TriStar Pictures via Everett Collection
An hour and change into Pompeii, there's a volcano. You'd think there might have been a volcano throughout — you'd think that the folks inhabiting the ill-fated Italian village would have been dealing with the infamous volcano for the full 110 minutes. After all, volcano movies have worked before. Volcano, for instance. And the other one. But for some reason, Pompeii feels the need to stuff its first three quarters with coliseum battles, Ancient Rome politics, unlikely friendships, and a love story. But we don’t care. We can't care. None of it warrants our care. Where the hell is the volcano, already?
To answer that: it's off to the side — rumbling. Smoking. Occasionally spiking the neighboring community with geological fissures or architectural misgivings. Pretty much executing every trick picked up in Ominous Foreshadowing 101, but never joining the story. Not until Paul W.S. Anderson shouts, "Last call," hitting us with a final 20-odd minutes of unmitigated disaster (in a good way). If you've managed to maintain a waking pulse throughout the lecture in sawdust that is Pompeii's story, then you might actually have a good time with the closing sequence. It has everything you’d expect — everything you had been expecting! — and delivers it with gusto. Torpedoes of smoke running hordes of idiot villagers out of their homes and toward whatever safety the notion of forward has to offer. Long undeveloped characters rising to the occasion to rescue hapless princesses who thought it might be a good idea to set their vacation homes at the foot of a lava-spewing mountain. The whole ordeal is actually a lot of laughs. But it amounts to a dessert just barely worth the tasteless dinner we had to force down to get there.
TriStar Pictures via Everett Collection
To get through the bulk of Pompeii, we recommend focusing all your attentions away from the effectively bland slave/gladiator/hero Kit Harington — sorry, Jon Snow (he's actually called a bastard at one point) — and onto his partner in crime: a scowling Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje — sorry, Mr. Eko (he and Snow actually trade valedictions by saying "I'll see you at another time, brother" at one point) — who warms up to his fellow prize fighter during their shared time in the klink, and delivers his moronic material with a sprinkle of flair. Keeping the working man down is Kiefer Sutherland — sorry, Jack Bauer — as an ostentatious Roman senator, doling out vainglory in Basil Fawlty-sized portions. When he's not spitting scowls at peasants, ol' JB is undermining the efforts of an earnest local governor Jared Harris — sorry, Lane Pryce (he actually calls someone a mad man at one point) — and his wife Carrie-Anne Moss — sorry, Katherine O'Connell from Vegas (joking! Trinity) — and finagling the douchiest marriage proposal ever toward their daughter Emily Browning — sorry, but I have no idea what she's from.
But questionable television references and some enjoyably daft performances by Eko and Jack can't really make up for the heft of mindless dullness that Pompeii passes off as its narrative... until the big showstopper.
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In truth, the last sequence is a gem. It's fun, inviting, and energizing, and might even call into question the possibility that Pompeii is all about how futile life, love, friendship, politics, and pride are when even the most egregiously complicated of plots can be taken out in the end by a sudden volcanic eruption. But you have to wade through that egregious complication to get there, and you shouldn't expect to have too much of a good time doing so.
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The son of late actor Jack Klugman was furious to learn his father will not be memorialised at the Emmy Awards on Sunday night (22Sep13), and has criticised show bosses for including tragic Glee star Cory Monteith instead. Monteith, who died of a drug and alcohol overdose in July (13), will be among the late stars who will be remembered during the prizegiving in Los Angeles, along with The Sopranos star James Gandolfini, Family Ties producer Gary David Goldberg, actress Jean Stapleton and funnyman Jonathan Winters.
Klugman, who died of cancer in December (12), has not been included in the list, and the snub has angered his son Adam, who is adamant Monteith is less deserving of the honour than his father.
Adam tells the Los Angeles Times, "They're celebrating this self-inflicted tragedy instead of celebrating the life of my father, who won three Emmys... Cory Monteith never won an Emmy... Let's call this what it is. They're doing this because they think they're gonna get a younger generation of viewers to watch."
Many critics have also taken aim at Emmys organisers over the list, which also fails to include late Dallas star Larry Hagman, prompting executive producer Ken Ehrlich to defend the choices.
A statement released by Ehrlich reads, "Every generation of television viewers has its favourites, and when we decided to expand the In Memoriam segment to remember certain individuals, we wanted these pieces to be representative as well. To a younger generation, Cory Monteith's portrayal of Finn Hudson (in Glee) was highly admired, and the producers felt that he should be included along with the four other individuals we have singled out."
Emmy Awards telecast boss Ken Ehrlich has defended his decision to single out late Glee star Cory Monteith for a special tribute during Sunday's (22Sep13) ceremony. The tragic actor, who died from a heroin and alcohol overdose in July (13), will be among five late stars who will be honoured onstage during the show's In Memoriam segment, prompting critics to suggest there are others who are more deserving of the honour.
However, Ehrlich reveals there is a special reason why Monteith will be remembered in style.
He tells Access Hollywood, "I do think that when people see this and they see that there is kind of a message involved in what we're saying about him I think they may revise some of this early unfair advanced criticism.
"It does celebrate him because he really did significant work on that show but it's also, in a way, a warning."
Glee's Jane Lynch will honour Monteith at the Emmys, while Edie Falco will salute her late The Sopranos co-star James Gandolfini, Michael J. Fox will pay tribute to his former Family Ties producer Gary David Goldberg, who lost his battle with brain cancer in June (13), and Rob Reiner will remember his All in the Family castmate Jean Stapleton.
Robin Williams will also be part of the special tributes as he salutes his friend, mentor and Mork & Mindy co-star Jonathan Winters.
The trailers for Hope Springs might lead you to believe it's a romantic comedy about a couple trying to jumpstart their sexless marriage but it causes more empathetic cringing than chuckles. Audiences will be drawn to Hope Springs by its stars Meryl Streep Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell and Streep's track record of pleasing summer movies like Julie & Julia and Mamma Mia! that offer a respite from the blockbusters flooding theaters. Despite what its marketing might have you believe Hope Springs isn't a rom-com. The film is a disarming mixture of deeply intimate confessions by a married couple in the sanctuary of a therapist's office awkwardly honest attempts by that couple to physically reconnect and incredibly sappy scenes underscored by intrusive music. Boldly addressing female desire especially in older women it's hard not to give the movie extra credit for what writer Vanessa Taylor's script is trying to convey and its rarity in mainstream film. The ebb and flow of intimacy and desire in a long-term relationship is what drives Hope Springs and while there are plenty contrived moments and unresolved issues it is frankly surprising and surprisingly frank. It's a summer release from a major studio with high caliber stars aimed squarely at the generally underserved 50+ audience addressing the even more taboo topic of that audience's sex life.
Streep plays Kay a suburban wife who's deeply unsatisfied emotionally and sexually by her marriage to Arnold. Arnold who is played by Tommy Lee Jones as his craggiest sleeps in a separate bedroom now that their kids have left the nest; he's like a stone cold robot emotionally and physically and Kay tiptoes around trying to make him happy even as he ignores her every gesture. One of the most striking scenes in the movie is at the very beginning when Kay primps and fusses over her modest sleepwear in the hopes of seducing her husband. Streep makes it obvious that this isn't an easy thing for Kay; it takes all her guts to try and wordlessly suggest sex to her husband and when she's shot down it hurts to watch. This isn't a one time disconnect between their libidos; this is an ongoing problem that leaves Kay feeling insecure and undesirable.
After a foray into the self-help section of her bookstore Kay finds a therapist who holds week-long intensive couples' therapy sessions in Good Hope Springs ME and in a seemingly unprecedented moment of decisiveness she books a trip for the couple. Arnold of course is having none of it but he eventually comes along for the ride. That doesn't mean he's up for answering any of Dr. Feld's questions though. To be fair Dr. Feld (Carell) is asking the couple deeply intimate questions so if Arnold is comfortable foisting his amorous wife off with the excuse he had pork for lunch it's not so far-fetched to believe he'd be angry when Feld asks him about his fantasy life or masturbation habits.
Although Arnold gets a pass on some of his issues Kay is forthright about why and how she's dissatisfied. When Dr. Feld asks her if she masturbates she says she doesn't because it makes her too sad. Kay offers similar revelations; she's willing to bare it all to revive her marriage while Arnold thinks the fact that they're married at all means they must be happy. Carell's Dr. Feld is soothing and kind (even a bit bland) but it's always a pleasure to see him play it straight.
It's subversive for a mega-watt star to play a character that talks about how sexually unsatisfied she is and how unsexy she feels with the man she loves most in the world. The added taboo of Kay and Arnold's age adds that much more to the conversation. Kay and Arnold's attempts at intimacy are emotionally raw and hard to watch. Even when things get funny they're mostly awkward funny not ha-ha funny.
The rest of the movie is a little uneven wrapped up tightly and happily by the end. Their time spent soul-searching alone is a little cheesy especially when Kay ends up in a local bar where she gets a little dizzy on white wine while dishing about her problems to the bartender (Elisabeth Shue). Somewhere along the line what probably started out as a character study ended up as a wobbly drama that pushes some boundaries but eventually lets everyone off the emotional hook in favor of a smoothed-over happy ending. Still its disarming moments and performances almost balance it out. Although its target audience might be dismayed to find it's not as light-hearted as it would seem Hope Springs offers up the opportunity for discussion about sexuality and aging at a time when books and films like 50 Shades of Grey and Magic Mike are perking up similar conversations. In the end that's a good thing.
Based on a novel by Catherine Ryan Hyde "Pay It Forward" is about a boy named Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osment) who is inspired by his social studies teacher Mr. Simonet (Kevin Spacey) and comes up with a school project based on a simple concept: Don't wait to pay back good deeds; pay them forward three times over. One of the boy's attempts to do good includes bringing his teacher together with his alcoholic single mother Arlene (Helen Hunt).
This movie has all the makings of Oscar. Two-time Oscar winner Spacey is solid as usual and escapes into the role of Mr. Simonet whose facial and bodily burn scars hide a tragic secret. Oscar winner Hunt gets a chance to really flex her acting muscles and she does. Her scenes with young Osment are especially gripping. But the revelation in "Pay It Forward" is Osment. This boy was born to act and he improves upon his already impressive turn in "The Sixth Sense." It would be nice to see Osment win Oscar this year and Spacey and Hunt will surely receive nominations. Providing strong supporting work are Angie Dickinson Jay Mohr and James Caviezel and Jon Bon Jovi appears in a fortunately brief cameo.
Mimi Leder ("Deep Impact " "The Peacemaker") takes a break from action films and slows it down way down with "Pay It Forward." Her foray into the non-action realm is shaky. Some of the scenes are out of place and take away from the overall effectiveness of the film. One major and surprising plot point is heartbreaking unnecessary and executed in a contrived manner. And the ending is disjointed from the feel of the rest of the film. Fortunately for Leder she has an amazing cast and a strong story from author Hyde.
The 3rd Annual Latin Grammy® Awards will be held on September 18, 2002 and be broadcast domestically by the CBS Television Network, it was announced Thursday by Recording Academy® and Latin Recording Academy® President/CEO Michael Greene.
The show--which will feature performances from some of the genre's biggest artists--will originate from Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland in Hollywood, Calif. The Latin Recording Academy also has added two new award categories this year, Best Contemporary Tropical Album, and Best Christian Album, bringing the total to 41 categories. Nominations for the Latin Grammy Awards are expected to be announced in July.
"Along with the world, the Latin Recording Academy has had a year that's tested its perseverance, as well as its dedication to celebrating music as passionately as it has since LARAS first started three years ago," said Greene.
"From coming together to raise funds for New York rescue workers just three days after their own show had to be cancelled, to working diligently to stay relevant by adding two more award categories, the steadfast membership of almost 4,000 music makers from all over the world has a new sense of unity and purpose--to let the world know the 3rd Annual Latin Grammy Awards will be a spectacular worldwide celebration!
"We thank Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn, Tim Leiweke and the folks at Kodak Theatre, and our terrific partners at CBS--especially Leslie Moonves--for helping to ensure that the Latin Grammy Awards will be a truly amazing, meaningful event for our nominees, members and our audience."
"Los Angeles was the birthplace of the Latin Grammys, and I look forward to continuing to host the event in this great city, best known as the entertainment capital of the world," said Los Angeles Mayor Jim Hahn.
The 3rd Annual Latin Grammy Awards will be broadcast domestically by CBS from 9-11 p.m. (ET/PT). The network also will distribute the show internationally through CBS Broadcast International, providing the show to an estimated 120 countries. The 1st Annual Latin Grammy Awards marked the first time a largely Spanish-language program was aired in prime time in the U.S., and its successful reach, prestige value and unique musical content was a powerful addition to the network's offerings.
"It once again is our privilege to broadcast the Latin Grammy Awards," said Leslie Moonves, President and CEO, CBS.
"This event reaffirms our commitment to the Latin Recording Academy, to diversity and to the best in entertainment programming. After the tragic events of last year which forced us to cancel the Latin Grammy broadcast, we are thrilled to be back with another show featuring some of the world's most exciting music and performers."
"Kodak Theatre, one of America's premier showplaces and Hollywood's newest attraction, truly is the perfect showplace for an important and prestigious awards show such as the Latin Grammys," said Timothy J. Leiweke, President, AEG, which operates Kodak Theatre. "The intimacy of the theater--as well as the spectacular sight lines and sound--will make this an incredible evening of music for our guests and the worldwide audience."
The 3rd Annual Latin Grammy Awards is a Recording Academy event produced in association with Cossette Productions. Pierre and John Cossette are executive producers; Ken Ehrlich is producer/writer; Walter Miller is producer/director; and Tisha Fein is coordinating producer.