Review Category : Entertainment

“The Magnificent Seven,” “Storks” Open Nationwide Today

“The Magnificent Seven”; MGM/Columbia Pictures(NEW YORK) — Here’s a look at the new movies opening nationwide today:

* The Magnificent Seven — In Training Day director Antoine Fuqua’s remake of the 1960 Western, seven outlaws are hired to protect a town from an evil industrialist. Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke,Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-Hun Lee and Peter Sarsgaard star. Rated PG-13.

* Storks — In an animated world where storks no longer deliver babies, a troublemaking stork accidentally activates a baby-making machine, and has to drop off the baby girl it produces. Andy Samberg, Jennifer Aniston, Kelsey Grammer, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele are among the members of the voice cast. Rated PG.

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Review: “Storks” (PG)

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures(NEW YORK) — Perhaps I’m a bit out of touch, but does anyone really tell their kids anymore that the stork brings babies?

When I heard about Storks, it sounded adorable, but dated. On the flip side, it’s written and directed by Nicholas Stoller, who writes (Get Him to the Greek) and directs (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) funny things. Let’s throw in Andy Samberg as the voice of the movie’s main character, and Storks totally has a chance.

The premise here is that storks no longer deliver babies. Thanks to an ever-changing world, they now deliver packages. Enter Samberg’s Junior. He’s the best delivery stork there is, and the boss stork (Kelsey Grammer) wants Junior to take over as the boss moves up the stork corporate ladder. All Junior has to do is get rid of the “Orphan Tulip” (Katie Crown) – an 18-year-old human girl who was a delivery gone wrong and has been raised among the storks.

But instead of getting rid of Tulip, Junior and his heart of gold banish her to an abandoned building – which turns out to be the old baby factory. When Tulip accidentally activates the baby-making machine, out pops an adorable little tyke, which Tulip and Junior feel obligated to deliver to its rightful parents.

Thus begins an adventure – a clunky one that doesn’t come close to living up to any of the better, more recent animated offerings. It’s only enjoyable when Tulip and Junior encounter a pack of wolves, led by the voices of Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peel. What Storks does have going for it is some of its quirky dialogue, which was clearly tailor-made for Samberg and Crown. It’ll please the kids, but bore the adults.

Two-and-a-half out of five stars.

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Review: “The Magnificent Seven” (PG-13)

L-R: Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt; MGM/Columbia Pictures(NEW YORK) — Sing it with me if you know it: “Dum, dum da-dum, da da da da da dum…”

Look, Hollywood took an old property and made it new again, and while we may scream and cry about Tinseltown’s lack of originality, at least here we get a furious, somewhat glorious, infectiously entertaining remake of a classic. And in fairness, the 1960 original Magnificent Seven was itself based on Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic Seven Samurai, so this is a remake of a remake.

Star Denzel Washington teams up with Antoine Fuqua, the director who helped him score his Best Actor Oscar for 2001’s Training Day. While Fuqua’s never before directed a Western, a lot of his best work plays out like a Western, thematically. This is a perfect fit.

Peter Sarsgaard, so good at being super creepy, plays Bartholomew Bogue, a sadistic and successful prospector who has enough money to hire a small army to help him do his evil bidding. When he wreaks havoc on a small town he has designs on ripping off, the villagers, led by Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett), pool their money to fight back. Or hire someone to fight back for them.

That’s where Washington’s feared bounty hunter, Chisolm, comes in, whom we meet after he captures a wanted man who was posing as a bartender. It’s also when we meet Chris Pratt’s Josh Faraday, a charming, alcoholic con man of sorts who’s quick on the draw and even quicker with his slight-of-hand card tricks. Once Emma convinces Chisolm to help her fight Bogue, Chisolm rounds up a posse, starting with Faraday, then including his old Civil War buddy Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), a wanted Mexican gunslinger named Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Fulfo), and legendary mountain man Jack Home (Vincent D’Onofrio).

While the original Magnificent Seven played on offensive stereotypes, this version’s respectful, and basically colorblind. Chisolm and Robicheaux became friendly during the Civil War, though Robicheaux fought for the South and Chisholm is clearly black. The genesis of their relationship is never defined, nor does it need to be. Washington’s humanity, Fuqua’s direction, and Richard Wenk and Nic Pizzolatto’s writing transcends stereotypes and skin color in a way virtually non-existent in any film genre.

A word about Washington. Even when he played Dr. Chandler on the 1980s TV medical drama St. Elsewhere, which I watched as a 10-year-old kid, he stood out, bringing a realness then that he’s since brought to every project, no matter who he’s playing. All these years later, Washington’s still the realest dude on the screen, always. Fame has probably changed him a bit but I’m willing to bet he’s still that same kid from Mt. Vernon, New York who cut his teeth at the Boys Club. He hasn’t forgotten where he came from. As he told a friend of mine recently, he’s just a regular guy with an extraordinary job.

The genius here is putting Washington in a movie with talents like Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke and Vincent D’Onofrio — actors who themselves are usually the realest guys on the screen in their respective projects.

While Wenk and Pizzolatto’s screenplay borrows attributes and backstories from the original Magnificent Seven characters, it endows this take’s new characters with some of those attributes and backstories — I suppose, to pay homage to the original. If you’ve seen the original, you’ll appreciate it. If you haven’t, you won’t know the difference. Either way, they’ve created a terrific, nuanced and endearing character palette.

The movie isn’t without its faults. It’s still an old-fashioned Western and while it overcomes silly stereotypes, it’s filled with gratuitous, nonsensical violence. Still, that’s what you’d expect.

The Magnificent Seven is a thoroughly satisfying, well-executed modern-day Western.

Four out of five stars.

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Sources: Brad Pitt Under Investigation for Alleged Child Abuse

Photo by Marc Piasecki/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) – The Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services is investigating a child abuse claim involving Brad Pitt, sources told ABC News.

Officials for the Los Angeles Police Department said the department is not investigating Pitt.

Sources close to Pitt told ABC News that the actor is taking the allegations very seriously and is cooperating with the authorities. However, they added, many of the claims made against him are either exaggerated or outright fabricated.

News of the investigation comes just days after Angelina Jolie Pitt filed for divorce from the actor, a decision her attorney said earlier this week was “made for the health of the family.”

Pitt, 52, and Jolie Pitt, 41, were married for two years before their split. In the divorce document obtained by ABC News, the estranged couple’s date of separation was listed as September 15. Jolie Pitt has asked for physical custody of the couple’s six children, Maddox, 15, Pax, 12, Zahara, 11, Shiloh, 10, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 8.

“I am very saddened by this, but what matters most now is the well-being of our kids,” Pitt said earlier this week.

The actor has not yet responded to the abuse allegation, though sources told ABC News that his number-one priority remains the welfare of the children.

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Infamous Celebrity Prankster Manhandles Model Gigi Hadid

ABC/Ida Mae Astute(MILAN) — A man who has become famous for harassing celebrities at high-profile events received a tongue-lashing, and two swift elbows to his head from his latest victim: Gigi Hadid.

Vitalii Sediuk is a Ukrainian media personality who made headlines when he kissed Will Smith on a red carpet — earning him a backhand from the star. He also stormed the Grammys in 2013, and groped both Leonardo DiCaprio and on another occasion both Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Hadid was walking outside the Max Mara fashion show in Milan on Thursday morning with her sister Bella when Sediuk hooked his arm around Gigi’s waist and hoisted her into the air.

The model immediately fought back, landing at least one strong elbow to the side of his head, sending him running away, in the wake of the model’s curses.

The feisty 21-year-old even tried to go after him, before her team held her back and escorted her into a car.
ABC News has reached out to Sediuk for comment, but did not immediately hear back.

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Kate Winslet’s Success Is the Perfect Revenge Against Her Former Bullies

Douglas Gorenstein/NBC(NEW YORK) — The saying “the best revenge is living well” rings true for Kate Winslet; the Oscar winner says there was no better comeuppance for the girls who picked on her in her past, than her present.

“I was kind of bullied when I was younger, actually at school,” Winslet told Billy Bush on Today, while promoting her new movie The Dressmaker.

Winslet said she was teased, “For being chubby, you know,” adding, “I had girls who were envious of me because I was acting a little bit as a teenager.”

The Titanic star smiled, “This is my revenge. This right here, this lovely career I have been blessed with. I have healthy children. You know, I have a really happy life and, to me, it’s like, ‘Well, look at me now girls!'”

Incidentally, in The Dressmaker, Winslet plays a seamstress who returns to her small Australian town to look after her ailing mother — and get even with her former bullies.

The movie, which also stars Liam Hemsworth, opens Friday.

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Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s Wax Figures Have Split, Too

Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images(LONDON) — More sad news for Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt: Their wax figures have also split.

The Madame Tussauds wax museum in London has announced it has separated its figures for the two stars in the wake of the real-life couple’s breakup, revealed earlier this week.

“Following the news that has shocked celebrity watchers worldwide, we can confirm we have separated Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s figures,” a tweet from the museum posted on Wednesday reads.

The message is accompanied by a photo of the figures, now standing several feet apart, with a Robert Pattinson figure located in between them, for some reason.

Jolie filed for divorce on Monday, citing irreconcilable differences.

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“Cosby Show” Star Malcolm-Jamal Warner Reflects on the Sitcom’s Legacy

Frank Carroll/NBCU Photo Bank(NEW YORK) — On the 32nd anniversary of the premiere of The Cosby Show Tuesday, actor Malcolm-Jamal Warner reflected on the show that made him a household name.

In spite of “the unfortunate controversy plaguing this show’s legacy” — a clear reference to Bill Cosby’s ongoing legal battles — Warner, who played son Theo Huxtable on the show, noted on Instagram that the sitcom had a huge societal impact during its eight years on the air.

The fictional Huxtable family, he added, “forced white America and black America to recognize the black upper middle class, shedding light on the fact that black folks did live like the Huxtables and inspiring many more to achieve that ‘American Dream.'”

“However, I’m conflicted celebrating this post [because] with that said, it’s obvious that the world we live in still has much more work to do,” he wrote. “The show has not prevented black men from being shot by police even if their hands are up. The impact of the show has not protected black men and black women from the confusion, intimidation, sheer hatred, and downright ignorance of a large part of white America (and in some cases, black America). The struggle continues.”

Though Warner did not discuss specific conflicts between police and black Americans in his post, he reflected on the state of race relations in this country, noting that “black people [are] still fighting ignorance and hatred.”

“We HAVE come a long way in this country that we helped build and that should be celebrated, while at the same [time] recognizing we still have a long way to go. And fighting and beefing with each other only gets in the way of collectively paying attention and staying collectively focused on protecting ourselves from the forces and people seriously trying to hurt us,” he wrote.

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Avengers Assemble for Joss Whedon’s Get-Out-the-Vote Video

Fernando Leon/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Avengers writer/director Joss Whedon is urging people to get out and vote, and he’s enlisted some of his crime-fighting friends to give him a hand.

Robert Downey, Jr., Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson — who play Iron Man, The Hulk and Black Widow, respectively, in the Avengers movies — are joined by a Hollywood who’s who in the first of a series of pro-Hillary Clinton videos created by Whedon to underscore the consequences of not voting in November.

While not mentioning the Democratic presidential nominee’s opponent, Donald Trump, by name, Iron Man actor Don Cheadle makes reference to a “racist abusive coward who could permanently damage the fabric of our society.”

Martin Sheen notes, “We cannot pretend both sides are equally unfavorable.”

Other notable stars appearing in the clip, funded by a super PAC Whedon created, include Keegan-Michael Key, James Franco, Julianne Moore, Leslie Odom, and Neil Patrick Harris.

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“Charlie’s Angels” Celebrates 40th Anniversary

L-R: Jaclyn Smith, Farrah Fawcett and Kate Jackson; ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Happy anniversary, angels!

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the premiere of the original Charlie’s Angels TV series. The ABC show, which launched September 22, 1976 (a pilot film aired the previous March), initially starred Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith as three “angels” hired by a mysterious millionaire — Charlie, voiced by John Forsythe — to work for his detective agency.

They were assisted by Charlie’s assistant, Bosley, played by David Doyle.

Fawcett, with her famous blonde locks, became an icon thanks to her role on Charlie’s Angels — and the poster of her posing in a red swimsuit that ended up on bedroom walls across the country.

Fawcett quit after one season to pursue a film career, resulting in a legal dispute over her contract. She was replaced by Cheryl Ladd, though she made occasional guest appearances later on.

There were a few more casting changes to come, with the departure of Jackson and the additions of Shelley Hack and then Tanya Roberts, before Charlie’s Angels signed off after five seasons.

Sex appeal was a big part of Charlie’s Angels, and inspired one NBC executive to refer to it and other ABC programs at that time with female leads as “jiggle” television. It’s a phrase that’s also been ascribed to the work of Charlie’s Angels producer Aaron Spelling, whose credits also include The Love Boat, Dynasty and Beverly Hills, 90210.

Charlie’s Angels spawned a hit film in 2000 that starred Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu as the angels, and Bill Murray as Bosley. A sequel, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, followed in 2003, with Bernie Mac replacing Murray. A reboot directed by Elizabeth Banks is in the works.

Charlie’s Angels also returned to the small screen in 2011 for a short-lived ABC remake featuring Minka Kelly.

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