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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Channing Tatum

Home theater: Channing Tatum, Tim and Eric top new releases roster

May 8, 2012 |  3:31 pm

The Vow
 Looking to catch a film on Video on Demand or DVD or Blu-ray? Following are some of the newest options available to home theater aficionados.

'The Vow'
Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $40.99
Available on VOD on May 8

Movie romances don't get much more gimmicky than “The Vow.” Based on a true story, the film stars Rachel McAdams as a boho type named Paige who suffers an accident that wipes out her memories of the previous five years -- including her entire relationship with her husband, Leo (Channing Tatum), and the reasons why she left behind her wealthy parents to pursue art. Leo has to re-woo Paige, and to reconnect her with who she used to be. “The Vow” is predictable, corny and loaded with stereotypes, but it's also genuinely moving, thanks largely to the performances of McAdams and Tatum. The DVD and Blu-ray come with featurettes, deleted scenes and a commentary track by director Michael Sucsy.

'The Front Line'
Well Go USA, $24.98; Blu-ray, $29.98

Jang Hun's pulpy military thriller “The Front Line” is set during the final days of the Korean War, as soldiers try to grab as much territory as they can before the final peace gets brokered. The film follows an officer sent to investigate a possible murder, who instead finds enemy combatants that have been living and working in the same place so long that they've developed a love-hate relationship with each other. The action is bloody and tense, but “The Front Line” also depicts reluctant warriors who understand the arbitrary nature of conflict. The DVD and Blu-ray include a featurette and a highlight reel.

'42nd Street Forever'
Blu-ray Edition
Synapse Blu-ray, $24.95

The ideas of exploitation films are often more enjoyable than the experience of actually sitting through the movies themselves -- the trailers nearly always promise more brain-jangling scenes of sex and violence than mere celluloid can deliver. “42nd Street Forever: Blu-ray Edition” collects nearly four hours of those trailers -- previously scattered across various other DVD anthologies -- accompanied by smart, funny commentary from grindhouse scholars. The previews run the gamut from tame B-movie sci-fi to wild T&A, but nearly all hint at a host of lurid thrills: flesh, gore and shocks. You'll have to keep repeating to yourself: “It's only a trailer…”

'Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie'
Magnolia, $26.98; Blu-ray, $29.98/$34.98

Those unfamiliar with Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim's endurance-testing brand of “anti-comedy” probably shouldn't get anywhere near “Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie,” but the duo's fans won't be disappointed with the film's willful weirdness. The plot involves Tim and Eric -- as “themselves” --  squandering a huge budget for a big Hollywood production, which they then try to repay by taking over a run-down mall. Despite the presence of comedy heavyweights like Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis (in small roles), actual punch lines are in short supply here, since Heidecker and Wareheim generally find it funnier to annoy audiences with repetition and sloppiness. This is their shtick, though -- and good for them for remaining defiantly unpolished. The devotees will dig it and also will appreciate the DVD and Blu-ray, which adds typically twisted deleted scenes, a commentary track and a featurette.


'The Artist' to get re-release over Mother's Day weekend

'Killer Joe' trailer: Will NC-17 boost the McConaughey pic?

'Casablanca' tops lineup for film academy's outdoor theater

-- Noel Murray

Photo: Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams star in "The Vow." Credit: Kerry Hayes/Screen Gems

CinemaCon: Dwayne Johnson is 'franchise Viagra,' says director

April 25, 2012 |  8:54 am

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has reinvigorated so many flagging franchises in recent years that his friends in Hollywood have started to refer to him as "franchise Viagra."

"He's created a brand for himself that's unlike any star ever before, and he brings an energy to properties that need it," Jon Chu, director of Johnson's latest film, "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," said at the CinemaCon convention in Las Vegas this week. The Paramount Pictures movie hits theaters in June.

Indeed, the "G.I. Joe" series was in need of what Johnson calls a "creative shift" after 2009's "Rise of the Cobra" received scathing reviews from both fanboys and critics. While the film was a financial success, raking in over $300 million worldwide, Johnson was cast in the sequel in an effort to help win moviegoers back after the original's poor reception.

The brawny actor has fulfilled the role of the white knight before: He replaced Brendan Fraser in the sequel to "Journey of the Center of the Earth" and helped reinvigorate both "The Mummy" and the "Fast & Furious" franchises.

Still, the 39-year-old actor joked he only considers himself "franchise Viagra" when he's drunk.

"The goal was never to find franchises, go in and take them over," said Johnson, who was in Las Vegas to accept CinemaCon's Action Star of the Decade award. "The first question is, 'Well, can I come in and help elevate a movie?' With this film, it was an opportunity I wanted to grab by the throat and make right. I wanted it to veer off from the first."

Johnson said he was eager for "Retaliation" to have a grittier, more grounded feel.  Despite the increased emphasis on physical stunts, Chu says the movie will offer up a more emotional side of its characters -- especially Johnson's.

"I think people will see a whole new face of Dwayne when they get to see him perform some pretty dramatic stuff," the filmmaker said. "OK, he doesn't shed tears. But he sheds punches."


CinemaCon: Footage of 'The Hobbit' draws mixed reaction

CinemaCon: 'The Dictator' rips Jeffrey Katzenberg, Rich Ross

CinemaCon: Chris Pine, talking 'Guardians,' nods to J.J. Abrams

--Amy Kaufman


Photo: Dwayne Johnson accepts the Action Star of the Decade award at CinemaCon. Credit: Chris Pizzello / Associated Press

Box Office: '21 Jump Street' marks another hit for Tatum, Hill [Video]

March 19, 2012 | 12:10 pm

21 Jump Street was the No 1 film at the box office this weekend
Both Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill continued their box office hot streaks this weekend, as "21 Jump Street" hit the No. 1 position with $35 million worth of ticket sales.

Tatum, 31, proved to be a box office draw in February, when he lured young females to the multiplex in droves to see his romantic tear-jerker "The Vow." Hill, who has had plenty of success with comedies like "Superbad" and "Get Him to the Greek," also did well with more dramatic fare in last fall's "Moneyball."

But the film's stars weren't the only reasons for its success. Check out this week's box office video report for more on why "21 Jump Street" resonated with moviegoers.


'21 Jump Street' tops weekend box office

Does '21 Jump Street' prove the '80s naysayers wrong?

"21 Jump Street:" Channing Tatum-Jonah Hill bromance disarms critics

--Amy Kaufman


Photo: Channing Tatum, left, stars with Jonah Hill in "21 Jump Street." Credit: Sony Pictures.

'21 Jump Street': Channing Tatum-Jonah Hill bromance disarms critics

March 16, 2012 |  2:31 pm

Though ostensibly based on the '80s cult TV series of the same name, the new action-comedy "21 Jump Street" also draws heavily on buddy-cop conventions, "Superbad"-style high-school high jinks and the grand tradition of the stoner bromance (see also: the "Harold & Kumar" films, "Pineapple Express"). For all its raunchy familiarity, the film, which stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as rookie cops going undercover to bust a drug ring in their old high school, is charming critics.

Times film critic Betsy Sharkey writes that "21 Jump Street" has "an endearing, punch-you-in-the-arm-because-I-like-you-man charm" and that Hill and Tatum display "great goofball gusto." Both actors — "rock hard" Tatum and "squishy soft" Hill — "bring a kind of vulnerability to their characters that makes whatever mayhem they are up to OK." Sharkey notes that the film is not only about but also created by a buddy pair: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller ("Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs"), who "clearly understand the push-and-pull and hyper-competitiveness that make guy friendships both complex and stupid."

Continue reading »

SXSW 2012: '21 Jump Street' star Channing Tatum keeps his shirt on

March 13, 2012 | 11:04 am

"21 Jump Street" premieres at SXSW

Actor Channing Tatum proved the main attraction Monday night for the high percentage of very young women who turned up at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas, for the premiere of "21 Jump Street" — the comedic re-imagining of the 1980s-era television show. Cheers filled the auditorium as the cast and filmmakers took the stage following the screening, with Tatum and costar Jonah Hill dressed in the same ill-fitting bicycle cop uniforms they wear in the movie.

"It's a bromance," said Tatum, when asked about making the shift to comedy following his streak of romantic roles in films such as the recent "The Vow." Tatum was also asked by one questioner why he didn't take his shirt off in "Jump Street" and could he do so right there. Mentioning the amount of salty food and beer in both New Orleans, where the film was shot, and Austin, he declined.

"21 Jump Street" casts Hill as the brainy Schmidt and Tatum as his brawny partner Jenko, two fairly inept cops who are sent back to high school as part of an undercover effort to stop a drug ring. The mission puts them in the orbit of the cool clique, headed up by Dave Franco's ecologically minded Eric (the actor is James Franco's younger brother). Much of the comedy derives from how much has changed since Schmidt and Jenko were students — with Schmidt finding his geeky stride and Jenko spending some quality time with the misfit kids in the AV club.

Hill, who, along with Tatum, is also an executive producer on the film, seemed particularly excited about the uproarious response the R-rated film received from the crowd.

"No matter what happens next week," Hill said, "all the concerns of what happens to it, what happens when it goes in the world, we'll have this night forever."

Hill and Tatum were joined onstage by directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, screenwriter Michael Bacall, actors Franco and Rob Riggle and the festival's Rebecca Feferman. Hill busted on Franco for his role in "Charlie St. Cloud," or, as HIll called it, the "Zac Efron ghost brother movie," while celebrating Riggle for an outrageously vulgar improvised stunt.

Those onstage also all discussed the not-to-be-spoiled-here surprise cameo in the film, which included years of legwork to pull of.

Hill joked throughout the Q&A about the possibility of a sequel and how any of them could potentially be replaced by Ryan Gosling. Getting serious for a moment, Hill noted, "All of us up here would love to do a sequel, but it's no longer in our hands. So if you tell your friends that the movie was great and they go watch it and it makes a bunch of money, then we will all be making a sequel very soon. If not, you will never see us ever again. It's in your hands, no longer ours."


SXSW 2012: Sarcasm, romanticism in 'Somebody Up There Likes Me'

SXSW 2012: Unusual buzz-building with 'frankie go boom'

SXSW 2012: A vision of nocturnal New Orleans in 'Tchoupitoulas'

— Mark Olsen, reporting from Austin, Texas


Photo: Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in "21 Jump Street." Credit: Scott Garfield/Columbia Pictures.

SXSW: '21 Jump St.,' 'Cabin in the Woods' eye 'Bridesmaids' bouquet

March 8, 2012 |  3:41 pm

21 Jump Street

At one point while putting together the program for this year’s South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival, the event’s producer, Janet Pierson, almost had to stop inviting films because she was concerned there wouldn’t be anywhere for the writers, director and actors to stay. Hotel bookings were up in 2011 from the year before, and finding rooms in Austin, Texas, for this year has been even tougher.

One might think becoming too popular is just the kind of problem the organizer of any event would want.

“People say they are good problems to have,” said Pierson during a recent phone call from Austin. “It’s certainly a problem of success, but it’s not a problem you want, to be clear.”

The festival, commonly known as SXSW, starts Friday with the opening night world premiere of the inside-out genre film “The Cabin in the Woods,” the directorial debut of Drew Goddard, who cowrote the film with Joss Whedon. The festival will show 130 features over its nine-day run in 10 venues ranging from the 1,200-seat Paramount Theater to a 39-seat room at the festival’s newest venue, the local arthouse Violet Crown Cinema.

This year’s edition opens to heightened expectations because of its steadily rising profile and attendance, and the success of last year’s festival, which featured the premiere of “Bridesmaids” before it became a cultural talking-point, box-office sensation and double-Oscar nominee. Last year also had “Undefeated,” which became the first film to world premiere at SXSW and go on to win an Oscar, for documentary.

“Those aren’t the markers,” said Pierson of living up to such successes. “For me, while that stuff is great and I’m super happy about it, to me the success of a film like ‘Weekend’” — filmmaker Andrew Haigh’s gay-themed romance that was an unexpected festival hit — “that’s life-changing in a way. That’s the thing you keep in the back of your head when you’re programming: How can we help completely undiscovered, unknown talent connect with the rest of the world?”

Among the films looking to break-out this year are “Jeff,” a hybrid documentary by Chris James Thompson that explores the effect of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer on the people of Milwaukee, and “Tchoupitoulas,” the vivid exploration of nighttime New Orleans by documentarians Bill and Turner Ross.

On the narrative side, there is the freewheeling graffiti-culture comedy “Gimme the Loot,” the first feature from Adam Leon; “Leave Me Like You Found Me,” the directing debut of indie producer Adele Romanski; and Austin-based filmmaker Bob Byington’s oddball fable “Somebody Up There Likes Me.”

Although SXSW may be known for its extremely indie fare, having a key role in launching the micro-budget “mumblecore” movement, organizers also have carefully cultivated a relationship to Hollywood. This year will feature the premiere of the movie adaptation/update of the television show “21 Jump Street,” with the film likely benefiting as much from the imprint of SXSW as the festival does from having stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum on its red carpet.

“It just says there might be more to this than what you expect,” said Chris Miller, codirector with Phil Lord, of premiering their roughhouse comedy at a film festival. “A ‘21 Jump Street’ movie should be met with some healthy skepticism, but I think that we’ve made something that is smarter than what you would expect and funnier than you might expect, and that South by Southwest wanted to incorporate it as part of its festival speaks to that.”

With its mix of outsider indies and smartly chosen studio films, South by Southwest has carved out a unique space in the festival landscape, with a bigger presence than smaller regional fests yet still apart from the industry-driven markets at the film festivals in Cannes, Toronto or even Sundance.

For Arianna Bocco, senior vice president of acquisitions and productions at Sundance Selects/IFC Films, the distributor who has picked up films such as “Tiny Furniture” and “Weekend” out of SXSW, it was losing out on the opportunity to distribute a low-budget genre film to a competitor that made her realize the fest had come into its own.

“I didn’t go for a couple of years,” said Bocco, who first attended more than 15 years ago, “and then I remember the year that Magnolia bought ‘Monsters’ right after the screening and I was like, ‘I can’t not be there.’ It’s reached that point where it’s competitive on all fronts.”


'21 Jump Street,' Bob Marley documentary to premiere at SXSW

Jessica Biel, Nazis top SXSW midnight movies lineup

— Mark Olsen

Photo: Jonah Hill, left, and Channing Tatum in "21 Jump Street" Credit: Scott Garfield/Columbia TriStar

'The Vow' writers: A tale Tatum and McAdams could appreciate

February 20, 2012 |  7:30 am

The Vow, starring Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams, has become a hit at the box office. Its writers have endured their own romantic struggles
What if you were engaged to your professional partner and called off the wedding -- but decided to keep working together anyway?  It could be a plot line from a movie like "The Vow" or "He's Just Not That Into You." But it's something a tad more surreal: the real-life story of the writing duo behind those films.

Directed by Michael Sucsy and released last week, "The Vow" is set to close out a strong holiday weekend with a likely four-day haul that will top $27 million, making it the most lucrative release of the young year. The relationships in the Rachel McAdams-Channing Tatum romantic drama, in which he must court his amnesiac wife anew after she wakes from a coma and reverts to an earlier version of herself, are complicated enough.

But the tale of writers Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein rivals anything their characters grapple with.

Kohn and Silverstein dated for seven years, then broke up in the early 2000s. They proceeded to marry other people -- she, in 2005, music executive Jason Linn; he, two years later, actress Busy Phillips. They each now have daughters with their new spouses. But they continue to collaborate on scripts about relationships and romance -- in fact, they've found far more success since their breakup -- as they practice what is surely one of the oddest professional relationships in a town filled with them.

Abby: "It's a little weird," speaking by phone this weekend in a joint interview with her writing partner, the two routinely finishing each other's thoughts.
Marc: "Maybe more than a little weird."
Abby: "I think when I first started dating [my husband], he had questions, but he got it pretty quickly."
Marc: "My wife had a tougher time at the beginning."
Abby: "It's not simple."
Marc: "It's not a simple thing to explain on a first date."
Abby: "On a third date."

After meeting in film school at USC and hooking up as lovers and filmmaking partners, Kohn and Silverstein graduated and began writing feature scripts about young love. Though only in their 20s, they soon sold a pitch, a back-to-school comedy titled "Never Been Kissed." Within a year, the movie was shooting with Drew Barrymore. It was considered a respectable hit when it came out in 1999.

PHOTOS: "The Vow" premiere

The years that followed were rougher. The pair toiled in television, watching as pilot deals came and went. For a time their relationship intensified -- they became engaged and were just a few months from the wedding -- then it sputtered. The two decided to break up. (Abby: "When we were younger it was work all the time." Marc: "It was probably a little unhealthy, though we got a lot more done." Abby: "We got a lot more done, and we also didn't do anything else.")

Most couples would have thrown in the towel on their creative partnership at that point. But the breakup wasn't messy, and besides, the two had more pressing concerns.

Marc: "When we decided not to get married, we were contractually obligated on a pilot."


Abby: "We were in pre-production; we couldn't take time off."
Marc: "So we figured we should try to work together."
Abby: "We had to do it."
Marc: "It was not great."
Abby: "But it didn't take that long for it to get normal again."

They continued with that pilot, then others. At one point they even created a show,  "Splitsville," that was based on their own story. It didn't turn into a series, but the pair continued trying to get a movie or television show going.

Then a few years ago, a break came. After numerous writers tried to crack the story on a thin self-help book called "He's Just Not That Into You," Kohn and Silverstein had the idea to turn it into an ensemble romance with overlapping characters. They  were given the assignment, then watched as the movie went on to become a hit in February 2009.

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Would you help 'The Vow's' Channing Tatum pick his next film?

February 15, 2012 |  1:20 pm

Channing Tatum knows firsthand the power of social media — he has more than 800,000 followers on Twitter and made Facebook videos to promote his recent hit "The Vow."

But in an interview about how those platforms helped make his latest film a hit (for more on that topic, see this story in Wednesday's Times), Tatum said he has bigger ambitions in the world of likes and retweets: He wants fans to help him pick his movies.

"I really, really hope I can be like, 'Guys, what do you want me to do? Option A or Option B?'" he said. "And people can vote and then I can go do that. Then I can get notes on what we did right and wrong."

PHOTOS: 'The Vow' premiere

The actor, whose next starring role comes in March with "21 Jump Street," sees the approach as part of a larger evolution for the digital world beyond a platform for marketing and audience research.

"Studios — rightfully so because that's the system — try to manipulate [people] into wanting something they might not want," he said. "I don't think that's the right way to go about it. I want to straight up ask them: Should I make a comedy? An action movie? A love story?"

But as much as he values how social media fosters a  conversation with fans, Tatum acknowledged that more operational details elude him. The actor said he "is not a computer person" and, like many other stars, pays someone to manage his Twitter and Facebook accounts.


Review: 'The Vow' leaves you wanting more

'The Vow' a hit after marketers say 'I do' to Twitter, Facebook

'The Vow' sets Valentine's Day record with $11.6 million box office

— Ben Fritz

'The Vow': What is it about Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams?

February 13, 2012 |  9:28 am

In the weeks leading up to the release of "The Vow," it was easy to knock the movie: the amnesiac plot line (Rachel McAdams' character wakes up from a coma and must be wooed anew by hubby Channing Tatum), the lovelorn glances, the schmaltzy sentiments.

Come to think of it, it was easy to knock the movie after it came out too; self-knowing irony isn't exactly the name of this game, which lends itself to all sorts of comic opportunities from the cheap seats. That Tatum and McAdams' acting, which in recent years has been characterized by his stoned-faced qualities and her chipper ones, hasn't lately made the Oscar voters come running added to the fun.

Yet after the weekend's heart-stopping box office — $41.7 million, well above expectations and in fact the sixth-highest February opening in history — it's clear that, for all the ways one might compare this movie to a cross between "50 First Dates" and "While You Were Sleeping," we still rushed out to see it.

PHOTOS: 'The Vow' premiere

The truth is it shouldn't be entirely surprising. McAdams and Tatum are shaky leading draws  in movies that aren't romances — see under "Morning Glory" and "The Eagle." But they do OK when star-crossed love enters the picture (see under: McAdams' "The Time Traveler's Wife" and "The Notebook" and Tatum's "Dear John.")

They're apparently even more persuasive when they're star-crossed together: "The Vow" is on pace to take in more money than any of those films, and in fact more money than any movie than either of them has done as leading actors on their own, save for Tatum's "G.I. Joe," a different beast entirely.

How does that work exactly? Why do actors we're only lukewarm on apart work when together? Certainly the traits that can seem like too much on their own — say, McAdams' perkiness and Tatum's earnestness —can be complementary when mixed, two extremes somehow neutralized, the filmic equivalent of sweet-and-sour sauce.

It's why Meg Ryan's constant poutiness and Billy Crytal's relentless wise-guy-ness worked well in "When Harry Met Sally" (also, incidentally, a better performer than many movies they did on their own), or how Audrey Hepburn's effusiveness and George Peppard's stoicism made for a classic in "Breakfast at Tiffany's."

Not to compare this movie to those classics. But in that sense, at least, "The Vow" has located the formula of many cinematic romances — they work best not necessarily because the actors seem like a real-life couple, but because the traits of one half mitigate the other.


Review: 'The Vow' leaves you wanting more

'The Vow' leads strong weekend with $41.7 million

'The Vow' fails to live up to its promise, critics say

— Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum in "The Vow." Credit: Screen Gems

The week in film: 'The 'Vow and 'Star Wars' in 3-D [video]

February 10, 2012 |  6:55 pm


The next five days bring a surprisingly heavy volume of winter movies. By the time Valentine's Day rolls around, two films, the Rachel McAdams-Channing Tatum romantic drama  "The Vow" and McG's amorous actioner "This Means War," will have taken aim at the date-night crowd.

Meanwhile, George Lucas brings back "Star Wars - Episode One: Phantom Menace" in 3-D this weekend, the first of six planned re-releases for the movies in that space-opera franchise. The Times' Nicole Sperling and Steven Zeitchik examine the spurt of February films, and their prospects, in this edition of 24 Frames' week-in-review video.





Movie review: 'The Vow leaves' you wanting more

The Vow fails to live up to its promise critics say

Star Wars 3-D and every other 3-D movie on the planet coming in the next year

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams get amorous in "The Vow." Credit: Screen Gems


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