Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Greta Gerwig | PG-13 |
REVIEWED BY CHARLOTTE TRIGGS
Reprising Dudley Moore's role from the 1981 original, Brand is Arthur Bach, a spoiled man-child who lives in a pimped-out penthouse complete with a floating bed, a never-ending supply of bourbon and a $950 million inheritance. But that last part comes with a hitch: He must marry uptight social climber Susan (Jennifer Garner
). As the eccentric but endearing alcoholic playboy, Brand wears Arthur's signature top hat perfectly, bringing a surprising thoughtfulness to an otherwise fizzy film (though it takes a brief, serious turn into rehab territory). As in the original, Arthur ponders trading his fortune when he falls in love with a working-class girl (Gerwig, taking on Liza Minnelli's role). If only the women got some of the glory. Mirren, as Arthur's tough but caring perma-nanny Hobson, mostly plays it straight, and Gerwig's Naomi just doesn't measure up to Minnelli's tough and sassy Linda. She's earnest and innocent; that is to say, far less fun.
Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett
, Eric Bana | PG-13 |
In hiding her whole life, 16-year-old Hanna (Ronan) is ill-equipped to live in the world-but she damn well knows how to survive it. Thanks to her rogue CIA agent dad, Erik (Bana), Hanna's a perfect little warrior, and she has a mission: kill the woman who's trying to kill her, Erik's blackhearted former colleague (a tightly controlled Blanchett). The joy in Hanna is that it leaves room for the girl to discover herself, make a spark plug of a friend (Jessica Barden) and be of the world, and Ronan is as engaging in those scenes as she is when battling thugs. But don't get sentimental. In the end, the movie is as cold as Blanchett's iron spy maiden.
Danny McBride, James Franco, Natalie Portman
, Zooey Deschanel | R |
REVIEWED BY LESLEY MESSER
Pineapple Express by way of a Renaissance fair, Your Highness (pun intended) follows slacker Prince Thadeous (McBride) and his brother Fabious (Franco) on a quest to rescue the latter's love (Deschanel). The What-Is-She-Doing-There? Casting Award goes to Portman, who gamely scores laughs as a tough warrior. The movie drags toward the end, and Franco and Portman aren't garnering Oscar nods for this one-but that's not really the point, is it?
Sure, it was a relatively quiet role by Liza Minnelli standards, with no singing or dancing and nary a sequin in sight. But Minnelli (left, with costar Dudley Moore), as the lovably brash Linda, was the heart and soul of the film. If you haven't seen it, you're in for a treat.
WHAT I Love THIS WEEK
MADE IN DAGENHAM
Sally Hawkins is pure pluck as England's sweetest, smartest, funniest labor organizer ever.
IN RABBIT HOLE
The star aches as a grieving mom in this tough but rewarding film, new on DVD.
The superfamily gets the super-spiffy treatment. (Mr. Incredible's spandex never looked so good.)
Preparing to play a teen assassin in Hanna, Saoirse Ronan looked to Uma Thurman's lethal Bride in Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. "I loved how she moved in that yellow suit," says Ronan, 16. "She's a tall woman, so it was quite elegant when she fought." Most of all, adds the Irish actress, "she brought a lot of emotion, which is what I tried to do with Hanna."
McBride is like bacon: He makes everything he's in better. From 2008's Tropic Thunder to his lovable loser in Your Highness, the comedian always brings the funny (along with an awesome head of hair).
Gearing up for the premiere of Soul Surfer, the new movie based on her life story, Bethany Hamilton has just one gripe. "It's kind of distracting," says the 21-year-old Hawaii native, who made headlines in 2003 when a tiger shark bit off her left arm. "I didn't get to surf today, and I normally surf every day."
A fixture on Surfer's Oahu set, Hamilton says she found the filmmaking process "gnarly" and has since become close friends with actress AnnaSophia Robb, who plays her in the movie: "We went snowboarding the other day in Breckenridge!" Despite the odds, Hamilton is now a top-ranked pro surfer-"I just have to position myself in a proper spot on the board"-who travels the globe meeting amputees and shark-attack survivors through her nonprofit group Friends of Bethany. What's next? "I don't really plan it," she says. "You just hope a swell comes and you're ready."
Soul Surfer opens April 8.