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May 2, 2012

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Posted: May 2, 2012 3:10am
May 2, 2012

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May 2, 2012

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Apr 28, 2012

Emily Blunt and Jason Segel in 'The Five Year Engagement' (Review)

Screen Rant’s Ben Kendrick reviews The Five-Year Engagement

Judd Apatow has become one of the biggest names in Hollywood comedy – largely because of his ability to blend over-the-top gags with heartfelt character stories. In one way or another – as writer, director, or producer, Apatow has been connected to hits that include Bridesmaids, Pineapple Express, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up, along with plenty more. That said, not every Apatow-produced film has been a slam-dunk with audiences (we’re looking at you Funny People, you too Year One) and, as a result, the filmmaker has seen his fair share of box office (and critical) bombs.



Fortunately, The Five-Year Engagement is set to deliver plenty of fun and heart for moviegoers – since it draws from the traditional, but not yet stale, elements that have made prior Apatow-backed films so successful. The movie offers plenty of awkward and raunchy gags, but never strays too far away from the charming, and at times emotionally draining, core storyline. This isn’t to say that The Five-Year Engagement is depressing – because it’s mostly light-hearted fun – but Stoller doesn’t pull any punches and, despite their love for one another, both Tom (Segel) Violet (Blunt) are faced with more than a few heart-breaking moments.

Of course, the filmmaker’s commitment to the more challenging aspects of love is also the film’s greatest strength. In a genre that’s packed-full of gross-out humor, low-brow gags, or shallow fairytale romances, it’s becoming increasingly rare to find a romantic comedy that’s not just relatable, but also capable of saying something intelligent about modern relationships.

The Five Year Engagement Family

Emily Blunt and Jason Segel in 'The Five Year Engagement'

What’s more “modern” than meeting your soulmate at a “make your own superhero”-themed New Year’s Eve party? The Five-Year Engagement storyline begins as Tom and Violet transition from that chance encounter to an engagement one year later. The pair are flourishing in San Francisco where Tom is quickly rising through the ranks as a chef in one of the Bay Area’s nicest restaurants, while Violet anxiously awaits word from Berkley – where she applied for entry into a graduate program in Social Psychology. However, when Violet gets accepted into Michigan instead, Tom passes on a prestigious Head Chef promotion and the pair move to Ann Arbor so that Violet can complete the two-year grad program. Violet flourishes in Michigan but Tom has trouble finding meaningful work; meanwhile, the pair’s wedding plans are routinely pushed-back. Tom takes the up and downs in stride – until Violet is offered a distinguished fellowship that could keep the pair in Michigan indefinitely.

As mentioned, The Five-Year Engagement is an Apatow-style comedy film at nearly every turn, with a pair of central leads that deliver enjoyable and moving performances – not just setups for comedy gags. Neither Segel nor Blunt are breaking new ground in the roles of Tom and Violet, respectively, but the pair succeed in showcasing a range of emotional moments that never come across as melodramatic or, on the other extreme, hollow. Whether in love or out of love, the dynamic between Tom and Violet never gets stale – even when the couple hangs on the verge of collapse. The result is a captivating look at a relationship between two ambitious young adults who are trying to find the right balance between self-sacrifice and self-destruction – while trying to hold on to that initial spark.

The ensemble bench of supporting talent is equally strong, with appearances from Mindy Kaling, Randall Park, Kevin Hart, Rhys Ifans, Alison Brie, Chris Pratt, Jim Piddock – as well as a handful of other players that moviegoers will likely recognize from their favorite TV shows and films. Not all of the characters get as much time in the spotlight as others, but everyone has a moment or two to shine, and no one is forced into the production just for a cheap laugh. By the end, Ifans’ role as Winton Childs is a little uneven and doesn’t always earn his moments – which makes it hard to interpret the character’s actions at various points (though the actor does a solid job with what he’s given). Brie and Pratt, who play Violet’s sister (Suzie) and Tom’s best friend (Alex), are especially entertaining - showcasing veteran comedy timing and, in the case of Brie, a pretty slick British (and Elmo) accent.

The Five Year Engagement Students

Mindy Kaling, Randall Park, Kevin Hart, Emily Blunt, and Rhys Ifans in 'The Five Year Engagement'

However, like many Apatow-produced movies, some viewers may find that the film’s 124 minute runtime starts to drag by the end. Instead of a traditional three-act structure, The Five Year Engagement more closely resembles a four part project – or, being a little more direct, a film with an overly-long closing act. While the ups and downs of the story are all interesting, packed with solid one-liners and enjoyable comedy set-pieces, as a full movie the overall experience could, for some viewers, become a bit drawn-out. It’s easy to understand why Stoller spent the extra time – because it serves the core storyline – but the movie is likely to feel overly-long (especially because the final half-hour also has fewer laughs per minute).

Despite a few hiccups, it’s easy to recommend The Five-Year Engagement – especially since the film’s shortcomings don’t detract all that much for the overall experience. It’s a bit over-stuffed, but the narrative does come full-circle and successfully balances charming comedy gags grounded in a memorable and contemporary love story.

Is The Five-Year Engagement - directed by Nicholas Stoller (Get Him to the Greek) and starring “camp Apatow” veteran Jason Segel and rising starlett Emily Blunt – another memorable and laugh-out-loud entry in the Apatow’s stable of hits?

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Posted: Apr 28, 2012 4:30am
Apr 28, 2012

The titling of director James McTeigue’s Edgar Allan Poe thriller, The Raven, has no doubt confused plenty of would-be moviegoers ever since the film was first announced back in 2009. Instead of a retelling of Poe’s most famous poem, The Raven is actually a fictionalized narrative centered around the final days of the writer’s life – recasting Poe as a reluctant but brave hero that, along with a determined Baltimore detective, attempts to solve a string of grisly murders.

The re-imagined historical figures genre has become a new testing ground for Hollywood, most notably with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter on the horizon (FYI: Edgar Allan Poe makes a guest appearance in the novel), where writers can take household names – and put a new, and in theory more exciting, twist on what would otherwise result in stuffier true-life drama (i.e. Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln biopic). As a result, does McTeigue’s The Raven offer both a fun spin on the last days of Edgar Allan Poe – while also delivering an exciting mystery story?



Unfortunately, the  confusing titling of The Raven is hardly the project’s biggest problem – as, despite a mostly competent (albeit sometimes campy) effort from both John Cusack (Poe) and Luke Evans (Detective Fields), the mystery narrative elements, as well as the respective kills, are surprisingly underwhelming. Many expectant moviegoers had been describing McTeigue’s Poe film as Se7en in 19th Century Baltimore but, sadly, The Raven lacks nearly all the aspects that made David Fincher’s serial killer film so captivating – i.e. jaw-dropping reveals, smart twists, and – despite loads of Poe stories to pull from – intriguing murder scenes are all in short supply.

John Cusack and Luke Evans in 'The Raven'

Edgar Allan Poe and Detective Fields investigate 'The Pit and the Pendulum'

As mentioned, The Raven follows the final days of Edgar Allan Poe’s life – presenting the tortured author as a self-absorbed and desperate social outcast whose work was still, at the time, mostly under-appreciated. The only glimmer of light in Poe’s impertinent existence is his furtive lover Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve), the daughter of a retired Colonel and rich Baltimore socialite. However, when a brutal serial killer begins to dispatch victims, by recreating famous murders from Poe’s published stories, including “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” as well as “The Pit and the Pendulum,” the author is thrown into a malicious battle of wits – with life and death hanging in the balance.

Given how many of Poe’s “horror” mysteries have remained iconic staples of literary history, it’s shocking how quickly the film glosses over the few kill sequences that are included in The Raven. Only “The Pit and the Pendulum” delivers truly impactful, and grisly, on-screen action – with the rest of the murders rattling off one after another with hardly any build-up and uninspired on-site drama. However, even the “Pendulum” murder is void of compelling aftermath – since Poe (and the audience) is merely given the next “clue” as if it was an afterthought not an integral part of the current scene. Instead of presenting Poe and Fields as actual investigators on the trail of a serial killer (who walk into a room and actually deconstruct the scene) The Raven quickly devolves into watching the two chase after a shadowy murderer without stopping to let the audience enjoy the mystery as it unfolds piece by piece.

While moviegoers were initially skeptical of Cusack in the role of Poe – especially after Jeremy Renner, Ewan McGregor, and Joaquin Phoenix had all been in talks at one point during pre-production – the Being John Malkovich (and 2012) star isn’t ultimately at fault for the film’s shortcomings. At first, Cusack over-does the tortured genius angle and actually makes the Poe “character” pretty unlikable (especially compared to a similar schtick from Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes); however, as the film’s murder plot takes hold, the actor backs off from showcasing his practiced version of Poe and locks into a less ambitious, but more likable, approach – simply reacting to the various in-moment happenings. As a result, while the portrayal is campy and, at times, melodramatic, most audience members will likely be rooting for Poe as the film stumbles into the closing act.

Alice Eve and John Cusack in 'The Raven'

Alice Eve (Emily Hamilton) and John Cusack (Poe) in 'The Raven'

Performances from the supporting cast are, similarly, a mixed bag – Eve as well as familiar faces that include Brendan Gleeson and Kevin McNally are competent enough and don’t distract from the core storyline. That said, none of their characters are nuanced or particularly interesting to watch – and only serve as mouths for exposition or goals/obstacles that Poe and Fields are expected to navigate. Only Evans manages to pull any above surface level emotion out of his character (which should be familiar territory for the actor given his solid work in The Immortals – which also featured a cast full of one-note characters). While Fields is still held hostage by the underwhelming story progression and boring scene work in The Raven, Evans emits just enough charisma in the role to successfully keep things going during a number of dialogue heavy scenes that would have otherwise been cause for eye rolling.

Ultimately, The Raven is just about what most pre-release cynics had been anticipating – a bizarre mishmash of historical elements and subpar on-screen drama capped off with an underwhelming but serviceable performance from John Cusack in the leading role. The project fails to impress at nearly every turn and, for a film with such a rich source material, offers very few surprises, intriguing twists, or interesting murder mayhem. While it’s easy to imagine some movie-lovers could enjoy the film when it hits cable, The Raven is never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting, And my soul from out that shadow that lies bored on the floor, Shall be interested – nevermore!

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Posted: Apr 28, 2012 4:24am
Apr 20, 2012




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http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/thumbnail_570x321/2011/12/stooges.jpgDirector duo Peter and Bobby Farrelly has come with a new comedy movie 'The Three Stooges', which aims at eliciting strings of laugh riots from all of us. First time when I heard the movie name, I was quite confused about the genre, whether it is a comedy, a suspense thriller, or a typical romantic movie. The trailers for the movie revealed it a slapstick comedy and people who knew Peter and Bobby Farrelly's movies could guess how successful this movie is going to be.In case you have missed out on the new dose of humor then watch The Three Stooges online. Due to financial dispute with MGM, production of the film, which started in 2009, was left half way. But later on, filming started again and finished on time.

Download The Three Stooges in order to tune in to the movie and enjoy the incessant bouts of comedy involving the three most famous booby guys of the world, Moe, Larry, and Curly. Will Sasso, known for 'Mad TV' and 'Life As We Know It', plays Curly, Sean Hayes famous for 'Will And Grace' comes as Larry and Chris Diamantopoulos noted for 'The Kennedys' portrays the role of Moe.The story revolves round the three guys, who accidentally gets involved in a murder case, while trying to save their orphanage. Download full The Three Stooges, since it seems to be league apart from usual comedy films, and also vouches to allow viewers to laugh their heads off right from the beginning till the end.

The Three Stooges is fun filled biopic recreating the magic of three boneheads on a modern day setup. The story of this film revolves around the lives of three angels from heaven as the nuns like to state them like. The three newborns are left on the doorway of orphanage which is operated by nuns. The newborns are named Larry, Moe and Curly. The newborns look super funny, one is child is having a bowl-shaped haircut, other is having bushy hair that is coming out of his shining bald head and the last one is sporting a retro haircut. Watch The Three Stooges online to find out that the nuns come to know that these kids are gifts of god when Moe pokes one of nuns named Sister Mary-Mangele and she is hurled to the next county.

http://cdn.screenrant.com/wp-content/uploads/The-Three-Stooges-Movie-Review.jpgThe next few years also continues with the wrath of the newborns in full blown as the nuns are left injured by the three stooges. Also, the orphanage would be ask to shut down its operations as they are going through severe financial issues. Download The Three Stooges as Larry, Moe and Curly are recruited as the maintenance guys as they would try and save the place from getting closed at any cost. The mission is pretty simple that they would have to raise a whopping sum of $830,000 and this feat they would have to achieve in just 30 days which seems to be a Herculean task for them. They would go all out in the big city for the first time. They are looking for a job which is seemingly difficult for them to get as they would try and get something in order to save the place. Surprisingly, they get a job as a lady named Lydia is offering one to them, all they have to do is commit a murder basically kill her husband who is suffering and they are offered a handsome amount that would save their home. But will they commit the act of killing someone?

In their homage to the classic Three Stooges comedic trio, directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly (Dumb and Dumber) transport bumbling oafs Larry, Curly and their leader Moe into modern times as three strange-looking babes abandoned on the doorstep of an orphanage. For an emotional core, we’re treated to a setup in which a young Moe is nearly adopted by a caring couple – only to be traded for another boy when he insists that his Stooge brothers also be brought along for the good life.

From there the story breaks into three interlocking vignettes presented as individual Three Stooges episodes, in which Moe, Larry and Curly – now grown – embark on a mission to save the bankrupt orphanage by “raising the dough” themselves – a sum upwards of around 800K. Of course, Three Stooges out to do anything for money can only land themselves in trouble, and Moe, Larry, and Curly sure enough land themselves in the murder schemes of a black widow wife (Sofia Vergara) and her snake of a lover (Craig Bierko). But even as the Stooges try to get the dirty work done, they end up doing more damage than anything else – to themselves, to the schemers, anyone in the immediate vicinity, and even to the face of reality television.

What is there to say about The Three Stooges? It’s one of those films that is either going to resonate strongly or not at all, depending on the viewer. The Farrellys certainly hold up their end of the bargain: they lovingly and accurately recreate the comedic stylings of the classic Three Stooges sketches, from the situational premises to the sound effects to the physical comedy. Lead actors Chris Diamantopoulos (Moe), Sean Hayes (Larry) and Will Sasso (Curly) rise to the task equally well, nailing down most of the timing and mannerisms of original Stooges Moe Howard, Curly Howard and Larry Fine.

Diamantopoulos is the best of the trio, managing to actually own the role of Moe as his own, rather than the (albeit skilled) impersonation work of Sasso and Hayes. Still, the trio are certainly worthy of the characters they are paying homage to – they are also, ironically enough, easier to believe than some of the more famous actors once attached to the roles would’ve been (Sean Penn, Benecio Del Toro and Jim Carrey). So, whatever faults Three Stooges might have (the silly story and general absurdity of it all), the acting and overall approach to recreating the classic material aren’t to blame.

The question comes back to tastes. The Stooges were fitting comedy for their day, and even managed to be popular with children for many decades thereafter (myself included). Of course, we now live in very different times, in which edgier material tends to be what passes for comedy; even animated films aren’t above their fair share of adult humor. I have no doubt that The Three Stooges will be funny for young kids (there’s even a ‘don’t try this at home’ warning for them in the end credits) – but older viewers hoping that this film will rekindle that warm feeling they remember from watching the original sketches are not likely to find what they are seeking here. Then again, those with more conservative comedic tastes, who often find themselves turned off by the dirty comedy of our day, might warmly welcome some good-old, (semi-)clean, slapstick funny business. It all depends on the type of viewer you are.

Celebrity cameos in the film are a mixed bag. The nuns at the orphanage include Glee star Jane Lynch, singer Jennifer Hudson, model/actress Kate Upton (seen above, in detail) and Curb Your Enthusiasm star Larry David as the acerbic Sister Mary-Mengele. We also run into Old Spice hunk Isaiah Mustafa, Modern Family star Vergara, and character actors Stephen Collins (No Ordinary Family) and Bierko. These appearances are welcome, and each person gets a chance to poke a little fun at their own personas (with the exception of Collins and Beirko, who once again play the sinister guys).

http://cdn.screenrant.com/wp-content/uploads/Kate-Upton-in-The-Three-Stooges.jpgLater in the film, when the cast of Jersey Shore gets incorporated into the story… well, that’s the kind of heavy-handed, awkward misstep that has separated the Farrelly’s recent works (Hall Pass, The Heartbreak Kid) from their classics (Dumb & Dumber, There’s Something About Mary). As a rule of thumb: you don’t honor something by way of Jersey Shore. YES, the film includes the reality stars as a sly joke about the kinds of people who become pop-culture fixations these days (“Stooges,” get it?) – but it is the kind of distracting element that can (and does) pull a viewer right out of a film.

To the credit of the cast and directors, The Three Stooges is not all terrible. In final breakdown, the three vignettes get weaker as the film goes (and at times drags) on. The first segment at the orphanage comes closest to capturing that “classic Stooges” magic; the second one, set in the real world, is less effective but still has some good sequences (the hospital); but by the time the third act hits, and the trio have their inevitable falling-out, reconciliation, and Jersey Shore experience? That’s about where this film falls short of its honorable intentions.So what does a good 1.5 out of 3 acts equate to in terms of a 5-star rating for a movie? See below.The Three Stooges is now playing in theaters everywhere. It is Rated PG for slapstick action violence, some rude and suggestive humor including language.

http://cdn.screenrant.com/wp-content/uploads/Jersey-Shore-Snooki-and-J-Wow-in-The-Three-Stooges.jpg

http://screencrush.com/files/2012/04/stooges-thumb.jpg

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Posted: Apr 20, 2012 3:39am

 

 
 
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