November 04, 2008 12:48pm EST
When Graham is ditched by her husband (Luke Wilson) she rents a clunker and heads to El Paso Texas discovering that not only her marriage but also her faith and sanity are at stake in this clever original comedy. Through Graham's odyssey the film explores issues of honor and promise while never getting preachy or pretentious. The script is funny yet never slapsticky. And though touching the films never falls prey to drippy sentimentality.
Always a bride's maid and never a bride (with knockout supporting turns in
"Boogie Nights" and "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me") Graham finally takes command in her first lead role. Her face is as expressive as it is beautiful as she gently glides from strong to comical to vulnerable. This surely won't be her last starring role. Casey Affleck comfortably fits as Graham's dopey but loyal brother who half-wittedly forgets that Jolene is his sister. When he gives her a sensual kiss she responds by reminding him "I'm married and I'm your sister." He replies "Oh yeah." Wilson restrains from playing the stray husband as a cartoon villain and gives us a cad who's hard to hate.
This was obviously a labor of love for writer/director Lisa Krueger and every bit of her passion shows onscreen. She gives the actors a spotlight to shine in paints a beautiful picture of the Texas desert and trusts the audience with her vivid characters. Krueger's graceful touch turns Jolene's warm naiveté into something refreshingly strong and hopeful.
Top Story: Sandler To Join Cruise in Collateral
Funnyman Adam Sandler is in talks to star opposite Tom Cruise in director Michael Mann's drama Collateral for DreamWorks. The story revolves around a cab driver who picks up a passenger, a contract killer who takes him hostage as he travels around Los Angeles to conduct his business. The action all takes place on a single night. If Sandler joins the project, he would play Max the cabbie while Cruise would take on the villainous role. According to Variety, Cruise and Mann have been trying for awhile to find a film to work on together. The pic is expected to begin production in October, before Cruise is set to start working on Mission: Impossible 3.
Stewart Writes Open Letter
Martha Stewart published an open letter in USA Today and on the Internet at www.marthatalks.com on Thursday proclaiming her innocence and encouraging fans to send her email, Reuters reports. The government charged Stewart yesterday with securities fraud and lying to authorities, claiming she interfered with the investigation into the timing of a sale of her ImClone Systems Inc. shares. "I simply returned a call from my stockbroker," Stewart wrote. "The government's attempt to criminalize these actions makes no sense to me."
Will & Grace Actress Pleads No Contest
Will & Grace actress Shelley Morrison, who plays Karen's maid Rosario on the hit NBC sitcom, pleaded no contest Wednesday to shoplifting about $450 worth of jewelry from a Robinsons-May department store in Los Angeles last April, Reuters reports. The 66-year-old actress was sentenced to one year's probation and fined $300 for misdemeanor petty theft. Morrison thanked her family and friends for their support during her ordeal and said she was looking forward to resuming work on the next season of the show.
Jennifer Connelly and Husband Expecting
Academy Award-winner Jennifer Connelly and her husband Paul Bettany are expecting a boy in August, Reuters reports. Connelly was supposed to do interviews to promote the new comic book actioner The Hulk, which hits theaters June 20, but a publicist for Universal Pictures says the actress is "on bed rest right now." The couple starred together in Ron Howard's 2001 drama A Beautiful Mind and were married in early January of this year.
Foxx Needs Time in New Orleans Case
A lawyer for actor Jamie Foxx has asked the judge in his case in New Orleans for a continuance, The Associated Press reports. Foxx, who is free on $1,900 bond, was arrested in April on charges of trespassing, disturbing the peace, battery on police officers and resisting arrest. Trouble started when Foxx, his sister and their group were asked to show identification before going into a casino near the French Quarter. Police say the actor, who was in New Orleans to film Unchain My Heart, fought with police after he and his entourage refused to leave.
R. Kelly Can't Film Video in L.A.
Cook County Judge Vincent Michael Gaughan ruled Wednesday that R&B singer R. Kelly can travel to Los Angeles to attend the BET Awards and perform at an upcoming concert, but cannot go there to film a music video, the AP reports. Kelly, who is free on bond since he was indicted on 21 child pornography charges last June, hasn't been allowed to leave the Chicago area without a judge's permission since his indictment. Gaughan said Kelly's attorneys presented no argument why he couldn't produce a video with technology and creative resources in his hometown of Chicago.
Linkin Park Frontman Hospitalized
Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington was admitted to a Los Angeles-area hospital after suffering "an attack of severe back and abdominal pains," a representative for the band said Wednesday. According to a statement on the band's Web site, all touring and video shoot plans in Europe have been put on hold this month until Chester fully recovers. "We wish him the best and will keep everyone posted as to his condition." Linkin Park received a Grammy award for their 2000 debut album Hybrid Theory.
Everclear Wants Moshing To Stop
Everclear singer Art Alexakis told AP Radio he's tired of seeing girls kicked in the head in mosh pits during concert performances. Alexakis said that while he's "a little reminiscent for the summer of '94 just like anyone else," he's sick of people getting hurt. The singer says people still mosh at their shows, but they tend to jump more than mosh. "It's just like, just watch the show," he said. To keep things interesting for the fans, Alexakis says they've been pulling an audience member to play guitar on the single "Santa Monica."
Role Call: MGM Picks Up Cedric's Flash
Barbershop's Cedric the Entertainer will star and produce Flash for MGM. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the project is described as a comedy with heart centering on Coach Levels (Cedric), who leads a group of athletes both on and off the playing field and forms a tight bond with one of the kids.
Eminem wants to start a fire
Residents and officials in Highland Park, Mich., protested Eminem's plans to burn down a house during the filming of his untitled movie. About 50 residents protested the fire during an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss the issue; however, no final decision was made. Highland Park's emergency financial manager, Ramona Henderson, will have the final say on whether the house will burn, The Detroit Free Press reports. Eminem's movie will be released next summer.
Creed "weathers" their way to the top, plans new tour
Creed's third album, Weathered, soared the top of The Billboard 200 chart this week, after selling a whooping 887,000 units in the U.S., according to SoundScan. That's 142,000 more albums than Britney Spears' Britney sold when it released two weeks ago. This marks Creed's best week on the chart, blowing away the 316,000 first-week units the band's Human Clay album sold in October 1999.
In related news, Creed will begin a year of heavy touring Jan. 14 at the Lakeland Civic Center in Florida in support of their new album, Billboard reports. The band will hit 19 U.S. arenas through Feb. 17 and head to Australia in March. Creed will play more U.S. shows in April, play throughout Europe in May and June, and finish up the tour in the U.S. from July through November 2002.
The Doors are out to lunch
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to meet someone who knew The Doors' vocalist, Jim Morrison, intimately? Now you can. Rhino Entertainment is auctioning off a lunch with Doors' keyboard player Ray Manzarek, longtime Doors manager Danny Sugerman and producer Bruce Botnick. This exclusive gathering, to take place at Benvenuto Café in Los Angeles--The Doors Office until 1972--is being auctioned off on ebay Dec. 4 through Dec. 14,Virgin.com reports. The celebrates the release of The Very Best of the Doors, a collection of the group's most popular recordings. All proceeds from the winning bid will benefit the Musicians Assistance Program, a nonprofit organization.
Everclear's Alexakis to record solo album
Everclear's frontman, Art Alexakis, is planning to begin work early next year on a solo album for Capitol Records. "I'm not defined by Everclear," he told Billboard. "There are things I want to do, even if the music isn't worlds away. This can be just my thing; it's not a committee." In 1997, Alexakis toured small venues in the U.S. as a solo artist, playing songs from the unreleased Everclear album, Something for the Afterglow, the Art Alexakis Fan Club reports. In addition, Alexakis has contributed a solo song to the soundtrack of the 1998 Ben Stiller starrer Permanent Midnight.
Alicia Keys tops 2001 Billboard Music Awards nominations
R&B Newcomer Alicia Keys leads the nominees for this year's Billboard Music Awards in eight categories, including female artist of the year, new artist of the year, and R&B/hip hop album of the year for her album Songs in A Minor, Billboard reports. The awards, to be presented live on Dec. 4 on Fox from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, will include performances by No Doubt, Destiny's Child and Incubus.