Zak Gibbs (Jesse Bradford) finds what looks like a wristwatch while scavenging through a box of his father's junk. What he doesn't know is that the watch is actually a device that makes its wearer move so quickly that the rest of the world appears to be moving in slow motion. The device was sent to his father (Robin Thomas) a science professor and dilettante inventor by a former student (French Stewart) who is being held captive by an evil corporation. Now the evildoers want their watch back and kidnap the professor while Zak unaware that his father is in grave danger runs around town with a cutie pie exchange student (Paula Garces) freezing time. Of course the two teens eventually join forces and save the day. Not only is the film's plot is so unbelievably implausible the characters are ridiculously typecast. The most insulting is Zak's black friend Meeker (Garikayi Mutambirwa) who dreams of winning a DJ competition. Eager to help him win Zak and his gal pal go into hypertime and make like puppeteers moving Meeker's arms and legs so that in real time it appears as though he's a good dancer.
Jesse Bradford (Bring It On) is the most redeemable thing in this film. His character Zak is a conventional teen who is smart but not brilliant and clever without being a hero. But unfortunately Bradford is stuck in this mess of a movie acting alongside the pretty but frothy Paula Garces. Like most girls in the movies nowadays her character Francesca de la Cruz is a vixen that cleverly puts guys in their places and can single-handedly beat up a villain. French Stewart is Dr. Earl Dopler the watch's creator. Although his brainy character is the opposite of his airheaded Harry on Third Rock From the Sun Stewart seems like he is the same persona simply reading a different script. Robin Thomas (The Contender) and Julia Sweeney (Whatever It Takes) play Zak's parents. Both are pretty standard fare: Thomas the parent married to his work at the expense of his relationship with Zak while Sweeney is a regular June Cleaver type.
Why Jonathan Frakes better known as Commander Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation or anyone for that matter would put their names on this project is unfathomable. From the hideously flashy and noisy opening credits to the predictable denouement Clockstoppers is about as entertaining as nails scraping against a chalkboard. The ridiculous story accompanied by flimsy special effects was penned by too many writers to mention. This may explain the massive plot inconsistencies--are they not supposed to count because this film is aimed at younger viewers? At one point Zak comes to the realization that for others to come in and out of hypertime they must be touching him. But there are several instances throughout the film that clearly contradict this. The watch also makes its users age rapidly but seems to spare Zak his friends and the evildoers of this fate. And is there no gravity in hypertime? Zak and Francesca were able to toss Meeker around the stage like he was weightless. And is Meeker a typical cheery Jamaican caricature with thick dreadlocks in the film for no other reason than to offend? His character disappears halfway through the film after being redeemed by his white rescuers.
Erika is a gifted pianist in her 40s who teaches at a prestigious music school in Vienna. But her private life is far from gilded. She lives in a cramped apartment with her overbearing mother and secretly visits the local porn parlor to watch hard-core movies. She is also masochistically driven to inflict harm on her own body and to be a Peeping Tom at the local drive-in where she watches a couple making love in their car. After she reluctantly supports the acceptance of handsome young pianist Walter as a student at the conservatory they enter a twisted and abusive sadomasochistic relationship in spite of Walter's apparent genuine love for the older Erika. The piano teacher's pathology is so extreme that she surreptitiously puts cut glass into the coat pocket of another student who then ruins her playing hand when she thrusts it into the pocket. This disturbed and sadistic heroine's despicable and graphic behavior resonates way beyond the film's wonderful music and great performances bringing down what would otherwise be a quality movie.
Isabelle Huppert one of France's greatest and most prolific film actresses is extraordinary in what can only be described as an extraordinarily challenging role. She gives a terrific and convincing performance as does Benoit Magimel as the handsome young piano student who falls under her diabolic spell and into her sick and manipulative web of erotic shenanigans. An intense turn from French legend Annie Girardot as Huppert's controlling mother is also top-notch.
German director Michael Haneke does a fine and convincing job directing the peculiar goings-on but must also take the rap as having anointed himself the adapter of this strange novel by Elfriede Jelinek. Haneke directs his actors convincingly and intriguingly and his adaptation also convinces more thanks to the actors than to direction or the underlying material. Haneke's evocation of the world of classical music and training including a soundtrack rich in the music of such masters as Schubert Bach and Beethoven and shots of musicians performing these beloved works is effective especially as counterpoint to the far-from-lofty teacher who is an ironic cog in this sublime process.
Actress Anne Heche will go on national television tonight to talk about how the sexual abuse she suffered from her father until she was 12 drove her "insane," Reuters reported.
"I remember entering the bed with him many times. I went through fighting to get him off me. I went through screaming at my mother. I went through the terror of thinking I was going to die. I went through thoughts of wanting to die," the actress confesses.
Heche, 32, who married cameraman Coleman Laffoon on Saturday, also tells Barbara Walters on ABC's 20/20 that she suffered from a split personality. Her alter ego's name was Celestia and she talked to God.
The actress will also talk about her mental breakdown, which lasted until after her breakup with comedian Ellen DeGeneres, who she touts as "the best sex I ever had," The New York Post reported.
Oscar-winning actress Geena Davis married her surgeon boyfriend of two years, Dr. Reza Jarrahy, 30, on Saturday in a small private ceremony in Wainscott, N.Y., her publicist has confirmed. "We are very happy and we look forward to spending the rest of our lives together," the couple said in a brief statement. This is the fourth marriage for Davis, 45, who was previously married to restaurant manager Richard Emmolo, actor Jeff Goldblum and director Renny Harlin.
The four-foot, one-inch tall Howard Stern sidekick known as "Hank the Dwarf" died Tuesday at the age of 39. The cause of his death is still undisclosed. Hank appeared more than two dozen times on the Howard Stern radio show, always wearing his infamous pink bunny suit. Ironically, he was voted the Most Beautiful Person in the World in People magazine's 1998 poll.
Reverend Gesner Jean, a Newark minister and father of the hip-hop star Wyclef Jean died at a South Orange, N.J. hospital after an accident that pinned him between his garage door and a car. Police are still investigating the accident, The Associated Press reported.
The Gospel Music Association announced on Tuesday that it will induct the king of rock n' roll, Elvis Presley, into its Hall of Fame. Presley will be honored along with other musicians including Doris Akers, Wendy Bagwell & The Sunliters, Keith Green, Kurt Kaiser, Larry Norman, The Rambos and Albertina Walker. "This year's class of inductees is outstanding and represents the wide diversity and musical heritage of Christian and gospel music," GMA President Frank Breeden told AP. The induction ceremony will take place in Nashville, Tenn. on Nov. 27.
Kenneth Branagh received an honorary degree on Sunday from The University of Birmingham for helping to popularize the work of William Shakespeare, Reuters reported. The actor has brought Shakespeare's plays to mainstream audiences in film adaptations such as Henry V and Much Ado About Nothing. "I am delighted to be associated with an institute that has done so much to further cooperation between the theatre and academic life," Branagh said in a statement.
Director Spike Lee will be honored by the Directors Guild of America on Nov. 17 for "ushering in a climate of newfound respect for African-American filmmakers and actors," USA Today reported on Tuesday.
Eminem and his mentor, Dr. Dre, will take the stage at the Michael Jackson 30-year celebration, being held on Sept. 7 and 10 at New York's Madison Square Garden, ABCNEWS.com reported. It is still unclear what the rapper will perform at the event.
Mariah Carey has postponed a Sept. 12 interview with ABC News' Barbara Walters because "she needs more time to rest," Carey's spokeswoman Cindi Berger said in a statement. The 31-year-old singer has been staying with her mother since she was treated at a Connecticut clinic last month for exhaustion. No new date for the interview was given.
Nicole Kidman has joined British singer Robbie Williams on a duet of Frank Sinatra's classic, "Something Stupid," on his Swing When You're Winning Sinatra tribute album. Reuters reported. Williams invited the actress to sing on the album after he heard her singing for the film Moulin Rouge. "I have no desire to be a singer. I just did that for fun. I think he's very talented. I had a giggle," Kidman told Reuters.
Tom Cruise ranks 26th among the Top 50 leaders of the information age according to a list compiled by Vanity Fair magazine this month. Cruise is the only actor and one of the highest new entrants on a list dominated by entertainment and technology companies, Reuters reported. The magazine has called Cruise "one of the savviest businessmen in Hollywood," saying that he negotiated a back-end deal on last year's Mission: Impossible 2 that earned him about $75 million.
ABC is working on a musical adaptation of 1984's Footloose, which could air as a two-hour movie as early as next May, Reuters reported. Unlike the film, however, the characters will actually sing the songs in the movie. The network also announced last week that it is developing updates of Grease, Annie and Cinderella.
After Warner Bros. purchased the movie rights to J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter, the studio commented that they had wanted director Steven Spielberg to take part in the project, hoping he'd turn the film into a major franchise, People magazine reported. Spielberg, however, said that the project wasn't challenging enough for him to undertake. "I purposely didn't want to do the Harry Potter movie because for me, that was shooting ducks in a barrel. Just a slam dunk," he told Vanity Fair magazine. "It's just like withdrawing a billion dollars and putting it into your personal bank accounts. There is no challenge," he said.