Vantage Point gives us just that--a birds-eyed view of an assassination/terrorist attack on the U.S. president. In Spain at a landmark outdoor summit on the global war on terror President Ashton (William Hurt) is shot and a bomb explodes killing hundreds of people. For the rest of the film we see the same 15 minutes over and over but from different points of view: There’s a CNN-like news producer (Sigourney Weaver) who is the first to witness the events; the Secret Service agents (Dennis Quaid and Matthew Fox) assigned to protect the president; an American tourist (Forest Whitaker) videotaping the historic event; a Spanish cop (Eduardo Noriega) who suspects what’s going down by the surreptitious actions of his girlfriend (Ayelet Zurer) at the rally; and most importantly the head terrorist (Said Taghmaoui) who orchestrates it all. Through each of these individual perspectives we learn the truth behind the assassination attempt--and as far-fetched as it is it still isn’t pretty. This is an all-out action thriller folks--quiet subtle performances are not required. Quaid goes full blast as the veteran Secret Service agent who has already taken a bullet for the president once before and is still a bit skittish about it. But his loyalty to the president never wavers and it’s through his determination to find out what happened that propels the story forward. Fox also plays it to the hilt much like he does as Jack on TV’s Lost but the actor has a certain movie-star quality to him; he could easily transition from TV to film. Whitaker unfortunately has to play the big schlub with a heart--which at this point seems a tad beneath the Oscar-winner--but he still gives it his all. Hurt’s Head of State is another one of those dream presidents we wish we had. Taghmaoui (The Kite Runner) and Zurer (28 Weeks Later) are adequately cold-hearted as the terrorists while Edgar Ramirez (Domino) effectively emotes as a reluctant member of the terrorist cell forced to do their bidding while his brother is being held captive. Did we mention that the terrorists were cold-hearted? Right. Vantage Point’s trio of film editors (Stuart Baird Sigvaldi J. Karason Valdis Oskarsdottir) must have either thought they’d died and gone to heaven or hell depending on how much of a pain it was to cut the film. Whatever the scenario together with newbie director Peter Travis they keep the action taut and suspenseful. Each character’s POV lends itself to more information as the plot unfolds piece by piece culminating with a whopper of a car-chase scene that should leave you clenching your teeth. The use of electronic devices in the attack is also noteworthy as the main terrorist basically accesses his PDA to 1) shoot the president 2) explode bombs and 3) send the pictures of the destruction to all his friends. OK he actually doesn’t do that last part but he certainly could with that handy device of his. The only drawback to the whole scenario is the implausibility of it all--and the lack of back story. Suspending disbelief we can do but in Vantage Point’s case a little explaining would have helped.
"Ally McBeal" is getting a new friend: Indie guy. James LeGros James LeGros, the so-called Brad Pitt of the indie film world, is set to join the cast of Fox's hit lawyer show -- a sort-of testosterone reinforcement as series stalwart Gil Bellows prepares to exit.
According to reports today, LeGros will bow on the show in May (as in, yes, the May sweeps). The 37-year-old actor will play a thirtysomething lawyer name of Mark Albert. In USA Today, "Ally" creator David E. Kelley says he sees the LeGros character (and a couple of other new ones still to come) as rocking the boat at the all-too-precious firm of Cage/Fish Associates.
The LeGros casting comes at a time of relative upheaval for the still-young, still-popular series. By the end of this -- its third season -- "Ally McBeal" will have said goodbye to Bellows (as lawyer Billy Thomas) and Courtney Thorne-Smith (as lawyer Georgia Thomas). The status of Lisa Nicole Carson (as prosecutor Renee Radick) is fuzzy. She's still with the show; she just hasn't been on the show much since -- per her own account to the National Enquirer -- she did a stint in a New York psychiatric ward after living like "a one-woman party" around the holidays.
Being an indie dude, LeGros isn't really best known for anything, although he has starred in a number of films, including "Living in Oblivion."
HEATHER'S SPIN: Heather Locklear is terribly happy with "Spin City," is terribly happy about the sitcom's impending move from New York to Los Angeles to accommodate new star Charlie Sheen and is just terribly happy. So a rep for the actress tells the New York Daily News, denying rumbles that Locklear is, um, not terribly happy (or optimistic) about the prospects for the ABC sitcom after Michael J. Fox departs at the end of this season.
CUT OUT: This item was going to be about how Mark Fuhrman, the Los Angeles police detective disgraced on the stand during the O.J. Simpson murder trial, had been hired as a consultant by ABC morning news show "Good Morning America," except now he's not. Protest from staffers nixed the deal that would have seen the ex-cop turned author on the dole as a paid consultant for his expertise on a Connecticut homicide allegedly involving a member of the Kennedy clan, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.