DeGeneres comes in second behind Apple boss Tim Cook on Out magazine's 2011 Power 50 List. Cooper is third and Ross is 10th.
Designers Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford, film producer Scott Rudin, Glee creator Ryan Murphy, blogger Perez Hilton, music mogul David Geffen and actor Neil Patrick Harris make the top 20.
Jodie Foster, singer Adam Lambert, Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black and The Kids Are All Right director Lisa Cholodenko also make the 2011 list.
Making an earnest cinematic argument for the immortality of the soul and the existence of an afterlife without delving into mushy sentimentality is a difficult task for even the most gifted and “serious” of filmmakers. Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson discovered as much last year when his sappy grandiose adaptation of the ethereal bestseller The Lovely Bones opened to scathing reviews. Critics by and large tend to bristle at movie renderings of what may or may not await them in that Great Arthouse in the Sky.
And yet filmmakers seem determined to keep trying. The latest to make the attempt is Clint Eastwood who throughout his celebrated directorial career has certainly demonstrated a firm grasp of the death part of the equation. His filmography with a few notable exceptions practically revels in it: of his recent oeuvre Invictus is the only work that doesn’t deal with mortality in some significant manner. With his new film Hereafter Eastwood hopes to add immortality to his thematic resume.
The film's narrative centers on three characters each of whom has intimate experience with death and loss. Their stories in true Eastwood fashion can ostensibly be labeled Sad Sadder and Saddest: Marie (Cecile de France) is a French TV news anchor who’s haunted by disturbing flashbacks after she loses consciousness — and briefly her life — during a natural disaster; George (Matt Damon looking credibly schlubby) is a former psychic whose skills as a medium are so potent (the slightest touch from another human being triggers an instant powerful psychic connection a la Rogue from X-Men) they’ve left him isolated and alone; Marcus is a London schoolboy who retreats into a somber shell after losing his twin brother in a tragic car accident (both brothers are played rather impressibly by real-life twins Frankie and George McLaren).
Humanity offers little help to these troubled souls surrounding them with skeptics charlatans users and deadbeats none of whom are particularly helpful with crises of an existential nature. Luckily there are otherworldly options. Peter Morgan's script assumes psychics out-of-body experiences and other such phenomena to be real and legitimate but in a non-denominational Coast-to-Coast AM kind of way. Unlike Jackson’s syrupy CGI-drenched glimpses of the afterlife Eastwood’s visions of the Other Side are vague and eery — dark fuzzy silhouettes of the departed set against a white background. Only Damon’s character George seems capable of drawing meaning from them which is why he’s constantly sought out by grief-stricken folks desperate to make contact with loved ones who’ve recently passed on. He’s John Edward only real (and not a douche).
Marie and Marcus appear destined to find him as well but only as the last stop on wearisome circuitous and often heartbreaking spiritual journeys that together with George’s hapless pursuit of a more temporal connection (psychic ability it turns out can be a wicked cock-blocker) consume the bulk of Hereafter’s running time. We know the three characters’ paths must inevitably intersect but Morgan’s script stubbornly forestalls this eventuality testing our patience for nearly two ponderous and maudlin hours and ultimately building up expectations for a climax Eastwood can’t deliver at least not without sacrificing any hope of credulity.
It should be noted that Hereafter features a handful of genuinely touching moments thanks in great part to the film's tremendous cast. And its finale is refreshingly upbeat. Unfortunately it also feels forced and terribly unsatisfying. Eastwood an established master of all things tragic and forlorn struggles mightily to mount a happy ending. (Which in my opinion is much more challenging than a sad or ambiguous one.) After prompting us to seriously ponder life’s ultimate question Eastwood’s final answer seems to be: Don’t worry about it.
The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.
Leonardo DiCaprio will star for Mel Gibson in an untitled period drama about Viking culture. William Monahan is writing the script. Variety reports that Graham King will produce with Gibson and Tim Headington in a co-production of King's GK Films and Gibson's Icon. Gibson will direct the film in fall 2010.
The principals confirmed the project but would not divulge many details, Variety says. However, the trade does say that DiCaprio will play a Viking in a storyline that will be "as unsparing as Gibson's other period directing efforts, Braveheart, The Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto.
King previously teamed with DiCaprio and Monahan in The Departed and just worked with Gibson and Monahan in the Martin Campbell-directed drama Edge of Darkness.
"This will be an awe-inspiring story, created with some of the industry's finest cinematic talent, and I am just over the moon to be making this film with Mel, Leo and Bill," King said.
DiCaprio will likely take a film before this one. He just completed the Christopher Nolan-directed Inception and will next be seen in the Martin Scorsese-directed Shutter Island. Gibson just finished the Jodie Foster-directed The Beaver.
Kathryn Bigelow's hard-hitting war drama The Hurt Locker has emerged as an early Oscar favorite after picking up a string of nominations for the upcoming Gotham Independent Film Awards, one of the season's first big prizegivings.
The movie will be up against Amreeka, Big Fan, The Maid and A Serious Man in the Best Feature category, while star Jeremy Renner will fight for the Breakthrough Actor prize, and he and his castmates are up for Best Ensemble Performance.
Meanwhile, director Bigelow will be among the filmmakers and stars honored with tributes at the 19th annual Gotham Independent Film Awards, held in New York on Nov. 30. Natalie Portman, Stanley Tucci and producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will also be presented with career tributes.
Meanwhile, Chris Rock's Good Hair will compete with Food, Inc., My Neighbor, My Killer, Paradise and Tyson for the Best Documentary prize, and Cruz Angeles (Don't Let Me Down), Frazer Bradshaw (Everything Strange and New), Noah Buschel (The Missing Person), Derick Martini (Lymelife) and Robert Siegel (Big Fan) will fight for the Breakthrough Director award.
Up against Renner in the Breakthrough Actor category are Ben Foster (The Messenger), comedian Patton Oswalt (Big Fan), Catalina Saavedra (The Maid) and Souleymane Sy Savane (Goodbye Solo).
Adventureland, Cold Souls, A Serious Man and Sugar will compete with The Hurt Locker for the Best Ensemble Performance honor.
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The movie will be up against Amreeka, Big Fan, The Maid and A Serious Man in the Best Feature category, while star Jeremy Renner will fight for the Breakthrough Actor prize and he and his castmates are up for Best Ensemble Performance.
Meanwhile, director Bigelow will be among the filmmakers and stars honoured with tributes at the 19th annual Gotham Independent Film Awards, held in New York on 30 November (09). Natalie Portman, Stanley Tucci and producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will also be presented with career tributes.
Meanwhile, Chis Rock's Good Hair will compete with Food, Inc., My Neighbor My Killer, Paradise and Tyson for the Best Documentary prize and Cruz Angeles (Don’t Let Me Down), Frazer Bradshaw (Everything Strange and New), Noah Buschel (The Missing Person), Derick Martini (Lymelife) and Robert Siegel (Big Fan) will fight for the Breakthrough Director award.
Up against Renner in the Breakthrough Actor category are Ben Foster (The Messenger), comedian Patton Oswalt (Big Fan), Catalina Saavedra (The Maid) and Soulemane Sy Savane (Goodbye Solo).
Adventureland, Cold Souls, A Serious Man and Sugar will compete with The Hurt Locker for the Best Ensemble Performance honour.
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.
British film Atonement leads the nominations for the 2008 Golden Globe Awards with nods in seven categories.
Keira Knightley has been shortlisted for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama) for the romantic epic, and her costar James McAvoy picked up the same honor in the Best Actor category. Joe Wright has also received a Best Director nod for the critically lauded adaptation of Ian McEwan's 2001 novel.
Atonement will be competing for the coveted Best Motion Picture (Drama) award with American Gangster, Eastern Promises, The Great Debaters, No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood.
Hollywood star George Clooney joins McAvoy in the running for the Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama) prize for his role in Michael Clayton, as do Daniel Day-Lewis, for There Will Be Blood; Viggo Mortensen, for Eastern Promises; and Denzel Washington, for American Gangster.
Knightley will be battling it out with Cate Blanchett, for Elizabeth: The Golden Age; Angelina Jolie, for A Mighty Heart; Julie Christie, for Away From Her; and Jodie Foster, for The Brave One.
Sweeney Todd has been nominated for Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy), Best Director for Tim Burton and Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) for Johnny Depp. Depp will be up against Ryan Gosling, for Lars and the Real Girl; Tom Hanks, for Charlie Wilson's War; Philip Seymour Hoffman, for The Savages; and John C. Reilly, for Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.
Nominations for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) are Amy Adams, for Enchanted; Nikki Blonsky, for Hairspray; Helena Bonham Carter, for Sweeney Todd; Marion Cotillard, for La Vie En Rose; and Ellen Page, for Juno.
Ridley Scott, for American Gangster; Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, for No Country for Old Men; and Julian Schnabel, for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, will be in the running with Wright and Burton for the Best Director prize.
The awards ceremony will take place at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on Jan. 13.
(Click here for the complete list of nominations.)
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In the tradition of Batman Begins and Casino Royale the clock is rolled back on the legendary icons the D—the self-proclaimed greatest band in the world—as the curtain is pulled back on their secret origins and the demons that drive them are unveiled… OK so it’s not really that deep. Though the heavy metal/comedy combo of Jack/JB/”Jabeles” (Jack Black) and Kyle/KB/”Kage” (Kyle Gass) have long played hip clubs cut an album starred in their own short-lived HBO series and amassed a devoted cult of fans their first feature film reveals how the pudgy duo first meet form the band meet their first fan (Jason Reed as TV holdover Lee) go questing the fabled Pick of Destiny—a shard of Satan’s tooth turned into a guitar pick passed among rock’s most accomplished shredders—and ultimately smack down with the devil himself. Believe it or not it’s a love story. Thanks to their long professional partnership Black and Gass comprise two perfectly crafted sides of a very polished comedy coin: Black is the wild-eyed uncontrolled id Gass is the low-energy manipulative slacker and they meet in the middle with an equal amount of unchecked delusion about their musical ability and potential. They both deftly pull off the trickiest types of comedy: smart jokes in the guise of dumb characters and it’s nice to see Black—obviously the bigger film star of the two—share the funniest bits equally with Gass. Of course all of this hinges on the audience’s tolerance for the ambitiously clueless ego-cases (and moviegoers who only love Black for his tamer version of the same persona in School of Rock should be warned—this is the cruder ruder and more profane incarnation) but we admit we’ve long had a taste for the D. They boys carry they movie squarely on their shoulders though longtime D supporters Tim Robbins and Ben Stiller stand out in cameos—the first Stiller cameo in ages that’s both amusing and non-gratuitous! Also appearing in small bits: SNL’s Fred Armisen and Amy Poehler Oscar-nominee Amy Adams Colin Hanks hard rock hero Ronnie James Dio Foo Fighter Dave Grohl as Satan and an uncredited John C. Reilly though you’ll never ever recognize him when he’s onscreen. And kudos to whoever had the inspired notion to cast Meat Loaf as JB’s pious father and Troy Gentile as the young rockin’ JB (Gentile also played a junior version of Black in Nacho Libre). Helmer Liam Lynch who also collaborated on the screenplay with Black and Gass and directed their music video “Tribute ” understands the absurd world of the D completely and demonstrates a clever assured sense of straight-faced silliness. Indeed the first ten minutes of the film alone—a mini-rock opera in itself—announce him as a comedy director to watch. Although we’re sure the bandmates themselves would take full credit for the film’s success. After all they may not have made the greatest movie in the world but in D-speak they came up with a pretty rockin’ tribute version.
Jodie Foster scores another one. The Oscar-winning actress' latest action thriller Flightplan, in which she plays a grieving widow who mysteriously loses her child on a flight, opened at No.1 with $24.6 million, pushing last week's champ, Just Like Heaven down to third place with $9.8 million.
Flightplan is the second best opener for Foster, behind Panic Room, which opened in 2002 with $30 million. The delightfully animated and macabre Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, which opened in wide release in its second week, took the second spot with $20.1 million, while Roll Bounce, a '70s roller-skating drama starring rapper-turned-actor Bow Wow, debuted in fourth place with $8 million.
The box office also continued its upswing for the fourth consecutive weekend, much to the delight of the box office prognosticators. "This fall season has been in a word, spectacular," Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations, told The Associated Press. "We'd been so fixated on the box-office slump, and here we are in a fall boom. This is terrific for the industry and bodes well for a very strong holiday season." The Top 12 films grossed an estimated a four-day total of $89.1 million, up 51.16 percent from last year's draw of $58.9 million and up 26.22 percent from last weekend's $70.6 million.
The Top Three films at the box office this time last year were: Sony Pictures' PG-13 The Forgotten, which opened at the No. 1 spot with $21 million in 3,104 theaters, averaging $6,773 per theater; Paramount Pictures' PG rated Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, which dropped to second place in its second week with $6.6 million in 3,170 theaters, averaging $2,100 per theater; and Buena Vista PG-13 rated Mr. 3000, which dropped to third in its second week with $5 million in 2,736 theaters, averaging $1,862 per theater.
BOX OFFICE TOP 10, ESTIMATES (Four-Day Totals)
(Source: Exhibitor Relations, Inc.)
No. 1: Flightplan (Buena Vista, PG-13)
• Gross: $24.6 million
• Weeks opened: NEW!
• Theaters: 3,424
• Per-theater average: $7,198
No. 2: Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (Warner Bros., PG)
• Gross: $20.1 million
• Weeks opened: 2 (+5126%)
• Theaters: 3,204 (+3,199)
• Per-theater average: $6,283
• Cume to date: $20.6 million
No. 3: Just Like Heaven (DreamWorks, PG-13)
• Gross: $9.8 million (-40%)
• Weeks opened: 2
• Theaters: 3,509 (+1)
• Per-theater average: $2,793
• Cume to date: $30 million
No. 4: Roll Bounce (Fox Searchlight, PG-13)
• Gross: $8 million
• Weeks opened: NEW!
• Theaters: 1,625
• Per-theater average: $4,923
No. 5: The Exorcism of Emily Rose (Sony Pictures, PG-13)
• Gross: $7.5 million (-50%)
• Weeks opened: 3
• Theaters: 3,045 (+62)
• Per-theater average: $2,463
• Cume to date: $62.3 million
No. 6: Lord of War (Lions Gate, R)
• Gross: $4.9 million (-48%)
• Weeks opened: 2
• Theaters: 2,814 (unchanged)
• Per-theater average: $1,741
• Cume to date: $17.2 million
No. 7: The 40 Year-Old Virgin (Universal, R)
• Gross: $4.3 million (-28%)
• Weeks opened: 6
• Theaters: 2,581 (-425)
• Per-theater average: $1,666
• Cume to date: $96.9 million
No. 8: The Constant Gardener (Focus Features, R)
• Gross: $2.2 million (-38%)
• Weeks opened: 4
• Theaters: 1,282 (-105)
• Per-theater average: $1,751
• Cume to date: $27.5 million
No. 9: Transporter 2 (20th Century Fox, PG-13)
• Gross: $2.1 million (-46%)
• Weeks opened: 4
• Theaters: 1,726 (-1079)
• Per-theater average: $1,246
• Cume to date: $39.8 million
No. 10: Cry Wolf (Focus Features/Rogue, PG-13)
• Gross: $2.1 million (-53%)
• Weeks opened: 2
• Theaters: 1,787 (-2)
• Per-theater average: $1,176
• Cume to date: $7.3 million
OTHER OPENINGS A History of Violence (New Line, R)
• Gross: $504,000
• Weeks opened: NEW!
• Theaters: 14
• Per-theater average: $36,000
Oliver Twist (Sony/Tri-Star, PG-13)
• Gross: $69,000
• Weeks opened: NEW!
• Theaters: 5
• Per-theater average: $13,800