WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
Claire is an attractive CIA operative and Ray is an M16 agent who simultaneously leave their Governmental spy activities in the dust to try and profit from a battle between two rival multi-national corporations both trying to launch a new product that will transform the world and make billions. Their goal is to secure the top-secret formula and get a patent before they are outsmarted. While their respective egomaniacal CEOs engage in an unending battle of wills and one-upmanship Claire and Ray start out conning and playing one another in a clever game of industrial espionage that is even more complicated due to their own long-term romantic relationship.
WHO’S IN IT?
Reuniting Closer co-stars Julia Roberts (as Claire) and Clive Owen (as Ray) turns out to be an inspired idea. They turn out to be the perfect pair oozing movie-star charm and electricity in this elaborate con-game that might have been the kind of thing Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant might have made in the '60s (in fact they did in Charade). Roberts with that infamous hairstyle back the way we like it and Owen looking great in sunglasses prove they have what it takes to navigate us through this ultra-complex plot in which no one is sure who they can trust at any given moment. They play it all in high style and the wit just flows as the story skirts back and forth during the period of five years. The supporting cast is well-chosen with juicy roles for Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti (out of their John Adams duds) as the two CEOs going for each other’s throats. Giamatti who sometimes has a tendency to overdo it is especially slimy here and great fun to watch.
Big-star studio movies today rarely take risks and often talk down to the audience but in Duplicity writer/director Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton) has crafted a complicated con-comedy that requires complete attention at all times just to keep up with the dense plot’s twists and turns. It’s the cinematic equivalent of a New York Times crossword puzzle and Gilroy and his top-drawer production team deliver a glossy beautiful-looking film that’s easy on the eyes hitting locations from Dubai to Rome to New York City.
Like any good puzzle it sometimes can be frustrating putting it all together and Gilroy’s habit of taking us back in time and then inching forward gets a little confusing even with the on-screen chyron pointing out where we are at any given moment. Stick with it though and you will be well-rewarded.
A scene near the end where the formula must be found scanned and faxed in a matter of minutes is sweat-inducing edge-of-your-seat moviemaking and it provides the ultimate opportunity for Roberts and Owen to take the “con” to the next level. Another where Roberts uses a thong to try and trick Owen into admitting an affair he never had is also priceless and gets right to the heart of the game-playing.
GO OUT AND GET POPCORN WHEN ...
Never. Stock up during the coming attractions. If you miss a moment of this entertaining romp you might never figure it all out.
Katie Holmes' all-singing, all-dancing guest appearance on TV hit Eli Stone has been hailed by co-star Matt Letscher as "phenomenal."
The actress will appear on the comedy series as an attorney when the show returns to the air this fall, and Letscher claims Holmes will stun audiences with her star turn on the show.
He tells People.com, "She does a song-and-dance number that is the best one we've ever done.
"We've done tons of (musical numbers), and she was just phenomenal."
And Letscher is sure Holmes would be welcome to return to the program.
He says: "(Show bosses) have left it open. I think she had a great time, which made it easier. Everyone was welcoming and it couldn't have worked out better."
Letscher also echoed his fellow Eli Stone stars Natasha Henstridge and Jason Winston George's comments about Holmes' polite nature, adding: "She's the sweetest person in the world, down to earth, simple. She's just like anybody else. I met her daughter, and her husband (Tom Cruise) was on set. It was great."
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Spider-Man 2 sets DVD release date
Fans anxious to get their hands on the Spider-Man 2 DVD will have to wait a bit longer than they did for the original Spider-Man's home release. Variety reported Thursday that Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment is releasing Spider-Man 2 to DVD Nov. 30--a month later than the release of the original, back in 2002. Columbia is hoping to curb the problem it had two years ago when it shipped millions more Spider-Man DVDs than actually sold. The November release date also means Columbia can focus their attention on the Seinfield series DVD set, which will be released just before Thanksgiving. Fans will also be able to purchase a two-pack with DVDs of both Spider-Man movies for $39.95. The first DVD edition of Spider-Man 2, however, will have 10 hours' worth of bonus features and commentaries.
Publicist Lizzie Grubman gets reality show
MTV is launching a reality show starring infamous publicist-to-the-stars Lizzie Grubman, who is better know for serving 37 days in jail backing her sport utility vehicle into a crowd of Hamptons clubgoers three years ago. PoweR Girls will follow Grubman and her public relations team behind the velvet rope as they live, work and play in Manhattan, Los Angeles, the Hamptons and Miami, the AP reports. The series, picked up for six episodes, will premiere in spring 2005. "I'm looking forward to MTV viewers seeing the hard work and long hours it takes to run your own business," Grubman said in a statement Wednesday. According to her Web site, her celebrity clients include Britney Spears, Russell Simmons, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs and Gloria Estefan.
Regis Philbin sets world record
Regis Philbin has set a world record for the most hours logged on television, the AP reports. Friday's broadcast of Live with Regis and Kelly gives Philbin 15,188 hours on the tube-giving him the Guinness World Record for most hours on camera. According to Guinness World Records researcher Stuart Claxton, that's more than broadcaster Hugh Downs. "Now it's all a big blur," Philbin told the AP Thursday as he looked back on his career that began as a San Diego news anchor in 1958. "When you look back that's a lot of hours on TV." Philbin, 72, has hosted the nationally syndicated Live in all 16 of its seasons--previously with Kathy Lee Gifford and now with Kelly Ripa. In his 46-year career, Philbin has hosted numerous news and entertainment shows, including the hit prime-time ABC game show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.
Autographed guitars auctioned to help Charley victims
Clear Channel Communications Inc. is auctioning off guitars autographed by musicians such as Britney Spears,Tom Petty and Kenny Rogers to raise money for Hurricane Charley victims in Florida, the AP reports. The radio giant said the online auction of 43 guitars signed by celebrities started Thursday and will end Sept. 20. All proceeds will be split between displaced families and the American Red Cross. Linkin Park, Stone Temple Pilots, Nickelback, ZZ Top, Tim McGraw and Shakira are also participating in the auction, which also includes a non-musical with instruments signed by conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh and comedian Mike Myers. The guitars are being offered on Clear Channel's StormAid.com Web site.
Sheryl Crow joins Vote for Change tour
Sheryl Crow, Jack Johnson and Crosby, Stills & Nash have joined the willing-to-rock coalition of musicians trying to unseat President Bush in November. Crow and the rest were added to the Vote for Change tour, which boasts a lineup of nearly 20 artists including Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Pearl Jam and Dave Matthews Band. Concert promoters told the AP Thursday the musicians will perform at some 38 shows in 32 cities in election swing states over the course of 12 days in October. Money generated from the concerts will go to America Coming Together (ACT), which promises on its Web site to "derail the right-wing Republican agenda by defeating George W. Bush." The shows will be presented by MoveOn PAC, the electoral arm of the liberal interest group MoveOn.org.
N.C. governor declares Saturday Fantasia Barrino day
North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley has proclaimed Saturday as Fantasia Barrino Day to mark the day she makes her first major singing appearance in her home state since winning the American Idol crown in May, the AP reports. Barrino is "a true testament to what happens when you put your heart and soul into your dream," Easley said in a statement, adding the singer "has shown through her amazing talent and larger-than-life personality that goodness does really grow right here in North Carolina." Barrino, who is of High Point, will perform in Winston-Salem with fellow American Idol contestants Saturday night, on the American Idols Tour 2004.
Neverland manager testifies in pretrial hearing
The property manager of Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch testified Friday that sheriff's deputies last year searched areas of the estate not specified in a warrant, The Associated Press reports. The testimony came at a pretrial hearing in which defense attorneys are trying to limit the evidence prosecutors can produce at Jackson's Jan. 31 trial. During the hearing, Joseph Marcus testified he initially cooperated when the horde of investigators arrived but objected when officers wanted to search areas that were not on the warrant. He said a deputy told him he would call and have the search warrant amended, but Marcus said that was not done as far as he knows, and the search went ahead anyway. Jackson, 45, is charged with committing a lewd act upon a child, administering an intoxicating agent and conspiring to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion. He has pleaded innocent and is free on $3 million bail.
Private eye testifies in Blake case
A 70-year-old private investigator is expected to testify before Superior Court Judge Darlene Schempp on Friday--months ahead of time in Robert Blake's murder trial, the AP reports. The request was made by prosecutors who said that because of his age, William Jordan may be unavailable at the time of the trial, the AP reports. The Baretta star is charged with killing his 44-year-old wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, in 2001. She was found shot to death in their car outside a restaurant where they had just eaten. Blake hired Jordan in September 2000, in anticipation of child custody proceedings and according to phone records included in court filings, spoke with the private eye frequently up to the time of Bakley's murder. The trial is now scheduled to start Nov. 1. Blake, meanwhile, is free on $1.5 million bail but remains under house arrest.
Tom Hanks, who directed the 1996 romantic comedy That Thing You Do!, said he is quitting directing, Ananova.com reports. "It takes a substantial amount of time out of you. I'm still in my child rearing years and I'd like to be around a little bit more--not only physically but also mentally for my family, "he told the UK's Radio 1 while promoting his latest film, Road to Perdition. "As soon as you say you're going to direct a motion picture, the risks just keep piling," he added. "The stuff of your worst nightmares, you know."
No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani married Bush guitarist-frontman Gavin Rossdale in London Saturday. According to People.com, the ceremony took place at St. Paul's Church in the city's Covent Gardens. Stefani wore a traditional white gown designed by not-so-traditional designer John Galliano, while Rossdale wore a traditional British morning suit. The couple's Hungarian sheep dog Winston, also the guest of honor, wore pink and purple flowers. The couple plans on having a ceremony Sept. 28 in Los Angeles.
Angelina Jolie officially dropped Voight as her last name on Sept. 12, according to The Associated Press. Although her legal name was Angelina Jolie Voight, the actress is professionally known as Angelina Jolie. The Tomb Raider star has been involved in a public feud with her father, Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight. Jolie also petitioned to legally change the name of her son, whom she recently adopted in Cambodia, to Maddox Chivan Thornton Jolie.
Chicken Run scribe Karey Kirkpatrick will co-adapt the screenplay of Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Variety reports. Adams had penned his own feature adaptation but died last May. The project will be helmed by Austin Powers director Jay Roach, who will also serve as a producer on the project. Hitchhiker has previously been made into a radio series, TV series and video game.
With The Alamo forgotten, director Ron Howard has set his sights on The Serpent and the Eagle, the story of how Spanish conqueror Cortez flattened the Aztec nation and pilfered its wealth with the help of an Aztec princess-turned-slave, according to Variety. But Howard, who is still producing The Alamo with his Imagine partner Brian Grazer, still has not chosen his next directing project.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said Monday that primetime TV is getting straighter. The gay activist group says the number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) characters in lead, supporting or recurring roles on network TV has dropped from 20 last year to just seven in this coming season, Reuters reports. Among the shows featuring LGBT this fall are ER, Will & Grace, NYPD Blue, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dawson's Creek and the new hospital drama MDs.
Get ready for 24 Hours of Love. MTV2 will give rocker Courtney Love control of the music network for a full 24 hours starting at 8 p.m. (EDT) Saturday, the AP reports. According to the MTV2, Love will play videos, invite her friends and do whatever she pleases, including sleep. An MTV spokesman says the network will probably show snippets of her dozing.
Two years after the publication of J.K. Rowling's fourth Harry Potter book, The Goblet of Fire, there is still no word on when the fifth book will hit the stores. Originally scheduled to come out in July 2002, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. said Tuesday it was still unable to announce a date for the launch of Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix. Since the June 1997 publication of Rowling's first in the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, a book had been released every year. There are a total of seven books planned for the series.
The mood was somber and celebrity little more than a means to an end when tonight's telethon, America: A Tribute to Heroes, was shown on every major network and most of the major cable channels. There was no audience applauding; there was no audience, period, except those at home. There were no introductions; that wasn't the point, as celebrity speakers made clear throughout the night by telling the stories of the many heroes who lost their lives and saved the lives of others.
To commemorate Sept. 11, a day that could easily be thought of as "the day the music died," talented and famous faces came together for an evening of songs, stories, and yes, the occasional call for contributions.
The speeches tonight came in all varieties, all impassioned, some tearful, others awkward. A clearly nervous Jim Carrey spoke of Winston Churchill, then told the story of heroes who saved a woman by carrying her down 68 flights of stairs. George Clooney spoke of John Perry, a New York City policeman who'd filed his retirement papers the morning of Sept. 11, but heard of the tragedy and went to help. He never came back, Clooney said.
Cameron Diaz told stories of teachers who saved children at schools near the World Trade Center. Robin Williams talked of a hero who'd saved lives in the 1993 bombing and again this time, only last Tuesday he didn't make it out himself. Jimmy Smits spoke of police heroes, "cops who are willing to sacrifice their lives in an instant, for people they do not know." Julia Roberts spoke tearfully of heroes at the Pentagon, and the flying of the flag and the applause that greeted it.
Kelsey Grammer, who lost a co-worker aboard one of the flights that crashed, quoted words of strength from John F. Kennedy. Clint Eastwood talked gruffly of a day that would live in infamy.
Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Calista Flockhart, Conan O'Brien, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ray Romano, Jane Kaczmarek, Sela Ward, Chris Rock and Dennis Franz also spoke.
With some of the biggest names in music on the bill, America: A Tribute to Heroes was bound to be good. Bruce Springsteen opened with a candlelit acoustic performance of "My City of Ruins." Willie Nelson closed the two-hour event with "God Bless America," backed by an all-star cast of celebs who had been manning the phones all night. Does it get any better than that? Cut the album; give the proceeds to charity. We're there.
Of course, there were those who pointed out the reason for the event in their songs. Stevie Wonder, who followed The Boss, sang, "Love's in Need of Love Today," with the rather pointed line, "Don't delay, send yours in right away." Wyclef Jean's version of "Redemption Song" was peppered with cries of "Brooklyn" and "New York City" and "we've got to full-fill that book," which he sang while pointing to the phone bank.
The much-maligned Mariah Carey sang the only song she could under the circumstances, "Hero," of which she said, "When I wrote this song," she said, "it had a lot of meaning for me, and tonight it has even more meaning." Well said.
U2 appeared from London. Billy Joel tossed off a powerful rendition of "New York State of Mind" with a firefighter's helmet perched atop the piano. Faith Hill, Enrique Iglasias, Alicia Keys, a bearded and shaggy Tom Petty (with requisite Heartbreakers), a cowboy-hatted Neil Young performed as well. The Dixie Chicks were spot on, and Dave Matthews did an impressive solo acoustic tune.
Jon Bon Jovi did "Living on a Prayer"; Sting dedicated his performance of "Fragile" to a friend who died in the attacks. Sheryl Crow performed, and Paul Simon sang "Bridge Over Troubled Water."
Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, James Woods, Meg Ryan, Cuba Gooding Jr., Whoopi Goldberg, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Ben Stiller, Penelope Cruz, Danny DeVito, Halle Berry, Adam Sandler, Mike Myers, Benicio Del Toro, Cindy Crawford, Sylvester Stallone, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Keaton, Brad Pitt, Sally Field and other famous faces were seen answering phones at the telethon bank or singing backing vocals on the finale of "God Bless America."
The stars also took the time to make a point about the evils of racism and hate. Several Arab children spoke of the tragedy and its affect on their lives, then Will Smith appeared on stage, with Muhammad Ali, whom he'll be portraying in the forthcoming Ali.
"It was hate, not religion that motivated the attacks," Smith said.
Then Ali spoke. "I'm here because of the troublin' thing that happened the other day. I'm a Muslim, and I've been a Muslim for 20 years…. I think people should know the real truth about Islam. You know me, I'm a boxer…and a man of truth, and I wouldn't be here defending Islam if it was really like the terrorists made it look…. Islam is peace."
Later in the show, Lucy Liu said "America's greatest enemy is hatred itself."
The telethon was Hollywood's effort to generate contributions for the September 11th Telethon Fund, which is administered by the United Way and guaranteed to be distributed 100% to the victims of the terrorist attacks on America last week and their families.
Thousands of mourners gathered Friday in Manhattan for a funeral procession and memorial service for the late singer Aaliyah. Celebrities such as Sean "Puffy" Combs, Mike Tyson, Lil' Kim, Missy Elliot and Jay-Z attended. Aaliyah's casket was displayed in a horse-drawn carriage with glass sides, followed by five limousines draped in flower arrangements. Twenty-two white doves were released into the air following the service at St. Ignatius Loyola Church. Aaliyah died Aug. 25 in a plane crash in the Bahamas.
Walker, Texas Ranger star Chuck Norris and wife Gena welcomed twins on Thursday: a boy, Dakota Alan, and a girl, Danilee Kelley. Though the twins were born a month premature, there were no complications, according to The Associated Press.
Carson Daly's latest request: for Motorola to pay him $1 million. The MTV VJ, host of Total Request Live, Daly is suing the electronics company for allegedly backing out of an advertising deal for Daly to promote Motorola's line of cell phones. Motorola claims it could not pay Daly the sum due to economic woes within the company. A Motorola spokeswoman told AP that no contract between Daly and the company existed.
The five cast members of CBS' Becker who have disputed their contracts with the show's production company, Paramount Network Television, have settled their conflict out of court. According to Reuters, the fivesome--Terry Farrell, Alex Desert, Shawnee Smith, Saverio Guerra and Hattie Winston--filed suit against Paramount on Tuesday, but all parties have reached an undisclosed agreement. Paramount issued a statement on the matter, saying that the five actors simply suffered from "misunderstandings and miscommunication regarding Paramount policy."
Actress Anne Heche will speak about her long history of mental instability with Barbara Walters on Wednesday's installment of 20/20. According to ABC reports, Heche will reveal that she suffered traumatically from years of sexual abuse by her father and that she has an alter ego, named Celestia, who's from another planet and speaks to God. Heche also will reveal that she was insane during her relationship with Ellen DeGeneres.
Elizabeth Taylor, Nicole Kidman and model Claudia Schiffer scolded the world's young people Friday for turning their backs on the AIDS epidemic, according to Reuters. ``It is the most powerful thing in my life and I will fight until there is a cure,'' Taylor said at the Venice Film Festival. Speaking about today's youth, she said, "They don't like to use condoms because it doesn't feel so good. But death feels even worse." Kidman, however, soon let her thoughts turn to ex-hubby Tom Cruise. When reporters at the festival asked her what sort of man she's looking for now, the actress dissed Cruise by saying, "I'll take a tall man."
Singer Victoria Beckham, best known as Spice Girl "Posh," has told Reuters that she blames former Spice Girl Geri "Ginger Spice" Halliwell for instilling a weight-problem insecurity within her, going so far as to say: "Geri would say things such as don't put sauces on food, that low-fat things were just as good and that I could try not eating so much.'' Because of Halliwell's scrutiny, Beckham said she began to not eat altogether while the girl group was still together.
The article of clothing that embodied Sex Pistols lead singer Johnny Rotten's political philosophy--the famous "Anarchy" T-shirt--will go on the auction block Sept. 20 at Sotheby's. The white cotton shirt is expected to nab about $4,350. The shirt is part of a collection owned by Helen Wellington-Lloyd, who once lived with Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, Reuters said.