Madonna

Madonna’s second directorial effort W.E. has been greeted by a torrent of negativity, with critics assailing her revisionist portrait of the illicit romance between King Edward VIII and the American divorcée Wallis Simpson to the tune of a 14% on the all-powerful Tomatometer. If it’s not quite the unholy mess that the reviews have promised, there’s no question that this is a sloppy, hubristic affair. It looks pretty, with style and eloquence to spare, but it’s perilously over-directed. Apparently the Material Girl never met a random cross-cut, outsized camera movement, or other unneeded flourish that she didn’t like. That penchant for pristine visuals at any cost is just part of what detracts from the terrific performance by Andrea Riseborough as Simpson, which could have provided the core of a great picture. The British actress has beauty and intelligence to spare, the sort of charismatic movie star screen presence that carries you through the slowest moments. You want to watch her. Unfortunately, Madonna only lets you do so for half of the movie’s rather trying two hours. The rest of the time, we’re stuck with an unnecessary 1998-set corollary to the 1930s-set main action. There, lonely American Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish) obsesses over Wallis and Edward, spending all her time at a Sotheby’s auction of their estate.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr hunkers down and braces for award season. He also prepares for an onslaught of celebrity guest stars in New Year’s Eve, which features a poster that looks like a “Friends available to chat” sidebar on Facebook. In order to watch all the movies for the week, Kevin hires the only babysitter available… Jonah Hill. What could possibly go wrong with that? Fortunately this frees him up to see some of the smaller releases, like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, W.E. and I Melt with You. And he wraps up the week wondering why everyone needs to talk about him.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news compendium that, with the release of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, will now move on to being completely obsessed with The Dark Knight Rises. It will still carry plenty of Doctor Who news, check in regularly with Michael Bay, fill space with Monty Python clips and deliver the best editorial finds around. But for the most part, it’s all TDKR from here, so strap in. With the production of The Dark Knight Rises well under way and the release of a first photo of Tom Hardy’s Bane already on the web, the next logical step is to have fans obsess over what Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman will look like. Will she be a bondage babe like Michelle Pfiefer, or turbo-swimsuit edition Halle Berry Catwoman? Neither looks like the answer. According to a tipster for Hollywood Life, the costume will look more like the original comic version made famous by the comics of artist Darwyn Cooke and Ed Brubaker. This goggled, 21st century Catwoman could fit the more practical world in which Christopher Nolan conducts his Batman stories. Anne Hathaway will also still look pretty hot, I imagine.

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What is Movie News After Dark? Well, it ain’t afraid of no ghosts. That’s for sure. Tonight’s top story is that Paramount Pictures (via Yahoo) has released a gallery of new images from Transformers: Dark of the Moon. The above image shows Optimus Prime kneeling before his mentor, Sentinel Prime (to be voiced by Leonard Nimoy). The entire gallery can be found at /Film. Just know that most of the other images focus on the humans, and that’s boring.

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Junkfood Cinema

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; all your candy are belong to us. How many words do I really need expend on this introduction? If you’re a frequent reader of the column, who hasn’t managed to blow himself up building a working replica of Bill & Ted’s phone booth, you are already aware of my affinity for terrible movies and you have wasted more time than you dare admit reading this insufferable column. For those of you who haplessly wandered in hoping to find the nutritional content of the KFC Double-Down or creative Junior Mint recipes, my condolences. But now that you’re here, you should know that the JFC system is threefold. First, I point out the film’s numerous faults; heckling it from the cyberspace balcony like Statler and Waldorf. But then, on a dime, I switch it up and sing the film’s inexplicable praises like a banjo-wielding frog expounding on the merits of rainbows. Finally I will pair the film with an appropriate snack food item upon which you can feverishly chow down like a furry blue monster well on his way to crippling obesity. This week’s delicacy (which is likely to be brought to you by the words cease & desist): Dick Tracy

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This past weekend saw the cinematic glory of Resident Evil: Afterlife pushing past security to get into your local theater even though it was moving slower than an instant replay in a curling match. The absolute atrocity of this film raises a lot of questions, but one of the first and foremost is whether or not directors should work with their spouses in a leading role. Paul W.S. Anderson, who thinks Milla Jovovich is as big an action star as Sigourney Weaver, is also married to Milla Jovovich, and while we can’t prove causation for the low marks in her performance here – we can certainly point to correlation. We can also point to 9 more husband and wife teams in order to find out if working with your legally bound significant other is really such a great idea.

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The last time we saw Madonna anywhere near a movie, at least in any significant way that didn’t include her getting a soundtrack credit, she was mercilessly stabbing away at the career of then husband Guy Ritchie in the torturous Swept Away. And while Ritchie has since recovered, Madonna has not.

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mwl-leagueoftheirown

“We are the members of the All American League. We come from cities near & far. We have got Canadians, Irish ones & Swedes. We are all for one, we are one for all, we are all American!”

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Look at this strange man, David. He wants to show our film.

After seeing her film I Am Becasue We Are at the Cannes Film Festival, Moore announced that Madonna will appear at his Traverse City Film Festival on August 2 to showcase her work.

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