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If you grew up in the early 90s, you probably remember an animated feature from 20th Century Fox called “FernGully: The Last Rainforest.” It was the environmentally-conscious movie every 90s kid saw, and yet, nobody really liked. The film’s intentions might have been good, but even the youngest children seemed to find its blatant green message overly preachy. The fact that “FernGully” was lacking in any interesting characters or magic didn’t help. “Epic,” which was also coincidentally distributed by Fox, is a bit like “FernGully” if it had smarter, more imaginative filmmakers backing it. While it’s not a massive improvement, “Epic” is at least fun, energized, and subtle with its environmental themes.
Cera Hassinan is one of those people who makes others feel uncomfortable with themselves.
Students and staff at Kyrene Altadeña Middle School are hosting a fundraiser dinner for their beloved choir teacher this week.
Even though “The Great Gatsby” has gotten the movie treatment several times in the past, no film adaptation has ever really stood out as the definitive version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s celebrated novel. Director Baz Luhrmann’s film is certainly the most visually arresting interpretation of “The Great Gatsby” ever produced. Catherine Martin, who previous worked with Luhrmann on “Moulin Rouge,” “Romeo + Juliet,” and “Australia,” deserves multiple Oscar nominations for her hyper sets and eye-popping costumes. As wonderful as Luhrmann’s “Great Gatsby” is to look at, the enchanting visuals are also ironically the movie’s downfall. In the midst of the art direction, costumes, and music, the story and characters that made Fitzgerald’s book a classic become a mere afterthought.
Sun Devil and Wildcat fans will get to show their school pride at Florencia Pizza Bistro in Ahwatukee tomorrow during the “Duel in the Desert” fundraiser.
I did it. Even though it might make me the last person in Ahwatukee over the age of 9 to do so, I have a smartphone. It was not a case of desire; the screen on my “vintage” phone was so scratched I couldn’t see it, and it turned out I could get the smartphone and pay $10 less per month. I suspect the kid that sold it to me was like a seedy, back alley pusher — “come on, its even cheaper” — and that a smartphone is gateway technology.
The latest release from Philadelphia guitarist- songwriter Kurt Vile is a 69-minute double LP of lengthy, languid meditations on the everyday and beyond. The songs unwind slowly, their charms leaving imprints on the way back around.
Having observed the failure of our education system by dumbing-down our children for the past 50 years, concern has to be expressed about the “new” Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI).
Just about all the actors in “The Big Wedding” are severely typecast. Diane Keaton is a high-strung, divorced mother like in “Something’s Gotta Give,” Robert De Niro is the father of somebody getting married like in “Meet the Fockers,” Amanda Seyfried is a blushing bride like in “Mamma Mia,” Robin Williams is an eccentric minister like in “License to Wed,” Topher Grace is a deadpan, quick-witted nice guy like in “That ‘70s Show,” and Katherine Heigl is a needy single woman like in every movie she does. Even though the actors are in their comfort zones, not a single person feels natural in “The Big Wedding.” That’s probably because the film doesn’t understand its own characters or their motivations. Nobody behind the camera has any idea what they’re doing, resulting in one of the most awkward romantic comedies of recent memory.
In the wake of last week’s tragedy in Boston, what are the images that stayed with you? The pillowing smoke? Blood on the streets? Shell-shocked victims in wheelchairs? Our hearts have been broken again. And since the footage is shown over and over, we’re traumatized each time, just like when the twin towers burned on 9/11.
"It’s been 10 years, now,” the strong voice said on the phone. Mari Justin is a breast cancer survivor. She, along with hundreds of thousands of breast cancer veterans have faced the demons and now crusade alongside those who are fresh on the battlefield.
"42” is far from the first movie to explore racial tensions in sports. We’ve seen this subject depicted in other good films like “Remember the Titans” and “Glory Road.” There are plenty of recognizable figures on display here, such as the underdog nobody believed in, the one man willing to take a chance on that underdog, and the ignorant antagonists that wish to see that underdog fail. Familiarity aside, though, “42” executes just about everything wonderfully. This is a good-hearted picture, carried by sincere performances and passionate direction. Not only is it an inspiring story about overcoming prejudice, but an all around rousing baseball movie too.
Anyone who saw “Scream 4” likely remembers the scene where Hayden Panettiere lists off every horror remake to come out in the past decade, from “Halloween” to “Friday the 13th.” So many of these remakes failed due to a lack of passion on the filmmaker’s behalf. Making a good movie was only their second priority, right after cashing in on an exhausted franchise’s good name. The new “Evil Dead” movie is the rare exception. It’s obvious that director/screenwriter Fede Alvarez has great admiration for Sam Raimi’s beloved cult classic. Along with co-writers Diablo Cody and Rodo Sayagues, Alvarez produces the best contemporary “Evil Dead” movie possible.
Editor’s note: Follows is a one-on-one interview with Joshua Sasse, of the movie “The Big and I,” and Leah Gibson, from “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.” Both are playing key roles in “Rogue,” DIRECTV’s first original series.
"Hi, I’m Rachel from card member services.”
"There’s a sucker born every minute” was originally coined by David Hannum, but we all associate it with P.T. Barnum, which proves the point that anyone can be a victim of scams and hoaxes if the line is made believable enough and the person being scammed wants to believe it. Such is the case with a scam currently being run by a group claiming to be from Microsoft but who are, in reality, salespeople.
Everyone has that one person they just can’t stand. Not for any particular reason other than “you just don’t.” That’s OK, we are human after all.
I have read so many good books lately I couldn’t decide which one to review. It was a toss up between “The Obituary Writer,” by Ann Hood and “The Secret Keeper,” by Kate Norton (I don’t know about you but any title that contains the word “secret” draws me like a magnet — maybe it was that early Nancy Drew conditioning).
‘The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” starts off with a recipe for grade-A comedy. The cast includes names such as Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Alan Arkin, James Gandolfini and Jim Carrey. The director is Don Scardino of “30 Rock,” while Jonathan M. Goldstein and John Francis of “Horrible Bosses” penned the screenplay. The premise regarding rivaling magicians offers endless comedic possibilities. So how is it that the final product is just mediocre? It’s probably because the audience has to be constantly caught off guard in order for a magic show or comedy to succeed. In “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” the audience can pretty much predict everything that’s going to happen. This subtracts the elements of surprise and humor from the equation.
I’m tired of reading Don Kennedy’s guest commentaries (“A nation divided,” AFN, March 3) where he rails against “socialism or communism, plus all of the misery which goes with collectivism.” I’m frankly unsure who he is speaking about but those three terms he bandies about are not at all similar and have widely divergent connotations. I’m not sure he fully understands the difference, or perhaps he just doesn’t care. Scare tactics.
Keystone Montessori School’s primary students, ages 3-6, celebrated their 17th annual peace program on Feb. 12.
Remember how director Todd Phillips just half-heartedly remade “The Hangover” in “The Hangover Part II?” Remember how lethargic, lame, and tedious it felt having to sit through the same movie over again with fewer laughs? That’s the best way to describe “21 and Over.” The film marks the directorial debut of Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, the writing team behind the original “Hangover.” They’ve basically recycled their smash hit comedy beat for beat. Where “The Hangover Part II” at least had three laugh-out-loud moments though, there’s nothing even remotely funny in “21 and Over.” It’s a comedic dead zone from its opening scene all the way through.
"Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor” (Proverbs 22:9).
In the same vein of “To Kill a Mocking Bird” and “Catcher in the Rye,” Rudolfo Anaya’s “Bless Me, Ultima” has evolved into one of the most widely beloved and challenged books of all time. In some high schools this best-selling Chicano novel is considered a mandatory reading. Other schools have banished the book for its use of profanity, references to witchcraft, and religious themes.
"Snitch” is a movie that knows what it wants to say, but fails to get its message across in a non conventional fashion. The film is loosely based on a “Frontline” documentary about Joey Settembrino, an 18-year-old who was sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in prison for selling LSD. The government offered Settembrino a reduced sentence in exchange for the names of drug dealers high up on the totem pole.
© Copyright 2011, Ahwatukee Foothills News, Phoenix, AZ