The supernatural thriller The Rite is a different kind of literary adaptation a film not “based on” or even “inspired by” a written work but rather “suggested by” one. The degree to which this fictional film adheres factually to its source material Matt Baglio’s book The Rite: The Making of an American Exorcist is anybody’s guess. Fans of The Exorcist might argue that it’s more strongly “suggested by” William Friedkin’s 1973 horror classic than anything else.
Erstwhile unknown Colin O’Donoghue in his first feature role plays Michael a seminary student sent to Rome to learn the intricacies of demonic possession. A pronounced skeptic who isn’t even sure he believes in god much less the Catholic doctrine of exorcism Michael is inclined toward the more humanistic view of the “possessed” as simply disturbed or schizophrenic individuals. What they really need he insists is not a priest but a good psychiatrist. (That belief certainly won't endear him to the Church of Scientology.)
To rid him of such malignant pragmatism Michael’s headmaster (Ciaran Hinds) ships him off to serve an apprenticeship under Father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins) a Welsh Jesuit (shorthand for “eccentric”) and practicing exorcist. Having been around the theological block a few times Lucas reacts to Michael’s unbelief with wry nonchalance (a Hopkins specialty and the film’s most appealing trait); he knows that Satan’s arguments will prove far more convincing than any he might offer.
And Satan gets to work forthwith first using a pregnant Italian girl as his vessel then incorporating other representatives of the animal kingdom tormenting Michael with horned frogs and red-eyed demon mules. At first exhibiting admirable restraint director Mikael Hafstrom eventually employs just about every weapon in his terror arsenal bombarding Michael with harrowing visions and flashbacks (he grew up in a funeral home with an undertaker father played by Rutger Hauer who had a habit of bringing his work home with him) which offer ample opportunities for cheap scares. His trump card of course is Hopkins whose character eventually becomes possessed himself thus allowing The Rite to fulfill the Lucas/Lucifer conceit we all knew was coming.
The Rite varies wildly in tone with Hafstrom seemingly unable to decide if his film is to be a moody serious-minded psychological thriller or some campy outlandish horror-comedy. By the time Father Lucas becomes possessed and the reenactment of the first great celestial battle begins the film gives itself wholly over to the latter. As channeled by Hopkins the devil comes off as a less eloquent more vulgar version of Hannibal Lecter taunting Michael with naughty words and voraciously devouring scenery. The Dark Lord as a dirty old man is something of a novel concept I suppose. Scary? Maybe a little. Creepy? Oh hell yes.
The Baywatch bombshell landed her first Playboy cover way back in 1989, and was named Playmate of the year in 1990. And now, 20 years later, Anderson is baring all again for the January 2011 issue, cavorting naked in a pool as an homage to Ekberg's infamous scene in Rome, Italy's Trevi Fountain with Marcello Mastroianni in the 1960 movie classic.
On his Twitter.com page, Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner writes, "Pamela Anderson is in the (Playboy) Mansion swimming pool, posing for the January cover in a tribute to 'La Dolce Vita'."
Anderson, who will be 43 when the magazine is published, last posed for the Playboy cover in 2007.
Aylesworth passed away in Rancho Mirage, California on 28 July (10).
He performed on radio in his native Toronto as a child, and went on to find success on U.S. television.
Aylesworth was perhaps best known for co-creating 1970s American country music television variety show Hee Haw with Frank Peppiatt and Bernie Brillstein. The programme featured famous guests in country, gospel and bluegrass music, including Johnny Cash and Conway Twitty.
In addition, he served as a writer or producer on TV shows such as Your Hit Parade, The Kraft Music Hall, The Judy Garland Show and The Jonathan Winters Show.
He was also among the writers who shared an Emmy nomination for The Julie Andrews Hour in 1973 and The Sonny and Cher Show in 1976.
Aylesworth is survived by his fourth wife, Anita, two children from his first marriage, three from his second marriage, and one grandson.
In the final days of the Iraq War members of an elite commando unit were sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from four maximum security prisons to take revenge on the man who framed them. If you are having a boring summer at the movies if Sex and the City 2 left a bad taste in your mouth and if you can find a theater playing it you need to see The A-Team.
It’s no overstatement to declare that The A-Team is the first great action film of the summer. Say what you will about Iron Man 2 but the degree and multitude of insane sequences in The A-Team trump the more narcissistic Marvel sequel -- at least in that particular category. It is no innovation that a summer blockbuster would employ action as its primary tool for separating you from your cash but The A-Team does so with an entirely different mindset than most brain-dead popcorn fare.
Instead of assaulting us with nonstop action and then having the audacity to mask itself as being high art The A-Team embraces just how ludicrous the action sequences are and makes absolutely no apologies for it. That’s not to say though the movie has nothing to offer beyond the explosions and midair collisions. In fact what makes The A-Team such a damn good film is the clever underscore that complements every moment of mesmerizing destruction. Joe Carnahan along with the other writers gives us moments that subtly poke fun at the outlandishness of what we’re seeing that not only makes the absurd action forgivable but immediately elevates the material above the typical summer fodder.
Carnahan recognized that given the tone of both the series and his last film (Smokin' Aces) the action scenes needed to flow uninterrupted and here it's very streamlined only pausing briefly to give us hilarious interactions between the larger-than-life characters before diving head-first back into the explosive fray. Until the very end of the film each plan is carried out before our eyes as it is being hashed out to neutralize any lacking in the pace. It would be easy to then accuse The A-Team of being front-loaded given the slow build to the final sequence but I would argue that is merely a nod to the evolution of Face’s character as a leader and that it never really loses steam.
What really sells this film however is its cast. Like the original quartet of chaos each actor brings something fantastic to the table. Bradley Cooper as Face has that inescapably charming swagger and confidence we’ve come to expect from him; Liam Neeson unsurprisingly is the perfect blend of in-the-trenches badass and cool-as-ice leader. Even Rampage Jackson in the role made famous by a guy donning the entire payload of Ft. Knox around his neck (that'd be Mr. T) turns in a respectably tough performance with a few moments of decent hubris. But it’s Sharlto Copley who really steals the show as Howlin’ Mad Murdock. True to his character's moniker Copley cranks up the lunacy and plays Murdock with a hilariously reckless abandon that mirrors the tone of the entire film.
Though not without fault (the less-than-thrilling CG near the end of the film is amateurish at best and many will find the over-the-top action too silly to appreciate) all in all this movie rocks hard. The interplay between our heroes is at the heart of the film's entertainment value and is what you will probably like the most about it. Personally I can’t remember the last time I had this much fun at the movies. The A-Team is far better than it has any right to be mainly because it is as much a four-sided character piece as it is a balls-out actioner.
The producers of hit shows Footloose and The Wedding Singer have teamed up with bosses at Westfield Shopping Malls to stage a series of open talent calls to seek out an unknown who will star in El Portal Theatre's Cinderella, A Modern Magical Musical Extravaganza this Christmas (10).
Shankman, DioGuardi and Harris will each judge three separate mall auditions next month (Jul10).
The director will lead the panel at Westfield Topanga, American Idol judge DioGuardi will oversee the talent at Westfield Santa Anita and actor Harris will lead auditions at Westfield Culver City.
The overall winner of the star search will lead the cast in the traditional pantomime at North Hollywood's El Portal Theatre. The show will be produced by Nigel and Bonnie Lythgoe, the couple responsible for TV talent shows So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars and American Idol.
The Iron Man star, 40, recently let slip he's a married man after exchanging vows with Michelle Ghent in a small Los Angeles ceremony in January (10).
The news emerged just months after he split from his actress fiancee Zulay Henao, his co-star in 2009 movie Fighting, and reports suggested his nuptials with Ghent occurred after a whirlwind romance.
But Us Weekly magazine reports Howard has known Ghent for years - and he grew close to the 33-year-old while he was mourning the passing of his mum Anita.
A source tells the publication, "They met years ago and reconnected early last year. (They) bonded when she consoled him over the loss of his mother.
"He feels so lucky."
Howard split from his first wife, Lori McCommas, in 2003 and remarried her in 2005.
The actress/singer, who won a Best Featured Actress in a Musical Tony last year (09) for her role as Anita in the show, fell awkwardly during Saturday night's (08May10) performance - and limped offstage.
When she failed to return for the curtain call, fans knew something was wrong.
In a Twitter.com post, Olivo writes, "My foot is broken but my spirit is thriving."
It is not known how long she'll be out of the show, which opened to critical and commercial acclaim in March 2009.
The Oscar winner reveals her mother's mother "just disappeared" and she wanted to use the show's resources and experts to find out more about her - so she could share her findings with her family.
The actress' gran went missing when her mother Lenora was only two - and the family owned just one laminated press cutting photo of the woman, Anita Rigali.
The Dead Man Walking star admits she was nervous when she first embarked on the ancestry investigation because "she (Rigali) was presented as somebody who abandoned her children, so part of me was fearful for my mom... I think it's understandably an emotionally-charged search for her."
Sarandon started her investigation by visiting her mother in Virginia. Lenora revealed her mum was "a showgirl" in New York, who she thought had died. Mother and daughter met briefly at the 1939 World's Fair and then lost contact.
The actress teamed up with New York genealogist Megan Smolenyak to begin her research. The ancestry expert found her grandmother's birth certificate and learned her great-grandfather, Mansueto Rigali, was an Italian statue maker.
The couple arrived in Manhattan, New York from Tuscany, Italy, which prompted Sarandon to pick up the trail of her ancestors in Europe.
She says, "I'm always happy to be in Italy. The first time I came to Italy I felt inexplicably at home - now I know why; my gene pool was crying out."
In Italy, she discovered her great-grandfather was born in Coreglia in July, 1855 and she visited the church where Mansueto and 10 generations of the Rigali family were baptised - dating back to 1640.
In the hillside village, she also learned that her great-grandfather left Italy for the U.S. because life was tough for sculptors and he hoped to find work and fortune in America in 1888. Unfortunately his trip was one dogged by tragedy. Sarandon visited the unmarked grave of Mansueto and eight members of the Rigali family in New York.
Sarandon then returned to her search for her late grandmother, who she discovered was pregnant when she wed at 13, deserted her husband and daughter and wed a Jewish salesman, called Ben Kahn - without getting divorced.
Research then led the actress to the house where her grandmother lived out her years. One neighbour knew Anita and revealed her gran had helped a young Frank Sinatra land his big break when she was a young dancer.
Anita spent the last 35 years of her life living with Dom Fiorentino and took his name. That link led Sarandon to her grandmother's nieces, who showed off family photos and sketches, which featured the family likeness.
She says, "I'm grateful to have solved the mystery of Anita."
Milan Agnew, a 21-year-old employee at an Apple store on the Upper West Side, claims Belzer, 65, entered the shop on Wednesday (10Mar10), grabbed her by the shoulders, shook her, choked her and yelled, "I need help!"
Agnew immediately called police and filed a harassment complaint.
According to the New York Daily News, Belzer was questioned by cops but was later released without charge, after reportedly telling officers he was "just joking".
But Agnew's grandmother, Anita McKnight, is furious the actor will not face any charges, telling the newspaper, "She told me, 'Nana, he didn't just touch me, he choked me and really scared me.' My granddaughter is petite, just 5-feet-2 and she's a dancer so she doesn't have much body to her. Where does this man come off putting his hands on her?"
Former Bahamas senator Pleasant Bridgewater and paramedic Tarino Lightbourne have been charged with conspiracy to extort $25 million (£17.2 million) from the actor and his wife Kelly Preston after their 16-year-old son Jett suffered a fatal seizure at the family's holiday home there in January 2009.
The allegations centre around a Refusal of Treatment/Transportation form, signed by Travolta, which the suspects allegedly threatened to release to the media.
In October (09), Senior Justice Anita Allen declared a mistrial after a jury member reportedly leaked the verdict to politicians. Jurors were still deliberating when lawmaker Picewell Forbes allegedly announced to an audience at a Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) convention that Bridgewater was "a free woman".
The retrial has been set for 6 September (10) and is expected to last four weeks.
The star's attorney, Michael Ossi, has insisted Travolta, who testified during the initial hearings, will fully cooperate with future proceedings and will testify again if necessary.
Ossi told reporters in October (09): "We are committed to seeing this through, and we are committed to seeing justice served. And whatever the prosecution asks us to do is exactly what we will do."