Real Steel – the new sci-fi sports flick from Night at the Museum director Shawn Levy – is set in the year 2020. Its vision of the future looks remarkably similar to the present save for the fact that the sport of boxing has been taken over by pugilistic robots. There are no robot butlers taxi drivers or senators – just boxers. Apparently technology in 2020 has advanced enough to allow for the creation of massive mechanized beings of astonishing dexterity but humanity has found no use for them beyond the boxing ring.
Hugh Jackman plays Charlie Kenton a has-been boxer turned small-time robot-fight promoter. A consummate hustler who’ll do anything for a buck Charlie’s fallen on hard times of late. Opportunity arrives in the diminutive guise of 11-year-old Max (Dakota Goyo) his estranged son who turns out to be something of an electronics wunderkind. Together they work to fashion Atom an obsolete ramshackle “sparring robot” left to rot in a junkyard into a contender.
Anyone who’s seen an underdog sports movie – or any movie for that matter – made in the last half-century can fairly easily ascertain how this one plays out. (The story borrows tropes from The Champ Rocky and Over the Top wholesale.) Atom proves surprisingly capable in the ring compensating for his inferior technology with grit perseverance and an ability to absorb massive amounts of punishment. Under the guidance of Charlie and Max he makes an improbable run through the ranks eventually earning a one-in-a-million shot at the World Robot Boxing championship.
Real Steel was executive-produced by Steven Spielberg; it bears his unmistakable imprint. Levy judiciously deploys Spielberg’s patented blockbuster mix of dazzling special effects and gooey sentiment wrapping it all in a highly polished if wholly synthetic package. Still Real Steel might have amounted to so much glossy hokum were it not for its champion Hugh Jackman. Other actors might eye such a project as an opportunity to coast for an easy paycheck but damned if Jackman isn’t completely invested. The film’s underdog storyline isn’t nearly as inspiring as watching its star so gamely devote himself to selling material that will strike anyone over the age of 12 as patently ludicrous. His efforts pay off handsomely: Real Steel is about as rousing and affecting as any film inspired by Rock’em Sock’em Robots can expect to be. (The filmmakers claim lineage to a short story-turned-Twilight Zone episode but who are they kidding?)
Former Beverly Hills, 90210 star Jennie Garth and husband Peter Facinelli have welcomed a new baby girl.
Fiona Eve Facinelli was born on Saturday morning and weighed in at 7 pounds, 8 ounces.
This is the third child for Garth, 34 and Facinelli, 32.
The couple, who wed in January 2001, are also parents to daughters Luca Bella, 9, and Lola Ray, 3.
Garth is currently starring in the sitcom What I Like About You.
Facinelli starred on the TV show Fastlane and had a recurring role as Jimmy on Six Feet Under.
Article Copyright Entertainment News Network All Rights Reserved.
February 03, 2004 12:03pm EST
Top Story: Gest Now Blames Tabloid for Split
Producer David Gest told NBC Dateline's Stone Phillips in an interview to be broadcast Friday that his marriage to Liza Minnelli ended because of an article in the National Enquirer and not because of the alleged physical abuse. "She got the magazine on a Wednesday morning and on Thursday announced our marriage was over," Gest said, according to the AP. The article in question, which Gest denies having anything to do with, portrayed Minnelli as an alcoholic. Minnelli, 57, and Gest, 50, wed in March of 2002 at a celebrity-studded ceremony in New York with Michael Jackson acting as best man and Elizabeth Taylor serving as maid of honor. It was Minnelli's fourth marriage and Gest's first. Gest has since filed two legal actions against Minnelli, including a divorce petition and a $10 million lawsuit in which he alleges she beat him so badly that he suffered permanent injuries. Gest says the beatings caused him pain "so enormous that I get now 80 shots around the head to deaden the nerves," according to a news release from the network. Minnelli denies the abuse. Gest said he and Minnelli might still be together had the story not been published.
Super Bowl XXXVIII a Ratings Win for CBS
CBS' Sunday night telecast of the Super Bowl XXXVIII, aided by the close win by the New England Patriots over the Carolina Panthers, was the most-watched championship game in six years, the network said Monday. According to Nielsen Media Research, the championship football game drew an average viewership of just under 89.6 million people--the biggest audience since 1998 when 90 million tuned in. The numbers helped seal a Sunday night victory for CBS, as 33.3 million viewers stayed to watch the debut of Survivor: All-Stars, beating Fox's American Idol as the most-watched entertainment program of the season.
Halftime Exposure Is Most TiVo'd Moment Ever
Super Bowl XXXVIII viewers were just as enamored by the halftime show as they were with the game. According to The Hollywood Reporter, TiVo users took a keen interest in Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson's boob-bearing antics as viewers repeatedly replayed--and then paused--at the precise moment in order to see exactly what it was the singer had revealed to millions of Americans. TiVo said that particular halftime stunt was the most replayed moment not only of the Super Bowl but of all TV moments that the young company has ever measured. TiVo's technology revealed a 180 percent spike in viewership at the time of the Jackson's exposure.
Police Seized Computers from Jackson's Neverland Ranch
Court papers unsealed Monday reveal police seized more than a dozen computers, video, still cameras and videotapes in November's raid of Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch in search of evidence that he molested a young boy, Reuters reports. It is, however, unclear what evidence if any police found during their search. Included in the seizure was a laptop locked in a bathroom, letters and legal documents. The search warrant had been sealed by a judge at the time it was issued, but Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville agreed to release the information, cautioning that in order to ensure a fair trial for both prosecutors and Jackson, he would have to redact the documents to the point where little of substance remained.
O'Donnell Offers Peanuts in Support of Stewart
Former talk show host Rosie O'Donnell offered up peanuts--literally--in support of domestic diva Martha Stewart. After sitting in the front row for the third day of testimony in Stewart's obstruction-of-justice trial, O'Donnell approached prosecutor Michael Schachter and offered him a bag of peanut M&M's to drop the case. "The rest of your life, you're going to be known as the guy who tried to take down Martha Stewart," O'Donnell said. "You should have passed on this gig." Schachter smiled and politely declined the candy.
Helen Hunt Expecting
Actress Helen Hunt and her boyfriend, Matthew Carnahan, are expecting their first child this summer, People magazine reports. Hunt, 40, has been dating the 42-year-old producer since 2001, after her brief marriage to Hank Azaria ended. Carnahan penned the Fox series Fastlane in 2002, produced and created the ABC crime drama Thieves in 2001, and wrote, produced and directed a documentary on former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Rudyland. Hunt last appeared in Woody Allen's 2001 comedy,The Curse of the Jade Scorpion.
Manilow Released From Hospital
Singer Barry Manilow has returned to his Palm Springs, Calif., home after a 24-hour hospital stay brought on by stress-related chest pains and an irregular heartbeat, Reuters reports. Manilow, 57, underwent a series of tests and procedures and was discharged from the hospital late Sunday. The singer had been in New York, where he says he "endured two of the most grueling days of arbitration" in a lawsuit in which he and co-writer Bruce Sussman are fighting to regain the rights to their stage musical Harmony.
Vandross Won't Attend Grammys
Luther Vandross, who is nominated for five Grammy awards including song of the year for "Dance With My Father," will not be able to attend Sunday's awards ceremony in Los Angeles, the AP reports. The wheelchair-bound singer suffered a severe stroke last April and spent several weeks in a hospital before being transferred to a rehabilitation facility in the New York City area. His business manager, Carmen Romano, said in a statement Monday: "It would have been a tremendous moment for Luther to attend the Grammy Awards this year, but on the advice of his doctors, I regret to say that Luther won't be able to make this trip."
Void Wins British Award
The American docudrama Touching the Void (watch the trailer) was named best film at the 31st annual Evening Standard British Film Awards on Sunday in London. Set in 1985, the film recounts ad
When his partner is killed during a drug bust, L.A. cop Van teams up with the man's brother, Deaqon, to bring down the bad guys, all under the watchful eye of their sexy, no-nonsense lieutenant, Billie.
Episode 2. Girls Own Juice
(AIR DATE 09/25/2002)
Episode 3. Gone Native
(AIR DATE 10/30/2002)
Deaq and Van infiltrate and try to thwart a gang of Russian gunrunners.
Episode 4. Things Done Changed
(AIR DATE 11/06/2002)
For personal reasons of his own, Deaqon tries to convince his team to keep a gang of armed robbers from striking a casino.
Episode 5. Ryde Or Die
(AIR DATE 11/13/2002)
Deaqon and Van get the go ahead to open a nightclub to expose Ecstacy dealers.
Episode 6. Ray Ray
(AIR DATE 11/20/2002)
When Van needs a counterfeiter to break a Columbian drug case, he turns to an unlikely ally -- his father.
Episode 7. Wet
(AIR DATE 11/27/2002)
Van and Deaq try to take down a female assassin before she can ice a key witness to a big case. Van gets close to the woman.
Episode 8. Mighty Blue
(AIR DATE 12/04/2002)
When Billie's friend helps implicate an Asian drug lord, she may stand to pay the ultimate price - her life.
Episode 9. Get Your Mack On
(AIR DATE 12/11/2002)
Van and Deaq try to save a high-price hooker from her murderous pimp.
Episode 10. Dogtown
(AIR DATE 01/10/2003)
Van and Deaq grab their boards to take down drug-dealing surfers.
Episode 11. Strap On
(AIR DATE 01/17/2003)
Billie takes the assignment to thwart a group of lesbian criminals.
Episode 12. 101
(AIR DATE 01/24/2003)
Van's safety hinges on the abilities of a rookie cop brought into the fold because of political ties.
Episode 13. Defense (1)
(AIR DATE 01/31/2003)
The Candy Store comes under investigation as Van and Deaq try to stop a man gathering talent to off police officers, starting with Billie.
Episode 14. Offense (2)
(AIR DATE 02/07/2003)
Van and Deaq try to clear Billie of murder charges, bring down a rogue FBI agent and keep the Candy Store from being closed permanently.
Episode 15. Popdukes
(AIR DATE 02/14/2003)
Trouble starts for Van's dad just moments after his prison release because he's on a drug dealer's hit list.
Episode 16. Slippery Slope
(AIR DATE 03/07/2003)
Van and Deaq's witness protection assignment gets complicated when they realize that it's someone they've dealt with before.
Episode 17. Simone Says
(AIR DATE 03/14/2003)
Van and Deaq babysit the daughter of a very dangerous man.
Episode 18. Monster
(AIR DATE 03/21/2003)
Van and Deaq try to discern the method to the madness of a serial killer.
Episode 19. Overkill
(AIR DATE 03/28/2003)
Deaq tries to balance thoughts of his dead brother's upcoming birthday with a case he and Van are working on, but when family gets involved, Deaq gets his head back in the game.
Episode 20. Asslane
(AIR DATE 04/04/2003)
Van and Deaq must divide and conquer to best a crystal meth producer and distributor. The producers are a biker gang and the distributor has ties to the adult film industry.
Episode 21. Dosed (1)
(AIR DATE 04/18/2003)
Van's drink is spiked with poison and the only way he'll receive the antidote is if he can bust a criminal out of prison.
Episode 22. Iced (2)
(AIR DATE 04/25/2003)
A criminal forces Billie, Van and Deaq to help him steal a truckload of diamonds.