The thing is Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties doesn’t even have anything to do with the classic Charles Dickens novel. Two Kitties is more a pauper/prince type story. I guess kids probably don’t know what a “pauper” is and well The Prince and the Pussy wouldn’t really work would it? Still they could have at least come up with a clever story to go along with the title. This time around Garfield (Bill Murray) wants to stop Jon (Breckin Meyer) from asking cute-as-a-button vet Liz (Jennifer Love Hewitt) to marry him on a trip to London by stowing away. Once over the pond the fat yellow cat ends up being mistaken for a royal fat yellow cat Prince (Tim Curry) who has just inherited a castle. Sure Garfield likes all the perks--minced pie anytime he rings a bell; pampering beyond your regular tongue bath; and no Odie. There are a few downsides namely an evil relative (Billy Connolly) who wants the cat dead so he can get the estate but it doesn’t matter. Both cats are killed in the end anyway. Oh I’m kidding (I only wish). The laconic Murray is certainly a wise choice to voice the indolent fat cat and was mildly entertaining in the first Garfield. But for the Oscar-nominated actor to agree to do it again let’s just say it must have been very costly for the producers. I would hope anyway that he asked for a lot of money because why else would you do something as inane as this? The character interminably grates. There are also a bevy of British actors in Two Kitties who are equally annoying doing animal voices--from Curry as the mollycoddled Prince to Bob Hoskins as a bulldog and Sharon Osbourne as a pig. As for the human factor Meyer and Love Hewitt are gag-producing sugary sweet while Connolly just makes a complete ass of himself as the dastardly villain. It’s kind of embarrassing actually --for everyone involved. It still boggles the mind the first Garfield grossed $75 million domestically. Yes it was an understandable endeavor since the comic strip has always been immensely popular and with the advent of CGI creating the Garfield we all know and love for the screen was finally possible. But the first Garfield was so mind-numbingly ridiculous you just have to wonder what the audiences saw in it. I guess maybe it had something to do with keeping 7-year-olds occupied. Of course all the studio execs saw were dollar signs so it stands to reason they’d make a sequel. It made money dammit so we have to do it again can’t you see that? OK so let’s say we go with that reasoning hoping maybe they’ll have realized their mistakes with the first and come up with something better. No such luck. I have feeling this time around however those same execs may be disappointed. In a summer full of far more stellar entertainment for the kiddies these Two Kitties are going to thankfully fall by the wayside and put an end to the franchise once and for all.
Steve and Terri Irwin are crocodile relocators in Far North Queensland Australia. They spend a lot of time well relocating crocs--saving a baby kangaroo and charming a few snakes along the way. But all that's about to change. A U.S. satellite has exploded in space and its black box has re-entered the atmosphere and ended up in the gut of a nasty 12-foot croc the Irwins are about to relocate. The FBI CIA and goodness knows what other agencies are out to find the box at any cost because it contains data that could change the world's power structure. When the agents cross paths with the Irwins they become convinced that the two croc hunters are actually spies mainly because as one agent says toward the end of the film "You don't make that kind of money in cable television." That's for sure and that's probably the reason the producers turned The Crocodile Hunter cable show into a movie. It definitely wasn't because the script was irresistible: The plot is as transparent as shed snakeskin and the acting (if it can be called that) is as stiff as the spikes on a croc's back. I'm sure this is the kind of movie that a critic shouldn't take seriously but from its lizard-pooh opening to its crocodile-pooh finish The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course really stinks.
Director/story writer/producer John Stainton was working with Irwin long before The Crocodile Hunter TV show became an international hit. In fact he wrote a movie script for Irwin in the mid-1990s that was scrapped because he didn't think Irwin should be acting. It's a shame he didn't take that thought process one step further; we'd all have been spared an agonizing guided tour of a good idea gone very very bad. The film's stars while appealing enough in the one-hour documentary format simply can't sustain a full-length motion picture and Mr. Irwin would have done well to heed his own advice--"Don't muck with it." Granted at least Stainton was smart enough to present the Irwins doing what they do best--enthusiastically working with wild animals while talking straight into the camera. The task of plot development is left to the other cast members--mainly Australian actors doing caricatures of Americans--who overdramatically play out the goofy spy plot in scenes that are completely separate from the Irwins' animal antics until the last 10 minutes of the film. The Irwin family dog Sui is probably the best actor of the bunch--and the smartest too. Most of the time she looks like she'd rather be just about anywhere else which is the most intelligent thing anybody in this film does.
As if anybody needed it The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course is proof that what works on TV doesn't necessarily make a good movie; the Crocodile Hunter documentary routine quickly grows frustrating in the film because the Irwin scenes do nothing to further what little plot the movie actually has. Plus the reason why the Irwins continually talk into the camera goes unexplained until the very end of the film--and when someone finally mentions the fact that the Irwins have been "filming" their show throughout the movie it's so offhand that it's easily missed. At the same time the spy storyline that drives the plot is trite and because of the movie's bizarre structure it's played out by actors the audience couldn't care less about rather than by the ones they came to see. The spy scenes separate the Irwin segments like commercials--and like commercials when they come on you just want to get up and go to the bathroom grab a snack or feed the dog. The best thing that can be said for Stainton's direction is that at least he's not afraid of the film's ridiculousness. Bad though the movie is in every way Stainton puts it all out there as enthusiastically as Steve Irwin wrestles crocs and that's saying something. The film also gets across the Irwins' admittedly important message about conservation loud and clear but that probably won't be enough to keep its audience from becoming extinct.
December 10, 2001 12:33pm EST
Paul McCartney will perform songs from his new album Driving Rain at a concert in Oslo this week to mark the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize, Reuters reports. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the United Nations, this year's Peace Prize recipients, will receive the award at a ceremony in Oslo on Monday. Other performers will include Wyclef Jean, Nathalie Imbruglia and Destiny's Child.
Sony Screen Gems is asking fans to design the official poster for the upcoming movie Resident Evil--based on the popular video game of the same name--starring Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez. According to Sony, contestants will be allowed to submit up to three poster designs online from Dec. 6 through Dec. 31. Movie stills, title treatments and the billing block will be posted online at the official Resident Evil website, resident-evil-the-movie.com, which will provide links that will enable contestants to build their poster electronically. Five semi-finalists will be chosen in January and their artwork will be displayed online, where the Internet audience will vote for the winner. The winner will be announced mid-January and will receive a cash prize, a free screening in their hometown for 100 guests and a commemorative copy of the winning poster.
Elizabeth Hurley called police after being harassed by a man outside an address in Kensington, West London, Sky News reports. A spokesperson for Scotland Yard said the 32-year-old is currently in custody at Kensington's police station and is being questioned. The pregnant actress is currently engaged in a public feud with ex-lover Stephen Bing over the paternity of her unborn child.
Tennis star Monica Seles and her mother were treated for minor injuries after a drunk driver made a left turn into their path on Wednesday, Reuters reports. Seles, 28, was driving her sports utility vehicle in Venice, Fla., with Ester Seles, 62, when the accident occurred. The driver, Cynthia Bauman, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and making an improper left turn.
Filmmaker Billy Wilder (The Apartment) was taken to a Los Angeles hospital last week for breathing problems, USA Today reports. Harold Nelson, Wilder's publicist, said Friday that the 95-year-old actor was doing much better.
A former schoolmate of Eminem's, DeAngelo Bailey, has filed a $1 million lawsuit against the rapper, claiming his song "Brain Damage" damaged his reputation, Detroit's Free Press reports. In the song, a school bully bashes Eminem against a bathroom urinal and breaks his nose. Bailey denies that he harassed the rapper and claims the lyrics were intended to damage Bailey in order to improve Eminem's reputation as a rap artist. A lawyer for Eminem told the paper, "From all I can tell, this is a case of 'I'll file a lawsuit and see if I can get some money.'"
Napster and the U.S. record industry will go before a federal appeals court in Pasadena, Calif., Monday to argue over how much initiative the song-swapping service can take in order to comply with a court-ordered injunction to stop trade in copyright-protected music, Reuters reports. In order to comply, Napster says it needs file names rather than just the song titles and names of artists provided by the recording industry. The recording industry contends they should not have to supply Napster with specific file names.
Nevada Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt and Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman announced last week that Dec. 12, which would have been Frank Sinatra's 86th birthday, will be celebrated as "Sinatra Day." As part of the celebration, Las Vegas strip hotel casinos will display "Happy Birthday Frank" on their marquees and a CD featuring the song "It's Time for You" will be released, AP reports.
Rod Steiger, whose films include On the Waterfront, In the Heat of the Night and The Player, received a lifetime achievement award from the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival on Thursday. Steiger was presented with the award while attending the screening of his latest film A Month of Sundays at the Vogue Theatre in Los Angeles, AP reports.
Judi Dench has received an Academy Fellowship award from the British Academy of Film and Television Art for her outstanding contribution to film and television, Sky News reports. The Fellowships is the highest accolade given by BAFTA. Dench, who is a five-time BAFTA winner, joins the likes of Michael Caine and Stanley Kubrick, both recipients of the Fellowship Award.
Cuba began its weekend homage to former Beatle John Lennon on Saturday with President Fidel Castro's inauguration of a bronze statue of the singer in a Havana park, Reuters reports. Lennon was an underground cult figure for Cuban youth for about 15 years following Castro's Cuban Revolution in 1959. Authorities organized two days of concerts, art fairs, and book and documentary presentations to commemorate the 21st anniversary of Lennon's murder.
Madonna presented conceptual artist Martin Creed with the $28,600 Turner Prize in London on Sunday for his controversial piece entitled The Lights Going On and Off, a bare room with a light that switches on and off. Madonna prompted Channel Four to issue a speedy apology to its viewers for her strong language when she told the crowd: "At a time when political correctness is valued over honesty, I would also like to say, right on, mother---, everyone is a winner,'' Reuters reports.
Tom Petty has been nominated for the University of Florida's Distinguished Achievement Award given to individuals for "exceptional achievements in a chosen profession, for demonstrated leadership, and for other exemplary accomplishments." Gainesville, Fla. native Petty, the 51-year-old lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, was nominated for his contributions to music and for his hu