Monday, June 26, 2017
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Spark A Space Tail Spark: A Space Tail (2017) Movie Review

A voice cast including Jessica Biel, Hilary Swank, Patrick Stewart and Susan Sarandon can’t enliven this forgettable animated feature.

There’s scant evidence of any creative spark in Spark: A Space Tail, a thoroughly generic, unremittingly charmless computer-animated adventure featuring a heroic teen monkey that lazily scavenges from the likes of The Lion King and Wall-E without bothering to contribute anything of its own to the hollow synthesis.

That it took 16 executive producers and producers to pull off this Canadian-South Korean collaboration, which was not made available by distributor Open Road for advanced review, is arguably its most notable achievement — despite attracting a voice cast including Jessica Biel, Susan Sarandon, Patrick Stewart and Hilary Swank.

Its bookings in the far reaches of the megaplex will likely go unnoticed, especially considering that the target audience’s Easter baskets are already filled with the still-kicking The Boss Baby and last week’s Smurfs: The Lost Village.

Little does he realize, Spark (voiced by Jace Norman of TV’s Henry Danger) isn’t just another 13-year-old orphaned intergalactic simian who enjoys hanging out with a fleet-footed fox named Vix (Jessica Biel) and a chubby tech-wiz of a warthog called Chunk (Rob deLeeuw) on the trash-ridden remains of Planet Bana. Turns out, 13 years earlier, the power-hungry General Zhong (Alan C. Peterson, riffing shamelessly on Jeremy Irons’ Scar) seized control of Spark’s home and, with the help of a black hole-blasting beast called the Kraken, effectively splintered it into hundreds of shards, killing his ruler dad in the process and absconding with his regal mom (Swank).

Will Spark succeed in preventing Zhong from releasing the Kraken and taking over the entire universe, and, in the process, see his royal lineage rightfully restored?

Cue composer Robert Duncan’s faux “Circle of Life” symphonics.

At least 2014’s The Nut Job, the first feature effort from Toronto-based Toonbox Entertainment (The Nut Job 2 arrives this summer), was able to compensate with some playful visuals for what it lacked in originality.

But the low-budget CG animation on display here, which wouldn’t have passed for state-of-the-art a decade ago, possesses an empty coldness, with limited character expression and truly garish special effects. Not that the mechanical direction and slipshod script, both credited to Aaron Woodley, were necessarily deserving of a more accomplished visual treatment.

That also applies to the efforts of the English-speaking voice cast, including, in more limited roles, Sarandon as Spark’s robot nanny and Stewart as the blustery commander of the royal guard, who have been provided with precious little to work with in terms of engaging characters and dialogue.

While it might not have made for a huge improvement, Spark and company still would have been more at home in the den, where those technical limitations wouldn’t have been glaringly subjected to the demands of the big screen.

Distributor: Open Road Films

Production companies: Redrover Co. Ltd., Toonbox Entertainment, Hoongman, Gulfstream Pictures

Cast: Jace Norman, Jessica Biel, Susan Sarandon, Patrick Stewart, Hilary Swank

Director-screenwriter: Aaron Woodley

Producers: Youngki Lee, Harry Linden, Woo-Kyung Jung, Tracy Grant, Jun Zheng

Executive producers: Daniel Woo, Mike Karz, William Bindley, Zhao Lan Wu, Shawn Zhang, Liang Chen, Hong Kim, Hoe Jin Ha, Jay Ahn, Hyungkon Kim, Sen Jia

Editor: Paul Hunter

Music: Robert Duncan

Rated PG, 90 minutes

spark ver2 Spark (2017) Movie Trailer
Spark (2017) Movie Trailer

Watch the Trailer of this Movie:

Spark, a teenage monkey and his friends, Chunk and Vix, are on a mission to regain Planet Bana – a kingdom overtaken by the evil overlord Zhong.



ff8 The Fate of the Furious, Free Fire, and 16 more movies hitting theaters this April

Though the summer movie season just around the corner, spring still has a few tricks — and blockbusters — up its sleeve in the hopes of dazzling moviegoers around the country. From The Fate of the Furious to Colossal, check out these 18 notable movies coming to theaters this April, below.

The Case for Christ

Release date: April 7
Release type: Wide

This Christian drama stars Mike Vogel as journalist Lee Strobel who, in 1980, launched an investigation into the foundation for his wife’s (Erika Christensen) religious faith. In the process, he frees himself from his atheistic ways.

Going in Style

Release date: April 7
Release type: Wide

Directed by Garden State helmer (and Scrubs star) Zach Braff, Going in Stylefollows a trio of retirees (Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin) who take matters into their own hands after a company restructuring puts their pensions in limbo. Hidden Figures director Theodore Melfi penned the script for this upcoming comedy.

Smurfs: The Lost Village

Release date: April 7
Release type: Wide

Everyone’s favorite blue creatures are back for another big screen go-round in Smurfs: The Lost Village, which sees Smurfette (Demi Lovato) finding herself — and a mysterious village — before an evil force does. Rainn Wilson, Joe Manganiello, Julia Roberts, Mandy Patinkin, Ellie Kemper, and Jack McBrayer lend their voices to this family-friendly animated comedy.

Colossal

Release date: April 7
Release type: Limited

Anne Hathaway takes an against-type turn in the dark comedy Colossal, director Nacho Vigalondo’s sharp (often hilarious) take on the giant monster movie genre — mashed with a gritty personal drama about overcoming addiction and regret, to boot. The Oscar winner gives one of her best performances to date in Vigalondo’s risky hybrid, which offers audiences one of the most comically satisfying payoffs in recent memory. “The movie’s coming from my obvious love towards monster movies, and I was always intrigued by the possibility of setting a monster movie story in a human scale,” Vigalondo told of the project near its TIFF debut last September. “This is a monster movie that collides with a small indie drama, which is an interesting collision.”

Gifted

Release date: April 7
Release type: Limited

Chris Evans acts opposite his former girlfriend Jenny Slate in Marc Webb’s intimate drama about a young math prodigy.

The Ticket

Release date: April 7
Release type: Limited

“There’s one way of telling [this] story, which is, ‘Everything’s great, he’s got his sight back, how wonderful,’ but actually he feels like he gains his sight, but loses a huge part of his identity,” The Ticket star Dan Stevens previously told of the film’s intriguing premise — a married man, blind for years, miraculously regains his sight, which begins to impact his life in ways he could never have imagined. “Things fall apart in a weird way, and he struggles to rectify that.”

Your Name.

Release date: April 7
Release type: Limited

Though Makoto Shinkai’s stunning animated romance Your Name. was submitted for Oscar consideration in the best animated feature category, it didn’t land a nomination — it posted massive worldwide box office numbers instead. The film has made a staggering $214.8 million in Japan to date, becoming one of the country’s biggest pop cultural phenomenons over the last year. “It was of course a very simple boy-meets-girl narrative, and I don’t think that narrative has been told in an anime medium in quite some time,” Shinkai told after the film won the 2016 LAFCA’s top animation prize. “Your Name.’s success told me movies still have the power to connect with society. As a medium, it still has a power that resonates.”

The Fate of the Furious

Release date: April 14
Release type: Wide

F. Gary Gray directs the latest installment in one of today’s hottest blockbuster franchises, with Academy Award winners Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren joining returning actors like Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, and Michelle Rodriguez for another Fast and the Furious adventure. Diesel paid tribute to the series’ former lead, Paul Walker, who died in 2013, at Fate‘s 2017 CinemaCon premiere. “Part of Paul’s legacy lives through every frame that we shoot. You are reminded of this angel that was so integral to this concept of brotherhood for our millennium,” he said. “There’s something beautiful about that. There’s something celebratory about that.”

Spark

Release date: April 14
Release type: Wide

Jace Norman, Jessica Biel, Hilary Swank, Susan Sarandon, and Patrick Stewart lend their voices to Aaron Woodley’s animated space fantasy about a band of space-traveling monkeys who work together to save a planet from an evil mastermind.

The Lost City of Z

Release date: April 14
Release type: Limited

Charlie Hunnam heads to the jungle as real life explorer Percival Fawcett, who embarked on a search for a secret Amazonian city in the 1920s. During production, Hunnam went the method route, telling EW he even went as far as ignoring his girlfriend to get into character.

Born in China

Release date: April 21
Release type: Wide

For its stateside release, John Krasinski narrates Disneynature’s touching documentary about the maturation of a young panda bear, a golden monkey’s relationship with his baby sister, and a snow leopard raising two cubs in China.

Free Fire

Release date: April 21
Release type: Wide

Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson takes aim at the action genre yet again in the thriller Free Fire, which earned strong reviews out of its 2016 premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Director Ben Wheatley said he cycled through 7,000 bullets to film the movie’s numerous shootout scenes.

Phoenix Forgotten

Release date: April 21
Release type: Wide

The Ridley Scott-produced found footage flick aims to add a fresh dose of thrills to the aging subgenre as it follows three Phoenix, Arizona teenagers who vanish while attempting to document their quest to uncover the truth behind a group of reported UFO sightings.

The Promise

Release date: April 21
Release type: Wide

Oscar Isaac fronts The Promise, a historical drama about the love triangle that blossoms between a medical student, an American journalist (Christian Bale), and a sophisticated woman (Charlotte Le Bon) during the last days of the Ottoman Empire.

Unforgettable

Release date: April 21
Release type: Wide

Katherine Heigl channels Ali Larter in Obsessed opposite Rosario Dawson in this campy thriller about a scorned woman who raises hell for her ex-husband’s new wife.

The Circle

Release date: April 28
Release type: Wide

Emma Watson further branches out from the Harry Potter franchise with Tom Hanks in The Circle, playing a curious employee who discovers a sinister secret harbored by her tech company employer. “I would never want to make a movie that would wag its finger at the audience or make them feel bad for the way that they live their lives because man, there’s better ways to spend a Friday night,” writer-director-producer James Ponsoldt. “I hope this movie is fun and that there is enough dark, comic, slightly thriller-y distance between what happens in the movie and your own life that you can just appreciate it on that level and then maybe self-examine if you so choose.”

How to be a Latin Lover

Release date: April 28
Release type: Wide

An unlikely cast of actors (Kristen Bell, Rob Lowe, Salma Hayek) join forces with Mexican actor Eugenio Derbez for a comedic romp about a man who, after a life spent seducing older socialites, must come to terms with his own age as he pursues a new target — a wealthy, widowed billionaire (Raquel Welch) — after his 80-year-old wife cheats on him with a much younger man (Michael Cera).

Sleight

Release date: April 28
Release type: Wide

Jacob Latimore is a young street musician tasked with saving his little sister from a nefarious kidnapping in this Sundance drama.

paris hilton cy waits 280336 Paris Hilton and Cy Waits Spark Engagement RumorsNEW YORK — Is Paris Hilton about to get engaged?

The heiress and beau Cy Waits went shopping for engagement rings Friday at the New York luxury jewelry store Jacob & Co., a source tells People magazine.

"They shopped for engagement rings," said the insider. "They were really cute together. Paris was making comments about the rings and joking that her ring has to be at least 24 carats."

zac efron teresa palmer 280208 Zac Efron and Teresa Palmer Spark Dating RumorsHOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Zac Efron and Teresa Palmer have sparked dating rumors after they hit the town together this week.

Efron, 23, accompanied Palmer, 24, to a Thursday night event at L.A.’s Pink Taco for her upcoming flick Take Me Home Tonight, an eyewitness tells E! News.

The insider said the pair got even more cozy later in the night when they ventured over to Voyeur nightclub in West Hollywood.

ryan reynolds sandra bullock 280356 Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds Spark Dating RumorsHOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds have sparked dating rumors after they rang in 2011 together.

The two, who co-starred in The Proposal, celebrated the holiday with a group of friends at Bullock’s restaurant in Austin, Texas, her rep confirmed to People.