Focus Features via Everett Collection
If you take the unpredictability, the philosophical depth, and the groundbreaking artistry out of a Twilight Zone episode, you'll be left with something like The Signal: a "dude wakes up in a weird place and everything's different and he doesn't know why" story, lacking in most of the merit, but still packing a good sum of the entertainment factor. Although it's hardly the stimulating piece of thought provoking sci-fi that it might aim to be, The Signal is a thoroughly enjoyable romp through the avenues of B-movie kitsch, kookiness, and half-baked imagination.
The film does the trick in establishing palpable characters. However rote they may be, MIT student Nic (Brenton Thwaites), post-millennial geek Jonah (Beau Knapp), and Nic's girlfriend Haley (Olivia Cooke) are colored bright enough to cart us through the bizarre world soon to ensnare them with no dearth of empathy. We meet the trio at the tail end of a cross-country road trip; Haley is moving to the West Coast with plans reeking of a "fresh start" mentality, despite her affirmed devotion to the recently crippled Nic and their relationship. During their travels, Nic and Jonah are contacted by an anonymous hacker of renown, Nomad, and driven to find his secret hideout in the middle of nowhere. Naturally, exploration of a remote cabin leads our heroes to ultimate doom: they wake up the next morning steeped in a set of strange, often incomprehensible, and consistently titilating circumstances.
Focus Features via Everett Collection
Government facilities, men in spacesuits (Laurence Fishburne leading the bunch), dense interrogations, disturbing footage, and lanced memories... all of the Rod Serling traditions, each injected with an intimate connection gratis of our mumblecorey introduction to the early 20s trio. As we follow Nic on his endeavor to figure out what the hell is going on and get himself and his friends the hell out of dodge, we're driven both by the mystery and the personal evolution of the characters at hand.
Granted, neither one is offering particularly stellar material: Nic's character arc is basic at best, ditto the "big questions" circling the enigmatic setting. But the saving grace of The Signal, odd as it may be, is that we're never really expecting to be impressed. From the get-go, we feel as though we're stepping into a particularly hokey second-rate feature. It's the embrace of this identity, and the appreciation for a movie of this aesthetic, that can help to carry us to the end (the big reveal!) with plenty of enjoyment.
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More than 45 former Bond girls have posed for photographs as part of a new exhibition. Actresses including Honor Blackman, Shirley Eaton, Grace Jones and Jill St. John sat for a shoot with snapper Taryn Simon to celebrate the superspy movie franchise.
Simon wrote to 57 former stars of the 007 films, and only ten declined to take part - including the very first Bond girl, Ursula Andress, and British actress Gemma Arterton, who had a brief role in 2008's Quantum of Solace.
Some actresses referenced their part in the famous franchise, such as Goldfinger star Eaton, who wore a dress with a flash of gold colouring, while others, including Live and Let Die's Jane Seymour, chose simply to pose in elegant eveningwear.
Simon tells British magazine Stella, "All the women had complete freedom to choose the clothes and poses they wanted... Each woman who is not there is still represented by a blank space on the wall, together with a tag giving her name and the film in which she appeared."
The exhibition, titled Birds of the West Indies, will open at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania later this year (13) before heading out on tour.
A judge and former prosecutor in New Jersey filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Sopranos creator David Chase, claiming he helped Chase create the hit HBO show and has yet to see any compensation for it. According to The Associated Press, Robert Baer claims he met with Chase several times to give him details about the North Jersey mob and even to critique an early draft of the show's pilot episode. At the time, they entered into an oral agreement that if the show took off, Baer would be paid.
A woman accused of stalking actor Richard Gere pleaded guilty to aggravated harassment Thursday. Instead of jail time, Ursula Reichert-Habbishaw, 51, agreed to return home to Germany, never to bother Gere again. The divorced mother of four children had faxed or called Gere roughly 1,000 times over the last 14 months, AP reported.
Paul Newman is returning to the stage. He'll star as the stage manager in a production of Thornton Wilder's Our Town at the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport, Conn., near his home. He was chosen by the theater's artistic director--Newman's wife, Joanne Woodward--after he wowed her by reading one of the speeches.
Hip-hop prince Ja Rule says he may call it quits in a few years. Backstage at the BET Awards on Tuesday night, he told a press conference, "I'm going to retire after two more albums," to pursue an acting career. He's in negotiations to star in the sequel to The Fast and the Furious.
'N Sync member Lance Bass may chuck it all for space exploration. According to Reuters, he recently underwent a minor procedure to correct an irregular heartbeat so he can qualify for a seat aboard a Russian rocket flight to the International Space Station. He claims it's been his lifelong dream to be an astronaut.
Putting his light saber in the closet for the moment, Stars Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones star Hayden Christensen is in negotiations to play a disgraced journalist in the fact-based drama Shattered Glass. The film centers on Stephen Glass, who was briefly a rising star in the journalistic world but was discovered to have made up sources, quotes and often entire stories.
In the Biz
Limp Bizkit's lead singer, Fred Durst, has decided to combine a lifelong passion with his feature directorial debut. His project Lords of Dogtown focuses on the birth of the teenage skateboarding revolution (an extreme-sports activity Durst has long been interested in), following a group of young California surfers who take their moves from the ocean to the streets. The film will start shooting this summer.
Looks like Sony Pictures Entertainment's president and chief operating officer, Mel Harris, will step down from the post when his contract expires in September. Variety reports it is only speculation at this point but that several Sony execs are vying for the position.
The Fox network is having to seriously reshuffle its new fall lineup, as two of its signature shows--Ally McBeal and The X-Files--are departing this year. Fox is looking to replace McBeal with another David E. Kelley drama about lawyers and may turn Sundays into strictly a comedy night.
Due to contractual reasons, the U.K. premiere of MTV's The Osbournes this Sunday has been delayed. MTV apologized to U.K. viewers and promised to have a new and confirmed air date soon.
Comedy legend Lily Tomlin will be joining the cast of NBC's The West Wing, as the new secretary to President Bartlet (Martin Sheen). She debuts this Wednesday in the series' season finale.
Napster, the song-swapping company that changed the music business, is up in arms. Chief Executive Konrad Hilbers and co-founder Shawn Fanning both resigned their posts Tuesday after Napster's board rejected an agreement to be acquired by German media company Bertelsmann AG.