Pizza Hut's fully-functional “Pizza Thrower” is a nod to the classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toy (we still have fond memories of messing up the living room back in 1990), and the the pizza company is partnering with Paramount on the upcoming movie release.
The attraction, stationed just outside the San Diego Convention Center, weighs 2 tons, stands 12 feet high, a took 7 weeks to build. And it fires pizzas. From a custom cannon. Up to 30 feet! From a seat perched on top of turret.
Also, Will Arnett and Megan Fox, stars of the upcoming TMNT blockbuster, stopped by the activation yesterday.
Cultures clash and love gets lost in translation in writer-director Hong Khaou's devastatingly beautiful Lilting.
British thesp Ben Whishaw (Cloud Atlas, Skyfall) plays Richard, a Londoner reeling from the tragic death of his lover Kai (newcomer Andrew Leung). In an attempt to establish a connection and build a relationship with Kai's Cambodian Chinese mother, Junn (veteran actress Pei-Pei Cheng), Richard hires a translator (Naomi Christie, below) and visits the retirement community where she lives.
It is there where we're introduced to Alan (Peter Bowles), the British man who finds himself smitten with Junn. While Bowles offers some much-needed comic relief, he also has his chance to shine in a poignant scene that subtly comments on a different kind of loss. The story also finds an unexpected friendship develop between Richard and his translator, Vann. Christie quietly throws herself into the fray.
Overall, the film delicately observes both Richard and Junn's difficulties in trying to connect with one another without a common language -- Junn never approved of Richard whose patience gets tested -- but soon enough, they begin to piece together memories of a man they both loved. Flashbacks seamlessly reflect on Kai's struggle to come out to his mother and Junn's reliving of the fateful day that took away her only child.
Both Whishaw and Cheng beautifully play off one other, each one getting a chance to inhabit their respective roles with gorgeous grace.
Patricia Clarkson heads an ensemble cast in Last Weekend, a dramedy about an affluent family reuniting for a Labor Day weekend that is, at times, so unbearably superficial, audiences may have a hard time relating to -- let alone sympathizing with -- characters too deeply invested in their own petty dramas and dilemmas.
Clarkson plays Celia Green, a woman struggling to let go of the past as she and her husband (a barely present Chris Mulkey) come to terms with selling their gorgeous vacaton home overlooking Lake Tahoe. Zachary Booth (Damages) plays oldest son Theo, a TV writer who brings along his Hollywood posse (True Blood's Rutina Wesley and a criminally underused Fran Kranz) and his new boyfriend Luke -- if you want to call him that -- a supposed one-night stand that has turned into a three-week "relationship." Younger son Roger (Joseph Cross) shows up with girlfriend Vanessa, whose only motivation throughout the weekend is to push her line of flavored water. (The Greens own a chain of gyms, which explains their wealth, and the bottled drinks would be a perfect fit!)
As for the plethora of other characters, Mary Kay Place and Sheila Kelley pop in as Celia's equally self-absorbed friends who'd rather fuss over which wine to pair with dinner than dwell on the well-being of the family's groundskeeper who just got electrocuted. (The scene is ambiguously written; are the filmmakers making fun of these one-percenters or attempting to portray them as real human beings?) Randomly thrown into the mix is Glee's Jayma Mays as Theo's celebrity BFF who's only function is to deliver a late-night pep talk. And then there's Judith Light, Celia's frenemy neighbor who's painted, by Celia herself, as a wretched woman but turns into a shoulder for Celia to cry/whine on in the end.
The only character who dares to shatter the proverbial glass ceiling is Roger, and actor Joseph Cross turns him into the most relatable (and frankly likable) figure among the bickering bunch. Having recently been fired for screwing up his company's finances, Roger brings to the fray a much-needed dose of reality -- but only for so long. Other times he's the poster boy for White Guilt, embarrassed by his family's riches
Directors Tom Dolby (who also penned the script) and Tom Williams have ultimately succeeded in creating a beautifully shot 94-minute Brooks Brothers/Pottery Barn ad populated with people who have nothing better to do than wallow in self-pity (someone actually asks "Are we good people?" after dropping over a hundred dollars at a farmers market and delivering some unwarranted gossip).
As for Clarkson, we're never quite sure why she's so distressed about selling the family home. Many of her lines come across as bitter and bitchy without much context. More than halfway through the film, I turned to my friend and asked, "Are we really supposed to care about her? Is she dying? Is this why she has such a huge stick up her ass?"
That said, no one gets sick, and no one dies. Thankfully.
What is killed, however, is the opportunity to genuinely connect with these characters. It's too bad that sympathy doesn't arrive until the last few minutes of the film when Clarkson delivers a poignant monologue that clearly expresses what Celia is going through, the pain all mothers feel as they watch their adult children continue to move on through life without them.
After wooing audiences at Sundance back in January, Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader's The Skeleton Twins is finally getting a proper theatrical release.
Judging by the on-screen chemistry between these two SNL alums, this dramedy looks pretty promising, especially with the appearance of Modern Family's Ty Burrell and...wait for it...a lip-synced rendition of Jefferson Starship's "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now." (*thanks for the Mannequin flashbacks).
Synopsis: When estranged twins Maggie (Kristen Wiig) and Milo (Bill Hader) feel they’re at the end of their ropes, an unexpected reunion forces them to confront why their lives went so wrong. As the twins reconnect, they realize the key to fixing their lives may just lie in repairing their relationship.
First thing's first: The mere mention of Lena Dunham in the nostalgic opening credits of writer-director-star Joe Swanberg's Happy Christmas shouldn't give the impression that you're about to watch a very special holiday-themed episode of Girls. Sure, there's some twentysomething angst thrown in the mix, but it delicately informs the very loose and everyday plot of this surprisingly charming slice of mumblecore cinema.
Anna Kendrick plays Jen, a hard-partying gal who takes up temporary residence in the Chicago basement of her older brother Jeff, a film director (played by Swanberg himself), and Kelly, his stay-at-home wife (Melanie Lynskey). All we know is that Jen's been through a rough breakup, and like any directionless Millennial, she doesn't know how to hold her liquor, as seen in the opening act when she reunites with her girlfriend Carson (Dunham) and hits up a local house party.
The conflicts in Christmas are subtle, the dialogue natural and conveniently messy. Swanberg's obvious improvisational style works extremely well within the confines of such an intimate story about a group of characters learning how to rediscover each other -- and themselves. Can Kelly trust Jen to babysit her toddler (scenestealing Jude Swanberg, Joe's real-life son) so that she can enjoy a few moments to herself? Can Jen clean up her act while trying to ignite a spark with family friend/pot dealer Kevin (a very boyfriendly Mark Webber)? Can Jeff do anything to help the two women who mean the most to him?
Lynskey is a particular joy to watch, especially during a scene in which Kelly opens up to Jen and Carson over a few beers and expresses her frustration over her stagnant housewife existence (she's itching to open a laptop and start working on her second novel - but when can she schedule the time?). It's a moving and transformative moment in the film -- and one we rarely see -- in which the younger characters become the inspiring mentors for the older and wiser without coming off cocky. When Jen humorously convinces Kelly to pen an erotic novel, the collaboration becomes a revelation: these two women, who seemingly have nothing in common, need each other. There's no cattiness, no petty rivarly -- just female characters supporting each other.
While the story ends a little abruptly, stick around for the closing credits to eavesdrop on a thoroughly enjoyable brainstorm session with Kendrick, Lynskey and Dunham. And if you're one of those Scrooges who has overdosed on overly saccharine-sweet Christmas flicks loaded with yuletide tropes, see why Happy Christmas just might be the holiday movie alternative (in July, no less) we all need.
Happy Christmas is now playing in select theaters.
With the box office successes of Heaven is for Real ($90 million), God's Not Dead ($60 million), and Noah ($101 million), the Heavenly Father is spreading the good word at multiplexes across the country. And just before Christmas, He'll be at it again with Exodus: Gods and Kings, a retelling of the saga of Moses.
Entertainment Weekly was generous to offer a peek at some pics from the biblical epic (coming out this December). And yes, that's Sigourney Weaver, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley, and Aaron Paul you spy below...
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