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4 items from 2006


Harris, Palmer get dirty for 'Cleaner' pic

14 December 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Ed Harris and Keke Palmer are in negotiations to join the Samuel L. Jackson starrer Cleaner for Millennium Films.

Anonymous Content is producing the crime thriller, which centers on a man who specializes in cleaning up crime scenes and is drawn into a mystery when he cleans up the evidence at a murder before the killing is reported. Matthew Aldrich penned the screenplay, and Renny Harlin will direct.

Harris will play Jackson's former partner, and Palmer will play Jackson's daughter.

The film is set to begin shooting next month in Shreveport, La.

Jackson is producing alongside Anonymous' Steve Golin, Alix Madigan and Paul Green. Anonymous' Eli Selden and the Firm's Julie Yorn are executive producing.

Harris, whose credits include The Hours, A Beautiful Mind and Pollock, also directed Pollock. The four-time Oscar nominee next will co-star in Ben Affleck's feature directorial debut, Gone, Baby, Gone, which is based on the Dennis Lehane novel.

Harris is repped by CAA and attorney Melanie Cook.

Palmer is best known for her role in the spelling bee-themed drama Akeelah and the Bee. She next appears in the Disney Channel telefilm Jump In! and has an overall deal at Atlantic Records, with an album due out in the spring. »

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The Covenant

11 September 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

NEW YORK -- Early on in "The Covenant", one of the main characters, a teenager with supernatural powers, performs a dangerous stunt and proclaims, "Harry Potter can kiss my ass!"

Fat chance. This woeful horror flick directed by the formerly estimable Renny Harlin is mainly notable for the good looks of its hard-bodied young stars. Not that you get to see too much of them because like so many recent horror films, this one was kept to the gore and nudity restrictions of a PG-13. The film opened Friday sans press screenings.

The story, such as it is, has to do with a group of male students, dubbed the Sons of Ipswich, at a tony New England private school. These youngsters, descendants of the original settlers of the Ipswich Colony in the 1600s (the time of the Salem Witch Trials, natch), are gifted with supernatural powers that really kick in when they hit 18, or as they put it, "ascend." The problem is, the powers come with a price because any time they are used, they cause premature aging. Of course, this doesn't stop the rambunctious youths from employing them for such handy purposes as starting a stalled car and lifting up a woman's skirt.

When Chase (Sebastian Stan), a new transfer student, arrives at the school, it becomes evident that he is the long-lost fifth descendent of the Sons of Ipswich and that he is up to no good. This is particularly worrisome to Caleb (Steven Strait), who is all too aware of the danger of his powers because they caused his father's downfall. He and Chase are soon locking horns, with the latter threatening to harm Caleb's beautiful new girlfriend (Laura Ramsey).

Shot in the sort of dark tones that are supposed to convey an air of menace but instead makes one think that the light bulbs are fading in the theater's projector, "Covenant" is devoid of any real scares. Yes, once in a while the boys summon their powers (suggested via the insertion of dark contact lenses) and fly around on wires, and a sequence involving multitudes of spiders might be disturbing for those with arachnophobia. But for the most part, the proceedings are slow, solemn and tedious. The film's most nifty visual effect, depicting the destruction and immediate reassembling of a car after a head-on collision, already has been seen to death in the coming attractions. By the time of the film's climactic battle -- cue the heavy metal music -- most of the audience members at the AMC 42nd Street Theater had settled into a heavy torpor.

The Covenant

Screen Gems Lakeshore Entertainment/Sandstorm Films

Credits:

Director: Renny Harlin

Screenwriter: J.S. Cardone

Executive producers: J.S. Cardone, Andre Lamal, Roger Mincheff, James McQuade, Carol Kottenbrook, Scott Einbinder

Producers: Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi

Director of photography: Pierre Gill

Editor: Nicolas de Toth

Production designer: Anne Pritchard

Costume designer: April Napier

Music: Tomandandy

Cast:

Caleb Danvers: Steven Strait

Chase Collins: Sebastian Stan

Sarah Wenham: Laura Ramsey

Pogue Parry: Taylor Kitsch

Reid Garwin: Toby Hemingway

Kate Tunney: Jessica Lucas

Tyler Sims: Chase Crawford

Evelyn Danvers: Wendy Crewson

MPAA rating: PG-13

Running time -- 95 minutes »

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B.O. preview: Rookies unwilling to take the fall

8 September 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

The first fall weekend is always a surprise at the North American boxoffice. While the frame's top performers usually aren't dramatic grossers, occasionally a film will pop up and take the weekend to new heights, like what happened last year when Sony Pictures' The Exorcism of Emily Rose grossed $30 million. This, however, is not shaping up as one of those weekends. Sony's Screen Gems division will bow director Renny Harlin's latest horror flick, The Covenant, Focus Features will open its Los Angeles-based thriller Hollywoodland, and the Weinstein Co. will open the Thai action film The Protector. None of the new arrivals is likely to top $10 million for the three-day frame. While the individual pictures involved might be satisfied with that level of success, it won't help the boxoffice beat last year's numbers for the same weekend. »

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Rookies unwilling to take the fall

7 September 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

The first fall weekend is always a surprise at the North American boxoffice. While the frame's top performers usually aren't dramatic grossers, occasionally a film will pop up and take the weekend to new heights, like what happened last year when Sony Pictures' The Exorcism of Emily Rose grossed $30 million. This, however, is not shaping up as one of those weekends. Sony's Screen Gems division will bow director Renny Harlin's latest horror flick, The Covenant, Focus Features will open its Los Angeles-based thriller Hollywoodland, and the Weinstein Co. will open the Thai action film The Protector. None of the new arrivals is likely to top $10 million for the three-day frame. While the individual pictures involved might be satisfied with that level of success, it won't help the boxoffice beat last year's numbers for the same weekend. »

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4 items from 2006


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