In adapting a rather flimsy children’s book into a full-fledged feature film one has to take some liberties. We first meet the lovable little monkey in the wild where his curious habits wreck havoc. Meanwhile in the big city Ted (voiced by Will Ferrell)--aka The Man with the Yellow Hat--is a highly enthusiastic guide at the soon-to-be-closed Bloomsberry Museum. In order to save the museum (here’s where they pad it) he is sent on a mission to Africa to retrieve a lost shrine. But when he gets there the only thing he finds is a miniature version of it--and George of course. The lonely monkey decides to follow Ted all the way back to the city where his mischievous tendencies get him into even more trouble. George nearly ruins everything for Ted but somehow the little feller eventually grows on him. How could he not? If I can borrow a line from Madagascar little George is so cute I just like to dunk him in my coffee. When you’re reading Curious George out loud to your kids you don’t get the impression The Man with the Yellow Hat is a good-natured but geeky fellow gangly clumsy and clueless about women. Thank goodness the film has Will Ferrell to clear it up for us! You basically know what you’re in for once you recognize his voice and his natural comic timing shines through lending for some funnier moments (“OK I’m looking directly into the sun. Staring right at it. I’ve got to be honest with you it stings…”). The other voices in the film also do a fine job including Drew Barrymore as a schoolteacher who has a crush on Ted; Eugene Levy as the mad museum scientist; Dick Van Dyke as the museum’s old-time curator; and David Cross as his weasly greedy son. Based on the books and illustrations by Margret and H.A. Rey Curious George embraces the essence of the timeless stories created 65 years ago. The film apparently took awhile to find its voice. Producer Ron Howard originally conceived it as live-action film but quickly realized they could never get a real monkey as cute and fuzzy as George. Then CGI was considered but ultimately the filmmakers kept returning to the source: the late H.A. Rey’s original painstakingly beautiful illustrations. Thankfully they stuck with that idea. Curious George is lush and vibrant with all of Rey’s best efforts fully realized in Technicolor. And much like what the Piglet’s Big Movie did with Carly Simon and The Wild Thornberrys with Paul Simon Curious George is also sprinkled with original songs by hot pop singer Jack Johnson to give it a modern feel. So what if the story gets a little overblown in parts it will still introduce one of literature’s most enduring icons to the young-un’s--while allowing the adults to reminisce.
Lucy Liu splits and finds new love
Charlie's Angels beauty Lucy Liu has reportedly split from fiancé Zach Helm--but has already embarked on a new romance. The pair got engaged in April, after they had been dating for ten months. At the time, Liu described the 29-year-old screen-writer as her "soulmate" and the pair were expected to share a private and intimate wedding in the near future. But although the wedding plans have been abruptly called off, Liu has allegedly already found a new love. According to In Touch magazine, the 36-year-old actress is dating Elf actor Will McCormack, the brother of actress Mary McCormack.
Beckinsale wanted to quit Aviator
Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese reportedly had to beg Kate Beckinsale not to quit The Aviator, after she began to doubt her acting career. Sources claim Beckinsale threatened to walk off the set of the Howard Hughes biopic, leading to tension between her and the film's committed star DiCaprio. A source tells British newspaper the Daily Telegraph, "Kate was Leo's first choice to play Ava, and, with the director Martin Scorsese, he managed to persuade her to star on. "Kate is a consummate professional, and it wasn't that she didn't believe in the film, but it was more that she was wondering whether acting was really for her. Leo was passionate about the film and obviously this created tensions between them." Beckinsale, 31, recently revealed she is reconsidering her career, because she has reached the age her actor father Richard Beckinsale was when he died of a heart attack. She said earlier this month, "I'm in a funny year as I am the age my father was when he died, and my daughter is the age I was then (five). I think it is completely inevitable for me to have a bit of a review at this point, in the spiritual sense."
Winslet's primitive Christmas
Kate Winslet and her family were forced to spend Christmas in a primitive outhouse, after builders failed to finish work on their new home in time. Winslet, director husband Sam Mendes, daughter Mia and baby son Joe moved into the $6.65 million estate in England's Cotswolds weeks ahead of the festive season--but, despite spending thousands on the sumptuous pad, they still can't move into the main mansion yet. Winslet's pal says, "There is a skip in the garden and the main house is still not ready, but Kate and Sam were so determined to be in by Christmas they decided to move in to one of the outhouses. She's delighted to be on the estate, even if she's not in the main house."
Wahlberg to toughen up for role
Mark Wahlberg is poised to propel the brutal Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) into the mainstream in a new movie. The Boogie Nights star is in negotiations to muscle-up for the film about the sport, in which combatants engage in bloody, bare-knuckle brawls in an octagon-shaped ring. UFC owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta are onboard as executive producers, while 15 Minutes movie-maker John Herzfeld has signed up to write and direct the project, reports PageSix.Com. The Feritta brothers recently completed 13 episodes of The Ultimate Fighter, a reality series for Spike TV.
Connery recycles shoes
Former James Bond star Sean Connery never buys shoes--preferring to wear the same pairs over and over again. The 74-year-old actor can't understand why women need to continuously shop for footwear, because he's quite content to still use the ten pairs he was given for free years ago. He says, "Why are women obsessed with buying shoes the whole time? Years ago I was given ten pairs when I was making a film. I still wear them."
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Three years since relieving ruthless Las Vegas hotel owner Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) of a large chunk of cash Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his crew--including detail man Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) and novice pickpocket Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon)--have tried to live modest legit lives. Sure it's hard to go straight but hey at least they got away with the heist of the century. Right? Not quite. Seems a mysterious someone has ratted the gang out to Benedict who demands his $160 million back or else. Strapped of most of their cash and too hot in the United States to pull off a job Ocean and company decide Europe would be the best place to score much to the chagrin of Danny's wife Tess (Julia Roberts). Once in Europe however they find out it isn't as easy as it used to be. They run up against the tough-as-nails Europol agent Isabel Lahiri (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who once had a fling with Rusty and Europe's premier master thief the Night Fox (Vincent Cassel) who seems to be one step ahead of Ocean's crew. Let the games begin.
Ocean's Twelve's crop of A-listers have way too much fun making these movies as they recapture that freewheeling spirit and good-ole-boy camaraderie from Ocean's Eleven. Even though sometimes it seems like they are a bunch of frat boys hazing each other the actors clearly are enjoying themselves tremendously--and so do we. Clooney and Pitt continue to be the suave ringleaders speaking to each other in code while Pitt's Rusty gets the love interest this time around. As Rusty's former flame Zeta-Jones holds her own with the boys but doesn't have nearly the chemistry with Pitt that Roberts and Clooney exude as marrieds Danny and Tess. Actually Roberts almost steals Twelve away from the guys: she gets to show off her comedic abilities in one of the film's most hysterical sequences which involves real-life movie stars and Fabergé eggs. As far as the rest of the gang they all are back and raring to go including Damon who comes off as even more green and eager as Linus and the hilarious bickering Malloy brothers played brilliantly by Scott Caan and Casey Affleck. As for the villains Garcia's Benedict has very little do leaving most of the malevolent posturing and stylish good looks to French actor Cassel (Birthday Girl) as the crafty Night Fox.
With one of the keenest eyes in the business director Steven Soderbergh is a pro at letting audiences experience what seem to be very personal moments in his films. Ocean's Twelve is no exception as we become privy to the locker-room antics of our favorite band of thieves. This makes you as much a part of the boys club as its rowdy stars. Soderbergh describes Twelve as a "movie in which everything goes wrong from the get-go " whereas everything went right in Eleven. This allows for some wonderful comic scenes such as Roberts' escapade and the quick-witted exchanges between the boys. Upon finding out that the gang is now called "Ocean's Eleven" safecracker Frank (Bernie Mac) exclaims "Who decided that? I'm a private contractor!" The film's inherent problems come from George Nolfi's screenplay which tries to incorporate the whole "greatest thief in America meets the greatest thief in Europe" idea. Suddenly Twelve becomes less about planning a heist and watching things go wrong than about a cock fight to see which thief can outdo the other thief. At the end when all the convoluted twists are revealed you're left wishing for simpler times.
So who cares about Kathie Lee now that she’s off the tube? Answer: The National Enquirer, of course.
In a week seemingly devoid of major dirt, the tab has devoted a centerfold piece covering the post-talk show life of perky Kathie Lee.
And this is what the Enquirer has to tell us: 1) Kathie Lee spent three weeks on a cruise with hubby Frank and kiddies Cody and Cassidy vacationing to France. 2) During the trip, Kathie Lee and Frank has rediscovered their love for each other. And 3) Kathie Lee is happy.
A slow week, indeed.
And now, it is time for other tab reports that really matter:
1. "Little Hercules -- Believe It or Not, Muscle Kid Is Just Seven Years Old!" (Globe, p. 46) And yes, there’s even a photo of a kid with rippling muscles and a six pack to prove it –- except, to us at least, it looks a lot like the kid’s head was superimposed onto a grown man’s body through Photoshop™ or something.
2. "Brad & Jennifer’s Baby" (Globe, p. 9) Mrs. Brad Pitt is reportedly trying to gain weight so she can get pregnant. And don’t ask us what’s the correlation between the two.
3. "Ben Affleck Has the Hots For ‘Survivor’ Cutie" (Enquirer, p. 1) No, not Greg! Colleen!
4. "Two-Fisted Granny, 93, Fights Off Two Robbers (Enquirer, p. 10) The wowing true tale of one lil’ old lady as she kicks ass and takes names when two good-for-nothings tried to rob her, along with a dramatic photo re-enactment of the whole thing.
5. "Girl, 11, Saves Baby Brother From Killer Python (Weekly World News, p. 1) Take that, two-fisted granny, 93, who fought off two robbers in the Enquirer story!
6. "Ellen’s Gay Lover Ditched Her For A Man" (Star, p. 16) Yeah, yeah, that’s what they said last week, and the week before that.
7. "George Clooney Paid Ex-Lover $4.5M As He Romances Sexy Charlize Theron" (Star, p. 22) Hold on, but we thought he was dating Lucy Liu.
8. "Ladies’ Man Burt Bares His Love Secrets" (Star, p. 46) Er, Mr. Reynolds, we’d rather you not.
9. "Moms Who Cuddle Their Babies Make Them Smarter Adults!" (Weekly World News, p. 10) Freud, on the other hand, begs to differ.
10. "I Was Spanked By Saddam Hussein! (Weekly World News, p.45) A parliamentary hearing and an investigation by an independent counsel soon to follow. Stay tuned.