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1-20 of 28 items from 2006   « Prev | Next »


'Apocalypto' clips 'Holiday' on Friday

11 December 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Mel Gibson's bloody-minded Apocalypto carved out a small victory at the boxoffice Friday as it edged ahead of Nancy Meyer's love potion The Holiday.

According to the boxoffice tracking site boxofficemojo.com, Buena Vista's R-rated Apocalypto, even without benefit of stars, took first place for the day with an estimated $4.95 million.

In second place, Sony Pictures' PG-13 rated Holiday, which boasts the starring quartet of Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Kate Winslet and Jack Black, attracted an estimated $4.4 million, which could still allow it to take the entire weekend if it enjoys a strong Saturday.

Even though it features Leonardo DiCaprio as an African adventurer, Warner Bros. Pictures' Blood Diamond, directed by Edward Zwick, fell behind the marketplace leaders, debuting in fourth place with an estimated $2.68 million.

The weekend's other new wide release, Warners' comedy Unaccompanied Minors, which is aimed at kids, had to settle for a seventh-place bow with an estimated $1.6 million.

Meanwhile, both Happy Feet and Casino Royale, both entering their fourth weekend, continued to hang in.

The animated Happy Feet stood in third place with an estimated $3.1 million, while the action-packed Casino Royale grabbed the fifth spot with an estimated $2.6 million.

BACKGROUND

Boxoffice preview: Mayans, miners in culture clash

Published Dec. 8

By Nicole Sperling

It's likely to be a photo finish at the boxoffice this weekend when three wide releases targeting adults -- Warner Bros. Pictures' Blood Diamond, Buena Vista Pictures' Apocalypto and Sony Pictures' The Holiday -- are sent out into the marketplace.

?All are looking to lure a very busy preholiday audience this frame. Warners will up the ante by unveiling a second wide release, the family-oriented Unaccompanied Minors, which the studio hopes will be a holiday success in the vein of 20th Century Fox's 1990 hit Home Alone.

Warners unveils its Oscar hopeful Diamond in 1,910 theaters. »

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'Apocalypto' clips 'Holiday' on Friday

9 December 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Mel Gibson's bloody-minded Apocalypto carved out a small victory at

the boxoffice Friday as it edged ahead of Nancy Meyer's love potion The Holiday.

According to the boxoffice tracking site boxofficemojo.com, Buena

Vista's R-rated Apocalypto, even without benefit of stars, took first

place for the day with an estimated $4.95 million.

In second place, Sony Pictures' PG-13 rated Holiday, which boasts the

starring quartet of Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Kate Winslet and Jack Black,

attracted an estimated $4.4 million, which could still allow it to take the

entire weekend if it enjoys a strong Saturday.

Even though it features Leonardo DiCaprio as an African adventurer,

Warner Bros. Pictures' Blood Diamond, directed by Edward Zwick, fell

behind the marketplace leaders, debuting in fourth place with an estimated

$2.68 million.

The weekend's other new wide release, Warners' comedy "Unaccompanied

Minors," which is aimed at kids, had to settle for a seventh-place bow with

an estimated $1.6 million.

Meanwhile, both Happy Feet and Casino Royale, both entering their

fourth weekend, continued to hang in.

The animated Happy Feet stood in third place with an estimated $3.1

million, while the action-packed Casino Royale grabbed the fifth spot with an estimated $2.6 million.

BACKGROUND

Boxoffice preview: Mayans, miners in culture clash

Published Dec. 8

By Nicole Sperling

It's likely to be a photo finish at the boxoffice this weekend when three wide releases targeting adults -- Warner Bros. Pictures' Blood Diamond, Buena Vista Pictures' Apocalypto and Sony Pictures' The Holiday -- are sent out into the marketplace.

?All are looking to lure a very busy preholiday audience this frame. Warners will up the ante by unveiling a second wide release, the family-oriented Unaccompanied Minors, which the studio hopes will be a holiday success in the vein of 20th Century Fox's 1990 hit Home Alone.

Warners unveils its Oscar hopeful Diamond in 1,910 theaters. From director Edward Zwick, Diamond is set in Sierra Leone and centers on "conflict diamonds" -- those mined in a war zone and sold clandestinely to finance war. »

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The Holiday

1 December 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

What have we here? A holiday movie that doesn't make everyone grumpy? A romantic comedy with real sense of how romance feels, both good and bad, when caught in its throes? Such stars as Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black, who are funny, sexy, unabashedly wear emotions in plain view and can winningly play those quirky-ridiculous neuroses that light up movie screens? Pass the eggnog.

The Holiday goes down so smoothly that chef Nancy Meyers, the film's writer, director and co-producer, spent eons in the kitchen making everything look easy. But as the comic said on his deathbed: Dying is easy; comedy -- especially romantic comedy -- is hard.

At 131 minutes, this comedy runs a tad long, but the reward is deeper characterizations than most comedies enjoy. It's formulaic but with a big heart, so Columbia and Universal (domestic and foreign distributors, respectively) should savor plenty of Christmas cheer with this sophisticated adult holiday offering.

The movie pivots around a home exchange. Imagine two very unhappy women, both go-getters in work but disasters in personal relationships, who impulsively swap domiciles for the holidays over the Internet.

Amanda (Diaz) owns a top advertising firm that produces movie trailers in Los Angeles but has so little time for her semi-live-in boyfriend (Edward Burns) that she catches him cheating on her. Iris (Winslet), a reporter for London's Daily Telegraph, long ago caught her ex-boyfriend (Rufus Sewell) cheating on her -- with that girl in circulation on the 19th floor (strange how the specificity of that location puts her in her place). But she still carries a torch for him. One more thing: Iris cries too much; Amanda can't cry at all.

Iris gets the better bargain propertywise as Amanda's gorgeous, sleekly modern mansion contains all the electronic gadgetry that makes life so wonderful. Amanda gets a cozy country cottage that comes with an accessory never mentioned on its Web site: Iris' brother Graham (Law) is known to crawl back from the local pub a bit drunk and crash on the couch. An instantaneous affair blazes between these two like a flame that finds dry kindling.

Meanwhile, Iris makes friends with a neighbor, aging Hollywood screenwriter Arthur (Eli Wallach), who helps her out of her shell of low self-esteem and depression. During her adventures in Hollywoodland, which include blasts of December Santa Ana winds and a cheerful Chanukah party with Arthur and his cronies (Bill Macy and Shelley Berman), she encounters Miles the composer (Black). He's a surprisingly cool guy who wants to share his enthusiasm for movies and music with his actress-girlfriend (Miffy Englefield), yet she continually two-times him. It sounds oh-so-familiar to Iris.

Things take their course, but those courses aren't always predictable. Happy endings are, perhaps, expected, but Meyers arrives at them by routes often circuitous and unforeseen. Each detour provides deeper understandings of who these people are and how their pasts and hopes for the future often thwart happiness in their present lives.

The peripheral characters, especially the cheating mates, get short shift. But the main characters are intricately detailed with quirks, attitudes and mischief not unlike all the old classic comedies -- often with strong female figures -- the characters frequently refer to in their dialogue. Consequently, Holiday is a new old movie, expanding on classics caught late at night on cable TV and re-imagined in contemporary terms.

The film also reaps the benefits of a classy production team of cinematographer Dean Cundey and designer Jon Hutman that captures the essence of both the U.K. and West L.A.

»

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Law and Miller Split

13 November 2006 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Jude Law and Sienna Miller have reportedly split for good, blaming "fundamental differences" for the end of their three year relationship. The pair only reunited earlier this year after splitting in 2005 when Law's affair with his children's nanny Daisy Wright was revealed by a national newspaper. According to friends, the pair decided to end the relationship after a crisis meeting last week. A source close to the couple tells British newspaper the Daily Mirror, "Jude and Sienna decided it was over last week. Basically they had fundamental differences in their approaches to life. It was a mutual agreement because they both thought the relationship had run it's course. It's very sad for both of them. They both tried and tried to make it work but they couldn't see a future together and decided to separate." »

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Weinstein finds 'Blueberry' are fit for Picking

10 November 2006 | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

- Quick Links > The Weinstein Co. > My Blueberry Nights > Wong Kar-wai > Jude Law > Norah Jones > Rachel Weisz > Natalie Portman > In The Mood For Love > Ashes of Time > Chungking Express > Days of Being Wild Aggressively buying up what shall be a very healthy slate of films for 07’, The Weinstein Co. have got themselves perhaps the (early prediction here) crown jewel acquisition. Variety reports that the company has bought all U.S. rights to Wong Kar Wai's newest feature which he co-wrote with Lawrence Block. My Blueberry Nights is based on a short film that Wong shot in Hong Kong, this sees a shopkeeper fall for a mysterious female client who eats blueberry pies. Jones stars as a young woman who travels across America to find the true meaning of love, encountering offbeat characters along the way. Shot in NYC, the ensemble English-speaking cast lead by first time actress (singer) Norah Jones includes: Ed Harris, »

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Weinstein Co. picks 'Blueberry'

9 November 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

The Weinstein Co. has nabbed all U.S., Australian and New Zealand rights to Wong Kar Wai's romantic comedy "My Blueberry Nights" starring Norah Jones, Jude Law, David Strathairn, Rachel Weisz, Tim Roth and Natalie Portman.

"Nights" marks Wong's English-language feature debut and the feature-film acting debut of singer Jones, who will play a woman taking a long road trip to find true love. The feature, filled with eccentric characters she meets along the way, was shot on locations across the country in the summer.

"Ten years ago, Harvey Weinstein played a key role in introducing my work to American audiences with 'Chungking Express, ' " said Wong, who was the jury president at May's Festival de Cannes. "It's a pleasure to be reunited with an old friend at this new phase of my career."

Wong wrote "Nights" with Lawrence Block and produced the project with Jean Louis Piel, Jacky Pang and Wang Wei. The Block 2 Distribution presentation is a co-production of Jet Tone Films and Lou Yi Limited.

Weinstein Co. executive vps and co-heads of acquisitions Michelle Krumm and Maeva Gatineau and senior vp business and legal affairs Laine Kline negotiated the deal with StudioCanal executive vp international sales Muriel Sauzay and director of international sales Saya Huddleston. Irene Leung negotiated on behalf of Block 2 Distribution. StudioCanal is handling international sales. »

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All the King's Men

9 October 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

TORONTO -- You would not immediately think of Sean Penn for the role of Willie Stark, the powerful and hugely ambitious Southern politician around whom Robert Penn Warren's famous 1946 novel revolves. You think of a Big Man because the character was modeled after Louisiana's flamboyant governor Huey P. Long and was played in the original 1949 movie by Broderick Crawford, both stocky men. But Penn fills the screen with this cagey and cunning character, his oratory so loquacious an enemy would vote for him and a body seeming to move in several different directions with every step. In one of his greatest screen performances, Penn nails the contradictory and compelling genius of a small-time rural pol, who dreams and schemes his way to the top of a corrupt system designed to keep men like him on the outside.

This charismatic performance, surrounded by incisive turns by an all-star ensemble cast, gives furious energy to a movie that doesn't seem to know how to contain it. Writer-director Steven Zaillian's questionable solution is to fit this rambunctious portrait of unruly Southern politics in a monumental frame where Southern Gothic meets Leni Riefenstahl. Neo-classical buildings and old-money mansions tower over mere mortals or glower with oligarchic rage. Ominous darkness reaches into the corners of a screen that is as close to black-and-white as a color movie can achieve. James Horner's music thunders so melodramatically you expect lightning to fill the sky at any moment.

Audience can certainly find entertainment in this movie, so long as no one takes things too seriously. One suspects, however, that Zaillian and a vast team of producers and executive producers that includes political consultant and pundit James Carville believe they are making a serious commentary on American politics. It comes closer to kitsch. Columbia Pictures will have a job selling a movie where drawbacks nearly equal winning attributes, and its great star has never meant much at the boxoffice.

Curiously, Zaillian moves the story from the 1930s to the postwar era, apparently to let Willie Stark deliver his common-man message to integrated audiences, making it seem as if Stark/Long reached out to poor blacks as well as poor whites. He certainly never did.

This particular type of demagogue grew out of a rural region in a Southern state dominated by cigar-smoking old-boy politics of the worst sort. To defeat such men, Willie had to use their own methods against them. Thus, the idealist often worked outside the law and believed the ends always justified any means. Penn, in even Willie's earliest moments as a hick politician in a backwater town, conveys this duality. He truly believes in the hopes and aspirations of his "fellow hicks," but know he can't deliver on his promise by playing fair.

Lapsed idealist and alcoholic journalist Jack Burden (Jude Law), the novel and movie's eyes and ears, picks up on this aspect of Willie right away. From Old Southern aristocracy himself, he gloms onto Willie as a breath of fresh air blowing through smoke-filled rooms. Jack joins Willie's administration after he is elected. But when the governor is threatened by impeachment, Willie asks Jack to dig up dirt on the prominent Judge Irwin (Anthony Hopkins), a man who acted as father to Jack between and during his mother's (Kathy Baker) four marriages.

His reluctant sleuthing proves everyone's undoing as Jack is forced to confront his own past, including his long lost love, the daughter of a former governor, Anne Stanton (Kate Winslet), and her melancholy brother Adam (Mark Ruffalo), the story's only true idealist. Meanwhile, Willis' press attache and sometime lover Sadie (Patricia Clarkson) jealously stirs the pot while Tiny Duffy (James Gandolfini), a man of wide girth and low cunning, prods everyone with jabs of unimaginative pragmatism.

Subplots from the novel get shorn or abbreviated as the movie takes great leaps to get to its crucial moments. It can't afford too much subtlety, but then Willie is not a subtle guy. Nevertheless, the hammy neo-Third Reich trappings of the production design and cinematography feel disingenuous and imposed on a milieu and a political climate that produced a different kind of corruption. What you are left with then is a towering performance as Penn plays one of the great figures of 20th century American literature with a verve and vitality that is breathtaking. »

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All the King's Men

21 September 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

This review was written for the festival screening of All the King's Men.

TORONTO -- You would not immediately think of Sean Penn for the role of Willie Stark, the powerful and hugely ambitious Southern politician around whom Robert Penn Warren's famous 1946 novel revolves. You think of a big man because the character was modeled after Louisiana's flamboyant governor Huey P. Long and was played in the original 1949 movie by Broderick Crawford, both stocky men. But Penn fills the screen with this cagey and cunning character, his oratory so loquacious an enemy would vote for him and a body seeming to move in several different directions with every step. In one of his greatest screen performances, Penn nails the contradictory and compelling genius of a small-time rural pol, who dreams and schemes his way to the top of a corrupt system designed to keep men like him on the outside.

This charismatic performance, surrounded by incisive turns by an all-star ensemble cast, gives furious energy to a movie that doesn't seem to know how to contain it. Writer-director Steven Zaillian's questionable solution is to fit this rambunctious portrait of unruly Southern politics in a monumental frame where Southern Gothic meets Leni Riefenstahl. Neo-classical buildings and old-money mansions tower over mere mortals or glower with oligarchic rage. Ominous darkness reaches into the corners of a screen that is as close to black-and-white as a color movie can achieve. James Horner's music thunders so melodramatically you expect lightning to fill the sky at any moment.

Audience can certainly find entertainment in this movie, so long as no one takes things too seriously. One suspects, however, that Zaillian and a vast team of producers and executive producers that includes political consultant and pundit James Carville believe they are making a serious commentary on American politics. It comes closer to kitsch. Columbia Pictures will have a job selling a movie where drawbacks nearly equal winning attributes, and its great star has never meant much at the boxoffice.

Curiously, Zaillian moves the story from the 1930s to the postwar era, apparently to let Willie Stark deliver his common-man message to integrated audiences, making it seem as if Stark/Long reached out to poor blacks as well as poor whites. He certainly never did.

This particular type of demagogue grew out of a rural region in a Southern state dominated by cigar-smoking old-boy politics of the worst sort. To defeat such men, Willie had to use their own methods against them. Thus, the idealist often worked outside the law and believed the ends always justified any means. Penn, in even Willie's earliest moments as a hick politician in a backwater town, conveys this duality. He truly believes in the hopes and aspirations of his "fellow hicks," but know he can't deliver on his promise by playing fair.

Lapsed idealist and alcoholic journalist Jack Burden (Jude Law), the novel and movie's eyes and ears, picks up on this aspect of Willie right away. From Old Southern aristocracy himself, he gloms onto Willie as a breath of fresh air blowing through smoke-filled rooms. Jack joins Willie's administration after he is elected. But when the governor is threatened by impeachment, Willie asks Jack to dig up dirt on the prominent Judge Irwin (Anthony Hopkins), a man who acted as father to Jack between and during his mother's (Kathy Baker) four marriages.

His reluctant sleuthing proves everyone's undoing as Jack is forced to confront his own past, including his long lost love, the daughter of a former governor, Anne Stanton (Kate Winslet), and her melancholy brother Adam (Mark Ruffalo), the story's only true idealist. Meanwhile, Willis' press attache and sometime lover Sadie (Patricia Clarkson) jealously stirs the pot while Tiny Duffy (James Gandolfini), a man of wide girth and low cunning, prods everyone with jabs of unimaginative pragmatism.

Subplots from the novel get shorn or abbreviated as the movie takes great leaps to get to its crucial moments. It can't afford too much subtlety, but then Willie is not a subtle guy. Nevertheless, the hammy neo-Third Reich trappings of the production design and cinematography feel disingenuous and imposed on a milieu and a political climate that produced a different kind of corruption. What you are left with then is a towering performance as Penn plays one of the great figures of 20th century American literature with a verve and vitality that is breathtaking.

ALL THE KING'S MEN

Columbia Pictures in association with Relatively Media a Phoenix Pictures production

Writer/director: Steven Zaillian

Based on the novel by Robert Penn Warren

Producers: Mike Medavoy, Arnold W. Messer, Ken Lemberger, Steven Zaillian

Executive producers: Todd Phillips, Andreas Schmid, Michael Hausman, David Thwaites, James Carville, Andy Grosch, Ryan Kavanaugh

Director of photography: Pawel Edelman

Production designer: Patrizia Von Brandenstein

Costumes: Marit Allen

Music: James Horner

Editor: Wayne Wahrman

Cast:

Willie Stark: Sean Penn

Jack Burden: Jude Law

Judge Irwin: Anthony Hopkins

Anne Stanton; Kate Winslet

Adam Stanton: Mark Ruffalo

Sadie Burke: Patricia Clarkson

Tiny Duffy: James Gandolfini

Sugar Boy: Jackie Earle Haley

Mrs. Burden: Kathy Baker

Running time -- 128 minutes

MPAA rating: PG-13 »

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Penn & Law Celebrate New Orleans Recovery with Film Premiere

18 September 2006 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Sean Penn and Jude Law thrilled New Orleans, Louisiana on Saturday when they took their new film premiere to the devastated city - to say thanks to the people who helped them make it. Filming on All The King's Men wrapped just before Hurricane Katrina lashed the Gulf Coast last summer, and Penn and Law felt it would serve the community well to stage a big movie screening there. Hundreds of fans turned out to greet the actors and co-star Kate Winslet at Tulane University. On the red carpet, Law said, "The city welcomed us with such open arms and after Katrina, it was even more important that we come here." Director Steven Zaillian was proud to be back in New Orleans: "It's something everyone wanted to do. It just seemed right." Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco used the film's premiere to personally thank Penn for his personal efforts in the days following the storms. Penn was among the first celebrities to visit the devastated region and helped volunteers and rescue workers seek out survivors, clean up the damage and find refuge for the homeless. The movie star received a standing ovation after Blanco made her comments known. Another preview screening of the film is scheduled for Tuesday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where part of the movie was filmed. »

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Breaking and Entering

14 September 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

This review was written for the festival screening of "Breaking and Entering".TORONTO -- "Breaking and Entering", the first movie Anthony Minghella has directed from a screenplay of his own since his impressive 1991 debut, "Truly Madly Deeply", relates a commonplace story about a couple whose love has gone into eclipse so they must either repair or abandon the relationship.

What gives the movie its intrigue and vitality though is the neighborhood where the story takes place. Minghella's real interest seems to lie in exploring an area of his hometown of London that teems with immigrants from everywhere.

Because King's Cross -- what Americans might call an "iffy" neighborhood -- is undergoing extensive urban renewal, young professionals rub shoulders with people who have recently fled from war or privation in their native lands.

There is less animosity in Minghella's portrait of these collisions of class and ethnicity than may in fact be the case. He is determined that his characters will possess empathy, though, let's face it, some of that empathy stems from sexual attraction. All of which means "Breaking" is a tough movie to market.

The title makes it sound like a caper or crime film, and its themes can't easily be summed up in snappy ad copy. The film will need positive reviews and word-of-mouth to lead audiences to this often rewarding though occasionally pretentious story where a neighborhood is really the central character.

Will Francis (Jude Law) owns a landscape architecture company with his partner Sandy (Martin Freeman). The firm is a leading force in the revitalization of King's Cross. Indeed the men are so enthusiastic about seeing their heady ideas translated into reality that they decide to headquarter their state-of-the-art office in a renovated factory building in King's Cross.

People warn them that this is a bad place for an office. Sure enough, a gang of athletic youths led by Bosnian teen Miro (Rafi Gavron) breaks in and steals equipment and laptops. Suspicion falls on the African cleaning crew, which angers Sandy because he has a crush on one female worker. After a second burglary, Will stakes out the place at night in the hopes of catching the thieves.

Back at home, his absence is interpreted, justifiably, as an escape from domestic turmoil. He and his longtime live-in girlfriend, Liv Robin Wright Penn), a Swedish-American, are drifting apart as Liv is consumed with worry about her emotionally troubled daughter Bea (Poppy Rogers). While watching his office building, Will develops a peculiar relationship with a feisty Romanian prostitute, Oana (Vera Farmiga). They sit in his car and chat about life but this subplot is mostly serendipitous.

One night, though, he does spot Miro and gives chase. Will follows Miro to the flat he shares with his tailor mother, Amira (Juliette Binoche). To investigate the break-ins further, Will brings clothes for Amira to mend the next day. A friendship between these two blossoms, rather improbably, into a clandestine love affair. Only after they become lovers does Amira learn of Will's ulterior motive in coming to her in the first place. So to protect her son, she sets out to blackmail him.

While this is an original screenplay, you might think it stems from a novel the way characters ruminate about life and speculate philosophically in the middle of scenes. In this manner, theft becomes a major metaphor. Will and Liv must wonder which larceny is the graver crime: Miro's theft of Will's possessions or Will's theft of his mother's heart.

The saving grace to all this moralizing and musing is that Minghella does not go for easy answers. Characters are caught in confusion because of conflicted feelings. Often they do the wrong thing.

Minghella doesn't want to judge people. And his actors give him fine portraits in disorientation, of immigrants trying to get their bearings in a foreign land or professionals who feel perhaps guilty over invading the terrain of the new arrivals in the name of urban renewal. You sense that Minghella is unable to make up his mind about the issues he raises and the behavior of his characters.

"Breaking" not only has a sense of discovery of this cross-section of King's Cross but also a sense of disorder and randomness. Not every motive is pinned down not every act has a motive. Law makes a man who is at times a cad basically sympathetic. Binoche give the film's most touching performance as a woman who has not experienced physical love in a long while only to discover that it carries a steep price. Wright Penn makes Liv a woman who is ice but wants desperately to be heat. Gavron mirrors the dilemma of an immigrant youth torn between a Muslim and Christian heritage.

Obviously, Alex McDowell's production design and Benoit Delhomme's cinematography make major contributions in turning the ominous streets, row flats and enormous construction sites into a living, breathing character. The score, a mix of the group Underground and Gabriel Yared, supplies a poetic musical backdrop.

»

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Breaking and Entering

14 September 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

TORONTO -- Breaking and Entering, the first movie Anthony Minghella has directed from a screenplay of his own since his impressive 1991 debut, Truly Madly Deeply, relates a commonplace story about a couple whose love has gone into eclipse so they must either repair or abandon the relationship. What gives the movie its intrigue and vitality though is the neighborhood where the story takes place. Minghella's real interest seems to lie in exploring an area of his hometown of London that teems with immigrants from everywhere.

Because King's Cross -- what Americans might call an "iffy" neighborhood -- is undergoing extensive urban renewal, young professionals rub shoulders with people who have recently fled from war or privation in their native lands. There is less animosity in Minghella's portrait of these collisions of class and ethnicity than may in fact be the case. He is determined that his characters will possess empathy, though, let's face it, some of that empathy stems from sexual attraction.

All of which means Breaking is a tough movie to market. The title makes it sound like a caper or crime film, and its themes can't easily be summed up in snappy ad copy. The film will need positive reviews and word-of-mouth to lead audiences to this often rewarding though occasionally pretentious story where a neighborhood is really the central character.

Will Francis (Jude Law) owns a landscape architecture company with his partner Sandy (Martin Freeman). The firm is a leading force in the revitalization of King's Cross. Indeed the men are so enthusiastic about seeing their heady ideas translated into reality that they decide to headquarter their state-of-the-art office in a renovated factory building in King's Cross.

People warn them that this is a bad place for an office. Sure enough, a gang of athletic youths led by Bosnian teen Miro (Rafi Gavron) breaks in and steals equipment and laptops. Suspicion falls on the African cleaning crew, which angers Sandy because he has a crush on one female worker.

After a second burglary, Will stakes out the place at night in the hopes of catching the thieves. Back at home, his absence is interpreted, justifiably, as an escape from domestic turmoil. He and his longtime live-in girlfriend, Liv Robin Wright Penn), a Swedish-American, are drifting apart as Liv is consumed with worry about her emotionally troubled daughter Bea (Poppy Rogers).

While watching his office building, Will develops a peculiar relationship with a feisty Romanian prostitute, Oana (Vera Farmiga). They sit in his car and chat about life but this subplot is mostly serendipitous. One night, though, he does spot Miro and gives chase. Will follows Miro to the flat he shares with his tailor mother, Amira (Juliette Binoche).

To investigate the break-ins further, Will brings clothes for Amira to mend the next day. A friendship between these two blossoms, rather improbably, into a clandestine love affair. Only after they become lovers does Amira learn of Will's ulterior motive in coming to her in the first place. So to protect her son, she sets out to blackmail him.

While this is an original screenplay, you might think it stems from a novel the way characters ruminate about life and speculate philosophically in the middle of scenes. In this manner, theft becomes a major metaphor. Will and Liv must wonder which larceny is the graver crime: Miro's theft of Will's possessions or Will's theft of his mother's heart.

The saving grace to all this moralizing and musing is that Minghella does not go for easy answers. Characters are caught in confusion because of conflicted feelings. Often they do the wrong thing. Minghella doesn't want to judge people. And his actors give him fine portraits in disorientation, of immigrants trying to get their bearings in a foreign land or professionals who feel perhaps guilty over invading the terrain of the new arrivals in the name of urban renewal.

You sense that Minghella is unable to make up his mind about the issues he raises and the behavior of his characters. Breaking not only has a sense of discovery of this cross-section of King's Cross but also a sense of disorder and randomness. Not every motive is pinned down; not every act has a motive.

Law makes a man who is at times a cad basically sympathetic. Binoche give the film's most touching performance as a woman who has not experienced physical love in a long while only to discover that it carries a steep price. Wright Penn makes Liv a woman who is ice but wants desperately to be heat. Gavron mirrors the dilemma of an immigrant youth torn between a Muslim and Christian heritage.

Obviously, Alex McDowell's production design and Benoit Delhomme's cinematography make major contributions in turning the ominous streets, row flats and enormous construction sites into a living, breathing character. The score, a mix of the group Underground and Gabriel Yared, supplies a poetic musical backdrop.

BREAKING AND ENTERING

The Weinstein Co./Miramax Films/MGM

A Mirage Enterprises production

Credits:

Screenwriter-director: Anthony Minghella

Producers: Sydney Pollack, Anthony Minghella, Timothy Bricknell

Executive producers: Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Colin Vaines

Director of photography: Benoit Delhomme

Production designer: Alex McDowell

Costume designer: Natalie Ward

Music: Gabriel Yared, Underworld

Editor: Lisa Gunning

Cast:

Will Francis: Jude Law

Amira: Juliette Binoche

Liv: Robin Wright Penn

Miro: Rafi Gavron

Bea: Poppy Rogers

Sandy: Martin Freeman

Oana: Vera Farmiga

Bruno: Ray Winstone

MPAA rating R

Running time -- 119 minutes »

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'Breaking' into Mill Valley

14 September 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

The 29th Mill Valley Film Festival, set for Oct. 5-15, will launch with two features, Anthony Minghella's drama Breaking and Entering, starring Jude Law and Juliette Binoche, and Kevin Macdonald's The Last King of Scotland, starring Forest Whitaker as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. The fest, which will present 231 films comprising 104 features and 127 shorts, will close with the world premiere of Mark Polish and Michael Polish's The Astronaut Farmer, starring Billy Bob Thornton. Tributes will be presented to Helen Mirren along with a screening of her new film, The Queen, and Tim Robbins, accompanied by a clip program and conversation with the actor. Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu will be honored at a Spotlight program, featuring an onstage interview and a screening of his latest film, Babel. »

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Law Still Angry Over Rock Attack

11 September 2006 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

British actor Jude Law is still seething over his Oscar night embarrassment last year - when host Chris Rock made fun of the prolific star's relentless screen appearances. Law was initially unfazed by Rock's quips, but he became infuriated when Rock sniped, "Who is Jude Law? Why's he in every movie I have seen for the last four years? He's in everything. Even in the movies he's not in, if you look in the credits he made cupcakes or something." All the King's Men star Law says, "At first I laughed because I didn't think he knew who I was. Then I got angry as his remarks became personal. My friends were livid. It's unfortunate I had five or six films come out at the same time." »

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'Sleuth' to put Caine-Law to Wits

7 September 2006 | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

- Quick Links > Sleuth > Kenneth Branagh > Jude Law > Michael Caine > Sleuth (1972) What do you do if you find out your wife is having an affair? Why ask the bloke over for dinner of course. That’s the premise for the remake of the 1972 Academy Award® nominated Sleuth set for release in 2007. Michael Caine is on board for this reprise, but this time he plays thriller-writer Adam Wyke, the scorned husband and socialite who concocts a scheme to get revenge on his wife’s hairdresser (Jude Law), with whom she’s having the affair. In the original film Caine played the lover. The ensuing chaos involves deceptions and counter-deceptions where each man tries to outwit the other. The project will be co-produced by Law under his Riff Raff Productions banner with Tom Sternberg and Simon Halfont. Law came onto the project 3 years ago when financier Castle Rock first purchased rights to the play version. »

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Premieres dominate Toronto's 352-film lineup

22 August 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

TORONTO -- The latest films from Paul Verhoeven, Ridley Scott, Anthony Minghella, Douglas McGrath and Patrice Leconte were tabbed for the red carpet treatment Tuesday as the Toronto International Film Festival released its full 352-film lineup. Festival organizers said they have booked world premieres for Minghella's Breaking and Entering, a Weinstein Co./Miramax drama about intersecting lives in London that stars Jude Law, Juliette Binoche, Robin Wright Penn and Vera Farmiga; and Scott's A Good Year, the Russell Crowe starrer about an investment banker who moves to southern France. 20th Century Fox will release the film Nov. 10. Both will receive high-profile festival sendoffs at Roy Thomson Hall, as will Leconte's comedy Mon meilleur ami (My Best Friend), starring Daniel Auteuil and Dany Boon, and Verhoeven's Zwartboek (Black Book), a Dutch-language thriller about a feisty German Jewish girl surviving World War II. »

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Premieres dominate Toronto's 352-film lineup

22 August 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

TORONTO -- The latest films from Paul Verhoeven, Ridley Scott, Anthony Minghella, Douglas McGrath and Patrice Leconte were tabbed for the red carpet treatment Tuesday as the Toronto International Film Festival released its full 352-film lineup. Festival organizers said they have booked world premieres for Minghella's Breaking and Entering, a Weinstein Co./Miramax drama about intersecting lives in London that stars Jude Law, Juliette Binoche, Robin Wright Penn and Vera Farmiga; and Scott's A Good Year, the Russell Crowe starrer about an investment banker who moves to southern France. 20th Century Fox will release the film Nov. 10. Both will receive high-profile festival sendoffs at Roy Thomson Hall, as will Leconte's comedy Mon meilleur ami (My Best Friend), starring Daniel Auteuil and Dany Boon, and Verhoeven's Zwartboek (Black Book), a Dutch-language thriller about a feisty German Jewish girl surviving World War II. »

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Premieres dominate Toronto's 352-film lineup

22 August 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

TORONTO -- The latest films from Paul Verhoeven, Ridley Scott, Anthony Minghella, Douglas McGrath and Patrice Leconte were tabbed for the red carpet treatment Tuesday as the Toronto International Film Festival released its full 352-film lineup. Festival organizers said they have booked world premieres for Minghella's Breaking and Entering, a Weinstein Co./Miramax drama about intersecting lives in London that stars Jude Law, Juliette Binoche, Robin Wright Penn and Vera Farmiga; and Scott's A Good Year, the Russell Crowe starrer about an investment banker who moves to southern France. 20th Century Fox will release the film Nov. 10. Both will receive high-profile festival sendoffs at Roy Thomson Hall, as will Leconte's comedy Mon meilleur ami (My Best Friend), starring Daniel Auteuil and Dany Boon, and Verhoeven's Zwartboek (Black Book), a Dutch-language thriller about a feisty German Jewish girl surviving World War II. »

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Frost Wins Payout

2 August 2006 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Jude Law's ex-wife Sadie Frost has won her libel battle against a British newspaper which claimed the actress and fashion designer attacked a young model. Associated Newspapers, which owns the Mail on Sunday, will pay substantial damages for the article last August alleging Frost mauled a guest on Elizabeth Hurley's TV talent show Project Catwalk. Frost's lawyer, Rebecca Leaver, told London's High Court on Monday, "The article suggested that during the Project Catwalk post-show party, Ms. Frost launched an angry and bullying attack on a young model whilst she was in the ladies' toilet and that Ms. Frost's attack was so appalling that it warranted her undergoing professional anger management treatment. The defendant has paid Ms. Frost substantial compensation for the damage and distress caused by their false allegations." The exact compensation sum has not been disclosed. »

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Miller Blasts Franco Romance Rumors

18 July 2006 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Sienna Miller has slammed reports she's dumped boyfriend Jude Law to start up a romance with her latest leading man, James Franco. Miller's representative, Ciara Parkes, tells American publication People photos that were published of the couple together were actually pictures from a scene they were shooting for the film Camille. She explains, "The pictures of Sienna were of her doing a scene at Niagara Falls with James. There were about a thousand people around them and it was a sad scene, the last scene of the movie. They are just joking about during takes." Miller and her 28-year-old co-star have been shooting the film in Canada for the past month. Meanwhile, Law has been filming My Blueberry Nights in New York City. Miller and Law were spotted together in the Big Apple several weeks ago, but haven't been seen together since. Photos of Franco and Miller looking cozy on set sparked rumors of an affair But a friend of Miller's tells the magazine there is no rift between the celebrity couple saying, "Sienna and Jude are still very much an item. Just because they are working in different locations doesn't mean they've split up. She and James are friends and even actors are entitled to have friends." »

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Jones Has Perfect Acting Aura

31 May 2006 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai insists Grammy-winning singer Norah Jones is the perfect choice for his latest film, even though she has no acting experience. Jones will star with Jude Law, Natalie Portman and Rachel Weisz in the film My Blueberry Nights, and Kar-Wai was convinced to cast her after seeing her "acting aura." He explains, "Of course everyone knows her because she's a singer, but I didn't pick her for this film because she's a very successful singer. I think she's suitable for acting. This is instinct. It's like how I felt that Faye Wong could act when I first saw her a few years ago. There's a very special aura." Wong was a Chinese pop star who appeared in his movies Chungking Express and 2046. »

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