At Ted Talks, J.J. Abrams spoke about his lifelong love of mystery because of its “infinite possibility and a sense of potential” and how that passion influences his creation of stories like Lost and the upcoming movie “Cloverfield.”
And here is the first trailer for “Cloverfield,” a sublime example of a Mystery Box:
The Veggie Tales have produced a series of popular computer-animated videos for children and their families, with fruit and vegetable-inspired characters in engaging and funny stories with gentle moral overtones. Their new feature film does not mention God, as the videos do (briefly but explicitly). It is a fable-like story of three unlikely heros who find themselves called upon to rescue a captured prince and princess. They have been captured by their evil pirate uncle, who is planning to usurp the throne. We know he must be a bad guy because like all classic movie villains, he has a deep voice with an English accent. Unlike the other characters, he also has arms and legs, or rather one leg and one peg.
Princess Eloise, in a Princess Leia-like desperate call for help, throws a golden ball into the ocean and tells it to find her some heroes. But the people, or rather, vegetables it finds do not seem very heroic and certainly do not think of themselves that way. They are “cabin boys” (waiters) in a pirate-themed dinner theater called “Pieces of Ate” who can’t even manage to get up the nerve to try out for the show. Elliot is afraid of so many things that he keeps a fight list. Sedgewick is lazy and thinks trying is too much work. And George, who has the husky cadences of a Borscht Belt comic, does not respect himself and realizes that his children do not respect him, either.
But the golden ball finds them and soon they find themselves on a rowboat in the ocean, on their way to rescue Princess Eloise and her brother Prince Alexander. Each of our trio will face important challenges and learn important lessons. And of course there will be a little adventure and a lot of silliness and a couple of musical numbers along the way.
The Veggie Tales’ colorful but limited animation can seem static on the big screen, and children used adventures that conclude in a brisk half hour may find this feature film a little long. But the gentle humor and equally gentle lessons will be appealing to younger children and long-time fans.
Regina Hall has been the best thing in many movies that were either not worthy of her talents (the “Scary Movie” series), overlooked (Malibu’s Most Wanted), or just plain awful (“The Honeymooners,” “King’s Ransom”). She has an extraordinary ability to be funny and real at the same time, always avoiding caricature. In Ice Cube’s latest film, “First Sunday,” she plays his “baby mama.” Her role is to hound him for money, but she manages to make the character touching and sympathetic. Ms. Hall spoke to me about the film, her plans for the future, and her thoughts on faith on January 4 in Washington, DC.
Regina Hall talks about her new movie with Ice Cube, Tracy Morgan, and Katt Williams, “First Sunday”
Regina Hall talks about her character, Omunique
I loved the way you made Omunique sympathetic — it would have been so easy to make her shrill and over the top. This was especially important because your scenes with Ice Cube and are in contrast to the rest of the movie, which is very broad comedy, and are what really make us care about what happens to the characters. Can you tell me how you thought about her and how you create that balance?
Omunique is like a lot of single mothers who work really hard and whose partners have not shown up in an equal capacity. It can make it difficult but she loves her son, and that is what matters to her. It’s about him, not about her. There’s another scene that got cut from the movie but will be on the DVD where she sees her son talking to his father on the phone about the video game and he tries to hide it from her. She tells him that he does not ever have to sneak to call his father, and it shows you that she is protective of the father-son relationship even though they are not together. It is a comedy, but you can’t caricaturize. Her name gave it enough! Omunique is not in a lot of scenes so I only had a few moments to get what you need for comedy and still leave truth there. That’s something that every woman of every race can understand.
The Memory Book -- This Saturday on the Hallmark Channel A budding, young photographer stumbles upon an old photo album chronicling the ideal romance of a happy couple. Intrigued by their love and unable to find her own “true love,” she sets out to find the couple and figure out if true love really exists. The film stars Meghan Ory (“Once Upon a T
Interview: Michael Rossato-Bennett of "Alive Inside" Michael Rossato-Bennett agreed to spend one day filming Dan Cohen's remarkable music therapy work with people struggling with dementia. He ended up spending three years there and the result is "Alive Inside," an extraordinary documentary about the power of music to reach the human spirit, even when
Movies' Greatest Mirror Scenes Anne Billson has a great piece in The Telegraph on mirror scenes in movies, from the Marx brothers clowning in "Duck Soup" and the shootout in "The Lady from Shanghai" to Elizabeth Taylor scrawling on the mirror with lipstick in "Butterfield 8."
How Do Movies Show Time Passing? Someone once said that movies are "pieces of time." A few take place in "real time." Alfred Hitchcock's experiment, "Rope," unfolds in just the time it takes us to watch it, all in what appears to be one seamless shot. But others take place over days, weeks, years, even generations.
Boring TV Makes You Fat A new study finds that boring television leads to mindless snacking and that leads to putting on pounds.
So, watch programs that excite and engage you. Or, if the show is boring, turn off the television.
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