In case a poster of all-American boy Leonardo DiCaprio, charged with a furious jingoism as the FBI's Babe Ruth J. Edgar Hoover isn't quite patriotic enough for you, there's also one of him doing so with the nation's flag as the background.
Directed by Clint Eastwood (this just gets Americaner and Americaner), J. Edgar will inspect the private, internal life of one of our country's history's most influential, powerful, and infamous individuals.
J. Edgar Hoover is quite the controversial figure. To some, he is seen as a criminal: a tyrant who represented Big Brother, and the man who was responsible for Martin Luther King's death. To others, he was just a guy who liked wearing dresses. ...I don't know if there were any other perspectives on J. Edgar Hoover. I wasn't around, so all I know is what they'd say about him in All in the Family. And those are pretty much the bases they covered there.
Also starring are Naomi Watts, Judi Dench, Armie Hammer, Stephen Root and Josh Lucas. J. Edgar will reach theaters November 9.
Two prominent American directors, Clint Eastwood and Gus Van Sant, will compete for the top prize at this year's prestigious Cannes Film Festival, it was announced Wednesday.
Eastwood's suspense thriller Mystic River, which stars Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon and Tim Robbins, is one of the top contenders for the coveted Palme d'Or, given to the best feature film winner. The film, scheduled for release stateside Oct. 3, 2003, revolves around three childhood friends who are reunited 25 years later when they become linked to a murder investigation.
Good Will Hunting director Van Sant will present Elephant, a film focusing on high school violence.
Also in competition is British director Peter Greenaway's period drama, The Tulse Luper Suitcase, starring J.J. Field and Kathy Bates. The epic tale follows 92 characters, 92 events, and 92 suitcases from the year 1928 to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. This is the director's third Palme d'Or nomination.
Danish director Lars von Trier, who won the Palme d'Or two years ago for the musical Dancer in the Dark, will show his new thriller Dogville. The film stars Nicole Kidman as a woman on the run who takes refuge in a small town inhabited by an anguished apple grower, his wife and their seven children.
French director Patrice Chereau, actress Meg Ryan and director Steven Soderbergh are in this year's jury.
Celebs expected at this year's festival include Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Lauren Bacall, Laurence Fishburne, Keanu Reeves, Monica Bellucci, Toni Collette and James Caan.
The 56th Cannes Film Festival opens May 14 in Paris with Penelope Cruz's new comedy Fanfan la Tulipe, a remake of the 1952 French film starring Gina Lollobrigida.
The French festival also showcases international films out of competition. Warner Bros.' highly anticipated sci-fi sequel The Matrix: Reloaded premieres worldwide May 15 on the festival's second day.
The festival closes on May 25.
Here is the complete list of films in competition:
Les Invasions Barbares, Denys Arcand, Canada
Il Cuore Altrove, Pupi Avati, Italy
Carandiru, Hector Babenco, Brazil
Uzak, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey
Mystic River, Clint Eastwood, United States
The Brown Bunny, Vincent Gallo, United States
The Moab Story/The Tulse Luper Suitcases--Part I, Peter Greenaway, Britain
Shara, Naomi Kawase, Japan
Akarui Mirai, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Japan
A Cinq Heures de l'Apres-Midi, Samira Makhmalbaf, Iran
Ce Jour-La, Raoul Ruiz, Switzerland
Father and Son, Alexandre Sokorov, Russia
Dogville, Lars von Trier, Denmark
Elephant, Gus Van Sant, United States
Purple Butterfly, Lu Ye, China
Les Cotelettes, Bertrand Blier, France
La Petite Lili, Claude Miller, France
Swimming Pool, Francois Ozon, France
Les Egares, Andre Techine, France
Tiresia, Bertand Bonello, France
Out of competition:
Le Temps Du Loup, Michael Haneke, France
Vai E Vem, Joao Cesar Monteiro, Portugal
Mansion by the Lake, Lester James Peries, Sri Lanka
The Matrix: Reloaded, Andy and Larry Wachowski, United States
Les Triplettes de Belleville, Sylvain Chomet, France
Qui A Tué Bambi?, Gilles Marchand, France
If you have ever been embarrassed by your big loud family then you will certainly relate to Toula (played by Nia Vardalos) the narrator and main character in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. After all her suburban home is modeled after the Parthenon and her father (played by Michael Constantine) believes a squirt of Windex can cure anything--including bursitis--and that every word in the English language derives from a Greek root. At 30 Toula is still living at home and kowtowing to her strict father--who believes that every Greek woman's ambition should be to marry a Greek man have Greek children and feed everyone until she dies. Suffice it to say he is less than happy when Toula becomes engaged to Ian (played by John Corbett)--a non-Greek. What ensues is a hilarious tale of what happens when two families--one loud Greek Orthodox the other conservative Episcopalian--must reconcile their differences for the sake of their children's happiness. Vardalos' narration of the events that are occurring--and how she feels about them--helps draw the viewer into Toula's world.
Vardalos is great as Toula and presents her character's traits and peculiarities fittingly well like her low self-esteem and the way she slouches. More importantly Vardalos made Toula's character believable. When Toula begins taking classes at a local college her confidence improves she puts on a little makeup combs her hair and voila! She's transformed into a beautiful person oozing happiness. It's quite charming. Corbett is well cast as the sweet and accepting fiancé but he comes across as a little bland. That really dated haircut certainly doesn't win him any points either. Constantine as Toula's strict father is chauvinistic and thick-headed but he plays his cards just right so you can never really hate the character straight out even though he treats his wife and kids like a Neanderthal would. As Aunt Voula Andrea Martin is by far the most hilarious of the bunch and she delivers each line with zany conviction. For all you 'N Sync fans Joey Fatone has a small role as Toula's cousin and has maybe three lines in the film.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding is based on comedy writer Vardalos' one-woman show. Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson saw the show and apparently liked it so much they decided to produce it through their Playtone studio. Directed by Joel Zwick the film is not the first to deal with big weddings and what happens when too many family members get involved. Ang Lee did it better with the 1993 romantic comedy The Wedding Banquet about a gay Taiwanese-American man who marries a young Chinese woman to satisfy his parents as did Mira Nair with last year's Monsoon Wedding about an arranged Indian marriage. But Zwick who has directed a slew of TV shows from Happy Days to The Wayans Brothers keeps things fresh and funny despite the tired storyline. Set in Chicago but filmed in Toronto the film feels authentic especially the scenes in the family's diner Dancing Zorbas their house and their neighborhood. But the movie could have done without the cartoonish old-world granny with anti-Turkish sentiment.
By Noah Davis & Kit Bowen
American Outlaws is yet another retelling of the legendary Jesse James and his wild ways. Our own Noah Davis and Kit Bowen discuss whether or not there's a need for another Western, what their favorite Westerns are and just how hot is new hunk of the moment, Colin Farrell.
Hollywood.com: Did Hollywood really need to make another movie about Jesse James? If so, where does this rank in the pantheon of movies about this Western legend?
Noah Davis: I think not. Since 1930 there have been more than 25 movies made about Jesse James, and with each one the story becomes more and more convoluted. (There was even a movie made called Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter!) Worse, this movie, American Outlaws insults our intelligence with a really lame script and clichéd plot line. The best movie about Jesse James is 1939's Jesse James, starring Tyrone Power as Jesse. The film, produced by the legendary Darryl F. Zanuck, set out to create an authentic chronicle of the outlaw and even hired Jo Francis James, Jesse's granddaughter, to help research and assemble material for the script. Zanuck's film tried neither to glorify nor condemn Jesse.
Kit Bowen: Wow, Noah, thanks for the history lesson, whether we wanted it or not. Westerns are a tough sell in today's fast-paced movie market. And Outlaws does absolutely nothing to improve upon the genre. I have to agree with Noah that the story was just one big cliché. It's too bad, really, 'cause the actors in it were pretty cute, especially Colin Farrell.
Noah Davis: I disagree with my historically challenged colleague. Westerns aren't a tough sell in today's "fast-paced market." Westerns can have great story lines, show great chase scenes and find new uses for dynamite that would rival the explosions in any other summer blockbuster. The sub-par American Outlaws, no matter how cute Colin Farrell may be, did make the production of the next Western that much harder.
Hollywood.com: What would you consider the last great American Western?
Kit Bowen: I don't particularly like the genre, but I did like the 1993 Tombstone with Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer about Wyatt Earp and the bunch. However, the Oscar-winning Unforgiven is probably considered the best modern day Western. As far as older films go, I also liked Red River, The Wild Bunch and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Noah Davis: They should have buried Kit's favorite under it's own tombstone, a miserable piece of tripe that is. Kit is correct that Unforgiven is the best modern Western. And I would have to stay with Clint Eastwood for the best Western of all time, in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. (Apologies to John Wayne, who made many fine Westerns.)
Kit Bowen: Did you having trouble sleeping last night, Noah?
Hollywood.com: Going back to the one positive thing mentioned about American Outlaws--the good-looking guys--Colin Farrell was lauded by critics for his work in Tigerland. Will this movie have an impact on his career one way or the other?
Noah Davis: With three of Farrell's movies set to come out in 2002, including Steven Spielberg's Minority Report with Tom Cruise, Farrell's career is speeding along faster than a runaway stagecoach. Farrell wasn't the problem in American Outlaws, nor were the other actors, as the acting was generally OK. Farrell's smoldering good looks will earn him more and more female fans the more and more he is on the big screen, a fact that I am sure Kit's about to attest to.
Kit Bowen: Yes, indeed I am. Sometimes it's worth watching a movie only for the pretty people. Watching Farrell almost made Outlaws palatable. Almost. Farrell certainly could have a great career for himself if he chooses his projects well.
Noah Davis: Isn't there something else you wanted to say about Mr. Farrell?
Kit Bowen: Oh, right. Once again, he's just too damn cute.