Drew Barrymore and Anjelica Huston's publicist Eddie Michaels has lost his battle with cancer at the age of 49. The Hollywood representative passed away on Thursday (08Aug13) in Los Angeles after a long fight against brain cancer, according to his wife Lorin.
In a blog post on Thursday, she wrote, "Tonight after 7 years of various treatments, setbacks, hopes, dreams, successes, trials, perseverance, fight, commitment and love for the kids and me, Eddie finally laid down his sword and stopped the fight with the kids' and my blessing..."
Michaels began his career with his mentor, Joe Sutton, at Freeman & Sutton. In 1992, he founded Eddie Michaels & Associates and relaunched it as Insignia Public Relations in 2004.
Throughout his career, Michaels represented many of Hollywood's top stars, including Barrymore, Huston, Noah Wyle, Lou Diamond Phillips, Jeremy Piven, Marg Helgenberger, Mary Steenburgen, Patrick Dempsey, Jason Biggs and Dougray Scott, among many others.
A statement issued by former ER star Wyle reads: "Eddie was indeed of the old school but never became cynical. He was experienced but without being jaded. Above all, he was honest, sometimes painfully so, but that only made him more trustworthy. In an industry fueled by hyperbole, his candor was refreshing, his perspective invaluable."
A funeral is due to take place at Mount Sinai Memorial Park on Sunday (11Aug13). In lieu of flowers, family members have asked that donations be made in Michaels' honour to Wilshire Boulevard Temple or to the Johnnie Cochran Brain Institute.
David Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas consists of six stories set in various periods between 1850 and a time far into Earth's post-apocalyptic future. Each segment lives on its own the previous first person account picked up and read by a character in its successor creating connective tissue between each moment in time. The various stories remain intact for Tom Tykwer's (Run Lola Run) Lana Wachowski's and Andy Wachowski's (The Matrix) film adaptation which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. The massive change comes from the interweaving of the book's parts into one three-hour saga — a move that elevates the material and transforms Cloud Atlas in to a work of epic proportions.
Don't be turned off by the runtime — Cloud Atlas moves at lightning pace as it cuts back and forth between its various threads: an American notary sailing the Pacific; a budding musician tasked with transcribing the hummings of an accomplished 1930's composer; a '70s-era investigatory journalist who uncovers a nefarious plot tied to the local nuclear power plant; a book publisher in 2012 who goes on the run from gangsters only to be incarcerated in a nursing home; Sonmi~451 a clone in Neo Seoul who takes on the oppressive government that enslaves her; and a primitive human from the future who teams with one of the few remaining technologically-advanced Earthlings in order to survive. Dense but so was the unfamiliar world of The Matrix. Cloud Atlas has more moving parts than the Wachowskis' seminal sci-fi flick but with additional ambition to boot. Every second is a sight to behold.
The members of the directing trio are known for their visual prowess but Cloud Atlas is a movie about juxtaposition. The art of editing is normally a seamless one — unless someone is really into the craft the cutting of a film is rarely a post-viewing talking point — but Cloud Atlas turns the editor into one of the cast members an obvious player who ties the film together with brilliant cross-cutting and overlapping dialogue. Timothy Cavendish the elderly publisher could be musing on his need to escape and the film will wander to the events of Sonmi~451 or the tortured music apprentice Robert Frobisher also feeling the impulse to run. The details of each world seep into one another but the real joy comes from watching each carefully selected scene fall into place. You never feel lost in Cloud Atlas even when Tykwer and the Wachowskis have infused three action sequences — a gritty car chase in the '70s a kinetic chase through Neo Seoul and a foot race through the forests of future millennia — into one extended set piece. This is a unified film with distinct parts echoing the themes of human interconnectivity.
The biggest treat is watching Cloud Atlas' ensemble tackle the diverse array of characters sprinkled into the stories. No film in recent memory has afforded a cast this type of opportunity yet another form of juxtaposition that wows. Within a few seconds Tom Hanks will go from near-neanderthal to British gangster to wily 19th century doctor. Halle Berry Hugh Grant Jim Sturgess Jim Broadbent Ben Whishaw Hugo Weaving and Susan Sarandon play the same game taking on roles of different sexes races and the like. (Weaving as an evil nurse returning to his Priscilla Queen of the Desert cross-dressing roots is mind-blowing.) The cast's dedication to inhabiting their roles on every level helps us quickly understand the worlds. We know it's Halle Berry behind the fair skinned wife of the lunatic composer but she's never playing Halle Berry. Even when the actors are playing variations on themselves they're glowing with the film's overall epic feel. Jim Broadbent's wickedly funny modern segment a Tykwer creation that packs a particularly German sense of humor is on a smaller scale than the rest of the film but the actor never dials it down. Every story character and scene in Cloud Atlas commits to a style. That diversity keeps the swirling maelstrom of a movie in check.
Cloud Atlas poses big questions without losing track of its human element the characters at the heart of each story. A slower moment or two may have helped the Wachowskis' and Tykwer's film to hit a powerful emotional chord but the finished product still proves mainstream movies can ask questions while laying over explosive action scenes. This year there won't be a bigger movie in terms of scope in terms of ideas and in terms of heart than Cloud Atlas.
We've suffered through the star-studded indignity of Valentine's Day and the multi-storyline ignominy of New Year's Eve and the alien attack of Independence Day (but that's a whole different ball of gooey alien gut wax.) Now we have the latest scourge in this Hollywood holiday spree: Memorial Day: The Movie. Like all wonderful movies (that I am making up for fun on a Friday afternoon) it stars Katherine Heigl and a slew of other well wishing celebrities who are looking to cash a big fat paycheck.
Heigl stars as Chelsea, a New York City magazine journalist who is only concerned about her career. At the last minute, before getting on the Jitney to head out to the Hamptons, her editor (Christine Baranski) tells her that she needs a story about a Fleet Week romance and that she is going to have to bring it home or else she is fired. Katherine cancels her plans and her four friends roll their eyes and head off without her. She heads down to Midtown where absolutely every sailor totally ignores her. Finally she runs into a dashing sergeant (Patrick Dempsey) who steals the last seat at a crowded bar, making a flustered Chelsea absolutely furious. She cusses him out and he says that he's going to help her find a romance to pay her back. She thanks him and they head out into the town. After going to several bars they can only find guys hooking up. They go to a Broadway show and approach a sailor (Jack Black) and his woman (Jennifer Coolidge) and find out she's sick of him being trapped on a submarine all the time and is going to ask for a divorce. Finally they get a tip from a loud cabbie (Gilbert Godfried) who tells them to go to Chez Josefine to look for a romance. The restaurant is empty, but the owner (Gerard Depardieu) has a table just for them. They clink champagne glasses and stare deeply into each other's eyes. Finally they head off to the USS Intrepid and scale the boat just as the fire works (that don't really happen in New York on Memorial Day, but whatever) are going off and they kiss. It turns out, the story of Fleet Week romance Katherine Heigl was looking for was hers!
Let's not forget about her four friends (Amy Adams, Keira Knightley, Isla Fisher, and Lea Michelle)! They're all excited about their first weekend in the Hamptons and the rich men they're going to meet at a fancy barbecue the next day. However on the Long Island Expressway, their bus breaks down and sets on fire, destroying all their luggage. But, good fortune! A minivan full of attractive men (Neil Patrick Harris, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, and Anderson Cooper) has four extra seats for four pretty ladies. They get their flirt on something hard before realizing that all the men in the car are gay. There is some making out between the men and the girls get to their house. They realize that it is locked and head out back to try to break into the house they're renting. They make a mess in the mud trying to get in, and then are caught by the cops (Joe Mangianello and Nicolas Coster-Waldau). They drag them into jail where they share a cell with four guys (Chase Crawford, Ed Westwick, Penn Badgley, and some other guy from Gossip Girl.) They share a chuckle and when they're all bailed out in the morning the boys drag them to their BBQ. Turns out they were the rich guys throwing the party in the first place, and they are all now hedge fund wives (still covered in mud).
Jerry (Zac Efron) is having a BBQ in Central Park and it is so hot he is forced to take off his shirt multiple times. There's something about a girl (Taylor Swift) who lost her dog and he leaves his friends at the party to go help her. The whole time he keeps ignoring phone calls from his sister. They fall in love. They find the dog. Zac puts his shirt on and finally answers his sister's call and it's Katherine Heigl! She's in love too!
In the park near Jerry's BBQ, a hot dog vendor (Ben Stiller) is going to be evicted from his house unless he raises $10,000 by Monday. How is he going to sell that many hot dogs? His son (the funny kid from Modern Family... no, the skinny one) gets his friends (Jaden Smith and the other funny kid from Modern Family) and tells them they have to raise all this money. They decide to hold a hot dog eating contest and charge people $5 to watch. They are so adorable that the local news covers it (Chelsea, you are totally missing this story) and they raise all the money and everyone is happy.
Julia Roberts is spending another weekend at her shore house. She Julia Roberts with Julia Roberts and calls her friends Julia and Roberts. They smile. They laugh. They love life. It's Julia Roberts. Who cares what she does. Tom Hanks shows up at the end and they kiss. The end.
Jessica Biel is a world champion croquet player who broke her arm the day before the huge croquet world series in Queens. Instead she's bumming around a hotel in Midtown and feeling sorry for herself. Ashton Kutcher plays the bellhop who is just about to get off duty who says he'll show her the best day of her life. He takes her to the Central Park Zoo, he takes her to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he takes her to Shake Shack (mmmm, Shake Shack) and then he tries to kiss her and she's like, "Sorry, I have a boyfriend." He is all bummed. Then, the next day her boyfriend (Casey Affleck, who could use some work) is all like, "I only liked you because you were as good at croquet as I was. Now I'm dumping you, you sticky wicket." She's sad, but Ashton cheers her up again. This time, with tongue.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
Valentine's Day Sequel Planned
Second Star-Studded 'New Year's Eve' Trailer Debuts
Back-to-Back Independence Day Sequels to Invade Earth
Enigmatic and deliberate Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy makes no reservations while unraveling its heady spy story for better or worse. The film based on the bestselling novel by John Le Carre is purposefully perplexing effectively mirroring the central character George Smiley's (Gary Oldman) own mind-bending investigation of the British MI6's mole problem. But the slow burn pacing clinical shooting style and air of intrigue only go so far—Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sports an incredible cast that can't dramatically translate the movie's impenetrable narrative. Almost from the get go the movie collapses under its own weight.
After a botched mission in Hungary that saw his colleague Jim (Mark Strong) gunned down in the streets Smiley and his boss Control (John Hurt) are released from the "Circus" (codename for England's Secret Intelligence Service). But soon after Smiley is brought back on board as an impartial observer tasked to uncover the possible infiltration of the organization. The former agent already dealing with the crippling of his own marriage attempts to sift through the history and current goings on of the Circus narrowing his hunt down to four colleagues: Percy aka "Tinker" (Toby Jones) Bill aka "Tailor" (Colin Firth) Roy aka "Soldier" (Ciaran Hinds) and Toy aka "Poor Man" (David Dencik). Working with Peter (Benedict Cumberbatch) a conflicted younger member of the service and Ricki (Tom Hardy) a rogue agent who has information of his own Smiley slowly uncovers the muddled truth—occasionally breaking in to his own work place and crossing his own friends to do so.
Describing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as dense doesn't seem complicated enough. The first hour of the monster mystery moves at a sloth's pace trickling out information like the tedious drips of a leaky faucet. The talent on display is undeniable but the characters Smiley included are so cold that a connection can never be made. TTSS sporadically jumps around from past to present timelines without any indication: a tactic that proves especially confusing when scenes play out in reoccurring locations. It's not until halfway through that the movie decides to kick into high gear Smiley's search for a culprit finally becoming clear enough to thrill. A film that takes its time is one thing but Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy does so without any edge or hook.
What the movie lacks in coherency it makes up for in style and thespian gravitas. Director Tomas Alfredson has assembled some of the finest British performers working today and they turn the script's inaccessible spy jargon into poetry. Firth stands out as the group's suave slimeball a departure from his usual nice guy roles. Hardy assures us he's the next big thing once again as the agency's resident moppet a lover who breaks down after a romantic fling uncovers horrifying truth. Oldman is given the most difficult task of the bunch turning the reserved contemplative Smiley into a real human. He half succeeds—his observational slant in the beginning feels like an extension of the movie's bigger problems but once gets going in the second half of the film he's quite a bit of fun.
Alfredson constructs Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy like a cinematic architect each frame dripping with perfectly kitschy '70s production design and camera angles that make the spine tingle. He creates paranoia through framing similar to the Coppola's terrifying The Conversation but unlike that film TTSS doesn't have the characters or story to match. The movie strives to withhold information and succeeds—too much so. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy wants us to solve a mystery with George Smiley but it never clues us in to exactly why we should want to.
Taken from real-life news headlines Freedomland is a story we’ve heard before. A woman Brenda Martin (Julianne Moore) shows up at a hospital in Dempsey--a mostly black working class New Jersey suburb--bloodied and disoriented from shock. She claims she was carjacked by a black man in the neighborhood and when Dempsey police detective Lorenzo Council (Samuel L. Jackson) questions her further she confesses her four year-old son was asleep in the backseat when it happened. This causes an immediate reaction from the police who swarmed into Dempsey and stir up long-simmering racial tensions there. But the more Lorenzo probes the more Brenda’s story starts to fall apart. Now it’s a race against time as Lorenzo along with the help of a missing children activist (Edie Falco) tries to uncover the truth before a riot breaks out on his turf. With such a powerful cast Freedomland would seem to have “Oscar-nominated performances” stamped all over it. But unfortunately the talented actors are brought down by the film’s dreariness. Jackson who can usually turn in a decent performance in just about anything he does can’t really offer too much more than playing his usual tough cop. He’s just trying to keep the peace while getting to the bottom of the mystery. Moore’s weepy and confused Brenda on the other hand is who really grates. Moore is only doing her job of course but it’s difficult to sit through her long emotional soliloquies--even though you know you’re suppose to be moved--because you’re just sitting there hoping someone would just haul off and smack her. Falco actually does the best job in the film. Doing a 180 degree turn from The Sopranos’ Carmela the actress convinces us she’s a hardened woman whose whole life has become looking for missing children having lost one herself. You definitely wish there was more of her. Director/producer Joe Roth known more for helming comedies (Christmas with the Kranks) ventures into heavy drama for the first time with Freedomland. Not a wise move; clearly he should stick to what he knows best. He probably figured with a cast like that all he had to do was turn the camera on them and let them do their stuff. Acting! Genius! Unfortunately in his admiration he forgot about building tension or giving the film a thread. Of course Richard Price’s (Shaft) clichéd script which he adapted from his novel doesn’t help matters especially in how ineffectively it tries to create the racial confrontations in the neighborhood. There’s very little back story on why it would get so out of hand so quickly. If you want a more realistic portrayal of such things rent the Oscar-nominated Crash.