Bob Mondello http://wvasfm.org en Sci-Fi Kid Flick 'Earth To Echo' Broadens The 'E.T.' Formula http://wvasfm.org/post/sci-fi-kid-flick-earth-echo-broadens-et-formula Movie theaters were swarming with <em>Transformers</em> this past weekend, and that'll also be true over the July 4 weekend. So this may not seem to be the best moment to bring out a sci-fi flick made on a budget that wouldn't cover catering for Optimus Prime. But "small" has its virtues sometimes, and the kid flick <em>Earth to Echo</em> is one of those times.<p>It opens with eighth-grader Tuck about to lose his two best buds. Their families are moving from Nevada, and it's their last night together, so they're doing what kids do — taping goodbyes for YouTube. Wed, 02 Jul 2014 21:14:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 50783 at http://wvasfm.org Sci-Fi Kid Flick 'Earth To Echo' Broadens The 'E.T.' Formula A Leap Too Far? 'Venus' And 'Jersey Boys' Bounce From Stage To Screen http://wvasfm.org/post/leap-too-far-venus-and-jersey-boys-bounce-stage-screen An intellectual play about sadomasochism, a musical about a '60s pop group, and a pair of famously cinematic directors. There's always going to be a bit of a leap when a play moves from stage to screen — but Roman Polanski's <em>Venus in Fur</em> and Clint Eastwood's <em>Jersey Boys</em> leap a little further than usual.<p>A director is casting a new play at the start of <em>Venus in Fur,</em> and auditions have been ghastly. Fri, 20 Jun 2014 20:08:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 50102 at http://wvasfm.org A Leap Too Far? 'Venus' And 'Jersey Boys' Bounce From Stage To Screen It's A Summer Sequel Spectacular With 'Dragon' And 'Jump Street' http://wvasfm.org/post/its-summer-sequel-spectacular-dragon-and-jump-street In a summer of sequels — 16 in all — this weekend is the sequelliest, offering blockbuster deja-vu (<em>How To Train Your Dragon 2</em> AND <em>22 Jump Street</em>) as well as a few object lessons in how to train your audience. One film goes all meta with its concept, the other goes back to basics, and for a change, both approaches work.<p>Meta's the mantra for Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who're managing three franchises these days — <em>Lego</em>, <em>Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs</em>, and <em>Jump Street</em> — and who're going to have to get off the sequel train pretty soon. Fri, 13 Jun 2014 18:18:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 49697 at http://wvasfm.org It's A Summer Sequel Spectacular With 'Dragon' And 'Jump Street' Mike Myers Steps Behind The Camera With 'Supermensch' http://wvasfm.org/post/mike-myers-steps-behind-camera-supermensch When you've played Austin Powers, Shrek, The Cat in the Hat and the title dweeb in <em>Wayne's World</em>, what do you do for an encore? If you're comedian Mike Myers, the next logical step, evidently, is to direct a documentary about your agent. Fri, 06 Jun 2014 18:48:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 49329 at http://wvasfm.org Mike Myers Steps Behind The Camera With 'Supermensch' James McAvoy As A Creep? In 'Filth,' The Anti-Typecasting Works http://wvasfm.org/post/james-mcavoy-creep-filth-anti-typecasting-works Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) swaggers down the street at the start of <em>Filth</em> swiping balloons from children, ogling their mothers, flipping off foreigners and smirking as he ticks down a list of what makes Scotland a place where he feels he can be cock-of-the-walk.<p>"This nation brought the world television, the steam engine, golf, whiskey, penicillin and, of course, the deep-fried Mars bar," he snorts. "We're such a uniquely successful race."<p>He's the kind of soulless, racist, drug-and-alcohol-addled operator you might call the police to protect you from. Fri, 30 May 2014 21:05:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 48972 at http://wvasfm.org James McAvoy As A Creep? In 'Filth,' The Anti-Typecasting Works Multiplexes Heat Up For Summer Blockbuster Season http://wvasfm.org/post/multiplexes-heat-summer-blockbuster-season Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. The long Memorial Day weekend usually marks the start of Hollywood blockbuster season. But it's been well underway with "Godzilla" and "X-Men" already in theaters. That said, there are another 87 would-be hits scheduled before Labor Day. We asked critic Bob Mondello for a selective preview.<p>BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: What's the plural of apocalypse? Apocali (ph)? Apocalypses (ph)? Whatever. A whole bunch of coming to the multiplex. Mon, 26 May 2014 20:59:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 48694 at http://wvasfm.org Seeing The New 'X-Men'? Take Along A Teenager To Explain http://wvasfm.org/post/seeing-new-x-men-take-along-teenager-explain The final "X" in the 20th Century Fox logo glows for an extra second as <em>X-Men: Days of Future Past</em> gets started, but what follows is darker than dark — a bleak, dire future in which all of Manhattan is a mutant prison camp. Fri, 23 May 2014 20:43:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 48591 at http://wvasfm.org Seeing The New 'X-Men'? Take Along A Teenager To Explain Son Of? Bride Of? Cousin Of? How Many Godzillas Are There, Already? http://wvasfm.org/post/son-bride-cousin-how-many-godzillas-are-there-already The world has already seen 28 Godzilla movies — 29, if you count Roland Emmerich's 1998 Hollywood remake (which most of us don't). So why is another one opening this week?<p>Well, the fiduciary logic is no doubt compelling if you're a studio executive — even that widely derided '90s version made $379 million — but for the rest of us, director Gareth Edwards needs to make a case. He starts in the opening credits, by letting you know that everything you think you know about this story is suspect. Thu, 15 May 2014 18:42:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 48098 at http://wvasfm.org Son Of? Bride Of? Cousin Of? How Many Godzillas Are There, Already? 'Double': Double Toil And Trouble For Eisenberg http://wvasfm.org/post/double-double-toil-and-trouble-eisenberg In <em>The Social Network</em>, Jesse Eisenberg invented Facebook. In <em>Now You See Me</em>, he mastered magic tricks. In <em>Rio</em>, his animated macaw learned to fly, and his Lex Luthor will soon be nemesis-ing the caped crusader in <em>Batman Vs. Superman</em>. Fri, 09 May 2014 16:39:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 47774 at http://wvasfm.org 'Double': Double Toil And Trouble For Eisenberg In 'Belle,' A Complex Life Tangled In Class And Commerce http://wvasfm.org/post/belle-complex-life-tangled-class-and-commerce Here's a unique specialty for a movie studio: slavery films. Last year, Fox Searchlight brought us an Oscar winner about a free black man hauled into 12 years of slavery. Fri, 02 May 2014 20:51:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 47385 at http://wvasfm.org In 'Belle,' A Complex Life Tangled In Class And Commerce