On Friday, the 27-year-old starlet made her Broadway debut at the American Airlines Theatre in the Roundabout’s “After Miss Julie.” The role has her in privileged mode as the lady of the house in a new version of August Strindberg‘s 1888 drama about a sexually and socially uninhibited woman.
Patrick Marber, whose drama “Closer” was a stark and stinging depiction of warring and wooing between men and women, jumps the setting to 1945 England – a time of changing attitudes about class and power.
Miss Julie, the coddled daughter of a Labour Party leader, seduces her chauffeur, John (Jonny Lee Miller), and they plan to run off together. Happily ever after? Um, again – this is Marber by way of Strindberg. Don’t expect it. Do expect Marin Ireland, so good in “reasons to be pretty,” to keep up with her famous castmates in director Mark Brokaw‘s production. She plays Christine, maid and voice of reason.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (20TH Century Fox, 107 minutes, PG-13), although nowhere near a perfect movie, is filled with enough creative highlights to help one forget the disappointing 2006 entry, X-Men: The Last Stand. Unlike the previous X-Men entries, Wolverine/Logan (Hugh Jackman) takes center stage, as viewers are clued into his tragic childhood and why he grew into the most rebellious member of The X-Men. Liev Schreiber is Victor Creed, Logan’s amoral big brother who would later be known as Sabretooth, Haunted by their past, the pair’s taste for killing enables them to excel in fight different wars, and when Major Stryker (Danny Huston) seeks them out, they are game for even more bloodletting. Under Stryker’s command, they become part of a crew of mutants who follow their own rules. When Logan quits the crew, he finds a job as a lumberjack in Canada and marries Kayla (Lynn Collins), hoping for a life sans killing. Victor goes the opposite route, and he even kills Kayla to get a rise out of his baby brother. The tragedy scars Logan, and he goes on a desperate hunt to find his sibling, even agreeing to collaborate with Stryker in the process. Directed by Tsotsi and Rendition filmmaker Gavin Hood, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is best when dealing with Logan and Victor’s mutual hatred for each other, and it’s exciting to see such characters as Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds), Blob (Kevin Durand) and Gambit (Taylor Kitsch) finally get their chance to shine in the Marvel film universe. Unfortunately the film is rated PG-13, and while the move may have been to draw a wider audience, X-Men Origins: Wolverine can’t hold a candle to such R-rated fare as The Dark Knight or Watchmen. Wolverine is a killing machine who tries his best to live a normal life, only to succumb to his baser instincts once revenge enters the picture. Such a story warranted a more explicit rating, and what’s left is a movie that barely scratches below the surface thematically. However, the picture is immensely watchable, and a sequel to Origins as well as a separate Deadpool project are in the works. Special Features: The Blu-ray contains an engaging conversation between Marvel Comics (and former X-Men writer) legend Stan Lee and Wolverine creator Len Wein, as well as several deleted scenes (with optional commentary from Hood). One deleted scene features Wolverine agreeing to lose his memory after hearing a rather life altering bit of news, and another sequence has Logan sitting at a Japanese bar (the scene serves as a precursor to the next Wolverine movie, which will be set in Japan). The disc also comes with audio commentary from Hood, as well as a separate commentary track from the flick’s three producers (Lauren Shuler Donner, Ralph Winter). Tons of characters were introduced in the film, and the “Wolverine Unleashed: The Complete Origins” featurette gives diehard fans a closer look at what makes these mutants tick. MOVIE GRADE: B-. EXTRAS: A
Sony’s third animated outing was essentially on par with its first, 2006’s “Open Season,” given three years of ticket price inflation and the fact that the majority of “Cloudy’s” theaters played the movie in digital 3-D, which brings a ticket-price surcharge. “Open Season,” considered a decent performer for Sony, bowed to $23.6 million.
While it’s not a flop like its second animated film, 2007’s “Surf’s Up,” “Cloudy” didn’t bring the mojo Sony has been hoping would leap its animation division into the top tier of competitors along with DreamWorks and Pixar.
If it declines slowly at the box office, as family films often do, the $100-million adaptation of the popular children’s book should end up neither a major money-loser nor profit generator for Sony. Audiences gave it an average grade of A-, according to market research firm CinemaScore, indicating strong word of mouth. But it faces major competition in two weeks when Disney re-releases the two “Toy Story” movies in 3-D.
None of the weekend’s other three movies did much business, although with their modest budgets, none were big flops.
“The Informant,” financed by Warner Bros., Participant Media and Groundswell Productions, opened to $10.5 million. The $22-million production directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Matt Damon had a tricky marketing challenge — balancing comedy with dry subject matter.
Universal and Relativity Media’s “Love Happens,” which cost $18 million, grossed a mediocre $8.5 million. The weak start ends a hot streak at the box office for star Jennifer Aniston that has included three consecutive hits: “The Break-Up,” “Marley and Me,” and “He’s Just Not That Into You.”
Fox’s horror comedy “Jennifer’s Body” had the weakest start, selling just $6.8 million worth of tickets. Star Megan Fox apparently was unable to draw as many young men as Fox and its co-financier Dune Entertainment had hoped. The film cost $16 million to produce.
Lionsgate’s “I Can Do Bad All By Myself,” last weekend’s No. 1 movie, declined 57%, typical for a Tyler Perry film. Its $10.1-million gross landed it at No. 3 for the weekend and brought the movie’s total domestic ticket sales to $37.9 million.
Y’know, over the past few years, we’ve grown very weary of romantic comedies. We’ve also grown very weary of HUGH GRANT and SARAH JESSICA PARKER.So, why do we find this trailer so promising? Perhaps we’re just giddy about the coming of Fall…but, it looks like it might be O.K.
On this day in 1972, UNITED ARTISTS released HAMMER. This classic example of blaxploitation was directed by BRUCE D. CLARK and told a story involving dirty fight promoters ans L.A. private detectives. Heading up the cast were FRED WILLIAMSON, BERNIE HAMILTON and VONETTA McGEE.