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Gary Thompson

ENTERTAINMENT
June 10, 2011
THE JOKE about the three stages of an actress in Hollywood - babe, district attorney, "Driving Miss Daisy" - is so good, we repeat it even if it isn't true anymore. The truth is the business is getting to be much friendlier to "older" actresses, especially if you factor in television. Norristown's Maria Bello is now forty-something, she's mother of a 10-year-old boy, and she's busier than ever - a new movie ("Beautiful Boy") opens today, she has two more in the hopper, and she's about to embark on the American version of the venerated Helen Mirren BBC series "Prime Suspect," the quintessential plum role.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 3, 2011
"DRIVE ANGRY" is not a sequel to "Changing Lanes. " It's another Nicolas Cage movie that did not screen for critics, and did not make a heck of a lot of money. Cage is an angry driver out to kill the cultists who murdered his daughter. He's not looking for the guy who killed his career, which would be Cage himself. Although if he made another "Bad Lieutenant" with Werner Herzog, I'd be right there. For a more nuanced leading-man performance, try Javier Bardem in "Biutiful. " He plays a dying single dad trying to ensure some sort of future for his two kids.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 27, 2011
HOLLYWOOD must figure you'll be AT the movies this week, not watching DVDs, so it's releasing only "I Am Number Four" and "Gnomeo and Juliet. " "Gnomeo" is yet another riff on the Shakespeare classic. It's also so-so animation backed by some reworked Elton John songs. Skip this, take the kids to "Kung Fu Panda 2. " "I Am Number Four" is based on a not-bad young adult book about an alien refugee (Alex Pettyfer) hiding on earth, posing as a teenager. Interstellar ogres find him and chase him, and he's also got problems with the captain of the football team, because he's dating the guy's ex (it's true love!
ENTERTAINMENT
May 23, 2011
"The Awful Truth" (1937, B&W) with Irene Dunne. Directed by Leo McCarey. "Bringing Up Baby" (1938, B&W) with Katharine Hepburn. Directed by Howard Hawks. "Holiday" (1938, B&W) with Katharine Hepburn. Directed by George Cukor. "His Girl Friday" (1940, B&W) with Rosalind Russell. Directed by Howard Hawks. "My Favorite Wife" (1940, B&W) with Irene Dunne. Directed by Garson Kanin. "The Philadelphia Story" (1940, B&W) with Katharine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart. Directed by George Cukor.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 13, 2011
ABOUT a minute into my interview with Jodie Foster, it became apparent there were few questions, even sneaky ones, that would get the best of her big Yale brain. Foster was taking calls for her new movie, "The Beaver," speaking candidly and bravely about notorious co-star/friend Mel Gibson, the guy with the unique movie baggage - he's won an Oscar, and also pleaded no contest to misdemeanor spousal abuse. She'd been talking Gibson all day, so I thought I'd throw a curve by asking about her next project, one she's making with an equally notorious fellow, Roman Polanski.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 13, 2011
THERE ARE new DVDs this week featuring Justin Bieber and Ashton Kutcher, which is either the best or worst news ever. Bieber's "Never Say Never" is a bio/concert movie that offers lots of background about his upbringing as a street performer in the theater town of Stratford, Ontario, then concludes with a sold-out show at Madison Square Garden. In theatrical 3-D, it more than satisfied his teen female fan base. Kutcher co-stars with Natalie Portman in "No Strings Attached," a high-concept comedy about best friends who attempt a "with benefits" sex life with the understanding that neither has the time for romance.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 6, 2011
YOU CAN RENT either "The Green Hornet" or "The Dilemma" this week, but if you rent both, you get enough laughs for one movie. "Hornet" is Michel Gondry's facetious take on the superhero genre, with Seth Rogen as the masked man, a playboy who decides to fight crime with the "help" of an Asian sidekick. Gondry's running joke is to have the sidekick be the actual brains/brawn of the operation. There are some inspired sequences (Rogen tries to master the gas gun), but the gags are stretched thin.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 29, 2011 | By GARY THOMPSON, thompsg@phillynews.com 215-854-5992
When "Lebanon, Pa. " opens today at the Ritz Bourse, leading man Josh Hopkins ("Cougartown") will be there to answer questions after the evening shows. An unusual show of support from a star, but typical of the way cast and crew have rallied around "Lebanon," a Little Movie That Could conceived and executed mostly by local talent. Writer-director Ben Hickernell spent five years putting the movie together while holding down his day job at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute. He wrote it, directed it, cast it (with the help of Mike Lemon)
ENTERTAINMENT
April 15, 2011
THE DVD BIN is dominated this week by "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1," informally known as "Harry Cuts Class. " You can't blame him - Voldemort and his allies have taken over Hogwarts, so if Harry shows up, he's pretty much dead. That being the case, Harry, Ron and Hermoine spend most of the movie roaming a Samuel Beckett-like wasteland, mulling existential predicaments and looking for a magic sword that might one day kill Voldemort. Their wandering makes for a very languid movie - some say heroically uneventful for a tentpole franchise, some say merely dull.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 8, 2011
STRANGE-BUT-TRUE Jeff Bridges fact: His last two movies, "Tron: Legacy" and "True Grit," each made almost exactly the same amount of money, $171 million. They were, however, of differing quality. "Tron: Legacy" is a wacky sequel to the ahead-of-its-time 1982 animation/effects movie (the DVD extras include an informative look back at the original), slicker and better-looking, but strapped with a story that managed to be incomprehensible and predictable at the same time. Bridges, though, had fun as the digitized hippie locked in a virtual world of his own design, visited by his son (Garrett Hedlund)
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