Entertainment behind the scenes
If their comments on Thursday to radio host Howard Stern are any indication, it looks like writer/director/producer Judd Apatow and his protege Seth Rogen are still sore over a comment Katherine Heigl made about their 2007 movie “Knocked Up .” Heigl has said the movie, which she starred-in opposite Rogen, was a “little sexist” because it made women look like “shrews” and men seem “lovable.”
The comment has generated controversy ever since she made it in 2007, with some praising Heigl for taking a feminist stand, and others accusing her of being ungrateful.
On Friday, Apatow’s film “Funny People ,” which stars Adam Sandler and Rogen, opens at theaters and will compete with Heigl’s star vehicle “The Ugly Truth,” which was No. 3 at the U.S. and Canada box offices last weekend with a $27.6 million debut.
On Howard Stern’s show on SIRIUS XM Radio, Apatow and Rogen took some jibes at Heigl and “The Ugly Truth,” which is about a career woman (Heigl) who relies on a boorish man (Gerard Butler) for dating advice, as the two become more than just friends.
When Emmy nominations came in on Thursday, one of the biggest headline-grabbing surprises was the best comedy series nod for Fox cartoon “Family Guy.” The show from bad boy TV darling Seth MacFarlane leapfrogged the long-running, critically acclaimed “The Simpsons” to become the first animated program nominated for a primetime comedy Emmy since “The Flintstones” in 1961.
How did “Family Guy” succeed where “The Simpsons” failed?
“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” does not have most critics on its side, but with its $200 million-plus first five days in the U.S. and Canada, the movie starring Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox has box office watchers buzzing. Read the box office report here.
Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com Box Office, said “Transformers” is now No. 2 on the list of highest grossing, five-day debuts of all time. The top spot belongs to last summer’s “The Dark Knight” with $203.8 million.
Woody Allen is a one-man creative factory. But the 73-year-old acclaimed director who made the 1977 classic “Annie Hall”cannot please the critics with every new film. Now, reviewers are accusing him of an artistic breakdown over his newest movie ”Whatever Works,” a comedy opening in limited U.S. release on Friday.
It is Allen’s first movie set in his native New York since the 2005 “Melinda and Melinda,” and it tells of a misanthropic man, portrayed by Larry David, who marries a younger woman.
A movie about the Los Angeles Times just got a big thumbs-down from the Los Angeles Times.
“The Soloist,” the fact-based saga of an unlikely friendship between one of the paper’s columnists and a troubled street musician, is “trite and contrived,” according to critic Kenneth Turan.
“I can’t help being mightily frustrated by ‘The Soloist,’” Turan added in his review published on Thursday, the day before the feel-good drama was scheduled to open across the United States and Canada.
“I can’t help resenting that it suffered the death of a thousand cuts and, more frustrating still, that all this happened in the name of doing good in the world, of making the story’s powerful lessons more palatable to a wider audience.”
Robert Downey, Jr. plays Turan’s colleague, Steve Lopez, a columnist who dedicates himself to improving the life of a paranoid schizophrenic cellist played by Jamie Foxx.
Turan was troubled that the film’s British director Joe Wright (“Atonement”) and Oscar-winning writer Susannah Grant (“Erin Brockovich”) overplayed the story, “settling for standard easy emotions when singular and heartfelt was called for.”
Other reviews were generally mixed. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times said the film “has all the elements of an uplifting drama, except for the uplift.” But Peter Travers at Rolling Stone said Downey and Foxx delivered “two of the year’s best performances.”
The $40 million-plus film was originally supposed to come out late last year with grand award-season hopes. But Paramount hastily pulled the DreamWorks production from the release schedule. Its new slot is something of a dead zone, coming a week before “Wolverine” kicks off the lucrative summer moviegoing season.
Box office prospects for “The Soloist” are unclear. The Hollywood Reporter said a three-day haul in the teen millions was “certainly doable but not quite guaranteed.” Prognosticators believe the weekend’s top slot will go to another new release, “Obsessed,” a thriller starring R&B singer Beyonce Knowles.
Brian McCollum, pop music critic for the Detroit Free Press, called the show “one of the most sizzle-free Grammy events in recent memory, marked by tepid live performances, unmemorable acceptance speeches and low-key presenters with dud jokes.”
The New York Times has re-visited the issue of the demise of the “old media” film critic, after a number of U.S. dailies and weeklies laid off staff amid falling advertising revenues, fears of a full-blown recession and competition from free Web sites and blog pages.
Critics have long been defending their corner, many embracing (at least publicly) the rise of the film blogger and stressing the difference between reviewing (personal opinion, reactionary) and criticising (analysis, broad knowledge base) a movie.