What no "giant sea pods" this time? Instead The Invasion skews the Body Snatchers scenario by making the alien invasion a virus rather than plant life. Said virus which comes to Earth via a mysterious crash of a space shuttle is transmitted by some form of bodily fluid-to-bodily fluid connection. For example throwing up into people's faces or coffee cups is a fun way to spread the disease. The end result however is the same: Once the infected person falls asleep they undergo a transformation and wake up looking the same but are unfeeling and inhuman—and ready to organize. As the infection spreads and more and more people are altered there are a few humans left fighting for their lives including psychiatrist Carol Bennell (Nicole Kidman) and her doctor friend Ben Driscoll (Daniel Craig). Carol’s only hope is to stay awake long enough to find her young son who may hold the key to stopping the devastating invasion. But we won’t tell you how. OK it has something to do with an immunity but that’s all we are going to say. Nicole Kidman has had a string of bad luck since winning that damn Oscar for The Hours. One wonders if maybe the golden statuette might actually be a curse (Cuba Gooding Jr. anyone?). Still regardless of the movie--be it Bewitched The Stepford Wives or Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus--Kidman manages to turn in a decent performance. The same goes for The Invasion. Her mother bear act is quite believable as she races to find her son (played with spunk by Jackson Bond) while trying to stay awake and pretending to be cold and unemotional among the pod people--oh excuse me the virally infected people. You root for her all the way. Craig doesn’t have as much to do but still delivers when it counts. In a supporting role Jeremy Northam does a nice job as Carol’s ex-husband a CDC doctor who is one of the first to get infected. As does the always good Jeffrey Wright as a very clever genetic scientist. Even Veronica Cartwright one of the survivors in the 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers makes a cameo as one of Carol’s patients who tells her “My husband isn’t my husband!” Famous last words. Body snatching must be a popular water-cooler topic at the movie studios. Starting with the 1956 sci-fi classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers in which Kevin McCarthy barely escapes his small town with his life running into highway traffic screaming “They're here already! You're next! You're next You're next...” there have been at least two other versions including the above-mentioned 1978 film and the 1993 film Body Snatchers. To its credit The Invasion switches things up a bit nixing the pods and making it more relevant to our current socio-political climate. It even begs the question: Could we be better off if we didn’t have emotions? But the movie is still mired by its derivativeness and too-pat ending—and it also apparently had problems getting off the shelf. Originally wrapped in early 2006 rumor has it the studio didn’t like German director Oliver Hirschbiegel’s original cut and brought in Matrix’s Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski for rewrites and James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) to direct the new scenes. Again to its credit The Invasion surprisingly feels cohesive despite all the different influences. Let’s just say whoever came up with the tense car chase in which Carol tries to throw off the pod people (it's just more effective calling them that) draped all over the car kudos to them.
Set in 1984 Josey Aimes (Charlize Theron) returns to her ice-cold hometown in Northern Minnesota after fleeing from an abusive husband. In order to care for her two young kids she needs a job--and for most of the townsfolk including her distant dad (Richard Jenkins) that means working in the local iron mines. Problem is not too many women work there and those who do are subjected to continual harassment by their male coworkers. Josey lands a job anyway and starts to get her fair share of sexual innuendos. One day her former high-school sweetheart also a mine employee takes it way too far with her. Although met with strong resistance of course a lawsuit ensues that results in a groundbreaking decision for women’s rights in the workplace. Ah what an Oscar can do for a career. It wasn't that long ago Theron wouldn’t even have been considered for such a dramatic role. But with deserved recognition she gets to strut her stuff in North Country. She's no Monster but she's no supermodel either--and while it's impossible to erase her beauty its glare has been reduced. A second-consecutive Oscar win? Maybe not but a nomination wouldn't be out of the place. Co-star Frances McDormand might also be in line for a nod of her own. She plays Glory a woman who gets Josey the job and encourages her to fight the good fight something that seems visceral for McDormand. Woody Harrelson is also solid as Josey's attorney though his Midwest-stoner drawl gets in the way of the northern accent he's supposed to be selling. New Zealand director Niki Caro mightily impressed us with Whale Rider a poignant mixture of grief and vigor and with North Country she continues to impress. As more an observer than anything else Caro lets the true story tell itself--of what happened in this small town with its frigid denizens and sexist behavior. And the film is definitely a period piece á la Norma Rae in that it's from a specific period albeit a recent one and pertains to a specific region. But it's kind of slow going. There’s a lot of weeping and dramatic speeches. Still Caro makes up for it by including several Bob Dylan songs who rarely grants the use of his songs in films. Perhaps he felt a certain a kinship to this film since it takes place in the desolate cold Northern Minnesota where he comes from--and so resents.
The Whole Ten Yards picks up about two years after the events that changed the lives of Oz (Matthew Perry) Jimmy "The Tulip" (Bruce Willis) Jill (Amanda Peet) and Cynthia (Natasha Henstridge)--and made them a whole lot richer. Nice-guy dentist Oz is now married to Jimmy's ex-wife Cynthia and living in Brentwood Calif. where he still practices dentistry. They seem happy but Oz is so paranoid someone will come after him that he keeps an arsenal of weapons in his home which is teeming with high-tech surveillance equipment. His suspicions however are not so farfetched: Turns out Cynthia is in cahoots with Jimmy who is now married to Jill and living in Mexico and they're planning to rob Hungarian mobster Lazlo Gogolak (Kevin Pollak) who's just been released from prison. But Lazlo has an agenda of his own. He wants to kill Jimmy for the murder of his son rival hitman Yanni Gogolak a couple of years ago. When Lazlo kidnaps Cynthia to get to Jimmy (he figures Oz will spill the beans on his whereabouts) poor Oz runs off to Mexico and pleads for Jimmy's help. What Oz and Jill don't realize however is that they are part of a much bigger revenge plot against Lazlo perpetrated by their own spouses Jimmy and Cynthia.
The only thing that makes The Whole Ten Yards engaging is the returning cast who have a playful and endearing on-screen chemistry. Willis and Perry are at the forefront reprising their roles as Jimmy "The Tulip" Tudesky and Nicholas "Oz" Oseransky respectively. The actors craft their characters well and uniquely and the conflicting personalities they create--Willis' cool and collected Jimmy and Perry's nervous and scatterbrained Oz--make watching their interactions entertaining. When the two discover that the hostage in the trunk of their car has died for example Willis stands there unflinchingly while Perry yelps "It looks like he got shot in the foot! Who dies from being shot in the foot?" Peet blends in with her own brand of humor; her klutzy character Jill is hilarious without trying to be which is the key to her performance. Jill's hung up on the fact that although she's a professional marksman she's never had a real kill--she's so accident-prone that her targets always die by default. Also returning for the sequel is Pollak who played Yanni in the first film. Here he returns as Yanni's father Lazlo aged with the help of prosthetics and makeup. It's a great idea and the result is pretty funny although the character is cartoonish.
Director Howard Deutch makes a valiant effort with this sequel to the 2000 hit; there's continuity in the characters although their lives have progressed since the events of the last film. The problem with The Whole Ten Yards is its story penned by Mitchell Kapner and George Gallo. While The Whole Nine Yards had an elaborate storyline it was easy enough to follow--everyone was basically trying to kill one another. Here the plot's equally convoluted but rather than interesting twists and turns we get inconsistencies and dead ends. Take Jimmy's new Suzy Homemaker role for instance. As the film opens Willis is traipsing around his Mexican villa in bunny slippers wearing a 'do-rag on his head fussing over dinner and the fact that the potatoes are supposed to be "floating around the lobster not just stuck there." We find out it's all an act but the reasons are never disclosed. By the time the film ends audiences will be asking themselves what it was all for. Perhaps the filmmakers thought the sight of Willis as a dowdy housewife would make moviegoers laugh so hard they'd forget to ask why.
Based on a series of six Marvel Comics created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby in 1962 The Hulk revolves around a scientist named Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) who following a laboratory snafu absorbs a normally deadly dose of gamma radiation. Bruce thinks he has escaped unscathed--until he gets mad ... real mad which causes him to turn into a huge rampaging green monster known as the Hulk. In order to make this 40-year-old gamma theory somewhat more believable for today's science-savvy moviegoers screenwriter James Schamus and his team decided to arm the script with a somewhat more convincing scientific rationale. The story follows Bruce's father David Banner (Nick Nolte) who as a young scientist conducted prohibited genetic experiments on himself thus changing his son's life before he was even out of the womb. While modernizing the scientific reasoning behind Bruce's transformation makes sense it's a pity it had to be done in such a heavy-handed way. By adding such an elaborate layer to the story The Hulk becomes more about Bruce and David's tormented past and any semblance of a plot is buried in melodramatic dialogue between the characters. The result is a comic book adaptation that is much too serious for its own genre.
Despite the theatrical discourse don't expect complex characters to emerge from The Hulk. Although Bana (Black Hawk Down) is a good choice for the lead of the nerdy scientist and reluctant hero his character is so busy pretending he doesn't have any problems that the audience never gets to see his emotional side. Bana's character grimaces convincingly as he represses his anger for example but he fails ever to open up on a personal level to his love interest in the film his co-worker Betty played by Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind). Betty is Bruce's old flame but the two are obviously still in love: she is obsessed with fixing whatever is broken about him. As the Hulk Bruce need only look at Betty once for his anger to subside and allow him to morph back into human form. They have weighty discussions about the significance of their dreams and Bruce's past yet they never seem to connect on any level. One of the film's best performances comes from Nolte (The Good Thief) in the role of Bruce's mad scientist father David. Almost Shakespearean at times Nolte--scraggly hair and all-- completely immerses himself in the role. The cast's performances however are muted by the general heaviness of this would-be actioner. Look for quick cameo appearances by Lou Ferrigno (from the 1970s TV series The Incredible Hulk) and Marvel legend Stan Lee.
For his follow-up to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon Ang Lee has turned to bigger greener matters. The Hulk the director's visual effects-intense picture (with a little help from Industrial Light & Magic) is stunning and startlingly well done. The green beast's computer generated movements from his heaving chest to the single leaps that spring him well into a different zip code are convincingly real. Not only does the ground shake when this goliath lands but his momentum even throws him off balance at times sending his lumbering arms flailing. But while the CGI Hulk has been meticulously honed Lee's homage to the world of print comic books--using multiple screens to present concurrent storylines and alternate angles of the same scene--is off-putting: Rival researcher Glenn Talbot (Josh Lucas) suspiciously walks out of the lab Betty reacts in one panel Bruce sits back in another. The simultaneous screens don't necessarily show anything pertinent going on making the far and wide close and medium shots of the character's reactions a distraction rather than a helpful storytelling technique. But the most disconcerting thing about the film is that in its leap from the four-color paneled pages to the big screen it lost its wit.
This is the dawning of the age of Kelly Ripa.
The All My Children actress and Live with Regis and Kelly co-host could walk away with two Emmys this year. Ripa was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the ABC soap, and her morning chat show with Regis Philbin received a nod for Best Talk Show.
Ripa's husband, actor Mark Consuelos, was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role on AMC. Ripa and Consuelos met while working on the show, where they play married couple Hayley and Mateo Santos.
In all, AMC leads the way with a total of 21 nominations. Star Susan Lucci, who finally won an Emmy in 1999 after being nominated 21 times, is up for Best Lead Actress. But the actress is facing stiff competition: She's up against co-star Finola Hughes, The Bold and the Beautiful's Susan Flannery and As the World Turns' Martha Byrne and Colleen Zenk Pinter.
With 55 nominations, CBS leads the way in overall network nods. ABC and PBS are close behind with 49 nominations each.
Nominations were announced at a special ceremony hosted by Maury Povich in the Rainbow Room restaurant on Thursday. Highlights of the nomination announcements were broadcast live on CBS' The Early Show.
The 29th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards presentation will be broadcast from Madison Square Garden on May 17 on CBS.
Here is a list of the major nominations:
All My Children (ABC)
As the World Turns (CBS)
One Life to Live (ABC)
The Young and the Restless (CBS)
Lead Actress, Drama Series:
Susan Lucci, All My Children (ABC)
Martha Byrne, As the World Turns (CBS)
Susan Flannery, The Bold and the Beautiful (CBS)
Finola Hughes, All My Children (ABC)
Colleen Zenk Pinter, As the World Turns (CBS)
Lead Actor, Drama Series:
Peter Bergman, The Young & the Restless (CBS)
Jack Scalia, All My Children (ABC)
Vincent Irizarry, All My Children (ABC)
Hunt Block, As the World Turns (CBS)
Robert Newman, Guiding Light (CBS)
Supporting Actress, Drama Series:
Maura West, As the World Turns (CBS)
Kelly Ripa, All My Children (ABC)
Kelley Hensley, As the World Turns (CBS)
Beth Ehlers, Guiding Light (CBS)
Crystal Chappell, Guiding Light (CBS)
Supporting Actor, Drama Series:
Josh Duhamel, All My Children (ABC)
Benjamin Hendrickson, As the World Turns (CBS)
Mark Consuelos, All My Children (ABC)
Cameron Mathison, All My Children (ABC)
Paul Leyden, As the World Turns (CBS)
The Rosie O'Donnell Show (syndicated)
Live with Regis and Kelly (syndicated)
The View (ABC)
The Montel Williams Show (syndicated)
Talk Show Host:
Rosie O'Donnell, The Rosie O'Donnell Show (syndicated)
Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa, Live with Regis and Kelly (syndicated)
Montel Williams, The Montel Williams Show (syndicated)
Barbara Walters, Star Jones, Meredith Vieira, Joy Behar, Lisa Ling, The View (ABC)
The Price Is Right (CBS)
Hollywood Squares (syndicated)
Win Ben Stein's Money (Comedy Central)
Game Show Host:
Alex Trebek, Jeopardy! (syndicated)
Bob Barker, The Price Is Right (CBS)
Ben Stein and Nancy Pimental, Win Ben Stein's Money (Comedy Central)
Pat Sajak, Wheel of Fortune (syndicated)
Reading Rainbow (PBS)
Between the Lions (PBS)
Even Stevens (Disney Channel)
Discovery Kids Ultimate Guide to the Awesome (Discovery)
Pre-School Children's Series:
Blue's Clues (Nickelodeon)
Sesame Street (PBS)
Martha Stewart Living (syndicated)
This Old House (PBS)
Essence of Emeril (Food Network)
The Christopher Lowell Show (Discovery)
Wolfgang Puck (Food Network)
In a special ceremony broadcast from the Rainbow Room on NBC News' Today Show, the 28th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards nominations were announced. Maury Povich of the Maury Povich Show and John Cannon, president of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences hosted the ceremony.
The list of nominees for Outstanding Drama Series includes ABC's All My Children and General Hospital and CBS' As the World Turns and The Young and the Restless.
Susan Lucci once again makes an appearance on the list of nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her work as Erica Kane on ABC's All My Children. Joining her are Julia Barr from All My Children, Marcy Walker from All My Children, Martha Byrne from As The World Turns and Susan Flannery from The Bold and the Beautiful.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series nominees include David Canary from All My Children, Tom Eplin from As the World Turns, Jon Hensley from As the World Turns, John McCook from The Bold and the Beautiful and Peter Bergman from The Young and the Restless.
The Osmonds really have something to smile about now after today. The syndicated talk show Donny and Marie is nominated for Outstanding Talk Show, as well as a nomination for Outstanding Talk Show Host(s). Joining the family duo on the list are the syndicated Live With Regis, with Regis Philbin receiving an nod for talk show host, The Montel Williams Show, The Rosie O'Donnell Show (O'Donnell also got a nomination for host) and ABC's The View, whose co-hosts Barbara Walters, Meredith Viera, Star Jones, Joy Behar and Lisa Ling all received nods as well.
The Outstanding Children's Series nominees encompass a wide spectrum in children's programming including PBS' Between the Lion, The Disney Channel's Even Stevens, PBS' Reading Rainbow, The Discovery Channel's Real Kids, Real Adventures and PBS' Zoom.
The awards presentation will be broadcast on NBC, live from the Radio City Music Hall on Friday, May 18 at 9:00 p.m. ET.