Rose Byrne

I’ve been praising the moves Derek Cianfrance has been making with The Place Beyond the Pines ever since I first learned of the project. First there’s the plot of the film; a professional motorcycle rider turns to bank robbery in order to support his newborn son and a rookie cop vows to start his career off right by taking the robber down. Just hearing those words arranged in that order makes my inner five-year-old squeal. Then there are the actors Cianfrance cast in the leads. He got the quirky, charismatic Ryan Gosling to step in as the bank robber and the newly crowned, proven leading man Bradley Cooper to sign up as the cop. Those guys are both good, and watching them play off each other should be fun. Finally, Cianfrance wrapped the package up in a nice little bow by picking a couple of actresses I enjoy to play the love interests. He got Eva Mendes, who is crazy-gorgeous and seems to have real potential as an actress, to be Gosling’s baby mama, and he got one of my favorite young actresses working today, Greta Gerwig, to play Cooper’s character’s wife. Things were great, I was all ready to sit back and wait for this one to come to theaters. But now we’ve hit a stumbling block.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr brushes up on his world history by studying the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. He learns how multiple mutants were involved in not only escalating it but also trying to solve it. Surely an education by Hollywood will help him out when he takes his GED next month. After spending hours reflecting on January Jones’s boobs, he took the rest of the day trying to move things with his mind, which led to an emergency room visit after bursting a blood vessel from concentrating too hard. Thank god there was only one movie opening wide this weekend.

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The comparison of Bridesmaids to The Hangover is surface level, marketing nonsense, but the idea is so prevalent that it seems like it needs to be shaken off before talking about the movie. Are there pre-wedding antics? Yes. Is it outrageous? Only sometimes. It is pure situational comedy? Not at all. In contrast, Bridesmaids is far more character driven, and that’s where half the humor comes from. Of course, it’s hilarious to watch these women get into ridiculous situations involving body functions, but there’s far more to the story than a group jumping from absurdity to absurdity in hot pink taffeta. This review should also be taken with a grain of salt, though, because I missed several minutes of the movie. Why? Because a fight almost broke out in the theater. An upstanding member of society kept pulling out his cell phone, an older gentleman asked him politely to put it away, and curse words were flung back. More curse words came, and rather than watch a cell phone-addicted asshat get himself so worked up that he leaped over a row of seats to beat up a senior citizen who just wanted to enjoy a movie, I ducked out to go snag a manager. So, yes. I missed a little bit. But even still, Bridesmaids worked fantastically well. That seems like a testament to its strengths.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr gets set for another weekend of weddings with Kristen Wiig and her posse. Sadly, he discovers that he doesn’t have a vagina and decides to move on. Next, he takes a trip to an alternate world where priests kick ass and kill vampires. Once he realizes he is woefully out of place next to sultry Maggie Q in a ninja priest outfit, he comes home to find his possessions kicked to the curb with Will Ferrell in the middle of the whole mess.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr recovers from a full day of watching Armageddon back-to-back to crawl back to the multiplex. He re-lived the last eight minutes of Source Code over and over, thoroughly confusing himself. Then he stumbled into the theater next door to learn about the true meaning of Easter from Russell Brand and James Marsden. Things take a decidedly creepy turn when he watches Insidious and wets himself more than once. This led to a very unfortunate scene while he watched the sexual-predator cautionary tale Trust. No one would believe him it was just wee wee.

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When Josh (Patrick Wilson) and Renai (Rose Byrne) move into a new house with their three children, they see it as an opportunity for the life they always wanted. Renai can get back to writing music and be a full-time mom for her family, and the kids have all the space they could ever want. Unfortunately some of that space appears to be occupied by malevolent ghosts. What do they want? How can this family rid themselves of their worst nightmare? Why does that ghost look like Darth Maul? On the one hand, writer Leigh Whannell and director James Wan have given us a solid film with some remarkably unsettling imagery sure to haunt the nightmares of even the most jaded horrorphiles. On the flip side, they have given us one of the loudest, most obnoxiously lazy horror films in years. This paradox eats at me as I desperately wanted to like Insidious and frankly the potential it displays alludes to a film that could have easily made my list of favorites of the year. Sadly, that potential is squandered in cheap thrills and hackneyed conventions.

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Wacky crew of individuals who would never be friends in real life? Check. Sequence of main actor taking a drug and being crazy? Check. Stock wedding plot set up? Double and triple check. Bridesmaids has got it all. While the presence of Judd Apatow as producer and Paul Feig (the creator of Freaks and Geeks) as director might inspire some confidence, this trailer doesn’t. It’s a strong cast, sure, but everything here looks about as middle of the road as possible. Check it out for yourself:

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Combing through movie news and trivium all day is enough to make someone jaded. Thus, it’s important to remember when a piece of fluff marketing like this comes out, to keep a level head about what it really means. Does it say anything about the movie itself? Not really. Does it say something about the photoshop skills of whoever made it. Certainly. With that in mind, here’s the first official cast picture from X-Men: First Class, showing off a little midriff on January Jones, a little stone cold stare from everyone else, and a whole lot of cheese.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr grades four new films: Get Him to the Greek, Splice, Marmaduke and Killers.

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Get Him to the Greek

Thinking about seeing Get Him to the Greek this weekend? Allow the first five minutes to show you what you might be in for, including a little appearance by an African white space Christ.

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We’ve got an exclusive first look at a featurette in which Peter Gallagher tells us his favorite things about starring in Fox Searchlight’s Adam.

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The first trailer for Fox Searchlight’s Sundance ’09 acquisition Adam, from director Max Mayer has debuted online courtesy of Yahoo Movies.

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knowing-review-1

Alex Proyas’ first feature since 2004 is an entertaining work of science fiction that occasionally lunges towards greatness.

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Columbus Rejects! Get a chance to see Knowing four days before it opens… for free!

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adam-1

If there is one studio that knows how to pick indie winners, it is Fox Searchlight. And they appear to once again be off to a good start by snatching up Max Mayer’s charming and quirky romantic comedy Adam.

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Damages can best be described as The Devil Wears Prada meets Basic Instinct, and not in a good way.

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