Muppets Most Wanted review

The Muppets are nothing if not self-aware, and Muppets Most Wanted opens with a promising joke. Picking up just moments after the last movie left off, Kermit and company launch into a jaunty, toe-tapping musical number that acknowledges all the pitfalls of a follow-up. “We’re doing a sequel,” they sing. “That’s what we do in Hollywood / And everybody knows that the sequel’s never quite as good!”

But all the knowingness in the world can’t save the Muppets from the actual pitfalls of doing a sequel. In the end, Kermit’s early admission feels more like a warning than a joke. Muppets Most Wanted isn’t bad; in some parts, it’s very good. Still, it struggles to match the highs that the first one hit so easily.

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Bret McKenzie Muppets

The fact Bret McKenzie, one half of Flight of the Conchords, won an Oscars for The Muppets still makes me smile. McKenzie won the award for Best Original Song for “Man or Muppet” back in 2012 and followed that up by beginning work on next year’s sequel, Muppets Most Wanted. It also gave him some well-deserved caché and McKenzie is using that to develop a passion project.

In a new interview, the Oscar-winning song writer revealed he, along with Muppets director James Bobin, are working on a live-action musical described as a blend of The Muppets and The Princess Bride. Much like Labyrinth. Read More »

Austenland

The elaborate courtship rituals of Jane Austen’s England bear little resemblance to the no-strings hookups and domestic partnerships of the 21st century dating scene, but that hasn’t stopped modern romantics from hoping to find a Mr. Darcy of their very own. In the Sundance romcom Austenland, one particularly hardcore fan gets an opportunity to do just that.

Keri Russell stars as Jane Hayes, who splurges on a trip to an Austen-themed resort complete with Regency costumes, era-appropriate activities, and even handsome suitors (played by paid actors). But the experience isn’t all she’d hoped, and in her disillusionment she finds herself increasingly drawn to “stableboy” Martin (Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords). Watch the first trailer after the jump.

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The European-set sequel to The Muppets has traded out Christoph Waltz for Ty Burrell, and now the film has added another TV comedy talent. Ricky Gervais is in talks for a major role in the film. He’ll be the lead, in fact — or at least the “lead human.” That’s a necessary distinction when talking about a Muppet movie.

For those who love classic Gervais work such as the office, but aren’t always wild about the tenor of his more recent stuff, this could be a pleasant bit of news. (Presumably, this won’t be a big Muppet-decorated comedy about atheism.) In fact, Gervais is noted as a fan of the characters, making him an appropriate successor to Jason Segel, the fan who last starred in a Muppet movie.

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Could Sean Connery return to the Bond franchise? Believe it or not, it almost happened a third time. Also after the jump:

  • The Muppets shoots this winter, Bret McKenzie returns to write more songs
  • Wreck-It Ralph director Rich Moore has ideas for a sequel
  • Robert Zemeckis isn’t planning a Roger Rabbit sequel
  • Daniel Craig says Dragon Tattoo sequel needs a script
  • Watch a montage of A Good Day to Die Hard filming
  • Star Trek Into Darkness will be released in Dolby Atmos
  • Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura talks about Red 2

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Aside from a brief appearance by Miss Piggy and Kermit and a win for composer Bret McKenzie, this weekend’s Oscar ceremony was tragically light on the Muppets. But in just a few weeks, fans will be able to get their fill of the gang when the film hits DVD and Blu-ray.

Today, we have a preview of some of the bonus features from The Muppets, including a making-of featurette, a blooper reel, and a deleted scene — plus a clip of Kermit and Glee star Darren Criss performing “Rainbow Connection” for E!’s pre-Oscars show, just because. Watch them after the jump.

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If you walked out of The Muppets feeling like you were on top of the world, Bret McKenzie was a big reason. The actor/singer/songwriter, best known for his HBO series Flight of the Conchords, was hired by director James Bobin to write many of the brand new songs for characters like Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo and others to sing in the Muppets triumphant return to the screen. And to that aim, McKenzie was a success. He was rewarded for his work with an Oscar-nomination for Best Original Song for “Man or Muppet,” which features Jason Segel’s character Gary and his brother, Walter the Muppet, signing about their true identities. It’s funny, clever, catchy and has a 50/50 shot at gold since only two songs are nominated.

We sat down to talk to McKenzie about the honor, his process integrating songs in the film, the song not being performed at the Oscars, as well as his upcoming role in a tiny film called The Hobbit and more. Watch the video interview after the jump. Read More »

Ten years ago this week The Fellowship of the Ring was released. Peter Jackson‘s first Tolkien adaption silenced a great many naysayers who said J.R.R. Tolkien‘s novels could never be properly translated to film. It also fostered a mainstream interest in fantasy movies that continues a decade later.

The development of a film based on Tolkien’s original Middle-Earth novel, The Hobbit, was the subject of speculation as soon as Jackson started work on The Lord of the Rings. Actually making the movie was a terrifically complicated process that involved rights deals, the financial solvency of MGM, a long period of development under original director Guillermo del Toro, and the eventual return of Peter Jackson to the director’s chair.

Now the first teaser trailer — a long teaser, at that — has been released for the first of two films based on the novel. Get the first look at footage from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, after the break. Read More »

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