British actor Dean Gaffney has been fined for speeding over an incident which occurred just weeks before he was involved in a near-fatal car crash. The former EastEnders star pleaded guilty to a speeding charge relating to an incident in Wales in November (12), less than two months before he had to be cut free from a car wreck in January (13).
The star, who was caught on camera exceeding a speed limit in Newport, entered his plea via mail and a magistrate handed him a fine and penalty points on his driving licence during a hearing at Cwmbran Magistrates' Court on Thursday (25Jul13).
Gaffney spent several days in hospital after the terrifying crash in Derby, England, but has since made a full recovery.
The actor, best known for his role on U.K. soap opera EastEnders, is said to have undergone reconstructive work on his skull after his Mini Cooper car smashed into a steel barrier in Derby, England, on Wednesday night (30Jan13).
Gaffney is recovering at the Royal Derby Hospital but his condition is said to be "not life-threatening".
A source tells Britain's The Sun newspaper, "The airbags went off but Dean got a serious smash on his head. He passed out and there was a lot of blood. The car was so folded up he had to be cut out by firefighters."
Gaffney had been driving home after performing in a stage production of Agatha Christie's A Murder Is Announced at the Derby Theatre.
Theatre manager Gary Johnson says, "It is really sad news. We were all shocked when we found out and it seems to have been a really nasty accident. It must have happened when he was on his way home. All our thoughts are with him and we wish him a speedy recovery."
The show's remaining performances are to go ahead as scheduled.
The former EastEnders star was involved in a smash in Derby, England on Wednesday night (30Jan13) after performing in a play. He is being treated for cuts and bruises at the Royal Derby Hospital.
A spokesman for Derbyshire police says, "A 34-year-old man was taken to hospital after being involved in a road accident in Derby.
"The driver, who was the only person in the vehicle, was taken to the Royal Derby Hospital to be treated... No other vehicles were involved and his injuries are not thought to be life threatening."
Gaffney's manager Dave Read says, "He's very lucky. He's in hospital being looked after... he escaped with cuts and bruises. He's going to be OK."
Gaffney's former EastEnders co-star, Spandau Ballet musician Martin Kemp, sent his best wishes to his friend on Twitter.com, writing, "All our love going out to (Dean Gaffney) and his family... Get well soon buddy, I'm thinking of you!"
Blue singer Simon Webbe wrote, "Please say a prayer for a friend of ours Dean Gaffney who is fighting for his life right now. Our thoughts are with you," and Another Level star Dane Bowers adds, "Wishing my boy... all the best!! Thoughts are with him and his family."
The story of the most dominant racehorse of all time does not easily fit into the standard inspirational sports flick mold. Such films typically require its protagonists to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles be they competitive (Hoosiers) personal (The Natural) societal (Ali) or some combination of all three (Remember the Titans). But by all accounts the greatest challenges to Secretariat capturing of the 1973 Triple Crown were not rival horses — indeed Secretariat had no true rival — but a pair of slow starts and an abscess. And abscesses — apologies to dermatologists — simply aren’t all that effective as dramatic devices.
Lacking most of the vital ingredients of the traditional underdog movie formula Disney’s Secretariat is forced to synthesize them. Its screenplay written by Mike Rich and based rather loosely on the book Secretariat: The Making of a Champion by William Nack adopts a conventional save-the-farm framework: When her parents pass away within months of each other Denver housewife Penny Tweedy (Diane Lane) is advised to sell off her family’s Virginia-based Meadow Stables a beautiful but unprofitable horse-breeding enterprise in order to pay the onerous inheritance taxes levied by the state. But Penny her deceased father’s hackneyed horse-inspired counsel fresh in her mind (“You’ve got to run your own race ” etc. etc.) is loath to depart with such a cherished heirloom. So she concocts a scheme just idiotic enough to work betting the farm — literally — that her new horse Big Red in whom she has an almost Messianic faith will win the Kentucky Derby Preakness and Belmont races in succession.
Of course Big Red under the stage name Secretariat goes on to do just that but only after the film subjects us to nearly two hours of manufactured melodrama. Lane grasping all-too conspicuously for awards consideration treats every line as if it were the St. Crispin’s Day speech. Her character Penny exhibits a hair-trigger sensitivity to the sounds of skeptics and naysayers bursting forth with a polite rebuke and a stern sermon for anyone who dares doubt her crusade from the trash-talking owner of a rival horse to her annoyingly pragmatic husband (Dylan Walsh).
Lane isn’t alone in her grandiosity. The entire production reeks of it as director Randall Wallace lines the story with fetid chunks of overwrought Oscar bait like so many droppings in an untended stable even using Old Testament quotations and gospel music to endow Penny’s quest with biblical significance. John Malkovich is kind enough to inject some mirth into the heavy-handed proceedings hamming it up as Secretariat’s trainer Lucien Laurin a French-Canadian curmudgeon with an odd sartorial palette. It’s not enough however to alleviate the discomfort of witnessing the film's quasi-Sambo depiction of Secretariat’s famed groom Eddie Sweat (Nelsan Ellis) which reaches its cringeworthy zenith when Sweat runs out to the track on the eve of the Belmont Stakes and exclaims to no one in particular that “Big Red done eat his breakfast this mornin’!!!” Bagger Vance would be proud. Whether or not Ellis’ portrayal of Sweat’s cadence and mannerisms is accurate (and for all I know it may well be) the character is too thinly drawn to register as anything more than an amiable simple-minded servant.
Animal lovers will be happy to know that the horses in Secretariat come off looking far better than their human counterparts and not just because they’re alloted the best dialogue. In the training and racing sequences Wallace effectively conveys the strength and majesty of the fearsome animals drawing us into the action and creating a strong element of suspense even though the final result is a fait accompli. It's too bad the rest of the film never makes it out of the gate.
The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.