Drug charges against Ja Rule Dropped
Rapper Ja Rule, who was arrested early Thursday morning in New York on charges of fifth-degree marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license, has had the drug charge dropped, The Associated Press reports. According to police, Ja Rule, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, was pulled over at 2:19 a.m. in his 2001 Mercedes-Benz on Sixth Avenue in Greenwich Village for changing lanes without signaling. The officers found a small amount of marijuana in his possession and discovered that his license had been suspended. He pleaded guilty to driving with a suspended license in Manhattan Criminal Court yesterday and paid $550 in fines and court fees. The misdemeanor possession charge apparently was dropped. Ja Rule, 28, of Saddle River, N.J., has starred in several movies, including The Fast and the Furious and Half Past Dead.
DMX hit with additional charges
Rapper-actor DMX, who was arrested June 24 on charges he and another man tried to steal a car in a parking lot of New York's Kennedy Airport, will also charged with criminal mischief, impersonation, menacing, DUI, and endangering the welfare of a child, the AP reports. According to police reports, DMX crashed his SUV, which was equipped with lights and a siren, through an airport parking lot exit gate and told the attendant to let him leave because he was a federal agent. The rapper then allegedly identified himself as a federal agent and ordered a driver in a nearby parking lot to get out of his vehicle. When the driver refused, DMX attempted to pull him out of the car, while the driver's 13-year-old daughter sat in the backseat. According to court documents, the rapper said the unidentified driver had cut him off. If convicted, both men, who were released on $15,000 bail, could face up to seven years in prison.
Apprentice star in parking lot scuffle
A former star of Donald Trump's hit reality show The Apprentice is accusing workers at a tow truck company in North Miami Beach, Fla., of attacking her and her fiancé, the AP reports. Katrina Campins and her fiancé, Ben Moss, say they had parked their Acura at a shopping mall in Sunny Isles Beach Sunday afternoon and went across the street to the Trump International Sonesta Beach Resort, where they plan to marry next month. But when they returned, saw the car was missing. The couple says they approached Donnie Seay, whose family owns Seay Towing, in the parking lot and got into an argument that turned physical. The two took a cab to Parkway Regional Medical Center, where Campins was treated for a broken nose, swollen eye and leg scrapes, while Moss needed stitches for a split lip. Seay Towing says they are lying.
Bill Cosby talks to black community again
Bill Cosby, who made headlines in May when he blasted poor blacks for their grammar and accused them of squandering opportunities the civil rights movement gave them, is at it again. The AP reports the veteran comedian told an audience at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition & Citizenship Education Fund's annual conference that black children are running around not knowing how to read or write. "I can't even talk the way these people talk, 'Why you ain't,' 'Where you is' ... and I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk," Cosby said. "And then I heard the father talk ... Everybody knows it's important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can't be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth." Cosby added he wasn't concerned that some whites took his comments and turned them against blacks. "Let them talk," he said.
NBC regrets not using Saddam footage
NBC's Today show admits they made a "mistake" when it aired host Katie Couric batting a badminton shuttlecock Thursday rather than showing the first footage of Saddam Hussein's court appearance, AP reports. The footage of the fallen Iraqi leader since his capture by the U.S. seven months ago came into newsrooms shortly after 8:30 a.m. EDT. ABC's Good Morning America, CBS' The Early Show and the cable news networks all showed the images immediately, while NBC stuck with feature stories on a Robert Redford movie and badminton, showing Saddam at the 9 a.m. newscast that opens the third hour of Today. "We made a mistake," executive producer Tom Touchet told AP. "In retrospect, I'd do it completely differently."
The Donald's new venture--a magazine
Is there nothing this man won't try? Along with being a real estate tycoon, best selling author and, of course, reality TV star, Donald Trump is now adding a magazine editor to his list of accomplishments, Reuters reports. The Donald is planning to launch an upscale magazine, Trump World, which will "bring to life Donald's passions, business accomplishments, pursuits and the lifestyle surrounding luxury goods," editor Michael Jacobson told Reuters. The magazine is due to hit stands in September.
Judge seals more info in Jackson case
The judge in Michael Jackson's molestation case sealed more information from the public and the press Thursday, saying the media's dissection of the evidence would make it difficult to find an unbiased jury pool, the AP reports. While Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville released dozens of search warrant request forms involving banks, department stores, cellular telephone services and an Internet service, they did not identify whose accounts were being searched, what was being sought or what was found. Melville also indicated that all evidence would be kept secret until he rules on what is admissible at trial. Jackson, 45, pleaded not guilty in February to committing a lewd act upon a child, administering alcohol, and conspiracy to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion.
Estefan readies for farewell tour
Gloria Estefan will begin her last concert tour Live and Re-Wrapped July 30 in Texas, AP reports. "Although I will continue writing and recording and doing everything else that comes with this incredible way of life, this next tour will be my last," the 46-year-old singer says in a posting on her Web site. The tour will conclude Sept. 25 in Miami, where Estefan lives with her husband-producer, Emilio and two children.
Kit Bowen contributed to this report.
Back in 1995 when they were young and carefree Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) met on a train heading to Vienna and shared an intensely romantic 14-hour relationship exploring the Austrian city as well as each other. Although they had to part they swore to each other they'd meet again at the same train platform six months later. Of course the appointment was never kept. Jumping to the present day we find an older Jesse in a Paris bookstore signing copies of the bestseller he wrote about that amazing night in Vienna and is on the last leg of his European book tour just hours before going back to his wife and kid in New York. Suddenly he looks up to see the lovely Celine who now lives in Paris working as an environmentalist standing in the back of the room. Jesse's heart flutters. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to be with the one who got away the writer quickly ushers his muse out onto the streets of Paris where they walk talk find out why it didn't work out nine years ago and realize the connection they once had is still as real as ever. Exploring the inner workings of their hearts and minds they rediscover something rare and powerful--each other.
Hawke is looking a little more haggard these days (perhaps his nasty divorce to Uma Thurman is taking a toll on him)--but at least the actor uses his angst to its full advantage. Jesse's puppy-dog quality in Sunrise has now been replaced by a deeper sexier maturity in Sunset. But even a world-weary outlook can't hide Jesse's emotions which are many and varied. When he sees Celine again for the first time his visceral reaction is palpable. Delpy's Celine on the other hand seems not to have grown up much at all in the last nine years. She's still annoyingly insecure about her job her looks what happened between them--and she says things like "Memories are wonderful things if you don't have to deal with the past." Huh? Even Jesse calls her at one point an "angry manic-depressive activist." Yet together the actors make the relationship seem genuine. Celine may grate on us but Jesse is clearly enamored watching her get embarrassed when their talk turns to sex or get excited about her job while Celine feels for him even getting angry at him for screwing up her ideas on what true love is all about. The last scene of movie however caps it. Jesse ends up at Celine's apartment for some tea perhaps late for his plane while she simply dances to the music playing. Will he stay? Take a wild guess.
A sequel? Seems more like a vanity project--but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Apparently director Richard Linklater and his two stars have always thought about doing a follow up to the critically acclaimed but little seen Before Sunrise which grossed $5.4 million in 1995--not bad for an indie but not the kind of box office booty that makes studios clamor for a sequel. Yet after they worked together in 2001 on Linklater's odd animated film Waking Life which reunites Jesse and Celine in a bedroom scene the trio decided to flesh out a story about these two characters meeting up again nine years later. ''For the three of us it represents a kind of life project '' Linklater told Entertainment Weekly which means there could be future Jesse and Celine stories. No wonder. This is one of those movies real actors and real directors like to do. There are no special effects no stunts--just a lot of conversation and a lot of raw emotions. For the most part it works due to the unadulterated dialogue and almost too real relationship between Jesse and Celine. Audience members at any age will be able to connect with something in this film whether its remembering the awkwardness of being with someone you really like or remembering an unrequited love.
DMX "done started something"
DMX is reportedly the star of his very own crime song. The rapper-actor was arrested last night on charges that he and another man tried to steal a car in a parking lot of New York's Kennedy Airport, The Associated Press reports. According to authorities, DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, and cohort Jackie Hudgins were arrested after Port Authority police interrupted a dispute between the two and another man whose car they allegedly tried to steal. Simmons and Hudgins were arrested on charges of attempted robbery, criminal impersonation and criminal mischief were taken to central booking in Queens late Thursday. Tony Ciavolella, a Port Authority spokesman, told the AP a preliminary investigation indicated that Simmons may have identified himself as a federal agent. This isn't Simmons' first run-in with the law. In 1999, he was fined and ordered to make public service announcements for the Humane Society after police found crack pipes, a pistol and 13 pit bulls at his home in Teaneck, N.J. At the time, Simmons pleaded guilty to animal cruelty, disorderly conduct and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Conservative group challenges Fahrenheit TV spots
The group Citizens United has asked the Federal Election Commission to investigate whether TV ads for Michael Moore's anti-Bush documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 violate a campaign finance law that prohibits the use of corporate money to air ads identifying a presidential candidate in the 30 days before his party's nominating convention and the 60 days before the Nov. 2 election, the AP reports. Moore, whose documentary opens nationwide Friday, said he would fight the complaint. "It's a violation of my First Amendment rights that I cannot advertise my movie. It's a movie," he said. "I have not publicly endorsed John Kerry. I am an independent, I am not a member of the Democratic Party." It is unlikely the commission will act in time to affect the ad campaign for Fahrenheit 9/11 since issuing a ruling on the complaint could take months.
Ashley Olsen cancels trip to be with Mary-Kate
Ashley Olsen, who had been scheduled to attend next week's premiere of New York Minute in Melbourne, Australian, has canceled the trip to stay near her twin sister, Mary-Kate, who is being treated for "a health-related issue," the AP reports. "Ashley Olsen has decided to be with her family at this time," Robert Thorne, chief executive of the Olsen twins' Dualstar Entertainment Group, said in a statement Thursday. "While it is unfortunate that plans have been canceled, Mary-Kate and Ashley appreciate everyone's support and understanding at this time. They look forward to coming to Australia and New Zealand in the very near future." Earlier this week, Us Weekly and People magazines reported that Mary-Kate was being treated for an eating disorder.
Jackson hearing today to focus on sealed documents
The judge in the Michael Jackson child molestation case has scheduled a pretrial hearing today in Santa Monica, Calif., which will likely focus on the secrecy surrounding the case and the sealing of almost all documents, the AP reports. Prosecutors and Jackson's defense lawyer, Thomas Mesereau Jr., have consistently sought to keep documents under seal, an effort strongly opposed by news media outlets, which are asking that a grand jury transcript, portions of a grand jury indictment and at least 47 sealed search warrants be made public. Jackson will not attend Friday's hearing. The 45-year-old singer has pleaded not guilty to committing a lewd act upon a child, administering alcohol and conspiracy to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion.
Madonna to tour Holy Lands
Kabala follower Madonna, who recently adopted the Hebrew name Esther, is set to visit Israel in October with a group of more than 100 students, AP reports. The trip is planned to coincide with the Jewish New Year, Israeli newspaper Maariv reported, and Madonna will stay in a remote guesthouse to avoid fans and TV cameras so that she'll be able to focus on her studies of Kabala, or Jewish mysticism, the newspaper reported. The singer also canceled three Israeli stops on her Re-Invention tour because of violence in the region. "It's not a good idea to go there and do concerts," she told syndicated entertainment TV show Access Hollywood in an interview last month.
The Cox/Arquettes take on TV producing gig
New parents Courteney Cox and David Arquette have created a production company, Coquette, inking a first-look deal with Warner Bros. TV, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Cox and Arquette made their TV series producing debut with Mix It Up, a home-decorating show for WE: Women's Entertainment. "We got our feet wet with our show Mix It Up which is going into its second season and enjoyed that process so much we decided to formalize our commitment by forming this company," Arquette told The Reporter. The new company already has a drama in the works, The Fall and Rise of Taylor Kennedy, being touted by HBO that will star Cox and be written and directed by Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook), the trade paper reports.
Lewinsky feels betrayed by Clinton memoirs
In an interview with British broadcaster ITV to be shown on Friday, Monica Lewinsky, best known for her affair with former President Bill Clinton, says she was disappointed at how their relationship is addressed in Clinton's smash hit memoirs My Life, Reuters reports. Claiming the scandal "destroyed" her life, the former White House intern said, "I really didn't expect him to talk in detail about the relationship. But what I was hoping, and did expect was for him to acknowledge and correct the inaccurate and false statements that he, his staff and the [Democratic National Committee] made about me when they were trying to protect the presidency," she said. "He says he was proud of the way that he defended the presidency, at my expense," she said. "In the process he destroyed me, and that was the way he was going to have to do that, to get through impeachment," Lewinsky added. "I was a young girl and to hear him saying some of the things he was saying today--it's a shame."
DVD-encrypted players in the works
Anti-piracy technology company Cinea is planning to produce 10,000 of its specially made DVD players, the S-View DVD player, by late this summer and will ship them to the 6,000 Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences members by October, Variety reports. The special device works like a normal DVD player and is capable of playing off-the-shelf DVDs, but most importantly, will be able to play the encrypted DVDs distributed by studios during Oscar voting time, in hopes of avoiding any piracy issues. If any screeners do leak out with the new technology, watermarks would allow Cinea to trace a pirated copy back not only to the member who received the disc, but the time at which the illegal copy was made. Cinea execs stressed, however, that the only way pirated copies could be made would be with a camcorder recording the television screen or by a tech expert with access to one of the new S-View players, Variety reports.
Kit Bowen contributed to this report.
Ashley Olsen says twin sis is 'hanging in there'
Ashley Olsen tells People magazine her twin sister Mary-Kate, who is seeking treatment for a health-related issue, is "hanging in there." Both People and Us Weekly have reported Mary-Kate has an eating disorder. Although Ashley never named what condition Mary-Kate was being treated for, she said it was something her sister has been struggling with for quite a while before the family stepped in and got help for her. "She is taking the time she needs for herself right now," Ashley told People. "Right now is especially a good time right before school so she can get healthy." The twins, who turned 18 earlier this month, plan to attend New York University in the fall. Ashley recently canceled a trip to Australia to promote their first feature film, New York Minute, to be with Mary-Kate. But Ashley declined to describe their recent meetings to People, saying: "It's private. I'm here for her whenever she needs me, and, you know, that's how it works." Ashley also added the family appreciates the support they have received from the public. "The support's been really amazing," she said.
Michael Moore says political opponents helped Fahrenheit 9/11 ticket sales
Filmmaker Michael Moore credited his political opponents for boosting ticket sales for his documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 at the box office this weekend, The Associated Press reports. "They're all getting a Christmas card from me this year," said Moore while greeting moviegoers at a downtown Manhattan theater Sunday. Moore said conservative groups helped draw attention--and viewers--to the documentary, which took in $21.8 million in 868 theaters in its first three days of release. Moore added Fahrenheit 9/11 sold out in Fort Bragg, N.C., and Peoria, Ill., states that went to Bush in the 2000 presidential election and said the film will convince "a lot of swing voters, independents and even Republicans."
Bonham Carter, Burton have baby boy
Actress Helena Bonham Carter and film director Tim Burton welcomed a baby boy into the world Saturday in London, the AP reports. The actress' agent said the couple had not yet named the boy. Bonham Carter, 37, and Burton, 45, met on the set of the remake Planet of The Apes four years ago. The as-yet-unwed couple lives in adjoining houses in north London that were recently connected with a door. "I don't know if we'll marry," Bonham Carter told the magazine Radio Times. "I find it romantic bearing his illegitimate child and living next door." Burton, who last directed Bonham Carter in Big Fish, is currently working on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory starring Johnny Depp.
Mira Sorvino gets hitched
Oscar-winning actress Mira Sorvino, 36, married her 22-year-old beau, actor Christopher Backus, in a private ceremony in Santa Barbara, Calif., AP reports. It's the first marriage for both. Sorvino, the daughter of actor Paul Sorvino, won a best supporting actress Oscar for Woody Allen's 1995 film Mighty Aphrodite. Backus has appeared on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace.
Title of sixth Harry Potter book revealed
Author J.K. Rowling has announced the title for the sixth book in her popular Harry Potter series: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, CNN/Money reports. Rowling made the announcement on her official Web site but it took dedicated fans with in-depth knowledge of the site to discover the path to the title, which was detailed on the fan site WizardNews.com. The Christopher Little Agency said the author is still in the process of writing the book and no release date has been set. Rowling seemed to confirm the Half Blood Prince title on her site's main Daily News by adding, "The HBP is neither Harry nor Voldemort," she wrote. Lord Voldemort is the series' villain.
"Bam" Margera ordered to stop filming MTV series
Local officials in West Chester, Penn., have ordered Brandon C. "Bam" Margera to stop production and get rid of his TV gear and props for his MTV show Viva La Bam in 30 days, the AP reports. Margera, who starred alongside Johnny Knoxville in the defunct series Jackass, paid $1.2 million for the 13.8-acre property and moved there in February to film the series. Among other things, he's staged a heavy metal concert, a helicopter landing, a demolition derby and an encampment of Civil War reenactors on the property. "The question is whether he is running a business in a residential neighborhood," H. William Sellers, supervisors chairman in the township, told The Philadelphia Inquirer. Margera and MTV said they would appeal the June 16 letter from Pocopson Township.
Idol finalist DeGarmo releases first single
RCA Records is releasing American Idol runner-up Diana DeGarmo's first CD single, "Dreams," Tuesday, AP reports. "I know I'm probably going to have a heart attack," DeGarmo told AP, about hearing her song played on the radio for the first time. The 17-year-old singer, who came in second to winner Fantasia Barrino (now known as Fantasia), is close to signing a record deal with RCA. "We're doing a full album, and if all things go well, hopefully it will be out before the end of the year. I can't wait to have everything finalized and in ink," DeGarmo said.
Kelly Osbourne takes new spin on next album
Fresh off a concert tour with her father, Ozzy Osbourne, in London, Kelly Osbourne is excited about her next album. The singer told AP Radio she went in a whole new direction with her new album, taking a departure from her first album. "[I felt I needed] to fill the shoes of rock and roll because of the family I have [on the first album]," Kelly explained. "That's not really my deal. I don't really like rock. I like '80s pop. I really went in an '80s direction this time."
Kit Bowen contributed to this report.
Tom Cruise thriller to open Urbanworld Film Fest
Tom Cruise's new thriller, Collateral, will open the eighth annual Urbanworld Film Festival Aug. 4 in Manhattan, The Associated Press reports. In the film, Cruise plays a contract killer who hijacks Jamie Foxx's taxicab. It also stars Jada Pinkett Smith and Mark Ruffalo. "Collateral is the perfect film to open this year's Urbanworld," festival founder and Urbanworld Films president Stacy Spikes said in a statement Monday. "This picture illustrates what the term 'urban' truly represents in 2004. Urban is about sensibility, not just ethnicity." lass="storylinks">Collateral opens nationwide Aug 6. The festival, which runs August 4 - 9, will include panel discussions and feature, documentary and short film screenings. It will also feature the Actor's Spotlight, with former honorees Samuel L. Jackson, Billy Dee Williams, Vondie Curtis Hall and Rosie Perez.
Zach Braff's film wins Maui Film Fest
In other festival news, Zach Braff's feature directorial debut Garden State was awarded best feature film at the fifth annual Maui Film Festival. According to the AP, a record 20,000 people who attended the festival. Braff, who plays Dr. John 'J.D.' Dorian on the NBC sitcom Scrubs, accepted the award as the five-day festival concluded over the weekend. The film, which opens in limited release July 30, revolves around a man (Braff) who returns home for his mother's funeral and breaks free of a lifetime of medication-induced passivity, striking up a relationship with a quirky young woman, played by Natalie Portman. Braff, 29, also wrote the screenplay.
AFI releases 100 best movie songs
The American Film Institute released a list of 100 best movie songs Tuesday, with the song "Over the Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz taking the No. 1 spot. The song made famous by Judy Garland as Kansas farm girl Dorothy was followed by "As Time Goes By" from Casablanca at No. 2, and the title tune from Singin' in the Rain at No. 3. The rest of the AFI top 10: 4. "Moon River" from Breakfast At Tiffany's; 5. "White Christmas" from Holiday Inn; 6. "Mrs. Robinson" from The Graduate; 7. "When You Wish Upon a Star" from Pinocchio; 8. "The Way We Were" from The Way We Were; 9. "Stayin' Alive" from Saturday Night Fever; 10. "The Sound of Music" from The Sound of Music.
Jessica Simpson cancels concert due to illness
Jessica Simpson had to cancel her Tuesday show in Providence, R.I., because of a kidney infection, Columbia Records spokeswoman Renee Pfefer told the AP. According to Pfefer, the 23-year-old singer is under a doctor's care and planned to resume her summer tour promoting her album In This Skin in New Hampshire on Wednesday. Simpson, who stars with her husband Nick Lachey on the MTV's reality series Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica, was scheduled to go on stage before a nearly sold-out audience. Organizers hoped to reschedule the performance.
David Bowie gets sucker punched
A wayward lollipop hit singer David Bowie in the eye during a concert at Friday's Norwegian Wood Festival in Oslo, and although he wasn't seriously injured by the candy, the incident was enough to piss off the 57-year-old singer. "Lucky you hit the bad one," Bowie quipped to the crowd of 7,500, reminding them he only had one good eye since the other eye was damaged in a childhood fight. According to the AP, Bowie continued to joke about the occurrence throughout his performance. At one point, he threw one of his guitar picks into the crowd, and then asked if he'd hit someone in the eye. Norwegian newspapers tracked down the alleged culprit, who claimed it was an accident, but didn't publish her name.
Doris Day gets Presidential Medal of Freedom
Doris Day, who is being honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom Wednesday in Washington, said her fear of flying will keep her from traveling to the capitol to accept it from President Bush. Day, who won an Oscar nomination for the 1959 romantic comedy Pillow Talk and made several gold records, blames her fear of flying on too many overseas trips with Bob Hope entertaining U.S. troops. "I saw him on his knees many a time, " she said. "In fact, we were all on our knees. We flew in snowstorms, whatever, to get to the next show. When I hit the ground, I said, 'Never again.'" The entertainer has also been recognized for founding the Doris Day Animal Foundation, which has sponsored annual Spay Days to reduce animal overpopulation. The Medal of Freedom distinguishes service in a range of fields, including the arts, sports, business and science.
Lollapalooza canceled due to poor ticket sales
The 2004 edition of the Lollapalooza tour was canceled due to weak ticket sales, organizers said Tuesday. This year's Lollapalooza lineup included Morrissey, Sonic Youth, PJ Harvey the Flaming Lips, Pixies and Wilco. But Pollstar magazine editor Gary Bongiovanni told Reuters Lollapalooza was also was a victim of a talent roster that appealed to an older audience. "I look at that lineup and I see a lot of acts that have been around a long time. They're probably not bands that are going to be in the top five acts that your average 15-, 16- or 17-year-old is going to be listening to," he said. "The older you get, the less inclined you're going to be to spend eight hours out in the sun with 15,000 other people." He cited the Vans Warped Tour as an example of a tour that has done consistently well because its heavy emphasis on the "skate punk" bands that are popular with young listeners.
B-ball beats Clinton in TV ratings
Despite all the hoopla over his new book and hour-long TV interview, basketball finals beat out former President Bill Clinton's appearance on CBS' 60 Minutes in the week's TV rankings. Here are the Top 10 prime-time viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen Media Research for June 14-20: NBA Finals Game 5: L.A. Lakers at Detroit Pistons, ABC, 21.8 million viewers; 60 Minutes, CBS, 15.8 million viewers; CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 14.1 million viewers; CSI: Miami, CBS, 14 million viewers; Without a Trace, CBS, 12.8 million viewers; Law & Order, NBC, 11.8 million viewers; Cold Case, CBS, 11.4 million viewers; Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS, 11.4 million viewers; Two And a Half Men, CBS, 11 million viewers; and Last Comic Standing 2, NBC, 10.4 million viewers.
Joan Rivers returns to Sin City
Joan Rivers will return to Las Vegas for the first time in nine years, appearing for four nights at the Stardust hotel-casino starting next Wednesday, the AP reports. "The last time I appeared in Las Vegas, they were wearing hoop skirts and Davy Crockett hats," the comedian joked. "But they say, 'What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.' And as far as fashion is concerned, that's a good thing." Rivers will be performing her "Can We Talk?" routine, a candid discussion about everyday life. Rivers also will be hosting the awards ceremony for the Stardust's Red Carpet Celebrity Slot Tournament, which is scheduled for Thursday.
Dodgeball is the classic big guy vs. little guy
can-do tale featuring your least favorite P.E. activity. Peter La Fleur
(Vince Vaughn) is the irresponsible manager of Average Joe Gymnasium a
low-end workout center that is losing business to Globo Gym America Corp.
run by former fatty food fetishist White Goodman (Ben Stiller). Peter
discovers that he has 30 days to come up with $50 000 of payments or else he
will lose his gym to Goodman. With the help of the bank's lawyer Kate Veatch
(Christine Taylor) and a ragtag team of gym regulars Peter plans on
winning the Las Vegas International Dodgeball Open and its first place
prize money. Yes folks all of your favorite sports clichés are here: the
salty experienced coach (Rip Torn) with his inspirational
non-sequiturs the nerd with a girl to impress a love triangle between the two
rivals and of course pirates. What? You were expecting a high concept and clever plot twists perhaps? C'mon.
If you want character development go see the folks at Merchant-Ivory. This
is irreverent comedy folks. And truth be told it's nothing we haven't seen
before. Vince Vaughn hones his too-cool-for-school good-guy persona against
Ben Stiller's lycra-covered over-the-top overachiever with a '70s porn
moustache. Stiller's performance is colored with shades of the dim-witted
Zoolander and the granny-thrashing nurse from Happy Gilmore but it
works. The two actors play off of each other and their co-stars quite well.
(Stiller's codpiece alone deserves its own screen credit.) But like a good drummer carries a band the movie's costars are what keeps the audience's attention. And as always Rip Torn does crazy
like no one else as dodgeball manager Patches O'Houlihan. He
chews the scenery spouting nuggets of wisdom such as "If you can dodge a
wrench you can dodge a ball" before heaving a tool at one poor kid. As for the team of Average Joes Stephen Root Justin Long and Joel Moore keep the gags rolling as do the actors who make cameo appearances. This laugher has more guest stars than a
two-hour Love Boat special. With a list that includes David
Hasselhoff Chuck Norris Jason Bateman Hank Azaria I was almost expecting
Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise to show up in a red Ferrari. The
highlights? Well Gary Cole shines in his bow to the great Vin Scully but
nothing could beat Lance Armstrong who laid down the best guilt trip I've
seen since I moved to the dorms.
This is Rawson Marshall Thurber's first time out playing with the big boys.
Quite a burden for a Tinseltown newbie but Thurber pulls it off agreeably.
All of your favorite sports movies will be mocked and you will enjoy it.
Thurber uses everything he can to get a laugh. Whether he's clowning Tony
Robbins parodying '50s instructional videos or using pizza in a perverse
and unholy manner Thurber keeps his audiences attention with enough
breakneck shtick to make Mel Brooks proud. But most importantly he never
forgets the fundamental rule to slapstick comedy: hitting people with stuff
is very very funny especially if it's in the nether regions or some area
of the human body that could potentially hurt or bleed a whole lot.
Based loosely on the 19th century Jules Verne novel 80 Days revolves around two unlikely heroes--the eccentric and reclusive inventor Phileas Fogg (Steve Coogan) and his (French?) valet Passepartout (Jackie Chan). While Fogg's "wacky" inventions actually make a lot of sense to us modern-day folk including his insights on flight electricity (which he has rigged so that light illuminates with a whistle) and even Rollerblades to his turn-of-the-century contemporaries the scientist is a giant crackpot. Desperate to be taken seriously Fogg makes an outlandish bet with Lord Kelvin (Jim Broadbent) the head of the London's Royal Academy of Science that he can circumnavigate the globe in no more than 80 days. Impossible you say? Not to Fogg whose obsession with facts and schedules makes him the perfect candidate for such an adventure. With the ever-faithful Passepartout by his side--who has his own secret reasons for joining in on the fun--Fogg heads out on his frantic heart-pounding journey picking up a third traveler a beautiful French artist named Monique (Cécile de France) in the process. But of course the trip doesn't go exactly as scheduled and Fogg as well as Passepartout learn more than a few valuable life lessons along the way. How sweet. Got a toothache yet?
Jackie Chan knows precisely what works for him. Differing slightly from the 1956 adaptation this 80 Days is all about Passepartout as the story tapers itself to fit Chan's specialties. This means you get to marvel once again at his masterful martial arts skills as well as chuckle at his innate sense of physical comedy. As another perfect straight man to Chan's Chinese sensibilities and kung-fu shenanigans Coogan (24 Hour Party People) also does a nice turn as the befuddled and veddy British Fogg while the lovely de France as Monique breathes some fresh air into her ingénue role (and is much more substantial to the plot than the original's Shirley MacLaine who played an Indian princess). Broadbent is adequately sleazy as the pompous Lord Kelvin full of as much hot air as the balloon Fogg and company take a ride in. But 80 Days's extensive list of cameos is the most fun--from Owen and Luke Wilson as the bickering Wright brothers to Rob Schneider as a malodorous San Franciscan hobo to Arnold Schwarzenegger as a Arabian prince (please tell me he made this before he became California's governor). Plus any movie in which Kathy Bates plays Queen Victoria British accent and all has got to be worth seeing .
Minus all the silly songs 80 Days is splashy family fare reminiscent of such films as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factoryand the original 1967 Doctor Dolittle (you know the one with a giant pink sea snail). Supported by glorious sets and costumes director Frank Coraci (The Wedding Singer) clearly loves the fanciful adventure of it all creating colorful transitions from one place to the next as Fogg Passepartout and Monique traverse across the globe. But there's always an inherent problem with films of this nature--they tend to be long-winded. The 1956 version of 80 Days which even with a stellar cast including David Niven and Cantinflas drags quite a bit. But with a feisty martial arts expert in the mix this updated 80 Days maintains its momentum for the most part only losing steam towards the end especially after the whole Passepartout subplot in which he has to return a priceless Buddha to his Chinese village is resolved. Suddenly the film becomes just about the race back to London and less about fighting off evil Chinese assassins. Honestly we don't care much about how an uptight British inventor can build a plane out of a boat that will get him back to his final destination in time so he can give a monologue about how his adventure afforded him to make new friends and fall in love. If it's a Jackie Chan movie it's the awesome fight sequences we want to see.
Hollywood.saw sharp declines across the board at the box office over the post-Thanksgiving weekend as moviegoing gave way to holiday shopping.
Buena Vista/Disney and Pixar's G-rated computer-animated blockbuster "Toy Story 2" held on to first place in its third weekend with a 50% drop that reflected how most films in the marketplace performed.
"Toy 2" snapped up a still hefty estimated $28.30 million (-50%) at 3,238 theaters (+2 theaters, $8,734 per theater). Its total is approximately $117.3 million, heading for a domestic theatrical total of $250 million-plus.
"Toy 2's" per-theater average was the highest for any film playing in wide release last weekend. Directed by John Lasseter, it features the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Annie Potts, Wayne Knight, Laurie Metcalf, Estelle Harris and R. Lee Ermey. Its score and two new songs were composed by Grammy Award winner Randy Newman.
The original "Toy Story" grossed about $190 million in the United States and Canada in 1995. It did about $360 million in worldwide ticket sales and sold more than 22 million videocassettes in the United States alone. If "Toy 2" hits $200 million by Dec. 31, Buena Vista will become the only distributor ever to have two films reaching $200 million in the same calendar year. The studio's blockbuster "The Sixth Sense" crossed the $200 million mark in early September.
"It's down 50% from Thanksgiving weekend, and I do not consider that bad at all," a Buena Vista distribution executive said Sunday morning. "It took us 11 days to reach $100 million (on Saturday). It is the biggest weekend for the first week in December, (beating) the original 'Toy Story' with $20.2 million."
MGM's PG-13-rated "The World Is Not Enough," the 19th James Bond epic, held on to second place in its third weekend with a quieter estimated $10.60 million (-55%) at 3,163 theaters (theater count unchanged, $3,345 per theater). Its total is approximately $90.4 million, heading for $120 million in domestic theaters. Directed by Michael Apted, it stars Pierce Brosnan in his third performance as 007.
Universal and Beacon Pictures' R-rated action-fantasy adventure "End of Days" came in third again with a less lively estimated $9.71 million (-53%) at 2,599 theaters (+6 theaters, $3,735 per theater). Its total is approximately $45.9 million. Directed by Peter Hyams, it stars Arnold Schwarzenegger.
"We all knew this was going to be a tough weekend. This is traditionally not a great weekend at the box office, but look at the numbers -- they were again record-breaking," Universal Distribution President Nikki Rocco said Sunday morning. "People are going to the movies. The economy is good. They're out there doing things. They're doing their Christmas shopping. That's what happens in a good economy. You don't have to choose between entertaining yourself or buying Christmas presents. You do both."
The rise of Internet shopping may be a helpful factor, as well, according to Rocco: "People have more free time for entertainment. You spend an hour in the morning online (shopping on the Web), and you can still go out and go to the movies and relax. There's more time for recreation."
Paramount's R-rated period action adventure "Sleepy Hollow" continued in fourth place in its third weekend with a sleepier estimated $9 million (-51%) at 3,069 theaters (+2 theaters, $2,933 per theater). Its total is approximately $74.3 million, on its way to $100 million in domestic theaters. Directed by Tim Burton, it stars Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci and is based on Washington Irving's classic "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."
"It's not unexpected," Paramount Distribution President Wayne Lewellen said Sunday morning, focusing on the post-Thanksgiving marketplace. "Obviously, you'd like for it to hold up better than it is. But it still gets us to a little over $100 million with the picture."
Universal's R-rated suspense thriller "The Bone Collector" rose one notch to return to the top five in its fifth weekend with a strong estimated $3.15 million (-43%) at 2,518 theaters (+18 theaters, $1,250 per theater). Its total is approximately $58.1 million. "Bone's" 43% drop was the lowest for any film in the top five. Directed by Phillip Noyce, it stars Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. Sony's Columbia Pictures unit is partnered 50-50 with Universal on "Bone's" worldwide film rentals. Sony is releasing the picture internationally.
"We've been very fortunate. Where 'Bone Collector' is playing, it's just lingering in the multiplexes," Rocco said Sunday morning. "It's back in the top five, and it's hanging on. The goal was always $65 million (in domestic theaters) with this picture. It's certainly getting to $65 million, and it probably will get to $70 million."
Rocco noted that "Bone's" success is even greater given its relatively low production cost of about $40 million.
Warner Bros.' G-rated Japanese animated feature "Pokemon: The First Movie" slipped one peg to sixth place in its fourth weekend with a soft estimated $2.21 million (-69%) at 3,043 theaters (theater count unchanged, $726 per theater). Its total is approximately $80.6 million, heading for a domestic theatrical gross in the low $90 millions.
Lions Gate's release of "Dogma," the controversial R-rated irreverent comedy it took over from Miramax, held on to seventh place in its third weekend with an OK estimated $2.15 million (-37%) at 1,292 theaters (theater count unchanged, $1,664 per theater). Its total is approximately $24.5 million. Directed by Kevin Smith, it stars Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino, Salma Hayek, Jason Lee, Jason Mewes, Alan Rickman and Chris Rock.
Buena Vista/Touchstone's critically acclaimed R-rated drama "The Insider" rose one rung in its fifth weekend to eighth place with a quiet estimated $1.40 million (-45%) at 1,483 theaters (-189 theaters, $912 per theater). Its total is approximately $23.9 million. Directed by Michael Mann, it stars Al Pacino and Russell Crowe.
USA Films' R-rated comedy "Being John Malkovich" added theaters and jumped one slot to ninth place in its sixth weekend with an encouraging estimated $1.39 million (-33%) at 624 theaters (+35 theaters, $2,224 per theater). Its total is approximately $13.9 million. Directed by Spike Jonze, it stars John Malkovich, playing himself, John Cusack, Cameron Diaz and Catherine Keener.
"It's amazing," USA Films distribution head Jack Foley said Sunday morning. "We probably had the smallest drop among all the films out there from last weekend. At this level (of theaters), it puts you out there so you're going to feel the effects of the marketplace on you. We've held well. I think last weekend more people discovered the picture. And even in these shopping days, we're beginning to benefit (from word of mouth). This is a delight.
"Now as the (year-end critics) lists come in, hopefully, it will keep it buoyed up in everybody's mind. It is defying gravity. You know it's a great film, but to say (such an unusual) picture could have penetrated the markets of America this way and get this response is amazing."
Rounding out the Top 10 was 20th Century Fox's PG-13-rated mother-daughter drama "Anywhere But Here," down two notches in its fourth weekend with a calm estimated $1.30 million (-54%) at 1,628 theaters (-58 theaters, $799 per theater). Its total is approximately $16.4 million. The film is directed by Wayne Wang and stars Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman.
OTHER OPENINGS Weekend 49 also saw the arrival of 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilms Ltd.'s reissue of "Star Wars: Episode One -- The Phantom Menace" for a one-week charity run, placing 11th with a down-to-earth estimated $1.18 million at 832 theaters ($1,412 per theater). Its total s approximately $429 million.
Columbia's R-rated romantic drama "The End of the Affair" kicked off at 7 theaters, placing 23rd with an engaging estimated $0.20 million ($29,000 per theater). Directed by Neil Jordan, it stars Ralph Fiennes, Julianne Moore and Stephen Rea.
Sony Classics' PG-13 dark comedy "Sweet and Lowdown" opened exclusively in New York at 3 theaters, placing 24th with a strong estimated $0.10 million ($33,333 per theater). Sony Classics does not have its grosses tracked and released to the industry, but distribution insiders said they were hearing that the film did about $100,000. Directed by Woody Allen, it stars Sean Penn and Uma Thurman. Allen's films typically perform best in New York.
TriStar's R-rated youth appeal "Virtual Sexuality" kicked off at 101 theaters, placing 27th with a soft estimated $0.045 million ($450 per theater). Directed by Nick Hurran, it stars Laura Fraser and Rupert Penry.
Miramax's R-rated dark comedy "Holy Smoke" opened an Oscar qualifying run at 2 theaters, placing 28th with a promising estimated $0.032 million ($16,000 per theater). Directed by Jane Campion, it stars Kate Winslet and Harvey Keitel.
"'Holy Smoke!'s' a pretty good start," Miramax's senior vice president, marketing, said Sunday morning. "It's always tricky when you do a one-week qualifying run (for Oscars) because the second week will tell you so much more. But it's pretty good, actually. There were a lot of Academy qualifier (runs this weekend), and we were leading that pack. Jan. 14 we reopen in the top 40 markets on about 100 screens."
Avalanche Releasing's romantic comedy "Spanish Fly" opened in 30th place to a dreary estimated $0.011 million at 7 theaters ($1,570 per theater). Written and directed by Daphna Kastner, it stars Kastner and Toni Canto.
USA Films' R-rated comedy-drama "Agnes Browne," directed by and starring Anjelica Huston, opened an Oscar qualifying run at 2 theaters, placing 31st with an unexciting estimated $0.006 million ($2,929 per theater). The film will open in March, USA Films' Foley said Sunday morning.
Also opening was First Look Entertainment's drama "A Map of the World" in L.A. and New York for a weeklong Academy Awards-qualifying run. No estimates were available since First Look does not have its grosses tracked and released to the industry. Directed by Scott Elliott, it stars Sigourney Weaver and Julianne Moore.
SNEAK PREVIEWS Weekend 49 saw no national sneak previews. EXPANSIONS On the expansion front, Weekend 49 saw Miramax's PG-13-rated comedy "Mansfield Park" widen slightly in its third weekend, placing 22nd with a promising estimated $0.23 million (-33%) at 32 theaters (+2 theaters, $7,031 per theater). Its total is approximately $0.85 million. Directed by Patricia Rozema, it stars Embeth Davidtz, Jonny Lee Miller, Alessandro Nivola, Frances O'Connor and Harold Pinter. USA Films' R-rated Civil War action-drama "Ride With The Devil" added theaters in its second weekend, placing 26th place with a slow estimated $0.053 million at 15 theaters (+4 theaters, $3,554 per theater). Its total is approximately $0.17 million. Directed by Ang Lee, it stars Tobey Maguire, Skeet Ulrich and pop singer Jewel. WEEKEND COMPARISONS Weekend 49's key films, those grossing more than $500,000 for the weekend, took in approximately $75.31 million, up approximately 10.66% from $68.05 million for the comparable weekend last year. Weekend 49's key film gross was down approximately 50.86% from the $153.26 million that key films took in during the Friday-Sunday portion of this year's five-day Weekend 48. Last year, Buena Vista/Disney's second weekend of "A Bug's Life" was first with $17.17 million at 2,701 theaters ($6,358 per theater), and Universal's opening weekend of "Psycho" was second with $10.03 million at 2,477 theaters ($4,050 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $27.2 million. This year, the top two films grossed an estimated $38.9 million. For the first 49 weekends of 1999, ticket sales were approximately $4.665 billion, up about 4.84% from 1998's gross of $4.450 billion. Of this year's 49 weekends, 28 were up (one marginally and one because of a four-day vs. three-day holiday weekend comparison) and 21 were down (three only marginally and one because of a holiday vs. nonholiday comparison) vs. last year. STUDIO MARKET SHARES Based on business by key films, the top six distributors in Weekend 49 were the following: Buena Vista (Touchstone and Disney) was first with three films ("Toy Story 2," "The Insider" and "The Sixth Sense") grossing an estimated $30.67 million or 40.7% of the market. Universal was second with three films ("End Of Days," "The Bone Collector" and "The Best Man") grossing an estimated $13.45 million or 17.9% of the market. MGM was third with two films ("The World Is Not Enough" and "Flawless") grossing an estimated $11.55 million or 15.3% of the market. Paramount was fourth with two films ("Sleepy Hollow" and "Double Jeopardy") grossing an estimated $9.54 million or 12.7% of the market. Twentieth Century Fox was fifth with two films ("Anywhere But Here" and "Star Wars: Episode One -- The Phantom Menace") grossing an estimated $2.48 million or 3.3% of the market. Warner Bros. was sixth with one film ("Pokemon: The First Movie") grossing an estimated $2.21 million or 2.9% of the market. ADDITIONAL ESTIMATES (11) "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace"/Fox: (see OTHER OPENINGS above) (reissue)
(12) "The Sixth Sense"/BV: Theaters: 1,034 (+17) Gross: $0.97 million (-37%) Average per theater: $937 Total: $273.6 million
(13) "Flawless"/MGM Theaters: 478 (0) Gross: $0.95 million (-40%) Average per theater: $1,995 Total: $3.4 million
(14) "American Beauty"/DreamWorks: Theaters: 694 (+109) Gross: $0.78 million (-33%) Average per theater: $1,130 Total: $67.6 million
(15) "The Best Man"/Universal: Theaters: 511 (+5) Gross: $0.59 million (-51%) Average per theater: $1,160 Total: $32.1 million
(16) "The Messenger"/Sony: Theaters: 977 (-995) Gross: $0.55 million (-54%) (tie) Average per theater: $563 Total: $13.7 million
(16) "The Bachelor"/New Line: Theaters: 1,044 (-289) Gross: $0.55 million (-52%) (tie) Average per theater: $527 Total: $20.6 million
(18) "Double Jeopardy"/Paramount: Theaters: 708 (-132) Gross: $0.54 million (-47%) Average per theater: $755 Total: $113.0 million
(19) "The House on Haunted Hill"/Warner Bros.: Theaters: 651 (-390) Gross: $0.37 million (-47%)(tie) Average per theater: $575 Total: $39.2 million
(19) "Music of the Heart"/Miramax: Theaters: 858 (+64) Gross: $0.37 million (-52%)(tie) Average per theater: $435 Total: $14.0 million
(21) "The Omega Code"/Providence: Theaters: 405 (+106) Gross: $0.30 million (-40%) Average per theater: $745 Total: $11.9 million
(22) Mansfield Park/Miramax: (see EXPANSIONS above)
(23) "The End of the Affair"/Columbia: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
(24) "Sweet and Lowdown"/Sony Pictures Classics: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
(25) "Liberty Heights"/Warner Bros.: Theaters: 6 (0) Gross: $0.068 million (-32%) Average per theatre: $11,333 Total: $0.4 million
(26) "Ride With the Devil"/USA Films: (see EXPANSIONS above)
(27) "Virtual Sexuality"/TriStar: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
(28) "Holy Smoke!"/Miramax: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
(29) "Tumbleweeds"/Fine Line: Theaters: 5 (0) Gross: $0.017 million (-59%) Average per theater: $3,344 Total: $0.077 million
(30) "Spanish Fly"/Lions Gate Films: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
(31) "Agnes Browne"/USA Films: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
Mary (Jena Malone) -- born again at the age of 3 and an unquestioning bible thumper ever since -- is about to start her senior year at American Eagle Christian High School and God is smiling on her. She and her pretty devout friend Hilary Faye (Mandy Moore) are popular she has a handsome boyfriend Dean (Chad Faust) and she religiously rocks out at Christian concerts. The first sign of trouble is when ice-skating chastity embracing Dean tells Mary he thinks he's gay. Determined to bring her man back to the Lord Mary makes a deal with Jesus: She'll seduce Dean if the Lamb of God then restores her "emotional" and "spiritual" virginity. Cut to a few weeks later: Dean-o's been packed off to sexuality rehab Mary can't keep her breakfast down and all of a sudden Jesus is looking a lot less like a pal and a lot more like a used car salesman. With the core of her faith shrinking as her belly is expanding Mary sees her peers in a whole new light -- "perfect" Hilary Faye has plenty of flaws and "bad girl" Cassandra (Eva Amurri) might not be the spawn of Satan after all. All of which helps Mary and company discover what being a Christian really means -- just in time for prom!
The cast of Saved! is almost as eclectic a mix as a real high school class. Malone Amurri (Susan Sarandon's daughter) Patrick Fugit (as alterna-cutie skateboarder Patrick) and Heather Matarazzo (as blunt hanger-on Tia) are all card-carrying members of the Hip Indie Actors club while Moore and Macaulay Culkin (as Hilary Faye's wheelchair-bound brother Roland) come from the Much-Mocked Pop Culture Icon school. All acquit themselves admirably with Moore and Amurri as particular standouts. Moore has Hilary Faye's mix of smug self-entitlement and hollow concern nailed: This is one pop tart who knows how to play a sugar-coated bitch. Her showy piousness is particularly amusing when you contrast it with her PAX-worthy performance as a doomed preacher's daughter in A Walk to Remember. Playing American Eagle's token Jewish student Amurri expertly offers glimpses of tough-talking Cassandra's inner vulnerability and warm heart; her scenes with Culkin's wryly cynical Roland are some of the movie's best. Malone is occasionally a bit tepid but her sparks with Fugit seem real. The token adult actors -- Mary-Louise Parker as Mary's trashy widowed mother Lillian and Martin Donovan as principal Pastor Skip (whose insecurity almost overwhelms his own faith) -- also turn in strong performances.
Saved! made its debut at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and it's not hard to see why: Brian Dannelly's film has "indie" written all over it. Dannelly deserves credit for pushing the envelope as far as he has -- suffice it to say that Saved! probably won't go over so well in the heartland (or even the suburbs) -- but the film isn't a total success. Its mix of dark humor and sincere sentiment is a bit jarring; just when you're guffawing at Dannelly's send-up of "hip Christianity" in the form of Pastor Skip's unbelievably lame attempts to connect with his young flock ("let's get our Christ on!") or Hilary Faye's forceful attempts to perform a drive-by saving on the wayward Mary you land with a bump as Mary and her mom share a quiet moment or Patrick and his dad exchange some tense words. It's obvious that Dannelly didn't want Saved! to be dismissed as mere parody but the film strays too far into spoof territory to be a drama and vice versa.
Top Story: Moore May Sets Sights on Disney
As Michael Moore's controversial documentary Fahrenheit 9/11--a rant against President Bush's handling of Iraq as well as a searing look at the war on terror--got a warm reception at the Cannes Film Festival over the weekend, the Oscar-winning filmmaker hinted he would "tell all" about his dealings with Walt Disney Co., especially over the hoopla regarding Fahrenheit's distribution. The Associated Press reports film critic Roger Ebert, who moderated a panel with Moore Saturday in Cannes, asked if he thought about making a movie called Michael and Me, about Disney chief executive Michael Eisner, referencing Moore's 1989 hit Roger & Me. "I have a lot to say about Disney, and a lot that hasn't been reported," said Moore. Harvey and Bob Weinstein, who run Miramax, have said they plan to buy Fahrenheit and find a different distributor.
Spector Brawls With Chauffeur
Music producer Phil Spector and his chauffeur made citizens' arrests against each other Saturday after brawling at Spector's hilltop mansion, police told City News. According to broadcast reports, Spector, 63, and chauffeur Tobie Wheeler, 46, were arguing over money and employment when they got into a fistfight. When police arrived, both men invoked a citizen arrest against the other. Spector, according to police, suffered an injured right hand during the alleged dust-up, and Wheeler claimed pain to his jaw. Both were booked for misdemeanor assault and then released, Alhambra police Lt. Elliot Kase told City News.
"Raymond" Will Bid Adieu After Final Season
CBS has struck a deal with the producers of the hit sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond for a ninth and final season in the fall, Reuters reports. Following in the footsteps of Friends, Raymond will conclude its network run with fewer than the usual 22 episodes that make up a complete sitcom season, airing just 16 fresh shows for its final year, CBS said. "The decision about coming back was always about maintaining the quality, and not feeling like we've overstayed our welcome," star Ray Romano said in a statement. "I look forward to being a hapless, sexless husband once again in year nine."
NBC Looks To Fill Empty Slots
With two of its higher-profiled shows leaving the air this season, NBC has given the go-ahead to no fewer than a dozen new series for the 2004-05 season, Variety reports. As expected, comedies snagging greenlights include the Friends spin-off, Joey, which follows that character to L.A. as he tries to break into the biz; The Office, an American take on the hit BBC series; Men's Room, which revolves around a multi-generational group of guys and their lives; and Crazy for You, about two eccentric New Yorkers who fall for one another. On the drama side, NBC has nabbed Hawaii, a cop drama set in the tropical state; LAX (formerly Hub), a drama set around the Los Angeles International Airport; and Medical Investigations (formerly The Cure), about a man who solves medical mysteries.
Stallone Sues MGM Over Real Rocky
Sylvester Stallone has sued MGM and other producers over the planned boxing reality TV show The Real Rocky, which he claims improperly associates the project with Stallone's Rocky character, Reuters reports. Stallone, who created and starred in five films about the fictional Philadelphia boxer, has sued MGM, its United Artists unit and Chartoff-Winkler Prods. for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, unfair competition and other claims.
Tarantino Wants To Do James Bond
Tarantino…Quentin Tarantino. In an interview with Reuters in Cannes, the eccentric Kill Bill director admitted he would love to direct a film for the James Bond series. "I've always wanted to do it. I bumped into Pierce Brosnan and we talked about it. He liked the idea," Tarantino said. "I would like to do the original book Casino Royale and do it more or less the way the Ian Fleming book is." Tarantino plans to approach the producers of the big-budget Bond series. "I don't know if they're going to go for it or not, but I'm letting them know I'm interested," he said.
Veteran Film, TV Actress Dies
Anna Lee, whose nearly 70-year acting career in movies and television spanned from her breakthrough role in How Green Was My Valley to an extended run as Lila Quartermaine on the ABC soap opera General Hospital, died Friday in Los Angeles of pneumonia. She was 91.
Singer Dion Cancels Vegas Shows
Celine Dion had to cancel the weekend performances of her hit Caesars Palace show due to a sprained neck, AP reports. The singer had aggravated her neck while doing her show and on Friday Dion's doctor advised her that her recovery was not complete. Dion, 36, is expected to resume performances on Wednesday.
Role Call: Hunter, Hurt Go Downloading
Holly Hunter, William Hurt and Stellan Skarsgard are joining forces on the indie thriller Downloading Nancy. Hunter plays an unhappy wife who, instead of committing suicide, hires a man over the Internet (Hurt) to kill her. Problems arise when they form a relationship. Skarsgard will play the husband of Hunter's character.
After a global search, sixteen finalists are brought to Hollywood, divided into four teams and will engage in elimination-style competitions to produce a short film. Each week the short films will be critiqued by a studio executive, film critic and guest judge with the viewers voting on their favorite. The final winner gets a meeting with Spielberg, an office at Dreamworks and $1 million to fund their next project.