TriStar Pictures via Everett Collection
An hour and change into Pompeii, there's a volcano. You'd think there might have been a volcano throughout — you'd think that the folks inhabiting the ill-fated Italian village would have been dealing with the infamous volcano for the full 110 minutes. After all, volcano movies have worked before. Volcano, for instance. And the other one. But for some reason, Pompeii feels the need to stuff its first three quarters with coliseum battles, Ancient Rome politics, unlikely friendships, and a love story. But we don’t care. We can't care. None of it warrants our care. Where the hell is the volcano, already?
To answer that: it's off to the side — rumbling. Smoking. Occasionally spiking the neighboring community with geological fissures or architectural misgivings. Pretty much executing every trick picked up in Ominous Foreshadowing 101, but never joining the story. Not until Paul W.S. Anderson shouts, "Last call," hitting us with a final 20-odd minutes of unmitigated disaster (in a good way). If you've managed to maintain a waking pulse throughout the lecture in sawdust that is Pompeii's story, then you might actually have a good time with the closing sequence. It has everything you’d expect — everything you had been expecting! — and delivers it with gusto. Torpedoes of smoke running hordes of idiot villagers out of their homes and toward whatever safety the notion of forward has to offer. Long undeveloped characters rising to the occasion to rescue hapless princesses who thought it might be a good idea to set their vacation homes at the foot of a lava-spewing mountain. The whole ordeal is actually a lot of laughs. But it amounts to a dessert just barely worth the tasteless dinner we had to force down to get there.
TriStar Pictures via Everett Collection
To get through the bulk of Pompeii, we recommend focusing all your attentions away from the effectively bland slave/gladiator/hero Kit Harington — sorry, Jon Snow (he's actually called a bastard at one point) — and onto his partner in crime: a scowling Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje — sorry, Mr. Eko (he and Snow actually trade valedictions by saying "I'll see you at another time, brother" at one point) — who warms up to his fellow prize fighter during their shared time in the klink, and delivers his moronic material with a sprinkle of flair. Keeping the working man down is Kiefer Sutherland — sorry, Jack Bauer — as an ostentatious Roman senator, doling out vainglory in Basil Fawlty-sized portions. When he's not spitting scowls at peasants, ol' JB is undermining the efforts of an earnest local governor Jared Harris — sorry, Lane Pryce (he actually calls someone a mad man at one point) — and his wife Carrie-Anne Moss — sorry, Katherine O'Connell from Vegas (joking! Trinity) — and finagling the douchiest marriage proposal ever toward their daughter Emily Browning — sorry, but I have no idea what she's from.
But questionable television references and some enjoyably daft performances by Eko and Jack can't really make up for the heft of mindless dullness that Pompeii passes off as its narrative... until the big showstopper.
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In truth, the last sequence is a gem. It's fun, inviting, and energizing, and might even call into question the possibility that Pompeii is all about how futile life, love, friendship, politics, and pride are when even the most egregiously complicated of plots can be taken out in the end by a sudden volcanic eruption. But you have to wade through that egregious complication to get there, and you shouldn't expect to have too much of a good time doing so.
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Well, this is just dark. The first image for Developing Linda Lovelace Biopic # 1, Lovelace, has been released. Below, we see star Amanda Seyfried as Lovelace herself with Peter Sarsgaard, who portrays Lovelace's physically and psychologically abusive husband Chuck Traynor. For those unfamiliar with Lovelace's story, she rose to fame in the pornographic film industry with the 1972 X-rated movie Deep Throat, which her husband/manager Traynor forced her into doing.
Lovelace will also star Sharon Stone, Adam Brody, Hank Azaria, Bobby Cannavale, Chris Noth and Robert Patrick, and will be directed by Jeffrey Friedman and Robert Epstein.
The other Linda Lovelace biopic alluded to above is Inferno: A Linda Lovelace Story, directed by Matthew Wilder, and starring Malin Akerman, Matt Dillon, Paz de la Huerta, Sasha Grey, Adam Goldberg and Harold Perrineau.
Source: The Film Stage
Throughout film history, there have always been instances when two strikingly similar movies are made around the same time. Armageddon and Deep Impact. The Prestige and The Illusionist. This year's Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror Mirror. And, of course, the pair of developing Linda Lovelace biopics: Lovelace and Inferno: A Linda Lovelace Story.
We recently heard that Lovelace was pulling in a handful of interesting actors and actresses (stars include Amanda Seyfried leading a cast including Sharon Stone, Peter Sarsgaard, Adam Brody and Hank Azaria). Now, Inferno is making its rounds in the casting scene. Already cast are Malin Akerman as Lovelace and Matt Dillon as her abusive husband Chuck Traynor, plus Paz de La Huerta. And newcomers to the cast are a plenty.
Adam Goldberg is joining Inferno as Harold Reems, who was Lovelace's costar in the infamous 1972 pornographic film Deep Throat. Also on board are Sasha Grey, herself a former pornographic actress, the film's producer Carlucci Weyant, and LOST's leading player in the art of name-screaming, Harold Perrineau, who will play Sammy Davis, Jr.
Between Lovelace and Inferno, there's really a pretty impressive list of actors looking to get involved with the depiction of Linda Lovelace's story. Inferno is derived from Lovelace's 1980 memoir Ordeal: An Autobiography.