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Everett Dismisses Foster's "Coming Out"

21 December 2007 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Rupert Everett has dismissed Jodie Foster's "coming out" as insignificant - insisting she is too old for it to have an impact on Hollywood. Foster appeared to confirm rumors about her sexuality earlier this month when she thanked producer Cydney Bernard during her acceptance speech at an awards ceremony in Los Angeles. She said, "(Thank you to) my beautiful Cydney who sticks with me through all the rotten and the bliss." But openly out star Everett insists Foster has done little to encourage secretly gay stars to be more open. He says, "She is 45 and just couldn't be bothered anymore. After a certain age you can be gay in Hollywood. Before that, it's not only not good, it's impossible." »

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2008 Golden Globes Noms: Atonement leads the pack

13 December 2007 | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

- Atonement may have gotten the largest overall number of noms, but we should expect a different outcome for total number of wins coming January. 13th. Today's list of noms sort of reminds me of what they are doing in schools today to boost self-confidence and not bruise egos: handing out medals/trophies to every single student not for 'winning' but for their 'participation'. In an embarrassing attempt to include everyone, there will be a total of 12 titles vying for Best Movie of the year (Best Drama has a ridiculous number of 7 noms, while Best Comedy/Musical has a five.  Despite this, I'll be glued to the set.  The glorified dinner party also sorts its nominations out in the most bizarre of manners - take for example the Best Dramatic performance of the year for an actress: hands down you'd think that Marion Cotillard and La Vie en rose would »

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Foster Presented With Sherry Lansing Award

6 December 2007 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Jodie Foster has been honored with the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award for her success in the entertainment industry - but insists she isn't worthy of such an accolade. The actress, 45, was presented with the prize at the Hollywood Reporter's Women in Entertainment Power 100 brunch at Los Angeles' Beverly Hills Hotel on Tuesday, but admits the secret to her long-lasting success is her "nutty" personality. She says, "There's no way you can do that and not be as nutty as a fruitcake. I always feel like something of an impostor. I don't know what I'm doing. I suppose that's my one little secret, the secret of my success." And despite being the guest of honor at the luncheon, she insists she feels like a newcomer to entertainment: "I don't feel very powerful. I feel fragile - unsure, struggling to figure it all out." »

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Young Breslins take business to ICM

3 December 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Young sibling actors Abigail and Spencer Breslin have signed with ICM.

Abigail, who received a supporting actress Oscar nomination this year for her portrayal of Olive in Little Miss Sunshine, next appears in the feature film Definitely, Maybe, which co-stars Rachel Weisz and Ryan Reynolds. Other upcoming credits for the 11-year-old include Nim's Island, with Jodie Foster and Gerard Butler, and Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, in which she plays the title role opposite Stanley Tucci and Joan Cusack.

Her credits also include Signs and Raising Helen, which also featured Spencer.

His credits include the title role in Harold as well as The Shaggy Dog, The Cat in the Hat and the second and third installments in The Santa Clause trilogy. The 15-year-old next appears in M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening, starring Mark Wahlberg, and is directing his first feature, a documentary detailing what he and his young peers experienced in the aftermath of Sept. 11.

The Breslins also are repped by Meredith Fine of Coast to Coast, manager Beth Cannon of Envision Entertainment and attorney Linda Lichter. »

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Witherspoon Tops Highest-Paid List

3 December 2007 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Walk The Line star Reese Witherspoon is officially the highest-paid actress in Hollywood. The 31-year-old Oscar winner has beaten the likes of Angelina Jolie, Cameron Diaz and Nicole Kidman to claim the number one spot in the Hollywood Reporter's annual female rich list - receiving a staggering $15-$20 million paycheck per picture. Tomb Raider star Jolie, 32, comes in second, though her salary for the current Beowulf picture was said to be a "mere" $8 million. Diaz, 35, is placed third, with a $15 million-per-movie salary demand, though her take-home earnings from the recent Shrek The Third are pegged at a very healthy $30 million. Last year's number two, Nicole Kidman, 40, fell to fourth place, with an asking price of $10 million to $15 million a film. Also in the $10 million to $15 million club are Renee Zellweger, Sandra Bullock and Julia Roberts, despite an absence from the screen since 2004. The full list is: 1. Reese Witherspoon - $15 million-$20 million; 2. Angelina Jolie - $15 million-$20 million; 3. Cameron Diaz - $15+ million; 4. Nicole Kidman - $10 million-$15 million; 5. Renee Zellweger - $10 million-$15 million; 6. Sandra Bullock - $10 million-$15 million; 7. Julia Roberts - $10 million-$15 million; 8. Drew Barrymore - $10 million-$12 million; 9. Jodie Foster - $10 million-$12 million; 10. Halle Berry - $10 million. »

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SBIFF puts Blanchett in Master class

3 October 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Cate Blanchett, who reprises her role as Queen Elizabeth in the upcoming Elizabeth: The Golden Age, will be honored with the Modern Master Award at the 2008 Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

She will receive the award during a tribute ceremony Jan. 26 at Santa Barbara's Arlington Theatre.

Blanchett, who earned Golden Globe and BAFTA awards for her performance in 1998's Elizabeth, also is known for her roles in such films as Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Babel and Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. She won an Oscar for her portrayal of Katharine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator. She also stars in Todd Haynes' upcoming I'm Not There, in which she embodies one stage in the life of Bob Dylan.

"Cate Blanchett is the most consummate actor, and portraying Queen Elizabeth and Bob Dylan in the same year -- and so indelibly -- is pure alchemy," SBIFF executive director Roger Durling said.

The SBIFF runs from Jan. 24-Feb. 3.

The Modern Master Award is the highest honor presented by the festival; past recipients include Michael Douglas, Jackson and Jodie Foster. »

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Kingsley exits CEO role at PMK/HBH

27 September 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Uber-entertainment publicist Pat Kingsley is stepping down as CEO of PMK/HBH, a company she helped make into one of the biggest firms in entertainment PR. Moving into that position are partners Cindi Berger and Simon Halls, who will act as co-CEOs. The firm's exec vp brands and events Nate Schreiber will be elevated to president.

Kingsley, 75, will remain with the company, assuming the new title of nonexecutive chairman. The position will allow her to keep working with her clients such as Michael Mann, Jodie Foster and Sally Field, but leave running the company to others.

"I'm going to be coming to work, but you won't see a balance sheet in front of me," Kingsley told The Reporter. "I won't have to do any administration work. I can do creative work with clients, which is the part that I think I do best."

Kingsley founded the company in 1980 along with the late Michael Maslansky and Neil Koeningsberg, now a manager and producer. »

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'Brave One,' 'Yuma' make boxoffice beg

18 September 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

R-rated pics had guns a-blazing last weekend, as Warner Bros. opened Jodie Foster's avenging-woman thriller The Brave One at No. 1 with $13.5 million, followed by Lionsgate's Western 3:10 to Yuma with $8.9 million.

Brave -- directed by Neil Jordan, produced by Joel Silver and co-financed by Warners and Village Roadshow -- did particularly well with older women despite its violent content. Yuma, starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, used a modest 35% drop in its second frame to forge a 10-day domestic cume of $28.3 million.

New Line's Billy Bob Thornton-toplined comedy Mr. Woodcock debuted with $8.8 million in third place, while Sony's Superbad finished fourth with $5.1 million in its fifth weekend for a $111.2 million cume. Freestyle/Younggu-Art's action fantasy Dragon Wars saw $5 million to open in fifth.

Industrywide, the weekend's top 10 films rung up $59.7 million in domestic boxoffice, according to Nielsen EDI. That represents a 6% uptick from top performers compared with the same weekend a year ago.

Among limited openings, David Cronenberg's well-reviewed Eastern Promises rung up a promising $547,092 from just 15 screens. Focus Features will use the film's buzz-building performance of $36,473 per screen to expand the thriller about the Russian mob in London to at least 1,350 runs Friday. »

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'Brave One' stands at top of weekend boxoffice

17 September 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Jodie Foster braved a distracted marketplace to throttle all domestic boxoffice competition this weekend, as Warner Bros. opened her avenging-woman thriller The Brave One at No. 1 with an estimated $14 million.

Directed by Neil Jordan, the R-rated pic produced by Silver Pictures and co-financed by Warners and Village Roadshow Pictures fended off a pair of rival wide openers and a couple leggy holdovers.

Lionsgate's Russell Crowe-starring Western 3:10 to Yuma finished second in its sophomore outing, sliding only 35% from opening grosses to notch another $9.2 million. That yielded a 10-day cume of $28.6 million for Relativity-funded Yuma.

New Line's Bill Bob Thornton-toplined comedy Mr. Woodcock debuted with $9.1 million in third place, while the Freestyle/Younggu-Art action fantasy Dragon Wars whipped up $5.4 million to bow in fourth place. And Sony's Superbad laugher finished No. 5 in its fifth frame, with $5.2 million and a $111.3 million cume.

Industrywide, distribs rung up an estimated $79 million in collective boxoffice, according to data tracker Nielsen EDI. That represents a 2% uptick from the same weekend a year ago.

Though some will note the frame's underwhelming aggregate, many will see the industry's glass half full, as the marketplace notches a 10th consecutive weekend uptick in boxoffice if the estimates hold up. The latest three-day performance comes despite non-theatrical competition including recently resumed football telecasts, back-to-school activities for kids and parents, and even Sunday's Emmys programming.

Reviews for Brave One noted the film's violent content, but its opening audience still skewed heavily female. Some 70% of patrons were over 30, with 55% of those female.

"That's where we were, tracking-wise, going in," Warners distribution president Dan Felman noted. "So what we have is a film that is extremely well done (but) which works a little bit against the core audience."

Still, exit ratings in moviegoer surveys showed strong positive reactions especially among older females which bodes well for word of mouth down the road, Fellman said.

Indeed, the strong soph frame for Yuma demonstrates once again the solid playability of many older-skewing pics. »

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The Brave One

14 September 2007 5:27 PM, PDT | The Scorecard Review | See recent Scorecard Review news »

<div class="KonaBody"><p><span id="lblBodyText"><strong>Plot:</strong> A radio host (Jodie Foster) loves her life, but when her fiancé is brutally attacked, she decides to go on a rampage in the streets of New York. Her pursuit of evildoers catches the attention of the media and the NYPD, with a police detective (Terrence Howard) hot on her trail.</span></p> <p><strong>Who’s it for:</strong> There aren’t many films that have a woman in the starring role, and Foster typically is a good box office draw. More than anything, if you’ve ever mused about a bit of violent revenge, this is your movie.</p> <p><strong>Expectations:</strong> An individual scorned and out for revenge has been done to death, so I needed something more to get me excited. Neil Jordan is the director, and he’s responsible for “Interview&#8230;</p></div> »

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The Brave One

14 September 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

This review was written for the theatrical release of "The Brave One".Take "Death Wish" and retrofit it with a post-Sept. 11 sensitivity and you've got the essence of "The Brave One", a vigilante drama boasting a powerful Jodie Foster performance and carefully weighted direction by Neil Jordan.

Those considerable attributes go a long way in compensating for problematic plot mechanics that ultimately trip up the good intentions, especially in its portrayal of a New York that looks and behaves more like Charles Bronson's old stomping grounds than its modern-day incarnation.

While Mayor Bloomberg will unlikely be amused, the Joel Silver production, which is being screened as a special presentation at next month's Toronto International Film Festival, still should pack considerable appeal for fall moviegoers who prefer their hard-hitting vengeance served with a hefty side of introspection.

Foster turns in a compelling, emotionally raw performance as Erica Bain, the host of an NPR-type radio show titled "Street Walk", in which she shares the recorded sounds and her live thoughts surrounding life in the Big Apple.

One early evening, Erica and her fiance, David (Naveen Andrews), are walking their dog in the park when they're savagely attacked by a group of punks. David's wounds prove fatal, and though Erica ultimately recovers after a prolonged stay in the hospital, she's left emotionally devastated.

Paralyzed by grief and fear, she obtains a gun, ostensibly for protection, but -- and here's where things start getting harder to swallow -- Erica unwittingly stumbles across additional random acts of violence and becomes a pretty decent shot in the process.

By the time she tracks down her fiance's assailants, Erica has become a full-fledged avenging angel.

In the interim, she also has found a sympathetic ear in NYPD detective Sean Mercer (an effectively pensive Terrence Howard), a by-the-book type grappling with his own moral dilemmas whose investigations might be pointing him in Erica's direction sooner than he's willing to act.

Watching "Brave One", it's hard not to think about "Taxi Driver", and if, somehow, Foster's child prostitute could have picked up 30 years later where Travis Bickle left off.

But where the Martin Scorsese film had that complex Paul Schrader script, Jordan's picture has to make do with a more conventional genre piece written by the father-and-son team of Roderick Taylor and Bruce A. Taylor, and Cynthia Mort, who was brought in to provide a more convincing female voice.

As with some of his best films, such as "The Crying Game" and "Mona Lisa", Jordan is less concerned about genre technicalities than he is with the moral choices those situations bring out in the lead characters.

In that regard, "Brave One" keeps things intriguing, with Foster's haunted, fiercely committed performance certain to garner awards attention.

Howard, meanwhile, makes for a thoughtful opponent in this curiously low-key game of cat and mouse, while Mary Steenburgen provides the right balance of authority and concern as Foster's radio show producer.

Behind the scenes, cinematographer Philippe Rousselot, a frequent Jordan collaborator, visually shrouds Manhattan in a foreboding dread, especially during those earlier, unsettlingly lit sequences leading up to that first vicious attack; and composer Dario Marianelli provides the discordant themes that fittingly reflect Foster's ever-darkening psyche.

THE BRAVE ONE

Warner Bros. Pictures

A Warner Bros. Pictures presentation, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, of a Silver Pictures production

Credits:

Director: Neil Jordan

Screenwriters: Roderick Taylor, Bruce A. Taylor, Cynthia Mort

Story: Roderick Taylor, Bruce A. Taylor

Producers: Joel Silver, Susan Downey

Executive producers: Herbert W. Gains, Jodie Foster, Dana Goldberg, Bruce Berman

Director of photography: Philippe Rousselot

Production designer: Kristi Zea

Music: Dario Marianelli

Costume designer: Catherine Marie Thomas

Editor: Tony Lawson

Cast:

Erica Bain: Jodie Foster

Detective Sean Mercer: Terrence Howard

David Kirmani: Naveen Andrews

Detective Vitale: Nicky Katt

Carol: Mary Steenburgen

Running time -- 121 minutes

MPAA rating: R

»

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Weekend boxoffice eyes 'Brave' new world

14 September 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

If last weekend's boxoffice represented a wide yawn by the collective moviegoing public, studio distributors will take solace that few outright raspberries were audible.

This frame, three wide openers attempt to stir prospective patrons from their theatrical ennui. Those include The Brave One, opening in 2,755 theaters and featuring the solid marquee star power of Jodie Foster as a brutalized woman seeking justice and revenge in equal measures.

Produced by Joel Silver with Village Roadshow Pictures and distributor Warner Bros. Pictures co-financing, the thriller looks likely to fetch at least $15 million and probably cop the weekend crown.

An even braver performance would see Brave One drawing from other demographics in addition to its core base of women 25 and older. Tracking data also shows good interest among older males.

"The tracking has been getting better and better, so we're very pleased," Warners distribution president Dan Fellman said.

The New Line Cinema laugher Mr. Woodcock, which casts Billy Bob Thornton as a hard-boiled gym teacher, could reach the double-digit millions as it unspools in 2,231 locations. Distribution executives see younger moviegoers as the key but hope the Woodcock premise holds broad appeal.

"I think everybody has had a gym teacher in high school who is like this guy," New Line distribution chief David Tuckerman said. »

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Dina Lohan Blasts Foster for Lindsay Comments

12 September 2007 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Lindsay Lohan's mother Dina Lohan has hit back at Jodie Foster for criticizing her parenting skills, insisting the actress has no right to comment on her family situation without knowing all the facts. Former child actress Foster last week blamed Lohan Snr. for the Mean Girls star's recent legal troubles, saying: "Can I just ask, where is her mother? I mean, really, where is her mother?" But Dina is furious at Foster's outburst and wishes the Flightplan star had approached her personally to discuss her thoughts. She fumes, "It really saddens me that a mum would comment on another mum without ever meeting me! Ironically Lindsay's talent was compared to Jodie Foster's as a little girl! I don't know what Jodie dealt with as a young Hollywood actress but I do know if it weren't for her mother she would not be a successful actress today! I'm sure her mother made many sacrifices for her to be successful. All we want as parents is to cultivate our children's dreams, whatever field they choose. She has no idea who we are and what we have dealt with! If she has a question to ask me, don't ridicule me publicly! She should know how the press twists the truth! Don't judge without facts!" »

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Foster Offended by 'Sin City'

11 September 2007 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Jodie Foster has ripped into Robert Rodriguez's Sin City because she found the film offensive. While many critics raved about the director's adaptation of Frank Miller's comic book, Foster admits it's one of the most recent films she switched off after renting it on DVD. Foster rants, "That was so painfully cartoonish I was offended." And she admits that she doesn't enjoy watching films based around abduction and child molestation - as the mother of two young boys. She tells newspaper USA Today, "I don't know how you enjoy or laugh about a child abduction and molestation. What part of that sentence is funny? I can't get beyond that. I don't know if everyone understands the impact of that movie's message." »

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Tiff 2007 Day 1: 2 down, 28 to go

7 September 2007 | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

- It was a packed house at the press/industry screenings for day 1 in Toronto - many journalists having arrived the day before were in full festival mode cranking out back to back screenings at the Varsity theater (conveniently located in a mall means that there was more than popcorn aroma during in between screening breaks). The more popular titles were The Brave One - Jodie Foster who finds her mean streak in a revenge flick from Neil Jordon, Michael Clayton - the George Clooney pic with the great poster one sheet, there was a heavy crowd for one of my Cannes favorites in Control (the rise and fall of the lead singer of Joy Division, there was the opening film of the fest in Jeremy Podeswa's Fugitive Pieces and while I saw Michael Moore (he walks funny) I didn't see his documentary about wrestling with pro-Bush college seniors in Captain Mike Across America. »

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Mort lands mystery pitch with GK Films

6 September 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Graham King has acquired the rights to a murder-mystery pitch by The Brave One scribe Cynthia Mort.

The still-untitled project is being described as "a fast-paced morality tale" akin to the thriller genre films of the 1980s. King will produce the project under his GK Films banner.

Mort's Brave One, which she co-wrote with Roderick Taylor and Bruce A. Taylor, stars Jodie Foster and Terrence Howard and premieres today at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film is set for theatrical release Sept. 14.

King said the story qualified as the most dynamic and provocative he has heard in some time.

"It's such a thrill to find material you simply must bring to the big screen, especially when it gives you the chance to work with someone who is at the top of her game," King said.

Mort most recently penned and executive produced HBO's new drama Tell Me You Love Me. The series, which premieres Sunday, chronicles the relationships between three separate couples in therapy. »

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'Fixer' up for Gewirtz at ABC

31 August 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Inside Man writer Russell Gewirtz and the TV arm of Imagine Entertainment, which produced the hit movie, have teamed for The Fixer, a drama project that has landed at ABC with a premium script commitment.

The one-hour, from 20th Century Fox TV and studio-based Imagine TV, centers on a female PR executive who is wired into the highest levels of power in New York and works as a fixer, discreetly solving problems for the city's business, political and media elite.

"What she does is much more complicated than PR, or, as she calls it, getting your client to wear the right color lipstick," Gewirtz said. "PR in her case stands for private relations."

The character is not unlike Madeleine White of Inside Man, played in the movie by Jodie Foster. It is an expansion into the research Gewirtz did for the creation of that character.

"It's not a continuation of the story in 'Inside Man, ' " Gewirtz said of Fixer. "Jodie's character is not fleshed out, you don't know anything about her." »

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Death Sentence

31 August 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

NEW YORK -- Crime rates might be dropping nationwide, but you wouldn't know from the new wave of vigilante-themed films that has inexplicably begun. Beating the Jodie Foster starrer The Brave One by a couple of weeks, James Wan's Death Sentence demonstrates that first is not necessarily best.

This effort starring Kevin Bacon bears more than a slight connection to the landmark of the genre, 1974's Death Wish, starring Charles Bronson. It is based on novelist Brian Garfield's sequel to his original book, though any resemblance is tenuous at best.

Bacon plays Nick Hume, a family man with a loving wife (Kelly Preston) and two kids who, in the screenplay's obvious attempt at irony, works at an insurance company where he must constantly compute the odds for catastrophe. His own life comes crashing down late one night when, stopping at a gas station in an unsafe neighborhood, his eldest son (Stuart Lafferty) is brutally murdered by Joe Darley (Matt O'Leary), a young hoodlum undergoing a gang initiation.

Nick impulsively recants his witness testimony at a pretrial hearing, setting the stage for him to achieve vengeance on his own. He follows the culprit to a deserted location the next night and winds up stabbing him to death after an intense struggle. It doesn't take long before the gang's leader, Billy (Garrett Hedlund), who also happens to be Joe's brother, figures out who did it, leading to a series of ever-escalating violent confrontations between Nick and the gang members.

While it certainly was an exploitation picture, Death Wish was highly effective because it always stayed grounded in reality. Director Wan ("Saw") inevitably goes for a more heightened approach. The gang members look like something out of Mad Max; Nick almost is instantly transformed from a mild-mannered insurance executive to a rampaging action hero, ultimately resembling a cross between Rambo and Travis Bickle; and the highly stylized visuals are luridly gothic. The nearly constant violence, too, is of the highly graphic variety, with endless amounts of blood spurting, exploding body parts and severed limbs. What makes the proceedings even more ludicrous is the screenplay's half-hearted attempt to infuse depth into its depiction of Nick's transformation.

The one truly effective sequence is a thrilling foot chase in which Bacon is pursued by the gang through streets, alleyways, buildings and an open-air parking garage, a good part of which was filmed by Wan and his team of cameramen in a virtuosic single take.

Bacon goes through his frequently athletic paces with the requisite intensity; Hedlund makes a formidably scary villain, and John Goodman has a terrifically pungent cameo as a skuzzy gun dealer. Aisha Tyler plays a concerned police detective; judging by the plethora of beautiful young black detectives onscreen these days, our nation's police forces must have effective equal-hiring practices.

DEATH SENTENCE

20th Century Fox

A 20th Century Fox and Hyde Park Entertainment presentation

Ashok Amritraj/Baldwin Entertainment Group

Credits:

Director: James Wan: Screenwriter: Ian Mackenzie Jeffers

Producers: Ashok Amritraj, Howard Baldwin, Karen Baldwin

Executive producers

Andrew Sugerman, Nick Morton, Nick Hamson, Lars Sylvest

Director of photography

John R. Leonetti

Production designer: Julie Berghoff

Music: Charlie Clouser

Co-producer: Eric Mitchell

Costume designer: Kristin M. Burke

Editor: Michael N. Knue

Cast:

Nick Hume: Kevin Bacon

Billy Darley: Garrett Hedlund

Helen Hume: Kelly Preston

Detective Wallis: Aisha Tyler

Bones Darley: John Goodman

Running time -- 111 minutes

MPAA rating: R

»

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The Brave One

30 August 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Take "Death Wish" and retrofit it with a post-Sept. 11 sensitivity and you've got the essence of "The Brave One", a vigilante drama boasting a powerful Jodie Foster performance and carefully weighted direction by Neil Jordan.

Those considerable attributes go a long way in compensating for problematic plot mechanics that ultimately trip up the good intentions, especially in its portrayal of a New York that looks and behaves more like Charles Bronson's old stomping grounds than its modern-day incarnation.

While Mayor Bloomberg will unlikely be amused, the Joel Silver production, which is being screened as a special presentation at next month's Toronto International Film Festival, still should pack considerable appeal for fall moviegoers who prefer their hard-hitting vengeance served with a hefty side of introspection.

Foster turns in a compelling, emotionally raw performance as Erica Bain, the host of an NPR-type radio show titled "Street Walk", in which she shares the recorded sounds and her live thoughts surrounding life in the Big Apple.

One early evening, Erica and her fiance, David (Naveen Andrews), are walking their dog in the park when they're savagely attacked by a group of punks. David's wounds prove fatal, and though Erica ultimately recovers after a prolonged stay in the hospital, she's left emotionally devastated.

Paralyzed by grief and fear, she obtains a gun, ostensibly for protection, but -- and here's where things start getting harder to swallow -- Erica unwittingly stumbles across additional random acts of violence and becomes a pretty decent shot in the process.

By the time she tracks down her fiance's assailants, Erica has become a full-fledged avenging angel.

In the interim, she also has found a sympathetic ear in NYPD detective Sean Mercer (an effectively pensive Terrence Howard), a by-the-book type grappling with his own moral dilemmas whose investigations might be pointing him in Erica's direction sooner than he's willing to act.

Watching "Brave One", it's hard not to think about "Taxi Driver", and if, somehow, Foster's child prostitute could have picked up 30 years later where Travis Bickle left off.

But where the Martin Scorsese film had that complex Paul Schrader script, Jordan's picture has to make do with a more conventional genre piece written by the father-and-son team of Roderick Taylor and Bruce A. Taylor, and Cynthia Mort, who was brought in to provide a more convincing female voice.

As with some of his best films, such as "The Crying Game" and "Mona Lisa", Jordan is less concerned about genre technicalities than he is with the moral choices those situations bring out in the lead characters.

In that regard, "Brave One" keeps things intriguing, with Foster's haunted, fiercely committed performance certain to garner awards attention.

Howard, meanwhile, makes for a thoughtful opponent in this curiously low-key game of cat and mouse, while Mary Steenburgen provides the right balance of authority and concern as Foster's radio show producer.

Behind the scenes, cinematographer Philippe Rousselot, a frequent Jordan collaborator, visually shrouds Manhattan in a foreboding dread, especially during those earlier, unsettlingly lit sequences leading up to that first vicious attack; and composer Dario Marianelli provides the discordant themes that fittingly reflect Foster's ever-darkening psyche.

THE BRAVE ONE

Warner Bros. Pictures

A Warner Bros. Pictures presentation, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, of a Silver Pictures production

Credits:

Director: Neil Jordan

Screenwriters: Roderick Taylor, Bruce A. Taylor, Cynthia Mort

Story: Roderick Taylor, Bruce A. Taylor

Producers: Joel Silver, Susan Downey

Executive producers: Herbert W. Gains, Jodie Foster, Dana Goldberg, Bruce Berman

Director of photography: Philippe Rousselot

Production designer: Kristi Zea

Music: Dario Marianelli

Costume designer: Catherine Marie Thomas

Editor: Tony Lawson

Cast:

Erica Bain: Jodie Foster

Detective Sean Mercer: Terrence Howard

David Kirmani: Naveen Andrews

Detective Vitale: Nicky Katt

Carol: Mary Steenburgen

Running time -- 121 minutes

MPAA rating: R

»

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Toronto slots Clooney, Hood for galas

11 July 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

TORONTO -- The Toronto International Film Festival unveiled another slew of premieres Tuesday, including gala slots for George Clooney starrer "Michael Clayton" and Gavin Hood's "Rendition" starring Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal and Meryl Streep.

"Clayton", the directorial debut of "Bourne Identity" screenwriter Tony Gilroy, will receive the red carpet treatment at Roy Thomson Hall. The Warner Bros. legal drama is expected to bow in Venice and possibly play Deauville before shifting to Toronto for its North American premiere. It opens Oct. 5 in the U.S.

Also getting a gala sendoff in Toronto is "Rendition", a New Line Cinema thriller set for an Oct. 12 release stateside and a Dec. 21 bow in Canada.

Hood's "Tsotsi" helped put South African films on the map, earning the top audience award at Toronto in 2005 before going on to win the Academy Award for best foreign-language film.

Elsewhere, films from veteran directors headed to the festival's Special Presentations sidebar include Neil Jordan's "The Brave One", a Warner Bros. release starring Jodie Foster and Mary Steenburgen, and Peter Greenaway's "Nightwatching", a Rembrandt biopic that will have its international premiere here after bowing in the Netherlands. »

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