Sometimes the simplest of crimes are the ones that go the most awry—a fact Andy (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and his younger brother Hank (Ethan Hawke) find out the hard way. You see they both have money problems: Andy is an overextended payroll exec who has been embezzling from his company while Hank is a flighty ne’er-do-well who can’t pay child support. When Andy hatches a larcenous scheme to rob a suburban mom-and-pop jewelry store that appears to be the quintessential easy target Hank is in—until he finds out the store owners are Andy and Hank’s actual mom (Rosemary Harris) and pop (Albert Finney). “How can we do that?” Hank asks his cold-hearted brother but Andy assures Hank it’s a piece of cake and that no one will get hurt. Famous last words. Hank’s fears are realized when the job goes horribly wrong and tragedy reaches unprecedented heights. A top-notch cast like this only makes things better. Hoffman in particular gives yet another tour-de-force performance as the troubled Andy a man wounded by his father’s hard-headedness and lack of affection throughout the years. Hoffman alternates between calculating coldness and heart-wrenching desperation—all while keeping his outwardly appearance impeccable. Hawke’s Hank on the other hand is just a mess through and through a “puppy dog ” as so described by Andy who wears his heart on his sleeve and is his father’s favorite. Although Hawke whines and grates his way through the performance that is what the part requires and he is quite effective at it. Finney as the brothers’ old man is also conflicted devastated by the tragedy yet determined to get to the bottom of it--and when he realizes it’s his sons Finney plays the moment perfectly. Also good is Marisa Tomei as Andy’s stressed wife; she plays her like a caged bird looking for a way out. When things keep getting worse you cringe in anticipation of each character’s next move. Sidney Lumet is certainly an expert in train-wreck crime dramas having served up such classics as Dog Day Afternoon Serpico and Prince of the City as well as other stellar efforts such as 12 Angry Men Network and The Verdict. He’s also directed 17 different actors in their Oscar-winning performances--and still the man himself has yet to win the Academy Award for Best Director. Funny how it always works out that way. Over the last few years Lumet has stumbled a bit (2006’s Find Me Guilty didn’t help matters) but you shouldn’t underestimate his talent when he can really sink his teeth into something. Before the Devil is right up his alley and he spins it with all the experience and professionalism he has at his fingertips. Its nonstop pace is enhanced by some clever editing in which time jumps back and forth over the span of a week. And of course Lumet once again guides his actors into stellar performances. You get this dysfunctional family immediately without a word spoken. The director is surely looking at his sixth Oscar nomination and if he wins the Big One for what in essence is his body of work at least we can say he won for something truly worthy.
August 28, 2002 12:15pm EST
Michael Jackson's friend and confidant Gary Pudney tells Access Hollywood that he and "The Gloved One" are working on a feature film about Edgar Allen Poe. The pop oddity plans to star as the father of suspense writing in The Nightmare of Edgar Allen Poe and is reportedly getting acting tips from his eccentric friends Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor. Still in the early development stage, the film is about the last days of Poe's life. Pudney said he and Jackson are working to get a producer for the project.
Jerry Seinfeld and his wife, Jessica Sklar, are expecting their second child, due early next spring, a spokesman for the comedian tells People.com. The couple already has a daughter, Sascha, born in November 2000. Seinfeld has reportedly succumbed to incorporating parenting into his stand-up comedy routine and earlier this year announced plans to publish a children's Halloween book, due out this September.
One-time Baywatch babe Yasmine Bleeth tied the knot this weekend with her boyfriend Paul Cerrito at the exclusive Bacara resort in California, according to People.com. Bleeth and Cerrito, you may recall, were both arrested last September in Michigan after police found cocaine in her purse while investigating a car accident. The two apparently met at the Malibu rehab facility Promises prior their arrest.
Actress Margot Kidder, who played Lois Lane in the late '70s and early '80s Superman movies, is recovering from a broken pelvis she suffered in a weekend highway accident in Belfast, Maine, The Associated Press reports. Kidder's GMC Yukon rolled over several times after hitting some raised pavement. The 53-year-old actress was headed to Montreal when the accident occurred.
Judge Lloyd Nash granted more time Tuesday to actor Robert Blake and his bodyguard, Earle Caldwell, to prepare their defense against charges in the murder of the actor's wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, the AP reports. The judge, however, set a preliminary hearing date of Nov. 13 and declared it unchangeable. Blake is being held without bail in the shooting death of Bakley. He also is charged with solicitation of murder and conspiracy and faces a special-circumstance allegation of lying in wait. Caldwell is charged with a single count of conspiracy to murder and is free on $1 million bail that Blake posted.
Hollywood screenwriter Dean Riesner died Aug. 18 of natural causes at his Encino, Calif., home at the age of 83, Reuters reports. Riesner, a one-time child actor, came up with Clint Eastwood's all-time great lines "Do you feel lucky, punk?" and "Go ahead, make my day." Riesner is survived by several nieces and nephews.
TV writer Robert Dellinger sued Nicolas Cage and five companies behind the as-yet-unreleased feature film Sonny Tuesday for copyright infringement, Variety reports. The defendants include Intermedia, Gold Circle Films and its subsidiary Vortex Pictures, Pony Rides and Cage's production company Saturn Films, as well as Cage, screenwriter John Carlen and Vortex executive Paul Brooks. Dellinger said he and Carlen collaborated on several scripts, including the ideas behind the Sonny project, while they were serving time at Terminal Island federal prison in Los Angeles in the 1970s. The suit seeks $2 million in damages and the prevention of the picture's sale overseas.
The Walt Disney Co. is teaming up with Ice Cube for a sports-themed comedy feature film. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ice Cube wrote De-Fense and will produce the movie through his Cube Vision company with his partner Matt Alvarez, along with Disney-based Gunn Films and Andrew Gunn. De-Fense is described as a Bad News Bears set in the world of football.
Actress/singer Jennifer Love Hewitt will host the third annual Women Rock! Girls & Guitars concert at the Kodak Theatre on Oct. 10. The event, part of Lifetime Television's public awareness campaign "Stop Breast Cancer for Life," will feature a musical performance by Hewitt, whose fourth album is due out in September. The concert will air Oct. 25.