TriStar Pictures via Everett Collection
An hour and change into Pompeii, there's a volcano. You'd think there might have been a volcano throughout — you'd think that the folks inhabiting the ill-fated Italian village would have been dealing with the infamous volcano for the full 110 minutes. After all, volcano movies have worked before. Volcano, for instance. And the other one. But for some reason, Pompeii feels the need to stuff its first three quarters with coliseum battles, Ancient Rome politics, unlikely friendships, and a love story. But we don’t care. We can't care. None of it warrants our care. Where the hell is the volcano, already?
To answer that: it's off to the side — rumbling. Smoking. Occasionally spiking the neighboring community with geological fissures or architectural misgivings. Pretty much executing every trick picked up in Ominous Foreshadowing 101, but never joining the story. Not until Paul W.S. Anderson shouts, "Last call," hitting us with a final 20-odd minutes of unmitigated disaster (in a good way). If you've managed to maintain a waking pulse throughout the lecture in sawdust that is Pompeii's story, then you might actually have a good time with the closing sequence. It has everything you’d expect — everything you had been expecting! — and delivers it with gusto. Torpedoes of smoke running hordes of idiot villagers out of their homes and toward whatever safety the notion of forward has to offer. Long undeveloped characters rising to the occasion to rescue hapless princesses who thought it might be a good idea to set their vacation homes at the foot of a lava-spewing mountain. The whole ordeal is actually a lot of laughs. But it amounts to a dessert just barely worth the tasteless dinner we had to force down to get there.
TriStar Pictures via Everett Collection
To get through the bulk of Pompeii, we recommend focusing all your attentions away from the effectively bland slave/gladiator/hero Kit Harington — sorry, Jon Snow (he's actually called a bastard at one point) — and onto his partner in crime: a scowling Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje — sorry, Mr. Eko (he and Snow actually trade valedictions by saying "I'll see you at another time, brother" at one point) — who warms up to his fellow prize fighter during their shared time in the klink, and delivers his moronic material with a sprinkle of flair. Keeping the working man down is Kiefer Sutherland — sorry, Jack Bauer — as an ostentatious Roman senator, doling out vainglory in Basil Fawlty-sized portions. When he's not spitting scowls at peasants, ol' JB is undermining the efforts of an earnest local governor Jared Harris — sorry, Lane Pryce (he actually calls someone a mad man at one point) — and his wife Carrie-Anne Moss — sorry, Katherine O'Connell from Vegas (joking! Trinity) — and finagling the douchiest marriage proposal ever toward their daughter Emily Browning — sorry, but I have no idea what she's from.
But questionable television references and some enjoyably daft performances by Eko and Jack can't really make up for the heft of mindless dullness that Pompeii passes off as its narrative... until the big showstopper.
The best player in the World for movie trailers, Hollywood interviews and movie clips.
In truth, the last sequence is a gem. It's fun, inviting, and energizing, and might even call into question the possibility that Pompeii is all about how futile life, love, friendship, politics, and pride are when even the most egregiously complicated of plots can be taken out in the end by a sudden volcanic eruption. But you have to wade through that egregious complication to get there, and you shouldn't expect to have too much of a good time doing so.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com
"Sorry if my snoring bothered you."
Those are not the first words I'd expect out of the mouth of someone who got up on a Friday morning to catch the 10:30 AM screening of a new movie but that is more or less what the fellow who'd been sitting behind me said as I passed him on my way out. I'd heard him snoring over the constant rat-a-tat-tat of bullets and butt-kicking being doled out by Milla Jovovich et al in this latest iteration of the never-ending Resident Evil series (this time in IMAX 3D) but I figured maybe I was hearing things. Nope he was asleep.
I used to play Resident Evil on my ancient PlayStation when it first came out. It scared the crap out of me. I enjoyed the first two movies — hey they included the skinless zombie dogs! — but I lost interest soon after that. How many times can you make the zombie apocalypse exciting? How many different skintight outfits can Jovovich wear while killing grotesque creatures who shoot evil grasping tentacles out of their mouths? Why should we care about all the blood and guts when we know the people we're supposed to be emotionally invested in will never die? We don't.
Try as he might there are only so many ways for writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson to give the Resident Evil series fresh new layers for each new movie. The Umbrella Corporation is the big bad. They were playing with biological weapons and somehow there was an accident that let one of the viruses loose... and boom you've got a zombie apocalypse on your hands. Our heroine is Alice played by Milla Jovovich and there is a rotating cast of characters who help her fight the good fight against the hordes of brain-eaters and whatever is left of the Umbrella Corporation that's now after her. There are some parallels to the video game series but Paul W.S. Anderson (a gamer himself) has taken lots of liberties with the basic plot over the years. While Anderson's flashy style is especially suited to these types of movies there's not enough plot to make it work.
We don't go to video game movies for plot of course but there has to be something to hold onto; otherwise why would we care if our protagonist were in danger? Anderson tries some neat tricks to snap us back to attention like bringing back characters that were killed in previous movies and throwing in a cloning subplot that calls into question some of the characters' true identities but it's still hard to get worked up about anything onscreen. However it ultimately sidesteps any deeper ideas that might take our attention away from all the guns. And there are so many guns and explosions and elegant butt-kickings doled out by Milla and her pals (or former pals in the case of Michelle Rodriguez's character Rain) that they blend together.
It is especially difficult to work up any interest in the story because it's a franchise and no matter how many times the stars or director might say they're not that interested in doing another everyone is just waiting to see how much money this will make before deciding to go forward. There is no question how franchise movies will end; there will be no derring-do on the part of the writer or director to actually kill off a beloved character permanently. At one point it seemed like Anderson was going to pull the old "And then she woke up!" trick which would have been bold both because it's such a hackneyed idea that it would make writing professors' heads explode all over the world but also because it would have required Anderson to play in a different universe and expand his repertoire a bit. Alas like Alice and Anderson himself we just can't seem to escape this rabbit hole.
You never quite know what to expect with award shows. Some turn out to be slower than slow with acceptances speeches reaching duller than duller heights, while others turn out to be simply delightful and even a little hilarious. I'd have to classify this year's 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards to be somewhere in-between. The host, Ricky Gervais, surprisingly provided ample comic relief without becoming brutally offensive, yet there were still some parts that kind of lagged during the three-hour ceremony. Three hours is a long time, so we've boiled it all down to the top 8 need-to-know items of the night.
Flesh Tones Dominated the Red Carpet
The popular dress color on the red carpet this year seemed to be in the flesh-colored realm. Elle Macpherson, Kate Beckinsale, Julie Bowen, Kristen Wiig, and Charlize Theron were all spotted donning the delicate color. But leave it to these fabulous ladies to make even the plainest color look exquisite. They don’t need feathers or rhinestones or mermaid trains to be noticed – their good looks say it all. And though Theron’s dress was hands-down my favorite dress of the night, these gals all rocked the peachy garments as well, adding grace and glamor to the star-studded red carpet. Well done, girls!
Ricky Gervais Compares the Globes to Kim Kardashian
I think it’s safe to say we were all prepared to suffer at the wrath of Gervais’ legendary humor. But this year he decided to trade in his hurtful jibes for a more on-point comedy routine and did something that was sure to win us all over: insult Kim Kardashian. He commented that the Golden Globes is to the Oscars what Kim Kardashian is to Kate Middleton – it’s less classy and easier to pay off. Sure, some could find the joke a little obvious, but everyone appreciates a good Kardashian joke, especially in light of her recent 72-day marriage. I mean, if anyone deserves to be the bud of humor, it's that girl.
George Clooney Steals Brad Pitt’s Cane
When George Clooney came out to present Moneyball as one of the films up for Best Motion Picture, he brought with him Brad Pitt's trusty cane. As many of you know, Pitt tore his MCL in a minor accident and has been walking around with a cane ever since, causing quite a tabloid stir. So Clooney decided to poke a little fun at his friend by walking out onto the stage with said cane. It was a quick stunt, but it helped to further solidify my undying love for Clooney. Not only is he exceedingly handsome and undoubtedly talented, but he's also incredibly charming. Talk about a triple threat! That Stacy Keibler is one lucky lady -- am I right, girls?
Madonna Gives Gervais A Taste of His Own Medicine
Gervais is known for his unending supply of sarcasm, especially when talking about his fellow celebs. So when Madonna fired back at him with a taste of his own cantankerous style, it was quite a surprising (and pleasant) shock. After Gervais said Madonna is still "Like A Virgin," the singer fired back, saying, "If I’m still like a virgin why don’t you come over here and do something about it. I haven’t kissed a girl in years...on TV." Oh look out Gervais -- I think you've just met your match.
Morgan Freeman Reminds Us Why He's Awesome
This year, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association decided to grant Morgan Freeman with the Cecil B. DeMille Award, in honor of his incredible contributions to the entertainment industry in both film and television. And let's face it, he deserves the recognition. Freeman's played everything from a Shawshank prisoner to the personification of God -- and he's absolutely believable in every single one of his roles. This really isn't news to anyone, but it's still nice to have HFPA give credit where credit is due. He's awesome, his movies are awesome; 'nuff said.
Jessica Biel Wears A Wedding-Like Dress
The media has been abuzz for weeks now with the news of Justin Timberlake's engagement to Jessica Biel. And while JT's grandmother assured us that the rumors were true, we've yet to receive confirmation from the actual couple. So as a way to further our curiosity, Biel of course decided to wear an off-white almost wedding-like dress, but what does it all mean? Was this a sign that wedding bells are definitely in her future? Did she wear such a dress just to toy with us? It'ss sending a message, people! I’m sure of it. And so the speculation continues...
Ryan Gosling Is MIA the Entire Night
I know, I'm just as devastated as you are by this news. I thought he would definitely be there, especially since he was up for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama, but alas, he was nowhere to be found. Don't get me wrong, Gosling looks good any day of the week, but I was really looking forward to seeing him dressed in a tux and giving the cameras that winning smile of his. So where was he? What kept him away from our adoring eyes? I demand some sort of explanation for his absence. Now, who's with me?
The Dog Steals the Show during The Artist Acceptance Speech
The Artist seemed to dominate in many of the categories, but when it won Best Motion Picture Drama, the cast brought the film's adorable pup onto the stage, making him the immediate center of attention. Trust me, the easiest way to lose an audience's focus (or my focus) is to put an animal in our line of vision - and that's exactly what happened. I'm sorry, but I have no idea who said what during the acceptance speech. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to watching pug YouTube videos on the internet.
So did I miss anything that you thought was noteworthy? What about Kelly Osbourne's grey hair or George Clooney's "swinging" joke to Michael Fassbender? Let me know your favorite moments of the night in the comments section below. See you at the Oscars!
U.S. First Lady Laura Bush stole the show at the annual White House
Correspondents Dinner on April 30 when she poked fun at her husband
and his family, leaving celebrity guests like Jane Fonda and Richard Gere in
President George W. Bush's wife confessed she was a real desperate housewife
because her man was always too tired for romance.
She quipped, "Here's our typical evening: nine o'clock and Mr. Excitement here
is sound asleep and I'm watching Desperate Housewives.
"I mean it, those women on that show think they're desperate; they ought to
be with George."
That wasn't Bush's only reference to popular culture--she likened her
mother-in-law Barbara Bush to The Godfather's Don Corleone.
Meanwhile, joining Gere and Fonda at the Washington Hilton Hotel bash were
celebrity model Elle Macpherson, actors Dennis Hopper and Billy Baldwin, actresses Kelly Preston and Goldie Hawn and a frail Mary Tyler Moore.
High security meant all those attending the event, including the stars had to
pass through extensive checkpoints, where they were asked to remove their shoes
Article Copyright World Entertainment News Network All Rights Reserved.
Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe, a breakout star of the Sydney, Australia, Olympics who swam his way to three gold medals, has ambitions outside his Speedos and the swimming pool.
Thorpe, 17, wants to act.
And his first acting goal: An appearance on the NBC hit sitcom "Friends" along the same lines as a fellow Aussie, supermodel turned actress Elle Macpherson.
Macpherson has offered to help the teen Olympic champion achieve his acting goal, Thorpe's manager, Dave Flaskas, told Reuters today.
"Of course I would (put in a good word for Ian), but I think he has more pull than I do at the moment," Macpherson told the Daily Telegraph newspaper in Sydney.
Flaskas said that Thorpe will visit the United States this week along with fellow gold medalists Michael Klim and Grant Hackett.
According to Flaskas, Thorpe will be a guest of Giorgio Armani's this week. The fashion guru is hosting an event at the Guggenheim Museum in New York to celebrate his 25 years in fashion.