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.
Movie star Gwyneth Paltrow has been credited for bringing close pal Madonna back together with her father Tony Ciccone, after begging her to reconcile with him.
Madonna, who made up with her dad last year, endured a troubled relationship with Ciccone when he remarried after the death of her mother in 1963 when she was just five years old.
Paltrow's own father Bruce Paltrow died in 2002 after a battle with throat cancer--and the Shakespeare In Love beauty has always regretted not spending more time with him.
She warned the Ray of Light star to forgive and forget--or suffer the agony of what might have been. Madonna's family friend Cheryl Buchhalter says, "Gwyneth had a heartfelt talk with Madonna about her agony over losing her dad Bruce.
"Gwyn often talks of things she could have done with him, things she would like to have told him. Knowing he is gone forever is something that still crushes her.
"She told Madonna, 'If you don't make up with your dad and enjoy the time he's got left you'll regret it for the rest of your life.'"
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Filmmaker Woody Allen denied allegations in New York's Supreme Court yesterday that his advisors had brought on a "bogus" suit against longtime friend and producer Jean Doumanian, The Associated Press reports. Allen took the stand in support of his $12 million lawsuit against Doumanian, alleging that she cheated him out of profits from the last eight movies they made together. However, Doumanian and her companion, Jacqui Safra, have counter-claimed that all due money was paid and that Allen, in fact, owes them. Allen is scheduled to return to the witness stand Tuesday.
"It's completely not true." That's what the office of Madonna's longtime publicist, Liz Rosenberg, told Launch.com about rumors that the pop goddess is pregnant with her third child. Stories of Madonna's supposed pregnancy spread through the media yesterday after Sunday People quoted her father, Tony Ciccone, as saying, "We are very excited that she is expecting again." Denials, however, were also issued in the early stages of Madonna's pregnancy with her son, Rocco, and her daughter, Lourdes.
Twentieth Century Fox has added yet another mutant to the cast of X-Men 2. Actress Kelly Hu, who starred in the action/adventure pic The Scorpion King, will be playing a villainous mutant with human emotions named Anne. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Anne will be the sidekick to the lead villain, Striker, who has yet to be cast.
Pierce Brosnan will drop his James Bond persona for his next film, the romantic comedy Laws of Attraction, which he will produce and star in, Variety reports. Brosnan will play a divorce lawyer who falls in love with and marries another divorce attorney, but the two realize they are not immune to the same marital problems that bring them to court.
Actress Natalie Portman is in advanced talks to co-star in an episodic adventure based on Homer's Odyssey-like Civil War-era bestseller Cold Mountain, Variety reports. Portman would be joining an all-star cast including Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger and Jude Law. Production is slated to begin next month.
HBO has set the date for the season premiere of the Emmy-winning comedy Sex and the City. According to Variety, the network has set 9 p.m. July 21 as the launch of a new batch of episodes of the show. Look for Sex's fourth season finale on Sept. 8.
Showtime's controversial series Queer As Folk has landed a two-year renewal with new episodes kicking off in March 2003 in its 10 p.m. Sunday slot, Variety reports. The current season ends on June 16.
Napster Inc. has filed for voluntary bankruptcy protection as part of a comeback plan under an agreement it has with German media giant Bertelsmann AG. Bertelsmann bought Napster's assets on May 17 for $8 million, but the song-swapping service still owes Bertelsmann $91 million. By seeking bankruptcy protection, Napster will emerge as a wholly owned unit of Bertelsmann, Reuters reports. The agreement, however, still requires court approval.
Madonna's stepmother, Joan Ciccone, has publicly blasted the music diva in the press for not supporting her dear old dad, Tony Ciccone.
Madonna's stepmom claims that the Material Girl wasn't willing to give up any of her cash to help her 70-year-old father, even though Dad was on the verge of losing his home and business, PageSix.com reports.
Tony is attempting to make a go of a small vineyard in Suttons Bay, Mich., having left Detroit--and his former position as a car designer--to do so.
According to Britain's Sunday People magazine, things got so bad for the pop star's father that he was receiving state benefits despite his famous daughter's immense wealth.
Tony never asked for his daughter's help and said on record to Sunday People only that, "What she does and how she decides to treat people is up to her."
Although Madonna and her father have had a strained relationship in the past ("I hated my father for a long time," Madonna was once quoted), many felt the bonds were tightened when Tony and Madonna appeared together on stage during 1990's Blond Ambition tour. Apparently not.