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‘Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs’ Preview

I have a vague memory of “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.”  I was in elementary school when the teacher first read it in class.  I don’t remember the story per se, but more vividly the illustrations.  Of course when you’re in kindergarten or 1st grade, you probably don’t care about the story, but are more captivated by the pictures.  How could you not be amazed by food falling from the sky as if it were rain and then eating it?  I would love the notion of eating already prepared food that fell right at my doorstep.  I couldn’t fathom how much money you would save by not going to the store to buy it.  Grocery stores would go out of business, but I’m sure gyms would thrive if crappy food, like donuts or pizza came raining down.  It certainly would solve the ongoing problem of world hunger. “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” was originally a children’s book in 1978. It was written by the husband and wife team of Ron and Judi Barrett, with Ron providing the illustrations and Judi being the author. The premise of the book is about a town named Chewandswallow (clever name) and their experience in odd weather that provides food three times a day.  Chewandswallow is later threatened when the food creates floods and forces the townspeople to relocate via bread boats. Once they find a new destination, they are regulated to buy food at the grocery store.  Produced by Sony Pictures Animations (Open Season, Surf’s Up), the 3D animated movie of the same name will be a loose adaptation of the book.

Are rained down burgers of the McDonalds variety or homemade?

Are rained down burgers of the McDonalds variety or homemade?

Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader, Adventureland) is a struggling scientist who has yet to invent anything successful.  Growing up, most of his experiments are failures due to the lack of poor design or found to be worthless by other people. Despite little support from his dad, Tim Lockwood (James Caan, Thief), Flint never gives up on inventing. One day while fumbling with his computer, he discovers he can turn water into food. He then creates a machine capable of making rain turn into food. Thinking he is a hero, his machine suddenly goes awry and threatens the world with too much food. Flint must come up with a plan to stop it.

The movie will also co-star Anna Faris, Bruce Campbell, Andy Samberg, Mr. T and Benjamin Bratt. Phil Lord and Chris Miller direct Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and both also adapted the screenplay from the Barrett’s book.

All scientists are mad. Did you every have a sane science teacher?

All scientists are mad. Did you every have a sane science teacher?

Since it’s based off of a children’s book, this should be a big hit for younger audiences, especially since it will be a Real D 3D animated film.  The trailer for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs looks really charming and funny so I have a slight interest in seeing it.  Plus I have yet to see an animated movie in 3D to this point.

Dinner will be served September 18th.

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The Nest’s Film News Daily

I just saw at Target last night that old-school Ninja Turtles were being sold in what looked like their original packages due to the character’s 25th anniversary this year. Nice. However, news came out today via [Film Drunk] that a new live-action Ninja Turtles movies is due for release in 2011. Very nice. I didn’t care for the animated one that came out a couple of years ago and I think live-action is the way to go. Cowabunga!

Our preview writer, Joe, will be very conflicted with this news. Nightmare on Elm Street is getting remade. Sarcastic yea’s all around. Rooney Mara is playing the lead terrified woman and Jackie Earl Haley is playing Freddie Kruger. Jackie Earl was actually announced a bit ago, but the Mara announcement exposed us to it. I hate the idea of this being remade, but I don’t care for the original anyway. However, Haley’s involvement is awesome. [Screen Rant]

Here are some more set photos for you, shockingly not debuting from the new “Empire” issue. The subject is Nic Cage and Jay Baruchel’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. [Film Geek]

[Rama’s Screen] has the news that Anna Faris will star in What’s Your Number? for director Mark Mylod. The film is based on the book “20 Times A Lady” by Karen Bosnak. It kind of sounds like a female version of Ghosts of Girlfriend’s Past. Perhaps what’s most important, though, is the script was written by Gabrielle Allan and Jennifer Crittenden. Crittenden has written for “The Simpsons,” “Seinfeld” and “Arrested Development.” Believe it or not, I knew that off the top of my head. This might actually be something.

We told you about Elizabeth Shue in Piranha 3-D the other week, now Richard Dreyfuss, who’s no stranger to fierce things lurking in the water, has joined the project. [Nuke the Fridge]

Remember the list of projects Guillermo del Toro was scheduled to be involved in that we wrote about a while ago? Well, Robert Rodriguez dropped his list today at [Dread Central]. It contains Machete, Nervewrackers, Sin City 2, The Jetsons and Predators. What’s Predators? Why that would be Rodriguez’ reboot of the Predator franchise. People seem to really like this news, but can the original really be improved upon? What do you think?

Want to see the new Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen trailer? It’s debuting April 29th on 20 screens all over the country in front of a one-day screening of Transformers in IMAX. [Transformers Live] has more details.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has joined the cast of the new Christopher Nolan film, Inception. He’ll be surrounded by Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy and Marion Cotillard. Not that we needed any more reason to see it, but we got it. [Sci Fi Cool]

I promise this is the last remake news I’m posting today. James Marden is poised to play the lead in a remake of 70’s fight-for-survival flick, Straw Dogs. I can tell this is going to be a watered-down version just with this announcement. [In Case You Didn’t Know]

Lastly, do you want to see the first seven minutes of The Brothers Bloom? Hulu has posted it up. We’ve seen the whole film and reviewed it back in October. Click the film’s title to see the review. Here’s the first seven minutes:

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‘Observe and Report’ Review


Perhaps it was the emergence of The 40-Year-Old Virgin that marked a change in cinematic comedy. Hollywood has since moved away from quaint PG-13 humor, forever in search of a “hard R.” Virgin certainly wasn’t the first comedy to earn an R rating and succeed, but the rating seems to be the predominant one in the genre ever since it touched down four summers ago. Hollywood turned its back on the Mike Myers and Jim Carrey slightly distasteful forms of laughs and it has yet to turn back. This change was welcomed by me, as I was never one for feature length comedy to that point and I was given Borat, Knocked Up and Superbad almost immediately afterward. However, things may have reached a ceiling where it’s too much. Such is the case with Observe & Report.

Ronnie Barnhardt is a mall cop (not unlike our friend Paul Blart). Oops, strike that. He’d correct me. He’s “head of mall security.” Most likely, this is due to seniority since he doesn’t appear to have any other ambitions in life, except for maybe scoring with Brandy, the make-up-counter girl. Then, something profound happens to him, or at least he perceives it as happening to him. A flasher emerges, taking the mall parking lot by storm. He runs up to cars as women pull into spots, exposing himself to his victims by the mere opening of his tan trench coat. He lurks behind bushes and pick out his next target. When he takes it out (“It?” “It.” “Out?” “Out.) for Brandy is when Ronnie is forced into action. He figures finding “the pervert” will bring him closer to Brandy and vows to do so.

The mall director has other plans, however. He doesn’t believe Ronnie has what it takes to catch the flasher and bring him to justice. Detective Harrison is brought aboard to help work the case. Ronnie is immediately taken aback. So confident he is in his ability to catch the flasher and use it to finagle a path to Brandy, he takes issue with Detective Harrison horning in on his turf and his job. Ronnie proceeds to make things difficult on Detective Harrison as he attempts to ascertain information which may help in determining the culprit, while Ronnie’s only concerned with his own reputation and ego. Detective Harrison erupts in Ronnie’s face, insinuating he was a “rent-a-cop” and not capable of handling the situation. This ignites a fire in Ronnie and his next round of business is to become a police officer himself.

Without the interference of Detective Harrison, Ronnie escorts Brandy back to her vehicle one night and cons her into going on a date with him. Although she blatantly disses him, or “forgets” as she says, Ronnie is persistent and willing to wait and they go out for drinks at a restaurant. Ronnie is infatuated with her and although she acts like the consummate slut, he declares to “accept” her. The date culminates in copulation, but is never mentioned again. Ronnie then proceeds with his newfound purpose in life, to enforce the law along the likes of Detective Harrison. What will happen if things don’t go according to plan, though? How will the bi-polar Ronnie react to the eclipsing of the one dream he’s ever had?

"Ha. You take Cialis? That's like the old person's Viagra."

"Ha. You take Cialis? That's like the old person's Viagra."

Observe and Report was written and directed by Jody Hill. Hill emerged a few years ago when his debut, The Foot Fist Way was seen and loved by Hollywood comedy giants, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Judd Apatow. The star of that film, Danny McBride has rocketed in fame since its screenings and he and Hill just finished working on “Eastbound and Down” for HBO. The humor in this and his first film are very similar. Both feature somewhat unlikeable protagonists that are full of themselves for ultimately no reason. What about being a mall cop provides Ronnie with the arrogance he carries? Perhaps it’s his home life, handed the pressure of being the only man in the family, having to deal with his permanently drunk mother. Hill injects an anger in his lead character, which never seems to waver, but is always on the verge of boiling over.

Seth Rogen has been permanently fixated with the role of foul-mouthed outsider and he succeeds in bringing his typical talent to the table, but as has been proven in his past couple of roles, he can’t elevate a script and a story into something it’s not. Known as a master of improvisation, either he didn’t bring his “A” game to the set or wasn’t given the reign necessary to utilize him to maximum effect. His persona has steadily declined in laugh ratio in recent projects, making you wonder if he really achieved the heights you thought he did starting out. However, I’m confident Judd Apatow can get the best from him later this year in Funny People. The unsung comic force in the film is Michael Pena, as Ronnie’s partner in crime, Dennis. He flexes his comedic muscle in a way never seen before. He will get noticed and expect to see him distributing more laughs your way, soon.

At only 86 minutes, Observe and Report goes by quickly, but not necessarily efficiently. There’s a subplot involving Dennis, which is good for a montage of laughs, but you can’t help but feel it was added purely to pad the running time. Although bi-polar, Ronnie’s character is uneven. He’s obviously ready to burst, and we see his home life as a reason for it, but it’s not something that even occurs to him. Why is he so upset at life if he appears so content? It’s a contradiction in character. The humor in the film itself comes from a very angry place. A visceral comedy if ever there was one. The film beats you over the head both verbally and physically. It’s loud and in-your-face. This would all be forgiven if the film was funnier, but alas it isn’t. Although the brutality may be absurd, it’s still brutal to endure.

I’m not at all saying comedy needs to be tame. I love “Comedy Central’s Roast of Pamela Anderson” with a passion. I enjoy the insults. I just think that filmmakers are now using cursing as a crutch. Larry David once said on a “Curb Your Enthusiasm” episode, “you throw in a f*ck, you double your laughs,” yet he tries to curtail the amount of cursing on the show. I’m all for it, when it’s funny. However, as some very recent R-rated comedies have shown, there needs to be something more to it than that. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Observe and Report isn’t the first offender, nor its worst, only the latest and it suffers accordingly. Hopefully, we’ll soon get another comedic revolution. We’re due.


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‘Observe and Report’ Preview

It seems like Seth Rogen’s been everywhere recently. He’s become synonymous with the wise-cracking pothead slacker who stars in comedies glorifying being a loser.  I think a lot of people can relate to him because the characters he plays/writes are not only funny, but also real. As a Judd Apatow regular, he first came to the screen as cast member in Apatow’s TV show, “Freaks and Geeks.” He ended up getting a few bit roles in comedies and became a regular writer for HBO’s “Da Ali G Show.” After finding out that latter information, I was an instant fan of the guy, since “Da Ali G Show” is one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever seen. Since Apatow’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin, the guy has been a comedic mainstay with movies like Knocked Up, Superbad and Pineapple Express. I feel he is treading the “I’m-sick-of-this-guy” waters, but it will be awhile before he gets to that point.



Observe and Report seeks to continue Rogen’s hot streak. He plays Ronnie Barnhardt; a mall cop who suffers from bipolar disorder. Being head of mall security, he is bent on taking down a flasher who has made shoppers lives a nightmare. When Barnhardt is unable to take the guy down, police detective Harrison (Ray Liotta) is sent in to finish the job. Ronnie is now determined to arrest the flasher before the police do, which creates a rivalry between the two sides. He also has his sights set on Brandi (Anna Faris), a goofy air-headed make-up counter employee who has no interest in Ronnie. “You’re the only thing in this mall worth protecting,” says Ronnie about Brandi, despite her rejection. Michael Peña also co-stars as Dennis, who is part of Ronnie’s mall security team. Danny McBride (Pineapple Express, Tropic Thunder) also makes an uncredited appearance. The movie is written and direted by Jody Hill and this will only be his second project. His first film was The Foot Fist Way, which starred McBride.

Grab a flashlight by the bulb and stab you with the handle

Grab a flashlight by the bulb and stab you with the handle

After seeing the regular and redband trailers, this movie promises to be really funny. Liotta, who co-starred in my all-time favorite movie, Goodfellas, looks good as Rogen’s rival. It looks like Anna Faris’ shtick could run out very fast in this and weigh the movie down, but we’ll see. I also hope McBride’s role in this is small because despite his near unanimous acclaim, I don’t find him funny at all. He was the worst thing about Pineapple Exprees and Tropic Thunder and I hope he doesn’t ruin this one.

Observe and Report looks like a good comedy and I can already tell it’s tons better than Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Rogen may just have another hit on his hands.

Observe and Report opens on April 10th.

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