Friday, May 6, 2016
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civil war Box Office: Captain America: Civil War Opens to Huge $200.2M Overseas‘Captain America: Civil War’
Courtesy of Marvel Studios
The superhero tentpole — embraced by critics — is likewise expected to pull in massive numbers when opening in the U.S. on May 6, the start of the summer box office.

Doing Avengers-like business, Disney and Marvel Studios’ Captain America: Civil War opened to a massive $200.2 million at the foreign box office, one of the biggest starts of all time and nearly matching the launch of last year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron.

In some individual markets, Civil War came in ahead of Ultron, as it scored the biggest debut of all time for any film in Mexico ($20.6 million), Brazil ($12.3 million) and the Philippines ($7.5 million). All told, Civil War rolled out in about 63 percent of the foreign marketplace this weekend.

Civil War bows this Friday in the U.S., along with China and Russia.

The superhero movie currently boasts a 94 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. (If that holds, it will be the best-reviewed Marvel film to date.)

Civil War is bigger in scope than the previous Captain America films, and it’s already paying off. Chris Evans returns in the title role as Steve Rogers/Captain America, while a wide array of other Marvel superheroes appear in the film, including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and the new Spider-Man (Tom Holland).

The film sees the Avengers fractured into opposing factions when the government wants to intervene and control the superheroes. One faction is led by Captain America, and the other by Iron Man.

Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Frank Grillo, Martin Freeman, William Hurt and Daniel Bruhl also star.

captain america civil war Captain America: Civil War review – superpowered bust ups ‘A blast of a movie’: War Machine and Iron Man in Captain America: Civil War. Photograph: Marvel 2016

Keeping track of who’s who in this superhero multipack poses a challenge, but the screenplay packs a powerful punch

With his propaganda-poster jawline and air of unimpeachable nobility, Captain America (Chris Evans) has always been one of the duller members of the Marvel universe. Which is probably why, although this latest Avengers outing bears his name, the film-makers have press-ganged (almost) every spare ounce of Marvel muscle to back him up. The Hulk-sized gap in the lineup is filled by an engagingly geeky Spider-Man (Tom Holland, a promising taster for the stand-alone Spider-Movie next year). And while memorising who is in which of the colour-coded, armour-plated exoskeletons (and who is punching who in the head) can be challenging, the sheer force of so much superpowered personality on screen makes for a blast of a movie.

Following an explosive but raggedly edited opening sequence in Nigeria, the Avengers are forced to confront the human cost of their ambitious action set pieces. Guilt over collateral damage is what prompts some of them – Tony Stark, Natasha Romanoff – to sign an accord ceding responsibility for their actions to the UN. But Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America, demurs. The freedom to deploy a spot of unilateral ass-kicking where needed is what makes the Captain, and by extension America, great. The scene is set for an internecine Avengers smackdown; the plot – hooked on an undercooked vengeful grudge – is of secondary importance to the opportunity to watch them knock titanium alloy spots off each other. Fortunately, the zinging screenplay, by Marvel regulars Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, hits home almost as frequently as the punches.

Carla Howe 1 Playboy bunny Carla Howe dares to go braless in a khaki crop top whilst flashing her bodacious behind in a scanty sheer skirt

Turning them green with envy: Carla Howe ensured her physique would be on full display in a daring khaki co-ord that she donned for a night out at Drama nightclub in London on Saturday

She’s never been shy of flaunting her famous figure.

And Carla Howe ensured her physique would be on full display in a daring khaki co-ord that she donned for a night out at Drama nightclub in London on Saturday.

Opting to go braless in the scanty ensemble, the Playboy bunny had all eyes on her as she stepped out while struggling to contain her surgically enhanced assets.

Clinging to her ample chest, the polo neck crop top also offered a look at her defined abs, which peeked out above her midi skirt.

Hugging her pert posterior, the sheer fabric moulded to her every curve stopping just above the knee to flash a hint of her toned legs.
Protecting her modesty beneath the diaphanous fabric, she donned a pair of oversized knickers that barely sheathed her bodacious behind.

Carla Howe 2 Playboy bunny Carla Howe dares to go braless in a khaki crop top whilst flashing her bodacious behind in a scanty sheer skirt

Peek-a-boob: Opting to go braless in the scanty ensemble, the Playboy bunny had all eyes on her as she stepped out while struggling to contain her surgically enhanced assets

Slipping into a pair of patent black court heels, the intricate inking on her foot was on display, whilst she also accessorised with an anklet.

Adding a splash of colour to her ensemble she donned a scarlet Gucci cross body bag that hung from a delicate chain on her shoulder.

Wearing her chestnut coloured locks loose and tousled she showed off her cherry hued highlights, which glimmered under the lights.

Lining her sparkling blue eyes with a rim of kohl, she finished off the look with a slick of nude gloss on her plump pout.

Carla Howe 3 Playboy bunny Carla Howe dares to go braless in a khaki crop top whilst flashing her bodacious behind in a scanty sheer skirt

Tatt’s a good look: Slipping into a pair of patent black court heels, the intricate inking on her foot was on display, whilst she also accessorised with an anklet
Carla – who has a twin sister Melissa – was recently linked to footballer Jamie O’Hara after they were seen enjoying a night out on the town.

The glamour model has been linked to a string of sporting stars in the past, including Patrice Evra, Manchester United’s Luke Shaw, Marouane Chamakh and Jack Wilshere.

She also hit the headlines when she claimed to have punched Ashley Cole – who previously dated her sister.

Carla Howe 4 Playboy bunny Carla Howe dares to go braless in a khaki crop top whilst flashing her bodacious behind in a scanty sheer skirt

Brunette beauty: Wearing her chestnut coloured locks loose and tousled she showed off her cherry hued highlights, which glimmered under the lights

Gabi Grecko 1 Close Encounter! Gabi Grecko shares a series of bizarre extraterrestrial themed snaps while sporting alien nipple covers and brightly coloured contact lenses

Extraterrestrial: Gabi Grecko has taken to social media to show off her jewelled alien nipple covers and bright multi-coloured eyes

She’d hardly be described as an introvert.

And once again Gabi Grecko has shown how out of this world she really is, sharing a series of extraterrestrial-themed snaps and accompanying videos to Instagram.

The 26-year-old estranged wife of Australian businessman Geoffrey Edelsten flaunts her ample assets, only trying to maintain her modesty with a pair of jewelled alien nipple covers.

Gabi leaves little to the imagination as she wears in a fluro green and orange leotard that shows off her athletic physique and even changes her eye colour opting for piercing blue and green contact lenses.

The usually blonde Gabi sports purple and pink streaked tresses for the shoot which compliments her tanned figure, which keeping her make-up relatively subdued.

Gabi also shared two videos of herself in her colour outfit while she perched herself up on a table as someone with a French accent, presumably girlfriend Angélique ‘Frenchy’ Morgan, narratives an expletive-ridden fairy tale.

‘Once upon a time there was a princess and she was a bada** b****,’ the narrator begins as Gabi plays around with a feather duster in her mouth.

Gabi Grecko 2 Close Encounter! Gabi Grecko shares a series of bizarre extraterrestrial themed snaps while sporting alien nipple covers and brightly coloured contact lenses

Raunchy: The 26-year-old leaves little to the imagination as she wears in a fluro green and orange leotard that shows off her athletic physique

‘She met a prince who tried to break her heart but she didn’t give a f*** and she was very successful.

‘She left her shoes all over the apartment and she had all the closet space she f****** wanted and everyone thought she was f****** cool the end,’ her French storyteller concludes.

This isn’t the first time Gabi has sported the bedazzled nipple covers, last week channeling her inner hippie, in a series of topless photos with only a shaggy white jacket draped over her shoulders.

Gabi Grecko 3 Close Encounter! Gabi Grecko shares a series of bizarre extraterrestrial themed snaps while sporting alien nipple covers and brightly coloured contact lenses

New style: The usually blonde Gabi sports purple and pink streaked tresses for the shoot which compliments her tanned figure, which keeping her make-up relatively subdued Gabi Grecko 4 Close Encounter! Gabi Grecko shares a series of bizarre extraterrestrial themed snaps while sporting alien nipple covers and brightly coloured contact lenses

Spring cleaning? The model also shared two videos of herself in her colour outfit while she perched herself up on a table while a friend narratives an expletive-ridden fairy tale

She completed her unusual look with a headband worn across the front of her orange mane, while slipping her curvaceous frame into a pair of leggings emblazoned with the image of a television remote controller.

Since ending her marriage to her 72-year-old husband Geoffrey Edelsten, Gabi has been dating former porn actress turned reality TV star Angélique.

Following her marriage breakdown Gabi returned to her native United States and has since signed with the management agency as porn stars Jenna Jameson and Farrah Abraham.

Gabi Grecko 5 Close Encounter! Gabi Grecko shares a series of bizarre extraterrestrial themed snaps while sporting alien nipple covers and brightly coloured contact lenses

‘Once upon a time there was a princess and she was a bada** b****,’ the narrator begins Gabi plays around with a feather duster in her mouth Gabi Grecko 6 Close Encounter! Gabi Grecko shares a series of bizarre extraterrestrial themed snaps while sporting alien nipple covers and brightly coloured contact lenses

Strange look: This isn’t the first time Gabi has sported the bedazzled nipple covers, last week channeling her inner hippie, in a series of topless photos with only a shaggy white jacket draped over her shoulders Gabi Grecko 7 Close Encounter! Gabi Grecko shares a series of bizarre extraterrestrial themed snaps while sporting alien nipple covers and brightly coloured contact lenses

New love: Since ending her marriage to her 72-year-old husband Geoffrey Edelsten, Gabi has been dating former porn actress turned reality TV star Angélique Frenchy’ Morgan Gabi Grecko 8 Close Encounter! Gabi Grecko shares a series of bizarre extraterrestrial themed snaps while sporting alien nipple covers and brightly coloured contact lenses

Hippie chic: When first showing off her alien nipple covers, Gabi paired them with a headband worn across the front of her orange mane, and slippped into a pair of leggings emblazoned with remote controls

jungle book Box office report: The Jungle Book threepeats and bests Keanu, Mother’s DayThe Jungle Book

Not even three new wide releases could dethrone the king of the jungle.

The Jungle Book spent its third weekend at the top of the box office, earning an estimated $42.4 million. Even with Keanu, Mother’s Day,and Ratchet & Clank hitting theaters, none of them could touch Disney’s epic tale, which fell a minuscule 31 percent and was the only movie to hit double digits this weekend. Over the three weekends it’s been in theaters, The Jungle Book has showed remarkable staying power, earning $252.1 million domestically and $684.8 million worldwide.

Of the new releases, Keanu fared the best, virtually tying for second place with The Huntsman: Winter’s War. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele’s action cat comedy earned a so-so B CinemaScore and an estimated $9.35 million opening.

The Huntsman earned $9.39 million to Keanu’s $9.35 million, falling 52 percent in its second weekend. The sequel to 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman now has a domestic total of $34 million.

Fourth place went to the Garry Marshall rom-com Mother’s Day, which opened to an estimated $8.3 million and a B+ CinemaScore.Its ensemble cast includes Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, and Jason Sudeikis, and its opening is a far cry from other Marshall ensemble comedies like Valentine’s Day, which opened to $56.3 million in 2010, or New Year’s Eve, which debuted to $13 million in 2011.

As for this weekend’s final new wide release, the animated Ratchet & Clank, it couldn’t even break into the top five, opening in seventh place with $4.8 million. Sylvester Stallone and Paul Giamatti lent their voices to the animated adventure, which only earned a B CinemaScore.

Instead, fifth place went to Barbershop: The Next Cut, which earned $6.1 million in its third weekend. The third installment in theBarbershop series has now earned an estimated $44.7 million domestically.

Really, except for The Jungle Book, it was a pretty quiet weekend at the domestic box office. That should change next weekend whenCaptain America: Civil War kicks off summer blockbuster season, and if its international numbers are any indication, it could be on its way to record-breaking success. Civil War launched overseas this weekend to an estimated $200.2 million, setting all-time opening records in territories like Brazil, Mexico, and the Philippines.

Here are this weekend’s top five at the domestic box office:

1. The Jungle Book — $42.4 million
2. The Huntsman: Winter’s War — $9.4 million
3. Keanu — $9.4 million
4. Mother’s Day — $8.3 million
5. Barbershop: The Next Cut — $6.1 million

man who knew infinity The Man Who Knew Infinity (2016) Movie Review

The Man Who Knew Infinity
Genre: Biopic; Starring: Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons; Release Date Limited: 04/29/2016; Runtime (in minutes): 108; MPAA Rating: PG-13

Some of the greatest academic minds of all time have gone through Trinity College, from Isaac Newton and Francis Bacon to Lord Byron and Alfred, Lord Tennsyon. But one of the college’s lesser-known but possibly most brilliant alums was the self-taught Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, who left his home and family in Madras to further his research in Cambridge. There, he teamed up with the English scholar G.H. Hardy and made unparalleled breakthroughs in mathematical theory, becoming the first Indian to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. Considered to be one of the most romantic and tragic figures in mathematical history, he struggled to find acceptance among his English peers and spent most of his short life battling illness—and he’s finally getting his due with writer-director Matt Brown’s new biopic, The Man Who Knew Infinity.

Unfortunately, the film is nowhere near as innovative as its subject.

Dev Patel stars as Ramanujan, whom we first meet in colonial India in 1913, living in near-poverty and working as a shipping clerk. He spends all of his free time filling notebooks with elaborate formulas and functions, although his lack of formal education keeps his peers from taking him seriously. Desperate to share his ideas, he writes to Hardy (Jeremy Irons), and although the esteemed academic initially takes the letter as a prank, he soon recognizes Ramanujan’s brilliance and invites him to study at Trinity College.

The result is your standard fish-out-of-water tale, as Ramanujan struggles with culture shock (the Trinity dining hall doesn’t serve vegetarian meals), homesickness (he left his mother and young wife back home in Madras), and administrative pushback (despite Hardy’s encouragement, Trinity’s highest-ranking academics refuse to take Ramanujan’s theories seriously, especially because he’s an Indian).

The film’s heart comes from the unlikely friendship between Ramanujan and Hardy, and Patel and Irons both give nuanced, poignant performances as two men from different worlds, one a deeply religious Indian man who can visualize complicated theories in his head, the other a British atheist obsessed with proof and logic. But the story drags when the two aren’t on screen together, and the result is a clichéd tale that doesn’t quite capture what made Ramanujan such a once-in-a-lifetime intellect. Ramanujan was a brilliant and brave man who, without a doubt, deserves the title of genius. He also deserves a biopic that isn’t so by the numbers.

keanu ver2 Keanu (2016) Movie Review

Keanu
Genre: Comedy; Starring: Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele; Release Date: 04/29/2016; Runtime (in minutes): 98; MPAA Rating: R

For five seasons, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele tackled everything from pop culture parodies to commentaries on racial prejudice with their critically-acclaimed TV show Key & Peele. Now, they’re taking their partnership to the big screen with the occasionally sloppy but frequently hilarious Keanu, starring alongside one very tiny but very charismatic kitten.

Longtime K&P writer Alex Rubens penned the film with Peele, who stars as Rell, a heartbroken stoner wallowing in his own misery after being ditched by his girlfriend. His savior appears in the form of a life-changingly adorable kitten, who he dubs “Keanu.” “I think it means ‘cool breeze’ in Hawaiian,” he tells his cousin Clarence (Key). Unfortunately, Rell and Keanu’s happiness is short-lived, as a group of notorious drug dealers known as the Blips (the guys who got kicked out of the Bloods and the Crips) break into Rell’s house and catnap poor Keanu. As a result, the decidedly suburban Rell and Clarence pose as a pair of bloodthirsty thugs to infiltrate the Blips and steal back their fuzzy friend.

ratchet Ratchet & Clank (2016) Movie Review

The sound and the furry.

A spinoff from the successful game franchise of the same name, this animated work features the voices of Paul Giamatti and John Goodman.

Although probably faithful enough to appease hardcore fans of the game franchise it’s based on, animated feature Ratchet & Clank represents a resolutely middling effort when compared to other cartoon films on the market. Released first in France earlier this month, where it’s done mediocre-to-poor business, and now dodging its way through the release-schedule lulls between blockbusters in key territories as it makes its way to the U.S., the pic was never destined to rack up much theatrically. That doesn’t matter, because clearly the main point of the whole exercise is brand dissemination and building a new audience for the games.

In the film’s crushingly predictable origin story, big-eared, orange-furred “cat thingy” Ratchet (James Arnold Taylor, who voiced the character in the games) teams up with oddball robot Clank (David Kaye, also a returning talent). Variously aided and thwarted by an assortment of brightly colored but unappealing-looking secondary characters, the titular duo storm into battle to save various planets from destruction. The supporting cast spans a moral spectrum, with John Goodman-voiced father figure Grimroth at one end dispensing gravelly voiced advice to Ratchet and Armin Shimerman’s super-evil Dr. Nefarious at the other end of the scale.

Somewhere in between there’s Jim Ward’s chisel-chinned blowhard Captain Qwark, easily corrupted by evil dictator Drek (Paul Giamatti). Nefarious’ glaringly unoriginal character design, with his huge swollen head and malnourished body, looks like a genetic splicing of the hero from Megamind and the aliens from Mars Attacks! That said, at least he does smoothly deliver the film’s funniest line, while writing in his diary: “Dear journal: I am having the mood swings again. One minute I am laughing hysterically, and the next I’m laughing maniacally.”

The screenplay, credited to T.J. Fixman (he scripted the original games), Gerry Swallow and director Kevin Munroe (Dylan Dog: Dead of Night), scatters sarcasm and tired self-referential gags like buckshot. There’s just enough PG-friendly edge to make 7- to 9-year-olds feel like they’re watching something vaguely racy, but not enough wit or invention to entice tweens and teens, let alone generate word-of-mouth from gaming-averse adults.

Structurally, barring some basic introductions and backstories, the screenplay stages a tournament of fights leading to the big showdown, while the game-like graphics fetishize the variety of whimsical weapons in the characters’ arsenal. (The “sheepinator” particularly tickled the funny bone of the audience at the preview attended for this review, although even the elementary-school kids recognized the joke is a rip-off of the “-inator” gizmos Doofenshmirtz concocts on Phineas and Ferb.) In fact, although the labored irony, snark and the brainy (yet still catwalk-model-proportioned) female characters (voiced by Bella Thorne and Rosario Dawson) lend Ratchet & Clank a 2016 flavor, in the end it feels very much like a throwback to the mid-1990s, that halcyon age when “synergy” was the big industry buzzword and adaptations of computer games were all the rage. Super Mario Bros., Mortal Kombat, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider — they all rolled off the production line like jewel-cased discs. A product of the digital age where everything is just code that can be cut and pasted, Ratchet & Clank feels even less solid than any of the aforementioned. It’s just the cinema of algorithms, avatars and advertising slogans.

Production companies: A Lionsgate Vertigo Releasing, Rainmaker, Blockade Entertainment, Sony Computer Entertainment, Insomniac Games, Film Financial Services, CNHK Media, CMG production
Cast: James Arnold Taylor, David Kaye, Jim Ward, Armin Shimerman, Paul Giamatti, John Goodman, Bella Thorne, Rosario Dawson, Sylvester Stallone, Vincent Tong, Andrew Cownden
Director: Kevin Munroe
Co-director: Jerrica Cleland
Screenwriter: T.J. Fixman, Kevin Munroe, Gerry Swallow
Producers: Kim Dent Wilder, Brad Foxhoven, David Wohl
Executive producers: Richard Rionda del Castro, Delna Bhesania, Bryant Pike, Slava Vladimirov
Director of photography: Anthony di Ninno
Production designer: James Wood Wilson
Animation director: Ian Blum
Editor: Braden Oberson
Music:  Evan Wise for Jingle Punks Music
Casting: Ned Lott, Lana Carson

Rated PG, 94 minutes

imax beautiful planet poster A Beautiful Planet (2016) Movie Review

What a view.

Taught to use 4K digital cameras, International Space Station astronauts provided much of the footage for the latest Imax science feature.

A Beautiful Planet uses its uncommon the vantage point — the modules of the International Space Station — to posit a concept of Earth as a kind of spacecraft for its inhabitants, self-sustaining but vulnerable. The creative partnership between Imax vet Toni Myers and NASA, with a good portion of the spectacular large-format imagery captured by astronauts, is sheer visual poetry as well as a primer on climate change. Though the transitions from wonder to warning aren’t always smooth, the stunning feature is sure to evoke feelings of awe and stewardship in young would-be scientists and older viewers alike.

Zeroing in on the Milky Way, the film opens by emphasizing Earth’s smallness in a vast universe and the rare combination of conditions that have made it a world of water and life. The elegant narration is written by Myers and delivered with engaging warmth by Jennifer Lawrence. Four astronauts provide voiceover commentary as well, lending touches of dry humor and deeply felt emotion.

Myers (who also serves as editor) includes footage of ISS crew members at work and play, providing insights into not only such day-to-day matters as hygiene and exercise, but also the teamwork required to disengage from a space suit, the dangers and discomforts that each space walk presents, and the logistical complications that arise when a SpaceX craft arrives with fresh supplies.

But the bulk of the ISS material, which was shot over a 15-month period, looks out from the station, not at its inner workings. Cinematographer James Neihouse and Myers, who previously collaborated on Hubble 3D, trained three crews to use 4K cameras, and Planet marks the first space-themed Imax production to rely solely on such digital equipment rather than more cumbersome film cameras.

The vistas are sometimes framed by the solar panels of the station, sometimes by the bay windows of the Cupola, a viewing-platform module. But they always offer a dazzling perspective on the interconnectedness of the planet’s geography, weather and human activities. As to the latter category, it’s not all environmental degradation — some of the most breathtaking moments in the film are its nighttime views of cities, as precise and extravagant as metallic paint on black velvet.

Halfway through, the film pivots to directly address the issue of threatened landscapes — deforestation in Madagascar and Brazil, drought in California, collapsing glaciers — and the effects of fossil fuel use. Though the narration is always eloquent, it can feel mechanical as it segues back and forth between odes to pristine beauty and calls for renewable energy, however urgently interconnected the two are.

The imagery never falters, though, in its seamless combination of views from space, material shot close to Earth’s surface, and computer visualizations and animation. Whether rushing across coastal waters, looking down upon the bright burst of thunderstorms or marveling at the eye of a typhoon, the feature builds an inspired, lyrical portrait of our planetary home.

It also makes time to consider the possibility of “another Earth” and, in an exceptionally lovely aside, to join flight engineer Kjell Lindgren as he plays “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes, looking out from the Cupola, suspended in the ether.

Distributor: Imax
Production company: Imax Entertainment in cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Narrator: Jennifer Lawrence
With: Samantha Cristoforetti, Kjell Lindgren, Terry Virts, Barry E. Wilmore
Director-screenwriter-producer: Toni Myers
Co-producer: Judy Carroll
Executive producer: Graeme Ferguson
Director of photography: James L. Niehouse
Editor: Toni Myers
Composers: Micky Erbe, Maribeth Solomon
Sound designer: Peter Thillaye
Space operations consultant: Marsha Ivins

Rated G, 46 minutes

mothers day 1 Mothers Day (2016) Movie Review

A movie not even a mother could love.

Garry Marshall’s latest holiday-pegged ensemble comedy stars Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson and Jason Sudeikis.

Even if you haven’t seen Garry Marshall’s last two holiday-pegged efforts — Valentine’s Day andNew Year’s Eve, with their generous smattering of stars, sub-sitcom one-liners and shameless heartstring yanking — it won’t take long to figure out what kind of movie Mother’s Day is. The signs are there in the first few minutes: perky pop song over the opening credits, hokey voiceover, people rushing through morning routines (no one is ever on time in these comedies), ill-advised dialogue (when a woman chides her young son for not wearing underwear, he replies, exasperated: “It’s called free balling, Mom!”).

Mother’s Day is bad from the start, and it doesn’t get better.

Part of the problem is structural. Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve came equipped with teeming big-name casts, spread out across various vignettes; hacky and dimwitted as the films were, they never stranded you with anyone for too long (not into Katherine Heigl as a lovelorn caterer? Here’s Ashton Kutcher and Lea Michele stuck in an elevator!). Mother’s Day features far fewer characters and subplots, stretched thin over a punishingly protracted 118 minutes; there’s no buffer between you and the movie’s ineptitude.

Jennifer Aniston plays Sandy, a harried Atlanta divorcee and mother of two whose ex (Timothy Olyphant) suddenly elopes with a young bombshell (Shay Mitchell). Sandy’s BFF Jesse (Kate Hudson) is raising a son with husband Russell (Aasif Mandvi), but hasn’t yet informed her conservative Texan parents Flo and Earl (Margo Martindale and Robert Pine) because, well, Russell is of Indian origin and Flo and Earl are racist rednecks. Jesse’s sister Gabi (Sarah Chalke), meanwhile, has told Mom and Dad she has a fiancé named Steve when in reality she has a wife named Max (Flo and Earl are homophobic, too).

Jason Sudeikis is Bradley, a widower whose wife, a marine, was killed in combat (we see her briefly, played by Jennifer Garner, in an old video). Their kids, Rachel (Jessi Case) and Vicky (Ella Anderson, who seemed to have more fun as Kristen Bell’s daughter in The Boss), try their best to tolerate Bradley’s overzealous soccer coaching and cluelessness about menstruation.

Julia Roberts (still loyal to her Pretty Woman director after all these years) plays Miranda, a home shopping network mogul, who, despite her supposed millions, sports a conspicuously cheap-looking wig. Miranda has a secret that involves Kristin (rising star Britt Robertson, bland), a young mom who’s not sure she wants to marry the father of her baby, an ostensibly talented aspiring British comic named Zack (Jack Whitehall). Given the dire stand-up routine Zack performs in one scene, you can hardly blame Kristin for having cold feet.

As you can guess, these different narrative strands will converge on the titular holiday. Along the way, there’s a meet-cute, a re-meet-cute, a wedding, a medical crisis, a runaway RV, a few reconciliations, several breakthroughs and a climactic selfie. Hector Elizondo shows up, as he always does in Marshall’s films, for an in-joke with Roberts that may make hardcore Pretty Woman fans smile but is an ominous sign for any self-respecting screenplay.

And, boy oh boy, that screenplay. Written by Anya Kochoff Romano, Matt Walker and Tom Hines (the last two of whom are frequent Marshall collaborators), the dialogue in Mother’s Day is so colorless it’s like white noise. (Why it seems so hard for mainstream big-screen comedy writers to pen even minimally amusing things for actors to say is a mystery given the wealth of wit on TV, from HBO’s Veep and Girls to Netflix’s Master of None and Love and beyond. Turn on the tube, folks!)

The biggest laugh in Mother’s Day comes when Sandy’s son mistakenly wears his lion costume backwards in a school play, the tail protruding obscenely from his crotch. That’s as good as it gets, though the movie picks up momentarily when Flo and Earl pay their daughters a surprise visit and find themselves face to face with the Indian and lesbian significant others they didn’t know existed (“Are you the house boy?” Earl asks Russell when he first happens upon him in the kitchen). But the filmmakers’ failure to think their comic situations through, let alone locate any unexpected notes in them, defeats the movie at every turn: Not for a moment do you believe willowy, patrician Jesse and Gabi (Hudson and Chalke) were raised by such brazen yokels, and the bit that has them trying to pass off Gabi’s wife Max (Cameron Esposito) as her “business partner” is so 20 years ago it borders on offensive.

John Debney’s twinkly score and Marshall’s flat, barely-there direction are about what you expect them to be — and frankly, no one goes to see Mother’s Day for the innovative camerawork. The quartet of stars is the main attraction, though they’re not playing people as much as broad variations on their own screen (and off-screen) personas: Aniston is warm, self-deprecating and a little bit sad; Roberts is imperious, but with a heart of gold; Hudson is a bohemian-yuppie princess; Sudeikis is dorky-cool, a smart-ass with a soft center. Predictably, Martindale, that miracle of an actress, has sharper timing and more presence than any of her co-stars.

Over the years, Marshall has proven to be an unapologetic peddler of wish-fulfillment fantasies, which he often packages in slick, schmaltzy stories of women being civilized or corrected (Pretty Woman and The Princess Diaries, most famously). But he’s capable of good things: the tart, fizzy first half of Overboard, for example, and much of Frankie and Johnny, still his most mature, winning movie. Even some of his glaring misfires had spark and integrity (like Georgia Rule, with its stormy, charismatic Lindsay Lohan performance and strange brew of slapstick and serious themes). What’s most dispiriting about Mother’s Day is how little life there is in it, how difficult the film is to connect to despite the inherent relatability of the material. It’s a movie not even a mother could love.

Distributor: Open Road
Production companies: Rice Films, Gulfstream Pictures
Director: Garry Marshall
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts, Jason Sudeikis, Britt Robertson, Timothy Olyphant, Hector Elizondo, Jack Whitehall, Margo Martindale, Shay Mitchell, Aasif Mandvi
Writers: Anya Kochoff Romano, Matt Walker, Tom Hines, Lily Hollander (story)
Producers: Mike Karz, Wayne Rice, Daniel Diamond, Brandt Andersen, Howard Burd, Mark Disalle
Executive producers: Kevin Frakes, Ankur Rungta, Matthew Hooper, Jared D. Underwood, Danny Mandel, Rodger May, Fred Grimm, Bill Heavener, Scott Lipsky, Leon Corcos, Deborah E. Chausse, William Bindley

Director of photography: Charles Minsky
Production designer: Missy Stewart
Composer: John Debney
Editors: Bruce Green, Robert Malina
Casting: Gail Goldberg, Barbara J. McCarthy

Rated PG-13, 118 minutes

mothers day Box Office: The Jungle Book Crushes Mothers Day, Keanu

mothers day Box Office: The Jungle Book Crushes Mothers Day, Keanu‘Mother’s Day’
Courtesy of Open Road
The big headline overseas is ‘Captain America: Civil War,’ which blazed to $200.2 million in its foreign debut, a week before its U.S. launch.

There’s no slowing The Jungle Book.

In its third weekend, the movie continued to exceed expectations, grossing $42.4 million in North America to crush new offerings Mother’s Day and R-rated feline comedy, Keanu. Heading into the frame, most thought Jungle Book would earn around $35 million, but numbers kept being revised upwards Saturday and Sunday.

Jungle Book, which fell a scant 30 percent domestically, has now earned $684.8 million globally. Overseas, it took in $57.1 million from 53 markets for a foreign cume of $432.7 million, including $130 million in China. Domestically, it’s at $252.1 million.

Disney achieved world domination this weekend, between Jungle Book and Captain America: Civil War, which launched early overseas. Civil War grossed a huge $200.2 million, one of the biggest openings of all time and not that far behind Avengers: Age of Ultron.

But it was a ho-hum weekend in North America as three new nationwide offerings all opened below $10 million.

Keanu — marking the first time that Key & Peele stars, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, have appeared together on the big screen — fared the best, grossing an estimated $9.45 million to all but tie with Universal’s The Hunstman Winter’s War for No. 2. The official order will be revealed Monday when final numbers are tallied.

Huntsman remains a major disappointment, however, finishing Sunday with a domestic total of $34 million and foreign cume of $97 million.

Keanu, costing a modest $15 million to make, revolves around two buddies who pretend to be gangsters and join the criminal underworld when a drug dealer kidnaps their kitten. Peter Atencio-helmed Keanu, which debuted as a work-in-progress at the South by Southwest Film Festival in April, a boasts a 77 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Directed by Garry Marshall, Mother’s Day — starring Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, Jason Sudeikis and Kate Hudson —  wilted in is debut with $8.3 million. That compares to $56.3 million for Marshall’s holiday ensemble film, Valentine’s Day, which likewise starred Julia Roberts, and $13 million launch for New Year’s Eve.

Mother’s Day was ravaged by critics, not helping matters for the filmmakers and distributor Open Road Films. The story features intertwining stories, and centers on three generations of women in the week leading up to Mother’s Day. (This year, the real-life holiday isn’t until May 8).

Keanu wasn’t the only feline-themed movie meowing at the multiplex: Animated family film Ratchet & Clank, based on the video game series about a wild cat who befriends a robot, also debuted. The film, from Focus Features/Gramercy, placed No. 7 with $4.8 million.

Ratchet, directed by Jericca Cleland and Kevin Munroe, follows the anthropomorphic character Ratchet and his robot sidekick as they attempt to save the universe. Paul Giamatti, John Goodman, Bella Thorne, Rosario Dawson and Sylvester Stallone lead the voice cast.

Jungle Book no doubt made life tough for others. Plus, none of the three new offerings were particularly wowing audiences; Keanu and Ratchet each received a B CinemaScore, whileMother’s Day earned a B+.

captain ameria civil war Box Office: Captain America: Civil War Opens to Huge $200.2M Overseas‘Captain America: Civil War’
Courtesy of Marvel Studios
The superhero tentpole — embraced by critics — is likewise expected to pull in massive numbers when opening in the U.S. on May 6, the start of the summer box office.

Doing Avengers-like business, Disney and Marvel Studios’ Captain America: Civil War opened to a massive $200.2 million at the foreign box office, one of the biggest biggest starts of all time and nearly matching the launch of Avengers: Age of Ultron.

And in some individual markets, Civil War came in ahead of Ultron, while it scored the biggest debut of all time for any film in Mexico ($20.6 million), Brazil ($12.3 million) and the Philippines ($7.5 million). All told, Civil War rolled out in about 63 percent of the foreign marketplace this weekend.

Civil War lands in the U.S. on May 6, along with China and Russia.

The superhero movie — which opens in the currently boasts a 94 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. (If that holds, it will be the best-reviewed Marvel film to date.)

Civil War is bigger in scope than the previous Captain America films, and it’s already paying off. Chris Evans returns in the title role as Steve Rogers/Captain America, while a wide array of other Marvel superheroes appear in the film, including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and the new Spider-Man (Tom Holland).

The film sees the Avengers fractured into opposing factions when the government wants to intervene and control the superheroes. One faction is led by Captain America and the other by Iron Man.

Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Frank Grillo, Martin Freeman, William Hurt and Daniel Bruhl also star.

 

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