While recent animated blockbusters have aimed to viewers of all ages starting with fantastical concepts and breathtaking visuals but tackling complex emotional issues along the way Ice Age: Continental Drift is crafted especially for the wee ones — and it works. Venturing back to prehistoric times once again the fourth Ice Age film paints broad strokes on the theme of familial relationships throwing in plenty of physical comedy along the way. The movie isn't that far off from one of the many Land Before Time direct-to-video sequels: not particularly innovative or necessary but harmless thrilling fun for anyone with a sense of humor. Unless they have a particular distaste for wooly mammoths the kids will love it.
Ice Age: Continental Drift continues to snowball its cartoon roster bringing back the original film's trio (Ray Romano as Manny the Mammoth Denis Leary as Diego the Sabertooth Tiger and John Leguizamo as Sid the Sloth) new faces acquired over the course of the franchise (Queen Latifah as Manny's wife Ellie) and a handful of new characters to spice things up everyone from Nicki Minaj as Manny's daughter Steffie to Wanda Sykes as Sid's wily grandma. The whole gang is living a pleasant existence as a herd with Manny's biggest problem being playing overbearing dad to the rebellious daughter. Teen mammoths they always want to go out and play by the waterfall! Whippersnappers.
The main thrust of the film comes when Scratch the Rat (whose silent comedy routines in the vein of Tex Avery/WB cartoons continue to be the series highlight) accidentally cracks the singular continent Pangea into the world we know today. Manny Diego and Sid find themselves stranded on an iceberg once again forced on a road trip journey of survival. The rest of the herd embarks to meet them giving Steffie time to realize the true meaning of friendship with help from her mole pal Louis (Josh Gad).
The ham-handed lessons may drag for those who've passed Kindergarten but Ice Age: Continental Drift is a lot of fun when the main gang crosses paths with a group of villainous pirates. (Back then monkeys rabbits and seals were hitting the high seas together pillaging via boat-shaped icebergs. Obviously.) Quickly Ice Age becomes an old school pirate adventure complete with maritime navigation buried treasure and sword fights. Gut (Peter Dinklage) an evil ape with a deadly... fingernail leads the evil-doers who pose an entertaining threat for the familiar bunch. Jennifer Lopez pops by as Gut's second-in-command Shira the White Tiger and the film's two cats have a chase scene that should rouse even the most apathetic adults. Hearing Dinklage (of Game of Thrones fame) belt out a pirate shanty may be worth the price of admission alone.
With solid action (that doesn't need the 3D addition) cartoony animation and gags out the wazoo Ice Age: Continental Drift is entertainment to enjoy with the whole family. Revelatory? Not quite. Until we get a feature length silent film of Scratch's acorn pursuit we may never see a "classic" Ice Age film but Continental Drift keeps it together long enough to tell a simple story with delightful flare that should hold attention spans of any length. Massive amounts of sugar not even required.
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox]
The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.
Paul McCartney will perform songs from his new album Driving Rain at a concert in Oslo this week to mark the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize, Reuters reports. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the United Nations, this year's Peace Prize recipients, will receive the award at a ceremony in Oslo on Monday. Other performers will include Wyclef Jean, Nathalie Imbruglia and Destiny's Child.
Sony Screen Gems is asking fans to design the official poster for the upcoming movie Resident Evil--based on the popular video game of the same name--starring Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez. According to Sony, contestants will be allowed to submit up to three poster designs online from Dec. 6 through Dec. 31. Movie stills, title treatments and the billing block will be posted online at the official Resident Evil website, resident-evil-the-movie.com, which will provide links that will enable contestants to build their poster electronically. Five semi-finalists will be chosen in January and their artwork will be displayed online, where the Internet audience will vote for the winner. The winner will be announced mid-January and will receive a cash prize, a free screening in their hometown for 100 guests and a commemorative copy of the winning poster.
Elizabeth Hurley called police after being harassed by a man outside an address in Kensington, West London, Sky News reports. A spokesperson for Scotland Yard said the 32-year-old is currently in custody at Kensington's police station and is being questioned. The pregnant actress is currently engaged in a public feud with ex-lover Stephen Bing over the paternity of her unborn child.
Tennis star Monica Seles and her mother were treated for minor injuries after a drunk driver made a left turn into their path on Wednesday, Reuters reports. Seles, 28, was driving her sports utility vehicle in Venice, Fla., with Ester Seles, 62, when the accident occurred. The driver, Cynthia Bauman, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and making an improper left turn.
Filmmaker Billy Wilder (The Apartment) was taken to a Los Angeles hospital last week for breathing problems, USA Today reports. Harold Nelson, Wilder's publicist, said Friday that the 95-year-old actor was doing much better.
A former schoolmate of Eminem's, DeAngelo Bailey, has filed a $1 million lawsuit against the rapper, claiming his song "Brain Damage" damaged his reputation, Detroit's Free Press reports. In the song, a school bully bashes Eminem against a bathroom urinal and breaks his nose. Bailey denies that he harassed the rapper and claims the lyrics were intended to damage Bailey in order to improve Eminem's reputation as a rap artist. A lawyer for Eminem told the paper, "From all I can tell, this is a case of 'I'll file a lawsuit and see if I can get some money.'"
Napster and the U.S. record industry will go before a federal appeals court in Pasadena, Calif., Monday to argue over how much initiative the song-swapping service can take in order to comply with a court-ordered injunction to stop trade in copyright-protected music, Reuters reports. In order to comply, Napster says it needs file names rather than just the song titles and names of artists provided by the recording industry. The recording industry contends they should not have to supply Napster with specific file names.
Nevada Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt and Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman announced last week that Dec. 12, which would have been Frank Sinatra's 86th birthday, will be celebrated as "Sinatra Day." As part of the celebration, Las Vegas strip hotel casinos will display "Happy Birthday Frank" on their marquees and a CD featuring the song "It's Time for You" will be released, AP reports.
Rod Steiger, whose films include On the Waterfront, In the Heat of the Night and The Player, received a lifetime achievement award from the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival on Thursday. Steiger was presented with the award while attending the screening of his latest film A Month of Sundays at the Vogue Theatre in Los Angeles, AP reports.
Judi Dench has received an Academy Fellowship award from the British Academy of Film and Television Art for her outstanding contribution to film and television, Sky News reports. The Fellowships is the highest accolade given by BAFTA. Dench, who is a five-time BAFTA winner, joins the likes of Michael Caine and Stanley Kubrick, both recipients of the Fellowship Award.
Cuba began its weekend homage to former Beatle John Lennon on Saturday with President Fidel Castro's inauguration of a bronze statue of the singer in a Havana park, Reuters reports. Lennon was an underground cult figure for Cuban youth for about 15 years following Castro's Cuban Revolution in 1959. Authorities organized two days of concerts, art fairs, and book and documentary presentations to commemorate the 21st anniversary of Lennon's murder.
Madonna presented conceptual artist Martin Creed with the $28,600 Turner Prize in London on Sunday for his controversial piece entitled The Lights Going On and Off, a bare room with a light that switches on and off. Madonna prompted Channel Four to issue a speedy apology to its viewers for her strong language when she told the crowd: "At a time when political correctness is valued over honesty, I would also like to say, right on, mother---, everyone is a winner,'' Reuters reports.
Tom Petty has been nominated for the University of Florida's Distinguished Achievement Award given to individuals for "exceptional achievements in a chosen profession, for demonstrated leadership, and for other exemplary accomplishments." Gainesville, Fla. native Petty, the 51-year-old lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, was nominated for his contributions to music and for his hu