Saturday, August 21, 2010

“The search is on for a Google movie - Entertainment Weekly Online” plus 3 more

“The search is on for a Google movie - Entertainment Weekly Online” plus 3 more


The search is on for a Google movie - Entertainment Weekly Online

Posted: 20 Aug 2010 04:54 PM PDT

google-movieImage Credit: John Macdougall/AFP/Getty ImagesStep aside, Facebook movie! Make room for the Google movie! According to Deadline.com's Mike Fleming, Ken Auletta's book Googled: The End of the World as We Know It will become a film. The now-familiar story of Sergey and Larry starting out as Sanford Ph.D students is a classic, I guess — basic premise: nerds make good; get really, really rich — but what is the end of the movie? Google's story is far from complete; every few weeks there's a new product or position that shifts the company's place in the public consciousness. Is Google a good guy or a bad guy? Does anyone even know? Can this movie be nuanced enough to let it be neither?

Broad thematic questions aside, I'm always wary of how Hollywood thinks computers work. I'm assuming scenes about data storage will look like the neon cityscape in Hackers, that at some point someone will "enhance" something, and we'll see an über-programmer staring at a screen full of binary code (preferable in green-on-black). Those are the rules.

So, PopWatchers, are you feeling lucky? Ready for a Google biopic?

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Movie review: Romance is dry as Sahara in dull but beautiful ‘Cairo Time’ - Abington Mariner

Posted: 20 Aug 2010 10:30 PM PDT

Even if you don't give an Aswan Dam about Egypt, it's hard not to be swept up by the grandeur of one of its most beautiful and mysterious metropolises in "Cairo Time."

Every bit the travelogue "Eat Pray Love" was, Ruba Nadda's ode to platonic love similarly will have you immediately speed-dialing your travel agent.

The city never looked more inviting, be it the Pyramids of Giza, the moonscapes of the White Desert or a riverboat ride down the Nile. Far less alluring is the stilted romance that persists in obstructing the view.

It pairs the Canadian wife of a United Nations honcho and the grand poobah's impossibly handsome Arab pal, who is asked to watch over the visiting damsel until hubby can free himself from an uprising at a Gaza refugee camp.

Thus begins a simmering – and unconsummated – affair, rife with all the complications a series of contrived culture clashes can muster. They walk, talk and sip coffee with great regularity, as they alternately moon and explore. But what's the point?

The romance is flat, despite a couple of appealing performances by Patricia Clarkson (all doe-eyed and full of repressed longing) and "Syriana's" Alexander Siddig (silent and swarthy), as the intercontinental lovers. And Nadda's points about insulated Westerners knowing little about Middle East culture and religion are clichéd at best.

That leaves only the beauty of Cairo to hold your interest. And thanks to the sumptuous photography by Luc Montpellier, that's more than enough to make "Cairo Time" time well spent.

Reach Al Alexander at aalexander@ledger.com.

CAIRO TIME (PG-13) Cast includes Patricia Clarkson and Alexander Siddig. Written and directed by Ruba Nadda. 2.5 stars out of 4.

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New movie reviews: 'Lottery Ticket,'The Switch,' more - Reporter

Posted: 20 Aug 2010 10:09 PM PDT

In this publicity image released by Warner Bros., from left, Brandon T. Jackson, Bow Wow, and Naturi Naughton are shown in a scene from "Lottery Ticket." (AP Photo/Warner Bros., David Lee)

Capsule reviews of films opening this week:

"Lottery Ticket" — The odds of winning the lottery are what, like, 1 in 175 million? The laughs aren't quite so hard to come by here, but they're not a safe bet, either. The feature debut from longtime music video director Erik White, which he co-wrote with Abdul Williams, starts out amiably enough, with a shaggy, shambling vibe. But it eventually devolves into a weirdly violent streak, followed by some seriously heavy-handed sentimentality. Still, the ensemble cast manages to keep things sporadically enjoyable. Rapper-actor Bow Wow is all grown up here as Kevin, a recent high school graduate who's stuck working at Foot Locker but dreams of creating his own shoe line. "Lottery Ticket" is at its strongest off the top, as Kevin tries to make his way to work at the mall one morning but keeps getting delayed by the random neighbors in his Atlanta housing project. Brandon T. Jackson has a loose, easy energy about him and gets many of the best lines. But when Kevin plays the lottery and wins the $370 million jackpot, everything changes, with people cozying up to him or trying to kill him because he's now a rich man. And because he wins over the extended July 4 weekend, he must wait three days to cash in. Loretta Devine, Naturi Naughton and Ice Cube co-star. PG-13 for sexual content, language including a drug reference, some violence and brief underage drinking. 95 minutes. Two stars out of four.

— Christy Lemire, AP Movie Critic

"Nanny McPhee Returns" — The Nanny McPhee movies may be principally for kids, but make no mistake about it: They are, quite literally, a parent's dream. Overwhelmed single parents with unruly kids are rescued by a magical nanny (Emma Thompson) who seemingly appears out of nowhere. And at no cost! For some older moviegoers escorting little ones, this premise might be impossibly alluring. And they said fans of "Avatar" were depressed when they left the theater. This sequel to 2005's "Nanny McPhee" (both penned by Thompson, adapting Christianna Brand's Nurse Matilda books) largely keeps the original's formula. McPhee, a witch-looking fairy godmother of tough love, comes to the aid of a parent trying to manage a litter of kids alone (Maggie Gyllenhaal, filling Colin Firth's shoes). McPhee obviously owes much to P.L. Travers' Mary Poppins, but there's still a warm, British naturalism to the film and an old-fashioned cheerfulness uncommon to most of today's kids movies. With Rhys Ifans as a brother-in-law scoundrel, and Maggie Smith as a ditzy shopkeeper. PG for rude humor, some language and mild thematic elements. 109 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.

— Jake Coyle, AP Entertainment Writer

"Piranha 3D" — Mere words cannot describe how awesomely gnarly this is, how hugely entertaining, and how urgently you must get yourself to the theater to see it. This is not a joke, by the way. This movie is a complete blast. To borrow a phrase from the kind of B-horror flicks to which "Piranha 3D" is such an effective homage: Run, don't walk. Like "Snakes on a Plane," which came out in the dead of summer four years ago, "Piranha 3D" knows exactly what it is and does exactly what it should do. It's about piranhas ... in 3-D. It's cleverly knowing without collapsing into parody. It makes great use of its extremely random cast, including Elisabeth Shue in an unusually bad-ass role as a sheriff, Ving Rhames as her deputy and Jerry O'Connell as a Joe Francis type. Christopher Lloyd has one great scene in full-on, crazed Christopher Lloyd mode as the resident fish expert. The second you see Eli Roth — playing the emcee at a wet T-shirt contest, no less — you know some hideous fate will befall him. And then there's Richard Dreyfuss, who makes a very cute cameo off the top. That's all we'll say. But the whole point of this kind of movie is the gore, and French director Alexandre Aja finds hilarious and creative ways to kill off his characters — drunk, horny college kids who've descended on a lake for spring break. R for sequences of strong bloody horror, violence and gore, graphic nudity, sexual content, language, and some drug use. 82 minutes. Three and a half stars out of four.

— Christy Lemire, AP Movie Critic

"The Switch" — Not a single moment rings true in "The Switch," which is unfortunate because it's actually about a situation in which a lot of women find themselves. Jennifer Aniston's character, Kassie, is a single, 40-year-old New York TV producer who wants to have a baby but doesn't want to wait around for a man — or worse yet, the wrong man — to make that happen. So she turns to a sperm donor, only to have her longtime best friend, the uptight stock trader Wally (Jason Bateman), switch the specimens in a drunken stupor. Why, you may be wondering, does Wally even have access to the cup that contains the makings of Kassie's future child? Because the whole deal is going down at an insemination party thrown by the movie's obligatory wacky best friend (Juliette Lewis), complete with jokey turkey basters. Like most situations — and like the similarly hokey "The Back-up Plan" from earlier this year, starring Jennifer Lopez — this one is played in broad, sitcommy fashion, utterly divorced from the way people behave in real life. PG-13 for mature thematic content, sexual material including dialogue, some nudity, drug use and language. 100 minutes. One star out of four.

— Christy Lemire, AP Movie Critic

"The Tillman Story" — Pat Tillman was many things to many people: a son, brother, husband, friend and, as a player for Arizona State University and the Arizona Cardinals, a football star who drew cheers for his exciting, physical style. But once he gave up his NFL career to join the Army Rangers in 2002 and then was fatally shot in Afghanistan in 2004, he became something else entirely, something larger than life through his death: a symbol of American patriotism, a poster boy, a crucial part of the government's message. And that turned him into something he wasn't. "The Tillman Story" attempts to get to the bottom of what happened the day he was killed by following the exhaustive investigative efforts of Tillman's family — namely, his mother, Dannie — and, in the process, allows us to get to know who the man himself really was. Director Amir Bar-Lev, whose previous documentaries include the smart, suspenseful "My Kid Could Paint That," approaches "The Tillman Story" as a bit of a mystery, as well. Tension builds as details emerge and the disparity between lie and truth becomes more glaringly obvious. Not all of this is new. Books have been written on the subject since Tillman's death, including one by his mother. But Bar-Lev thoroughly and methodically lays it all out and lets the information speak for itself. R for language. 94 minutes. Three and a half stars out of four.

— Christy Lemire, AP Movie Critic

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Movie Review 'Lottery Ticket' not a total loss - East Valley Tribune

Posted: 19 Aug 2010 11:57 PM PDT

Posted: Friday, August 20, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 5:52 pm, Thu Aug 19, 2010.

The odds of winning the lottery are what, like, 1 in 175 million? The laughs aren't quite so hard to come by in "Lottery Ticket," but they're not a safe bet, either.

The feature debut from longtime music video director Erik White, which he co-wrote with Abdul Williams, starts out amiably enough, with a shaggy, shambling vibe. But it eventually devolves into a weirdly violent streak, followed by some seriously heavy-handed sentimentality. Still, the ensemble cast manages to keep things sporadically enjoyable.

Rapper-actor Bow Wow is all grown up here as Kevin, a recent high school graduate who's stuck working at Foot Locker but dreams of creating his own shoe line. "Lottery Ticket" is at its strongest off the top, as Kevin tries to make his way to work at the mall one morning but keeps getting delayed by the random neighbors in his Atlanta housing project.

They include his God-fearing grandma (Loretta Devine), the gossipy neighbor (Charlie Murphy) and the crazy recluse who lives in the basement and only pops his hand out with some cash for Kevin to buy him some beef jerky and a Cherry Coke (his identity will be revealed later). Along for the ride is his broke, unemployed best friend, Benny, played by Brandon T. Jackson, who has a loose, easy energy about him and gets many of the best lines. (He was also great as Alpa Chino in "Tropic Thunder.") And there's Kevin's childhood pal, the college-bound Stacie (Naturi Naughton), who clearly wants to be more than friends, and should be.

After a run-in with neighborhood ex-con Lorenzo (Gbenga Akinnagbe) over some Air Jordans gets him fired from his job, Kevin buys himself a lottery ticket while stopping at the corner store to buy one for his grandma. And whaddya know? The numbers he got out of a fortune cookie that day just happen to win him the $370 million jackpot. (Faheem Najm, better known as T-Pain, is hilarious in a low-key way in just a few scenes as the bemused store owner.)

But because we need a plot contrivance to make things difficult for Kevin, it just happens to be the extended July 4 weekend, so he has to wait three days to cash in at the lottery office. This also means he has to survive three days of people cozying up to him or trying to kill him because he's now a rich man. Keith David is reliable as the godfather of the projects, who gives Kevin a $100,000 "loan" in hopes of doing business with him (with an underused Terry Crews as his chauffeur/enforcer). Teairra Mari plays the resident sexpot who never gave him the time of day before but now wants to be his baby mama. And Mike Epps has an amusing scene as an opportunistic preacher.

In theory, because Kevin is a smart - and street-smart - kid, he should see though all these schemes and manipulations. But with his head swimming, he neglects the woman who's been loyal to him all along: Stacie. Only Ice Cube, showing some flashes of emotional depth as a retired boxer, can help set him straight. (He's also one of the film's executive producers.)

"Lottery Ticket," meanwhile, shows flashes of the kind of likable comedy that made Ice Cube's "Friday" a cult classic. It just doesn't show them consistently, and the cloyingly feel-good ending nearly negates the good will the movie generated from the beginning. It doesn't hit the jackpot but it's not a total loss.

"Lottery Ticket"

Rating: PG-13 for sexual content, language including a drug reference, some violence and brief underage drinking.

Running time: 95 minutes.

Grade: C

 

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Posted in Get out, Movies on Friday, August 20, 2010 12:00 am Updated: 5:52 pm. | Tags: Movies

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