The mother of Johnny Lewis' daughter is embroiled in a legal battle with the late Sons Of Anarchy star's family over the youngster's inheritance. The troubled actor plunged to his death in 2012 after killing his elderly landlady and he left behind a young daughter, Culla Mae, three, who he fathered with his Sons Of Anarchy co-star Diane Marshall-Green.
Marshall-Green, also known as Diane Gaeta, claims Lewis' father, Michael, is refusing to recognise Culla Mae as the sole heir to Lewis' $41,000 (£25,625) fortune and she has now filed legal documents to have him removed from his post as administrator of the estate, according to editors at TMZ.com.
She also claims Michael has refused to hand over $37,000 (£23,125) in child support payments owed by the actor.
Lewis did not have a will at the time of his death and Marshall-Green alleges his parents have refused to acknowledge the little girl as his heir.
Marshall-Green claims Lewis signed a declaration of paternity before his death, and the actor is listed as the father on the girl's birth certificate.
Lewis passed away in September, 2012 when he accidentally fell from the roof of his Los Angeles home. Police believe he died shortly after killing his 81-year-old landlady and dismembering her cat.
Sometimes a director has a favorite actor that they jibe with whom they cast in a whole whack of movies in a row. Think Scorsese and DiCaprio Wes Anderson and Bill Murray or Sofia Coppola and Kirsten Dunst. It's a sort of professional infatuation that can serve a project well but it can also lull them into self-indulgence. Although this is only the second time that Killing Them Softly's writer/director Andrew Dominik has worked with Brad Pitt it feels like they have a certain camaraderie. The symbiosis previously worked in their favor in 2007's The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. This time around they never quite find the same rhythm.
Of course Killing Them Softly has an entirely difference cadence than that golden-hued meditative Western; it's stylishly violent and blackly hilarious. After all the catalyst for this whole affair is a half-cocked scheme cooked up by a wanna-be gangster nicknamed Squirrel (Vincent Curatola) and carried out by a desperate ex-con (Scoot McNairy) and a scummy Australian junkie (Ben Mendelsohn) who steals and sells purebred dogs for cash. Their plan to knock over a mobbed-up card game is air tight (or so it seems): the game runner Markie (Ray Liotta) has confessed to setting up a heist of his own game in the past. The knuckleheads think the card-players will blame him again.
Unfortunately for them Jackie Cogan (Pitt) is called in to investigate the matter. His record is impeccable his glasses mirror-slick and his hands steady. His technique is of course to kill his victims "softly " from a distance. "It's so embarrassing " he comments to a middleman played by Richard Jenkins to watch his targets plead and cry and lose control of their bodily functions. It's just as embarrassing to see his colleagues lose their mettle like Mickey (James Gandolfini) a gangster he called in to help out. Mickey is a dogged drunk and a womanizer who's given to rapturous platitudes about a prostitute he knew in Florida. "There's no ass in the whole world like a young Jewish girl who's hooking " he tells an increasingly frustrated Jackie. Grossly funny scenes like this the scatological problems one encounters while driving dog-napped pups across country and an explosion gone awry are outweighed by a weirdly bloated narrative that makes pits stops so characters can loll in junkie nods to the tunes of the Velvet Underground.
The changing political climate of the era is used as a clumsy foil for this underground economy. At first it's interesting and makes you feel a bit clever to notice the TV in the background playing an old clip of George W. Bush droning on about the economy or a huge political ad on a billboard looming over a desolate area. As time goes on Bush is replaced by Obama (first as senator later as president) on TV but nothing really changes for these people or their situations. Midway through it's obvious and by the end overbearing especially as Jackie lectures Jenkins's lawyer (and us) about why the system is as screwed as the characters. "America's not a country it's a business. Now f**king pay me " he tells Jenkins's Driver in an echo of the classic Goodfellas line uttered by Liotta.
Dominik has only made three films but he's a formidable writer and director with a keen eye for assembling ensemble casts. It's possible that time and multiple viewings will treat Killing Them Softly as well as it has The Assassination of Jesse James or Chopper but for now it works better as a character study or perhaps a showpiece for its talented performers than an overall experience.
Director Alexander Payne's (Election Sideways) new film opens over sprawling landscape shots of Hawaii's scenic suburbia accompanied by George Clooney's character Matt King summing up his current predicament: "Paradise can go fuck itself." The reaction unfortunately is reasonable.
We pick up with King an ancestor of Hawaiian royalty in the middle of deliberations over a plot of land handed down through his family over generations. With every uncle aunt and cosign whispering opinions into his ear King is suddenly presented with an even greater problem: taking care of his two daughters. A boating accident leaves his wife in a coma forcing Matt to take a true parenting role with his young socially-troubled daughter Scottie (Amara Miller) and his rebellious teen Alexandra (Shailene Woodley) who was previously shipped off to boarding school. Matt awkwardly hunts for the emotional glue necessary for the mismatched bunch to become "a family " but matters are made even more complicated when Alex reveals that her mother was cheating on him before the accident. Murphy's Law is in full effect.
With The Descendants Payne continues to explore and discover the inherent humor in life's melancholic situations unfolding Matt's quest for understanding like a road movie across Hawaii's many islands. Simultaneously preparing for the end of his wife's death and searching for the identity of her lover Matt crosses paths with a number of perfectly cast side characters who act as mirrors to his best and worst qualities: his father-in-law Scott (Robert Foster) who belittles Matt for never taking care of his daughter; Hugh (Beau Bridges) an opportunistic cousin who pressures Matt to sell the land; Alexandra's dunce of a boyfriend Sid (Nick Krause) who always has the wrong thing to say; and Julie (Judy Greer) the wife of the adulterer in question. Colorful yet real Matt experiences a definitive moment with each of them yet the picture never feels sporadic or episodic.
Clooney and Woodley help gel these sequences together as they observe experience and butt heads as equals. Clooney's own magnetism stands in the way of making Matt a fully dimensional character but he shines when playing off his quick-witted daughter. His reactions are heartbreaking—but it's the moments when he has to put himself out there that never quite ring true. But the script by Nat Faxon Jim Rash and Payne gives Clooney plenty of opportunities to work his magic visualizing his struggle as opposed to vomiting it out like so many of today's talky dramas.
The Descendants is a tender cinematic experience an introspective and heartwarming film unafraid to convey its story with pleasing simplicity. Clooney stands out with a solid performance but like many of Payne's films it's the eclectic ensemble and muted backdrop that give the movie its real texture. The paradise of Descendants isn't all its cracked up to be but for movie-goers it's bliss.
The Casting Gods were in a good mood yesterday, and so today we bring you this news: David Tennant of BBC's Doctor Who (and Barty Crouch Jr. in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) and Christopher Mintz-Plasse of Superbad (and, most recently, Kick-Ass) have joined Anton Yelchin (Chekov in the 2009 Star Trek reboot and the titular star of Charlie Bartlett) and Colin Farrell (you know Colin Farrell) in DreamWorks' upcoming remake of the 1985 cult classic Fright Night.
For those who haven't seen the original, directed by Tom Holland (whose company Dead Rabbit Films will be releasing the remake), the new Fright Night will follow Charley (Yelchin), a teen who becomes convinced that his new new neighbor (Farrell) is a vampire. When his friends begin disappearing, Charley turns to his childhood hero Peter Vincent (Tennant), a 'Mindfreak'-like television magician with a history of hunting Vampires, for help. But Charley and his celebrity magician-mentor will also have to contend with Charley's nerdy best friend "Evil" Ed (Mintz-Plasse), who is the first to suspect that there's a vampire in the neighborhood (Charley says he's been watching too much Twilight), and who ultimately decides to join forces with vampire-Farrell.
Honestly, I don't think this casting could be any more perfect for turning Fright Night into a 21st century cult hit; just the thought of McLovin' and Colin Farrell tramping around suburbia, preying on their neighbors and building a coven of vampires sounds like cinema gold. The original Fright Night was a delightful melange of campy and horror, and with the hilarious Mintz-Plasse-Farrell vampire pairing, we can probably look forward to a Shaun of the Dead-inspired tone for the remake. The Yelchin-Tennant team should also be good fun, as fans of Tennant's Doctor Who or Yelchin's superb acting in Charlie Bartlett and Alpha Dog should be aware. The role of Charley's girlfriend Amy has yet to be filled, but if the other casting decisions are any indication, I think we can expect another great actor to join this already terrifically quirky ensemble.
Michael De Luca and Alison R. Rosenzweig are set to produce Fright Night with a script from Marti Noxon and Craig Gillespie directing. Lloyd Ivan Miller, Michael Gaeta and Josh Bratman are executive producing the remake, to be released some time in 2011.