Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.
Supermodel Claudia Schiffer wore a Valentino wedding dress Saturday to her own wedding, but no one really got to see it. One of the world's most photographed women wore a blanket to cover up her gown, Reuters reports. Schiffer, who tied the knot with British film producer Matthew Vaughn in a 14th-century church in Shimpling, England, disappointed onlookers who wanted to wish her well. Presumably, anyone on the guest list, which included the likes of Madonna, Guy Ritchie and Trudie Styler, caught a glimpse.
"It's just a sex thing," quipped Hugh Grant of his Two Weeks Notice co-star, Sandra Bullock. The two were at the Cannes Film Festival Saturday telling reporters all sorts of steamy stories, according to Reuters. Although no one is really sure if their comments were for real or just a joke, Bullock has only admitted to kissing and holding hands with Grant 'cause she's "just not ready to have sex yet."
James Caviezel will morph from actor to racer today when he gets behind the wheel of the Chevrolet Corvette pace car to lead 33 drivers down two parade laps and the pace lap of the Indianapolis 500. Caviezel follows other famous celebrity drivers from past Indie 500 races, including Jay Leno and Anthony Edwards.
The former head of Paramount Pictures, Robert Evans, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Thursday. Evans was instrumental in approving such film classics as The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II and Love Story, which helped turn the struggling studio around.
Attention all Matrix fans! The next two sequels are a bigger and better work in progress, according to producer Joel Silver. "We have done visual effects for the movies that, because of the time that we took to make them and the cost, will never be seen again," Silver told Sci Fi Wire on Friday in Sydney, Australia--where the films are currently in production. Look for The Matrix Reloaded to hit the big screen in May 2003. You can watch the teaser trailer for both films here on Hollywood.com.
In the Biz
Meg Ryan's not throwing any punches in her next role, although she will be managing a few boxers. The Associated Press reports Ryan will play female boxing manager Jackie Kallen in Against the Ropes, a big screen drama co-starring Omar Epps and directed by Charles Dutton. No word on when production will begin.
First, she made Pepsi the choice of the belly button ring generation. Now, popster Britney Spears' will have them geared up with Samsung cell phones. A new deal unites the singer and the phone company during Spears' Dream Within a Dream 2002 concert tour that kicks off Friday in Las Vegas, Launch Music reports.
Rock band Hole has announced their official breakup, Launch Music reports. Hole released three albums, including Pretty on the Inside, Live Through This and Celebrity Skin.
B.B. King was crowned entertainer of the year for the fourth year in a row at the 23rd annual W.C. Handy Blues Awards Thursday in Memphis, Tenn., AP reports.
If you like the tunes of the late Perry Como, now you can enjoy his clothing, too. AP reports Dawson's Auctioneers and Appraisers will be offering over 1,500 lots from the singer's former Florida home Thursday through June 2, including monogrammed cardigans, golf shoes and candid photos of Como with other celebrities.