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6 items from 2004


Depardieu on Par 'Holiday' with Esposito

31 October 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Gerard Depardieu and Giancarlo Esposito have signed on to The Last Holiday for Paramount Pictures. They join Queen Latifah, Alicia Witt and LL Cool J in the remake of the British comedy, which is being retold to center on a woman (Queen Latifah). Alec Guinness played the central character in the original. In the new version, Queen Latifah plays a clerk who discovers that she only has a limited time to live and decides to go on the European vacation of a lifetime. Holiday is being produced by Laurence Marks and ImageMovers' Jack Rapke. Wayne Wang is directing. Depardieu is repped by CAA. »

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LL Cool J, Par busy making 'Holiday' plans

24 October 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

LL Cool J is joining the cast of Last Holiday for Paramount Pictures. He will play an ex-con who has a secret crush on the main character (Queen Latifah) in the remake of the 1950 British comedy. The original film starred Alec Guinness as a poor clerk who, with only a few months to live, decides to take one last holiday, during which he's mistaken for an eccentric aristocrat. In the new version, Queen Latifah will play a shy clerk who goes on a European vacation after she learns that she is terminally ill. Wayne Wang is directing, with Laurence Marks and ImageMovers partner Jack Rapke producing. LL Cool J's film credits include the upcoming S.W.A.T., Deliver Us From Eva and the upcoming Mindhunters. He is repped by WMA. »

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The Ladykillers

9 July 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Opens

March 26

"The Ladykillers" represents the Coen brothers' first attempt at a movie remake and, boy, did they pick a tough nut.

The 1955 version is one of the comic gems of British comedy. The film was made at Ealing Studios, whose comedies were noted for their bizarre developments that always seemed to transpire amid ordinary, closely observed domestic settings.

Unfortunately, the strain in trying to match the original's peerless precision and stifled lunacy tells in every frame of the new movie. Where the best Coen brothers comedy is a matter of finely tuned tone, diction, attitude and visual rhythms, everything in "The Ladykillers" feels out of kilter. With Tom Hanks delivering -- arguably -- one of the most perplexing performances of his career and a host of character actors taking the word "character" a bit too far, the movie never finds its comic footing.

Hanks' mere presence will, of course, deliver a solid opening weekend. And the brothers' faithful fans might find enough things to like to sustain a decent boxoffice performance thereafter, especially among older audiences.

The premise remains the same. Once more, a professor with dubious credentials rents a room from an unsuspecting old lady. He and his cronies, all claiming to be musicians, use the house as a base of operations to commit a nefarious criminal deed. Once more, however, circumstances and the old lady foil them at every turn.

Only instead of the English suburbs, the Coens take us deep into the Southern Bible Belt. Professor G.H. Dorr (Hanks) rents a room from a black Baptist churchgoing lady named Marva Munson (Irma P. Hall), who will allow neither "hippity-hop" music nor smoking in her domicile. With the cover of practicing medieval instruments in her basement, Dorr and his gang tunnel from that basement for several blocks to the cash storage office of a riverboat gambling casino.

The crew Dorr assembles gives new meaning to the expression "thick as thieves." Marlon Wayans' Gawain MacSam is the casino "inside" man, whose temper and foul mouth just naturally invite catastrophe, not to mention slaps by Mrs. Munson. His counterpart is J.K. Simmons' Garth Pancake, an explosives expert whose enthusiastic agreeability and aggressive friendliness drive Gawain crazy.

The General (Tzi Ma) says very little, preferring to dwell in a Zenlike state of borderline competence. Last and undoubtedly least is Ryan Hurst's Lump, a football player who, as the saying goes, has played too many downs without a helmet.

These caricatures are all over the top, but Hanks, in the Alec Guinness role, chooses to takes things to an even higher peak. This is a performance that Will Divide critics and admirers. Some will find hilarity in its artifice and fussiness

others will chafe at its complete self-consciousness. Let's start with the stilted accent: It sounds like an all-purpose Southern accent performed by a bad English actor. Then there are Hanks' clothes and florid manners, which are positively antebellum. Finally, the Coens' flowery 19th century dialogue doesn't exactly throw Hanks, but it does him no favors either.

Which leaves Hall, who delivers the movie's one truly outstanding performance. Called upon to play a simple soul with an unyielding sense of moral principles, the veteran actress turns Marva into a tower of homey virtues and small-town values.

The Coens' screenplay supplies the dark comedy and slapstick violence that is a hallmark of their films. This time, however, they do not feel organic to the story but rather self-consciously cute sequences imposed by the filmmakers. There is a creative lethargy to the running gags -- bodies are routinely disposed from a bridge with every death -- and the various circumstances that prevent the gang from killing Marva when she discovers her tenant's misdeeds and insists that he and his gang give the money back.

The film displays the typical technical brilliance of a Coen brothers movie. Cinematographer Roger Deakins and designer Dennis Gassner create an oh-so-precise visual design that makes the small Southern town feel as artificial as Hanks' accent. Music, as usual, plays a key role and produces yet another amazing soundtrack, this time built around toe-tapping gospel music.

THE LADYKILLERS

Buena Vista Pictures

Touchstone Pictures presents a Tom Jacobson production

Credits:

Screenwriter-directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Based on "The Ladykillers" by: William Rose

Producers: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Tom Jacobson, Barry Sonnenfeld, Barry Josephson

Director of photography: Roger Deakins

Production designer: Dennis Glassner

Music: Carter Burwell

Costume designer: Mary Zophres

Editor: Roderick Jaynes

Cast:

Professor G.H. Dorr: Tom Hanks

Marva Munson: Irma P. Hall

Gawain MacSam: Marlon Wayans

Garth Pancake: J.K. Simmons

General: Tzi Ma

Lump: Ryan Hurst

Mountain Girl: Diane Delano

Running time -- 104 minutes

MPAA rating: R »

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Bright Young Things

9 July 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

LONDON -- Writer-director Stephen Fry's "Bright Young Things" is a Jazz Age English period comedy full of frightfully keen chaps and their ever-so-dotty girlfriends who spend all their time dashing from one society party to another for no particular purpose. In his novel "Vile Bodies", on which the film is based, Evelyn Waugh called them bright young "people," not the patronizing "things." Their furious pursuit of gaiety is cast in the grave shadow of World War I, when the looming sense that even more devastating conflict lie ahead gives way to ceaseless frivolity and an almost lunatic carelessness. In the movie, they are merely the unspeakable in pursuit of the unedifying.

Fry is a noted British writer, actor, raconteur and all-around wit who wrote and makes his feature film-directing debut with "Bright Young Things". The result will be judged on two levels: as an adaptation of Waugh's classic novel and as a film on its own merits. Possibly torn between the two, Fry fails at both. Noisy and giddy, the film makes a stab at "Moulin Rouge" territory but ends up as a very trite story of boy loses girl, boy finds girl. It is also stridently camp -- not so much roaring '20s as screaming. It will take an extremely focused marketing campaign for the film to find any kind of substantial audience.

Waugh made his intentions reasonably clear, populating his satirical landscape with such characters as Lady Fanny Throbbing, Lady Circumference and Mrs. Melrose Ape, and Fry follows that path too. Many of his scenes are almost word-for-word from the original. It's where he deviates from Waugh's subtle and fragile construction that things go wrong. Adam Fenwick-Symes Stephen Campbell Moore) indeed returns from the continent only to have his memoirs, for which he has already been paid, confiscated by a moralistic customs man. He duly informs his unfazed sweetheart, Nina Blount (Emily Mortimer) that as he is now impecunious, they may not be married.

Adam retreats to the seedy Shepheard's Hotel, run by the reliably generous Lottie Crump (Julia McKenzie), where he performs a piece of legerdemain to win £1,000 from a gullible fellow and promptly telephones Nina that the wedding is back on. Deep into Lottie's bottomless champagne, however, Adam hands his £1,000 over to a "drunk major" (Jim Broadbent), who says he will place it on a sure thing in the November Handicap horse race. The major disappears and Adam is on the phone again to Nina with the bad news.

Their on-again, off-again love affair and Adam's search for the drunk major and his winnings are played out against the adventures of the chinless wonders, empty-headed heiresses, lecherous lords and doughty dowagers as recorded in the highly imaginative gossip columns of Mr. Chatterbox, published by newspaper mogul Lord Monomark (Dan Aykroyd).

So influential was Waugh that we have seen many of these characters in English movies before, especially those from Ealing Studios, played deliciously by a roster of such great character actors as Alastair Sim, Alec Guinness, Dennis Price, Terry-Thomas, Katie Johnson and Margaret Rutherford. Only two players in "Bright Young Things" demonstrate similar ability. Broadbent's drunk major suffers from overfamiliarity only because John Cleese rendered the character so effectively in "Fawlty Towers" (Ballard Berkeley as Maj. Gowen). Sadly, Peter O'Toole is given only one, marvelous scene as Col. Blount, Nina's father, who mistakes his daughter's beloved, Adam, for a vacuum cleaner salesman.

Fry's choice is to pump up the unfunny Aykroyd as Lord Monomark and eliminate the book's entire sequence that has Col. Blount making a film about the life of John Wesley at his seen-better-days estate, Doubting Hall. Even worse is the way Fry ends the film. Waugh titled his final chapter "Happy Ending", but, writing in 1930, he famously closed with the bleakest imaginable setting by a splintered tree stump in the biggest battlefield in the history of the world. Suffice to say that Fry doesn't.

Bright Young Things

The Film Consortium presents in association with the U.K. Film Council and Visionview

and Icon Film Distribution a Revolution Films/Doubting Hall production

Credits:

Director-screenwriter: Stephen Fry

Based on the novel "Vile Bodies" by: Evelyn Waugh

Producers: Gina Carter, Miranda Davis

Executive producers: Andrew Eaton, Michael Winterbottom, Stephen Fry, Chris Auty, Neil Peplow, Jim Reeve, Steve Robbins

Co-producer: Caroline Hewitt

Director of photography: Henry Braham

Production designer: Michael Howells

Editor: Alex Mackie

Composer: Anne Dudley

Costume designer: Nic Ede

Cast:

Adam: Stephen Campbell Moore

Nina: Emily Mortimer

Agatha: Fenella Woolgar

Simon: James McAvoy

Miles: Michael Sheen

Ginger: David Tennant

Archie: Guy Henry

Lord Monomark: Dan Aykroyd

Drunk Major: Jim Broadbent

Mrs. Melrose Ape: Stockard Channing

Col. Blount: Peter O'Toole

Running time -- 106 minutes

No MPAA rating »

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Wang eyeing 'Holiday' stay for Par redo

28 April 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Paramount Pictures has entered into early negotiations with Wayne Wang to direct its remake of Last Holiday, which is set to star Queen Latifah. Wang, whose credits include Maid in Manhattan, The Joy Luck Club and Anywhere but Here, attracted the studio's interest because of his success at guiding actresses and his ability to bridge comedy and drama. The remake gives the plot of the 1950 British original a distaff spin. The first film starred Alec Guinness as an average man who, learning that he doesn't have long to live, cashes in everything he has to spend his dying days in a swanky resort where he is mistaken for a super-rich eccentric. The remake will feature Latifah in the lead role. Laurence Mark and Imagemovers partner Jack Rapke are producing and preparing for a fall shoot date. Peter Seaman and Jeffrey Price are writing. Wang's other upcoming projects include Good Cook, Likes Music and Because of Winn-Dixie. The director is repped by ICM. »

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The Ladykillers

19 March 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Opens

March 26

"The Ladykillers" represents the Coen brothers' first attempt at a movie remake and, boy, did they pick a tough nut.

The 1955 version is one of the comic gems of British comedy. The film was made at Ealing Studios, whose comedies were noted for their bizarre developments that always seemed to transpire amid ordinary, closely observed domestic settings.

Unfortunately, the strain in trying to match the original's peerless precision and stifled lunacy tells in every frame of the new movie. Where the best Coen brothers comedy is a matter of finely tuned tone, diction, attitude and visual rhythms, everything in "The Ladykillers" feels out of kilter. With Tom Hanks delivering -- arguably -- one of the most perplexing performances of his career and a host of character actors taking the word "character" a bit too far, the movie never finds its comic footing.

Hanks' mere presence will, of course, deliver a solid opening weekend. And the brothers' faithful fans might find enough things to like to sustain a decent boxoffice performance thereafter, especially among older audiences.

The premise remains the same. Once more, a professor with dubious credentials rents a room from an unsuspecting old lady. He and his cronies, all claiming to be musicians, use the house as a base of operations to commit a nefarious criminal deed. Once more, however, circumstances and the old lady foil them at every turn.

Only instead of the English suburbs, the Coens take us deep into the Southern Bible Belt. Professor G.H. Dorr (Hanks) rents a room from a black Baptist churchgoing lady named Marva Munson (Irma P. Hall), who will allow neither "hippity-hop" music nor smoking in her domicile. With the cover of practicing medieval instruments in her basement, Dorr and his gang tunnel from that basement for several blocks to the cash storage office of a riverboat gambling casino.

The crew Dorr assembles gives new meaning to the expression "thick as thieves." Marlon Wayans' Gawain MacSam is the casino "inside" man, whose temper and foul mouth just naturally invite catastrophe, not to mention slaps by Mrs. Munson. His counterpart is J.K. Simmons' Garth Pancake, an explosives expert whose enthusiastic agreeability and aggressive friendliness drive Gawain crazy.

The General (Tzi Ma) says very little, preferring to dwell in a Zenlike state of borderline competence. Last and undoubtedly least is Ryan Hurst's Lump, a football player who, as the saying goes, has played too many downs without a helmet.

These caricatures are all over the top, but Hanks, in the Alec Guinness role, chooses to takes things to an even higher peak. This is a performance that Will Divide critics and admirers. Some will find hilarity in its artifice and fussiness

others will chafe at its complete self-consciousness. Let's start with the stilted accent: It sounds like an all-purpose Southern accent performed by a bad English actor. Then there are Hanks' clothes and florid manners, which are positively antebellum. Finally, the Coens' flowery 19th century dialogue doesn't exactly throw Hanks, but it does him no favors either.

Which leaves Hall, who delivers the movie's one truly outstanding performance. Called upon to play a simple soul with an unyielding sense of moral principles, the veteran actress turns Marva into a tower of homey virtues and small-town values.

The Coens' screenplay supplies the dark comedy and slapstick violence that is a hallmark of their films. This time, however, they do not feel organic to the story but rather self-consciously cute sequences imposed by the filmmakers. There is a creative lethargy to the running gags -- bodies are routinely disposed from a bridge with every death -- and the various circumstances that prevent the gang from killing Marva when she discovers her tenant's misdeeds and insists that he and his gang give the money back.

The film displays the typical technical brilliance of a Coen brothers movie. Cinematographer Roger Deakins and designer Dennis Gassner create an oh-so-precise visual design that makes the small Southern town feel as artificial as Hanks' accent. Music, as usual, plays a key role and produces yet another amazing soundtrack, this time built around toe-tapping gospel music.

THE LADYKILLERS

Buena Vista Pictures

Touchstone Pictures presents a Tom Jacobson production

Credits:

Screenwriter-directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Based on "The Ladykillers" by: William Rose

Producers: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Tom Jacobson, Barry Sonnenfeld, Barry Josephson

Director of photography: Roger Deakins

Production designer: Dennis Glassner

Music: Carter Burwell

Costume designer: Mary Zophres

Editor: Roderick Jaynes

Cast:

Professor G.H. Dorr: Tom Hanks

Marva Munson: Irma P. Hall

Gawain MacSam: Marlon Wayans

Garth Pancake: J.K. Simmons

General: Tzi Ma

Lump: Ryan Hurst

Mountain Girl: Diane Delano

Running time -- 104 minutes

MPAA rating: R »

Permalink | Report a problem


2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1997 | 1994 | 1991

6 items from 2004


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