How much pain can our poor hearts take? Less than a week after longtime Hollywood power couple Diane Lane and Josh Brolin filed for divorce, we find that two other beloved sets of coupled stars are calling it quits. First Michelle Williams and Jason Segel ended their fairytale (or so we thought) relationship and now, People confirms that Michael Sheen and Rachel McAdams have called it quits, too. But they were so perfect! As our favorite couples bite the dust, one after the other, it just makes you wonder "Why them and not Rihanna and Chris Brown?"
RELATED: Michelle Williams and Jason Segel Break Up
There's a simple answer here: we hold the good couples up as an ideal of romantic relationships. The reason we love a Michelle Williams dating a Jason Segel is that, for various reasons, that relationship strikes us as real. Put a beautiful screen sweetheart with a beloved goofball and suddenly we have a couple we're happy to see stroll red carpets and dining together in public. Same goes for Sheen and McAdams: her easygoing nature and his devil-may-care attitude mixed with a bit of high brow bravado make us feel like we're witnessing the ideal relationship develop before our eyes.
These relationships are all the good stuff we imagine comes after every happy ending in movie, except it's happening in what we believe is real life. It reality, that "real life" is what plays out in tabloids, but don't tell us that. We're living vicariously over here. Our hearts still flutter with the force of a thousand butterflies every time someone photographs Amy Poehler and her soon-to-be ex-husband Will Arnett playing with their child. Wednesday, the mere mention of the short-lived rumor of Neil Patrick Harris splitting with his longtime love David Burtka (breathe, it's just a silly rumor) triggered migranes in even the most mild celeb culture fans. We live for this, okay?
RELATED: How Do We Process Amy Poehler and Will Arnett's Split?
But the first thing that shatters the veil between our version of celebrities' reality and the real thing is a break up. The one-two punch is the reminder that for every couple we love to love (from Jon Hamm and Jennifer Westfelt, to Beyonce and Jay-Z, and even Kim Kardashian and Kanye West) there's a couple we can't wait to break up and leave our headlines, front pages, and magazine covers forever. Rihanna and Chris Brown's sadly continuing relationship, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson's maddening on-and-off romance, Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt's eternal (and desperate) quest for fame, and even Ryan Gosling's never-ending relationship with hope-dasher Eva Mendes rip a hole in our happy little Hollywood picture. And that wound is never more sensitive than when not only do these nightmare couples stay firmly attached at the hip as one of the good ones goes down the drain.
How are we supposed to maintain the buzz obtained by living vicariously through these beautiful strangers? Well, we can remember one very important thing: With the exception of Gosling and Mendes, these bad news couples are made up of folks who are magnets for this sort of attention. Rihanna continually makes decisions that make us want to hug her, tell her to knock it off, and set her back on the right path and Brown is nothing short of a mess (and that's us going easy on the guy). Montag and Pratt are two reality survivors so distorted by their time on The Hills that they need each other to subsist. The "are-they-aren't-they" saga of the Twilight lovers irks us, but Stewart is a wet blanket and Pattinson is a wimp (albeit a handsome one): they deserve each other. Let's not let these couplings ruin our starry-eyed notions of love under the limelight.
Still, the breakups of the wonderful ones and the never-ending sagas of the folks we can't stand is something we've just got to live with. Just remember, at the end of every breakup and the outset of every string of stories about the aforementioned awful couples there is one very important silver linging: if life and love are this tumultuous in Hollywood, then the rest of us must be doing alright.
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[Photo Credit: FameFlyNet; Andrew D. Bernstein NBAE via Getty Images]
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A kids’ movie without the cheeky jokes for adults is like a big juicy BLT without the B… or the T. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may have a title that sounds like it was made up in a cartoon sequel laboratory but when it comes to serving up laughs just think of the film as a BLT with enough extra bacon to satisfy even the wildest of animals — or even a parent with a gaggle of tots in tow. Yes even with that whole "Afro Circus" nonsense.
It’s not often that we find exhaustively franchised films like the Madagascar set that still work after almost seven years. Despite being spun off into TV shows and Christmas specials in addition to its big screen adventures the series has not only maintained its momentum it has maintained the part we were pleasantly surprised by the first time around: great jokes.
In this third installment of the series – the trilogy-maker if you will – directing duo Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath add Conrad Vernon (director Monsters Vs. Aliens) to the helm as our trusty gang swings back into action. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stuck in Africa after the hullaballoo of Madagascar 2 and they’ll do anything to get back to their beloved New York. Just a hop skip and a jump away in Monte Carlo the penguins are doing their usual greedy schtick but the zoo animals catch up with them just in time to catch the eye of the sinister animal control stickler Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand). And just like that the practically super human captain is chasing them through Monte Carlo and the rest of Europe in hopes of planting Alex’s perfectly coifed lion head on her wall of prized animals.
Luckily for pint-sized viewers Dubois’ terrifying presence is balanced out by her sheer inhuman strength uncanny guiles and Stretch Armstrong flexibility (ah the wonder of cartoons) as well as Alex’s escape plan: the New Yorkers run away with the European circus. While Dubois’ terrifying Doberman-like presence looms over the entire film a sense of levity (which is a word the kiddies might learn from Stiller’s eloquent lion) comes from the plan for salvation in which the circus animals and the zoo animals band together to revamp the circus and catch the eye of a big-time American agent. Sure the pacing throughout the first act is practically nonexistent running like a stampede through the jungle but by the time we're palling around under the big top the film finds its footing.
The visual splendor of the film (and man is there a champion size serving of it) the magnificent danger and suspense is enhanced to great effect by the addition of 3D technology – and not once is there a gratuitous beverage or desperate Crocodile Dundee knife waved in our faces to prove its worth. The caveat is that the soundtrack employs a certain infectious Katy Perry ditty at the height of the 3D spectacular so parents get ready to hear that on repeat until the leaves turn yellow.
But visual delights and adventurous zoo animals aside Madagascar 3’s real strength is in its script. With the addition of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg The Squid and the Whale) to the screenwriting team the script is infused with a heightened level of almost sarcastic gravitas – a welcome addition to the characteristically adult-friendly reference-heavy humor of the other Madagascar films. To bring the script to life Paramount enlisted three more than able actors: Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston) Gia the Leopard (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Italian Sealion (Martin Short). With all three actors draped in European accents it might take viewers a minute to realize that the cantankerous tiger is one and the same as the man who plays an Albuquerque drug lord on Breaking Bad but that makes it that much sweeter to hear him utter slant-curse words like “Bolshevik” with his usual gusto.
Between the laughs the terror of McDormand’s Captain Dubois and the breathtaking virtual European tour the Zoosters’ accidental vacation is one worth taking. Madagascar 3 is by no means an insta-classic but it’s a perfectly suited for your Summer-at-the-movies oasis.
After garnering widespread praise (and an Oscar nomination for screenwriting) for his 2000 directorial debut You Can Count on Me Kenneth Lonergan was in-demand. In September 2005 the writer/director began production on a follow-up feature: Margaret which touted Anna Paquin Matt Damon Mark Ruffalo Matthew Broderick Allison Janney as well as legendary filmmakers Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) as producers. The movie wrapped production in a few months time. The buzz was already growing.
Now six years later the movie is finally hitting theaters. So…what took so long?
The journey to this point hasn't been an easy one and it shows. If a film's shot footage is a block of granite and the editing process is the careful carving that turns it into a statuesque work of art Margaret feels like it was attacked by a blind man with a jackhammer. The film is a cinematic disaster a mishmash of shallow characters overwrought politics and sporadic tones. The story follows Lisa Coen (Paquin) a New York teenager who finds herself drowning in chaos after distracting a bus driver (Ruffalo) causing him to hit and kill a pedestrian (Janney). Initially Lisa tells the police it was all an accident but as time passes regret takes hold and the girl embarks on a mission to take down the man she now regards as a culprit. That's just the tip of the iceberg–along the way Lisa deals with everyday teen stuff: falling for her geometry teacher (Damon) combating her anxiety-ridden actress mother losing her virginity dabbling in drugs debating 9/11 and the Iraq War cultivating a relationship with her father in LA and more. There are about eight seasons of television stuffed into Margaret but even a two and a half hour run time can't make it all click.
For more on Margaret check out Indie Seen: Margaret the Long Lost Anna Paquin/Matt Damon Movie
The actor, best known for his collaborations with legendary moviemaker Alfred Hitchcock, passed away on Monday (28Mar11) in New York. His death has been attributed to natural causes, according to E! Online.
Granger started his career in a theatre in his native California, where he was discovered by Hollywood heavyweight Samuel Goldwyn and handed a studio contract, which led to roles in The North Star (1943) and The Purple Heart (1944).
He stepped away from Hollywood when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy but later returned to the movie business after serving in Hawaii and he went on to win a role in Hitchcock's classic 1948 thriller Rope, with James Stewart.
Granger later re-teamed with the director for arguably his most famous film role in 1951's Strangers on a Train. He went on to make films including Senso, The Naked Street and The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing, and appeared on TV shows and in theatre.
He opened up about his Hollywood career and his personal life in his 2008 memoir Include Me Out: My Life From Goldwyn to Broadway, revealing his relationships with men and women, including Ava Gardner, Shelly Winters, composer Leonard Bernstein and famed playwright Arthur Laurents, who wrote the screenplay for Hitchcock's Rope.
Granger's longterm partner, soap opera producer Robert Calhoun, died in 2008.
The age-old debate over fate vs. free will has been and always will be a tough theme to crack in any medium but with the benefits of modern filmmaking technology the theory can be explored in ways that Philip K. Dick never imagined. However when one relies too heavily on spectacle to tell a story a piece of cerebral science fiction can quickly become just another action extravaganza. In this day and age there’s a fine line between the two; The Matrix walked that tightrope with style and grace while Next never found its footing in the first place. Fortunately the precious work of novelist Dick has for the most part been treated with respect by Hollywood (the aforementioned Nic Cage dud notwithstanding) but that doesn’t necessarily mean movies based on his stories are completely faithful to his vision.
Case in point: George Nolfi’s directorial debut The Adjustment Bureau an adaptation of Dick’s short story “Adjustment Team.” The film stars Matt Damon as David Norris a successful businessman and rising political candidate who after a chance encounter with the girl of his dreams (Emily Blunt) loses a crucial election. He happens to run into her on a Manhattan bus the following week before finding his office swarming with masked men who are “adjusting” everyone inside. Richardson (John Slattery) the man in charge captures Norris who unsuccessfully flees the scene after seeing behind “a curtain he wasn’t even supposed to know existed” as the enigmatic figure puts it. From that point on Norris must live with the knowledge that he (and we for that matter) is not in control of his own life. Rather the choices he makes fit perfectly into “The Plan” that’s been written by “the Chairman”.
In relation to my earlier statement I have to say that Nolfi’s picture looks stunning but his natural urban aesthetic doesn’t overpower the story. Sleek contemporary production design and elegant costumes characterize the high-concept story and the wraithlike agents who shape our destinies. Topically we’re dealing with some heavy material but Nolfi and editor Jay Rabinowitz move the action along at a brisk pace that keeps you engaged and entertained without having to try. The film is properly proportioned as a chase thriller romantic adventure and sci-fi fantasy and thankfully no component overshadows another.
Setting the film in the world of politics and big business helps make its larger-than-life revelations a bit more accessible (as do appearances from Michael Bloomberg Jon Stewart and Chuck Scarborough) while providing sub-text about the corruption involved in elections and campaigns (there are conspicuous shades of The Manchurian Candidate in the movie) but the writer-director often tries too hard for broad appeal. For a film with existential implications as severe as they are here the dialogue is at times hokey and superficial. Dick’s source material is far more abstract and Nolfi for the sake of commercial success panders to the palette of soccer moms and mallrats.
What’s worse is his unwarranted exposition of the Bureau a shadowy organization whose major allure is anonymity. Some secrets are best kept and less can be so much more when crafting a mysterious atmosphere; Nolfi reaches that level of magnetic curiosity but squanders it as he reveals the truth about the Bureau and its grand scheme. On the other hand he brushes over the technical lingo between agents Harry Mitchell (Anthony Mackie) McCrady (Anthony Ruivivar) and others without explanation perhaps hoping that the ambiguous terminology will fool you into thinking that his script is smarter than it really is.
Even though Nolfi’s allegorical conclusions are uncomfortably ham-fisted the chemistry between Damon and Blunt alone is enough to enchant you; this is one highly watchable cinematic pairing that should be revisited as soon as possible. Their innocent relationship blossoms organically and together they make it seem as natural on screen as it is for their star-crossed characters. Even if you have a hard time believing in higher powers or manipulative Orwellian forces you’ll have faith in David and Elise’s fated relationship one of the most captivating couplings I’ve seen on the big-screen in some time.