Saturday, October 18, 2008
Following in the footsteps of Madonna and Guy Ritchie, another Hollywood couple announced their divorce today; David Duchovny and Tea Leoni.
Although the pair separated some time ago, even before Duchovny entered sex addiction rehab, they decided to keep their split under the radar for the “sake of their children”, Madelaine, 9, and Kyd, 6, according to their reps.
“In light of continuous speculation over the lives and marriage of Tea Leoni and David Duchovny, the couple has confirmed that they have in fact been separated for several months.”
The couple wed in May 1997 after a whirlwind romance.
For a month, the laugh has been on Sarah Palin. The way certain polls look, after a few more weeks, such attention may never be focused on her again.
But if nothing else, she'll get her chance to turn the tables on Saturday Night Live - whose impressions of her have been comedic gold - this weekend.
The Alaska Governor and Republican V.P. candidate – and Tina Fey alter ego – will appear on Saturday Night Live with guest host Josh Brolin.
It is still unclear what Palin will do on the comedy show: Will she team up with Brolin’s spot-on impersonation of George W. Bush, as showcased in the actor's new film, W., or will she try to skewer Fey somehow, which has also been rumored?
If she does take on Tina, it wouldn't be the first time. Palin supposedly once went as Fey for Halloween. Chimed in husband Todd Palin in an interview with his wife: “She’s been impersonating Tina Fey longer than Tina Fey’s been doing Sarah Palin."
Follow the jump for Saturday Night Live's classic V.P. debate from a few weeks ago featuring Palin (Fey) and Sen. Joe Biden (Jason Sudeikis) ...
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Choke is one of the dirtiest films I've seen in a long time, but it also has a great big heart. It would be unfair to dismiss the movie as an exploitive sex show, because it doesn't merely feature sex in the background. Sex is actually a supporting character in the piece.
In Choke, the gifted Sam Rockwell plays Victor, a sex addict who also gets his rocks off by going to various restaurants and intentionally choking on food. Why would he commit such a seemingly nonsensical act? In hope that he might bond with any of the patrons who come to his rescue.
Based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club), Choke has many layers. It's much more than a tawdry sex show. This is a complex exploration into one man's sick affliction and while a good portion of the picture is played for laughs, the film doesn't shy away from going into some pretty heavy directions.
Rockwell is terrific here. Like Nicolas Cage, he has the uncanny ability to bring quirky characters to life. Equally effective is Kelly Macdonald –last seen as Llewelyn's main squeeze in No Country For Old Men – as the twinkle in Victor's eye. The two prove to have picture perfect chemistry, and it's fun seeing Victor's behavior in her presence. Why Rockwell isn't an A-list star is beyond me. He's the real deal.
Actor Clark Gregg--who you may recognize from TVs The New Adventures of Old Christine-- makes an auspicious directorial debut with material many thought un-filmable.
Choke is both raunchy and narcissistic, but it's also well acted, intelligent, and surprisingly dramatic. Certainly this isn't a movie for everyone, but for me, it hit all the right notes.
Fox Walden's film of Jeanne Duprau's children's book "City of Ember" stalls at the intersection of fantasy and science fiction. While the story line harkens back to "Alice in Wonderland" and "The Wizard of Oz," where young people must navigate a weird and perplexing other world, the film is actually set in a dystopian underground that is strictly the realm of sci-fi. And that genre requires that any weird other-world must have a coherent logic and social structure. While director Gil Kenan and writer Caroline Thompson's work leans heavily toward children's fantasy, their film leaves gaping science-fiction holes.
Since the film should please its intended audience, "City of Ember" might enjoy a modest success with young people during its theatrical run followed by greater success in home entertainment.
The story begins at the end -- of the world, we are told. But the crucial question of what caused the end of the world is never mentioned. The remaining rulers of society -- all middle-aged, English-speaking Westerners -- send what is left of humanity to an underground city built to last two centuries, after which it will apparently be safe to come up for air. A single box, set to open in 200 years, will explain everything to survivors including how to escape from this City of Ember.
Where to begin with this cockamamie tale? Are we supposed to believe that the old world above ground was permanently erased from everyone's memory? No great-grandmothers' tales of life in the fresh air? Or that survivors have subsisted on mostly can food for 200 years? Or that everyone blindly obeys a succession of mayors, the latest one played by Bill Murray as if he doesn't believe it either?
It falls to two recent high school grads, Doon (Harry Treadaway) and Lina (Saoirse Ronan), to question and challenge the underworld order. Doon realizes the generator powering everything is falling to bits. A Mr. Fix-It like his dad (Tim Robbins), he longs to get his hands on the machinery, but society demands that he perform instead a job assigned to him by lottery.
Lina's ancestor, a previous mayor, died before he could pass on the crucial tell-all box. Now she discovers it and starts to plumb its secrets, including badly crumbling instructions on how to escape Ember.
The city set, constructed in a ship-building hangar in Northern Ireland, resembles a corner of Dickensian London in permanent twilight. Communication devices no longer exist, so messengers like Lina tear around the streets. People's clothes look like they belong to a community theater production of "Rent." Oh, and bugs and rodents have grown very large to ensure of couple of PG-rated scares.
In truth, despite the nervous enthusiasm of Andrew Lockington's insatiable score, there is little here to quicken the pulse. The villains seem almost harmless -- despite the efforts of Toby Jones as the Mayor's henchman and Mackenzie Crook as a petty thief -- while the blackouts, bursting pipes and the escape from Ember a foregone conclusion.
Treadaway and Oscar nominee Ronan ("Atonement") bring plenty of verve and intelligence to their underwritten parts, while their elders overact terribly. And what is Martin Landau doing in the role of a narcoleptic pipeworks boss? He literally sleeps through the movie. Adult moviegoers may envy him.
Production companies: Playtone, Walden Media.
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Harry Treadaway, Bill Murray, Tim Robbins, Matin Landau, Toby Jones, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Mary Kay Place.
Director: Gil Kenan.
Screenwriter: Caroline Thompson.
Based on the novel by: Jeanne Duprau.
Producers: Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman, Steven Shareshian.
Director of photography: Xavier Perez Grobet.
Production designer: Martin Laing.
Music: Andrew Lockington.
Costume designer: Ruth Myers.
Editor: Adam P. Scott.
Rated PG, 95 minutes.
If Michael Bay had directed War Games, it might have ended up a little like Eagle Eye, a supercharged, preposterously drawn thriller that requires a little suspension of disbelief. No, scratch that. It requires A LOT OF SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF!
In Eagle Eye, Shia LaBeouf plays Jerry Shaw, an underachiever who can't seem to get out from under his more accomplished twin brother's shadow. One day, while making his way home after an emotionally grueling morning, he receives a strange phone call from a woman who ultimately plunges his life into complete and utter chaos. Faster than you can say "North By Northwest," Jerry finds himself on the run from government officials who are convinced he's involved in terrorist activities.
War Games isn't the only film that Eagle Eye borrows from. As this over wrought but fast-paced thriller blazes from one ridiculous moment to the next, one might be reminded of Enemy of the State, The Game, and The Fugitive – watch as co-star Billy Bob Thornton attempts, unsuccessfully I might add, his best Tommy Lee Jones impression. The first half of the picture provides a terrific set up and from the get go, an effective Shia LaBeouf plays a character worth caring about. Equally effective is the fashion in which director D.J, Caruso–who collaborated with LaBeouf for last year's Disturbia-- introduces Michelle Monaghan's vulnerable single mom, Rachel Holloman. It's obvious that Jerry and Rachel will at some point cross paths and that they will bond in some shape or fashion, but both performers are convincing enough to keep at least the character work in the picture somewhat sensible. That's what separates Caruso from the likes of Michael Bay. At the very least, there's an earnest attempt at genuine character development here.