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This animated trilogy concludes on a very high note with this smart, involving and often hilarious adventure. Both the writing and the animation are especially strong this time around, drawing in bigger themes while still keeping things both thrilling and very silly. But it's the endearing central characters who make it resonate.
As the Dragon Warrior, the panda Po (voiced by Jack Black) is struggling to rise to the challenge to become a teacher, coaxed by his master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman). He'd rather be out fighting battles with his five warrior pals Tigress, Monkey, Mantis, Viper and Crane (Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu and David Cross). Then he meets his long-lost father Li (Bryan Cranston), who tells him of a secret homeland for pandas, where Po might be able to find himself. Meanwhile, the power-mad warlord Kai (J.K. Simmons) has broken through from the spirit realm, determined to collect the chi of every master in the mortal world. So it's rather urgent that Po discovers his own chi before Kai finds him.
This is far more than the usual story about discovering your place in life. It's a complex exploration of how our backgrounds and communities contribute to who we are, and why each of us has a distinct role to play. These themes emerge naturally through the snappy, sometimes exhilarating story and characters. In voicing Po, Black finds the perfect balance between goofiness and honest emotion that often eludes him in live-action roles. His interaction with all of the surrounding characters bristles with humour and insight, with sharply funny one-liners peppering every scene. Most of the side roles are spread very thinly, but both Cranston and Simmons register strongly, while Jolie and Hoffman get some solid scenes all their own. And Hudson's riotously flirtatious ribbon-dancing panda easily steals her scenes.
Continue reading: Kung Fu Panda 3 Review
The producers of 'Elementary', CBS' adaptation of the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, have confirmed actor Rhys Ifans will be joining the cast as Sherlock's brother, Mycroft.
Rhys Ifans will join the cast of Elementary, alongside Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Lui. The Welsh actor will play Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock's older brother. He is a definite feature in the season's premiere, airing in September but any possibility of further appearances has not been mentioned.
CBS' Elementary sets the traditional story of the famous detective in New York. Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu starring as Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson will, according to reports encounter Ifans in London. The season premiere will be set in the British capital as the deducing duo are forced to deal with one of Sherlock's former cases. Ifans as Mycroft allows them to stay with him at Baker Street. Apparently a reasonable amount of sibling rivalry and tension will ensue.
Rhys Ifans, pictured at the 2012 Place for Peace dinner in London, is to join the cast of Elementary as Mycroft Holmes.
Among the CBS TV show actors arriving at the network's 2013 Upfront Presentation in New York were Sharon Osbourne from 'The Talk' (who doesn't refrain from her usual face-pulling shenanigans) and the cast of 'How I Met Your Mother' Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris and Alyson Hannigan.
Despite being the latest ever start time for a post-Super Bowl broadcast, Sherlock Holmes drama Elementary scored a massive 20.8 million viewers on Sunday evening (7.8 rating in adults 18-49), according to Nielsen. The show, starring Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller and based on the acclaimed BBC series, scored the title of highest-rated entertainment broadcast of the year.
Elementary delivered a huge 3.45 million viewers more than Alias pulled in following the Super Bowl in 2003. The fast-paced crime-drama delivered a 61% increase over its season average in viewers and a massive 160% increase in the adults 18-49 demographic. After strong reviews, CBS ordered two additional episodes to its current season, bringing the total number of episodes for series one to 24.
It has also emerged that Beyonce's well-received half-time show extravaganza scored a rating of 48.2/71 in the 8.00pm-8.30pm, which fell short of Madonna's score for her 2012 half-time show, which was mired in controversy following M.I.A's badly thought out two finger salute. According to Deadline.com, Sunday's game, between the San Francisco 49er and the Baltimore Ravens, peaked at 52.9/75 for its nail-biting final half hour.
Rapper-turned-actor-turned-filmmaker RZA is clearly influenced by cohorts Quentin Tarantino and Eli Roth as he indulges in this crazed pastiche of 1970s kung fu action romps. It's energetic and often quite funny, but far too silly to come together properly, mainly because he never adds any sense of post-modern wit. If the action scenes were more coherent, it at least could have been a guilty pleasure.
In a 19th century Chinese village, an American ex-slave (RZA) is known only as Blacksmith, forging weapons for gang members to raise the money to buy his girlfriend Lady Silk (Chung) from the local brothel's Madam Blossom (Lucy Liu). But their fate is caught up in a battle for power after the patriarch of the Lion clan is murdered and the swaggering Silver Lion (Mann) challenges rightful heir Zen Li (Yune). After a vicious attack by Silver Lion's muscled henchman Brass Body (Bautista), Zen Li is rescued by Blacksmith. And they get help from Englishman Jack Knife (Crowe) to fight Silver Lion and his thugs.
The title refers to something that happens about halfway in, when Blacksmith forges new arms for himself after being attacked by Silver Lion for helping Zen Li. This sets the stage for an orgy of metal-on-metal battling (there are also bronze and copper characters), leading to a clattering showdown between Blacksmith and Brass Body, who for some inexplicable reason can morph his body into, yes, brass. As such a wild fantasy, it's not surprising that the plot makes so little sense, although a bit more genuine character depth would have helped hold our interest.
Continue reading: The Man With The Iron Fists Review
All eyes are on Flight and Wreck It Ralph this weekend as the main contenders for box office glory. Denzel Washington’s performance in Flight has already sparked whispers of an Oscar nomination from insiders, something that’s always guaranteed to get people fleeing to the movie theaters. However, with much of the East coast of the USA blighted by Hurricane Sandy earlier in the week, the attentions of much of the US public will be elsewhere as people try to recover from the devastation caused there.
Denzel Washington last won an Oscar in 2002, for the crime thriller Training Day. Flight is Washington’s latest stab at the prize. Described on Rotten Tomatoes as an “action packed mystery thriller,” Denzel plays the lead role of the pilot Whip Whitaker, who manages to land a passenger plane after a mid-air catastrophe and saves everyone on board. After being hailed as a hero, it soon becomes clear that something may be amiss with Whitaker and all is not as it seems.
The critical response to Flight has been largely positive, with Roger Ebert hinting at the power of Denzel’s performance by saying “Not often does a movie character make such a harrowing personal journey that keeps us in deep sympathy all of the way.” High praise indeed from Ebert. In fact, the bulk of the praise for Flight is centered on Washington; Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers surmises “Flight reminds us of what Washington can do when a role hits him with a challenge that would floor a lesser actor. He's a ball of fire, and his detailed, depth-charged, bruisingly true performance will be talked about for years.” Sounds like one not to be missed! Wreck It Ralph might not have ‘Oscar Winner’ stamped all over it but it’s still shaping up to be a strong contender in the popularity stakes this weekend, with only one dissenter failing to give it the thumbs up on Rotten Tomatoes’ round-up of the top critics’ remarks.
American Sherlock Holmes adaptation 'Elementary' is now in its second season in America, but premièred last night on Sky Living in the UK.
Film and television have made done some excellent updated adaptations of classic literature over the past few years. ITV did a great series of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales retold in a contemporary context, and Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, starring Leonardi DiCaprio and Claire Danes, was another triumph. Of late, Sherlock Holmes adaptations have been in vogue. Benedict Cumberbatch updated the baker-street sleuth in the UK, to excellent critical acclaim, and now Jonny Lee Miller has taken the baton in the US, alongside Lucy Liu playing 'Dr Joan Watson'.
Jonny Lee Miller's Sherlock is an ex-Scotland Yard consultant who has relocated to New York after battling with a drug addiction. Liu's Watson is appointed to be his rehab companion. Elementary has been met with a reception on the warmer side of luke-warm, but certainly no one has been blown away by this new version of Holmes. The Telegraph said "Liu was as watchable as ever, the hint of sexual tension between her Watson and Holmes a nice bit of spice. The writing and plotting weren't bad either." And the Guardian's review of it spent more time analysing the history of other adapted shows and updates, than on Elementary and its attributes, its highest praise seemed to be rooted in the "definite sense of watching a very slick and skilful translation of Sherlock". Nevertheless, it's certainly worth a watch if you enjoy a good crime show, Sherlock Holmes is one of literature's character with the most intrigue and staying power, no doubt Elementary is just one more of many more adaptations to come.
Continue reading: Johnny Lee Miller And Lucy Liu In Elementary Premiers In The UK
Henry (Brody) takes a month-long assignment teaching at a tough school run by beleaguered principal Carol (Harden). Unflappable in the face of the unruly students, he calmly tries to get through to the teens. He clicks with fellow teacher Sarah (Hendricks). As a substitute, Henry's job is to maintain order, which seems like an impossible challenge. So he instead reaches out to a teen hooker (Gayle), thinking he might actually be able to make a difference in her life. But he can't help but wonder if he's doing more harm than good.
Continue reading: Detachment Review
Henry Barthes is a highly recommended substitute teacher, a compliment he doesn't really accept. His latest job is subbing at an inner city high school for a month, where exam grades are slipping; the pupils are unruly and the head teacher is under fire for the decline in standards there.
Continue: Detachment Trailer
Now that Dragon Warrior panda Po (voiced by Black) has joined the Furious Five (Jolie's tigress, Rogen's mantis, Chan's monkey, Liu's viper and Cross' crane), there's peace in the valley again. But in a distant kingdom, the villainous peacock Lord Shen (Oldman) has developed a secret weapon with which he plans to take over China and put an end to kung fu. Although he's been rattled for decades, since his soothsayer (Yeoh) told him he'll be conquered by a panda.
And he knows the Dragon Warrior is on his way.
Continue reading: Kung Fu Panda 2 Review
What more can come for the Panda who has it all? Since gaining the respect of his heroes - Master Shifu and the furious five - and defeating the evil snow leopard Tai Lung, Po's life in the Valley of Peace is perfect but it isn't to last.
Blazing across the screen with eye-popping, sublime artwork, Kung Fu Panda sets itself apart from the modern domestic animation trend with its sheer beauty. From an opening dream sequence whose abstract style seems culled straight from a modern manga, the film enters instant classic status as some of the most gorgeous animation Hollywood has produced since the golden age of Disney. Eschewing the cold and severe art of Dreamworks' Shrek films, the makers of Kung Fu Panda fill the screen with painterly backdrops of mountain vistas and fluttering leaves that give Zhang Yimou a run for his money. It somehow makes it all the funnier to have the titular panda, Po (Black), come huffing and wheezing through the impeccable and non-specific ancient China landscapes like a less-active relative of Hurley on Lost.
Continue reading: Kung Fu Panda Review
Sure, the vampire myth has been with us forever. One of the very first films was a vampire movie. We are indeed obsessed with these blood-sucking trollops. And yet, lately, the vampire film has fallen into a rut that I worry it can never pry itself out of. We don't see the vampires of yesteryear anymore. Gone are green skinned, hairy-eared ghouls that haunted graveyards and sucked the blood from corpulent women. Gone are the baby-bird-headed stick figures that lurked in foggy London alleyways. Today vampires are all glamorous, leather-bound martial arts experts. They have great hair (that's a side-effect of living forever), nice shoes, and groove to industrial music. They are the Goth fashionistas who are as infatuated with sucking blood as they with collecting Ferraris and having swanky parties.
Continue reading: Rise: Blood Hunter Review
The story, very loosely based on the exploits of female bounty hunter Domino Harvey (Keira Knightley), follows our heroine as she grows dissatisfied with her socialite upbringing and embraces the darker side of law enforcement. Her mentor on this journey is legendary bounty hunter Ed Mosbey (Mickey Rourke), assisted by pseudo-comic relief Choco (Edgar Ramirez). That she meets these gentlemen as they try to scam hundreds of dollars off of would-be bounty hunters (including herself) doesn't dissuade her from trusting them with her new life.
Continue reading: Domino Review
In the wake of "Reservoir Dogs," "Pulp Fiction" and "Jackie Brown," film buffs have come to expect intrepid sub-Hollywood scavenger Quentin Tarantino to bowl us over with ingenious, amped-up, style-blending B-movie off-shoots made with a quantum leap of depth and cinematic panache.
Influenced by cut-rate, under-the-counter samurai imports, spaghetti Westerns and popcorn-munching exploitation flicks of bygone eras, the writer-director's two-part revenge saga "Kill Bill" ("Volume 2" is due in February) has sexy, gritty, droll, deluxe Tarantino élan coming out its ears -- and absurdly grisly dam-bursts of stage blood spurting from other violently severed body parts in ambitious marathon swordfight scenes. But while the picture oozes style (and blood), it comes up short on substance -- which is what has always set Tarantino's grindhouse homages head and shoulders above the pulp pictures that inform them.
Choreographed by both kung-fu genius Yuen Wo-Ping ("The Matrix" movies, "Charlie's Angels," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," etc.) and Japanese Kenjutsu legend Sonny Chiba (who plays an eccentric master sword-maker in the film), these focal-point fights are the culmination of a plot about a sultry, strong-willed former assassin (Uma Thurman) who was left for dead when her employer -- possibly peeved by her resignation, although "Volume 1" is vague on that point -- turned her wedding into a massacre.
Continue reading: Kill Bill: Volume 1 Review
Everything the kinetic, colorful, superficially violent "Kill Bill: Volume 1" lacked in depth and character is remedied tenfold in Quentin Tarantino's stunning, cunning conclusion to his epic revenge fantasy.
Gone are the absurdist bloodbaths and the superficial grindhouse storytelling, and in their stead the wily writer-director transitions (with masterfully effortless cinematic aplomb) into a character- and dialogue-driven feast of substance and surprises -- which is, nonetheless, still punctuated by spectacularly stylish swordplay.
After a winking mock-noir prologue of recap narration, Tarantino opens "Volume 2" with a parched black-and-white flashback to the wedding rehearsal (glimpsed throughout last year's installment) at which The Bride (Uma Thurman), an unnamed and incognito former assassin trying to go straight, was brutally gunned down (along with everyone in attendance) by her former compatriots.
Continue reading: Kill Bill: Volume 2 Review
If it weren't for director Wych "Kaos" Kaosayananda's laughably excessive use of slow-motion, the convoluted, monotonous, mindlessly flashy, espionage-action bomb "Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever" would be about 12 minutes long -- which might have made it almost watchable.
In a plot more scattershot than its endless, aimless rounds of ammunition, "Ballistic" kitchen-sinks together rival government intel agencies, microscopic assassination nano-bots, poorly faked deaths and new identities, a kidnapped kid that must be rescued in "less than 12 hours" for no explained reason, and rogue spies avenging their murdered families. It's nearly impossible to keep track of who's trying to kill whom and why, but that's of little importance to Bangkok film industry refugee Kaos. As long as somebody is getting shot or something is blowing up, he couldn't care less.
The uninspired bedlam that passes for action in this disaster isn't any more lucid than the story. Shrapnel-flying, cartwheel-turning shootout scenes are cheap, disorderly rip-offs from the "The Matrix." Wet asphalt used to give the movie a slick look makes for boring motorcycle "chases" that never exceed 40 mph (and even at that speed it's hard to say who's the chaser and who's the chasee). And Kaos seems to live by the mantra "why shoot at someone when you can set off explosions all around them -- and still miss?"
Continue reading: Ballistic: Ecks Vs Sever Review
Bill Murray, comedy legend and 'Ghostbusters' star, has apparently finally ended the feud with 'Charlie's Angeles' co-star, Lucy Liu. According to Murray, there was no feud in the first place - they just had a 20-minute argument that was blown completely out of proportion.
It was stated that Murray decided to not appear in the 'Charlie's Angels' sequel because he did not want to work with Liu any more. Murray, however, insists that this is far from the truth. Instead, he explains that "We began rehearsing this scene and I said, 'Lucy, how can you want to say these lines? These are so crazy.'" He continues to say that "She got furious with me because she thought it was a personal assault, but the reality is she hated these lines as much as I did. But for 15 or 20 minutes there, we went to our separate corners and threw hand-grenades and sky rockets at each other."
The actor insists that there is no longer and bad blood between them, saying that "We made peace and I got to know her better from that day, and I feel very warmly for her now." Murray agreed that he decided not to return to the sequel because he did not want to work with another member of the cast, although he insists that it was not Liu. Murray stated that "That same person was going to be involved in the second one, so I wasn't going to show up again."
Joseph McGinty Nichol explained the time when the cast of 'Charlie's Angeles' stripped for him in the back of a van.
The stars of 'Charlie's Angels' - Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu - are apparently so close to and comfortable with director McG that they once stripped off for him. McG, who's real name is Joseph McGinty Nichol, explained the incident when his leading ladies stripped in the back of a van while attending the Super Bowl of Motorcross.
The director recalled: "They're all very free with their physicality. They've all seen me naked, I've seen them naked. That's how we get down. We got a big limo van, put on old Motley Crue records, and Drew and I stripped down. It's sort of fabulous the way we all trust on another, most particularly Drew. Drew is very into the body, very natural. It's a splendid thing."
Date of birth
2nd December, 1968
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Rapper-turned-actor-turned-filmmaker RZA is clearly influenced by cohorts Quentin Tarantino and Eli Roth as he indulges...
'The Man with the Iron Fists' tells the tale of a blacksmith in the 1800s...
An almost overpowering sense of hopelessness makes this education-system drama difficult to watch. Fortunately, it's...
Henry Barthes is a highly recommended substitute teacher, a compliment he doesn't really accept. His...
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