Troy Gentile and Wendi McLendon-Covey - Celebrities attend Disney | ABC TCA 2014 Summer Press Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel - Arrivals - Beverly Hills, California, United States - Tuesday 15th July 2014
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.
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Wade (Nate Hartley) and Ryan (Troy Gentile) are nervous about the first day of high school. They should be. No sooner do they arrive, inadvertently wearing the same shirt, than Wade's attempts to protect one diminutive student (David Dorfman, who's grown maybe two inches since playing Naomi Watts' son in The Ring) from the school bullies (Alex Frost and Josh Peck) land them on said bullies' crap list.
Continue reading: Drillbit Taylor Review
Husband-and-wife filmmakers Jared and Jerusha Hess share a bizarre sense of humor, one that's difficult to categorize but apparently pretty popular. They know what amuses them, be it an eccentric sight gag or a particular turn of phrase, and they stand by their decisions whether they fit the context of their chosen story or not. They co-write scripts for Jared to direct and pay specific attention to individual words that might score bigger laughs. Rarely would a character in their movie say "pants," for example, because "slacks" or "trousers" sounds more unique.
Is there an audience for the Hess' brand of comedy? You better believe it. Their initial collaboration, Napoleon Dynamite, was a win-win for Fox Searchlight that catapulted beyond its expected cult status and became a surprise mainstream hit. The duo's anticipated follow-up film, Nacho Libre, maintains the same odd cadence and strange plotting as Dynamite (though there's more of a story, which in a roundabout way is a compliment), but banks its fortunes on the go-for-broke antics of comedian Jack Black.
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Thus was born the lackluster remake of 1976's "TheBad News Bears."
Once an edgy but family-friendly Little League comedy fullof cursing pre-pubescent underdogs and starring Walter Matthau as theirbooze-hound coach, this 2005 version -- starring Thornton, co-written by"Bad Santa" screenwriters, and lazily directed by the usuallycreative Richard Linklater -- has lost both its bite and its heart.
Thornton's uncharacteristically flat take on the characterof coach Walter Buttermaker -- a trailer-park bum and exterminator by tradewho once played half an inning in the pros -- has little of Matthau's cantankeroushound-dog congeniality. His "who cares" attitude toward his baseballteam of delinquents, nerds, over-eaters, immigrants and paraplegics soonbecomes humorously motivational abuse, then "win at all costs"obsessiveness, then "just have fun out there" altruism withoutmuch rationale beyond the screenplay's say-so.
Continue reading: Bad News Bears Review
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