Monday, June 30, 2014

Take Me to Your Wrestling Mat, Channing...

Ahhh, what a lovely piece of news for a Monday. 

A new one sheet for Bennett Miller's Foxcatcher came out today.  Instead of focusing on Steve Carell's John du Pont, this one features Channing Tatum  front and center.  I'm very curious as to who is really the lead in the feature.  I always thought it was Carell, but perhaps he, Tatum and Mark Ruffalo are all co-leads?  
The poster doesn't tell us anything or give us any hint, so it's kind of boring.  Tatum's presence on the poster is rather strong, though.  His jaw is tight and his nose a little rounder at the tip.  

What do you think?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Happy Pride Everyone!

Everyone has been posting about Pride this weekend, so I will contribute something small just under the wire.  

One of the first pieces of gay-themed entertainment I was exposed to was Showtime's Queer as Folk.  It may be outdated now, but it was rather audacious in the early 2000's.  It was the first show on television to show any kind of gay sexuality, and, even though it's not the best show out there, it has its fans.  Call it crude, call it predictable, but it was one of the first.  That's something to be proud about, no?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Gone Girl: 'Eleanor Rigby' Trailer Debuts

I've been dying for a trailer for this, and now it's finally here!  

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby stars Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy as a pair of lovers whose relationship is going great until Chastain's Eleanor, you guessed it, disappears without reason (or she ends the relationship and then he never sees her again).  The trailer gives us the delicious aspect that we get to see their relationship from both perspectives, and I'm sort of dying just thinking about it.  


Director Ned Benson originally had the three versions of the movie (each with a subtitle of Him, Her, and Them, respectively), but I'm not sure if this is the combined version or just an introduction to the material before it's split and released separately.  AwardsDaily's Sasha Stone raved about it when she saw it in Cannes, and she highly praised Chastain's performance.  If anyone should be asked about fully realized female characters, it's Stone, so her endorsement only fuels my grand excitement for the project (she's also quote 3 times in the trailer).  

The supporting cast seems pretty solid.  I'm most excited to see Bill Hader do something else.  Perhaps he could have been the sarcastic male best friend in a slew of shitty romantic comedies, and we never knew it.  

Soon to be a Facebook cover photo near you...

Variety reports that Eleanor Rigby will debut in theaters on September 26th, and the Him and Her versions will hit later in the fall.  Definitely sounds like a fascinating ongoing piece.  When we think of relationships we think of timelines and perspectives, and this looks romantic and thoughtful.  

Friday, June 27, 2014

Remembrall When Neville Longbottom Got Hot?

It's not very new to acknowledge the fact that Harry Potter alum Matthew Lewis grew into this looks.  If you look around online, there are plenty of people who still talk about how Lewis turned from an ugly awkward duckling into, arguably, the best looking graduate of Gryffindor.  Just because it's a rather old topic, however, doesn't mean that one shouldn't notice just how drastic Lewis' transformation was.

Lewis turns 25 today, so it's only fitting to acknowledge, yet again, that Neville Longbottom surpassed Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Draco Malfoy in the looks department.  Surely, all the girls at Hogwarts would have signed up for Herbology had they noticed that nice, straight smile...the perpetual five-o'clock shadow...

Or you just might feel like a perv.  He's only 25.  But dear GOD can this guy pull off a suit.  Lewis hasn't really popped up in anything that American audiences could remember lately, but those images of him dancing shirtless with another soldier in BBC's Bluestone 42 will hold us all over until then.  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

More Rimming For All! 'Pacific Rim 2' Gets a Release Date

Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim is definitely getting a sequel!  I feel like I shouldn't be as excited about this as I am since I praised the film for its originality.  Doesn't this news make it just one of those dumb sequels that I hate?  Oh well.  

Pacific Rim 2 will hit theaters on April 7, 2017.  Damn, that's a long time away.  In the meantime, let's amuse ourselves with horribly inappropriate titles for the sequel!  So far, I've got Pacific Rim 2: Sloppy Seconds and Pacific Rim 2: Asian Creampie.  

Got any?

Lindsay Lohan to Debut in West End Production

Well, this was a surprise in stage news today!

It was announced today that Lindsay Lohan will star in a West End production of David Mamet's Hollywood satire, Speed-the-Plow.  What does everyone think of that casting choice?  The last time the play was produced on Broadway, Jeremy Piven abruptly left the production and had to be replaced.  Both Norbert Leo Butz and William H. Macy stepped in to play the part through the run.  

Lohan will play Karen, a producer's secretary who is filling in for a short time.  Karen is also relatively new to the Hollywood game.  The original production opened in the early summer of 1988, and it starred Joe Mantegna, Ron Silver, and Madonna as Karen.  Were people just as flabbergasted by the news of the Material Girl's Broadway debut as they are about the news of Lohan?  The New York Times' Frank Rich gave Madonna a good notice in his review:

"It's a relief to report that this rock star's performance is safely removed from her own Hollywood persona.  Madonna serves Mr. Mamet's play much as she did the Susan Seidelman film Desperately Seeking Susan, with intelligent. scrupulously disciplined comic acting.  She delivers the shocking transitions essential to the action and needs only more confidence to relax a bit and fully command her speaking voice."  

Not a bad notice for someone whose film performances are regarded with snickers and jokes.  Perhaps Lindsay Lohan, once considered one of the better actresses of her generation, will pull it off?  I've always liked her on screen (even in the dreadful The Canyons), so I'm going to say the glass is half full.  Or at least the garbage can is half full.  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Amid the Blubbering, There's a Romance Going On

If you're going to see The Fault in Our Stars, you've read John Green's much-obsessed over teen novel, yes?  For the gentlemen dragged to this without any preconceived notions, I pity you, because you have no idea what you're in for.  I don't explain this warning, because the adaptation is bad--no, no.  I pity the unsuspecting theatergoer, because he or she is about to get swept away in a tidal wave of tears from the surrounding patrons.  

Shailene Woodley plays Hazel Grace Lancaster, a sixteen year-old girl who has had cancer her whole life.  It started off as thyroid, but now she totes an oxygen tank around with her everywhere to help combat the fluid that builds in her lungs.  She repeatedly reads a novel called An Imperial Affliction, because she feels that it is the only book that captures what it's like to have cancer.  Hazel's life revolves around the idea that she may die.  Her parents (played by Laura Dern and Sam Trammell) encourage her to go to a support group for teenagers dealing with cancer, and she meets Augustus Waters, played by Ansel Elgort.  

A cancer survivor, Gus has a quality that is simultaneously adorable and honest.  He quite seriously runs into Hazel as they walk into their meeting, and his smile is rather disarming.  After the meeting, he stands with Hazel as she waits for her mother, and he tells her that she's beautiful.  Guys like Augustus Waters (the kind you use their entire name when referencing them) are only the kinds of guys that readers hope of encountering in real life.  Perhaps author John Green had no idea how much he was setting everyone up for failure.  

Hazel and Gus make each other read the other's favorite novels, but Hazel is very aware of her situation.  She doesn't want to get too close to Gus and then break his heart if something should happen to her.  This must be insanely difficult considering how adorable and forthcoming Elgort is as Gus.  They text adorably, and they do adorable things together.  He even uses his wish with the Genies so he and Hazel can visit the reclusive author of An Imperial Affliction and find out what happens to the characters after it's over.  They go to Amsterdam, drink champagne first time, and end up taking each other's virginity, in a scene that's a bit too conveniently told.  

I had heard that people were crying their faces off while they watched Fault, and I could definitely see why.  Tragedy looms over this entire film like a dark cloud.  In my showing, it felt as if the audience was there just to have a good cry--as if they didn't know how to express their emotions so they had to buy a movie ticket in order for something to elicit such a response.  When Gus brought Hazel flowers, there was verbal crying.  When they have dinner in Amsterdam, they started crying (even before Gus professes his unwavering love to Hazel).  When the little text bubbles pop up on screen to show their textual devotion to one another, there was verbal crying.  It felt like a bit much.  Or maybe the outpouring of genuine emotion in the dark privacy of a public theater made me cynical.  

For the second time this year, Woodley ably plays a young adult fiction heroine.  Her Hazel is gentle, sweet, and modest.  She genuinely plays a girl whose condition has separated her from other teenagers her own age.  Elgort, on the other hand, has the more difficult task.  The dialogue he is asked to deliver is sometimes much more heightened than anyone else around him, and it can sometimes feel like he is trying a bit too hard to be smooth.  Augustus Waters is kind of like a Manic Pixie Dream Boy almost.  Their chemistry has an effortless quality though.  

When I read The Fault in Our Stars, I loved it.  I thought it was poetic and sweet and heartbreaking.  The film effectively translates the emotions that Hazel confronts, but maybe reading it and seeing it are too different.  Reading can be a very intimate, personal experience, so the love story felt that way.  Asking you to go through the emotions in a big, dark theater might be too much.  The smallness of the book's big love story is lost a bit when it's on a forty foot screen begging to be cried at.

The Capital Goes the Creepy PSA Route in 'Mockingjay' Tease

"Your hard work feed us and in return we feed and protect you," is one of the chilling statements made by President Snow (Donald Sutherland) in the first teaser trailer for Mockingjay -- Part I.  It looks like the creepiest PSA ever created with everything bathed in white and Sutherland's soothing voice talking about The Capital.  

Perhaps it's safe to say that it's not necessarily a trailer as it is Snow's address to all of Panem.  Check it out.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hail Channing!

To work with the Coen Brothers is every actors dream.  Last year, Oscar Isaac made a pretty big splash with the 1960's folk drama, Inside Llewyn Davis.  Looks like the Coens latest, Hail Caesar!, will revolve around the inside of Hollywood in the 1950's, and Channing Tatum will have a chance to work with the adored brothers.  

Tatum will play a "Gene Kelly" type movie star.  Ralph Fiennes will play a director and Tilda Swinton will play a gossip columnist.  Naturally, I am stoked to see Channing work with the Coens, but I might be most excited to see Swinton.  George Clooney and Josh Brolin also star.  

Is Channing taking another step towards the A-list?  Check out the full story over at The Hollywood Reporter.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Wish Granted! Sondheim Clears Up Those Pesky 'Woods' Rumors

Well, isn't this fantastic news!  Apparently, Mr. Sondheim was 'misquoted' last week when he spoke up about Disney's big screen take on his Into the Woods.  

Fans were miffed when they found out some of the changes that were to happen from stage to screen.  According to the article, Rapunzel would live, and The Baker's Wife would not have an affair with Cinderella's Prince.  Turns out Sondheim hadn't seen the full and latest version of Woods, and he assures us that the production was very collaborative.  The affair will indeed stay in the final product (the detail I think most musical theater fans were upset with.  Read Mr. Sondheim's full statement (originally on Playbill) below:

"An article in The New Yorker misreporting my "Master Class" conversation about censorship in our schools with seventeen teachers from the Academy of Teachers a couple of weeks ago has created some false impressions about my collaboration with The Disney Studio on the film version of Into the Woods.  The fact is that James (Lapine, who wrote both the show and the movie) and I worked out every change from stage to screen with the producers and with Rob Marshall, the director.  Despite what The New Yorker article may convey, the collaboration was genuinely collaborative and always productive.  When the conversation with the teachers occurred, I had not yet seen a full rough cut of the movie.  Coincidentally, I saw it immediately after the meeting, and, having now seen it a couple of times, can happily report that it is not only a faithful adaptation of the show, it is a first-rate movie.  And for those who care, as the teachers did, the Prince's dalliance is still in the movie, and so is "Any Moment.'" 


This 'Seduction' Poster Seems...'All Right'

I had never heard of The Grand Seduction, to be perfectly honest.  I was checking out movie times at my local theater, and I came across the title.  After some digging, I found out it stars John Carter Taylor Kitsch and Mad-Eye Moody Brendan Gleeson, and it's about a small town whose livelihood is in the hands of a young doctor new to the area.  

It looks harmless enough, but then I saw the poster.  Remember The Kids are All Right with Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, and Mark Ruffalo?  Do these posters look like they have anything in common?  

Sure, posters and trailers borrow things all the time, but I immediately thought of Kids when I saw Seduction's poster.  Am I wrong?  

Sunday, June 22, 2014

NOW a Warning?! Happy Birthday Meryl!!!

What can one say about Meryl Streep?  I mean, other than the fact that she elevates everything she's in, and that every time I hear she's doing something I squeal like a little girl.  Kind of like how she did in Lemony Snicket.

Ms. Streep turns 65 today, and she has FOUR movies due this year.  Four.  Not only does she have Tommy Lee Jones' The Homesman and Suffragette, but she will sing as The Witch in Rob Marshall's Into the Woods and co-star in the big screen adaptation of the godfather of all young adult dystopian fiction, The Giver.  She's not stopping any time soon.  I watched Alien yesterday, and when I looked up trivia for it I read that the role of Ripley was down to Streep and Sigourney Weaver.  I guess I was thinking of Streep's birthday without knowing it.  

I need to watch something Meryl-related right this second...

Friday, June 20, 2014

'Mockingjay' Propaganda Posters Take Flight

Let the promotional train for the new Hunger Games begiiiiiin!!!

Some gorgeous posters have debuted for Mockingjay-Part I, and they are quite fashion forward.  The look like propaganda posters for The Capital, and each features a different model for each District.  I'm digging the hunky guys from District 6 and 7 (those tire pants are pretty awesome too), but the one from District 10 looks like a hipster's wet dream.  

Panem's website debuted the posters, and you can view declarations from The Capital as well (meaning follow them on Twitter).    

You Say 'Jump," I Say Over and Over

There's something about the Jump Street movies.  Is it the need for a summer cop comedy?  Is it the "shouldn't work but totally does" chemistry between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum?  Or is it because it worked so well the first time that they quite seriously just self-consciously replicated everything and shifted it to college?  Yup, that's it.  

Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) are back for another bullets flying comedy in 22 Jump Street.  They moved to a larger location across the street, because the big wigs had confidence that they could make even more money by investing more.  You see me winking?  You're following?  The knowledge that this was a big budget sequel was so blatant that I half expected for someone in 22 to turn to the camera and speak to me.

There's almost no reason to go that in depth with the plot since it's exactly the same as the first.  Schmidt and Jenko must go undercover as college students to sniff out the supplier of a drug ring.  Find the dealer leads to finding the supplier.  Instead of Schmidt becoming the unexpected popular guy, it's Jenko who connects with the surfer-ish frat boy, Zook (Wyatt Russell), and has the college experience he never had.  Schmidt befriends a gorgeous art major, Maya (Amber Stevens), who lives across the hall from a girl who died of a new drug called WHYPHY.  The more beer cans Jenko smashes on his head, the further he and Schmidt drift apart.  

The broken "relationship" segment of the movie is actually really funny.  They attend a therapy session that resembles couples counseling, and, surely, the females in the audience would kill for a chance to work it out with Tatum.  Hill is open and needy, and Tatum is gruff and angry in the scene, and it oddly works even though we've seen this playful kind of scene before (Friends used to do this all the time).

The relationship between Jenko and Zook was a bit too brotastic for me.  I actually thought that Zook was going to be in love with Jenko by the end of the movie, but maybe that's because I don't spend that much time around beer-pounding, football hurling frat boys.  Do all college straight guys spend their time pumping iron and shaming pledged?  I'm just not familiar.  Schmidt does get a girlfriend out of this whole separation, and Maya's roommate, Mercedes (Jillian Bell), is a scene stealer.  Every time she saw Schmidt, she fires off rapid fire insults about his obvious age in a dry, bitchy tone.  Love her.  Want to be friends with her.  

Is 22 Jump Street overly familiar?  Yes.  Does it matter in this instance?  Not one bit.  Any time an anticipated sequel comes out, some lame brain asks, "is it as good as the first one?"  Comparing a movie with its sequel is trite, but if they are a good time carbon copy, does it really matter?  Can 22 Jump Street just be called a continuation rather than a sequel?  Hill's belly-full-of-jelly eagerness and Tatum's beef jerky thick neck win me over every time, and it features the best hang from a helicopter finale since True Lies.  

The credits feature possibly entries into the Jump Street canon, and I feel like I would sit back and watch every single one of them.  

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Who Wore It Best: Maleficent's Grand Garb

Think you were done with Maleficent after you saw Angelina Jolie camp it up?  Wrong!  Entertainment Weekly has the first look of Kristin Chenoweth as Maleficent in the Disney Channel original movie, The Descendants.  

Descendants will focus on the children of iconic Disney villains (The Evil Queen, Cruella, etc.) as they all go to high school together.  Kenny Ortega, the man behind the High School Musical trilogy, directs, and the movie also stars Kathy Najimy.  

But who looks better in Maleficent's horns?  You have to be intrigued by the idea of a singing Maleficent, am I right?  Perhaps I'm not the best person to make such statements since I actually enjoyed the HSM trilogy...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What the Heck is Going on with 'Into the Woods'

I need to take a deep breath.

Composer Stephen Sondheim revealed a few moments in the woods hours ago what Rob Marshall's big screen adaptation of Into the Woods will not have.  I always thought The Mouse House was an odd choice for the distributor considering the dark material, but, then again, no one sells princesses like Disney.  

In the meeting with a group of drama teachers, Sondheim revealed that Rapunzel does not get stepped on by the giant, but she lives.  Guess killing off their Tangled heroine hit a little too close to home.  Sondheim says they "replotted" Rapunzel's fate, and they wrote a new song to cover it.  New Sondheim music?  Ok...maybe I can live with that.  Maybe.  

I knew that they weren't going to keep The Wolf as sexual as he is in the stage play.  I'm pretty sure that's what everyone thought when the project came together in the first place.  Moving on.  

Then Sondheim announced what, I think, is the most dreadful news of all.  "Any Moment," sung by Cinderella's Prince is "probably cut," and so is (spoiler) the brief love affair between Cinderella's Prince and Emily Blunt's The Baker's Wife.  Does this mean "Moments in the Woods" is also cut?  That's quite possibly my favorite number of the entire show--it's up there anyway.  Hopefully, it will stay in, because I was really looking forward to hearing Blunt sing that song.  But in what context will it be if the tryst is left on the cutting room floor?  

I'm the first one to tell freaked out people that you can't directly adapt a stage musical to the screen without making changes.  I was miffed when "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd" was cut from Tim Burton's adaptation, and I ended up loving (Lovett-ing?) it.  Things are bound to get cut to make something more cinematic, but is Disney squeaking everything clean?  Are they trying to make it fit into the now popular live action fairy tale canon?  Into the Woods isn't squeaky clean.  It questions what happens after ever after.  

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We haven't seen a trailer, so we shouldn't totally freak out.  I'm already calming down, but it still doesn't make sense as to why you would have such amazing source material on a silver platter and then change it.  Disney is just perhaps the wrong studio.  I just don't want to see Into the Woods Barbie dolls next to Princess Jasmine action figures next time I go into The Disney Store.  If you don't like the material, find other material.  Don't just slash something so great, because it doesn't "fit" what you think it should.  

Happy Birthday Roger Ebert!

Roger Ebert was a true lover of movies, and his opinion was the one I valued more an any other person in the field.  He was the critic who everyone could read, but, at the same time, his words were so eloquent and succinct.  Today would have been his 71st birthday.  His death last year still leaves a void.  No one wrote like Roger, and, I think, no one ever will.  

A documentary based on his memoir, Life Itself, is set to open next month.  I kept meaning to write about the trailer, but I never got around to it.  I can't wait for it.    

Happy Birthday, Roger!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Firth Leaves 'Paddington', Joins Johansson for Drinks

Entertainment Weekly has just announced that Colin Firth has left the production of the live action version of Paddington.  It's rather odd that Firth left the production considering that the movie comes out in December, but it isn't unprecedented.  Scarlett Johansson replaced Samantha Morton in last year's Her (EW also has a nice run down of other examples of actors having to bow out).

In a statement, Firth said, "After a period of denial, we've chosen 'conscious uncoupling.'"  I for one am a bit sad, because Firth's voice is rather soothing, and I thought that his tones might calm me from some of the disturbing Paddington promotional shots.  No word on who is set to replace Firth, but director Paul King assured everyone that a decision will be made in the next coming weeks.  Firth's full statement is below.

"It's been bittersweet to see this delightful creature take shape and come to the sad realization that he simply doesn't have my voice.  I've had the joy of seeing most of the film, and it's going to be quite wonderful.  I still feel rather protective of this bear, and I'm pestering them all with suggestions for finding a voice worthy of him."

To hear Firth grunt as Paddington, watch the teaser below:

Broken Off Engagement? Martin Denies Involvement in 'Father' Threequel

Not so fast, Matty Banks!  

I guess we all jumped the gun yesterday when it was announced that there would be a third entry in the Father of the Bride series focusing on a gay wedding.  Steve Martin himself tweeted last night that he hasn't even read a script, so we might all be wrong in thinking that we'll see a big, fat, gay wedding happen any time soon.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Father of the...Bride? Threequel to Focus on Gay Wedding

Well, this is a surprise!  

I love Father of the Bride.  Hell, I even like the baby-centered sequel, Father of the Bride Part II.  Maybe I just like Steve Martin's George Banks to talk directly to me.  I don't know.  It was announced today that they are planning to go with a third installment that focuses on Matty Banks get another guy.  A Navy SEAL's son, no less.  

Are we sure that George Banks won't just keel over of a heart attack?  He will at least make this face (probably a few hundred times):

Charles Shyer, the co-writer and director of the first two films, is developing the story, and Martin, Diane Keaton, and Martin Short are expected to return.  Franck's head might explode over the gay nuptials, am I right?  Keiran Culkin played Matty in the first two pictures, but there isn't word if he will return or not.  He clearly is comfortable doing it.  Culkin was hilarious as Wallace in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and it could be one of his biggest mainstream roles in a long while.  

I'm all about a gay wedding.  It could be forgiveness for that over-the-top, gaudy Sex and the City 2 monstrosity of a gay wedding we were subjected to.  But, when you think about it, the gay wedding was least offensive thing in that.  Can there be a madcap, crazy chase scene with the gay wedding too?  Please please please!!!  

God, That's Good! Favreau's 'Chef' Will Fill You Up

Sometimes I watch a cooking show, and I marvel at the talent these people have to concoct something out of virtually nothing.  I can barely boil water and these creative people can prepare an appetizer for twelve using only their intuition, thirty minutes, and a clove of garlic.  Jon Favreau's Chef is a love letter to the process of making food.  

Favreau plays Carl Casper, the head chef at a Los Angeles based restaurant who is about to be reviewed by a formative food critic and blogger, played by Oliver Platt.  The kitchen staff (including John Leguizamo and Bobby Cannavale) are ready to do whatever Carl tells them to prepare for the evening menu, but the owner, Riva (Dustin Hoffman), tells him to only make the classic dishes that Carl is known for.  Both men stand their ground, but Carl gives in and serves the safer menu.  Needless to say, the review is far from stellar, and it sends Carl down a path he didn't expect.

Carl's downward spiral is pretty epic, and it's all captured on social media.  He flips out on the critic at his restaurant, and a video is uploaded online.  His son convinces him to join Twitter, and Carl unwittingly becomes a small celebrity.  His personal life is pretty dismal, but is allows him to clear his head.  Carl realizes that he's not doing what he loves, and he buys a food truck to get back in touch with his passion for cooking.  Carl also allows himself to become closer with his son, Percy, as they travel (and cook) back to California from Miami.
Chef is more than one type of movie.  Not only does it make the audience drool over the food, but it's a road movie in addition to being a father-son movie.  I'd forgotten what a fun, cuddly presence Favreau is on screen, and he's surrounded himself with some great actors (cash in his Iron Man favors with Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey Jr.?).  Carl's relationship with Percy is rather adorable, as well.  He's not a deadbeat dad, but he's just ignored Percy as much as he's ignored his real love of cooking.  Everything opens up when they are on the open road, and it's really endearing.  

I'm not even a foodie, and the platters in Chef made me drool.  The food could have shown up the story, but they go hand in hand very well.  Kind of like a nice main course with great sides.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to watch MasterChef and try not to burn the house down while I make some mac n cheese.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Holy Flying Bludgers! There's a Quidditch Documentary?!?! in the living hell did I not know there was a documentary about Quidditch coming out?!  I mean, it's about humans Muggles playing the magical game on the ground, but this sounds like a fun night out at the movies.  And it's educational.  

UCLA film student Farzad Sangari follows the ULCA Quidditch team as they compete for the fifth annual Qudditch World Cup in New York in the documentary, Mudbloods.  There are a lot of people who groaned whenever they had to read a Quidditch passage in one of J. K. Rowling's books, so maybe they will be more inclined to view it in a feature documentary?  

The documentary raised a lot of money on Kickstarter and promises a portrait of "dreamers, creators and athletes who make up this exceptional community come together to make this magical sport into something you could've never imagine--until now."  Check out the story over at The Wrap, and Mudbloods debuts on VOD in October.

Ten points for all of us, indeed!

You Mess with Angie, You Get the Horns

Angelina, Angelina, Angelina.  That was the only thing I was excited for when I went to go see Disney's re-telling of Sleeping Beauty.  Beauty is one of my personal all-time favorite animated features from the Mouse House, so I was curious as to why they were going to pull the curtain back on one of their most iconic villains.  The trailers debuted, and worrisome thoughts came to mind.  Would Maleficent suffer from Alice in Wonderland syndrome, or will it be a nice chunk of gaudy, summer time goodness?  

In the first few moments of Maleficent, we meet the younger version of the title character, a curious, horned and winged protector of the Moors, a fairy land that borders our own.  A young boy named Stefan stumbles upon Maleficent, and, instead of a war breaking out, they become friends.  As time goes on, they seem a little more than friends, actually (Maleficent and Stefan sitting in a tree...), and young Stefan becomes bearded Shartlo Copley.  

Stefan's ambition to become king, however, overshadows his ability to love, and he preys upon Maleficent's weaknesses.  Stefan removes Maleficent's wings, and he becomes the king we know him to be in the classic 1959 animated film.  What a bastard!  From then on Maleficent becomes dark, and the Sleeping Beauty that we know kicks off for a while.  

King Stefan has a daughter named Aurora, and Maleficent curses her to prick her finger on a spinning wheel.   Aurora is taken into the woods and raised by three fairies until her sixteenth birthday, and they are played by Imelda Staunton, Lesley Manville, and Juno Temple.  We all know that part of the story, but Maleficent takes us on a different path.  We are treated to the slapstick-y goings on inside the cottage where Aurora is raised, but we are also shown how Maleficent is always standing guard.  She's not just the poised drag queen that we know her to be.  There's a gentleness in Jolie's performance as Maleficent, and that mixture of poisonous evil and justifiable evil is given a sweet dash of warm.  Roll your eyes all you want, but it's very compelling.  

Jolie is a goddess that walks among us, sure.  She's the kind of movie star that seems soooo out of reach that no matter what comes her way, she will always be huge.  The tinge of sweetness combined with the sheer relish of this role is enough for me to encourage you seeing it. 

Disney has taken a different route with how they portray their women.  Thank GOD.  It can be found even in Enchanted, and it was definitely enhanced by the surprise ending of last year's mega-blockbuster Frozen.  Some would argue that the endings of certain threads are too similar, but I would disagree.  If you've seen both Frozen and Maleficent, you know what I'm talking about--I don't want to give anything away to the 11 people that haven't seen it.

It comes back to Angelina Jolie.  Is Maleficent perfect?  Of course not.  I thought the fairy segments were kind of wobby (even though I ADORE all three of them and would consider permitting a Hocus Pocus remake starring Staunton, Manville and Temple), and the level of violence kind of shocked me.  Some of that seemed a bit too scary for the target audience, bloodless or not.  Jolie is having a great time playing the girl with the horns, and her enthusiasm just drips off the screen.  The scene where she curses Aurora is just decadently wicked.  

She's fucking fabulous.  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Random Poll: Who Revs Your Engine?

I'm sorry, but Chris Pratt is quickly becoming a new obsession of mine.  The Parks & Rec actor stars in the dino reboot Jurassic World, and some new shots surfaced online today.  He plays a scientist studying the behavior of raptors.  Ok.  I'm there.  

In the still, he's pushing a motorcycle, and, for some reason, it reminded me on Shia LaBeouf from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.  No, I would not consider them on the same levels of hotness, but they are on opposite ends of the spectrum.  

One is a buff, up-and-coming action star, and the other is a measly little punk who is trying to make a name for himself away from big, robot blockbusters.  Needless, to say, I don't think Mr. LaBeouf holds a candle to Mr. Pratt, but to each their own.  

Why I Think the Newest 'Transformers' Looks Unbelievably Stupid

There are many reasons to scoff at the idea of another Transformers movie.  One could want to vomit at the sight of Michael Bay's name.  One might be experiencing a serious boy-toy-turn-mega-successful franchise fatigue.  Or one might just not want to see Transformers: Age of Extinction (these titles are ridiculously dramaaatic, if you ask me), because they are traditionally horrible for everyone subjected to them.  

Granted there is still the faithful legion of fanboys that jerk themselves off over this franchise, but I just don't get it.  I actually fell asleep during the first sequel.  How I fell asleep during Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, I don't know, because it is the LOUDEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME!!!

The reason I don't want to see Extinction isn't one of the aforementioned reasons.  Sure, these reasons are valid, but I have another reason why you couldn't drag me to see it.  I can't see it, because there is no way of convincing me that Mark Wahlberg and Nicola Peltz are father and daughter.  No way, no how.  Nope.  They have to be doing it.  If Michael Bay would include some twisted, messed up incestual, Flowers in the Attic-esque plot, I would consider it.  Not because I want or condone that sort of thing, but Wahlberg racing to save Peltz would be more interesting if that were the story.  

When I first saw the trailer, I surely thought that the executives were jerking themselves off over this pairing.  Mark Wahlberg, en route to grizzled and muscley, thinks he found a Transformer, and then Peltz stumbles into frame.  She's the Michael Bay wet dream: stunningly beautiful and she looks good escaping danger while becoming sweaty.  I'm genuinely shocked that they didn't make them love interests, because men keep getting hot pieces of ass no matter what their age or box office clout.  I'm not blaming Peltz for accepting the role; she's is a fine up-and-coming actress, and I really enjoy her on A&E's Bates Motel.  

When Peltz screams for Wahlberg ("DAAAAAADDD!!!"), it's laughable.  Then I realized something.  Shouldn't I want there to be a different kind of pairing in these pieces of shit robot entries?  Why bemoan something like a father-daughter relationship in an ugly, loud piece of garbage even if I'm not going to see it?  Why do I even give a shit?  Perhaps I would be more gung ho if they cast someone else.  Someone less blonde or sexy?  I don't know.  

Keep your Bumblebees, your silly robot noises and every single Michael Bay-ism there is.  I won't buy a ticket.