Julianne Hough

cody

Going from screenwriting to directing isn’t an easy transition for most. Some writers have found great success behind the camera, while others have buckled under the pressure. It’s a different job with its own set of demands. With Paradise, Academy Award winner Diablo Cody takes her first crack at directing with the story of a young girl named Lamb (Julianne Hough), who visits Las Vegas after a serious plane crash leaves her with burn scars and a desire to explore places outside of her religious community. Whether we’ll see Cody direct again is a real question mark. Instead of proclaiming how amazing her experience was, Cody expressed to us her problems with the job and the way certain critics respond to her flawed female characters. Here’s what she had to say about those critics, writing women and, of course, her take on Gravity:

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Paradise Movie

Diablo Cody isn’t for everyone. She has a voice of her own, and because of that, her films can be polarizing. Cody is a writer with plenty of strengths, and her last film, Young Adult, showed them off to their fullest. That’s her most honest, funny, and often brutal work to date. However, it left certain people cold, and her directorial debut, Paradise, may have that effect for a different (and more disappointing) reason. With her first bat behind camera Cody takes on a new kind of character: a Montana girl who is vanilla by most standards. Lamb (Julianne Hough) has been sheltered for all her life from what the real world has to offer, and while she was the popular Catholic girl that dedicated her life to God growing up she was left scarred by a plane crash. Her faith is shaken, and in response she attempts to live life to the fullest by committing a series of “sins” in Las Vegas. She wants to act like a “regular American,” indulging in characters traits Cody’s previous protagonists would’ve poked fun at.

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Paradise Movie

Diablo Cody already has an Oscar for screenwriting. Now she’s transitioning to directing with Paradise, and you’ve got to hand it to someone whose name means “Devil” for focusing on religion’s labor’s lost. In the movie, Julianne Hough plays a young believer who feels the bedrock of her faith falter after a horrific plane crash. Naturally, she heads to Las Vegas for a sinning spree with Russell Brand and Octavia Spencer as her guides, but as the trailer shows, she eases into it pretty slowly. Check it out for yourself:

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Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 12.22.37 PM

I walked into Safe Haven last night prepared to turn my nose up at the overly romantic Nicholas Sparks-isms and to expect a lot of people to fall victim to cancer. I had seen a few of the other movies based on Sparks’ books, so I had an idea of what was about to befall me. Once the movie started, however, I was a little ashamed of myself, because I really started to enjoy it. I giggled like a schoolgirl when hottie supreme Josh Duhamel wooed Julianne Hough. I even caught myself smiling alone in the dark as Duhamel’s character proved himself to be the greatest single father time and time again to his two adorable children. I shouldn’t be ashamed of myself, right? Director Lasse Hallström once directed What’s Eating Gilbert Grape! This Safe Haven love fest did soon give way to my initial expectations. About halfway through there’s an incredibly stupid “twist,” and the film culminates with another “twist” so insane that it out-insanes every other Sparks joint I’ve seen. I involuntarily blurted out “Jesus Christ!” quite loudly in the theater as it went down. The romantic plot is very well executed and the two leads have chemistry to burn – Hallström helps create some very palpable connections between the characters. It’s just everything else that is pretty… god-awful.

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Julianne Hough

According to Variety, Julianne Hough has just joined Time and a Half, a forthcoming flick scripted by Diablo Cody and directed by Ol Parker (Imagine Me & You). Hough is also playing the lead for Cody’s directorial debut about a plane crash that leads a young conservative woman to a crisis of faith. However, in the project she’s just joined, she’ll be playing a woman fresh out of college who runs into an old one night stand who is also her sister’s ex-boyfriend from high school. Theoretically that could also involve her being conservative and having a crisis of faith, so let’s not rule it out. It sounds like a fun project, although that will most likely depend on each fan’s appreciation or lack thereof when it comes to Cody’s style. Of course, this means another slab of meat on her plate – one that’s full with the aforementioned directorial work, the Evil Dead remake and probably a few more irons fresh in the fire.

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Broadway shows haven’t always made the smoothest of transitions to the big-screen, but Adam Shankman’s Rock of Ages delivers an adaptation that’s bizarre and its own sexually-suggestive summer feature: from showcasing star Tom Cruise’s bare ass to backing Cruise’s choice of venue for an out-there rendition of Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is” – Malin Akerman’s posterior – Shankman takes the material and stuffs as much as he can into it. These choices represent the work he hopes to keep making – distinctive and not what most would consider to be the norm, box office be damned. Shankman’s been enough of a commercial hitmaker throughout his career to earn the freedom to make those oddball choices, having cranked out a series of box-office success, from Bringing Down the House all the way to The Pacifier. As Shankman tells us, those gems are the type of learning experiences which led him to making Rock of Ages and Hairspray. Here’s what Adam Shankman had to say about the journey from Juilliard to Rock of Ages, how a work for hire can be more informative than a passion project, and highlighting how enthusiasm can make up for – or even overshadow – hard-won experience:

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Killing Them Softly

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column about movies that’s been kickin’ ass and takin’ names since the sun came up, but for some reason it still waited until late at night to bring you all the movie news of the day. It’s eccentric like that. We begin tonight with an image of Ben Mendelsohn and Scoot McNairy in Killing Them Softly, Andrew Dominik’s new film based on the adaptation of the novel “Cogan’s Trade.” They are but two of the badass names attached to said project, which includes Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta and Sam Shepard, among others. Not bad.

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There must be some people somewhere looking forward to this, but Rock of Ages looks like the grandiose celebration of all things shoulder padded and hairspray covered. It looks like the movie version of “Now! That’s What I Call Music Volume -14.” There was a reason that the empty decadence of 80s music took a boot to the face in the form of The Ramones and was finally left to bleed out by Nirvana, but there must be people somewhere anxious to relive acid washed days of yore. Adam Shankman takes a break from judging So You Think You Can Dance to direct this musical starring a bunch of one-liners from Alec Baldwin, the offensive-to-no-one Julianne Hough, Tom Cruise as Aldous Snow/Axl Rose (which is weird because Russell Brand is also in this thing), and the font from Rock Band. It’s a bunch of wealthy people playing karaoke. Check it out for yourself:

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When I first heard details about Diablo Cody’s upcoming inaugural foray into the directing world, Lamb of God, I was kind of on the fence with whether or not I was looking forward to seeing it. I hadn’t liked any of Cody’s work up to that point, but a cast that included names like Holly Hunter and Octavia Spencer didn’t sound so bad at all. Add in names like Julianne Hough, who surprised me by doing a good job in Footloose, and Russell Brand, who is always more enjoyable in movies than I give him credit for, and I was thinking that I might be ready to give Cody another chance to get on my good side. Things have changed since then. First off, the latest movie penned by Cody, Young Adult, came out and was generally well liked. I wasn’t as enamored with it as most seemed to be, but it did show me that there was some potential in Cody as a filmmaker, and I liked the way she handled Patton Oswalt’s character in that one quite a bit. And now a bomb has been dropped that completely changes the whole complexion of Cody’s career in my eyes. According to Deadline Pawnee, Nick Offerman has agreed to join the Lamb of God cast.

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UPDATED: Hello, musical theatrics! Director Adam Shankman‘s take on Broadway hit Rock of Ages will undoubtedly be slick, highly produced, loud, melodramatic, and positively crammed with toe-tapping song-and-dance numbers (did you see Hairspray?) – essentially, it’s a film that will likely upset fans of the stage musical while also becoming a big commercial hit with a bizarre kitsch sensibility. That’s not just me guessing – that’s information hardily reinforced by the film’s first trailer. The film stars Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Malin Ackerman, Mary J. Blige, Bryan Cranston (really?!), Alec Baldwin, and Tom Cruise as (very different) people who populate and influence Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip music scene in the 1980′s. Hough and Boneta are trying to make it, Cruise already has, Zeta-Jones scream-sings a lot, that old story. The film is set to a cadre of ’80s classic jams, including Def Leppard, Joan Jett, Journey, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, Night Ranger, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Poison, and Whitesnake. If you’ve yet to grow out of your big-haired, leather-clad rocker glory days, this is the film for you. Weirdly enough, despite Cruise (and his hair and his hips) being the marquee name on this film, we don’t get a whole lot of him until the last half of the trailer. And then we don’t get so much of him and his character, Stacee Jaxx, as we get some random groupie and her boobs. Bravo to everyone. Get your hairspray ready and check out […]

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Diablo Cody’s upcoming inaugural effort as a director has yet to get a title, but it now has an Oscar winner in its cast. The Julianne Hough-starring film about a religious young woman who loses her faith after surviving a plane crash has just picked up Holly Hunter. Hunter will play Hough’s character’s super-strict, super-religious mother, who I imagine will be none too happy that her now-faithless daughter decides to go out to Las Vegas to get a taste of the naughty side of life. I’m not a fan of Juno and I’m not a fan of dancers turned actors, so if you would have told me about this project a couple months ago, I would have probably dismissed it completely. But after seeing Hough in the Footloose remake and not being horrified by her acting abilities at all and after hearing all of the positive buzz about this week’s Cody-penned release Young Adult, I’m definitely willing to give this one a try. When you add in a top-tier actress like Holly Hunter and solid additions to the supporting cast like Russell Brand, who always pleasantly surprises me, and Octavia Spencer, who impressed in The Help, it’s starting to sound to me like Cody’s first effort is coming along rather nicely in its pre-production stages. I guess my final decision on whether I’ll see this one or not will come down to how quippy and clever the title ends up being. I demand puns and wordplay! [Deadline Lemont]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr gets ready to celebrate Halloween in style with some horror releases… and he’s not just thinking of Footloose. Unhappy with his life, he follows the bucket list path of Steve Martin, Owen Wilson and Jack Black, traveling to the bottom of the world where he finds himself in a small Antarctic town that has outlawed dancing. So Kevin takes it upon himself to help the people get their groove on only to discover they’ve been taken over an alien species that duplicate human form. Later, he takes a trip back to the heartland where he finds a feral woman chained in a cellar… pretty standard for some of the towns he’s been to. Finally, not being able to find a theater that is still playing Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence), he checks it out On Demand and promptly throws up.

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When Craig Brewer was announced to direct the Footloose remake, there were a more than a few heads being scratched. The director behind the fantastic Hustle & Flow as well as the excellent fable Black Snake Moan taking on material which is considered by most to be cheesy was a surface-level surprise. But once you dig deep into the original, there are more than a few themes that tie to Brewer’s work — expressing yourself through art, family issues, sexuality, etc. There are some mature themes in the original. Themes that didn’t quite hit their mark. However, Brewer managed to make those themes fly. The 1984 film had major tonal issues. After witnessing Chris Penn have a five-minute dance montage, you see Ariel (now played by Julianne Hough) get beaten by her boyfriend. Dance montages and girlfriend beatings usually don’t go hand in hand, tonally speaking. This time around, there’s a real care for tone. Footloose is a movie that has its cake and eats it too. Apologies for that dreadful expression, but it’s true. It strives for a seriousness, which is earned. Brewer also aims to make a great crowd-pleaser, and that’s where the film exceeds wonderfully. As someone who despises not only High School kids, but also dancing, I never thought I’d say, “That’s cool,” when the two joined forces.

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It’s not actually shot-for-shot, but see if you can spot all of the exact replications of scenes, moments, and Drivers-License-to-chin-flipping-action that Footloose stole directly from Footloose. Write them in the comments section, and we may find prizes for people or something. As a hint, there are at least 15 similarities. This is definitely not helping my optimistic argument to give remakes a chance. You can’t just shove Stomp the Yard and Step Up into Footloose, call it Footloose, and call it a day creatively. Which of things is just like the other?

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr loosens his belt and falls asleep on the couch after eating too much turkey. But with three days left in the weekend, there’s always the opportunity to brave the hoards of crazy holiday shoppers to see a movie. It’s time to look at a new Disney princess with Tangled, dance with the divas from Burlesque and go Faster with a piece of the Rock.

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Craig Brewer needs a hero. He’s holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night. Fortunately, according to the fancy press release from Universal I received earlier today via our Mojo Machine, his wait is over. Plus, he’ll be getting a lot more than one hero. Frankly, there’s not much to say about the young talent that’s taking over the iconic Kevin Bacon role in the new version of Footloose or the not-as-iconic Lori Singer role. The first is Kenny Wormald who has appeared as a dancer in a few movies and on “Dancelife.” The second is Julianne Hough who was on “Dancing with the Stars” and other episodes of “Dancing with the Stars.”

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published: 04.17.2014
B-
published: 04.17.2014
D+
published: 04.17.2014
B-
published: 04.16.2014
B+

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