By Colin Greten
When "Pride and Prejudice" and "Atonement" director Joe Wright was picked to helm another piece of classic literature in "Anna Karenina," it came as no surprise who he picked to play his lead. Keira Knightley has seen her acting career flourish in these types of roles. While she has had success in other roles her most critical success comes from her collaborations with Wright, resulting in two Golden Globe nominations and an Oscar nod.
In a recent interview with MTV News Knightley explained how her relationship with her title character, "Anna Karenina" has changed over time. After regrettably dropping out of school ("I was feeling really stupid," she cracked), the actress felt the need to read more books to keep her hesitations at ease. In reading the classic Russian tome, she originally found the character of Anna to be a sweet, innocent girl. However, after rereading the book in preparation for her upcoming role, she found herself hating Anna more than she ever would have thought. She explained that Anna is "not as nice as I thought she was."
Daniel Radcliffe could've done pretty much whatever he wanted after the eight-film "Harry Potter" franchise drew to a close. The young and fabulously wealthy Brit might have jumped headfirst into another studio-driven blockbuster or retreated to a quiet life of attending "Potter" conventions and swimming in a bank vault filled with gold coins. He could have run for prime minister, and won.
But Radcliffe did none of these things. Instead he signed on for a low-budget horror flick called "The Woman in Black," and turned it into a $126-million-grossing, sequel-spawning hit. Big ups to the former boy wizard for spotting hit material where many observers might have seen a curious career choice. For Radcliffe, though, it was all about trying something new -- including fatherhood.
Let me make a statement that, like a penis penetrating a warm apple pie, is anything but subtle and also kind of surprising: "American Reunion" is the best installment of this raunchy franchise since the 1999 original.
Is this something of a backhanded compliment, considering the second film was a letdown, the third was unwatchable, and the subsequent direct-to-DVD flicks simply went unwatched? Sure. "Reunion," nonetheless, has some damn funny moments. Those moments are too often broken up with stretches of needless character development and stilted acting (try taking Tara Reid seriously at this point — I dare you), but when writer/directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg dial into what made the original such a hoot, "American Reunion" delivers the belly laugh-inducing goods. Here are five reasons to check it out this weekend.
The Gang Is Back Together
It's been over a decade since Jason Biggs and Seann William Scott were downing beers and ogling breasts alongside Chris Klein. For those counting along at home, 3,892 days have passed since Reid last tantalized Thomas Ian Nicholas with her version of droopy-lidded sensuality. "Reunion," as the title helpfully implies, brings the whole crew back together, and ya know what? We missed 'em.
OK, so I cried. Quite unexpectedly at the end of "Jeff, Who Lives at Home," Mark and Jay Duplass' seriocomedy about a 30-year-old still living in his mom's basement, a few tears streamed down my cheek. I didn't see that coming — neither the unexpectedly heartstring-tugging ending nor the way I blubbered in the face of the film's emotional catharsis after 83 minutes of laughs and familial confrontation — but it's no big deal. As Mark Duplass told me earlier this week when he stopped by the MTV Newsroom and I confessed to crying, "A wonderful character from 'The Big Lebowski' once said, 'Strong men also cry.' "
That sentiment, it could be argued, has informed all of the Duplass brothers' films, from their 2005 Sundance debut, "The Puffy Chair," up through "Cyrus," a deeply weird, deeply affecting comedy starring Jonah Hill and John C. Reilly. "Jeff," too. The film, which opens in limited release on Friday (March 16), stars Jason Segel as the title character — a guy with too much appreciation for bong hits and not enough for growing up and getting a job. Plus he hates his brother, Pat (Ed Helms), and only begrudgingly (and incompetently) runs errands for his mom (Susan Sarandon). On the day we first meet Jeff, though, he's finally about to burst into action — into life — after so many years spent sitting on the sidelines, getting crazy high.
During our chat, Duplass explained to us why Jeff isn't your familiar cinematic stoner, why the film is so heavily connected to M. Night Shyamalan's "Signs," and what we can expect on the next season of his FX comedy, "The League."