After seeing the trailer, I assumed that Wreck-It Ralph would be a feature-length nostalgia-fest for '80s kids, what with the 8-bit game the titular character hails from and the cameos from Pac-Man ghosts and the like. So when I actually saw the movie, I was not just pleasantly surprised to be wrong, but thrilled to have seen such a sweet, charming, genuinely funny story that I really hope joins the pantheon of classic Disney films.
The most important thing you should know about the latest James Bond film is that it's better than Quantum of Solace. (Granted, that's grading on a serious curve, but still.) That said, it's less about Bond (Daniel Craig) than it is about M (Judi Dench), who finds herself targeted by a former asset turned enemy of the state. As her antagonist, Javier Bardem is convincingly conflicted in his attitude toward M: The reason he wants to exact revenge against her is that he feels she abandoned him, and is lashing out like a child having subjecting his mother to a temper tantrum — admittedly, one in which a bunch of people get violently murdered along the way.
Though the movie is longer than any action movie needs to be, it is fun to watch, particularly if you don't think about it too hard; by the time Albert Finney shows up for the Home Alone homage, you kind of have to give up on coherence. The additions of Ben Whishaw (as Q) and Ralph Fiennes (as an M antagonist within the government who isn't killing her assets willy-nilly) are good signs for the longevity of the franchise. My biggest complaint is that the film introduces the suggestion that the Big Bad is going to try some gay stuff on Bond, but that nothing comes of it. Aren't we, as a society, ready for a Bond who neutralizes his male foes through sexual conquest as much as he has female ones?! I just feel like once we accepted that James Bond could be blond, pretty much anything goes.
1. The Barden Bellas ft. The Treblemakers, "Riff Off: Mickey/Like A Virgin/Hit Me With Your Best Shot/S&M/Let's Talk About Sex/I'll Make Love To You/Feels Like The First Time/No Diggity" (Pitch Perfect)
Pitch Perfect, Kay Cannon's comedy about college a cappella groups, has quickly established itself as a cult hit worthy of sitting alongside slumber party classics like Bring It On, Empire Records, and Grease. Personally, even the best a capella rendition of a song just makes me want to listen to the actual song. Of the various medleys and covers in Pitch Perfect, the sex song medley from the "Riff Off" sequence is the clear standout. And let's all just agree to put Rebel Wilson in everything from now on, OK?
Best YouTube Comment: "idk about anyone, but I got really excited when Ester Dean (Cynthia Rose) sang S&M…considering it's her song that she wrote for Rihanna" — Kaylaa1DAllstar
Since John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John's inexplicable slice of Yuletide-flavored nonsense was officially disqualified as one of the worst Christmas songs of the last decade per our draconian awfulness-criteria, we'll consider it here. And, so, yeah. This would give Rudolph nose cancer, cause Santa to steer his sleigh into an active volcano during his gift-dropping run over Maui, and make the three wise men inject lethal amounts of freebased myrrh into their eyeballs were any of them ever exposed to it. And what, exactly, might Olivia have bought John for Christmas? You want to say a new e-meter, but what you're really thinking is a book of massage coupons, because you are a bad person.
Silver: Just because I want Sam Raimi to helm only superhero movies or low-budget genre flicks with chainsaws, chins, spooks, guns, and gore doesn’t mean he should. The man is a seasoned Hollywood director who has certainly earned the right to direct any film his heart desires. And if I’m a true fan of his, I should stop wondering if/how Bruce Campbell will cameo (if it happens, please let it be as a Munchkin) or how the 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 will appear and simply just hope for the best and support one of my favorite directors. But a trailer like this makes this charge of mine easier said than done. The film still looks like an awkward patchwork of CGI castoffs from Alice in Wonderland (recycled-line alert). With a talented cast like this, where’s the emotion? Noisy, grandiose action sequences don’t really feel Oz-ian to me. My hope is that this Transformers-lite feeling is just for the trailers, and the film ends up more like The City of Lost Children.
If you have even the faintest strain of geek in your past, then you've probably been party to the movie camp-out experience at least once in your life. You probably think you know what something called "Twilight Tent City" entails. You may even think that "Tent City" sounds a little dramatic for what is probably just a bunch of hygiene-averse, Snuggie-clad fangirls sitting on a sidewalk somewhere in tailgate chairs, living on Cheetos and granola bars for 48 hours.
And the denizens of Twilight Tent City would laugh in your face at how greatly you underestimate them.
Silver: Stories about struggles of enduring love have been so thoroughly explored in both comedic and dramatic films that sitting through one is more comforting in its familiarity than it is challenging. What you don’t see a lot of, and it’s the reason why I’m excited for Smashed, are stories about late 20s, early 30s couples who are dealing with not only the loss of youth, but the overwhelming pressures of real life. It’s the grayish middle between "Zac Efron prom date gone awry" and "Meryl Streep dancing with Tommy Lee Jones on a beach." And it's harder to truthfully capture on film because a couple, much less a married couple, in their late 20s or early 30s are in a constant state of transition. And much like Celeste and Jesse Forever dealt with a young couple’s divorce, Smashed ups the drama by throwing in some “real-life shit” like the combined act of getting sober. So even if Smashed didn’t star two of my biggest crushes — Ramona Flowers ... err ... Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aaron “Bitch” Paul — based on all this I know it’s a film I’d still want to see.
Say this about young Robert Pattinson: Even a major tabloid scandal can't prevent him from promoting the artsy indie movie he made to prove he isn't just a Twilightsparkly chest! Last night, Pattinson emerged from what had been described as self-imposed exile to tape The Daily Show and plug Cosmopolis, the David Cronenberg–directed Don DeLillo adaptation he stars in.
"To be intimate with a married man, when my own father cheated on my mother, is not something I could forgive. I could not look at myself in the morning if I did that. I wouldn't be attracted to a man who would cheat on his wife." - Angelina Jolie on The Today Show, 2005
There is a fascinating story embedded within the Kristen Stewart scandal, and it's not the one about a 22-year-old cheating on her boyfriend with a middle-aged, married man. The latest word on the adulterous public relations bloodbath is that someone tipped off Us magazine about Stewart's affair with her Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders. One pervasive rumor suggests the tip-seller may have been a private investigator Sanders's suspicious wife Liberty Ross hired to follow her husband. The tabloid in turn then assigned some paps to trail the errant lovers all the way to their now-immortal Santa Monica Mountains tryst. This means that Us worked and broke the Kristen Stewart cheating story as seriously and methodically as if it were Watergate or a case on The Wire.
Since Bill Simmons is gorging on crumpets, Chuck Klosterman guest hosts the B.S. Report and chats casually with Grantland writer Alex Pappademas. The conversation begins with an analysis of Robert Pattinson's wrecked romantic life and eventually touches on Jennifer Aniston, Total Recall, and the undocumented history of sports and culture in Gotham City.
We told you aboutHomeland's Comic-Con panel this morning — but oh, dear friends, there's so much more popping off at San Diego's annual collection of nerds and movie stars. To the breakdown!
M. Night Shyamalan and Will Smith Are Giving You Literature
Guess what's coming to a bookstore near you? Why, prequel novels based on the mythology surrounding M. Night Shyamalan and Will Smith's new movie, of course. The flick is called After Earth, and it's got a pretty solid sci-fi premise: One thousand years after Earth has been destroyed by some unknown apocalypse or another, humans live on a planet called Nova Prime. Big Willie plays a guy named Cypher Raige who, no, is not a shitty battle rapper, but rather a soldier coming home to his child the Karate Kid — no, not Hilary Swank, but Jaden Smith. Blazay blah blazay blah, and the two have crash-landed back on Earth, which is all messed up and scary and abandoned now. Mr. Raige is injured and dying because of the aforementioned crash, and the young boy has to save them both. Wait, so this now sounds like it mostly stars Jaden Smith? OK, so there are going to be prequel novels based on a Jaden Smith movie? Alert the Man Booker committee!
Silver: Since the French have been unwavering in their love and support for Woody Allen, it seems apropos that this overt Allen homage would come from a Frenchman. Well, to be specific, a Frenchwoman. And to be even more specific, a super-talented Frenchwoman named Julie Delpy. 2 Days in New York looks adorable and hilarious. Delpy has carved out a nice place for herself in the contemporary adult film space. She goes away for a while, people forget about her, and then she releases a new film and reminds everyone how talented a filmmaker she is. And good for Delpy for remembering that Chris Rock is also an actor. (Don’t believe me? See Nurse Betty.)
Holy Effing Ess!!! It is only four days until the 2012 Golden Raspberry nominations are released in Hollywood, California! Even as we write, Head RAZZberry John Wilson is collecting ballots (including our own!) and tallying votes for the world’s greatest and most important awards show. You know what that means: It’s time for our final predictions.
A lot has changed since we made our first forecast way back in July. Back then we had a bottom five of The Hangover Part II, Jack and Jill, Real Steel, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, and Zookeeper — but at that point, only two of those movies had even come out. How many of those stinkers made it into our final predictions? Read on and see!
That’s a wrap for 2011, folks! With December well underway we’ve got a good sense of pretty much every movie that’s going to be a player in this year’s Razzie ceremony. Now all that’s left is the bitter, cut-throat, no-holds-barred campaigning.
Of course, for Razzie fans, the campaigns -- waged by the big personalities we’ve come to know and love over the years, like Paramount CEO Brad Grey and director Joel Schumacher -- are part of the fun! After all, who can forget the year Lorenzo di Bonaventura called Happy Madison head Scott Sandler “Crappy Fatty-son”? Or the night that Summit Entertainment head (and former Israeli intelligence agent!) Arnon Milchan, dressed head-to-toe in black, crept into voters’ living rooms and urged them to support Twilight: New Moon?