December 03, 2012 4:20pm EST
While the annual Sundance film festival continues to be a place that launches young filmmaking talent, over the years it's also become a star-studded publicity machine attracting big names looking to debut their new films. The list of celebs attending the 2013 festival for the out-of-competition premieres of their new movies should not disappoint.
The most anticipated premiere won't happen until the end of the festival, when the Steve Jobs biopic jOBS, starring Ashton Kutcher as the Apple guru, is honored as the closing night film.
Oscar-winning screenwriters (and sometime sitcom stars) Nat Faxon and Jim Rash will make their directorial debut with a film they wrote called The Way, Way Back, starring Steve Carell and Toni Collette.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt will take it one step further by starring in his self-penned directorial debut, DonJon's Addiction, alongside Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore.
There's also Lovelace, with Amanda Seyfried as the titular '70s porn star, the third union of Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Before Midnight, and Jane Campion's six-hour epic Top of the Lake, among many others.
The documentaries premiering out of competition cover diverse topics, including Wikileaks, Jeremy Lin, multiple sclerosis, Dick Cheney and more.
The 2013 Sundance Film Festival runs from Jan. 17-27, 2013.
A.C.O.D. / U.S.A. (Director: Stuart Zicherman, Screenwriters: Ben Karlin, Stuart Zicherman) — Carter is a well-adjusted Adult Child of Divorce. So he thinks. When he discovers he was part of a divorce study as a child, it wreaks havoc on his family and forces him to face his chaotic past. Cast: Adam Scott, Richard Jenkins, Catherine O'Hara, Amy Poehler, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clark Duke.
Before Midnight / U.S.A. (Director: Richard Linklater, Screenwriters: Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Richard Linklater— We meet Jesse and Celine nine years on in Greece. Almost two decades have passed since their first meeting on that train bound for Vienna. Before the clock strikes midnight, we will again become part of their story. Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Xenia Kalogeropoulou, Ariane Labed, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick.
Big Sur / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Michael Polish) — Unable to cope with a suddenly demanding public and battling advanced alcoholism, Jack Kerouac seeks respite in three brief sojourns to a cabin in Big Sur, which reveal his mental and physical deterioration. Cast: Jean-Marc Barr, Kate Bosworth, Josh Lucas, Radha Mitchell, Anthony Edwards, Henry Thomas.
Breathe In / U.S.A. (Director: Drake Doremus, Screenwriters: Drake Doremus, Ben York Jones) — When a foreign exchange student arrives in a small upstate New York town, she challenges the dynamics of her host family's relationships and alters their lives forever. Cast: Guy Pearce, Felicity Jones, Amy Ryan, Mackenzie Davis.
Don Jon's Addiction / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Joseph Gordon-Levitt) — In Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s charming directorial debut, a selfish modern-day Don Juan attempts to change his ways. Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Glenne Headly, Rob Brown.
The East / U.S.A. (Director: Zal Batmanglij, Screenwriters: Zal Batmanglij, Brit Marling) — An operative for an elite private intelligence firm goes into deep cover to infiltrate a mysterious anarchist collective attacking major corporations. Bent on apprehending these fugitives, she finds her loyalty tested as her feelings grow for the group's charismatic leader. Cast: Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, Toby Kebbell, Shiloh Fernandez, Patricia Clarkson.
The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete / U.S.A. (Director: George Tillman Jr., Screenwriter: Michael Starrbury) — Separated from their mothers and facing a summer in the Brooklyn projects alone, two boys hide from police and forage for food, with only each other to trust. A story of salvation through friendship and two boys against the world. Cast: Skylan Brooks, Ethan Dizon, Jennifer Hudson, Jordin Sparks, Anthony Mackie, Jeffrey Wright.
jOBS / U.S.A. (Director: Joshua Michael Stern, Screenwriter: Matt Whiteley) — The true story of one of the greatest entrepreneurs in American history, jOBS chronicles the defining 30 years of Steve Jobs’ life. jOBS is a candid, inspiring and personal portrait of the one who saw things differently. Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Lukas Haas, J.K. Simmons, Matthew Modine. CLOSING NIGHT FILM
The Look of Love / United Kingdom (Director: Michael Winterbottom, Screenwriter: Matt Greenhalgh) — The true story of British adult magazine publisher and entrepreneur Paul Raymond. A modern day King Midas story, Raymond became one of the richest men in Britain at the cost of losing those closest to him. Cast: Steve Coogan, Anna Friel, Imogen Poots, Tamsin Egerton.
Lovelace / U.S.A. (Directors: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman, Screenwriter: Andy Bellin) — Deep Throat, the first pornographic feature film to be a mainstream success, was an international sensation in 1972 and made its star, Linda Lovelace, a media darling. Years later the “poster girl for the sexual revolution” revealed a darker side to her story. Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Hank Azaria, Adam Brody, James Franco, Sharon Stone.
The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman / U.S.A. (Director: Fredrik Bond, Screenwriter: Matt Drake) — Traveling abroad, Charlie Countryman falls for Gabi, a Romanian beauty whose unreachable heart has its origins in Nigel, her violent, charismatic ex. As the darkness of Gabi’s past increasingly envelops him, Charlie resolves to win her heart, or die trying. Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, Rupert Grint, James Buckley, Til Schweiger.
Prince Avalanche / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: David Gordon Green) — Two highway road workers spend the summer of 1988 away from their city lives. The isolated landscape becomes a place of misadventure as the men find themselves at odds with each other and the women they left behind. Cast: Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch.
Stoker / U.S.A. (Director: Park Chan-Wook, Screenwriter: Wentworth Miller) — After India's father dies in an auto accident, her Uncle Charlie comes to live with her and her mother, Evelyn. Soon after his arrival, India suspects that this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives but becomes increasingly infatuated with him. Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Dermot Mulroney, Jacki Weaver, Nicole Kidman.
Sweetwater / U.S.A. (Directors: Logan Miller, Noah Miller, Screenwriter: Andrew McKenzie) — In the late 1800s, a fanatical religious leader, a renegade Sheriff, and a former prostitute collide in a blood triangle on the rugged plains of the New Mexico Territory. Cast: Ed Harris, January Jones, Jason Isaacs, Eduardo Noriega, Steven Rude, Amy Madigan.
Top of the Lake / Australia, New Zealand (Directors: Jane Campion, Garth Davis, Screenwriters: Jane Campion, Gerard Lee) — A 12-year-old girl stands chest deep in a frozen lake. She is five months pregnant, and won't say who the father is. Then she disappears. So begins a haunting mystery that consumes a community. Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Holly Hunter, Peter Mullan, David Wenham. This six-hour film will screen once during the Festival.
Two Mothers / Australia, France (Director: Anne Fontaine, Screenwriter: Christopher Hampton) — This gripping tale of love, lust and the power of friendship charts the unconventional and passionate affairs of two lifelong friends who fall in love with each other’s sons. Cast: Naomi Watts, Robin Wright, Xavier Samuel, James Frechevile.
Very Good Girls / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Naomi Foner) — In the long, half-naked days of a New York summer, two girls on the brink of becoming women fall for the same guy and find that life isn't as simple or safe as they had thought. Cast: Dakota Fanning, Elizabeth Olsen, Boyd Holbrook, Demi Moore, Richard Dreyfuss, Ellen Barkin.
The Way, Way Back / U.S.A. (Directors and screenwriters: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash) — Duncan, an introverted 14-year-old, comes into his own over the course of a comedic summer when he forms unlikely friendships with the gregarious manager of a rundown water park and the misfits who work there. Cast: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph, Liam James.
2013 DOCUMENTARY PREMIERES
ANITA / U.S.A. (Director: Freida Mock) — Anita Hill, an African-American woman, charges Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas with sexual harassment in explosive Senate hearings in 1991 – bringing sexual politics into the national consciousness and fueling 20 years of international debate on the issues.
The Crash Reel / U.S.A. (Director: Lucy Walker) — The jaw-dropping story of one unforgettable athlete, Kevin Pearce; one eye-popping sport, snowboarding; and one explosive issue, traumatic brain injury. An epic rivalry between Kevin and Shaun White culminates in a life-changing crash and a comeback story with a difference. SALT LAKE CITY GALA FILM
History of the Eagles / U.S.A. (Director: Alison Ellwood) — Using never-before-seen home movies, archival footage and new interviews with all current and former members of the Eagles, this documentary provides an intimate look into the history of the band and the legacy of their music.
Linsanity / U.S.A. (Director: Evan Leong) — Jeremy Lin came from a humble background to make an unbelievable run in the NBA. State high school champion, all-Ivy League at Harvard, undrafted by the NBA and unwanted there: his story started long before he landed on Broadway.
Pandora's Promise / U.S.A. (Director: Robert Stone) — A growing number of environmentalists are renouncing decades of antinuclear orthodoxy and have come to believe that the most feared and controversial technology known to mankind is probably our greatest hope.
Running from Crazy / U.S.A. (Director: Barbara Kopple) — Mariel Hemingway, granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, strives for a greater understanding of her family history of suicide and mental illness. As tragedies are explored and deeply hidden secrets are revealed, Mariel searches for a way to overcome a similar fate.
Sound City / U.S.A. (Director: Dave Grohl) — Through interviews and performances with the legendary musicians and producers who worked at America's greatest unsung recording studio, Sound City, we explore the human element of music, and the lost art of analog recording in an increasingly digital world.
We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks / U.S.A. (Director: Alex Gibney) — In 2010, WikiLeaks and its sources used the power of the Internet to usher in what was for some a new era of transparency and for others the beginnings of an information war.
When I Walk / U.S.A., Canada (Director: Jason DaSilva) — At 25, filmmaker and artist Jason DaSilva finds out he has a severe form of multiple sclerosis. This film shares his personal and grueling journey over the next seven years. Along the way, an unlikely miracle changes everything.
Which Way is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington / U.S.A. (Director: Sebastian Junger) — Shortly after the release of his documentary Restrepo, photographer Tim Hetherington was killed in Libya. Colleague Sebastian Junger traces Hetherington's work across the world's battlefields to reveal how he transcended the boundaries of image-making to become a luminary in his profession.
The World According to Dick Cheney / U.S.A. (Directors: R.J. Cutler, Greg Finton) — How did Dick Cheney become the single-most-powerful nonpresidential figure in American history? This multi-layered examination of Cheney's life, career, key relationships and controversial worldview features exclusive interviews with the former vice president and his closest allies.
Follow Jean on Twitter @hijean
[Photo Credit: Dale Robinette/Millennium Films]
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November 13, 2012 10:20am EST
Forget that the latest adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's sweeping romance novel comes from the man who brought us the slick-but-stuffy Pride and Prejudice and Atonement. Every frame of director Joe Wright's Anna Karenina is a wonder to behold overflowing with visual spectacle and roaring performances. Keira Knightley Jude Law Aaron Taylor-Johnson and the rest of the cast fit perfectly in the high drama epic but it's really Wright's playground. Following Hanna an artful spin on the action movie Wright returns to the period drama but injects it with dazzling daring choices. A book like Anna Karenina could once fit in reality but its larger-than-life legacy precedes it. Wright acknowledges that from frame one approaching the film like a grand ballet or opera where grand gestures broad emotions and overt theatrics are commonplace. That vision clicks transforming Anna Karenina into an exhilarating moviegoing experience.
The storyline of Anna Karenina isn't far off from a daytime soap: It's 1874 and Anna (Knightley) is floating through existence as the wife of influential government player Karenin (Law). But when her brother Oblonsky (Matthew Macfadyen) summons her to Moscow to save his marriage Anna's entire world is shaken up. She meets Vronsky (Taylor-Johnson) a cavalry hunk who finds himself smitten with the taken lady. She's in the same boat: The two strike up a flirtatious relationship that evolves into one of sexual passion. A scandalous affair would incite trouble in the preset day but in the 19th century it's the ultimate crime. Quickly Anna's life comes crumbling down.
The intertwining melodrama of Anna Karenina earned the novel its classic status but Wright uses the material as a launching pad for imagination rather than a tome to translate to screen. Many of the scenes are staged in a theater creating an instant awareness of the production. Sets shift and are reconstructed into new rooms; actors costume change in the span of single shots; action sequences like a thrilling horse race are conducted on stage with special effects you might see on Broadway. Wright works this sort of stylization in the other direction too; a character could walk an empty stage open a door and suddenly be on a snow-covered hill. Anna Karenina isn't the first film to use the effect but in Wright's hands it's exhilarating.
The movie is Wright's third collaboration with Knightley and easily their most successful. Knightley never struggles to stay on the same page as the heightened material whether she's nailing a dance sequence or breaking down in a flood of tears. Casting an ensemble around Knightley is no easy task but Taylor-Johnson gives his best work yet as the debonair love interest and Macfadyen steals the show with moments of physical comedy.
We have expectations of the texture and structure of period romances. Anna Karenina defies them. Masterpiece Theater it is not.
August 09, 2012 12:16pm EST
Do the Bourne movies make any sense? Enough. The first three films — The Bourne Identity Supremacy and Ultimatum — throw in just enough detail into the covert ops babble and high-speed action that by the end Jason Bourne comes out an emotional character with an evident mission. That's where Bourne Legacy drops the ball. A "sidequel" to the original trilogy Legacy follows super soldier Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) as he runs jumps and shoots his way out of the hands of his government captors. The film is identical to its predecessors; political intrigue chase scenes morally ambiguous CIA agents monitoring their man-on-the-run from a computer-filled HQ — a Bourne movie through and through. But Legacy has to dig deeper to find new ground to cover introducing elements of sci-fi into the equation. The result is surprisingly limp and even more incomprehensible.
Damon's Bourne spent three blockbusters uncovering his past erased by the assassin training program Treadstone. Renner's Alex Cross has a similar do-or-die mission: after Bourne's antics send Washington into a tizzy Cross' own training program Outcome is terminated. Unlike Bourne Cross is enhanced by "chems" (essentially steroid drugs) that keep him alive and kicking ass. When Outcome is ended Cross goes rogue to stay alive and find more pills.
Steeped heavily in the plot lines of the established mythology Bourne Legacy jumps back and forth between Cross and the clean up job of the movie's big bad (Edward Norton) and his elite squad of suits. The movie balances a lot of moving parts but the adventure never feels sprawling or all that exciting. Actress Rachel Weisz vibrant in nearly every role she takes on plays a chemist who is key to Cross' chemical woes. The two are forced into partnership Weisz limited to screaming cowering and sneaking past the occasional airport x-ray machine while her partner aggressively fistfights his way through any hurdle in his path. Renner is equally underserved. Cross is tailored to the actor's strengths — a darker more aggressive character than Damon's Bourne but with one out of every five of the character's lines being "CHEMS!" shouted at the top of his lungs Renner never has the time or the material to develop him.
Writer/director Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton Duplicity and the screenwriter of the previous three movies) is a master of dense language but his style choices can't breath life into the 21st century epic speak. In the film's necessary car chase Gilroy mimics the loose camera style of Ultimatum director Paul Greengrass without fully embracing it. The wishy washy approach sucks the life out of large-scale set pieces. The final 30 minutes of Bourne Legacy is a shaky cam naysayer's worst nightmare.
The Bourne Legacy demonstrates potential without ever kicking into high gear. One scene when Gilroy finally slows down and unleashes absolute terror on screen is striking. Unfortunately the moment doesn't involve our hero and its implications never explained. That sums up Legacy; by the film's conclusion it only feels like the first hour has played out. The movie crawls — which would be much more forgivable if the intense banter between its large ensemble carried weight. Instead Legacy packs the thrills of an airport thriller: sporadically entertaining and instantly forgettable.
July 06, 2012 8:29am EST
ABC’s surprising hit Once Upon a Time gets curiouser and curiouser with each passing day. The latest update delivers word of new fairytale characters—namely Mulan and Sleeping Beauty—and while we’re all fairly well-versed in both characters’ stories (thank you, Disney), Once Upon a Time also serves up their real world counterparts. ABC was kind enough to reveal the fairy tale versions of these new characters to EW, but we’re left to wonder about who they might be on the Storybrooke side of the divide.
Mulan (Jamie Chung of Sucker Punch) is the first new character of legend. Disney first pulled the character from an ancient Chinese poem, so this marks the first OUAT story that stems from outside the typical fairytale canon. Mulan, like the Disney cartoon version, is a skilled warrior trained in weaponry and tracking. She’s very spiritual and her good opinion is not an easy thing to obtain, but her friendship, once attained, is strong. So where could she fit in the real world, with Henry and Mary Margaret?
Her real world counterpart could be a young twentysomething who left home when she realized her parents’ idea of her future did not match her own. Much like Mulan, this Storybrooke resident’s parents may have expected her to get married and start a family, but she has different ambitions. As such, she lives alone in the isolated town, a place which would be just a stop along the path to her dreams, but of course, like everyone else, she can’t leave the cursed little hamlet. And backstory aside, perhaps some of her weaponry skills will permeate the barrier between fairytale and real worlds and she can prove useful in Emma’s battle against the Evil Queen/Regina that is surely brewing after Season 1's explosive finale.
Also being added to the season two lineup is Sleeping Beauty (Sarah Bolger of The Tudors). Her character doesn’t quite pack as much punch as Chung’s warrior, but there is great potential with the iconic damsel in lethargic distress. Once Upon a Time’s Princess Aurora (whom all of her subjects adore-ah) is described as a spoiled girl born into privilege. And since all Once Upon a Time characters have fatal flaws, Aurora’s got one a few of her fellow TV princesses can understand: she’ll “sacrifice everything for love.”
While the word “spoiled” may send some fans running for the wooded hills, we should keep in mind that Once Upon a Time is known for elevating its classically “helpless” princesses and heroines to independent, self-sufficient women. Snow White is a warrior with a bleeding heart. Red Riding Hood isn’t the victim of the wolf – she is the wolf. And even the Evil Queen isn’t simply vain and needlessly vicious. She’s colored by sadness and her plan, while devious, is more guile and wise manipulation than jealous anger. As such, we can surmise (and hope) that Aurora will be tinged with immaturity, but her stalwart heart will be in the right place. Plus, since Maleficent (the beguiling and pitch-perfect Kristin Bauer van Straten) was such a large part of the season finale, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to see the villainess step in and play her famed role in Aurora's temporary demise.
The real world counterpart to the fairytale Sleeping Beauty could be a teen girl not yet versed in the harsh realities of adult life. She may even be a tad annoying and admittedly boy crazy, but at her core, her mission will always be true love. Perhaps Emma or Mary Margaret will have to help her find her gooey center? (And it if we're lucky, it might even help Mary Margaret realize her equally gooey heart still beats for David.)
Granted, Once Upon a Time is known to pull a Rumpelstiltskin from time to time and surprise us all with an unimaginable twist, so there’s no telling who or what these girls will actually be when the season starts Oct. 23. However, Hollywood.com will be on the scene next week at the series’ San Diego Comic Con panel, where we can bet a secret or two from the next season will be spilled. (That's your cue to stay tuned.)
Who do you think Mulan and Sleeping Beauty will be in the real world?
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler.
[Image: David Edwards, Daily Celeb]
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June 07, 2012 11:12am EST
The entire television industry is required, by a secret contract, to put together at least one Lost cast reunion every few months or so. It is the only way to sustain the human race's faith in the meaning of life, in the absence of the series that captivated, guided, and pretty much controlled its viewing audience for six years. The Showtime comedy Californication is the latest program to uphold this sacred responsibility. TVLine reports that the David Duchovny starrer is bringing on Jorge Garcia (fan favorite Hurley) to join Maggie Grace during the latter's multi-episode arc.
Of course, this is Californication's first foray into the art of the Lost reunion; some shows have made a religion out of the practice. Here's a look at some of the biggest power player series in the game of bringing old islanders together again.
The CBS series Hawaii Five-0 kicked off with the appeal of Daniel Dae Kim, who played the excellently crafted Jin, at the center of its cast. Since, the program has brought on Terry O'Quinn — the iconic John Locke — for an extended multi-episode arc, playing an equally nebulous character. As a bonus, the series featured a one-off appearance by Tania Raymonde, Lost's Alex Rosseau, who underwent a harsh interrogation by Officer Jin.
Person of Interest
Island breakout star Michael Emerson (Ben Linus) pulls the heavy weight in the CBS crime drama Person of Interest, from Lost co-creator J.J. Abrams. Over the course of Person of Interest's first season, Emerson has reunited with Brett Cullen, who played Goodwin Stanhope, Linus' rival for the affections of Juliet Burke... whose ex-husband's portrayer, Željko Ivanek, is also a recurring star on Person of Interest. But there's more: Alan Dale, who played Charles Widmore on the ABC program, has shown up to add a dose of his menacing style to Emerson's new series.
Once Upon a Time
Unfortunately, no two Lost castmembers have appeared onscreen at the same time on Once Upon a Time. But the show comes from two of Lost's writers, and has featured Alan Dale and Emilie de Ravin, the latter of whom played Claire on Lost and an incarnation of Beauty and the Beast's Belle on Once Upon a Time.
[Photo Credit: David Edwards/Daily Celeb]
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February 02, 2012 4:00am EST
Cavill took a break from filming scenes for Man Of Steel to meet more than 100 members of the United States Air Force at the Edwards Air Force Base on the border of Los Angeles County.
The actor, who plays Superman in the upcoming blockbuster, has a personal connection to the military as he has one brother who is a Royal Marine and another who is serving as a tank commander.
Cavill says, "I have such great respect for military members and what they do. It's important that they know how valuable their service is. It is a pleasure to tell them how much they're appreciated."
Staff Sgt. Thomas Roach adds, "It was a really nice gesture on Henry's part to show how much he supports us and what we do. It was a great morale boost."
January 01, 2012 4:00am EST
The month of July was overshadowed by the sudden and shocking death of British singer Amy Winehouse. The Back to Black hitmaker was found dead at her home in London at the age of 27 and the news sent the world of showbusiness into mourning. Tributes poured in from both fans and famous friends following the tragedy, and Winehouse's music shot back into the charts.
The headlines were also dominated by celebrity divorces as Jennifer Lopez announced her split from husband of seven years, Marc Anthony, the father of her young twins, Max and Emme. Arnold Schwarzenegger's marriage also came to an abrupt end as his wife Maria Shriver filed for divorce following revelations the actor/politician fathered a lovechild with the family's housekeeper.
Scarlett Johansson's divorce from Ryan Reynolds was finalised and Patricia Arquette's split from husband Thomas Jane was also made official.
In happier news, all eyes were on Monaco as the world geared up for the second royal wedding of the year, following the union of Britain’s Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in April. In the same month as the British royals flew to Canada to begin their first international tour as a married couple, Prince Albert of Monaco married his fiancee, South African beauty Charlene Wittstock. The couple exchanged vows in two ceremonies in Monte Carlo and the former swimmer became her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco. British supermodel Kate Moss also became a married woman as she wed rocker Jamie Hince in a lavish ceremony in the English countryside, while it was also an exciting month for the Beckham family as former Spice Girls star Victoria, already mother to three boys, gave birth to her first daughter, Harper Seven.
There was also baby joy for Hollywood actress Kate Hudson - she welcomed a son called Bingham with her rocker fiance Matt Bellamy. Singer Jewel, actress Selma Blair and former Fugees star Lauryn Hill also became parents. British artist/director Sam Taylor-Wood also hit headlines after she confirmed she was expecting a second baby with her 21-year-old fiance, actor Aaron Johnson, a year after the birth of their daughter. The couple met on the set of their 2009 film Nowhere Boy and became parents together in 2010.
July also saw troubled British rocker Pete Doherty granted his freedom after serving less than half of his six-month prison sentence for cocaine possession. Another beleaguered star to walk free from jail was rapper DMX, who served seven months behind bars for a probation violation. However, David Gilmour’s son Charlie found himself on the other side of the prison walls as he was ordered to serve 16 months in jail for his part in the 2010 student riots in London. The Pink Floyd star’s son was charged with violent disorder for causing chaos in the British capital and swinging from a flag on the city’s Cenotaph war memorial. (LR/ZN)
The usual serenity of the summer months was shattered this year when Kate Winslet cheated death in a devastating inferno at Richard Branson's luxury island home, and a string of British stars appealed for calm as widespread rioting broke out in the U.K.
Winslet was holidaying at Virgin boss Branson's Necker Island retreat when lightning struck the property, sparking a huge blaze which gutted the home. Her party of 20 miraculously escaped unscathed - and Winslet was later hailed a heroine after it emerged she carried Branson's 90-year-old mother from the property during the drama.
As unrest, looting, and arson broke out for several nights in the U.K., showbiz stars including Idris Elba, Natasha Bedingfield and Boy George called for calm, and there was also bad news for Sir Paul McCartney - who learned his phone had been hacked by the tabloid press - and veteran actress Margot Kidder, who was arrested during an environment protest at the White House.
Tragedy struck at the Indiana State Fair, when a horrific stage collapse left seven revellers dead and more than 40 injured, actor Rowan Atkinson was treated in hospital after wrecking his rare sports car by crashing it into a tree, and French actor Gerard Depardieu was left red-faced when he was thrown off a plane in Paris, France for urinating in the cabin after he was refused access to the toilet during take-off.
It was ladies night at the MTV Video Music Awards as Katy Perry, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga took home two honours each - and Beyonce announced her pregnancy news. And at the Teen Choice Awards, Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez were crowned queens of the event when they scooped whopping 11 awards between them.
Kings of Leon finally succumbed to their relentless touring schedule and axed their remaining U.S. dates to allow frontman Caleb Followill to recover from "vocal issues and exhaustion", Aerosmith rocker Tom Hamilton and Deep Purple star Jon Lord both announced they were battling cancer, Bono was hospitalised with chest pains, and Norwegian pop band A-ha thrilled fans by announcing they were to reform.
In family news, Kiss star Paul Stanley became a father again, and there were also welcome additions for Ethan Hawke, funnywoman Tina Fey, illusionist David Copperfield, Jessica Alba, and Benicio del Toro, who fathered a child with Rod Stewart's daughter Kimberly.
There were wedding bells for country singer Chely Wright and filmmaker Sofia Coppola, but romance took a plunge for George Michael and Geri Halliwell, who both split from their partners. Also joining the singles club was Arctic Monkeys rocker Alex Turner, who broke up with MTV presenter Alexa Chung after four years together.
The showbiz world bid farewell to songwriting legend Jerry Leiber, who died of cardiopulmonary failure at the age of 78, Police Academy star Charles 'Bubba' Smith, Bollywood veteran Shammi Kapoor, blues legend David 'Honeyboy' Edwards, Warrant rocker Jani Lane, and Motown hitmaker Nickolas Ashford. (ZN/LR)
September was a month rapper T.I. would like to both remember and forget - he completed an 11-month prison sentence for a probation violation only to run into legal trouble again soon after his initial release for conducting illegal business deals on his way to a halfway house. It wasn't a great month for Madonna either - her movie take on the romance between Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII was savaged by critics at the Venice Film Festival, while her ex-husband Guy Ritchie became a dad again.
Celine Dion was left shaken up after an intruder was found running a bath at her Montreal, Canada home; Neil Diamond revealed his engagement, and Dr. Conrad Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial got underway in Los Angeles as prosecutors attempted to prove the medic was responsible for Michael Jackson's death.
R.E.M. announced they were splitting after 31 years; My Chemical Romance fired drummer Michael Pedicone after accusing him of stealing from them; Boyzone singer Ronan Keating swam the Irish Sea for Cancer Research in the U.K., and Sir Paul McCartney became a grandfather again and was named the MusiCares Person of the Year - while he also celebrated as his first ballet score debuted in New York.
The Amy Winehouse Foundation was launched on what would have been the tragic singer's 28th birthday, and the star's Body & Soul duet with Tony Bennett became a hit, making the 85-year-old crooner the oldest living artist to have a single in America's Hot 100.
Eddie Murphy was confirmed as the host for the 2012 Oscars; model Lauren Bush became Lauren Lauren when she exchanged vows with Ralph Lauren's son David; British funnyman David Walliams braved the chills of the River Thames and a stomach bug to complete a charity 140-mile swim in eight days.
Actress Evan Rachel Wood lost a tooth during a boozy night out in Paris; Reese Witherspoon was hospitalised after she was hit by a car while out jogging in Santa Monica, California; soul legend Chaka Khan won temporary custody of her granddaughter after claiming the girl's mother was struggling with drug abuse issues, and British The Saturdays singer Una Healy announced she was pregnant.
INXS dropped frontman J.D. fortune for a second time and replaced him with Ciaran Gribbin; Austin Powers henchman Joseph Son was sentenced to life behind bars for a Christmas Eve rape in 1990, and George Clooney went public with his new girl, Stacey Kiebler, at the Toronto Film Festival in Canada.
Ashton Kutcher had a month of ups and downs - his debut on TV sitcom Two and a Half Men was a big hit as 28 million Americans tuned in, but then came the news that his marriage to Demi Moore was in trouble amid infidelity rumours. Comedienne Wanda Sykes opened up about her breast cancer battle and double mastectomy; Sharon Stone won a restraining order against an obsessed fan and promptly put the home he visited uninvited on the market, and reality TV star and filmmaker Jack Osbourne announced his engagement to actress Lisa Stelly and followed that up with the news he was to become a dad.
Third time was not the charm for Clueless star Stacy Dash, who announced her plans to divorce husband number three, Emmanuel Xuereb, and X-Men star James Marsden's wife also joined the divorce club as she filed papers against her husband. Elizabeth Hurley's love life was on the up - she accepted cricket star Shane Warne's wedding proposal just three months after divorcing Arun Nayar.
Meanwhile, Elton John launched his new Million Dollar Piano residency in Las Vegas; Smokey Robinson accepted the coveted Ella Award at the Society of Singers Gala, and the month wrapped up with Shania Twain's alleged stalker pleading guilty to harassing the singer in court in Ontario, Canada.
Among September's Hollywood weddings, Amy Smart married reality TV star Carter Oosterhouse; Cougar Town co-stars David Rogers and Sally Pressman became man and wife, and model-turned-actress Molly Sims wed in a Napa Valley vineyard in California. There were also nuptials for British filmmaker Michael Winner and DJ/producer Mark Ronson, while R&B singer Keyshia Cole and former Friends star David Schwimmer both renewed vows with their spouses in Hawaii and London, respectively.
There was baby news for model Jodie Kidd, who gave birth to a son; actress Mary McCormack, who became a mum for the third time, and January Jones, who welcomed Xander Dane to the world while staying mum about the tot's father. Actors Emily Deschanel, Ana Ortiz, Mike Myers, Danny McBride and Jenna Fischer also became new parents. In the music world, former Spice Girl Melanie Brown gave birth to her third daughter, and country star John Rich and former Pussycat Dolls member Carmit Bachar welcomed babies too.
On September's sick list were rocker Scott Weiland and pop stars Katy Perry and Adele, who both scrapped shows due to illness, while Megadeth headbanger Dave Mustaine underwent surgery for a serious neck injury.
The month's big winners included movie mogul Tyler Perry, who was named Forbes magazine's Highest Paid Man in Entertainment; actor Michael Fassbender and director Alexander Sokurov, who claimed Best Actor and Best Film honours, respectively, for Shame and Faust at the Venice Film Festival. Gritty TV drama Boardwalk Empire picked up eight Emmy Awards; Calle 13 landed a record 10 Latin Grammy Award nominations, and Happy Days star Henry Winkler picked up an honorary Order of the British Empire medal at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Also winning: P.J. Harvey, who scooped the Mercury Prize in Britain, Arcade Fire, who claimed Canada's Polaris Prize, and U2 and Rolling Stone Keith Richards, who were named GQ magazine's Men of the Year.
September's losers included Scarlett Johansson, who was left exposed in a series of leaked naked phone photos; Cameron Diaz, who split from baseball beau Alex Rodriguez, and John Travolta, whose beloved Mercedes-Benz was stolen outside a Jaguar dealership in Santa Monica, while his Swordfish co-star Halle Berry broke her foot while on location in Spain.
Meanwhile, we said a sad goodbye to a slew of famous faces, including actors Andy Whitfield and Cliff Robertson; beloved TV stars Mary Fickett and Vesta Williams; actor Jack Garner; French DJ Mehdi Faveris-Essadi; blues great Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith; R&B hitmaker Vesta Williams; gospel icon Jessy Dixon; celebrated British writer/producer David Croft; Happy Gilmore star Frances Bay, and moviemakers David Pressman, Charles Dubin, George Kachar and Paul Hunt. (KL/MT)
October was a big month for celebrity weddings - funnyman Seth Rogen tied the knot with longtime girlfriend Lauren Miller, Twilight star Nikki Reed married singer/songwriter Paul McDonald, and former Beverly Hills, 90210 actress Shannen Doherty walked down the aisle for the third time when she exchanged vows with celebrity photographer Kurt Iswarienko. Also hoping to make it third-time lucky was Robin Williams, who wed graphic designer Susan Schneider.
Also taking the plunge was Kiss rocker Gene Simmons, who married his girlfriend of 28 years, Shannon Tweed, and Sir Paul McCartney, who exchanged vows with American heiress Nancy Shevell on what would have been his former Beatles bandmate John Lennon’s 71st birthday.
And Sex & the City star Mario Cantone made good use of New York's new gay rights bill by solidifying his love for longtime partner Jerry Dixon.
A number of other stars announced their intention to wed in October - NCIS: Los Angeles star Eric Christian Olsen proposed to girlfriend Sarah Wright and Trace Cyrus popped the question to Disney actress Brenda Song. And actress Kaley Cuoco was sporting a new sparkler after boyfriend Josh 'Lazie' Resnik got down on bended knee. Also officially off the market were former child star Frankie Muniz, The Devil Wears Prada actor Stanley Tucci, rapper The Game and Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love's grown-up little girl Francis Bean Cobain.
A number of other celebrities were prepping their homes for babies - movie star Bruce Willis, American footballer Tony Romo, former Dawson's Creek hunk James Van Der Beek, and actress Kaitlin Olson all announced they are expecting little ones, and Jessica Simpson ended months of speculation by announcing she was pregnant.
And October's new parents included Ne-Yo, who welcomed a baby boy, model Ali Landry, who gave birth to her second child, actress Spencer Grammer, who became a first time mum, and France's First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, who became a mum for the second time when baby Giulia was born. Reality TV star Tori Spelling took home baby number three, as did Jackass funnyman Johnny Knoxville. And Sex & the City beauty Kristin Davis, The Help actress Viola Davis and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation veteran Mariska Hargitay all adopted babies.
But it wasn't such a happy month for rapper Rick Ross, who suffered two seizures on his way to a concert, or socialite Kim Kardashian who filed for divorce from husband Kris Humphries after just 72 days of marriage.
In other news, Star Trek actor Zachary Quinto announced he was gay and troubled actress Lindsay Lohan had her probation revoked after failing to complete her required community service hours. She also faced a limousine lawsuit for allegedly neglecting to pay a bill, her dad was arrested - twice, and she was served a lawsuit for reportedly attacking a Betty Ford Clinic employee during her stay there last year (10).
Meanwhile, the stars came out to show their support for the Occupy Wall Street protests, which were originally launched in New York City in a bid to end corporate greed, and the world mourned the loss of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, British TV and radio personality Sir Jimmy Savile, The Charlie Daniels Band keyboard player Joel 'Taz' Digregorio, former Weezer star Mikey Welsh, veteran British actress Betty Driver, The Miracles guitarist Marv Tarplin, pianist Roger Williams and IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon, who died in a horrific car smash at the Indy300.
British bachelor Hugh Grant stunned the world when he announced he had a new love in his life - a baby girl he had fathered during a brief relationship with Chinese model/actress Tinglan Hong. He wasn't the only star to join the celebrity parents' club in November - singer Lily Allen had a reason to Smile again after giving birth to a daughter, her first child with new husband Sam Cooper, while newsman Piers Morgan and his wife Celia Walden also became parents to a little girl. Maggie Gyllenhaal and her husband Peter Sarsgaard announced they were expecting their second child, as did reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian and her partner Scott Disick.
Selena Gomez revealed she is set to become a big sister, while Justin Bieber had some unwanted baby news of his own - he found himself at the centre of a paternity scandal following allegations he had impregnated 20-year-old Mariah Yeater following a backstage tryst in Los Angeles last year (10). The Baby hitmaker denied the claim and Yeater subsequently dropped the lawsuit.
Lindsay Lohan's troubles hit the headlines again after she was sentenced to serve 30 days behind bars for a probation violation, although she was released after less than five hours due to jail overcrowding. Dr. Conrad Murray was not so lucky - he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter relating to the death of Michael Jackson and sentenced to the maximum of four years behind bars.
In other legal matters, country singer Mindy McCready sparked a manhunt after she took her five-year-old son Zander from his father's Florida home without permission; Tim McGraw won a court battle with his record company bosses releasing him from his contract; and TLC star T-Boz declared bankruptcy.
Hugh Grant, Sienna Miller and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling became driving forces in the push to improve British press standards following the News of the World phone-hacking scandal earlier this year (11) - the three stars were called to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry and told how they had had their voicemails, emails and other private messages intercepted by private investigators working on behalf of tabloid reporters.
The sporting world mourned the death of boxing great Joe Frazier at the age of 67, just days after it was revealed he was battling liver cancer, while the hip-hop industry was rocked by the passing of rap icon Heavy D, who collapsed outside his Los Angeles home and was later declared dead at 44. British moviemaker Ken Russell also passed away, aged 84, and longtime Oscars producer Gil Cates died at 77. Meanwhile, Beatles fans remembered George Harrison on 29 November as fans marked the 10th anniversary of his death.
Veteran pop star George Michael was forced to scrap the remainder of his European tour after he was struck down by a serious bout of pneumonia; Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb also spent time in hospital after suffering abdominal pains, and Adele and Keith Urban had a quiet month as they both recovered from vocal cord surgery, while heavy rock fans rejoiced as the original members of Black Sabbath announced they would be reuniting for a new album and tour in 2012.
It was ladies' night at the American Music Awards as Taylor Swift and Adele walked away with three honours each, while Lady Gaga reigned over the MTV Europe Music Awards and newlyweds Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton ruled the Country Music Association Awards by taking home the two top vocalist prizes. November also saw Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher end weeks of speculation about their marriage by calling it quits, while Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles tied the knot and Anne Hathaway began making plans to wed boyfriend Adam Schulman, and former The Hills star Kristin Cavallari and American footballer Jay Cutler became engaged again, months after they broke off their initial plans to marry.
And it was a busy month for the film industry - the latest Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn - Part 1, landed the biggest global debut in the film franchise's history, thanks to a massive $284 million (£177.5 million) opening weekend haul; Golden Globes bosses decided to bring back controversial comedian Ricky Gervais to host his third prizegiving in 2012; Billy Crystal stepped in for Eddie Murphy as the host of the 2012 Academy Awards a day after the comic and producer pal Brett Ratner resigned, and the race for the Oscars kicked off with the Gotham Independent Film Awards, where Terrence Malick's Tree of Life and Mike Mills' acclaimed Beginners made history when they became the first films to tie for the Best Feature prize in the ceremony's 21-year history.
The holiday bells were peeling for newlyweds A.J. McLean, actress Judy Greer, reality TV star Jeff Probst and Yeah Yeah Yeahs rocker Karen O, while Sinead O'Connor married an addiction counsellor in Las Vegas only to call off the union 16 days later. There were also splits for actress Debra Messing and Chaz Bono.
Britney Spears led the month's bride and grooms-to-be when she accepted former agent Jason Trawick's proposal on his 40th birthday, while Steven Tyler, John Legend, Matthew McConaughey, basketball legend Michael Jordan and Lady Antebellum's Dave Haywood all popped the question to their girlfriends - and there was baby news for new dads Robert De Niro, Halle Berry's ex Eric Benet, actor Charlie Day, Westlife star Kian Egan, actress/singer Fantasia Barrino, Essence Atkins and pop star Dev, while actress Alyson Hannigan, Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty, Kings of Leon star Caleb Followill's supermodel wife Lily Aldridge, Alessandra Ambrosio and Irish singer Andrea Corr announced they were pregnant.
There was drama for rapper Tyler, The Creator, who was arrested for alleged acts of vandalism during a show in Hollywood; singer Christina Perri, who was attacked in a car-jacking incident; Barry Manilow, who underwent hip surgery, and Morrissey, whose concert in Puebla, Mexico was evacuated following an earthquake, while Britain's Prince Philip and R&B star Etta James spent Christmas in hospital.
Lindsay Lohan bared all for Playboy magazine; Adam Lambert was arrested in Finland following a pre-Christmas bust-up with his boyfriend; rapper The Game halted a gig in Norway to confront a bottle-throwing fan; boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. was sentenced to 90 days in jail for a 2010 fight with his ex; a man who leaked an unfinished new Madonna song online was arrested in Spain, and Michael Douglas' incarcerated son Cameron was handed an extra four-and-a-half years behind bars for another drug conviction.
And there was yet more drama for Terrence Howard, who requested a restraining order against his wife; model Lauren Scruggs, who lost her hand and an eye in a freak plane propeller accident; Hollywood couple Eric Dane and Rebecca Gayheart, who had to vacate their home after high winds brought a tree crashing into their living room, and pop star Selena Gomez suffered a family tragedy when her mother miscarried.
Meanwhile, Jodie Foster's estranged father was jailed for five years after he was found guilty of a property scam; Angelina Jolie was sued by a Croatian journalist who alleged his chronicle of the Bosnian War inspired her directorial debut; Kirsten Dunst won a restraining order against an obsessed French fan; an extra died of a heart attack while shooting The Dark Knight Rises in New York; Goodfellas actor Tony Darrow was sentenced to six months behind bars for arranging a real-life mob beating, and Charlie Sheen had to change his phone number when he accidentally tweeted it to his followers.
The month's big winners included singer Melanie Amaro, who became the first U.S. X Factor winner; Julio Iglesias, who was named Spain's best-selling recording artist of all time; Russell Simmons, who was crowned PETA's Person of the Year; Chaka Khan, who won permanent custody of her granddaughter; Lady Gaga, who was hailed the year's highest earning female musician, and Taylor Swift who picked up Billboard magazine's coveted Woman of The Year honour.
Also winning in December: Guns N' Roses, the Beastie Boys and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who were all announced as the members of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's Class of 2012, and Twilight star Kristen Stewart, who was named Forbes magazine's Most Lucrative Star. Adele dominated the year's end album and singles polls; Jason Newsted reunited with Metallica for their 30th anniversary bash in San Francisco, and Martin Scorsese's first 3D movie Hugo was the surprise Best Film winner at the National Board of Review Awards in America.
In other movie news, Transformers: Dark of The Moon was named the year's most mistake-ridden film; Orson Welles' Citizen Kane Oscar sold at auction for $861,000; Drive dominated the Satellite Awards while The Help, The Artist and The Descendants picked up the lion's share of nominations for the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards, and Angelina Jolie's directorial debut, In The Land of Blood and Honey, also picked up Golden Globes nods and she was named the 2012 recipient of the Stanley Kramer Award at the Producer's Guild of America Awards.
In music news, Amy Winehouse's posthumous album debuted at number one in Britain; 30 Seconds To Mars broke a concert record at a show in New York - their 309th in a single album cycle, and Gucci Mane was released from prison.
Wrapping up the month, Oscar winner Colin Firth was immortalised in wax at Madame Tussauds in London; Men's Health magazine bosses crowned Jennifer Aniston the Hottest Woman of All Time; Liz Taylor's diamonds and gems set a new auction record by becoming the most valuable private jewellery collection; LMFAO were forced to abandon a gig in Honduras after a fire broke out at the venue; Welsh opera star Katherine Jenkins announced her split from fiance Gethin Jones, and Coldplay rang in 2012 with a $1.6 million gig in Abu Dhabi.
And the last month of the year saw the notable deaths of actor Bill McKinney, soul stars Dobie Gray and Howard Tate, M*A*S*H regular Harry Morgan, Clark Gable and Loretta Young's love child Judy Lewis, actress Doe Avedon Siegel, former child star Susan Gordon, country singer Billie Jo Spears, Aussie actor Graham Bown, world leaders Vaclav Havel and Kim Jong-Il, songwriter Ralph MacDonald, Kojak star Dan Frazer, directors Don Sharp and Yoshimitsu Morita, writer Christopher Hitchens and Tarzan's chimp sidekick Cheetah, who died of liver failure, aged 80.
December 16, 2010 8:08am EST
Blake Edwards, director of Breakfast at Tiffany's and the Pink Panther film series starring Peter Sellers, has died. He was 88 years old.
Edwards began his career as a scriptwriter of private detective stories for radio. Later, he wrote and directed the 1959 television series Peter Gunn, for which he collaborated with Henry Mancini. He then moved on to directing movies and in 1961, he directed Breakfast at Tiffany's staring Audrey Hepburn, based on the novella written by Truman Capote. In 1962 he directed Days of Wine and Roses, starring Jack Lemmon, and in in 1963 marked the beginning of the Pink Panther movies. In 2004, Edwards was awarded the Honorary Academy Award for his achievements, but it was peculiar that his acceptance speech did not mention the name of his longtime collaborator, Peter Sellers.
Edwards' second wife, Julie Andrews, had parts in a number of his films, like Darling Lili, 10, Victor/Victoria, and S.O.B. Edwards and Andrews had no biological children. Instead, they raised Edwards' two children from his first marriage, Andrews' daughter from her first marriage, and two adopted children from Vietnam.
October 01, 2010 5:57am EST
You may have heard critics and advertisers tout The Social Network David Fincher’s finger-pointing film about how Facebook was harvested from the halls of Harvard and turned into a billion dollar business as “the movie of the decade” or “a generation-defining film.” This kind of praise has led the entertainment journalism collective to liken it to true staples of cinema like Citizen Kane and The Graduate. In terms of relevance to its audience those are fair if overreaching statements. The film depicts its teenage characters with unflinching pragmatism as it weaves the nasty web of deception and betrayal that is the story of the social media juggernaut. In terms of its protagonist’s journey however I couldn’t help but compare it to another landmark film: 1974’s Death Wish.
Like Michael Winner’s divisive and controversial revenge flick the action in The Social Network as with so many stories kicks off when anti-hero Mark Zuckerberg loses the leading lady in his life. Luckily she’s not slaughtered by a pack of petty thugs but instead liberates herself from her pretentious and pessimistic beau in the crushing opening scene of the film which sets into motion a chain of events that will change his life – and the world.
Zuckerberg played with sardonic wit by rising star Jesse Eisenberg retreats to his Kirkland Hall haven seeking retribution (see where I’m going with this?). He gets drunk blogs unfavorably about his ex and creates a program that places female students’ headshots side by side so that inebriated undergrads can anonymously rate them. The site called Facemash accumulates so many hits that it crashes the University’s servers which gets the attention of the school’s cyber-security squad as well as a group of aspiring entrepreneurs. Twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (both played by Armie Hammer) well-to-do all-American future Olympians approach Zuckerberg with an opportunity to design a website that they’ve been quietly developing: a social network exclusive to Harvard students. Mark likes the idea but doesn’t want to be a part of it: he wants the whole thing. If greed is good then Zuckerberg (though not exactly financially motivated) is great.
The connections between Charles Bronson’s career defining film and Fincher’s soon-to-be-classic movie are of course hypothetical. My point is that like Paul Kersey Zuckerberg paints a target on his head with his vengeful actions as he breaks the rules of business ethics and leaves his mark on the world. Only after the storm has begun brewing does he realize that he’s in way over his head.
The Social Network is more a meditation on right vs. wrong than a chronicle of the birth of Facebook and it is a more affecting film because of that. The courtroom drama that ensues through Fincher’s two-hour masterpiece pulls no punches and asks the questions that we the audience are most curious about: Who really started Facebook? How much is the company worth? Fincher explores the historic and meteoric rise of this digital domain delicately building the tension organically as each chapter gives way to a new series of inquiries during the legal proceedings. Rather than provide a definitive answer he leaves the audience responsible for drawing its own conclusions.
Though it’s quite different from many of the grim stories Fincher’s told before The Social Network still conforms to the technical style that defines his work. The dank college dorms and dingy frat houses bring to mind the dreary environments of Panic Room and Fight Club especially in terms of lighting and color. Quick cuts convey the lightening fast pace in which we consume information in the digital age. The ominous music composed by Trent Reznor aids the auteur in expressing the enormity of the situation. Most noteworthy however is Aaron Sorkin’s stinging script which uses tech-speak legal lingo and slang to tell the tale of sex lies and limitless fortunes. He brilliantly combines multiple points of view (that of Zuckerberg his partner Eduardo Saverin and the Winklevosses) of the same events to bring his audience a well-rounded and unbiased account of the events that turned best friends into bitter enemies and bookworms into billionaires.
I believe that while it will certainly garner numerous award nominations come January The Social Network’s full impact will not be felt until the generation that it portrays can look back at it in retrospect. It is a very contemporary piece of thought provoking entertainment but we can’t assume that it defines who we are as a collective community because like Zuckerberg says of his digital society we don’t really know what it is yet.
September 17, 2009 2:35pm EST
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Pity there aren’t more stringent “truth in labeling” laws for movies like Love Happens. From the film’s title and its innumerable ads featuring stars Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart locked in a smiling embrace one might reasonably assume Love Happens to be a charming romantic comedy in which its two attractive leads bicker and flirt for a breezy 85 minutes before finally realizing that they’re meant for each other.
That assumption would be catastrophically incorrect for there isn’t much comedy to be found in Love Happens. Nor is there much romance for that matter. And come to think about it there really isn’t a whole lot of Jennifer Aniston exactly one half of the aforementioned misleading embrace to be found in the movie either. (Click here for Aniston's take on the matter.)
That leaves us with the obvious question: What then is Love Happens? It’s a drama centering on the emotional journey of Burke Ryan (Eckhart) a handsome widower who parlays the tragedy of his wife’s untimely death into a bestselling self-help book and a sold-out workshop tour becoming something like the Tony Robbins of grieving. (He's even aped the walking-on-hot-coals gimmick from the toothy motivational speaker.)
Though his adopted career is a smashing success not much else is well in Burke’s world. Truth be told he never truly reconciled himself with his wife’s tragic passing and has heretofore nursed his denial with a steady diet of alcohol and avoidance. That is until he runs into Eloise Chandler (Aniston) a refreshingly blunt free spirit whose own love life is marked by disappointment and heartbreak. Though just a humble florist with no apparent training in psychology Eloise immediately sees through the confident upbeat persona that Burke has carefully constructed. They can ease each other's pain but the healing won’t begin unless both of them are willing to let down their guard and let love -- wait for it -- happen.
WHO’S IN IT?
In addition to Aniston and Eckhart Love Happens’ cast includes Dan Fogler (Balls of Fury) as Burke’s smarmy agent and former college roommate Judy Greer (27 Dresses) as (what else?) Eloise’s quirky sidekick John Carroll Lynch (Zodiac) as one of Burke’s more skeptical workshop attendees and Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now) as his resentful father-in-law.
Misleading marketing aside Love Happens writer/director Brandon Camp does make an earnest attempt to explore the grieving process of a man who has experienced unspeakable tragedy. Which is better than a saccharine formulaic romantic comedy I guess.
For all its serious intentions Love Happens bears all the hallmarks of a slick studio rom-com including stereotypical supporting characters (his irreverent wing-man her goofy confidante) contrived comic relief devices (Sheen plays straight man to a crazy parrot!) and manipulative tugs on the heartstrings (too many to mention). The whole experience comes off as sort of a second-rate Cameron Crowe flick.
The climax of Love Happens includes a dramatic “slow clap ” in which the lead character finally breaks down in a cathartic release of pent-up emotion and is rewarded with a slow-building round of applause from onlookers. That’s pretty much all you need to know about this movie.