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.
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.
The Office creator outraged campaigners earlier this week (beg17Oct11) by posting the word "mong" on his Twitter.com page, but refused to apologise.
He branded his critics "humourless", and insisted he did not use the word as a way of describing those with Down Syndrome.
But after Nicola Clarke, a mother of two disabled daughters, broke down on BBC Radio 2 while discussing how her children were regularly called the name in public, Gervais contacted her through Twitter.com to apologise.
He then answered her questions publicly on his page, and when asked if he understood why the term upset people and how he felt now, he replied, "I do now. Never dreamed that idiots still use that word aimed at people with Down's Syndrome (sic). Still find it hard to believe.
"(I feel ) a mixture of confusion, anger, terror and disappointment. But mostly naive. Never meant the word like that..."
When he asked her for her opinion on him after they had discussed the matter, she replied, "I think that had I not spoken to you, I would have believed that you were a bully. The 'Tweets' seemed out of step with your work."
Are you tired of all award nominations announcements looking alike? Would you rather rag on crummy films than praise good ones? You're in luck today! The 31st Annual Razzie Awards announced their very specific nominations for the worst in cinema over the last year and man, was it a bad year. Of course, that means that the awards ceremony will be that much more fun! The festivities occur on Saturday, February 26th at Hollywood’s Barnsdall Gallery Theater and until that hilarious celebration of shitty movies goes down, you can relive the absurdity of the worst films of 2010 by glancing over the nominations list below!
THE BOUNTY HUNTER
THE LAST AIRBENDER
SEX & THE CITY #2
TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE
Jack Black - GULLIVER’S TRAVELS
Gerard Butler - THE BOUNTY HUNTER
Ashton Kutcher - KILLERS and VALENTINE’S DAY
Taylor Lautner - TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE and VALENTINE’S DAY
Robert Pattinson - REMEMBER ME and TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE
Jennifer Aniston - THE BOUNTY HUNTER and THE SWITCH
Mylie Cyrus - THE LAST SONG
Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis & Cynthia Nixon - SEX & THE CITY 2
Megan Fox - JONAH HEX
Kristen Stewart - TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE
WORST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jessica Alba - THE KILLER INSIDE ME, LITTLE FOCKERS, MACHETE and VALENTINE’S DAY
Cher - BURLESQUE
Liza Minnelli - SEX & THE CITY 2
Nicola Peltz - THE LAST AIRBENDER
Barbra Streisand - LITTLE FOCKERS
WORST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Billy Ray Cyrus - THE SPY NEXT DOOR
George Lopez - MARMADUKE, THE SPY NEXT DOOR and VALENTINE’S DAY
Dev Patel - THE LAST AIRBENDER
Jackson Rathbone - THE LAST AIRBENDER and TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE
Rob Schneider - GROWN UPS
WORST EYE-GOUGING MIS-USE Of 3-D (Special Category for 2010!)
CATS & DOGS #2: REVENGE OF KITTY GALORE
CLASH OF THE TITANS
THE LAST AIRBENDER
SAW 3-D (aka SAW VII)
WORST SCREEN COUPLE / WORST SCREEN ENSEMBLE
Jennifer Aniston & Gerard Butler - THE BOUNTY HUNTER
Josh Brolin’s Face & Megan Fox’s Accent - JONAH HEX
The Entire Cast of THE LAST AIRBENDER
The Entire Cast of SEX & THE CITY #2
The Entire Cast of TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE
Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer - VAMPIRES SUCK
Michael Patrick King - SEX & THE CITY #2
M. Night Shyamalan - THE LAST AIRBENDER
David Slade - TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE
Sylvester Stallone - THE EXPENDABLES
LAST AIRBENDER Written by M. Night Shyamalan, based on the TV series created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Brian Konietzko
LITTLE FOCKERS, Written by John Hamburg and Larry Stuckey, based on Characters Created by Greg Glenna & Mary Roth Clarke
SEX & THE CITY #2, Written by Michael Patrick King, Based on the TV Series Created by Darren Star
TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE, Screenplay by Melissa Rosenberg, Based on the Novel by Stephenie Meyer
VAMPIRES SUCK, Written by Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer
WORST PREQUEL, REMAKE, RIP-OFF or SEQUEL (Combined Category for 2010)
CLASH OF THE TITANS
THE LAST AIRBENDER
SEX & THE CITY #2
TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE