After screwing up the FBI's investigation into the hijacking of electronics-filled 18-wheelers in the Los Angeles area disgraced cop Brian O'Connor (Paul Walker) has migrated to South Florida where he is snugly embedded in the city's street racing scene. But when the Feds in Miami need help bringing down Carter Verone (Cole Hauser) the head of an international money-laundering cartel they cut O'Connor a deal: bring down the kingpin and get a clean record in exchange. O'Connor accepts on the condition that his childhood friend and ex-con Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) be his partner. O'Connor and Pearce have an inside track to Verone namely gorgeous undercover agent Monica Fuentes (Eva Mendes) who has won the heart of the stoic villain. The script penned by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas has plot holes large enough to swallow a Greyhound bus. But this movie is never about the ludicrous story or its laughable dialogue; it is all about the Asian hot rods and unlike The Fast and the Furious it never takes itself too seriously. Moviegoers however will undoubtedly revel in the return of O'Connor's silver Nissan Skyline and newcomers including the Mitsubishi Evolution 7 a BMW M3 a Mazda RX7 and a Honda S2000 just to name a few.
The tall blonde Walker who all but disappeared in the presence of juggernaut Vin Diesel in The Fast and the Furious emerges in this breezy second installment as a surprisingly competent lead. Like most characters in the movie O'Conner lacks depth and his new clandestine life in Miami is barely explored but let's face it; this is a film about car culture and not a character study. Juxtaposed against Walker's laid-back O'Connor Gibson's Pearce is the perfect menacing brute an ex-con who always has a score to settle--even when there isn't one. The two leads equally bear the film's weight here and it works because their interaction appears natural and their clashing personalities seem to balance each other out. As their common nemesis Verone Hauser--a fitting addition to the cast--perfectly pulls off the role of the coldhearted kingpin. Hauser is the quintessential villain even though there is nothing redeeming about his two-dimensional character. Rounding out the cast is Mendes convincing in the three-pronged role of a scantily dressed car-racing babe a kept woman and a crackerjack cop and rapper-turned-actor Ludacris as local garage owner Tej.
Fasten your seatbelts because John Singleton's flamboyant follow-up to the 2001 surprise hit The Fast and the Furious is just as raucous a ride as its predecessor. The movie's race sequences are more exciting here the courses twist and curve and have more obstacles--including an insane run over drawbridge. Coming from the director of such socially conscious films as Boyz N the Hood Rosewood and Baby Boy 2 Fast 2 Furious is an unusual shift for Singleton but he succeeds at this high-octane genre just the same. For one thing very little about this sequel is rehashed: The tone the characters and the plot are new but more importantly so are the cars which is the focus of this entire movie. Assembled under the gaudy guidance of action veteran Neal H. Moritz the picture keeps its finger on the pulse of the ever-changing world of performance cars. The Honda Civics and Toyota Supras are overshadowed by the new status quo: the Mitsubishi Evolution 7. Although these economy sedans have been painted in cheesy neon colors and loaded up with ridiculous-looking add-ons including glaring hood roofs and high rear wings they will steal the hearts of Speed Channel junkies with an affinity for rally car racing.
September 09, 2002 12:00pm EST
The Magdalene Sisters, British director Peter Mullan's pointed depiction of an abusive Catholic convent, won the Golden Lion for best picture Sunday at the Venice Film Festival. Earlier this week, the Vatican denounced the film, which depicts young women being imprisoned and tormented in convents for often-preposterous reasons, including having been raped. According to The Associated Press, Mullan told audiences, "As regards the film, it's not just about the Catholic Church and how they oppressed young women in Ireland. It's about all faiths, all fundamentalist faiths, that believe they have the right to oppress young women." Other winners included actress Julianne Moore, who took home best actress for Far From Heaven, and Stefano Accorsi, who won best actor for A Journey Called Love. Andrej Konchalovsky's House of Fools, a drama about a psychiatric institution on the Chechen/Russian border whose inmates are left to cope on their own after the staff flee from the war, won the Jury Grand Prix.
Jerry Lewis collapsed backstage at a London theater shortly before he was due to take part in a benefit show and was taken to an undisclosed London hospital, the BBC reports. The 76-year-old comedian has been plagued with health problems since the 1980s, including prostate cancer, pulmonary fibrosis and spinal meningitis. In an interview with the UK's Daily Mirror published Monday, Lewis was quoted as saying that the pain had been so agonizing that he had contemplated suicide. "In April it got so bad that it forced me to get a gun and seriously think about putting it in my mouth," he said.
Patty Duke remained hospitalized Friday and was listed in fair condition at the Kootenai Medical Center's Intensive Care Unit in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, after suffering a concussion and skull fracture when a horse she was spraying with fly repellent apparently knocked her down, the AP reports. Her husband, Michael Pearce, said he heard a thump and a cry from his wife after he left her in the barn to spray the 2-year-old filly. Duke won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1963 for The Miracle Worker.
The AP reports an Oregon couple who purchased the childhood home of former Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain last month for $42,500 has put it up for auction on eBay with an opening bid of $200,000. The couple says they had no idea it was Cobain's house when they bought it. Cobain lived with his father and stepmother in the turn-of the-century home, valued at $52,660 in 2000, from age 11 to 15. As of Sunday there had been no bids. There's still time to submit yours--the auction ends Sept. 15.
Director James Cameron debuted part of Ghosts of the Abyss Friday at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival in Goleta, Calif., the AP reports. Ghosts, an underwater documentary on the sunken Titanic, was shot in 3-D using a lightweight camera designed by Cameron, his brother Mike and cinematographer Vince Pace.
Hip-hop sensation Lil' Kim will be making her big-screen debut in the urban Western indie Guns and Roses, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Directed by Higher Ed's Jean Claude LaMarre, the film, set in the 1800s, follows the journey of five female outlaws who are fighting to avenge the murder of one of their own. It also stars singer Bobby Brown, LisaRaye, Monica Calhoun, Marie Matiko and Louis Mandylor.
Madonna's Maverick Films is developing a TV movie with VH1 called How to be the Perfect Latino Popstar, a Pygmalion story set in the world of Latin music, Variety reports. Maverick partners Madonna and Guy Oseary will executive produce the movie, based on a script by Laura Angelica Simone.
Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot was being treated in a Hamilton, Ontario, hospital Sunday for an undisclosed ailment, the AP reports. Lightfoot was rushed to a hospital in Orillia, 50 miles north of Toronto, on Saturday night shortly before he was set to perform at a concert promoting his latest album, A Painter Passing Through. He was later airlifted to Hamilton. Lightfoot, 63, and his wife have asked that no more information be given out at this time.
Moviegoers celebrated "Mummy"'s Day this weekend with a record setting $70 million opening.
Universal's PG-13 rated adventure sequel The Mummy Returns kicked off Hollywood's pre-summer season with a staggering ESTIMATED $70.11 million at 3,104 theaters ($20,615 per theater). Mummy accounted for about 65% of the weekend's total key films gross of $107.5 million.
Mummy is well on its way to what looks like it could be a $200 million gross in domestic theaters. That would be about $45 million more than the first Mummy did domestically in 1999.
Mummy goes into the record books as the biggest three day non-holiday opening ever, beating the record set by 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm's Star Wars: Episode One -- The Phantom Menace with $64.81 million the weekend of May 21-23, 1999, at 2,970 theaters ($21,822 per theater). Having opened on a Wednesday, Phantom Menace's cume for five days was $105.7 million.
The 1999 original The Mummy opened to $43.4 million the weekend of May 7-9 at 3,209 theaters ($13,515 per theater). In its second weekend it fell 43% to $24.86 million at 3,226 theaters ($7,705 per theater). Its cume after 10 days was $80.6 million. Mummy went on to do $155.2 million domestically and $258.1 million internationally for a worldwide total of $413.3 million. In its third weekend, Mummy was knocked down to second place by the blockbuster arrival of Phantom Menace.
Mummy Returns's average per theater was the highest for any film playing in wide or limited release this weekend.
Written and directed by Stephen Sommers, Mummy stars Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. It also features an appearance by wrestling star The Rock. The Alphaville Production was produced by James Jacks and Sean Daniel and executive produced by Bob Ducsay and Don Zepfel.
"Except for Lost World, which was a holiday weekend, it's the greatest opening ever," Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said Sunday morning. Universal's The Lost World: Jurassic Park opened in 1997 to $74.7 million for the three day weekend portion of the four day Memorial Day holiday (May 23-26) weekend.
"What we did was we went into the history of Universal and we created a franchise that we truly believed could dominate the marketplace," Rocco explained. "We took a piece of Universal's history and created an unbelievable franchise. With appropriate sequel management, we brought back the cast, we brought back the director, we managed the cost and we had a great story. That's what made this so unique.
"Our exit polls are 90% in the Top Two Boxes (excellent and very good) and a 70% Definite Recommend. That's huge."
The film's PG-13 rating, she added, "broadened the base. Because of the fact that it's a bit fantasy, parents and kids alike can enjoy it. There's no blood. It's part of comic book fantasy. This is a picture that's an absolute thrill ride that will certainly have tons of repeat business."
Universal's 1932 classic The Mummy, directed by Karl Freund and starring Boris Karloff, was a horror film. So were the studio's continuation of the Mummy story in the 1940s in such films as The Mummy's Hand, The Mummy's Tomb, The Mummy's Ghost and The Mummy's Curse.
"They were horror films," Rocco noted. "That's what's so unique about how we built the franchise. We took a piece of the history and created this whole new thing."
Assessing the film's impact in the marketplace, Rocco observed, "We kicked off summer early. We reinvigorated the marketplace to record breaking numbers (of about $107.5 million for key films). Last year was a record (for this weekend) of $82.2 million. We also hold the biggest Friday opening with $23.4 million and the biggest Saturday opening with $26.8 million." Those are the biggest ever for any Friday or Saturday, she said, adding that "Lost World did $21.9 million on Friday."
Warner Bros. and Franchise Pictures' PG-13 rated action drama Driven fell one notch in its second week to a slower ESTIMATED $6.06 million (-50%) at 2,905 theaters (theater count unchanged; $2,084 per theater). Its cume is approximately $21.6 million.
Directed by Renny Harlin, Driven stars Sylvester Stallone. It was produced by Elie Samaha, Stallone and Harlin and written by Stallone.
Bridget Jones's Diary, the R rated romantic comedy co-financed by Miramax Films, Universal Pictures and StudioCanal and produced by Britain's Working Title, slid one peg to third place in its fourth week with a still attractive ESTIMATED $6.0 million (-20%) at 2,547 theaters (+15 theaters; $2,355 per theater). Its cume is approximately $44.7 million, heading for $55-60 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Sharon Maguire, Bridget stars Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant.
Having only cost about $25 million to produce, Bridget will be profitable for its financing partners.
Dimension's PG rated family appeal thriller Spy Kids fell one rung to fourth place in its sixth week with a less playful ESTIMATED $4.0 million (-31%) at 2,815 theaters (-290 theaters; $1,420 per theater). Its cume is approximately $98.5 million, heading for $105-110 million in domestic theaters.
"It should hit $100 million by next weekend," Miramax senior vice president, marketing David Kaminow said Sunday morning.
With a production cost of only $35 million, Spy Kidswill be very profitable for Dimension.
Written and directed by Robert Rodriguez, Spy Kids stars Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino.
Paramount Pictures' R rated suspense thriller Along Came A Spider dropped one slot to fifth place in its fifth week with a quieter ESTIMATED $3.8 million (-32%) at 2,573 theaters (theater count unchanged; $1,477 per theater). Its cume is approximately $60.0 million, heading for $65-70 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Lee Tamahori, Spider stars Morgan Freeman and Monica Potter.
"It's where we had it pretty much targeted," Paramount distribution president Wayne Lewellen said Sunday morning.
"I had it in the low $60 millions originally. I think it has a shot to get into the higher $60 millions (like) $67 or $68 million. If it continues to hang on at this level, it could get even closer to $70 million."
Spider is the prequel to the 1997 hit Kiss the Girls, which did $60.5 million in domestic theatrical release.
Paramount's PG rated sequel Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles skidded one rung to sixth place in its third week with a dull ESTIMATED $3.2 million (-31%) at 2,141 theaters (+17 theaters; $1,495 per theater). Its cume is approximately $18.0 million.
Directed by Simon Wincer, Crocodile stars Paul Hogan.
New Line Cinema's R rated drama Blow fell one step to seventh place in its fifth week with a quiet ESTIMATED $2.4 million (-28%) at 1,558 theaters (-155 theaters; $1,540 per theater). Its cume is approximately $44.2 million, heading for $50 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Ted Demme, Blow stars Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz.
Columbia Pictures PG-13 rated youth appeal comedy Joe Dirt, which was ninth last week, tied for eighth place in its fourth week with a slow ESTIMATED $1.5 million (-45%) at 1,783 theaters (-701 theaters; $841 per theater). Its cume is approximately $24.7 million.
Directed by Dennis Gordon, Joe stars David Spade.
Sony's Screen Gems division's R rated vampire tale The Forsaken, which was eighth last week, tied for eight place in its second week with a calm ESTIMATED $1.5 million (-50%) at 1,514 theaters (theater count unchanged; $991 per theater). Its cume is approximately $5.2 million.
Written and directed by J.S. Cardone, Forsaken stars Kerr Smith and Brendan Fehr.
There was a close race for tenth place based on studio ESTIMATES Sunday morning.
USA Films' R rated comedy drama One Night at McCool's, which was 11th last week, in its second week did a slow ESTIMATED $1.33 million (-47%) at 1,814 theaters (-4 theaters; $734 per theater). Its cume is approximately $4.7 million.
Directed by Harald Swart, McCool's stars Liv Tyler, Matt Dillon, John Goodman, Paul Reiser and Michael Douglas.
New Line Cinema's R rated comedy drama Town & Country, which was seventh last week, in its second week did a depressing ESTIMATED $1.3 million (-58%) at 2,222 theaters (theater count unchanged; $576 per theater). Its cume is approximately $5.2 million.
Directed by Peter Chelsom, Town stars Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton, Andie MacDowell, Garry Shandling, Jenna Elfman, Nastassja Kinski and Goldie Hawn.
This weekend also saw the arrival of Universal's Pavilion of Women, arriving quietly to an ESTIMATED $0.016 million at 7 theaters ($2,312 per theater).
Directed by Yim Ho, Women stars Willem Dafoe and Luo Yan.
Columbia held 766 national sneak previews Saturday night of its PG-13 rated pre-summer youth appeal adventure A Knight's Tale.
The studio said Sunday morning that the sneaks were 75% full and generated very encouraging exit polls. Those on hand scored the film 85% in the Top Two Boxes (excellent and very good) with an 80% Definite Recommend. Columbia said the audience was divided evenly between males and females and those under and over the age of 25.
Tale opens May 11 at 2,800-plus theaters.
Written and directed by Brian Helgeland, Tale stars Heath Ledger.
On the expansion front, this weekend saw Newmarket's R rated film noir thriller Memento widen in its eighth week, still holding well with an ESTIMATED $1.29 million (+1%) at 410 theaters (+86 theaters; $3,140 per theater). Its cume is approximately $8.4 million.
Directed by Christopher Nolan, it stars Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss and Joe Pantoliano.
Columbia went wider with its R rated thriller The Tailor of Panama, continuing to hold well in its sixth week with an ESTIMATED $1.0 million (+7%) at 436 theaters (+77 theaters; $2,249 per theater). Its cume is approximately $9.4 million.
Directed by John Boorman, Tailor stars Pierce Brosnan and Geoffrey Rush.
Lions Gate Films' R rated drama Amores Perros went wider in its sixth week with a quiet ESTIMATED $0.3 million (-41%) at 184 theaters (+11 theaters; $1,610 per theater). Its cume is approximately $3.4 million.
Directed and produced by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Perros stars Emilio Echevarria and Gael Garcia Bernal.
Warner Bros.' PG-13 rated comedy The Dish added theaters in its eighth week, continuing to hold well with an ESTIMATED $0.16 million (+5%) at 82 theaters (+22 theaters; $1,951 per theater). Its cume is approximately $1.3 million.
Directed by Rob Stich, The Dish stars Sam Neill and Kevin Harrington.
Miramax's R rated French thriller With a Friend Like Harry... continued to widen in its third week with a still encouraging ESTIMATED $0.16 million at 25 theaters (+13 theaters; $6,400 per theater). Its North American cume is approximately $0.6 million.
Harry is being released under Miramax's French film banner Miramax Zoe.
Directed by Dominik Moll, it stars Laurent Lucas, Sergi Lopez, Mathilde Seigner and Sophie Guillemin.
Artisan Entertainment's controversial unrated The Center of the World added theaters in its third week with an okay ESTIMATED $0.12 million at 32 theaters (+24 theaters; $3,885 per theater). Its cume is approximately $0.3 million.
Directed by Wayne Wang, it stars Molly Parker and Peter Sarsgaard.
Key films -- those grossing more than $500,000 -- took in approximately $107.46 million, up about 30.7% from the comparable weekend last year when key films grossed $82.22 million.
This weekend's key film gross was up about 71.67% from last weekend this year when key films did $62.60 million.
Last year, DreamWorks' opening week of Gladiator was first with $34.82 million at 2,938 theaters ($11,851 per theater); and Universal's third week of U-571 was second with $7.77 million at 2,701 theaters ($2,875 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $42.6 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $76.2 million.
It's amazing what a $171 million blockbuster can do for your career. A few years ago, Carrie-Anne Moss was toiling in straight-to-video movies and TV shows such as "Models Inc." This week, she's under contract for two upcoming sequels to "The Matrix."
Word comes today from Variety that Canadian-born Moss will reprise the character of Trinity -- a role in which she was so good, she even had us believing that Keanu Reeves was a messianic hero.
Meanwhile, Moss also co-stars with Tom Sizemore and Val Kilmer in the upcoming "Red Planet:; with Burt Reynolds in "The Crew"; and with Guy Pearce in "Memento," which debuts next month at Cannes.
As they say, a rolling Moss gathers no ... oh, forget it.
DECONSTRUCTING HAIRY: Fresh from his self-deprecating roles as a ponytail-wearing, New Age-swishy guy in "High Fidelity" and his turn as an astronaut in the fast-forgotten "Mission to Mars," Tim Robbins will star with Patricia Arquette in "Human Nature," a comedy about a woman covered with (yuck) body hair. The screenplay is by Charlie Kaufman, who wrote "Being John Malkovich."
I WANT MY MOMMY: The Australian invasion of Hollywood continues. Frances O’Connor will play Haley Joel Osment’s mother in the cast of Steven Spielberg’s next film, "A.I.," which will also star Jude Law, according to today’s Hollywood Reporter. No word on whether Osment -- who reportedly wanted Julianne Moore to play his mom -- is disappointed.