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4 items from 2007


De Rossi Worried 'Nip/Tuck' Role Would Typecast Her

14 November 2007 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Actress Portia De Rossi almost turned down her latest role as a lesbian in U.S. TV show Nip/Tuck because she doesn't want to become typecast as a homosexual. De Rossi only accepted the part as Joely Richardson's girlfriend on the program after her real-life lover Ellen Degeneres persuaded her to play the "interesting" character. She says, "My relationship with Ellen is so public, and I thought, 'Am I going to play a romantic lead again?' I had that one moment of, 'Does this mean I'll be typecast as a lesbian?' And Ellen turned to me and said, 'So what?' And I thought, 'Oh yeah, right, so what?' I was offered romantic lead roles, and I turned them down because the lesbian seemed more interesting to me." »

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The Fever

13 June 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

9:30-11 p.m., Wednesday, June 13

HBO

The problem with The Fever isn't its production values or its performances or even the idealism that it wears on its sleeve. All of those are beyond reproach. What proves to be its undoing is the heavy-handed fashion in which the upper-middle-class white guilt story line plays out.

There is nary an ounce of subtlety in the screenplay from Wallace Shawn (My Dinner With Andre) and Carlo Nero, which Shawn adapted from his own stage play. It's all about the illumination that comes over one older woman after she takes a step back to examine her privileged life through the prism of a poor, war-stricken country, but the HBO telefilm -- shot entirely on location in Zagreb, Croatia -- sounds the same strident note repeatedly while at the same time neglecting the eloquence of restraint.

Because Vanessa Redgrave is the film's sole star, the project's politicization is hardly a shock. She's a dynamic and courageous actress, an Oscar winner and an artist of impeccable talent. But Redgrave also has a history of injecting her belief system into her work, or at least the tendency to accept those that jibe with her social mindset. Fever is no exception.

While its class-conscious heart obviously is in the right place, it makes its points with such obsessive self-awareness and altruism that it tends to trump eloquent points about the widening gap between haves and have-nots.

At the core of the movie's world view are its generic underpinnings. It's set in an unknown nation so as to apparently remove preconceived notions from the equation, and its characters (including Redgrave) mostly have no formal names. Redgrave is Woman. There also is Piano player, Thin young man and Bitter man. Star cameos abound, also in plain wrap characters: Joely Richardson is Woman at 30, Michael Moore (yes, that Michael Moore) is War correspondent and Angelina Jolie portrays the Young woman in the church. The conceit is that it doesn't matter who these people are or where they are; it and they are simple metaphors for grinding injustice.

Fever is set in motion by the feverish semi-delirium of a well-off English woman (Redgrave), who is briefly consumed by a mysterious illness while traveling in a dirt-poor nation ravaged by war, atrocity and the stranglehold of a rich ruling class. Her fever sends her imagination into overdrive and a "psychological voyage of self-discovery" (as an HBO news release puts it). Narrating her own tale, she reflects on the happiness and comfort of her nice little life in the West while at the same time awakening to the poverty, misery and brutality that is the lot of so many who don't happen to be born into such fortunate circumstances. She gets bummed out that she suddenly sees herself as more shallow and less worldly wise than she had ever imagined.

Yet while the film likes to think it is making profound points about inequality and unfairness, the scribes fail to connect the dots in a way that would bring Fever anything approaching true insight. Director Nero and director of photography Mark Moriarty bring a grayish, washed-out look to the production that effectively matches its downbeat outlook, and the players -- Redgrave in particular -- supply artistic heft. But this still is mostly a piece about the residual guilt suffered by the blessed rather than the towering chronicle of class-consciousness that it so aspires to be.

THE FEVER

HBO

Shawn Fever, Blumhouse Prods. and HBO Films

Credits:

Executive producers: Vanessa Redgrave, Jason Blum

Co-executive producer: Carlo Nero

Co-producer: Andrew Warren

Associate producer: Igor Aleksander Nola

Teleplay: Wallace Shawn, Carlo Nero

Director: Carlo Nero

Based on the play by: Wallace Shawn

Director of photography: Mark Moriarty

Production designer: Ivica Trpcic

Costume designer: Vjera Ivankovic

Editor: Mel Quigley

Music: Claudio Capponi

Casting: Siobhan Bracke

Cast:

Woman: Vanessa Redgrave

War correspondent: Michael Moore

Young woman in the church: Angelina Jolie

Diplomat: Rade Sherbedgia

Ranevskaya: Geraldine James

Violinist: Maxim Vengerov

Piano player: Vag Papian

Woman at 30: Joely Richardson

Jeffrey: Simon Williams

Woman's husband 30 years ago: Marinko Prga

Children: Lea Spisic, Raphael Sparanero, Tonka Simurina

Ballet dancers: Georg Stanciu, Jelena Knezovic

»

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The Last Mimzy

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

This review was written for the festival screening of "The Last Mimzy". PARK CITY -- New Line Cinema honcho Robert Shaye makes a rare appearance in the director's chair (his first since 1990's "Book of Love") bringing the well-regarded short story "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" to the big screen as the family-friendly fantasy "The Last Mimzy".

In the process the Lewis Padgett piece, first published in a 1943 science-fiction collection, has been turned into a reasonably engaging movie filled with fun visual effects and an appealing tone reminiscent of a certain Spielberg movie about an out-of-his-element extraterrestrial.

While the Shaye picture, which was given an advance preview in conjunction with a New Line 40-year retrospective conversation hosted by Sundance director Geoffrey Gilmore, won't be phoning home those "E.T". figures, "Mimzy" packs sufficient whimsy to make it a solid performer when it lands in theaters on March 23.

Despite the spelling change, screenwriters Bruce Joel Rubin ("Ghost") and Toby Emmerich ("Frequency") are unlikely to offend many purists in their update of the original work, about a box of educational toys that have been sent back from the future to the present. The original title took its cue from a line in Lewis Carroll's poem "Jabberwocky".

Here, the Mimzy in question is an innocuous-looking, well-traveled toy bunny found among mysterious items in a box that turns up floating behind the Wilder family waterfront vacation home in Seattle.

Opting not to share their discovery with their workaholic dad (Timothy Hutton) and overly cautious mom (Joely Richardson), siblings Noah (Chris O'Neil) and Emma Rhiannon Leigh Wryn) soon discover that playing with the newfound objects has a profound effect on their intelligence levels.

It's a development that doesn't go unnoticed by Noah's teacher, Mr. White ("The Office's" Rainn Wilson), who detects a higher purpose in the boy's complex geometric doodles that bear an eerie resemblance to the ancient configurations that keep popping up in his dreams.

Emma, meanwhile, has been picking up telepathically on Mimzy's warnings regarding the survival of the inhabitants of the future and has to act fast before special government agent Nathaniel Boardman Michael Clarke Duncan), who's investigating the source of a citywide blackout, gets to her.

Viewers willing to go along for the ride should be agreeably charmed by the yarn. And whenever developments threaten to push the boundaries of credibility a little too far, Wilson's character reins in the excess with his sardonic line delivery.

But even he can't salvage a jarringly clunky bit of product placement concerning Mimzy's internal make-up that yanks older viewers out of the mythology with little time left to bring them back into the fold.

Fortunately, Shaye ultimately manages to win enough of them over with the help of his inventive visual effects team, his energetic cast and a gently expansive Howard Shore score, assuring "Mimzy" a promising future.

THE LAST MIMZY

New Line Cinema

New Line Cinema, Michael Phillips Prods.

Credits:

Director: Robert Shaye

Screenwriters: Bruce Joel Rubin, Toby Emmerich

Based on the short story "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" by Lewis Padgett

Producer: Michael Phillips

Executive producers: Robert Shaye, Justis Greene, Sara Risher

Director of photography: J. Michael Muro

Production designer: Barry Chusid

Editor: Alan Heim

Costume designer: Karen Matthews

Music: Howard Shore

Visual effects supervisor: Eric Durst

Cast:

Jo Wilder: Joely Richardson

David Wilder: Timothy Hutton

Nathaniel Boardman: Michael Clarke Duncan

Larry White: Rainn Wilson

Naomi: Kathryn Hahn

Noah Wilder: Chris O'Neil

Emma Wilder: Rhiannon Leigh Wryn

Running time -- 90 minutes

MPAA rating: PG »

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The Last Mimzy

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

PARK CITY -- New Line Cinema honcho Robert Shaye makes a rare appearance in the director's chair (his first since 1990's "Book of Love") bringing the well-regarded short story "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" to the big screen as the family-friendly fantasy "The Last Mimzy".

In the process the Lewis Padgett piece, first published in a 1943 science-fiction collection, has been turned into a reasonably engaging movie filled with fun visual effects and an appealing tone reminiscent of a certain Spielberg movie about an out-of-his-element extraterrestrial.

While the Shaye picture, which was given an advance preview in conjunction with a New Line 40-year retrospective conversation hosted by Sundance director Geoffrey Gilmore, won't be phoning home those "E.T". figures, "Mimzy" packs sufficient whimsy to make it a solid performer when it lands in theaters on March 23.

Despite the spelling change, screenwriters Bruce Joel Rubin ("Ghost") and Toby Emmerich ("Frequency") are unlikely to offend many purists in their update of the original work, about a box of educational toys that have been sent back from the future to the present. The original title took its cue from a line in Lewis Carroll's poem "Jabberwocky".

Here, the Mimzy in question is an innocuous-looking, well-traveled toy bunny found among mysterious items in a box that turns up floating behind the Wilder family waterfront vacation home in Seattle.

Opting not to share their discovery with their workaholic dad (Timothy Hutton) and overly cautious mom (Joely Richardson), siblings Noah (Chris O'Neil) and Emma Rhiannon Leigh Wryn) soon discover that playing with the newfound objects has a profound effect on their intelligence levels.

It's a development that doesn't go unnoticed by Noah's teacher, Mr. White ("The Office's" Rainn Wilson), who detects a higher purpose in the boy's complex geometric doodles that bear an eerie resemblance to the ancient configurations that keep popping up in his dreams.

Emma, meanwhile, has been picking up telepathically on Mimzy's warnings regarding the survival of the inhabitants of the future and has to act fast before special government agent Nathaniel Boardman Michael Clarke Duncan), who's investigating the source of a citywide blackout, gets to her.

Viewers willing to go along for the ride should be agreeably charmed by the yarn. And whenever developments threaten to push the boundaries of credibility a little too far, Wilson's character reins in the excess with his sardonic line delivery.

But even he can't salvage a jarringly clunky bit of product placement concerning Mimzy's internal make-up that yanks older viewers out of the mythology with little time left to bring them back into the fold.

Fortunately, Shaye ultimately manages to win enough of them over with the help of his inventive visual effects team, his energetic cast and a gently expansive Howard Shore score, assuring "Mimzy" a promising future.

THE LAST MIMZY

New Line Cinema

New Line Cinema, Michael Phillips Prods.

Credits:

Director: Robert Shaye

Screenwriters: Bruce Joel Rubin, Toby Emmerich

Based on the short story "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" by Lewis Padgett

Producer: Michael Phillips

Executive producers: Robert Shaye, Justis Greene, Sara Risher

Director of photography: J. Michael Muro

Production designer: Barry Chusid

Editor: Alan Heim

Costume designer: Karen Matthews

Music: Howard Shore

Visual effects supervisor: Eric Durst

Cast:

Jo Wilder: Joely Richardson

David Wilder: Timothy Hutton

Nathaniel Boardman: Michael Clarke Duncan

Larry White: Rainn Wilson

Naomi: Kathryn Hahn

Noah Wilder: Chris O'Neil

Emma Wilder: Rhiannon Leigh Wryn

Running time -- 90 minutes

MPAA rating: PG

»

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4 items from 2007


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