Bobby Garfield (David Morse) returns to his small hometown to attend the funeral of his childhood friend and remembers the fateful summer in 1960 when his whole world changed. The story flashes back to when 11-year-old Bobby (Anton Yelchin) and his best friends Carol (Mika Boorem) and Sully-John (Will Rothhaar) capture the pure joy of youthfulness. When a mysterious stranger named Ted Brautigan (Anthony Hopkins) moves upstairs and starts to pay attention to Bobby the boy suddenly realizes what's truly missing from his life--the love of a parent. Bobby's mother Liz (Hope Davis) is embittered by the death of Bobby's father and shows little compassion for her son's growing needs. Ted fills a void with the boy opening his eyes to the world around him and helps Bobby come to terms with his real feelings for Carol--and his mother. But Ted also has some deep dark secrets of his own and Bobby tries hard to stop danger from reaching the old man.
The performances make the film especially in the genuine camaraderie of the kids. Yelchin Boorem and Rothhaar never deliver a false move with an easiness that makes us believe we are simply watching three 11-year-old children grow up together. Yelchin in particular is able to get right to the heart of this young boy who misses his father and clings to the only adult who will listen. And his scenes with Boorem simply break your heart. (Davis) does an admirable job playing a part none too sympathetic. She manages to show a woman whose been beaten down but who does truly love her son in her own way. Morse too is one of those character actors you can plug in any movie and get a performance worth noting. In Hearts you want to see more of him. Of course the film shines brightest when Hopkins is on the screen. It may not be an Oscar-caliber performance but the actor is unparalleled in bringing a character to life--showing the subtleties of an old man looking for some peace in his life.
If you are expecting the Stephen King novel you may be disappointed. Screenwriter William Goldman and director Scott Hicks (Shine) deftly extracted the King formula of telling a story through a child's eye and explaining how the relationships formed as a child shaped the adult later. Hicks did an amazing job with his young actors especially Yelchin and Boorem. But where the novel continued into a supernatural theme explaining Brautigan's fear of being captured by "low men in yellow coats" (a reference to King's The Dark Tower series) the movie downplayed the mystical elements instead giving real explanations for Brautigan's man-on-the-run. That was the one problem with Hearts--we needed more danger. Introducing men from another dimension may not have been the way to go but had there been more tension the film would have resonated more especially when Bobby risked his own safety to save Ted.
The roommates of CBS' Big Brother 2 and NBC's Friends will be fighting for television ratings the evening of Sept. 20.
The Big Brother 2 $500,000 winner will be revealed that night, as chosen by contestants previously voted off the show, Reuters reports. The series has been gaining numbers in rating as the fights within the roommates increased in recent weeks. Thursday's Big Brother 2, which featured Kent's dismissal, attracted a season-high of 9.7 million viewers.
Big Brother 2's finale will serve as a lead-in to the second season of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, followed by The Agency series debut.
NBC has finalized plans to air an NBC White House special the first Wednesday of the season, which will air Sept. 19 before the season premiere of The West Wing. The reality game show Lost, which would air on that time slot, has been moved to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18.
Dixie Chick Martie Seidel is engaged to Irish College professor Gareth MaGuire. The couple met at the wedding of fellow Dixie Chick lead singer Natalie Maines. But Kathy Allmand, spokesperson for the Dixie Chicks could not confirm the engagement to The Associated Press on Monday.
French film star Jean-Paul Belmondo is spending his days at Saint Joseph's hospital in Paris recovering from a stroke he suffered last week. He is no longer in intensive care. The hospital said his health is improving and that treatment and re-education are continuing, Reuters reports.
Inspector Morse star John Thaw, 59, is responding well to cancer treatment and wants to return to work, his wife, Sheila Hancock, told AP. The British actor announced in June that he had cancer in the esophagus and would undergo treatment.
Former Allman Brothers member Dickey Betts has been charged with domestic battery after he reportedly punched his wife Donna in the face while she was driving, police told AP. The musician was arrested Saturday and was released from jail Sunday on a $2,000 bail, the Sarasota Herald-Tribute reports. Betts was convicted of domestic battery in January and has had a number of arrests and attended various rehabilitation centers in southwest Florida in recent years.
The Web site www.only-movies.com carried a poll of more than 17,000 film fans that voted for their "best baddie" in cinema history, Reuters reports. Among the big winners: Anthony Hopkins' in Silence of the Lambs Oscar-winning role of Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter; Star Wars's Darth Vader; and Psycho's Norman Bates. Other classic baddies included Christopher Lee's 1958 Dracula and Kevin Spacey for his roles in Usual Suspects and Seven.
The Irish rockers of U2 will bring their "Elevation" summer tour back to the United States for 25 new dates, London's Times newspaper reports. The tour is expected to bring in $33 million on top of the estimated $142 million the tour has already generated worldwide. If it happens, U2 would rank as the third top-grossing tour of all time, following 1994's Rolling Stones ($121.2 million) and Pink Floyd ($103.5 million). The European tour wraps on Sept. 1 at Dublin's Slane castle.
Bluesman Robert Johnson, who died in 1938, will receive a third grave marker 63 years to the day after he died, Reuters reports. Experts believe that they have found the real burial site for Johnson, who has grave markers at two other locations. Claude Johnson, who recently was declared the bluesman's legitimate son, historian Steve Cheseborough, and record collector Gayle Dean will unveil the headstone Thursday at the Little Zion Baptist Church, located just outside Greenwood, Miss. Experts think that this is where Johnson is buried because the graveyard used by the plantation owner on whose land Johnson died.
Steven Spielberg's Band of Brothers has been dropped from London's BBC1's primetime fall schedule after TV execs feared the World War II series wasn't mainstream enough. According to Reuters, local war veterans claimed that the story line gave the impression that Americans won the war by themselves. The series has been bumped to sister channel BBC2, which gets audiences half the size of those for BBC1.
Supermom Claire (Michelle Pfeiffer) and her geneticist husband Norman (Harrison Ford) are adapting to their only daughter's departure to college when Claire begins sensing an unearthly presence in the couple's lakeside Vermont dream home. Is she losing her marbles or is that the spirit of a beautiful young woman she keeps glimpsing? To say any more (as the too-explicit ad campaign does) would spoil some delicious twists.
The toplining Ford is his usual solid self in a role that plays cleverly on his familiar persona but the picture is Pfeiffer's from beginning to end. She delivers one of her most pleasing performances nicely disarming audience doubts about the story's supernatural elements with some judicious eye-rolling and embarrassed frowning -- her character is so painfully aware that what she's saying sounds crazy how can we possibly doubt her? Among the low-key supporting cast Joe Morton ("Terminator 2") stands out as an amiably down-to-earth psychiatrist.
Robert Zemeckis ("Forrest Gump") takes Clark Gregg's highly derivative haunted house script and pours on the Hitchcockian visual flourishes unapologetically pilfering from the Master's "Rear Window" and "Psycho " among others. His extended homage results in scene after scene of almost unbearable tension as the audience waits for the next shock. There's some clunky storytelling in the first section but the all-suspense second half more than makes up for it with some classic work including what seems destined to go down in movie history as "the bathtub scene."