The film follows the same tired action genre step by step. Ex-con and single dad O2 (Tyrese Gibson) is trying to go straight for the sake of his young son Junior. But when the kid is kidnapped in what seems to be a typical carjacking O2 has to pull out all the stops to get him back. Turns out O2 had some nefarious dealings with a gang overlord named Big Meat (The Game) who likes to hack off people’s body parts with a machete. And now Meat wants some payback taking for ransom the only thing O2 cares about in the entire world [sniffle]. So what’s a guy to do? Pit rival gang leaders against each other hook up with a beautiful street hustler (Meagan Good) rob safety deposit boxes and get caught in an extended car chase that’s what. "It's either all or nothing " realizes O2. Very prophetic. Waist Deep has got some great character names--Meat O2 Coco Lucky Junior. Too bad most of the performances can’t live up to them. Tyrese (Four Brothers) does try his best though as the hunky O2 making a convincing albeit a tad stiff attempt at playing a father who’s whole life is his son. Good (Roll Bounce) gets to wear tight sexy clothes and strut around as Coco O2’s accomplice and eventual love interest as they rob banks Bonnie and Clyde style. Larenz Tate (Crash) plays Lucky O2’s unreliable cousin who actually isn’t lucky at all caught between a rock and hard place. And then there’s Meat played by big-time rapper The Game in his feature debut. With a battered face and covered in tattoos The Game certainly looks like one mean badass wielding a mad machete. Thankfully he doesn’t have to do much more than that. Here’s a few words of advice to would-be actors who want to play effective bad guys: Less is more. It’s movies like these that really give South Central L.A. a bad rep—shoot-outs in the middle of the street in broad daylight the carjacks the depravity the sad stories of little kids getting shot. It’s not exactly a warm and fuzzy place. Of course actor-turned-director/co-writer Vondie Curtis-Hall (best known for his numerous TV guest spots) doesn’t want it to be showing the grit in all its glory and collecting a cast from the area who could lend some credibility to the surroundings. But Hall needs a few more lessons in how to craft a well-thought action movie. The script is hackneyed beyond the usual taking bits not only from Bonnie and Clyde but also Thelma and Louise Boyz N the Hood--and even a little Shawshank Redemption. Hall’s camerawork is also too frenetic at times almost dizzyingly so with unnecessary close ups and choppy sequences. That isn’t to say some of the gun play and car chases aren’t exciting enough. There just seems to be a lack of experience overall.
With six nominations each, Alexander Payne's wine-soaked Sideways and Joshua Marston's intense drug drama Maria Full of Grace lead the 20th IFP Independent Spirit Awards nominations, announced Tuesday. Both films were nominated for, among other categories, best feature, best director best male lead (Sideways' Paul Giamatti) and best female lead (Grace's Catalina Sandino Moreno). Actors Dennis Quaid and Selma Blair served as presenters at the event.
Others nominated for best feature were Mario Van Peebles' Baadasssss!; Kinsey, starring Liam Neeson as famed sex researcher Alfred Kinsey; and Shane Carruth's Primer, this year's Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner.
Dawn Hudson, executive director of IFP/Los Angeles, the largest non-profit membership organization for independent filmmakers, said in a statement, "Over the last 20 years, the Spirit Awards have consistently celebrated the most talented artists--known and unknown--working in independent film. We've honored many filmmakers and artists at the beginning of their careers, and this year is no different."
The winners will be announced at the IFP Independent Spirit Awards ceremony on Feb. 26, 2005 and will air live on the cable network IFC at 5 p.m. EST, as well as be rebroadcast that night on Bravo at 10 p.m. EST.
The complete list of nominations:
Maria Full of Grace
Shane Carruth, Primer
Joshua Marston, Maria Full of Grace
Alexander Payne, Sideways
Walter Salles, The Motorcycle Diaries
Mario Van Peebles, Baadasssss!
The Door in the Floor
BEST FIRST FEATURE
Brother to Brother
Saints and Soldiers
BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Brother to Brother
Maria Full of Grace
JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD
Down to the Bone
On the Outs
BEST DEBUT PERFORMANCE
Anthony Mackie, Brother to Brother
Louie Olivos, Jr., Robbing Peter
Hannah Pilkes, The Woodsman
Rodrigo de la Serna, The Motorcycle Diaries
David Sullivan, Primer
BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Cate Blanchett, Coffee and Cigarettes
Loretta Devine, Woman Thou Art Loosed
Virginia Madsen, Sideways
Robin Simmons, Robbing Peter
Yenny Paola Vega, Maria Full of Grace
BEST SUPPORTING MALE
Thomas Haden Church, Sideways
Jon Gries, Napoleon Dynamite
Aidan Quinn, Cavedweller
Roger Robinson, Brother to Brother
Peter Sarsgaard, Kinsey
BEST FEMALE LEAD
Kimberly Elise, Woman Thou Art Loosed
Vera Farmiga, Down to the Bone
Judy Marte, On the Outs
Catalina Sandino Moreno, Maria Full of Grace
Kyra Sedgwick, Cavedweller
BEST MALE LEAD
Kevin Bacon, The Woodsman
Jeff Bridges, The Door in the Floor
Jamie Foxx, Redemption
Paul Giamatti, Sideways
Liam Neeson, Kinsey
The Motorcycle Diaries
Saints and Soldiers
We Don't Live Here Anymore
BEST FOREIGN FILM
Bad Education, Spain
Oasis, South Korea
Red Lights, France
The Sea Inside, Spain
Yesterday, South Africa
Chisholm '72: Unbought & Unbossed
Hiding and Seeking: Faith and Tolerance After the Holocaust
Metallica: Some Kind of Monster
Ensemble cast of Mean Creek: Rory Culkin, Ryan Kelley, Scott Mechlowicz, Trevor Morgan, Josh Peck and Carly Schroeder
Top Story: Valenti To Step Down as MPAA Head
Jack Valenti, who has held the Motion Picture Association of America's top post for 38 years and oversaw the creation of Hollywood's movie ratings system in the 1960s, announced at the annual ShoWest convention Tuesday that he plans to retire, possibly within three months, The Associated Press reports. "I look at this with mixed emotions, because when you've done something so long, it's difficult to tear yourself away from it," Valenti told reporters before making the announcement to theater owners in a convention opening address. "But also, in any job, you want to leave before people ask you to leave." MPAA has hired media recruiter Spencer Stuart to hunt for a new leader for the trade group, which represents Hollywood's top seven studios--Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, Sony, 20th Century Fox, Paramount and MGM. Valenti said he would maintain an "umbilical relationship" with the MPAA and Hollywood, though he was not certain what that role would be. "I've been blessed with some genetic energy, so I'm not going to fade away," Valenti said.
It's Jackson's Turn To Sue
Usually the target of lawsuits, Michael Jackson filed his own Monday against New Jersey businessman Henry Vaccaro, claiming he is illegally selling private property belonging to the pop star and his famous family on the Internet, Reuters reports. The lawsuit claims Vaccaro obtained letters, pictures, song lyrics and other items belonging to Jackson through a bankruptcy sale involving the Jackson's parents, Joseph and Katherine, and held by Vaccaro and that he has no right to sell them. Jackson's attorney Brian Wolf told Reuters that because Michael Jackson was not part of the bankruptcy, his property should not have been sold and Vaccaro had no claim to it.
Rhymes Sentenced to Six Months' Probation
Rapper Busta Rhymes received six months' probation after pleading no contest Tuesday to an assault charge, AP reports. According to the police report, Rhymes was performing a late-night gig in Fall River, Mass., in December 2002 when a woman, Celine Giguere, allegedly reached out and touched his chin. In a statement read in court, Rhymes said that when he saw Giguere reach for his face a second time, he grabbed her hand and said, "Please make sure you do not touch me again." The police report, however, said the rapper grabbed Giguere, shoved her head into a table and said, "If you try touching me again, I'll kill you." Rhymes, whose real name is Trevor A. Smith Jr., was also ordered to pay $300 in court costs. He'll have a clean record if he successfully completes the probation term, AP reports.
Producers Want To Keep Alamo Set Intact
Producers of the latest Ron Howard film The Alamo, starring Billy Bob Thornton, Dennis Quaid and Jason Patric, would like to preserve the elaborate set constructed in the Hill Country near Austin, Tex., but it's not going to be easy. AP reports the movie's production designer, Michael Corenblith, told the San Antonio Express-News in Tuesday's online edition, "I would like to see groups of schoolchildren around there. I would love to see the state contribute a little money and for this to become Texas' version of Colonial Williamsburg. It could become a living history exhibit." The problem, says Alamo historian and college professor Stephen L. Hardin, is that the set materials aren't durable and it won't last. The film premieres in San Antonio, the site of the real Alamo battle, Mar. 27. It opens wide April 9.
Hollywood's Budgets Top $100 Million
The average cost to make and market a movie in Hollywood is now around $102.9 million, a 15 percent rise from 2003, according to the MPAA, which released figures at ShoWest Tuesday. Reuters reports the final tally for 2003 box office revenues came in at roughly $9.5 billion, down around 0.33 percent from the previous year, while the number of people entering movie theaters came in around 1.574 billion, down 4 percent from 2002. "Let's face it. Deficits are not only rising in Hollywood, but it is on center stage in Washington, as well. We've got to get them under sensible control," MPAA head Jack Valenti said.
Lifetime Picks Up Frasier
Lifetime, the cabler for women, picked up the exclusive cable rights to longtime TV series Frasier, which just ended its 11-year run on NBC. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Lifetime beat out bids from Turner Broadcasting, MTV Networks and Oxygen and landed Frasier for about $600,000 per episode. The network will begin airing the sitcom in March 2006, when the local stations currently airing it lose their exclusivity.
Prince Signs With Sony
Prince, who was recently inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has given up his independent status and signed a deal with Sony Corp.'s Columbia Records, Reuters reports. The worldwide deal initially covers only the Purple One's upcoming album, Musicology, which Columbia will release in the United States on April 20. The album coincides with Prince's first tour in six years, which begins on Mar. 27 in Reno, Nevada.
Role Call: Darabont To Pen Mission 3; Harrelson, Harris Under Fire
The Green Mile writer/director Frank Darabont is replacing writer Robert Towne on Mission: Impossible 3, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Towne penned the first two of the series' installments but is free now to focus on his pet project Ask the Dust, adapted from the Depression-era novel by Jan Fante'S…Woody Harrelson and Ed Harris will join forces on 3000 Degrees, a fact-based drama about a fire that turned a century-old storage building in Worcester, Mass., into a cinderbox and claimed the lives of six firefighters in December 1999.
Australian actor Trevor Goddard, who played the recurring role role of Lt. Mic Brumby on the hit CBS series JAG, was found dead in his North Hollywood home Sunday from an apparent drug overdose, Reuters reports.
Los Angeles County coroner's office spokesman Craig Harvey told Reuters the initial investigation pointed to a possible suicide from an overdose of "illicit, illegal" drugs. Several notes written to one of Goddard's friends were found in the actor's home. Harvey added, however, "There was nothing in the notes indicating that he meant to take his life."
Reuters reports Goddard's girlfriend discovered his body lying on the bed around noon on Sunday. Investigators think Goddard died sometime after 9 p.m. on Saturday after having a telephone conversation with a friend from his home, Harvey told Reuters. An autopsy is set for Tuesday.
A former professional boxer, Goddard was "discovered" while competing at a boxing match and asked to appear in a series of beer commercials, according to his Web site. Besides his role on JAG, Goddard's other credits included Mortal Kombat and the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl with Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom.
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."
The Associated Press reports Dawson's Creek star Joshua Jackson was arrested and charged with assault on Saturday after getting into a drunken fight with a security guard at a hockey game in North Carolina. While at a game between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Pittsburgh Penguins, Jackson allegedly grabbed a guard around the neck and hit him. Tests show the actor's blood alcohol content was 0.14. The 24-year-old actor, who plays Pacey on the WB series, posted $1,000 bail and will appear in court Dec. 4.
A woman was arrested Monday in connection with the shooting death of actor Merlin Santana, though the Los Angeles police have not released the identity of the woman at this time, the AP reports. Santana, 26, who starred in the film Showtime and made appearances on TV series such as Moesha and The Steve Harvey Show, was killed while sitting in the passenger seat of a parked car early Saturday morning in South Los Angeles.
Halle Berry may be getting her own super-spy movie. After her stint as the tough-as-nails Jinx in the upcoming James Bond film Die Another Day, Reuters reports there are now talks between Berry and Bond producer Barbara Broccoli to make the first spin-off movie in Bond history, based on the beautiful but dangerous U.S. agent. According to Reuters, cable network E! Entertainment quoted Berry as telling its reporter that if a spin-off was planned, "I would do it in a heartbeat."
Roberto Benigni's newest film Pinocchio, which hits theaters Dec. 25, will be Italy's official entry for the Academy Awards' Best Foreign Film category. Benigni's endearing Life is Beautiful took home that award in 1999 and earned him the Best Actor award as well.
Volatile director Larry Clark's (Kids) edgy and sexually explicit film Ken Park will have to find a new U.K. distributor after he punched out the president of the film's distribution company, Metro Tartan. Variety reports Clark got into a brawl with Metro executive Hamish McAlpine over the Arab-Israeli conflict last Thursday in a London restaurant. The company announced Monday it was dropping the film, which follows a group of California skateboarders, after Clark told Variety he was going into an anger management program. Probably a good idea.
Howard Stern's comic sidekick Artie Lange may get his own sitcom at NBC. Variety reports he is developing the DreamWorks pilot for the network with veteran Simpsons scribe Sam Simon. The series will star Lange as a successful sitcom star who has to continually deal with his blue-collar roots.
ABC and Steve Martin's production company Martin/Stein Co. are developing a gay version of the hit '80s show Hart to Hart called Mr. and Mr. Nash, Variety reports. The show's premise revolves around two interior decorators who stumble upon a murder each week. British thesp Alan Cumming (Spy Kids) has already signed on to play one of the leads. "I am proud to be a part of Mr. and Mr. Nash, especially the part where it's a big hit," Martin told Variety.
Variety reports ABC News is denying a claim from rival networks that it paid Paul Burrell, the butler to Princess Diana who has been causing much controversy in the U.K, for an interview. A U.S. broadcast rights deal reportedly includes Burrell's documentary, Diana's Rock, which will appear on Good Morning America next Monday; an interview Burrell did with British journalist Sir Trevor McDonald; and a one-on-one interview with Burrell for 20/20. ABC News insists, however, that it does not pay for interviews and that the one-on-one was arranged separately.