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.
Networks tread lightly on election results
TV networks were determined not to repeat the same mistake they did in the 2000 election by calling out an early winner and instead dubbed the results "too close to call"--with the exception of Fox News Channel and NBC. Fox declared President Bush had won Ohio at 12:41 a.m. EST followed by Alaska at 1 a.m., announcing at least a tie for the presidency with 269 electoral votes. NBC followed suit and called Ohio and Alaska for Bush at 1 a.m. "This race is all but over," NBC anchor Tom Brokaw said. But by 5 a.m., ABC, CBS, CNN and The Associated Press, four other news organizations that received the same vote count and exit poll information as NBC and Fox, had kept Ohio in the "too close to call" category. But Brokaw said the network would not act as the arbiter. "There will be no declaration from us tonight as long as the Kerry campaign is contesting in Ohio," he said. ABC wouldn't call Ohio either--even though analyst George Stephanopoulos said it was almost mathematically impossible for Kerry to win. According to ABC's Terry Moran, the fact that none of the networks were declaring Bush the winner appeared to have irritated the White House. "Essentially…the president and his team is waiting for him to be declared the winner by us," he said. CNN's Jeff Greenfield, meanwhile, told the AP the 2000 election night ignominy--when all of the networks twice prematurely declared a winner in Florida and awarded the presidency to George W. Bush weeks before it was settled--had a lot to do with the network's indeterminate state. "If we hadn't gone through what we had gone through in 2000, we probably would have called Ohio for Bush," Greenfield said.
Jackie Chan not thinking of retirement just yet
Jackie Chan may have turned 50 this year, but the martial arts star has no plans to retire anytime soon. "I don't know how far I can go, but I'll just keep going. I feel I still can do it," Chan told a news conference in Singapore, where he is promoting the share market listing of Hong Kong-based film company Media Asia Entertainment Group Ltd. Chan, best known for performing most of his own stunts, came close to death in 1985 after falling from a tree and splitting his skull open. But he said would like to make more action movies both in Hollywood and Asia." Movies are my business and movies are my job," he said. "But if I am not in front of the screen then I would become a director or producer."
Delaney washes up in The O.C.
Fox's The O.C. and NBC's The West Wing are beefing up their lineups. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Emmy-winner Kim Delaney landed a key role on The O.C. as an ex-flame who reappears in character Sandy Cohen's (Peter Gallagher) life. She is slated to appear in at least five episodes of the show. Teri Polo, meanwhile, will play the potential first lady and wife of Jimmy Smits' character Matthew Santos, a three-term Democratic congressman from Texas with strong presidential aspirations in the political drama The West Wing. Polo is set to do four episodes this season and has an option for 12 more next season, provided the show returns for a seventh year.
CBS, NBC pull shows
CBS' Dr. Vegas and NBC's Father of the Pride have become the first casualties of the new television season, Reuter reports. CBS said it would put the new Rob Lowe drama, which ranked 53rd among prime-time network programs, on an indefinite hiatus, while NBC has yanked Pride, an expensive foray into computer-animated about a family of talking lions, from its schedule completely. The move comes amid admissions by network executives that NBC has struggled this season, with ratings for its target audience of viewers aged 18 to 49 on the decline following years of dominance in that demographic, Reuters reports.
Ailing LL Cool J cancels tour
LL Cool J, who is touring in support of his latest album The DEFinition, has canceled the remaining 12 dates on his tour due to an abdominal ailment, the AP reports. "I am extremely disappointed to have to cancel the rest of this fun and successful tour," the 36-year-old rapper-actor said in a statement. Shows have been canceled in cities including Atlanta and Miami. "I apologize for disappointing my fans who have already bought tickets." A release from his publicist said he is under a doctor's care and requires medication and rest. Ticket holders can seek refunds at the point of purchase.
Patty Duke to have bypass surgery
Actress Patty Duke, who won a best-supporting Oscar in 1963 for her portrayal of Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker, will undergo single heart bypass surgery Wednesday at an Idaho hospital, the AP reports. Hospital spokeswoman Lisa Johnson said Tuesday the actress is expected to make a successful recovery. Duke, 57, was admitted last spring to the center for insertion of a stent in one of her arteries to improve blood flow. Duke, who was married to John Astin from 1973 to 1985, is the mother of Lord of the Rings star Sean Astin. For years, it was believed John Astin was his father but genetic testing proved rock promoter Michael Tell, whom Duke was to married for less than a month, was actually Sean's father.
Kit Bowen contributed to this report.
Glenn Quinn, the 32-year-old actor who is best known for his recurring role on the hit TV sitcom Roseanne, was found dead in his apartment Dec. 3 in Los Angeles. WashingtonPost.com reports authorities are saying Quinn's death could possibly be attributed to a drug overdose but medical evidence is still pending. Quinn joined the cast of Roseanne in its third season as older daughter Becky Connor's boyfriend/husband Mark. He also co-starred on the TV drama Angel, a spin-off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Nicole Kidman may be heading back to the London stage. After baring it all, literally, four years ago in David Hare's The Blue Room, Kidman is now in negotiations to star in Henrik Ibsen's The Lady From the Sea for director Trevor Nunn.
Veteran vintner Francis Ford Coppola will drink no wine before its time. The Godfather director will plunk down a cool $31.5 million for the Cohn Vineyard in Napa Valley, Calif., winning the bid over competitor Robert Mondavi, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The Cohn Vineyard is renowned for its excellent conditions that create some of the world's best cabernet.
Spanish director Pedro Almodovar and his newest film Talk to Her were the big winners at the European Film Academy Awards Saturday. The film, about a man's relationship with a comatose woman, won best film with Almodovar taking the award for best director. The 15th annual awards ceremony was held in Rome, Italy.
The Talented Mr. Ripley co-stars Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow are set to reteam for The World of Tomorrow, a big-budget sci-fi thriller for first-time writer/director Kerry Conran. Paltrow will play a reporter and Law a pilot in the film, which is set at the turn of the 20th century and is in the same vein as Raiders of the Lost Ark, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Alec Baldwin, who starred in 1999's Outside Providence, has decided he'd rather be inside the Rhode Island city than outside of it. He is in negotiations to co-star with Matthew Broderick in Providence, a film about a young filmmaker (Broderick) who gets funding to make a film from a mysterious source (Baldwin) on the condition he shoots the film in Providence, R.I. The filmmaker eventually discovers the "producer" is really an undercover FBI agent.
After a brawl in Munich, Germany, which forced them to cancel two shows, the British rock band Oasis returned to the stage Sunday in Wales to finish their European tour. Lead singer Liam Gallagher, who lost two teeth when he and other band members got into a fight with some Italians at a hotel bar Dec. 1, had his teeth repaired to continue the tour.
Guess Eminem is going to have to change some of his lyrics about his wife, Kim. According to PageSix.com, the bad-boy rapper's grandmother, Betty Kresin, confirmed that he and Kim are back together. "They're back together," Kresin told PageSix.com, "and I think Marshall [Eminem's real name] is very happy about it."