A billionaire TV producer (Robert Mammone) has a great idea for a reality show that he wants to put on the Internet and his goal is to beat the 40 million Super Bowl audience. He has compiled a crack team of young hip and immoral tech geeks directed by Goldman (Rick Hoffman) and puts cameras throughout a remote island where former prisoners are going to kill each other while audiences watch after shelling out the pay-per-view fee. The location is done on a remote secret island and the death row prisoners are bought from prisons around the world with the promise that the survivor gets to walk free. Among the contestants are a rogue Aussie named McStarley (Vinnie Jones) a martial arts expert (Masa Yamaguchi) a husband-and-wife team (Manu Bennett and Dasi Ruz) a monstrous killer who doesn't do much more than grunt (Nathan Jones) and others known only as The Italian The German and other monikers quickly forgotten. Enter the sole American Jack Conrad (Steve Austin) who's in a South American prison for some obscure reason and is recognized on TV by his wife (Madeleine West) who tries to save him. However it looks like Conrad is pretty good at helping himself. Don't expect the acting to be much more evolved than what could be seen among the World Wrestling Entertainment superstars especially since many of them were plucked from the ring to star in this morality tale. But Austin (who had in a strong cameo in Adam Sandler's Longest Yard) proves he has a sense of humor as well as strength. Vinnie Jones is ridiculously over-the-top as the Aussie who's the hand-picked winner of this game shown setting up alliances Survivor style only to turn on them later. The supporting cast are refreshingly entertaining but one-note caricatures both in the contest and running the contest. It's obvious that they aren't going to be around long but the actors do milk their tiny roles for every bit of attention they can get. Rick Hoffman as the brilliant camera mastermind of the project is both whiny sniveling and mean-spirited so when he joins some of the rest of the crew and suddenly develops a backbone and a conscience he ends up stealing the movie with his acerbic humor. But it's the understated American hero Conrad who holds a mirror up to the people who like to watch this stuff. Director Scott Wiper who co-wrote this story has also acted in similar movies like this (A Better Way to Die). It’s obvious he knows what he’s doing with The Condemned and develops a sense of voyeuristic angst like those of us who can't keep our eyes off a train wreck. Like the darkly subversive Belgian film Man Bites Dog the camera crew remains safely distant and remote until the reality directly involves them. Then the crew wonders "What the hell are we doing?" while the audience might be thinking "What the hell are we watching?" Much like Series 7: The Contenders Rollerball and other movies which show a dark and bloody near future this kind of reality doesn't seem too far away and maybe proves that movies which provide this type of gladiator spectacle target a certain segment of the human population who need to blow off steam.
Here's a complete list of winners for this year's SAG Awards...
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Winner!
The Station Agent
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl - Winner!
Peter Dinklage, The Station Agent
Ben Kingsley, House of Sand and Fog
Bill Murray, Lost In Translation
Sean Penn, Mystic River
Film: Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Patricia Clarkson, The Station Agent
Diane Keaton, Something's Gotta Give
Charlize Theron, Monster - Winner!
Naomi Watts, 21 Grams
Evan Rachel Wood, Thirteen
TV: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Al Pacino, Angels in America - Winner!
Justin Kirk, Angels in America
Paul Newman, Our Town
Forest Whitaker, Deacons for Defense
Jeffrey Wright, Angels in America
TV: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Sex and the City, HBO - Winner!
Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS
Will & Grace, NBC
TV: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Tony Shalhoub, Monk - Winner!
Peter Boyle, Everybody Loves Raymond
Brad Garrett, Everybody Loves Raymond
Sean Hayes, Will & Grace
Ray Romano, Everybody Loves Raymond
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Megan Mullally, Will & Grace - Winner!
Patricia Heaton, Everybody Loves Raymond
Lisa Kudrow, Friends
Debra Messing, Will & Grace
Doris Roberts, Everybody Loves Raymond
TV: Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Meryl Streep, Angels in America - Winner!
Anne Bancroft, Tennessee Williams' The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone
Helen Mirren, Tennessee Williams' The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone
Mary-Louise Parker, Angels in America
Emma Thompson, Angels in America
TV: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Six Feet Under, HBO - Winner!
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS
Law & Order, NBC
The West Wing, NBC
Without a Trace, CBS
TV: Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Frances Conroy, Six Feet Under - Winner!
Stockard Channing, The West Wing
Tyne Daly, Judging Amy
Jennifer Garner, Alias
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU
Allison Janney, The West Wing
TV: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Kiefer Sutherland, 24 - Winner!
Peter Krause, Six Feet Under
Anthony LaPaglia, Without a Trace
Martin Sheen, The West Wing
Treat Williams, Everwood
Film: Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Renee Zellweger, Cold Mountain - Winner!
Maria Bello, The Cooler
Keisha Castle-Hughes, Whale Rider
Patricia Clarkson, Pieces of April
Holly Hunter, Thirteen
Film: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Tim Robbins, Mystic River - Winner!
Alec Baldwin, The Cooler
Chris Cooper, Seabiscuit
Benicio Del Toro, 21 Grams
Ken Watanabe, The Last Samurai
Screen Actors Guild Awards 40th Annual Life Achievement Award
Tune in to Hollywood.com next Sunday, Feb. 29, 2004, for complete Academy Awards coverage.
Top Story: Studio Delays From Kelly to Justin DVD
Twentieth Century Fox is delaying the home video release of the upcoming musical From Justin to Kelly starring American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson and runner-up Justin Guarini after theater owners complained about its release date. The studio had scheduled the film's home video release just six weeks after its June 13 nationwide theatrical release. Exhibitors such as Regal Entertainment Group, Loews Entertainment and National Amusements had reportedly threatened not to play the film if the timings between the release windows remained so close. Sources told Reuters that Fox has moved the date back to early September but the studio says the date has not been set. Some industryites suggest Fox probably wanted to shorten the window on From Justin to Kelly in order to capitalize on American Idol's momentum.
Steve-O Released From Swedish Jail
Jackass star Steve-O, whose real name is Stephen Glover, has been released from jail in Stockholm, Sweden, The Associated Press reports. Glover was arrested Thursday after he told a Swedish newspaper he swallowed a condom filled with marijuana. He admitted possessing 5 grams of marijuana and a tablet of ecstasy and agreed to pay a fine of $5,800. The Stockholm district court had ordered Glover held in jail until June 6 while a prosecutor prepared possible charges of drug smuggling and drug possession.
McCartney and Mills Expecting First Child
Paul McCartney and wife Heather Mills announced Wednesday they are expecting a baby later this year, Reuters reports. McCartney, 60, has three children from his 29-year marriage to Linda McCartney, who died of breast cancer in 1998. The former Beatle also adopted Linda's child from an earlier marriage. McCartney and Mills, a former model, met at a charity event three years ago and were married in June 2002. "We are delighted with this happy news," the couple said in a statement.
Students Create Saks, Lies and Videotapes
A group of students from Point Loma High School in San Diego has created a musical based on Winona Ryder's shoplifting trial titled Sticky Fingers: Saks, Lies and Videotapes, the AP reports. The musical follows a missile-factory employee and tango dancer who has a fateful encounter with Ryder at the Saks store on Rodeo Drive. The Girl, Interrupted star was invited to see the show, directed by teacher Larry Zeiger, but the school hasn't received a response.
Kenneth Branagh Weds in Private Ceremony
British actor Kenneth Branagh married girlfriend Lindsay Brunnock in a private ceremony over the weekend and are now on honeymoon at an undisclosed location, his publicist told Reuters Wednesday. Branagh, 42, met Brunnock, an art director, on the set of the TV drama Shackleton in 2001. It's the second marriage for Branagh, whose marriage to actress Emma Thompson ended in 1996. He was later linked to his Frankenstein co-star Helena Bonham Carter. Branagh recently starred as Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets but is best known for his Shakespearean roles in Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet.
Bellucci's Stolen "Cleopatra" Gown Recovered
A $180,000 gown worn by Italian actress Monica Bellucci in the 2002 French film Asterix and Obelix: Meet Cleopatra was stolen from a hotel in the French Riviera resort of Cannes by a waiter who wanted to impress girls, Reuters reports. According to police, the thief had just started work at the hotel as a waiter and rapidly confessed that he had wanted the dress as a gift for two girls he had just met. The three have been released but will be charged with theft.
Bob Hope Turns 100
Bob Hope, who turns 100 on Thursday, will celebrate with a low-key family party. His daughter, Linda Hope, said in an AP interview the centerpiece of her dad's birthday will be a huge cake--large enough to hold all the candles. Linda Hope added that her father still has a sense of humor. "He doesn't really tell jokes anymore. But he loves to hear a good joke," she said. "Friends come and tell him latest jokes. His face lights up. He still has that. Somebody will say something and then he'll say something that makes it into a joke. It's very much a part of him."
Shots Fired at Tha Row Records
Seven bullets were fired into the front door, windows, and wall of Suge Knight's Tha Row offices in West Los Angeles Tuesday, the AP reports. Knight, who was released on parole in August 2001, after serving five years in prison for assault and federal weapons charges, issued a statement suggesting the shooter may have been motivated by jealousy. "We've got a lot of artists like Crooked I, Eastwood, and Kurupt that are currently working on new albums. And, because of the hype and media attention associated with these two projects, there have been a lot of girls flocking to see them at the studio and at the clubs. The crime was probably committed by a jealous boyfriend or a jealous husband," Knight said.
Academy Calls for Sci-Tech Achievements for 76th Oscars
The 2003 Oscar race is underway! The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has mailed out more than 850 applications, both in the United States and abroad, for the 2003 Scientific and Technical Awards. To be considered, achievements must show "exceptional merit and evidence of having provided significant advances in the production of motion pictures." All entry applications must be submitted to the Academy by August 1. The Scientific and Technical Awards will be presented on Feb. 14, 2004.
Role Call: Sk8er Boi: The Movie
Paramount Pictures has optioned Avril Lavigne's hit single "Sk8er Boi" for the big screen. The pic, to be produced by studio-based MTV Films and Alphaville, will focus on a teenage girl who rejects a skater boy because her friends do not approve of him--even though she secretly likes him. The studio has hired ER writer/producer David Zabel to adapt the lyrics words into a feature film.