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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Liam Hemsworth's one-time fling Eiza Gonzalez has landed her big break by scoring a role in the upcoming TV adaptation of Robert Rodriguez's cult film From Dusk Till Dawn. The director announced plans to turn the 1996 movie, about two criminals who stumble across a nightclub filled with vampires, into a 10-episode series earlier this month (Nov13), with Miami Vice star Don Johnson taking on the lead as Sheriff Earl McGraw.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation actor D.J. Cotrona and Zane Holtz were both cast in the lead roles made famous by George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino, and now Gonzalez has been added to the line-up as one of their hostages.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day star Robert Patrick and actors Madison Davenport and Brandon Soo Hoo have also been hired for the show, which is in production in Austin, Texas.
The programme is due to premiere on Rodriguez's own English-language El Rey Network next spring (14), shortly after the December (13) launch of the cable channel.
Actress/singer Gonzalez hit headlines in September (13) when she was photographed kissing Hemsworth a day after news of his broken engagement to Miley Cyrus was announced. She has only previously appeared in a handful of Spanish-language telenovelas.
British pop star Rochelle Humes was left fuming on Monday morning (29Jul13) after learning her Twitter.com page had been hacked. Fans of The Saturdays singer had seemingly been receiving messages from the new mum, but Humes revealed an imposter had taken control of her account.
In a post, she writes, "Sorry if anyone has been getting dms (direct messages) etc my account (sic) been hacked. Password now changed. Soo annoying. Why do people do that?!!!!!"
It isn't the first time Humes' page on the site has been improperly accessed - she was also hacked last year (12).
"Wow! Wake up and find out that we've won 3 billboard awards! Can't believe it! Thank you so much best fans ever! Love you soo much xxxxxxx." One Direction star Niall Horan received some good news on Monday (20May13). The boyband missed out on the Billboard Music Awards ceremony in Las Vegas as they are currently on tour.
South Korean filmmaker Kim Jho Gwang-Soo is set to become the nation's first gay celebrity to 'wed' after unveiling plans to exchange vows later this year (13). The director made the big announcement during a press conference in the capital city of Seoul on Wednesday (15May13), with his partner of nine years, Kim Seung-hwan, by his side.
He told reporters, "We wanted to convey the message that all sexual minorities should be given rights equally in a beautiful way."
The couple plans to 'marry' on 7 September (13), although the nuptials will only be symbolic as the country's marriage laws do not allow for same-sex unions.
Homosexuality is not illegal in South Korea, but Gwang-soo, 49, is only the second native celebrity to ever publicly 'come out' - actor Hong Seok-cheon revealed his sexuality to fans in 2000, but has since claimed he regrets the move after failing to find work following the announcement.
There is something particularly unnerving about demon possession. It's the idea of something you can't see or control creeping into your body and taking up residence eventually obliterating all you once were and turning you into nothing more than a sack of meat to be manipulated. Then there's also the shrouded ritual around exorcisms: the Latin chants the flesh-sizzling crucifixes and the burning Holy Water. As it turns out exorcism isn't just the domain of Catholics.
The myths and legends of the Jews aren't nearly as well known but their creepy dybbuk goes toe-to-toe with anything other world religions come up with. There are various interpretations of what a dybbuk is or where it comes from — is it a ghost a demon a soul of a sinner? — but in any case it's looking for a body to hang out in for a while. Especially according to the solemn Hasidic Jews in The Possession an innocent young person and even better a young girl.
The central idea in The Possession is that a fancy-looking wooden box bought at a garage sale was specifically created to house a dybbuk that was tormenting its previous owner. Unfortunately it caught the eye of young Emily (Natasha Calis) a sensitive artistic girl who persuades her freshly divorced dad Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan of Watchmen and Grey's Anatomy) to buy it for her. Never mind the odd carvings on it — that would be Hebrew — or how it's created without seams so it would be difficult to open or why it's an object of fascination for a young girl; Clyde is trying really hard to please his disaffected daughters and do the typical freshly divorced parent dance of trying to please them no matter the cost.
Soon enough the creepy voices calling to Emily from the box convince her to open it up; inside are even creepier personal objects that are just harbingers of what's to come for her her older sister Hannah (Madison Davenport) her mom Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick) and even Stephanie's annoying new boyfriend Brett (Grant Show). Clyde and Stephanie squabble over things like pizza for dinner and try to convince each other and themselves that Emily's increasingly odd behavior is that of a troubled adolescent. It's not of course and eventually Clyde enlists the help of the son of a Hasidic rabbi a young man named Tzadok played by the former Hasidic reggae musician Matisyahu to help them perform an exorcism on Emily.
The Possession is not going to join the ranks of The Exorcist in the horror pantheon but it does do a remarkable job of making its characters intelligent and even occasionally droll and it offers up plenty of chills despite a PG-13 rating. Perhaps it's because of that rating that The Possession is so effective; the filmmakers are forced to make the benign scary. Giant moths and flying Torahs take the place of little Reagan violently masturbating with a crucifix in The Exorcist. Gagging and binging on food is also an indicator of Emily's possession — an interesting twist given the anxieties of becoming a woman a girl Emily's age would face. There is something inside her controlling her and she knows it and she is fighting it. The most impressive part of Calis's performance is how she communicates Emily's torment with a few simple tears rolling down her face as the dybbuk's control grows. The camerawork adds to the anxiety; one particularly scary scene uses ordinary glass kitchenware to great effect.
The Possession is a short 92 minutes and it does dawdle in places. It seems as though some of the scenes were juggled around to make the PG-13 cut; the moth infestation scene would have made more sense later in the movie. Some of the problems are solved too quickly or simply and yet it also takes a while for Clyde's character to get with it. Stephanie is a fairly bland character; she makes jewelry and yells at Clyde for not being present in their marriage a lot and then there's a thing with a restraining order that's pretty silly. Emily is occasionally dressed up like your typical horror movie spooky girl with shadowed eyes an over-powdered face and dark clothes; it's much more disturbing when she just looks like an ordinary though ill young girl. The scenes in the heavily Hasidic neighborhood in Brooklyn look oddly fake and while it's hard to think of who else could have played Tzadok an observant Hasidic Jew who is also an outsider willing to take risks the others will not Matisyahu is not a very good actor. Still the filmmakers should be commended for authenticity insofar as Matisyahu has studied and lived as a Hasidic Jew.
It would be cool if Lionsgate and Ghost House Pictures were to release the R-rated version of the movie on DVD. What the filmmakers have done within the confines of a PG-13 rating is creepy enough to make me curious to see the more adult version. The Possession is no horror superstar and its name is all too forgettable in a summer full of long-gestating horror movies quickly pushed out the door. It's entertaining enough and could even find a broader audience on DVD. Jeffrey Dean Morgan can read the Old Testament to me any time.
The former Cheers star, who has struggled with weight issues for years, has been shedding the pounds ever since she was forced to shape up as a contestant on U.S. TV show Dancing With the Stars earlier this year (11).
She recently claimed to have lost an impressive 100 pounds (45.5 kilograms) since March (11) after adopting a new healthy diet and strict exercise regime, and Alley showed off her new slim physique when she walked the runway at an event for New York Fashion Week last week (13Sep11).
Her drastic new look has prompted speculation about exactly how she managed to drop down to a U.S. clothing size six - and according to Alley, reporters at the National Enquirer are claiming in an upcoming article that she's become bulimic, forcing herself to vomit after every meal.
But the actress has slammed the allegations and she has vowed to take the Enquirer to court.
In a series of posts on her Twitter.com blog, she writes, "Soo.. heard that the Enquirer is running with a story that Im bulemic (sic)...lol..JEEZ!!! 'sources' JEEZ.. never hurled (threw up) a meal in my life..JEEZ...
"Im REALLY commited (sic) (to her diet) and strong willed...If I was bulemic I can assure U I would be a size zero... I smell a big ole lawsuit.. do U?? ...Enquirer, Im coming for u this time..get ready!!"
And she's accused Enquirer editors of reckless reporting on such a serious topic: "Bulemmia (sic), is a serious sitiation (sic) not to be taken lightly.. it can cause death..this accusation is degrading 2 those who from suffer it (sic)."
Cox and her daughter Coco beamed with pride watching the actor perform the Viennese waltz from the studio audience as the U.S. celebrity talent show kicked off.
Arquette's fancy footwork also impressed the judges, who gave the star and his dance partner Kym Johnson a total of 18 points, but it was Chaz Bono's appearance which drew the most attention, following fans' calls for a boycott to protest a transgender man dancing with a woman.
Bono scored a respectable 17 points for his cha cha, and his proud mum Cher took to her Twitter.com page to share her delight.
She wrote, "Wow! How great was my son. The greatest thing, greatest thing, greatest thing no matter what! He's a winner! I was so nervous."
Socialite and former Dancing With The Stars contestant Kim Kardashian also 'Tweeted' her reaction to her brother Rob's waltz, telling fans, "I cried, (older sister) Kourt almost had a heart attack & (younger sister) Khloe cussed out the judges! He looked soo good!!!"
"Thank you soo much to everyone who voted for me at the MTV Movie Awards... I love my fans sooo much and can't thank you all enough!" Chloe Moretz is grateful to fans following her double triumph at the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday (05un11). She won Best Breakout Star and Biggest Bada** Star for her role is Kick-Ass.
The couple married in a stately ceremony on Friday (29Apr11), witnessed by an estimated two billion people across the globe.
And in the hours after the wedding, a string of celebrities took to their blog on the social networking website to comment on the nuptials.
Singer/actress Miley Cyrus writes, "Wow wow wow #royalwedding soooo romantic. FLAWLESS. How lucky is Kate? Its every girls dream to be a princess", and former Spice Girl Melanie Brown adds, "What a great wedding, wishing them all the best, soo happy for them!!"
Culture Club frontman Boy George comments, "Was today a tribute to the late Princess Diana or what? Her legacy lived on today, it's a fact!", British funnyman Stephen Fry writes, "Wedding all looked most charming on the news bulletins", and Aussie star Holly Valance adds, "They look so happy! Was a lovely piece of history we just witnessed!!"