Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
Seventeen years ago, Harrison Ford grumbled four simple words that defined a genre, a demographic, and a country: "Get off my plane." In a pre-9/11 world, there was no shortage of jingoistic glee in a movie like Air Force One, in which a man's man American president doled out justice to a militia of Russian loyalist terrorists who made the silly mistake of attempting to hijack his flight home from Moscow. In 2014, we don't have the luxury of facing a plotline like this with reckless merriment. There's a damp gravity to the premise behind movies like Non-Stop, which in another time would have been nothing more than Taken on a Plane. But rigidly conscious of the connotations that attach to a story about a hijacking of a civilian international flight into John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City, Non-Stop doesn't play too fast and loose. It still plays, and has some good fun doing so, but carefully.
From the getgo, we're anchored into the grim narrative of Liam Neeson's U.S. Air Marshall Bill Marks, who settles his demons with a healthy spoonful of whiskey. A dutiful officer even when liquored up, Marks eyeballs every nameless face in London's Heathrow Airport, silently introducing the bevvy of characters who'll come into play later on. After takeoff, Marks finds himself on the unwitting prowl for the anonymous party who's attempting to take down the red-eye through a series of manipulative text messages, well-timed threats, and clandestine killings. Chatty passenger Julianne Moore and flight attendant Michelle Dockery join Marks in his efforts to identify the mysterious criminal before the entire aircraft falls to his or her whims. So less Taken, more Murder, She Wrote.
Our roundup of suspects challenges our (and their) preconceived notions, and quite laughably — most vocal among Neeson's fellow passengers are a white beta-male school teacher (Scoot McNairy), a black computer engineer with an attitude of entitlement (Nate Parker), a softspoken Middle Eastern surgeon whose headwear gets more than a few focal shots (Omar Metwally), a middle-aged white businessman whose latest account landed him more than your house is worth (Frank Deal), an irate black youngster draped in irreverence (Corey Hawkins), and a white, bald, machismo-howling New York cop who secretly accepts his gay brother (Corey Stoll). Just a few talking heads short of Do the Right Thing, Non-Stop manages to goof on each man's (notice that they're all men — Moore, Dockery, and a barely-in-the-movie Lupita Nyong’o are kept shy of the action for most of the film) distaste for and distrust of one another as they each try to sidle up to, or undermine the harried Marks.
Non-Stop plays an interesting game with its characters and its audience, simultaneously painting the ignorance of its characters with a thick coat of comedy while pointing its finger straight out at us with accusations that we, too, thought it was whoever we just learned it wasn't, and for all the wrong reasons. "Shame on you!" Non-Stop chides, adding, "But let's keep going, this is fun!"
The best player in the World for movie trailers, Hollywood interviews and movie clips.
It is fun — that's the miraculous thing. Without any "Get off my plane"s or "Yippee ki yay"s, Non-Stop keeps its action genre silliness in check (okay, there is a moment involving an airborne gun that'll institute some serious laugh-cheers), investing all of its good time in the game of claustrophobic Clue that we can't help but enjoy. It sacrifices some of its charm in a heavy-handed third act, tipping to one side of what was a pretty impressive balancing act up until that point. But its falter is not one that drags down the movie entirely. Fun and excitement are restored, sincerity is maintained, and even a few moments of sensitivity creep their way through. We might not live in a world of President Harrison Fords any longer, but Air Marshall Liam Neesons could actually be a step up.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com
Michelle Monaghan is a True Detective: Or, she'll be playing the wife of one on HBO's upcoming drama, True Detective. The eight-episode series (which, like American Horror Story, would feature a new crime and cast every season if it got picked up) also stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as two detectives whose lives become entwined when a case involving a 1995 murder is reopened. Monaghan is hitched to Harrelson's Martin Hart, and her character will make "a hard decision that has long-reaching and devastating consequences." [Deadline]
Another Win For the Ladies: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler should be having a damn good Monday: True, they didn't walk home with trophies, but their performance was critically acclaimed, and they brought in the best ratings for the Globes in six years. The buzzworthy event brought it 19.7 million viewers and a 6.4 in its demo, smashing the last three years of Ricky Gervais' reign. [EW]
Don't Tell Vince...: A Friday Night Lights alum (Jurnee Smollett, to be exact) will join the Peacock yet again, this time for a recurring arc on the new Jekyll & Hyde based thriller Do No Harm. Smollett will play the daughter of Phylicia Rashad’s Dr. Vanessa Young. [TVLine]
Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna
[PHOTO CREDIT: Andres Otero/Wenn]
TV Tidbits: Andy Samberg Teams with 'Parks and Rec' EPs for Fox Pilot
'TV Tidbits': Ali Larter Joins 'Legends,' 'Once Upon a Time''s Snow White Gets a Mom
TV Tidbits: Salma Hayek On Board for '30 Rock' Finale
From Our Partners:
Megan Fox’s 12 Hottest Moments (Moviefone)
Golden Globes: Tina and Amy’s Best Zinger’s (Moviefone)
The Lord of the Rings star was thrilled when he learned he'd be making out with the actress in the promo - but admits he went to great lengths to try and make sure he didn't upset her new husband Brian Austin Green.
Monaghan initially spoke to his co-star about what would be appropriate onset as they played passionate and fiery lovers and he felt the shoot went well.
But his best intentions were wrecked days later when the news of the video leaked and he was asked about the project.
He says, "I did all these interviews post the Eminem thing and they (reporters) said, 'How was it kissing Megan Fox?' And I said, 'It was Ok, it was good' - 'cos I wanted to be respectful of their marriage.
"And then it came out that I was, like, non-plus about the fact that I was making out with Megan Fox, which wasn't true; I had a great time, a very enjoyable time."
And then the gay rumours started.
He adds, "It didn't quash the gay rumours about (Lord of the Rings co-star) Elijah Wood and I."
The couple portray Eminem and his ex-wife Kim Mathers during their tumultuous and violent relationship and the British actor reveals he was so dedicated to the shoot, he shaved his head to play the rapper and asked Fox to call him Slim - the hip-hop star's nickname.
And he admits he was more focused on taunting his co-star than their steamy clinches.
Monaghan tells EOnline.com, "You try to make it as real as possible. I tried as hard as I can to find things that would press her buttons and use those to get her angry. I wanted her to be on me and smack the hell out of me, which she proceeded to do.
"I busted myself up punching the walls, punching the mirror and all that kind of stuff. You come home at night and you're tired. You don't go home at night feeling all stoked that you got to make out with some cute girl.
"It's work. You have to understand that cameras are being pointed at you and they're in your face and people are telling you to move this way or move that way. It's not terrible work, but it is work."
Oh how far the mighty fall! After scurrying away from Transformers 3 like a cockroach avoiding death by RAID!, Megan Fox can now be found as Dominic Monaghan's abused girlfriend in Eminem's new music video for "Love The Way You Lie," featuring Rihanna.
The two spend the majority of the video screaming at each other between major make out sessions against plywood walls. Rihanna stands outside their house singing the chorus over and over again, while Eminem is confusingly, and probably against his will, ditched in a wheat field around sunset. Oh, and Megan Fox wears combat boots that look too heavy.
It's pretty enjoyable, but is this what Megan Fox is going to do now? I know I argued and argued that she's nothing more than something nice to look at, but I'm not even sure I like this coming from her! I miss her dull sentence delivery, where every word is surprisingly mediocre, despite coming from a mouth that was constructed by such a well-educated and experienced surgeon. She's probably quite pleased with herself now, but once the day is over and the video has logged its millions of views, she'll go right back to diagramming sentences that prove Michael Bay really IS like Hitler. And I'll be watching it four more times. Feel free to join me.
Vampires are set to rule the upcoming People's Choice Awards -- with blockbuster fantasy film franchise Twilight and blood-sucking TV series True Blood leading the nominations.
The public cast more than 18 million votes online to select the nominees for next year's ceremony, and it will also choose the winners in 35 categories.
The Twilight Saga will compete against Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Star Trek in the favorite-movie and favorite-film-franchise categories.
Stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner have earned nods for best onscreen team, joining fellow nominees Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), Sandra Bullock andRyan Reynolds (The Proposal), Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) and Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Ryan Reynolds, will.i.am, Dominic Monaghan and Daniel Henney (X-Men Origins: Wolverine).
Pattinson and Stewart were also nominated individually for favorite movie actress and actor, and will face-off against A-listers Brad Pitt, Hugh Jackman, Johnny Depp, Ryan Reynolds, Anne Hathaway, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Aniston and Sandra Bullock in their respective categories.
Lautner is also up for breakout movie actor alongside Chris Pine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Sam Worthington and Zachary Quinto.
Meanwhile, True Blood was nominated for favorite TV obsession and favorite sci-fi/fantasy TV show, where it will battle against Vampire Diaries, Heroes, Lost and Supernatural.
The show's star Anna Paquin will fight it out with Blake Lively, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Katherine Heigl and Mariska Hargitay for favorite TV drama actress -- while Hugh Laurie, Kiefer Sutherland, Mark Harmon, Matthew Fox and Patrick Dempsey compete for the title of favorite TV drama actor.
Musically, newcomers Adam Lambert, Demi Lovato, Kris Allen, Lady Gaga and reality TV star Susan Boyle will battle for favorite breakout music artist.
Eminem, Jason Mraz, John Mayer, Keith Urban and Tim McGraw will go head-to-head for the favorite-male-artist accolade, while their female counterparts include Beyonce, Britney Spears, Carrie Underwood, Pink and Taylor Swift.
Queen Latifah will host the People's Choice Awards at Los Angeles' Nokia Theatre on Jan. 6.
(c) 2009 WORLD ENTERTAINMENT NEWS NETWORK LTD. All global rights reserved. No unauthorized copying or re-distributing permitted.
The public cast more than 18 million votes online to select the nominees for next year's (10) ceremony, and will also choose the winners in 35 categories.
The Twilight Saga will compete against Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Star Trek in the favourite movie and favourite film franchise categories.
Stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner have earned nods for best on-screen team, joining fellow nominees Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds (The Proposal), Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) and Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Ryan Reynolds, will.i.am, Dominic Monaghan and Daniel Henney (X-Men Origins: Wolverine).
Pattinson and Stewart were also nominated individually for favourite movie actress and actor, and will face-off against A-listers Brad Pitt, Hugh Jackman, Johnny Depp, Ryan Reynolds, Anne Hathaway, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Aniston and Sandra Bullock in their respective categories.
Lautner is also up for breakout movie actor alongside Chris Pine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Sam Worthington and Zachary Quinto.
Meanwhile, True Blood was nominated for favourite TV obsession and favourite sci-fi/fantasy TV show, where it will battle for the title against The Vampire Diaries, Heroes, Lost and Supernatural.
The show's star Anna Paquin will fight it out with Blake Lively, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Katherine Heigl and Mariska Hargitay for favourite TV drama actress - while Hugh Laurie, Kiefer Sutherland, Mark Harmon, Matthew Fox and Patrick Dempsey compete for the title of favourite TV drama actor.
Musically, newcomers Adam Lambert, Demi Lovato, Kris Allen, Lady Gaga and reality TV star Susan Boyle will battle for favourite breakout music artist.
Eminem, Jason Mraz, John Mayer, Keith Urban and Tim McGraw will go head-to-head for the favourite male artist accolade, while their female counterparts include: Beyonce, Britney Spears, Carrie Underwood, Pink and Taylor Swift.
Queen Latifah will host the People's Choice Awards at Los Angeles' Nokia Theatre on 6 January, 2010.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
Rather than going to the well for another X-Men sequel Hugh Jackman’s mutant Wolverine has been spun off into an uneven prequel that tries to explain the character’s origins but somehow misses what we liked about him in the first place. X-Men Origins: Wolverine opens with a flashback to 150 years ago which unveils the relationship between Logan and Victor mutant half-brothers who are forced to run away from home after Logan murders their biological father. After several scenes depicting the brothers’ service in various wars the story settles in around the 1970s where both Victor and Logan are recruited by the devious William Stryker to serve in a mutant army. But Logan spurns Stryker after taking part in a massacre in East Africa and chooses instead to settle down with his girlfriend Kayla Silverfox in the Canadian Rockies. Six years later Victor now Sabretooth shows up and kills her. Logan now Wolverine seeks revenge reluctantly making a deal with Stryker in order to become indestructible. Unfortunately he is double-crossed and uncovers a Stryker/Sabretooth plot to kidnap mutants and use them for no good. He escapes and the chase is on as he tries to stop them — and anyone else in his way — before his memory is erased.
WHO’S IN IT?
It’s the buffed-up Jackman’s show all the way as Wolverine graduates to star status — and that’s exactly the problem. It turns out a little of this guy goes a long way especially when he’s presented in as humorless and unimaginative a manner as the deadly serious approach taken by Hugh (who also co-produced). Jackman acquits himself nicely in the numerous action scenes but fails to make a lasting human connection for Wolverine and the audience. Liev Schreiber is good as Sabretooth but plays it mostly on one note. His three fight scenes opposite Jackman are well-choreographed but become tiring. Danny Huston makes a fine heavy as the evil Stryker while Lynn Collins is lovely as Silverfox adding a nice touch of emotion to this mostly stoic CGI-fest. A promising new group of mutants are also introduced but unfortunately aren't given much to do. Standouts are Ryan Reynolds as the smart-talking Wade Wilson aka Deadpool; rapper will.i.am as John Wraith; and Kevin Durand as the humungous Fred J. Dukes aka The Blob. Durand is especially impressive in a boxing gym scene. Conversely Lost’s Dominic Monaghan receives too little screen time in the role of Bradley.
Wolverine’s CGI effects are predictably top-notch and a couple of big action set pieces are visually arresting including a motorcycle/helicopter chase that may lack credibility but is at least fun to watch.
Lighten up Wolvie. Jackman and everyone else seem to be taking this stuff way too seriously. The humanity that was a hallmark of the previous X-Men films also is largely AWOL and the picture takes a long time to get going. We’re at the 40-minute mark before the claws really start to come out and the psychological mumbo-jumbo stops.
In the lab Stryker promises to make a revenge-seeking Wolverine indestructible but his double-crossing antics only serve to unleash severe rage inspiring great balls of mutant fury as the furious mutant makes his great escape — sans clothing.
WHY YOU SHOULD SIT THROUGH SEVEN MINUTES OF END CREDITS?
For those who think the movie effectively ends when the credits roll here is a “heads up” to hang around.
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX?
Since reportedly about 100 000 people downloaded a rough cut when Wolverine was illegally pirated a few weeks ago why not help out poor 20th Century Fox and see it the legal way on the big screen? It’s a big improvement over your iMac.