Actors Sean Bean and Sheridan Smith will be representing Britain at the 2013 International Emmy Awards after landing two of the nation's six nominations for the annual prizegiving. The former Game of Thrones star has scored a best actor nod for his role as a cross-dresser in U.K. TV show Accused, while the show itself, created by Jimmy McGovern, is shortlisted for best drama series.
Smith has earned recognition as best actress for her performance in another drama, Mrs Biggs, which was based on the true story of great train robber Ronnie Biggs' wife, while political thriller Secret State (TV Movie/Mini-Series), rock documentary Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender (Arts Programming) and Chris O'Dowd's Moone Boy (Comedy) have also landed nominations for Britain.
TV productions from Brazil landed six nominations too, including two top acting nods - Marcos Palmeira will compete for the Performance by an Actor title for Mandrake Especial, while Fernanda Montenegra's role in Sweet Mother has scored her a mention in the female equivalent.
France earned a total of three nods, while Angola and Uruguay are first-time nominees.
The International Emmy Awards, which recognises excellence in international television programming outside of the U.S., will take place in New York on 25 November (13).
As previously reported, director J.J. Abrams will be feted for his career achievements with the International Emmy Founders Award at the event. Previous honourees include Ryan Murphy and Simon Cowell.
The apocalypse is in the air these days. Todd Berger’s It’s a Disaster is the first of four end-of-the-world comedies set for release this year—the others being May’s Rapture-Palooza, June’s This Is the End, and August’s The World’s End—and it sets the bar very high for those to come. A character study of eight self-centered friends who congregate for brunch, soon discover their cell phones, Internet, and TV are dead, then learn that they’re in the middle of World War III, It’s a Disaster starts off threatening to be an insufferable exercise in hipsterism.
Emma and Pete’s marriage is on the rocks—they’re hosting the brunch so as to announce their divorce—because Emma (Erinn Hayes) slept with Buck (Kevin M. Brennan) and Pete (Blaise Miller) slept with Lexi (Rachel Boston). Yes, Buck and Lexi are a couple too, and they are basically closeted swingers. All seem like clichés: Emma is an uptight suburbanite with hair carefully parted, red lipstick strategically applied, and pearls lovingly draped. Pete is a classic yuppie bordering on a midlife crisis. Buck is a stoner washout with a Hulk Hogan mustache. Lexi is a free-spirited glockenspiel player who’s proud of the fact that she and Buck consummated their marriage in the bathroom of a TGI Fridays.
As for the rest of the brunch attendees, Emma and Pete’s doctor friend Tracy (Julia Stiles) is a mess of neuroses, maybe because she exclusively dates crazy men, or because none of her friends believe that her boyfriends have been crazy. Her new bf, Glen (David Cross, in full Tobias Fünke mode), seems more promising: he’s a fourth-grade history teacher, and the only crazy thing about him is that he’s okay with shutting off the 1812 Overture right before its famous climax. At least he’s not like Shane (Jeff Grace), Hedy’s (America Ferrera) long-term fiancé, who shuns human interaction at the brunch in favor of obsessively bidding online on a rare Alpha Flight comic book.
So yeah, all those characters sound like clichés. On paper they most definitely are. But when brought to life by this talented ensemble, they’re anything but. And once it becomes clear that their lives as they’ve known them are over — an unknown attacker drops dirty bombs and nerve gas on New York, Los Angeles, Orlando, and multiple other cities — then it becomes really interesting. Especially once they realize that the nerve gas will very shortly seep into Emma and Pete’s house and kill them all. It’s like Portlandia meets Melancholia, and it’s fascinating to see how each of the characters orients himself or herself toward the prospect of imminent death.
Worry wort comic-book freak Shane leads the charge to tape up the doors and windows and try to find some way to survive, while endlessly speculating over who attacked them — the enemy couldn’t have been from this world, right? — and planning to deal with the post-apocalyptic motorcycle gangs they’ll surely face if they live. His completely neglected fiancée Hedy, a chemistry teacher, goes into a negative panic and starts making home-cooked Ecstasy to cope. Tracy sets up one of the best jokes of the movie by lamenting all the things she never did in her life: she never went to Europe, never went to the ballet, never fell in love, never watched The Wire. The response of Glen? "All of those things are overrated…except for The Wire.” Oh, and as for Cross's Glen? Well, you’ll have to witness his unique solution for dealing with Armageddon yourself.
It’s a tricky thing to mine humor from a feel-bad situation as thoroughly awful as this — Berger even shoots his movie like an Ingmar Bergman chamber drama — but whereas this summer’s all-star comic extravaganza This Is the End appears to strive for raunchy belly laughs, It’s a Disaster settles for a general mood of wry amusement as its characters ponder questions of their own mortality that they’ve probably never pondered before…and maybe still aren’t. Two of the couples at least, Emma and Pete and Buck and Lexi, are so self-absorbed that even the end of the world can’t make them look beyond themselves: Emma and Pete are still squabbling with each other over past infidelities, and Buck and Lexi can’t overcome their “party on!” attitude toward life to appreciate the gravity of their situation. When Lexi asks Buck if he thinks there’s a band in heaven they’ll get to join once they pass through the pearly gates, Buck says, “I know there is, and we’re going to be a part of it. ‘Cause guess what they need? A glockenspielist.”
For his film Sans Soleil Chris Marker wrote, “I’ve been round the world several times and now only banality still interests me.” He has a kindred spirit in Berger, who seems amused and even a little charmed by humanity’s boundless penchant for the mundane. Berger doesn’t place himself above his characters, which makes it all the easier to imply the question: what would you do if you knew you only had hours to live? Would you suddenly experience life as exceptionally heightened and sensually gratifying? Or would nothing really change? It’s fitting that It’s a Disaster should be released the same weekend as Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder, a film that insists upon finding holiness and serene beauty in every single shot — and by extension life itself. It’s a Disaster recognizes how much of the human experience takes place in the realm of the banal, and just how okay that is.
What do you think? Tell Christian Blauvelt directly on Twitter @Ctblauvelt and read more of his reviews on Rotten Tomatoes!
More: Watch every comedian you know die in ‘This Is the End’
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The Hollywood star will lead the cast of Lucky Guy, portraying the New York Daily News columnist who covered some of the biggest crimes and police corruption scandals in the 1980s and '90s.
McAlary died from colon cancer in 1998, aged 41.
When Harry Met Sally screenwriter Nora Ephron penned the script, which will be directed by George C. Wolfe. Rehearsals are expected to begin in January (13), reports the New York Times.
Hanks has not acted on stage since 1979, when he appeared in a New York production of The Mandrake.
To the youngsters who came out in droves to see Warner Bros.' recent Sherlock Holmes films, it may come as some surprise to learn that Arthur Conan Doyle's genius detective was once considered a musty old relic before Robert Downey Jr. and Guy Ritchie reinvented him as a thoroughly modern action hero (albeit one presiding in the 19th century). Now Warners is aiming to pull off the same feat with another seemingly antiquated crimesolver.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio has snatched up the rights to Mandrake the Magician, a comic strip created in 1934 by Lee Falk, whose subsequent creation, The Phantom, would later eclipse it. Mandrake, which has already made abortive forays into film (in 1939, as a 12-part serial) and television (as a 1979 TV movie), followed an illusionist/hypnotist who fought evil along with his "African strongman" companion, Lothar.
Bad guys thwarted by Mandrake during his adventures included aliens, gangsters, and even his own twin brother. He now faces his greatest adversary yet: the perilous Hollywood development process. Just a few years ago, a potential Mandrake movie at Disney was torpedoed when first Jonathan Rhys Meyers, then Hayden Christensen attached their names to it. No project, no matter how promising, can hope to survive that kind of taint. We wish Mandrake better luck this time around.
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Just as the J.K. Rowling books keep getting better and more exciting so do the movies based on them. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone had the unenviable task of introducing everything but with Chamber of Secrets you march right into the adventure headlong. After spending another miserable summer with the Dursleys our boy Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is anxious to start his second year at Hogwarts but a house elf named Dobby (voiced by Toby Jones) warns him he'll be in grave danger if he goes back. He returns anyway and sure enough once Harry joins up with his friends Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) weird things start to happen at school--one of which being that students are somehow being turned into stone. Pretty soon it becomes clear the Chamber of Secrets--a legendary hidden chamber of evil built by one of Hogwarts' founders the nasty Salazar Slytherin--has been opened. Legend says the chamber can only be opened by the true heir of Slytherin and once it is the beast within will be unleashed to purge the school of those undeserving to study there. In other words it'll get rid of wizards and witches who come from non-magic heritage (or Muggles as they're called). This puts Hermione in particular danger since she comes from Muggle parents. Yikes. Harry has his hands full trying to figure this one out especially since he is suspected as the one who opened the chamber.
The natural rapport of the young actors Radcliffe Grint and Watson comes shining through as the trio become more comfortable walking around in their characters' shoes. Radcliffe gets to do a lot more in Chamber of Secrets than just stand around wide-eyed and slack-jawed as he did in Sorcerer's Stone and all three have definitely improved as actors (but there is still some work to do). If you were to choose the best of the three it would have to be Watson. She has a few truly outstanding moments especially in her tender scene with Hagrid (the always good Robbie Coltrane) who tells her being Muggle-born has nothing to do with being a great witch. Great casting has also been a key element to the success of the Harry Potter movies so the actors chosen to play the two new characters introduced in Chamber of Secrets are simply perfect. The delightful Kenneth Branagh has fun playing Prof. Gilderoy Lockhart a vain blowhard who knows almost nothing about wizardry but pretends to while Jason Isaacs (The Patriot) oozes as Lucius Malfoy a malevolent wizard who was once a follower of You-Know-Who (Harry's nemesis Lord Voldemort. Oops! I said it). He is also father to bully Draco Malfoy played by Tom Felton who also needs a little more work in the acting department. Of course watching the late Richard Harris as Hogwarts' headmaster Albus Dumbledore is indeed sad. It'll be hard to replace him.
Chris Columbus just gets it. Either he somehow channels J.K. Rowling or perhaps is secretly part-wizard himself but Columbus manages to capture the essence of the books to a tee. With Sorcerer's Stone he was partially weighed down by the story's exposition but with Chamber of Secrets he's set free. Columbus utilizes more special effects darker imagery and plays up the funnier moments. If you are a fan of the books you will marvel at Columbus' uncanny ability to visualize exactly what things looks like in Harry Potter's world. The digitally created house elf Dobby is just as you would imagine him with torn clothes and huge eyes. As is the flying car the walloping Whomping Willow the creepy spiders' nest the ugly baby Mandrake plant--all of it is done with exquisite detail. Still the film is not completely perfect. Some moments don't ring as true especially in the ending and it runs a little long. If you aren't a literary follower you might find yourself looking at your watch a few times during the course of the movie. But it's fleeting because soon you are caught up again by the next exciting chain of events. Columbus is passing the baton to director Alfonso Cuaron (Y Tu Mama Tambien) for the next Potter adventure Prisoner of Azkaban because he wants a break from all that magic stuff. I bet he'll miss it.
Longfellow Deeds (played by Adam Sandler) is the owner of a popular pizzeria in the small town of Mandrake Falls N.H. He is a seemingly happy and well-adjusted guy whose main pastime involves writing greeting cards he hopes will one day be published by a big conglomerate like Hallmark. His enchanting life all but comes to a halt however when a corporate honcho named Anderson (Peter Gallagher) informs Deeds that his long lost relative Preston Blake has left him an inheritance of $40 billion a chain of media outlets a football team and a basketball team. Deeds heads to Manhattan to collect his endowment which includes a Diff'rent Strokes-style Park Avenue penthouse and befriends his late uncle's butler Emilio (John Turturro). When Deeds falls for tabloid TV producer Babe Bennett (played by Winona Ryder) who is posing as a demure school nurse he inevitably gets his heart broken and realizes that a 200-mile-an-hour lifestyle isn't for him. Mr. Deeds is a middle-of-the-road movie with a couple of good laughs most of which don't come from Sandler.
Sandler's portrayal of Deeds is peculiar. You would expect this small-town guy to have the same qualities that Gary Cooper had in the 1936 version but Sandler's depiction is dimwitted rather than polite and his character has a disturbing violent streak. His seems to channel his inadequacies into landing his fist in people's faces. But Sandler's character is not only mean tempered he's humorless too. Ryder (Autumn in New York) cunning Babe Bennett on the other hand did have a timeless quality and it is nice to see her acting goofy for a change. The script didn't call on her to say too much unfortunately and her character ends up being a caricature of a 1930s career woman. Surprisingly Turturro's (Collateral Damage) character the loyal butler with a strange habit of appearing and disappearing from a room generates the most laughs. Watch for cameo appearances by Sandler's buddy Rob Schneider and another by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Director Steven Brill who also directed Sandler in Little Nicky delivers a relatively flat and uninspiring New York City: in the scene where Babe and her coworker fake a mugging for example the street appears deserted rather than bustling. To make matters worse the bland visuals are littered with clichéd fish-out-of-water situations including Deeds' fascination with the huge apartment's acoustics and its vast housekeeping staff. The most disturbing aspect of the film is that after deciding that happiness is more important than money Deeds doesn't do anything worthwhile with the dough. OK he does give it all the United Negro College Fund but a gigantic plot hole seems to indicate that the organization will have to send it back. The point is Deeds never tries to do the right thing with the money; he just wants to wash his hands of it.
Suave Mandrake the Magician, the long-time comic-strip favorite, came to television in this pilot movie, to fight not only TV crime but also a madman trying to blackmail a business tycoon for ten million dollars after arranging for a series of rollercoaster murders.