Last night, Julie Taymor talked to Stephen Colbert about everything that wasn’t what we’re REALLY interested in, and not enough about how she’s slowly killing off the human race with her Broadway musical.
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Jon Stewart talked about how the President is getting pretty irritated that no matter what he does, reporters are going to continue to insinuate that he’s doing the wrong thing because they operate on a 24-hour news cycle and he does not.
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Halle Berry talked to Jay Leno about her upcoming Broadway debut in Mountaintops, a play about what Martin Luther King did in his hotel room after he gave the “I Have a Dream” speech and before he was assassinated. Halle plays a waitress that she describes as a little “off.”
…which might not be that hard for her to do if she reacts to popcorn this way.
Paul McCartney told Jimmy Fallon about his Grammy nomination and being honored at the Kennedy Center.
And Barbara Walters was on Letterman and told him about who she thinks this year’s ten most fascinating people are. David called her out for putting Kate Middleton as a fascinating person, even though Barbara never talked to her…which is very cheating.
In his new film Due Date director Todd Phillips (Old School The Hangover) stages a rather audacious cinematic experiment placing two enormously talented actors Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis on a mostly deserted island handing them an assortment of blunt and broken tools and charging them with constructing a free-standing fully-functioning Hollywood comedy.
To his credit Phillips was at least considerate enough to supply his comic Crusoes with a detailed blueprint. An odd-couple/road trip movie hybrid Due Date unapologetically mimics Planes Trains and Automobiles one of the John Hughes' rare “grown-up” comedies in which Steve Martin starred as a straightlaced family man forced to travel cross-country with a gratingly affable slob played by John Candy in order to make it home for Thanksgiving. (Surely there have been other such films before and since but Hughes’ work is the one Due Date most vividly recalls.)
The film’s script co-written by Phillips and Adam Sztykiel adds a handful of 21st-century twists to the formula: A baggage snafu while boarding an airplane leads Peter Highman (Downey) a type-A architect with a history of anger-management issues into a confrontation with a Federal Air Marshal that subsequently lands him on Homeland Security’s no-fly list. Stranded without reliable transport lacking the means by which to procure any (he left his wallet on the plane) and desperate to be reunited in L.A. with his pregnant wife (Michelle Monaghan) in time for her scheduled c-section he reluctantly agrees to hitch a ride with the same tubby schmuck Ethan (Galifianakis) who moments earlier was the catalyst of his security debacle.
The unlikely travel companions embark on a calamitous road trip from Atlanta to L.A. during which Ethan proves to be something of a disaster magnet with Peter bearing the brunt of the damage that occurs. Their navigator Phillips lazily guides them through an uneven obstacle course of comic scenarios some of which are embarrassingly predictable (Ethan stores his beloved father’s ashes in a coffee can and they’re later accidentally used to make coffee!) all of which are designed to showcase Downey’s caustic wit and Galifianakis’ sublime daffiness.
Few actors today deliver choice insults better than Downey and even fewer absorb them better than Galifianakis. They make for a truly marvelous collision of opposites and their interplay is what elevates Due Date above its often puzzlingly flat material. (That along with Galifianakis’ gift for physical comedy; no actor outside of the Jackass crew can better sell a collision with a car door.) The film's supporting cast meanwhile criminally underachieves. Conspicuous cameos from the likes of Danny McBride Juliette Lewis and Jamie Foxx are either unfunny unnecessary or both. On this road trip they’re little more than baggage. Thankfully Downey and Galifianakis are more than capable of shouldering the burden.
Peters has already signed on to play Sally Durant Plummer in the Kennedy Center production of the show at the Eisenhower Theater next summer (11)
And Paige, the original Eva Peron in Evita and the original Grizabella in Cats, will join her in the revival of the Stephen Sondheim production, about a reunion of performers who appeared together in a fictional version of Ziegfield's Follies.
Also joining the cast are Linda Lavin, Jan Maxwell, Terri White, Terrence Currier, Rosalind Elias, Florence Lacey, Regine, David Sabin and Susan Watson, reports Variety.
Follies is set to run 7 May through 19 June (11).
Making an earnest cinematic argument for the immortality of the soul and the existence of an afterlife without delving into mushy sentimentality is a difficult task for even the most gifted and “serious” of filmmakers. Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson discovered as much last year when his sappy grandiose adaptation of the ethereal bestseller The Lovely Bones opened to scathing reviews. Critics by and large tend to bristle at movie renderings of what may or may not await them in that Great Arthouse in the Sky.
And yet filmmakers seem determined to keep trying. The latest to make the attempt is Clint Eastwood who throughout his celebrated directorial career has certainly demonstrated a firm grasp of the death part of the equation. His filmography with a few notable exceptions practically revels in it: of his recent oeuvre Invictus is the only work that doesn’t deal with mortality in some significant manner. With his new film Hereafter Eastwood hopes to add immortality to his thematic resume.
The film's narrative centers on three characters each of whom has intimate experience with death and loss. Their stories in true Eastwood fashion can ostensibly be labeled Sad Sadder and Saddest: Marie (Cecile de France) is a French TV news anchor who’s haunted by disturbing flashbacks after she loses consciousness — and briefly her life — during a natural disaster; George (Matt Damon looking credibly schlubby) is a former psychic whose skills as a medium are so potent (the slightest touch from another human being triggers an instant powerful psychic connection a la Rogue from X-Men) they’ve left him isolated and alone; Marcus is a London schoolboy who retreats into a somber shell after losing his twin brother in a tragic car accident (both brothers are played rather impressibly by real-life twins Frankie and George McLaren).
Humanity offers little help to these troubled souls surrounding them with skeptics charlatans users and deadbeats none of whom are particularly helpful with crises of an existential nature. Luckily there are otherworldly options. Peter Morgan's script assumes psychics out-of-body experiences and other such phenomena to be real and legitimate but in a non-denominational Coast-to-Coast AM kind of way. Unlike Jackson’s syrupy CGI-drenched glimpses of the afterlife Eastwood’s visions of the Other Side are vague and eery — dark fuzzy silhouettes of the departed set against a white background. Only Damon’s character George seems capable of drawing meaning from them which is why he’s constantly sought out by grief-stricken folks desperate to make contact with loved ones who’ve recently passed on. He’s John Edward only real (and not a douche).
Marie and Marcus appear destined to find him as well but only as the last stop on wearisome circuitous and often heartbreaking spiritual journeys that together with George’s hapless pursuit of a more temporal connection (psychic ability it turns out can be a wicked cock-blocker) consume the bulk of Hereafter’s running time. We know the three characters’ paths must inevitably intersect but Morgan’s script stubbornly forestalls this eventuality testing our patience for nearly two ponderous and maudlin hours and ultimately building up expectations for a climax Eastwood can’t deliver at least not without sacrificing any hope of credulity.
It should be noted that Hereafter features a handful of genuinely touching moments thanks in great part to the film's tremendous cast. And its finale is refreshingly upbeat. Unfortunately it also feels forced and terribly unsatisfying. Eastwood an established master of all things tragic and forlorn struggles mightily to mount a happy ending. (Which in my opinion is much more challenging than a sad or ambiguous one.) After prompting us to seriously ponder life’s ultimate question Eastwood’s final answer seems to be: Don’t worry about it.
Remember way back when trilogies were enough? Hollywood’s going sequel-happy and one of the next trilogies to overdose is Wes Craven’s beloved Scream franchise. Scream 4 is in the can, the damage is done, and thanks to one sneaky fan, the teaser trailer is loose on the internet. Unfortunately, whereas the previous three films’ trailers got me ready to squirm and scream, this trailer just looks like a mash-up of the last three movies with some younger faces thrown in. Craven claims he’s using the fourth installment in the series to take on the horror tropes that have developed since Scream 3's release in 2000, but it just looks like an indulgent fright-fest if you ask me.
Watch it if you must, but if you'd like to save the trouble here’s what I learned from the Scream 4 trailer:
1. Neve Campbell, David Arquette, and Courtney Cox are back, so it must be good...except that none of them have scored a decent role in a big movie since Scream 3. Crap. (Harsh but true. No sugar-coating here, folks.)
2. Oh look, Kristen Bell’s in it for a few minutes. (Okay, I’ve give Craven a few points for that; even I can admit she’s smokin’.)
3. Guys, this franchise is totally still relevant. See, Hayden Panettiere’s character has an iPhone!
4. Macaulay Culkin’s super creepy little brother is in, and Jamie Kennedy is out. Win.
Source: Entertainment Weekly
The story of the most dominant racehorse of all time does not easily fit into the standard inspirational sports flick mold. Such films typically require its protagonists to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles be they competitive (Hoosiers) personal (The Natural) societal (Ali) or some combination of all three (Remember the Titans). But by all accounts the greatest challenges to Secretariat capturing of the 1973 Triple Crown were not rival horses — indeed Secretariat had no true rival — but a pair of slow starts and an abscess. And abscesses — apologies to dermatologists — simply aren’t all that effective as dramatic devices.
Lacking most of the vital ingredients of the traditional underdog movie formula Disney’s Secretariat is forced to synthesize them. Its screenplay written by Mike Rich and based rather loosely on the book Secretariat: The Making of a Champion by William Nack adopts a conventional save-the-farm framework: When her parents pass away within months of each other Denver housewife Penny Tweedy (Diane Lane) is advised to sell off her family’s Virginia-based Meadow Stables a beautiful but unprofitable horse-breeding enterprise in order to pay the onerous inheritance taxes levied by the state. But Penny her deceased father’s hackneyed horse-inspired counsel fresh in her mind (“You’ve got to run your own race ” etc. etc.) is loath to depart with such a cherished heirloom. So she concocts a scheme just idiotic enough to work betting the farm — literally — that her new horse Big Red in whom she has an almost Messianic faith will win the Kentucky Derby Preakness and Belmont races in succession.
Of course Big Red under the stage name Secretariat goes on to do just that but only after the film subjects us to nearly two hours of manufactured melodrama. Lane grasping all-too conspicuously for awards consideration treats every line as if it were the St. Crispin’s Day speech. Her character Penny exhibits a hair-trigger sensitivity to the sounds of skeptics and naysayers bursting forth with a polite rebuke and a stern sermon for anyone who dares doubt her crusade from the trash-talking owner of a rival horse to her annoyingly pragmatic husband (Dylan Walsh).
Lane isn’t alone in her grandiosity. The entire production reeks of it as director Randall Wallace lines the story with fetid chunks of overwrought Oscar bait like so many droppings in an untended stable even using Old Testament quotations and gospel music to endow Penny’s quest with biblical significance. John Malkovich is kind enough to inject some mirth into the heavy-handed proceedings hamming it up as Secretariat’s trainer Lucien Laurin a French-Canadian curmudgeon with an odd sartorial palette. It’s not enough however to alleviate the discomfort of witnessing the film's quasi-Sambo depiction of Secretariat’s famed groom Eddie Sweat (Nelsan Ellis) which reaches its cringeworthy zenith when Sweat runs out to the track on the eve of the Belmont Stakes and exclaims to no one in particular that “Big Red done eat his breakfast this mornin’!!!” Bagger Vance would be proud. Whether or not Ellis’ portrayal of Sweat’s cadence and mannerisms is accurate (and for all I know it may well be) the character is too thinly drawn to register as anything more than an amiable simple-minded servant.
Animal lovers will be happy to know that the horses in Secretariat come off looking far better than their human counterparts and not just because they’re alloted the best dialogue. In the training and racing sequences Wallace effectively conveys the strength and majesty of the fearsome animals drawing us into the action and creating a strong element of suspense even though the final result is a fait accompli. It's too bad the rest of the film never makes it out of the gate.
The comic was taken to a hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey, on Saturday (25Sep10) after suffering an alleged accidental drugs overdose and passed away four days later.
Now Hasselhoff, who appeared alongside Giraldo in a Comedy Central Roast in August (10), is leading tributes to the funnyman,
In a post on his Twitter.com page, Hasselhoff writes, "Greg Giraldo was a fantastic gentleman with a great heart! And I am deeply saddened by this news!"
Ghost Whisperer actor Jamie Kennedy also offered his condolences, writing on Twitter, "Greg Giraldo. The world has lost a brilliant mind. I was very fortunate to watch Greg at the laugh factory many times. He was gut busting. RIP."
Comedienne Sarah Silverman praised the late star for being "belly-laugh hilarious, prolific, good & kind."
Easy A a teen sex comedy with no actual sex aims rather conspicuously to plumb the best bits of Diablo Cody and Alexander Payne in its upside-down self-consciously campy take on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. In the role of its high-school Hester Prynne is Emma Stone the sly husky heroine of last year’s surprise hit Zombieland. Tested by a film that is far less clever than its director Will Gluck or screenwriter Bert Royal would have us believe (and they desperately want us to believe) she passes with flying colors delivering a performance that should elevate her into the upper echelon of actresses possessing brains and beauty in equal measure.
Stone plays Olive the kind of quick-witted hyper-literate teen that our educational system produces in ever-diminishing numbers. (If it ever produced them to begin with.) More knowing and sophisticated than others her age she is nonetheless not immune to the pressure of peers and the dread of being labeled a loser. Under duress by a prying friend (Aly Michalka) to dish the details of her birthday weekend a rather mundane affair mainly spent jumping on her bed to the tune of Natasha Bedingfield’s pop monstrosity “Pocket Full of Sunshine ” she feels compelled to embellish a bit and concocts an entirely fictional account of losing her virginity (dubbed the “V-Card” by Royal trying too hard) to a boy from a junior college across town.
Word of Olive’s deflowering spreads with startling speed aided by the incessant rumor-mongering of a catty Evangelical eavesdropper (Amanda Bynes). Suddenly branded a tramp on account of a seemingly harmless little lie Olive opts to embrace her newly tarnished reputation and put it to good use. In a viciously stratified social environment where even the most awkward acne-plagued pariah can earn respect and even admiration from members of the upper castes for having gone All the Way Olive anoints herself the Mother Theresa of (fake) sluts bestowing her blessing upon downtrodden gents in need of a reputation boost. And she resolves to look the part too traipsing around in scandalous bustiers and affixing the letter “A” to her chest.
There are limits to Easy A’s Scarlet Letter conceit overly Glee-ful tone forced repartee and pop-culture references (John Hughes is invoked so many times he should get a producer credit). Which is why director Gluck must be grateful to have found Stone who handles the verbal calisthenics of Royal’s script with charm and verve and a certain effortless appeal that keeps us engaged even as the film wallows in contrived irony and heavy-handedness. Keep your eye on her.
A celebrity dream team is supposedly circling an ambitious new project that has come to light during the weekend launch of the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Per The Times, George Clooney will portray Frank Sinatra and Angelina Jolie will take on Marilyn Monroe in an adaptation of Andrew O'Kagan's lauded novel The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe.
The quirky-titled book is a story told by the blond bombshell's terrier (which was a gift from Sinatra) and follows the canine through the last two years of his master's life. According to the novel's description, Maf - short for Mafia - met several famous faces from the era, including President John F. Kennedy. The dog also accompanied Monroe to acting classes, restaurants, department stores and to Mexico for her divorce from playwright Arthur Miller. The trade notes that, though Scarlett Johansson was initially pegged for the part of Monroe, Jolie has emerged the victor. O'Kagan went on record saying that he believed that Mad Men's Christina Hendricks would've also been great for the coveted role.
There are a slew of more straight-forward biopics about both Sinatra and Monroe in development, among them Sinatra with Martin Scorsese attached and Blonde with Naomi Watts set to star as MM under the direction of Andrew Dominik. Though I believe both Clooney and Jolie to be wonderful actors, I'm more interested in these other projects than the kitschy-sounding Maf The Dog. O'Kagan's novel, though certainly original, sounds better suited for an animated movie than a film about two legends of the entertainment industry. I also believe that Scorsese's film may or may not ever get made due to his ever-expanding cache of projects, but the thought of the debonair Leo DiCaprio re-teaming with his Shutter Island director is enough to sell me on it. As for Monroe, I'd also rather see a separate biopic on her as well and Watts is a phenomenally talented performer, but she would need Hendricks' body to be at all convincing as the voluptuous vixen that enchanted the world for a spell in the 1950s.
We're still waiting for some confirmation on this developing story, but one sign of validity is clearly indicated in the openings in both actors schedules. With two films in post-production/completed a piece and no officially green-lit go-to gigs ready to start, this could potentially fit for both Clooney and Jolie and will certainly draw attention to the project.
Source: The Times, The Telegraph
Born on 7 August, 1960, Duchovny abandoned plans for a teaching career in his 20s to pursue his love of acting, enjoying a recurring role in cult TV show Twin Peaks before shooting to fame as alien-chasing FBI agent Fox Mulder in the hit sci-fi series.
After several movie roles, he returned to TV work in 2007's Californication, and is currently shooting scenes for the popular comedy-drama's fourth season.
To celebrate Duchovny's milestone birthday, WENN has dug out 10 fascinating facts about the star:
- He attended New York City's prestigious Collegiate School. Among his classmates was assassinated U.S. president John F. Kennedy's eldest son, John F. Kennedy, Jr.
- As well as acting, Duchovny has worked behind the camera, directing several episodes of The X-Files.
- In a 1997 episode of The Simpsons - a spoof of The X-Files entitled The Springfield Files - Duchovny voiced the animated Fox Mulder character.
- As a schoolboy, he was nicknamed Duke.
- He has enjoyed a role as a doctor in three movies - Playing God in 1997, Evolution four years later, and The Secret in 2006.
- He appeared in an advert for Lowenbrau beer in 1987.
- Duchovny wed actress Tea Leoni in 1997 and the couple has two children - daughter Madelaine, 11, and eight-year-old son Kyd.
- His list of honours includes two Golden Globes for Best TV Actor in 1997 and 2008, and four Emmy nominations for Outstanding Actor.
- He once appeared on U.S. game show Celebrity Jeopardy, losing out in the final round.
- He has degrees in English Literature from esteemed U.S. universities Yale and Princeton.