Last night, Julie Taymor talked to Stephen Colbert about everything that wasn’t what we’re REALLY interested in, and not enough about how she’s slowly killing off the human race with her Broadway musical.
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Jon Stewart talked about how the President is getting pretty irritated that no matter what he does, reporters are going to continue to insinuate that he’s doing the wrong thing because they operate on a 24-hour news cycle and he does not.
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Halle Berry talked to Jay Leno about her upcoming Broadway debut in Mountaintops, a play about what Martin Luther King did in his hotel room after he gave the “I Have a Dream” speech and before he was assassinated. Halle plays a waitress that she describes as a little “off.”
…which might not be that hard for her to do if she reacts to popcorn this way.
Paul McCartney told Jimmy Fallon about his Grammy nomination and being honored at the Kennedy Center.
And Barbara Walters was on Letterman and told him about who she thinks this year’s ten most fascinating people are. David called her out for putting Kate Middleton as a fascinating person, even though Barbara never talked to her…which is very cheating.
Poor Donna Keppel (Brittany Snow). Some years back her parents and brother were slaughtered by Richard Fenton (Jonathan Schaech) a teacher who had developed a psychotic fixation on her. Richard went to an insane asylum but he broke out and now he’s back in town just in time for Prom Night where he resumes his pursuit of Donna and knocks off some of her friends for good measure. Bringing up the rear is dogged Detective Winn (Idris Elba) desperately trying to nail Fenton as the body count mounts. Sooner or later--and it’s much later unfortunately--Donna will come face to face with Fenton one last time. With characters as one-dimensional and dumb as these there’s not much the cast can do except stand around in their prom outfits waiting to get killed off. As the deranged killer Schaech stares glares and skulks around. Leading lady Snow widens her eyes and worries accordingly throughout while Elba tries to inject a little intensity into the stock role of the cop on the case. Working from a bad screenplay by J.S. Cardone first-time helmer Nelson McCormick displays little enthusiasm--either for the genre or for this particular film. The scare tactics are hackneyed and usually involve characters surprising each other--a gag that gets really old really quickly. When one character mutters “This is getting silly. Enough already ” we couldn’t agree more. And we’d add “boring” to that statement. It should be noted however that there’s an awfully high body count for a film rated PG-13 even if the film isn’t as bloody as one might expect. McCormick and Cardone have re-teamed on the upcoming remake of The Stepfather and if their collaboration here is any indication horror fans may have reason to be afraid--very afraid.
In the beginning of the Dark Ages the warlords of England are brutally kept in line by the Irish King Donnchadh (David O'Hara). Tristan (James Franco) has grown up hating the Irish for killing his family and has made a strong allegiance to father figure Lord Marke (Rufus Sewell) while Isolde (Sophia Myles) Donnchadh's daughter has grown up under her father’s thumb. After a fierce battle that leaves Tristan near death he washes up on Irish soil and is nursed secretly back to health by Isolde who tells him she’s someone else. The two fall madly in love but Tristan must return to England before he’s discovered. Meanwhile Donnchadh decides to stage a tournament between all the champions of England with his daughter as the prize. Tristan ends up winning the princess' hand for Lord Marke but is horrified to find out she’s his own true love. Tristan and Isolde now must suppress their love for the sake of peace and the future of England. But despite their best efforts to stay apart the lovers are driven inexorably together. Despite the fact that Franco (Spider-Man) and Myles (Underworld) look lovely rolling around on the ground in romantic trysts and gazing forlornly at one another you don’t necessarily feel any heat between them. That seems to be mostly the fault of Franco who plays the young Tristan far too stoically. We understand he’s a tortured soul torn between duty and love with his eyes perpetually half-filled with tears. But couldn’t he have shown a little more passion (and while he’s at it washed his hair)? The luminous Myles is better at showing her burning desire but she too is left many times sad and weepy. Only Sewell (Legend of Zorro) who is usually delegated to playing bad guys shows any kind of raw emotion as he first falls genuinely in love with his bride--and then is betrayed by her and the only son he ever knew. He’d probably make a great King Arthur. As the Celtic myth of Tristan and Isolde predates the Arthurian legend as well as Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet you can easily see how those two more famous stories were possibly formed. Tristan & Isolde is a classic story of forbidden passion set against political upheaval as well as a tale about a tragic love triangle. Producers Ridley and Tony Scott had been fascinated with the legend for many years and finally got the opportunity to bring it to the big screen. Ridley however who directed last summer’s medieval fare Kingdom of Heaven wisely chose to hand over the directing reins to Kevin Reynolds (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) who adequately paints a picture of a time when chaos reigned. Maybe Tristan & Isolde is not as compelling or romantic as the king of them all Braveheart but it is certainly far more accessible than say Kingdom of Heaven. Sorry Ridley.
The story of the late great Johnny Cash depicted in Walk the Line is not quite all encompassing. The film dramatizes just one moment in Cash's life: his tumultuous 20s and rise to fame. The young Cash (Joaquin Phoenix) married and straight out of the army struggles with his music finally finding his patented blend of country blues and rock music. Haunted by a troubled childhood Cash sings songs about death love treachery and sin--and shoots straight to the top of the charts. On tour he also meets and falls for his future wife June Carter (Reese Witherspoon) whose refusal to meddle with a married man only further fuels the fire and contributes to his eventual drug addiction. Their cat-and-mouse love story provides the film’s core but unfortunately can’t quite overcome Walk the Line’s formulaic nature. Biopics are generally good to actors. Phoenix and Witherspoon could easily each walk away with Oscar statuettes for turning in two of the most jaw-dropping spellbinding performances since well Jamie Foxx in Ray. Neither actor had any musical background whatsoever but they both underwent painstaking transformations for the sake of authenticity doing all of their own singing as well as guitar-playing for Phoenix. The actor's performance is purely raw and visceral; his vulnerability is aptly palpable at first but then he becomes the Cash with the unflinching swagger. Witherspoon's Carter is Cash's temptress and she'll be yours too by movie's end. She eerily reincarnates Carter as if she was born to play the part. If Walk the Line is the ultimate actor's canvas then Phoenix and Witherspoon make priceless art-and music-together. While good for the actors biopics can prove to be difficult for the director. It’s hard to highlight a person’s life without it coming off like a TV movie of the week. Unfortunately director James Mangold (Copland) plays it safe with Walk the Line. The duets between Johnny and June on stage are about the only electrifying moments of the film. The rest is pretty stereotypical. And it isn’t because the film only focuses on certain years of Cash's life. It's simply not possible to fit a lifetime into the short duration of a film. The problem instead is that Mangold's presentation of Cash's life would lead one to believe that Cash actually exorcised his demons. But in reality his lifelong demons are what endeared him to the layperson. There was nothing cut and dry about the Cash story--and adding a little grit would have given Walk the Line the edge it needed.
February 03, 2004 12:03pm EST
Top Story: Gest Now Blames Tabloid for Split
Producer David Gest told NBC Dateline's Stone Phillips in an interview to be broadcast Friday that his marriage to Liza Minnelli ended because of an article in the National Enquirer and not because of the alleged physical abuse. "She got the magazine on a Wednesday morning and on Thursday announced our marriage was over," Gest said, according to the AP. The article in question, which Gest denies having anything to do with, portrayed Minnelli as an alcoholic. Minnelli, 57, and Gest, 50, wed in March of 2002 at a celebrity-studded ceremony in New York with Michael Jackson acting as best man and Elizabeth Taylor serving as maid of honor. It was Minnelli's fourth marriage and Gest's first. Gest has since filed two legal actions against Minnelli, including a divorce petition and a $10 million lawsuit in which he alleges she beat him so badly that he suffered permanent injuries. Gest says the beatings caused him pain "so enormous that I get now 80 shots around the head to deaden the nerves," according to a news release from the network. Minnelli denies the abuse. Gest said he and Minnelli might still be together had the story not been published.
Super Bowl XXXVIII a Ratings Win for CBS
CBS' Sunday night telecast of the Super Bowl XXXVIII, aided by the close win by the New England Patriots over the Carolina Panthers, was the most-watched championship game in six years, the network said Monday. According to Nielsen Media Research, the championship football game drew an average viewership of just under 89.6 million people--the biggest audience since 1998 when 90 million tuned in. The numbers helped seal a Sunday night victory for CBS, as 33.3 million viewers stayed to watch the debut of Survivor: All-Stars, beating Fox's American Idol as the most-watched entertainment program of the season.
Halftime Exposure Is Most TiVo'd Moment Ever
Super Bowl XXXVIII viewers were just as enamored by the halftime show as they were with the game. According to The Hollywood Reporter, TiVo users took a keen interest in Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson's boob-bearing antics as viewers repeatedly replayed--and then paused--at the precise moment in order to see exactly what it was the singer had revealed to millions of Americans. TiVo said that particular halftime stunt was the most replayed moment not only of the Super Bowl but of all TV moments that the young company has ever measured. TiVo's technology revealed a 180 percent spike in viewership at the time of the Jackson's exposure.
Police Seized Computers from Jackson's Neverland Ranch
Court papers unsealed Monday reveal police seized more than a dozen computers, video, still cameras and videotapes in November's raid of Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch in search of evidence that he molested a young boy, Reuters reports. It is, however, unclear what evidence if any police found during their search. Included in the seizure was a laptop locked in a bathroom, letters and legal documents. The search warrant had been sealed by a judge at the time it was issued, but Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville agreed to release the information, cautioning that in order to ensure a fair trial for both prosecutors and Jackson, he would have to redact the documents to the point where little of substance remained.
O'Donnell Offers Peanuts in Support of Stewart
Former talk show host Rosie O'Donnell offered up peanuts--literally--in support of domestic diva Martha Stewart. After sitting in the front row for the third day of testimony in Stewart's obstruction-of-justice trial, O'Donnell approached prosecutor Michael Schachter and offered him a bag of peanut M&M's to drop the case. "The rest of your life, you're going to be known as the guy who tried to take down Martha Stewart," O'Donnell said. "You should have passed on this gig." Schachter smiled and politely declined the candy.
Helen Hunt Expecting
Actress Helen Hunt and her boyfriend, Matthew Carnahan, are expecting their first child this summer, People magazine reports. Hunt, 40, has been dating the 42-year-old producer since 2001, after her brief marriage to Hank Azaria ended. Carnahan penned the Fox series Fastlane in 2002, produced and created the ABC crime drama Thieves in 2001, and wrote, produced and directed a documentary on former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Rudyland. Hunt last appeared in Woody Allen's 2001 comedy,The Curse of the Jade Scorpion.
Manilow Released From Hospital
Singer Barry Manilow has returned to his Palm Springs, Calif., home after a 24-hour hospital stay brought on by stress-related chest pains and an irregular heartbeat, Reuters reports. Manilow, 57, underwent a series of tests and procedures and was discharged from the hospital late Sunday. The singer had been in New York, where he says he "endured two of the most grueling days of arbitration" in a lawsuit in which he and co-writer Bruce Sussman are fighting to regain the rights to their stage musical Harmony.
Vandross Won't Attend Grammys
Luther Vandross, who is nominated for five Grammy awards including song of the year for "Dance With My Father," will not be able to attend Sunday's awards ceremony in Los Angeles, the AP reports. The wheelchair-bound singer suffered a severe stroke last April and spent several weeks in a hospital before being transferred to a rehabilitation facility in the New York City area. His business manager, Carmen Romano, said in a statement Monday: "It would have been a tremendous moment for Luther to attend the Grammy Awards this year, but on the advice of his doctors, I regret to say that Luther won't be able to make this trip."
Void Wins British Award
The American docudrama Touching the Void (watch the trailer) was named best film at the 31st annual Evening Standard British Film Awards on Sunday in London. Set in 1985, the film recounts ad