WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
Claire is an attractive CIA operative and Ray is an M16 agent who simultaneously leave their Governmental spy activities in the dust to try and profit from a battle between two rival multi-national corporations both trying to launch a new product that will transform the world and make billions. Their goal is to secure the top-secret formula and get a patent before they are outsmarted. While their respective egomaniacal CEOs engage in an unending battle of wills and one-upmanship Claire and Ray start out conning and playing one another in a clever game of industrial espionage that is even more complicated due to their own long-term romantic relationship.
WHO’S IN IT?
Reuniting Closer co-stars Julia Roberts (as Claire) and Clive Owen (as Ray) turns out to be an inspired idea. They turn out to be the perfect pair oozing movie-star charm and electricity in this elaborate con-game that might have been the kind of thing Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant might have made in the '60s (in fact they did in Charade). Roberts with that infamous hairstyle back the way we like it and Owen looking great in sunglasses prove they have what it takes to navigate us through this ultra-complex plot in which no one is sure who they can trust at any given moment. They play it all in high style and the wit just flows as the story skirts back and forth during the period of five years. The supporting cast is well-chosen with juicy roles for Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti (out of their John Adams duds) as the two CEOs going for each other’s throats. Giamatti who sometimes has a tendency to overdo it is especially slimy here and great fun to watch.
Big-star studio movies today rarely take risks and often talk down to the audience but in Duplicity writer/director Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton) has crafted a complicated con-comedy that requires complete attention at all times just to keep up with the dense plot’s twists and turns. It’s the cinematic equivalent of a New York Times crossword puzzle and Gilroy and his top-drawer production team deliver a glossy beautiful-looking film that’s easy on the eyes hitting locations from Dubai to Rome to New York City.
Like any good puzzle it sometimes can be frustrating putting it all together and Gilroy’s habit of taking us back in time and then inching forward gets a little confusing even with the on-screen chyron pointing out where we are at any given moment. Stick with it though and you will be well-rewarded.
A scene near the end where the formula must be found scanned and faxed in a matter of minutes is sweat-inducing edge-of-your-seat moviemaking and it provides the ultimate opportunity for Roberts and Owen to take the “con” to the next level. Another where Roberts uses a thong to try and trick Owen into admitting an affair he never had is also priceless and gets right to the heart of the game-playing.
GO OUT AND GET POPCORN WHEN ...
Never. Stock up during the coming attractions. If you miss a moment of this entertaining romp you might never figure it all out.
Veteran Hollywood Reporter columnist George Christy, who wrote "The Great Life" column for 26 years, quit the trade publication on Wednesday after probes into health benefits he received from the Screen Actors Guild caused an uproar, Reuters reports. There was also speculation about whether Christy was giving movie producers favorable mentions in return for being listed in the credits of films in which he may not have appeared. In April, Reporter editor-in-chief Anita Busch and reporter David Robb resigned after the paper ran a story by Robb and another reporter about SAG's investigation into whether Christy was legitimately qualified for health and pension benefits.
Country singing legend Johnny Cash was admitted to Nashville's Baptist Hospital on Wednesday for a recurrence of the bronchitis that sent him to the hospital earlier this month, Reuters reports. Cash, 69, suffers from autonomic neuropathy, which makes him susceptible to pneumonia.
A lawyer for 30-year-old rap star Snoop Dogg appeared at an Oberlin, Ohio, court on Tuesday to plead innocent on behalf of his client, who was charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia on Oct. 17. According to The Associated Press, Snoop Dogg was charged after the State Patrol stopped his tour bus in Amherst for speeding and found six bags of marijuana in the cargo hold. If found guilty, the rap star could carry a maximum sentence of $250 and 30 days in jail. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Dec. 11.
Pop group Hanson is suing MP3.com, alleging copyright infringement for providing digital downloads of their music. According to AP, the group is seeking an injunction against the digital music distributor and damages of $150,000 per song.
NBC, ABC and CBS filed a lawsuit in a California federal court on Wednesday against SONICblue Inc., the maker of the first Internet-ready personal digital video recorder. The networks claim that the personal video recorder, Replay TV 4000, would allow users to make and distribute illegal copies of television programs, AP reports. The Replay TV 4000 was supposed to hit stores in mid-November, but the networks are seeking to prevent the device from ever coming to market.
The UK record company Sanctuary (comprised of Charly Acquisitions Ltd., Charly Trademarks Ltd. and Castle Copyrights Ltd.) is suing former Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham in London's High Court for the rights to master recordings worth missions of dollars, Reuters reports. Oldham, 57, argues that the U.S.-based company he helped found, Immediate Records Inc., owns the rights to Stones recordings issued between 1965 and 1970. The UK record company says it owns the rights and has been involved in releasing compilations of the recordings.
Looks like the Screen Actors Guild will prolong divulging the results of their presidential race as well as 40 other positions. The results were to be announced Friday, but due to discrepancies in the handling of ballots, that will be delayed for an emergency meeting of the elections committee first scheduled for Wednesday, Reuters reports. It is still unknown when the results will be announced. SAG is blaming poll administrator Sequoia Voting Systems for the decision to send out 24,000 New York ballots without signature lines on the return envelopes or instructions to sign. But Sequoia's manager of nongovernmental services, Robin Johnson, claims that SAG has covered up the discrepancies for more than two weeks until it was forced to respond to inquiries late Tuesday.
Jim Carrey has agreed to star in an untitled comedy from writer/director Gary Ross, Reuters reports. This will be Ross' first project since Pleasantville. In the film, Carrey will play a widower whose wife returns to haunt him when he falls for a much younger woman. "It's a rich, lush romantic comedy about renewal and rebirth, set in New York. Getting to shoot it there was important to us, for obvious reasons," Ross told Reuters. Production will begin in March with the film scheduled for release next Christmas.
Rapper DMX and hard rockers Incubus have landed at the top of the SoundScan album charts for the week ending on Oct. 29. DMX's latest Universal/ Def Jam release, Great Expectations, sold 440,000 units in its first week to debut at No. 1, while Incubus's fourth Epic album, Morning View, which has sold 266,000 units since its release on Oct. 23, follows closely at No. 2.
NBC has taken control over Julia Louis-Dreyfus' sitcom, 23:12 from the people who developed it, Carsey-Werner-Mandabach, in hopes to change speculations that the show will becomes another failed comedy series from a former Seinfeld star. The show, in which Louis-Dreyfus will play a lounge singer, will debut early next year.
In an effort to make their new album environmentally friendly, Pink Floyd will plant native trees in four different natural woodlands of Scotland to create new long-term indigenous forests, BBCNews.com reports. The band is taking the initiative in a campaign to get the music industry involved in helping to tackle global warming. The money earned from sales of their new album, Echoes, to be released on Nov. 5, will be used to buy more trees for the forests.
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.