Widening the thematic scope without sacrificing too much of the claustrophobia that made the original 1979 Alien universally spooky Prometheus takes the trophy for this summer's most adult-oriented blockbuster entertainment. The movie will leave your mouth agape for its entire runtime first with its majestic exploration of an alien planet and conjectures on the origins of the human race second with its gross-out body horror that leaves no spilled gut to the imagination. Thin characters feel more like pawns in Scott's sci-fi prequel but stunning visuals shocking turns and grand questions more than make up for the shallow ensemble. "Epic" comes in many forms. Prometheus sports all of them.
Based on their discovery of a series of cave drawings all sharing a similar painted design Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) are recruited by Weyland to head a mission to another planet one they believe holds the answers to the creation of life on Earth. Along for the journey are Vickers (Charlize Theron) the ruthless Weyland proxy Janek (Idris Elba) a blue collar captain a slew of faceless scientists and David (Michael Fassbender) HAL 9000-esque resident android who awakens the crew of spaceship Prometheus when they arrive to their destination. Immediately upon descent there's a discovery: a giant mound that's anything but natural. The crew immediately prepares to scope out the scene zipping up high-tech spacesuits jumping in futuristic humvees and heading out to the site. What they discover are the awe-inspiring creations of another race. What they bring back to the ship is what they realize may kill their own.
The first half of Prometheus could be easily mistaken for Steven Spielberg's Alien a sense of wonder glowing from every frame not too unlike Close Encounters. Scott takes full advantage of his fictional settings and imbues them with a reality that makes them even more tantalizing. He shoots the vistas of space and the alien planet like National Geographic porn and savors the interior moments on board the Prometheus full of hologram maps sleeping pods and do-it-yourself surgery modules with the same attention. Prometheus is beautiful shot in immersive 3D that never dampers Dariusz Wolski's sharp photography. Scott's direction seems less interested in the run-or-die scenario set up in the latter half of the film but the film maintains tension and mood from beginning to end. It all just gets a bit…bloodier.
Jon Spaihts' and Damon Lindelof's script doesn't do the performers any favors shuffling them to and fro between the ship and the alien construction without much room for development. Reveals are shoehorned in without much setup (one involving Theron's Vickers that's shockingly mishandled) but for the most part the ensemble is ready to chomp into the script's bigger picture conceits. Rapace is a physical performer capable of pulling off a grisly scene involving an alien some sharp objects and a painful procedure (sure to be the scene of the blockbuster season. Among the rest of the crew Fassbender's David stands out as the film's revelatory performance delivering a digestible ambiguity to his mechanical man that playfully toys with expectations from his first entrance. The creature effects in Prometheus will wow you but even Fassbender's smallest gesture can send the mind spinning. The power of his smile packs more of a punch than any facehugger.
Much like Lindelof's Lost Prometheus aims to explore the idea of asking questions and seeking answers and on Scott's scale it's a tremendous unexpected ride. A few ideas introduced to spur action fall to the way side in the logic department but with a clear mission and end point Prometheus works as a sweeping sci-fi that doesn't require choppy editing or endless explosions to keep us on the edge of our seats. Prometheus isn't too far off from the Alien xenomorphs: born from existing DNA of another creature the movie breaks out as its own beast. And it's wilder than ever.
61-year-old Nick Nolte, who was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of drunk
driving in Malibu, Calif., may now also be facing drug charges. "We have
strong reason to believe there were drugs involved," California Highway
Patrol spokesman Leland Tang told Reuters. Nolte, 61, was described by highway police as "drooling" and "completely out of it" when he was pulled over in Malibu for driving erratically in his black Mercedes. The Oscar-nominated actor was arrested after failing a field sobriety test. He is currently out on $2,500 bail.
Brad Pitt, whom we reported yesterday had pulled out of director Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain seven weeks before shooting was set to start in Australia, said he also is disheartened about the project not moving forward. "Given my friendship and respect for Darren and the year and a half we've dedicated to working on this project, I too am disappointed," he said in a statement released by Warner Bros. Pictures. "Still, I remain encouraged that The Fountain will still have its day." Pitt is in final negotiations to star as Achilles in the studio's epic adventure Troy instead. The news that Pitt was opting out of The Fountain angered many crew workers who had worked on the film's sets, prompting some of them to write an open letter to the Web site Ain't It Cool News that accused Pitt of "Hollywood prima donna antics."
Actor Jude Law and his wife, actress and fashion designer Sadie Frost, had their third child Tuesday night, People.com reports. Frost gave birth to Rudy Law at a north London hospital. The couple has two children together, Iris, 22 months, and Rafferty, 7. Frost also has an 11-year old son, Finley, from her first marriage to Spandau Ballet's Gary Kemp.
Actress Jamie Lynn Sigler, better know as Meadow Soprano on the HBO mob drama The Sopranos is engaged to her manager and boyfriend of one year, A.J. Discala, People.com reports. Discala, 31, proposed to Sigler, 21, while the two were on a Mexican cruise.
Late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain's childhood home, which was put up for sale on eBay last Thursday, received a high offer of $210,000 from a serious bidder--$10,000 over the minimum set by Ed and Jennifer McKee of Oregon City, Ore, The Associated Press reports. The couple, unaware Cobain had once lived there, bought the nondescript house located 70 miles southwest of Seattle for $42,500 last month. An attorney for Cobain's widow, Courtney Love, and their daughter said the Cobain estate had not authorized the auction. "The estate will not be authorizing any commercial use of Mr. Cobain's name or likeness at the property," he said in a statement.
The Matrix star Laurence Fishburne is taking a serious interest in the small screen. The Oscar-nominated actor will produce a primetime series for Paramount Network Television. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the action drama, tentatively titled Sleepwalker, is a high-concept show following the adventures of a next-generation superhero. Spawn scribe Alan McElroy will write the project, which has received a script commitment from CBS.
Comedian Jay Mohr has been chosen to host a new NBC series titled The Funniest Person in America, the AP reports. Producers of the show, described as a cross between American Idol and The Real World, will pick 10 comedians and follow them as they live together and compete for development deals with NBC. The series will debut sometime in spring or summer 2003.
Canadian singer Celine Dion's manager-husband Rene Angelil sent a notice of claim to Montreal-based radio station CKMF demanding it stop playing a parody of the song "I'm Alive," The Canadian Press reports. The song played for about six weeks before Angelil complained. He also asked that all of Dion's songs be removed from the station's play list. "I was ashamed that Celine is played on a radio station that, in my opinion, displays a vulgar and disturbing tone," he said. The station agreed to pull the song, in large part because it had run its course, but refused to pull all of the singer's songs from its play list.
Singer-songwriter Warren Zevon, 55, whose hit song "Werewolves in London" had fans howling throughout the '70s, was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer last month, spokeswoman Diana Baron announced today. "I'm OK with it," Zevon said in a statement. "But it'll be a drag if I don't make it until the next James Bond movies comes out."
Bobby Garfield (David Morse) returns to his small hometown to attend the funeral of his childhood friend and remembers the fateful summer in 1960 when his whole world changed. The story flashes back to when 11-year-old Bobby (Anton Yelchin) and his best friends Carol (Mika Boorem) and Sully-John (Will Rothhaar) capture the pure joy of youthfulness. When a mysterious stranger named Ted Brautigan (Anthony Hopkins) moves upstairs and starts to pay attention to Bobby the boy suddenly realizes what's truly missing from his life--the love of a parent. Bobby's mother Liz (Hope Davis) is embittered by the death of Bobby's father and shows little compassion for her son's growing needs. Ted fills a void with the boy opening his eyes to the world around him and helps Bobby come to terms with his real feelings for Carol--and his mother. But Ted also has some deep dark secrets of his own and Bobby tries hard to stop danger from reaching the old man.
The performances make the film especially in the genuine camaraderie of the kids. Yelchin Boorem and Rothhaar never deliver a false move with an easiness that makes us believe we are simply watching three 11-year-old children grow up together. Yelchin in particular is able to get right to the heart of this young boy who misses his father and clings to the only adult who will listen. And his scenes with Boorem simply break your heart. (Davis) does an admirable job playing a part none too sympathetic. She manages to show a woman whose been beaten down but who does truly love her son in her own way. Morse too is one of those character actors you can plug in any movie and get a performance worth noting. In Hearts you want to see more of him. Of course the film shines brightest when Hopkins is on the screen. It may not be an Oscar-caliber performance but the actor is unparalleled in bringing a character to life--showing the subtleties of an old man looking for some peace in his life.
If you are expecting the Stephen King novel you may be disappointed. Screenwriter William Goldman and director Scott Hicks (Shine) deftly extracted the King formula of telling a story through a child's eye and explaining how the relationships formed as a child shaped the adult later. Hicks did an amazing job with his young actors especially Yelchin and Boorem. But where the novel continued into a supernatural theme explaining Brautigan's fear of being captured by "low men in yellow coats" (a reference to King's The Dark Tower series) the movie downplayed the mystical elements instead giving real explanations for Brautigan's man-on-the-run. That was the one problem with Hearts--we needed more danger. Introducing men from another dimension may not have been the way to go but had there been more tension the film would have resonated more especially when Bobby risked his own safety to save Ted.