Top Story: Russell Crowe and Wife Expecting
Russell Crowe will tackle a brand new role: fatherhood. The Oscar-winning actor announced Monday he and wife Danielle Spencer are expecting their first child in January, The Associated Press reports. "Danni is 14 weeks and three days. So it is a lot of fun and she is feeling all the effects of it," Crowe told Australia's Channel Nine television. The 37-year-old A Beautiful Mind star married Spencer, 32, on April 7 at his sprawling rural property of Nana Glen near the east Australian beach resort town of Coffs Harbour. AP reports rumors had circulated since June 11 that the couple was expecting a baby.
Oprah Tops VH1 "Greatest Icon" List
What do Oprah Winfrey, Superman and Elvis Presley have in common? They all made VH1's list of 200 Greatest Pop Culture Icons, a 10-episode ranking of actors, musicians, politicians, academics, sports figures and fictional characters. How did VH1 staffers decide the icon-worthy? If you can quote them, reference them with just one name, dress up like them for Halloween and if they have been parodied on Saturday Night Live, chances are they made the list. Talk-show guru Winfrey took the No. 1 spot, followed by Superman and Presley in third place. Some of the oddities on the list include JFK Jr.'s coming in ahead of his father at No. 24, and former President Clinton ranking 18th while former White House intern Monica Lewinsky came in at No. 161. The series debuted Monday on VH1.
IFP Honors Close, Buscemi
Glenn Close and Steve Buscemi will receive this year's Gotham Awards from the Independent Film Project festival, the AP reports. Close has been Oscar-nominated five times for films including The Big Chill,Fatal Attraction and Dangerous Liaisons while Brooklyn native Buscemi is best known for his character roles in films including Fargo and Reservoir Dogs. They and other recipients will be honored at the Sept. 22 ceremony, which will be broadcast Sept. 23 on Bravo and Sept. 28 on the Independent Film Channel.
Coldplay Singer Charged With Malicious Damage
Australian police charged Coldplay singer Chris Martin--Gwyneth Paltrow's boyfriend--with malicious damage Tuesday following a squabble with a photographer at Seven Mile Beach, Reuters reports. Coldplay headlined the Splendour in the Grass music festival at Byron Bay, 500 miles north of Sydney, over the weekend. Though police won't officially release a name yet, sources confirm Martin, 26, was charged after a press photographer's car was window was smashed, which took place after an altercation between the two at around noon Sunday. At a Sydney concert Monday, Martin laughed off his brush with the law, telling the audience the only time he expected to see the police was when he met British rock star Sting's band of the same name.
Studios Launch Anti-Piracy Campaign
Movie studios are set to launch a television and in-theater ad campaign aimed at stopping people from downloading pirated copies of films over the Internet. The spots feature makeup artists, set painters and other craftspeople saying piracy robs them of a living, the AP reports. The 30-second TV ad will have its first run July 24 on all Big Four networks and most cable channels during their first primetime break, sometime after 8 p.m. Meanwhile, the first of several trailers featuring set painter David Goldstein will begin running Friday in most major theater chains nationwide. Each ad ends with the tagline, "Movies. They're worth it."
Role Call: Jolie Joins Alexander, Lawrence in Rage Comedy, More...
Angelina Jolie will play Alexander the Great's mother, Olympias, from his childhood through his reign as the king in Warner Brother's epic Alexander for director Oliver Stone. She joins Colin Farrell as Alexander and Anthony Hopkins as King Ptolemy ... Bad Boys II star Martin Lawrence is set to star in the family comedy Rage Control for DreamWorks Pictures. The film revolves around a legendary college basketball coach who, after a public meltdown, is forced to coach a losing junior varsity team. The project is out to directors and is aiming for a January start date ... Boston Public's Joey McIntyre and That '70s Show's Mila Kunis will star in a feature adaptation of Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding for writer/director Roger Paradiso. The film is based on the long-running interactive stage show that follows the nuptials of two working-class Italian New Yorkers and their families.
Based on the life of New York City police detective Vincent LaMarca City by the Sea vacillates between a true-crime mystery and a family drama. As Vincent (De Niro) investigates the murder of a Long Beach N.Y. drug dealer it becomes painfully clear that his estranged son junkie Joey (James Franco) known on the street as Joey Nova is the prime suspect. Vincent is of course taken off the case but when his partner is killed while pursuing Joey the search becomes the Long Beach police department's top priority--and saving his son from a police department eager for cop-killer blood becomes Vincent's. The fact that Vincent discovers that he has a grandson Angelo doesn't help the situation especially when Joey's supposedly clean ex-junkie girlfriend (Eliza Dushku) leaves the kid at Vincent's apartment when she goes to buy cigarettes and fails to return. Vincent who's always defined himself against his criminal father finds himself forced to decide whether he's a cop or a father and grandfather first a quandary that naturally leads to some pretty compelling if slightly melodramatic scenes for De Niro. Interestingly despite the somber subject matter and the dramatic tone the film still manages a few lighthearted moments which really save it from the pitfalls of its own seriousness.
Sometimes a great cast can make even a mediocre film good and that's what happens in City by the Sea. Even though the dialogue they're given to work with isn't always completely natural--in fact sometimes it's downright contrived--the cast still manages to create a compelling final product. You just can't go wrong with De Niro as a hardened streetwise emotionally distant cop and he makes everyone opposite him look great especially relative newcomer Franco (whose performance as a young James Dean in TNT's James Dean earned him some critical kudos of his own). The young actor swaggers onto the scene like a very young Bob Dylan a hollow-body vintage guitar slung across his back. Of course he's selling it for drugs not heading for a gig. Patti LuPone really sinks her teeth--and catty claws--into her role as LaMarca's bitter ex-wife creating some of the film's most dynamic scenes while Frances McDormand lends her subtly expressive style to the most emotional moments as De Niro's sometime girlfriend Michelle.
Director Michael Caton-Jones delves into the dark side of his imagination with images of a desolate Long Beach: graffiti-covered walls crumbling casinos and a rickety boardwalk--all the detritus of a once-thriving tourist destination. In this grim setting Joey wanders virtually empty streets and beaches where as a child he played happily; meanwhile in Manhattan Vincent is wandering his streets in much the same way. It's an interesting device Caton-Jones uses to show the similarities between the two men and it's as effective at establishing their relationship as the relatively few scenes they have together. At moments like this when the film is making its emotional impact visually it shines; unfortunately City by the Sea relies a little too often on its average dialogue and does a little too much telling and not enough showing.