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In reimagining Philip K. Dick’s story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” for the 2012 update of Total Recall — the film was first rendered onscreen in 1990 and starred Arnold Schwarzenegger — director Len Wiseman and the other filmmakers did something a little devilish, if a little delicious as well: They cast Wiseman’s wife, Kate Beckinsale, as Douglas Quaid’s (Colin Farrell) seemingly loving wife, who of course turns out to be a savage killer. It was a turn that Beckinsale relished. “I’ve never played a bad guy before. I’ve always been on the side of truth and justice,” … Continue reading
Seth MacFarlane has had such a visible presence in recent years with his animated series Family Guy, The Cleveland Show and American Dad! that it was only a matter of time before his producing/writing talents would spill over onto the big screen. Fans of his series work should easily relate to his live-action comedy, Ted. The film stars Mark Wahlberg as John Bennett, a man whose childhood wish for his beloved teddy bear to come to life was granted in his youth, but whose relationship with his stuffed pal has gotten a lot more complicated over the years. Now, almost … Continue reading
With The Dark Knight Rises, the story arc that began with 2005’s Batman Begins comes full circle. At the start of this last chapter, the character Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has been away from his role as Batman for eight years, his crime-fighting purpose having been largely fulfilled — as well as Batman’s status as a fugitive after having assumed responsibility for the death of Gotham City D.A. Harvey Dent. The long hiatus in hiding has had a dramatic effect on the mindset of both Bruce and Batman. “In Batman Begins, you see the tragedy and the pain that motivates … Continue reading
Some people are fond of saying that age is just a number. But for some couples, age just makes you numb. This is essentially the starting point of director David Frankel’s film Hope Springs, written by Vanessa Taylor (Game of Thrones), about a long-married couple, Kay and Arnold (Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones), who have lost their spark over the years. “Kay wants to reconnect with her husband, Arnold,” Streep explains. “She wants to feel connected, to feel intimately involved with him, to feel that he’s intimately interested in her. But I think Arnold, if you asked him, wouldn’t … Continue reading
It was a long time coming, but somehow it seemed inevitable that Agents J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) would be back for another caper. This time out, Josh Brolin was required to come along for the ride, as the plot called for a young Agent K — because they’re headed back in time. In Men in Black 3, Agent J is forced to travel into the past when Agent K’s life as well as the fate of the planet is in danger. In teaming up with Agent K the younger, J finds out secrets of the universe … Continue reading
It would be difficult to say anything about the 2012 remake of the 1976 film Sparkle without mentioning the truth for which it’s probably best known and for which it will be remembered — as Whitney Houston’s final screen performance. The film tells the story of a girl, Sparkle (Jordin Sparks), one of a trio of tight-knit sisters growing up in 1960s Detroit who form a girl group in hopes of catching the wave of excitement about the Motown sound that’s sweeping the nation. Poised for success, their dreams are tempered by their strong, domineering mother who isn’t supportive of … Continue reading
Why can’t we all just get along? Well, for one reason, if we could, we wouldn’t have movies like ParaNorman to watch. It’s a story of a person labeled as “different” who makes a difference in his community. And as good and wholesome as that sounds, it’s also a movie full of ghosts, zombies, a number of other freaks and a witch’s 300-year-old curse — which means it’s full of fun. Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee) is a young kid who, unfortunately for him, sees dead people wherever he goes, and has taken a pasting for it at home, at … Continue reading
If TBS ever stops doing its annual 24 Hours of A Christmas Story, I will be very disappointed. It’s arguably the greatest Christmas movie of all time. (Yeah, yeah, It’s a Wonderful Life — but it only gets played once or twice a year. And does anybody actually ever catch it from before the point where George jumps in the river?) A Christmas Story is relatable to almost anyone who’s grown up in a home where traditional Christmas was observed. Full of the flights of fancy that childhood engenders, somehow Jean Shepherd’s story about Ralphie and his “mania” for a … Continue reading
It’s a little hard to imagine a sequel to A Christmas Story this long after the 1983 film’s original release. But A Christmas Story wasn’t an immediate success in its day, and it’s only been over the passage of time that the film has acquired the patina of a holiday classic. Bearing that in mind is likely what the filmmakers of A Christmas Story 2 would suggest before comparing the current release to its predecessor. Download a FREE Holiday TV programming calendar There was a sequel prior to this film — 1994’s It Runs in the Family (later retitled My Summer … Continue reading
They never get old, do they? The Rankin-Bass animated specials have been an indispensible part of the holiday season for nearly 60 years, and they’re still enchanting new generations as well as those of us who grew up with them. Maybe you can’t imagine a holiday without the Heat Miser. Or that Little Drummer dude. Maybe it’s watching Santa take on Burgermeister Meisterburger that does it for you. Or maybe you just have to take in as much Rankin-Bass goodness as possible this time of year. Fortunately, there’s no shortage, largely in part due to ABC Family’s annual 25 Days … Continue reading