'Twilight' actors Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner at Chinese Theatre handprints ceremony
Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner have joined movie luminaries of the distant past – and the not-so-distant past – by having their handprints “immortalized” in cement at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Speaking of the not-so-distant past, three days ago (Nov. 3) Mickey Rourke left his mark there as well.
Pattinson, Stewart, and Lautner have been doing publicity rounds for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1, which opens Nov. 18, '11, in the United States, and throughout much of the world in mid-to-late November. The Chinese Theatre handprint ceremony is part of that media blitz. (Check out a handful of – negative – early Breaking Dawn - Part 1 reviews further below.)
'Bel Ami' finally gets a distributor
As for Robert Pattinson, he must be particularly happy. Besides having his handprints (quite literally) cemented in Hollywood, his movie Bel Ami, which was shot in 2010, has finally landed a distributor.
In fact, Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod's period drama was acquired by Sony Pictures Worldwide, a distribution arm of one of Hollywood's major studios. Kristin Scott Thomas, Uma Thurman, and Christina Ricci are Pattinson's co-stars. (More details on Bel Ami's international distribution further below.)
Kristen Stewart & Taylor Lautner's recent non-'Twilight' movies
Early in 2010, Taylor Lautner was seen in the all-star comedy-drama Valentine's Day, directed by Garry Marshall, and featuring the likes of Taylor Swift, Jessica Alba, Kathy Bates, Bradley Cooper, Topher Grace, Jennifer Garner, Shirley MacLaine, Julia Roberts, and others.
The final Twilight movie, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 comes out late next year. Both Breaking Dawn movies were directed by Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Kinsey).
Chinese Theatre handprints & footprints: An old tradition
Previous Chinese Theatre ceremony participants range from silent film superstars Norma Talmadge, Mary Pickford, and Douglas Fairbanks to Harry Potter movie franchise stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint.
'Breaking Dawn - Part 1': Early negative reviews
The Chinese Theatre ceremony featuring the cemented handprints of the three Breaking Dawn - Part 1 stars looked quite festive indeed. The early reviews for the film, on the other hand, have been anything but.
Below are three review snippets – all pans – from major trade publications.
'Very lame, and very disappointing' honeymoon
In case The Hollywood Reporter's description of the Cullen couple's honeymoon is accurate, it seems like there should be a special R-rated version of Breaking Dawn coming out on DVD/Blu-ray.
Despite early promises that they would remain faithful to the novel, Bill Condon and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg seemingly want moviegoers to believe that babies are delivered – or, these days, genetically engineered – by storks. (Hence, all the feathers in the bedroom on Isle Esme?)
Of course, if a special DVD version is indeed made available, it could simply be that Summit Entertainment, which hasn't been at all lucky outside the Twilight Saga realm – e.g., The Beaver, Source Code, 50/50, Drive Angry, The Three Musketeers – gotta pay its bills and bonuses. (Think 20th Century Fox's strategy of releasing and rereleasing James Cameron's Avatar on 2D, 3D & 4D DVD.)
And finally, regarding the Rio de Janeiro remark found below, let's not forget that that city's film agency invested $500,000 in Breaking Dawn - Part 1 so the Summit release would feature a couple of “postcard” scenes of the Brazilian metropolis.
Todd McCarthy in The Hollywood Reporter:
“… the happy couple jets off to Rio, which is so little seen it scarcely seems worth the trip. … They skinny dip at night to some incredibly insipid songs, they're very tender and understanding with each other, and then in the morning the bedroom is in total disarray; we never see anything of what came between, no moment of surrender, which is what the series has been building to all along. Where one legitimately hopes to register what Bella feels upon finally giving herself over to what she has so long desired but resisted, all we get are languid and lax interludes of what still seems like puppy love. Very lame, and very disappointing.”
McCarthy adds the following: “After the energy and alertness evident in his previous work as helmer of Gods and Monsters, Kinsey, and Dreamgirls, it looks as though director Bill Condon fell into a trance while making this film – so dirgelike is the pacing, so banal is Melissa Rosenberg's dutiful script on a scene-by-scene, moment-to-moment basis.”
Brent Simon in Screen International:
“Director Bill Condon … forgoes much in the way of subtlety or tension, opting instead for programmatic obviousness. … This also means the performances in Breaking Dawn are largely soapy and melodramatic, especially from Lautner and to a lesser degree Pattinson. Many of the scenarios are dire, of course, but the acting style tilts toward manifestly expressive – inclusive of affected whispers, sneers and shouts – in theory to match the white-hot teen feeling of the conceit. … A more skilled adaptation could plumb this material for more worth; this movie barely scratches the surface.”
Bundle of pain
Justin Chang in Variety:
“Bella Swan kisses abstinence and mortality goodbye in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1, in which the vampire-loving teen gets hitched, knocked up and almost destroyed from within by her little bundle of joy. All the more disappointing, then, that a story so pregnant with dramatic possibilities should wind up feeling like such an unconsummated opportunity. Drawn from Stephenie Meyer's polarizing, weirdly compelling fourth novel, the film is rich in surface pleasures but lacks any palpable sense of darkness or danger, which is a roundabout way of saying that Summit has protected its investment well.”
'Twilight' movies: Hardly the critics' favorites
That many critics would turn up their noses at Breaking Dawn - Part 1 should come as no surprise. Stephenie Meyer's novels have been the target of ridicule, and, eventual Chinese Theatre handprints or no, so have the first three movies based on them: Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight, Chris Weitz's New Moon, and David Slade's Eclipse, all featuring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner.
Of the three, Eclipse is the one that managed to get the most positive – or at least the most lukewarm – notices, partly thanks to several well-staged battle sequences and better than usual special effects.
'Twilight Saga' movies approval rating
Rotten Tomatoes' approval ratings for the Twilight Saga movies are as follows:
- Twilight – 49 percent overall; 53 percent top critics.
- New Moon – 27 percent overall; 42 percent top critics.
- Eclipse – 49 percent overall; 65 percent top critics.
The most curious thing about these percentages is that – and this is something quite unusual – RT's “top critics,” or those from well-established online and print publications, have a consistently greater appreciation (or lesser derision) for the Twilight Saga movies than your average RT critic.
Now, despite the Twilight films' less than stellar critical reception, some were surely hoping that Bill Condon – he of Gods and Monsters, Kinsey, and Dreamgirls – would lift the final two installments in the franchise to a higher cinematic realm. After all, Ian McKellen and Lynn Redgrave (Gods and Monsters), Laura Linney (Kinsey), and Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) were all nominated for Academy Awards; Hudson, in fact, was 2006's Best Supporting Actress winner.
Playing to the fan base
However, those with high expectations will be sorely disappointed if those early reviews are any indication of what's to come.
Not that Twilight fans shall be deterred. Breaking Dawn - Part 1 will surely become a major box office hit, possibly 2011's second biggest blockbuster, behind only Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
The problem is that, as in the past, the next-to-last installment in the Twilight Saga may end up playing mostly to the series' fan base. In other words, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 should open with huge numbers only to plummet a week or so later, much like Twilight, New Moon, and (to a lesser extent) Eclipse (which opened on a Wednesday) before it.
'Breaking Dawn - Part 1' cast
Besides Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, the Breaking Dawn cast includes:
MyAnna Buring. Casey LaBow. Booboo Stewart. Billy Burke. Sarah Clarke. Michael Welch. Charlie Bewley.
Christian Serratos. Christian Camargo. Alex Rice. Justin Chon. Kiowa Gordon. Tyson Houseman. Chaske Spencer. Ty Olsson.
Mia Maestro. Tinsel Korey. Tanaya Beatty. Sebastião Lemos. Carolina Virguez. Gil Birmingham. Alex Meraz. Christopher Heyerdahl.
Sienna Joseph. Mackenzie Foy. Daniel Cudmore. Christie Burke. Julia Jones. Bronson Pelletier. Jamie Campbell Bower.
Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nominee Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air, 2009).
Edward Cullen plays the piano: Deleted 'Twilight' scene
A Twilight aside: As the enamored vampire Edward Cullen, Robert Pattinson leaves his handprints on a grand piano in a nice-looking – but deleted (or mostly cut) – Twilight sequence.
Since his Twilight Saga success, Pattinson has branched out. He has starred in two romantic dramas, Allen Coulter's Remember Me and Francis Lawrence's Water for Elephants, the period piece Bel Ami, and he toplines David Cronenberg's next film, Cosmopolis.
'Bel Ami' distribution worldwide
At the American Film Market currently being held in Santa Monica, Sony Pictures Worldwide has announced the acquisition of the period comedy-drama Bel Ami, filmed in 2010.
Directed by Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod, better known for their stage work, Bel Ami stars Robert Pattinson as the ambitious former soldier Georges Duroy, who, thanks to his good looks and sly character, rises to the heights of 19th-century Parisian society by lighting up the hearts and libidos of numerous influential women.
Pattinson's Bel Ami leading ladies include Kristin Scott Thomas, Uma Thurman, and Christina Ricci. (Ricci was mentioned on this site a little while ago, in connection with the selling of the Samuel-Novarro House in the Hollywood Hills.)
Rachel Bennette was credited for the adaptation Guy du Maupassant's novel.
As per The Hollywood Reporter, Bel Ami will start playing overseas at the end of February 2012. International buyers include the following:
- Studio Canal in the U.K., Germany, and France.
- RaiCinema in Italy.
- California Filmes in Latin America.
- Hopscotch in Australia.
- Golden Scene in Hong Kong & Macau.
- Independent in Benelux.
- Ozen Film in Turkey.
- Lusomundo in Portugal.
- Impuls in Switzerland.
- Scanbox in Scandinavia.
- Nu Metro in South Africa.
- Unikorea Culture and Art in South Korea.
- SSG in Taiwan.
- Central Partnership in Russia and much of the former Soviet Union.
- Ablo in Eastern Europe.
- Front Row in the Middle East.
- PVR in India.
- PT Amero in Indonesia.
- Pioneer in the Philippines.
- Passion Encore in Singapore.
- Hollywood Entertainment in Greece and Cyprus.
Curiously, Japan and Spain aren't mentioned above.
Bel Ami is a Red Wave Films production in association with XIX Film, Protagonist Pictures, and RaiCinema.
Rome Film Festival
Bella, Edward, and a vibrator. No, not all together; after all, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 is rated PG-13. It's just that the eclectic Rome Film Festival, currently being held in the Italian capital, has screened 15 minutes from Breaking Dawn: Part 1, in addition to Tanya Wexler's comedy about the invention of the vibrator, Hysteria, featuring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy (photo).
Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner were elsewhere, but Jackson Rathbone and Nikki Reed were in attendance at the Breaking Dawn screening. Also in attendance were Hysteria players Gyllenhaal and Rupert Everett.
Hysteria is one of the 15 films in competition in Rome. Others include Pål Sletaune's Babycall, with Noomi Rapace and Kristoffer Joner; Fred Schepisi's The Eye of the Storm, with Geoffrey Rush and Charlotte Rampling; Cédric Kahn's Une vie meilleure, with Guillaume Canet and Leïla Bekhti; and Pawel Pawlikowski's La Femme du cinquième, with Ethan Hawke and Kristin Scott Thomas.
The Rome Film Festival runs until Nov. 4.
Picture of Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner handprints' ceremony via the Chinese Theatre's Facebook page.
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 image: Andrew Cooper / Summit Entertainment.
Image of Robert Pattinson as Georges Duroy in Bel Ami: Red Wave Films.
Robert Pattinson leaving his handprints on the piano in Twilight: Summit Entertainment.
Chinese Theatre website.