Summit via Everett Collection
You can imagine that Renny Harlin, director and one quadrant of the writing team for The Legend of Hercules, began his pitch as such: We'll start with a war, because lots of these things start with wars. It feels like this was the principal maxim behind a good deal of the creative choices in this latest update of the Ancient Greek myth. There are always horse riding scenes. There are generally arena battles. There are CGI lions, when you can afford 'em. Oh, and you've got to have a romantic couple canoodling at the base of a waterfall. Weaving them all together cohesively would be a waste of time — just let the common threads take form in a remarkably shouldered Kellan Lutz and action sequences that transubstantiate abjectly to and fro slow-motion.
But pervading through Lutz's shirtless smirks and accent continuity that calls envy from Johnny Depp's Alice in Wonderland performance is the obtrusive lack of thought that went into this picture. A proverbial grab bag of "the basics" of the classic epic genre, The Legend of Hercules boasts familiarity over originality. So much so that the filmmakers didn't stop at Hercules mythology... they barely started with it, in fact. There's more Jesus Christ in the character than there is the Ancient Greek demigod, with no lack of Gladiator to keep things moreover relevant. But even more outrageous than the void of imagination in the construct of Hercules' world is its script — a piece so comically dim, thin, and idiotic that you will laugh. So we can't exactly say this is a totally joyless time at the movies.
Summit via Everett Collection
Surrounding Hercules, a character whose arc takes him from being a nice enough strong dude to a nice enough strong dude who kills people and finally owns up to his fate — "Okay, fine, yes, I guess I'm a god" — are a legion of characters whose makeup and motivations are instituted in their opening scenes and never change thereafter. His de facto stepdad, the teeth-baring King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins), despises the boy for being a living tribute to his supernatural cuckolding; his half-brother Iphicles (Liam Garrigan) is the archetypical scheming, neutered, jealous brother figure right down to the facial scar. The dialogue this family of mongoloids tosses around is stunningly brainless, ditto their character beats. Hercules can't understand how a mystical stranger knows his identity, even though he just moments ago exited a packed coliseum chanting his name. Iphicles defies villainy and menace when he threatens his betrothed Hebe (Gaia Weiss), long in love with Hercules, with the terrible fate of "accepting [him] and loving [their] children equally!" And the dad... jeez, that guy must really be proud of his teeth.
With no artistic feat successfully accomplished (or even braved, really) by this movie, we can at the very least call it inoffensive. There is nothing in The Legend of Hercules with which to take issue beyond its dismal intellect, and in a genre especially prone to regressive activity, this is a noteworthy triumph. But you might not have enough energy by the end to award The Legend of Hercules with this superlative. Either because you'll have laughed yourself into a coma at the film's idiocy, or because you'll have lost all strength trying to fend it off.
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Bonnie McKee's music video for "American Girl" just dropped and it features a slew of celebs. The video for the catchy, bubble-gum pop tune includes stars like Katy Perry, Jenny McCarthy, Adam Lambert, Ms. "Call Me Maybe" Carly Rae Jepsen, Ke$ha, Kiss, Macklemore, E!'s Fashion Police crew, the hilarious Kathy Griffin, Jane Lynch, Jewel, and a handsome Lance Bass among plenty others.
The "American Girl" video bounces from A-lister to A-lister as each star sings and dances to a line of the Award-winning songwriter's hit. McKee, who has teamed up with pop star Katy Perry on a bunch of her songs, even got a nice shout out from the fellow "California Gurl." Cutie-pie Perry tweeted, "Wanna see me in bed in my pj's?! Watch this then" and posted a link to the video (below). And yes, Perry looks absolutely adorbable bopping along to the ditty in her jammies.
Although Bonnie McKee, who is a successful songwriter-turned-superstar, looks super fly with her hippie-styled headband and firecracker popsicle, it's hard to focus on the red-headed singer when every celebrity you can possibly imagine keeps captivating the screen. But then again, with lyrics like "Hot blooded, all American girl/ I was raised by a television" a cast of celebrities sounds about right.
Having friends in high places will undoubtedly boost views on McKee's Vevo channel. But after all the hits she supplied her video co-stars, it seems to us like they owed her one in return. Regardless, it's super fun watching some of our fave stars rock out to this head-bopping, sugary track.
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Let's face it, there's only one Ryan Gosling. No other man has the same rugged scruff, irresistibly intriguing eyes, and chiseled jawline of a God. But aspiring actor Nicholas Ryan refused to accept this truism and instead spent a fortune on cosmetic procedures meant to mold him into a Ryan Gosling replica. Ryan (Nicholas, not Gosling) hoped a two-hour procedure that cost a whopping $5,000 and included Botox and filler injections (video is below) would transform him into The Notebook hunk, therein launching his acting career… and also launch him into bed with more ladies. The dude turned out looking pretty damn handsome — but does he look like the dreamy Gosling? Eh, not quite.Despite not exactly mimicing Gosling's sultry facial structure, Ryan is enthusiastic about the results. In an interview with Daily Mail the wannabe actor said, "I went to a pool party this week, like we do here in L.A., and this girl came up to me and she said, ' You have a very Ryan Gosling look to you.' I couldn't believe it! After all the stuff I had gone through, it was amazing."
Surgeon Tim Neavin, who performed Ryan's plastic surgery, said that Ryan is one of many who bring photos of Gosling for inspiration. Watch below to check out the transformation process.
Nicholas, you could spend all the money you want on trying to look like Gosling, but, I'm sorry to break it to you, without his charming personality, his ab-gasmic bod, and the way "Hey, Girl" sexily rolls off his tongue, you'll never be The Ryan Gosling.
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During a visit to Miami's radio station Y100, music artists Ed Sheeran and Lance Bass took on one hefty endeavor: reenacting a heart-wrenching scene from the modern classic The Notebook. Although the very idea of the "A Team" singer and the former 'N Sync member teaming up for this skit is absurd, it's downright hilarious to watch. Sheeran puts in earnest effort trying get on Ryan Gosling's level. But let's be real here — no mortal, even if he is a Grammy-winning artist, can usurp the godlike Gosling's mesmerizing role.
I know the romantic film makes you relentlessly bawl your eyes out every time you watch, but I can guarantee not a single tear will be shed while watching Sheeran and Bass' The Notebook audition spoof. With a horrid Southern accent and smile he can't hide, Sheeran is absolutely adorable in this comical segment. He may have the voice of an angel and the best fiery ginger hair we've ever laid eyes upon, but acting is definitely not in Sheeran's skillset. No wonder he had Rupert Grunt star in his music video for Lego House...
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Emily Blunt Rosemary DeWitt and Mark Duplass carry this intimate indie with aplomb. Your Sister's Sister starts with a strange premise that could be the basis of a manic romcom but is kept grounded by an excellent cast and script.
Jack (Duplass) has spent a year mourning his dead brother. He's a total mess but his best friend Iris (Blunt) also the ex-girlfriend of Jack's dead brother steps in with some tough love and directs him to take a sabbatical at her family's home on an island off the coast of Seattle. Unfortunately her older sister Hannah (DeWitt) is also there in search of solace after breaking up with her long-term girlfriend. Hannah and Jack mourn their lost loves over a large bottle of tequila and wake up with monster hangovers…and a surprise visit from Iris.
Your Sister's Sister a messy funny and sometimes sad love story about family. Who do you choose to be in your family? What exactly can you forgive when people you love go too far? Writer/director Lynn Shelton starts with an odd farcical proposition similar to her debut Humpday wherein two buddies decide they have to prove their friendship their open-mindedness and their heterosexuality by making a porn movie together. Shelton takes similar risks with ideas about the fluidity of sexuality and love but pushes it forward in Your Sister's Sister. Its emotional risks are more real. The bond between Iris and Hannah is tangible and complicated. Iris worships her older sister she climbs into bed with her and whispers secrets to her in the dark but she is also a grown woman who is abruptly forced to face Hannah's all-too-human flaws. Jack is he weakest character but Duplass plays him as the likeable but screwed-up shaggy dog type he's known for in the indie world. DeWitt and Blunt are perfectly matched although one would be hard-pressed to otherwise cast them as siblings albeit half-sisters. They play off each other perfectly and the best example of this is a joke Hannah lobs at Iris during dinner that DeWitt ad-libbed.
Like its characters and writing the cinematography feels wider in scope and more breathable in Your Sister's Sister. Cinematographer Benjamin Kasulke captures both the intimacy of three people trying to keep secrets from each other in a small house as well as sweeping views of the woods and water surrounding them. The direction is more sure-footed and less dependent on the intense close-ups that dominated Humpday. The end result is a fleshy delicious love story. It's savory and joyous and leaves the viewer with some hope for love — all types of love.
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.