George Clooney, Tom Hanks and Julianne Moore have added their tributes to the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman as Hollywood continues to come to terms with the actor's shocking death. The Oscar winner was found dead from an apparent drug overdose in his New York City apartment on Sunday (02Feb14), and friends and former co-workers like Mia Farrow, Jim Carrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Martin and Evan Rachel Wood were among the first celebrities to express their condolences via Twitter.com.
Now Clooney admits the death of his The Ides of March co-star has left him speechless, stating, "There are no words... it's just terrible", while Hanks says of his Charlie Wilson's War colleague, "This is a horrible day for those who worked with Philip. He was a giant talent."
Actress Moore has also added her voice to the outpouring of Hollywood tributes after co-starring with Hoffman in Boogie Nights, Magnolia and The Big Lebowski. They had also completed work on the upcoming The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 and had been in the middle of filming Mockingjay - Part 2 at the time of his passing.
She says, "I feel so fortunate to have known and worked with the extraordinary Philip Seymour Hoffman, and am deeply saddened by his passing."
Another Boogie Nights castmate, Mark Wahlberg, adds, "Saddened by the passing of friend and colleague Philip Seymour Hoffman...such a tragic loss. Miss you, Scotty J. RIP."
And Gwyneth Paltrow, who teamed up with Hoffman for 1999 thriller The Talented Mr. Ripley, also commented on the tragedy by sharing an old photo of the pair with fellow co-star Jude Law during their stay in Italy for the movie shoot.
In the accompanying caption, she wrote, "Ischia 1998, post dinner, post shooting... Philip was a true genius."
Broadway theatre bosses will dim their marquee lights on Wednesday night (05Feb14) in memory of the triple Tony Award nominee.
The Master star won high praise and a Tony nod for each of his three outings on the Great White Way - his debut in True West in 2000, his follow-up performance in Long Day's Journey into Night in 2003, and his turn in a 2012 production of Death of a Salesman.
Charlotte St. Martin of the Broadway League says, "Philip Seymour Hoffman, a three-time Tony Award nominee, was a true artist who loved the theatre. His prolific body of work encompassed various mediums including theatre, film and television, and we'll always be grateful for his boundless and profound talent that he shared with us on the Broadway stage. Our thoughts go out to his family, friends and fans."
Mia Farrow, Jim Carrey and Elijah Wood are among the many stars who have paid tribute to actor Philip Seymour Hoffman following his death from an apparent drug overdose on Sunday (02Feb14). The Oscar-winning Capote star, who was found dead in his West Village, New York apartment, was one of Hollywood's most respected actors and celebrities were quick to pay their tributes on social media.
Mia Farrow writes, "OH NO!!!!! Philip Seymour Hoffman has died. A truly kind, wonderful man and one of our greatest actors - ever."
Jim Carrey adds, "Dear Philip, a beautiful beautiful soul. For the most sensitive among us the noise can be too much. Bless your heart."
Hoffman's Ides of March co-star Evan Rachel Wood, expressed her sadness on Twitter.com, writing, "I am sad on so many levels about the loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman. One of the greats. Losing him this way is absolutely tragic."
Shocked by the news, Elijah Wood adds, "heartbroken and shocked. what a true loss. rest in peace, Philip Seymour Hoffman".
And Whoopi Goldberg writes, "WTF (sic)!!!!philip-seymour-hoffman-found-dead-in-his-apartment, a truly great actor... Gone.. I hope someone says hey whoop it's a hoax..R.I.P".
She later added, "I see that it's not a hoax PSH is dead condolences to his family."
Other tributes have come from Steve Martin, Ricky Gervais, Aaron Paul, Rose McGowan, Justin Timberlake, Minnie Driver, Octavia Spencer, Anna Kendrick and Lena Dunham, who tweets, "Beautiful beautiful man. We have lost so much joy to something so joyless. RIP PSH."
Meanwhile, Val Kilmer adds, "Blu (sic) day, Philip Seymour Hoffman od'd (overdosed). Addiction comes fr (from) trying to escape the pain of living. We all struggle with this but Drugs never help.
There is something particularly unnerving about demon possession. It's the idea of something you can't see or control creeping into your body and taking up residence eventually obliterating all you once were and turning you into nothing more than a sack of meat to be manipulated. Then there's also the shrouded ritual around exorcisms: the Latin chants the flesh-sizzling crucifixes and the burning Holy Water. As it turns out exorcism isn't just the domain of Catholics.
The myths and legends of the Jews aren't nearly as well known but their creepy dybbuk goes toe-to-toe with anything other world religions come up with. There are various interpretations of what a dybbuk is or where it comes from — is it a ghost a demon a soul of a sinner? — but in any case it's looking for a body to hang out in for a while. Especially according to the solemn Hasidic Jews in The Possession an innocent young person and even better a young girl.
The central idea in The Possession is that a fancy-looking wooden box bought at a garage sale was specifically created to house a dybbuk that was tormenting its previous owner. Unfortunately it caught the eye of young Emily (Natasha Calis) a sensitive artistic girl who persuades her freshly divorced dad Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan of Watchmen and Grey's Anatomy) to buy it for her. Never mind the odd carvings on it — that would be Hebrew — or how it's created without seams so it would be difficult to open or why it's an object of fascination for a young girl; Clyde is trying really hard to please his disaffected daughters and do the typical freshly divorced parent dance of trying to please them no matter the cost.
Soon enough the creepy voices calling to Emily from the box convince her to open it up; inside are even creepier personal objects that are just harbingers of what's to come for her her older sister Hannah (Madison Davenport) her mom Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick) and even Stephanie's annoying new boyfriend Brett (Grant Show). Clyde and Stephanie squabble over things like pizza for dinner and try to convince each other and themselves that Emily's increasingly odd behavior is that of a troubled adolescent. It's not of course and eventually Clyde enlists the help of the son of a Hasidic rabbi a young man named Tzadok played by the former Hasidic reggae musician Matisyahu to help them perform an exorcism on Emily.
The Possession is not going to join the ranks of The Exorcist in the horror pantheon but it does do a remarkable job of making its characters intelligent and even occasionally droll and it offers up plenty of chills despite a PG-13 rating. Perhaps it's because of that rating that The Possession is so effective; the filmmakers are forced to make the benign scary. Giant moths and flying Torahs take the place of little Reagan violently masturbating with a crucifix in The Exorcist. Gagging and binging on food is also an indicator of Emily's possession — an interesting twist given the anxieties of becoming a woman a girl Emily's age would face. There is something inside her controlling her and she knows it and she is fighting it. The most impressive part of Calis's performance is how she communicates Emily's torment with a few simple tears rolling down her face as the dybbuk's control grows. The camerawork adds to the anxiety; one particularly scary scene uses ordinary glass kitchenware to great effect.
The Possession is a short 92 minutes and it does dawdle in places. It seems as though some of the scenes were juggled around to make the PG-13 cut; the moth infestation scene would have made more sense later in the movie. Some of the problems are solved too quickly or simply and yet it also takes a while for Clyde's character to get with it. Stephanie is a fairly bland character; she makes jewelry and yells at Clyde for not being present in their marriage a lot and then there's a thing with a restraining order that's pretty silly. Emily is occasionally dressed up like your typical horror movie spooky girl with shadowed eyes an over-powdered face and dark clothes; it's much more disturbing when she just looks like an ordinary though ill young girl. The scenes in the heavily Hasidic neighborhood in Brooklyn look oddly fake and while it's hard to think of who else could have played Tzadok an observant Hasidic Jew who is also an outsider willing to take risks the others will not Matisyahu is not a very good actor. Still the filmmakers should be commended for authenticity insofar as Matisyahu has studied and lived as a Hasidic Jew.
It would be cool if Lionsgate and Ghost House Pictures were to release the R-rated version of the movie on DVD. What the filmmakers have done within the confines of a PG-13 rating is creepy enough to make me curious to see the more adult version. The Possession is no horror superstar and its name is all too forgettable in a summer full of long-gestating horror movies quickly pushed out the door. It's entertaining enough and could even find a broader audience on DVD. Jeffrey Dean Morgan can read the Old Testament to me any time.
Lily Badger, nine, and her seven-year-old twin siblings Grace and Sarah died after a blaze broke out at their Connecticut home on Christmas Day (11).
A host of stars and family friends gathered at the New Victory Theatre on Thursday (22Jun12) night to remember the sisters and to raise money for the Lily Sarah Grace Fund, a charity set up to benefit education programmes.
Goldberg served as host of the event, while Hoffman, Julianne Moore and Eric Bogosian took to the stage to read aloud memories shared by the girls' dad Matthew Badger.
Hoffman told the audience, "Her father loved how fearless Gracie was. She picked up spiders, crabs and climbed impossible rocks."
Moore also told how Lily once showed her daring side by jumping into a lake on vacation and Bogosian spoke of Sarah's lovable personality, reports the New York Post.
Emotional Matthew later took to the podium to thank the crowd, insisting, "What a wonderful night."
The girls' mum Madonna Badger, the advertising boss credited with creating Mark Wahlberg's iconic Calvin Klein ad, also lost her elderly parents in the inferno.
Over the last couple of years, I have been falling deeper in love with the art of great documentary filmmaking. There was a time when I looked upon documentaries with the same active disregard as I did wine tastings, poetry readings, and book clubs. Even as I got more and more passionate about film, the documentary genre was one I woefully overlooked. But slowly I’ve come to understand the power and impact of a great documentary.
One of the primary litmus tests for the quality of a doc is how well it can take a simple subject and elicit a deep emotional response from its audience. Last year, a documentary was released centering on little more than a red, foam puppet; a documentary that had me laughing, weeping, and cheering. That doc was Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey and we hope you’ll consider checking it out this weekend via Netflix’s Watch Instantly service.
Who Made It: Being Elmo was directed by Constance Marks and Philip Shane. Shane also worked on a number of music and concert documentaries including serving as an editor on director Antoine Fuqua’s sensational blues documentary Lightning in a Bottle.
Who’s In It: Being Elmo is the story of Kevin Clash. If the name doesn’t immediately ring a bell, don’t be surprised. Clash is far better known by way of his Sesame Street alter ego, the loveable puppet Elmo. The film also features commentary from a number of different celebrities and children’s television creators. Everyone from Whoopi Goldberg to Frank Oz turns up to pay their respects to Kevin.
What’s It About: This film charts the origins and meteoric rise of one of the most popular characters in children’s television. Kevin Clash works his way up from a passionate, big-hearted kid from Baltimore to being one of today’s premier puppeteers, lending his talents to characters beloved the world over.
Why You Should Watch It:
Kevin’s story is one that is both fascinating and uplifting. Kevin Clash was a kid who, like many of us, was completely taken with Jim Henson’s creations. He tells amusing and poignant stories about making his first puppet, practicing day in and day out, and performing for children at schools all over his city. We begin to understand how, from an early age, Clash had a highly developed sense of compassion and a massive heart. This sincere compassion and love for others underscores the whole documentary and are at the center of what makes it so incredibly moving. Later we see Kevin mentoring aspiring young puppeteers, doting upon his daughter, and visiting with Make-a-Wish children. It’s wonderfully sweet.
But Kevin didn’t just get to where he is today by being an extremely nice guy. The man is absolutely astonishing at what he does. The way he moves and articulates his hands and manipulates his voice, uniquely to each puppet in his repertoire, make his characters so lifelike, so developed. Even when he’s not Elmo, his performances are so thought out and genuine that is spellbinding to behold. When he’s a horse puppet, for example, he incorporates the characteristics of an actual horse into his performance, not simply neighing, but also the insistent movements of the head when searching for a treat. His adroit hands create a much more impressive range of movements for Elmo than one would have ever thought possible; especially awesome is watching him make Elmo dance.
Being Elmo is an absolute must-see for Jim Henson fans. Not only can we empathize with Clash being nervous and tongue-tied when he meets his puppeteer idol, but it’s also intriguing to see where the character of Elmo came from (he was actually in existence on Sesame Street before Clash came on). As Kevin’s career takes off, he is granted the great honor of working on Henson’s film Labyrinth. Personally, I think all the behind-the-scenes footage of Labyrinth (as well as The Dark Crystal though Clash was unable to work on that film) is well worth the price of admission here. It’s also hysterical to watch Clash stay in the character of Elmo, if only a slightly more mischievous version of Elmo, in Sesame Street outtakes.
More than anything, Being Elmo is a film about making a firm commitment to a dream; something anyone in any walk of life can appreciate. It is an age-old, romantic notion that benefits greatly from the fact that its subject is such an indelible part of the Henson Company; a company renowned for its ability to convert dreams into reality.
When crafting a follow-up to the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time it’s understandable that one might be reticent to mess with a winning formula. But director Todd Phillips and writers Craig Mazin and Scot Armstrong seem to have confused revisiting with recycling: The Hangover Part II so closely mirrors its blockbuster predecessor in every vital aspect that it can scarcely claim the right to call itself a sequel.
The only significant new wrinkle introduced in Part II is its setting: Bangkok Thailand a location that at least theoretically augurs well for a second helping of inspired lunacy. The story structure of the first film has been copied wholesale a game of Mad Libs played with its script. The action is again set around a bachelor party this time in honor of buttoned-down dentist Stu (Ed Helms). Again the boys (Stu Bradley Cooper’s boorish frat boy Phil and Zach Galifianakis’ moronic man-child Alan) awaken the next day in a hideously debauched hotel room with little memory of the previous night’s revelry. And again there is a missing companion: Teddy (Mason Lee son of Ang) the brother-in-law to be. (Poor Justin Bartha is once again relegated to the sidelines popping up now and then to push the plot forward via cell phone.)
The amnesiac/investigative angle of the first Hangover made for a refreshing twist on the contemporary men-behaving-badly comedy. Repeated here its effect is arguably the opposite: Too often the action feels rote and formulaic. Gone is any hint of surprise an aspect so crucial to good comedy and a huge part of the first film’s appeal. Key comic set pieces – a tussle with monks at a Buddhist temple a visit to a transsexual brothel a car chase involving a drug-dealing monkey – reveal themselves to be merely variations of memorable bits from the first film.
Tonally Part II is darker cruder and a bit nastier than its predecessor. Female characters never a priority in the first film are further marginalized in the sequel. (The only woman with significant dialogue a Bangkok prostitute also happens to have a penis. I’ll let you ponder the implications of that one.) The three leads Helms Cooper and Galifianakis still work well together and despite the inferior material enough of their chemistry remains to make the proceedings bearable – and occasionally funny. But their characters feel somehow degraded reduced to coarse caricatures of their former selves. Speaking of caricature Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) the fey faux-gangsta villain of the first film returns in an expanded capacity in the sequel his garbled hip-hop slang more gratuitous – and more grating – than before.
I can’t help but wonder what might have been if a planned cameo by Mel Gibson playing a tattoo artist hadn’t been scrapped reportedly due to objections by Galifianakis. Liam Neeson Gibson’s replacement apparently proved ineffectual in his first go-round and when he wasn't available for re-shoots his scene was eventually shot with Nick Cassavetes in the role. In its existing incarnation the scene is purely functional a chunk of forgettable exposition. The presence of Gibson an actor of not inconsiderable comic talent would have at least added an air of unpredictability something the scene – and indeed the movie – sorely lacks.
A man seen prowling around the grounds of pop singer Britney Spears' home in the Hollywood Hills was held briefly by private security guards on Monday but later released when Spears did not press charges, police told Reuters Wednesday.
When the incident took place, Spears had been in New York City receiving the "Fun, Fearless Female of the Year" award from Cosmopolitan magazine. In an interview with the TV show Extra Wednesday, Spears said the home's security system had been turned off inadvertently during the weekend, "but they got the guy." Spears also added, "it makes you appreciate your security and the people that are protecting you."
Black Hawk Down star Ewan McGregor has decided to let life imitate art. He'll fly with his brother, a Royal Air Force pilot, in an RAF Tornado GR1 jet, one of Britain's fastest warplanes, to raise money for children's hospices in Scotland. Brave lad.
Director Lasse Hallstrom has dropped out of the Universal/Miramax drama Cinderella Man starring Russell Crowe and has committed to helming Miramax's screen adaptation of David Liss' novel A Conspiracy of Paper instead. The story centers around the inception of the stock exchange in 18th-century London. Hallstrom switched gears when production on Cinderella was delayed.
Ed Harris will be joining Nicole Kidman, Anthony Hopkins and Gary Sinise in Miramax/Lake Entertainment's The Human Stain. Based on the novel by Philip Roth, the story centers on a light-skinned black professor (Hopkins) who passed himself off as Jewish for many years. Let's hope the NAACP doesn't get upset that Hopkins is playing a light-skinned black man.
John Cusack will be starring in the new thriller I.D. with Amanda Peet and Ray Liotta, a whodunit revolving around a group of 10 strangers who find themselves running from a desert storm into a Bates-like motel, where they are then picked off one by one by an unknown killer. Sounds like these people are having an extraordinarily bad day.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is puzzled by the brief disappearance of Whoopi Goldberg's Oscar--and frankly, so are we. Apparently the little gold-plated guy was being shipped Friday via UPS to be refurbished by the Academy and was stolen sometime during the process. The Oscar turned up later in a Los Angeles International Airport trash bin and is now safe in a vault. Goldberg said she won't ever let the Oscar leave her house again.
Looks like Saturday Night Live alumni will be dominating the NBC 2002 fall comedy development slate. The network has greenlit several half-hour pilots, executive produced by such SNL players as creator Lorne Michaels and Adam Sandler. The network is also looking at casting old-school favorite Chevy Chase and Norm MacDonald.
Late night talk show host Conan O'Brien may be looking at a $8 million annual paycheck to stay on the air with NBC for another four years. If finalized, he'll be the highest paid host in the 12:35 a.m. time slot. Not bad for a guy everyone thought would fail miserably when he first went on the air in 1993.
Newswoman Greta Van Susteren told People magazine she decided to have blepharoplasty (more commonly known as an eyelift) on a whim, to do something just for her. "It's the first time since I was 17 that I had a month off and no responsibilities," she said. Van Susteren will be the new host of Fox News Channel's show On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.
Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, stars of the hit Broadway show The Producers, will be bowing out of the musical after playing to packed audiences for a year. Lane, who won the Tony for best actor, will be replaced by British actor Henry Goodman, while a replacement has yet to be cast for Broderick.
The U.S. Department of Labor has launched a full-scale investigation into the Screen Actors Guild election debacle last November, where poll administrators and union staffers allegedly mishandled ballots. A call for a new election was passed by a guild committee, but this investigation could result in a ruling on whether a rerun of the SAG election is actually necessary.
Country singer Alan Jackson's album Drive is still No. 1 on the album charts, with Creed's Weathered and Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory coming in at second and third, respectively. Mary J. Blige's No More Drama jumped from the 28th spot to No. 10.
French-Canadian diva Celine Dion launched her first new song in two years. "A New Day Has Come" was released for radio play on Wednesday, and her new album will reach stores March 26.