Singer Johnny Gill has launched legal action against bosses at a luxury Beverly Hills hotel over allegations he was attacked at the venue in 2011. The New Edition star is suing executives at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills over claims he was the victim of racially aggravated assault.
In the suit, filed earlier this month (Aug13) at Los Angeles Superior Court, Gill alleges he was enjoying a night out with friends in the patio area of the hotel in August, 2011 when a drunk man started hurling racist abuse at him.
He was then allegedly pushed by the man into a heating lamp, resulting in injuries so serious he was unable to perform onstage.
In the documents, Gill's lawyers write, "At no time did (the) defendant's security employees, staff or representative offer any assistance to (the) plaintiff nor did any such intervene to protect (the) plaintiff, prevent the individual from becoming inebriated and thus behaving in an unruly manner the result of which was the assault that was committed on (the) plaintiff and the resulting injuries to (the) plaintiff."
Gill wants $1 million (£666,000) in damages for negligence, failure to intervene, failure to exercise reasonable care, pain and suffering and medical expenses.
When Michel Gondry was hired to helm Columbia Pictures’ The Green Hornet I became immediately more enthusiastic about the project than I was before. Even after all the publicized production woes I was sure that his avant-garde aesthetic and bittersweet style of storytelling would put a fresh spin on the standard superhero flick. However sandwiched between the frat-house comedic sensibilities of Seth Rogen and the energetic guidance of explosion-savvy producer Neal Moritz there just wasn’t enough room for the artist to conjure his movie magic.
That’s why the film though not frustratingly formulaic feels incredibly manufactured: more a product of convenience for its stars and studio than a standalone piece of entertainment. Perhaps it’s just because superhero cinema is so commonplace today I’m beginning to feel jaded about movies like this but while watching the film I wondered whether or not Rogen and Co. consciously adhered to the tried-and-true checklist of the genre’s conventions. Tragic motives for fighting crime? Check. Maniacal villain? Check. Flipping SUV’s? Check? Predictable plot? Unfortunately check. Every element of the movie from jokes to pacing is easy to foresee but that doesn’t mean it’s not somewhat entertaining.
Rogen who co-wrote the picture with his longtime collaborator Evan Goldberg will continue to amuse audiences with his every-man persona even when miscast as a billionaire playboy turned masked vigilante. The Green Hornet doesn’t sound like anything he has written before; the limitations of language in a broad blockbuster result in less laughs than the raunchy R-rated comedies he’s best known for but the delivery of the dialogue is his best weapon against tonal conformity. Still post-modern humor is abundant throughout the film with plenty of pop-culture references that are good for a grin or two.
The biggest surprise came in the form of Jay Chou. A hugely successful pop singer in his native Taiwan (as well as other Chinese-speaking regions of the world) his charisma transcends language barriers in the iconic role of Kato created by the legendary Bruce Lee. Though technically the sidekick Chou displays more depth than Rogen ever has and outshines his co-star in nearly every creative department. Christoph Waltz as the violent villain Chudnofsky doesn’t generate the electricity he did in his career-defining role in Inglourious Basterds but had significantly lower-brow material to work with. He goes through the motions with a smile on his face that suggests he’s not quite sure how (or why) he got into this picture in the first place. On the other hand I’m sure that Cameron Diaz knew exactly why she was hired to portray Britt Reid’s sexy secretary Lenore Case. Between her performances in 2010’s Knight and Day and this Ms. Diaz has hit a new career low. The only difference is that her character was central to the story in the Tom Cruise summer vehicle; here she’s nothing more than eye-candy.
As stated before if I’ve got one regret above all regarding The Green Hornet it’s that director Gondry wasn’t allowed to make the movie his own. His stamp is present in only a handful of sequences where visually inventive special effects serve the story and in many cases enhance it. He makes the most of the adequate 3D conversion in these select scenes (including a revelatory summation of the events that lead to the films climax and the closing credits both which are very cool) whereas in the rest of the picture it’s just unnecessary. I had hoped his involvement meant that the narrative was going down an unconventional path but in the end his contributions to the film amount to little more than rainbow sprinkles atop a very vanilla piece of cinema.
She's a hip-hoppin' be-boppin' mean ol' nanny who whips a mean stew and your butt for not doing your homework—and now she's back! Alas we don't speak of the Mrs. Doubtfire sequel but rather that of Big Momma a.k.a. FBI Agent Malcolm Turner (Martin Lawrence). Agent Warner has cut ties with the FBI at the behest of Sherry (Nia Long)—who as you no doubt recall is the granddaughter of the real Big Momma—since she's pregnant with Malcolm's baby. But wouldn't you know that he gets sucked back in after a former colleague is killed. Posing as Big Momma he's hired as a nanny to a suburban family the deadbeat dad of which is involved in the murder and a crime plot. She does it all—cooks cleans dances and even runs down bad guys but it's a race against time to stop the potential national security crisis. That is a race against the film's (mercifully) short running time. Although Lawrence's resume includes some of the dregs of comedy it's hard to argue that he is truly blessed when it comes to physical comedy and comedic timing. He continues both trends here this time without the help of the breakthrough actors of the past two years Paul Giamatti and Terrence Howard who yes both starred in the first Big Momma's House. That means Lawrence's urban mania is truly on its own and absurd and juvenile as the film may be even film snobs can't hold back a few laughs at his Big Momma outlandishness. Longreturns for no more than a select few scenes and to provide a minor conflict in the story. The notable newcomer is CSI's Emily Procter as the sterile mother who hires Big Momma. She does a serviceable job as a suburban Petite Momma. Might she be the next Giamatti or Howard to bolt to bigger and better things in time for the next sequel? No.
Big Momma's House 2 is right up director John Whitesell's alley. He's the guy behind such misses—though not necessarily financially—as Malibu's Most Wanted and See Spot Run and he's right at home here. Whitesell doesn't hold back in (literally and figuratively) pulling the robe off Big Momma but he clearly knows that nothing is to interrupt Lawrence's antics not even the thin story line. Aside from that he knows quite well how to execute thinly veiled rip-offs of the aforementioned Mrs. Doubtfire as well as countless other hidden-motive comedies (i.e. Kindergarten Cop Houseguest et al). Because while the main guise is the Big Momma fat suit Whitesell parades the film about as a feel-good/family flick.
The story of the late great Johnny Cash depicted in Walk the Line is not quite all encompassing. The film dramatizes just one moment in Cash's life: his tumultuous 20s and rise to fame. The young Cash (Joaquin Phoenix) married and straight out of the army struggles with his music finally finding his patented blend of country blues and rock music. Haunted by a troubled childhood Cash sings songs about death love treachery and sin--and shoots straight to the top of the charts. On tour he also meets and falls for his future wife June Carter (Reese Witherspoon) whose refusal to meddle with a married man only further fuels the fire and contributes to his eventual drug addiction. Their cat-and-mouse love story provides the film’s core but unfortunately can’t quite overcome Walk the Line’s formulaic nature. Biopics are generally good to actors. Phoenix and Witherspoon could easily each walk away with Oscar statuettes for turning in two of the most jaw-dropping spellbinding performances since well Jamie Foxx in Ray. Neither actor had any musical background whatsoever but they both underwent painstaking transformations for the sake of authenticity doing all of their own singing as well as guitar-playing for Phoenix. The actor's performance is purely raw and visceral; his vulnerability is aptly palpable at first but then he becomes the Cash with the unflinching swagger. Witherspoon's Carter is Cash's temptress and she'll be yours too by movie's end. She eerily reincarnates Carter as if she was born to play the part. If Walk the Line is the ultimate actor's canvas then Phoenix and Witherspoon make priceless art-and music-together. While good for the actors biopics can prove to be difficult for the director. It’s hard to highlight a person’s life without it coming off like a TV movie of the week. Unfortunately director James Mangold (Copland) plays it safe with Walk the Line. The duets between Johnny and June on stage are about the only electrifying moments of the film. The rest is pretty stereotypical. And it isn’t because the film only focuses on certain years of Cash's life. It's simply not possible to fit a lifetime into the short duration of a film. The problem instead is that Mangold's presentation of Cash's life would lead one to believe that Cash actually exorcised his demons. But in reality his lifelong demons are what endeared him to the layperson. There was nothing cut and dry about the Cash story--and adding a little grit would have given Walk the Line the edge it needed.
Top Story: Oscar Organizers Say Show Will Go On
The Oscars show producer Gil Cates told nominees at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' annual luncheon in Beverly Hills Monday that the show will go on--whether or not there is a war, Reuters reports. As the United States prepares for a possible invasion of Iraq, many nominees wondered whether discussing war at the March 23 awards ceremony would be appropriate. "If we go to war," Cates cautioned, "the telecast will reflect that reality both in those parts of the show that we can control and those parts that we can't control--your acceptance speeches."
Broadway No Longer Dark
Striking musicians settled a contract dispute with theater producers Tuesday to end a walkout that shut down 18 musicals since Friday, Reuters reports. The dispute that led to Friday's strike was over minimums, the smallest number of musicians required for a Broadway orchestra. After 12 hours of talks the union agreed to a smaller number of musicians in the largest Broadway theaters and both sides said that the theaters would reopen Tuesday night.
Brits Invade Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted the Clash, the Police, and Elvis Costello and the Attractions on an emotional night at the Waldorf Hotel in New York Monday night, Reuters reports. British influence dominated the ceremony, as did antiwar sentiments expressed by a number of star musicians--a contrast to the recent Grammy Awards. "When people take to the streets to stop the war, the spirit of the Clash is there," Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello said. The Clash accepted their honors without vocalist-guitarist Joe Strummer, who died of heart failure last December at age 50.
Minnelli's Lawyers Call It Quits
Two lawyers for actress Liza Minnelli quit Monday, saying their relationship "has completely broken down" over a civil suit involving the aborted sale of her Beverly Hills home, claimed by Minnelli stepmother, and a couple who tried to buy it last year. Reuters reports that a Los Angeles Superior Court judge was scheduled to decide whether to allow lawyers Arthur Barens and Robert Kaufman to bow out of the case but Minnelli hired a new attorney, making a court ruling unnecessary. Last August Merhdad Saghian and Stephanie Jarin claimed Minnelli backed out of her agreement to sell the home to them for $2.75 million.
Erotic Mag Loses Suit Against Oprah
The publisher of a magazine of erotica and sadomasochism who claimed Oprah Winfrey's magazine of the same name was tarnishing his trademark lost a court battle yesterday, Reuters reports. U.S. District Judge John Koeltl threw out the lawsuit filed by Ronald Brockmeyer, who bought the trademark--a stylized letter "O" in large type enclosed in double arrow marks--in 1996. Koetl said readers could not confuse Brockmeyer's magazine containing photos of "whip-bearing, naked women engaged in sadomasochistic and lesbian acts" with Winfrey's publication, which is aimed at helping women improve their lives guided by the performer's values.
Dion Promises Family-Oriented Show in Las Vegas
Singer Celine Dion, who launches her three-year stint in Las Vegas on March 25, promises to keep the show family-oriented. According to Reuters, Dion tells Time magazine that people think her husband-manager, Rene Angelil, is going to gamble away all their money and their son is going to be raised by strangers. "We don't live in a casino, and I'm not going to change diapers on a craps table," Dion tells the magazine. Dion says she will leave home at 4:30 in the afternoon and be home by 10:30 at night. According to the singer, the casino doesn't want the show to go any longer than 90 minutes because "they want people to go back and lose money" at the slot machines.
Variety reports: Universal Pictures is remaking its classic monster film The Creature From the Black Lagoon, developed by a producer Gary Ross, whose father, Arthur Ross, wrote the original 1954 screenplay. The original Creature, which became a camp classic, featured the Gill Man terrorizing archaeologists in the Amazon while falling in love with a beautiful girl played by Julia Adams... Disney meanwhile has bought remake rights to the 1937 film Topper as a vehicle for director Adam Shankman and star Steve Martin. The original picture starred Cary Grant as a man haunted by a married pair of madcap ghosts... DreamWorks has bought the rights to Action News, which will feature Will Ferrell as a pompous newscaster in the 1970s who is matched with an ambitious and talented female journalist.