By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Competing storybook romances open in theaters today, and surprisingly, the one that’s centered around the hapless New Jersey Nets competing for an NBA Championship is the more believable of the two.
Letters to Juliet (*1/2 out of 4)
Gary Winick’s “Letters to Juliet” is a sappily-ever-after fairy tale. It’s picturesque, with gorgeous photographs of romantic Verona, Italy. But the action that takes place in the desirable European setting is woefully processed. Even those who wholeheartedly subscribe to the possibilities of true love will gag on the gallons of syrup that ooze off the screen.
At least you know right away this is a fantasy. How else could the movie explain that doe-eyed Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) earns enough money as a fact-checker for The New Yorker to jet-set to Italy on a pre-wedding honeymoon with her workaholic fiancée (Gael Garcia Bernal)? She also has no trouble hanging around the scenic Italian countryside for weeks after she finds a decades-old love letter, befriends lovesick Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) and her petulant grandson, Charlie (Christopher Egan), and accompanies them on a quest to find Claire’s soul mate. In reality, Sophie’s boss (played by an uncredited Oliver Platt) would have fired her on the spot. In “Juliet,” he’s thrilled she returns to Manhattan with a publishable story.
Too bad she couldn’t unearth a filmable script. “Letters to Juliet” defines pre-packaged storytelling. Conflicts in the script are ham-fisted and forced. Resolutions are predictably manufactured. You never once believe any of this could ever happen. Sophie’s story starts with an improbable premise, quickly tumbles into the realm of impossible plot contrivances, and never attempts to recover. Even the film’s alleged payoff — the fateful moment when Claire finally reunites with her long-lost Lorenzo (Franco Nero) that has been spoiled by the trailers and TV commercials — relies on such a lazy, ludicrous coincidence that’s poorly planned and shamelessly executed.
“Letters to Juliet” does things by the book. The story book. To see the trailer is to see the whole film. The only surprise left to discover about “Juliet” is that the script was written by a guy. Two of them, in fact. Blame Jose Rivera and Tim Sullivan, who — according to IMDB.com — haven’t collaborated on any projects prior to “Juliet.” And if there’s goddess up in heaven reading this review, she’ll make sure they never collaborate on anything as simplistic as this, again. […]
Tag Archives: Amanda Seyfried
By Sean O’Connell
By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: “Iron Man 2” dominated the weekend’s box office, taking in $133.6 million according to studio estimates.
The next-highest grossing film, the “Nightmare on Elm Street” remake, only made At the domestic box office, New Line/Warner Bros.’ A Nightmare on Elm $9.2 million, amounting to an estimated 72-percent drop from its opening weekend, and good enough for a distant, distant second place finish.
But it was all “Iron Man 2” at the theaters, as Jon Favreau’s sequel, which stars Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson, finally bowed in the States and pushed its worldwide cume to $327.6 million since opening on April 28. ComingSoon.net reports that the first “Iron Man” earned $585.1 million worldwide, so the sequel has ground to cover (and plenty of time to do so).
The “Iron Man 2” opening was the fifth-highest domestic open of all time, behind “The Dark Knight” ($158.4 million), “Spider-Man 3” ($151 million), “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” ($142.8 million), and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” ($135.6 million). The lower-than-expected figure already had a few analysts asking if “Iron Man 2” left money on the table by not converting at the last minute to 3-D, where ticket prices could have been higher (but quality of presentation, no doubt, would have been much lower).
Now we look ahead to the coming weekend, where “Iron Man 2” will have to defend the top slot from Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe’s “Robin Hood” update, and Amanda Seyfried’s “Letters to Juliet.”
HollywoodNews.com: You may be getting familiar to the name Amanda Seyfried, who is breaking into the spotlight more and more everyday. She is a staple on HBO’s “Big Love” and has starred in a variety of movies including “Mamma Mia!,” “Chloe,” “Dear John,” and now “Letters to Juliet.” From Summit Entertainment, the same studio that brought you the “Twilight” series, you can expect this film to be a tearjerker. IMDB describes the film as “An American girl on vacation in Italy finds an unanswered “letter to Juliet” — one of thousands of missives left at the fictional lover’s Verona courtyard, which are typically answered by a the “secretaries of Juliet” — and she goes on a quest to find the lovers referenced in the letter.”
Enjoy the photo gallery of stills from the film, which hits theaters this Friday, May, 14th.
By Sean O’Connell
HollywoodNews.com: I don’t like to focus on gossip while covering the movie beat for HollywoodNews.com. Too many important items related to the art of filmmaking and storytelling fall through the cracks as media outlets fight to deduce who slept with whom, or who was photographed eating what at The Ivy.
But an article posted online this morning struck me for what it says about the way celebrity stories are presented in the modern, cyber age, and how print media — specifically magazines — really can’t keep up when they have to compete with the immediacy of Twitter, Facebook, and the like.
Amanda Seyfried sat down with InStyle Hair for the magazine’s June issue and, in addition to promoting her upcoming romance “Letters to Juliet,” dished on her long-distance relationship with fellow actor Dominic Cooper, as reported by People.com.
“We Skype,” Seyfried said. She admits that there’s “nothing easy” about long-distance relationships, but that the two, who met while making “Mamma Mia!,” rely on Webcams to make the relationship work.
Except I don’t think it’s working. A colleague of mine, Patrick Stoner, traveled to Verona, Italy this week to interview Seyfried as part of Summit Entertainment’s “Letters” junket. It’s an amazing opportunity, I’m sure, and Stoner scored an amazing scoop, even if he didn’t realize it at the time.
“What irony and class in the face of it: Amanda Seyfried breaks up with boyfriend, tearfully texting during dinner, talking about true love today,” Stoner posted May 2 on his Facebook page.
Now, the Broadcast Film Critics Association member, a long time interviewer for Philadelphia’s WHYY, is not in the gossip game, either. And his post probably wasn’t meant to break any stories. It was an observation from a journalist on the front lines.
But the online posting, if it’s in fact true, instantly negates a magazine interview that InStyle likely conducted with Seyfried at least a month ago. The magazine takes a risk running its story on a relationship that could easily dissolve before publication. And in this age of instant updates, I’m not sure that’s a risk worth taking anymore.
Within the first three months of 2010, we have seen an unusually high number of new films starring actors and actresses under the age of 30. Among them: “The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond” (Bryce Dallas Howard), “Youth in Revolt” (Michael Cera), “The Book of Eli” (Mila Kunis), “Fish Tank” (Katie Jarvis), “When in Rome” (Kristen Bell), “Dear John” (Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried), “Valentine’s Day” (Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Anne Hathaway, Taylor Lautner, Emma Roberts, and Taylor Swift), “The Wolfman” (Emily Blunt), “Shutter Island” (Michelle Williams), “The Good Guy” (Alexis Bledel), “The Yellow Handkerchief” (Kristen Stewart), “Alice in Wonderland” (Mia Wasikowska), “Remember Me” (Robert Pattinson), “Our Family Wedding” (America Ferrera), “The Runaways” (Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart), “Chloe” (Amanda Seyfried), “The Hot Tub Time Machine” (Clark Duke), and “The Last Song” (Miley Cyrus). Therefore, I thought I’d offer my list of the top 10 actresses (this week) and actors (next week) under the age of 30:
Click through the photo gallery below to see who is our top actress under 30:
The Tribeca Film Festival today announced that “Freakonomics” will serve as the closing gala of the Festival on April 30.
A suitable film for these trying economic times, “Freakonomics” adapts the bestselling book “Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Exposes the Hidden Side of Everything” by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. But instead of one vision, “Freakonomics” hands the reins over to multiple, Oscar-winning and Oscar-nominated documentary filmmakers and gives them a whack at the material. Alex Gibney, Morgan Spurlock, Rachel Grady, Heidi Ewing, Eugene Jarecki and Seth Gordon are credited directors on “Freakonomics,” which will have its world premiere at TFF as the festival’s closing gala.
In addition, festival organizers announced that Summit Entertainment’s summer romance “Letters to Juliet” will have its world premiere during a gala screening on April 25. The film, directed by Gary Winick (“13 Going On 30”), stars Amanda Seyfried and Vanessa Redgrave as women connected by a decades-old love letter.
Finally, TFF will host a special screening of “My Own Love Song,” the first English language film from Olivier Dahan, which stars Renée Zellweger and Forest Whitaker as unlikely friends embarking on a disaster-prone road trip. With supporting performances by Madeline Zima, Nick Nolte and Elias Koteas, “My Own Love Song” also features original music by Bob Dylan.
“This trio of films embodies the spirit of diversity that has defined Tribeca through the years,” said Nancy Schafer, Executive Director of TFF. “Audiences will be charmed by ‘Letters to Juliet,’ moved by (the) emotional journey to redemption in ‘My Own Love Song’ and glued to their seats during the riveting ‘Freakonomics,’ which marks the return of some of today’s best documentary filmmakers to Tribeca. We are truly honored that they’ve once again chosen our Festival as a platform to share their work.”
The 9th annual Tribeca Film Festival will run from April 21 to May 2. Visit www.tribecafilm.com for more information about these films, and the entire TFF line-up.
“LETTERS TO JULIET” TRAILER
“MY OWN LOVE SONG” TRAILER
BY SEAN O’CONNELL
How to Train Your Dragon (*** out of 4)
“How to Train Your Dragon,” the animated adaptation of Cressida Cowell’s fantastical story, is the first cartoon I watched in 2-D that made me wish I’d gone out of my way to attend a 3-D screening.
Co-directors Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders soar to great heights — literally and figuratively — as they recount the coming-of-age tale of young Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), an outcast in his rugged Viking village who accidentally discovers that the dragons threatening his friends and relatives aren’t as harmful as they seem. As Hiccup tames his newfound pet, Toothless, the duo embarks on some breathtaking flights around the Vikings’ island retreat, and I envied those who paid the extra bucks for an additional visual dimension.
Yet even in 2-D, “Dragon” weaves a capricious adventure about our rites of passage. It also coveys the difficulties we overcome as we mature in our parents’ eyes. Gerard Butler, voicing Hiccup’s disappointed warrior father, demonstrates once again that he’s better suited for action than romantic comedy. And while Baruchel’s hipster delivery is better suited to a teen employee at Hot Topics than a Viking in training, the production’s magnificent vibe of friendship and the power of teamwork harkened back to the timeless relationship forged between Henry Thomas’s Eliott and Steven Spielberg’s E.T.
High praise, indeed.
Chloe (** out of 4)
Back when Brian De Palma was trying his best to emulate Alfred Hitchcock, he made movies like “Chloe.” It’s explicit, cheaply provocative, and reveals all of the spicy elements that Hitch knew how to shade from the audience. If not for its terrific performances, “Chloe” likely would be relegated to late-night, basic cable or dollar bins at a foreclosing Blockbuster Video. But it’s worth sampling “Chloe” just to witness Julianne Moore and Liam Neeson initiating a slow burn as Canadian spouses who’ve slowly drifted very far apart over the years.
David (Neeson) is a professor who’s uncomfortable with his age, so he gently flirts with his coed students because it rejuvenates his body and mind. Catherine (Moore), sensing this distance from her aloof husband, fills that void with suspicions of adultery. Enter Chloe (Amanda Seyfried, also good), a sexually promiscuous chameleon who – coincidentally – services high-end johns in a nightclub located next door to Dr. Catherine’s medical office. The paranoid ob-gyn hires this lithe beauty to flirt with her husband […]
BY TODD GILCHRIST
In a remarkably short time, Amanda Seyfried has played an amazing variety of roles, both on television and film. She’s appeared on soap operas, screen dramas, musicals, horror films, crime thrillers, and more, and at 25 seems to be picking up speed as she expands her repertoire, in roles great and small, but always with performances that distinguish her even if they don’t define her. In her latest film, Chloe, her eclecticism and talent is further put to the test: she plays the title character, a young prostitute who becomes involved with a married woman after the woman enlists her help to see if her husband is cheating.
Hollywood News sat down with Seyfried Tuesday afternoon in Beverly Hills, Calif. at the Chloe press day to discuss her participation in the film. In addition to talking about her collaboration with director Atom Egoyan, Seyfried explored the relationship she developed on and off screen with her costar, Julianne Moore, and reflected not only on what it is that Chloe seems to want, but what she herself wanted to reveal about the complicated, fascinating, and provocative character.
Check out the film’s theatrical trailer below. Chloe also stars Liam Neeson, and opens in limited release on March 26, 2010.
The stars on the red carpet of the 82nd Academy Awards were all crowned with platinum jewelry as the trending fashion this year. Platinum is the highest quality metal and its natural white color maximizes the brilliance of diamonds and colored gemstones, making them sparkle brighter. Below is a list of all the celebrities that chose platinum as the source to complement their gorgeous gowns.
– Charlize Theron: Platinum and diamond cluster earrings (17.25 carats), and a platinum and diamond bracelet by Harry Winston.
– Zoe Saldana: Platinum and diamond drop earrings (20 carats), and a platinum and amethyst ring (80 carats) by Lorraine Schwartz.
– Miley Cyrus: Platinum and ruby ring (10 carats), and platinum and diamond earrings with rubies by Lorraine Schwartz.
– Amanda Seyfried: Platinum and colored diamond bracelets (250 carats), platinum and colored diamond ring, and blackened platinum and diamond earrings by Lorraine Schwartz.
– Faith Hill: Blackened platinum and diamond bangles (180 carats) by Lorraine Schwartz, and black sapphire and black diamond earrings set in platinum by Ofira.
– Gabourey Sidibe: Blackened platinum and diamond earrings with sapphires, blackened platinum and black diamond bracelets, and a blackened platinum and diamond ring (over 180 carats total for all jewelry) by Lorraine Schwartz.
– Nicole Richie: Blackened platinum and diamond ring (110 carats), blackened platinum and diamond stud earrings, and a blackened platinum and diamond ring by Lorraine Schwartz.
– Penelope Cruz: Platinum and diamond drop earrings (18 carats), and three platinum and diamond bracelets (51 carats total) by Chopard.
– Kate Winslet: Platinum and yellow diamond pendant (19 carats total), platinum and yellow diamond drop earrings (10 carats), and three platinum and yellow diamond bracelets by Tiffany & Co.
– Julianne Moore: Five platinum and diamond bracelets by Bvlgari.
– Maggie Gyllenhaal: Platinum and diamond bracelet with emerald and sapphire by Fred Leighton.
– Vera Farmiga: Platinum and diamond ear clips with opal, and platinum and diamond hair clips by Fred Leighton.
– Sarah Jessica Parker: Two platinum and diamond bracelets by Fred Leighton.
– Demi Moore: Platinum and diamond bracelet, platinum and diamond bracelet with crystals, platinum and diamond ring with a pearl, and a platinum and diamond hair clip by Van Cleef & Arpels.
– Jennifer Lopez: Platinum and diamond clip earrings, and a platinum and diamond bracelet by Cartier.
– Hilary Swank (Vanity Fair party): Platinum and diamond earrings, platinum and diamond chain necklace, and a platinum and diamond cluster ring by Harry Winston.
– Tina Fey: […]
BY SEAN O’CONNELL
From Paris, With Love (** out of 4)
James Reece (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) holds down a cushy Parisian embassy gig but dreams of scoring an exciting position on the government’s special ops team. Which government? We’re never really sure, and I’m not positive it matters. As part of his audition, James is told he must escort a new partner – loose cannon Charlie Wax (John Travolta) – on a covert mission through Paris’ power corridors and seedy underbellies. Survive the mission, James is told, and he’ll receive that coveted promotion.
Around this time last year, “From Paris, With Love” director Pierre Morel chased Liam Neeson through the French capital as the imposing Irish actor doggedly pursued the thugs who kidnapped his daughter. Lightning doesn’t strike twice as Morel returns to Paris with Travolta in tow, though the chrome-domed A-lister has enough fun with his gonzo performance to fill at least two movies. Travolta relishes the sleaze of his dialogue, plugging into the holier-than-thou lilt that he used on “Pulp Fiction” to help make Quentin Tarantino’s street slang sound so sexy. You have to wonder if Travolta was reminiscing about better days on the “Pulp” set, especially when – in a not so subtle reference – he name drops the infamous “royale with cheese.”
Adi Hasak’s “From Paris” screenplay doesn’t reach QT’s clever levels, however, and could have used at least two more polishes, itself. The vague criminal plot ping-pongs from one motivation to another as we wait (not too long) for the next explosion. Wax and Reece start investigating a cocaine syndicate, shift to a terrorist cell laundering stolen money, and end up exposing an undercover suicide bomber as they race to prevent an attack on visiting U.S. dignitaries. It’s hard to keep score when the movie insists on changing the game plan every couple of scenes. By the end of “From Paris,” we assume we’re witnessing the birth of Hollywood’s newest good cop-bad cop partnership. I can’t say I’m in “Love” with that idea.
Dear John (**1/2 out of 4)
Film adaptations of Nicholas Sparks novels have a template, and by golly, Lasse Hallstrom’s “Dear John” follows it to the letter.
John (Channing Tatum) and Savannah (Amanda Seyfried) fall in love during one blissful summer, but put their romance on the shelf once he – a member of the Army’s Special Forces unit – is required to finish his tour […]