Gavin Banek (Ben Affleck) is a young high-powered Wall Street attorney working for his father-in-law's firm. On Good Friday Banek is on FDR Drive on his way to court for a probate case involving a multimillion-dollar trust when he gets distracted on his cell phone. One lane over is Doyle Gibson (Samuel L. Jackson) an insurance company representative and recovering alcoholic. His wife has divorced him and is planning on leaving New York with their two boys for a job in Portland Ore. unless he can convince a family court judge otherwise. He's practicing his speech on his way to court and while switching lanes doesn't notice Banek's silver Mercedes crossing over. The two cars sideswipe each other. Banek is too impatient to trade insurance information and peels off in his car with a cocky "Better luck next time." What he doesn't realize is that he has left a crucial file in the hands of Gibson who is left standing on a median next to his broken car in a downpour. When Banek's attempt to get the file back fails the two men engage in a bitter war of revenge.
Ben Affleck (Pearl Harbor) plays lawyer Gavin Banek a man quickly disillusioned not only by his profession but to a certain extent life. Banek is a complex character: Underneath the arrogance he displays at the start of the film is a nice guy who grapples with issues like everyone else. With every devious move is a bout of guilt and Affleck does a great job reflecting that in his character. Samuel L. Jackson (The Caveman's Valentine) is equally impressive as Doyle Gibson a recovered alcoholic trying to win back his family. Jackson plays Gibson's character with such earnestness you may find yourself taking his side. Both Affleck and Jackson handle their characters' duality delicately and convincingly. The supporting cast members also deliver superior performances especially Toni Collette (Shaft) who plays Banek's co-worker mistress--and ironically--his moral compass and Sydney Pollack (Random Hearts) his corrupt father-in-law and boss. Also look for good performances from William Hurt (A.I.: Artificial Intelligence) and Amanda Peet (Saving Silverman).
In his screenwriting debut Chap Taylor delivers a blunt and hauntingly realistic portrait of what happens when two decent guys are suddenly backed into corners. The story's intensity mounts almost inconspicuously as the two men carry on their hostilities swapping offensive and defensive positions as they try to destroy each other. This aspect of the film not only makes the characters more relatable but it also builds suspense. Each time one of them is ready to end the petty quarrel he receives a blow from the other which in turn makes them both more vengeful. Because the film takes place in one day director Roger Michell (Notting Hill) takes advantage of the time element in the film--a crucial component. With each threat for example is an or else: "It will take me half an hour to get to my bank " Gibson tells Banek when the cards are in his favor. "If my credit's not on by the time I get there I'll destroy the file." Changing Lanes effectively portrays characters that are not all bad and not all good--something many recent films have attempted to do unsuccessfully.
Singer-actress Courtney Love is being sued for failing to pay more than $40,000 in rent for a Vancouver home she rented while working in the on the film 24 Hours, The Associated Press reports. Love was to pay owner Peter Ashby $26,500 for a period from April 20 through June 7, with a $15,000 deposit. In a statement, Love said the agreement was subject to her approval of the home, which she had not seen. The singer and her daughter moved out after one day, saying the mansion was too big and had too many stairs. She has asked the court to dismiss the legal action.
Radio personality Garrison Keillor had surgery Wednesday for a common valve repair and is expected to make a full recovery, AP reports. Keillor, 58, has hosted A Prairie Home Companion on Minnesota Public Radio since the show began airing in 1974. Keillor also is the author of several books and hosts the daily five-minute radio show The Writer's Almanac.
Charlton Heston and science fiction writer Ray Bradbury are trying to save the Cinerama in Omaha, Neb., from demolition, AP reports. The Indian Hills Theater was built in 1962, but costs to renovate it would be too high. The Methodist Health System bought the bankrupt theater and intends to turn it into a parking lot for its nearby nursing college. Kirk Douglas, Janet Leigh, Patricia Neal and film critic Leonard Maltin also have joined forces to save the theater, which is still capable of showing films on its 70-foot-wide, curved, floor-to-ceiling screen.
Singer-actress Jennifer Lopez is in talks to star in a modern Cinderella tale by director John Hughes, Variety reports. Hughes will write and produce the romantic comedy for Revolution Studios and could begin filming in 2002. Lopez will play a young dreamer who gets a job as a chambermaid in a luxury hotel, meets a British chap and falls in love. Hilary Swank was originally set to star in the project.
Musicians Moby, Beastie Boys, Alanis Morissette, the Dave Matthews Band, Tom Petty, Trey Anastasio, Jackson Brown and James Taylor have formed a coalition named the New Power Project to urge the president to develop a more responsible energy policy, Rolling Stone magazine reports. The group plans to use their tours and Web sites to educate listeners about oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic Wildlife Refuge and renewable energy sources like solar and wind energy. They also will circulate petitions to be sent to congress and the Bush administration. More information is available at www.saveourenvironment.org.
Rapper Eminem and Australian Prime Minister John Howard are involved in a war of words, BBC News reports. The feud erupted after the rapper's first show in Melbourne, Australia, when he joked to an audience that he wanted to buy a house and move to the continent, but that he didn't think the prime minister would like it. Howard warned that Eminem was still on probation and could be thrown out by immigration ministers. He has publicly said he does not like Eminem's music or lyrics, and the illusions to violence that are involved in his performance.
Mark Wahlberg wants to help inner-city youths stay out of trouble, AP reports. On Thursday, Wahlberg announced that the Mark Wahlberg Foundation would raise and distribute funds to youth service programs. The actor credits the Col. Daniel Marr Boys and Girls Club in the Boston's Dorchester neighborhood for helping him turn his life around.
Volume.com will feature an exclusive webcast of a Mos Def benefit concert with Jack Johnson, starting July 27. Filmed at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, features Mos Def and his new group Jack Johnson with members of Living Colour and P-Funk and includes performances of Ms. Fat Booty and Umi Says. Information and registration for the exclusive webcast is available at http://www.volume.com/mosdef. The concert will be available online through August.
Chap Taylor has written screenplays for all of the major studios and for such producers as Brian Grazer, Scott Rudin, Irwin Winkler and Arnold Kopelson. He co-wrote the 2002 Paramount release Changing Lanes, starring Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson. He did uncredited work on National Treasure, Behind Enemy Lines and the remake of the horror classic, The Omen. He most recently adapted the best seller Gideon's Sword for Michael Bay at Paramount. He is currently developing an action-drama for the FX cable network and created the comic book series Haunted City, which is being developed as both a feature film franchise and a television series with director/producer McG