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Todd Gilchrist

‘Tyler Perry’s The Single Moms Club’ Review

Single Moms Club Review
Lionsgate

As if in response to Cate Blanchett’s Oscar acceptance speech contention that audiences want to see films with women at the center of them, Tyler Perry’s latest, ‘The Single Moms Club,’ focuses on four women struggling, often with humor, to deal with single parenthood.

Unfortunately, Perry’s gift at creating opportunities for actresses to lead their own movies does not extend to creating good movies, much less characters. A stacked deck of one-dimensional demonstrations of female oppression, explored – and overcome – with Perry’s typically well-intentioned but misguided notions of empowerment, ‘The Single Moms Club’ ranks among the filmmaker’s worst work yet.

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‘Pompeii’ Review

Pompeii Review
Screen Gems

Sometimes you have to wonder if writers are aware of just how much of their scripts inadvertently rip off or openly resemble other movies. For example, three writers are credited with ‘Pompeii’ – did it ever occur to any of them that their disaster film was ‘Titanic’ meets ‘Gladiator’ with a ‘Conan’ opening thrown in for good measure? Surely director Paul W.S. Anderson, the auteur responsible for the ‘Resident Evil’ film series, did, not that I imagine he cared.

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Busted: How Agnes Bruckner Went From a B-Cup to a DD to Play Anna Nicole Smith

Agnes Bruckner Anna Nicole Smith
Lifetime

An actress got bigger boobs to get a part in a movie. Yeah, we know what you're thinking: not exactly breaking news for Hollywood. But, few actresses have done what the petite Agnes Bruckner did to star as the voluptuous Anna Nicole Smith. To achieve Anna Nicole's, uh, ample frame, Bruckner, who calls herself "flat-chested," didn't get breast implants, she wore prosthetic boobs.

Bruckner spent over four hours every day prior to shooting having the state-of-the-art prosthetics applied by three-time Oscar-winner Greg Cannom, whose previous work includes turning Robin Williams into a woman and Brad Pitt into an old man.

We spoke to Bruckner last week, where she talked at length about the "physical challenges" the character presented, and how that transformation impacted her own feelings about her body.

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‘I, Frankenstein’ Review

I Frankenstein Review
Lionsgate

Quite frankly as misguided and problematic as the forlorn romanticism of Kenneth Branagh’s 1994 adaptation, not to mention as ridiculously self-serious, Stuart Beattie’s ‘I, Frankenstein’ isn’t even campy enough to be fun. Cut from the mold of the films in the ‘Underworld’ series, Beattie’s film similarly eschews the natural intrigue of the original mythology to pump it full of steroids and Hot Topic-style cool, adding an epic, age-old conflict between no less than angels (well, gargoyles) and demons for Frankenstein’s monster to be caught between – all of which showcases an excess of thought, and yet a shocking lack of brains.

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‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’ Review

Jack Ryan review
Paramount Pictures

Some franchises leave an indelible mark on you during your formative years, and inspire passionate, lifelong devotion from their fans – but is Jack Ryan really one of them? Given the messy lineage of the character on screen, played now by four separate actors (Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck and here, by 'Star Trek Into Darkness' star Chris Pine), not to mention the fact that the films are wildly uneven in terms of quality, it seems like the answer would be no. But, the character’s resilience is apparently as indefatigable as Hollywood’s faith in intellectual property, which is why ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’ exists, a dull mishmash of Cold War spy games and ‘Bourne Identity’-style grit which shares much in common with the weakest of its predecessors – especially total forgettability.

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‘A Madea Christmas’ Review

Madea Christmas review
Lionsgate

The night after watching Tyler Perry’s latest film, I had a dream where I was trying to do something, and never pulled it off – and that’s a lot of what 'A Madea Christmas' is like: a lot of effort that ends up being pointless, but feels exhausting anyway. That sounds crueler than I mean for it to, since I did in fact laugh at it, a lot, certainly more than I did in my dream. But as with most of Perry’s films, 'A Madea Christmas' is messy and half-baked, funny on purpose but especially when trying to be serious, and ultimately as convincing as a comically-oversized man, dressed up in drag, mispronouncing words in a way that no one possibly could.

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Folk Hero: Oscar Isaac Talks ‘Inside Llewyn Davis,’ Working With the Coen Brothers and Finding Success

Oscar Isaac Inside Llewyn Davis
CBS Films

If ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ is a film about being chosen for success, Oscar Issac is Hollywood’s latest choice. The young actor has distinguished himself in a wide variety of roles over the past few years, including turns in ‘Nativity Story,’ ‘Robin Hood,’ ‘Sucker Punch’ and ‘Drive’ among many others, but taking the title role in the Coen brothers’ latest film catapults him to a new level of opportunity, offering new challenges, and of course, bigger rewards. And in ‘Inside Llewyn Davis,’ he plays the role to the hilt, utilizing the Coens’ idiosyncratic creativity to create a portrait of a struggling musician that is at once blindingly specific and spectacularly universal.

Isaac sat down with us in Los Angeles to talk about the challenges of the role. In addition to discussing how the Coens complement his performance with a context that enriches the character, he explained what he felt like the film was about, for him, and finally revealed his thought process as he embarks on the next phase of a career that is growing exponentially with each new role he takes on.

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“The First Cut Was Four Hours” – Inside the ‘Anchorman 2′ Editing Room With Director Adam McKay

Anchorman 2
Paramount Pictures

Adam McKay is releasing a new film in December, and it’s kind of a big deal.

'Anchorman 2,' one of the few films that truly earns the description “highly anticipated,” arrives in theaters December 20, and the filmmaker is in the final days of editing the film down, paring out superfluous bits, rejiggering set pieces, and swapping out jokes to ensure that audiences thoroughly split their sides watching the overdue reunion of Ron Burgundy, Veronica Corningstone, Champ Kind, Brian Fantana and Brick Tamland.

McKay invited us inside the 'Anchorman 2' edit bay, where he showcased a couple of scenes from the film and offered a few details about what audiences might expect to see. In addition to elaborating on possible plans to release multiple versions of the film in the same way they did with the original 'Anchorman,' McKay explained their massively complicated process of arranging and assembling all of the footage they shoot, and offered perspective on the longevity and the legacy of Anchorman, as Burgundy and his news team prepare to return to the screen.

And, he's such a nice guy, he even gave us three new 'Anchorman 2' posters to share with you featuring James Marsden, Meagan Good and a hilarious Kristen Wiig.

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Djimon Hounsou Interview: Talking ‘Baggage Claim,’ Black Superheroes and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

Djimon Hounsou Baggage Claim
Kris Connor, Getty Images

'Baggage Claim' may mine familiar territory with its tale of a flight attendant sorting through her exes for the perfect man, but Djimon Hounsou is better than perfect in the film – he’s complicated. Playing a hugely successful hotelier who offers unexpected proposition to Montana (Paula Patton), the film’s heroine, Hounsou presents a sophisticated alternative to the African characters that too often appear on film. Possessed of a more cosmopolitan attitude about relationships, Hounsou’s character provides the film with one of its only alternatives to traditional relationships, and makes that option even more appealing than the one she’s chasing.

We sat down with Hounsou at the recent Los Angeles press day for 'Baggage Claim,' where the actor offers some remarkable insights about not just his character, but the perception of Africans in American and European entertainment. Putting his own professional endeavors in a cultural context, Hounsou talked about the work he does with each role, and revealed how taxing it can be to balance those larger responsibilities with his own creative process.

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Exclusive: Djimon Hounsou Downplays Comedy in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ Says There is “Quite a Bit of Action”

Djimon Hounsou Guardians of the Galaxy
Millennium Films/Marvel

Djimon Hounsou isn’t playing the first black superhero put on film, but he’s determined to make sure that he isn’t the last. At the 2013 Comic-Con panel for 'Guardians of the Galaxy,' Hounsou recalled the time that his son wished he could be light-skinned so he could play Spider-Man, and the sobering anecdote inspired him to play Korath for writer-director James Gunn – and further, to introduce a character that would give comic fans of color a hero to aspire to, impersonate and admire. With filming almost completed on the adaptation, Hounsou seems pleased with his work, and appreciative of the opportunity to play in the toy box of the Marvel Universe – as much for fun as the chance to create a role model for his son.

At the recent Los Angeles press day for 'Baggage Claim,' in which he plays a successful hotelier who attempts to woo flight attendant Montana (Paula Patton), Hounsou sat down with ScreenCrush to discuss his work in the upcoming comic book movie. In addition to talking about what prompted his recollection about his son, he observes some other hard truths about the moviemaking business, and reveals a few details about the kinds of challenges he tackles in the film.

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