Little Hope Was Arson
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Release Date: November 21, 2014
If I Stay
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some sexual material
Release Date: August 22, 2014
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images and thematic material
Release Date: November 21, 2014
A romantic comedy needs to get us on the side of its couple as individuals and on the side of romance. This one fails by giving us characters so crude and unlikeable that even the star wattage of Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher cannot make us care. Most of the movie centers on their attempts to torture each other during a six-month court-ordered period of living together and marital counseling (from Queen Latifah, whose no-nonsense diagnosis of what is wrong should have been applied to the screenplay). The audience may feel that they are being tortured as Joy (Diaz) and Jack (Kutcher) battle over sweaty socks and whether the toilet seat is left up.
Joy is humiliatingly dumped by her fiancee (SNL’s Jason Sudeikis) in front of all of their friends. Jack is fired by his father (Treat Williams) for not taking the job seriously. They meet when they both take off for Vegas to get away from their disasters. So, of course, they create an even bigger one. They get completely drunk and wake up the next morning married. They quickly agree to an annulment until they win a $3 million jackpot. A judge (Dennis Miller) orders them to live together (“I sentence you to six months hard marriage”) to try to make the marriage work before he will decide how to allocate the money. And so Joy and Jack scheme to get each other to give up, then to give cause for divorce by cheating. And then, just as they begin to appreciate each other, there is time for one more setback.
Screenwriter Dana Fox was also responsible for “The Wedding Date,” which suffered from a similarly ugly premise. Romantic comedies can be sexy, even naughty, but they have to have a charm and buoyancy that is quickly deflated by crude, gross humor. It makes the main characters unlikeable. There is no reason to believe in either their enmity or their growing affection so we never connect to them or care about the outcome. It is supposed to be endearing that this couple gets blind drunk and gets married, that he pees on the dirty dishes in the sink and removes the bathroom door to annoy her, that she shows a cab driver one breast (she negotiates him down from two) to get a free ride. It is not. It is supposed to make sense that Jack’s vulgar jokes endear him to the executives at Joy’s company. It does not. We are supposed to see why Joy and Jack begin to care about each other. We don’t. It isn’t funny enough and it isn’t romantic enough. In other words, what should have stayed in Vegas is this movie.
Anyone for a 3-hour tour? If you get on the S.S. Minnow and the other passengers are a movie star, a professor, a millionaire and his wife, not to mention Mary Ann, you might want to check to make sure you’ve packed enough to wear for a long vacation.
Yes, the S.S. Minnow from Gilligan’s Island is being restored and will be available for tours. More than one boat was used on the show, but this is the one in the opening credits.
I have special affection for this boat because it was named after my father, Newton Minow, whose famous speech to the broadcasters calling television a “vast wasteland” annoyed “Gilligan’s Island” creator Sherwood Schwartz. So Schwartz named the sinking boat after him! My dad got a huge kick out of it and later had a very cordial exchange of letters with Schwartz. It is a great point of pride for our family.
Thanks to Zeke for bringing me up to date on this story!
Inspired by “Tropic Thunder,” Keith Demko of Reel Fanatic created a superb list from one of my favorite categories: movies about making movies. On his list: critic-turned-director Francois Truffaut’s bittersweet Day for Night, the trenchant satire Living in Oblivion, the documentary about Terry Gilliam’s failed attempt to make a Don Quixote movie, Lost in La Mancha, Tim Burton’s black and white tribute to the man often named as the worst director ever with Johnny Depp as Ed Wood. Demko also includes some movies about television like the story of the Letterman/Leno battle, The Late Shift.
I’d add to his list a few more great films like the classic Hollywood movie about classic Hollywood, The Bad and the Beautiful, the hilarious saga of a Revolutionary War movie taking over a small college town, Sweet Liberty, David Mamet’s witty satire State and Main, and of course the all-time favorite about the beginning of the sound era, Singin’ in the Rain. Here Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor turn an elocution lesson into a dance number:
Being a good sport is part of what makes Anna Faris such a gifted comic actress. She has never had any hesitation about doing whatever it takes to be funny, no matter how ridiculous, embarrassing, or dangerous. Through the “Scary Movie” series she allowed herself to be subject to all kinds of movie torture and humiliation but always maintained an open-hearted good humor that kept us laughing and kept us rooting for her. In “The House Bunny,” the screenplay inflicts a little more injury on Faris than it intends to by committing the very sins it half-heartedly attempts to parody. But even when the movie ignores her comic timing to focus on her lovely face and figure, Faris is an engaging performer.
She plays Shelley, a lonely girl who grew up in an orphanage and finally found the family she wanted when she became a Bunny and moved into the Playboy Mansion. It was a paradise of parties and girlfriends. But then she turned 27 — “That’s 59 in bunny years,” the bartender advises her, and is booted out. The closest thing she can find to the Playboy Mansion is a sorority house, and she is hired in desperation by a sorority on the brink of being shut down for failure to attract new members because its members are all socially inept. Cue the makeover montage.
Faris is every bit as adorable as the Goldie Hawn-ish role requires and there are funny moments that don’t even appear in the trailer. Colin Hanks looks appropriately disconcerted as the nursing home manager who likes Shelley but is not sure how to respond when she overdoes her concept of what makes her appealing and Emma Stone (“Superbad”) and Kat Dennings (“40 Year Old Virgin”) have some success in overcoming the one-dimensionality of their characters, especially in comparison to the tone-deaf line readings in the cameos from Hef and the bunnies. One of the sorority girls tries to talk with her mouth full and makes the mistake of letting boys know that she is smart! One has facial piercings and attitude! How hilarious! And guess what! Under those shlumpadinka clothes, they are all long-legged hotties!
There’s a moment when the girls realize that their success has gone to their heads and they must be reminded — after dishing on the looks of candidates — that it is what is inside that counts. But the message is undercut by the constant reiteration of the more important message that being a virgin is an embarrassment, you should never let a boy know that you know more than he does, and what matters is being really hot and really popular. There is no indication that anyone of these “students” has any interest in school or work, any curiosity, any ambition other than getting the most cute boys to come to their parties. No one is expecting a movie like “The House Bunny” to be profound, but it is fair to expect some integrity and consistency. The slight message about the importance of what is inside is lost amid the coarse humor and lingering, loving footage of Faris’ smooth belly and micro-miniskirts. Faris as co-producer should know better and Faris as performer should recognize — as Shelly does — that sometimes doing what is right is more important than being a good sport.
Little Hope Was Arson
In a small East Texas community "with a church on every corner," 10 churches were burned. One church showed the Christian film "Fireproof" one night and showed that it was far from fireproof itself
Docudrama about Handel's Messiah on BYUtv November 27, 2014 BYUtv has produced a new docudrama, Handel’s Messiah, premiering November 27, 2014, about the world’s most popular and renowned choral work by one of the leading composers of the Baroque era, George Frideric Handel. The docudrama, narrated by Emmy® and Golden Globe®-winning actress Jane Seymo
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Stars Talk About the Film Fandango has a great interview with the stars of "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1." What was the toughest part for Jennifer Lawrence? Singing!
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Exclusive Clip: Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned Writer, director and producer Tyler Perry presents the unpredictable tale of a successful woman's life "gone downhill" when Tyler Perry's Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned - The Play is showcased on DVD (plus Digital), Digital HD and Video on Demand November 25 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment
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