Tall, stage-trained actor with a resonant baritone voice who emerged as one of America's premier black performers of the mid-1960s. St. Jacques, who effectively portrayed heroic characters as well as...
Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.
Top Story: Emmy Fashions Sold Off to Charity
Emmy fashions worn by the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Edie Falco will be auctioned off on eBay for charity, The Associated Press reports. For the second year in a row, the "Clothes Off Our Back" fund-raiser, created by actress Jane Kaczmarek from Fox's Malcolm in the Middle, asks celebrities to donate their red-carpet outfits from such designs as Prada and Vera Wang, to benefit the Cure Autism Now Foundation and the Union of Concerned Scientists, AP reports. Last year, Friends star Aniston donated her dress after winning the award for best actress in a comedy series and it raised $50,000, Kaczmarek told AP. Stars participating this year besides Aniston and Falco include Cynthia Nixon, Sean Hayes, Dule Hill, Debra Messing, Ellen DeGeneres, Bernie Mac and Jennifer Garner. The auction is to begin Sunday evening and run for 10 days.
Sopranos Lead Internet Emmy Predictions
GoldDerby.com, considered to be the Internet's No. 1 award predictions website, has given the best odds to HBO's The Sopranos for the Emmys Sunday night, including the award for best drama series as well as the prizes for actor (James Gandolfini) and actress (Edie Falco). For best comedy series, odds are on CBS' Everybody Loves Raymond, with HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm a close second.
Man Held for Trespassing on Schwarzenegger's Property
A man was arrested Sunday after sneaking onto Arnold Schwarzenegger's estate in Brentwood, Calif., and stealing items from one of the family's vehicles, AP reports. Richard Sathianathan, 32, was charged with two counts of trespassing, and one count each of prowling, vehicle tampering and petty theft, authorities told AP. Sathianathan pleaded innocent and remained jailed on $50,000 bail.
Diaz Makes Small Screen Debut
Cameron Diaz will make a guest appearance in the television pilot Why Blitt? executive produced and directed by those wacky Farrelly brothers, Bobby and Peter. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the semi-autobiographical pilot centers on 5-foot-tall Ricky Blitt, an aspiring screenwriter who has a dismal love life and no-end job but hits the jackpot when his script for The Cameron Diaz Show is picked up and he heads to Hollywood.
Huppert, Penn Honored in San Sebastian
Isabelle Huppert, Sean Penn and Robert Duvall will be honored with lifetime achievement awards at Spain's 51st San Sebastian International Film Festival, AP reports. As well, films scheduled for competition include Joel Schumacher's Veronica Guerin, starring Cate Blanchett, and Jacques Rivette's The Story of Marie and Julien, starring Emmanuelle Beart.
Simon & Garfunkel Tour Selling Out
Looks like lots of fans are anxious to hear Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel sing "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" once again. Tickets to their first tour in 20 years are selling like hotcakes, Reuters reports. The opener Oct. 18 in Auburn Hill, Mich., is completely sold out, as are shows in Chicago; St. Paul, Minn.; and San Jose, Calif. Dates in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio, and in Sacramento and Oakland, Calif., were at a 90 percent sellout, according to Reuters. "We just put Chicago and St. Paul on sale, and they both sold out within minutes," Jerry Mickelson, co-president of Chicago-based promoter Jam Productions told Reuters. "Tickets just blew out so quickly. Demand is huge."
Role Call: Bratt Pounces on Catwoman, Diaz Stung By W.A.S.P.S., Danes Shops 'Til She Drops
Benjamin Bratt has joined Halle Berry in Warner Bros.' Catwoman, a film based on the DC Comics' Batman foe. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Bratt will play Det. Tom Leone, a love interest to Berry's Catwoman. The film also stars Sharon Stone as a villainous cosmetics magnate…meanwhile Angels star Cameron Diaz has signed onto the war drama W.A.S.P.S, being co-produced by actress Mimi Rogers' Millbrook Farm Prods. Variety reports the film follows the first female pilots recruited during WWII…20th Century Fox is giving Steve Martin's novel Shopgirl is the big-screen treatment, with Martin, Claire Danes and Jason Schwartzman attached to star. The film centers on a girl (Danes) who sells gloves and other accessories at Neiman Marcus. Feeling useless in her job and unfulfilled by a romantic relationship, she is bowled over when a rich, divorced older man (Martin) enters her life.
Off-Broadway debut, "High Name Today" (date approximate)
Moved to New York where worked as dishwasher, houseboy, model and Bloomingdale's salesman while studying at Actors Studio
Screen acting debut in "Black Like Me"
Directed, produced and starred in feature film, "Book of Numbers"
Began career as actor, assistant director and fencing director for American Shakespeare Festival, Stratford CT
Performed with Shakespeare festivals in San Diego and New York
First major stage role in Jean Genet's "The Blacks" (Off-Broadway)
Tall, stage-trained actor with a resonant baritone voice who emerged as one of America's premier black performers of the mid-1960s. St. Jacques, who effectively portrayed heroic characters as well as villains, appeared in "The Pawnbroker" (1965) and "The Comedians" (1967) and starred as the cop Coffin Ed Johnson in the action-comedy "Cotton Comes to Harlem" (1970). He originated the first continuing black character on a TV Western as the cattle driver in the series "Rawhide". St. Jacques directed, produced and starred in the 1973 feature "Book of Numbers", a comic drama about racketeering in a small Arkansas town in the 1930s.
"His characters were in distinctive contrast to the mild-mannered roles that Sidney Poitier had been playing. He represented the ideas of black anger, black tension and black rage."--Donald Bogle ("People" Magazine, September 17, 1990)