"Ice Age: Continental Drift" Movie Review -- How Many Kisses Do Manny the Mammoth Guy and Friends Get? 

Our favorite sub-zero heroes return for “Ice Age: Continental Drift,’ the fourth installment of the popular franchise. This time, the gang is faced with global disaster involving random unfunny lines and half-baked storytelling.

Directed by Steve Martino and Michael Thurmeier, this new “Ice Age” cements the fact that the series is not aging gracefully. Many of the actors are just going through the motion, reading lines as if they’re by-the-numbers. But thank heaven for Scrat! The sabre-tooth squirrel who’s nuts for nuts saves the day.

Manny the Mammoth Guy (Ray Romano) and his wife Ellie (Queen Latifah) now have a teenage daughter named Peaches (Keke Palmer) who is experiencing the growing pains of falling in love. Meanwhile, Sid the Sloth (John Leguizamo) reunites with his cantankerous grandmother voiced by Wanda Sykes.

The key ingredient of the popularity of the “Ice Age” franchise is its focus on family. Diego, the sabre-toothed tiger voiced by Dennis Leary, says it best. When asked the difference between a pack and family, Diego sums it up by saying “We have each other’s backs.”

Having each other’s backs is what our heroes are good at even if faced with continental cataclysm that threatens to break their family apart. Scrat’s nearly deranged pursuit of the cursed acorn is to be blamed. His quest triggers world-changing consequences that catapult Manny and his crew into a whole new adventure.

One of the problems of the film is its overcrowded cast. Martino and company decide to add new characters that really did not contribute to the film’s narrative. Some of the new cast members work like Jennifer Lopez’s Shira, the sabre-toothed cat who falls in love with Diego. But some fail miserably like Sykes’ uninspired Granny.

The script by Michael Berg and Jason Fuchs offers few expositions and fewer laughs. This fourth film is unsuccessful in meeting the expectations set by the first “Ice Age” movie which is still the best of the bunch.

Borrowing a page from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, the main villain of the film is a pirate named Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage). He’s a prehistoric ape out to get Manny and friends. And just like the recent “Pirates” movie, mermaids make an appearance.

While “Ice Age: Continental Drift” is lacking in the storytelling department, the film provides ample visual splendor to almost forget its shortcoming. The movie uses a beautiful palette to tell the story.

If this is the last film of the franchise, then it is a good ending to a successful run. But the fourth movie offers a twist at the end that may signal a new beginning. Don’t worry, it still features our favorite Scrat.


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Twilight Fan Killed at Comic-Con, Lionsgate Makes Statement 

This is sad. A "Twilight" was struck and killed while crossing the street at the San Diego Convention Center according to the NBC affiliate, KNSD. The fan was camping out to see the films' stars.

Officials have not confirmed the victim's identity but she's a woman in her 40s who "was bleeding heavily from the head when she was transported to Mercy Hospital. She was later pronounced dead at the hospital officials said."

According to the report, the woman was struck by a couple traveling in a Subaru station wagon. They were wearing Comic-con badges and T-shirts and were said to be devastated by the accident.

Now, Lionsgate has released this statement:

Lionsgate, Summit and the entire Twilight community are saddened by the death of a Comic-Con fan today due to a traffic accident during the hours leading up to this year’s convention in San Diego. Our thoughts and condolences go out to the victim’s family and friends. She will be respectfully remembered this Thursday in Hall H.

So "Twilight" fans, and really, any fan enjoying Comic-Con 2012, please be careful! I've crossed those dangerous streets so many times and honestly, your life is worth more than meeting Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner!


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Watch New "Dark Knight Rises' 13-Minute Featurette! It's Quite Revealing! 

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Philip Seymour Hoffman to Play Plutarch Heavensbee in "Hunger Games" Sequel 

It's now official! Philip Seymour Hoffman is joining the cast of "The Hunger Games" sequel, "Catching Fire," as Plutarch Heavensbee, the head gamemaker for the Hunger Games according to THR. The actor received an offer from Lionsgate for the role but he did not officially accept until now.

Hoffman will be joining the cast headed by Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth. The other newbie of the ensemble is Jena Malone who has been offered the role of Johanna Mason.

The studio wants to start production in September with Francis Lawrence attached to direct. "Catching Fire' is schedule for release on November 22nd of next year.

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TCM to Air Ernest Borgnine Marathon! 

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) has announced that an Ernest Borgnine 24-hour marathon has been set! The iconic, Oscar-winning actor died Sunday at age 95, but his brilliant cinematic contribution lives on!

On July 26, TCM will show 10 films starrign Borgnine and will also include replays of the actor's 2009's Private Screenings interview conducted by host Robert Osborne.

Here's the schedule:

6 AM ET, The Catered Affair (1956)
8 AM, The Legend Of Lylah Clare (1968)
10:30 AM, Pay Or Die (1960)
12:30 PM, Torpedo Run (1958)
2:30 PM, Ice Station Zebra (1968)
5:15 PM, The Dirty Dozen (1967)
8 PM, Private Screenings: Ernest Borgnine (2009)
9 PM, Marty (1955)
10:45 PM, From Here To Eternity (1953)
1 AM, The Wild Bunch (1969)
3:30 AM, Bad Day At Black Rock (1955)
5 AM, Private Screenings: Ernest Borgnine (2009)


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