When Tim Burton's 2010 live-action version of "Alice in Wonderland" raked in a billion dollars there was no question that Disney would pounce on the opportunity for a sequel. Helpfully, Lewis Carroll did write a second book about Alice and her adventures in Wonderland, "Through the Looking-Glass," but it proves to be only a suggestion for the film, which arrives this weekend, to a very diminished return. It feels reverse-engineered to fit a release date, with a story that, though it takes wild liberties with the book's plot, manages to feel largely unimaginative and low-stakes.
It didn't take long for Whit Stillman to work Jane Austen into his movies. It happened in his debut, 1990's Oscar-nominated indie "Metropolitan," in a scene with a New York debutante and a Princeton freshman talking about the English author's "Mansfield Park" and its "virtuous heroine," Fannie Price.
There's a salient fact about Rob Reiner's "Being Charlie" that's hard to ignore. The heartfelt, often harrowing drama about a teenager's descent into hopelessness, drug addiction, and self-hatred is based on the experiences of Reiner's 22-year-old son, Nick, who co-wrote the screenplay.
PBS will air a film in September about an American couple that spent two years rescuing Jews in Europe before and after the start of World War II, made by the couple's grandson with documentarian Ken Burns.
British actor Ian McKellen has criticized India's use of a British colonial law to crack down on homosexuals, saying in an interview with a Mumbai newspaper published Tuesday that "India needs to grow up."
In its first weekend in theaters, "The Angry Birds Movie" soared past "Captain America: Civil War," dethroning the superhero pic from its first place run with $38.2 million to "Captain America's" $32.9 million, according to studio actuals released Monday.
The news from Pakistan is often bad. Suicide bombers killing civilians. Islamist radicals gaining influence. Hunger and disease stalking teeming cities and tumbledown slums. Endless government corruption and mismanagement.
Parents need to know that "The Angry Birds Movie" is a loud, silly, sometimes crude - and sometimes funny - animated film based on the popular app. The main character, Red (Jason Sudeikis), is truly an angry bird: He tries to exist in polite society, but his bad attitude won't let him, so he's forced into anger-management class. As you might expect, there are plenty of scenes of birds being kicked, punched, and hurled through the air, as well as explosions. Eggs are stolen from their parent birds and put in peril, and their parents are visibly upset. There's also some drinking (out of coconuts, etc.) and few sexual situations/innuendoes (which will likely go over many kids' heads), including an unpleasant Peeping Tom scene. Language includes "idiot," "weirdos," quite a few "butt" jokes, and cursing stand-ins like "pluck my life." Although there's only one main female character, the movie has some messages about taking responsibility and not judging others. But mostly its goal is to be funny - putting it squarely in the category of movies that kids will like and parents will tolerate.
The opportunity to make a feature film is, for most directors, the ultimate grail, a pearl without price, but for Dutch animator Michael Dudok de Wit, it's always been an offer he felt he had to refuse. Until he couldn't.
If your child has trouble going to sleep, some scientists have a suggestion: leave them alone. In a study published in the journal Pediatrics Tuesday, Australian researchers tested various methods for training children to sleep more easily at night. Three months into the study, babies who were left alone for periods of time after putting them to bed dozed off about 15 minutes faster than the babies in the other test groups.
Nabil K. Marknmark@centredaily.com
Trying to get your baby to sleep? Let them cry it out