Boxing champion Tommy Morrison has died, aged 44. The former heavyweight champion passed away on Sunday (01Sep13) after a long battle with Guillain Barre Syndrome, according to DoghouseBoxing.com.
The cause of death was respiratory and metabolic acidosis and multiple organ failure.
Morrison beat George Foreman to win a WBO heavyweight title in 1993, but he quit the sport three years later (96) when he tested positive for HIV and was suspended from boxing in Nevada by the Nevada Athletic Commission.
He briefly returned to the ring in 2007, insisting that his tests had been false positives.
Outside the sport, Morrison played Tommy Gunn in Rocky V, and he also appeared in John Carpenter's They Live.
September 15, 2010 7:54am EST
If DreamWorks’ 2005 sci-fi flick The Island had been directed by Friedrich Nietzsche then you’d probably have seen something like Never Let Me Go. Strip the spectacle from that over-the-top actioner and you’re left with some heavy subject matter; a meditation on life and death and an allegory for the pro-life/pro-choice debate or lack thereof when concerning clones. Director Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo) and screenwriter Alex Garland (28 Days Later Sunshine) explore the same ethical dilemma as proposed by Kazuo Ishiguro’s best-selling novel by creating an alternate reality that isn’t much different from our own considering the often shameful and self-serving nature of homo sapiens.
The film is set in a world where medical advances in the mid-20th Century have allowed humans to live as long as 100 years on average at the expense of “donors” – test-tube babies created from the genes of junkies and hobos. These unfortunate individuals are raised at facilities like the Hailsham House (essentially upper-crust English boarding schools) where they are controlled cut off from society and kept healthy and clean so their organs are in tip-top shape to fuel the failing bodies of the general population. Some donors qualify to become “Carers” who tend to the others when the surgeries begin. Upon “completion” the Carer moves on to the next subject until they receive their notice and become a donor themselves.
Though the children learn about their morbid fate at a young age thanks to their guilt-ridden school teacher Miss Lucy (played with fragile insecurity by Sally Hawkins) the psychological and emotional strain of their existence becomes painfully clear during the second act where main characters Kathy Ruth and Tommy travel to and reside in Cottages in the English countryside. There they mature in different ways: by connecting with the outside world via day trips to a nearby town by being exposed to television and pop-culture and perhaps most significantly by connecting with each other through sexual exploration. But like all humans – and make no mistake donors are characteristically human – they each lose their innocence in some form as they grow. They end up scattered throughout the country reuniting years later to right the wrongs in their lives with the little time that they have left.
The circle of life in Never Let Me Go is painful and bleak but the creative team captures the environment with an eerie beauty and calmness that is as deceiving as Hailsham’s headmistress Emily played with aristocratic authority by Charlotte Rampling. The heightened atmosphere is amplified by Rachel Portman’s peculiar musical arrangements that slyly accentuate the mystery. Quite often cinematography is wrongly mistaken for photography in decently shot movies but at any moment in this film a single frame is literally worth a thousand words. Much praise must go to director of photography Adam Kimmel but you mustn’t overlook the uncanny abilities of Carey Mulligan Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield who respectively play Kathy Ruth and Tommy with such intimate delicacy that their tears will likely bring on some of your own.
A wrenching drama with a subtle backbone in science fiction you’d never know that you’re looking at a dystopian past because of the reserved production design and humble costumes. There aren’t any fantastic visions of a technologically superior society because there’s nothing superior about it. The unseen citizens of Romanek’s England proper though far from tabloid superstars are as aesthetically obsessed and superficial as the Paris Hilton's of 2010 America. Why else would they inflict pain and death on innocent lives? In the answer to that question lies one of the core themes of Never Let Me Go; the devaluation of life and further a lack of understanding of what makes us human.
If I’ve got any complaint with Never Let Me Go it has to do with the unavoidably frustrating inaction of the protagonists. Even after a devastating and climactic revelation where Kathy and Tommy’s hopes for prolonged life are crushed once and for all the thought of a Logan’s Run-style rebellion is never a consideration. They weren’t complacent but were perhaps fully aware of the futility of revolution. Rather than run from their destiny they opted to embrace it by cherishing every last moment they had together and that of course is the moral of this heartbreaking tale. It doesn’t make for a very exciting plot but it is an exemplary case of exceptional storytelling.
The tragic opera tells the story of a disfigured musical genius (Gerald Butler) who haunts the catacombs beneath the Paris Opera waging a reign of terror over its occupants [cue the organ music]. Think The Elephant Man meets The Hunchback of Notre Dame--except this particular "monster" has some serious sex appeal. I mean honestly his only "disfigurement" is some scarring on one side of his face which he covers with a rather classy mask. No big whoop. But I digress. When he falls desperately in love with the lovely ingénue Christine (Emmy Rossum) who has lived in the opera house for most of her life the Phantom devotes himself to molding the young soprano into a star exerting a strange sense of control over her as he nurtures her extraordinary talents. But when Christine falls for the dashing Raoul (Patrick Wilson) all hell breaks loose as the Phantom's growing jealousies threatens to tear everyone apart [OK now it's really time to cue the organ music].
Fans will no doubt be happy their favorite musical has finally made it to the big screen but the musical's original stars Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman have been replaced in the movie version by hot young actors. This is a very wise decision considering the film's rather longwinded nature. In other words even though the Phantom performers keep singing and singing and then sing some more at least they are appealing to watch (and they did do all their own singing). Butler (Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life) is particularly effective as the Phantom all brooding mysterious and far more intriguing a suitor than pretty boy Raoul played blandly by Wilson (HBO's Angels in America). With her alabaster skin and long luscious locks Rossum (The Day After Tomorrow) also does a nice job as Christine. But she is unfortunately limited to only a few range of emotions--either all doe-eyed and somber over her Phantom doe-eyed and gushy over Raoul or just plain doe-eyed. As for the supporting players Minnie Driver nearly steals the show as the Italian soprano diva La Carlotta. As the only breath of fresh air in the musty opera house you definitely crave more of her.
It's taken about 15 years to bring Webber's smash hit to the big screen. Apparently after winning every known theater award for Phantom the legendary producer-composer approached director Joel Schumacher in 1988 to do the movie after being impressed by Schumacher's work on The Lost Boys. Hmmm The Lost Boys to Phantom of the Opera--I'm still trying to tie that one together. Anyway Webber had to postpone production for personal reasons and then Schumacher was busy doing such films as Tigerland and Phone Booth. Finally the time was ripe to make Phantom coming on the heels of the musical movie boom started by Moulin Rouge and Chicago. Schumacher certainly incorporates all the right elements from the young and talented cast to the opulent sets and magnificent costumes. The problem is the material: Phantom really isn't all that compelling of a story. Sure the stage production was and still is a theatrical event especially as the Phantom moves on catwalks all over the theater and the impressive chandelier comes crashing down on the stage. But for the film adaptation there needs to be something more than just grand posturing set pieces and operatic music. Maybe a little more dialogue? A sex scene? Anything?
Martin Lawrence is just glad to be alive.
In an interview on Thursday's "Entertainment Tonight," the comic actor ("Martin," "Blue Streak") spoke out for the first time about his brush with death in August, when he collapsed while jogging and lapsed into a coma.
Martin Lawrence "It kind of woke me up and made me appreciate life ... and just be happy to be here," Lawrence, 34, told "ET." "You make due with the time you have here. Hopefully when you pass on, somebody can look back and say, 'Wow, they made a difference in some kind of way.'"
Lawrence's mistake was running while wearing several layers of clothing in hopes of sweating away some excess poundage for his role in "Big Momma's House," which is now in production (after a delayed start due to the star's hospitalization).
Lawrence spent three days in a coma and underwent physical therapy to regain his motor skills when he revived.
"I had to learn to walk again and all kinds of stuff. It was a real traumatic experience. You go under, your functions, everything shuts down," Lawrence says. "Your bowels, everything. Everything goes. It was real scary."
GRAMMY GRUDGE: Big, bad, bass-voiced Barry White isn't forgiving and forgetting.
Martin Lawrence A day after the lovemeister won the first two Grammy Awards of his three-decade-long career, the soul singer openly criticized the music industry's annual pageant, saying the voting process is corrupt. Apparently he's still ticked that he lost the Best New Artist award for his first platinum album, "Can't Get Enough," all the way back in 1974. (Bette Midler won instead.)
"I should have got it. I was the best new artist," White told Reuters from his San Diego home. "You don't forget things like that, man. You know there's something wrong. There's corruption or something going on. ... It's not a fair organization. A lot of things determine who wins Grammys. Record companies, how much money they give in their parties. It's all suspect to me."
White says he won't forget his 1974 snub "'til the day I die. I'll never forget that, man." As for his two fresh Grammys, he says, "I was thankful and everything, but it was a very short thankful, believe me."
White did not attend Wednesday's ceremony. Obviously.
OBITUARY: The Israeli pop star who recorded the theme song for the 1998 biblical toon "The Prince of Egypt" died from organ failure at a Tel Aviv hospital Wednesday. Ofra Haza was 41. She had been hospitalized for 13 days.
HONORED: Clint Eastwood will be presented with the Golden Lion Award for lifetime achievement at the 57th Annual Venice Film Festival, launching Aug. 9. Eastwood's latest directorial effort, "Space Cowboys," which stars Tommy Lee Jones, James Garner, Donald Sutherland and Eastwood himself, will premiere at the Italian fest.
WHAT ABOUT 'HAPPY GILMORE'? So, serious director Martin Scorsese listed his 10 favorite films of the 1990s for The Hollywood Reporter this week. And -- surprise!-- his compendium featured a bunch of highfalutin' foreign films with a few recognizable titles thrown in for good measure.
Mr. "Goodfellas" says his fave of the decade was Chinese director Tian Zhuanzhuang's "The Horse Thief." He also liked Wu Nien-jen's "A Borrowed Life," Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut," the Coen brothers' "Fargo" and Lars Von Trier's "Breaking the Waves," among others.
KEANU'S IN THE HOUSE: Keanu Reeves, bassist for the alt-rock band Dogstar and occasional A-list actor, is set as a presenter at the 72nd Annual Academy Awards on March 26 at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium. It'll be the second time the "Matrix" dude has handed out an Oscar. We just thought you'd like to know.