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Uk & Irish release of Eddie Murphy’s A Thousand Words is cancelled.

Eddie Murphy is no stranger to criticism, but it seems he may have hit rock bottom with his latest flick, A Thousand Words. The film, which was due to be released here on April 6, has received such negative reviews that Paramount will no longer be releasing the film in Ireland or the UK.

A Thousand Words is directed by Brian Robbins (who worked with Murphy on Norbit and Meet Dave), and sees Eddie Murphy play a fast-talking literary agent who makes an enemy in New Age guru Dr.Sinja (Cliff Curtis) after telling one lie too many. In response, Dr.Sinja places a curse upon Murphy until he learns to truthfully communicate….So, a rip-off of Liar, Liar, basically.

The film currently has a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with 50 out of 50 critics absolutely slating the so-called “comedy.” Comments include:

– “The concept is unoriginal, the scenarios aren’t funny, and its message is banal” ~ Claudia Puig of USA Toda.
– “Only the most masochistic connoisseurs of the truly awful need check it out.” ~ Brian Tallerico of HollywoodChicago.com
– “With A Thousand Words, Murphy plunges headlong back into the swamp of insipid comedies he’d just crawled his way out of.” ~ Barbara VanDenburgh of the Arizona Republic

And even Variety, who can often be quite sympathetic towards widely panned films, seem to have had their sympathy worn down by the sheer stupidity of the project, with Justin Chang writing “Murphy’s largely wordless, physically adroit performance can’t redeem this tortured exercise in high-concept spiritualist hokum.”

The film was made in 2008, set for a 2009 release but was delayed when Dreamworks Pictures separated from Paramount and Viacom. In 2008, Brian Robbins also directed Murphy in Meet Dave, which was also panned, getting only 19% on Rotten Tomatoes. Maybe it’s time to end the bromance, lads.

Paramount didn’t respond to our inquiries, but we’ll keep you posted on their official line about the fiasco.

See the trailer here: watch?v=m2MO_ID4ltA

How do solve a problem like MARGARET?

MARGARET
Directed by Kenneth Lonergan. Starring Anna Paquin, J.Smith Cameron, Mark Ruffalo, Matt Damon, Jeannie Berlin, Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno. 150 mins
Rating: Three and a half/Five
In cinemas February 24
KEN LONERGAN’S THOUGHT-PROVOKING BUT MESSY DRAMA PROVES AS PROBLEMTAIC AS ITS PRODUCTION

How do you solve a problem like Margaret? With Martin Scorsese’s editing skills and a million dollar hand-out from Matthew Broderick, apparently. Writer and director Kenneth Lonergan’s troubled production began in 2005, but an inability to edit the film down from Longeran’s desired four hour run-time, two lawsuits and seven years later, and this laboured drama still feels like a work-in-progress – a complex and occasionally brilliant screenplay in dire need of some cohesion.

Ostensibly, Margaret tells the tale of Lisa (Anna Paquin), a bratty New York high-schooler who inadvertently plays a significant role in a fatal bus crash and becomes obsessed with setting it right. But taking its title from Gerard Manley Hopkins ode to a young woman’s fall from innocence ‘Spring and Fall’, and constantly referring to opera, Margaret becomes a weighty, intellectual and abstracting exploration of a teenager’s narcissism in post 9/11 New York.

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RED DOG: We’re off to see the mongrel, the wonderful mongrel of Oz

RED DOG
Directed by Kriv Stenders. Starring Josh Lucas, Rachael Taylor, Noah Taylor, LukeFord, John Batcelor. 92 mins
Rating: Three/Five
In cinemas February 24
LEGENDARY MUTT TALE IS A CHRAMINGLY AUSSIE, BUT VERY SLIGHT AFFAIR

So, the polls are in, and it seems I’m a horrible person– apparently my soul turns itself when things, people or animals are pretty. Because while Red Dog is a sweet film, the true story of a mutt’s undying loyalty to and love for his master that caused everyone around me to unabashedly weep in a way that only a heart-wrenching dog story can, I didn’t join them. Because frankly, the bloody dog just isn’t cute.

But don’t say that to an Australian. The stuff of Aussie legend, Red Dog was a cheeky, laconic canine that was known for roaming Australia in the 1970s, finally settling in the mining town of Dampier. Though he forges a bond with the local bus driver (Josh Lucas) and chooses him for a Master, Red Dog remains a generous, loving member of the community who enriches everyone’s life.

As the film begins, Red Dog is critically ill (you know that’s not going to well), and locals begin to share stories with newcomer Luke Ford. But tone rarely feels heavy handed, and as Red Dog’s cheeky antics give a suicidal widow a new joie de vivre and plays matchmaker to a lonely Italian, the film traverses emotional states light-footedly. Only occasionally descending into predictable melancholia, the film is interjected with plenty of gruff, old-fashioned, Australian humour and features charming performances such as John Batchelor as a loveable, bucolic miner.

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PROJECT X: A great film? Hell no. A great party? Hell yes.

PROJECT X
Directed by Nima Nourizadeh. Starring Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, Jonathan Daniel Brown, Martin Klebba, Miles Teller. 88 mins
Rating: Four/Five
In cinemas March 2
BARELY ANY PLOT, CHARACTERIZATION OR CLOTHES – BUT ONE HELL OF A PARTY

The cinematic equivalent of “go hard or go home”, Project X is being marketed like a blend of Superbad or The Hangover. The truth is that Project X is much more. Because this chaotic comedy doesn’t just let you watch the build-up to or the fall-out of a night out – it’s the real deal. It’s the wildest, craziest, most epic party you’ve ever crashed.

More an experience than a film, Nima Nourizadeh’s found-footage style debut is an immediate, outrageous and exhausting invitation to see the world through the eyes of a trio of high-school losers trying to elevate their social status by throwing the mother of all shindigs.

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BLACK GOLD: All that glitters…

BLACK GOLD
Directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. Starring Antonio Banderas, Mark Strong, Tahar Rahim, Frieda Pinto. 130 mins.
Rating: Two and a half
In cinemas February 24
THOUGH BEAUTFULLY SHOT, ARABIAN DRAMA FEELS INAUTHENTIC AND DULL

Black Gold is the Freida Pinto of films: timeless, exceptionally pretty, ethnically ambiguous, and as bland as a limp, chain e-mail forwarding, pro-recycling noodle. Set in the 1930s, this Lawrence of Arabia-lite peplum centres on rival emirs Nesib (Antonio Banderas) and Amar (Mark Strong.) As part of a peace treaty, they agree that neither will touch the “Yellow Belt” of land between their Arabian sheikdoms – a treaty that is broken when oil is discovered there.

There is an interesting clash of ideologies at the heart of Black Gold. Nesib feels that being a poor Arab is like “being a waiter at banquet of the world”, while Amar’s conservative philosophy believes that “anything of value can’t be bought” – a standing brought under scrutiny when Nesib uses his oil money to set up schools and hospitals in his citadel.

However this political tone is undercut by the passionless coming-of-age Romeo and Juliet plot between Amar’s youngest son Auda (A Prophet’s Tahar Rahim) and Nesib’s daughter Leyla (Pinto, yawn.) There’s also a hammy tone courtesy of some Horatio Caine-worthy one-liners from Banderas, but they at least serve to punctuate the endless, inert scenes of Auda crossing deserts with a growing army. Meanwhile, James Horner’s relentless score aims for epic emotion, but is such a sweeping interpretation of “ethnic drama” that it could have been from The Mummy.

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MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE: Mary Kate & Ashley who?

MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE
Directed by T.Sean Durkin. Starring Elizabeth Olsen, John Hawkes, Sarah Paulson, Hugh Dancy. 101 mins.
Rating: Four and a Half/Five
In cinemas now
ELIZABETH OLSEN IS STUNNING IN SLOW-BURNING BUT CHILLING TALE OF A MEMORY, MANIPULATION AND MADNESS

Mary-Kate and who? In T. Sean Durkin’s brilliant and haunting debut, Elizabeth Olsen shows that while her vapid sisters may be the family’s millionaires, the 22 year old’s performance as a woman reunited with her sister demonstrates a wealth of maturity and talent.
Playing Martha, a young woman reunited with her sister after spending two years in a cult, Olsen is stunning, in every sense of the term. As the camera caresses her face with the unconditional love never enjoyed by her character, her dreamy, disassociated stare betrays a woman lost to her memories of another life. The atmosphere too, is dream-like – but with the breath-stealing foreboding of a reverie that’s slowly but surely drifting across the Styx into the realm of nightmares.

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THE WOMAN IN BLACK: The Ten Commandments of Horror

THE WOMAN IN BLACK
Directed by James Watkins. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Ciaran Hinds, Janet McTeer, Sophie Stuckey. 95 mins
Rating: One and a Half/Five
In cinemas February 10
TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR MAKING A DECENT HORROR FILM:

1. I am the Roe, thy Critic, and thou shalt listen to none before me.
2. Thou shalt not make yourself the image and likeness of formulaic clichés worthy only of Chicken Soup for the Hallowe’en Lover’s Soul. For I, the Critic your Enemy, am bored senseless by your misty marshes, creaking rocking-chairs, evil dolls, overwrought scores and constantly bungled jump-scares.
3. Audience: thou shalt not take Harry Potter’s name in vain and tell him he’s a wizard at inappropriate times.
4. Remember the final climax, and keep it holy. Or unholy. Hell, bring in Richard Dawkins and make it scathingly atheist for all I care, but don’t provide an ending so predictable that it can only be described as tedium marinated in indifference and served on nest of uncooked boredom. For keeping my eyes open for this snooze-fest proved to be extremely hard work, so don’t you go calling a dibs-like “Sabbath!’’ in the final moments and resting.
5. Honour your father character by remembering that Daniel Radcliffe’s attempts to look like an actual adult in the final scene of Harry Potter were as convincing as McLovin’s fake I.D., and accept that the shortstack 22 year old makes the most unconvincing Dad ever committed to film.

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THE MUPPETS: A phenomenon. Do doooo dee do do

THE MUPPETS
Directed by James Bobin. Starring Jason Segal, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper and The Muppets (oddly enough.)
Rating: Five/Five
In cinemas February 17
THE MUPPETS ARE BACK IN THIS SUBLIMELY JOYOUS, INSPIRATIONAL SENSATION

There’s no point trying to resist. The Muppets are back and they’re ready to tickle your funny bone, put springs in your step and knit a cosy, multi-coloured jumper to lovingly wrap around your heart. I’m sure someone could scrape the dark recesses of their soulless shell of an existence to find something negative about The Muppets (hi Fox News!), but they’re clearly spectacularly evil individuals that should be ex-communicated from humanity. Because, quite simply, The Muppets is magic. And I’m a believer.

As the film begins, the Muppets haven’t performed together in many years. But when their biggest fan Walter uncovers a plan to sell The Muppet Theatre to evil businessman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper), he, his brother Gary (Jason Segal) and Gary’s girlfriend (Amy Adams) seek to reunite the Muppets, and remind them of just how great they were together.

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LIKE CRAZY: Watch young love struggle to survive. Fall.

LIKE CRAZY
Directed by Drake Doremus. Starring Felicity Jones, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence. 90 mins.
Rating: Four/Five
In cinemas January 27
A BEAUTIFULLY ACTED AND WONDERFULLY ORGANIC PORTRAIT OF THE INTENSITY OF YOUNG LOVE

Last year’s Blue Valentine charted the depressing journey of two people who fall out of love with each other. Though slighter, Like Crazy may be an even sadder tale. For this wonderfully poignant, nuanced tale merely sees never see love worn down by the basic mechanics of a relationship conducted over too many miles, between two people much too young.

Following the budding love affair between English rose Anna (Felicity Jones) and L.A. student Jacob (Anton Yelchin), Like Crazy was reportedly inspired by director Drake Doremus’ real-life experience, and the film indeed evokes a beautiful feeling of cherished memory. Organically scripted and acted; short cuts, montages, intimate close-ups and direct-to-camera acting invite the audience to experience the story as through the characters’ recollections, allowing us to see them through each other’s eyes.

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YOUNG ADULT: And they all grew up & lived unhappily ever after

YOUNG ADULT
Directed by Jason Reitman. Starring Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt, Patrick Wilson, Elizabeth Reaser. 94 mins.
Rating: Four/Five
In cinemas February 3
CHARLIZE THERON PROVES BEAUTIFUL WOMEN CAN BE UGLY PEOPLE IN JASON REITMAN’S DARK, UNCOMFROTABLE CHARACTER STUDY

Hollywood was built by selling us happily-ever-afters that can’t even be bought in real-life. Boy gets girl, prostitutes become princesses and the bully always apologizes. But that’s not Jason Reitman’s style. In this uncomfortable, downbeat and dark feature that’s littered with life lessons never learned, Young Adult visits a theme Reitman explored in both Up in the Air and Juno – characters who’ve committed themselves to one distinct identity, and cling onto it like a life-raft when their self-preserving bubble begins to crack.

Mavis Gary(Charlize Theron) is a depressing but very human combination of beauty, insecurity, arrogance, loneliness, entitlement, a drinking problem – and above all, self-protecting delusion. When her marriage fails, this fame-obsessed ghost writer returns home, expecting her humble “hick” town to throw a welcoming parade, and her highschool boyfriend to throw himself at her. Instead, she finds that everyone has moved on – the town has shopping malls and a KenTacoHut, and her old beau has a wife and new baby.

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