Jennifer Todd

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Alice Through The Looking Glass Review

Excellent

This much more light-hearted sequel reinvigorates the franchise after Disney's quirky but murky 2010 reboot of Lewis Carroll's classic, which sent the heroine into Underland (not Wonderland) for a dark adventure that spiralled into a Lord of the Rings-scale battle. Thankfully this time the odyssey remains personal, centred on lively characters rather than overwrought plotting. And Alice's time-travelling quest is both pointed and engaging.

After captaining her late father's ship on a global journey, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) returns to 1875 London to bad news: her mother (Lindsay Duncan) has made decisions that take her future out of her hands. As she struggles to respond, she is summoned back to Underland to help her friend Hatter (Johnny Depp), who is emotionally devastated by the fact that his entire family has been killed. So Alice decides to help by confronting Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) and stealing a device that will allow her to travel back to help the younger Hatter. But she also becomes entangled in the early life of the White and Red Queens (Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway), and the feud that grew between them as young sisters. Meanwhile, Time is terrified that Alice is unravelling the fabric of reality.

The emotional nature of Alice's mission adds a surprising layer of suspense to the entire film, while director James Bobin (The Muppets) adds a breezy comical tone to Tim Burton's stunningly visual designs. Some of the more wacky flourishes don't quite work (such as the "sea of time" imagery or Time's hand-powered vehicle), but the film more than makes up for these with wonderful character details. This lets the actors relax into their roles while cranking up the surreal touches. Wasikowska is great as the plucky heroine fighting for her right to control her own life, a strong point that's made without preaching.

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Jennifer Todd - The 27th Annual Producers Guild of America Awards at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza - Arrivals at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza - Los Angeles, California - Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 23rd January 2016

Jennifer Todd

Jennifer Todd - 27th Annual Producers Guild Awards at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, Producers Guild Awards - Century City, California, United States - Sunday 24th January 2016

Jennifer Todd
Jennifer Todd
Jennifer Todd
Jennifer Todd

The To Do List Review


Very Good

Even as this comedy strains to be goofy and transgressive, it catches us by surprise simply because it dares to explore first-time sexual experiences through female eyes. And Aubrey Plaza (Safety Not Guaranteed) brings her usual sardonic wit to the lead role, merrily offending the more timid moviegoers while making more adventurous fans wish the film went even further.

Plaza plays Brandy, who graduated at the top of her Boise high school class. But with that goal achieved, she wonders if she neglected to prepare properly for university social life, so she makes a summer to-do list of sex-related tasks leading, hopefully, to losing her virginity to the hunky guitar-strumming lifeguard Rusty (Porter). She works with him at the local swimming pool along with her nice-guy best pal Cameron (Simmons), who's of course secretly in love with her. But as Brandy works through the list with the help of her friends (Shawkat and Steele) and her experienced big sister (Bilson), she starts to worry that her emotions are getting in the way.

Thankfully, writer-director Carey refuses to let this turn into a romantic slush-fest, keeping the encounters jagged and often very funny. The script is packed with hilariously squirm-inducing conversations about sex, many involving Brandy's far too helpful mother (Britton). Although her dad (Gregg) and her loser boss (Hader) understandably don't want to know. Meanwhile, when the local guys (Glover and Mintz-Plasse) find out about Brandy's list, they are sure to tick off a few items themselves, as does a visiting rock star (Samberg).

Continue reading: The To Do List Review

Jennifer Todd and Guest - Los Angeles premiere of 'The To Do List' at Regency Bruin Theatre - Los Angeles, California, United States - Tuesday 23rd July 2013

Jennifer Todd and Guest
Jennifer Todd and Guest

Celeste And Jesse Forever Review


Very Good

With its refusal to follow the usual romantic-comedy formula, this snappy and observant movie is a nice surprise. Not only does it keep us wondering about where it's heading, but it gives the likeable Jones and Samberg much more complex roles than they usually get to play. And the quirky approach combined with some darkly dramatic moments makes it more interesting to watch.

Jones and Samberg play the long-time couple Celeste and Jesse, who have been together since they were in school. Now married for six years, they're starting to wonder if maybe they're just best friends, rather than a couple. So they decide to separate. The main issue seems to be surfer-artist Jesse's lack of ambition but, when he begins to move on with his life, Celeste starts wondering if maybe she's the real problem. Even so, they're still completely involved in each others' lives, which is awkward for their friends Beth and Tucker (Graynor and Christian). Maybe they need some distance.

The film's perspective centres on Celeste's messy journey, which is a bumpy series of conflicting emotions. She works as a lifestyle critic, so her comments on pop culture are hilariously barbed, but as her personal life dissolves she retreats into annoying pot-fuelled wallowing. It's often not easy to watch her, but Jones gives a ruthlessly honest performance that's both funny and disturbing. Her sideplots with her gay boss (Wood), her low-life drug dealer (cowriter McCormack) and a bratty popstar client (Roberts) are nicely played but only tangentially developed.

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Jennifer Todd and Los Angeles Film Festival Thursday 21st June 2012 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival - Celeste And Jesse Forever - After Party

Jennifer Todd and Los Angeles Film Festival
Jennifer Todd, Mary Mccormack and Los Angeles Film Festival
Jennifer Todd and Los Angeles Film Festival
Jennifer Todd and Los Angeles Film Festival

Alice In Wonderland Review


Good
The visual inventiveness in this film is so impressive that it almost makes up for the ill-conceived script, which tries to turn Lewis Carroll's classic tales into a Lord of the Rings-sized post-apocalyptic adventure epic.

It's been 13 years since Alice (Wasikowska) visited Wonderland, although she now believes it was all a dream. When she falls down that rabbit hole again, she doesn't remember anyone, but they remember her, and soon she's involved in a series of portentous events involving the nasty Red Queen (Bonham Carter), her nice sister, the White Queen (Hathaway), and a mythical dragon called Jabberwocky (Lee). She's helped through this by the Hatter (Depp), a smiling cat (Fry), a blue caterpillar (Rickman), two chubby twins (Lucas) and a white rabbit (Sheen), among others.

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Across The Universe Review


Excellent
Julie Taymor's Across the Universe is a musical that tells its story through a couple dozen Beatles songs and in service of this ambition, it is necessary to forgive a certain degree of yearning nostalgia. The wealth of references and in-jokes -- spare lyrics turning up in dialogue, a rooftop concert, unexpected appearances of Joe Cocker -- may seem cornball or literal, and they sometimes are, but the movie's brand of Beatlemania is unabashedly fannish, too, and understandable in its way. There are plenty of musical acts whose music and lyrics brought to life would not enchant me; don't wake me for the inevitable Light My Fire or Brass in Pocket. But if Taymor and her collaborators can't contain their enthusiasm for referring to as many songs, characters, real-life incidents, and other elements involved in the storied history of the Beatles, I can't say I blame them. I may even giggle along in solidarity.

To wit: Jude (Jim Sturgess) washes ashore to seek out his absent father, and meets raffish Princeton student Maxwell (Joe Anderson). The fast friends wind up in New York's counterculture scene, along with Max's sister Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood), and with a gaggle of musicians, artists, and radicals, navigate the kind of historical sixties tumult often seen in textbooks and TV miniseries. Along the way they encounter psychedelic gurus played by celebrity guests, like Dr. Robert (Bono) and Mr. Kite (Eddie Izzard). This may start to sound like excess until you consider the restraint the screenwriters have shown in failing to include any characters named Michelle, Eleanor Rigby, Bungalow Bill, or Rocky Raccoon.

Continue reading: Across The Universe Review

Zoom Review


Weak
Upon its release, Zoom was instantly reviled not only as one of the worst movies of 2006, but one of the worst movies ever made. As I write this it's hovering as the 15th worst film ever per the IMDB's (admittedly unscientific) "bottom 100," one run below Troll 2.

Is Zoom worse than #17 Phat Girlz? Worse than Glitter (#23)? Worse than Alone in the Dark (#38)? Zoom is hardly a masterpiece, but, really now, it isn't that bad.

Continue reading: Zoom Review

Austin Powers In Goldmember Review


OK
Goldmember finds Mike Myers returning to his most successful franchise, but desperately running out of steam and resorting to yet another stab at jokes that hit-and-missed the first two times around.

And guess what: They haven't improved with age.

Continue reading: Austin Powers In Goldmember Review

Prime Review


Good
The title makes no sense - when you hear Prime, you expect a movie about numbers or meat - but the sentiments found in this cute romantic comedy are easily identifiable. Writer/director Ben Younger follows up his stocks-and-bombs thriller Boiler Room with an unpolished but idealistic date fling that sounds like a sitcom setup but has more charm than a television set could contain.

Younger aimed high when casting for his sweet screenplay and attached two marquee names to his personal endeavor. Meryl Streep dons a frumpy wig and horn-rimmed spectacles to create Lisa Metzger, a Manhattan mensch and doting psychotherapist currently treating newly divorced, statuesque blonde bombshell Rafi Gardet (Uma Thurman). Following Lisa's advice to let loose a little, Rafi enters a relationship with David (Bryan Greenberg), a lower East Side painter who happens to be 14 years younger... and Lisa's son.

Continue reading: Prime Review

Idle Hands Review


Bad
It's very frustrating. Teen movies can be good. The original Scream was good (although ruined by a sequel). What are they doing? She's All That? I Still Know? Varsity Blues? I could go on but you'll hit "close" on your browser. The newest teen movie, Idle Hands, is pretty bad.

Devon Sawa stars as Anton, a slacker who sits around his house all day, smoking weed, and watching television. When Anton's parents are killed, a mysterious force takes over Anton's hand. He unwillingly kills his two best friends (Seth Green and Eldon Henson) and doesn't seem that phased by it. I mean, he's worried what more damage he could do, but it doesn't really bother him. His friends refused to go to heaven (too far) and walk around as zombies for the rest of the film, helping Anton control the hand, and save his girlfriend (Jessica Alba, who I wouldn't mind saving).

Continue reading: Idle Hands Review

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me Review


Excellent
James Bond is back - NOT! - as one vaguely remembered star of stage and screen might have said.

Instead of Bond, it's super-groovy spy Austin Powers (Myers) making his triumphant return to the silver screen, the British secret agent frozen in the 60's and thawed in the 90's, where/when he returned to active duty. The Spy Who Shagged Me picks up right where the original left off, with Dr. Evil (also Myers) banished to space in his Big Boy statue/spaceship, and Austin settling down with new wife Vanessa (Elizabeth Hurley, in a cameo re-appearance).

Continue reading: Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me Review

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There's already an Oscars buzz surrounding this movie.

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Jennifer Todd Movies

Alice Through the Looking Glass Movie Review

Alice Through the Looking Glass Movie Review

This much more light-hearted sequel reinvigorates the franchise after Disney's quirky but murky 2010 reboot...

The To Do List Movie Review

The To Do List Movie Review

Even as this comedy strains to be goofy and transgressive, it catches us by surprise...

Celeste and Jesse Forever Movie Review

Celeste and Jesse Forever Movie Review

With its refusal to follow the usual romantic-comedy formula, this snappy and observant movie is...

Alice In Wonderland Movie Review

Alice In Wonderland Movie Review

The visual inventiveness in this film is so impressive that it almost makes up for...

Across The Universe Movie Review

Across The Universe Movie Review

Julie Taymor's Across the Universe is a musical that tells its story through a couple...

Zoom Movie Review

Zoom Movie Review

Upon its release, Zoom was instantly reviled not only as one of the worst movies...

Austin Powers In Goldmember Movie Review

Austin Powers In Goldmember Movie Review

Goldmember finds Mike Myers returning to his most successful franchise, but desperately running out of...

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Idle Hands Movie Review

Idle Hands Movie Review

It's very frustrating. Teen movies can be good. The original Scream was good...

Boiler Room Movie Review

Boiler Room Movie Review

America is the land of opportunity, and now more than ever, the opportunity that most...

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me Movie Review

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me Movie Review

James Bond is back - NOT! - as one vaguely remembered star of stage and...

Must Love Dogs Movie Review

Must Love Dogs Movie Review

Hollywood overexposes young starlets, from Lindsay Lohan to Scarlett Johansson, and puts distinguished veterans on...

Memento Movie Review

Memento Movie Review

Amnesia and a murder mystery? Isn't this usually the kind of thing that hackneyed...

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