Miles Massey (George Clooney) is a cynic when it comes to marriage and well he should be. As the nation's leading divorce attorney he's pretty much seen the institution in the worst possible light. He's even created the definitive prenuptial agreement "the Massey Prenup " and it's so ironclad there's a course devoted to it at Harvard. He's also known in legal circles for his ability to convince juries to give his clients often the guilty parties in breakups the lion's share of the settlement despite their obvious and documented marital misdeeds. But when he pulls his tricks on Marylin Rexroth (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and takes away her chance at financial independence the lovely lady vows revenge--and what better way to get it than to use her vast powers of play-acting and manipulation to turn the hard-bitten lawyer into a mushy love-soaked mess? Trouble is Cupid's arrow flies both ways--for better or worse.
Strong lead characters are the heart of Intolerable Cruelty and Clooney and Zeta-Jones are up to the task seeming to recognize how easy it could be to slip into romantic comedy stereotypes. Zeta-Jones avoids that pitfall by keeping her gestures and facial expression very small--she never overplays her character's role-playing whether she's doing the slighted wife bit the rich divorcée bit or the lovestruck financée bit. Through it all she's bathed in a soft golden light and she looks warm and beautiful and kind even when she's being intolerably cruel. Clooney on the other hand is shot with a whiter light--probably to show off his character's gleaming teeth which are as much the key to his personality as the hair was to Clooney's Everett Ulysses McGill in O Brother Where Art Thou? also by the Coen brothers--director Joel and producer Ethan. As in that film Clooney here goes big with everything--his face is expressive and volatile his voice is loud and his words come fast and hard. The opposing ways the two actors play their characters really works for the movie leading to some good comic moments and some decent on-screen chemistry. Notable supporting performances come from Geoffrey Rush as an early Massey victim and Cedric the Entertainer as a private eye playing both sides.
The Coen brothers have once again turned a stagnating genre on its ear as is their modus operandi in most of their films. As is also usual for the pair Intolerable Cruelty hearkens back to the good old days of filmmaking when strong character motivations drove intricate plots and even light romantic comedies could teach audiences something about human nature without getting preachy. That said there's still something missing from this movie. It may be that the story's modern Beverly Hills setting called for longtime Coen brothers collaborator cinematographer Roger Deakins to take a modern glossy L.A. approach to the look of the film which gives it a celluloid visual feel audiences see all the time instead of one of the fresh different looks we've come to expect from the makers of O Brother and The Man Who Wasn't There. But Cruelty doesn't play out like a sellout even if it kind of looks like one. And maybe that's the point--movies like people aren't always what they seem to be on the surface.
Singers Alicia Keys and India.Arie will appear at the 33rd NAACP Image Awards set for Feb. 23, 2002, at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles.
Chris Tucker will host the awards show with Steve Harvey, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Jamie Foxx and Angela Bassett also scheduled to appear.
Founded more than thirty years ago during a meeting in the home of Sammy Davis Jr., the Awards honor projects and individuals of all races who help promote "positive images of people of color."
There are 41 competitive categories in the fields of motion pictures, television, music and literature, and there are several special awards including the Image Award Hall of Fame and Entertainer of the Year.
This year, National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice will receive the President's Award and Little Richard will receive the Hall of Fame Award.
Ali, Baby Boy, Rush Hour 2, The Brothers and Training Day have been nominated for Outstanding Motion Picture.
The two-hour television special will air March 1 at 8 p.m. EST on Fox. After airing in the Saturday Night Live time slot on NBC for eight years, the broadcast moved to Fox in 1996.
A selected list of nominees follows:
Outstanding Motion Picture
Ali (Columbia Pictures)
Baby Boy (Columbia Pictures)
Rush Hour 2 (New Line Cinema)
The Brothers (Screen Gems)
Training Day (Warner Bros.)
Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture
Chris Tucker, Rush Hour 2
Denzel Washington, Training Day
Morgan Freeman, Along Came a Spider
Tyrese Gibson, Baby Boy
Will Smith, Ali
Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
Alfre Woodard, K-PAX
Halle Berry, Swordfish
Regina King, Down To Earth
Vivica A Fox, Two Can Play That Game
Whoopi Goldberg, Kingdom Come
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Anthony Anderson, Kingdom Come
Cedric "The Entertainer", Kingdom Come
Jamie Foxx, Ali
Mario Van Peebles, Ali
Ving Rhames, Baby Boy
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Angela Bassett, The Score
Jada Pinkett Smith, Ali
Loretta Divine, Kingdom Come
Mo'Nique, Two Can Play That Game
Vivica A. Fox, Kingdom Come
The roommates of CBS' Big Brother 2 and NBC's Friends will be fighting for television ratings the evening of Sept. 20.
The Big Brother 2 $500,000 winner will be revealed that night, as chosen by contestants previously voted off the show, Reuters reports. The series has been gaining numbers in rating as the fights within the roommates increased in recent weeks. Thursday's Big Brother 2, which featured Kent's dismissal, attracted a season-high of 9.7 million viewers.
Big Brother 2's finale will serve as a lead-in to the second season of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, followed by The Agency series debut.
NBC has finalized plans to air an NBC White House special the first Wednesday of the season, which will air Sept. 19 before the season premiere of The West Wing. The reality game show Lost, which would air on that time slot, has been moved to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18.
Dixie Chick Martie Seidel is engaged to Irish College professor Gareth MaGuire. The couple met at the wedding of fellow Dixie Chick lead singer Natalie Maines. But Kathy Allmand, spokesperson for the Dixie Chicks could not confirm the engagement to The Associated Press on Monday.
French film star Jean-Paul Belmondo is spending his days at Saint Joseph's hospital in Paris recovering from a stroke he suffered last week. He is no longer in intensive care. The hospital said his health is improving and that treatment and re-education are continuing, Reuters reports.
Inspector Morse star John Thaw, 59, is responding well to cancer treatment and wants to return to work, his wife, Sheila Hancock, told AP. The British actor announced in June that he had cancer in the esophagus and would undergo treatment.
Former Allman Brothers member Dickey Betts has been charged with domestic battery after he reportedly punched his wife Donna in the face while she was driving, police told AP. The musician was arrested Saturday and was released from jail Sunday on a $2,000 bail, the Sarasota Herald-Tribute reports. Betts was convicted of domestic battery in January and has had a number of arrests and attended various rehabilitation centers in southwest Florida in recent years.
The Web site www.only-movies.com carried a poll of more than 17,000 film fans that voted for their "best baddie" in cinema history, Reuters reports. Among the big winners: Anthony Hopkins' in Silence of the Lambs Oscar-winning role of Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter; Star Wars's Darth Vader; and Psycho's Norman Bates. Other classic baddies included Christopher Lee's 1958 Dracula and Kevin Spacey for his roles in Usual Suspects and Seven.
The Irish rockers of U2 will bring their "Elevation" summer tour back to the United States for 25 new dates, London's Times newspaper reports. The tour is expected to bring in $33 million on top of the estimated $142 million the tour has already generated worldwide. If it happens, U2 would rank as the third top-grossing tour of all time, following 1994's Rolling Stones ($121.2 million) and Pink Floyd ($103.5 million). The European tour wraps on Sept. 1 at Dublin's Slane castle.
Bluesman Robert Johnson, who died in 1938, will receive a third grave marker 63 years to the day after he died, Reuters reports. Experts believe that they have found the real burial site for Johnson, who has grave markers at two other locations. Claude Johnson, who recently was declared the bluesman's legitimate son, historian Steve Cheseborough, and record collector Gayle Dean will unveil the headstone Thursday at the Little Zion Baptist Church, located just outside Greenwood, Miss. Experts think that this is where Johnson is buried because the graveyard used by the plantation owner on whose land Johnson died.
Steven Spielberg's Band of Brothers has been dropped from London's BBC1's primetime fall schedule after TV execs feared the World War II series wasn't mainstream enough. According to Reuters, local war veterans claimed that the story line gave the impression that Americans won the war by themselves. The series has been bumped to sister channel BBC2, which gets audiences half the size of those for BBC1.
Previous rumors that Jermane and Randy Jackson had refused to attend the Jackson 5 reunion for the Michael Jackson: 30 Anniversary Celebration, The Solo Years can now be dismissed. All five brothers from the eponymous Jackson 5 music group have confirmed their attendance at the event.
After feuding for the last month with the show's producer, David Gest, over the ticket prices, the guest list and the lineups for the all-star events, Jermaine agreed on Friday to perform at the September 7 and 10 shows, to be held at New York's Madison Square Garden.
"Having been accused of not wanting to be a part of my brother's 30th anniversary concert for publicity reasons is not right," Jermaine Jackson said in a statement Friday. "My concern was that our loyal fans were not invited nor able to attend because of excessive prices," he told SonicNet.com.
A combined total of 40,000 tickets for the September 7 and 10 Michael Jackson celebration concerts--priced $45 to $2,500 per ticket--sold out just five hours after going on sale on July 31, Launch. com reported.
"I place my family above all else and I would like to perform with my brothers in spite of all that has gone on. I'm sorry that loyalty to my fans and family has been perceived as betrayal," Jermaine added.
The Jackson brothers convened in Los Angeles on Friday to begin rehearsing for the shows.
A complete list of confirmed special guests goes as follows:
Friday, September 7: Marc Anthony; Ray Charles; Deborah Cox; Destiny's Child; Gloria Estefan; Billy Gilman; Whitney Houston; James Ingram; Quincy Jones & the Legends of Jazz including Al Jarreau, Herbie Mann, Les McCann, David "Fathead" Newman, Jimmy Smith, Clark Terry & Cassandra Wilson; Liza Minnelli; Monica; Mya; *NSYNC; Jill Scott; Shaggy featuring Ricardo "Rikrok" Ducent & Rayvon; Britney Spears; Tamia; 3T; Usher.
Monday, September 10: Marc Anthony; Mary J. Blige; Deborah Cox; Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott; Gloria Gaynor; Al Jarreau; Gladys Knight; Lil' Romeo; Ricky Martin; Liza Minnelli; Monica; Mya; 98 Degrees; Jill Scott; Usher; Luther Vandross; Dionne Warwick.
In addition, stars from television, sports, movies, and the recording industry will honor Jackson during the concerts. Confirmed guests include: Marlon Brando; Elizabeth Taylor; Samuel L. Jackson; Willem Dafoe; William Shatner; Dr. Dre; Snoop Dogg; Yoko Ono; Sean Lennon; Jane Russell; Chris Tucker; Liam Neeson; Vanessa Redgrave; Franco Nero; Muhammad Ali; Kobe Bryant; Magic Johnson; Esther Williams; Gregory Peck; Jennifer Jones; Angie Dickinson; Master P; Robert Wagner; Jill St. John; Sir John Mills; Hayley Mills; Janet Leigh; Reggie Miller; Ann Miller; Jane Powell; Macaulay Culkin; Patricia Neal.