7 items from 2004
French president Jacques Chirac has awarded legendary director Steven Spielberg with France's highest honor, for his work fighting hatred and intolerance Spielberg was made a knight of the French Legion Of Honor on Sunday at a star-studded ceremony in Paris - Gwyneth Paltrow and Sophie Marceau where among the celebrities in attendance. President Chirac cited Schindler's List as a powerful piece of film-making which has played a huge part in remembering past atrocities along with heroic deeds. He said, "In this difficult time when intolerance, racism, xenophobia, anti- Semitism and fanaticism are on the rise again, it is essential that cinema, which touches each one of us deep inside, recalls the horror of what is unutterable. It is essential that this form of eminently popular expression and creativity reminds everyone of the disastrous effects of hatred, intolerance and the rejection of others." After accepting this latest honor, Spielberg said, "We have to work very, very hard to make people understand that we have to celebrate people's differences and not condemn them." »
Oscar-nominated Ralph Fiennes has won the highly sought-after role as Harry Potter's nemesis Lord Voldemort in the fourth film in the blockbuster series. The Schindler's List actor will play the evil wizard - who has never been seen before, but whose spirit is visible in the first three movies - in Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire. The film, directed by Four Weddings And A Funeral's Mike Newell, sees the return of Daniel Radcliffe as Potter, alongside mainstays Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire is set to be released in November 2005. »
Legendary director Steven Spielberg has postponed his latest movie Vengeance because he's concerned it will become a target for Islamic terrorists. Production on Vengeance - about the successful hunt for the 17 Palestinians who attacked the Israeli Olympic team at the 1972 Munich games - was set to start in June, but the Jewish Schindler's List director is anxious because one of the terrorists has never been found. Spielberg's spokesman Marvin Levy told website Pagesix.Com, "Steven is getting script pages every day. Troy's Eric Bana is still set to star in the movie, scheduled for a 2006 release. But the postponement has resulted in Oscar-winning Ben Kingsley dropping out. There were a lot of sources for this movie from many mediums." »
British actor Sir Ben Kingsley enraged workers and co-stars on his new film Mrs Harris - by ignoring people who failed to address him by his proper title. The Schindler's List actor stars alongside Annette Benning and Ellen Burstyn in the drama, and caused tension on set with his insistence that everyone referred to him as "Sir Ben" at all times. One disgruntled source tells Page Six.com, "He insisted everyone call him by his title, 'Sir,' and if they didn't he would get angry or ignore them. He takes that knighting thing very seriously. He was very adamant and it turned off a lot of people." Sir Ben was knighted in 2001 by British monarch Queen Elizabeth II. »
Hollywood movie producer Lew Rywin has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison in Poland for bribery. A Warsaw court convicted the Schindler's List producer for soliciting a bribe of $17 million from a newspaper editor in return for promoting changes to Polish media law. Rywin, who was also fined $25,000, told the editor he was acting on behalf of senior politicians. The 58-year-old promised to lobby for a change in law that would allow the newspaper's parent company to buy a television station - but the conversation was secretly recorded and the editor approached the police. Throughout the trial Rywin denied the charge maintaining he was set up by the newspaper - his lawyers have said they will appeal the verdict. »
Friday, Feb. 20
Just as National Lampoon's Vacation begat "National Lampoon's European Vacation," so, too, has 2000's hit Road Trip paved the way for Eurotrip. And while it might have been tempting to this dismiss teen comedy as Eurotrash, it really isn't that bad, sophomorically speaking.
Although a number of the gags fall flatter than a crepe, the accent is on the charmingly juvenile as opposed to the purely puerile, with a fresh-faced cast of amiable young performers on hand to make the trek relatively painless.
Obviously DreamWorks, which is giving the picture the slot occupied this time last year by Old School (also from the Road Trip producing team), is looking to capture some of that boxoffice magic, and while Eurotrip isn't nearly as comically inspired, it should still play well with young male-skewing audiences.
Back when Road Trip hit the streets, the gross-out comedy was in full American Pie-fertilized bloom, but with the subgenre having thankfully bottomed out, the new breed likes to mix a little more naivete in with the naughty bits.
Hence the central character of Scotty, played by newcomer Scott Mechlowicz with the same sort of Jason Biggs nice-guy goofiness, a high school grad who finds himself en route to Europe to hook up with his German Internet pen pal Mieke (Jessica Boehrs) shortly after he was very publicly dumped by his girlfriend Fiona (Kristin Kreuk).
But before he gets to Berlin, Scotty and his sex-obsessed Buddy Cooper (Jacob Pitts) make pit stops in London and Paris -- where they hook up with friends Jenny (Michelle Trachtenberg) and her Frommer's Guide-wielding twin brother Jamie (Travis Wester) -- before moving on to Amsterdam, Bratislava, Rome and Vatican City.
Along the way they must deal with British soccer hooligans, annoying French human robots, a merciless Dutch dominatrix (Lucy Lawless) and a creepy, lascivious Italian guy on the train (Saturday Night Live's Fred Armisen).
Not all of it works, but the bright cast makes it mainly agreeable, as do the supporting players, including Matt Damon in a cameo as a tattooed rocker who performs (courtesy of the band Lustra) the very funny and very catchy Scotty Doesn't Know, which takes stock of Scotty's ex-girlfriend's various infidelities.
Making his directorial debut is Jeff Schaffer, who, along with fellow scripters Alec Berg and David Mandel, were former editors of the Harvard Lampoon before graduating to Seinfeld and more recently collaborated on Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat.
Their gently risque style seems better suited to the teen sex comedy than to Dr. Seuss, but the most impressive work here is done by production designer Allan Starski (Schindler's List) and visual effects supervisor Kevin Blank, who manage to create reasonable facsimiles of all the above-mentioned destinations without ever setting foot off of the production's Prague home base.
DreamWorks Pictures presentsa Montecito Picture Co. productionA Berg/Mandel/Schaffer film
Director: Jeff Schaffer
Screenwriters: Alec Berg & David Mandel & Jeff Schaffer
Executive producers: Ivan Reitman, Tom Pollick, Joe Medjuck
Director of photography: David Eggby
Production designer: Allan Starski
Editor: Roger Bondelli
Costume designer: Julia Caston
Music: James L. Venable
Scotty Thomas: Scott Mechlowicz
Jenny: Michelle Trachtenberg
Cooper Harris: Jacob Pitts
Jamie: Travis Wester
Mieke: Jessica Boehrs
Madame Vandersexxx: Lucy Lawless
Mad Maynard: Vinnie Jones
Creepy Italian Guy: Fred Armisen
Donny: Matt Damon
Fiona: Kristin Kreuk
Running time -- 92 minutes
MPAA rating: R »
12 February 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
Liam Neeson is in final negotiations to star opposite Christian Bale in Warner Bros. Pictures' upcoming Batman movie being directed by Christopher Nolan and produced by Emma Thomas. Neeson would join Bale -- set to play Bruce Wayne, aka Batman -- and Michael Caine, who is appearing as Wayne's butler, Alfred. Katie Holmes and Cillian Murphy also have been cast. The studio declined comment on Neeson's role. Neeson, who was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Oskar Schindler in Schindler's List, was most recently seen in Love Actually. His recent credits include Gangs of New York and Star Wars: Episode 1 -- The Phantom Menace. He will next appear in Kinsey and is shooting Kingdom of Heaven. He is repped by ICM. »
7 items from 2004
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