The Weinstein Company has repositioned writer-director James Strouse’s Grace is Gone, starring John Cusack, for release on December 7, in an effort to jump on the train late in a battle for a Best Actor nomination. The movie, which premiered at Sundance earlier this year, is a weepy road trip drama about a father of two who learns that his wife has been killed while serving in Iraq, and must then cope with the dilemma of breaking the news to his daughters.
Trailers for Warner Bros.’ holiday comedy Fred Claus are up online, and while the teaser trailer — essentially just a couch-set fraternal conversation between Paul Giamatti’s Santa Claus and Vince Vaughn’s overshadowed brother — gives off a good vibe, the full-fledged version plays like something made much more for the Tim Allen set. Marauding elves are to be expected in any Christmas comedy that travels to the North Pole, I guess, but the broad slapstick stuff came off as just dispiriting, and there’s no particularly well defined two-way friction (that is, the stuff of comedic conflict) between Vaughn’s Fred and other characters. It comes off, here, at least, as a one-man performance piece, and that — despite my affection for Vaughn — could get very old very fast.
The Weinstein Company and Exodus Film Group announced today
that Navy Seals, a story concept developed in-house at Exodus, will be the
first film under the two companies’ recently announced CG-animation co-production agreement.
Under the strategic partnership, unveiled at this year’s Cannes Film Festival,
TWC and Exodus will jointly develop, produce and finance a multi-picture slate
of CG-animated feature films, DVDs and television series. This new initiative
first began a year ago when TWC picked up worldwide distribution rights to Igor, Exodus’ debut animated offering.
Navy Seals, an
adventurous family comedy, tells the story of an elite group of U.S. Navy dolphins who are captured; their only hope for rescue lies with a band of misfit seals. “Our goal has been to develop ideas in-house that are
original and dynamic, and will resonate with audiences of all ages,” said Exodus
CEO John D. Eraklis. “Navy Seals is a hilarious adventure comedy inspired by
the very real heroics that marine mammals have played in the defense of our
Back in the 1980s, American Greetings charmed consumers
everywhere with its Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake lines. Only slightly less
known was its Holly Hobbie line. The sweet and sparkling girl with the “twinkle
in her eye” gets her own showcase here on a new direct-to-DVD title, however, showing pre-teen girls that
good friends can be found in the most surprising places.
A 44-minute special DVD, Holly
Hobbie: Best Friends Forever is the latest title in an altogether charming little
series (other titles include Surprise
Party, Christmas Wishes and Secret Adventures) starring a new Holly
— with an updated, modern day spirit to go alongside her familiar and timeless
charm. Brought to life in richly back-grounded and colorful style by acclaimed
animators from Nickelodeon, and directed by Mario Piluso and Monte Young, Holly
is voiced by “tween” star Alyson Stoner (The Suite Life of Zack and Cody),
and features a theme song from Grammy-winning singer LeAnn Rimes.
The thinly sketched story centers on 10-year-old Holly and
her friends — Amy and Carrie, members of the Hey Girls Club — as they
experience a few milestones of joy and trepidation. Everyone in their idyllic
hometown of Clover is at first afraid of the person known as the “town witch,”
Annabelle (voiced by Happy Days’ Marion
Ross), until Holly finally faces her fears and takes the time to discover that
the witch is actually a wonderful old lady (and an old friend of her
great-grandmother) who’s actually just in need of some help.
Today’s Holly, the original’s great-granddaughter, is
perfectly poised to befriend a whole new generation of girls. In a sign of the
times, she wears boots and a funky signature cap complete with a touch of
gingham — a nod to the iconic bonnet worn by the classic character. The updated
Holly feels a deep sense of connection to her great-grandmother, and mirrors
her winning personality, creativity and warmth. As such, the character and this
title can be enjoyed by multiple generations together. And hey, between the
shenanigans of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan, we’re more in need of positive
young female role models than ever.
Housed in a regular Amray case in turn stored in a sturdy
cardboard slipcover, Holly Hobbie is
presented in 1.33:1 full-screen. The DVD includes a selection of all-new bonus
features, including kid-friendly, jump-straight-to sing-alongs to two tunes from
the movie, including LeAnn Rimes’ performance of “Twinkle in Her Eye.” There’s
also a pop quiz game and a Holly Hobbie dress-up interactive game, too. To purchase the title via Amazon, meanwhile, click here.
B (Movie) B- (Disc)
Resident Evil: Extinction, Screen Gems’ corporate master Sony pulled a page from Eminem’s MTV Video Music Awards playbook from a few years back, decking out 100 models in the same red-slip-and-combat-boots get-up sported early in the movie by the franchise’s main character, Alice, played by Milla Jovovich. This is much better than the alternate plan, which called for 100 Oded Fehrs.
Jovovich was on hand, of course (below center, getting groped), but could hardly squeeze back into such a costume given that she’s expecting her first child, with fiancé and Resident Evil screenwriter Paul W.S. Anderson, in just under a month. The 100 Alices, meanwhile, were just happy that O.J. Simpson was out of town. Actually, probably pretty much everyone was happy that Simpson was out of town.