Sheila Vand, David Harbour, Katherine Heigl, Adam Kaufman, Alfre Woodard, Cliff Chamberlain and Jennifer Salke - 'The Big Bash,' a fundraising party for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles (BBBSLA) - Arrivals at Beverly Hilton Hotel - Beverly Hills, California, United States - Friday 24th October 2014
Katherine Heigl, Adam Kaufman and Alfre Woodard - Celebrities attend NBC & Vanity Fair 2014-2015 TV Season at Hyde Sunset Kitchen - Red Carpet Arrivals - Los Angeles, California, United States - Tuesday 16th September 2014
Alfre Woodard - The Television Academy's annual Friday-before-the-Emmys cocktail celebration and certificate presentation honoring the 65th Emmy Awards Nominees for Outstanding Performances. - Hollywood, California, United States - Friday 20th September 2013
Taylor Swift, Jerry Springer, Alec Baldwin and his wife Hilaria Thomas and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. were among the mass of arrivals for the 2012 Ripple of Hope Awards Dinner at The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights in New York City.
With the remake of Steel Magnolias premiering this weekend (October 7th), it's been a tough task for the new actresses Queen Latifah, Alfre Woodard, Jill Scott and Phylicia Rashad to fill the boots of Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine, Dolly Parton and Olympia Dukakis. What made the original such a success, was the clear off-screen bond between the four actresses that translated in front of the camera for the 1989 film, but the current crop insist they're feeling just as close to one another.
"It's been a love fest," said Scott to The Press Association, adding that they'd have taken any role offered so as to get a chance to appear in a film that's original held a special place in her heart. "We connected immediately, so we didn't really have to fake being girls in the beauty shop," Latifah said. "We just bonded right away." Woodard meanwhile argued that the film was a true representation of what humanity is - that we all need community. "We are communal beings at the core," she said.
"As we've moved away from an agrarian culture to a metropolitan one, the only place you gather for community in that way is either at church or at a spot like a hair salon or barber shop. But at the church, you can't get real because you're trying to get right. You can actually be more of your loving self in the salon. You actually get more healing in the salon than in the church."
So why is scripter Kriss Turner, a veteran of generic sitcom writing, attempting to blow the dust off the concept for newfound laughs? Turner's treatment for Sanaa Hamri's Something New pits races against each other to tell the often-turbulent courtship of Kenya (Sanaa Lathan), a black accountant, and Brian (Simon Baker), her white landscape architect. Color colors everything for this duo as they try to make a relationship work, and New overplays the racial chip on its shoulder to the detriment of the romantic date movie that's buried at its core.
Continue reading: Something New Review
For starters, Dinosaur is that rarest of Disney animation flicks which is not a musical. There's a thumping James Newton Howard score, but the only singing here comes from trumpeting iguanodons and brachiosaurs. The story, on the other hand, is typical Disney kiddie fare: Iguanodon Aladar (D.B. Sweeney) is orphaned as a wee dino-egg on a remote island, where he is raised, Tarzan-style, by a family of lemurs (er... okay). When a freak meteor strike blows the island away, along with much of the rest of the world, Aladar swims to the mainland with his lemur family on his back, where he meets up with the surviving herbivorous dinosaurs who have banded together to trek to "the nesting grounds," a Waterworld-style vale which hasn't been reduced to desert and ruins like, apparently, the rest of the earth. (And never mind the fallout; there is none...)
Continue reading: Dinosaur Review
The film's families consist of African-American, Asian, Jewish, and Hispanic protagonists, all exaggerated characters who weave in and out of hackneyed plots. From the Jewish perspective, there's the tongue-tied matriarch Seelig (Lainie Kazan) who has an annoyingly cute way of enunciating certain words. Ma Seelig is somewhat speechless when she eventually gets to meet her daughter Rachel's (Kyra Sedgwick) lesbian lover Carla (Julianna Margulies, late of television's ER). Then there's the Spanish viewpoint where an estranged couple, the Avilas (Mercedes Ruehl and Victor Rivers), are forced to reunite upon the insistence of their adult children. There's also obvious tension when Vietnamese Jimmy Nguyen (Will Yun Lee) dares to play footsies with Hispanic Gina Avilas (Isidra Vega). And the black family the Williamses (headed up by Alfre Woodard and Dennis Haysbert) has issues as well.
Continue reading: What's Cooking? Review
Love and Basketball concerns Monica Wright (Sanaa Lathan), a basketball loving girl who wants nothing more than to be the first woman in the NBA. Her next door neighbor, Quincy McCall (Omar Epps) is the son of a NBA player and wants nothing more than to follow in his father's footsteps and get some booty along the way. When he realizes (at about age 18) that the booty he has been wanting all along has been living next door, he quickly hooks up with her. Both find themselves going to USC and both find themselves on the USC basketball teams.
Continue reading: Love And Basketball Review
Until one day, when all the physical mementos of Sam actually do disappear from Telly's life. Photo albums once filled with snapshots are now blank. Actual fade or Photoshop trick? Drawers that held baseball gloves and caps are now empty. Something wicked this way comes.
Continue reading: The Forgotten Review
The story follows the Thornberrys, a hodge-podge British family of three generations all living in one souped-up trailer home, as they travel throughout the world documenting nature's wonders. Our protagonist is young Eliza (Lacey Chabert), who has been given a magical gift to talk to animals. Eliza is the quintessential loner, as she is more content with her animal friends than her family's rules and constantly seeks adventure. Along with her chimpanzee companion Darwin (Tom Kane), she manages to get into trouble when she recklessly takes the baby cheetah Akela past the safe boundaries of the desert. Sure enough, malicious poachers snatch up Akela from a helicopter, and despite Eliza's heroic efforts, she's unable to save the cub. Heartbroken and facing rebuke from her bewildered parents, Eliza is shipped off to boarding in school in England. Trapped in the confines of "civilization," Eliza vows to find the lost cheetah cub and to return to her family where she rightfully belongs.
Continue reading: The Wild Thornberrys Movie Review
To get away from the misery of his day-to-day existence, Dark retreats into a 1950s film noir fantasy world straight from one of his books, where he's a handsome band singer who moonlights as a gumshoe. In the fantasy, he gets tangled up in a plot revolving around a dead blonde dame, the sinister Mark Binney (Jeremy Northam) who hires Dark to investigate her murder, and a couple of palookas in sharp suits (Adrien Brody and Jon Polito) who keep trying to bump Dark off. Unfortunately, the fantasy starts getting mixed up into Dark's real life - Chandler-esque gangsters showing up at his bedside, and hospital staff bursting into renditions of doo-wop hits that Dark's alter ego would have sung in an L.A. nightclub - and he has trouble keeping them separate.
Continue reading: The Singing Detective Review
Continue reading: Grand Canyon Review
If you had the misfortune of seeing Gere in 1992's Final Analysis, you'll be familiar with the setup. Gere plays Martin Vail, a self-described bigshot defense attorney in Chicago. Laura Linney is Janet Venable, a crass and unlikable public prosecutor, who spends most of the film developing her primary character trait: being a bitch. Aaron Stampler (Edward Norton) is who the lawyers fighting over (when they aren't rehashing their 6 month-long affair), because it turns out that Aaron butchered the local Archbishop. Maybe.
Continue reading: Primal Fear Review
Continue reading: Searching For Debra Winger Review
Jonthan "Riker" Frakes is at the helm this time, taking the Next Generation crew on its first mission without the original series cast. The setup comes fast, as Frakes trots out one of the series' most reliable villains: The Borg. Building from the mythology set up in the series, Picard (a former Borg captive) has a serious axe to grind, and when Starfleet ends up in a skirmish with an invading Borg ship, he defies orders and engages them in battle. The day is won, but an escape pod shoots from the ship, tunnels through time (stop rolling your eyes), and lands on earth. We see the effects immediately: The Borg has completely taken over the planet. The only sensible solution: Follow the Borg through the time hole and try to wipe 'em out in the past.
Continue reading: Star Trek: First Contact Review
After performing peripheral duties in "Barbershop2: Back in Business," Gina has moved fromChicago to Atlanta in this picture so her daughter can attend a prestigiousperforming arts school. To pay for it she's been putting up with workingunder Jorge, the pompous, flamboyantly skanky owner of a ritzy downtownsalon -- played by Kevin Bacon with a gleefully bad Euro-trash accent andgreasy, over-highlighted hair in his eyes.
But as the movie opens, she's just about had enough. Packingup her scissors and you-go-girl self-confidence, she hooks a small bankloan and fixes up a neglected beauty shop on the edge of a rough neighborhood,where inherits a handful of mouthy stylists with chips on their shouldersand hopes for the best.
Following the successful "Barbershop" formula,the movie's strength is its colorful cast of characters for whom no topic-- from bikini waxes to Oprah Winfrey -- is off-limits to zingers and smartremarks. They range from the ever under-appreciated Alfre Woodard as aheritage-proud black hairdresser who knows a Maya Angelou quote for everyoccasion to Alicia Silverstone as a bumpkin shampoo girl (with an unconvincingsouthern accent) who leaves Jorge's with Gina and gets a ghetto makeoverafter slowly winning over her new co-workers.
Continue reading: Beauty Shop Review
Quick, somebody give Kevin Spacey a bad guy role before he becomes as bland as Harrison Ford!
Just two years ago Spacey the Great was at the apex of his craft, unwrapping layers and layers of psychological subterfuge in "American Beauty" as a fettered suburban father having a volcanic eruption of a mid-life crisis. The man could project volumes of personality and complexity with the subtlest of glances and garner empathy even for his characters' ignominious acts.
But recently Spacey has stopped stretching as an actor, taking tepid, compassionate roles that come to rely on trademark tics he's developed. That curious puppy head tilt he once employed so deceptively in "The Usual Suspects" is one. His soft, lilting speech patterns that imply trustworthy gentleness is another.
Continue reading: K-Pax Review
If spooky movies based on tenets of Catholicism are your bag, you can do a lot worse than "Lost Souls," in which Winona Ryder stars as a once-possessed woman trying to find and save a man destined to become Satan incarnate.
It's no "Exorcist" -- although it is cashing in on that film's rerelease -- but at least this faith-based frightener doesn't invent "missing" books of the Bible to advance its plot like the pathetic action hybrid "End of Days." At least it's not inundated with shopworn demonic clichés like the pathetic "Bless the Child." At least it's not just an exercise in style over substance, like the Goth/MTV genre entry "Stigmata."
No, "Lost Souls" actually has quite a bit going for it before narrative loose ends begin to unravel the whole picture.
Continue reading: Lost Souls Review
"Radio" is the kind of "based on a true story," pandering feel-good movie in which nobody ever says what's on his or her mind without turning it into a momentous anecdote, and the fictional characters contrived solely for plot conflict stand out like circus clowns at a funeral.
You know the characters I mean -- the star-jock bully who picks on the hero and (gasp!) gets benched for it, the jock's callous father who subsequently reviles the coach for not sharing his twin philosophies of "boys will be boys" and "winning is everything."
There are literally scores of such clichés in this predictable story of a mentally challenged young man (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) in small-town South Carolina circa 1976, who was taken under the wing of a high school football coach (Ed Harris) and grew into a valuable member of the sideline crew and a local celebrity. But while the movie isn't all that bad in spite of this triteness, it certainly is bland. The lazy screenwriting mentality that produces such characters just isn't capable of originality or imagination.
Continue reading: Radio Review
"Mumford" is a weightless comedy with old-fashioned appeal, the kind of innocuous, affable picture in which happiness is just a musical montage sequence away.
Fifty years ago, it might have been a Jimmy Stewart movie, with a few subject matter alterations. Twenty-five years ago, Dustin Hoffman could have been the lead. In 1999 though, the title role goes to Loren Dean ("Gattaca"), who plays a warmhearted con man winging it as a psychologist in a small mountain town, where his unconventional therapy methods turn around the distressed lives for a smattering of eccentric residents.
Handsome, open and amiable, he's been in town only four months and already he's everyone's friend. He's just the kind of guy strangers tell their problems to, which is why he decided to give it a go in the head shrinking game.
Continue reading: Mumford Review
Like an "X-Files" episode with a civilian redhead (instead of an FBI agent) up to her neck in the eerie goings-on, "The Forgotten" stars the emotionally riveting Julianne Moore as a mourning mother being driven mad by memories of a 9-year-old son that the rest of the world tells her never existed.
But did he? From Moore's perspective, she's been in therapy since the plane crash that killed her boy. But 14 months later, all the kid's pictures and toys disappear from her house almost overnight (as do news clippings about the crash). Then her perplexed husband (Anthony Edwards) denies they ever had a son (and before long doesn't remember her either), and her shrink (Gary Sinise) tells her she's begun emerging from a long delusion.
Soon on the run from what she's told is reality, her only ally is a newly alcoholic ex-hockey player (Dominic West, "Chicago") who takes some convincing to conjure up fractured memories of his own daughter killed in the same accident.
Continue reading: The Forgotten Review
Far more imaginative and ambitious than the trivial, cash-in features Nickelodeon has made from its other animated TV series, "The Wild Thornberrys Movie" is a funny, original, whimsical but meaningful story of an intrepid 12-year-old girl's adventures in Africa.
Directors Cathy Malkasian and Jeff McGrath get off to a bit of a clumsy start, catching up uninitiated audience members with a rushed, "the story so far"-style prologue that establishes the Thornberrys as globe-trotting naturalists (can-do American mother and pith-helmeted English father host their own cable TV nature show). In the first two minutes a busy voice-over also explains that nerdy heroine Eliza (all freckles, braces and braids) was given the ability to talk to the animals by a tribal shaman, and that she'll lose the gift if she ever tells anyone about it. Obviously this fact will come into play, because it's greatly emphasized.
But soon Eliza's adventures begin in earnest, when she's packed off to boarding school -- on the advice of her priggish blue-blood grandmother -- after almost being kidnapped by poachers while playing with some friendly cougar cubs.
Continue reading: The Wild Thornberrys Movie Review
Ironically, "The Singing Detective" probably would have been better without the awkwardly integrated songs that signal frequent shifts into fantasy for the picture's acrimonious anti-hero -- a second-rate pulp novelist hospitalized with literally crippling, full-body psoriasis that serves as a metaphor for his rampaging inner demons.
As an acerbically droll psychological drama about the writer's noir-fiction imagination slowly seeping into his tormented reality, this new adaptation of the highly acclaimed 1986 BBC miniseries (both were written by the late Dennis Potter) has many layers of mesmerizing Freudian substance, brought vividly to life by Robert Downey, Jr's fearlessly hostile but slowly warming performance.
Playing Dan Dark -- a bitter soul trapped in a grotesquely scabby, arthritic body -- Downey seethes with such animosity toward the whole world that when his doctors break into a low-budget production number lip-sync of "At the Hop" or his ointment-applying nurse (Katie Holmes) coos "Mr. Sandman" in a sexual daydream sequence, the film overshoots its intended farce because such silliness is so out of character for a man this bitter and full of bile.
Continue reading: The Singing Detective Review
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