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Review: Vampire tale 'Let Me In' a faithful remake

 

8:27 pm | See more

Part two of 'Breaking Dawn' coming out Nov. 2012

LOS ANGELES (AP) — "Twilight" fans will get their final taste of the vampire series when the second half of the finale hits theaters at the end of 2012.

"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2," is scheduled for release Nov. 16, 2012, Summit Entertainment announced Tuesday. The first half is coming out Nov. 18, 2011.

Bill Condon is set to direct both movies, based on the fourth and final book in Stephanie Meyer's series about vampires, werewolves and the teenage girl caught in between them. Stars Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner are all set to return. Production is scheduled to begin this fall.

Part three, "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," has made over $288 million in its five weeks in theaters.

9:41 pm | See more

Justin Bieber set to star in a film about his life

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Justin Bieber is adding movie star to his resume.

Paramount Pictures, MTV Films and Bieber's record label, Island Def Jam, say the 16-year-old pop star has signed on to appear in a feature film about his life and career.

The yet-to-be-titled movie is set for release on "Valentine's weekend" of 2011, the companies said Tuesday.

Bieber will also be producing the film, along with mentor Usher, manager Scooter Braun and Island Def Jam Music Group chairman LA Reid.

The movie will offer a "VIP backstage pass" into Bieber's life and will feature 3-D footage from his "My World 2.0" concert tour.

The ubiquitous teen sensation is also bringing his life to readers: HarperCollins announced Monday that it will publish his memoir in October.

9:42 pm | See more

Hulu launches $10 video subscription service

 

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Megan Fox marries longtime beau Brian Austin Green

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Megan Fox has tied the knot with longtime boyfriend Brian Austin Green.

Fox's publicist Dominique Appel said Tuesday the couple was "happily married."

The 24-year-old actress became engaged to Green earlier this month for the second time. The pair was previously engaged in 2006.

Fox and Green, 36, have been dating for several years. It's the first marriage for both.

Fox's film credits include "Transformers" and "Jonah Hex," which opened earlier this month. Green was a star of of the 1990s TV hit, "Beverly Hills 90210."

8:17 pm | See more

Film Review: "Knight and Day"

Introducing an exciting new talent: Tom Cruise. Sure, we know Tom Cruise after his three decades in the business. We know way too much about Tom Cruise, actually, thanks to his well-documented off-screen antics the past few years. "Knight and Day" is a refreshing reminder, though, of why he is a superstar: He has that undeniable charisma about him and he really can act, something for which he doesn't always get the credit he deserves. Here, he plays a Vintage Tom Cruise Role: He gets to be charming but also toy with the idea that he might be a little nuts. As secret agent Roy Miller, he has that twinkle in his eye and that sexy little smile but he's also strangely calm in the middle of elaborate car chases and shootouts — relaxed, articulate and abidingly courteous when most mortals would be freaking out. That's part of the fun of the character and the movie as a whole, that contradiction. Cruise's presence also helps keep James Mangold's film light, breezy and watchable when the action — and the story itself — spin ridiculously out of control. Cruise and Cameron Diaz make an oddly appealing pair as a (possibly) rogue spy and the innocent woman he must now protect. But the romance between them feels forced and is one of the movie's chief weaknesses. PG-13 for sequences of action violence throughout, and brief strong language. 109 min. Two and a half stars out of four.

10:55 pm | See more

Film Review: "I Am Love"

"I Am Love" — Words like "lush" and "gorgeous" don't even begin to scratch the surface in describing Italian director Luca Guadagnino's retro-styled melodrama. It's more like the most sumptuous design porn, lingering over every detail in the palatial home of a Milanese industrialist and his family, allowing plenty of time for us to ooh and ahh over the impeccably tasteful clothes, the rich furnishings, the exquisite meals. (Don't see this movie hungry.) From the sweeping, old-fashioned opening titles, "I Am Love" signals that we're in for a long, luxurious ride. This is a visual medium, after all, and in the tradition of Visconti and Sirk, Guadagnino expertly throws in everything he's got. But despite these aesthetic trappings, an even more compelling factor is the most fundamental: the tour-de-force performance from its star, Tilda Swinton, speaking fluent Italian and even a little Russian in a couple of scenes. Swinton's transformation from perfect, moneyed wife and mother to ... well, we don't want to give too much away, but we'll just say her character becomes a purer form of herself when she finds true love. She becomes free. The camera has always loved her striking, porcelain features: those formidable cheekbones and wide-set blue eyes. She's ravishing as Emma Recchi, flawlessly turned out for all occasions. But it's the subtle changes within her that drive the film, and allow the staggeringly versatile Swinton to prove there's more to her than we ever could have imagined. R for sexuality and nudity. 120 min. Three and a half stars out of four.

10:51 pm | See more

Film Review: "Grown Ups"

"Grown Ups" — Shockingly inept even by the standards we've come to expect from a Happy Madison production, this feels as if it were made without considering whether an audience would ever actually see it. It assaults us with an awkward mix of humor (which is rarely funny) and heart (which is never touching), but even more amateurishly, it features copious cutaways to characters laughing at each others' jokes. For long stretches of time, Adam Sandler and Co. sit around a New England lake house goofing on each other, telling stories and reminiscing about old times. Given that these other characters are played by Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider, you would hope that some of the lines would work (from James and Rock, at least). One gets the distinct impression that these guys, four out of five of whom are "Saturday Night Live" alumni, improvised most of their insults and one-liners, and there just happened to be a camera or two rolling. The plot, which is essentially "The Big Chill" with jokes about flatulence and bunions, finds these five childhood friends reuniting for the funeral of the basketball coach who led them to a championship in 1978. PG-13 for crude material including suggestive references, language and some male rear nudity. 98 min. One star out of four.

Updated: 10:50 pm | See more

Can Tom Cruise re-establish himself as 'the guy'?

 

5:38 pm | See more

Roberts' 'Eat Pray Love' gets gentler PG-13 rating

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Julia Roberts' new film has gained a wider potential audience now that the rating has been lowered from R to PG-13.

The filmmakers behind Roberts' upcoming drama "Eat Pray Love" got the R rating overturned by the Classification and Rating Appeals Board for the Motion Picture Association of America.

The Sony Pictures release had been rated R for "brief strong language." It now has a PG-13 tag for "brief strong language, some sexual references and male rear nudity." The film comes out Aug. 13.

An R rating prohibits those under 17 from seeing a movie unless accompanied by an adult.

The appeals board lowered the rating Wednesday after hearing arguments from the film's director, Ryan Murphy, and producer Dede Gardner.

6:33 pm | See more

Review: New city, same moves in 'Karate Kid'

Fellow children of the '80s: Merely pondering the possibility of a "Karate Kid" remake tears at the very fiber of our adolescence.

No one else needs to say the words "wax on-wax off" ever again. No teen bully could possibly be as slickly menacing as Billy Zabka. And as climactic showdown songs go, nothing could beat the cliched bombast of "You're the Best Around." (Now it'll be stuck in your head the rest of the day, just like it's stuck in mine. You're welcome.)

Sure, John G. Avildsen's original 1984 movie was formulaic, but it was OUR formula. There was no doubt Daniel-San was ever going to lose to rich, arrogant Johnny, leader of the Cobra Kai, in the finals of the big karate tournament. But that was OK. He had heart on his side — and the crane kick. Avildsen also directed "Rocky," so he knew a little something about playing up the underdog theme for maximum emotional impact. We were sucked in despite ourselves.

Nevertheless, a new version of "The Karate Kid" is upon us. Director Harald Zwart ("Agent Cody Banks") hits all the same notes and adheres closely to Robert Mark Kamen's original script, down to a sweep-the-leg moment in the finale. Details have been tweaked in Christopher Murphey's new script, including the setting: Instead of moving from New Jersey to Los Angeles because of his single mom's new job, our young hero moves from Detroit to Beijing, where he promptly incurs the wrath of the local thugs and learns martial arts to protect himself. (And by the way, it's now kung fu.)

But one of the biggest changes of all is the character's age.

Ralph Macchio was what, like, 35 when he played Daniel? But he looked 16, as his character was, so he seemed like a good fit. Now the character, Dre, is 12 — as is the film's star, Jaden Smith, son of Will and Jada (both executive producers). But with his pretty face and slight build, Smith looks about 9. It's inescapably distracting. And so neither the fighting nor the romance with a girl who's out of his league — two key components of "The Karate Kid" — makes sense.

Even after the obligatory training montage, Smith is still a tiny, lean kid. Macchio didn't exactly bulk up, but he had an attitude about him, an East Coast swagger, that helped make his transformation into a karate master believable. Plus it's just uncomfortable watching kids this age beat each other up to the point of serious injury; there's no one to root for in that.

Still, we must watch Dre go through the motions of learning from Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), the handyman in the building where he and his mother, Sherry (Taraji P. Henson) now live.

Dre hates it in China — doesn't understand the language, can't use chopsticks, etc. — but when he meets a pretty violinist named Mei Ying in the park, he's smitten. School bully Cheng (Zhenwei Wang) doesn't like this development, though, and goes on a mission to make Dre's life even more hellish than it already was. Enter Mr. Han, who not only fights off Dre's enemies, he heals the boy's injuries and puts him through his own peculiar training regimen.

We all know where this is headed: The Big Tournament. But first, "The Karate Kid" stops at the Great Wall and the Forbidden City — you know, just because they're picturesque — which contribute to the movie's overlong running time. Still, Chan is solid in an extremely different role, one that's much more serious and understated than his well-known, playful persona. All the trademark acrobatics are there, but without the cheerful mugging. After decades on screen, it's refreshing to see Chan shift gears like this.

Functioning in the Mr. Miyagi role, Chan also has decent chemistry with Smith. But things are awkward between Smith and Wenwen Han, the Chinese version of Elisabeth Shue's Ali-with-an-I. Their ages, her shy demeanor, her English (which is sometimes hard to understand) — all these factors conspire against them, and the film.

The ending is still rousing enough to make the film a crowd-pleaser, though. But after this, hopefully some '80s classics like "Sixteen Candles," ''Better Off Dead" and "Revenge of the Nerds" will remain off-limits.

"The Karate Kid," a Columbia Pictures release, is rated PG for bullying, martial arts action violence and some mild language. Running time: 135 minutes. Two stars out of four.

8:24 pm | See more

Review: 'Babies' gorgeously captures family bond

A clear line will be drawn in the sand — or the sandbox, if you will — when it comes to the way people respond to "Babies."

6:09 pm | See more

Iron Man, Bella, Robin Hood fan summer film action

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hollywood heroes are expanding their age demographic this summer.

5:56 pm | See more

Review: Nobody wins with this bunch of 'Losers'

Deadly only in its dullness, the coma-inducing, comic-book-adapted action flick "The Losers" aims to serve as a placeholder until "Iron Man 2" arrives with the summer's heavy artillery.

8:01 pm | See more

Another 'American Idol' finalist eliminated

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Didi Benami has a reason to be brokenhearted on "American Idol."

8:50 pm | See more