I know, that headline is trouble. You're always treading dangerous ground when you insist on defining what makes a good this or the right kind of that, as if there is no room for change or improvement when it comes to classic properties. Of course there is — Jason Segel's 2011 Muppet film approached the concept from an entirely different direction. It didn't hit all of its marks, but it prevailed overall in its conceit: make a movie not about Muppets, but about Muppet fandom. But Muppets Most Wanted, in absence of a clear mission statement and fueled largely by the monetary glimmers of the sequel game (the film's opening number admits this outright), has fewer marks readily available to hit. Landing in the ambiguity between the classic Muppet adventure formula and Segel's post-modern Henson appreciation party, Most Wanted feels like a failure on both counts. It doesn't know which kind of movie it wants to, or should, be. So it doesn't really be anything.
On the one hand, there's the half-cocked "get-the-band-back-together" through line, mimicking but not quite accomplishing the spirit of the 2011 picture. None of the Muppets are particularly likable or charming in this turn, and even fewer of them actually given anything to do. Kermit loses his s**t in the first act after a spat with Piggy and a barrage of insubordination from his troupe (provoked by the nefarious Dominic Badguy, Ricky Gervais), storms off in a huff, and gets swept up in a case of mistaken identity when his criminal doppelganger Constantine pulls the old switcheroo, landing Kermit in a Russian gulag. You'd think this would be a good opportunity for the second tier of Muppet favorites — Piggy, Fozzy, Gonzo, Scooter, Rowlf, et al — to go on a search and rescue... but save for a very brief sequence at the tail end of this achingly long film, none of the other Muppets are giving anything to do. They just hem and haw and perform the occasional "Indoor Running of the Bulls" while Dominic and Constantine scheme, rob banks, and bicker.
Meanwhile, Kermit has some fun in prison — a far more endearing plot that sees him befriending the merry convicts, organizing a penitentiary revue, and even winning the heart of the vicious warden Nadia (Tina Fey). If only we could spend more time with real Kermit and less time with fake Kermit and his second banana Gervais, an effectively boring pair.
On the other hand, though, there's the Muppet shtick that fans of The Great Muppet Caper and Muppet Treasure Island — and yes, The Muppet Show itself — will deem the movie's best material: CIA Agent Sam Eagle and Interpol Agent Jean Pierre Napoleon (Ty Burrell) hot on the trail of Constantine and Dominic. Here, we get a different type of Muppet movie entirely from what Segel and the A-plot in Most Wanted are opting: the old fashioned vaudeville act, with Sam standing as an independent entity from his googly-eyed brethren, on a goofy, musical prowl with Burrell that fuels the film with its best and most consistent chuckles. Their "Interrogation Song" number is outstanding, exemplifying the many talents of Flight of the Conchords' Bret McKenzie, who wrote all the music for this and the previous film.
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Unfortunately, Muppets Most Wanted isn't sure that it wants to be The Great Muppet Caper, beheld so stubbornly to its Segelian roots. There's a palpable compulsion to stick with this agonizingly self-aware, nostalgia-crazy, brimming-beacons-of-the-past-in-a-callous-today theme that doesn't work a fraction as well as it did in the 2011 film. Without a legitimate celebration of any of our favorite characters, how could it? With so much going on in this movie, and such a lengthy runtime at just under two hours, it's a sure sign of failure that we walk away feeling like we spent barely any time with the Muppets.
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Jane Fonda and Pitbull joined the celebrities on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Thursday (20Jun13) as Jennifer Lopez unveiled the fabled sidewalk's 2,500th star. The singer/actress fought back tears as she listened to tributes from her Monster-in-Law co-star Fonda and pop pal Pitbull, as well as manager Benny Medina, director Gregory Nava and comedian Keenen Ivory Wayans, and then addressed thousands of fans who had gathered to witness the ceremony.
Lopez, wearing a white top and billowing coral skirt, was briefly left speechless as aides scurried to get her written induction speech to her and she kept halting her comments to utter, "I'm not gonna cry," while fanning her face with her hand.
She said, "This all feels kinda surreal... I'm a lucky girl. My dream was always to entertain... I just wanted to be good at what I did."
She then paid tribute to the women who inspired her: Bette Midler, Fonda, Rita Moreno and Sophia Loren, who unveiled the 2,000th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame back in 1994, before adding, "This landmark moment inspires me to work harder and dream bigger."
Paying tribute to the actress/singer, her longtime manager Medina said, "Jenny From the Block has a new address... on the boulevard of dreams," and called Lopez "the girl of my dreams, the princess of my fairytales".
Meanwhile, Pitbull revealed he is a student of his friend and collaborator, stating, "I learn from her, I study her... I absorb and apply."
He added, "She gets a star 'cause she shines like one."
Fonda wrapped up the tributes by telling the crowd, "She should have an entire block of stars," revealing that pretending to hate her in the film Monster-in-Law was "the hardest acting job I ever had," and admitting they became fast friends on the set even though J.Lo "cut my eyebrow with her diamond ring".
Lopez then posed by her new star with her famous friends, family members and twin children Emme and Max, who seemed reluctant to leave his mum's side and kept trying to dash back into shot as the hitmaker posed alone by her plaque.
Troubled by unfortunate event after unfortunate event The Watch sidesteps faux pas to come out on top as a consistently funny sci-fi comedy that doesn't let its high concept tangle up a bevy of one-liners. The script penned by Jared Stern Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg assumes you've seen a few movies before entering the theater (mainly any sci-fi movie made in the 1980s). "Summer movie logic" is the foundation for The Watch's ridiculous plot which finds four adult nincompoops teaming up to form a Neighborhood Watch trying to solve the murder of a local Costco employee and eventually pursuing a killer extraterrestrial. Instead of making sense of it all The Watch wisely focuses on its four leads: Ben Stiller Vince Vaughn Jonah Hill and The IT Crowd's Richard Ayoade — a quartet whose bro banter goes a long way in spicing up the dust-covered material. There's nothing revelatory to be found in The Watch but the cast's knack for improv a poetry of the profane makes the adventure worth…viewing.
Director Akiva Schaffer (Hot Rod) establishes his two-dimensional characters quickly and bluntly smashing together broad personality types like a Hadron Collider of cinematic comedy. Stiller's Evan is a micromanaging do-gooder who can't find time for his wife; Hill's Franklin is a mildly disturbed weapons enthusiast yearning to join the police; Ayoade is the quaint weirdo who joins the Watch to fill the void left by his divorce; Vince Vaughn is Vince Vaughn: a loud crass gent looking for a bit of male bonding. The ragtag team assembles to fight crime but they spend most of their time drinking beers in a minivan — an affair they dub "stakeouts." A perfect opportunity for banter.
For a movie about enforcing the law and alien invasions there's a surprising lack of action in The Watch. Long stretches of the film see the central players yapping back and forth about everything: Russian nesting dolls peeing in cans or the similar viscosities of alien goo and human excrement. Charisma goes a long way and Vaughn does much of the heavy lifting making up for lost time out of the spotlight (he's been virtually nonexistent since 2005's Wedding Crashers). The man spits out jokes like no other — the rest of the cast barely keeps up. Ayoade balances out Vaughn's bombardment with a tempered timed delivery that's uniquely British and rarely found on the American big screen. Even when nothing's happening in The Watch it's rarely boring.
The Watch is at its best when it goes a step further mixing the group in with outsiders and throwing them off their rhythm. Billy Crudup cuts loose as a creepy neighbor and its delightfully weird while the always-impressive Rosemarie DeWitt as Evan's wife Abby brings unexpected warmth to the couple's relationship. Sadly The Watch mishandles its greatest asset: the aliens. The film never finds a pitch perfect blend of comedy and science fiction (Ghostbusters or Galaxy Quest this is not); a few scenes where the two come together hint at the best possible scenario but more often than not The Watch avoids its sci-fi roots. A moment in which the guys haul a dead alien back to their man cave plays like an E.T.-inspired version of The Hangover credits. It's lewd and ridiculous but the rest of the film struggles to maintain that energy.
Stiller Vaughn Hill and Ayoade have all proved themselves able funnymen capable of taking weak and tired material up a notch which they're forced to do in every moment of The Watch. Schaffer can handle his talent but his direction isn't adding anything to the mix. By the third slow-motion-set-to-gangster-rap scene The Lonely Island member's obsession with non-cool-coolness is officially just an attempt at being cool (which is not all that funny). The Watch has a greater opportunity than most comedy blockbusters to go absolutely bonkers: it's rated R. But instead of taking its twist and running with it the movie plays it safe. In this case safe is non-stop jokes about the many facets of human reproduction.
The drunk driver who ended the lives of Porky's director Bob Clark and his son has been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
Hector Velazquez Nava is being held on $200,000 bail in a Los Angeles jail, and faces a 12-year prison sentence if convicted.
Nava was arrested at the scene of the tragedy in Pacific Palisades, California, in the early hours of Wednesday.
Nava has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
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Jennifer Lopez is so unhappy with her accommodation and on set trailer while
filming Bordertown, she has demanded a luxury motor home and a private villa.
The Maid in Manhattan beauty is starring in the low budget movie shooting in
Mexico as a favour to director Gregory Nava, who made her breakthrough film
Selena, but she still demands to live in luxury.
An insider tells Pagesix.com, "She doesn't realize this is an independent
Movie--as in no studio is attached--and there is no one to pay her outrageous
And her superstar requirements don't stop there. Lopez is determined her
hairdresser Oribe's $10,000-a-day charge be taken out of Bordertown's
budget, according to the gossip website.
The source continues, "The s**t is going to hit the fan when she is told no
one can pay for Oribe... (Co-star) Antonio Banderas isn't asking for anything,
but she is!"
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HOLLYWOOD, July 3, 2000 - Get ready for some movie déjà vu when titles like "The Exorcist" reappear on neighborhood marquees in the coming months. And we're not talking about revival house screenings, either. You see, on top of all the hits (and none-hits), there'll be some pretty familiar titles that'll be competing for your eight (or more) bucks - and Linda Blair's barf-o-rific horror classic is just the tip of the re-release iceberg.
For the uninitiated, "The Exorcist" was the blockbuster of 1973, nabbing a total of 10 Oscar noms; winning two (for best original screenplay and best sound) and making Linda Blair forever a target of easy satire. The re-release -- bowing nationwide this September - will feature a 12-minute deleted scene from the original film wherein Blair's character does the so-called "Spider Walk" down some stairs. It's just one of the goodies in store for cinephiles.
"... Relatively speaking, this year does have a lot of high-profile ones re-releases," says Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box-office tracking firm, Exhibitor Relations.
"2001: A Space Odyssey" "The first one was this year was 'Rear Window' re-released back in January, this September there'll be 'The Exorcist," and there'll definitely be more to come, like '2001: The Space Odyssey' early next year."
And as opposed to what you might think, Dergarabedian swears financial incentives are not usually the reason behind a studio's decision to re-release a film.
"[Re-releases] are mixed bags in terms of their box-office potential. Some do amazing business, like the 'Star Wars' series a few years back, but many others - like a lot of smaller cult films - will not."
Adds Dergarabedian: "Generally, they're not expected to make a lot of money, the studios just want to give people a chance to see it on the big screen."
With that noble intention in mind, here's a lowdown on other classics that'll soon be returning to the big screen:
"Blood Simple" (July, 2000) - Twenty-five years ago, the Coen brothers made their first full-length feature with a script so complex you'd think it could only come from more experienced hands. Not to give anything away, it's a noir that revolves around a rich man, his cheating wife, her lover and a hired gun.
"Gimme Shelter" (August, 2000) - Uncut and restored, the 1970 doc on the Rolling Stones captures its infamous, violence-marred Altamont Speedway concert. "This Is Spinal Tap"
"This Is Spinal Tap" (September, 2000) - Never mind the Monkees, this is the faux rock 'n roll documentary that ends all rock 'n roll documentaries. Even though Rob Reiner and company created the bigger-than-life metalheads 16 years ago, the clichés and stereotypes still stick.
"El Norte" (September, 2000) - First feature from director Gregory ("Selena") Nava, the film chronicles a Guatemalan brother and sister's attempt to cross the U.S. border. Shot in 1983, the movie still remains one of the most provoking tales on undocumented immigrants.
"A Hard Day's Night" (October, 2000) - The first Beatles full-length movie, the Fab Four played themselves as they go from gig to gig with hilarious shticks crammed in between. The 1964 flick has been restored for audiences auditory and visual pleasures.
"Female Trouble" (2000) - Step back Bobby and Peter Farrelly. Before the gross-out tactics of "Kingpin" and "Dumb and Dumber," there was the lowbrow camp of John Waters. This 1975 film traces the slow demise of one Dawn Davenport (Divine) as she goes from juvenile delinquent to serial killer - all because her parents refuse to buy her cha-cha heels for Christmas.
"2001: A Space Odyssey" (2001) As if it's not obvious enough - yes, Stanley Kubrick's 1968 space opus is reissued to mark the new millennium. The renowned director's vision of the moon is one vast open and minimal space with very little dialogues. Enjoy.
Ewan McGregor may enjoy working in Hollywood, but he would never live there. McGregor said he loathes the Los Angeles studio system because it dehumanizes actors by putting them on A, B and C lists according to how much money they can make for a studio, he told Britain's The Mail on Sunday's You Magazine. Apparently unaware that studios see actors as being bankable commodities, the actor told the magazine: "We're not a bunch of letters to make you money--we're people." McGregor also denied rumors that he was romantically involved with his Moulin Rouge costar Nicole Kidman.
Comic Judy Gold gave birth Thursday to a 7-pound, 8-ounce boy, The Associated Press reports. Gold, who hosts HBO's At the Multiplex With Judy Gold, and baby Benjamin Dov Callahan-Gold are doing fine.
More than 500 friends and coworkers attended a memorial Monday to Jack Lemmon at the Paramount Studios theater, AP reports. In attendance were actors Kevin Spacey, Hank Azaria, Tom Hanks and comedy writer Larry Gelbart. Lemmon died June 27 of cancer at the age of 76.
The 15th annual Hispanic Heritage Awards will honor director-writer Gregory Nava, artist and educator Judith Baca, Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper columnist Liz Balmaseda, tennis player Joe Fernandez and journalist talk-show host Cristina Saralegui, AP reports. The awards, to be held Aug. 25, will be broadcast Sept. 22 on NBC, with Gloria Estefan among the featured performers.
A federal judge in Los Angeles ruled that Barbie, the sexy plastic siren, could be used in some controversial artistic photographs, Reuters reports. Judge Ronald Lew ruled Monday that artist Tom Forsythe could use Barbie dolls in a series of limited edition photographs that depicts them in various sexually explicit poses. Forsythe said that his photos attempt to skewer the stereotyping of women and commodification of female bodies.
An anonymous collector bought a pizza-stained piece of paper signed by John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison for $24,000 at a Melbourne auction on Monday, AP reports. The paper was signed in during the Beatles 1964 Australian tour. Drummer Ringo Starr was not on the tour because of a bout with laryngitis.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers have canceled a concert in Tel Aviv because of sudden outbursts of suicide bombings in Israel. According to Reuters, some 20,000 tickets had already been sold for the concert, to be held at the end of August. Fans will be reimbursed for the tickets. Israeli tourism has dropped 50 percent since the bloodshed began, forcing the shut down of hotels and airlines to cut back on flights.
CNN is in talks with Rush Limbaugh about hosting a show, Variey reports. The network declined to comment on the talks but said it is always looking for a diversity of on-air voices. In the past, Limbaugh dubbed the network the "Clinton News Network". CNN is apparently attempting to woo big-name personalities in a bid to increase ratings and come across as less liberal to attract more conservative viewers. Limbaugh's TV show Rush Limbaugh, The Television Show failed to take off in 1992.
The new two-hour TV movie The Brady Bunch in Washington has papa Brady as president of the United States with wife Carol as vice president, Army Archerd reported in Variety. The movie apparently pokes fun at the White House, past and present. The film is executive produced by Sherwood Schwartz, with his son Lloyd producing and writing with Sherwood's daughter Hope Juber. Filming will take place in Toronto using a Canadian crew and actors.
Even though Rush Hour 2 has grossed an estimated $131.9 million at the domestic box office so far, industry insiders are wondering whether the movie could have made more had Regal Cinemas not passed on the movie. According to The Hollywood Reporter, New Line Cinemas and Regal Cinema were involved in a dispute over film rental negotiations. Regal initially refused to screen the film as long as New Line sought firm-term rental negotiations. Regal claims that New Line broke off negotiations at the 11th hour and insists that missing Rush Hour 2 would not harm the company financially. The Regal Cinema chain has 4,067 screens.
A new series of Absolutely Fabulous will debut on the BBC's fall TV schedule, the BBC News reports. The British comedy, which stars Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley and Julia Sawalha, centers on a neurotic fashion publicist and her best friend, an outrageous fashion editor. The series also airs on the Comedy Central network.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) recognized some of the year’s best films on Sunday. "Gladiator" was chosen best film, and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" took away best foreign-language film honors. Each of these Oscar contenders received four BAFTA awards in total.
Producers Douglas Wick, David Franzoni and Branko Lustig accepted the best film award for "Gladiator," praising director Ridley Scott during their acceptance speech, who lost out on the best director prize to Ang Lee for "Tiger."
Besides best foreign film and best director, "Crouching Tiger" also won for music (Tan Dun) and costume design (Tim Yip). Of BAFTA and the United Kingdom, Lee said: "You've always been great to me. This is like a second home to me now."
“Gladiator” also won the Orange Audience Award for most popular film of 2000. Scott thanked DreamWorks and Universal for their courage in backing a $100 million film in a genre that hadn't been touched for 30 years. "It is especially good to win this on my home turf as I spend so much time in the United States," Scott said during his acceptance speech. "I am absolutely thrilled."
Besides the BAFTA honor for best film, "Gladiator" also picked up awards for cinematography (John Mathieson), production design (Arthur Max) and editing (Pietro Scalia).
British effort "Billy Elliot" won three awards, including best British film, best actor (Jamie Bell) and best supporting actress for Julie Walters.
Julia Roberts was named best actress for her performance in the title role of "Erin Brockovich." Presenter Hugh Grant, and co-star in "Notting Hill," picked up the award for the absentee actress.
Best original screenplay and best sound awards went to Cameron Crowe’s "Almost Famous." Crowe's wife, Nancy Wilson, accepted his award, saying that Crowe was unable to attend the event as a double ear infection prevented him from flying. "He meant this movie as a love letter from his heart to music," Wilson said.
Steven Soderbergh's "Traffic" also won two awards, for adapted screenplay (Stephen Gaghan) and supporting actor (Benicio Del Toro).
Veteran casting director Mary Selway was given the Michael Balcon Award for her outstanding contribution to cinema. Actor Albert Finney was presented with a British Film Academy Fellowship for lifetime achievement, receiving a standing ovation.
The complete list of winners:
THE ACADEMY FELLOWSHIP: Albert Finney
THE MICHAEL BALCON AWARD for outstanding British Contribution to Cinema: Mary Selway
THE ALEXANDER KORDA AWARD for outstanding British Film of the Year: "Billy Elliot"
BEST FILM: "Gladiator"
THE DAVID LEAN AWARD for Achievement in Direction: Ang Lee, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"
SCREENPLAY (Original): Cameron Crowe, "Almost Famous"
SCREENPLAY (Adapted): Stephen Gaghan, "Traffic"
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS in a leading role: Julia Roberts, "Erin Brockovich"
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR in a leading role: Jamie Bell, "Billy Elliot"
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS in a supporting role: Julie Walters, "Billy Elliot"
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR in a supporting role: Benicio Del Toro, "Traffic"
FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE: "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (Bill Hong/Hsu Li Kong/Ang Lee )
THE ANTHONY ASQUITH AWARD for achievement in Film Music: Tan Dun, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"
THE CARL FOREMAN AWARD for Most Promising Newcomer to British Film: Pawel Pawlikowski
CINEMATOGRAPHY: John Mathieson, "Gladiator"
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Arthur Max, "Gladiator"
COSTUME DESIGN: Tim Yip, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"
EDITING: Pietro Scalia, "Gladiator"
SOUND: Jeff Wexler/D.M. Hemphill/Rick Kline/Paul Massey/Mike Wilhoit, "Almost Famous"
ACHIEVEMENT IN SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS: Stefen Fangmeier/John Frazier/Walt Conti/Habib Zargarpour/Tim Alexander, "The Perfect Storm"
MAKE UP/HAIR: Rick Baker/Kazuhirop Tsuji/Tony G./Gal Ryan/Sylvia Nava, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"
SHORT FILM Gary Holding/Justine Leahy/Tinge Krishnan, "Shadowscan"
SHORT ANIMATION: Claire Jennings/Willem Thijssen/Michael Dudok de Wit, "Father and Daughter"
ORANGE AUDIENCE AWARD: "Gladiator"