TriStar Pictures via Everett Collection
An hour and change into Pompeii, there's a volcano. You'd think there might have been a volcano throughout — you'd think that the folks inhabiting the ill-fated Italian village would have been dealing with the infamous volcano for the full 110 minutes. After all, volcano movies have worked before. Volcano, for instance. And the other one. But for some reason, Pompeii feels the need to stuff its first three quarters with coliseum battles, Ancient Rome politics, unlikely friendships, and a love story. But we don’t care. We can't care. None of it warrants our care. Where the hell is the volcano, already?
To answer that: it's off to the side — rumbling. Smoking. Occasionally spiking the neighboring community with geological fissures or architectural misgivings. Pretty much executing every trick picked up in Ominous Foreshadowing 101, but never joining the story. Not until Paul W.S. Anderson shouts, "Last call," hitting us with a final 20-odd minutes of unmitigated disaster (in a good way). If you've managed to maintain a waking pulse throughout the lecture in sawdust that is Pompeii's story, then you might actually have a good time with the closing sequence. It has everything you’d expect — everything you had been expecting! — and delivers it with gusto. Torpedoes of smoke running hordes of idiot villagers out of their homes and toward whatever safety the notion of forward has to offer. Long undeveloped characters rising to the occasion to rescue hapless princesses who thought it might be a good idea to set their vacation homes at the foot of a lava-spewing mountain. The whole ordeal is actually a lot of laughs. But it amounts to a dessert just barely worth the tasteless dinner we had to force down to get there.
TriStar Pictures via Everett Collection
To get through the bulk of Pompeii, we recommend focusing all your attentions away from the effectively bland slave/gladiator/hero Kit Harington — sorry, Jon Snow (he's actually called a bastard at one point) — and onto his partner in crime: a scowling Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje — sorry, Mr. Eko (he and Snow actually trade valedictions by saying "I'll see you at another time, brother" at one point) — who warms up to his fellow prize fighter during their shared time in the klink, and delivers his moronic material with a sprinkle of flair. Keeping the working man down is Kiefer Sutherland — sorry, Jack Bauer — as an ostentatious Roman senator, doling out vainglory in Basil Fawlty-sized portions. When he's not spitting scowls at peasants, ol' JB is undermining the efforts of an earnest local governor Jared Harris — sorry, Lane Pryce (he actually calls someone a mad man at one point) — and his wife Carrie-Anne Moss — sorry, Katherine O'Connell from Vegas (joking! Trinity) — and finagling the douchiest marriage proposal ever toward their daughter Emily Browning — sorry, but I have no idea what she's from.
But questionable television references and some enjoyably daft performances by Eko and Jack can't really make up for the heft of mindless dullness that Pompeii passes off as its narrative... until the big showstopper.
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In truth, the last sequence is a gem. It's fun, inviting, and energizing, and might even call into question the possibility that Pompeii is all about how futile life, love, friendship, politics, and pride are when even the most egregiously complicated of plots can be taken out in the end by a sudden volcanic eruption. But you have to wade through that egregious complication to get there, and you shouldn't expect to have too much of a good time doing so.
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I guess the gleeks weren’t the only ones getting their Time Warps on this week. Last night a star-studded cast brought The Rocky Horror Picture Show to life at a Los Angeles theater in an effort to raise money for Paul Newman’s children’s charity and to celebrate cult musical’s 35th anniversary.
After we witnessed a candy-coated, watered-down version of Rocky Horror on Tuesday night, it’s nice to know that someone’s taking it a little more seriously…or at least doing it right. An ensemble acted as a “shadowcast,” performing select songs while playing the actual film as well.
In an attempt to redeem their Rocky Horror horror on Glee, Matthew Morrison and his onscreen underage student, Lea Michele, took on Brad and Janet. (Yes, they totally kissed and that’s kinda creepy even if it’s not actually weird in real life.) Jorge Garcia (a.k.a Hurley from Lost) was Eddie, George Lopez (I still don't get why he's famous) was Doctor Scott, Nicole “Dontcha-wish-your-girlfriend-was-hot-like-me” Scherzinger screeched “Science Fiction/ Double Feature” as Trixie. (And I’m not even halfway through the names, guys.)
It seems that some parts were hard to come by – many roles were filled by multiple stars including Jack Nicholson and Danny DeVito, who shared the role of the Criminologist. Oh-so evil Jan from The Office (Melora Hardin)aptly stepped into the role as Columbia and Evan Rachel Wood gave Dianna Agron’s Magenta (on Glee) a run for her money and both ladies flanked Nip Tuck’s Julian McMahon who took on Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s iconic banana hammock. (Yes, I went there.)
From the looks of the clips from the show, the production was probably more fun for the cast than it was accurate, but they apparently had the seal of approval from members of the original cast. Tim Curry (Frank-N-Furter: original recipe) and the film’s Brad, Barry Bostwick jumped onstage to help the cast get down for the Time Warp. Regardless, I think it’s safe to say that Glee got totally out-gleeked. Sorry, kids.
Source: Los Angeles Times
The star-studded cast took to the stage at the city's Wiltern Theatre to stage a production of the classic musical in aid of Paul Newman's Painted Turtle charity.
Nip/Tuck's Julian McMahon thrilled fans by donning a corset and suspenders to play Dr. Frank-N-Furter, while Glee stars Michele and Morrison took on the roles of stranded lovers Janet Weiss and Brad Majors.
The show also saw star turns from Jack Nicholson, Nicole Scherzinger, Billy Idol, Danny Devito, Ricky Lake, Rachel Evan Wood, Jason Segel and Lost's Jorge Garcia.
Speaking before the event, producer Lou Adler, who worked on the original film, admitted McMahon wasn't his first choice to play Frank-N-Furter - he wanted Cher to tackle the role.
He says, "I've always envisioned Cher as Frank-N-Furter. But she's working in Las Vegas."