WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
Claire is an attractive CIA operative and Ray is an M16 agent who simultaneously leave their Governmental spy activities in the dust to try and profit from a battle between two rival multi-national corporations both trying to launch a new product that will transform the world and make billions. Their goal is to secure the top-secret formula and get a patent before they are outsmarted. While their respective egomaniacal CEOs engage in an unending battle of wills and one-upmanship Claire and Ray start out conning and playing one another in a clever game of industrial espionage that is even more complicated due to their own long-term romantic relationship.
WHO’S IN IT?
Reuniting Closer co-stars Julia Roberts (as Claire) and Clive Owen (as Ray) turns out to be an inspired idea. They turn out to be the perfect pair oozing movie-star charm and electricity in this elaborate con-game that might have been the kind of thing Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant might have made in the '60s (in fact they did in Charade). Roberts with that infamous hairstyle back the way we like it and Owen looking great in sunglasses prove they have what it takes to navigate us through this ultra-complex plot in which no one is sure who they can trust at any given moment. They play it all in high style and the wit just flows as the story skirts back and forth during the period of five years. The supporting cast is well-chosen with juicy roles for Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti (out of their John Adams duds) as the two CEOs going for each other’s throats. Giamatti who sometimes has a tendency to overdo it is especially slimy here and great fun to watch.
Big-star studio movies today rarely take risks and often talk down to the audience but in Duplicity writer/director Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton) has crafted a complicated con-comedy that requires complete attention at all times just to keep up with the dense plot’s twists and turns. It’s the cinematic equivalent of a New York Times crossword puzzle and Gilroy and his top-drawer production team deliver a glossy beautiful-looking film that’s easy on the eyes hitting locations from Dubai to Rome to New York City.
Like any good puzzle it sometimes can be frustrating putting it all together and Gilroy’s habit of taking us back in time and then inching forward gets a little confusing even with the on-screen chyron pointing out where we are at any given moment. Stick with it though and you will be well-rewarded.
A scene near the end where the formula must be found scanned and faxed in a matter of minutes is sweat-inducing edge-of-your-seat moviemaking and it provides the ultimate opportunity for Roberts and Owen to take the “con” to the next level. Another where Roberts uses a thong to try and trick Owen into admitting an affair he never had is also priceless and gets right to the heart of the game-playing.
GO OUT AND GET POPCORN WHEN ...
Never. Stock up during the coming attractions. If you miss a moment of this entertaining romp you might never figure it all out.
Fired CSI actor wants back in
Actor George Eads, who, along with actress Jorja Fox, was fired from the hit CBS series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation last week for failing to show up to work, called the dismissal a "big misunderstanding," The Associated Press reports. At the Television Critics Association meeting Wednesday in Los Angeles, Eads, who was there to promote his upcoming TNT movie Evel Knievel, told the group he wasn't staging a salary holdout when he missed work, as CBS and its chief Leslie Moonves have claimed--Eads says he simply overslept. "They think it's about money and it's not," Eads said. "I overslept…I woke up white as a sheet 3-1/2 hours after I was supposed to be on the set." AP reports Eads said he wants to speak with Moonves to resolve the issue but had yet to reach him. "Let me tell you, I've apologized nine ways to Sunday. It's a big misunderstanding, straight up," the actor said. "I want all this to work out. CSI is a part of who I am."
Ronstadt gets asked back to casino
After being summarily booted from the Aladdin hotel-casino in Las Vegas over the weekend for her complimentary comments about Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, singer Linda Ronstadt was welcomed back by one of the hotel's partners, AP reports. Planet Hollywood CEO Robert Earl, said he'd like to take Moore up on the filmmaker's offer to join Ronstadt on Aladdin's stage and sing "America the Beautiful" when Earl's management team takes control of the bankrupt casino, as early as September. "We respect artists' creativity and support their rights to express themselves…and we will continue with that policy once we take ownership," Earl said in a statement Wednesday. Current Aladdin president Bill Timmins, who is British, had Ronstadt escorted off the property after her concert because she called Moore a "great American patriot" during a prelude to her encore.
More on rockers who speak out…
Winding up her summer tour across Europe, singer Bonnie Raitt added her own two cents about President Bush, dedicating her song "Your Good Thing (Is About To End)," AP reports. At the Stockholm Jazz Festival Tuesday, Raitt declared, "We're gonna sing this for George Bush because he's out of here, people!" which drew thunderous applause.
It's the Tom and Jerry show
In an odd pairing, Tom Green and Jerry Springer are developing a "week in review"-style program tentatively dubbed Fairly Unbalanced for Lions Gate Television. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the show would feature the eccentric comedian-actor and raucous talk show host discussing headlines and newsmakers and generally offering their observations on political and pop culture-oriented topics. "We've conceived this as a weekly series that reviews current events and pop culture in a populist way from the off-center perspective of two larger-than-life, outrageous, irreverent and endearing personalities, who don't always agree," Lions Gate Television's president Kevin Beggs told the Reporter. "It will be informative yet entertaining. Just the thought of these two guys together makes you laugh."
Dick dating Assistant contestant
Comedian Andy Dick admits he was dating one of the female contestants from his hit MTV reality show The Assistant, AP reports. Dick let the cat out of the bag during a radio interview with Howard Stern Monday and was confirmed by Dick's publicist, Nicole Chabot, who told AP, "They've gone out on a couple of times post-show." According to Stern's official Web site, after The Assistant wrapped, Dick "gave everyone his cell phone number and some of the girls called him to hang out. Now he's seeing one of the girls from the show, but he's not ready to settle down with just one girl." The MTV show features an egocentric Dick bullying 12 young people hoping to make it in the entertainment industry. The winner receives a new wardrobe, car and an entry-level Hollywood gig.
SAG sells films in foreclosure
The Screen Actors Guild is selling the rights to seven small films in an effort to recover more than $400,000 in residuals owed to actors such as Kevin Bacon, Calista Flockhart and David Bowie, AP reports. Even though disputes are typically resolved using arbitration or other methods, SAG said these recent sales mark the first time the union has taken advantage of a clause in its contract with producers that allows SAG to foreclose on a film if royalties remain unpaid. Among the films are The Linguini Incident, a 1991 film featuring Rosanna Arquette and Bowie; Blood Money, a 1996 film with James Brolin; and Telling Lies in America, a 1997 film with Bacon and Flockhart.
DreamWorks Animation goes public
DreamWorks is moving forward with an initial public offering of its animation unit, which will offer fresh funds and a higher profile to the studio's most promising business, Variety reports. In a filing Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, DreamWorks--which was founded almost a decade ago by Jeffrey Katzenberg, David Geffen and Steven Spielberg--said it plans to sell up to $650 million worth of stock in DreamWorks Animation, which will become a publicly traded company seeking the exalted status and lofty trading multiples of rival Pixar. Katzenberg will be CEO of the new company, which he and Geffen will control though a special class of supervoting stock. Spielberg will not have an operating role in the new company but will concentrate instead on DreamWorks live-action division, which is remaining a private company.
Composer Jerry Goldsmith Dies
Academy-Award winning composer Jerry Goldsmith, best known for his scores for classic movies and television such as The Omen, Chinatown and the Star Trek series, died in Los Angeles after a long battle with cancer. He was 75.
Frampton sues over bikini shot
Rocker Peter Frampton is suing popular surfwear manufacturer Billabong for selling a bikini that features his face on the rear and the phrase "Baby, I love your waves," Reuters reports. The British-born singer, 54, is seeking unspecified damages and an injunction to stop sales of the "Frampton Bikini" saying the phrase is "an obvious reference" to his 1975 hit record "Baby, I Love Your Way."
Top Story: Stewart Resigns Chief Post
A week or so after being convicted of obstructing justice in her shady stock trading case, Martha Stewart has resigned as director and chief creative officer of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., Reuters reports. The New York-based media and merchandising company said Stewart will remain with the company in the new post of founding editorial director, and will report to Sharon Patrick, Stewart's successor as chief creative officer. The company has suffered from a considerable loss in business, with its stock down dramatically, advertisers fleeing from her flagship magazine and the cancellation of her TV show on many stations. Martha Stewart Living said in a statement that Stewart will continue to provide "creative inspiration" for new products and would author two pending books on keeping house and baking. It also said she would provide input on "the continuing evolution" of the company's brand name and on strategic issues.
Presley "Saw Things" During Marriage to Jackson
Why did she do it? The Associated Press reports Lisa Marie Presley told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.'s talk show Enough Rope recently that she "saw things she could do nothing about" during her brief marriage to Michael Jackson, who is facing child molestation charges, but refused to elaborate. Presley said she felt "powerless in a lot of ways, in terms of ... realizing that I was part of a machine, and seeing things going on that I couldn't do anything about. And don't ask me what sort of things, because I'm not going to answer. But just stuff." Presley, who is in Australia promoting her own singing career, was married to the pop star from 1994 to 1996. Asked how she felt about Jackson now, Presley replied: "It's really bizarre, I feel nothing."
Ross's Time Is Documented--in Her Diary, At Least
Although an Arizona court is ordering her to return to serve jail time, singer Diana Ross claims she has already fulfilled the state requirement to spend 24 consecutive hours in jail on her drunken driving sentence, AP reports. "I think we actually have proof from her," Jim Nesci, an attorney for Ross, told AP. "She documented it in her diary." Tucson City Court Magistrate T. Jay Cranshaw found that Ross failed to serve 24 consecutive hours as required by Arizona law, but instead spent 47 hours in the custody of Greenwich police over a three-day span-with her longest stay from 8 a.m. until 6 a.m. the next day, 22 hours. Cranshaw has ordered Ross to return to Tucson "to serve 48 consecutive hours in the Pima County Jail" and has scheduled an April 1 court hearing on her sentence, AP reports.
Britney Stinking Up the Place
Cosmetics giant Elizabeth Arden Inc. has signed a deal with Britney Spears to develop her own fragrance, Reuters reports. Under the licensing deal announced Friday, the 22-year-old pop princess will develop and market her own line of fragrance, skincare and color cosmetics. The company will launch the fragrance first, in high-end department stores this fall. "[Spears] is a talented, fashionable woman who appeals to a young and international consumer base." Paul West, president of Elizabeth Arden, said in a statement. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Apprentice Hopefuls Line Up
Now gearing up for its second season, hundreds of applicants showed up outside NBC's Burbank, Calif., studios Saturday in hopes to land a spot on the hit reality show The Apprentice, AP reports, a show in which billionaire Donald Trump chooses only one person at the end to join his staff. More than a dozen casting calls will take place in cities including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Miami and San Francisco.
Rooney Thinks He Knows Who's "Wacko"
60 Minutes staple Andy Rooney got a flood of mail in response to his on-air commentary Feb. 22, in which he called The Passion of the Christ director Mel Gibson a "wacko," AP reports. It's the biggest viewer response ever to a segment on the CBS newsmagazine, which has been on the air since 1968, a spokesman told AP. "I think the mail was a good indication of how bitterly divided our country is right now," Rooney said on his Sunday 60 Minutes commentary. "I hope I'm not contributing to that--even though I'm right and everyone else is wrong."
Role Call: Broderick, Parker Chew on Candy; Swayze Wants To Dance; Hawke, Fishburne Go on the Assault
Real-life marrieds Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker are joining forces for the first time on Strangers With Candy, a big-screen treatment of the hit Comedy Central show, which starred Amy Sedaris. The show, which aired for three seasons on Comedy Central, starred Sedaris as a frumpy and unattractive outcast who returns to high school after 30 years of hard living on the streets and in prison. According to the Hollywood Reporter, it was unclear which roles Broderick and Parker would play…Patrick Swayze and his wife, Lisa Niemi, are finally bringing their pet project One Last Dance to the big screen. The trade paper reports the couple is set to star and produce the film based on the award-winning play they created in the mid-1980s. It finds the two as former stars of a New York dance company who are brought back together in hopes of saving the company after the death of its artistic director…Ethan Hawke and Laurence Fishburne are set to star in Assault on Precinct 13, a remake of the 1976 John Carpenter film. According to the Reporter, the film is set on New Year's Eve, in which a mobster (Fishburne) is temporarily incarcerated at a soon-to-be-closed down police station. As a rogue gang tries to free him, a cop (Hawke) must command a crew of policemen and prisoners to defend the station. The film will also star Gabriel Byrne and