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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg are Two Feds on the Run in 2 GUNS [Trailer]

If I can't get a sequel to 2006's Inside Man, then 2 GUNS will have to do. The new action film has got some of what made Inside Man great--a botched robbery/setup, buddy cop bromance and Denzel Washington. And where there's Denzel Washington, there's sly characterization mixed with real drama.

The actor shares the screen with Mark Wahlberg, who's re-teamed with his Contraband director Baltasar Kormákur for the project. Screenwriter Blake Masters penned the script, which marks his first time writing a full length feature (according to IMDB, he's mostly known for the defunct TV drama, "Law & Order: LA"). The movie is based on the original comic book series by Steven Grant.

More on the movie below (from CinemaBlend.com):

“Academy Award® winner Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg lead an all-star cast in 2 Guns, an explosive action film that tracks two operatives from competing bureaus who are forced on the run together. But there is a big problem with their unique alliance: Neither knows that the other is an undercover federal agent.

For the past 12 months, DEA agent Bobby Trench (Washington) and U.S. naval intelligence officer Marcus Stigman (Wahlberg) have been reluctantly attached at the hip. Working undercover as members of a narcotics syndicate, each man distrusts his partner as much as the criminals they have both been tasked to take down.

When their attempt to infiltrate a Mexican drug cartel and recover millions goes haywire, Trench and Stigman are suddenly disavowed by their superiors. Now that everyone wants them in jail or in the ground, the only person they can count on is the other. Unfortunately for their pursuers, when good guys spend years pretending to be bad, they pick up a few tricks along the way.”


Sounds like a modern take on The Defiant Ones, which done well can be wildly entertaining. Check out the trailer:




I'm kinda loving this, though obviously it's not a very original premise. Not everyone has the chops to sidle up next to Washington, but it looks like Wahlberg is really at ease here. We've certainly seen him balance action and humor in the past on screen (in both good and bad films), but we haven't seen much of that from Washington (unless you count the natural sarcasm he brings to his dramatic performances). But Washington does have tons of experience playing a man with a badge (it seems that's his main niche nowadays).

The one thing that seems kinda thrown in there, at least in the trailer, is the tired damsel in distress act played again by Paula Patton (who did a similar routine in 2006's Deja Vu, co-starring Denzel Washington). I just think Patton is so above this act. But, hey, maybe there's more to her character in the film...I hope.

What do you think? Will you watch 2 GUNS when it hits theaters August 2nd?

Comedian Kevin Hart Brings His Sold-Out Concert Tour, KEVIN HART: LET ME EXPLAIN, to Theaters This Summer [Trailer]

Since many of the movies that have been in theaters this year have been less than desirable, I've really had time to catch up on some of the titles that have been nesting in my Netflix queue for months weeks. Over the past few days, especially, I've been watching a lot of stand-up comedy specials--everyone from Richard Pryor to Aziz Ansari. Then I stumbled across Think Like a Man comedian Kevin Hart's specials, I'm a Grown Little Man and Laugh at My Pain. And--you guessed it--they are flippin' hysterical.

It's hard for me not to compare every funnyman to the geniuses Richard Pryor and Chris Rock (two of my all-time favorites), but Hart has his own brand of humor that has the raunchiness of those who've come before him and the comedic timing of a guy who, while hilarious, seems to come up with some of his best jokes right on the spot. And, like Pryor, many of his jokes stem from his very troubled upbringing as the son of a drug addict father. Especially in Laugh at My Pain, you see how he turns internal devastation into a punchline.

All that to say, I am psyched to hear that Hart has another comedy special coming out in theaters July 4th, KEVIN HART: LET ME EXPLAIN. If you only know the actor from his role as the unhappily divorced Cedric in Think Like a Man, you can expect that and then some in this special (if it's as good as his previous stand-ups). Judging by the trailer, it's a little bit of his life off-camera mixed in with his act. More on the film after the jump (from Comingsoon.net):

"Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain" captures the laughter, energy and mayhem from Hart's 2012 concert tour, which spanned 10 countries and 80 cities, and generated over $32 million in ticket sales. Hart's "Let Me Explain" tour was one of the most successful comedy tours of all time, with more than 540,000 tickets sold. Both of his shows at New York's Madison Square Garden and his performance at London's O2 Arena sold out, as well as his appearances in Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Amsterdam. The tour concluded this past New Year's Eve in Los Angeles by selling out the Staples Center and grossing over $1 million in revenue in one night. Only five other comedians – Andrew Dice Clay, Dane Cook, Chris Rock, Russell Peters and Eddie Murphy – have sold out Madison Square Garden where Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain was filmed.


Friday, March 29, 2013

Are Celine and Jesse Going Through a Mid-Marriage Crisis in BEFORE MIDNIGHT?


At least that is what's eluded to in the stars' latest romantic romp, BEFORE MIDNIGHT. It's been 18 years since star-crossed lovers Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) first met on a Vienna train in Before Sunrise, and now, two movies and two children later, it looks like the couple's chance love may be on the rocks.

But if you've seen either of the previous movies in the trilogy (including Before Sunset, the second in the series), you can probably guess that before things really hit the fan the two will engage in a very heavy and pensive dialogue about their lives, hopes, dreams and ideals. While I've only seen Before Sunrise, that was my overall perception of the story as the two characters quickly bounced from one topic to another. Writer/director of the series Richard Linklater (Oscar-nominated along with Delpy and Hawke for writing Before Sunset) has a unique ability to capture light conversation between two people that has a much deeper meaning, but I never quite got to to know them individually aside from what they felt about various things.

Perhaps Before Sunset explored that a little more ( I'm told it did), so I plan to see that before I check out the BEFORE MIDNIGHT, which has been taking the festivals by storm this year. I think everyone really wants to know how the two will finally end up. From what I can tell by the new trailer, it seems like Celine has become insecure about Jesse's love for her, and Jesse may have reached a plateau with his own feelings.

It probably doesn't help that Hawke looks the same age he did in Reality Bites 19 years ago, while Delpy looks a bit more haggard (though she manages to keep that lively, whimsical appeal about her). Celine even mentions in the clip, "I'm married to an American teenager."

Here's a recap of the synopsis from my original Sundance post:

We meet Celine and Jesse nine years after their last rendezvous. Almost two decades have passed since their first encounter on a train bound for Vienna, and we now find them in their early forties in Greece. Before the clock strikes midnight, we will again become part of their story.

I'm excited to watch the transgression in their story, which has really captured a cult following all these years. BEFORE MIDNIGHT opens in theaters May 24th.



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hugh Jackman Channels Jean Valjean-like Vulnerability and Passion in the New Trailer for THE WOLVERINE

Remember when I said that I felt more comfortable watching Hugh Jackman sing and dance morosely, Broadway-style, than play a character like Wolverine again? Well, I still mean that. 

But, in the new trailer for THE WOLVERINE, the latest venture for the comic book character that reportedly takes place after X-Men 3, it looks like the actor somehow took the vulnerability and rugged heroism from his Jean Valjean performance in last year's Les Misérables and applied it to the grizzly, down-on-his-luck antihero. Or, at least that's what I'm telling myself.

Seriously, it looks like this movie is actually about something. There seems to be a beginning, middle and ending to the character's journey, at least based on the trailer. And, since Jackman is the only major star of the movie (unless you count Famke Janssen), this could really show off his acting chops in a whole new way. I hope.

More on the movie in its official synopsis below (Screenrant):

Based on the celebrated comic book arc, this epic action-adventure takes Wolverine, the most iconic character of the X-Men universe, to modern day Japan. Out of his depth in an unknown world he faces his ultimate nemesis in a life-or-death battle that will leave him forever changed. Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his physical and emotional limits, he confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality, emerging more powerful than we have ever seen him before.

Yeah, I can get down with this. The only aspect that is a bit of concern for me is sreenwriter Mark Bomback, whose memorable credits include Live Free or Die Hard and last year's Total Recall. If you remember, those two films weren't anything to write home about. But Girl, Interrupted and 3:10 to Yuma director James Mangold is at the helm, which could make everything better.

What say you? THE WOLVERINE hits theaters July 26th. 



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The New Trailer for WHITE HOUSE DOWN Looks Like Another Exhausting Oval Office Thriller

Ugh, is it just me or are many of the upcoming releases starting to look the same--boring and predictable? With the exception of a few (the newest clip from Despicable Me 2 comes to mind), trailers this year just haven't carried that oh-I've-GOT-to-see-this! quality about them.

Take Olympus Has Fallen, for instance, starring Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart. Though I managed to avoid it, mostly because I am still nursing my war wounds from A Good Day to Die Hard, I pretty much knew the drill--the White House becomes under a terrorist attack and it's up to one man to save all their lives (including, apparently, the lives of the useless secret service men who surround the premises). I figured it was a rental.

Just days after Olympus grabbed the #2 spot at the box office, it is immediately followed by the trailer for its sister film, WHITE HOUSE DOWN. And you can just imagine my indifference to this duplicate high-octane movie where the president and and his men are compromised. What's up with Hollywood's fascination with dissolving the White House? From what I heard over the blogosphere, Olympus wasn't well received critically (but the action scenes were reportedly "CRAZY"), so what makes them think that this Oval Office thriller will be any better?

Well, I'm sure they're hoping that Jamie Foxx, fresh from his titular role in the Oscar-winning film Django Unchained, will be a draw in the role of the POTUS himself. The supposed savior of the movie? Channing Tatum.... And just like that, any smidgen of hope I had for the film just went up in flames.

Rather than reiterating my utter bewilderment in regards to Tatum's career, I'm just going to share the official synopsis of the film for your benefit. Read about it after the jump (from Collider):

Capitol Policeman John Cale (Channing Tatum) has just been denied his dream job with the Secret Service of protecting President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx). Not wanting to let down his little girl with the news, he takes her on a tour of the White House, when the complex is overtaken by a heavily armed paramilitary group. Now, with the nation’s government falling into chaos and time running out, it’s up to Cale to save the president, his daughter, and the country.

I don't know why they don't just call it Olympus Has Fallen 2: The New Batch, but whatever. Filmmaker Roland Emmerich, director of other disaster films such as The Day After TomorrowIndependence Day and 2012, helmed the project. And screenwriter James Vanderbilt (The Amazing Spider-Man, Zodiac) penned the script.

Note: I did not care for The Amazing Spider-Man, but can at least say The Day After Tomorrow, Zodiac and Independence Day are all good credits to have under your belt.

What do you think? Will you seen WHITE HOUSE DOWN when it comes to theaters June 28th?





White House Down - Trailer No. 1

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Which of Your Favorite Movies is So Bad, It's Good? ["Cinema in Noir"]


That's the question we asked on today's "Cinema in Noir." Due to the overwhelming number of crappy movies polluting the box office this year so far, we decided to talk about the films that have been keeping our attention at home and away from the movie theater. And, obviously, we're not always proud of all our choices. Did some say...Glitter?

We also discussed the latest in film news, including the newest actor to join the Godzilla remake, and the newest project from executive producer Issa Rae, "How Men Become Dogs."

Don't miss today's show, with special guest host Jonathan Hailey from The Urban Daily:


Listen to internet radio with KimberlyRenee on Blog Talk Radio



Monday, March 18, 2013

5 Reasons Why We Don’t Need A “Good Times” Movie



Another day, another poor excuse for a Black movie in the works. This time, Hollywood has set its sights on demolishing the good name of the iconic ‘70s TV show, “Good Times.”  Scott Rudin will produce the film set in the ’60s (instead of the ’70s) and Phil Johnston (“Wreck-It Ralph”) will write the script.

So now James and Florida Evans will be battling to make ends meet during the height of the Civil Rights movement while J.J. shouts “DY-NO-MITE!” at probably the most inappropriate moments.
While we still adore the sitcom (and even watch it to this day), the idea of it being remade in 2013 for the big screen just makes us shudder. And here are five reasons why:

5. Hollywood has no idea what to do with black characters: Face it: These days, we can’t have clever characters without them being corny and sexless; and we can’t have assured characters without them coming across sassy and unbearable. “Good Times” managed to brilliantly teeter along many of these aspects, while at the same time it offered a poignant story that rarely offended you. You may not have always exactly related to each saga, but you understood and appreciated it. How often does that happen for more modern films?

4.There are far too many other great narratives to adapt: “Good Times” was good for its time, but we have so many untold stories that could benefit from screen time. If you base it on Hollywood’s more recent choices, you’d think we were starving for decent Black stories to put in theaters. You’d think we didn’t have anything else to say that didn’t involve people in servitude and loud-mouthed grandmas. But that couldn’t be further from the case. If Hollywood would just venture to the library every once in a while, they’d notice that there’s a plethora of stories screaming for big screen treatments. Those are the stories worth funding.
 
3.Phil Johnston: Johnston wrote the charming Oscar-nominated (yet largely white) Wreck-It-Ralph, which everyone should see if they haven’t already. But since when does writing a fun animated film (with no other acclaimed credits) make you qualified to take on the multi-faceted, politically-charged story of a black family in the ‘70s tackling stereotypes, poverty and racism? It doesn’t. Hollywood didn’t want to ask anyone else? Insert red flag here.

2. Hollywood can’t even get modern Black sitcoms right: It’s no secret that the small screen today is seriously lacking the intelligence and audacity that embodied such classic shows as “The Jeffersons” and “The Cosby Show.” Gone is the hardened advice of Judge Phillip Banks and the glamour of Helen Willis. Throughout the years, Hollywood has too often debased and ridiculed the black family with low-form entertainment. And now they’re trying to go back and ruin one of the great ones.

1.It’s a lose-lose situation: If the movie does well at the box office, no matter how bad it is, more will pop up just like it, which means fewer films of substance like Middle of Nowhere and Pariah. If the movie makes no money, then Hollywood would chalk it up to their deluded notion that there is no audience for black movies.

Just makes you go, “damn, damn, damn..”


This post was originally published by The Urban Daily.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

'SPRING BREAKERS' is Not the Daring or Provocative Film It Pretends to Be [REVIEW]


Many people might tell you that SPRING BREAKERS is a beautifully nuanced film, one which utilizes the rowdy vacation setting as merely a backdrop. Others may say that it's refreshing to see Disney starlets Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez in more mature, risqué roles.They may even go as far as to say that the movie subtly showcases a deeper meaning of life, deviance, and ethereality.

But I'm going to call this movie what it really is: just another way to see young womens's boobs and behinds splattered across the screen in a gratuitous nature that offers nothing to the story (or lack thereof). This is yet another careless example of women delivering so-called "daring" performances by shedding their clothes (an issue previously discussed in an earlier post). And this time, Disney veterans, perhaps far too eager to discard their squeaky clean images, eagerly jump to the bait.

Don't get it twisted, folks. This movie is outrageous, eye-roll worthy, and simply deplorable.

The beginning of the film mesmerizes you with its heart-thumping score, along with the naked buttocks and bosoms splashed across the screen, drenched with alcohol and beach water. The camera is peering so deep inside every girl's crotch that you have no choice but to feel dirty. As you struggle to adjust your eyes to the barenaked bodies (mostly women's; the men don't strip beyond their swim  trunks, of course), you realize that after a few minutes you've been watching either a "Girl Gone Wild" video or just your typical music video. And you can only hope it gets better than that.

But it doesn't.

Writer/director Harmony Korine (Kids) creates a so-called badass group of female characters (played by his wife Rachel Korine, Gomez, Hudgens and Ashley Benson), who rely on nothing but their string bikinis and blonde ambition to get them where they want to be. And where's that? Sprawled out on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, blasted out of their minds on beaches with hundreds of others, and making out with each other at seedy house parties as the handful of guys present shout encouragement.

These college students are so badly itching to take part in this debauchery that they are willing to do anything to abandon their desperately mundane town to get there. Which means holding up a diner at fake gun point, and robbing all the workers and customers blind for the travel money.

Wait, what? I understand that the spring break ritual is a student's right of passage, so to speak, one in which they'd feel left out if they for whatever reason can't participate. But stretching it to the point that the desire of a beach vacation takes precedence over good old-fashioned sanity seems hilariously contrived.


But it works, and the girls are deliriously ecstatic. Once they arrive on the sandy dunes, they are quickly seduced by the thrill of sex, drugs and alcohol that comes along with this annual getaway. However, despite Korine's tedious efforts to steer the audience away from the movie's gratuitous swag by employing eerie reflections from each girl (who phone home detailing bombastic experiences to their unsuspecting guardians back at home; one of them even calls this vacation "spiritual"), the film continued to hobble along on a highway to nowhere. It became clear here that the director decided to mask a hopelessly thin script with hip-hop tunes, neon visuals and sexual shock value (which is never actually shocking).


It started to regain its course with the introduction of Alien (James Franco), a gold-toothed rapper/criminal who's got access to way more than he can handle, including an impressive stash of weapons. He gets the girls out of a pinch, and therefore appoints himself their delinquent savior, offering them free room and board in exchange for watching him get off on his own depravities and eventually accompanying his downfall. The best thing about Franco's performance is that it borders on hilarity and hopelessness, despite how it's written. But, sadly, the character becomes a cop-out and never reaches its potential to embody the themes of the movie.

The semi-poignant moments are further demolished by bad dialogue and caricature-like portrayals. It can be said that three of the lead actresses, Hudgens, Korine and Benson, who play the wildest of the crew, at least commit to the roles. Though they're probably hoping this is a mere jumping off point in their careers for more grown-up roles. Little do they know that SPRING BREAKERS is simply a R-rated version of Baywatch.

However, Gomez is just uncomfortable to watch in the role. She has the face of a cherubic 12-year-old, which does at least lend itself to her church girl gone awry character, Faith, but she not only doesn't fit in with her untamed posse but she doesn't even seem to want to be there (even before things really hit the fan for the girls in the latter half of the movie). She's awkward in the role, and you just can't wait for her to leave the screen. It's that painful to endure, and borderline perverse in nature.

From it's pointless script, sloppy acting and dreadful direction, SPRING BREAKERS is not nearly as profound as it pretends to be. If Korine's critically-acclaimed screenplay for Kids is any proof, it's probably best that he either direct or write a project, not do both at once.

Save yourself the agony of watching this movie and just dust off your old "Girls Gone Wild" VHS tapes instead. They're likely to omit the riff-raff in this movie and cut right to the chase.

Rating: F+

SPRING BREAKERS hits theaters in New York and Los Angeles March 15th. It opens nationwide on March 22nd.

Jim Carrey, Chloë Moretz and Aaron Taylor-Johnson are Amateur Crusaders in "KICK-ASS 2" [Video]

Full disclosure: I wasn't a fan of 2010's Kick-Ass. The whole teen dork-turned-potty mouthed superhero premise gnawed on my nerves after the first 20 minutes. And Nicolas Cage's persistently phoned-in performance didn't help. BUT, Chloë Moretz is always a pleasure to watch. So there's that.

But, of course, mine is just one opinion among the masses. The film became a mini cult favorite and was hugely popular, so obviously they had to make a sequel. Hence, KICK-ASS 2, which reunites Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (who I can take or leave, but usually leave) in the lead role. However, the previous director, Matthew Vaughan, and co-writer Jane Goldman have jumped ship, along with Cage, which intrigues me. 

Filmmaker Jeff Wadlow (Never Back Down) takes on double duty as both director and writer of the newest installment of the comic book adaptation. Oh, and Jim Carrey is on board, which should bring a chuckle or two. More on the sequel below (courtesy of IGN.com):

Kick-Ass, Hit Girl and Red Mist return for the follow-up to 2010’s irreverent global hit: ‘Kick-Ass 2.’ After Kick-Ass’ (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) insane bravery inspires a new wave of self-made masked crusaders, led by the badass Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), our hero joins them on patrol. When these amateur superheroes are hunted down by Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse)—reborn as The Mother F%&*^r—only the blade-wielding Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) can prevent their annihilation. When we last saw junior assassin Hit Girl and young vigilante Kick-Ass, they were trying to live as normal teenagers Mindy and Dave. With graduation looming and uncertain what to do, Dave decides to start the world’s first superhero team with Mindy.

Unfortunately, when Mindy is busted for sneaking out as Hit Girl, she’s forced to retire—leaving her to navigate the terrifying world of high-school mean girls on her own. With no one left to turn to, Dave joins forces with Justice Forever, run by a born-again ex-mobster named Colonel Stars and Stripes. Just as they start to make a real difference on the streets, the world’s first super villain, The Mother F%&*^r, assembles his own evil league and puts a plan in motion to make Kick-Ass and Hit Girl pay for what they did to his dad. But there’s only one problem with his scheme: If you mess with one member of Justice Forever, you mess with them all.

This sounds good. And the trailer is quite promising. I have to admit that a new writer and director piques my interest, and this premise sounds like it could actually be about something more than young superheroes kicking ass. Check out the trailer.



KICK-ASS 2 opens in theaters August 16th.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Who are the Best Non-American Actresses Working Today? ["Cinema in Noir"]


That is the question we posed on today's episode of "Cinema in Noir" in celebration of Women's History Month  And we're not only talking about which actresses the Academy tends to honor on a regular basis (Kate Winslet anyone?), but also actresses who may not be getting their due (Shohreh Aghdashloo) and those who have seemingly gone missing from the big screen (Catalina Sandino Moreno).

Our co-host Rebecca also shared a scathing review of Oz: The Great and Powerful (one of many if you've been checking the web) and a twin review for Dead Man Down (I believe the word "derivative" was mentioned).

We also discusses the latest in film news, including Jesse L. Martin's re-casting in the Marvin Gaye biopic, after Lenny Kravitz stepped down from the role (for which we threw a party).

Missed the show? Check out the recap, with special guest host Jonathan Hailey from The Urban Daily:


Listen to internet radio with KimberlyRenee on Blog Talk Radio



Joseph Gordon-Levitt Faces Off Against Tony Danza in a White T-Shirt Contest in "DON JON" [PHOTOS]

Remember Don Jon's Addiction, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut we talked about a few months ago when it premiered at Sundance? Well, it seems like they've dropped "Addiction" from the title and it's now called DON JON (But, as far as I can tell, the lead character is still addicted to porn, so....yeah).

In any case, Relativity Media has just released new photos from the movie, which also stars Tony Danza, Julianne Moore and Scarlett Johansson. Before we get to the pictures below, here's a recap of the synopsis (from GeekTyrant):

Jon Martello objectifies everything in his life: his apartment, his car, his family, his church, and, of course, women. His buddies even call him Don Jon because of his ability to pull “10s” every weekend without fail. Yet even the finest flings don’t compare to the transcendent bliss he achieves alone in front of the computer watching pornography. Dissatisfied, he embarks on a journey to find a more gratifying sex life, but ends up learning larger lessons of life and love through relationships with two very different women.
And here are the images:




No official release date has been announced yet, but stay tuned. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Wolfpack Gets Into Another Drunken Debacle in the First Trailer for "THE HANGOVER PART III"

I'm clearly in the minority on this, but I really enjoyed the first two installments of the deliriously bromantic Hangover movies. So I am super hyped to finally check out the third and final film in the series, THE HANGOVER PART III.

Before you ask, no I have no idea why this trio (comprised of recent Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis) keeps getting into these drunken shenanigans, but they keep me entertained.And this time they've somehow wrangled John Goodman and Melissa McCarthy in the their nonsense. More on the film in the brief synopsis below from Screenrant:

This time, there’s no wedding. No bachelor party. What could go wrong, right? But when the Wolfpack hits the road, all bets are off.

That really doesn't tell you much, which probably means that it's more of the same. Except there's no epic finale of bachelorhood to lose their minds over, but I'm sure something will let the dogs out.

Jamie Chung returns as Stu's (Helms) wife, along with the level-headed member of the Wolfpack, Doug (Justin Bartha), Heather Graham (last seen swinging from a pool and getting the fellas out of a bind in the first movie), and constant troublemaker Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong).

Director and co-writer Todd Phillips also returns to round out the trilogy, re-teaming with screenwriter Craig Mazin, who co-wrote the second movie. 

Watch the trailer below:



THE HANGOVER PART III opens in theaters May 24th.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mira Nair, Whoopi Goldberg, Paul Rudd and Melissa Leo Among Those Headlining 2013 Tribeca Films

Today the Tribeca Film Festival announced the remaining titles in this year's film slate, those competing in the Midnight, Special Screening, and Spotlight categories. The event is also introducing Storyscapes, a new category that celebrates new trends in digital media and recognizes filmmakers and content creators who employ an interactive, web-based or cross-platform approach to story creation.

And there's plenty of star power involved this year. Two films starring Paul Rudd made their way on the list, along with another twofer from Melissa Leo, and others featuring the talent of John Cusack, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Julianne Moore and directors Mira Nair and Whoopi Goldberg. 

Check out highlights from each category below, with links to the full lists:

SPOTLIGHT (focuses on films that blur the lines between independent and mainstream filmmaking)

ADULT WORLD, directed by Scott Coffey, written by Andy Cochran. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Amy (Emma Roberts) is naïve, awkward and anxious to get her poetry career off of the ground. She begrudgingly accepts a job at the local sex shop, Adult World, while pursuing a surefire kick-start for her success: a mentorship with reclusive writer Rat Billings (the hilarious John Cusack). As Amy’s world melds with that of Adult World, she slowly learns that inspiration can be found in the most improbable places.



ALMOST CHRISTMAS, directed by Phil Morrison, written by Melissa James Gibson. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Two French Canadian ne’er-do-wells travel to New York City with a scheme to a get rich quick selling Christmas trees. Easygoing charmer Rene (Paul Rudd) clashes with misanthropic ex-con Dennis (Paul Giamatti), whose wife Rene just stole. Still, this odd couple must make an honest go of it in this fresh buddy comedy co-starring Sally Hawkins, by the director of the indie breakout hit Junebug.



AT ANY PRICE, directed by Ramin Bahrani, written by Hallie Elizabeth Newton and Bahrani. (USA) – New York Premiere, Narrative. The robust farming industry of Iowa is the backdrop for this father-and-son story. Dean Wipple (Zac Efron) longs to be a professional racecar driver. His father Henry (Dennis Quaid) plans to make him the heir to their family farming empire. When Henry’s ethics and expansion practices come under fire, the family must unify or risk losing everything. Temptation, ambition and competition are the driving forces behind this modern-day drama co-starring Heather Graham and Clancy Brown. A Sony Pictures Classics release.


BEFORE MIDNIGHT, directed by Richard Linklater, written by Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke and Linklater. (USA) – New York Premiere, Narrative. In the eagerly anticipated third chapter in the star-crossed tale of Jesse and Celine, director and co-writer Richard Linklater fast-forwards to nine years after their last meeting. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy deliver powerfully authentic performances as the companions who find themselves at yet another crossroads in their twisting but passionate relationship. The picturesque streets of Greece serve as the latest backdrop to this beautifully crafted love story. A Sony Pictures Classics release.


BOTTLED UP, directed and written by Enid Zentelis. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. In this modern-day drama, Oscar®-winner Melissa Leo beautifully conveys the heart-wrenching struggle that comes with loving an addict. Complaining of back pain months after a car accident, Sylvie’s (Marin Ireland) addiction to painkillers is clear to everyone except her mother, Faye (Leo). A promising solution appears in Becket (Josh Hamilton), but relationships and loyalty are soon tested when his feelings fall in an unexpected place.

A CASE OF YOU, directed by Kat Coiro, written by Justin Long, Keir O'Donnel, and Christian Long. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. A young writer (Justin Long) woos a cute and quirky barista (Evan Rachel Wood) by creating an embellished online profile. When she falls for his alter ego, he must keep up the act or lose his dream girl. Directed by TFF alumna Kat Coiro and featuring a cast of hilarious cameo performers including Peter Dinklage, Sam Rockwell, Vince Vaughn and Sienna Miller, A Case of You is a winning romantic comedy for the social media age.



ELAINE STITCH: SHOOT ME, directed by Chiemi Karasawa. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Broadway legend Elaine Stritch remains in the spotlight at eighty-seven years old. Join the uncompromising Tony and Emmy Award-winner both on and off stage in this revealing documentary. With interviews from Tina Fey, Nathan Lane, Hal Prince and others, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me blends rare archival footage and intimate cinema vérité to reach beyond Stritch’s brassy exterior, revealing a multi-dimensional portrait of a complex woman and an inspiring artist.

THE ENGLISH TEACHER, directed by Craig Zisk, written by Dan Chariton and Stacy Chariton. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Teacher Linda Sinclair (Julianne Moore) balances her staid home life with an incredible passion for her subject, but her routine is forever altered when a former star pupil and his unsupportive father reenter her life. Go-to television director Craig Zisk, whose credits include Scrubs, Weeds and United States of Tara, takes a turn on the big screen with this insightful comedy about self-discovery co-starring Greg Kinnear, Nathan Lane, Michael Angarano and Lily Collins. A Cinedigm and Tribeca Film co-release.

I GOT SOMETHIN' TO TELL YOU, directed by Whoopi Goldberg. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Having broken racial and sexual boundaries as a pioneering comic talent, the late Moms Mabley has long been an icon in the comedy world. Now Whoopi Goldberg takes a deep dive into Mabley’s legacy via recently unearthed photography, rediscovered performance footage and the words of numerous celebrated comedians. A true passion project for Goldberg, I Got Somethin’ to Tell You shows Mabley’s historical significance and profound influence as a performer vastly ahead of her time.


PRINCE AVALANCHE, directed and written by David Gordon Green. (USA) – New York Premiere, Narrative. Alvin (Paul Rudd) and Lance (Emile Hirsch) spend the summer of 1988 repainting a highway in a fire-damaged forest. The isolation quickly wears thin on Lance, yet an unlikely friendship emerges within their cutting jibes and forced reconciliations to meet the long road that lies ahead. David Gordon Green returns to the lyrical tenor of his earliest films in this potent blend of comedy and road-movie stoicism, based on the 2011 Icelandic film Either Way. A Magnolia Pictures release.



RICHARD PRYOR: OMIT THE LOGIC, directed by Marina Zenovich, written by Peter Morgan. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. This moving portrait of legendary comedian Richard Pryor chronicles his life from his troubled youth in Peoria, Illinois, to his meteoric rise as one of the most respected comic actors of the 20th century. Often misunderstood during the height of his celebrity, the late superstar has never been profiled this extensively. Marina Zenovich’s revealing and entertaining film lays bare the demons with which he struggled and reminds us just how daring and dangerous artistic freedom can be. Includes interviews with Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, Mel Brooks, Quincy Jones, Lily Tomlin, Jesse Jackson.



THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST, directed by Mira Nair, written by Mohsin Hamid, William Wheeler, Ami Boghani. (India, Pakistan, USA) – U.S. Premiere, Narrative. Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding, The Namesake) returns with another spellbinding adaptation of a celebrated bestseller. Pakistan-born Changez (Riz Ahmed) turns a Princeton degree into a cushy life on Wall Street with a gorgeous girlfriend (Kate Hudson). Then the Twin Towers fall, and his American dream shatters amid interrogations and overwhelming national distrust. He soon questions his allegiances, as this thriller exposes the dangers of being a stranger in your own land.Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Schreiber and Om Puri also star. An IFC Films release.



A SINGLE SHOT, directed by David M. Rosenthal, written by Matthew F. Jones. (U.K., USA, Canada) – North American Premiere, Narrative. A Single Shot brings together a wealth of indie stalwarts, including Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy, Melissa Leo and Jeffrey Wright, to paint a tense portrait of John Moon, a man attempting to win back his estranged family while desperately outrunning an accidental crime. Director David M. Rosenthal returns to the Festival with this ominously atmospheric and suspenseful backwoods tale of circumstance, based on Matthew F. Jones’s 1996 novel.



SOME VELVET MORNING, directed and written by Neil LaBute. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Fred arrives at Velvet’s doorstep, suitcases in tow. He tells her that he has finally left his wife to be with her, news to Velvet since she has not seen him in years and is now with Fred’s recently married son. As Fred’s hopes crash to earth during a conversation brimming with passion, remorse, humor and anger, the twisted heart of a fascinating relationship is revealed. Stanley Tucci and Alice Eve star in this spirited living room drama.

Find the full list of films in the Spotlight category here

MIDNIGHT (a celebration of the innovative, risky, and groundbreaking horror film genre)


V/H/S/2, directed by Simon Barrett, Adam Wingard, Eduardo Sanchez, Gregg Hale, Timo Tjahjanto, Gareth Evans, Jason Eisener, written by Barrett, Jamie Nash, Tjahjanto, Evans, Eisener, and John Davies (USA, Indonesia) – New York Premiere, Narrative. Investigators break into a house, find a vast collection of VHS tapes and play them one by one. The videos include visions of the paranormal, flesh-eating zombies, a shockingly genuine scene of hell on earth and a slumber party gone horribly awry. This highly anticipated sequel to last year's horror breakout V/H/S features contributions from contemporary genre filmmaking’s leading talents, including the creators of Hobo with a Shotgun, The Raid, You’re Next and The Blair Witch Project. In English, Indonesian with subtitles. A Magnet Release.

Find the complete list of films in the Midnight category here.

STORYSCAPES (multi-platform transmedia projects)


STAR WARS UNCUT, Project Creator: Casey Pugh. (USA). Love Star Wars but think you would have done it differently? Then this fun, creative and wonderfully nostalgic interactive media project is for you. Using everything from hand-drawn animations to intricate reenactments, fans and series novices created short alternatives to the Star Wars storyline and went online to piece them all together. Discover a whole new approach to Star Wars, one fifteen-second burst at a time.



SANDY STORYLINE, Project Creators: Rachel Falcone, Laura Gottesdiener, and Michael Premo. (USA). Using audio, photography, text and video,Sandy Storyline is an ever-growing documentary narrative as community members and volunteers offer their accounts of the storm and the efforts to recover and rebuild local neighborhoods. The project forges a new type of media in time of crisis, one that is participatory, interactive and designed for community empowerment.

Find the full list of films competing in the Storyscapes category here.

SPECIAL SCREENING


SIDEWALK STORIES, Directed and written by Charles Lane (USA) –Narrative. The low-budget, New York-in-the-’80s movie that proves that silence is not all that golden, Charles Lane’s magnetic Sidewalk Stories is long overdue for rediscovery. Lane plays a sidewalk chalk artist whose efforts to care for an abandoned toddler are confounded by the oddball homeless characters he meets. Black-and-white and mostly silent, the film is an ingenious and whimsical effort by a black artist to give a voice to those who have none.



THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI, Directed by Bill Siegel (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary.
Brash boxer Cassius Clay burst into the American consciousness in the early 1960s, just ahead of the Civil Rights movement. His transformation into the spiritually enlightened heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali is legendary, but this religious awakening also led to a bitter legal battle with the U.S. government after he refused to serve in the Vietnam War. This film reveals the perfect storm of race, religion and politics that shaped one of the most recognizable figures in sports history.

Find the full list of films in the Special Screening section here

The Tribeca Film Festival runs April 17-28 in New York City. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Naomi Watts and Jennifer Jason Leigh Headline Two New Women-Directed Films Premiering at Tribeca

The 2013 Tribeca Film Festival is starting to unveil their list of films debuting next month, beginning with the Viewpoints, World Narratives and Documentaries. Without going through their entire film slate, I've decided to spotlight one film from each of the two former categories, particularly those that best represent the theme of Women's History Month. 

Both films, detailed below, are helmed by women directors, and star two talented actresses who bring to life stories that highlight the complexities of the female experience. More on each below:

World Narrative



SUNLIGHT JR., directed and written by Laurie Collyer. (USA) – World Premiere. Quickie-mart employee Melissa (Naomi Watts) and paraplegic Richie (Matt Dillon) are very much in love. Supported only by Melissa’s small hourly wage, they are nevertheless thrilled to learn that Melissa is pregnant. Then their situation deteriorates, and their tenuous financial situation threatens to bring their happy life crashing down. Norman Reedus also stars in this a moving romantic drama from Laurie Collyer, director of the Golden Globe-nominated Sherrybaby.

Full list of films competing in the World Narratives section here

Viewpoints (fresh voices in independent film and contemporary documentary from around the world)


THE MOMENT, directed by Jane Weinstock, written by Jane Gloria Norris and Weinstock. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. After a tumultuous affair between international photojournalist Lee (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and troubled artist John (Martin Henderson) ends in John’s disappearance, Lee lands in a mental hospital to recuperate. She strikes up a friendship with a fellow patient bearing an uncanny resemblance to her missing lover. The pair works to uncover the truth behind the disappearance, but Lee’s precarious sanity comes under threat when the clues lead to the last place she would ever expect.

Check out the full list of films premiering in the Viewpoints section here

The remaining list of films will be announced tomorrow, March 6th. The Tribeca Film Festival will run in New York City April 17th-28th. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Zoe Saldana Responds to Critics and "ChilltownTV" Creator Discusses Breaking the Hip-Hop Mold on Today's "Cinema In Noir"


On today's Cinema in Noir, we discuss actress Zoe Saldana's response to her overwhelming number of haters (many of whom live on the Internet, and many of color) about her controversial casting of legendary singer Nina Simone in an upcoming biopic. And it was quite graceful, despite being of much opposition. Check out the video here. Thoughts? 

We also share final thoughts on last week's Oscar's ceremony, and our take on this year's slate of TV pilots scheduled. Is the small screen presenting enough lead opportunities of actors of color? You could probably already guess at the answer, but you might be surprised to see shows from stars like John Leguizamo (Ice Age and To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar), Ming-Na ("ER" and The Joy Luck Club) and David Harewood ("Homeland"). See the full list from The Hollywood Reporter here



Lastly, we chat with the writer and filmmaker of the hip-hop web series, ChillTownTV.com, who talks about   animation, female characters, and breaking the stereotype of today's hip-hop culture by showing another facet of the society that is less seen. 

Catch a recap of the full podcast below:


Listen to internet radio with KimberlyRenee on Blog Talk Radio

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Full Frontal: Boobs, D*cks, and Hollywood's Nudity Double Standard


Move over Abraham Lincoln and Jennifer Lawrence, boobs are having their best year yet. Even this year's divisive Oscar host Seth MacFarlane performed a song about it (as ridiculous as it was). And boobs haven't just been winning this year. There's been a boob sighting in almost every other movie for years. Chances are, if you're an actress of any caliber, you've flashed your rack in a film. And I'm getting sick of it. 

Don't get me wrong, obviously sex scenes and other movies of the gratuitous nature call for a flash or two (or ten), and it would make sense to go there for the scene. My problem, so eloquently proclaimed by Andy Samberg at the recent Independent Spirit Awards, is that there seems to be a real lack of dick on screen. He was specifically leading up to a joke about Shame star Michael Fassbender's lack of, um, presence this year, but I am going to go even further and say that this is a general  problem every single year

I mean, if said sex scene calls for nudity, wouldn't it mean that both the woman and the man put on their birthday suits? I'm just saying. 

I'm not really advocating for more full frontals on the big screen, but I am asking for more of a balance. Obviously, Hollywood is not accepting of equal opportunities in any capacity, but it just seems like a glaring omission. If we can't have similar casting opportunities for men and women or actors of diverse ethnicities or even weight, can the male actor be called to put out as at least half as often as a woman is on screen? It's really the least Hollywood can offer at this point. 

I'm sure male readers of this post will say something about the fact that there are several gratuitous peaks at men on the big screen, and even bring up last year's Magic Mike. There are two things wrong with that argument: 1) While Magic Mike is a movie about strippers, no one actually strips past their thongs, and 2) It's not enough that you imply nudity or sex; actresses aren't asked to imply at all. Their lady parts leave nothing to the imagination. In essence, female nudity is direct; male "nudity" is implied and tasteful to the point that any other way would be obscene and slapped with an NC-17 rating (like Shame was). 

But speaking of the Steve McQueen film, the fact that we are still making jokes about catching a glimpse of male anatomy in a movie that is nearly two years old may mean we're not mature enough ready to accept full male frontal in cinema. Which is pitiful because, how old are we?

Perhaps the worst part about this whole female nudity overdose in film is that each time a woman bares her tatas or her hoo-ha, her performance is called 'brave." Granted, it probably takes guts (or a shot of something) for a woman who's not already an exhibitionist to unveil herself in that way in front of millions of strangers. But that doesn't always constitute a good performance. That said, it seems as though many critics are letting a splash of nudity get in the way of their summation of films. 

For instance, The Sessions, a rather emotionally manipulative film despite its good acting, was mainly hailed for Helen Hunt's performance of a sex surrogate whose nudity nearly encapsulated her performance. As you may already know from my review last year, I was neither moved nor entertained by the movie or performance. But that's neither here nor there, because Hunt has an Oscar nod under her belt for her portrayal. 

If we're holding performances with nudity in a higher regard, where is Michael Fassbender's Oscar nomination for Shame, a movie so vulnerable and taboo that it lived up to its own name? Oh, that's right; it's now a punchline.

Dear Hollywood, grow up. Here's hoping next year is the year of the dick. 

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