Now it’s Milo’s (Zlatko Buric) turn the big bad drug dealer from the original Pusher. It begins with him going to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. He says he wants to get clean so he can have a better relationship with his daughter Milena (Marinela Dekic). In the next scene Milo goes back to scoring drugs but he’s also planning Milena’s birthday party. As the big night nears Milo finds out that his latest score was ecstasy not heroin but sorting that out doesn’t seem so much of a priority to him. Milo gets busy cooking for his family gathering while his underlings try to sort out the X/dope mess. Milena’s got her own interests too and she’s not afraid of her badass father. The twist of the family story is a nice change-up for the Pusher series but it still delves into the violent world of drugs and qualifies as a worthy entry to the franchise. Buric plays a much older Milo here than he did in the first Pusher. With a deep sorry mumble he’s going through the motions of older age. He gets exasperated with his crew for pestering him while he’s trying to attend to his family and he seems like a normal dad in that way. Family fights are the same normal blow ups with quick forgiveness that happen at any Thanksgiving day gathering. As the night wears on Buric shows Milo’s growing intensity. His silent brooding means he is evaluating his distractions but really remains calm in even the worst of drug mishaps. It’s way cooler than the panicked street hoods of the first two Pushers. Now you can watch a real pro at work. As Milena Dekick doesn’t have too much personality. Is she spoiled? We get hints of that. Is she just controlling? Probably and with good reason living in that family. The other crew members are just generic criminals. Focusing on the family and Milo’s attempted recovery from addiction is a good twist. All the street dealing was getting old especially in Pusher II. This seems like a more adult Pusher dealing with real issues everyone has in some way--work family etc. It’s just most people aren’t thugs. Like a My Big Fat European Pusher this third one creates more excitement around the party preparations than the crime world. Still the movie is a Pusher so you’re waiting for the crime story to pop back in. The violence is plenty brutal but it’s torture not action. There’s no suspense because this is Milo the man in charge. It really makes one wish they’d just combined all three perspectives into one massive expose rather than dragging it out through three films.
Mattie Demaret (Barry Pepper) should be the heir to a Mafia kingdom but ever since he was branded a sissy at age 12 for refusing to shoot at point-blank range the man who sent his father to prison he's been an errand boy. So he sets out to prove himself to his pop Benny Chains (Dennis Hopper) and his uncle Teddy Deserve (John Malkovich) by arranging to transport a sack of cash across the country. He counts on his friend Marbles (Seth Green) to get it there intact but unfortunately the coke-sniffing pilot and general screw-up sniffs some coke and well screws up losing the cash somewhere in Montana. Mattie heads out to Big Sky country to save the day bringing along two more friends: Taylor (Vin Diesel) provides the muscle; Tony (Andrew Davoli) provides the charm and good looks. As the foursome scrambles to reclaim the cash from the crooked sheriff of Wibaux Mont. they discover talents and strengths they never knew they had. When the focus is on the caper and the pace is quick Knockaround Guys has a youthful exuberance that's fun to watch but when things slow down to give the boys a chance to moan about how tough it is growing up Mafia and working as errand boys to their high-ranking daddies the audience takes a real pounding.
Given his character's pivotal role Malkovich should dominate the scenes he's in and he does. Trouble is his Brooklyn accent has serious issues and it distracts the audience from both his performance and the story itself. Hopper comes off better but he's not asked to do a heck of a lot--just be a tough dad and a tougher underlord. Pepper in the leading role owns this movie and his performance will no doubt establish him as one of the "ones to watch" in coming years. As for Vin Diesel and Seth Green they're both real talents in their respective genres--Green's got a great sense of comic timing and he can do drama too and Diesel is perhaps the first of his kind: an intelligent body-builder type. While Knockaround Guys tries to make the most of its talented cast the acting suffers from the same problem as the story--the pacing's off. The movie insists on stopping the action so that the actors can deliver the most "meaningful" lines in a full frame shot while speeeeaaaakkkkiiiing veeerrry sloooowwwly. When Diesel talks tough and picks fights or Malkovich gets as creepy as only he (and perhaps Jeremy Irons) can be or Green has a quirky freak-out the film seems like it might work. But then there's that close-up that insistence on lingering over the lines that are supposed to prove a point--and it just kills the story which really had a lot of potential.
The lion's share of the problems with Knockaround Guys can be attributed to the novice direction of Brian Koppelman and David Levien. Although they've written for the screen before (Rounders) and they wrote this screenplay as well the added responsibility of directing weighs heavily on them. They don't seem to have achieved enough distance from the words they wrote to allow them to translate the script meaningfully to the screen. It plays like a novel edited by its own writer who caught the basic grammar mistakes but missed the crucial big-picture flaw that will ultimately land the book on the bargain shelf. It's no wonder that Knockaround Guys was held back from a U.S. release for almost a year after its European debut (in Italy of all places) in November 2001 and it's no wonder it's releasing here just in time for the notoriously slow pre-holiday movie season.
So much for TV's same old, same old.
The nominations for the 54th Annual Primetime Emmys signaled a significant shift in the landscape of television's most honored series and performers, with perennial favorites like ER, The Practice, The X-Files and NYPD Blue (the latter ineligible due to a lack of new episodes) losing steam among Academy of Television Arts & Sciences voters in favor of up-and-coming shows like Six Feet Under, Alias, 24 and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
Nobody better signified the Emmy voters' changing tastes than Will & Grace star and this morning's nomination announcer Eric McCormack. After ER actress Laura Innes read off a list of names in the lead actor in a comedy category that did not include his own, he executed a perfectly timed, Jack Benny-esque slow look over his shoulder to assure he had heard correctly.
"It's just as well," the Emmy winner--and impending father-to-be--sighed. "You know how hard it is to get a sitter." The nonplussed star nevertheless beamed when his show and co-stars Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally each received nominations.
McCormack played his shut-out for laughs, but a dramatic shift in preferences marked this year's nominations. Still, despite having no new episodes of The Sopranos to submit, HBO again emerged as the network with the most nominations, an astounding 93 nods. Six Feet Under delivered the most of any series this year with 23, and the pay cable net also scored nods for its enduring Sex and the City (ten), newcomer Curb Your Enthusiasm, miniseries Band of Brothers and several of its pay cable movies.
The new crop of freshman faves include Alias (nine noms, including acting accolades for Jennifer Garner and Victor Garber), 24 (ten, including nods for best drama and lead actor Kiefer Sutherland) and comedian Bernie Mac, who got his first nomination in the lead actor in a comedy series for the initial season of his eponymous Fox sitcom. Michael Chiklis, star of the scathing new F/X crime drama The Shield, also earned his first kudo as lead actor in drama.
But in spite of near shut-outs in major categories for former Emmy shoo-ins like ER, The Practice, Ally McBeal and Law & Order, at least one principal network had plenty of reasons to be as proud as a peacock. NBC nabbed 89 nominations, bolstered by the still-powerhouse The West Wing (21 nods), Will & Grace (13) and a resurgently popular Friends (11). Indeed, this year marked the strongest showing yet by the latter show's cast members, who for the first time decided to submit themselves in the comedy lead categories rather than the supporting slots.
The gambit paid off: buoyed by this season's Rachel-Joey-Ross triangle, Jennifer Aniston and Matt LeBlanc scored nods, though David Schwimmer was edged out by Matthew Perry. Aniston's real-life hubby Brad Pitt even earned a nomination for his guest appearance on the series.
The network's graying show Frasier still snared a very respectable nine nominations, including acting nods for lead Kelsey Grammer and supporting actor David Hyde Pierce, along with guest actors Brian Cox, Adam Arkin and Anthony LaPaglia. The series is only two Emmy wins away from tying the all-time win mark set by The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
It seems that actors looking to make a bid for the winged trophies need only get their agents to wrangle them a role on The West Wing. Not only did previous Emmy winners Martin Sheen and Allison Janney (bumped up this year to the lead actress category) score approval, the Oval Office drama earned supporting nominations for regular cast members Dule Hill, John Spencer, Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitford, Janel Moloney, Stockard Channing and Mary-Louise Parker, as well as for guest actors Ron Silver, Tim Matheson and Mark Harmon.
Whitford and Jane Kaczmarek continue to be the favorite real-life husband-and-wife choice among Emmy voters, with Kaczmarek getting a lead comedy actress nod for her role on Fox's , while her TV hubby Bryan Cranston got his first-ever lead comedy actor nod for the series.
CBS must love Everybody Loves Raymond for turning out one of its strongest performances yet with 11 nominations, and each of the sitcom's lead actors earned a berth in their respective categories, as did guest actress Katherine Helmond. The eye net's sophomore series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, one of the most-watched shows on TV, garnered six nods, including one for outstanding drama series, yet none of the show's actors were singled out.
"Singled out" sounds like a term the Sex and the City gals would never want to hear, but while Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon and even veteran character actress Frances Sternhagen (who plays Charlotte's blue-blood mother-in-law Bunny) woke up to Emmy nominations, Kristin Davis somehow slipped through the cracks again despite an emotionally weighty season.
Finally, it apparently helps you get an Emmy nomination if you already have an Academy Award, or at least a nomination, on your mantel. Among the performers previously tapped for film's Golden Guy who earned Emmy nods in various categories this year: Albert Finney, Angela Bassett, Sissy Spacek, Jim Broadbent, Susan Sarandon, Jon Voight, Vanessa Redgrave, Laura Linney, Kenneth Branagh, Joan Allen, Michael Douglas, Anjelica Huston, Glenn Close and Cloris Leachman. Even Tom Hanks and directors Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott got acknowledged in the producer categories.
ATAS will hand out the Emmy trophies on Sunday, Sept. 22, at a black-tie ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
Highlights of the 2001-2002 Primetime Emmy Award Nominations:
Outstanding Drama Series
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS)
Law & Order (NBC)
Six Feet Under (HBO)
The West Wing (NBC)
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Michael Chiklis, The Shield
Michael C. Hall, Six Feet Under
Peter Krause, Six Feet Under
Kiefer Sutherland, 24
Martin Sheen, The West Wing
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Jennifer Garner, Alias
Amy Brenneman, Judging Amy
Rachel Griffiths, Six Feet Under
Frances Conroy, Six Feet Under
Allison Janney, The West Wing
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Victor Garber, Alias
Freddy Rodriguez, Six Feet Under
Dulé Hill, The West Wing
John Spencer, The West Wing
Bradley Whitford, The West Wing
Richard Schiff, The West Wing
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Tyne Daly, Judging Amy
Lauren Ambrose, Six Feet Under
Mary-Louise Parker, The West Wing
Stockard Channing, The West Wing
Janel Moloney, The West Wing
Outstanding Comedy Series
Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS)
Sex and the City (HBO)
Will & Grace (NBC)
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Bernie Mac, The Bernie Mac Show
Ray Romano, Everybody Loves Raymond
Kelsey Grammer, Frasier
Matt LeBlanc, Friends
Matthew Perry, Friends
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Patricia Heaton, Everybody Loves Raymond
Jennifer Aniston, Friends
Jane Kaczmarek, Malcolm in the Middle
Sarah Jessica Parker, Sex and the City
Debra Messing, Will & Grace
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Peter Boyle, Everybody Loves Raymond
Brad Garrett, Everybody Loves Raymond
David Hyde Pierce, Frasier
Bryan Cranston, Malcolm in the Middle
Sean Hayes, Will & Grace
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Doris Roberts, Everybody Loves Raymond
Wendie Malick, Just Shoot Me
Cynthia Nixon, Sex and the City
Kim Cattrall, Sex and the City
Megan Mullally, Will & Grace
MINISERIES AND MOVIES
Band of Brothers (HBO)
The Mists of Avalon (TNT)
Outstanding Made for Television Movie
Dinner With Friends (HBO)
The Gathering Storm (HBO)
James Dean (TNT)
The Laramie Project (HBO)
Path To War (HBO)
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Albert Finney, The Gathering Storm
James Franco, James Dean
Sir Michael Gambon, Path To War
Kenneth Branagh, Shackleton
Beau Bridges, We Were the Mulvaneys
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Vanessa Redgrave, The Gathering Storm
Angela Bassett, The Rosa Parks Story
Blythe Danner, We Were the Mulvaneys
Laura Linney, Wild Iris
Gena Rowlands, Wild Iris
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Jim Broadbent, The Gathering Storm
Michael Moriarty, James Dean
Alec Baldwin, Path To War
Don Cheadle, Things Behind the Sun
Jon Voight, Uprising
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Sissy Spacek, Last Call
Stockard Channing, The Matthew Shepard Story
Joan Allen, The Mists of Avalon
Anjelica Huston, The Mists of Avalon
Dame Diana Rigg, Victoria and Albert
Outstanding Guest Actor in aDrama Series
John Larroquette, The Practice
Charles S. Dutton, The Practice
Ron Silver, The West Wing
Tim Matheson, The West Wing
Mark Harmon, The West Wing
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Mary McDonnell, ER
Martha Plimpton, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Patricia Clarkson, Six Feet Under
Lili Taylor, Six Feet Under
Illeana Douglas, Six Feet Under
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Adam Arkin, Frasier
Anthony LaPaglia, Frasier
Brian Cox, Frasier
Brad Pitt, Friends
Michael Douglas, Will & Grace
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Katherine Helmond, Everybody Loves Raymond
Susan Sarandon, Malcolm in the Middle
Cloris Leachman, Malcolm in the Middle
Frances Sternhagen, Sex and the City
Glenn Close, Will & Grace
Jerry Seinfeld may return to television. Variety reported ABC has greenlit a half-hour comedy pilot based on the best-selling books Letters from a Nut by the wacky and mysterious Ted L. Nancy, with introductions by Seinfeld. The speculation out there is that Nancy and Seinfeld are the same person--a highly imaginative letter writer who "sends seemingly serious, yet totally absurd, requests to corporate honchos, entertainment conglomerates...and celebrities," ABC told Variety. The best part? The people receiving the letters usually offer serious responses to Nancy.
Bob Hope quietly celebrated his 99th birthday at home on Wednesday, while his friends and family held a ceremony, naming a veterans' chapel at the Los Angeles National Cemetery in his honor. Hope, who has been in frail health in the last few years, is best known for his tireless work entertaining U.S. troops from the time of World War II to the Gulf War.
The next James Bond flick, Die Another Day, will make its world premiere at the Royal Film Performance Nov. 18 in London. Details have not been confirmed, but either Queen Elizabeth or Prince Charles will be in attendance. Good form.
Director John Singleton is in serious negotiations to helm the sequel to The Fast and the Furious, with actor/singer Tyrese (Baby Boy) set to star. Original Furious director Rob Cohen dropped out when star Vin Diesel decided not to do the sequel, which follows conflicted cop Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) as he goes undercover to do some more street racing, this time in Miami.
Charlize Theron may join Mark Wahlberg in Paramount's The Italian Job, a remake of the 1969 film starring Michael Caine and Benny Hill. Wahlberg plays a thief who stages a traffic jam to steal a safe, while Theron would play his love interest (big surprise! We thought maybe she'd be playing his mother), who is an expert safecracker and skilled driver.
James Woods is going to play former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani in the USA Network's upcoming biopic Rudy! Now, that's an original title.
David Bowie's alter-ego from the 1970s, Ziggy Stardust, will once again play guitar. The 1973 live-concert film Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars will open July 10 at New York's Film Forum and then receive a limited release this summer and fall.
Rapper Snoop Dogg unfortunately did not have a doctor's note. He pleaded no contest to marijuana possession charges and received a $250 fine and a suspended 30-day jail sentence after his tour bus was stopped near Amherst, Ohio, on Oct. 17 and six bags of marijuana were found.