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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TV hosts Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan are set to return to British chat show This Morning to host a one off live 25th anniversary programme. The show will air on 03 October (13) and will also feature current presenters Phillip Schofield, Holly Willoughby, Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford.
Singer/songwriter Justin Vernon is returning to his alma mater in Wisconsin to perform with his rock band Volcano Choir. The Bon Iver frontman graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2004 with a degree in comparative studies in religion, and now he is heading back to the liberal arts school to hit the stage with his side project, a collaboration with members of the group Collections of Colonies of Bees.
Volcano Choir will play the college's Schofield Auditorium on 19 October (13).
Vernon this week (begs02Sep13) cast doubt on his future with Bon Iver, confessing he has no plans to reunite with his bandmates anytime soon as he is having too much fun working with Volcano Choir.
During an interview on Australian radio station Triple J, he said, "I'm really honoured that Bon Iver gives me a platform to do whatever I want, but there's only so much time you can spend digging through yourself before you become insular. I'm not in a hurry to go back to that temperature. All of the music I've been making shifting away from Bon Iver feels really good... so if I ever do go back to Bon Iver it will be all the better for it."
Actress Isla Fisher was left mortified on Thursday (20Jun13) when she accidentally uttered a curse word during a live family-friendly talk show. The Australian star let slip an expletive on U.K. TV show This Morning when she was quizzed about reports suggesting she scolded her The Great Gatsby co-stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire for making too much noise while partying in their hotel at the Cannes Film Festival in France last month (May13).
When asked if the story was true, she replied, "Yes, but in my defence, we didn't actually... It was my husband and I - we did put on our robes but we did it more for a joke, we didn't actually b**lock them."
Upon realising her slip, Fisher immediately gasped and covered her mouth with her hands, exclaiming, "I'm so sorry, I'm so so sorry! I'm Australian. We didn't tell anyone off. I didn't finish it (the story)! I didn't quite finish it! Oh no!"
Fisher added, "If anyone writes any letters in, I was pre-warned not to (swear). I'm so sorry!"
Host Phillip Schofield quickly wrapped up the interview by plugging the star's upcoming movie Now You See Me, and an embarrassed Fisher quipped, "But you might not see me ever again!"
The former Baywatch star has been learning to ice skate in recent weeks, and impressed the judges with her debut routine with professional Matt Evers, placing midway on the leaderboard.
However, Anderson found herself in the bottom two alongside British TV presenter Keith Chegwin after the viewers voted.
She skated again, to Sinead O'Connor's Sacrifice, in a bid to stay in the competition but experienced a slight wardrobe malfunction when her dress slipped down to reveal part of her breast.
Anderson told co-host Phillip Schofield, "My dress fell off! (I was) a little wobbly."
The judges opted to save Chegwin, but Anderson was gracious in defeat.
Speaking after she was booted off the show, the actress said, "(I feel) sad. It was really fun and now I know how to skate a little bit. I'll keep skating for sure. I feel so bad, I'm sorry Matt - he should not be here. I just stumbled, my dress, my boobs fell out, it happens."
Danny Devito pulled a surprise on British TV hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on Wednesday (11Jul12) by forcing them to pose with his foot for a photograph. The Twins star entertains his fans on Twitter.com by taking photos of his right foot in unusual locations, and he's now added the studio of talk show This Morning to his gallery.
The stars of American Reunion are in Britain to promote the latest film in the franchise, and Klein - along with Eddie Kaye Thomas and Jennifer Coolidge - sat down for a chat with This Morning hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby.
But the worldwide promotion of the movie has left Klein feeling unwell.
Thomas revealed, "London has made my pal Chris Klein a little sick, it took his voice away."
Klein added, "I'm a little bit sick - it wasn't London that did it, it's just all the running around."
The actor then talked at length about the American Pie franchise, prompting Thomas to quip, "It's the most he's said all morning! He's been telling us all morning that he can't speak, he's been saving it for you guys."
A few minutes into the chat, Klein's voice started to wane, causing Coolidge to chuckle, and the actor joked, "Are you laughing at my voice?"
He later added: "It sounds worse than it is."
The Crocodile Dundee and Australia star pleaded guilty to aggravated assault during a court hearing on Wednesday (21Sep11) after an altercation with his wife, Miriam Ashley, in December (10).
On Thursday (22Sep11), Darwin magistrate John Lowndes handed Gulpilil a 12-month sentence, suspended after five months.
Gulpilil's lawyer, Eugene Schofield, is adamant his client will turn his life around when he leaves jail.
He says, "He was very reluctant to go to prison... He intends to attend rehab when he comes out, and I understand he has a few films in the pipeline."
Linney passed away at his home in Germantown, New York on Saturday (15Jan11).
He wrote three novels and more than 30 plays in the U.S. and Europe during his long career, including The Sorrows of Frederick, Ambrosio, FM and A Woman Without a Name.
Perhaps his most widely-known work was The Love Suicide at Schofield Barracks, which appeared on Broadway in 1972.
He also taught at America's prestigious Columbia and Princeton universities, Hunter College and The New School.
His wife, Laura Callanan, said he had been working on a novel at the time of his death, and had completed the libretto for an opera based on one of his plays.
In addition to his wife and his Oscar-nominated daughter, he is survived by another daughter, Susan.
Donovan found fame in the 1980s starring opposite a then-unknown Kylie Minogue in the hit TV show, and he went on to enjoy a successful pop and stage career.
Over the years, both Donovan and Minogue have been rumoured to be planning a return to the drama series for a cameo appearance - but Donovan has now ruled out any Neighbours comeback.
He tells U.K. show This Morning, "I think my answer to that is it's sort of like wearing a pair of old shoes. They are a bit smelly, there is sentimental value in there as well - you don't know whether to throw them away or not. But Neighbours is a wonderful Australian export and I'm very proud to have been part of it. It changed my life."
Asked by host Phillip Schofield whether he would consider returning, Donovan replied: "No."