Julia Louis-Dreyfus' fake smoking stunt at Sunday's (12Jan14) Golden Globes has sparked outrage among several U.S. senators, who have demanded organisers ensure a similar skit is not televised again. The funnywoman, who was nominated for two acting prizes at the ceremony, was part of hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's opening monologue, appearing onscreen wearing sunglasses and smoking an electronic cigarette.
The gag drew huge laughs from the star-studded crowd, but fell flat with Democrat senators Dick Durbin, Richard Blumenthal, Sherrod Brown and Edward Markey, who insist the skit glamorised the use of electronic cigarettes.
The four politicians have written an open letter to officials at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organisation behind the Golden Globes, and NBC, the TV network which broadcast the show, requesting they refrain from including electronic cigarettes in broadcasts.
The letter reads, "The Golden Globes celebrates entertainers who are an influence on young fans. We ask the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and NBC Universal to take actions to ensure that future broadcasts of the Golden Globes do not intentionally feature images of e-cigarettes.
"Such action would help to avoid the glamorisation of smoking and protect the health of young fans."
Leonardo DiCaprio was also spotted inhaling nicotine-laced vapour from an electronic cigarette at his table during the prizegiving at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California.
David Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas consists of six stories set in various periods between 1850 and a time far into Earth's post-apocalyptic future. Each segment lives on its own the previous first person account picked up and read by a character in its successor creating connective tissue between each moment in time. The various stories remain intact for Tom Tykwer's (Run Lola Run) Lana Wachowski's and Andy Wachowski's (The Matrix) film adaptation which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. The massive change comes from the interweaving of the book's parts into one three-hour saga — a move that elevates the material and transforms Cloud Atlas in to a work of epic proportions.
Don't be turned off by the runtime — Cloud Atlas moves at lightning pace as it cuts back and forth between its various threads: an American notary sailing the Pacific; a budding musician tasked with transcribing the hummings of an accomplished 1930's composer; a '70s-era investigatory journalist who uncovers a nefarious plot tied to the local nuclear power plant; a book publisher in 2012 who goes on the run from gangsters only to be incarcerated in a nursing home; Sonmi~451 a clone in Neo Seoul who takes on the oppressive government that enslaves her; and a primitive human from the future who teams with one of the few remaining technologically-advanced Earthlings in order to survive. Dense but so was the unfamiliar world of The Matrix. Cloud Atlas has more moving parts than the Wachowskis' seminal sci-fi flick but with additional ambition to boot. Every second is a sight to behold.
The members of the directing trio are known for their visual prowess but Cloud Atlas is a movie about juxtaposition. The art of editing is normally a seamless one — unless someone is really into the craft the cutting of a film is rarely a post-viewing talking point — but Cloud Atlas turns the editor into one of the cast members an obvious player who ties the film together with brilliant cross-cutting and overlapping dialogue. Timothy Cavendish the elderly publisher could be musing on his need to escape and the film will wander to the events of Sonmi~451 or the tortured music apprentice Robert Frobisher also feeling the impulse to run. The details of each world seep into one another but the real joy comes from watching each carefully selected scene fall into place. You never feel lost in Cloud Atlas even when Tykwer and the Wachowskis have infused three action sequences — a gritty car chase in the '70s a kinetic chase through Neo Seoul and a foot race through the forests of future millennia — into one extended set piece. This is a unified film with distinct parts echoing the themes of human interconnectivity.
The biggest treat is watching Cloud Atlas' ensemble tackle the diverse array of characters sprinkled into the stories. No film in recent memory has afforded a cast this type of opportunity yet another form of juxtaposition that wows. Within a few seconds Tom Hanks will go from near-neanderthal to British gangster to wily 19th century doctor. Halle Berry Hugh Grant Jim Sturgess Jim Broadbent Ben Whishaw Hugo Weaving and Susan Sarandon play the same game taking on roles of different sexes races and the like. (Weaving as an evil nurse returning to his Priscilla Queen of the Desert cross-dressing roots is mind-blowing.) The cast's dedication to inhabiting their roles on every level helps us quickly understand the worlds. We know it's Halle Berry behind the fair skinned wife of the lunatic composer but she's never playing Halle Berry. Even when the actors are playing variations on themselves they're glowing with the film's overall epic feel. Jim Broadbent's wickedly funny modern segment a Tykwer creation that packs a particularly German sense of humor is on a smaller scale than the rest of the film but the actor never dials it down. Every story character and scene in Cloud Atlas commits to a style. That diversity keeps the swirling maelstrom of a movie in check.
Cloud Atlas poses big questions without losing track of its human element the characters at the heart of each story. A slower moment or two may have helped the Wachowskis' and Tykwer's film to hit a powerful emotional chord but the finished product still proves mainstream movies can ask questions while laying over explosive action scenes. This year there won't be a bigger movie in terms of scope in terms of ideas and in terms of heart than Cloud Atlas.
The Withnail and I star has teamed up with chef Heston Blumenthal and artist Tracey Emin to hunt for talented people as part of the British Airways Great Britons Programme.
Grant is on the look out for a scriptwriter to pen a short film, which will be shown on all BA flights after it premieres at the opening of the 2012 games.
He tells Britain's OK! TV, "This is an incredible opportunity that BA have set out. They've got Heston Blumenthal creating a menu for people on BA and I've been asked to find a script writer, to make a short film that will be shown on all BA flights next year and in the pre-ceremony opening for the Olympics, so it's an incredible platform to flush out and find new talent."
Kim, along with her siblings Khloe and Kourtney, have lent their name to the Kardashian Prepaid MasterCard, which lets parents give their children a small amount of credit so they can keep track of their finances.
But the scheme has riled officials in Connecticut and Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has issued a statement warning of the perils of handing over credit cards to kids.
The statement reads, "Keeping up with the Kardashians is impossible using these cards - laden with pernicious and predatory fees that swallow card value. These cards are feckless financial tools designed to promptly diminish in value with virtually every transaction - and even when consumers don't use the card at all. The family is marketing a dangerous financial fantasy."
Blumenthal has also demanded bosses at the company behind the card, University National Bank, provide specific details about how the card is promoted and sold in the state in a bid to protect consumers.
Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert provided us with live coverage of the elections last night. To start, Stewart informed us of some of the winners that not even an all-caps email from your mother could get you to care about or voice your support for. Most notably, he mentioned how Democrat Richard Blumenthal defeated Republican Linda McMahon for a senate seat even though she spent a very nice $37 per vote in her campaign. Additionally, South Carolina Republican Jim DeMint defeated Democrat Alvin Greene for a seat in the senate as well. And in Florida, Republican Marco Rubio claimed a seat himself, too.
Stewart spoke with his awesome news team about the results, and even checked in with one candidate who was handling his loss particularly…well?
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10cIndecision 2010 - Maybe We Can't - Election Resultswww.thedailyshow.comDaily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity
Stewart also talked to John Oliver, who provided us with some insightful statistics and analysis of the election.
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10cIndecision 2010 - Maybe We Can't - Election Center Technical Difficultywww.thedailyshow.comDaily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity
Stephen Colbert was also live covering the election. Of course, he was joyous to hear the Republicans took control of the house of representatives, even though John Boehner is so orange he’s really only meant to be used by a bartender to write on a chalkboard that tequila shots are only $3 on Tuesdays.
Colbert even came up with his own election results analysis but instead of delivering them by using a newscast, he used supremely sophisticated technology that makes colors look the same and points out how everyone’s somewhat Republican.
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30cIndecision 2010 - GOP Takes Housewww.colbertnation.comColbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionMarch to Keep Fear Alive
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
In the late '50s a group of elementary students put futuristic drawings in a time capsule that is then buried on school grounds. One overly obsessed kid Lucinda goes her own way by writing hundreds of mysterious seemingly non-sensical numbers on her entry. Fifty years later it’s dug up and comes into the possession of Caleb the young son of John Koestler a recent widower and astro-physics professor who becomes obsessed with the papers Caleb has brought home from class. He soon discovers the random digits are actually not-so-thinly disguised dates (including 91101 of course) for “future” disasters and there are clearly three of those dates yet to come. Although nobody believes his ramblings about this code for impending doom a nearby plane crash proves he is on to something so ominous the fate of the world could be in jeopardy. With all hell about to break loose the prof takes matters into his own hands.
WHO’S IN IT?
Just a couple of years ago Nicolas Cage starred in Next as a magician who could see into the future and had to prevent a nuclear attack. Now he’s at it again as an MIT professor who also has clues to future catastrophes and also is out to prevent the inevitable. And of course in the National Treasure films he latched on to maps that had contained similarly dark deeply held secrets. Nic clearly likes “knowing” stuff before the rest of us and he’s quite believable even if some of the circumstances in his latest sci-fi adventure are really out there -- literally. Cage somehow makes you buy into this stuff which is key to the ultimate success of the flick. As the key kids Chandler Canterbury as Caleb and Lara Robinson as Lucinda (and later Abby Lucinda’s granddaughter) are properly eerie and haunted-looking. Rose Byrne is also along for the ride as Lucinda’s grown daughter who is able to provide goosebump-inducing information that the numbers alone can’t. There’s also some dead-on creepy emoting from D.G. Maloney as a quietly foreboding stranger who seems to be following Caleb.
Unlike some recent movies of this type with nothing on the agenda but pure mayhem “Knowing” delves into the bigger issues of why we are all here providing something other than just big explosions to talk about on the way home from the multiplex. Director Alex Proyas (I Robot Dark City The Crow) certainly knows how to pull off complex action set-pieces but he and his screenwriters also seem to be genuinely interested in exploring the meaning behind the madness.
Some of the more pedantic dialogue Cage is given can be groan-inducing but since he plays John as a total believer we can forgive it. Also the film falls victim to a final act that veers into typical disaster movie territory and isn’t as compelling as the first two thirds which try to keep the premise at least marginally credible. At two hours it probably could have been tightened anyway.
The rain-soaked plane crash sequence with its gritty hand-held photography is riveting to watch and one of the most frightening depictions of a jetliner disaster put on film yet.
GO OUT AND GET POPCORN WHEN ...
If you are really squeamish it might be worth "knowing" that you should take breaks in the big disaster sequences as the CGI effects can get pretty violent and graphic particularly for a PG-13 movie.