The month of July was overshadowed by the sudden and shocking death of British singer Amy Winehouse. The Back to Black hitmaker was found dead at her home in London at the age of 27 and the news sent the world of showbusiness into mourning. Tributes poured in from both fans and famous friends following the tragedy, and Winehouse's music shot back into the charts.
The headlines were also dominated by celebrity divorces as Jennifer Lopez announced her split from husband of seven years, Marc Anthony, the father of her young twins, Max and Emme. Arnold Schwarzenegger's marriage also came to an abrupt end as his wife Maria Shriver filed for divorce following revelations the actor/politician fathered a lovechild with the family's housekeeper.
Scarlett Johansson's divorce from Ryan Reynolds was finalised and Patricia Arquette's split from husband Thomas Jane was also made official.
In happier news, all eyes were on Monaco as the world geared up for the second royal wedding of the year, following the union of Britain’s Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in April. In the same month as the British royals flew to Canada to begin their first international tour as a married couple, Prince Albert of Monaco married his fiancee, South African beauty Charlene Wittstock. The couple exchanged vows in two ceremonies in Monte Carlo and the former swimmer became her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco. British supermodel Kate Moss also became a married woman as she wed rocker Jamie Hince in a lavish ceremony in the English countryside, while it was also an exciting month for the Beckham family as former Spice Girls star Victoria, already mother to three boys, gave birth to her first daughter, Harper Seven.
There was also baby joy for Hollywood actress Kate Hudson - she welcomed a son called Bingham with her rocker fiance Matt Bellamy. Singer Jewel, actress Selma Blair and former Fugees star Lauryn Hill also became parents. British artist/director Sam Taylor-Wood also hit headlines after she confirmed she was expecting a second baby with her 21-year-old fiance, actor Aaron Johnson, a year after the birth of their daughter. The couple met on the set of their 2009 film Nowhere Boy and became parents together in 2010.
July also saw troubled British rocker Pete Doherty granted his freedom after serving less than half of his six-month prison sentence for cocaine possession. Another beleaguered star to walk free from jail was rapper DMX, who served seven months behind bars for a probation violation. However, David Gilmour’s son Charlie found himself on the other side of the prison walls as he was ordered to serve 16 months in jail for his part in the 2010 student riots in London. The Pink Floyd star’s son was charged with violent disorder for causing chaos in the British capital and swinging from a flag on the city’s Cenotaph war memorial. (LR/ZN)
The usual serenity of the summer months was shattered this year when Kate Winslet cheated death in a devastating inferno at Richard Branson's luxury island home, and a string of British stars appealed for calm as widespread rioting broke out in the U.K.
Winslet was holidaying at Virgin boss Branson's Necker Island retreat when lightning struck the property, sparking a huge blaze which gutted the home. Her party of 20 miraculously escaped unscathed - and Winslet was later hailed a heroine after it emerged she carried Branson's 90-year-old mother from the property during the drama.
As unrest, looting, and arson broke out for several nights in the U.K., showbiz stars including Idris Elba, Natasha Bedingfield and Boy George called for calm, and there was also bad news for Sir Paul McCartney - who learned his phone had been hacked by the tabloid press - and veteran actress Margot Kidder, who was arrested during an environment protest at the White House.
Tragedy struck at the Indiana State Fair, when a horrific stage collapse left seven revellers dead and more than 40 injured, actor Rowan Atkinson was treated in hospital after wrecking his rare sports car by crashing it into a tree, and French actor Gerard Depardieu was left red-faced when he was thrown off a plane in Paris, France for urinating in the cabin after he was refused access to the toilet during take-off.
It was ladies night at the MTV Video Music Awards as Katy Perry, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga took home two honours each - and Beyonce announced her pregnancy news. And at the Teen Choice Awards, Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez were crowned queens of the event when they scooped whopping 11 awards between them.
Kings of Leon finally succumbed to their relentless touring schedule and axed their remaining U.S. dates to allow frontman Caleb Followill to recover from "vocal issues and exhaustion", Aerosmith rocker Tom Hamilton and Deep Purple star Jon Lord both announced they were battling cancer, Bono was hospitalised with chest pains, and Norwegian pop band A-ha thrilled fans by announcing they were to reform.
In family news, Kiss star Paul Stanley became a father again, and there were also welcome additions for Ethan Hawke, funnywoman Tina Fey, illusionist David Copperfield, Jessica Alba, and Benicio del Toro, who fathered a child with Rod Stewart's daughter Kimberly.
There were wedding bells for country singer Chely Wright and filmmaker Sofia Coppola, but romance took a plunge for George Michael and Geri Halliwell, who both split from their partners. Also joining the singles club was Arctic Monkeys rocker Alex Turner, who broke up with MTV presenter Alexa Chung after four years together.
The showbiz world bid farewell to songwriting legend Jerry Leiber, who died of cardiopulmonary failure at the age of 78, Police Academy star Charles 'Bubba' Smith, Bollywood veteran Shammi Kapoor, blues legend David 'Honeyboy' Edwards, Warrant rocker Jani Lane, and Motown hitmaker Nickolas Ashford. (ZN/LR)
September was a month rapper T.I. would like to both remember and forget - he completed an 11-month prison sentence for a probation violation only to run into legal trouble again soon after his initial release for conducting illegal business deals on his way to a halfway house. It wasn't a great month for Madonna either - her movie take on the romance between Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII was savaged by critics at the Venice Film Festival, while her ex-husband Guy Ritchie became a dad again.
Celine Dion was left shaken up after an intruder was found running a bath at her Montreal, Canada home; Neil Diamond revealed his engagement, and Dr. Conrad Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial got underway in Los Angeles as prosecutors attempted to prove the medic was responsible for Michael Jackson's death.
R.E.M. announced they were splitting after 31 years; My Chemical Romance fired drummer Michael Pedicone after accusing him of stealing from them; Boyzone singer Ronan Keating swam the Irish Sea for Cancer Research in the U.K., and Sir Paul McCartney became a grandfather again and was named the MusiCares Person of the Year - while he also celebrated as his first ballet score debuted in New York.
The Amy Winehouse Foundation was launched on what would have been the tragic singer's 28th birthday, and the star's Body & Soul duet with Tony Bennett became a hit, making the 85-year-old crooner the oldest living artist to have a single in America's Hot 100.
Eddie Murphy was confirmed as the host for the 2012 Oscars; model Lauren Bush became Lauren Lauren when she exchanged vows with Ralph Lauren's son David; British funnyman David Walliams braved the chills of the River Thames and a stomach bug to complete a charity 140-mile swim in eight days.
Actress Evan Rachel Wood lost a tooth during a boozy night out in Paris; Reese Witherspoon was hospitalised after she was hit by a car while out jogging in Santa Monica, California; soul legend Chaka Khan won temporary custody of her granddaughter after claiming the girl's mother was struggling with drug abuse issues, and British The Saturdays singer Una Healy announced she was pregnant.
INXS dropped frontman J.D. fortune for a second time and replaced him with Ciaran Gribbin; Austin Powers henchman Joseph Son was sentenced to life behind bars for a Christmas Eve rape in 1990, and George Clooney went public with his new girl, Stacey Kiebler, at the Toronto Film Festival in Canada.
Ashton Kutcher had a month of ups and downs - his debut on TV sitcom Two and a Half Men was a big hit as 28 million Americans tuned in, but then came the news that his marriage to Demi Moore was in trouble amid infidelity rumours. Comedienne Wanda Sykes opened up about her breast cancer battle and double mastectomy; Sharon Stone won a restraining order against an obsessed fan and promptly put the home he visited uninvited on the market, and reality TV star and filmmaker Jack Osbourne announced his engagement to actress Lisa Stelly and followed that up with the news he was to become a dad.
Third time was not the charm for Clueless star Stacy Dash, who announced her plans to divorce husband number three, Emmanuel Xuereb, and X-Men star James Marsden's wife also joined the divorce club as she filed papers against her husband. Elizabeth Hurley's love life was on the up - she accepted cricket star Shane Warne's wedding proposal just three months after divorcing Arun Nayar.
Meanwhile, Elton John launched his new Million Dollar Piano residency in Las Vegas; Smokey Robinson accepted the coveted Ella Award at the Society of Singers Gala, and the month wrapped up with Shania Twain's alleged stalker pleading guilty to harassing the singer in court in Ontario, Canada.
Among September's Hollywood weddings, Amy Smart married reality TV star Carter Oosterhouse; Cougar Town co-stars David Rogers and Sally Pressman became man and wife, and model-turned-actress Molly Sims wed in a Napa Valley vineyard in California. There were also nuptials for British filmmaker Michael Winner and DJ/producer Mark Ronson, while R&B singer Keyshia Cole and former Friends star David Schwimmer both renewed vows with their spouses in Hawaii and London, respectively.
There was baby news for model Jodie Kidd, who gave birth to a son; actress Mary McCormack, who became a mum for the third time, and January Jones, who welcomed Xander Dane to the world while staying mum about the tot's father. Actors Emily Deschanel, Ana Ortiz, Mike Myers, Danny McBride and Jenna Fischer also became new parents. In the music world, former Spice Girl Melanie Brown gave birth to her third daughter, and country star John Rich and former Pussycat Dolls member Carmit Bachar welcomed babies too.
On September's sick list were rocker Scott Weiland and pop stars Katy Perry and Adele, who both scrapped shows due to illness, while Megadeth headbanger Dave Mustaine underwent surgery for a serious neck injury.
The month's big winners included movie mogul Tyler Perry, who was named Forbes magazine's Highest Paid Man in Entertainment; actor Michael Fassbender and director Alexander Sokurov, who claimed Best Actor and Best Film honours, respectively, for Shame and Faust at the Venice Film Festival. Gritty TV drama Boardwalk Empire picked up eight Emmy Awards; Calle 13 landed a record 10 Latin Grammy Award nominations, and Happy Days star Henry Winkler picked up an honorary Order of the British Empire medal at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Also winning: P.J. Harvey, who scooped the Mercury Prize in Britain, Arcade Fire, who claimed Canada's Polaris Prize, and U2 and Rolling Stone Keith Richards, who were named GQ magazine's Men of the Year.
September's losers included Scarlett Johansson, who was left exposed in a series of leaked naked phone photos; Cameron Diaz, who split from baseball beau Alex Rodriguez, and John Travolta, whose beloved Mercedes-Benz was stolen outside a Jaguar dealership in Santa Monica, while his Swordfish co-star Halle Berry broke her foot while on location in Spain.
Meanwhile, we said a sad goodbye to a slew of famous faces, including actors Andy Whitfield and Cliff Robertson; beloved TV stars Mary Fickett and Vesta Williams; actor Jack Garner; French DJ Mehdi Faveris-Essadi; blues great Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith; R&B hitmaker Vesta Williams; gospel icon Jessy Dixon; celebrated British writer/producer David Croft; Happy Gilmore star Frances Bay, and moviemakers David Pressman, Charles Dubin, George Kachar and Paul Hunt. (KL/MT)
October was a big month for celebrity weddings - funnyman Seth Rogen tied the knot with longtime girlfriend Lauren Miller, Twilight star Nikki Reed married singer/songwriter Paul McDonald, and former Beverly Hills, 90210 actress Shannen Doherty walked down the aisle for the third time when she exchanged vows with celebrity photographer Kurt Iswarienko. Also hoping to make it third-time lucky was Robin Williams, who wed graphic designer Susan Schneider.
Also taking the plunge was Kiss rocker Gene Simmons, who married his girlfriend of 28 years, Shannon Tweed, and Sir Paul McCartney, who exchanged vows with American heiress Nancy Shevell on what would have been his former Beatles bandmate John Lennon’s 71st birthday.
And Sex & the City star Mario Cantone made good use of New York's new gay rights bill by solidifying his love for longtime partner Jerry Dixon.
A number of other stars announced their intention to wed in October - NCIS: Los Angeles star Eric Christian Olsen proposed to girlfriend Sarah Wright and Trace Cyrus popped the question to Disney actress Brenda Song. And actress Kaley Cuoco was sporting a new sparkler after boyfriend Josh 'Lazie' Resnik got down on bended knee. Also officially off the market were former child star Frankie Muniz, The Devil Wears Prada actor Stanley Tucci, rapper The Game and Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love's grown-up little girl Francis Bean Cobain.
A number of other celebrities were prepping their homes for babies - movie star Bruce Willis, American footballer Tony Romo, former Dawson's Creek hunk James Van Der Beek, and actress Kaitlin Olson all announced they are expecting little ones, and Jessica Simpson ended months of speculation by announcing she was pregnant.
And October's new parents included Ne-Yo, who welcomed a baby boy, model Ali Landry, who gave birth to her second child, actress Spencer Grammer, who became a first time mum, and France's First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, who became a mum for the second time when baby Giulia was born. Reality TV star Tori Spelling took home baby number three, as did Jackass funnyman Johnny Knoxville. And Sex & the City beauty Kristin Davis, The Help actress Viola Davis and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation veteran Mariska Hargitay all adopted babies.
But it wasn't such a happy month for rapper Rick Ross, who suffered two seizures on his way to a concert, or socialite Kim Kardashian who filed for divorce from husband Kris Humphries after just 72 days of marriage.
In other news, Star Trek actor Zachary Quinto announced he was gay and troubled actress Lindsay Lohan had her probation revoked after failing to complete her required community service hours. She also faced a limousine lawsuit for allegedly neglecting to pay a bill, her dad was arrested - twice, and she was served a lawsuit for reportedly attacking a Betty Ford Clinic employee during her stay there last year (10).
Meanwhile, the stars came out to show their support for the Occupy Wall Street protests, which were originally launched in New York City in a bid to end corporate greed, and the world mourned the loss of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, British TV and radio personality Sir Jimmy Savile, The Charlie Daniels Band keyboard player Joel 'Taz' Digregorio, former Weezer star Mikey Welsh, veteran British actress Betty Driver, The Miracles guitarist Marv Tarplin, pianist Roger Williams and IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon, who died in a horrific car smash at the Indy300.
British bachelor Hugh Grant stunned the world when he announced he had a new love in his life - a baby girl he had fathered during a brief relationship with Chinese model/actress Tinglan Hong. He wasn't the only star to join the celebrity parents' club in November - singer Lily Allen had a reason to Smile again after giving birth to a daughter, her first child with new husband Sam Cooper, while newsman Piers Morgan and his wife Celia Walden also became parents to a little girl. Maggie Gyllenhaal and her husband Peter Sarsgaard announced they were expecting their second child, as did reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian and her partner Scott Disick.
Selena Gomez revealed she is set to become a big sister, while Justin Bieber had some unwanted baby news of his own - he found himself at the centre of a paternity scandal following allegations he had impregnated 20-year-old Mariah Yeater following a backstage tryst in Los Angeles last year (10). The Baby hitmaker denied the claim and Yeater subsequently dropped the lawsuit.
Lindsay Lohan's troubles hit the headlines again after she was sentenced to serve 30 days behind bars for a probation violation, although she was released after less than five hours due to jail overcrowding. Dr. Conrad Murray was not so lucky - he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter relating to the death of Michael Jackson and sentenced to the maximum of four years behind bars.
In other legal matters, country singer Mindy McCready sparked a manhunt after she took her five-year-old son Zander from his father's Florida home without permission; Tim McGraw won a court battle with his record company bosses releasing him from his contract; and TLC star T-Boz declared bankruptcy.
Hugh Grant, Sienna Miller and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling became driving forces in the push to improve British press standards following the News of the World phone-hacking scandal earlier this year (11) - the three stars were called to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry and told how they had had their voicemails, emails and other private messages intercepted by private investigators working on behalf of tabloid reporters.
The sporting world mourned the death of boxing great Joe Frazier at the age of 67, just days after it was revealed he was battling liver cancer, while the hip-hop industry was rocked by the passing of rap icon Heavy D, who collapsed outside his Los Angeles home and was later declared dead at 44. British moviemaker Ken Russell also passed away, aged 84, and longtime Oscars producer Gil Cates died at 77. Meanwhile, Beatles fans remembered George Harrison on 29 November as fans marked the 10th anniversary of his death.
Veteran pop star George Michael was forced to scrap the remainder of his European tour after he was struck down by a serious bout of pneumonia; Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb also spent time in hospital after suffering abdominal pains, and Adele and Keith Urban had a quiet month as they both recovered from vocal cord surgery, while heavy rock fans rejoiced as the original members of Black Sabbath announced they would be reuniting for a new album and tour in 2012.
It was ladies' night at the American Music Awards as Taylor Swift and Adele walked away with three honours each, while Lady Gaga reigned over the MTV Europe Music Awards and newlyweds Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton ruled the Country Music Association Awards by taking home the two top vocalist prizes. November also saw Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher end weeks of speculation about their marriage by calling it quits, while Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles tied the knot and Anne Hathaway began making plans to wed boyfriend Adam Schulman, and former The Hills star Kristin Cavallari and American footballer Jay Cutler became engaged again, months after they broke off their initial plans to marry.
And it was a busy month for the film industry - the latest Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn - Part 1, landed the biggest global debut in the film franchise's history, thanks to a massive $284 million (£177.5 million) opening weekend haul; Golden Globes bosses decided to bring back controversial comedian Ricky Gervais to host his third prizegiving in 2012; Billy Crystal stepped in for Eddie Murphy as the host of the 2012 Academy Awards a day after the comic and producer pal Brett Ratner resigned, and the race for the Oscars kicked off with the Gotham Independent Film Awards, where Terrence Malick's Tree of Life and Mike Mills' acclaimed Beginners made history when they became the first films to tie for the Best Feature prize in the ceremony's 21-year history.
The holiday bells were peeling for newlyweds A.J. McLean, actress Judy Greer, reality TV star Jeff Probst and Yeah Yeah Yeahs rocker Karen O, while Sinead O'Connor married an addiction counsellor in Las Vegas only to call off the union 16 days later. There were also splits for actress Debra Messing and Chaz Bono.
Britney Spears led the month's bride and grooms-to-be when she accepted former agent Jason Trawick's proposal on his 40th birthday, while Steven Tyler, John Legend, Matthew McConaughey, basketball legend Michael Jordan and Lady Antebellum's Dave Haywood all popped the question to their girlfriends - and there was baby news for new dads Robert De Niro, Halle Berry's ex Eric Benet, actor Charlie Day, Westlife star Kian Egan, actress/singer Fantasia Barrino, Essence Atkins and pop star Dev, while actress Alyson Hannigan, Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty, Kings of Leon star Caleb Followill's supermodel wife Lily Aldridge, Alessandra Ambrosio and Irish singer Andrea Corr announced they were pregnant.
There was drama for rapper Tyler, The Creator, who was arrested for alleged acts of vandalism during a show in Hollywood; singer Christina Perri, who was attacked in a car-jacking incident; Barry Manilow, who underwent hip surgery, and Morrissey, whose concert in Puebla, Mexico was evacuated following an earthquake, while Britain's Prince Philip and R&B star Etta James spent Christmas in hospital.
Lindsay Lohan bared all for Playboy magazine; Adam Lambert was arrested in Finland following a pre-Christmas bust-up with his boyfriend; rapper The Game halted a gig in Norway to confront a bottle-throwing fan; boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. was sentenced to 90 days in jail for a 2010 fight with his ex; a man who leaked an unfinished new Madonna song online was arrested in Spain, and Michael Douglas' incarcerated son Cameron was handed an extra four-and-a-half years behind bars for another drug conviction.
And there was yet more drama for Terrence Howard, who requested a restraining order against his wife; model Lauren Scruggs, who lost her hand and an eye in a freak plane propeller accident; Hollywood couple Eric Dane and Rebecca Gayheart, who had to vacate their home after high winds brought a tree crashing into their living room, and pop star Selena Gomez suffered a family tragedy when her mother miscarried.
Meanwhile, Jodie Foster's estranged father was jailed for five years after he was found guilty of a property scam; Angelina Jolie was sued by a Croatian journalist who alleged his chronicle of the Bosnian War inspired her directorial debut; Kirsten Dunst won a restraining order against an obsessed French fan; an extra died of a heart attack while shooting The Dark Knight Rises in New York; Goodfellas actor Tony Darrow was sentenced to six months behind bars for arranging a real-life mob beating, and Charlie Sheen had to change his phone number when he accidentally tweeted it to his followers.
The month's big winners included singer Melanie Amaro, who became the first U.S. X Factor winner; Julio Iglesias, who was named Spain's best-selling recording artist of all time; Russell Simmons, who was crowned PETA's Person of the Year; Chaka Khan, who won permanent custody of her granddaughter; Lady Gaga, who was hailed the year's highest earning female musician, and Taylor Swift who picked up Billboard magazine's coveted Woman of The Year honour.
Also winning in December: Guns N' Roses, the Beastie Boys and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who were all announced as the members of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's Class of 2012, and Twilight star Kristen Stewart, who was named Forbes magazine's Most Lucrative Star. Adele dominated the year's end album and singles polls; Jason Newsted reunited with Metallica for their 30th anniversary bash in San Francisco, and Martin Scorsese's first 3D movie Hugo was the surprise Best Film winner at the National Board of Review Awards in America.
In other movie news, Transformers: Dark of The Moon was named the year's most mistake-ridden film; Orson Welles' Citizen Kane Oscar sold at auction for $861,000; Drive dominated the Satellite Awards while The Help, The Artist and The Descendants picked up the lion's share of nominations for the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards, and Angelina Jolie's directorial debut, In The Land of Blood and Honey, also picked up Golden Globes nods and she was named the 2012 recipient of the Stanley Kramer Award at the Producer's Guild of America Awards.
In music news, Amy Winehouse's posthumous album debuted at number one in Britain; 30 Seconds To Mars broke a concert record at a show in New York - their 309th in a single album cycle, and Gucci Mane was released from prison.
Wrapping up the month, Oscar winner Colin Firth was immortalised in wax at Madame Tussauds in London; Men's Health magazine bosses crowned Jennifer Aniston the Hottest Woman of All Time; Liz Taylor's diamonds and gems set a new auction record by becoming the most valuable private jewellery collection; LMFAO were forced to abandon a gig in Honduras after a fire broke out at the venue; Welsh opera star Katherine Jenkins announced her split from fiance Gethin Jones, and Coldplay rang in 2012 with a $1.6 million gig in Abu Dhabi.
And the last month of the year saw the notable deaths of actor Bill McKinney, soul stars Dobie Gray and Howard Tate, M*A*S*H regular Harry Morgan, Clark Gable and Loretta Young's love child Judy Lewis, actress Doe Avedon Siegel, former child star Susan Gordon, country singer Billie Jo Spears, Aussie actor Graham Bown, world leaders Vaclav Havel and Kim Jong-Il, songwriter Ralph MacDonald, Kojak star Dan Frazer, directors Don Sharp and Yoshimitsu Morita, writer Christopher Hitchens and Tarzan's chimp sidekick Cheetah, who died of liver failure, aged 80.
Enigmatic and deliberate Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy makes no reservations while unraveling its heady spy story for better or worse. The film based on the bestselling novel by John Le Carre is purposefully perplexing effectively mirroring the central character George Smiley's (Gary Oldman) own mind-bending investigation of the British MI6's mole problem. But the slow burn pacing clinical shooting style and air of intrigue only go so far—Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sports an incredible cast that can't dramatically translate the movie's impenetrable narrative. Almost from the get go the movie collapses under its own weight.
After a botched mission in Hungary that saw his colleague Jim (Mark Strong) gunned down in the streets Smiley and his boss Control (John Hurt) are released from the "Circus" (codename for England's Secret Intelligence Service). But soon after Smiley is brought back on board as an impartial observer tasked to uncover the possible infiltration of the organization. The former agent already dealing with the crippling of his own marriage attempts to sift through the history and current goings on of the Circus narrowing his hunt down to four colleagues: Percy aka "Tinker" (Toby Jones) Bill aka "Tailor" (Colin Firth) Roy aka "Soldier" (Ciaran Hinds) and Toy aka "Poor Man" (David Dencik). Working with Peter (Benedict Cumberbatch) a conflicted younger member of the service and Ricki (Tom Hardy) a rogue agent who has information of his own Smiley slowly uncovers the muddled truth—occasionally breaking in to his own work place and crossing his own friends to do so.
Describing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as dense doesn't seem complicated enough. The first hour of the monster mystery moves at a sloth's pace trickling out information like the tedious drips of a leaky faucet. The talent on display is undeniable but the characters Smiley included are so cold that a connection can never be made. TTSS sporadically jumps around from past to present timelines without any indication: a tactic that proves especially confusing when scenes play out in reoccurring locations. It's not until halfway through that the movie decides to kick into high gear Smiley's search for a culprit finally becoming clear enough to thrill. A film that takes its time is one thing but Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy does so without any edge or hook.
What the movie lacks in coherency it makes up for in style and thespian gravitas. Director Tomas Alfredson has assembled some of the finest British performers working today and they turn the script's inaccessible spy jargon into poetry. Firth stands out as the group's suave slimeball a departure from his usual nice guy roles. Hardy assures us he's the next big thing once again as the agency's resident moppet a lover who breaks down after a romantic fling uncovers horrifying truth. Oldman is given the most difficult task of the bunch turning the reserved contemplative Smiley into a real human. He half succeeds—his observational slant in the beginning feels like an extension of the movie's bigger problems but once gets going in the second half of the film he's quite a bit of fun.
Alfredson constructs Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy like a cinematic architect each frame dripping with perfectly kitschy '70s production design and camera angles that make the spine tingle. He creates paranoia through framing similar to the Coppola's terrifying The Conversation but unlike that film TTSS doesn't have the characters or story to match. The movie strives to withhold information and succeeds—too much so. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy wants us to solve a mystery with George Smiley but it never clues us in to exactly why we should want to.
Macaulay Culkin arrested on drug charges
Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin was arrested Friday in Oklahoma City, Okla., on suspicion of possessing marijuana and a controlled substance, Reuters reports. According to the arrest report, an Oklahoma City police officer pulled over a car speeding on a highway in the city. Culkin, 24, was a passenger in the car driven by a man from New York. The officer asked Culkin and the driver, identified as Brett M. Tabisel, to step out of the car after he had given the officer permission to search the vehicle. The two said they were driving from New York to Los Angeles. The officer found the anti-anxiety drug Xanax and sleeping pills in plastic sandwich bags and 17.3 grams (0.6 ounce) of marijuana in a metal cigarette box. The two were reportedly cooperative with the search and quickly surrendered the drugs. According to the report, Culkin obtained the prescription drugs without a prescription. After spending about two hours in jail, Culkin was released Friday night on $4,000 bail, the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Department said. Culkin, who most recently starred in the film Saved!, did not talk to reporters when he left the jail, Reuters reports.
Edward Furlong busted in lobster ordeal
Actor Edward Furlong also did jail time last week. The Associated Press reports the Terminator 2 star was arrested Wednesday night in Florence, Ky., on a misdemeanor charge of alcohol intoxication in a public place. According to the police report, Furlong, an animal-rights supporter and vegetarian, was arrested after he and some friends removed lobsters from a tank at a grocery store. He argued with store managers, who then called police. According to his arrest citation, Furlong was unsteady on his feet, his speech was slurred and his breath smelled of alcohol, the citation said. He spent about 1 1/2 hours in the Boone County jail before his release. The actor is in the area to shoot his latest film, Jimmy & Judy.
Jackson regrets paying off past molestation claims
During a break in his child molestation pretrial hearing Friday, Michael Jackson's attorney read off a statement aimed at rumors and leaks surrounding the case, including reports he paid off past molestation claims. "Many years ago, he did pay money rather than litigate two false allegations that he had harmed children," attorney Tom Mesereau said. "Mr. Jackson now regrets making these payments." Dressed in a white suit and flanked by family members, Jackson stood by as Mesereau read the statement. Mesereau said Jackson had been pressured to make payments by his advisers and by a music industry that "did not want negative publicity from these lawsuits interfering with their profits," Reuters reports. Jackson was in court in Santa Maria, Calif., to watch the mother of his young accuser take the witness stand.
Toronto film fest hands out awards
Hotel Rwanda and Omagh won top honors Sunday at the Toronto International Film Festival, which ran from Sept. 9-18. Hotel Rwanda, based on the true story of a hotel manager who saved hundreds of lives during the country's 1994 genocide, won the People's Choice award, which are voted on by regular moviegoers. Past People's Choice winners include the Oscar winners American Beauty, Life Is Beautiful, Shine and Chariots of Fire. The Discovery award, chosen by journalists who attended the festival, went to Omagh, about the relatives of victims of the 1998 bombing in Northern Ireland. Other prizewinners included the New Zealand film In My Father's Den, which won the Fipresci prize given by a jury to an emerging filmmaker. Canadian film prizes went to comedy It's All Gone Pete Tong and French-language horror La Peau Blanche (White Skin).
French director flips bill for free screening
French director Claude Lelouch, who held free screenings for his film Les Parisiens Friday after it was trashed by critics, told RTL radio in an interview he must now flip the bill for $182,700. "It'll cost me about a million francs ($182,700)," Lelouch said. "(Audiences in the) theaters were enthusiastic ... People loved it. And since (Friday), I am getting even more messages than before." Lelouch, whose 1966 film A Man and a Woman won Oscars for best foreign film and screenplay, said about 40,000 people had watched the film in 400 theaters. "It's been 40 years that I've let myself be criticized. I've shut my mouth for 40 years," he said of his move to try to drum up public support for the film by offering the free screening.
Papa Simpson starts new record label
Jessica Simpson's father and manager, Joe Simpson, is starting a record label. Reuters reports JT Records (named for Simpson and his wife, Tina), a joint venture with Geffen Records, calls for the new label to deliver at least two albums per year. Geffen will pay all costs, with profits split evenly between the two entities. JT's first act will be the male quintet Barefoot, whom Simpson describes as a cross between Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Third Eye Blind. The band is expected to release its debut next spring. Simpson, who also handles the careers of his two daughters, Jessica and Ashlee, says he was also courted by Warner Music Group (Simpson manages breaking artist Ryan Cabrera, whose music is distributed through WMG's E.V.L.A./Atlantic label) and Sony BMG (Jessica is on Sony BMG-owned Columbia).
Porn studios get first condom fines
The California Division of Occupational Health and Safety on Friday slapped fines on two Los Angeles-based porn production companies for allowing actors to perform without condoms, Reuters reports. Evasive Angles and TTB Productions were fined $30,560 each for making porn movies that it said exposed three actors to HIV infections. It was the first time the Cal/OSHA had taken regulatory action against the lucrative adult film industry in what is dubbed "Porn Valley" in the San Fernando Valley area of L.A. Last April, five actors tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS, causing the porn industry shut down voluntarily for a month following the outbreak. Porn producers have resisted compulsory condom rules saying consumers do not want to watch safe sex. But Cal/OSHA said porn actors had the same legal right to a safe workplace as employees in more conventional businesses.