Widening the thematic scope without sacrificing too much of the claustrophobia that made the original 1979 Alien universally spooky Prometheus takes the trophy for this summer's most adult-oriented blockbuster entertainment. The movie will leave your mouth agape for its entire runtime first with its majestic exploration of an alien planet and conjectures on the origins of the human race second with its gross-out body horror that leaves no spilled gut to the imagination. Thin characters feel more like pawns in Scott's sci-fi prequel but stunning visuals shocking turns and grand questions more than make up for the shallow ensemble. "Epic" comes in many forms. Prometheus sports all of them.
Based on their discovery of a series of cave drawings all sharing a similar painted design Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) are recruited by Weyland to head a mission to another planet one they believe holds the answers to the creation of life on Earth. Along for the journey are Vickers (Charlize Theron) the ruthless Weyland proxy Janek (Idris Elba) a blue collar captain a slew of faceless scientists and David (Michael Fassbender) HAL 9000-esque resident android who awakens the crew of spaceship Prometheus when they arrive to their destination. Immediately upon descent there's a discovery: a giant mound that's anything but natural. The crew immediately prepares to scope out the scene zipping up high-tech spacesuits jumping in futuristic humvees and heading out to the site. What they discover are the awe-inspiring creations of another race. What they bring back to the ship is what they realize may kill their own.
The first half of Prometheus could be easily mistaken for Steven Spielberg's Alien a sense of wonder glowing from every frame not too unlike Close Encounters. Scott takes full advantage of his fictional settings and imbues them with a reality that makes them even more tantalizing. He shoots the vistas of space and the alien planet like National Geographic porn and savors the interior moments on board the Prometheus full of hologram maps sleeping pods and do-it-yourself surgery modules with the same attention. Prometheus is beautiful shot in immersive 3D that never dampers Dariusz Wolski's sharp photography. Scott's direction seems less interested in the run-or-die scenario set up in the latter half of the film but the film maintains tension and mood from beginning to end. It all just gets a bit…bloodier.
Jon Spaihts' and Damon Lindelof's script doesn't do the performers any favors shuffling them to and fro between the ship and the alien construction without much room for development. Reveals are shoehorned in without much setup (one involving Theron's Vickers that's shockingly mishandled) but for the most part the ensemble is ready to chomp into the script's bigger picture conceits. Rapace is a physical performer capable of pulling off a grisly scene involving an alien some sharp objects and a painful procedure (sure to be the scene of the blockbuster season. Among the rest of the crew Fassbender's David stands out as the film's revelatory performance delivering a digestible ambiguity to his mechanical man that playfully toys with expectations from his first entrance. The creature effects in Prometheus will wow you but even Fassbender's smallest gesture can send the mind spinning. The power of his smile packs more of a punch than any facehugger.
Much like Lindelof's Lost Prometheus aims to explore the idea of asking questions and seeking answers and on Scott's scale it's a tremendous unexpected ride. A few ideas introduced to spur action fall to the way side in the logic department but with a clear mission and end point Prometheus works as a sweeping sci-fi that doesn't require choppy editing or endless explosions to keep us on the edge of our seats. Prometheus isn't too far off from the Alien xenomorphs: born from existing DNA of another creature the movie breaks out as its own beast. And it's wilder than ever.
Benicio Del Toro needs to allow his broken wrist to heal for at least one month longer before he returns to the set of his new film, The Hunted, Reuters reports. Del Toro, who is wearing a sling during a trip to Cuba to introduce free screenings of Traffic, broke his wrist in April during a fight scene with The Hunted costar Tommy Lee Jones.
Radio commentator Paul Harvey will receive outpatient surgery later this month to fix a vocal cord damaged by a virus, The Associated Press reports. Harvey, famous for his The Rest of the Story radio program, went off the air in May and will likely return at the end of August.
Warning to celebrities everywhere: think twice the next time that you stop to sign an autograph. Rap mogul Sean "Puffy" Combs stopped Tuesday to give his John Hancock to fans in New York, only to be entrapped by a process server, according to the New York Post's PageSix.com. Kim Porter, the mother of Combs' youngest son, Christian, is reportedly suing Combs for child support. Porter wants more than the $7,000 a month that Combs currently pays.
Former Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith must pay $541,000 in attorney's fees, a Texas judge said Tuesday, Reuters reported. Smith also must pay an unspecified part of the $1.2 million in court costs stemming from her six-year fight over the fortune of her late husband, oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall III. A Los Angeles bankruptcy judge awarded Smith $475 million from the estate in June. That decision is now being reviewed following an appeal by Marshall's son, Pierce, who contends that Smith, 33, is a golddigger. Smith married the wheelchair-bound Marshall when she was 26 and he was 89.
Paula Poundstone has postponed a comedy tour after pleading not guilty last week to charges of committing lewd acts on a child and child endangerment, People magazine reports. She is in rehab for treatment of alcohol abuse, her attorney said Monday, and will return to court July 30.
Harrison Ford once again came to the rescue of a hiker in trouble. He helped locate a missing Utah Boy Scout who wandered off a trail Monday and spent the night alone in the woods of the Yellowstone National Park in Jackson, Wyo., The Associated Press reports. Ford, a part-time Jackson resident, flew his helicopter as part of the search-and-rescue mission. Ford and another searcher found the cold and hungry Cody Clawson, 13, on Tuesday morning about 10 miles from the Boy Scout camp. Last year, Ford rescued a sick hiker stranded on Wyoming's Table Mountain and flew her to a hospital.
Former Little House on the Prairie star Melissa Gilbert is planning to run for president of the factionalized Screen Actors Guild, The Associated Press reports. William Daniels, SAG's current president, has not said whether he would seek a second term. Union members will receive elections ballots in mid-October, with the results scheduled for announcement in early November.
Is one stage big enough for both the so-called King of Pop and the Godfather? Marlon Brando will pay homage to Michael Jackson at the Sept. 7 all-star concert in Jackson's honor, Launch.com reports. The legendary actor will join such other luminaries as Whitney Houston, Britney Spears and Ricky Martin during two concerts scheduled for Sept. 7 and Sept. 10.
DreamWorks will need to pony up $35,000 an hour if it wants Eddie Murphy to continue to act like a donkey. Murphy, Mike Myers and Cameron Diaz are each negotiating a $35,000 hourly fee to lend their voices to the planned Shrek sequel, Variety reports. This could net the trio $5 million each. Final negotiations are set for later this week.
Forget about asking Madonna for a free ticket to her sold-out series of U.S. concerts. The Material Girl turned down requests for complimentary tickets by the likes of Mick Jagger, Elton John and George Michael, who all dug deep into their pockets to pay $125 to catch her perform in London. "If you want a ticket for one of her shows, you have to pay," Madonna spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg told the New York Post.
The Hawaii-set Magnum, P.I. went off the air in 1988, but it's taken star Tom Selleck 13 years to put his Oahu house on the market. Avid fans can snap up Selleck's three-bedroom house for $2.7 million, The Associated Press reports. He bought the house--which overlooks the Kahala coast--in 1981 for $700,000.
Life is not beautiful for Andrew Lloyd Webber. His new musical, the Irish soccer-themed The Beautiful Game, will close Sept. 26 despite good reviews and plenty of awards. The musical is one of many victims of a slump in tourism that has crippled London's West End theater district. But the show will go on: Webber plans to stage the musical next year in Toronto.
The West Coast board of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists approved Tuesday a tentative three-year deal with studios and TV networks, Variety reports. SAG's East Coast board will address the deal--which includes a hike in the minimum pay scale in the ballpark of 3 percent to 3.5 percent annually over three years- on Thursday. Union members will then likely receive mail ballots within three weeks.
Rock and roll veteran John Phillips of the '60s group The Mamas and the Papas died of heart failure Sunday morning at UCLA Medical Center, his spokeswoman Elizabeth Freund told Reuters. The singer was 65.
Born in Parris Island, SC, on Aug. 30, 1935, he became an active participant in the New York folk community in the 1950s. He formed a band called the Journeymen, which included Michelle Phillips, whom he married in 1962.
Phillips then founded and became the main songwriter for the popular California quartet The Mamas and The Papas, whose most well-known tunes included "California Dreamin'," "Monday, Monday" and "Creeque Alley." The rest of the band included Michelle Phillips (they were divorced in 1970), Denny Doherty and "Mama" Cass Elliot, who died in 1974.
The Mamas and the Papas only played for three years, until 1968, but managed to have six top-five hits within that time. Although clearly of the hippie era, their soulful folk sounds were a testament to Phillips' creative influences. The group was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
His friend and producer Harvey Goldberg told Reuters, "There was a sophistication to the style of the melody and lyrics he wrote that almost approaches poetry." Phillips also has written songs for other artists, including the No. 1 hit "Kokomo" for the Beach Boys in 1988.
Ironically, Phillips was on a strong creative streak recently. He had recently completed an album of new material tentatively titled "Slow Starter," and he completed a record he started over 25 years ago with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones called "Pay Pack and Follow." It is set for release in May on Eagle Records in the U.K.
Phillips had received a liver transplant from his years of alcohol and drug abuse. But some tabloid reports suggested Phillips was waiting for another one. Phillips' eldest daughter, Mackenzie Phillips, was with him when he died and said he went peacefully. She said in a statement, "We are all mourning the loss of my Dad. He was a genius and a good man and will be missed. I spent the morning with my sisters Chynna and Bijou. We are all on our way to the beach where we will walk and swim and celebrate our father's life."
The singer/songwriter is survived by his wife, Farnaz, three daughters, Mackenzie, Chynna and Bijou, and two sons, Jeffrey and Tamerlane. His daughter Mackenzie is best known for her stint on the TV sitcom One Day At A Timeand can currently be seen in the Disney Channel's series So Weird. Chynna, another famous daughter, is a member of the reunited trio Wilson Phillips with Carnie and Wendy Wilson, daughters of Beach Boy Brian Wilson.
Unfortunately, we have no interesting Leonardo DiCaprio tidbits to share with you today. Fortunately, we do have a rather lively item about Kate Winslet, who co-starred with Leo in "Titanic," meaning we're within our rights to drop Leo's name many, many times in this story!
Good for us!
Kate Winslet Anyway, about Kate Winslet -- she's pregnant, today's Hollywood Reporter says. The 24-year-old two-time Oscar nominee has been wed to filmmaker James Threapleton since November 1998. This is to be their first child.
No word on Leo's reaction. Also no word if Leo heard the news, if Leo cares or if Leo plans to dine in or out tonight.
As for Winslet, the actress isn't pulling off the career track for the mommy track. The Reporter says she's currently in final talks to star in the historical drama "Enigma" for director Michael Apted ("The World Is Not Enough"). Shooting is scheduled to begin in the spring -- meaning the production would wrap before Winslet's next planned production, her baby. Producers on the project include Mick Jagger, of the formerly rockin' Rolling Stones and Lorne Michaels of the formerly funny "Saturday Night Live."
Leo is not involved in "Enigma."
The British-born Winslet, who became a name brand on these shores after co-starring with Leo(!) in 1997's "Titanic," currently can be seen on screen in "Holy Smoke!," with Harvey Keitel. In "Titanic," Winslet and Leo played young lovers Rose and Jack. She got an Academy Award nomination out of the whole deal; he didn't.
Winslet hubby Threapleton has worked as an assistant director on films such as "The Mummy."
Leo was not in "The Mummy."