Looking back at the late movie star's 88 year-long and illustrious career.
Mickey Rooney, star of the big screen for 88 years, has passed away aged 93 after a long illness, according to Variety. He died on Sunday in the company of his family in his North Hollywood home, Los Angeles police have reportedly confirmed. Skilled in comedy, drama, singing and dancing, Rooney was regarded as the consummate entertainer and enjoyed a prolific career on stage and screen.
Mickey Rooney, The New York-Born Screen Legend, Has Died Aged 93.
Margaret O'Brien, who had recently been working with the actor on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, said "He was undoubtedly the most talented actor that ever lived. There was nothing he couldn't do. Singing, dancing, performing [...] all with great expertise. Mickey made it look so easy. He seemed fine through the filming and was as great as ever," she said in a statement.
Continue reading: Mickey Rooney Dies Aged 93: Remembering The Child Star And Screen Legend
Award-nominated actors work through Super Bowl weekend, as Night at the Museum 3 takes to the streets of London, which also features in the A Long Way Down trailer. And we get glimpses of Owen's Blood Ties, more Rio action, a sinister Oculus and an eerie Maleficent theme song...
In the lull between big awards shows, media attention turns to Super Bowl halftime performances and adverts, while award-nominated actors and filmmakers travel around the world to squeeze in their next projects before Bafta and Oscar nights. Judi Dench is in India filming The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2 with the reunited cast from the original. Chiewtel Ejiofor is in New Zealand filming something top-secret. Cate Blanchett is taking a well-deserved holiday. Meanwhile, Ben Stiller and Robin Williams have been snapped on the streets of rain-swept London filming scenes for Night at the Museum 3. We braved the British weather to snap the filming in action.
We got our first glimpse of the comedy-drama A Long Way Down this week, with a new trailer that plays up the film's black humour and warm emotion. Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Aaron Paul and Imogen Poots play four people who meet as they're planning to end it all by leaping from a London skyscraper. In the media circus that follows, they make a pact to live for at least one more month. It looks funny and rather sweet, with the terrific cast on great form. It's out in March. Watch 'A Long Way Down' Trailer here.
'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty' - what's the verdict?
Ben Stiller's movieThe Secret Life of Walter Mitty - based on James Thurber's classic story - has severely divided critics ahead of its release on Christmas Day. Back in October, we speculated on the possibility it being too avant-garde for Hollywood based on the strength of the trailer and with a 37% score on Rotten Tomatoes, it seems Stiller's project hasn't quite worked out (at least most people don't think so).
Ben Stiller in 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty'
"It's too airless, too perfect, a dream of connection with humanity that flees contact with actual people," said Tom Shone of The Guardian.
Ben Stiller and Kristin Wiig, who play the lead characters in the new comedy 'The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty', pose together at the New York Film Festival Centerpiece Gala Presentation held at the Film Society Lincoln Centre.
The Zoolander star is rebooting the 90s classic
Ben Stiller will fulfill a producer role as NBC reimagine the 1994 cult comedy, Reality Bites. The film, which starred Stiller as well as providing his directorial debut, was released in 1994 and gained a cult following years after its release, Deadline report.
Reality Bites seemed to capture a generational issue: fresh out of college and struggling to get a job. “Although it never became the definitive document of Generation X, Reality Bites is a touchstone for anyone just out of college and stuck with more ideals than job prospects, not to mention a head full of bad-TV trivia,” explained Rolling Stone at the time.
And in these times of austerity - youngsters out of school are finding employment space – a show based on such a dilemma could be perfectly timed. Co-producing with Uni TV are Stiller’s Red Hour Television and Double Feature Films, the company run by Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher – both worked on the 94 movie.
Continue reading: Reality Clearly Bites For Ben Stiller, He's Kicking Off A Sitcom
The trailer for the enchanting upcoming comedy, 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty', has been released and promises a visually spectacular adventure with Ben Stiller and Kristen Wiig.
In this year's adventure comedy, The Secrey Life of Walter Mitty, Ben Stiller plays the titular Mitty who is a timid photo manager for a magazine. His mind wanders all over the world as he passes time living vicariously through his fantasies and daydreams, until a pretty co-worker (Kristen Wiig) catches his eye who he'd like to ask out but is too shy. However, when a photographic negative goes missing, Mitty makes an unusually spontaneous decision and embarks on a real-life adventure that takes him beyond his wildest imagination.
Ben Stiller Demonstrates His Filmmaking Versaility In ...Walter Mitty.
The film is indirectly based on the 1939 short story of the same name from the My World and Welcome to It collection by author James Thurber. Zoolander actor Ben Stiller both directs and stars in this year's exciting novel adaptation and remake of an existing 1947 film inspired by Thurber's book.
Could Frances Ha join the race for the Oscars?
Noah Baumbach's new move Frances Ha is easily one of the best reviewed movies of the year. A 93% fresh score on review aggregating website Rotten Tomatoes sees in climb inside the year's Top 20, though most critics agree that Greta Gerwig's performance as an apprentice dancer in New York is the year's best.
Shot in black and white, this overtly cool indie-flick tale follows Frances and her best friend Sophie. When the latter moves out of their shared apartment to live with another friend, Frances is forced to figure her life out.
There's shades of Greenberg here, though whereas Ben Stiller was the focus in that movie (despite Gerwig stealing every scene), it is the 28-year-old from New York who maintains her position as one of the world's finest actresses.
Continue reading: Greta Gerwig Gives Performance Of A Lifetime In 'Frances Ha' [Trailer]
In a jam packed and fairly unforgettable week in Hollywood, Reese Witherspoon was arrested, Jennifer Lawrence debuted her new shorter locks, and Justin Bieber continues to do his best to forget about his pet monkey.
Walk The Line: arrested?! That was our first thought upon hearing the news this week. The amiable Louisiana native and all-round darling of Hollywood was cuffed by cops after getting rowdy over her husband Jim Toth's arrest. Oh, and she pulled out the "do you know who I am?" line. Cringe.
New Hair Alert: Jennifer Lawrence sort of stole the show at the GLAAD Media Awards this week, despite the appearance of former President of the United States, Bill Clinton. Debuting a shorter, darker hairstyle, Lawrence sent the social media world into overdrive. What do you think of the change?
The fans get what they want as the Dodgeball sequel is ordered
Fans of the Stiller school of comedy should pop muzzles over their easily impressed faces, as Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story will resurrect itself in the form of a sequel. The name? Well it’s Dodgeball 2 of course.
It’s not really surprising that a sequel has been ordered. What is surprising, though, is that it’s taken this long to come to fruition. The film was a huge hit in the box office, and made more than 114 million US dollars in the States. “It's really hard to get most movies made," Ben Stiller said about the current state of the industry. "Especially independent films, and even just regular, mid-range budgeted dramas. The genre movies and sequels are obviously what becomes the thing." He’s not wrong there. 20th Century Fox can guarantee in increase on the first film’s gross, given everyone who went to see it at the cinema will want to catch the sequel, and taking into account inflation. It’s a sure-fire winner, and one that the film’s stars Stiller and Vince Vaughn were just waiting to cash in on.
You might know him as White Goodman - Stiller
Continue reading: Dodgeball 2 – Yeah You Heard, It’s The Return Of The Underdog
After billionaire Arthur Shaw (Alda) is sent to prison for fraud, the manager of his insanely posh Manhattan apartment building, Josh (Stiller), is furious that his staff's pensions have been lost. So he teams up with his employees (concierge Affleck, chef Sidibe and lift operator Pena), a disgruntled ex-tenant (Broderick) and a local crook (Murphy) to steal back what they're owed. But they have to be careful, because an FBI agent (Leoni) is poking around Arthur's penthouse. And then there's the question of where all of those stolen millions are hidden.
Continue reading: Tower Heist Review
Underneath the famous Muppet Theatre, oil has been discovered. Tex Richman, an oilman, finds out and plans to demolish the theatre so he can start drilling. Walter, Gary and Mary are three friends who also happen to be huge fans of The Muppets. They plan to stage what they call 'The Greatest Muppet Telethon Ever', so they can raise $10 million to stop the destruction of the Muppet Theatre.
Continue: The Muppets Trailer
As their twins (Daisy Tahan and Colin Baiocchi) are about to turn 5, Greg and Pam Focker (Stiller and Polo) are planning a big birthday party involving both of their sets of parents. While Pam's intense dad Jack (De Niro) is pressuring Greg to be a family leader, her mom (Danner) tries to keep the peace.
Meanwhile, Greg's parents (Streisand and Hoffman) are on separate quests of their own. But it's Pam's ex Kevin (Wilson) who really stirs things up. As does a drug rep (Alba) who gets a bit too close to Greg.
Continue reading: Little Fockers Review
An orphan from a destroyed planet, Megamind (voiced by Ferrell) has been pushed into the role of the villain of Metro City. His only superpower is his intellect, with which he creates outrageous gadgets to battle his lifelong nemesis, the publicly adored Metro Man (Pitt). When one plan actually succeeds, Megamind and his sidekick Minion (Cross) take over the city, but are bored without someone to fight. So he decides to create a new superhero. Meanwhile, he starts to fall for Roxanne (Fey), a journalist who hates him.
Continue reading: Megamind Review
Our favourite dysfunctional family returns to the screens once again in Meet The Parents Little Fockers. It's 10 years on since Greg and Jack first met, and after finally marrying his daughter and raising two children with her, Jack seems to finally be accepting Greg for who he is; however it doesn't seem Jack's ever going to be 100% happy with his son-in-law, when he finds out Greg is short on money and working for a drug company Jack becomes dubious about Greg and if he'll ever be a strong enough man to lead his family.
Continue: Meet The Parents Little Fockers Trailer
While her boss Phil Greenberg (Messina) and family are on holiday, Florence (Gerwig) is taking care of their home and dog. And she also ends up taking care of his brother Roger (Stiller) when he comes to stay in the house. Roger is obsessive-compulsive and not very good at relationships. He gets in touch with his old pal (Ifans) and his newly single ex (Leigh), but is unable to avoid falling for Florence along the way. This doesn't go too well at all, mainly because Roger can't think through anything clearly.
Continue reading: Greenberg Review
It's been a few years since Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) worked as a night watchman at the Museum of Natural History in New York. He has since become a highly successful infomercial pitchman. When he learns from the statue of Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams) that most of his favorite exhibits, including the miniatures of cowboy Jedediah Smith (Owen Wilson) and Roman Emperor Octavius (Steve Coogan), are being "decommissioned" and taken to the Federal Archive in DC, he's sad. A late night phone call from his "friends" has him headed to the nation's capital and breaking into the Smithsonian. There, he discovers Kahmunrah (Hank Azaria), evil brother of Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek), who wants a fabled golden tablet so he can take over the world. With the help of Gen. Custer (Bill Hader) and Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams), Larry must stop the resurrected despot and save the day.
Continue reading: Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian Review
After being stranded on the tiny, titular African island, our four heroes -- egomaniacal lion Alex (Ben Stiller), hypochondriac giraffe Melmen (David Schwimmer), smart alecky zebra Marty (Chris Rock), and lovelorn hippo Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) -- are finally headed home. On a junk airplane refurbished by those pesky penguins, self-proclaimed King Julien (Sacha Baron Cohen), along with his right-hand advisor Maurice (Cedric the Entertainer) will take the quartet back to New York. Of course, things don't go as planned, and everyone ends up in the middle of a wildlife preserve in Africa. There, Alex meets up with his dad (Bernie Mac), mom (Sherrie Shepherd), and conniving Uncle Makunga (Alec Baldwin). When the fun-loving feline fails at the tribe's right of passage, however, it's clear these big city critters need to get back to Manhattan, and fast.
Continue reading: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa Review
For three Hollywood heavyweights, the film adaptation of Vietnam vet Four Leaf Tayback's (Nick Nolte) war bestseller is rapidly spiraling out of control. Action hero Tugg Speedman (Stiller) is having a hard time digging up the requisite emotion, while Australian Method actor Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.) actually has some "controversial" plastic surgery to up the authenticity. Pulling up the rear -- literally -- is fat funnyman Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black). After appearing in a collection of crude yet profitable comedies, the borderline junkie wants to go legit. Along with rapper Alpa Chino (Brandon T. Jackson) and bit player Kevin Sandusky (Jay Baruchel), these celebrities fall victim to Tayback and director Damien Cockburn's (Steve Coogan) scheme to add realism to the project. The plan? Take everyone into the Asian jungle and shoot it, guerilla style. The problem? A deadly drug cartel.
Continue reading: Tropic Thunder Review
No, this isn't a comedy like Little Shop of Horrors, but a shocking and disturbing experience that slaughters any comedic notions audiences may have after realizing they're watching a movie about killer flowers. Does the sight of a girl cutting herself open and pulling plants from her wounds make you cringe? Then prepare for one of the most unsettling horror films of the year.
Continue reading: The Ruins Review
Perhaps a reunion with Ben Stiller rekindled a little of that Farrelly fire. because The Heartbreak Kid, a remake of the Charles Grodin-Cybill Shepherd comedy from 1972, is the brothers' most deliberate effort to recapture that Mary magic.
Continue reading: The Heartbreak Kid (2007) Review
Blades begins with the backstory of figure skating prodigy Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder). Plucked from an orphanage and given his last name by creepy entrepreneur Darren MacElroy (William Fichtner), Jimmy is groomed to become a champion. His only competition is the exquisitely named Chazz Michael Michaels (Ferrell) who brings the swagger only a self-proclaimed sex addict can to the sport.
Continue reading: Blades Of Glory Review
That Levy -- the pandering director responsible for this year's atrociously unnecessary Pink Panther installment -- would stoop to such levels doesn't surprise me. No, I'm more upset that it took me so long to begrudgingly accept that what could have been inspired fluff for the whole family is, in fact, is a silly parade of slapstick antics aimed at audience members age eight and under.
Continue reading: Night At The Museum Review
Ben Stiller plays a well-meaning dreamer who is down on his luck and short of cash in the ingenious action-adventure comedy, NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM. A divorced dad, he reluctantly takes a post as a night security guard at New York's Natural History Museum. It seems like a dead-end job, but proves to be life changing and challenging in ways he could never have imagined. When the lights go down and the last visitor leaves the museum, a strange magic takes hold and all the exhibits come to life - from prehistoric animals to gladiators and cowboys. The film also stars Robin Williams and movie legends Dick Van Dyke and Mickey Rooney.
Continue reading: Ben Stiller, Q&A, Night at the Museum
Scoundrels gets off to a sluggish start as it introduces its main character, Roger (Jon Heder), a geeky New York City meter maid (meter butler?) whose life is falling apart. He gets robbed at work. His boss is unsympathetic to his problems and his coworkers ridicule him. He regularly humiliates himself in front of his gorgeous neighbor, Amanda (Jacinda Barrett). And even his volunteer work is a disaster, as his Little Brother asks to be assigned to someone else. Heder channels the inner nerd that carried Napoleon Dynamite to its stratospheric success, but the script doesn't provide enough originality or comic punch to bring his character to life. The opening 15 minutes are flat, dimensionless, and largely laugh-free.
Continue reading: School For Scoundrels Review
This charm may not be entirely expected. After all, it is (1) an adaptation of a 1970s cop show, (2) arriving maybe a decade after the peak of seventies nostalgia, (3) assembled by director-writer Todd Phillips (Road Trip, Old School), whose previous movies were only funny to the extent that the actors could overcome his aimless, slapdash staging (Will Ferrell, no problem; Breckin Meyer, less so).
Continue reading: Starsky & Hutch Review
Shore's movie isn't terribly amusing -- as the single joke wears paper-thin over its 80 mercifully short minutes -- but Shore does pull off a serious coup in recruiting several dozen major celebrities -- Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Vince Vaughn, Pamela Anderson, and more -- to appear in the film as themselves, alongside some lesser-known but equally curious picks -- Heidi Fleiss, Roco Suave, Tommy Chong, and Todd Bridges, to name just a few.
Continue reading: Pauly Shore Is Dead Review
If you've seen the trailer, you know the story: Ted (Ben Stiller) finally gets to go out with Mary (Cameron Diaz) to the prom and is stymied by a freak zipper accident, sending him into years of therapy to wonder what-coulda-been. Thirteen years later, we find that he's not the only one fixated on Mary... as no fewer than five suitors appear to win her heart.
Continue reading: There's Something About Mary Review
Perhaps best known as the chief influence behind the TV show ALF, Midnightis a simplistic retelling of Stahl's tell-all autobiography. Ben Stiller, the only remotely passable part of this film, plays Stahl with gusto, but twenty minutes of Stiller going berserk as a strung-out junkie are more than enough.
Continue reading: Permanent Midnight Review
The answer is irrelevant and really doesn't matter at all. It's just something that struck me during one of the many lulls in the surprisingly uneven and marginally entertaining Meet the Fockers. Trust me: You'll have plenty of time to ponder this and other cinematic riddles when you're watching Fockers.
Continue reading: Meet The Fockers Review
The reality of Reality Bites is that it's simply too lightweight a romantic comedy to succeed at being emblematic; and, as far as I can see, it never was really meant to carry such heft. This directorial debut of then-green Ben Stiller portrays twenty-somethings floundering in dead-end jobs, nursing big dreams, or simply trying to find themselves as they enter the real world. In the least, it's a slice of life; and at its best, it's an often funny and very endearing little movie.
Continue reading: Reality Bites Review
Of course, there are worst ways to spend your Memorial Day weekend than to share in the adventures of four wild animals at the Central Park Zoo. The zoo's star, Alex (voiced by Ben Stiller), is a headlining lion who loves being the limelight. His best friend, Marty (Chris Rock), a zebra, yearns to go beyond the zoo's walls and return to the wild. At the duo's side is boisterous, level-headed hippo, Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) and hypochondriac giraffe Melman (David Schwimmer).
Continue reading: Madagascar Review
Mystery Men is one of the funniest films I've seen all year. It combines the hilarious randomness of films like Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, with a satirical twist that today's audiences are sure to appreciate. Now don't get me wrong, Mystery Men is no masterpiece, but it made me laugh (a lot) and that's what the film is about. Mystery Men scores high in all areas. It has an entirely kooky and original plot fueled by crack up dialogue, mesmerizing scenery, (which is reminiscent of the Batman movies) and an awesome cast.
Continue reading: Mystery Men Review
Keeping the Faith may not be quite that bad, but it's nothing to, ahem, preach about. Setting the film up with all the trappings of your classic, neurotic, New York relationship comedy, Faith wants to be a wry When Harry Met Sally... tale of opposites attracting and love conquering all. Oh, the opposites aren't the rabbi Jake (Ben Stiller) and the priest Brian (Ed Norton) -- that might actually be a movie worth watching. The kink in this picture is Jenna Elfman's Anna, the old childhood friend of Jake and Brian, who swishes into town and promptly falls in love with our rabbi.
Continue reading: Keeping The Faith Review
The thing is, on paper this movie doesn't seem like a pointless timekiller -- or at least like such a forgettable one. The writer-director is John Hamburg, who previously worked with Stiller as a writer on Zoolander and Meet the Parents, two projects that make particularly good use of the actor's talent for silliness and embarrassment, respectively. And there's a fairly crack supporting cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Alec Baldwin, Hank Azaria, and Debra Messing. The lack of inspiration and the accompanying clichés about the value of "taking risks" and opposites attracting, then, are like a supernatural force, weighing the movie down. Like gravity, but more persistent.
Continue reading: Along Came Polly Review
So, am I getting soft for romances? Maybe so, but the quality of American comedy writing really seems to be on the rise. If Lucy Fell was written, directed, and stars one of our most promising up-and-comers, Eric Schaeffer, whose docu-comedic first (independent) film, My Life's in Turnaround, was a sleeper hit in 1994.
Continue reading: If Lucy Fell Review
The sophomore effort of writer/director David O. Russell (whose first film, Spanking the Monkey, was a real jaw-dropper by virtue of its title alone) is a comedy/romance that somehow captures the feel of both a home movie and an acid trip together. On the surface, the story of Mel Coplin (Ben Stiller) and his search for his birth parents is a tried-and-true tale. In reality, Flirting With Disaster has more twists than a French braid and as much comedy as, well, as much brash and uncompromising comedy as anything else has given us this year.
Continue reading: Flirting With Disaster Review
I feel for you. I thought the same thing. But it's only a few short minutes into Duplex when you realize just how wrong you were. Two things clue you in to the lackluster experience to come. First is an animated pre-credits sequence that shows a cartoon Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore haplessly looking for a home. One knee-slapper vignette even puts them in a shack in the Sahara desert! Man, that's funny!
Continue reading: Duplex Review
It all reminds me, with flashback-like intensity, of meeting my own father-in-law-to-be, a guy so stern he makes De Niro look like Jim Carrey. Picture Ben Stiller as Focker (or me) and De Niro as himself, and, like magic, you've got yourself one hell of a comedy that will see few equals this year or any other. (Note to Dr. Carder: This is just a joke that I know you'll laugh about because we have such a great relationship! See you this Christmas!!!)
Continue reading: Meet The Parents Review
From the word go, Dodgeball has a few fundamental weaknesses that would make the movie itself -- not just its storyline -- a true underdog story. First off, it's a Ben Stiller vehicle. And like most Stiller vehicles, it more closely resembles a tricycle than a car. Second, and perhaps most importantly, it's written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, the creative genius behind the 2002 comedy Terry Tate: Office Linebacker.
Continue reading: Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story Review
Neil LaBute does exactly that with this highly anticipated follow-up to In the Company of Men, a film so anti-humanity it's practically a sequel.
Continue reading: Your Friends And Neighbors Review
A screwball adventure about four animals who escape fromtheir supposedly cushy captivity of the Central Park Zoo and eventuallyend up lost in the wild, "Madagascar" has good energy, fairlysteady chuckles for kids (fart jokes and spit-takes galore), and a fewout-loud laughs for adults, mostly stemming from hilarious homages to moviesfrom "Chariots of Fire" to "AmericanBeauty" to "Planet of the Apes."
But eliciting more than a passing interest in the creaturecharacters and their escapades is another matter. While the animation iscreatively stylized (the animals have blocky toes, spiraled nostrils andamusing flexibility), their personalities have no panache because theirvoices lack verve.
Ben Stiller provides a little ho-hum egoism as pamperedlion Alex, who becomes panicked about coping with life on a tropical islandwhere the foursome crash-lands after falling overboard from a ship takingthem to a Kenya preserve. ChrisRock voices antsy zebra Marty, whose itch toexplore leads the critters into entertaining episodes in Times Square andGrand Central Station before they're captured and put on that ship in thefirst place. David Schwimmer and Jada Pinkett-Smith are a hypochondriacgiraffe and a sassy hippo who get more than they bargained for by searchingManhattan for the runway zebra.
Continue reading: Madagascar Review
Thick with director Wes Anderson's unique brand of laughing-on-the-inside irony, "The Royal Tenenbaums" is a bittersweet comedy of bourgeoisie dysfunction in a family of failed prodigies.
The Tenenbaum children each excelled so extraordinarily in their youth that life as adults might be disappointing even if being abandoned by their petulant, pejorative father (Gene Hackman at his grumpy greatest as Royal Tenenbaum) hadn't caused them all to crash and burn psychologically.
Pouty, introverted misery junkie Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow) was an acclaimed playwright in 9th grade. But now in her early 30s, she's moving back home because ennui has taken over her mirthless marriage.
Continue reading: The Royal Tenenbaums Review
There is a sub-genre of comedy that Saturday Night Live alumni seem to specialize in which I've decided to dub the "wouldn't it be funny if" movie. The defining characteristics are as follows:
1) Begin with flimsy, 25-words-or-less premise. (Wouldn't it be funny if Will Ferrell wore a bad wig and a bushy mustache to play a phony-baloney male chauvinist news anchor in the 1970s?)
2) Expand on this premise and explore its comic possibilities only to the extent of creating an endless supply of sophomoric sex jokes. (Wouldn't it be funny if Christina Applegate played the country's first female news anchor, who threatens Ferrell's insecure manhood?)
Continue reading: Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy Review
If nothing else, "Mystery Men," a chaff on the "Batman"-style event movie, has impeccable timing. The unbridled superhero genre has never been more ripe for spoofing, and this picture has an superior satirical pedigree, what with its cast that includes those hippest heir apparents of comedy royalty, Ben Stiller and Janeane Garofalo.
Adapted from the Dark Horse comic book of the same name, the movie's protagonists are a sad sack band of part-time, wannabes heroes with monikers like The Shoveler (mild-mannered William H. Macy, donning a golden spade); the silverware-wielding Blue Raja (Hank Azaria, in a bad fortune-teller get-up); the Invisible Boy (Kel Mitchell), whose powers only work when no one is looking; The Spleen (Paul Rubens of "Pee-Wee" fame), who boasts near-lethal flatulence; The Bowler (Garofalo), whose translucent, supernatural ball contains her dead daddy's skull; and Mr. Furious (Stiller), whose alleged power is his violent and very short temper.
These not-so-super friends are called into action when Champion City's real savior -- a corporate sellout called Captain Amazing (a superbly conceited Greg Kinnear), whose rubbery costume is plastered with more ads than NASCAR jumpsuit -- is captured by the wildly nefarious, feral-eyed and disco-lovin' baddie Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush, on an all-you-can-eat scenery diet).
Continue reading: Mystery Men Review
A deftly updated homage to the screwball comedy stylings Howard Hawks, George Cukor and Billy Wilder, "Keeping the Faith" acknowledges right away that its plot, about two men of the cloth falling in love with the same girl, sounds like a lame bar joke.
It opens with the fantastic and versatile Edward Norton ("Fight Club," "American History X") playing a spiritually conflicted -- and at the moment, completely sauced -- Catholic priest, pouring his soul out to a patient bartender. "So there's this priest and this rabbi, and they're best friends, see...," he slurs into his beer.
The rest of the story goes something like this: Ben Stiller co-stars as the padre's rabbi rival for the affections of the magnetic Jenna Elfman, a long-lost friend from their shared Brooklyn childhood who pops back into their lives 20 years later, all grown up, sexy, sweet and irresistible.
Continue reading: Keeping The Faith Review
Owen Wilson has a smarmy-cool, utterly natural screen persona of wicked, crooked smiles, cheeky ad-libs and ironically understated wisecracks. He never strays far from this trademarked character, but no matter who he's playing -- petty criminal ("The Big Bounce"), crooked cowboy ("Shanghai Noon"), severely dysfunctional pop novelist ("The Royal Tenenbaums") -- he seems like a guy it would be fun to hang out with.
Ben Stiller, on the other hand, has fallen into a terrible rut as an insufferable prat. Whether he's a caricature of a romantic failure ("Along Came Polly"), a caricature of a dim-bulb fashion model ("Zoolander") or a caricature of a nervous son-in-law ("Meet the Parents"), he never strays far from the same brand of off-putting, uptight dorkiness masked in mock-cool-guy pouts and tedious moments of deliberately cheesy slow-motion (say, while dancing like a dork, strutting like a dork or running like a dork). He seems like a guy you wouldn't want to spend two minutes with if you could at all help it.
Wilson has been a breath of scene-stealing fresh air in several Stiller vehicles (especially in "Zoolander" and "Meet the Parents"), but their yin-and-yang routine hits a wall in "Starsky and Hutch," a lifelessly stale parody-remake of the none-too-great-in-the-first-place 1970s cop show.
Continue reading: Starsky & Hutch Review
If the thought of seeing Robert DeNiro strapping on a homemade rubber breast to feed a coddled baby sounds side-splittingly hilarious to you, then "Meet the Fockers" may be worth running out to see in theaters.
But if you're more pained by the idea of watching a formerly great actor embarrass himself in an infantile, desperately uncreative sequel that will do anything for a cheap laugh, just imagine 2000's "Meet the Parents" remade with the comedy sensibilities of a 12-year-old. That way you won't have to sit through Ben Stiller's sixth nearly identical performance this year.
Seemingly tired of his own worn-out schtick, Stiller half-heartedly mugs for the camera in anxious, eyebrow-stitching baby faces as he nervously introduces his retired-hippie parents, Bernie and Roz Focker (Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand), to DeNiro's Jack Byrnes, the intimidating ex-CIA spook who is soon to be his father-in-law. But other than making Stiller's folks embarrassing polar opposites of stiff, serious straight-man DeNiro (Hoffman is full of hugs, Streisand teaches tantric sex to septuagenarians), "Fockers" just recycles plot points from its predecessor (DeNiro interrogates and spies on Stiller throughout) and culls obvious jokes from the uncomfortable circumstances.
Continue reading: Meet The Fockers Review
"The fashion industry has been behind every major assassination in the last 200 years," says a bearded and scruffy, conspiracy-mad David Duchovny in Ben Stiller's ludicrously amusing "Zoolander" -- and only the world's most vapid male model can break his brainwashing and to put a stop to it all.
No, not Fabio. "Too smart," says the Karl Lagerfeld-like leader of a shadowy international syndicate of couture designers, while picking "a beautiful self-absorbed simpleton who can be molded like Jell-O" to kill the prime minister of Malaysia. I mean, the man plans to end slave wages for sweatshop garment workers in his country. He simply must be stopped!
Enter pouty, super-superficial mannequin man Derek Zoolander (Stiller). Desperate to rescue his career after losing the Male Model of the Year Award (insert oh-so-VH-1 ceremony here) to his up-and-coming rival, the dreaded, sexy surfer stud Hansel (Owen Wilson), Derek is ripe for reprogramming. Hired by the industry's designer de jour -- played by Will Ferrell in a poodle wig, charcoal eyeliner and a leather corset -- Derek is brainwashed to snap at a runway show for a new line of homeless bum-inspired ready-to-wear, called Derelicte (that's derelict with an "e" on the end). Ferrell has invited the Third World leader to sit in the front row.
Continue reading: Zoolander Review
Imagine asking Robert De Niro for his daughter's hand in marriage. (Shudder!) Now imagine he's an ex-CIA agent who keeps a lie detector in his basement. (Eek!) Now imagine you're Ben Stiller.
Now you see where "Meet the Parents" gets all its best laughs.
A middling comedy-of-the-uncomfortable escapade in which casting is the key, "Parents" stars Stiller as Greg Focker, a very nervous boyfriend spending a nightmare weekend at the childhood home of the girl he loves (Teri Polo).
Continue reading: Meet The Parents Review
Date of birth
30th November, 1965
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