Once respected NYPD detective Jack Mosley (Bruce Willis) is now pretty much on his last legs literally and figuratively. He drinks is relegated to a desk job and walks with a limp. One morning after a long shift he’s corralled into transporting a petty criminal Eddie Bunker (Mos Def) to the courthouse 16 blocks away so he can testify by 10:00 a.m. What Jack doesn’t know is that Eddie is one of the key witnesses in a case against crooked cops--that is until the two start getting shot at. Then it becomes crystal clear. The main bad guy Jack’s former partner Frank (David Morse) basically lets Jack know Eddie will never testify to just go ahead and hand him over but Frank underestimates Jack’s desire to finally do something good. So Jack and Eddie fight their way to the courthouse block by gut-wrenching block. Oh no there’s nothing formulaic about 16 Blocks not at all. In a film as predictable as this the only thing that’ll make it stand out is the performances. 16 Blocks nearly succeeds--but not quite. It would seem Willis is playing a character he’s played a hundred times before--the misunderstood and slightly unorthodox cop with a heart of gold. But as Jack the actor does a nice job trying out some new things namely playing fat bald and grizzled. You can almost smell how bad Jack’s breath has to be. Rapper/actor Mos Def who usually brightens any film he’s in also tries his hand at something different but his choices aren’t as smart. As the talkative and affable Eddie Mos comes up with one of the more annoying nasally accents ever recorded. After about five minutes of screen time you desperately want him to stop and say “Just kidding! I don’t really talk like this.” But he doesn’t. It’s too bad something like an accent can ruin an otherwise decent performance. Old-school director Richard Donner best known for his Lethal Weapons is a consummate professional when it comes to making these kind of movies. In other words he pretty much paints by numbers. We watch Jack and Eddie get out of one tight situation after another as the gaggle of bad cops try to gun them down. I mean 16 blocks doesn’t seem that far to go so they better throw in as many highly implausible obstacles as they can. Chinese laundries alleyways rooftops subways. And yes even a city bus which the pair--who have by now bonded big time--has to hijack. Donner also employs a popular but nonetheless annoying technique of zooming in when the action heats up so you can’t really see what’s going on. Even if you’re addicted to action movies--a Bruce Willis action movie no less--16 Blocks just doesn’t deliver the goods.
"Ally McBeal" is getting a new friend: Indie guy. James LeGros James LeGros, the so-called Brad Pitt of the indie film world, is set to join the cast of Fox's hit lawyer show -- a sort-of testosterone reinforcement as series stalwart Gil Bellows prepares to exit.
According to reports today, LeGros will bow on the show in May (as in, yes, the May sweeps). The 37-year-old actor will play a thirtysomething lawyer name of Mark Albert. In USA Today, "Ally" creator David E. Kelley says he sees the LeGros character (and a couple of other new ones still to come) as rocking the boat at the all-too-precious firm of Cage/Fish Associates.
The LeGros casting comes at a time of relative upheaval for the still-young, still-popular series. By the end of this -- its third season -- "Ally McBeal" will have said goodbye to Bellows (as lawyer Billy Thomas) and Courtney Thorne-Smith (as lawyer Georgia Thomas). The status of Lisa Nicole Carson (as prosecutor Renee Radick) is fuzzy. She's still with the show; she just hasn't been on the show much since -- per her own account to the National Enquirer -- she did a stint in a New York psychiatric ward after living like "a one-woman party" around the holidays.
Being an indie dude, LeGros isn't really best known for anything, although he has starred in a number of films, including "Living in Oblivion."
HEATHER'S SPIN: Heather Locklear is terribly happy with "Spin City," is terribly happy about the sitcom's impending move from New York to Los Angeles to accommodate new star Charlie Sheen and is just terribly happy. So a rep for the actress tells the New York Daily News, denying rumbles that Locklear is, um, not terribly happy (or optimistic) about the prospects for the ABC sitcom after Michael J. Fox departs at the end of this season.
CUT OUT: This item was going to be about how Mark Fuhrman, the Los Angeles police detective disgraced on the stand during the O.J. Simpson murder trial, had been hired as a consultant by ABC morning news show "Good Morning America," except now he's not. Protest from staffers nixed the deal that would have seen the ex-cop turned author on the dole as a paid consultant for his expertise on a Connecticut homicide allegedly involving a member of the Kennedy clan, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Feb. 10, 2000 - Want to get the goods on an "Ally McBeal" co-star's "undisclosed medical condition"? Then get thee to a supermarket and guiltily pick up the Feb. 15 edition of the Star -- wherein said "Ally McBeal" co-star seemingly spills the beans her very own self.
According to the article, tastefully titled "'Ally McBeal' Beauty Locked Up in Psycho Ward," actress Lisa Nicole Carson, who plays Ally's roommate Renee Radick on Fox's hit legal-eagle series, says she required hospitalization after smoking "a joint that was laced with PCP."
"I think the joint may have triggered a collapse in my nervous system," Carson is quoted as telling a Star reporter. "Now I'm here drinking lots and lots of water and trying to get the drugs out of my system."
The "here," according to the Star, is (or was) New York's Lenox Hill Hospital, where the 30-year-old Carson was allegedly admitted to a special ward.
Fox deferred comment on the report to Carson's publicist. A Hollywood.com phone call to said publicist went unreturned.
But last week, Carson's reps did disclose that the actress had recently completed a two-week hospital stay. The official statement on the topic of her "undisclosed medical condition" was devoid of detail. While Carson was seen (briefly) on Monday's edition of "Ally McBeal," it has been said that series producers are writing around her character for the time being.
As for Carson's take on the situation? "I'm [a] honky-tonk woman," she says in the Star. "I used to sing in a rock band and drink whiskey straight out of the bottle. I love my mommy and daddy, and when I'm good I'm very good, but when I'm bad I'm very bad. I'm very good at being very bad."
LEO WATCH: Okay, he wore (or so we're told) a gray suit and matching tie. He smiled for photographers. He nobly declined the requests of those who implored, "Leo, kiss me quick!"
We speak, of course, of Leonardo DiCaprio, in London on Wednesday for the Euro premiere of "The Beach." (The flick washes ashore in these parts on Friday.)
The red-carpet affair featured the U.K. version of the A-list crowd (which reads more like the lineup for a "Behind the Music" marathon): A Spice Girl (Baby); the guy who used to sing in Simply Red; and a couple of ex-Duran Duraners.
What -- nobody from Big Country?
'BEACH' BUMMED: Don't ask Ewan McGregor about "The Beach."
According to the British magazine The Face, McGregor suggested that the filmmakers behind "The Beach" -- the same team he'd done "Trainspotting" and two other flicks for -- had gone for the obvious commercial choice in casting DiCaprio.
Asked if he felt disrespected by McGregor, DiCaprio reportedly answered: "Yeah. You know, yeah, absolutely."
Here's the ironic twist: DiCaprio has been rumored for the role of Anakin Skywalker in "Episode II" of the "Star Wars" series. Should he be cast, he'd be playing opposite McGregor (who starred in "Episode I" as the young Obi-Wan Kenobi). And as fans know, Anakin will later become Darth Vader and, um, kill Obi-Wan. That's gotta hurt.
We feel for you, Ewan.
DON'T KISS, DON'T TELL: Don't ask Michael Douglas about love. Not when he wants to talk war.
At a recent interview with reporters to discuss his upcoming film "Wonder Boys," Douglas, 55, was speaking passionately about disarmament, according to Reuters. But when an impatient journalist blurted, "So how did you meet Catherine?" (as in Catherine Zeta-Jones), Douglas retorted, "At a nuclear rally." He complimented the reporter on not even bothering to make a transition.
"You really are bored, aren't you?" he asked.
Later, Douglas finally allowed that he met Zeta-Jones, now 30, by arranging a meeting through a friend because he was so impressed with her in "The Mask of Zorro."
And now back to the disarmament issue ...
QUICK TAKES: Looks like Whoopi Goldberg will exercise her hosting chops again -- but not at the Oscars. While Billy Crystal returns for another Academy Awards engagement, Goldberg has been tapped to host the Screen Actors Guild Awards on March 12 in Los Angeles. It will be aired on TNT ...
... In New Orleans, a federal appeals court stood behind Oprah Winfrey Wednesday, ruling that the TV talk queen did not defame the cattle industry in a 1996 show that sparked a headline-making 1998 veggie-libel trial.
... More fun at the Happiest Place on Earth. In Delaware on Wednesday, an appeals court ruled that Disney shareholders do have the right to sue the Magic Kingdom over that $140 goodbye package Michael Ovitz received when he left the company in 1997 after a grueling, um, 15 months on the job.
...Ain't it cute? Kirsten Dunst's prom date will be actor Josh Hartnett, her co-star from the upcoming "The Virgin Suicides." The matchup happened when Dunst asked Seventeen magazine entertainment editor Michelle Shapiro for date suggestions. Shapiro immediately walked up to Hartnett, who answered: "Sure."
MUSIC BEAT: D'Angelo's "Voodoo" spends a second turn at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart this week. Overall, the Top Five was virtually unchanged from last week: No. 2 was Santana's "Supernatural," Dr. Dre's "Dr. Dre 2001" held at No. 3 and Celine Dion's "All the Way ... a Decade of Song" stayed at No. 4. Christina Aguilera's self-titled album jumped to the No. 5 spot.
In singles action, the new No. 1 is "Thank God I Found You" by Mariah Carey's collaboration with Joe and 98 Degrees. Rounding out the Top Five: "I Knew I Loved You," by Savage Garden; "What a Girl Wants," by Christina Aguilera; "Get it on Tonite," by Montell Jordan; and "Smooth," by Santana, featuring Rob Thomas of Matchbox20.