Actor Benjamin Bratt is steering clear of the fireworks this Independence Day (04Jul13) after almost blowing his hand off as a kid. The Miss Congeniality star traditionally holds a summer (13) barbecue for his friends and family on the U.S. holiday, but he makes sure to hire experts to take charge of the light display at the end of the night after a scarily close call during his childhood.
During a taped appearance on U.S. morning show Live with Kelly and Michael, he explained, "I leave the fireworks to the professionals.
"When I was a kid I nearly blew my hand off... Living in the city, my brother and I used to go through the gutter and look for the old duds. We'd peel the paper back and pull out the little bit of wick that was left, light it and throw it on the ground and watch it go off. I waited 30 seconds, which I thought was ample time, (but) apparently not enough because I picked it up, started unwrapping it, bam!
"I didn't even look, it felt like it blew off three fingers. There were blisters, piercing ear trauma, but I learned my lesson."
There's an allure to imperfection. With his latest drama Lawless director John Hillcoat taps directly into the side of human nature that draws us to it. Hillcoat finds it in Prohibition history a time when the regulations of alcohol consumption were subverted by most of the population; He finds it in the rural landscapes of Virginia: dingy raw and mesmerizing. And most importantly he finds it in his main character Jack Bondurant (Shia LaBeouf) the scrappy third brother of a moonshining family who is desperate to prove his worth. Jack forcefully injects himself into the family business only to discover there's an underbelly to the underbelly. Lawless is a beautiful film that's violent as hell striking in a way only unfiltered Americana could be.
Acting as the driver for his two outlaw brothers Forrest (Tom Hardy) and Howard (Jason Clarke) isn't enough for Jack. He's enticed by the power of the gangster figure and entranced by what moonshine money can buy. So like any fledgling entrepreneur Jack takes matters into his own hands. Recruiting crippled family friend/distillery mastermind Cricket (Dane DeHaan) the young whippersnapper sets out to brew his own batch sell it to top dog Floyd Banner and make the family rich. The plan works — but it puts the Bondurant boys in over their heads with a new threat: the corrupt law enforcers of Chicago.
Unlike many stories of crime life Lawless isn't about escalation. The movie drifts back and forth leisurely popping in moments like the beats of a great TV episode. One second the Bondurants could be talking shop with their female shopkeep Maggie Beauford (Jessica Chastain). The next Forrest is beating the bloody pulp out of a cop blackmailing their operation. The plot isn't thick; Hillcoat and screenwriter Nick Cave preferring to bask in the landscapes the quiet moments the haunting terror that comes with a life on the other side of the tracks. A feature film doesn't offer enough time for Lawless to build — it recalls cinema-level TV currently playing on outlets like HBO and AMC that have truly spoiled us — but what the duo accomplish is engrossing.
Accompanying the glowing visuals and Cave's knockout workout on the music side (a toe-tapping mix of spirituals bluegrass and the writer/musician's spine-tingling violin) are muted performances from some of Hollywood's rising stars. Despite LaBeouf's off-screen antics he lights up Lawless and nails the in-deep whippersnapper. His playful relationship with a local religious girl (Mia Wasikowska) solidifies him as a leading man but like everything in the movie you want more. Tom Hardy is one of the few performers who can "uurrr" and "mmmnerm" his way through a scene and come out on top. His greatest sparring partner isn't a hulking thug but Chastain who brings out the heart of the impenetrable beast. The real gem of Lawless is Guy Pearce as the Bondurant trio's biggest threat. Shaved eyebrows pristine city clothes and a temper like a rabid wolverine Pearce's Charlie Rakes is the most frightening villain of 2012. He viciously chews up every moment he's on screen. That's even before he starts drawing blood.
Lawless is the perfect movie for the late August haze — not quite the Oscary prestige picture or the summertime shoot-'em-up. It's drama that has its moonshine and swigs it too. Just don't drink too much.
Despite having been ousted from the show's cast, Charlie Sheen is still really invested in the "good old days" of Two and a Half Men. The former star of the CBS sitcom has been charged with the task of choosing his 24 favorite episodes from his eight-year run with the program to comprise a marathon on the FX network on Thursday, June 28, leading up to the series premiere of Sheen's new comedy Anger Management, which debuts at 9 PM ET/PT.
Sheen opened up about his Two and a Half Men glory in a statement, courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter, wherein he expresses fondness for former colleagues, praising "Jon [Cryer]'s genius" and waxing poetic on "9-year-old Angus [Jones] riding his Razor up and down the camera aisle"... still, manages to input what feels like a jab at the quality of the show since the hiring of Ashton Kutcher as Two and a Half Men's central star: "Who cares how it ended; when it was good, it was great."
Below is the complete schedule of Sheen's hand-picked FX's Two and a Half Men marathon to run on Thursday, June 28, starting at 9 AM ET/PT. Did your favorite episodes make the cut? Sound off in the comments section and let us know which of the Harper brothers' adventures you would have chosen.
9:00 AM– “Pilot” – Charlie reluctantly allows Alan and Jake to live with him.
9:30 AM– “Go East on Sunset Until You Reach the Gates of Hell” – When Alan's attempt to provide Jake with a fun-filled father/son weekend backfires, Charlie tries to console his brother by taking him to a local bar and getting Alan totally inebriated.
10:00 AM– “Merry Thanksgiving” – When Charlie finds out that his favorite former girlfriend, Lisa, is getting married, he desperately tries to prove to her that he has become a better family man.
10:30 AM– “Camel Filters and Pheromones” – Charlie's cleaning woman brings her sexy and rebellious 16-year-old daughter Prudence to Charlie's house.
11:00 AM– “An Old Flame With a New Wick” – Charlie's old flame, Jill, comes for a visit, but had an operation and is now called "Bill."
11:30 AM– “No Sniffing, No Wowing” – Alan takes Charlie to meet with his sexy and determined divorce attorney, Laura after Judith expresses concern that Charlie is a bad influence on Jake.
12:00 PM– “Just Like Buffalo” – When Jake imitates one of Charlie's sexist remarks in front of Judith's support group, the women decide that Charlie's home is an unfit environment for the child.
12:30 PM– “Back Off, Mary Poppins” – Alan feels hurt when Charlie asks him to stay out of the house while Charlie's buddies come over.
1:00 PM– “Yes, Monsignor” – Charlie encounters Lisa, the woman he thought was "the one" until she informed him of her engagement another man.
1:30 PM– “Smell the Umbrella Stand” – On a boring, rainy weekend, Charlie convinces Alan to ride with Jake and him to Las Vegas.
2:00 PM– “Squab, Squab, Squab, Squab, Squab” – When Evelyn learns that Jake spent his entire spring vacation with his other grandparents, she pressures Alan into letting Jake stay with her for a night.
2:30 PM– “Sleep Tight, Puddin’ Pop” –Charlie finds himself in a compromising position after getting drunk and spending the evening with his stalker, Rose.
3:00 PM– “That Voodoo That I Do Do” – After Charlie's romantic overtures towards Mia an attractive ballet teacher are rejected, Charlie tries to prove to Alan that he can persuade Mia to go on a date with him.
3:30 PM– “Santa’s Village of the Damned” – When Alan dates a cooking instructor, Sandy, both he and Charlie gain weight.
4:00 PM– “Arguments for the Quickie” – When Charlie finds out that his ex-girlfriend, Mia is in town with her dance troupe and wants him to come to her performance, he opts not to go and tries to behave as if he were no longer attracted to her.
4:30 PM– “That Pistol-Packin’ Hermaphrodite” – With Charlie and Mia arranging their wedding, their families meet, and things immediately begin to fall apart.
5:00 PM– “Release the Dogs” – Unable to sleep, Alan takes Charlie's suggestion and goes for a jog on the beach.
5:30 PM– “Is There a Mrs. Waffles?” – Charlie finds success as a children's singing star, making Alan miserable.
6:00 PM– “David Copperfield Slipped Me a Roofie” – Convinced that Alan's family doesn't fully appreciate him, Melissa invites Alan to live with her and her mom.
6:30 PM– “Baseball Was Better With Steroids” –Charlie starts to question his relationship with Chelsea when he hears that Mia is back in town.
7:00 PM– “I Found Your Mustache” – Charlie and Chelsea have a post-breakup one-night stand.
7:30 PM– “Gumby With a Pokey” – While Alan and Jake go to Sacramento to pick up a grandfather clock, Charlie gets a prescription for medical marijuana to help him sleep and forget about Chelsea.
8:00 PM– “Hookers, Hookers, Hookers” – Lyndsey and Eldridge move into Charlie's house after Alan burns down their home.
8:30 PM– “Chocolate Diddlers or Mr. Puppy’s Dead” – When Charlie and Courtney break up, Charlie falls into a depression and goes to see his psychiatrist.
[Image Credit: CBS]
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The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) recognized some of the year’s best films on Sunday. "Gladiator" was chosen best film, and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" took away best foreign-language film honors. Each of these Oscar contenders received four BAFTA awards in total.
Producers Douglas Wick, David Franzoni and Branko Lustig accepted the best film award for "Gladiator," praising director Ridley Scott during their acceptance speech, who lost out on the best director prize to Ang Lee for "Tiger."
Besides best foreign film and best director, "Crouching Tiger" also won for music (Tan Dun) and costume design (Tim Yip). Of BAFTA and the United Kingdom, Lee said: "You've always been great to me. This is like a second home to me now."
“Gladiator” also won the Orange Audience Award for most popular film of 2000. Scott thanked DreamWorks and Universal for their courage in backing a $100 million film in a genre that hadn't been touched for 30 years. "It is especially good to win this on my home turf as I spend so much time in the United States," Scott said during his acceptance speech. "I am absolutely thrilled."
Besides the BAFTA honor for best film, "Gladiator" also picked up awards for cinematography (John Mathieson), production design (Arthur Max) and editing (Pietro Scalia).
British effort "Billy Elliot" won three awards, including best British film, best actor (Jamie Bell) and best supporting actress for Julie Walters.
Julia Roberts was named best actress for her performance in the title role of "Erin Brockovich." Presenter Hugh Grant, and co-star in "Notting Hill," picked up the award for the absentee actress.
Best original screenplay and best sound awards went to Cameron Crowe’s "Almost Famous." Crowe's wife, Nancy Wilson, accepted his award, saying that Crowe was unable to attend the event as a double ear infection prevented him from flying. "He meant this movie as a love letter from his heart to music," Wilson said.
Steven Soderbergh's "Traffic" also won two awards, for adapted screenplay (Stephen Gaghan) and supporting actor (Benicio Del Toro).
Veteran casting director Mary Selway was given the Michael Balcon Award for her outstanding contribution to cinema. Actor Albert Finney was presented with a British Film Academy Fellowship for lifetime achievement, receiving a standing ovation.
The complete list of winners:
THE ACADEMY FELLOWSHIP: Albert Finney
THE MICHAEL BALCON AWARD for outstanding British Contribution to Cinema: Mary Selway
THE ALEXANDER KORDA AWARD for outstanding British Film of the Year: "Billy Elliot"
BEST FILM: "Gladiator"
THE DAVID LEAN AWARD for Achievement in Direction: Ang Lee, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"
SCREENPLAY (Original): Cameron Crowe, "Almost Famous"
SCREENPLAY (Adapted): Stephen Gaghan, "Traffic"
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS in a leading role: Julia Roberts, "Erin Brockovich"
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR in a leading role: Jamie Bell, "Billy Elliot"
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS in a supporting role: Julie Walters, "Billy Elliot"
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR in a supporting role: Benicio Del Toro, "Traffic"
FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE: "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (Bill Hong/Hsu Li Kong/Ang Lee )
THE ANTHONY ASQUITH AWARD for achievement in Film Music: Tan Dun, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"
THE CARL FOREMAN AWARD for Most Promising Newcomer to British Film: Pawel Pawlikowski
CINEMATOGRAPHY: John Mathieson, "Gladiator"
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Arthur Max, "Gladiator"
COSTUME DESIGN: Tim Yip, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"
EDITING: Pietro Scalia, "Gladiator"
SOUND: Jeff Wexler/D.M. Hemphill/Rick Kline/Paul Massey/Mike Wilhoit, "Almost Famous"
ACHIEVEMENT IN SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS: Stefen Fangmeier/John Frazier/Walt Conti/Habib Zargarpour/Tim Alexander, "The Perfect Storm"
MAKE UP/HAIR: Rick Baker/Kazuhirop Tsuji/Tony G./Gal Ryan/Sylvia Nava, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"
SHORT FILM Gary Holding/Justine Leahy/Tinge Krishnan, "Shadowscan"
SHORT ANIMATION: Claire Jennings/Willem Thijssen/Michael Dudok de Wit, "Father and Daughter"
ORANGE AUDIENCE AWARD: "Gladiator"
"The Matrix," "Being John Malkovich," "The Sixth Sense" and "The Green Mile" -- four films either shunned or relegated to the technical categories at the Academy Awards -- were bestowed with the most prestigious trophies from the sci-fi geek world Tuesday night, named the top flicks at the 26th annual Saturn Awards. In other un-Oscar-like news, Tim Allen was named best actor (for "Galaxy Quest"). Christina Ricci took best actress honors for "Sleepy Hollow."
The festivities here at the tony Park Hyatt hotel were attended by sci-fi and movie icons ranging from Peter Fonda to Martin Landau to Sean Young to Katharine Helmond, and on down the list.
Here's a rundown of the 2000 Saturn Awards winners (note that some of the A list winners, such as Christina Ricci, Michael Clarke Duncan, etc., weren't present to accept their awards in person):
BEST SCIENCE-FICTION FILM: "The Matrix" BEST FANTASY FILM: "Being John Malkovich" BEST HORROR FILM: "The Sixth Sense" BEST ACTION/ADVENTURE/THRILLER: "The Green Mile" BEST ACTOR: Tim Allen, "Star Quest" BEST ACTRESS: Christina Ricci, "Sleepy Hollow" BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Patricia Clarkson, "The Green Mile" BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Michael Clarke Duncan, "The Green Mile" BEST PERFORMANCE BY A YOUNGER ACTOR: Haley Joel Osment, "The Sixth Sense" BEST DIRECTION: Andy and Larry Wachowski, "The Matrix" BEST WRITING: Charles Kaufman, "Being John Malkovich" BEST MUSIC: Danny Elfman, "Sleepy Hollow" BEST COSTUME: "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace" BEST MAKEUP: "The Mummy" BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS: "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace" BEST NETWORK TV SERIES: "Now and Again" (CBS) BEST CABLE/SYNDICATED SERIES: "Stargate: SG1" (MGM TV/Showtime) BEST SINGLE TV SHOW: "Storm of the Century (ABC) BEST TV ACTOR: David Boreanaz, "Angel" (WB) BEST TV ACTRESS: Margaret Colin, "Now and Again" (CBS) BEST TV SUPPORTING ACTOR: David Haysbert, "Now and Again" (CBS) BEST TV SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Justina Vail, "Seven Days" (UPN) THE GEORGE PAL MEMORIAL AWARD: Douglas Z. Wick THE PRESIDENT'S AWARD: Richard Donner THE LIFE CAREER AWARD: Dick Van Dyke THE LIFE CAREER AWARD: George Barris THE SERVICE AWARD: Jeffrey Walker
"Stuart Little" made its grand debut at the Village Theatre in Westwood on Dec. 5.
Academy Award winner Geena Davis, Jonathan Lipnicki ("Jerry Maguire"), Nathan Lane ("The Birdcage") and others strolled down the red carpet in honor of "Stuart Little" while benefiting the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.
"It's a terrific event for us," said John Calley, the event chairman for the diabetes foundation. "It helps us in two important ways: One, of course, is the awareness of diabetes and the other is that it's a substantial amount of money being raised for diabetes today."
Director Rob Minkoff ("The Lion King") brings the comedic adventure of a little mouse searching for a real home to the big screen. The film is based on the classic book by E.B. White.
"It's about someone (Stuart Little) who is different and searching for a family," said Lane. "I play Snowbell, like the Swedish prize. Snowbell the cat, who is very threatened by Stuart being adopted, so he plots to get rid of him."
Stuart Little (voiced by "Spin City's" Michael J. Fox) embarks on a grand adventure after being adopted by the Littles, a human family played by Davis, Lipnicki and Hugh Laurie.
"I got involved five years ago," said producer Doug Wick. "Columbia Pictures owned the book. It took a few years to get the script right.
"And then we had to start doing research and development because the technology didn't exist until 10 minutes before we started shooting."
The technical aspects of filming didn't really concern Dustin Hoffman, Meg Tilly, Mimi Rogers, Leah Thompson and other celebrities who just wanted to check out a family classic with their families.
Even former first lady Nancy Reagan, who is also a benefit committee chairwoman for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, joined in the "Stuart Little" fun.
"It's great. I went from my last film playing an assassin -- now I'm mother of a mouse," said Davis.
With Leeza Gibbons, Debra Farantino and singer Trisha Yearwood at the premiere, the only question was: "Where's the 'big cheese'"?
At the premiere, the biggest mouse since Mickey and Mighty was nowhere to be spotted.
"Some of the challenge during filming was that he (Stuart Little) wasn't there. It's funny, he never showed up to the set," joked Davis.
"Stuart Little" opens in theaters Dec. 17.