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Emilio Estevez comes from Hollywood royalty. His dad is actor Martin Sheen. His brother is Charlie Sheen. As a child, his best friends were the Penns (Sean and Chris) and the Lowes (Rob and Chad). Estevez grew up immersed in show biz. In the early 80′s Estevez became the de facto leader of the actors of his generation. Collectively, they were known as the Brat Pack and for a short time, they reigned supreme. As the decade ended, there was a backlash against the Pack. Among his colleagues, Estevez held up better than others. But these days, Estevez is rarely heard from.
What the hell happened?
They say that there are no new stories, just variations on the same old ones. Sometimes the measure of true talent is how a group of artists is capable of elevating relatively predictable material to make it emotionally impactful and revelatory. The newest Bill Murray vehicle St. Vincent falls into this category of achievement.
St. Vincent is a very familiar story of redemption through opening up to the people around us and really learning who they are. There are many examples of these kinds of stories, especially with a child being the catalyst for bringing down carefully constructed walls against the outside world. Nick Hornby’s novel About a Boy, which has been made into both a film and a TV show, comes to mind. These stories, especially in their movie forms, have a tendency to be a little treacly and simplistic, even in their best incarnations.
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Few actresses embody the concept of a “missed opportunity” as well as Sean Young. For a time, she seemed to be the next big A-list star. A leading lady for the 80s. Young herself has compared herself more than once to Julia Roberts. But somehow, she never became America’s Sweetheart. We’ve already examined what happened to her. So now, it’s time to look at what might have been.
This past weekend, Dumb and Dumber To exceeded even the most optimistic box office projections. Critics were unkind to the sequel, but audiences who have been waiting twenty years for more Dumb and Dumber didn’t care. Now there’s talk of a Dumb and Dumber trilogy!
The box office success of Dumb and Dumber To has some people talking about a comeback for Jim Carrey. Carrey’s movie career has cooled over the last decade or so. His last unqualified box office hit was arguably Bruce Almighty in 2003. When a Dumb and Dumber sequel was announced, it seemed to some (myself included) like a desperation move. But now, it seems like a “hail mary pass” that connected.
The thing that stuck out to me about Consumed is that we pretty much knew what was going to happen before the episode even started. In Slabtown, we saw Carol being wheeled into the hospital. The only question was “how did she get there?” Turns out the answer was a completely implausible car accident. How does that even happen in a world without traffic? Ninja car? Carol is officially the worst pedestrian in the apocalypse.
We knew from Strangers that Daryl returned to camp with someone and that he wasn’t exactly in a chipper mood. A lot of people guessed that Daryl’s guest was Noah after meeting him in Slabtown. The episode revealed how the two strangers met. Noah disarmed them and basically left them to die. They teamed up less because it made sense than because the plot dictated that they must.
What I’m getting at is that we already knew the outcome of all of the events of Consumed. What we didn’t know was pretty obvious. And sometimes the explanation I came up with on my own was better than the one the show gave us.
What is a “movie” and what is a “film?” The two terms can be used as synonyms a great deal of the time. I do it myself just to break up the monotony of employing one of them repeatedly. Technically, there is nothing really wrong with this, but we’re all also aware that the word “film,” when not referring to the actual act of making a movie (“It is now time to film the naked zombie attack.”) is usually denoting when the medium approaches the quality of art. Will Ferrell makes movies. Ingmar Bergman made films.
What many of us are hoping for when we plop down in the local cinema is to be presented with something that straddles the line between the two. We want to be thrilled and entertained on a basic level, but we also want to be challenged and transformed without being pandered to. Nightcrawler comes very very close to being that type of experience. But it just can’t help itself, can it?
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