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8 items from 2006


Walken To Play Ozzy Osbourne

8 November 2006 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Christopher Walken is to play Ozzy Osbourne in a new Hollywood movie. The Oscar winner will make a cameo role as the shock rocker in a new movie based on Motley Crue's 2001 autobiography The Dirt, Crue frontman Vince Neil has revealed. The book, fully titled The Dirt: Confessions Of The World's Most Notorious Rock Band, details the band's wild behavior. Osbourne toured with the band and appears in the book snorting a line of live ants and taking Lsd every day for a year. Val Kilmer is also lined up to play David Lee Roth in the film - but band members Neil, Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars and Tommy Lee will be played by unknown actors. Neil says, "How funny is that going to be. We're doing big, giant cameos with those people." »

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Man of the Year

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

Man of the Year is a comedy about a comic who gets elected president of the U.S. -- or rather that's how the film starts out, only writer-director Barry Levinson gets sidetracked. He diverts his film into a political thriller with its own conspiracy theory, an improbable romance and a curious subplot that feels like an anti-smoking ad. Little wonder his bewildered star, Robin Williams, looks confused much of the time.

Levinson once built a fairly unstable comedy around Williams' manic personality in Good Morning, Vietnam, and everyone laughed so hard that few noticed. But here confusion and mixed messages work against a coherent viewpoint -- and laughs.

The film wants to focus on the intersection of media and politics, which Levinson did in his very similar though much better movie, Wag the Dog. For that matter, Warren Beatty's Bulworth does a superior job of satirizing the fallout from a political candidate who actually tells voters what he thinks with brutal honesty rather than stay on a message designed by political consultants.

One problem here is that those consultants must have sat by Levinson's computer as he wrote. He is oh-so-careful not to make a movie that is too liberal or too conservative. No real issue is at stake, and Iraq and the war on terror do not exist. The result is a generic political movie without any real politics. So Man of the Year will offend nobody but just as likely will entertain very few. Boxoffice does not look promising after the opening weekend.

A popular TV pundit/comic, Tom Dobbs (Williams), cracks one too many jokes about running for president, only to discover that the Internet effectively has drafted him as an independent candidate. When Tom decides to run, this throws his entourage -- his chain-smoking, pragmatic manager Jack Menken (Christopher Walken) and rumpled, crusty head writer Eddie Langston (Lewis Black) -- into a tizzy. The film then imagines that in the electronic age a comic like Tom can buy no ads and wage a campaign via celebrityhood and the Internet and still get on the ballot in 17 key states.

Meanwhile, an evil software company has sold the U.S. on a too-easy-to-be-true national voting system. (Let's ignore the fact voting systems are run by states, not the federal government.) A diligent software analyst, Eleanor Green (Laura Linney) -- discovers a huge glitch in the system only weeks before the election, a discovery that the firm's legal counsel, Alan Stewart (Jeff Goldblum), will go to any length to bury.

Tom then gets elected president because of the glitch. So the rest of the movie focuses not on the real story -- what would happen were an intelligent and political savvy comic to ascend to the Oval Office -- but rather on a third-rate thriller about a corporation trying to destroy, corrupt or smear a disgruntled employee. Throw in an unconvincing romance between Tom and Eleanor along with Jack's smoking-related illness and you've pretty much blunted any satirical sharpness.

This confusion is reflected in the movie's look. Cinematographer Dick Pope shoots in a documentary style as if this were All the President's Men. Yet designer Stefania Cella's sets are from that not-quite-real world of Wag the Dog.

Toward the end, Levinson inserts speeches into his dialogue, as if suddenly realizing his message is getting lost: In one instance, Eddie erupts into a diatribe about how TV makes everything feel credible, elevating a Nazi apologist and a Holocaust historian to the same debate platform before undiscerning cameras.

Williams fluctuates between his sentimental/serious side and outrageous manic comedy, so you never quite know who this character is. Linney and Goldblum are playing serious melodrama, while Walken and Black are Woody Allen-esque showbiz creatures, constantly urging their protege to stick to comedy.

Too bad Man of the Year didn't have the courage of its convictions -- to say something meaningful and shrug off the fallout from the outraged extremes of the political spectrum. A feel-good political satire is not what the nation needs at this moment.

MAN OF THE YEAR

Universal Pictures

Morgan Creek

Credits:

Screenwriter-director: Barry Levinson

Producers: James G. Robinson, David Robinson

Executive producers: Guy McElwaine, David Coatsworth, Rob Fried

Director of photography: Dick Pope

Production designer: Stefania Cella

Music: Graeme Revell

Costume designer: Delphine White

Editor: Steven Weisberg, Blair Daily

Cast:

Tom Dobbs: Robin Williams

Jack Menken: Christopher Walken

Eleanor: Laura Linney

Eddie: Lewis Black

Stewart: Jeff Goldblum

Danny: David Alpay

Moderator: Faith Daniels

Running time -- 115 minutes

MPAA rating: PG-13 »

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Man of the Year

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

"Man of the Year" is a comedy about a comic who gets elected president of the U.S. -- or rather that's how the film starts out, only writer-director Barry Levinson gets sidetracked. He diverts his film into a political thriller with its own conspiracy theory, an improbable romance and a curious subplot that feels like an anti-smoking ad. Little wonder his bewildered star, Robin Williams, looks confused much of the time.

Levinson once built a fairly unstable comedy around Williams' manic personality in "Good Morning, Vietnam", and everyone laughed so hard that few noticed. But here confusion and mixed messages work against a coherent viewpoint -- and laughs.

The film wants to focus on the intersection of media and politics, which Levinson did in his very similar though much better movie, "Wag the Dog". For that matter, Warren Beatty's "Bulworth" does a superior job of satirizing the fallout from a political candidate who actually tells voters what he thinks with brutal honesty rather than stay on a message designed by political consultants.

One problem here is that those consultants must have sat by Levinson's computer as he wrote. He is oh-so-careful not to make a movie that is too liberal or too conservative. No real issue is at stake, and Iraq and the war on terror do not exist. The result is a generic political movie without any real politics. So "Man of the Year" will offend nobody but just as likely will entertain very few. Boxoffice does not look promising after the opening weekend.

A popular TV pundit/comic, Tom Dobbs (Williams), cracks one too many jokes about running for president, only to discover that the Internet effectively has drafted him as an independent candidate. When Tom decides to run, this throws his entourage -- his chain-smoking, pragmatic manager Jack Menken (Christopher Walken) and rumpled, crusty head writer Eddie Langston (Lewis Black) -- into a tizzy. The film then imagines that in the electronic age a comic like Tom can buy no ads and wage a campaign via celebrityhood and the Internet and still get on the ballot in 17 key states.

Meanwhile, an evil software company has sold the U.S. on a too-easy-to-be-true national voting system. (Let's ignore the fact voting systems are run by states, not the federal government.) A diligent software analyst, Eleanor Green (Laura Linney) -- discovers a huge glitch in the system only weeks before the election, a discovery that the firm's legal counsel, Alan Stewart (Jeff Goldblum), will go to any length to bury.

Tom then gets elected president because of the glitch. So the rest of the movie focuses not on the real story -- what would happen were an intelligent and political savvy comic to ascend to the Oval Office -- but rather on a third-rate thriller about a corporation trying to destroy, corrupt or smear a disgruntled employee. Throw in an unconvincing romance between Tom and Eleanor along with Jack's smoking-related illness and you've pretty much blunted any satirical sharpness.

This confusion is reflected in the movie's look. Cinematographer Dick Pope shoots in a documentary style as if this were "All the President's Men." Yet designer Stefania Cella's sets are from that not-quite-real world of "Wag the Dog".

Toward the end, Levinson inserts speeches into his dialogue, as if suddenly realizing his message is getting lost: In one instance, Eddie erupts into a diatribe about how TV makes everything feel credible, elevating a Nazi apologist and a Holocaust historian to the same debate platform before undiscerning cameras.

Williams fluctuates between his sentimental/serious side and outrageous manic comedy, so you never quite know who this character is. Linney and Goldblum are playing serious melodrama, while Walken and Black are Woody Allen-esque showbiz creatures, constantly urging their protege to stick to comedy.

Too bad "Man of the Year" didn't have the courage of its convictions -- to say something meaningful and shrug off the fallout from the outraged extremes of the political spectrum. A feel-good political satire is not what the nation needs at this moment.

MAN OF THE YEAR

Universal Pictures

Morgan Creek

Credits:

Screenwriter-director: Barry Levinson

Producers: James G. Robinson, David Robinson

Executive producers: Guy McElwaine, David Coatsworth, Rob Fried

Director of photography: Dick Pope

Production designer: Stefania Cella

Music: Graeme Revell

Costume designer: Delphine White

Editor: Steven Weisberg, Blair Daily

Cast:

Tom Dobbs: Robin Williams

Jack Menken: Christopher Walken

Eleanor: Laura Linney

Eddie: Lewis Black

Stewart: Jeff Goldblum

Danny: David Alpay

Moderator: Faith Daniels

Running time -- 115 minutes

MPAA rating: PG-13 »

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Stiller and Waters Return for 'Hairspray'

18 September 2006 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Former Seinfeld star Jerry Stiller has been added to the cast of movie remake Hairspray alongside director John Waters, who created the cult film. Stiller played Wilbur Turnblad in the original 1988 film, but will be recast as Mr. Pinky in the remake, which stars Christopher Walken and John Travolta as Turnblad parents Wilbur and Edna. Waters, who directed the original will also have a cameo in the film. Adam Shankman is directing the remake. Currently filming in Toronto, Canada, Hairspray is set to be released next summer. »

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Theatergoers Snub Streep and Kline

14 August 2006 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Fans who got a sneak preview of Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline's new play were left so unimpressed by the performance, some walked out after just 20 minutes. The Hollywood stars appeared in Bertolt Brecht play Mother Courage And Her Children earlier this week at New York City's Delacorte Theater. But despite many audience-members lining for hours to see the show, some became bored by the production's heavy content. The New York Post reports around 100 members of the 1,892-strong audience left early, with one theatergoer quoted as saying, "Meryl is brilliant, but the play itself is boring, tortuous - it needs judicious cutting. A number of people left after 20 minutes. Many didn't return after intermission and then, three hours in, during a long song by Kevin Kline, they were pouring out." The show's publicist Arlee Kriv insists no cuts will be made to the play: "The show is what it is - a long show." Kline took over the role of The Cook from Christopher Walken, who dropped out last month. »

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Kline Replaces Walken in 'Mother Courage' Play

14 July 2006 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Christopher Walken has been forced to pull out of a theatrical reunion with his The Deer Hunter co-star Meryl Streep due to conflicting schedules. The actor signed on to play The Cook in The Public Theater's Mother Courage & Her Children in Central Park, New York City, last month, but has since quit the project. He'll be replaced by Streep's Sophie's Choice co-star Kevin Kline. The Bertolt Brecht play will debut at the Delacorte Theater on 8 August. The play marks Kline's first stage performance since he was inducted into the Theatre Hall Of Fame. The actor is also set to play King Lear in the Public Theater's production of the classic William Shakespeare tragedy later this year. »

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Click

23 June 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

"Click" takes an old theme -- that life is to be cherished in each moment, even the seemingly insignificant ones -- and gives it a postmodern spin by dropping in funnyman Adam Sandler and a mischievous Universal Remote with its own Life Menu. The movie is gag-filled, as you would expect of a Sandler movie, but the filmmakers -- director Frank Coraci and writers Steve Koren and Mark O'Keefe -- realize they have hit upon an idea that is both clever and good, so they edge their comedy into some darker areas of human behavior. While the film pulls back from this dark side for a sunny ending, this nevertheless is light years removed from "Happy Gilmore" or "The Waterboy". So its anticipated boxoffice success will reflect Sandler's winning attempt to broaden his appeal.

Sandler's Michael Newman is established as a harried, workaholic architect determined to win the approval of his boss (David Hasselhoff) so he will be named a partner in the firm. Which leaves his lovely wife, Donna (Kate Beckinsale), and picture-perfect kids, Ben (Joseph Castanon) and Samantha (Tatum McCann), in the lurch. Dad hasn't any time to take a holiday or even finish that treehouse in the backyard.

Annoyed one evening when he can't figure out which of his remotes turns on the TV, Michael drives to a store to purchase a universal remote to operate all his electronic equipment. At Bed, Bath & Beyond, he slips through a door marked Beyond, which takes him to a shadowy warehouse/lab where a slightly demented guy named Morty -- Christopher Walken, who else? -- hands him a gadget that he promises will change Michael's life. It does.

Michael discovers that this remote can not only muffle the dog's bark, but let him fast-forward through arguments with Donna and skip the drudgery of work. The drawback is that the remote begins to program Michael: It anticipates, based on his previous preferences, the events he would like to experience and those he would choose to miss. Only now he is skipping over major sections of his life, fast-forwarding to the day he finally becomes a partner only to return home to a family irredeemably estranged from dad.

"Click" has a grand time aging people, portraying the results of a junk-food addiction over a long haul and seeing relationships crumble and resume at a click of a button. Clearly, this gag leads to serious themes explored in works as divergent as Harry Chapin's song "Cat's in the Cradle", Thorton Wilder's play "Our Town" and Charles Dickens' novella "A Christmas Carol", where a protagonist learns he must treasure everyday life just as it is and realizes the consequences of mistreating those who are close.

The logic of this Universal Remote is not completely thought through. If Michael can fast-forward in time, why can't he hit reverse and alter his destiny? More puzzling is that the devise seems to create two different Michaels. The one who hits the clicker is still sensitive to his desperate need for his family and their love. But the "bad" Michael, the one he catches up with in these time-travel leaps, is completely cut off, if not hostile, to family members.

Fortunately, Sandler sells the good Michael as a likable guy even when crazed with work and seems truly startled at this deviant version of himself. Michael's children, played at different stages by three sets of actors, grow up believably. However, Beckinsale's Donna isn't given much to work with other than an unlikely shift in her romantic affections.

Characters on the periphery -- Hasselhoff, Henry Winkler and Judy Kavner as Michael's parents, Sean Astin as a swim coach and Jennifer Coolidge as Donna's husband-cheating girlfriend -- are all caricatures.

The visual effects by Jim Rygiel and Pete Travers and special effects supervised by John Hartigan are part of the fun. The various design elements pull you into the world of the Universal Remote as well as a credible future complete with 2016 cars and Perry Andelin Blake's sleek production design, all expertly woven together by Dean Semler's crisp cinematography.

CLICK

Columbia Pictures

Columbia Pictures/Revolution Studios present a Happy Madison/Original Film production

Credits:

Director: Frank Coraci

Screenwriters: Steve Koren, Mark O'Keefe

Producers: Adam Sandler, Jack Giarraputo, Neal H. Moritz, Steve Koren, Mark O'Keefe

Executive producers: Barry Bernardi, Tim Herlihy

Director of photography: Dean Semler

Production designer: Perry Andelin Blake

Music: Rupert Gregson-Williams

Costume designer: Ellen Lutter

Editor: Jeff Gourson

Cast:

Michael: Adam Sandler

Donna: Kate Beckinsale

Morty: Christopher Walken

Ammer: David Hasselhoff

Ted: Henry Winkler

Trudy: Julie Kavner

Bill: Sean Astin

MPAA rating PG-13

Running time -- 106 minutes »

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Brando's Last Movie Back On

26 May 2006 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Shooting has resumed on Hollywood legend Marlon Brando's last ever movie. The Godfather star had completed all his scenes for Brando when he died in July 2004. But filmmaker Ridha Behi closed the project, about a Tunisian boy who travels to the US to meet his hero Brando and chase the American dream. Behi has now revamped and resurrected the film, which will now be called Citizen Brando, and will be part fiction and part documentary about the director's experiences with the star. Behi explains, "What I was highlighting in the film, the Arab-USA tensions, have even greater resonance, two years later." Christopher Walken will star in the fictional part of the film. Shooting has begun at the Cannes Film Festival, where Behi hopes to unveil the film next year. »

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8 items from 2006


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