Hank Azaria

hank az

Gerard Damiano was a fascinating guy. The director of Deep Throat and other FSR favorites — Naked Goddess, Splendor in the Ass, and The Devil in Miss Jones – warrants a bio film of his own. Damiano, who directed under the name Jerry Damiano, joined the Navy at the age of 17, worked as a hairdresser, and then turned to making pornography. Needless to say, he had a diverse body of work. We only see a little of the character in the Linda Lovelace bio film Lovelace, but actor Hank Azaria assures that we see an accurate portrayal of the purveyor of porn. Azaria and his scenes with Bobby Cannavale almost make for a movie of its own, bringing levity to some tough material. Naturally it makes for a great double feature with The Smurfs 2 — the other movie currently in theaters that features Azaria. We spoke with him about the similarities between his turn as porno king and mole-bearing wizard Gargamel.

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The Smurfs 2

If I remember correctly, it was the Greek philosopher Socrates who said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” It may also have been Jesus, whose words were more like, “To whom much has been given, much will be expected.” Thematically, these are two quotes that may have inspired the narrative behind The Smurfs 2, the not-entirely highly anticipated sequel to the $500M behemoth released in 2011. In the follow-up, we get a new origin story for Smurfette, voiced again by Katy Perry. You see, she’s a got a dark past and it is revealed that within her Smurfness resides some pretty Smurfin’ great power. And she must choose whether to use her Smurf-powers for the purposes of good, as Papa Smurf has taught her, or fall under the dark spell of the evil wizard Gargamel. As it would in films like Spider-Man 2 or other superhero sequels full of escalating stakes, the fate of the world (of Smurfs) hangs in the balance. Then again, this is a movie populated by a bunch of weird little blue people, one of which is voiced by Shaq.

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Smurfs 2

I fully understand that I’m not the target audience for this kind of movie, but who is? Five year olds born in 1901 who somehow grew up in 1972 and now magically live in 2013? If the first flick didn’t scramble your brains the right way, director Raja Gosnell is back with Smurfs 2, and Neil Patrick Harris has returned alongside Hank Azaria as Gargamel. This time, the wizard invents faux-Smurfs called Naughties that lure Smurfette into a life of petty crime and evil. Apparently the plan works (or Smurfette discovers black hair dye), and the gang has to rescue her. Unsurprisingly, the trailer doesn’t have a single laugh in it other than the colorful-lights-moving-quickly variety. Check it out for yourself and feel free to slow clap:

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Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation have just announced that production has kicked off on their inevitable “live-action/computer animated hybrid 3Dfamily comedy” sequel to last year’s smash hit, The Smurfs. The Smurfs 2 brings back all of the cast from the first film, including Neil Patrick Harris as Patrick Winslow, Jayma Mays as Grace Winslow, Sofia Vergara as Odile, Hank Azaria as Gargamel, Katy Perry as Smurfette, Jonathan Winters as Papa Smurf, Alan Cumming as Gutsy, Fred Armisen as Brainy, George Lopez as Grouchy, and Anton Yelchin as Clumsy. Director Raja Gosnell is also back behind the camera. Screenwriters J. David Stem, David N. Weiss, Jay Scherick, and David Ronn are also returning, along with a newcomer to the Smurfs franchise, Karey Kirkpatrick (James and the Giant Peach, Chicken Run, Charlotte’s Web), proving that it takes five screenwriters to write something this unoriginal. The film will have some new faces, however, both on the human and the blue side. Brendan Gleeson joins the cast as Patrick ‘s stepfather, along with Christina Ricci and JB Smoove, who will voice “new Smurf-like naughty characters,” Vexy and Hackus. Uh oh, just “Smurf-like“?

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Recently, director Jason Reitman has been doing a special series of script readings at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Basically what he does is he takes the script for a beloved film, recasts the whole thing with new actors, and does a stage reading in front of a live audience. Rights issues being what they are, something like this can’t be recorded, so getting to experience one of these events is a très exclusive honor. Reitman has already given this treatment to five universally loved movies (The Breakfast Club, The Apartment, Shampoo, Reservoir Dogs, and The Princess Bride), and tonight he’s set to cap off his series with a reading of everyone’s favorite film, The Big Lebowski. Who does he have on tap to bring legendary characters like The Dude and Jackie Treehorn to life on stage? Inside Movies has the scoop, and some of his decisions sound like they’re ripe with fun-time possibilities. For the part of The Dude (or El Duderino, if you’re not into that whole brevity thing) Reitman has chosen Seth Rogen, the man with the best stoner laugh in Hollywood. His best friend and security expert, Walter Sobchak, will be played by The Office star Rainn Wilson, a man not unfamiliar with bluster. As the other Jeffrey Lebowski, the millionaire (and a fucking goldbricker if I’ve ever seen one), is Jason Alexander, a man used to spinning unbelievable yarns. And for Lebowski’s red-headed and inappropriately sexual daughter Maude, they’ve tapped Mad Men star […]

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There are a couple biopics about famed porn actress Linda Lovelace in the works, so let’s not get confused. Lovelace isn’t the one that was supposed to star Lindsay Lohan but then picked up Malin Ackerman because Lindsay Lohan is Lindsay Lohan; that one is the Matthew Wilder-directed Inferno. Lovelace will be directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (Howl), and has Amanda Seyfried replacing the originally-rumored Kate Hudson as the titular performer. I’ve seen these two movies have actors that are appearing in one being attributed to the other or downright get referenced as being the same film before, so I want to be clear. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s look at the casting news. Way back during this project’s humble beginnings, James Franco was rumored as being the choice to play Chuck Traynor, a pornographer and Lovelace’s longtime husband. That probably had something to do with his experience working with the directors in Howl. That bit of casting didn’t work out though, and the role eventually went to the equally-as-sleazy-as-Franco, Peter Sarsgaard (see An Education, yuck). Apparently that wasn’t the last of the Franco on Lovelace rumors, however, because Variety’s Showblitz is now reporting that the actor may be making a cameo in the film as Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. That sounds like the sort of fun, low commitment gig that I could see Franco being into, so I’d say the chances of him appearing in this film are once again good.

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The dancing, singing penguins of Happy Feet return for another dose of eco-themed animation in this sequel from George Miller, which proves two truisms. First, there’s still a lot of mileage in the spectacle of penguins tap, tap, tapping in unison and belting out cover songs. Second, this franchise is not the clarion call to action on climate change that it wants to be. The star of the first film, Mumble (Elijah Wood), is a father now, struggling to connect with his adolescent son Erik (Ava Acres), who feels misunderstood and marginalized because he can’t dance. For Erik, a surrogate role model of sorts emerges in The Mighty Sven (Hank Azaria), a flying penguin who preaches messages of empowerment. After a shifting glacier traps their community of emperor penguins in a vast valley, little Erik will need all the confidence he can muster when he, his dad, and two of his friends are called upon to save the day.

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It’s no surprise that Sony Pictures has gone ahead and scheduled the inevitable sequel to The Smurfs (hey, at least they waited until the first film was in theaters). The second Smurf-venture will smurf into theaters on Smurfgust 2, 20smurfteen. Sorry, I got some blue stuck in my throat — The Smurfs sequel (Smurf-quel? Fine, calling it now) will arrive in theaters on August 2, 2013. Smurf on. The Smurfs beat Cowboys & Aliens during opening weekend, and already stands at a worldwide gross of $135m over just eleven days in release. The film cost an estimated $110m to make, so while that profit margin isn’t huge as of yet, the film will have legs (little tiny ones, clad in little tiny white pants) outside the US, as The Smurfs already opened in first place in twenty-three international markets just last weekend. I have not yet seen the film, because I like to watch films that don’t hurt my eyes or offend my childhood. There are no other films currently scheduled for the August release date, so it looks like that particular date should remain firmly in their little blue-handed grasps. Thor 2 is scheduled to open the week before, and the only kid-targeted fare currently on deck within a month of the Smurf-quel is Despicable Me 2, reportedly opening on July 3. Just cede control over the Smurfs now (sigh). The sequel currently only has Jordan Kerner set to return as producer, but I’m willing to hold my breath […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr runs screaming from little blue people invading his life and seeks refuge in the old west, hoping that James Bond and Indiana Jones will protect him. When he returns home, he has a fight with his wife and uses the events of Crazy, Stupid, Love to put his relationship back together. What a godsend Hollywood can be for marriage woes. Finally, Kevin curls up for a long nap after an exhausting summer movie season with many more arrests than he ever thought he’d incur.

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as EruditeSmurf007 and NostalgiaFiend238 in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the pair rewatches the trailer for The Smurfs in an attempt to figure out why something that harmless needs to be modernized. Weren’t they cute and lovable before? Does a movie like that really need to fake appeal to a snarky teenage audience or should children and their parents be enough? Who is responsible for Smurfette flashing her panties at everyone and who on the production thought pop culture references would buoy a terrible film? In shorter terms, why can’t certain film productions get childhood icons right?

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If you were hoping for a trailer that created a mass of internal conflict, how about animated penguin babies singing about bringing sexy back? Would that do it for you? If not, you’ve probably already got some serious internal conflict. Happy Feet Two bursts onto the scene with some rap, some dance pop, and an elephant-nosed seal that looks like a real-life Snuffaluffagus got converted to CGI. Heartwarming or truly, deeply terrifying? You be the judge:

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When the teaser trailer for Hop first hit, it was an incredible moment of adorability and Blur’s “Song 2.” Now, with the first full trailer out, we’re getting a better idea of the Roger Rabbit nature of the flick. It turns out it’s a mixture of live-action and CGI. James Marsden stars as a guy who hits the Easter Bunny-elect (voiced by Russell Brand) with his car, and the two starts an unusual friendship that involves one of them pretending to be a stuffed animal in order to hit on the other’s girlfriend. I’ll let you figure out which one. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Finally someone has the brass buttons it takes to hunt down those little bastards and cook them in some sort of stew.

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A few weeks back, I reviewed Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian as part of This Week in Blu-ray. Since then, I’ve taken a second look at the film and found quite a few references to pop culture and other films. Could this movie be smarter than I initially thought possible? Perhaps…

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FSR

Kevin Carr reviews this week’s new movies: The Proposal and Year One.

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Simon Pegg in Run Fatboy Run

While I’ll admit that Run Fatboy Run has it’s moments and a fair share of big laughs, it’s not recommendable due to the fact that there are more cliches than you can shake a stick at. Pretty much every cliche you can find in any romantic comedy or inspirational sports movie can be found at some point in the film.

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The movie’s funny, and since it’s so British, why not go to a pub and knock back a few pints before, during and after the film. Here’s some help.

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Steve Coogan, Owen Wilson also make their return…

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