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9 items from 2004


Walken, Liu, Rourke game for 'Domino'

6 October 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Tony Scott's Domino is falling into place with a cast that now includes Christopher Walken, Lucy Liu, Mickey Rourke, Macy Gray, Jacqueline Bisset, Edgar Ramirez, Mo'Nique and Shondrella Avery, sources confirmed. Currently in front of cameras, the project stars Keira Knightley in the real-life story of Domino Harvey, daughter of actor Laurence Harvey, who starred in the original version of The Manchurian Candidate. She ditched a career as a Ford model to become a bounty hunter. Mena Suvari also is on board for a role, and sources say the rest of the cast is expected to be firmed up shortly, with offers out to Dabney Coleman and Delroy Lindo. »

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Envy

9 July 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Opens

Friday, April 30

Taking in "Envy", the new Barry Levinson comedy starring the ubiquitous Ben Stiller and manic Jack Black (and featuring a scene-stealing Christopher Walken) is sort of like watching a TV talk show with a particularly strong guest lineup.

The banter is sufficiently witty and engaging for the duration of the broadcast, but any lingering effects are permanently banished with a casual flick of the remote control.

Hanging at times precariously by the thread of Steve Adams' seriously under-plotted script, the low-key picture gets by on the genial charisma of its cast, but it fails to rise to the occasion when it comes to building to a necessary comic pitch.

With Stiller on a roll after "Starsky & Hutch" and "Along Came Polly", and Black Red Hot on the heels of "School of Rock", the DreamWorks release (Columbia is handling international distribution) could initially draw fans, but ultimately DreamWorks will have to wait for "Shrek 2" because their coffers probably won't be turning green with "Envy".

Stiller's Tim Dingman and Black's Nick Vanderpark are best friends, next-door neighbors and co-workers whose relationship is seriously put to the test when one of them becomes ridiculously successful.

That would be Vanderpark. After driving his buddy crazy with his harebrained ideas for wild inventions without a shred of scientific data to back them up, Vanderpark manages to hit one out of the ballpark after his notion of making dog poop evaporate into thin air with a single spray of Vapoorizer becomes a multimillion-dollar industry.

Dubious from the start, Dingman passed on the opportunity to invest a couple thousand dollars in the pie-in-the-sky enterprise, and now he's literally living in the shadow of Vanderpark's triumph -- cast by a sprawling new mansion complete with vintage merry-go-round, bowling alley, archery range and imported Roman fountains.

Consumed with envy, much to the growing frustration of his wife (Rachel Weisz), Dingman strikes up a relationship with a nutty drifter (paging Mr. Walken), and that's when things really start spiraling out of control.

Levinson, as always, creates a comfortable working environment for his comic ensemble to strut its stuff, but this time out there just isn't very much to work with, thanks to a warmed-over plot that's all setup with insufficient payoff.

As a result, the laughs tend to come in fits and starts, built around individual set pieces rather than being generated organically out of the storytelling.

That may be why the Stiller-Black matchup doesn't generate the anticipated comic sparks, leaving Walken to effectively walk away with the picture. As the off-kilter and opportunistic J-Man, he manages to spin the most mundane of lines into comic gold with the mere accentuation of a single preposition.

Behind-the-scenes contributions are generally on the money, especially the wardrobe selected by Levinson's longtime costume designer Gloria Gresham, while Dan Navarro does his best Leon Redbone as the film's off-camera troubadour.

Envy

DreamWorks

DreamWorks Pictures and Columbia Pictures present in association with Castle Rock Entertainment a Baltimore/Spring Creek Pictures production

A Barry Levinson film

Credits:

Director: Barry Levinson

Producers: Barry Levinson, Paula Weinstein

Screenwriter: Steve Adams

Executive producer: Mary McLaglen

Director of photography: Tim Maurice-Jones

Production designer: Victor Kempster

Editors: Stu Linder, Blair Daily

Costume designer: Gloria Gresham

Composer: Mark Mothersbaugh

Cast:

Tim Dingman: Ben Stiller

Nick Vanderpark: Jack Black

Debbie Dingman: Rachel Weisz

Natalie Vanderpark: Amy Poehler

J-Man: Christopher Walken

Running time -- 99 minutes

MPAA rating: PG-13 »

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Man on Fire

9 July 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Opens

April 21

Denzel Washington plays an avenging angel in "Man on Fire", a full-throttle, good-vs.-evil thriller about an ex-CIA agent bent on eliminating, one by one, a ruthless Mexican gang of kidnappers and dirty cops.

Everything is straightforward save for director Tony Scott's fussy style of hyperimages and flash editing, which he has developed in such similar melodramas as "Spy Game" and "Enemy of the State". Washington commands the screen with calm assurance, shares it well with his tiny co-star, Dakota Fanning, during the first half of the story and pretty much carries the marathon-length movie on his broad shoulders, as he is in nearly every scene.

At nearly 21⁄2 hours, exhibitors might lose a daily showing with "Man on Fire". But it won't matter much as the film looks primed to do excellent boxoffice, with Washington pulling in above-average numbers for a film that should appeal to men of all ages and a good many women as well.

"Man on Fire" is actually a second go at the novel of pseudonymous author A.J. Quinnell by producer Arnon Milchan, who shepherded to the screen a 1987 French⁄Italian production starring Scott Glenn and Joe Pesci and directed by Elie Chouraqui. This production, of course, is considerably amped by Scott and a top-flight crew, with much time spent on atmosphere, stunts, conflagrations and dramatic confrontations.

Washington plays one of those burnt-out cases so beloved by thriller writers. In this instance, he is John Creasy, a former CIA assassin who has run out of people to kill. The only remaining target is himself. Alcoholic and without purpose, he drifts into Mexico to visit old pal and fellow ex-agent Rayburn (Christopher Walken). Rayburn fixes him up with a job as bodyguard to 9-year-old Pita Ramos (Fanning), daughter of stressed-out Mexican industrialist Samuel (singing sensation Marc Anthony) and his anxious Yankee wife, Lisa (Radha Mitchell). The family's smooth attorney (Mickey Rourke) has insisted on hiring a bodyguard as abductions occur round-the-clock in Mexico.

(The portrait of the country and its citizens is about as bleak as any studio picture ever made, essentially portraying Mexico as a cesspool of crime and corruption reaching upward into the social elite. Whether accurate or not, the movie is not likely to make Vicente Fox's top 10 list.)

Brian Helgeland's script can't help but traffic in predictable plot developments. Yes, Pita breaks down Creasy's resistance to life, even getting him to smile again and act as her swimming coach. And yes, Pita gets abducted and the ransom drop goes awry -- crooks beating other crooks to the prize -- and all is lost.

But Creasy, despite being badly wounded, methodically takes on the entire gang, a bloody trail of reprisals that leads to top cop Fuentes (Jesus Ochoa) and "the Voice" (Gustavo Sanchez Parra), who ordered the kidnapping. In this, he has the aid of Mexico's only apparent honest citizens, police inspector Manzano (Italian star Giancarlo Giannini) and fearless journalist Mariana (Rachel Ticotin).

Scott heightens the tension with cinematographer Paul Cameron's nervous, pivoting camera moves, Christian Wagner's quick edits, sudden shifts in motion, color and a dramatic play of light and shadows. Harry Gregson-Williams' percussion-driven Latin jazz score greatly pushes the mood of high anxiety.

While on fire, Washington plays it cool. Whether a drunk or revenge-minded killer, he is always in control. Fanning gets snatched away, which leaves a hole in the story, but Giannini and Ticotin help fill the gap by playing a pair of good guys who nevertheless exploit each other.

The film is always watchable, and the confrontations contain undeniable edgy excitement. But even if this weren't a remake, it would be a remake. Hollywood filmmakers have fished these waters so thoroughly that it's virtually impossible to land a big catch.

MAN ON FIRE

Fox 2000 Pictures and Regency Enterprises present a New Regency/Scott Free production

Credits:

Director: Tony Scott

Screenwriter: Brian Helgeland

Producers: Arnon Milchan, Tony Scott, Lucas Foster

Executive producers: Lance Hool, James W. Skotchdopole

Director of photography: Paul Cameron

Production designer: Benjamin Fernandez

Music: Harry Gregson-Williams

Co-producer: Conrad Hool

Costume designer: Louise Frogley

Editor: Christian Wagner

Cast:

Creasy: Denzel Washington

Pita: Dakota Fanning

Samuel: Marc Anthony

Lisa: Radha Mitchell

Rayburn: Christopher Walken

Manzano: Giancarlo Giannini

Mariana: Rachel Ticotin

Fuentes: Jesus Ochoa

Jordan: Mickey Rourke

Running time -- 142 minutes

MPAA rating: R »

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Envy

30 April 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Opens

Friday, April 30

Taking in "Envy", the new Barry Levinson comedy starring the ubiquitous Ben Stiller and manic Jack Black (and featuring a scene-stealing Christopher Walken) is sort of like watching a TV talk show with a particularly strong guest lineup.

The banter is sufficiently witty and engaging for the duration of the broadcast, but any lingering effects are permanently banished with a casual flick of the remote control.

Hanging at times precariously by the thread of Steve Adams' seriously under-plotted script, the low-key picture gets by on the genial charisma of its cast, but it fails to rise to the occasion when it comes to building to a necessary comic pitch.

With Stiller on a roll after "Starsky & Hutch" and "Along Came Polly", and Black Red Hot on the heels of "School of Rock", the DreamWorks release (Columbia is handling international distribution) could initially draw fans, but ultimately DreamWorks will have to wait for "Shrek 2" because their coffers probably won't be turning green with "Envy".

Stiller's Tim Dingman and Black's Nick Vanderpark are best friends, next-door neighbors and co-workers whose relationship is seriously put to the test when one of them becomes ridiculously successful.

That would be Vanderpark. After driving his buddy crazy with his harebrained ideas for wild inventions without a shred of scientific data to back them up, Vanderpark manages to hit one out of the ballpark after his notion of making dog poop evaporate into thin air with a single spray of Vapoorizer becomes a multimillion-dollar industry.

Dubious from the start, Dingman passed on the opportunity to invest a couple thousand dollars in the pie-in-the-sky enterprise, and now he's literally living in the shadow of Vanderpark's triumph -- cast by a sprawling new mansion complete with vintage merry-go-round, bowling alley, archery range and imported Roman fountains.

Consumed with envy, much to the growing frustration of his wife (Rachel Weisz), Dingman strikes up a relationship with a nutty drifter (paging Mr. Walken), and that's when things really start spiraling out of control.

Levinson, as always, creates a comfortable working environment for his comic ensemble to strut its stuff, but this time out there just isn't very much to work with, thanks to a warmed-over plot that's all setup with insufficient payoff.

As a result, the laughs tend to come in fits and starts, built around individual set pieces rather than being generated organically out of the storytelling.

That may be why the Stiller-Black matchup doesn't generate the anticipated comic sparks, leaving Walken to effectively walk away with the picture. As the off-kilter and opportunistic J-Man, he manages to spin the most mundane of lines into comic gold with the mere accentuation of a single preposition.

Behind-the-scenes contributions are generally on the money, especially the wardrobe selected by Levinson's longtime costume designer Gloria Gresham, while Dan Navarro does his best Leon Redbone as the film's off-camera troubadour.

Envy

DreamWorks

DreamWorks Pictures and Columbia Pictures present in association with Castle Rock Entertainment a Baltimore/Spring Creek Pictures production

A Barry Levinson film

Credits:

Director: Barry Levinson

Producers: Barry Levinson, Paula Weinstein

Screenwriter: Steve Adams

Executive producer: Mary McLaglen

Director of photography: Tim Maurice-Jones

Production designer: Victor Kempster

Editors: Stu Linder, Blair Daily

Costume designer: Gloria Gresham

Composer: Mark Mothersbaugh

Cast:

Tim Dingman: Ben Stiller

Nick Vanderpark: Jack Black

Debbie Dingman: Rachel Weisz

Natalie Vanderpark: Amy Poehler

J-Man: Christopher Walken

Running time -- 99 minutes

MPAA rating: PG-13 »

Permalink | Report a problem


Man on Fire

21 April 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Opens

April 21

Denzel Washington plays an avenging angel in "Man on Fire", a full-throttle, good-vs.-evil thriller about an ex-CIA agent bent on eliminating, one by one, a ruthless Mexican gang of kidnappers and dirty cops.

Everything is straightforward save for director Tony Scott's fussy style of hyperimages and flash editing, which he has developed in such similar melodramas as "Spy Game" and "Enemy of the State". Washington commands the screen with calm assurance, shares it well with his tiny co-star, Dakota Fanning, during the first half of the story and pretty much carries the marathon-length movie on his broad shoulders, as he is in nearly every scene.

At nearly 21⁄2 hours, exhibitors might lose a daily showing with "Man on Fire". But it won't matter much as the film looks primed to do excellent boxoffice, with Washington pulling in above-average numbers for a film that should appeal to men of all ages and a good many women as well.

"Man on Fire" is actually a second go at the novel of pseudonymous author A.J. Quinnell by producer Arnon Milchan, who shepherded to the screen a 1987 French⁄Italian production starring Scott Glenn and Joe Pesci and directed by Elie Chouraqui. This production, of course, is considerably amped by Scott and a top-flight crew, with much time spent on atmosphere, stunts, conflagrations and dramatic confrontations.

Washington plays one of those burnt-out cases so beloved by thriller writers. In this instance, he is John Creasy, a former CIA assassin who has run out of people to kill. The only remaining target is himself. Alcoholic and without purpose, he drifts into Mexico to visit old pal and fellow ex-agent Rayburn (Christopher Walken). Rayburn fixes him up with a job as bodyguard to 9-year-old Pita Ramos (Fanning), daughter of stressed-out Mexican industrialist Samuel (singing sensation Marc Anthony) and his anxious Yankee wife, Lisa (Radha Mitchell). The family's smooth attorney (Mickey Rourke) has insisted on hiring a bodyguard as abductions occur round-the-clock in Mexico.

(The portrait of the country and its citizens is about as bleak as any studio picture ever made, essentially portraying Mexico as a cesspool of crime and corruption reaching upward into the social elite. Whether accurate or not, the movie is not likely to make Vicente Fox's top 10 list.)

Brian Helgeland's script can't help but traffic in predictable plot developments. Yes, Pita breaks down Creasy's resistance to life, even getting him to smile again and act as her swimming coach. And yes, Pita gets abducted and the ransom drop goes awry -- crooks beating other crooks to the prize -- and all is lost.

But Creasy, despite being badly wounded, methodically takes on the entire gang, a bloody trail of reprisals that leads to top cop Fuentes (Jesus Ochoa) and "the Voice" (Gustavo Sanchez Parra), who ordered the kidnapping. In this, he has the aid of Mexico's only apparent honest citizens, police inspector Manzano (Italian star Giancarlo Giannini) and fearless journalist Mariana (Rachel Ticotin).

Scott heightens the tension with cinematographer Paul Cameron's nervous, pivoting camera moves, Christian Wagner's quick edits, sudden shifts in motion, color and a dramatic play of light and shadows. Harry Gregson-Williams' percussion-driven Latin jazz score greatly pushes the mood of high anxiety.

While on fire, Washington plays it cool. Whether a drunk or revenge-minded killer, he is always in control. Fanning gets snatched away, which leaves a hole in the story, but Giannini and Ticotin help fill the gap by playing a pair of good guys who nevertheless exploit each other.

The film is always watchable, and the confrontations contain undeniable edgy excitement. But even if this weren't a remake, it would be a remake. Hollywood filmmakers have fished these waters so thoroughly that it's virtually impossible to land a big catch.

MAN ON FIRE

Fox 2000 Pictures and Regency Enterprises present a New Regency/Scott Free production

Credits:

Director: Tony Scott

Screenwriter: Brian Helgeland

Producers: Arnon Milchan, Tony Scott, Lucas Foster

Executive producers: Lance Hool, James W. Skotchdopole

Director of photography: Paul Cameron

Production designer: Benjamin Fernandez

Music: Harry Gregson-Williams

Co-producer: Conrad Hool

Costume designer: Louise Frogley

Editor: Christian Wagner

Cast:

Creasy: Denzel Washington

Pita: Dakota Fanning

Samuel: Marc Anthony

Lisa: Radha Mitchell

Rayburn: Christopher Walken

Manzano: Giancarlo Giannini

Mariana: Rachel Ticotin

Fuentes: Jesus Ochoa

Jordan: Mickey Rourke

Running time -- 142 minutes

MPAA rating: R »

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Rydell takes 'Shot' with Yari Prods.

22 March 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Mark Rydell has found his next project in Jump Shot. The project is being set up at Bob Yari Productions, with Bob Yari executive producing and financing the film. Rydell will direct and also will produce together with David Greathouse. Annette Bening is understood to be circling the project, for which she is being sought for a leading role. Christopher Walken is also involved in early talks about the project. The film is based on a script by Robert Tannen and is described as having a Traffic-like structure. Jump Shot intertwines three stories about how gambling and addiction destroys people's lives. Is is eyeing a summer shoot in Miami and New Orleans. Rydell's directing credits include On Golden Pond, The River and The Rose. Bening's most recent credits include Mrs. Harris, Being Julia and Open Range. Rydell, Greathouse and Tannen are all repped by ICM. Rydell is managed by Graham Kaye of CPG. Greathouse and Tannen are repped by Jeff Frankel and Scott Whitehead of Colden, McKuin & Frankel. Bening is repped by CAA. »

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Parker, Walken feeling 'Romance'

17 March 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

NEW YORK -- Mary-Louise Parker and Christopher Walken have signed on to star with James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon, Mandy Moore and Kate Winslet in United Artists' musical comedy Romance and Cigarettes, to be directed by John Turturro. Production begins this month in the Big Apple on the film, which also was penned by Turturro. GreeneStreet Films' John Penotti is producing, with Joel and Ethan Coen, Bruce Davey and Jana Edelbaum executive producing. Romance follows a cheating blue-collar husband who is forced to choose between his sexy mistress and his put-upon wife. According to the film's producers, Romance is "punctuated by lip-synched performances of popular songs" by artists including Irving Berlin, Nick Cave, Connie Francis, Engelbert Humperdinck, Tom Jones, Dusty Springfield and Bruce Springsteen. »

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Kidman Tried To Pull Out of 'Stepford Wives'

23 February 2004 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman reportedly tried to pull out of starring in new movie The Stepford Wives, after co-star John Cusack backed out of the project. According to American news site Page Six, Kidman was reluctant to make the movie after Cusack dropped out because of a family emergency, to be replaced by Matthew Broderick - and she had to be persuaded by producer Scott Rudin to stay on board. A source tells Page Six, "She was intrigued about working with John Cusack. She didn't want to play against Matthew Broderick." The film - which also stars Bette Midler, Glenn Close and Christopher Walken - is due for release in the summer, but Page Six sources claim producers recently shot an extra eight weeks of footage and are battling to put the film together after a disappointing first trailer. »

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Walken plays money man in NL 'Crashers'

23 January 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Christopher Walken is in negotiations to star opposite Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in New Line Cinema's The Wedding Crashers. Tapestry Films' Andrew Panay and Peter Abrams are producing. The romantic comedy revolves around two guys who have a hobby of crashing weddings in order to meet girls. While crashing a random nuptial, one of them unexpectedly falls in love with a bridesmaid. Walken would play the girl's father, who happens to be the U.S. Treasury secretary. Crashers was penned by the writing team of Steve Faber and Bob Fisher. New Line production executives Richard Brener, Cale Boyter and Magnus Kim are overseeing for the studio. Walken most recently appeared in The Rundown. He was nominated for a best supporting Oscar for his work in 2002's Catch Me If You Can and won a best supporting actor Oscar for 1978's The Deer Hunter. His other credits include Pulp Fiction and True Romance, and he next appears in Man on Fire and The Stepford Wives. Walken is repped by ICM. »

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9 items from 2004


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