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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Breaking Dawn

Adam Sandler dominates the Razzie nominations

February 25, 2012 |  6:00 pm

Adam Sandler's "Jack and Jill" earns Razzie nods


In a dubious achievement, Adam Sandler broke all records Saturday evening, earning 11 Razzie nominations for his various work as an actor, a writer and a producer on three 2011 movies: "Jack and Jill," "Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star" and "Just Go With It."

The nominations for the 32nd annual Razzie Awards, honoring the worst accomplishments in film, were announced on the eve of the Academy Awards. The Razzies have traditionally been presented the day before the Oscars, but co-owners John Wilson and Mo Murphy have moved the ceremony this year to April Fool's Day to give the Razzie voters “additional time to see the dreck" before casting their ballots.

Sandler's gender-bender comedy "Jack and Jill" — in which he portrays both title roles — earned 12 nominations, including worst film, actor and actress for Sandler, supporting actress for Katie Holmes and supporting actor for Al Pacino (yes, you read that correctly).

Rounding out the worst film nominees are "Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star," which Sandler co-wrote; "New Year's Eve"; "Transformers: Dark of the Moon";  and "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1."

Sandler earned a second worst actor nomination for "Just Go With It" and will compete against Russell Brand for "Arthur," Nicolas Cage for three films — "Drive Angry 3-D," "Season of the Witch" and "Trespass" — Taylor Lautner for "Abduction" and "Breaking Dawn," and Nick Swardson for "Bucky Larson."

It was a good year (or perhaps a very bad one) for men in drag at the movies. In addition to Sandler, a few other actors earned nominations in the actress categories. David Spade is up for worst supporting actress as Monica in "Jack and Jill," while Martin Lawrence is nominated for worst actress in "Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son," and Brandon T. Jackson from that film is in contention for supporting actress. 

Joining Sandler and Lawrence in the worst actress category are Sarah Palin in "Sarah Palin: The Undefeated," Sarah Jessica Parker for both "I Don't Know How She Does It" and "New Year's Eve," and Kristen Stewart for "Breaking Dawn."

Rounding out the supporting actress category after Spade, Jackson and Holmes are Nicole Kidman for "Just Go With It" and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley  for "Transformers: Dark of the Moon."

Competing with Pacino for worst supporting actor are Patrick Dempsey in "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," James Franco for "Your Highness," Ken Jeong for four movies — "Big Mommas," "The Hangover: Part II," "Transformers" and "Zookeeper" — and Nick Swardson for "Jack and Jill" and "Just Go With It."

Vying for worst screen ensemble are the casts of "Bucky Larson," "Jack and Jill," "New Year's Eve," "Transformers" and "Breaking Dawn."

Worst director nominees are Michael Bay for "Transformers," Tom Brady for "Bucky Larson," Bill Condon for "Breaking Dawn," Dennis Dugan for "Jack and Jill" and "Just Go With It," and Garry Marshall for "New Year's Eve."

Nominated for worst prequel, remake, rip-off or sequel are "Arthur," "Bucky Larson," "The Hangover: Part II," "Jack and Jill" and "Breaking Dawn."

Vying for worst screen couple are Cage and "anyone sharing the screen with him in any of his three 2011 films," Shia LaBeouf and Huntington-Whiteley in "Transformers," Sandler and either Jennifer Aniston or Brooklyn Decker in "Just Go With It," Sandler and either Holmes, Pacino or himself in "Jack and Jill" and Stewart and either Lautner or Robert Pattinson in "Breaking Dawn."

Worst screenplay nominations went to Sandler, Allen Covert and Swardson for "Bucky Larson"; Steve Koren and Sandler with story by Ben Zook for "Jack and Jill"; Katherine Fugate for "New Year's Eve"; Ehren Kruger for "Transformers"; and Melissa Rosenberg from the novel by Stephenie Meyer for "Breaking Dawn."


Movie Review: Adam Sandler's 'Jack and Jill' is a drag 

Movie Review: 'Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star

— Susan King

Photo: Adam Sandler's "Jack and Jill" earned 12 Razzie nominations. Credit: Tracy Bennett/Columbia Pictures 

What's the most overrated movie of 2011? (Updated)

December 30, 2011 |  9:49 am


[Updated, Monday, Jan. 2, 8:35 a.m.: Anti-Twihards formed the largest, or at least the most vocal, group of film contrarians in 2011. In a survey of more than 1,000 readers, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I" was ranked the most overrated movie of the year. More than 41% of people responding chose that film for the dubious distinction.

Some, however, pointed out on Twitter that since the movie was polarizing and tepidly reviewed at the time of release, "Breaking Dawn" should not be considered so much overrated as "bad but popular," like other Hollywood blockbusters.

Using that logic, the "most-overated" title would then go to "Bridesmaids," the R-rated cultural phenomenon about female friendship, with nearly 23% of readers choosing the Kristen Wiig comedy for the dishonor.  Smaller groups chose "The Help" (15%) as well as "Midnight in Paris (10%) and "The Descendants" (10%) as the most overrated move of 2011.]

Last year, a group of readers weighed in that "Inception" was the most overrated movie of 2010 -- the Christopher Nolan dream thriller, they said, didn't come close to earning the praise bestowed on it. What film deserves the ignoble title this year?

There's no shortage of choices, as our informal poll of colleagues and contacts suggests.

For some, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn" should jump to the top of the list, with the Bill Condon-directed vampire story continuing the franchise's pattern of buzz that outpaces quality.

For others, Kristen Wiig's "Bridesmaids" should take the crown -- it's a film that, whatever its comic charms, didn't merit the accolades and cultural significance heaped on it.

The summer's biggest dramatic phenomenon, "The Help," has its own group of skeptics amid the hype. And It's hard to avoid two awards hopefuls when posing the overrated question: "Midnight in Paris" and "The Descendants" elicit their share of naysayers.

Weigh in on your choice in the poll below, or suggest your own film on Facebook and Twitter. We'll reveal the results before the calendar turns to '12 -- when a new batch of movies is sure to inspire its own round-robin of hype and backlash.



Inception wins informal poll as most overrated movie of 2010 (Part 2)

What's the most underappreciated movie of 2011? (Part 1)

-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn." Credit: Summit Entertainment

'Tinker Tailor' director has cyclical theory about vampire craze

December 9, 2011 |  8:45 am

Let the Right One In

As "Breaking Dawn" dominates the box office, cultural critics continue to offer all sorts of reasons for the trend, but few theories have the kind of bold novelty as the one suggested by Tomas Alfredson, director of the 2008 Swedish vampire pic "Let the Right One In."

"It does seem to be a subject that attracts people year after year," Alfredson mulled in a recent interview with 24 Frames. "I guess maybe it's the animalistic side of ourselves." Then he said, "I’ve always thought maybe there’s a connection between women and their periods, something that has been very taboo." He paused. "I can't exactly put words on it, but I've always wondered that."

Alfredson, who as we documented in a recent profile has a quirky and deliberate professional style that makes him a sort of Swedish Terrence Malick, returns to American cinemas this weekend with his follow-up, the John le Carré adaptation “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.”

When it comes to vampires, the filmmaker knows of what he speaks. Though he downplays his bona fides (he says he’s never seen “Twilight” or any other vampire films, save for a few Bela Lugosi movies in his childhood), “Let the Right One In” is among the most critically acclaimed of the current bloodsucker batch.

The movie became a well-regarded English-language film too, a coming-of-age story set in Reagan’s U.S. titled “Let Me In.” Alfredson wasn’t entirely thrilled with the notion of a remake — he questioned  “reproducing stuff in another language” and added that he hadn’t seen it.

“I felt like I owned it and I possessed it, as one does when they create something," he said of his feelings when he learned of the film. "It felt a little too fast after  my interpretation.” Then he added, reflectively, “You get childish with these things.”

Fans will get a chance to see Alfredson's work again with “Tinker Tailor.” We can only wonder with curiosity what his explanation might be for the popularity of the spy genre.


Tomas Alfredson moves into spy territory

Gary Oldman goes minimalist with Tinker Tailor

Movie review: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

 -- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Lina Leandersson in "Let the Right One In." Credit: Magnolia Pictures

Box office: Even cute Kermit can't top Lautner, Pattinson [Video]

December 5, 2011 | 12:06 pm

The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 1 was the No 1 film at the box office for the third consecutive weekend
Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and the rest of "The Muppets" were expected to rule the box office this weekend, but even the cute puppets couldn't prove more alluring than the latest "Twilight" flick.

For the third consecutive weekend, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1" was the No. 1 film at the box office. While the film raked in an additional sum of around $17 million, it was otherwise a lackluster weekend at the multiplex. After a slew of new films hit theaters over the Thanksgiving holiday, no movies debuted nationwide this weekend. As a result, it ended up being the second-slowest movie-going weekend of the year.

Still, both the family films "Hugo" and "Arthur Christmas" held up decently, as both films have now grossed around $25 million. But how big can the 3-D movies get? Check out this week's box office video report for more details.


Are fans shunning repeat viewings of 'Breaking Dawn'?

Weekend box office: 'Breaking Dawn' wins slow weekend

Sex addict drama 'Shame' has solid debut despite NC-17 rating

-- Amy Kaufman


Photo:  Ashley Greene, left, Kristen Stewart and Nikki Reed star in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1." Credit: Summit Entertainment

Are fans shunning repeat viewings of 'Breaking Dawn'?

December 5, 2011 |  8:00 am

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn."

The repeat-filmgoer is a time-honored, and much-coveted, Hollywood tradition. Teenage girls around the world came out again and again to see Leo's Jack Dawson shed a romantic tear in "Titanic." (He still died.)

Director Christopher Nolan has practically mastered the repeat feat -- art-house audiences came back to see "Memento" twice just to figure out what in the name of Einsteinian theory was going on -- while "Inception" was a double-dip favorite among the fan boy set a few summers back.

If there's any movie that would seem to lend itself to repeat viewing this year, it's "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1" The film's fans are the rabid sort who want to cry with each gesture of vampiric love and tense up with each werewolf confrontation. For many, buying a ticket is less an act of filmgoing than a ritual. And you don't perform a ritual just once.

PHOTOS: 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn'

Yet the movie's box office performance this weekend shows that the movie may not be generating that sort of reaction. As my colleague Amy Kaufman writes in Monday's Los Angeles Times, the Kristen Stewart-Robert Pattinson picture tallied $16.9 million this weekend -- not a bad total for a third weekend, but down a bit according to one key metric.

Though the fourth movie in the franchise has grossed $247 million since opening two weekends ago, it’s still lower than  the November opening of the second movie, “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” which took in $255 million over the same period. (The third picture “Eclipse,” came out in June, which makes comparisons difficult.)

It’s impossible to know why the numbers are slightly lower this time around, but executives at studio Summit Entertainment have a theory: This film isn’t generating the repeat buyers like “New Moon” did.

PHOTOS: What's next for 'Twilight' stars?

"I think our audience has grown a little bit older, and therefore their interests have changed," the studio's Richie Fay told Kaufman. "That audience was also a big repeat audience, so maybe this time they've only seen the movie once, when they would have seen it 4 1/2 times before."

It’s an interesting theory, though repeat viewings don’t on their face seem to be correlated with the age of the filmgoer -- certainly “Inception” wasn’t playing primarily to the grade-school set.

There is, however, a neater explanation. This movie is the first of two, as its title, not to mention its cliffhanger ending, suggests. After all, Stewart's Bella Swan (spoiler alert, though if you somehow do not know this then you probably don't care to), after appearing dead during the movie's climax, bolts her eyes wide open just before the movie ends, hinting at the vampire life she will soon lead. And when you tease people that much about what’s to come, they may not be satisfied with what they have.

Or, put another way, when you leave them wanting more, they don’t always come back for more of the same.


What's next for 'Twilight' stars?

Robert Pattinson versus Taylor Lautner

Weekend box office: Breaking Dawn wins slow weekend

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn." Credit: Summit entertainment

Breaking down 'Breaking Dawn -- Part 1': What do you think?

November 28, 2011 |  3:25 pm

Twilight Breaking Dawn
When it opened Nov. 18, the long-awaited, long-titled vampire romance "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1" didn't fare particularly well with movie critics, many of whom found it corny, toothless or at best a guilty pleasure. The lack of critical praise didn't stop legions of Twihards from turning out at midnight on opening night to see the film, or from catapulting it to box-office success two weeks in a row. We're curious to hear what readers think about "Breaking Dawn — Part 1" and what you expect from the series conclusion, "Part 2," due next November.

Steering the ship for that final installment will be British director Bill Condon, who made his "Twilight" debut with "Breaking Dawn — Part 1." For some people, including Times film critic Betsy Sharkey, Condon's entry into the series disappointed. In her review of the film, Sharkey writes, "I'd really hoped for more that just a well-polished look from Condon. With his 'Dreamgirls' and 'Gods and Monsters' background, he seemed a perfect fit for the final chapters of the tale of this dream girl and her godless monster. Such a pity."

"Breaking Dawn" star Robert Pattinson, who plays the vampire heartthrob Edward Cullen, would disagree with Sharkey (though he might be a bit biased). The 25-year-old English actor told 24 Frames that he appreciated Condon's point of view, his sense of humor and his poise. "Bill would always have a great explanation for why it's not ridiculous and it's not corny," Pattinson said. "It was great to have someone on set who could convince me of those things."

Online, "Breaking Dawn" viewers are displaying a range of opinions about the film. Some, like Sharon Grant, thought Condon nailed it (Team Bill?). In a comment on 24 Frames, Grant wrote: "I thought this was the best of the series.… Bill Condon got it. He understood what it was about the Edward/Bella story that drew us in."

Another commenter, Sue Nebgen, thought the film dragged on: "Could have cut an hour out of this movie, long on stares and short on action. It felt like every scene was drug out to have the movie run two hours. Very disappointed and would not have wasted the money seeing this one at the theater."

Where do you stand on "Breaking Dawn — Part 1," with the critics or the supporters? Do you think Condon will rise to the occasion for "Part 2"? Has the franchise worn out its welcome, or is the best yet to come? Tell us your opinion in the comments below or on Twitter, @latimesmovies.


Photo gallery: Vampires: sexy or not sexy?

Honeymoon with 'Twilight' director Bill Condon

'Breaking Dawn': Kristen Stewart's extreme 'Twilight' transformation

— Oliver Gettell

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1." Credit: Andrew Cooper / Summit Entertainment

'Breaking Dawn': Robert Pattinson cheers 'Twilight' director Bill Condon

November 21, 2011 | 12:54 pm


Reviews for "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1" might have been, well, mixed, to put it kindly -- as of Sunday evening, the movie had a 29% fresh rating on the website Rotten Tomatoes. But the film's director, Bill Condon, has at least one very prominent supporter: the movie's star Robert Pattinson.

The 25-year-old English actor, who plays Edward Cullen in the series, had nothing but kind words for Condon, the fourth director to sign on for a "Twilight" film and the man who will conclude the saga next year when "Breaking Dawn -- Part 2" is released. He said he appreciated what the filmmaker was up against: a tonally challenging narrative, a special-effects-intensive production and pressure to meet outsize fan expectations for the first half of the finale of the franchise adapted from author Stephenie Meyer's bestselling vampire romance novels.

"It was a massive undertaking, much bigger budgets and huge expectations, since it was the last one in the series," Pattinson said of the production. "There was much more pressure than the last one."

Pattinson said he felt that Condon had a point of view with the film -- Condon told The Times that he wanted to marry melodrama and horror in telling the story of Edward's marriage to Bella (Kristen Stewart) and the fallout from the unplanned pregnancy that happens soon after. The actor also enjoyed Condon's humor, which showed up both on-screen and off. 

"It's very easy to become cynical about stuff, especially where you are doing five movies in the series," Pattinson said. "It's a very sentimental story in a lot of ways, and I'm an incredibly cynical person. Bill would always have a great explanation for why it's not ridiculous and it's not corny. It was great to have someone on set who could convince me of those things."

Pattinson said that from the beginning, the shoot was a challenge. The six-month filming schedule for both parts of "Breaking Dawn" kicked off in Brazil, where Pattinson said "everything went wrong."

"Just the fact that he didn't get overwhelmed within two seconds was a big deal," Pattinson said of Condon. "We were in Rio [de Janeiro] for one day. Two cameras broke down, a crane broke down and everything was crazy. There was no crowd control, and he stayed perfectly calm. Bill was really thrown in the deep end, and we came up with really nice stuff. It was really pretty and nice."


'Breaking Dawn' with 'Twilight' director Bill Condon

'Breaking Dawn': Twihards gather to watch Bella and Edward wed

-- Nicole Sperling

Photo: Bill Condon is flanked by Robert Pattinson, left, and Taylor Lautner at the Barcelona, Spain,  premiere of "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1." Credit: Job Vermeulen/Associated Press

'Twilight: Breaking Dawn:' Does it send the wrong message?

November 21, 2011 |  7:00 am


Kristen Stewart's and Robert Pattinson's "Twilight: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1" carries an antiabortion message, say some feminist critics
It was of course never much of a question whether millions of Americans were going to rush out to see "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1" this weekend, which they did -- about 18 million people, to be specific. For comparison's sake, that's just slightly behind the number who watched last year's "American Idol" finale -- as studio Summit Entertainment rang up $139.5 million in box office for the latest Kristen Stewart-Robert Pattinson film.

The bigger question, though, might be what these millions were left thinking after they left the theater, particularly in the areas of sex, love and childbirth, areas in which the Bill Condon-directed, Melissa Rosenberg-penned script has plenty to say.
A quick recap, in the unlikely event there isn't a Twihard in or around you. In this fourth installment of the vampire film franchise, adapted from about half of Stephenie Meyer's final book in the “Twilight” series, Bella Swan (Stewart) and the vampire Edward Cullen (Pattinson) finally consummate their love. Though still a teenager, she marries Edward in a glittery affair while the shape-shifting werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner) hovers nearby. The wedding leads to a surprise honeymoon in Brazil as well as to Bella's deflowering (not to mention de-feathering; vampire men and pillows are apparently a dangerous combination).

Most conspicuously, the wedding-night sex results in Bella becoming pregnant with a kind of human-vampire hybrid, which soon threatens the life of its mother. Told of the danger, Bella doesn't even consider terminating the pregnancy.

Continue reading »

'Breaking Dawn': Kristen Stewart's extreme 'Twilight' transformation

November 20, 2011 |  4:17 pm

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1"

The fans who lined up over the weekend to see "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1" — and there were a lot of them, considering that the fourth installment in the franchise adapted from Stephenie Meyer's bestselling young-adult novels raked in an estimated $139.5 million — witnessed some pretty radical upheaval in the lives of young Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and her vampire beau Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson).

The couple marries, and during a romantic honeymoon getaway, they finally consummate their relationship. But Bella unexpectedly becomes pregnant and fights to carry the child to term, though the fetus is seemingly incompatible with her body.

To depict the great physical toll the pregnancy takes on Bella's body — she's unable to eat and essentially is withering away as her stomach swells — the "Breaking Dawn" filmmakers looked to Lola Visual Effects, the company responsible for downsizing muscular Chris Evans to a pre-transformation weakling in this summer's comic book superhero film "Captain America." The results are certainly eyebrow-raising, with Bella becoming increasingly pale and extremely gaunt. 

"The idea was to leave you with a question mark about how they did it," said the film's director, Bill Condon. "We wanted you to think it was possible that Kristen actually lost a lot of weight for it."

The visual-effects team added prosthetics to Stewart's face (a process that took three hours of application) to make her eyes look more sunken and her ears larger. Stewart likened wearing the prosthetics to having a "big, skinny head" for the scenes. Still, the 21-year old actress was game for the transformation.

"I'm so happy that they were not afraid of it — to have your main character look so awful for half of the movie is a bold choice for a huge film," Stewart said. "It was the one thing I wasn't fully responsible for concerning Bella and it made me really nervous. I didn't know what it would look like until I saw the movie."


'Breaking Dawn' with 'Twilight' director Bill Condon

'Breaking Dawn--Part 1' review: Vampire tale is lifeless

— Nicole Sperling

Photo: Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson as Bella and Edward in 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1'

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Week in review: Golden Globes hires Ricky Gervais; 'Breaking Dawn' debuts

November 18, 2011 |  4:31 pm

Ahh, popularity. It's one elusive beast, and one that makes people do funny things. Like hire Ricky Gervais.

The British comedian's popularity with audiences was the primary reason why the organization behind the Golden Globes, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., decided to bring him back to emcee its 69th annual ceremony Jan. 15. Despite the acerbic barbs he delivered as host of last year's show, which came at the expense of both the A-list stars in the audience and the heads of the HFPA, Gervais is back, likely to appease NBC, a network looking for a ratings bump for the telecast.

The popularity of the "Twilight" series will again be widely talked about this weekend, as the fourth movie in the blockbuster film series adapted from author Stephenie Meyer's bestselling novels debuts worldwide. Times' writers Nicole Sperling and Steven Zeitchik talk about the machinations behind the series and why director Bill Condon, who won an Oscar for his screenplay for "Gods and Monsters," signed on for the two-part finale of the highly commercial series.


'Breaking Dawn' with 'Twilight' director Bill Condon

Week in review: Academy Awards implosion [video]

Ricky Gervais will return as host of 2012 Golden Globes


-- Nicole Sperling


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