Peanuts and Popcorn

Peanuts and Popcorn

Look Who’s Sneaking into Theaters

posted by jtotey
Heyday Films

Heyday Films

Although the story of a little bear named Paddington has been aroud since 1958, his story is just now making it to the big screen – and practically sneaking in as there has been little fanfare for the film.

The original story was an inspiration that came to author Michael Bond on Christmas Eve in 1956. Bond noticed a lone teddy bear sitting all by himself on a store shelf near Paddington Station, so he purchased the bear as a gift for his wife. Bond then wrote “A Bear Called Paddington” in ten days, but it wasn’t published until October 13, 1958 by William Collins & Sons. Since then, more than 20 books have been written about the stuffed little guy.

For purists, the new live action/CGI film isn’t based on any single book, but is said to borrow storylines from a of them. The film version follows the adventures of the yound Peruvian bear who travels in search of a home. The Brown family notice the message that reads “Please look after this bear” around his neck and take him in. Apparently, he is in danger of being captured by a museum taxidermist. It stars Michael Gambon who most viewers will hardly recognize (he played Professor Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films), Nicole Kidman and Ben Whishaw as the voice of Paddington.

Third ‘Night at the Museum’ Totally Redeems Itself

posted by jtotey
(L-R) Ahkmenrah’s (Rami Malek), Sacagawea (Mizuo Peck), Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), Larry Daley (Ben Stiller), Nick Daley (Skyler Gisondo) and Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens)  Twentieth Century Fox

(L-R) Ahkmenrah’s (Rami Malek), Sacagawea (Mizuo Peck), Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), Larry Daley (Ben Stiller), Nick Daley (Skyler Gisondo) and Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens) Twentieth Century Fox

Ben Stiller’s first Night at the Museum (2006) was a fun and clever movie about a museum security guard who is surprised to find on his first night that all of the artifacts come to life when the sun goes down. When the sequel, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, came out in 2009, it proved that all involved should have not have bothered. The film took away all of the likeable characters in favor to introduce new ones who were not as charming as the original set and featured a convoluted storyline. Many will be surprised to learn that the second sequel, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, rights all of the wrongs of the second film and finishes off the series nicely.

This time around, Director Shawn Levy and crew bring back everything that worked well with the first movie and improved upon it. There appears to be no reference to the second movie, including the character of Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams), who played the love interest for Larry Daley, the security guard (Ben Stiller). It is as if she, or any of the other Smithsonian characters for that matter, never existed. Instead, the story takes place years later with Larry convincing Dr. McPhee (Ricky Gervais) that the characters come to life as a form of special effects. All the characters come together for a special gala at the museum to put on a show when some strange force causes the characters to malfunction (for lack of a better word). This leads Larry to travel to the British Museum in hopes of finding an answer. However, he is surprised to find out that he packed along a few stowaways as well. This makes his job tougher for him, but a lot more fun for us.

Fans of the original will be glad to know that some favorite characters like Theodore Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Octavius (Steve Coogan) and Jedediah (Owne Wilson) play much larger roles than they did in the second one, although Sacagawea (Mizuo Peck) still doesn’t have much to do. The movie also adds Dan Stevens as Sir Lancelot, Ben Kingsley as Ahkmenrah’s (Rami Malek) father the pharaoh, Rebel Wilson as the night guard at the British Museum and a second role for Stiller as Laa the new Neanderthal who mistakes Larry as his father. Even the original guards played by Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs and Dick Van Dyke make a short appearance. Dyke, the old chimney sweep, proves that he can still dance after all these years too.

The film is bittersweet in some ways including the fact that Larry needs to let his son Nickey (Skyler Gisondo) plan his own life, and that we the audience have to say goodbye to these much-loved characters. This is also one of the last performances for Williams and Rooney. The film is dedicated to the two actors as well. With that said, the film is very funny and is appropriate for the whole family. If there is any bad language, I missed it and there isn’t a hint of inappropriate humor with the exception of a monkey relieving himself in two scenes which is gross and unnecessary. Finally, the film also shares a message of encouragement to be the best you can be. Two of the films best lines are:

Larry: “I have no idea what I’m going to do tomorrow.”

Theodore Roosevelt: “How exciting.”

Exodus: Good Movie, Wrong Story

posted by jtotey
Moses (Christian Bale) shows the Hebrews how to fight with Nun (Ben Kingsley) looking on. (20th Century Fox)

Moses (Christian Bale) shows the Hebrews how to fight with Nun (Ben Kingsley) looking on. (20th Century Fox)

One has to wonder why some in Hollywood feel like they have to improve on stories based on the Bible. Perhaps it has to do with the idea that if you present a Bible story on screen, people will already know the ending, so you might want to shake things up a little. But I suspect that there is something more to it, but I can’t figure out what it is.

When Noah came to theaters earlier this year, many Christians appreciated the effort and would rely on the thought, “At least people are talking about the Bible. Maybe now they will read it.” Others felt that it was their job to warn the masses of its false doctrine. Months later, the film has failed to capture the hearts of many, nobody is talking about it and America is no worse off. However, people are still talking about the little production of God’s Not Dead, a film that didn’t try to change who God is, and it isn’t even a Bible story.

From the trailers, Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings looks like Oscar-bait, but I wouldn’t clear off a place on the mantel just yet if I were him. The thing is, Exodus is actually a good movie, albeit a rather long one. It is beautiful to look at, features impressive 3D technology and the action scenes are done well without a lot of gore. It only has one flaw – the story is only remotely related to the Bible.

Ramses (Joel Edgertaon) contemplates. Something he does a lot throughout the movie.

Ramses (Joel Edgerton) contemplates. Something he does a lot throughout the movie.

Those with only a little bit of Bible knowledge will be able to figure out the flaws immediately. What we know about Moses is that God chose him to be a leader, but he didn’t want the job. He stuttered when he spoke and wasn’t confident that anyone would listen to him. For that reason, God had him partner with his brother to do the talking. Scott’s version has a whole different type of Moses in mind.

When I first heard that Christian “Batman” Bale was to play the role of Moses, I thought, “Huh?” After seeing the film, I thought, “Huh?” Bale’s Moses doesn’t stutter and has no problem speaking his mind. Instead of carrying a staff, he carries a sword. Instead of humbly asking Pharaoh to let his people go in broad daylight, he sneaks up on him in the middle of the night and threatens him with a sword. And his brother? Nowhere to be seen – at least, not throughout most of the movie.

The epic film, one that you won’t really mind sitting through, sets the story with Moses and Ramses (Joel Edgerton) as stepbrothers. Moses is unaware that he was actually delivered via straw basket by his sister when he was an infant. During a battle, Moses risks his own life to save Ramses, a feat that Seti (John Turturro) and step-father, seems impressed with. To say that Ramses has daddy issues is an understatement.

Moses (Christian Bale) and Zipporah (María Valverde) on their wedding day.

Moses (Christian Bale) and Zipporah (María Valverde) on their wedding day.

Eventually, Moses gets exposed as a Hebrew and is exiled from the palace, but not how the Bible describes it. He has a long journey where he meets a prophet Nun (Ben Kingsley), not mentioned in the Bible, who explains Moses’ true origins. He goes further, meets his eventual wife Zipporah (María Valverde), has a child and explores a mountain that apparently God has forbidden him to. There he sees the burning bush and a messenger (but is basically God) who is in form of a boy. Yes, Scott decided that portraying God as a willful, spoiled brat was better idea. Moses decides to free the slaves by teaching them to fight. When this fails, the disgusted child takes matters into his own hands and creates a bunch of plagues. God doesn’t even seem to get credit for creating them as Ramses’ people explain the phenomenon away. And on and on it goes.

Perhaps the films greatest error is giving actress Sigourney Weaver about three lines of dialogue and not much to do except glare. In the end, I think most viewers will feel cheated. Moses is like an expensive handbag that turns out to be a cheap imitation of the real thing. At least there are no rock monsters in the film.

2015 Golden Globe Nominees Announced

posted by jtotey
Kate Beckinsale, Jeremy Piven, Peter Krause and Paula Patton had the honor of announcing the nominees for the 72nd Annual Golden Globes. (Golden Globes)

Kate Beckinsale, Jeremy Piven, Paula Patton and Peter Krause had the honor of announcing the nominees for the 72nd Annual Golden Globes. (Golden Globes)

Early this morning, Kate Beckinsale, Jeremy Piven, Peter Krause and Paula Patton had the honor of announcing the nominees for the 72nd Annual Golden Globes. This of course means that none of them are up for an award but who is may surprise you. This year’s nominees seem to focus more on movies and TV shows that are on the fringe rather than the most popular.

In TV, only a handful of mentions are given toward the main four traditional networks. The CW received two surprise nominations for Jane the Virgin and ABC’s Modern Family did not receive a single nomination this year. In addition, a lot of attention has gone toward the mini-series Fargo (five nominees) and True Detective (three nominees).

For movies, Michael Keaton’s Birdman received the most nominations (seven) with The Imitation Game and Boyhood close behind with five nominations each. Some surprises include Jennifer Aniston receiving a nomination for Best Actress in a Drama for Cake (the internet seemed to be more impressed that she played the role sans makeup), Robert Duvall receiving a nomination for his work in The Judge, a film that was greatly panned by critics and that Noah received any nominations at all. Meanwhile, nobody is surprised that Meryl Streep is nominated for her supporting role in Disney’s Into the Woods, a film that nobody has even seen yet.

Julianne Moore is up for two awards for Still Alice and Maps to the Stars. Bill Murray is doing double duty this year being nominated for Best Performance for the movie St. Vincent and for his guest role in the TV mini-series Olive Kitteridge.

Here is the complete list of this year’s nominees:

Best Motion Picture – Drama
Boyhood, Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game, Selma, and The Theory of Everything

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Jennifer Aniston (Cake), Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Julianne Moore (Still Alice), Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) and Reese Witherspoon (Wild)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Steve Carell (Foxcatcher), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game), Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler), David Oyelowo (Selma) and Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Into the Woods, Pride and St. Vincent

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Amy Adama (Big Eyes), Emily Blunt (Into the Woods), Helen Mirren (The Hundred-Foot Journey), Julianne Moore (Maps to the Stars) and Quvenzhane Wallis (Annie)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Michael Keaton (Birdman), Bill Murray (St. Vincent), Joaquin Phoenix (Inherent Vice) and Christoph Waltz (Big Eyes)

Best Animated Feature Film
Big Hero 6, The Book of Life, The Boxtrolls, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and The Lego Movie

Best Foreign Language Film
Force Majeure Turist (Sweden), Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem Gett (Israel), Ida (Poland/Denmark), Leviathan (Russia) and Tangerines Mandariinid (Estonia)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Patricia Arquette (Boyhood), Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year), Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game), Emma Stone (Birdman) and Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Robert Duvall (The Judge), Ethan Hawke (Boyhood), Edward Norton (Birdman), Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher) and J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

Best Director – Motion Picture
Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Ava Duvernay (Selma), David Fincher (Gone Girl), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman) and Richard Linklater (Boyhood)

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Gone Girl, Birdman, Boyhood and The Imitation Game

Best Original Score – Motion Picture
The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, Gone Girl, Birdman and Interstellar

Best Original Song – Motion Picture
“Big Eyes” (Big Eyes), “Glory” (Selma), “Mercy Is” (Noah), “Opportunity” (Annie) and “Yellow Flicker Beat” (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1)

Best TV Series – Drama
The Affair, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, The Good Wife and House of Cards

Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series – Drama
Claire Danes (Homeland), Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder), Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife), Ruth Wilson (The Affair) and Robin Wright (House of Cards)

Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Series – Drama
Clive Owen (The Knick), Live Schreiber (Ray Donovan), Kevin Spacey (House of Cards), James Spader (The Blacklist) and Dominic West (The Affair)

Best TV Series – Comedy or Musical
Girls, Jane the Virgin, Orange is the New Black, Silicon Valley and Transparent

Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series – Comedy or Musical
Lena Dunham (Girls), Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep), Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin) and Taylor Schilling (Orange is the New Black)

Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Series – Comedy or Musical
Louis C.K. (Louie), Don Cheadle (House of Lies), Ricky Gervais (Derek), William H. Macy (Shameless) and Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent)

Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV
Fargo, The Missing, The Normal Heart, Olive Kitteridge and True Detective

Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini Series or Motion Picture Made for TV
Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Honorable Woman), Jessica Lange (American Horror Story: Freak Show), Frances McDormand (Olive Kitteridge), Frances O’Connor (The Missing) and Allison Toman (Fargo)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV
Martin Freeman (Fargo), Woody Harrelson (True Detective), Matthew McConaughey (True Detective), Mark Ruffalo (The Normal Heart) and Billy Bob Thornton (Fargo)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV
Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black), Kathy Bates (American Horror Story: Freak Show), Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey), Allison Janney (Mom) and Michelle Monaghan (True Detective)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Min-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV
Matt Bomer (The Normal Heart), Alan Cumming (The Good Wife), Colin Hanks (Fargo), Bill Murray (Olive Kitteridge) and Jon Voight (Ray Donovan)

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