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Author: Sara Vilkomerson (1-10 of 36)

Highlights from Daniel Radcliffe's first Comic-Con

“There are two facts that tend to amaze people,” says Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe. “That during my whole life I’ve only spent four weeks total in L.A. and that I’ve never been to Comic-Con.”

Thanks to the fantasy thriller Horns (out Oct. 31), in which he plays a young man who sprouts devilish protuberances from his head, the actor made his first appearance at the San Diego fanfest on July 25. A few moments after leaving his inaugural Hall H panel, the 25-year-old shared some of the highlights of his trip.


The trouble with time travel movies (or why I blame 'The Terminator' for everything)

Writer/director Richard Curtis once assured me that About Time was actually an anti-time-travel time-travel movie. As it turns out, he was right: About Time is less about the mind-bending elements that come along with time travel and much more about what you’d expect from the man behind Notting Hill and Love, Actually (spoiler: matters of the heart).

I both love and hate time travel movies — much in the same way I hate outer space but love and fully appreciated Gravity. (Know your enemy!) I fear my brain — and yes, I was an English major — is too puny to be able to take the various theories, whether it’s “plastic time” or “single fixed history” or “grandfather paradox” or whatever else I just read on Wikipedia that made me need to lie down. (Incidentally, my friend, co-worker, and Dr. Who expert Clark Collis  tends to sadly shake his head at me a lot. Also I am too scared to start watching Dr. Who.)

I think a lot of the blame lies with a little movie from 1984 which I believe is responsible for doing me in forever on the subject of time travel. And that’s The Terminator.

Yes, James Cameron gave us a fantastic movie — Linda Hamilton’s ’80s hair alone makes it worth it a watch. And, of course, he gave us the character of Kyle Reese, which is where all the problems (for me) begin. Basic premise: Kyle Reese (aka Sergeant, Tech-Com, DN38416) is sent back from the future to 1984 to find Sarah Connor. Why? Because she will one day give birth to John Connor, the leader of the human resistance in a post-apocalyptic future (or, post August 29, 1997) where the machines have taken over. A Terminator has also been sent to take out Sarah before said baby can be conceived and Reese, it turns out, has been in love from afar (time-traveling far) with Sarah’s picture, one that John gave him, and volunteers to go back and protect her. Reese and Sarah spent a lot of quality traumatic time together and fall in love and have sex and of course it turns out the unborn son that is the future leader of mankind was fathered by Kyle Reese who is killed shortly thereafter. That picture Reese fell in love with? Taken after he was killed and snapped while Sarah Connor was thinking about Kyle Reese-y things.

Grown-up me and young 80s-era me have all the same questions: wait, the what and the what and the how? So did John Conner give that picture to Reese knowing that Reese was destined to be his very own daddy? And therefore he really needed to hustle Reese back in time in order to be born? And that he was sending his pal and father to his death? And if this is the case and fate and all that, how on earth did it get accomplished the first time? Also, what about the Butterfly Effect?

Also also, can I seriously be the only person who has been driven crazy by this for decades?

All you sci-fi experts, please go ahead and school me below in the comments. Or if you have a movie that gives you similar brain-ache, please let me know that too. (I have strong feelings about Back to the Future, The Lake House, and what’s going to happen to me when X-Men: Days of Future Past comes out, too.)

'The Spectacular Now' and three other coming-of-age movies worth watching


What is it about the coming-of-age movie? Is there any other kind of film that can hit so many sweet and bittersweet spots, or transport you back to a time when all that mattered was that secret crush and who was taking you to the senior prom? Personally, I wish there was a different name for this genre, as it always feels slightly like it’s describing movies about puberty or someone’s Bar Mitzvah. But that aside, these movies for me — and I’m sure for a lot of you — are the ones I tend to be attracted to when it comes to cinematic comfort food.

This weekend brings The Spectacular Now. I’d argue that this movie is the closest thing we’ve come — yes, even counting last year’s amazing and wonderful The Perks of Being a Wallflower — to hitting the same zone as those movies in the Golden Era of the Coming-of-Age Movie, also known as the time when John Hughes was making films. EW’s Owen Gleiberman, who awarded Now an A– rating this week in the magazine, says: “It’s one of the rare truly soulful and authentic teen movies. It’s about the experience of being caught on the cusp and not knowing which way you’ll land.”


'The 5th Wave' fantasy casting game


I am already on record for absolutely loving Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave.  I tore through this book—which details in disturbingly frank and too-realistic-feeling how an alien invasion affects Cassie, our 16-year-old heroine—and even while I was ripping through pages I found myself wondering who I would cast in the movie. This is either an occupational hazard of being an Entertainment Weekly writer or it’s due to the fact that this book is so vivid I knew  it’d only be a matter of time before it made its way to the big screen.

And sure enough, according to The Hollywood Reporter,  Susannah Grant has been hired to adapt Yancey’s book. This is exciting because Grant is a very talented screenwriter—she was nominated for her screenplay for Erin Brockovich—and because I think she is the perfect person who can tap into Cassie’s strengths and vulnerabilities and humor. So that’s one piece of the puzzle! But now, onto the casting. READ FULL STORY

Divorce Movies: How unhappily-ever-after makes for great viewing

Iron Man 3 opens this weekend with plenty of giant explosions to delight audiences and usher in the unofficial start of the Summer Movie. But in other multiplexes there’s another film down the hall, What Maisie Knew, that tells a very different but every bit as destructive story.

Henry James wrote the story this film — directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel — is based upon in 1897. That his tale of a divorced, selfish pair of parents who use their young daughter spitefully in order to hurt the other still feels realistic and resonates over a century later is either really sad or maybe darkly comforting depending on how you want to look at it.

In this new retelling set in modern day New York (where “Maisie” is very much a believable little girl’s name), Julianne Moore plays a charismatic, troubled, moody rocker and Steve Coogan is a charming but constantly traveling father. Through a series of events each parent takes a new spouse — Alexander Skarsgård and Joanna Vanderham, respectively. Onata Aprile plays poor Maisie, a sweet and watchful child who is an unwitting witness to her parent’s bad behavior. (Here is Chris Nashawaty’s review of the film.)

It got me thinking about a genre of film that I’ll just call the Divorce Movie. A marriage unraveling is a terrible thing — even more so when kids are involved — but on the upside, it’s given us some very very very good movies. Here are my personal three favorites.

3. The War of the RosesDanny DeVito directed this 1989 dark comedy starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner (a far cry from their Romancing the Stone days) as Barbara and Oliver Rose, a couple that “met great” but didn’t stay that way. As their marriage falls apart, things get increasingly dark and no one, not even the family pets, are safe (not the pâté!) .

2. Kramer vs. Kramer: You have to ready yourself emotionally before watching this one, but it’s always worth it. Dustin Hoffman plays Ted, a workaholic who is blindsided when his wife Joanna (Meryl Streep) leaves him and their young son, Billy. When she returns, a bitter custody battle takes place and this 1979 film really foresaw a changing attitude about parental guardianship. The script, by writer/director Robert Benton, is sparse and terrific and everyone in it is wonderful. This film earned Meryl Streep her first Oscar — and it won four others at the 52nd Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor for Hoffman, and a double Best Director and Best Screenplay for Benton.

1. The Squid and the Whale: Noah Baumbach’s 2005 film, my very favorite Divorce Movie, is one that has sent many of my peers — children of the 1980s — running straight to the therapist’s couch. Set in 1986 Park Slope, Brooklyn, Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney are writers (one on the way up, the other on the way down) who separate after unbearable tension and infidelity. Their two sons, Frank (Owen Kline, son of Kevin) and Walt (Jesse Eisenberg) are left to shuttle back and forth in a mind-blowing custody agreement that has them at one house, “Tuesday, Wednesday, and every other Thursday.” (This would seem ludicrous except that I remember friends who had such arrangements.) Each kid starts to act out in his own way and while this movie has many very funny lines, it’s also a heartbreaker. (In a recent New Yorker profile, Baumbach recalls showing the movie to his mother and “began sobbing and had to leave the screening room.”)

So, is there a Divorce Movie that speaks to you? Any big fans of Bye Bye Love or The Story of Us who want to weigh in here? Take it to the comments!

'Old-school' Carmelo Anthony tunes up for NBA playoffs with some Frank Sinatra

The first round of the NBA playoffs begin tomorrow with a 3 p.m. showdown between the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks. The Knicks — who secured the second seed in the Eastern Conference — had their best regular season in 15 years, due in no small part to Carmelo Anthony, the NBA’s leading scorer. We’ll leave the more intricate hoops talk to the experts, but EW caught up with Anthony to ask about his must-see-TV, what’s on heavy rotation on his iPod, and the last movie he saw with his son. (Hint: a different kind of ballgame).

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What kind of music do you like to listen to before a big game?
I try to put my iPod on shuffle. But I try not to listen to real upbeat music — I try to stay mellow. I’m around a lot of athletes and everyone has their headphones on. I’m always trying to figure out what everyone is listening to. And you can tell a lot about a person’s personality in their choice in music. Before a game, some people have it turned all the way up, super loud, super hype. And some people like to go super mellow to stay quiet and focused. READ FULL STORY

Fantasy casting: 'Divergent' edition


With the news that Kate Winslet is very close to signing on to star in the film adaptation of Divergent (presumably, though nof officially, as cunning antagonist Jeanine Matthews), it’s only natural to start thinking about how else director Neil Burger (Limitless) should fill out the cast.

Veronica Roth’s 2011 YA thriller often gets compared to The Hunger Games. And it’s true, both series feature brave, bad-ass heroines in a dystopian future and plenty of life-or-death action. Divergent‘s Beatrice Prior, 16, must choose a faction to call home. Each faction is dedicated to virtues found within society: There’s Erudite for the more cerebral; Candor for the honest; Amity for those seeking peace; Abnegation for the selfless; and Dauntless for the brave. There’s no sorting hat to help those decide so it’s a shock when Beatrice — who grew up in an Abnegation home and based on her test results was eligible to go to three different factions — chooses to go with the wild and daring Dauntless and rename herself Tris. Initiation is scarily competitive. While Tris makes friends and embarks on a romance with the mysterious and stoic “Four,” she’s also guarding a secret about herself that could put her life in danger. READ FULL STORY

Crashing and burning in 'Flight' -- no airplane required


Flight is not always an easy movie to watch. To start with, if you have just a teensy little bit of flying phobia, prepare to sit through a most harrowing and horrifying plane crash. Denzel Washington, playing pilot Whip Whitaker (one of the greatest character names in some time, don’t you think?), must control a commercial airliner in mechanical failure and get it to the ground as safely as possible under impossible conditions. Whip stays cool and collected while everyone around him — from flight attendants to co-pilot to passengers — quite rightly falls apart, and he manages to pull off a mind-boggling feat of flying. Of course, the fact that we know that he did these heroic actions while drunk and high out of his mind makes things a lot more complicated. READ FULL STORY

Remember the ending of 'Some Kind of Wonderful'? Ever wish you could change it?

Like many of us, I grew up on John Hughes movies. But while some friends claim Breakfast Club or Sixteen Candles as their favorite Hughesian tale, and others swear by Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Pretty in Pink, I have an undeniable soft spot for 1987’s Some Kind of Wonderful

Written by Hughes and directed by Howard Deutch (the same combo that did the previous year’s Pretty in Pink), SKOW captures a specific flavor of  teen love-triangle angst: there’s the sensitive artist, Keith (Eric Stoltz), who lives on the wrong side of the tracks but is hopelessly infatuated with Amanda (Lea Thompson), the pretty popular girl who dates the loathsome rich Hardy (Craig Scheffer). As Keith schemes his way into Amanda’s life, he’s completely oblivious to the feelings of Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson), his awesome toughie tomboy best friend, who loves only three things in life: herself, her drums, and him.

There’s so much great stuff in this movie: the music (miss you March Violets!), the style (Miley Cyrus’s new ‘do seems downright Watts-like… though she was not alive when this movie came out. Sigh), and the maybe-best-makeout-in-a-garage scene ever. But there was one thing that always bugged me (obligatory 25-year-old spoiler alert). A subplot of the film is Keith’s hard work at the garage, and the growing college fund his father is so proud of. Keith takes the money and buys Amanda diamond earrings instead. The final scene of the film is him giving them to Watts. “You look good wearing my future,” he tells her. READ FULL STORY

Dear Hollywood: more Melanie Lynskey, please

There’s a moment in the charming new indie Hello I Must Be Going when our heroine, Amy (Melanie Lynskey), is — to understate — down on her luck. She’s recovering from a brutal divorce and has moved back in with her parents, where she skulks about their suburban house in the same schlubby t-shirt and cut-off shorts. Her mother (Blythe Danner) tends to say helpful things like, “Getting fat isn’t going to help anything,” and she’s become tangled up in an affair with a 19-year-old (Girls’ Christopher Abbott). Due to one night’s extra-unfortunate events, Amy ends up on a picturesque beach…only to trip and fall on her face. “Where. Is. Bottom?,” she wonders. It’s everything Melanie Lynskey  does right — a moment that’s funny and true and soul-crushing all at once.

The New Zealand-born Lynskey first came on the scene in 1994 in Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures alongside Kate Winslet. Since then she’s been one of those oh-yeah-it’s-her character actresses in films such as Up in the Air, Win Win, andThe Informant!, and in TV show Two and a Half Men. But it’s here in Hello I Must Be Going (which debuted at Sundance and is currently in select theaters) that she finally gets to be a leading lady. And thank goodness for that. In her review of the film, EW’s Lisa Schwarzbaum says, “I readily proclaim myself among the ranks of Lynskey lovers, but even the uninitiated will be impressed by how, despite being costumed in clichés of despair (and sexy-dress clichés of blooming womanhood, too), she makes Amy a vibrant and specific human being. What’s equally impressive, though, is the effect the star’s gentle charisma has on the whole production: Working from a script by his wife, Sarah Koskoff, High Fidelity actor-turned-director Todd Louiso shapes the movie to Lynskey’s rhythms.”

In this week’s Entertainment Weekly (on stands now), Anthony Breznican sat down with Lynskey to discuss her career’s new beginnings 18 years after she started working. “My first-ever meeting with a casting director was like, ‘I don’t know why you’re here. You’re not going to work in America. You don’t have the right look. You’re not pretty enough…’,” she told him about coming to Hollywood at the age of 18. As disheartening as this story is (and it really is), the more positive side is that now, after films like Hello I Must Be Going, we get to finally see Lynskey at age 35 come into her rightful place as a quite beautiful and  relatable star.

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