December 11, 2016

Tag Archives: Kristen Wiig

Seth Rogen’s “Sausage Party” is a filthy good time

As somewhat of a man child, I have a soft spot for animation, especially when it’s at least a bit on the irreverent side. I also happen to really enjoy the humor of Seth Rogen, so when I knew he was developing something called Sausage Party, my interest was already piqued. Well, fast forward from its initial announcement a few years ago to last night I finally got a chance to see it, ahead of its release at the end of the week. Wow. Not only is it perhaps the dirtiest animated film that I’ve ever seen, it just might be one of the funniest as well. It’s unlike anything else out there, that’s for sure.
The movie is a look at what our food does in the supermarket and how they actually learn the truth about their existence. Initially believing that humans are gods and when selected, they head to a wonderful place called the Great Beyond, items like Frank the Sausage (Rogen) and Brenda the Bun (Kristen Wiig) discover that’s not the case, setting off a literal fight for survival. It is absolute insanity, let me tell you. I almost can’t say anything that happens, not only to preserve the surprises, but also because it’s just too raunchy. I laughed out loud a ton, but there will also be walkouts on opening night, I suspect. Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon direct, while the screenplay is credited to Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Kyle Hunter, and Ariel Shaffir (based on a story by Goldberg, Rogen, and Jonah Hill). In addition to Rogen and Wiig, as well as Hill, the A-list voice cast includes Michael Cera, James Franco, Bill Hader, Salma Hayek, Anders Holm, Nick Kroll, David Krumholtz, Danny McBride, Edward Norton, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd, and many more. Music, believe it or not, comes from Alan Menken, alongside Christopher Lennertz.
Honestly, this is just an absolutely hilarious flick. From the way this is all just a metaphor for religion to one specific sequence in the third act that has to be seen in order to be believed, it all just tickles your funny bone. There’s one or two slower spots, but they almost are needed in order to give you a chance to catch your breath, you’ll be laughing so hard. This film is just as funny as you’d expect, and way dirtier too, but it’s also smarter than you’re expecting, and that […]

‘Ghostbusters’ is an excellent re-invention of the classic franchise

It was always going to be a tough task to reboot the Ghostbusters as an entirely new franchise. Basically, you had to please fans of the original while opening it up to a whole next generation of potential audience members. This week, the product of that experiment opens in a reboot of Ghostbusters, which is co-written and directed by Paul Feig. Continuing a trend he’s had throughout his career, Feig opted to make this new film stand out by casting an all female main quartet. Of course, that led to some bizarre rage on the internet, but that’s just nonsense. I’ve seen the movie and really enjoyed it, so I’m all for his new take. Hopefully you will be too, since this flick deserves to be a hit!
The film follows a similar sort of plot to the original, though this works as more of an origin story for the new characters as well. We see how Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig), Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), and Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) come together to become paranormal exterminators/investigators known as the Ghostbusters. It’s a good thing they’re around, too, since Rowan North (Neil Casey) is conjuring all of the worst spirits to this plane in order to cause some major chaos. Along with their dim witted secretary Kevin (Chris Hemsworth), the Ghostbusters are open for business! Feig co-writes with Katie Dippold and directs, while the rest of the cast, in addition to Jones, McCarthy, McKinnon, and Wiig, includes Ed Begley Jr., Nate Corddry, Charles Dance, Andy Garcia, Steve Higgins, Cecily Strong, Matt Walsh, Michael Kenneth Williams, Zach Woods, and many more. Yes, there’s also cameos by Dan Ackroyd, Ernie Hudson, Bill Murray, Annie Potts, and even Sigourney Weaver (as all new characters), in case you were wondering. Cinematography here is by Robert Yeoman, while the score is done by Theodore Shapiro. Everyone is doing solid work here, with one or two standouts, as I’ll cite below.

For me, Kate McKinnon is the clear highlight, though there’s plenty of things to like about this one. The whole cast has excellent chemistry with each other, in particular the four main women. Feig makes funny movies, so this unsurprisingly is a very amusing flick. It suffers a bit by not having a memorable villain, but it’s a worthy successor to the original and has the same sort of spirit, no pun intended, and […]

Could “The Martian” be this year’s blockbuster Hollywood Best Picture nominee?

I’ve written a fair amount about The Martian already this year, and still have more planned in advance of its release next week, but having seen the film now, I have more to say. First of all, it’s a terrific movie, one of my favorites of 2015 so far, and a legitimate Academy Award contender. Where exactly will depend on a few factors, but what I want to focus on today is how it can score a Best Picture nomination. Essentially, it will have to be a big financial hit and be the blockbuster nominee of the group. Can it do it? Believe it or not…I think that it can.
I mentioned that this will need to make money, and by that I mean that often Oscar will have a financial hit or two in its Best Picture lineup. Honestly, they almost always need to have made some money, but I’m specifically looking at things that were breakout financial hits. Just look at some of the previous nominees in the categories that have been of this ilk:
2014 – American Sniper
2013 – Gravity
2012 – N/A
2011 – The Help
2010 – Inception, Toy Story 3
2009 – Avatar, The Blind Side, Up
2008 – N/A
2007 – N/A
2006 – N/A
2005 – N/A
2004 – N/A
2003 – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2002 – The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
2001 – The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
2000 – N/A
Obviously, there’s an exception with The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, as it won Best Picture, but often it seems like these are meant as filler nominees, meant to boost ratings. Looking at those blockbuster nominees, aside from Avatar, which was kind of a one off situation, and Gravity, none were definitely considered heavily as winners. Luckily for The Martian, it does fit in with those, so that keeps its hopes very much alive…

As always, let me now double back for a quick summary of what The Martian is about, in case you’ve been ignoring this section all the previous times. For astronaut Mark Watney (Damon), the worst case scenario comes true for him on a mission to Mars when his crew (led by Jessica Chastain) thinks he’s been killed while on the surface and takes off for Earth without him. Still alive, but injured and only with supplies for a short period of time, Mark has […]

“The Martian” launches itself as an awards hopeful at the Toronto Film Festival

For months, I’d been predicting The Martian to win a bunch of Oscars in my early looks at the race. Honestly, how I felt the nominations would go didn’t necessarily reflect that, but rather what I thought the ideal performance of this interesting title could be. Well, I wound up moving it down a bit in my predictions in advance of its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, which proved to be an odd choice, as the early word was rather terrific for the flick. It definitely seems to be a contender, though winning seems unlikely now. At the same time, comparisons to something like Apollo 13 really do make you stand up and take notice. Could this go where something like the vastly underrated Interstellar could not last year? Let’s take a look…
Once again, a quick primer on The Martian. The story is pretty straightforward, at least at the start…what if an astronaut was accidentally stranded on Mars? For Mark Watney (Damon), that worst case scenario comes true when his crew (led by Jessica Chastain) thinks he’s been killed while on the Red Planet and takes off for Earth. Still alive, but injured and only with supplies for a short period of time, Mark has to use his science skills as a botanist to figure out how to survive for literally years until something can be figured out. Back home, NASA goes from assuming he’s been lost to wondering what can be done for him, and his crew-mates formulate plans of their own. Ridley Scott directs, while Drew Goddard penned the adaptation of Andy Weir’s novel. In addition to Damon in the lead role and Chastain in one of the main supporting ones, the star studded cast includes Sean Bean, Jeff Daniels, Mackenzie Davis, Chiwetel Ejifor, Donald Glover, Kate Mara, Michael Pena, Sebastian Stan, and Kristen Wiig. The cinematography is by Dariusz Wolski while the underrated Harry Gregson-Williams handles the score. The ingredients are all there, and apparently the mixture is up to snuff.
The thing that came out of Toronto for this flick most was how successful it will be with audiences. Every single year, we get one Best Picture nominee that’s closer to a blockbuster than an art house hit, so could this be the one? There’s certainly a chance, as I’d say in excess of 90% of the early reviews were positive to very positive. Some […]

Matt Damon and Ridley Scott appear at the top of their game in early looks at “The Martian”

By now, I hope all of you have seen the downright amazing First Trailer for Ridley Scott’s The Martian. Starring Matt Damon, this potentially epic science fiction adventure has been my most anticipated film of the year ever since I learned that it had a 2015 release date. I really think this has ridiculous potential. To be fair, I’m a huge fan of the book of the same name by Andy Weir, which was one of the fastest and most compelling reads I’ve had in some time. While reading the page turner, I couldn’t help but imagine the movie version, one that could be a perfect blend of fun and intelligence. If my hunch is right this fall, we might have the rare sci-fi flick that the Academy can’t resist in The Martian.
The story is pretty straightforward, at least initially…what if an astronaut was accidentally stranded on Mars? For Mark Watney (Damon), that worst case scenario comes true when his crew thinks he’s been killed while on the Red Planet and takes off for Earth. Still alive, but injured and only with supplies for a short period of time, Mark has to use his science skills as a botanist to figure out how to survive for literally years until something can be figured out. Back home, NASA goes from assuming he’s been lost to wondering what can be done for him, and his crew-mates formulate plans of their own. Scott directs, while Drew Goddard penned the adaptation of Weir’s novel. In addition to Damon, the star studded cast includes Sean Bean, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Mackenzie Davis, Chiwetel Ejifor, Donald Glover, Kate Mara, Michael Pena, Sebastian Stan, and Kristen Wiig. The cinematography is by Dariusz Wolski while the underrated Harry Gregson-Williams handles the score. Maybe I’m nuts, but I really do see Oscar potential here for The Martian. The ingredients are all there.
I know that the genre has been burned many times before and I got my hopes (and perhaps yours as well) up for Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar last year, but the slightly lighter tone might be a benefit in the case of this one. The X factor of course is Scott. Damon fits this character very well, if slightly more A-list than I envisioned the character (though that’s just my mental image), so the central part is well cast. It’s up to Scott not to come up short like […]

Matt Damon – The Martian – First Global Trailer

20th Century Fox is excited to debut the FIRST global trailer for their highly anticipated cinematic adventure, THE MARTIAN! Based on a best-selling novel, and helmed by master director Ridley Scott, THE MARTIAN features a star-studded cast that includes Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Peña, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Donald Glover.

During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring ?the Martian? home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney?s safe return. Based on a best-selling novel, and helmed by master director Ridley Scott, THE MARTIAN features a star studded cast that includes Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Peña, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Donald Glover.
THE MARTIAN Official Channels
SITE: TheMartianMovie.com
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/MartianMovie
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/MartianMovie
YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/TheMartianMovie
INSTAGRAM: http://www.instagram.com/MartianMovie
OFFICIAL HASHTAG: #TheMartian

“Mad Max: Fury Road”: Ten Films to Look Forward to in May

With the end of April upon us next week, I wanted to turn our attention to May and the cinematic treats that might be held there. It’s essentially the start of the summer movie season, so there’s a slight turn that takes place in terms of what comes out. There are a few less notable indies, while the mainstream titles veer towards blockbuster status. In fact, a nice grouping of the biggest Hollywood smash hit hopefuls are hitting in May. You’ll see the ones below, clearly, but I tried to mix it up, going from tiny indie horror to massive comic book franchise sequel, with plenty in between. Enjoy!
Here are ten May releases to anticipate…
10. The Ladies of the House – A small independent horror film from John Stuart Wildman and Justina Walford, it offers a welcome throwback to the days of exploitation. I feel like Russ Meyer and Eli Roth would appreciate this in equal measure. It’s genre fare and not for everyone, but those who have a stomach for this sort of thing will likely enjoy discovering some new filmmaking voices. Look for it on May 1st.
9. San Andreas – Dwayne Johnson vs an Earthquake? I’m sure that’s enough to sell a ticket for many of you. I haven’t heard much buzz about this one, but on May 29th we can watch all hell break loose. It’s fair to say that this one could wind up being really entertaining, if likely in a dumb sort of way. We’ll find out on May 29th.
8. Good Kill – I saw this drama at the Tribeca Film Festival (after it came there following a debut at the Sundance Film Festival earlier on in 2015) and on May 15th, you can too. It offers up Ethan Hawke as a drone pilot, which is timely, if nothing else. The movie is solid too, so I can recommend it on its merits as well.
7. Pitch Perfect 2 – The sequel to the surprise hit from a few years ago, this is basically fan service, but we rarely get that in the form of a girl power mid level dance comedy, so you can’t take issue with it at all. Anna Kendrick and company are all back, so if you dug the first one, you can see it on May 15th.
6. Welcome to Me – Kristen Wiig wins the lottery and gets own talk show. […]

SXSW buzz makes “Trainwreck” a comedy to watch out for

Yesterday evening, folks at South By Southwest (or SXSW) got to see an early glimpse at Trainwreck, the new film from A-list comedy director Judd Apatow. Penned by and starring Amy Schumer, the pairing of those minds held tons of potential, so I was waiting with baited breath to hear how the work in progress screening was received. Well, the first notices for the movie are all exceptionally good, making this a potential huge hit in the making. Not only that, we might now be in a position to start vaguely wondering if it has a chance to follow in the footsteps of Bridesmaids and gun for a few awards notices.
In case you don’t know anything about this film, Trainwreck is a romantic comedy set in New York City. Amy (played by Schumer) is a modern single woman living a happy life, free of romantic attachments beyond a single night. Her father (Colin Quinn( engrained it in her and her sister (Brie Larson) at a young age, though only Amy has held on to it through adulthood. It works great for her until a doctor (played by Bill Hader) begins getting past her defenses. Hilarity and romance ensue. As mentioned above, Apatow directs while Schumer writes, with the supporting cast also including Tilda Swinton and believe it or not, an apparently excellent LeBron James.
At SXSW, audiences were treated to a work in progress cut that it seems everyone fell in love with. As such, we can actually begin to speculate a bit about this one in terms of the O word…Oscar. When I wrote about Trainwreck a month or so ago, I thought it was probably a longer shot than most of Apatow’s features, but with reviews likely be as strong as he’s ever received, there is the possibility that this could be his Bridesmaids. Essentially, it contends all season long before the Academy hopefully throw it a bone at the end of the day.
Where could it show up? Well, assuming the buzz remains the same, we’re probably looking at Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay (for Schumer) as the only two categories with a real chance. Best Actress (for Schumer as well) is probably a long shot, while Best Director (for Apatow) is probably a pipe dream. Honestly, Best Picture isn’t amazingly likely either, especially when Bridesmaids came up short, so this really could be Best Original Screenplay or […]

2015 MTV Movie Award nominations are more respectable than usual

Yesterday, the MTV Movie Award nominations were announced for 2015. Normally, that’s not the sort of thing that I care even a little bit about, but lo and behold…the films and performances cited happen to be far more respectable than normal. The nominations were led by The Fault in Our Stars, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Neighbors, which each came away with 7 citations. There also happened to be multiple nominations scored for Boyhood, Gone Girl, Selma, and Whiplash, among others. This will never become any kind of noteworthy precursor, for sure (especially when it happens after the Oscars are already held), but hey…a step in the right direction is a step in the right direction.
Let me be perfectly clear, there are still plenty of terrible choices here, but the overall list is far better than you’d ever expect it to be. In fact, aside from an obvious bent towards some teen centric movies, this more or less resembles what a number of precursors with a mainstream tilt look like. It’s not inconceivable that in the next year or so these awards will gain a small measure of respect. Think closer to the People’s Choice Awards as opposed to even the Golden Globe Awards, but hey…it’s a start. Every awards show needs to start somewhere, right?
Sure, you could focus on the nominations for things like Annabelle, The Boy Next Door, Horrible Bosses 2, The Maze Runner, The Other Woman, The Purge: Anarchy, and The Wedding Ringer, but why do that? They also went for all of those aforementioned Oscar contenders, so that’s where the focus should be. This isn’t a nomination list to pay too much attention to, but a quick glance does give you a bit of confidence that the next generation of filmgoer isn’t solely concerned with YA franchise adaptions.
Here now is the full nominations list for the 2015 MTV Movie Awards:
Movie of the Year
American Sniper
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
Guardians of the Galaxy
Gone Girl
The Fault In Our Stars
Boyhood
Whiplash
Selma”
Best Female Performance
Jennifer Lawrence – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
Emma Stone – Birdman
Shailene Woodley – The Fault In Our Stars
Reese Witherspoon – Wild
Scarlett Johansson – Lucy
Best Male Performance
Bradley Cooper – American Sniper
Chris Pratt – Guardians of the Galaxy
Ansel Elgort – The Fault In Our Stars
Miles Teller – Whiplash
Channing Tatum – Foxcatcher
Best Scared-As-S**t Performance
Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
Annabelle Wallis – Annabelle
Jennifer Lopez – The Boy Next Door
Dylan O’Brien […]

Ten candidates to host the 88th Academy Awards

As always seems to be the case immediately after the Oscars, a lot of chatter has turned to who should be the next host of the show following Neil Patrick Harris’ turn on Sunday. Honestly, the Academy Awards doesn’t actually need a host, but since they’re committed to the idea, it makes sense to really shoot for the moon next time out. I’ve never disliked any of the hosts (yes, I even found James Franco and Anne Hathaway to be fine), but I’ve also never really been over the moon for any of them. As such, I didn’t have to think too much in order to find a bunch of worthy names that I wish the Academy would consider. Below you’ll see ten of them, but trust me…there are plenty more than just these men and women.
Here are the ten individuals that I think could knock the 88th Oscars out of the park:
10. Billy Crystal – When in doubt, why not go back to what you know works? There are other options I could have listed here, like Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock, or even Harris again (I’d easily be the most willing to give Seth MacFarlane another crack at it, even if it seems he’s one and done), but I have a feeling that we haven’t seen Crystal’s last turn at this gig. He wouldn’t be an exciting or sexy pick, but he’d do the job with a consistency that the Academy craves.

9. Sarah Silverman – Given the chance, I think Silverman could really do a great job with this big stage. Sure, she’s dirtier than most previous hosts, but she has a unique personality that could be well suited to a slight roast of Hollywood. I doubt she’d get the call, but I think it’s one that Oscar should make.

8. Kevin Smith – Hear me out. Quietly, the filmmaker has become an incredible interviewer on his many podcasts, someone who speaks with a genuine affection and love for cinema. For Hollywood’s biggest night/their prom, shouldn’t the MC be a big fan of the movies too? They’ll never even consider him, but they should.

7. Jimmy Kimmel – I think if it weren’t for the fact that Kimmel already hosts a post show special, he’d already have been given the gig. He’s a low risk choice that could wind up paying bigger dividends than expected. Of all the people on this […]

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