, which of course the naive customers grab. Someone better call the cops, because these once innocent customers sure look like criminals now!Tune in to Hollywood.com's exclusive clip below to enjoy all the silly and zany reactions that this ATM chaos incites!
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If when you saw Broken City in theaters and thought to yourself that the Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe-lead cat and mouse drama was "edgy and sexy and mysterious", well then you were on the same page as the film's co-star Catherine Zeta-Jones. Because that's exactly how the Oscar-winning actress described the look and feel of the moody thriller in this behind-the-scenes Blu-ray featurette made exclusive to Hollywood.com.
In the clip, the cast and crew of Broken City — which arrives in on Blu-ray on April 30 — discuss how director Allen Hughes managed to pull off the classic stylish noir look in, or as costume designer Betsy Heimann described it: "a period feel in a modern world."
Watch the exclusive featurette below, which includes snippets from Hughes and Crowe, as well as a dissection of a particularly memorable scene in which Wahlberg's character falls off the wagon and stumbles down the street. According to Hughes, Wahlberg went off script and improvised "having a nervous breakdown" and that particular moment gave "the urgency and the essence of a noir film... [by]trying to make something out of nothing." Check it out:
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Three newcomers hit theaters this Martin Luther King weekend as two action stars and couple of very scary little girls will try to dethrone reigning champ Zero Dark Thirty.
Sony's Zero Dark Thirty has dominated the movie marketplace ever since its wide debut last weekend and has been averaging a very solid $2 million per day in the mid-week derby and around $31 million in the Friday through Wednesday period. This makes it a very formidable rival for the new films entering an unusually strong mid-January lineup and the film could earn in the high teens this weekend. Clearly, theaters are overflowing with testosterone laden R-rated movies including the aforementioned ZD30, Gangster Squad and Django Unchained, but that hasn't stopped others from entering the arena this weekend with both Mark Wahlberg and Arnold Schwarzenegger throwing themselves into the fight.
Next up, Pan's Labyrinth's visionary director Guillermo del Toro presents the PG-13 rated supernatural thriller, Mama in 2,647 theaters. Starring ZD30's Golden Globe winner Jessica Chastain and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as a couple who take in a pair of his nieces who were left alone in the woods for five years - and then of course all kinds of creepy situations ensue. Universal Pictures is expecting a low to mid-teen gross for the holiday weekend for this, the only new PG-13 film of the bunch. Keep in mind horror movies often perform well beyond studio projections, just look at Texas Chainsaw 3D's $21.7 million debut from two weeks ago!
Mark Wahlberg is quickly becoming the January action "go to" guy with last year's R-rated actioner Contraband earning $24.3 million over the 3-day portion and $28.8 million for the 4-days of Martin Luther King weekend. Twentieth Century Fox will try to repeat that magic (in 2,620 theaters) with Broken City, also starring Les Miserables' Russell Crowe as a corrupt mayor who double crosses an ex-cop played by Wahlberg. In his first solo directing effort Allen Hughes (who along with his brother Albert directed Menace II Society and Dead Presidents), brings his gritty & intense style to the proceedings. This is a much more competitive MLK weekend (which falls a week later this year) landscape for action movies than it was last year when the number two film was a 3-D version of Disney's Beauty and the Beast and Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol was in its fifth weekend, but never underestimate the solid draw of the revenge driven action flick. However, a likely gross in the low teens is in the cards for the film.
Also entering the race in 2,913 locations is "The Governator," Ah-nold Schwarzenegger, in the R-rated action crime thriller The Last Stand from Lionsgate which is his first true starring vehicle (The Expendables 1 & 2 being ensemble pieces) since the early 2000s. Many are speculating as to whether or not this will be his "Last Stand" as an action star or a return to form for the aging, but still imposing action icon. The film also boasts Jackass star Johnny Knoxville as a demographic generational gap-bridger and sidekick for the ex-California Governor. The studio is anticipating a 4-day (Friday - Monday) gross in the low teen millions.
Notable holdovers will include Warner Bros.' Gangster Squad which has held steady in second place mid-week and could nab a spot in the top five this weekend and Weinstein Co.'s acclaimed Silver Linings Playbook which expands nationwide from 810 theaters into 2,523 locations this weekend.
Year-to-date box office and attendance stand at nearly 22% ahead at the same point last year.
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Who would you be less inclined to mess with: Russell Crowe or Mark Wahlberg? Here are the stipulations, as they are presented to us in the new trailer for director Allen Hughes' movie Broken City:
Russell Crowe is a powerful, auspicious New York City mayor on the warpath to catch his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) in the throes of an affair and exact vengeance on her extramarital lover. Mark Wahlberg, on the other hand, is a disgraced New York City cop, quick on his feet and handy with an unspecified martial artistry, hired by Crowe to expose the individual who has made a cuckold of him.
Both are deadly men, but in very different ways: Crowe has the means, the moral ambiguity, and the hot blood of a spurned husband. But Wahlberg has that undefinable gruffled, streetwise Wahlberg quality that has helped him out of many a cinematic jam.
Following his business transaction with the mayor, Wahlberg's character sinks into a rabbit hole of crimes and cover-ups. The former lawman is faced with the challenge of fighting back against the all-powerful public official (and feeling his wrath) or allowing the increasingly deadly deeds to carry on. Check out the trailer, courtesy of over at Apple and decide whose corner you'd rather be in. Broken City hits theaters in January of 2013.
[Photo Credit: Alan Markfield/20th Century Fox]
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There's an allure to imperfection. With his latest drama Lawless director John Hillcoat taps directly into the side of human nature that draws us to it. Hillcoat finds it in Prohibition history a time when the regulations of alcohol consumption were subverted by most of the population; He finds it in the rural landscapes of Virginia: dingy raw and mesmerizing. And most importantly he finds it in his main character Jack Bondurant (Shia LaBeouf) the scrappy third brother of a moonshining family who is desperate to prove his worth. Jack forcefully injects himself into the family business only to discover there's an underbelly to the underbelly. Lawless is a beautiful film that's violent as hell striking in a way only unfiltered Americana could be.
Acting as the driver for his two outlaw brothers Forrest (Tom Hardy) and Howard (Jason Clarke) isn't enough for Jack. He's enticed by the power of the gangster figure and entranced by what moonshine money can buy. So like any fledgling entrepreneur Jack takes matters into his own hands. Recruiting crippled family friend/distillery mastermind Cricket (Dane DeHaan) the young whippersnapper sets out to brew his own batch sell it to top dog Floyd Banner and make the family rich. The plan works — but it puts the Bondurant boys in over their heads with a new threat: the corrupt law enforcers of Chicago.
Unlike many stories of crime life Lawless isn't about escalation. The movie drifts back and forth leisurely popping in moments like the beats of a great TV episode. One second the Bondurants could be talking shop with their female shopkeep Maggie Beauford (Jessica Chastain). The next Forrest is beating the bloody pulp out of a cop blackmailing their operation. The plot isn't thick; Hillcoat and screenwriter Nick Cave preferring to bask in the landscapes the quiet moments the haunting terror that comes with a life on the other side of the tracks. A feature film doesn't offer enough time for Lawless to build — it recalls cinema-level TV currently playing on outlets like HBO and AMC that have truly spoiled us — but what the duo accomplish is engrossing.
Accompanying the glowing visuals and Cave's knockout workout on the music side (a toe-tapping mix of spirituals bluegrass and the writer/musician's spine-tingling violin) are muted performances from some of Hollywood's rising stars. Despite LaBeouf's off-screen antics he lights up Lawless and nails the in-deep whippersnapper. His playful relationship with a local religious girl (Mia Wasikowska) solidifies him as a leading man but like everything in the movie you want more. Tom Hardy is one of the few performers who can "uurrr" and "mmmnerm" his way through a scene and come out on top. His greatest sparring partner isn't a hulking thug but Chastain who brings out the heart of the impenetrable beast. The real gem of Lawless is Guy Pearce as the Bondurant trio's biggest threat. Shaved eyebrows pristine city clothes and a temper like a rabid wolverine Pearce's Charlie Rakes is the most frightening villain of 2012. He viciously chews up every moment he's on screen. That's even before he starts drawing blood.
Lawless is the perfect movie for the late August haze — not quite the Oscary prestige picture or the summertime shoot-'em-up. It's drama that has its moonshine and swigs it too. Just don't drink too much.
The Departed star wed model Rhea Durham in 2009 after eight years together and Wahlberg admits he goes to great lengths to ensure his film roles are romance-free.
He tells WENN, "If it has anything to do with me kissing somebody my wife's not gonna like it so I'll fight to get it cut out. Those are the more important issues. I usually try to choose my battles wisely."
But the Oscar-nominated actor admits convincing Hughes to drop a big sex scene in the new crime thriller cost him his dignity for another shot.
Wahlberg says, "There's a love scene in the movie that I'm shooting now (Broken City) that is very graphic and I'm like, 'I really don't want to do that. I don't think it's necessary, we've been together now seven years and the magic is probably gone in the relationship anyway!'
"She (his onscreen love interest) plays an actress and she's having this really hardcore sex scene that she shoots in the movie and doesn't tell me about it, and then I see it in the theatre and I have a big problem with that because I play an ex-cop who's a private investigator investigating the mayor of New York City. And so obviously I lose that scene but then my compromise was to be nude in the scene by myself after she's gone. I still had to be butt naked for six hours but it wasn't with somebody else!"
Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones also star in Broken City, which is due for release in 2013.