Will it take a Hollywood production to alert the masses about the current oil crisis facing the world which leaves no person unaffected? Does Syriana have the makings to be such a wide-reaching film? Well probably not but it does make a noble stab at it. Much of the way through Syriana has the feel of a documentary although it ultimately falls into the pattern of the popular interwoven narratives that are so popular these days. Among the interwoven: A beleaguered CIA agent (George Clooney); a wary and inquisitive Washington lawyer (Jeffrey Wright); an opportunistic energy analyst (Matt Damon) and his wife (Amanda Peet) who have just lost their young son; and a Persian Gulf prince (Alexander Siddig) who helps China in an oil deal thus antagonizing the U.S. The cast assembled here includes some of this era's finest actors. That no single actor steals the show is mostly a testament to on-screen time split justly. Clooney is the big story here and he should be: Rare is the sex symbol superstar of his enormity who dares to don a gut and a beard as he does here. With his trademark physical attributes obscured Clooney's acting is allowed to shine and his character's tension is palpable. As for Wright the quintessential chameleon of an actor his performance is as flawless and brilliant as always. Damon provides a reliable turn but it's onscreen wife Peet who adds the truly raw emotion that the film lacks overall. Rounding out the ensemble are two under-appreciated stalwarts: Chris Cooper nailing the role of a shrewd oilman and Christopher Plummer perfectly cast as the head of a law firm. Stephen Gaghan has displayed his writing chops in the past—most famously in 2000's Traffic for which he won an Oscar—and he certainly has a solid mentor behind him in (executive producer) Steven Soderbergh. After making his directorial debut with the 2002 flop thriller Abandon he finds far better luck with this star-studded politically charged film having traveled the world to gain insight into Robert Baer’s book which serves as source material. Unfortunately Gaghan’s stirring documentary/handheld-cam filmmaking is contradicted by the overall convoluted feel of the movie which comes to a too-neat conclusion that leaves several characters hanging. Although Gaghan has a bold and daring take on a topical problem there's a reason a topic like this with so many disparate lives and ideas is not often tackled on the big screen: film is just not a vast enough medium.
Cattrall wrote sex book to allay female fears
Kim Cattrall wrote a sex book to allay female fears felt compelled to write a book about intimacy to demystify sex for women--and urge them not to panic of their partners are struggling to arouse them. The former Sex and the City actress, 48, teamed up with her then-husband Mark Levinson on Satisfaction: The Art of the Female Orgasm to inform others she didn't develop a strong sex drive until she reached her forties. Cattrall says, "Up until then I thought I wasn't a very sexual woman, although everyone assumed I was getting it in spades. I wanted to write the book because something had changed for me. I thought, 'My goodness, if that's my story, there must be lots of other women.'"
Hatcher ignores men for the sake of her daughter
Desperate Wives beauty Teri Hatcher has not had sex for four years and is in no hurry to snare a lover. The 40-year-old has remained celibate since splitting from husband Jon Tenney and has since devoted herself to raising their seven-year-old daughter Emerson Rose. And Hatcher found it easy to relate to her character on the hit US TV show--a sex-starved, single mother. She says, "There just isn't any space for it (sex). I don't have a boyfriend because I don't go out on dates. But it's OK - I'm not sad because of it."
Garner anxieties over always looking good
Jennifer Garner finds being in the spotlight "intimidating" and hates it when her appearance is analyzed. The Elektra actress, who is dating Ben Affleck, is overwhelmed by the pressure to turn up to celebrity galas and premieres in "cutting edge" garments. Jennifer Garner says, "I still feel intimidated by things such as film premieres. There's so much fuss about wearing the perfect dress. That can be intimidating. "I don't have the greatest fashion sense myself. Fashion taste is so much a thing of the moment that it's almost impossible to always be on the cutting edge. "I try to keep things simple and classic. I got some pretty good press for my Oscar dress last year, so now I need to do it again for the Globes and the Oscars."
Muslims upset by 24
An American-Islamic group has blasted the makers of Kiefer Sutherland's hit TV drama 24 after learning the first episode of the new season portrays a Muslim family as terrorists. Officials at the Council on American-Islamic Relations were made aware of the controversial episode after upset Muslims got hold of a promotional preview of the show, which airs next week. The council's spokeswoman Rabiah Ahmed says she's particularly disturbed by one scene, in which an American-Muslim teenager plots to kill Americans. She adds, "It casts a cloud of suspicion over every American Muslim family out there." Bosses at TV network Fox, who air the show, have yet to counter the comments.
Jolie and Farrell attraction almost led to romance
Angelina Jolie and Colin Farrell were so close to becoming lovers they discussed the possibility of dating--but decided their personalities are too similar. The Alexanderco-stars were rumored to have started dating during the filming of the epic movie but Jolie claims they refrained from consummating their mutual attraction at the last moment. Jolie says, "Colin and I did discuss the idea of dating. He is a very interesting man and artist. "But we've also talked about how we're maybe too similar. So at this point we're just great friends."
Osbournes increase tsunami donation
Sharon Osbourne is so moved by the plight of the Asian tsunami disaster victim--she has pledged a donation of $190,000. The judge on British TV talent show X Factor initially donated $47,500, but decided to give more after watching endless "heartbreaking" news reports. Osbourne, who earned $13.3 million in 2004, says, "There are really no words to describe how devastated we are to see this unfold. This is just heartbreaking - donating money is the least we can do. We have been watching all the terrible news coverage and we wanted to give some more money. Our hearts go out to all those affected."
Branson: 'I dumped my waste on various nations'
Richard Branson had a unique way of showing his disapproval to nations who refused to allow his hot-air balloon in their air space--he dumped human waste on them. The Virgin tycoon has attempted to set a world record by flying around the world in a balloon numerous times without success, and on each occasion some countries turned down his route requests. Branson says, "We would find countries we most disliked as we were going around the world, and dump it over. So if anybody refused to allow us to fly over them, we ended up straying over by 'mistake' and they'd get our s**t. And the tycoon adds that he had to take extra care when visiting the toilet: There's a tiny tube and you have to be careful that you pull the right lever at the right time, or else your balls will get sucked straight out."
Grant gets passionate with Khan at New Year party
Hugh Grant stunned fellow partygoers by passionately kissing lover Jemima Khan in full view as they celebrated the New Year Caribbean-style. The Love Actually star and his socialite girlfriend left their $2,280-a-night villa at Barbados's Sandy Lane Hotel to party on the beach with other guests until 2am on Saturday morning. And the loved-up pair reportedly spent the romantic occasion kissing and embracing each other throughout the night. Meanwhile, Khan's sons from her nine-year marriage to cricket star Imran Khan celebrated the New Year with their father in Pakistan.
Driver's beachfront calm
Actress-turned-singer Minnie Driver loves living beside the ocean because it gives her the peace she needs to maintain her sanity. The Good Will Hunting star has a beachfront residence in Malibu, California, which she credits with helping her mentally recover after a challenging film shoot or promotional tour. She says, "I love surfing, there's something profoundly exhilarating and comforting about surfing, there's also a great peace and it's amazingly challenging. Between surfing, being with friends and making music, that's how I get healed. I don't think I would ever be able to live away from the sea again."
Star Wars star protests innocence over drunk driving
Star Wars R2-D2 actor Kenny Baker is challenging charges of drunk driving--claiming his asthma prevented him from agreeing to the breath test to determine the alcohol in his body. The 70-year-old vertically challenged actor, who played the robot in the 1977 movie, is relying on blood tests to clear him of reckless driving after he was stopped by police as he drove his Maroon Mercedes in Lancashire, England, on 17 December. Baker ended up being locked up for two hours until a doctor had carried out a blood test - after his asthma prevented him from blowing into the test bag. He says, "The police said they'd had reports from other motorists that I was veering all over the road. "I had gone for a drink after the show (Speed Dating), but only had one glass of wine. I am certain the tests will come back clear."
Beloved TV star dies
The Rocketeer star William Boyett has lost his life after a Christmas battle with pneumonia. He was 77. The beloved actor made his name on TV in America in detective shows like Dragnet and Adam-12. He got his start in show business after winning a high school Shakespeare competition, and he became a regular on radio in America. After serving in the Navy in World War II, he became a theatre star in New York and Los Angeles.
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