Sony Pictures via Everett Collection
When Hollywood movies were very much "a certain thing," Woody Allen's weren't. An innovator from the get-go, Allen celebrated the possibilities of cinema by contorting and creating, giving us in everything from What's Up, Tiger Lily? straight through his '80s string a filmic style that America hadn't yet seen. Now that he's done his due diligence, Allen seems content to make the sort of pictures that snagged his heart in the first place: the romantic comedies of the '40s and '50s — appropriately, Magic in the Moonlight borrows the Jazz Age setting of classics like Some Like It Hot — that operated in a certain straightforward, delightful fashion. Allen's latest follows the swath of Billy Wilder, Blake Edwards, and Howard Hawks, but aims for the Woody brand with muted doses of his signature nihilism and cantankerous banter. But seven decades after this cinematic golden age and four past Allen's heyday, Magic in the Moonlight's charms wear thin and familiar rather quickly.
Magic in the Moonlight doesn't carry too many surprises; kind of a shame for a flick about magicians and mediums. But it's not the premise that is in principal need of reconstruction, it's the Allen chatter. The movie opens immersed in the fun inherent in the rantings of a misanthropic blowhard illusionist (Colin Firth, whose comic delivery in the early scenes of this movie is markedly impressive) who knows the margins of reality and can barely stomach the thought of some charming charlatan passing as a psychic (Emma Stone) pulling the wool over the eyes of a gaggle of unsuspecting millionaires... whom he also detests for their stupidity, but it's the thrill of the "A-ha!" that drives him to prove the clairvoyant a fake.
Sony Pictures via Everett Collection
Firth's comical butting of heads — both with the enamored aristocrats (Hamish Linklater plays the hysterically doe-eyed son who is smitten with Stone's Sophie; Jacki Weaver is a giddy matriarch longing to connect with her dead husband) and with the alleged swindler — ensues, opening up an unmistakably Allenian world of privilege-induced idiocy and shirt-stuffing. But what kicks off as great comedy grows tired by the fifth or sixth time we have to hear the curmudgeonly Stanley (Firth) pronounce his skepticism or watch the entrancing Sophie declare her devotion to possibility. After a while, what started out as a classic-era throwback reveals itself to be something with very little to show off, new or otherwise.
Still, even in its most redundant hours, Magic in the Moonlight never dips to levels of unpleasant. Firth and Stone are always a joy to watch, especially when playing rounds of combat. Allen's diatribes about mortality and meaning tire, but never fall dead asleep. And there is something consistently funny about Linklater playing a dead-from-the-neck-up Pittsburgh WASP serenading Emma Stone with a ukulele.
Ultimately, Magic in the Moonlight won't be a memorable trip back to the age of Wilder or Hawks, or a reminder of why you started watching Woody Allen movies in the first place. Instead, it's just a pleasant enough romp with a few hearty laughs and ample opportunities to let your mind wander back to your favorite scene in Sleeper. Ha, yeah, Sleeper. That was a good movie.
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Rapper Common once forged basketball great Michael Jordan's signature to make money. The Light hitmaker had the prestigious job of serving as a ball boy for the Chicago Bulls when he was growing up in Illinois, and he decided to make extra cash by calling on the sports icon for an autograph to give to a fan.
In an interview on U.S. talk show Watch What Happens Live on Wednesday (16Jul14), Common recalled, "I was 12 years old and it was Michael Jordan's first year (on the team) so it was incredible experience. I was watching him become one of the greatest athletes ever.
"One time some guy asked me to get Michael's autograph. So I told him, 'I'll get you an autograph for $5.' And I went and said, 'Mike, sign this autograph for me.' He said, 'You sign it.'
"So I went and signed it and I took it back and the kid was like, 'Man, this ain't (sic) Mike's autograph!' I spelled Michael wrong. I was just trying to get my $5."
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
The sex comedy is a very tricky genre of film to get right. If it's too focused on the raunchier side of things it becomes an endless string of gags, all attempting to be outrageous for the sake of being outrageous. But if it's too worried about being over-the-top, it might as well be any other generic romantic comedy. Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel are the latest to try their hands at it with their latest film, Sex Tape, which hits theaters on Friday. In the film, they play a married couple who film themselves in the act in an attempt to spice up their lives... only to accidentally forward the explicit video to all of their family members, friends, and colleagues. Normally, we'd be a bit wary of any upcoming sex-focused comedy, but both Segel and Diaz are old hands at the genre, thanks to their experience in films by Judd Apatow and the Farrelly Brothers. Therefore, we can only hope that Sex Tape will be the latest film to join the highly-competitive pantheon of sex comedies that are actually good movies. It's a small group, but a prestigious honor to behold. Here are our picks for the films that have already earned the title:
The 40-Year-Old Virgin The film that helped Judd Apatow break into the mainstream and established Steve Carell as a movie star, The 40-Year-Old Virgin has a pretty obvious premise: Andy has made it to 40 without having sex, so his buddies try and help him step up his game. It could have been an unfunny, over-the-top movie about a loser and his creepy friends, but Apatow managed to subvert all of our expectations (well, maybe not the creepy friends), and create a movie with just as much heart as humor. A lot of that is due to Carell, whose Andy is not just awkward and nerdy, but also endearing, goofy, and a genuinely good guy.
Superbad The rare sex comedy that doesn’t actually feature any sex, Superbad was the movie that put Jonah Hill on the path to becoming a two-time Oscar nominee, made Michael Cera the face of awkward teenagers everywhere, and made everyone overuse the McLovin joke for a solid month or so. Much of its success is due to its ability to transform a tired plot – teenagers go on a mission to impress girls so they’ll sleep with them – into a love story between two best friends. Surprisingly sweet and heartfelt but still hysterically funny, Superbad proves that sometimes, a little heart can go a long way.
Easy A Like in her breakthrough film, Superbad, Emma Stone’s character doesn’t actually have sex in Easy A, but that doesn’t stop her from telling everyone she did in order to bolster her reputation. Where most teen sex comedies focus on the guys who are trying desperately to get some, Easy A takes a different approach and looks at the effects that rumors of promiscuity can have on a high school girl’s social standing, and the hypocritical ways that we, as a society, treat sex. A sharp, smart, and endlessly charming film, it’s no wonder that it was the film to turn Stone into a proper movie star.
Don Jon Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial and screenwriting debut centers on Jon, a Jersey-bred bartender who only cares about his friends, his family, his looks, and his porn. His attempt at a relationship with Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), a rom-com-obsessed bombshell, fails when he refuses to give up his Internet addiction for her, and so he is forced to confront his perceptions of what sex and love are. Though the best parts of the film are centered on Johansson, Don Jon is also worth a watch for its original, humorous take on the typical romantic and/or sex comedy.
Screen Gems via Everett Collection
Friends With Benefits/No Strings Attached We’re going to tackle these two together since they’re pretty much the same movie, with slightly different casts. Both focus on wise-cracking, good-looking friends who are hooking up, eventually realize that they want more, and come together at the end for a slightly cheesy ending. But even though they cover a lot of the same material, they’re both funny, entertaining flicks starring two incredibly talented actresses – Mila Kunis, as sharp and funny as always and Natalie Portman, refreshingly relaxed and charming – that tackle that whole friends/hookup partners/couple dynamic in a realistic, goofy way.
Risky Business The second Tom Cruise slid across the screen in Ray Bans and tighty-whiteys, he became a star. Not just a movie, but a landmark moment in his career, Risky Business is also one of the best sex comedies ever made. From the dancing to the car crashes to the slapstick-laden Princeton interview, Cruise is at his best in this film: a little brash, plenty arrogant, and incredibly charismatic. It’s no wonder America instantly fell in love with him.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High Fast Times at Ridgemont High has become iconic for two things: a young Sean Penn playing the school slacker and the scene where Phoebe Cates climbs out of a pool in a red bikini. But Fast Times has endured hanks to its realistic portrayal of teenagers, their challenges, and their experiences. It’s hilarious, it’s awkward, it’s sometimes moving, but most of all, it’s relates to the teenagers it’s trying to appeal to, and the adults who can look back on it more fondly than their own high school experience.
There’s Something About Mary It seems only fitting to discuss Diaz’s latest sex comedy in relation to her first. As Mary, the irresistible object of everyone’s affections, Diaz is effortlessly funny and completely winning, but the rest of the film is excellent as well. The Farrelly Brothers’ signature gross-out humor is balanced by a healthy dose of heart, which helps us to sympathize with Ted and his quest to win back his dream girl. We get why everyone loves Mary, we get why these tree idiots would be willing to fight over her, and we get a hilarious, weird, and wonderful two hours of entertainment out of it.
A signature guitar used onstage by The Who's Pete Townshend back in the 1970s is up for auction online. The red Gibson SG the rocker played during a gig in Cleveland, Ohio and later gifted to local DJ David Spero has gone on sale as part of Lelands.com's Spring 2014 Catalog Auction.
The axe featured a reserve price of $2,500 (£1,471), but it had already attracted bids of more than $3,327 (£1,957) as WENN went to press.
The Gibson SG also comes with a letter of authenticity from Spero, who went on to become the personal manager of Townshend's pal Joe Walsh.
The guitar isn't the only piece of The Who memorabilia up for grabs - music equipment believed to have been used by late drummer Keith Moon during the band's Quadrophenia Tour around 1973 and 1974 have also been placed under the hammer with a reserve of $1,000 (£588). That lot, featuring bronze timbale drums, a cymbal, two drum heads and Moon's drum stool, had yet to attract any bids at press time.
The auction ends on 25 July (14).
To get that million-dollar glow, you may have to spend that much. At least, that appears to be the idea when you take a closer look at the products and procedures some of the world's most beautiful faces can't get enough of.
Rodin Olio Lusso Face OilFace oils are the biggest thing in skincare right now and the stars can't get enough of this one by Linda Rodin. This blend of 11 essential oils costs $150 for 1 fl oz (just 2/3 of a standard shot). Models Georgia May Jagger and Adriana Lima are said to slather it on regularly.
Sheep Placenta FacialVictoria Beckham is said to pay nearly $450 a session to have sheep's placenta applied to her face to reap the benefits of the animal's stem cells, according to the Mirror. The treatment is offered by Los Angeles-based celebrity dermatologist Dr. Harold Lancer. Sounds rejuvenating?
Crème de la MerThis moisturizer contains the brand's signature "Miracle Broth," made from various sealife to nourish and tone the skin. Jennifer Lopez was once said to use it from head to toe. Just 1 oz will set you back $160, but if you really want to go A-list, you'll go for the 16.5-oz jar, which sells for a cool $2,000. Hey, if that's the secret behind how amazing J.Lo looks, it might just be worth it...
The Evian ExperienceIf your normal bathwater just isn't good enough anymore, you can head to the Hotel Victor in Miami and soak in a tub of Gerber daisies and 1,000 liters of double-filtered Evian water. It's said to cost about $5,000. Apparently Beyoncé and daughter Blue Ivy enjoyed this bath on New Year's Eve, according to the Daily Mail. Quite the bubble bath for a toddler.
Clé de Peau Beauté La Crème Night CreamThe active ingredients in this anti-aging cream include 4MSK to block melanin that can cause age spots and retinol to fight wrinkles. For 1 oz, be prepared to pay $525. Amanda Seyfried is a fan, who has also spoken on behalf of the brand.
BORBA HD Diamond and Ruby PeelAccording to Forbes and the Daily Mail, Mila Kunis shelled out $7,000 to have her skin treated with rubies, diamonds and other precious stones to make her complexion truly glow. Personally, we would take a tennis bracelet that we could rub on our face anytime.
La Prairie Platinum Cellular CreamIf you really want to bring in the big guns for a radiant complexion, you'll need $1,080 to get your hands on 1.7 oz of this cream that contains platinum. No surprise here, Gwyneth Paltrow is said to love La Prairie.
Are these products and procedures worth it? Only time will tell.
20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
There are many actors who routinely give wonderful, memorable performances, but there's only one who manages to do it even when his face doesn't appear onscreen. That man is Andy Serkis, Hollywood's foremost motion capture actor, the rare talent that can bring just as much life to a Tolkien creature or a hyper-intelligent ape as he can another human being. Since the first installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy hit theaters in 2001, Serkis has been the movie industry's go-to guy for animating everything from monkeys to sailors to Gollums, and his consistently excellent performances each time kicked off a campaign to have motion capture work recognized by the Academy Awards. With Serkis set to return to the big screen (in simian form) as Caesar in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes on Friday, we've decided to take a look at some of the actor's most memorably mo-cap characters in order to determine which one comes out on top in the great battle for supremacy.
Caesar Films: Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Species: Chimpanzee Trademarks: Being an incredibly intelligent ape Special Skills: High intelligence, the ability to speak, the wisdom and power to rule over a colony of apes, proficiency in horse-riding and shooting Allies: James Franco and Frieda Pinto in Rise of the Planet of the Apes; Jason Clarke and Keri Russell in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Enemies: Draco Malfoy and Commissioner GordonGreatest Dream: A world where apes and humans can live in peace, minus cagesSecret Weapon: He’s a hyper-intelligent ape that can speak to people; he doesn’t need a secret weaponSignature Move: A barrage of fists to the head
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
Captain Haddock Film: The Adventures of Tintin Species: Human Trademarks: Beard, pipe, captain’s hat, permanently grumpy expression Special Skills: A talent for holding his liquor, a colorful vocabulary, a gift for sarcasm and wisecracks, the ability to tune out chaos and revel in blissful ignorance, unfailing loyalty Allies: Tintin and Snowy Enemies: Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine Greatest Dream: To regain command of his ship, but more immediately, some more rum Secret Weapon: He’s at his best when he’s drunk, which is the polar opposite of every other person everSignature Move: He’s more of a trash-talker than a proper fighter
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
King Kong Film: Kingof course Species: Gorilla Trademarks: He’s a 25-foot-tall gorilla. That’s pretty unique. Special Skills: incredible strength, a sense of self-preservation, the ability to make audiences sympathize and even shed a tear over a monstrous simian Allies: Ann Darrow, with whom he falls in love, and Lumpy the Cook, who tells the crew to leave King Kong alone (or else)Enemies: Carl Denham, fighter planes Greatest Dream: To live happily in his jungle with Ann Secret Weapon: The willingness to sacrifice himself for the people he loves and an incredible resistance to tranquilizers (seriously, it took them forever to knock him out) Signature Move: A giant, sweeping side-swipe and roar combination
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
Gollum Films: The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogiesSpecies: Technically, he was once a Hobbit, but now he’s mostly a species unto himselfTrademarks: Hunched, bony body, six teeth, a lack of hair, that weird snarling noise he always makes Special Skills: Riddle solving, hunting and fishing, deboning fish, finding ways to amuse himself after spending centuries in the same cave Allies: Whichever part of himself he’s currently talking to Enemies: Anyone who wants the precious... and whichever part of himself he’s currently talking to Greatest Dream: To once again possess the precious so that they may live together in his cave until the end of their days Secret Weapon: He’ll lure you in by appearing nice, and then turn out to be straight up terrifying; also, he’s so mentally unstable and unpredictable, only half of him knows what he’s going to do at any given momentSignature Move: Gollum’s totally a biter
So Who Wins? Captain Haddock is generally too drunk to get involved in a fight, so he’s out, as is King Kong, unless his life or Ann’s life is being threatened. That leaves Caesar and Gollum left to fight it out. While Caesar is smarter and more likely to have both a carefully, thought-out strategy and an army on call, Gollum is just insane and unpredictable enough to take Caesar out. We’re going to have to go with the creature formerly known as Smeagol on this one.
Longtime Kansas star Steve Walsh has stunned fans by announcing his decision to quit the classic rock group. Walsh will be making his final performance with the band at a Sioux City show in Iowa on 16 August (14).
In an emailed statement to Melodic Rock magazine, the singer, who has been a part of Kansas on and off since 1973, writes, "Sometimes, I had to pinch myself just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming that at my age I was still playing in a great band in front of great fans.
“I know there’s a lot of different versions out there on why I’m leaving so let me just say that it’s time for me to go, and yes, it makes me sad to have to admit that."
Walsh sang lead vocals on signature Kansas hits like Carry On Wayward Son and Dust in the Wind.
Orange Is The New Black fans, rejoice! You may have to wait until forever before Season Three premieres, but you can at least get yourself a little Nicky Nichols in the meantime.
Natasha Lyonne, who recently spoke out against homophobia and opposition to gay marriage, will appear on the fourth season of HBO’s Girls. There are no details about her character, although we do know that OITNB's Nicky will now be going by "Ricky." We can't wait to hear that signature raspy voice saying all the sarcastic and genius and wonderful things we love to hear, alongside Lena Dunham and the rest of the Girls crew.
Oh, yes. We are eternally Team Nicky.
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French dance stars Daft Punk are preparing to get candid about their career in an upcoming documentary.
DJs Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, who rarely remove their signature robot masks in public, will let cameras into their lives for a film slated for 2015.
The duo has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide in its two-decade long career. Earlier this year (14), the Get Lucky hitmakers added four Grammy Awards to their collection, including Album of the Year for Random Access Memories.
Kerry Washington has co-designed a clothing collection inspired by her hit TV drama Scandal. The Django Unchained star has teamed up with the show's costume designer Lyn Paolo to develop pieces inspired by lead character Olivia Pope's signature wardrobe.
The actress says, "By creating a line inspired by the show, we are introducing a collection that embodies the elegance and power of the Scandal aesthetic for real-life gladiators and everyday fashionistas. The collection is a nod to our devoted fans, to fans of fashion and to women everywhere who are inspired to boldly pursue their passions and look good while doing it."
The collection will be available in The Limited retail stores and online shop from 22 September (14).