Lauren Shuler Donner

Lauren Shuler Donner

Lauren Shuler Donner Quick Links

News Pictures Film Footage RSS

X-men: Days Of Future Past Review


Continuing to be the most original and resonant of the Marvel superhero franchises, the X-men return in the capable hands of director Bryan Singer, who again stirs plenty of meaty subtext beneath the thrilling action. He also has one of the best casts imaginable, including Oscar winners, cinema royalty, rising stars and matinee idols.

Best of all, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) returns to the fold after two less-than-thrilling solo adventures. He's at the centre of everything here, as Professor X and Magneto (Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen) ask Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) to send Wolverine's consciousness back 50 years to 1973. His mission is to prevent Dr Trask (Peter Dinklage) from inventing mutant-hunting robots, because they will go out of control and cause a present-day dystopia in which mutants and anyone who sympathises with them are killed. But Wolverine's biggest task will be to get the then-feuding Professor X and Magneto (James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender) to work together to keep renegade mutant Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) from making everything worse.

Thankfully, Simon Kinberg's script doesn't worry too much about the whole time-travel thing, shrugging off dubious logic by keeping the focus on the characters. And there are a lot of people to keep an eye on, which makes the film sometimes feel a bit crowded and leaves some characters barely on-screen at all (blink and you'll miss Anna Paquin's Rogue). The best newbie is Evan Peters' Quicksilver, who gets the film's most entertaining sequence as he races around tweaking an action sequence frame by frame. Other set-pieces are grippingly darker, and some don't quite make sense (why does Magneto feel the need to levitate an entire stadium?).

Continue reading: X-men: Days Of Future Past Review

The Wolverine Review


It's only been four years since 2009's X-men Origins: Wolverine, and it's hard to see how this film does anything to correct that film's messy plot, harsh editing and uninteresting action. This one has a much more interesting Japanese setting and some great characters, but its focus on action over depth leaves it feeling gratuitous and empty. We may be entertained by the whizzy chaos of it all, but we never feel much suspense.

It begins in Alaska, where Logan (Jackman) is still licking his wounds after the death of his lover Jean Grey (Janssen), who appears regularly to him in sexy, soft-focus dreams. Then a young woman (Fukushima) turns up, insisting that he return to Japan to see Yashida (Yamanouchi), whose life Logan saved in the A-bombing of Nagasaki. But in Tokyo, Logan finds that the near-dead Yashida wants to relieve him of his healing immortality with the help of a sinister blonde doctor named Viper (Khodchenkova). Meanwhile, Yashida's son Shingen (Sanada) is miffed that his daughter Mariko (Okamoto) is the heir to his father's fortune. And there are armies of tattooed goons and arrow-shooting ninjas chasing Logan wherever he goes.

The film has a brisk pace, barely pausing to regain its breath before plunging into another massive action set-piece. But none of these sequences stands up to even the slightest scrutiny: laws of logic and physics are abandoned as the hugely muscled Logan battles everything in sight. Even after Viper steals his powers, he still has those retractable adamantium claws, which come in handy when you're fighting tenacious thugs on top of a speeding bullet train.

Continue reading: The Wolverine Review

Video - 'The Wolverine' Producers Lauren Shuler Donner And Hutch Parker Talk Authors And Global Interest At Comic-Con - Part 2

'The Wolverine' producers Lauren Shuler Donner and Hutch Parker talk about the original comic writers and the international appeal of the movie at a press conference at Comic-Con in San Diego.

Continue: Video - 'The Wolverine' Producers Lauren Shuler Donner And Hutch Parker Talk Authors And Global Interest At Comic-Con - Part 2

Video - Patrick Stewart And Halle Berry Speak Up About Their Work And Characters In 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' - Part 2

Patrick Stewart and Halle Berry are among the cast and crew of 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' to chat about their on-set experience and their characters at a presentation at Comic-Con in San Diego. Among the others are Anna Paquin, Shawn Ashmore, Ellen Page, Jennifer Lawrence, screenwriter Simon Kinberg , producer Lauren Shuler Donner and 'The Wolverine' producer Hutch Parker.

Continue: Video - Patrick Stewart And Halle Berry Speak Up About Their Work And Characters In 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' - Part 2

Video - 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' Cast And Crew Are Introduced At Comic-Con Presentation

The cast and crew of upcoming X-Men film 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' congregated for a presentation at Comic-Con in San Diego. Director Bryan Singer, writer Simon Kinberg and producer Lauren Shuler Donner were there alongside a vast ensemble cast including Evan Peters (Quicksilver), Peter Dinklage (Bolivar Trask), Nicholas Hoult (Beast), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), James McAvoy (Charles Xavier) and Hugh Jackman (Wolverine).

Continue: Video - 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' Cast And Crew Are Introduced At Comic-Con Presentation

Video - James Mangold, Lauren Shuler Donner And Hugh Jackman Explain Concept Of 'The Wolverine' In A New Featurette

Director James Mangold, producer Lauren Shuler Donner and title star Hugh Jackman talk about the new 'The Wolverine' movie in a featurette in which they mention how Logan's healing powers are now under threat.

Continue: Video - James Mangold, Lauren Shuler Donner And Hugh Jackman Explain Concept Of 'The Wolverine' In A New Featurette

AFI Life Achievement Award

Lauren Shuler Donner and Richard Donner - 41st AFI Life Achievement Award honoring Mel Brooks at Dolby Theatre - Los Angeles, California, United States - Friday 7th June 2013

Lauren Shuler Donner and Richard Donner
Lauren Shuler Donner and Richard Donner

X-men: First Class Review

Matthew Vaughn kicks some life back into the X-men franchise with this superbly written, directed and acted adventure. In addition to restoring a sense of subtext to the premise (missing since X2), the film is a thrilling, intelligent blockbuster.

It's 1962, and Charles Xavier (McAvoy) is recruited by US Agent MacTaggart (Byrne) to explore how the CIA can benefit from mutant humans. The telepathic Charles grew up with shapeshifting Raven (Lawrence), and they start assembling a team. A key partner is metal-manipulator Erik Lehnsherr (Fassbender), who's set on revenge against energy-absorbing Shaw (Bacon), who killed his mother in a Nazi war camp and has powers of his own. And now Shaw has his own mutant team (Jones, Flemyng and Gonzalez) and is sparking a nuclear war between the USA and the USSR.

Continue reading: X-men: First Class Review

Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant Review

Based on the books by Darren Shan, this film is an introduction to a franchise, with the coloned title and preparatory storyline. It has a lively, engaging plot that keeps us engaged, even if it is yet another vampire romp.

Darren (Massoglia) is an A-student 16-year-old whose best pal Steve (Hutcherson) keeps getting him into trouble. When they hear about the underground Cirque du Freak, they can't resist a visit. There they meet ringmaster Mr Tall (Watanabe), bearded seer Truska (Hayek) a snake boy (Fugit), monkey girl (Carlson) and many more. But soon they're entangled with the show's star, vampire Crepsley (Reilly), and his mortal enemy Mr Tiny (Cerveris). And when Crepsley makes Darren a vampire, Steve gets so jealous that he joins the other side.

Continue reading: Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant Review

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

You have to feel sorry for the X-Men franchise. It was once the standard bearer for comic book movies, a monopoly it managed to hold onto until Christopher Nolan and a certain Dark Knight raised and reset the bar substantially higher. Now, the mutant movie series is little more than a fading memory, a reminder of when Hollywood hoped to find a way to translate favorite graphic novels into massive motion picture successes. Oddly enough, Fox may have discovered the secret to staying relevant in a post-Batman reboot era -- and the answer is Hugh Jackman. Capable of carrying even the most mediocre effort, he singlehandedly makes X-Men Origins: Wolverine an excellent start to the summer 2009 season.

As a young boy, James Howlett (Jackman) was sickly. Doted on by his doctor father, a tragedy sends him out into the world alone -- alone, that is except for his half-brother Victor (Liev Schrieber). After surviving several wars together, the boys meet up with military man William Stryker (Danny Huston) and along with a group of fellow mutants, they search the globe for an elusive metal derived from a meteorite. When Howlett, now renamed Logan, sees the atrocities committed in pursuit of said goal, he walks away. Six years later, Stryker and Victor come calling, wanting their former ally to participate in an experiment. Fusing his frame with an experimental alloy, Logan becomes Wolverine. Unfortunately, he soon after finds himself a pawn in a much larger crusade against his kind, with his murderous sibling front and center.

Continue reading: X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

Hotel For Dogs Review

Recently, film critic Roger Ebert has been bemoaning the fact that even bad movies look good. If he were putting together a list of such flicks, Hotel for Dogs would surely make the top five. It looks great. And it's bad. Really bad.

Hotel for Dogs clearly wants to rank alongside films such as Anna to the Infinite Power, The Goonies, E.T., and Radio Flyer, films that balanced lighthearted playfulness with a darker, grittier reality. Like the recent Spiderwick Chronicles, Hotel for Dogs plays all the same Spielberg/Donner riffs (a cast of doe-eyed youngsters wise beyond their years dressed in corduroy and plaid, moments of adult menace cut with "oh, thank goodness" relief) and even apes the look of these early '80s flicks. Yet for all its nostalgic bravado, the film never feels more than surface, more than flash.

Continue reading: Hotel For Dogs Review

The Secret Life Of Bees Review

Caucasians, apparently, have no soul. Or heart. Or common sense. According to the movies, whenever the majority lacks a moment of personal clarity, they seek solace, advice, and sage-like wisdom from the groups they marginalized for centuries. As a result, some manner of karmic comeuppance is achieved. The latest example of this Bagger Vance-ing of inferred race relations is The Secret Life of Bees. Set in the percolating days of the Civil Rights Movement, this weepy feel-good sampling of you-go-girl saccharine has some real value. But it can't avoid the sugared-sap clichés that have helped to craft this particular motion picture subgenre.

Lily (Dakota Fanning) lives in rural South Carolina with her no-account abusive redneck daddy T. Ray (Paul Bettany) and the family housekeeper Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson). Her mother died when she was very young, and the circumstances have haunted the young girl ever since. When President Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1964 into law, Rosaleen decides to register. In the process, she is assaulted, beaten, and arrested. In a moment of opportunity, she escapes the police, and takes Lily out on the run. They wind up in the care of the Boatwright sisters -- August (Queen Latifah), June (Alicia Keys), and May (Sophie Okonedo). Successful beekeepers, their safe haven gives Lily a chance to face the demons from the past and plot a course for the future.

Continue reading: The Secret Life Of Bees Review

Semi-Pro Review

Will Ferrell hasn't run out of sports to exploit in the name of comedy, but if Semi-Pro is any indication, he has run out of original ideas.

The funnyman's stable of petulant and grossly overconfident buffoons grows with the addition of Jackie Moon, owner, coach, and starting power forward for the Flint Tropics, a fictional ABA basketball squad hoping to survive the 1976 merger with the NBA.

Continue reading: Semi-Pro Review

Lauren Shuler Donner

Lauren Shuler Donner Quick Links

News Pictures Film Footage RSS



                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.