The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.
Dawson gets arrested near GOP protests
Actress Rosario Dawson (25th Hour, The Rundown) was arrested near the route of anti-Republican protests in New York after she refused to get off the road, authorities told The Associated Press. In New York filming the indie film This Revolution, the actress and the film's director, Stephen Marshall, were both arrested after they were spotted in a road with about 30 people gathered around them, wearing handkerchiefs as masks with only their eyes showing. A police officer told Dawson and the other person that they had to leave the roadway, the complaint said, but they reportedly refused, AP reports. Marshall reportedly tried to show police his city film permit but was arrested anyway. Each was charged with two counts of disorderly conduct and one charge of obstructing governmental administration. They were released without bail and told to return to court Nov. 9.
Jackson tops CMS nominations
The Country Music Association announced their nominations for the 38th annual CMA Awards, with Alan Jackson garnered seven, including entertainer of the year and male vocalist, AP reports. Toby Keith followed with six nominations including album of the year for Shock'N Y'all. The other best album nominees are Brad Paisley for Mud on the Tires, Brooks & Dunn for Red Dirt Road, Kenny Chesney for When the Sun Goes Down and newcomer Gretchen Wilson for Here for the Party. CBS will broadcast the CMA awards show, hosted by Brooks & Dunn, live from Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House on Nov. 9.
Avril Lavigne stalker charged
James Speedy, 30, was charged with stalking Canadian singer Avril Lavigne after making repeated attempts to contact her and traveling to her parents' home in Ontario, local authorities told Reuters, but has said through a lawyer that while he was a big fan of the 19-year-old rock singer, he did not stalk her. Speedy was arrested in April just before Lavigne was scheduled to give a free concert at a Seattle area shopping mall, and told police he had sent e-mails and gifts to Lavigne, her family and managers. He was released on bail at the time and was formally charged late on Friday, Lynnwood police said. Speedy traveled to Napanee, Ontario, last year, where he was arrested and told to leave Canada and not return within a year, according to Canadian news reports.
Dave Matthews Band cooperates in sewage investigation
Apparently the Dave Matthews Band wants to help. Following a lawsuit filed by the state of Illinois who contends the band's tour bus emptied its septic tank while crossing a grated bridge over the Chicago River, dousing a boatload of tourist underneath the bridge, the Dave Matthews Band says it is cooperating with authorities to determine what happened, AP reports. The band issued a statement on its Web site saying members have offered to provide DNA evidence to help authorities determine the source of the sewage. In its statement, the band also said that if its bus is found to be responsible for the incident, the band will "work quickly to make amends, with the people on the boat and with Chicago." "We care deeply about what happened to the people on the boat that day, which was terrible, and the damage that occurred to Chicago's environment," the letter states. "We are not attempting to avoid any responsibility we may have for the incident."
NBC's Olympic ratings rocket
A total of 203 million viewers watched at least some of NBC Universal's 17-day coverage of the Summer Olympics, making it the most-watched non-U.S. Summer Olympics in history, The Hollywood Reporter reports. According to Nielsen Media Research, viewership for the games surpassed the 2000 games in Sydney (185 million), the 1992 games in Barcelona (192 million) and 1988 games in Seoul (194 million). NBC Universal telecast 1,200 hours of Olympics programming across its networks Bravo and USA Network, which along with CNBC and MSNBC, brought in 69 million viewers. NBC, meanwhile, won every half-hour in primetime for each of the 17 days. An average 19.6 million viewers watched Sunday night's closing ceremony in Athens.
Kelsey Grammer and wife welcome second child
Kelsey Grammer and wife Camille Donatacci welcomed a new addition to their family Saturday. The baby boy, named Jude Gordon, was born in Sacramento, California via a surrogate mother, the actor's spokesman said Monday. Grammer, 49, and Donatacci, 36, have a daughter, Mason Olivia, who was born to a surrogate mother in 2001. Grammer, who is best known for playing the pompous but likable psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane on NBC's hit sitcoms Cheers (1984-1993) and Frasier (1993-2004), also has a 20-year-old daughter with his first wife, Doreen Alderman, and a 12-year-old daughter with ex-girlfriend Barrie Buckner.
Major Dad actor hospitalized
Gerald McRaney, who played the no-nonsense military man on the long-running sitcom Major Dad, underwent surgery Monday to remove a cancerous growth from his lung, the AP reports. His Los Angeles publicist said Mc Raney, a 56-year-old longtime smoker, had the surgery at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. "I'm sure that he will plan to quit," spokesman Henri Bollinger said. The growth was detected during a physical examination McRaney underwent before minor knee surgery two weeks ago. McRaney will remain in the hospital for several days before returning to work on the new TV series Commando Nanny, set to air this fall on the WB network.
Winona Ryder is allegedly being wooed by the producers of the hit Broadway show Urinetown to join the cast, replacing Tony nominee Spencer Kayden, NYPost.com reports. Producers, however, might be surprised to hear it. A spokesman for the show said, "This is the first we've heard of it." Still, all the contracts for the Urinetown players are up at the end of August, and one production source told NYPost.com, "That's when the producers are going to start putting names into the show."
Pamela Anderson might be heading for the London stage--joining those other famed blondes Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow. Anderson's angling to star in a revival of the 1950s hit musical The Girl Can't Help It, scheduled to go up later this year. Jayne Mansfield starred in the 1956 movie version.
A cursed palazzo in Venice, Italy? Sounds about right for the famously neurotic Woody Allen. Reuters reports the director is interested in buying a 15th-century house on the Grand Canal called Palazzo Dario, which apparently has seen its previous owners meeting dark and often sinister ends. Creepy.
Road Trip director Todd Phillips has signed a three-year first-look deal with Dimension and Miramax, making him the Weinsteins' "go-to guy for comedies," Variety reports. Phillips' next project will be directing a comedic film based on the television show Starsky and Hutch with Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. Thank goodness, it's a comedy.
And now, more on Miramax. The studio is jumping on the computer-animated bandwagon and is developing a feature film for kids revolving around Lego Co.'s Bionicle line of action figures known as Toa, heroes who collect legendary artifacts and defeat an evil ruler. Miramax is shooting for a 2004 release.
Shaq wants to produce. L.A. Lakers basketball star Shaquille O'Neal is pitching to networks a one-hour drama about the friendship between two basketball players, Variety reports. O'Neal plans to executive produce with occasional guest appearances. So far all his shots at getting it made have been air balls.
The Who bassist John Entwistle, who was found dead of an apparent heart attack June 27 in a Las Vegas hotel room, was laid to rest Wednesday in rural England. The Who guitarist Pete Townshend, frontman Roger Daltrey and drummer Kenny Jones all attended the funeral.