British Film Institute (BFI) bosses are planning a series of events for the Doctor Who At 50 tribute, to be held at the BFI Southbank in London throughout 2013.
Actors who have played the title role, including Smith and William Hartnell, will chat with devotees at monthly question-and-answer sessions, rare footage will be screened, and a preview of Doctor Who writer Mark Gatiss' new drama An Adventure In Space And Time will also be unveiled in November (13).
Doctor Who executive producer Caroline Skinner says, "To be doing this enormous and exciting project with the BFI is just a dream come true. We're delighted that in this 50th year for the show we have such brilliant support from the BFI for our celebration of Doctor Who's cultural heritage. Some of the stories we're going to show are thrilling, surprising, funny and just plain classic TV."
Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.
In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.
Flyboys is about the Lafayette Escadrille a real-life WWI French fighter squadron and follows the adventures of young American men who volunteer to fly and fight for the French before the U.S.'s involvement in the war. The characters are either based directly on or are an amalgamation of the real men who flew in this most treacherous combat. There’s Blaine Rawlings (James Franco) a Texan who has just lost his ranch; William Jensen (Philip Winchester) a well-educated and earnest fellow; Briggs Lowry (Tyler Labine) a privileged man who joins under the pressure of his wealthy and powerful father; Eddie Beagle (David Ellison) who is running from a criminal past; and Eugene Skinner (Abdul Salis) an African-American who escapes his country’s injustice and comes to France. And what would a war film be without a love interest? Blaine falls for Lucienne (Jennifer Decker) a local French girl but that is really just a bit of a detour from the main story about these daring young men in their flying machines. With a life expectancy of about six weeks they considered themselves knights of the air with their own code of chivalry and honor. Unfortunately for this cast of fine actors there isn’t a whole of time to show off their acting abilities. Franco (Spider-Man) is probably the biggest name and stands out as Rawlings a guy who has nothing left to lose. The actor took his job very seriously getting his pilot’s license—and should finally get a break from all the flops he has been in of late (Tristan and Isolde Annapolis). Jean Reno does a fine job in the thankless part as the squadron commander Captain Thenault. And Decker is captivating as Lucienne debuting in her first U.S. film; it probably won’t be her last. Salis (Love Actually) Labine (Antitrust) Winchester (The Patriot) and first-timer Ellison (a licensed aerobatic pilot in real life) are all good but Martin Henderson (Torque) as Reed Cassidy--a veteran pilot and a bitter loner with a big chip of his shoulder--is the most interesting of the supporting players. These fighter pilots known for being methodical and hyper-courageous in the air were also a bit eccentric and tortured when on the ground. With Flyboys director Tony Bill (My Bodyguard) found his dream project. Bill has always been known as an actor’s director and definitely keeps his Flyboys in check. But where the film really soars pun intended is in the absolutely remarkable aerial sequences. The director is an expert pilot himself and his love of flying is clearly evident and the real guiding hand. He does an excellent job in capturing what it must have been like to be a WWI fighter pilot putting audiences right in the hot seat almost quite literally at times. There haven’t been many movies made about this particular subject obviously due to lack of technology to make it seem real. And it’s that commitment to realism which ultimately what keeps Flyboys flying higher than it should. If the story had been more compact and compelling this might have been a classic war movie. Instead Flyboys is a just good film based on true war stories with better pictures.
Top Story: Lil' Kim Indicted by Grand Jury
Lil' Kim was indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice by a grand jury in a New York federal courtroom Wednesday for lying to a grand jury investigating a 2001 shootout involving members of her entourage, Reuters reports. According to court documents, the 28-year-old rapper, whose real name is Kimberly Jones, is charged with one count of conspiracy, three counts of perjury, three counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction. The charges stem from a Feb. 25, 2001, shootout outside Manhattan radio station Hot 97, where Jones and associates from the rap group Junior M.A.F.I.A. appeared as on-air guests. Upon leaving the studio, Jones and her entourage were involved in a shootout with rap rival Foxy Brown, who had previously labeled Lil' Kim's album Notorious K.I.M. as "weak" and "lame." The incident left one man shot in the back. The initial police report said Jones was not present when shots were fired, but a video showed her standing on the street during the shootout and then jumping into a limo with people suspected in the incident. Indictments, which occur when a grand jury decides there is sufficient evidence for a case to go to trial, do not determine guilt. Jones was released on a $500,000 personal recognizance bond and is expected to appear in court to face the charges at an arraignment hearing scheduled for April 14.
New Jackson Accuser's Memories Repressed
Sources close to the Michael Jackson case told Reuters Wednesday that the latest claim of sexual molestation was brought by an 18-year-old who was said to have recovered repressed decade-old memories of an assault that took place when he was 3 to 5 years old. According to Reuters, a Beverly Hills psychiatrist counseled the new accuser and helped him remember the alleged assault and filed a child abuse complaint against Jackson last year with Santa Barbara County Protective Services. The Los Angeles Police Department, however, has refused to reveal details about the accuser or his allegations. Jackson's lawyers have called the allegations baseless.
Kill Bill Vol. 1 Sells 2 Million DVDs
Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Vol. 1, whose sequel, Kill Bill Vol. 2, hits theaters Friday, sold more than 2 million DVDs during its first day in release, Miramax chief operating officer Rick Sands told Reuters Tuesday. "Kill Bill is an extraordinary achievement and reaffirms that Quentin's films are true movie events," Sands said. According to Nielsen VideoScan's First Alert weekly sales chart, Warner's The Matrix Revolutions was the top-selling DVD for the week ending April 11.
Beckham's Assistant Discusses His Private Parts
David Beckham's former personal assistant, who claims she had sex with the 28-year-old soccer star in Madrid two years ago, told the UK's Sky One television channel in the interview Thursday she could prove her allegations are true. "There's something I know about him, an intimate part of his body that I think only women who have been in bed with him would know," she said. When asked if Beckham was circumcised, Loos answered: "I'm not going into that. I'm not talking about that. If I do ever need to talk about that, it'll be in a court, not on TV." Bookmakers are now offering odds on what the intimate detail might be, including a tattooed behind and a pimply back, Reuters reports.
Matt Groening To Guest on The Simpsons
The Simpsons creator Matt Groening will make his first speaking role on the animated series, Fox said Wednesday. In "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," Edna Krabappel calls off her wedding to Principal Skinner after he gets a case of cold feet, and falls for the Comic Book Guy, who takes her to a sci-fi convention. While at the convention, they run into Groening, who is guest-starring as himself and signing autographs for his fans. The only other time Groening has appeared on the show is in a framed photo on the wall of Comic Book Guy's store. The episode airs on Fox this Sunday, the AP reports.
Kathie Lee Gifford Makes Brief Return to Morning TV
Kathie Lee Gifford returned briefly to morning talk television this week, sitting in for her onetime co-host Regis Philbin on ABC's Regis and Kelly show Thursday and co-hosting Fox News Channel's Fox & Friends Wednesday with Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade. Gifford, who left the morning talk show she co-hosted with Philbin for 15 years in July 2000, said she and Philbin have remained friends. She also talked about the musical career of William Hung, whose version of Ricky Martin's "She Bangs" got him kicked out of the American Idol competition. "He's going to stop being lovable very, very soon ... we've seen it, it's a one-trick pony," she said. "And if he gets his teeth fixed, his career is over."
Tom Cruise Raises $1.2M for WTC Workers
The New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project, an organization co-founded by Tom Cruise, has raised $1.2 million to expand a treatment program for rescue workers exposed to potentially hazardous materials after the collapse of the World Trade Center. The organization has treated more than 200 workers who say they were suffering effects from breathing the smoke-filled air after the Sept. 11, 2001, the AP reports. The project's program, developed by Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, consists of a medically monitored regimen of exercise, sauna sweat-out, vitamins and minerals to help rescue workers cleanse their bodies of toxic residues.
Dick Clark Becomes Diabetes Spokesman
Dick Clark, the former host of American Bandstand and producer of the American Music Awards, announced Tuesday that he has had type 2 diabetes, formerly called adult-onset diabetes, since 1994, but kept it a secret from everyone except close friends and family, the AP reports. According to the Ogilvy public relations firm, which is promoting his new role as a spokesman for the American Association of Diabetes Educators and the pharmaceutical maker Merck & Co, Clark, 74, is launching Diabetes: Know the Heart Part--a national public education campaign to alert Americans to the link between diabetes and heart attack and st
Apparently, pop princess Britney Spears is not royal material, after all.
Spears recently admitted on London's Frank Skinner Show that she was stood up by Prince William.
Regular email-pals, diva Spears and Prince William had never met in person but had apparently set a date to meet while the songbird was in London promoting her new single "Overprotected" and her upcoming flick Crossroads, the BBC reports.
Spears told host Frank Skinner on his show, "We exchanged e-mails for a little bit, and he was supposed to come and see me somewhere, but it didn't work out."
Jokingly, Skinner quipped she ought to seek out royal brother Prince Harry--in the spotlight recently for his partying tendencies--because "he's much more fun."
The diva's fidelity to long-time boyfriend and 'N Sync's Justin Timberlake may be in question. While there's neither news of a marriage date nor a potential break-up between the pop stars, Sky News has Britney on record as saying Prince Wills is "gorgeous" and that she would like to marry him.
Britney closed the show by singing a duet with Skinner, Sonny and Cher's ballad "I Got You, Babe."