The Princess and the Frog

Even before Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland kicked off the current live-action fairy tale craze, Disney was casting big-name stars to portray beautiful princesses and handsome princes on a regular basis. They just weren’t for the movies.

The studio has revealed the latest in their gorgeous Disney Dream Portrait series, shot by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz. Earlier this year, we got Taylor Swift (who’s basically a real-life Disney princess already, but whatever) as Rapunzel. Now we have Jennifer Hudson in the role of Tiana from The Princess and the Frog. Check it out after the jump.

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The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete

There comes a moment in every person’s life when they realize that life just isn’t fair, and there’s fuck-all they can do about it but survive the best they can. Unfortunately, part of that injustice is that some folks are forced to learn that lesson much sooner than others.

Like the title characters of George Tillman Jr.‘s The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete. Mister (Skylan Brooks) is a 13-year-old whose recent flunking of the eighth grade is the least of his worries. His mom (Jennifer Hudson) is a drug addict who gets arrested and taken away, and he’s left to take care of the 9-year-old Pete (Ethan Dizon), a neighbor kid in a similarly sad situation.

Desperate to avoid being put in foster care by child protective services, Mister and Pete struggle to survive on their own in Brooklyn, while working toward Mister’s goal of moving to Beverly Hills to land a TV role. Watch the first trailer after the jump.

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Winnie Mandela

Nelson Mandela’s story will be brought to the big screen this prestige pic season in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, with a little help from director Justin Chadwick and star Idris Elba. But Mandela’s wife Winnie will get her own time in the spotlight next month with the unimaginatively titled Winnie Mandela.

Directed by Darrell Roodt, the biopic follows the South African politician from her rural upbringing, through her husband’s imprisonment and the scandal and controversy that dogged her in later years. Jennifer Hudson plays Winnie, while Terence Howard plays her Nelson.

If you’re wondering why it feels like this film came out of nowhere, it’s probably because it first hit TIFF two years ago before fading into obscurity. Now, as it finally prepares for a theatrical release, a full-length trailer has hit the web. Watch it after the jump.

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Produced by Grammy winner Alicia Keys and co-starring Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson and American Idol Jordin Sparks, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete might sound like a kiddie movie. Quirky title, popular names, and two child leads make that assumption easy. But this one, written by Michael Starrbury and directed by George Tillman Jr. (Notorious, Faster), is anything but kids’ stuff.

While the film dramatizes the ultimate childhood wish fulfillment, spending a summer without parental supervision, it does so with brutal honesty in the harsh realities of modern Brooklyn. Mister (Skylan Brooks) and Pete (Ethan Dizon), two young boys whose mothers are both MIA drug addicts, decide that living on their own and scavenging for food, medicine and soap, is better than being brought to a boys home.

The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete features two beautiful lead performances and solid supporting turns by Hudson, Sparks, Anthony Mackie, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Jeffrey Wright. It is an emotionally effective, if not particularly resonant addition to the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Read more after the jump.

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This eclectic edition of Sequel Bits covers everything from the Lifetime Channel to Machete Kills. After the jump:

  • Javier Bardem says he was offered Bond way back when
  • Carrie Fisher would be interested in doing Star Wars VII
  • Melissa Leo and Octavia Spencer join Lifetime’s Five 2
  • Spy Kids star Alexa Vega is all grown up in Machete Kills
  • See Luke Evans as Bard the Bowman in The Hobbit
  • Here’s where you can watch The Hobbit in 48 fps 3D

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Controversy, casting and consensual exits are all in this edition of TV Bits. After the jump read about the following:

  • See a photo of how the George W. Bush head from Game of Thrones was fixed.
  • Rocker Marilyn Manson joins Showtime’s Californification.
  • Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson will have an arc on the Broadway drama Smash.
  • Fanboys director Kyle Newman will join wife Jaime King to voice a character on Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
  • Steve Carell told the Los Angeles Times why Michael Scott won’t return to The Office.
  • Elizabeth Moss suggests a possible spoiler about her Mad Men character.

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Remember when we thought for a minute that Johnny Knoxville might play Moe in the Peter and Bobby Farrelly version of The Three Stooges? That didn’t happen, but now things have come full circle, in a way, as the new trailer for the film opens by emulating the warning that opened every episode of Knoxville’s breakout show Jackass. The thrust of this trailer is slapstick: face slaps, eye pokes, hammers to the forehead, shellfish down the pants and a lot more. The question is: does it work? Read More »

Although that first domestic trailer for Peter and Bobby Farrelly‘s The Three Stooges left me pretty cold, with just a month to go until the film’s release it seemed worth giving the new international trailer a fair shot. Unfortunately, though the new video does more efficient job of laying out the plot, it fares no better at bringing the funny. Your mileage may vary, though, so check out the trailer after the jump.

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