“Nothin’ But a Good Time” promises the tagline of Rock of Ages, referencing one of the two dozen or so classic ’80s rock songs its cast energetically deflates into innocuously pleasing sing-a-longs. It’s an admirably honest proclamation of the film’s limited aspirations, one which it fulfills with all the grace of a monkey hurling its own feces at the screen.

Credit where credit is due, Rock of Ages stops just shy of having literal monkey shit flung at its audience; although monkey sight gags are in fact a primary source of the film’s humor, should we choose to accept that the innumerable moments in which a trained monkey behaves contrary to that of an untrained monkey qualify as humor. Said hilarity includes but is not limited to: monkey wearing a dictator outfit, monkey throwing stuff, monkey not throwing stuff, monkey grinning, monkey screeching loudly, monkey having a silly name, monkey serving drinks, monkey not serving drinks, monkey doing other things that resemble what humans do, and homosexuality. That last one has nothing to do with any monkey related shenanigans, but apparently it’s just as noteworthy, as was evident from the fits of hysterical laughter that surrounded me when two male characters share an out-of-nowhere romantic musical number together — complete with obligatory make-out session. (A gay guy directed the film, so it’s okay to laugh!)

If all that, and Tom Cruise in assless chaps, sounds like a promising night of fun and laughs to you, Rock of Ages should prove more than serviceable. Granted, of course, that you’re also an advocate of the recent surge of jukebox musicals, none of which lend themselves very well to things like “story” and “character development”, but all of which feature songs you already know and enjoy and can sing the lyrics to, so who gives a fuck, right? Read More »

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Woody Allen‘s latest film will be his first to shoot in the US in almost a decade, but that might not be the big reason to pay attention to it. The film just added three cast members, and they’re quite a set. One of them is a great surprise: Louis C.K., a man we know is a fan of Allen’s work if only for the homage he paid Manhattan in the third season of Louie. Another is also a surprise, but a much more surreal one: Andrew Dice Clay, whose comic sensibility is everything a classic Allen character would claim to hate, but might secretly love. Then, to balance things out, we have Peter Sarsgaard.

A bit more info on the film follows. Read More »

Plenty of young talents have attempted the leap from precocious child star to grown-up actor, with severely mixed results, but Chloe Grace Moretz seems to be having an easier time of it than most. Though she’s just 15, she’s already shown a facility for between family-friendly fare like Hugo and more mature entertainments like Let Me In and Kick-Ass over the last few years, and she’s lucky enough to have (apparently) skipped an awkward phase altogether. As far as I’m concerned, she doesn’t need to “prove” that she can transition into mature parts.

But that appears to be exactly what she’s doing in Derick Martini‘s Hick. Moretz plays a teenager who decides to ditch her neglectful parents in Nebraska and strike out for Vegas, meeting all sorts of interesting characters (played by Blake Lively, Eddie Redmayne, Rory Culkin, and Alec Baldwin) along the way. Watch the red-band (i.e., NSFW)¬†trailer after the jump.

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Even if you’ve long since outgrown summer vacation, there’s just something about warmer weather that makes it tempting to put aside the heavy, thought-provoking stuff and look for a good, lighthearted laugh instead. If you’re curious what the upcoming season has in store for you on that front, hit the jump to check out new posters for The Dictator, Rock of Ages, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and Neighborhood Watch.

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2011 saw one of the greatest successes of Woody Allen‘s career, as his film Midnight in Paris did great business on the US arthouse circuit and worldwide, eventually raking in nearly $150m globally. There was also that little matter of winning an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

Now Allen returns with To Rome With Love, a vignette-based romantic comedy with most of the action falling into a very familiar Allen mode. (It’s a welcome returns, with lines like “the kid’s a communist, the father’s a mortician… does the mother run a leper colony?”)

The cast features Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig, Ellen Page, Alec Baldwin, Penelope Cruz, Roberto Benigni (of whom we haven’t seen much in some time), Judy Davis and Woody Allen himself, who hasn’t been in front of the camera since the 2006 release Scoop. The action places that cast in various minor romantic and comic entanglements that all look a bit fluffy, and very entertaining.

Check out the trailer below. Read More »

Let me say one thing first: this is the sort of role I think Tom Cruise does well. A variation on the arrogant, overbearing personality with a core of self-doubt has served him well in a few films here and there. So I hoped that playing big-time rock star Stacee Jaxx in Adam Shankman‘s ’80s cock rock jukebox musical Rock of Ages might work, too. But based on this new full-length trailer, I don’t think anything really works in Rock of Ages. I know there will be people who dig this, and given that it took time and effort to create I hope someone digs it. Go forth and have a great time, please. But I can’t lie: this one made me cringe more than I would have expected to.

Check out the trailer below. Read More »

Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and Jack Frost are real and it’s their job to protect the children of the world. That’s the basic setup for DreamWorks Animation’s upcoming 3D film Rise of the Guardians. The film is directed by¬†Peter Ramsey, and written by David Lindsay-Abaire and William Joyce, based on the Guardians of Childhood books from the latter.

Featuring the voices of Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Chris Pine, Isla Fisher and Jude Law, the first trailer for the film has just been released and you can check it out below. Read More »

I don’t even know where to begin with today’s extra-packed edition of TV Bits, so let’s just… begin. After the jump:

  • Olivia Wilde will return for the House finale
  • IFC renews Portlandia for a third season
  • Doctor Who casts its new companion
  • 30 Rock plans to do another live episode
  • Wes Anderson teases a new TV commercial
  • January Jones’ pregnancy means less Betty
  • A first look at the Sex and the City prequel

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