At some point in the early years of the 21st century a bunch of Hollywood executives must have gotten together and decided that animated films should be made for all audiences. The goal was perhaps to make movies that are simultaneously accessible to the older and younger sets with colorful imagery that one expects from children’s films and two levels of humor: one that’s quite literal and harmless and another that’s somewhat subversive. The criteria has resulted in cross-generational hits like Wall-E and Madagascar and though it’s nice to be able to take my nephew to the movies and be as entertained by cartoon characters as he is I can’t help but wonder what happened to unabashedly innocent animated classics like A Goofy Movie and The Land Before Time?
Disney’s Winnie The Pooh is the answer to the Shrek’s and Hoodwinked!’s of the world: a short sweet simple and lighthearted tale of friendship that doesn’t need pop-culture references or snarky dialogue to put a smile on your face. Directors Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall found some fresh ways to deliver adorable animation while keeping the carefree spirit of A.A. Milne’s source material in tact. Their story isn’t the most original; the first part of the film finds Pooh Piglet Tigger and Owl searching for Eeyore’s tail (a common plot point in the books and past Pooh films) and hits all the predictable notes but the second half mixes things up a bit as the crew searches for a missing Christopher Robin whom they believe has been kidnapped by a forest creature known as the “Backson” (it’s really just the result of the illiterate Owl or is it?).
The beauty of hand-drawn animation all but forgotten until recently is what makes Winnie the Pooh so incredibly magnetic. There’s an inexplicable crispness to the colors and characters that CG just can’t duplicate. It’s a more personal practice for the filmmakers and should provide a refreshing experience for audiences who have become jaded with the pristine presentation of computerized imagery. The film is bookended by brief live-action shots from inside Robin’s room an interesting dynamic that plays up the simplicity of youth ties it to these beloved characters and brings you right back to memories of your own childhood.
With a just-over-an-hour run time Winnie the Pooh is short enough to hold the attention of children but won’t bore the parents who will love the film mainly for nostalgic musings. Still it’s the young’uns who will most enjoy this breezy bright and enchanting film that proves old-school characters can appeal to new moviegoers.
It would appear that David Cronenberg has recruited Keira Knightley, Christoph Waltz and Michael Fassbender to star in his adaptation of Christopher Hampton's The Talking Cure, Playlist reported, citing Australian distributor Hopscotch Films.
After The Matarese Circle halted its progress earlier this year, Cronenberg, who was attached to direct, turned his attention to an adaptation of Don DeLillo's Cosmopolis. That film was due to begin in 2010 and it is not known whether that project is still in the works.
A synopsis for The Talking Cure, according to Playlist, reads:
“A beautiful young woman, driven mad by her past. An ambitious doctor on a mission to succeed. An esteemed mentor with a revolutionary cure. Let the mind games begin...”
Hampton's play follows the founding fathers of psychoanalysis, Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, and their complicated relationships with a brilliant and beautiful patient, Sabina Spielrein.
Cronenberg was previously linked to the project in 2007. Knightley previously starred in the Hampton-scripted Atonement.
The former Atlanta Falcons quarterback was handed a 23-month sentence last November (08) after pleading guilty to charges of dog fighting.
In May (09), he was transferred from a Leavenworth, Kansas prison to his Hampton, Virginia residence, where a judge allowed Vick to serve out the remainder of his punishment in the comfort of his own home.
His sentence came to an end on Monday (20Jul09) and the quarterback is now planning to meet with NFL officials to reinstate him and allow him back onto the football field.
Top Story: Costner To Wed Longtime Girlfriend
Kevin Costner has asked his girlfriend, Christine Baumgartner, to marry him, the actor's spokesman told Reuters Thursday. Costner, 48, and Baumgartner, 29, met four years ago and have been dating since. A wedding date has not yet been set. Costner skyrocketed to stardom in the 1990's after winning a handful of Academy Awards, including Best Director, for his Western drama Dances With Wolves. The marriage will be Costner's second and Baumgartner's first.
Convicted Publicist Gets Job as Reporter
Lizzie Grubman, the music publicist who backed her SUV into a crowd of Hampton clubgoers two years ago injuring 16 people, has taken a job as a gossip and entertainment reporter for the radio station WNEW-FM in New York, The Associated Press reports. Grubman served 37 days in jail after pleading guilty to charges of assault and leaving the scene of the July 2001 crash.
Honeymooners in Color
For the first time in more than 30 years, the new cable channel GoodLife TV Network will air 42 original color episodes of The Honeymooners, which were presented as part of The Jackie Gleason Show in the 1960s, Reuters reports. Along with the 39 original episodes that ran as a stand-alone sitcom in the 1950s and a collection of 68 segments taken from Gleason's old variety hour, the "new" Honeymooners episodes will begin airing Saturday (check your local listings).
Rapper Mystikal Pleads Guilty to Battery
Grammy-nominated rapper Mystikal pleaded guilty Thursday to sexual battery charges that he forced his hairstylist to perform sex acts on him and two bodyguards, AP reports. Prosecutor Sue Bernie told AP Mystikal, whose real name is Michael Tyler, confronted his hairdresser in his Baton Rouge, La., apartment last July and accused her of stealing checks from him. Tyler told the woman he would not tell police about the checks if she did something "degrading" for him, Bernie said. Tyler has also pleaded guilty to extortion charges. His sentencing date is set for Sept. 25.
Townshend Speaks Out on Child Pornography
The Who's Pete Townshend finally addressed the controversy surrounding his arrest for using an illegal Web site containing child pornography, Billboard magazine reports. Although he was not charged, the musician posted a statement on his official Web site saying, "Every time it occurs to me to say something about what is going on I remember what happened to me: I was arrested, suspected of wallowing in the very s--- that most upset me. It sends a clear and loud message. What is clear is that I must learn to keep silent and focus my energies elsewhere." Townshend will release another live album as part of his Signature series within the next few weeks.
Music Industry Continues To Warn Downloaders
The Recording Industry Association of America continued their aggressive battle against song-swapping on the Internet by placing a full-page newspaper advertisement, warning offenders they could face legal action, Reuters reports. "Next time you or your kids share music on the Internet, you may also want to download a list of attorneys," read the bold print headline in Thursday's New York Times, over the ad signed by 13 different music trade groups and associations.
Role Call: Seoul Sisters Heads to DreamWorks
DreamWorks has won a fierce bidding war to acquire the remake rights to the hit South Korean horror flick A Tale of Two Sisters, Variety reports. The film follows two girls who go to live with their unbalanced stepmother after recovering from an unnamed illness. No director is yet attached to the project.
After Anne Heche's heartfelt interview with Barbara Walters on ABC's 20/20 Wednesday night, where she talked about her own mental illness due to years of sexual abuse by her father, it was revealed by Walters that Heche is indeed 3 months pregnant. She and the baby's father, Coleman Laffoon, were married Saturday.
On the other side of town, Ellen DeGeneres is keeping tight-lipped about her ex-girlfriend's recent news. Instead, DeGeneres is concentrating on promoting her new CBS sitcom The Ellen Show, as well as hosting the upcoming Emmy Awards, Sept. 16. "My life is back on track now and I'm really grateful and thrilled to be working again. I've got so much going on right now that I don't need to be distracted. I'm just working on me," DeGeneres told reporters during a press conference yesterday.
Super model Cindy Crawford has given birth to her second child with husband Rande Gerber, a girl, Kaya Jordan Gerber. The baby was born Monday in Los Angeles and weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces. The couple already has a son, Presley Walker Gerber, 2.
Country singer Trace Adkins and his wife, Rhonda, had their second daughter, Brianna Rhea Adkins, Tuesday. The couple has another daughter and Adkins has two teen-age daughters from a previous marriage.
The Kennedy Center announced Wednesday the recipients to their prestigious 23rd annual Kennedy Center Honors, including actors Julie Andrews, 65 and Jack Nicholson, 64; opera star Luciano Pavarotti, 65; composer and music producer Quincy Jones, 68; and concert pianist Van Cliburn, 67. The gala event will take place on Dec. 2.
Rapper mogul Sean Combs has had a series of incidents with the court system. Most recently Combs was ordered to pay $350 for pleading guilty to clear-cutting environmentally protected plants around his East Hampton estate, which he also had to restore. As well, he is being threatened with arrest for failing to appear in New York City's family court, where he is being sued for child support by Kim Porter, mother of Combs' three-year-old son. And finally, he was cleared of charges in Miami of passing several cars in a motor scooter last April 14; the case was dismissed.
A federal grand jury indicted country singer LeAnn Rimes' former bodyguard and personal trainer, Robert Lavetta Iadevaia Jr. for extortion. He allegedly threatened to sell personal information and photos of Rimes to the tabloids if he wasn't paid off. Lavetta has pleaded innocent.
Aaliyah's family will make their first public statement about the tragic death of the R&B singer at the MTV Video Music Awards on Thursday night at New York's Lincoln Center. Aaliyah's brother, Rashad Haughton, is scheduled to make the address following a tribute to his sister. As well, Michael Jackson is reportedly going to perform at the show with a surprise guest. The show will air on MTV at 8 p.m. ET.
Carlos Santana and Spanish recording artist Hevia will perform at the 2nd Annual Latin Grammy Awards, joining Christina Aguilera, Marc Anthony, Nelly Furtado and many others. The show airs on CBS Sept. 11 at 9 p.m. ET.
VH1 and VH1.com announced the return of My VH1 Music Awards, the first only fully interactive music awards show. The first show aired in November 2000; music fans were able to design the show from start-to-finish by logging onto VH1.com to suggest and vote for categories, nominees, winners and more. The second show will air on VH1 Dec. 2 at 9 p.m. ET from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
25,000 specially-made Harry Potter coins were sold out in under five hours in London. Fans of the novels revolving around a teenage wizard and his adventures scrambled to get a hold of the collector's coin, which on one side features Harry casting a spell and on the other the image of the British monarch, which was apporved by Queen Elizabeth herself. The coins are official legal tender on the Isle of Man only.
The world's longest-running musical, The Fantasticks, will finally shut down production Jan. 6, 2002, due to dwindling grosses and the rising cost of production. The show, a classic boy-meets-girl love story with some memorable tunes including "Try to Remember," had been playing the Sullivan Street Playhouse, a theater in Greenwich Village, since May 3, 1960.
Anchorwoman Paula Zahn, who was recently fired from Fox News Channel for breach of contract, landed a job anchoring a new morning broadcast on CNN. According to Fox News, Zahn, whose contract with them was to last through February 2002, was let go when it was discovered her agent, Richard Leibner, had been talking with CNN.
Could Madonna be digging out that white lacy wedding gown from her "Like a Virgin" days anytime soon?
Maybe. The pop diva reportedly told Britain's Mirror that marriage "may lie in the future" for she and her boyfriend, director Guy Ritchie ("Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels").
To be sure, the couple made their first big public outing at the premiere of the M One's new film, "The Next Best Thing". And she recently set up home in Ritchie's native London with 3-year-old daughter Lourdes.
In many a recent interview, the 41-year-old singer-actress has happily declared she's off the market but has been cagey about discussing that "Next Step" -- the one she took with Sean Penn 14 years ago. (Their marriage ended in 1989 after less than four years.)
"It's a serious relationship," she says of Ritchie, a reported 31, in this week's People magazine. "It's excellent. I have an enormous amount of respect for him as a person, his work, his talent. He's very bright."
But does she discuss wedding bells? She only says, "We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. If we get to it."
THE OUTSIDER: The film on his life may be up for seven Academy Awards, but "The Insider" himself -- one Jeffrey Wigand -- has yet to receive an invitation to the ceremony.
The controversial film's nods even include one for Russell Crowe, who portrays tobacco industry whistle-blower Wigand. Still, the real-life Wigand says no one from the production has said a word to him about Oscar night.
According to USA Today, Wigand called the Academy himself but was told the Oscar ceremony "wasn't the Super Bowl" and that tickets were in short supply.
Maybe Wigand needs to start hustling. Oscar buffs may recall that another controversial biopic figure, Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, wrangled an invite to the 1997 ceremonies through nominee Woody Harrelson, who played him in the nominated film"The People vs. Larry Flynt."
OSCAR WATCH: Okay, so Jeffrey Wigand doesn't have a ticket, but "Ally McBeal" vixen and future "Charlie's Angel" Lucy Liu does. She'll make her Oscar debut as a presenter at the March 26 ceremony.
In other Oscar news, Kenny Ortega has been named choreographer for the ABC telecast. Now we know that producers have promised no dance productions, so what will Kenny do? "Several special surprise sequences," the Academy promises. As long as this doesn't equate to a Lord of the Dance production or a Rob Lowe-Snow White duet, we're good.
QUICK TAKES: Jerry Seinfeld and new bride Jessica Sklar reportedly have bought Billy Joel's 12-acre honeymoon cottage in New York's exclusive East Hampton for $40 million. It's a Spanish-style manor house on the ocean with a guest house, a pool and a barn ...
... Claudia Schiffer and Tim Jeffries have set May 20 as the date for their nuptials, according to the German magazine Bild. They will marry in a small church on the Spanish island of Majorca. The New York Post adds that the supermodel may insist the London gallery owner sign a prenup ...
... "Spin City" cast member Michael Boatman isn't so happy about the show's upcoming move to Los Angeles to accommodate new star Charlie Sheen. On Wednesday's edition of Howard Stern's radio show, Boatman complained that the move will be disruptive to cast members whose families set roots in New York to work on the sitcom. "It's kind of a big mess," he said.
JUST CAUSE: "Today" host Katie Couric has joined forces with Hollywood stalwart Lilly Tartikoff and the Entertainment Industry Foundation to form the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance. The organization, officially launched Wednesday in New York, hopes to increase awareness of colon cancer and raise research funds.
Couric's husband, cable news legal analyst Jay Monohan, died of colon cancer in 1998, while Tartikoff's husband, NBC president Brandon Tartikoff, died of Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1997. The late Charles Schulz had agreed to participate in the campaign before his colon cancer-related death, and his family plans to carry out his commitment.
WEEKLY RUMOR ROUNDUP: A photograph of Jennifer Lopez in her plunging sheer green Versace dress was downloaded 642,917 times the day after the ceremony on the official Grammy Web site, and 1 million times by the following week, says the Post. We're afraid of what this means for future award-show dress codes ...
... Did they or didn't they? Sarah Michelle Gellar was seen on the arm of "Mission to Mars" star Jerry O'Connell many times in 1998 and 1999, but the vampire slayer told TV Guide: "No, [we didn't date]. We went to high school together." But when Fashion Wire Daily approached O'Connell, he said: "Yeah, I went out with Sarah, I did ... I wanted to keep going out with her! I was just too much of an idiot to keep it going. But I'm trying ... I'm working on my attention-span issues, I'm working on my commitment issues, I'm working on my communication issues." Didya hear that, Sarah?