With stories like this who even needs the “Inspired by true events” shield? Primeval tells of the world’s most prolific killer Gustave. You see Gustave is a crocodile and he remains at large to this day. His thirst for human blood goes unpublicized until he chows down on a white woman at which point an American newsman Tim Manfrey (Dominic Purcell) his cameraman Steven (Orlando Jones) and TV personality Aviva (Brooke Langton) head down to Burundi Africa where they hope to document the capture of Gustave. They’re joined by a wildlife preservationist of sorts (Gideon Emery)—a rare breed in a post-Steve Irwin world—who doesn’t want to harm Gustave. The deep jungles of Africa become a veritable obstacle course when the locals embroiled in a long-standing civil war and unwilling to have some damn Yankees televising their homeland stand in the crew’s way not to mention Gustave proving an evasive 20-foot-long um little bugger! The names might not ring a bell but you’ve seen these three stooges before--all on TV in fact. Purcell is currently enjoying about half the 15 minutes of fame of Wentworth Miller on Fox’s slipping Prison Break. Purcell plays Tim with steel and virility as he hides his Aussie accent for the most part but he’s still got a ways to go to reach Clive Owen’s caliber of acting--and more importantly Owen’s caliber of roles. Langton of The Net (the TV show adapted from the Sandra Bullock movie of the same name) and Melrose Place fame shows off the beauty that will afford endless opportunities to prove herself as a “real” actress—which is ironically similar to her character’s plight—but will never get there with roles in movies like Primeval. And Jones still best known for and plagued by his 7-Up commercials is in true negligible-sidekick mode here--worthy of a snicker approximately once out of every dozen times he tries overzealously to get one. Jaws may come to mind based on the water creature-stalking-man plot but well it’s tough to even mention those two in the same sentence. Director Michael Katleman a TV fixture himself at least doesn’t even aim high enough to reach that level. No from the get-go he’s shooting more for an Anacondas feel—and yes that’s the horrific sequel to the so-terrible-it’s-fun J.Lo “original.” Katleman almost reaches Anacondas-ian highs but not quite. Among other notable problems the director cannot for one moment strike the right balance between the aforementioned level of guilty pleasure-dom and genuine horror. Instead he catches us off guard with what are supposed to be the thrills—and also with the comedy. Finally once Gustave is revealed which should essentially be the moviegoers’ reward the croc looks more a prop sitting in a theme-park lot. And the script from John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris (Terminator 3 co-writers)—well let’s just hope with the story being uber-derivative and cheesy enough as it is Orlando Jones ad-libbed all of his unlaughable comedy!
September 09, 2003 1:53pm EST
Top Story: Aaliyah Negligence Suit Settled
The parents of R&B singer Aaliyah reached an undisclosed settlement on Thursday in a negligence lawsuit over her death in a 2001 plane crash, the AP reports. Attorneys for Aaliyah's parents, Diane and Michael Haughton, filed a notice in federal court to say the case has been settled with an agreement to keep details confidential. The parents sued plane operator Blackhawk International Airways Corp., which did not have permission from the Bahamas for commercial flights. According to investigators, the chartered Cessna 402B carrying Aaliyah and eight others was overloaded by 700 pounds when it crashed after takeoff on a flight from Marsh Harbour in the Bahamas to the Miami suburb of Opalocka.
Jury OK With Manson Crotch-Rubbing
A U.S. District Court jury in St. Paul, Minnesota, dismissed a civil suit Monday brought by a security guard against Marilyn Manson after the shock rocker rubbed his crotch against the guard's head during a concert at the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis in October 2000. According to Reuters, the jury agreed with Manson's position that the contact between him and the guard was part of his stage show and was neither offensive nor harmful. "The path to truth is obscured by frivolous lawsuits, but it's lit by the objectivity of a jury that sees the difference between entertainment and assault," Manson said in a statement. "I feel completely vindicated and I'd like to thank the jury and judge for their thoughtful verdict."
Mark Wahlberg Becomes Proud Papa
Mark Wahlberg, 32, and his longtime companion, model Rhea Durham, became the parents of a baby girl on last Tuesday. The AP reports Ella Rae Wahlberg was born Sept. 2 at 4 a.m. at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces. Coincidentally, Ella was born the same day that Wahlberg's older sister, Deborah E. Donnelly-Wahlberg, died. The cause of death was unspecified but reports say Donnelly-Wahlberg went to the hospital for what she thought was a kidney stone and later died of a possible of a heart attack.
Matt LeBlanc and Wife Expecting
In more baby news, Friends star Matt LeBlanc and his wife, Melissa, who were married in May, are expecting. A publicist for the 36-year-old actor told the AP Monday the baby is expected in mid-March. It will be LeBlanc's first child; Melissa has two children from a previous marriage.
Hey Arnold, David Blaine Got Egged Too!
Magician David Blaine, who is spending 44 days without food in a glass box suspended from a crane over the Thames River in London, is getting anything but a warm reception. London's Evening Standard Monday reported yesterday that some Londoners are bored with the illusionist's latest challenge and are trying to devise ways of breaking his spirit. "We were watching him at home on TV and it was really dull so we thought we would come down and liven things up. I wanted to wake him up," one man told the paper. Since Blaine began his stunt Friday, he has been pelted with eggs, taunted with the smell of fish and chips and woken up by a man banging a drum.
Paramount Gets a Slam-O from Wham-O
Toy company Wham-O Inc. filed a federal suit Monday against Paramount Pictures claiming its trademarked yellow waterslide was used in the movie Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star without permission and depicted misuse of its product, Reuters reports. In a scene that appears in the film's trailer, star David Spade's character launches himself belly first across a dry Slip 'N Slide then rolls over with red welts on his chest, crying "Oooooh, it stings!" In another scene, Spade douses the slide with vegetable oil and slides headfirst into a fence. Wham-O also wants the movie to carry a "don't-try-this-at-home" disclaimer.
Nazi-era German Filmmaker Dead at 101
Adolf Hitler's filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl--the last of Germany's famous Nazi-era figures--died Monday night at her home near Starnberger Lake south of Munich, Germany, the AP reports. She was 101. Riefenstahl made powerful propaganda films for Hitler and spent the rest of her active life protesting she should not be condemned for work that was inspired by art and not politics. She won awards at the Venice and Paris film festivals in the 1930s for her documentary Triumph of the Will, which highlighted the eerie opulence of the Nazi Party's 1934 Nuremberg Rally. She was then commissioned to make the groundbreaking Olympia, the official film of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which recorded an event that Hitler hijacked to showcase National Socialism.
Role Call: Roman Polanski Takes on Oliver Twist
Roman Polanski and scribe Ronald Harwood, who won Oscars this year for The Pianist, will reteam for a big-screen adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic Oliver Twist, Variety reports. Shooting is expected to begin in Europe next summer with a British cast. Oliver Twist has been adapted for the screen more than a dozen times, dating back to 1912, when two Oliver Twist movies were released. Oliver!, the last live-action adaptation directed by Carol Reed, won four Oscars in 1969, including director and score.