June 2011 Archives
Matt Damon meets Roger Sterling, Ed Helms makes a pilgrimage to Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Josh Radnor adds "writer/director" to his resume in this week's batch of releases.
In Spring 2010, only two short months after walking away from The Tonight Show, Conan O'Brien took his act on the road with the Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television tour. Between April and June, he visited some 30 cities with a show that consisted of music, comedy and appearances by such big-name stars as Seth Rogen, Pee-wee Herman and Jon Stewart. Also along for the ride was a documentary crew that captured the on-stage action as well as O'Brien's off-stage brooding. The resulting movie, Conan O'Brien Can't Stop, opens in select cities on Friday. If you're looking for some more laughs before then, we recommend checking out these classic comedy concert films. (Note: All of these were released theatrically or direct to-video/DVD. That's why -- as much as we love them -- you won't see Chris Rock's HBO specials or Aziz Ansari's recent Comedy Central version of his Dangerously Delicious tour.)
When it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, this indie teen drama from writer/director Gavin Wiesen screened under the title Homework. But after Fox Searchlight scooped the film up, they wisely renamed it The Art of Getting By, no doubt to keep cheeky critics from comparing the experience of watching Homework to actually doing homework. By any name though, it's one tedious slog of a movie.
I'm not going to say that this movie was entirely good, but as someone who is often forced to sit through some really, really, really awful movies geared towards children, this one was actually largely tolerable. That said, fans of the quaint children's book that is the source material might take issue with the fact that many a liberty has been taken in this adaptation - for example, it now features penguins doing hip-hop dancing. But unless you're watching a sweet Winnie The Pooh cartoon, that's basically inevitable when it comes to these sorts of things.
There's an interesting conceit at the core of Green Lantern, the otherwise overstuffed and clumsy superhero outing starring DC Comics' ring-wielding interstellar cop. Instead of pitting Hall Jordan and his emerald knight alter ego (played by Ryan Reynolds, in his third comic book-inspired outing after Blade: Trinity and X-Men Origins: Wolverine) against a bad guy bent on world domination, the screenwriters -- a four-man team that includes TV veteran Greg Berlanti and comic book scribe Marc Guggenheim -- make his primary enemy his own fear and self-doubt. Okay, so technically the film does feature a bad guy bent on world domination, an enormous yellow space cloud named Parallax that's floating towards Earth with plans to feast on the terror of the entire populace. But thematically, Parallax is just a giant, gaseous manifestation of Hal's shaky confidence in himself and his ability to be the hero his world requires. When he stares into the cloud's vaguely demonic face, he doesn't just see a villain that needs defeating -- he sees his own inadequacies reflected back at him.
This month, choose between John Carpenter's first film in a decade, a chilling tale of home invasion and Paul Giamatti in bad period costume.
There's one in every high school classroom: that kid who could be a top student if only they would just -- to use a classic Board of Ed-approved phrase -- apply themselves. The new indie drama The Art of Getting By follows one of those underachieving teenagers, George Zinavoy (Finding Neverland's Freddie Highmore, all grown up) a senior at an elite New York prep school with tons of potential and zero follow-through. Turns out that he's in good company -- some of our all-time favorite movie teens are A+-students at shirking responsibility and general goofing off.
Aliens invade Los Angeles, a wolf menaces Amanda Seyfried and the Jackass crew puts the gross in 3D-enhanced box office gross.
Nepotism in Hollywood is as old as the film industry itself, so it's never a surprise when the less-attractive, less-talented relative of a big-time movie star tries to become the town's next big thing. And sometimes these upstarts even equal or surpass their famous predecessors -- witness George Clooney (nephew of Rosemary Clooney), Angelina Jolie (daughter of Jon Voight) and Jeff Bridges (son of Lloyd Bridges). But more often there are folks like Emma Roberts, daughter of Eric and, more importantly, niece of Julia, who make multiple attempts at movie stardom only to be roundly rejected by audiences every time out. After bombing in Scream 4 earlier this year (her fifth box office underperformer) the younger Roberts returns to screens on Friday in the New York City-set teen romance The Art of Getting By, co-starring Freddie Highmore and Sasha Spielberg (yes, of those Spielbergs). The chances of this movie turning her career around seem slim though. Here are the reasons why she's never clicked with moviegoers.
The superhero Green Lantern was original created way back in 1940, while a 1959 update cast Hal Jordan as the lone human representative of the galaxy-spanning Green Lantern Corps. Made up of a physically diverse group of aliens, the Corps acts as a sort of interplanetary police force, with a pair of partner Lanterns assigned to each sector of space. And while I've been reading the comics for years, it's only with the onslaught of footage from the upcoming Ryan Reynolds movie that I've started to realize how much another movie borrowed from them 25 years ago.