The monarch braved chilly temperatures on Tuesday (30Nov10) to make a trip to London's Leicester Square with her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh to don 3D glasses and watch The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
The Queen also shook hands with the film's stars, including Irish actor Neeson and Simon Pegg, who had walked the snow-covered red carpet.
Neeson told reporters, "I'm told the Queen doesn't see many movies. But they're coming tonight and that's pretty special."
Actor Ben Barnes, who is currently appearing in the West End stage show Birdsong, ensured he was at the event to shake hands with the Queen before racing back to his play.
He added, "We didn't know that it would be a royal premiere so I arranged to come to this and then nip back."
The trailer for the next installment of the film adaptation of CS Lewis' classic series The Chronicles of Narnia has released with all its child-like, fantasy glory. Check it out out below.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is one of the more popular books in the series, and it probably has something to do with it being totally badass in every way possible. Not only does it continue the epic-ness of the first two books, but it continues it on a mother-effing boat (Oh yeah, I said it). The story follows King Caspian and his quest to find the seven lords -- who were good men that his evil uncle Miraz banished once upon a time. On the voyage, they run into all sorts of mythical creatures as they try to save the world. The film stars Georgia Henley, Skandar Keynes, Will Poulter, Ben Barnes, Liam Neeson, and Simon Pegg, and was directed by Michael Apted.
So yeah, Voyage releases on December 10 and is pretty much any 12-year-old's fantasy on the big screen.
Salt the propulsive new thriller from Phillip Noyce (Clear and Present Danger Patriot Games) has been dubbed “Bourne with boobs ” but that label isn’t entirely accurate. In the role of Evelyn Salt a CIA staffer hunted by her own agency after a Russian defector fingers her in a plot to murder Russia’s president Angelina Jolie keeps her two most potent weapons holstered hidden under pantsuits and trenchcoats and the various other components of a super-spy wardrobe that proudly emphasizes function over flash.
But flash is one thing Salt never lacks for. Its breathless cat-and-mouse game hits full-throttle almost from the outset when a former KGB officer named Orlov (Daniel Olbrychski) stumbles into a CIA interrogation room and begins spilling details of a vast conspiracy. Back in the ‘70s hardline elements of the Soviet regime launched an ambitious new front in the Cold War flooding the western world with orphans trained to infiltrate the security complexes of their adopted homelands and wait patiently — decades if necessary — for the order to initiate a series of assassinations intended to trigger a devastating nuclear clash between the superpowers from which the treacherous Reds would emerge triumphant.
The Soviet Union may have long ago collapsed (or did it? Hmmm...) but its army of brainwashed killer orphan spies remains in place and if this crazy Orlov fellow is to be believed they stand poised to reignite the Cold War. It’s a preposterous — even idiotic — scheme but no more so than any of our government’s various harebrained proposals to kill Castro back in the ‘60s. As such the CIA treats it with grave seriousness even the part that that pegs Salt who just happens to be a Russian-born orphan herself as a key player in the conspiracy.
Salt bristles at the accusation but suspecting a set-up she opts to flee rather than face interrogation from her bosses Winter (Liev Schreiber) and Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor). A former field agent she’s been confined to a desk job since a clandestine operation in North Korea went south leaving her with a nasty shiner and a rather unremarkable German boyfriend (now her unremarkable German husband). She’s clearly kept up her training during while cubicle-bound however and in a blaze of resourceful thinking and devastating Parkour Fu she fends off a dozen or so agents of questionable competence and takes to the streets where she sets about to clear her name and unravel the Commie orphan conspiracy before the authorities can catch up with her. That is if she isn’t a part of the conspiracy.
The premise which aims to resurrect Cold War tensions and graft them onto a modern-day spy thriller is absurdly clever — and cleverly absurd. But Kurt Wimmer’s screenplay isn’t satisfied with the merely clever and absurd — it must be mind-blowing. Salt is one of those thrillers that ladles out its backstory slowly and in tiny portions every once in a while dropping a revelatory bombshell that effectively blows the lid off everything that happened beforehand. No one is who they seem and every action every gesture no matter how seemingly trivial is imbued with some kind of grand significance. The effect of piling on one insane twist after another has the effect of gradually diluting the narrative. When anything is possible nothing really matters.
But spy thrillers by definition trade in the preposterous and the principal function of the summer blockbuster is to entertain. In that regard Salt more than fulfills its charge. Noyce wisely keeps the story moving at pace that allows little time for asking uncomfortable questions or poking holes in the film’s frail plot. And he has an able partner in the infinitely versatile Jolie who having already exhibited formidable action-hero chops in Wanted and the Tomb Raider films proves remarkably adept at the spy game as well.
It’s well-known that Jolie wasn’t the first choice to star in Salt joining the project only after Tom Cruise dropped out citing the story’s growing similarities to the Mission: Impossible films. But she’s more than just a capable replacement; she’s a welcome upgrade over Cruise not least because she’s over a decade younger (and a few inches taller) than her predecessor. Should Brad Bird require a pinch-hitter for Ethan Hunt he knows where to look.
Top Story: Sandler Ties Knot
As Adam Sandler's Web site states, "Sandler got married: Woopity Doo!" The Associated Press reports the comedian wed his girlfriend, actress Jackie Titone, on Sunday in an outdoor ceremony in Malibu, Calif. Photographs of the nuptials showed Sandler in a black tuxedo and white yarmulke, and Titone in a white gown with spaghetti straps, standing among hanging pale rose bouquets and chairs draped with pink satin, AP reports. Even Sandler's dog, Meatball, got in the action, dressed up in a black tuxedo jacket. It is the first marriage for Sandler 36, and Titone, 28.
Lil' Kim's Jewelry Swiped at JFK Airport
Lil' Kim claimed she was robbed of $250,000 worth of jewelry when one of her bags was tampered with at the John F. Kennedy Int'l Airport Friday. AP reports the hip-hop artist's Louis Vuitton bag, which carried as much as $500,000 in jewelry, was mistakenly mixed with her regular luggage before boarding a morning flight to Los Angeles. When the bag was retrieved, it was found to have some jewelry missing, including her signature "Queen Bee" necklace. A spokesman for the Port Authority said Lil' Kim "filed a report for lost jewelry, and the incident is under investigation by the Port Authority police."
Harry Potter Book Flies Off Shelves
And the phenomenon continues. The release of the fifth Harry Potter installment Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Saturday set publishing records all over the world, including in the U.S., where on the first day alone an estimated five million copies were sold, AP reports. "We expected to sell 1 million copies in the first week and we sold that many within the first 48 hours," Barnes & Noble CEO Steve Riggio told AP Sunday. Amazon.com shipped out more than a million copies of the new book, making Saturday the largest distribution day of a single item in e-commerce history, AP reports.
2003 Idols Gear Up for Tour
Ticket sales for the upcoming American Idol tour--which features the second season singers, including winner Ruben Studdard and runner-up Clay Aiken--are already surpassing the sales from the first Idol tour, Billboard magazine reports. Expanding to 41 dates from 30 in 2002, the tour starts July 8 at the Excel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., and wraps Aug. 31 at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, Calif. Tickets range from $25-$45 apiece, the same as last year, Billboard reports.
Nelly Sets Up Bone Marrow Search for Sister
Nelly has formed a bone marrow campaign in search of a donor for his sister, Jackie Donahue, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2001. AP reports the Grammy-winning rapper was on hand for a drive in St. Louis, Missouri over the weekend. "It's not just a one-day event and you'll never hear from us again," Nelly told AP. "It could be a match for somebody else's brother or somebody else's sister."
Playwright George Axelrod Dies
Writer George Axelrod, best known for writing The Seven Year Itch, Breakfast at Tiffany's and The Manchurian Candidate, died Saturday of heart failure in Los Angeles. He was 81.
Cedric Show Yanked for Now
Fox Television has stopped production on the variety and sketch comedy show Cedric, starring Cedric the Entertainer but plan on running the remaining unseen episodes in the fall, Reuters reports. Despite Cedric's mediocre ratings, Reuters reports Fox originally wanted the show to return for a second season in the fall in hopes to keep the comedian in its fold until the network could develop a more suitable scripted comedy for him.
TV Movie About Fugitive Rapist Changes Ending
Producers of the Lifetime television movie A Date With Darkness: The Trial of Andrew Luster, about real-life fugitive rapist Andrew Luster, are having to rewrite the ending six days before wrapping due to Luster's capture Wednesday in Mexico. Reuters reports Luster, who was confined to house arrest during his trial on charges of drugging and raping three women, escaped five months ago but was apprehended by an American bounty hunter in the Mexican resort of Puerto Vallarta. The heir to the Max Factor cosmetics fortune had been sentenced to 120 years in prison.
Role Call: Portrait of Dali To Hit Screens
Director Simon West (Lara Croft: Tomb Raider) has signed on to helm Dali, a biopic on famed artist Salvador Dali. Variety reports the film will focus on the artist who captivated the American art scene with sex, sin and surrealism only to fall eventually into scandal and misfortune.
Stephen King made his bazillions from book sales and movie rights. So, why's he suddenly gotten so cheap when it comes to paper? "Riding the Bullet" In case you haven't heard, "Riding the Bullet," King's first new material since he was hit by a van and nearly killed last year, was published today. We use the term "published" liberally -- more specifically, it was dispensed over the Internet as a downloadable-but-not-printable file, available for $2.50 per download to users of PCs and Palm Pilots (sorry, Mac aficionados, yer screwed again).
And after reading the 66-page thing (which is really a short story, not a novella as it's been billed), you might come to the following conclusions: (a) Stephen King's not as scary as he used to be; and (b) curling up with your laptop isn't as comfy as it is with a dog-eared paperback.
"I found the inability to simply print 'Riding the Bullet,' even though I paid for it, was a great disappointment," says David Rawsthorne, webmaster of Horrorking's Stephen King Web site (www.horrorking.com). "I hate reading more than I have to on the computer and do not own one of the new handheld book readers to allow me to sit on the lounge and read in comfort.
"At a tiny 16,000 words, the price was also quite high. To compare it with a real hardcover, it is like paying $25 for 'The Dead Zone' with its 152,000 words, and with no first-edition binding, hard cover, graphics work on the cover, and the risk that a simple virus, hard disk drive failure, etc. will ultimately cause you to lose the book forever."
A new Stephen King book (or story) is big news -- especially when you consider that the author of "Misery," "The Green Mile," "Carrie" and more than 30 other horror novels said last year that his brush with death (he suffered a collapsed lung and multiple fractures to his right leg and hip in the June mishap) had left him unable to write.
But the folks at Simon & Schuster, who are co-publishing "Riding the Bullet" with King's own company, are getting a lot of mileage out of the fact that this is the first-ever "e-book" from a major author. Even though no trees were killed in the making of King's latest missive, a lot of newsprint and air time is being devoted to it, including a segment on NBC's "Today" show.
A spokesman for the publisher tells Hollywood.com that it's not yet known how many people will download the book over the next few days. Both Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble Online, which offered "Ride the Bullet" downloads free today (they'll start charging Wednesday), were swamped. (Barnes & Noble Online sent out an apologetic e-mail to hopeful readers, promising to deliver the book as soon as "issues of capacity" are resolved). Meanwhile, the book is also available from six other, nongratis e-book vendors, which were also difficult to access.
"I was extremely disappointed in the entire process," says Steve Stinnett, who runs a Stephen King fan Web site (www.utopianweb.com/king). Stinnett says he spent "nearly half the night" trying to get through to a server to download the book.
"Fans from across the world are unhappy and suffering because these companies failed to plan and expect an enormous response in the first hours of the release," Stinnett says.
So, what's the deal? Has Stephen King suddenly become an e-cologist? Or is "Ride the Bullet" simply a tuneup effort by a writer who's on the mend? A minor work that's being hyped by greedy Internet capitalists?
You asked, we tell:
"Ride the Bullet" is a story about a college student who gets a phone call from home, telling him his mother has been hospitalized after a stroke. The student hitchhikes home from the University of Maine. Along the way, he's picked up by a Headless Horseman-like character (except with a sewn-on severed head), who makes the kid re-examine his beliefs about life and death, love and family, this and that. (The title, by the way, refers to a notorious rollercoaster called “The Bullet,” which the protagonist was too chicken to ride in his youth.)
Like other Stephen King stuff, there is the usual assortment of oddball characters (an old man whose car interior smells like urine, and who keeps tugging at his hernia truss), brand-name references, and a protagonist who isn't sure what to make of life just yet.
So, is it any good?
It's scary, but it ain't no "Carrie."
By way of a second opinion, webmaster Rawsthorne offers this: "'Riding the Bullet' is a short story, and like most short stories, it is hard to develop the characters in a way that allows a link between the reader and them, getting the reader more involved and engrossed in the story."
That, and you can't stick a bookmark in it.