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1-20 of 68 items from 2004   « Prev | Next »


Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

23 December 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events demonstrates what happens when you take a clever idea and run it into the ground. One's delight with the first act gives way to seat shifting in the second and gazing at one's watch in the third. What should have been an utterly beguiling exploration of the dark side of fantasy and the universal appeal of gothic wickedness devolves into a repetitive comedy that squanders a hugely talented cast. Nevertheless, given the popularity of the book series by Lemony Snicket, the pen name of Daniel Handler, and the clowning of Jim Carrey as the story's flamboyant villain, the movie appears headed for the boxoffice stratosphere.

The droll idea behind the books is that all those "extremely unpleasant" events that occur in fairy tales are the very things that attract young readers in the first place. Kids -- and the kid in all of us -- love sinister villains and cruel fate. So in the stories and now in this movie, Snicket -- a gravely funny voice-over by Jude Law -- constantly warns against impending calamities about to befall his young heroes, even to the point of suggesting that the viewer flee to a next-door cinema where a much happier film is playing.

Those who stick it out encounter the unfortunate adventures of three plucky orphans (played by Emily Browning, Liam Aiken and the infant duo of Kara and Shelby Hoffman), who must cope with the tragic deaths of their parents and then a collection of eccentric relations who take stabs at being their guardians. The worst of the bunch is wily Count Olaf (Carrey), who plots to bilk the children out of their inheritance.

The film is jammed with amusing gags, one of the best has the youngest orphan, the toddler, speak in cackles, giggles and grunts that the other two understand perfectly well. The rest of us make do with subtitles.

Their unfortunate journey begins at the count's gloomy-looking mansion, continues to the greenhouse-like home of Uncle Monty (Billy Connolly), then to the cliffside home of Aunt Josephine (Meryl Streep) and culminates in a circus performance where the count and his troupe of ne'er-do-well thespians conspire to get the count married to the 14-year-old girl to steal the money.

Unfortunate, too, is the inability of director Brad Silberling and writer Robert Gordon to turn a literary conceit into a cinematic adventure. Events are merely strung together rather than allowed to build to a climax. And the events themselves possess a discouraging sameness: Count Olaf plots to eliminate the orphans. No adult heeds the orphans' pleas. The trio escape his clutches through their own devises.

A viewer never develops much confidence in the film's dark side. The villainy of Count Olaf and his crew is cartoon villainy, lacking real menace. This throws off the balance between comedy and tragedy and denies Lemony Snicket of the very thing it wishes to wallow in -- the horrors in kiddie literature.

Carrey is again the master at physical comedy, contorting his body at gravity-defying angles and slipping chameleon-like from disguise to disguise. Yet there is something a bit hammy to his approach, a kind of wink to the audience that the wickedness is all play-acting.

Streep is quite funny as the unstable aunt, irrationally afraid of everything including objects and furniture in her own home. Connolly steals all his scenes as a herpetologist who wears a python around his neck while other reptiles wander his house. This is such a larger-than-life character that one rues his demise.

Working with production and costume designers Rick Heinrichs and Colleen Atwood, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki gives Lemony Snicket a stylized look that bleeds all primary colors from the scenes in favor of blacks, grays and browns. The sets are most wonderful with all their Dickensian melancholy exaggerated to reflect a child's point of view. If only the movie had adopted that tone.

LEMONY SNICKET'S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS

Paramount Pictures

Paramount and DreamWorks Pictures present a Parkes/MacDonald-Nickelodeon Movies production

Credits:

Director: Brad Silberling

Screenwriter: Robert Gordon

Based on the books by: Daniel Handler

Producer: Laurie MacDonald, Walter F. Parkes

Executive producers: Scott Rudin, Julia Pistor, Barry Sonnenfeld, Jim Van Wyck

Director of photography: Emmanuel Lubezki

Production designer: Rick Heinrichs

Music: Thomas Newman

Costume designers: Colleen Atwood, Donna O'Neal

Editor: Dylan Tichenor

Cast:

Count Olaf: Jim Carrey

Aunt Josephine: Meryl Streep

Voice of Lemony Snicket: Jude Law

Violet Baudelaire: Emily Browning

Klaus Baudelaire: Liam Aiken

Sunny: Kara Hoffman, Shelby Hoffman

Mr. Poe: Timothy Spall

Uncle Monty: Billy Connolly

Detective: Cedric the Entertainer

Bald Man: Luis Guzman

White Faced Woman: Jennifer Coolidge

MPAA rating PG

Running time -- 107 minutes »

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Boxoffice preview: Families make 'Lemony' pledge

17 December 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures are betting that the star power of Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler is enough to lure people away from the shopping mall this weekend even though the Christmas rush is still on. With only a week left before the holiday, Paramount's Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events bows against Sony's romantic comedy-drama Spanglish today. And 20th Century Fox counters with its action-adventure remake Flight of the Phoenix. Set to open in 3,620 theaters, Lemony Snicket, a co-production with DreamWorks Pictures, reimagines the first three books of the wildly popular series by Daniel Handler. The dark, fantastical adventure showcases Carrey as the evil Count Olaf, who is charged with the care of three children after their parents die in a fire. The film from director Brad Silberling (Moonlight Mile, City of Angels) saw a slew of musical chairs before it was locked last year. Helmer Barry Sonnenfeld and producer Scott Rudin initially were on board but left because of budget cuts. DreamWorks then joined, bringing Silberling with it. Co-starring Meryl Streep and Jude Law, the PG-rated Lemony should do a wide range of business, bringing in young children and their families. Insiders place the film's opening at $30 million-plus. »

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Law and Frost's Nanny to Tell-all?

10 December 2004 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

A nanny who worked for Jude Law and Sadie Frost is reportedly in negotiations to sell her secret revelations on the divorced couple to scandal- hungry British newspapers. The Road to Perdition star and fashion designer Frost divorced in October 2003 following a turbulent marriage, and their children's carer hit the headlines for allegedly alerting police to a "domestic disturbance" involving the warring pair. According to London daily the Evening Standard, journalists are also desperate to acquire more details about the near-tragic occasion in 2002 when their daughter Iris swallowed part of an ecstasy tablet during a kids' bash at private members' club Soho House. Earlier this year, movie star Law was reportedly considering using a former nanny as a witness in a custody battle for their three children. »

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Boxoffice preview: Waiting for the Christmas rush

5 December 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

With Thanksgiving weekend over and Christmas still three weeks away, this weekend marks a pause as the boxoffice attempts to catch its breath and a lot of moviegoers turn their attention to other seasonal pursuits like shopping. Sony Pictures is the only distributor to venture into the frame with anything beyond a limited release as it debuts the R-rated drama "Closer" from director Mike Nichols. Patrick Marber has adapted his own play for the screen, and the film boasts a pedigreed cast with awards potential. Starring Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman and Clive Owen, "Closer" examines adult relationships and the ways in which they can be destroyed. Nichols is fresh off his widely acclaimed HBO miniseries "Angels in America". The director responsible for hits ranging from "The Graduate" and "Carnal Knowledge" to "Working Girl" and "The Birdcage" marks his return to the big screen after 2000's flop "What Planet Are You From?" starring Garry Shandling. "Closer" will bow in 476 theaters. »

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Ledger Uses 'Casanova' Charms on Miller

1 December 2004 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Australian hunk Heath Ledger has allegedly been taking tips from his latest movie Casanova to romance his co-star - Jude Law's girlfriend Sienna Miller. Film insiders say Ledger has been telling people he's attracted to Miller, who plays his on-screen love interest in the period drama, currently being shot in Venice, Italy. And Miller has allegedly remarked that Ledger has all the charms of a real-life Casanova. A close source says, "Heath is a younger version of Jude, with very similar pretty boy looks. And like Jude, he has an intense nature so it's obvious why Sienna enjoys his company. He's been telling people he really likes Sienna, because of her vivacious nature and English ways. The other day, Heath adjusted Sienna's bonnet and brushed her hair away from her face and there was a little outbreak of clapping and whistling from the crew. Heath appears beguiled by Sienna. It makes the on-screen chemistry even better." »

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Pregnant Roberts Misses 'Closer' Press

24 November 2004 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Pregnant Julia Roberts pulled out of press for her new movie Closer just 24 hours before Monday's interviews. The actress, who is set to give birth to twins in January, missed out on weekend press for another new movie Ocean's Twelve, but she was expected to join Closer co-stars Jude Law, Clive Owen and Natalie Portman for publicity in Los Angeles. But Roberts, who was admitted to hospital with contractions earlier this month, was a no show for press calls. Law understands, "She's resting. It was touch and go. We knew that she had to rest and this sort of situation has to be on the day. What's important is that she listens to herself and the doctors and the baby." Roberts also pulled out of Monday night's Hollywood premiere. George Clooney joked about her absence from the Ocean's Twelve press junkets: "I think it's all a bluff. She wants to get some attention." »

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Connery Wants McGregor As Bond

18 November 2004 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Ewan McGregor should be the next James Bond, according to former 007 star Sir Sean Connery. Star Wars actor McGregor was recently reported to be in negotiations to take over from Pierce Brosnan as the super spy - and Connery thinks he'd be a great choice if he's brave enough to take on the role. Connery tells Pagesix.Com , "He's very good. He should do it if he wants to do it. But it's a bit of a poison chalice. It is slightly more difficult than people realize because it has to look very comfortable and very easy and very cool." According to media reports, McGregor is battling it out with Colin Farrell, Hugh Jackman and Jude Law for the coveted role. »

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Streep Quits 'King's Men'

17 November 2004 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Veteran actress Meryl Streep has dramatically dropped out of the forthcoming All The King's Men remake. The screen star's sudden decision has left Steven Zaillian's film - a modern take on the 1949 Best Picture Oscar winner - in desperate need of a replacement. No reason has been given for Streep's departure, but some reports claim her hectic 2005 schedule forced her to quit the project, according to website EmpireOnline.co.uk. The original film followed the rise and fall of American politician Willie Starks from a rural country seat to the spotlight in Washington, DC. Sean Penn, Jude Law and Kate Winslet have all signed up to appear in the movie. »

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'Alfie' Flop Blamed on Election

10 November 2004 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Jude Law's latest film Alfie's poor results at the American box office have been blamed on last week's presidential election. The remake of the 1966 Michael Caine comedy only took $6.5 million during its opening weekend, and landed at number five in the US box office charts. Wayne Llewellyn, the president of distribution at Paramount, blamed the Republican triumph of George W. Bush's re-election may clash with the character's womanizing behavior. Llewellyn says, "It could be the mood of the country right now. It seems to be the result of the election. Maybe they didn't want to see a guy that slept around." »

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Farrell Doesn't Want James Bond Role

9 November 2004 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Colin Farrell has answered Pierce Brosnan's call for him to become the new James Bond - by declaring he doesn't want the role. Last week, Brosnan announced he would like fellow Irishman Farrell to follow in his footsteps and portray the suave spy. But Farrell tells Reuters, "The idea of me playing James Bond got into the press, but it is not true. I would not like to do it...they should find someone the audience has no history with. Anyway, Her Majesty's Secret Service wouldn't have me on the payroll." Finding a successor to Brosnan as agent 007 has been the subject of intense speculation for months, with Hugh Jackman, Jude Law and Ewan McGregor just a few in a long list of possible replacements. Brosnan fulfilled his four-film contract with Die Another Day in 2002. The next film is not slated to be released until 2006. »

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Stallone's 'Get Carter' Voted Worst Remake

2 November 2004 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Sylvester Stallone's 2000 reworking of the Sir Michael Caine crime thriller Get Carter has been voted the worst film remake of all time in a new poll. In a survey of 2,000 film fans by DVD rental company Screenselect.co.uk, a majority voted the Rocky star's version was abysmal compared to the 1971 classic. Unfortunately for Jude Law, the recently-released Alfie film - another Caine remake - was also slammed and came in at number six in the poll. The Anne Heche-starring 1998 version of the Psycho horror film followed Get Carter at two and this year's flop Thunderbirds entered at three. The top ten also included Point of No Return at four, Charlie's Angels at five, Planet Of The Apes at seven, Starsky And Hutch at eight and Cape Fear at nine. Surprisingly 2001 blockbuster Ocean's Eleven came in at ten, despite most film reviews lauding the George Clooney film as better than the 1960 original. »

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Hollywood Hunks Sob for Artist

29 October 2004 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Hollywood hunks including Jude Law, Robert Downey, Jr. and Laurence Fishburne amazed artist Sam Taylor-Wood with their heart-felt sobs for her bizarre new exhibition, Crying Men. The photographer asked the actors to produce real tears for a series of images which she hopes capture the vulnerable sides of the movie stars. She is particularly proud of pictures of the Cold Mountain hunk weeping in a foetal position and a portrait of Reservoir Dogs star Michael Madsen betraying his hard-man image by crying hysterically. Taylor-Wood explains, "Some of the men cried before I even finished loading the camera, but others found it really difficult. People can decide for themselves which they think are the authentic tears and which they think are fake. It's about the idea of taking these big, masculine men and showing a different side." The exhibition opens tomorrow at London's White Cube gallery. »

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Tomei Skipped 'Alfie' Premiere for Chinese Food

20 October 2004 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Sexy actress Marisa Tomei decided to skip the screening of her new movie Alfie at its London premiere on Thursday-because she wanted to eat Chinese food instead. The Oscar-winning beauty admits that while she happily graced the red carpet alongside co-stars Jude Law and Sienna Miller at the event, she refused to actually watch the film. She explains, "I haven't seen it yet. I get too nervous, actually. I went to the premiere and then I left for Chinese food and then I returned for the party. It was nerve-wracking with so many people. But Susan Sarandon, who's also in the movie, was saying that she likes to stay and watch it with a lot of people, but I feel vulnerable like that." Tomei insists she'll watch the movie just once and then "that's it". »

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Law: "Engagement Stories Were Awkward"

19 October 2004 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Movie star Jude Law cringed when the British press claimed he had proposed to his girlfriend Sienna Miller, because he had to explain to his friends and family there wasn't an engagement. Earlier this month the Sunday Mirror newspaper reported the handsome Londoner had asked his Alfie co-star lover to marry him in Venice, Italy, which was followed by denials by Miller. Law says, "There's nothing more uncomfortable than being very happy and very much together and receiving endless phone calls from family and friends saying 'well done' because then you have to deny it." Law took the opportunity to make a plea to the tabloids to give him, Miller and his family some privacy, and to stop "making up" stories. He explains, "I think it's a terrible shame that the editors aren't recognizing their responsibility. It just seems so careless and nasty. People are very generous in the street, but at the same time there is the obvious tabloid attention and scrutiny which is uncomfortable. The constant attention and hounding by photographers, that's an actual sort of physical violation." »

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Par moves 'Alfie' bow to November

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

Paramount Pictures is moving its release of Alfie back two weeks, from Oct. 22 to Nov. 5, in order to avoid a crush of upcoming films targeted at female moviegoers. Alfie, a remake of the 1966 film that established Michael Caine as a star, toplines Jude Law as an unabashed womanizer. On Oct. 22, it would have faced off against DreamWorks' holiday comedy Surviving Christmas, starring Ben Affleck, and Sony Pictures' thriller The Grudge, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. But then Fox Searchlight turned up the heat with plans to expand its I Heart Huckabees, currently in limited release, on that date. When Huckabees opened Oct. 1 in four theaters in Los Angeles and New York, it earned the best per-screen average of the year to that date, a resounding $73,044 per theater. It will attempt to consolidate its appeal when it goes wider Oct. 22. »

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Par moves 'Alfie' bow to November

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

Paramount Pictures is moving its release of Alfie back two weeks, from Oct. 22 to Nov. 5, in order to avoid a crush of upcoming films targeted at female moviegoers. Alfie, a remake of the 1966 film that established Michael Caine as a star, toplines Jude Law as an unabashed womanizer. On Oct. 22, it would have faced off against DreamWorks' holiday comedy Surviving Christmas, starring Ben Affleck, and Sony Pictures' thriller The Grudge, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. But then Fox Searchlight turned up the heat with plans to expand its I Heart Huckabees, currently in limited release, on that date. When Huckabees opened Oct. 1 in four theaters in Los Angeles and New York, it earned the best per-screen average of the year to that date, a resounding $73,044 per theater. It will attempt to consolidate its appeal when it goes wider Oct. 22. »

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Law Plans for Hamlet

8 October 2004 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Hollywood star Jude Law is planning a break from Hollywood, to return to the London stage. The actor enjoyed a successful run in the Christopher Marlowe play Doctor Faustus at the city's Young Vic theatre in 2002 - but this time he has a bigger role in mind. According to sources, Law wants to play Shakespeare's Hamlet for a limited run next year. »

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Miller Denies Law Engagement

7 October 2004 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Rising star Sienna Miller has angrily lashed out at reports her actor boyfriend Jude Law proposed to her. The English beauty, 22, and her beau of one year, were reported to have got engaged in Venice, Italy, at the weekend - where Miller is currently filming Casanova opposite Heath Ledger. Miller is so furious about British newspaper the Sunday Mirror's claims she is betrothed to father-of-three Law, she is considering legal action. She says, "It's complete nonsense. I am bemused as to where these reports have come from." Law is currently in legal battles with ex-wife Sadie Frost over monetary settlements and custody of their children Rafferty, 8, Iris, 3, and Rudy, 2. »

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Law Pays Out $18 Million to Ex Frost

4 October 2004 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Hollywood heart-throb Jude Law has agreed to pay ex-wife Sadie Frost $18 million after she threatened to go after half of everything he earns. The former couple, who divorced last year after nine years of marriage, are close to settling on a deal after months of bitter fighting. The stress of continuous rows has taken such a toll on fashion designer Frost that she is prepared to settle for the huge cash deal and put the past behind her, according to Britain's Daily Mail newspaper. A friend of Frost confides, "She has felt that until now she hasn't really been able to turn a corner because of the ongoing strain of fighting it out with Jude. She and Jude have started to mend bridges recently and that also contributed to her decision to accept the deal. She is also very happy with her new boyfriend Jackson Scott, and that has helped her see that she needs to pit everything with Jude behind her." The Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow actor will give his 37- year-old ex-wife the $9 million London house they bought together, as well as pay for their three children's educations, the costs of their nannies and their maintenance. Law will also pay Frost $45,000 every month to maintain her lifestyle as well as an initial lump sum of $5.4 million and half the proceeds from the sale of the London flat they also own. »

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'King's Men' puts Streep in campaign

29 September 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Columbia Pictures' remake of the gritty social drama All the King's Men is turning into a glamorous, star-studded movie. Meryl Streep is in negotiations to join the cast, headed by Sean Penn and Jude Law, while Kate Winslet and Mark Ruffalo are in talks about the project. An offer has already gone out to Winslet, while one is pending in Ruffalo's case. Streep, who most recently played an ambitious senator in The Manchurian Candidate, would play Sadie, an aide to Southern politician Willie Stark (Penn). Law is set to appear as protagonist Jack Burden, a journalist who falls under Stark's spell. Steven Zaillian is set to direct from his own adaptation of Robert Penn Warren's novel, which is based on the life of late Louisiana Gov. Huey Long. Phoenix Pictures chairman Mike Medavoy and president Arnold Messer are producing with Zaillian. Former Columbia executive Ken Lemberger, political consultant James Carville and Todd Phillips are executive producing. Phoenix Pictures director of development David Thwaites is overseeing on behalf of the company, with Amy Baer overseeing on behalf of the studio. Streep is repped by CAA. Winslet and Ruffalo are repped by WMA. »

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1-20 of 68 items from 2004   « Prev | Next »


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