Nearly 30 years after an infectious plague ravaged Scotland and forced the closing of the nation’s borders the plague recurs in London--prompting the government to send a crack team of commandos into Scotland to locate and retrieve the cure if indeed there is one. Of course it’s not as simple as all that. The hordes of crazed and in some cases cannibalistic survivors of the plague are more than willing to give a (very) warm welcome to these interlopers led by the foxy and fierce Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra). Meanwhile back in Merrye Olde England the virus is continuing to spread but some of the powers-that-be don’t seem altogether concerned about that being more preoccupied with protecting their image sullied as it already is. In short it’s every man and woman for himself and herself--survival of the fittest 21st-century style. It’s also derivative and not necessarily in a negative way of such sci-fi classics as John Carpenter’s Escape from New York and George Miller’s Mad Max trilogy--replete with appropriate nods and in-jokes from Marshall who clearly has a great respect and affection for those who came before. Sigourney Weaver may not lose any sleep but Milla Jovovich might. As the one-eyed two-fisted ferociously fit action heroine Eden Sinclair Mitra stakes her claim to become the next cult heroine and there’s plenty of room left here to accommodate Eden’s potential future adventures. It’s always nice having Bob Hoskins around even if only for an extended cameo appearance as Eden’s down-to-earth boss Bill Nelson. Hoskins has played some heavies in his time but here he’s one of the good guys. Alexander Siddig no stranger to science-fiction given his Star Trek: Deep Space Nine stint plays the (rightly) worried Prime Minister and the ever-scowling David O'Hara plays his ruthless aide-de-camp amusingly and ironically named Canaris (World War II buffs will get the reference) who really is the power behind the throne. Adrian Lester Nora-Jane Noone Darren Morfitt and reliable Sean Pertwee play members of Eden’s assault team--shades of James Cameron’s Aliens--although few of them are in one piece by the end credits. Such are the perils of being an actor in this sort of film. Another “old-school” favorite Malcolm McDowell provides expository narration (a lot of it) and his own brand of tasty British ham (sliced just right) to his role of the scientist Kane who has forsaken science--and society--for a more medieval motif in a world gone wild. Like Hoskins McDowell hasn’t much time onscreen but there’s something pleasing about having him here. This is a film that favors style over substance but there are opportunities for the actors to strut their stuff in spirited fashion. As bruised bloodied or beheaded as the actors get they all seem to be having fun.
Without question Neil Marshall is one of the fast-rising talents in the fantasy genre--a genre he has clearly studied well. He brings a keen insight and manages to “borrow” elements and inspiration from other films in a way that doesn’t insult those films doesn’t diminish his own work and--more importantly--doesn’t insult the audience some of whom will surely recognize those inspirations and nods (Doomsday is filled with them). This is however one of the more cold-blooded efforts of Marshall’s young career. It’s about an inhumane future and the film is suffused with that emotional resonance--or lack thereof. The humor such as it is is blunt and bloody and the irony no less smoothly rendered. Nevertheless this promises slam-bang action and it certainly delivers. In an era where so many horror and science-fiction films are cut to achieve a PG-13 rating often to the detriment of the end result Doomsday is bloody proud to go for that R rating!
As Love Actually begins we are told that perhaps the world isn't such a dire and hateful place that "love actually is all around." Around London anyway. The film explores no less than seven different romantic scenarios within the bustling British capital--all of which interconnect and eventually resolve on Christmas Eve. There's the newly elected dashing Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) who is smitten with his secretary the earthy Natalie (Martine McCutcheon); Karen (Emma Thompson) whose husband Harry (Alan Rickman) has strayed with his seductive secretary Mia (Heike Makatsch); Sarah (Laura Linney) the American wallflower who has a crush on her colleague Carl (Rodrigo Santoro); Jamie (Colin Firth) who falls for his pretty Portuguese housekeeper Aurelia (Lucia Moniz)…there are lots more but you get the gist. As love goes things may not get tied up neatly in brightly colored packages for everyone but there's still enough good cheer to spread around.
Showcasing some of Britain's finest actors Love Actually doesn't have a bad banana in the bunch. Floppy-haired Hugh Grant turns in an endearing performance and proves there isn't a romantic comedy he can't handle. He has an uncanny knack for connecting with any actress he happens to be romancing; in this case it's the adorable McCutcheon best known for the hit British TV drama EastEnders. Rickman and Thompson are quite good as the couple whose long-term marriage is beginning to crack; Thompson especially does a nice job trying to hide her pain while being a happy mom. Linney too shines as Sarah who glows with excitement when she finally gets what she so ardently wished for. Veteran stage and film actor Bill Nighy (Underworld) however steals the show as a carefree aging rock star desperate for a comeback. His Billy Mack smacks of Mick Jagger Keith Richards and Rod Stewart all rolled into one.
"I'm worried that we don't have the word 'massacre' in the title " writer/director Richard Curtis fretted to Entertainment Weekly referring to how horror-loving American audiences might not take to his new romantic comedy that is already a huge hit in Britain. True perhaps a romantic comedy starring a multitude of A-list British actors might not bring in the required masses. But who cares about the money (did I just say that)? Curtis who has written some of the best romantic comedies of the last decade including Four Weddings and a Funeral Notting Hill and Bridget Jones' Diary steps behind the camera for the first time here and is able to give each story a unique point of view from the lovesick to the wacky. There actually may be too many stories in Love Actually but it's a small gaffe. Love Actually is a refreshing good old fashioned warm and gushy movie that takes your mind off the bad things for the holiday season and Curtis should feel confident about his directing debut.
It's the scoop of the (admittedly, very short) century, and the mainstream media are clueless! Madonna is already married.
Surely you know about the British Sun report that says Madonna and her new baby's daddy, British director Guy Ritchie, plan to stop living in sin by the end of the year.
Bollocks. It's just a sham. We know the real story. We're just amazed that the only folks out there who know the truth are the owners of a little Madonna fan site.
Yes, in a shocking story titled "The Royal Wedding," the sleuths at Mer-Girl.com report that the nuptials took place July 1 in London.
Needless to say, we were impressed by this feat of journalism. But how the heck did a mere fan site get an exclusive, besting the likes of People magazine?
Not only do they have pictures of the wedding but a sampling of the guest list (Willie Nelson, Rosie O'Donnell, Richard Simmons, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Barker, Johnny Cash, Wynonna [the maid of honor], Her Majesty the Queen, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles were all in attendance and sworn to secrecy by Madonna herself) as well. There's audio clips of the couple exchanging vows and Ritchie warbling "Justify My Love."
A post-nuptial ride, courtesy of Photoshop (www.mer-girl.com)
We wanted answers, so we got in touch with the site's creator. When we found out that he always goes by the pseudonym "Secret," we thought it was going to get interesting. Instead, we came face to face with reality.
It's all a joke. As if we didn't know.
"My assistant Lisa and I grew tired of the ignorant negative rumors surrounding Madonna, and decided to ... (come) up with some wild ones of our own, such as this one," Secret explained to us by telephone, from his (of course) secret hideout.
OK, so it's fake, we get that. But, how did you get all those audio clips of Madonna and Guy?
"I asked Mike, a Madonna impersonator I heard from another Madonna fan site, to fake an audio clip of Guy and Madonna [as if they were] at their wedding, with someone singing a song or something like that."
Pretty interesting fakery, we must admit. You can hear "Guy" and "Madonna" in the church, with a British-accented preacher making the usual introductions. Then "Guy" tells "Madonna," "I can't marry you," and the crowd gasps.
So, back here on Earth, what does Mer-Girl.com think of the latest rumor, saying the two will get married soon?
"I said on my site that I hate rumor," Secret tells us. "And I want to take rumor and make fun of it. But I do think that there's something planned down the line for them, though. I think they are pretty compatible."