Thursday, June 28, 2007

It Must Be Something in the Water

Also getting back together? The Verve.

I know it’s a bittersweet symphony this life, but this…this is pretty sweet.

Not Good

I only would be contributing to celebrating bad behavior if I didn’t tell you that it has been reported that Lindsay Lohan had cocaine and nearly twice the legal limit of alcohol in her system when she was arrested last month and cited for driving under the influence.

The actress entered the Promises treatment center in Malibu on May 29, three days after crashing her car in the wee hours or the morning – clearly, it would appear, a result of her impaired state.

She is expected to continue working on her well-being in the center’s extended care program. Thank goodness; I would hate to see her crash and burn.

Spice Up Our Lives

Prepare yourselves: The Spice Girls are, indeed, reuniting, and they’re going to tour.

This is fan-frakkin’-tastic.

I am so gonna slam it to the left.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Like a Fine Wine

In Live Free or Die Hard, the fourth entry in the Die Hard series of movies starring the better-and-gruffer-with-age Bruce Willis, the United States finds itself cyber-attacked in the worst way.

The…uh…fourthquel comes out nearly 20 years after the original, and 12 years after the last entry, Die Hard With a Vengeance. It is a welcome re-introduction to Willis’ rough-around-the-edges, wisecracking Det. John McClane; obviously, it’s been a while since we last saw our hero, and although I wouldn’t call him a changed man, there sure is something different about him.

He’s divorced and estranged from his family, yet he remains committed to his job, in spite of having grown disillusioned by it. But this is a summer blockbuster, after all, so whatever funk he’s in, it’s going to be short-lived.

A mysterious fellow has launched a crippling “fire sale” on the country’s online infrastructure – traffic signals that go cuckoo bring cities to a halt; federal buildings are evacuated because of false anthrax alarms; financial markets crash; airplanes are grounded; the entire eastern corridor’s electricity is threatened – so it’s up to McClane to save the day.

Brawn meets brains when McClane is dispatched to pick up Matt Farrell (Justin Long), a computer hacker, and deliver him to the FBI in Washington, D.C., for questioning.

But moments after McClane shows up at Matt's door, an international crew of bad guys (including a très acrobatique et sexy mofo played by Cyril Raffaelli) assaults the apartment, setting off a long Fourth of July Weekend for the pair.

Parenthesis: Raffaelli is sooo hot – I had to simmer take a moment to simma down na. Il est simplement irresistible.

As they try to stay alive and ahead, McClane and Matt figure out who's masterminding the “fire sale” – bitter security expert Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant) – and encounter danger and excitement at every turn, including a death match between the no-nonsense detective and Gabriel's lover and accomplice (Mission: Impossible III’s Maggie Q), a badass martial-arts fighter.

Len Wiseman directed the movie with a vigor that is somewhat implausible, but Live Free or Die Hard succeeds in being that rare action movie that keeps it reasonably real, by today’s over-CGI’d standards, anyway. It's all about McClane. Some stunts will have you thinking McClane has learned to defy gravity in ways that no man ever could. But then again, didn’t he always?

Welcome back, McClane. You’ve only gotten better, so don’t be stranger….

My Rating ***

Photo: 20th Century Fox.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Give Me That Sunday School Answer

You better don’t.

You better go and celebrate Kelly Clarkson’s
artistic integrity and buy a copy or two – you know, one to give away – of her latest, My December, which hit shelves today.

And while you’re at it, pick up a copy of Mandy Moore’s Wild Hope, too, because now she’s ready…now she’s ready…now she’s ready to be

If you don’t, you really are going to have to
try and make it all OK.

DUN Dun (The Sound of Law & Order), Pt. 3

Once upon a time (June 3), a little girl (Paris Hilton) surrendered to authorities to begin serving a minimum 23-day jail sentence, only to be “
reassigned” after three, sent back in hours later, and finally last night, released at long last (at long last for her, that is, natch).

And so the little girl, who is 26 frakkin’ years old, was set free – with certain conditions for the foreseeable future, I would imagine, but free nevertheless.

And so still, a question that has plagued the little girl for years remains: Who cares?

Considering what the media coverage surrounding her and her story has been, is, and will continue to be, it seems a lot of people do. Give this video two look-sees; once to see Hilton walk free, and once to read the news scroll at the bottom of the screen.

Perhaps the little girl should go to Iraq to shine some much-needed light and perspective there.

And perhaps, just perhaps, she will do something important with her power, now that she has admitted her “dumb” act is “
no longer cute.”

I’m keeping my fingers crossed…for that.


Monday, June 25, 2007

Simply Irresistible, Pt. 18

I’ve been watching The Starter Wife – don’t judge me.

The miniseries – starring Debra Messing as Molly Kagan, an ex-wife of a Hollywood studio boss getting a hold of her life after her divorce – isn’t a broad comedy…but it is entertaining.

And, best of all, it co-stars the very handsome
Stephen Moyer as Sam, the sexiest homeless man ever to walk The ‘Bu, and one of Molly’s love interests.

Moyer soon will appear in True Blood, a new series from Six Feet Under’s Alan Ball.

Get to know him now.


Friday, June 22, 2007

The Portrait of a Lady

I really don’t know how to begin to review
A Mighty Heart, Michael Winterbottom’s docu-style retelling of the events that followed Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl’s kidnapping and eventual murder.

This being the first Important Film of the season – strike that, 2007 – I cannot talk about the story because what happens on screen closely depicts what may have happened in real life. And it would be pointless.

On Jan. 23, 2002, Mariane Pearl's world changed forever.

Her husband Daniel (Capote’s Oscar-nominated screenwriter Dan Futterman), South Asia bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal, had been researching a story on shoe bomber Richard Reid. The story drew the couple to the Middle East, to Karachi, where a go-between had promised him access to an elusive source.

As Danny left for the meeting, he told Mariane – who was six months pregnant – that he might be late for dinner.

She spent part of her day working, and the other part shopping for the ingredients for the picadillo she prepared that evening.

He never returned.

Full of dignity and respect, A Mighty Heart chronicles the agonizing days from the couple’s final good-bye, through the heartbreaking day when Mariane learns her husband “didn’t make it,” and past the birth of the son Danny had hoped to name Adam.

Transcending race, religion and nationality – and in Angelina Jolie’s case, all the headlines – the film is the portrait of Mariane's courageous and graceful desire to rise above the bitterness and hatred that continues to plague this post-Sept. 11 world.

As it was the case with United 93, A Mighty Heart’s strongest point is its all-too real story – that cannot be denied.

But Jolie’s tremendous performance carries the film, and serves as a timely reminder of what an able and dynamic actress she is. When her Mariane finally receives the devastating news she had feared, the actress’ sharp wail released a pain I felt in my skin.

My Rating ****

Photo: Paramount Vantage.
If He Builds It, We Will Laugh…

That’s the premise and goal of this sequel to the Jim Carrey-starring Bruce Almighty.

Evan Almighty stars Steve Carell as Evan Baxter, a minor character from the original God-made-me-do-it movie who has been spun off – and tasked by God (Morgan Freeman) to build an ark.

The movie
cost upward of $175 million to make – wrangling pairs of animal can be rather expensive, you know – and that’s without factoring the marketing bill.

That price tag is ridikolous because as a comedy, this so-so sequel isn’t all that funny.

According to director Tom Shadyac, Evan Almighty is a movie about learning to respect the planet. (More than 2,000 trees were planted to neutralize the production’s carbon emissions.)

That’s quite commendable. Too bad they didn’t plant some much-needed humor as well.

Here’s the thing, though: The movie doesn’t blow large monkey chunks – as family entertainment, it is pretty good…there’s something in it for everyone.

Where Bruce was decidedly…naughtier, Evan is way more wholesome and thus, appealing to all.

The former dealt with a man who couldn’t connect to what was important to him (because he was a little selfish and whiny); the latter deals with a man who can’t wait to do this (because he is eager and hopeful).

Our hero wants to change the world, but this might prove a lot more difficult than the newscaster-turned-congressman anticipated – especially when it comes to balancing family and work.

When God commands him to build an ark, Evan just doesn’t know what to do. He questions whether the Big Man would “do this again”; how he’s expected to pull this off; and when he comes to terms with his assignment, what it all means.

Questions, questions, questions…. How about some frakkin’ jokes? (
Wanda Sykes doing her ol’ Wanda Sykes shtick doesn’t count as a joke anymore.)

The most amusing aspect of Evan Almighty is that we’re asked to believe that Lauren Graham could be the mother to three teen- and pre-teen-aged boys.

As if.

Save this one for a rainy day.

My Rating **1/2

Photo: Universal Pictures.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I S’ppose I Should See It, Huh

Citizen Kane, the 1941 Orson Welles classic following the story of a wealthy young idealist transformed by scandal and vice into a regretful old recluse, was rated the best movie ever yesterday by the American Film Institute.

You can find the complete AFI Top 100 list

Even though I have seen several of the movies the Institute has deemed tops, I’ve got some catching up to do….


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sweet and Funny

In the buzz-worthy Bee Movie (opening Nov. 2), Jerry Seinfeld voices Barry B. Benson, a graduate bee fresh out of college who is disillusioned at his lone career choice: making honey.

On a rare trip outside the hive, Barry's life is saved by Vanessa (Renée Zellweger), a florist in New York City. As their relationship blossoms, Barry discovers humans are mass consumers of honey…and decides to sue the human race for stealing the product of his hard work.

Yeah, that would sting. Tee hee.

You can check out the funny trailers for Bee Movie

Photo: Paramount Pictures.
One of a Kind

You gotta love the poster for Michael Moore’s probe of the American healthcare system, Sicko.

Tell me it isn’t brill.

The can’t-miss-it documentary opens June 29.

Photo: The Weinstein Company.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Boy, Oh, Boys!

Waitress star Keri Russell and husband Shane Deary welcomed son River Russell Deary on June 9.

All together now….

That is sooo cute.

In other baby news, Julia Roberts also welcomed a boy, Henry Daniel Moder, on June 18. The Pretty Woman and husband Danny Moder already are parents to twins Hazel and Phinnaeus, who will turn 3 in November.


Monday, June 18, 2007

Oh, L’amour

The collective Paris, Je T’aime explores the neighborhoods of the French capital, but, more importantly, it explores the connections Parisians make – the love they feel, the love they hide, the love for which they yearn….

C’est l’amour; it makes the film go ‘round.

A series of vignettes helmed by directors such as Wes Craven, Alexander Payne, and Walter Salles & Daniela Thomas, the film depicts a moment in the lives of some of the diverse people that inhabit and radiate in the City Lights.

Because the actors have a limited time to draw in the audience, it is essential that Paris Je T’aime be completely engaging.

It was.

I don’t know how each director managed the feat of establishing and making me care for these characters so quickly, but they did so rather successfully – for the most part.

(A couple of vignettes – “Porte de Choisy” and “Quartier de la Madeleine” were thematic departures, but enjoyable nevertheless.)

A particular triumph was Salles & Thomas’ “Loin du 16ème,” which followed Catalina Sandino Moreno’s struggle to balance motherhood and work (pictured at left), and observed the sacrifices that society often asks of people.

Frédéric Auburtin’s tenderly biting “Quartier Latin,” with Ben Gazzara and Gena Rowlands, and Richard LaGravanese’s hopefully romantic “Pigalle,” with Fanny Ardant and Bob Hoskins, were rather funny.

But Payne’s “14ème Arrondissement,” with Margo Martindale as an all-American woman in Paris, delivered the most heart and laughs with its meditation on self-awareness and falling in love with Paris.

To tell you that Paris, Je T’aime is a bold film would be easy, so be bolder and go see it.

My Rating ***1/2


I may not have gotten myHappy Ending,” after all – and that is quite alright – but I got something better: I got to see Mika perform his has-to-become-a-hit song of the same name last night, and that was just great.

The Londoner, who is as cute and fun and sexy and talented as can be, finally hit the smallish Studio A in Miami stage at 11 p.m. – a full three hours later than billed (after a lengthy sound check and an opening act) – but the second he did I knew the wait had been well worth it.

I had a blast and half.

He sounded so good, and unlike other performers, he went above and beyond the call of up-and-coming-artist duty to connect with his audience.

His splendid one-hour show was tight and vibrant, as were his bright green American Apparel briefs.

Get your mind off the gutter – I wish. You could see them because he was jumpin’, jumpin’.

The highlights of the night, for me, were the aforementioned “Happy Ending,” “My Interpretation,” and his bona fide hit “Grace Kelly,” natch.

Concerts like this one are filled with energy, and Mika had a full supply of it last night. It was everything I needed and wanted and so much more. I really hope he never changes and that he only gets better because he truly is an original.


Friday, June 15, 2007

Constance Trentham Was Right

“The time to make up your mind about people is never,” or so Maggie Smith said in Gosford Park.

But sometimes, people do – in spite of what I or even a couple of cute schipperkes would have to say or bark about it. (That’s wishful thinking when it comes to the dogs, since I cannot know for sure they would bark for me.)

And to those people I say, especially having received the electronic mail equivalent to a drive-by shooting yesterday,
you can go your own way.

And I mean it in the best way possible. Honestly, I do.

Photo: USA Films (Gosford Park).
Tailor Made

Batman’s gotten a brand new suit, but you don’t have to wait until The Dark Knight’s July 18, 2008, release to check it out. Just take a look-see to the right, and then click
here to read more about it.

Let me just say it – the new Batsuit hugs Christian Bale in all the right places.

I likey.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Simply Irresistible, Pt. 17

He has popped in blink-and-you’ll-miss-him turns in films such as Kinsey, Jarhead, For Your Consideration, The Holiday, and Dreamgirls.

Earlier this summer, you heard him as Lancelot in Shrek the Third, and for the past three years, he has played the regular man’s man’s man on TV’s The Office.

On July 4, you will see him – oh, you better do – playing one half of a young couple about to be put through the most grueling marriage preparation course ever in License to Wed, a rom-com co-starring Mandy Moore (as his fiancée) and Robin Williams (as her family’s outrageous reverend).

He is the very tall and handsome – and very talented – John Krasinski, and I dare you not to heart him.

Makes Me Cry

I’d forgotten all about Dido’s “Here With Me,” but now I’ve remembered it.

And since I did, I looked around to see if I could find information on any new material.

I’m glad to report that Dido’s third album is scheduled to hit stores in September.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

It’s Freaky and I like It

Justin Timberlake’s “Summer Love” may be burning up the air waves, but there’s a song off his FutureSex/LoveSounds that I just knew he had to release as a single (and video): “LoveStoned.”

I think this song is sooo much fun. It’s got a great pulsating hook, it’s kind of old school, and I looove how it slows down toward the end.

Hot damn!


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Baby, Baby, Baby, Baby

Like most everyone else who enjoys a good laugh, I
anticipated the delivery of Knocked Up in theaters, for I had heard nothing but positive things about Judd Apatow’s latest.

To say that I was a little disappointed by it would be a little...harsh. After all, I’m the kind of guy who prefers to look at the glass half-full (when it comes to these matters, anyway).

The comedy, which stars Katherine Heigl (TV’s Grey’s Anatomy) as Allison Scott, an up-and-coming entertainment journalist on the fast track who gets pregnant with slacker Ben Stone’s (The 40-Year-Old Virgin’s Seth Rogen) bundle of joy after a drunken one night stand, is pretty funny.

It is grounded in simple realities – should Allison go it alone? should she get to know the baby's father better? should Ben make an effort to quit being a doof and grow up, already? – and that is one its strongest points.

Another one is the show-stealing
Leslie Mann, as Allison’s sister. She and on-screen hubby Paul Rudd bring to Knocked Up a subplot pregnant with marital angst that is alternately heartbreakingly infuriating and hilarious.

The movie’s story makes for a surprisingly touching experience – to see these people face something as new and as scary as the unexpected is rather gripping – albeit a longer one for which I’d prepared. (The movie clocks in at 129 minutes, and the first half has a better flow.)

Allison and Ben are completely wrong for each other, yet they are willing to work on their relationship for the greater good. I loved and respected that tremendously.

My Rating ***

Photo: Universal Pictures.
R.I.P. Ms. Mars

Oh, Veronica Mars, we hardly knew ya…but I will miss ya.

Nostalgia, Pt. 11

TNT’s The Closer returns next Monday at 9 p.m. for its third season with a premiere free of commercials – yay!

You know, I’ve missed Kyra Sedgwick’s lovable and tough Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson – I adore her so.

But oh, how I’m going to miss the Tom Everett Scott-starring Saved. The last time we saw his Portland, Ore., paramedic Wyatt Cole, his and his friends’ jobs at LifeShield hanged in the balance, he finally had admitted to himself his true feelings for Alice (Grey’s Anatomy guest star Elizabeth Reaser), and he had been hit with a stroke of fate – a speeding truck! – that would alter his life forever.

That was last summer. This summer all I have is an urgent question: Where is Saved, TNT? I thought you knew drama.

Even though the show debuted with what I would imagine was a healthy 5.1 million viewers, Saved was not renewed for a second season. Not frakkin’ cool.


Friday, June 08, 2007

A Secret

No matter what you did.

No matter who you are.

No matter where you've come from.

You can always change…become a better version of yourself.

DUN Dun (The Sound of Law & Order), Pt. 2

No. This is ridikolous.

I hope there aren’t any riots.


A revenge job is the driving force behind Ocean’s Thirteen, a pretty darn good and handsome return to form for George Clooney and Co.

Mind you, I enjoyed Ocean’s Twelve, with its intricate plot and big budget indie look (Steven Soderbergh directed it – and all of the Ocean’s movies – after all). I totally don’t see how it was, as a critic puts it, “pleased with itself.”

But I digress. This is the first threequel of the summer that I can genuinely call a winner.

Danny Ocean (Clooney), Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon), and their sleek brotherhood of con men come together again – back in Vegas, baby – to avenge one of their own, Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould), who has been strong-armed out of a deal by ruthless casino owner Willy Bank (Al Pacino).

Bad move, Mr. Bank – you may have taken down one of the original Ocean’s Eleven, but you’ve left the others standing, and, they are not above getting even.

Firstly, they will ruin Bank financially by turning the tables on the precept that the house always wins. And secondly, they will add insult to injury by stealing his personal pride and joy: his reputation as the only hotelier who has earned the Royal Review Board’s Five Diamond Award on every single one of his hotels.

The plan is elaborate and near impossible – but if anyone can pull it off, you know it is Ocean’s Thirteen.

And who are the extra two players, you ask. Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones sit this heist out because this is “not their fight” – the still smokin’ Ellen Barkin steps into the femme role, a little thanklessly, though – so the gang enlists old enemy Terry Benedict, once again played by Andy Garcia, and Eddie Izzard for the job.

But proving that, indeed, all good things must come to an end (and why is that, anyway, if the going is…good?), I think the movies have come full circle.

Ingeniously and successfully, Clooney and Co. have given us a fun trilogy destined to one day become somewhat of a classic. I know that’s quite the thing to say, but look at these movies and their casts. What more could you want?

My Rating ***1/2

Photo: Warner Bros.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sex Happening

Sarah Jessica Parker!

I don’t know how I missed this, but the lovely Kristin Veitch of E! Online reported yesterday that the Sex and the City movie is, according to Carrie Bradshaw herself, “a go.”

The news isn’t a shocker, but it is more than welcome.

Now, this can only mean the countdown for that Spice Girls reunion is on, right? Right?

For Africa

President George Bush, Sen. Barack Obama, Madonna, Oprah Winfrey, and Chris Rock are but a handful of 15 others to make it onto the 20 covers of Vanity Fair's historic Africa Issue.

Edited by Bono, the July 2007 issue includes articles written by journalists such as William Langewiesche, Sebastian Junger, and Christopher Hitchens, among others, that focus on some of the more promising solutions facing Africa today.

The covers, "a visual chain letter spreading the message from person to person to person," were shot by famed photographer Annie Liebovitz.

Madonna's cover co-stars are Academy Award nominee Djimon Hounsou and Maya Angelou.


Mr. JT Made a Funny

Say what you want about Justin Timberlake, but don’t say he doesn’t care.

At a concert in Zurich, Switzerland, he sang both Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab,” and Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” – only he altered the original lyrics to reflect his feeling for ex-girlfriend Britney Spears.


DUN Dun (The Sound of Law & Order), Pt. 1

This is ridikolous.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Canta y Baila

Husband and wife duo Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez are teaming up to do more than dazzle concert audiences – they are co-starring in their first film together this summer.

El Cantante is a biopic of Hector Lavoe, one of the biggest Spanish-language singers in the 1970s, whose personal tragedy and heroin addiction left him penniless and dying from complications from AIDS.

Anthony plays Lavoe; Lopez plays his strong-willed wife Puchi.

The film dances and sings into theaters, in limited release, on Aug. 1.

Photo: Picturehouse.
With a Name Like Penelope…

Originally slated to come out last spring, the Christina Ricci vehicle Penelope follows the titular character’s journey to free herself from a family curse, and ultimately find her true self.

Oh, yeah…the curse: Penelope has a pig’s nose.

The film, which I declare looks super charming, co-stars James McAvoy (The Last King of Scotland), Catherine O'Hara, Peter Dinklage (The Station Agent), and Reese Witherspoon.

Look for it later this summer.

Photo: IFC Films.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Ghost Town

I know the definition of insane is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results – boy, do I ever – but, C’mon, c'mon, c’mon.

Not Quite Ogrelicious

When his new father-in-law falls ill, Shrek (voiced again by Mike Myers) is looked at as the heir to the land of Far, Far Away.

Not one to give up his beloved swamp, Shrek recruits his friends Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) to install the rebellious Artie (Justin Timberlake) as the new king, while Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) rallies a band of royal girlfriends to fend off a coup d'état by the jilted Prince Charming (Rupert Everett).

That is the basic plot of Shrek the Third, the well-meaning part three of the ogre-with-a-heart-of-gold movies.

I was pleasantly surprised by 2001’s original, and although I didn’t care for 2004’s Shrek 2 (hurray for Puss in Boots, by the way), I kept my hopes up for this one.

I wouldn’t say I was disappointed, but I would say there’s only so much left you can do with these characters. I appreciate that Shrek is growing as the audience is growing – he’s coming to terms with imminent parenthood this time around – but what’s next? Shrek: The Golden Years? I don’t want to see an aged ogre crack fart jokes.

However, I wouldn’t mind seeing more of the Princess Posse (which includes Amy Sedaris’ Cinderella and Amy Poehler’s Snow White). Those gals were too funny.

My Rating **1/2

Photo: DreamWorks Animation.

Monday, June 04, 2007

It’s Raining / Ooh Baby It’s Raining

How much am I into Rihanna’s “

I know radio’s going to like, overplay it to death, but I’m glad I’m already liking the song because I soon won’t for a while, but I then will again…eventually. Yeah, that’s how it works.

Because, “When the sun shines, we’ll shine together / Told you I'll be here forever / Said I'll always be a friend / Took an oath I'ma stick it out till the end / Now that it's raining more than ever / Know that we'll still have each other / You can stand under my umbrella / You can stand under my umbrella / (Ella ella eh eh eh).”

MTV did the singer a service when they had her performed at its
Movie Awards last night, a.k.a. the event that Paris Hilton attended before her early jail check-in. (Check out who took buckets of Golden Popcorn home here.)

Derivative Tina Landon choreography aside, the performance, which featured Jay-Z, was a get-up-on-your-feet highlight for the show. Just ask Hairspray’s Amanda Bynes – could she have been any cuter?

Of course, I loved Sarah Silverman’s hosting shtick. I mean, I ate it up. But I didn’t love how MTV didn’t even try to add a little more music to the show. They only had two performers, instead of the usual three. What the frak?

Which brings me to the night’s other performer – Amy Winehouse. Confession time: I’ve had her Back to Black for a couple of months now, and I was like,
no, no, no. I have been resisting fully liking her, but this is changing for good: Get me a sweater because I am embracing this Hot Mess. Not doing so is futile.

Photo: E! Online.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Beast Within

Earl Brooks (Kevin Costner) is quite the man: A devoted husband and a loving father, a successful businessman and a philanthropist, he has been named Portland’s Man of the Year at the beginning of the very “
neat” – LOL; I couldn’t resist – psychological thriller Mr. Brooks.

But – what do you know – Earl Brooks has a secret.

Earl Brooks is a serial killer, and a good one at that. He has eluded justice for many years thanks to his methodical style, cleverly informed by alter ego Marshall (William Hurt), and a peculiar signature that has earned him the nickname the Thumbprint Killer.

When Mr. Brooks gives in to one last murderous urge, and an amateur photographer we come to know as Mr. Smith (Dane Cook) witnesses the crime, his two incompatible worlds collide. It is more than neat to watch Costner play against type, keeping his cool between a rock and a hard place – it is gripping.

Mr. Brooks works because the actor makes us root for this fascinating anti-hero.

You will want him to find a way to unravel Mr. Smith’s unexpected plans, and you will want him to foil Detective Atwood’s (Demi Moore) efforts to capture the Thumbprint Killer – his hands up, his hands up, she wants him with his hands up. But more than anything, you will want to see more of him, and
you might.

I just think it’s, well…neat to see two Super Stars of the 1990s sort of together on screen. Mr. Brooks may not be the most obvious summer blockbuster, but it is an attention-grabber. Some of its twists and turns can be seen from a mile away, but the ones that don’t will be the ones that will get you.

My Rating ***

Photo: MGM.
A Golden Find

Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig star in Dec. 7’s His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass.

What’s that? Why am I telling you about a film that’s more than six months away? Bore someone else with your questions.

Fine – the simplest answer is, of course, Craig. Although wanting to spread the word on what looks like a fun film also is a good reason. But, mostly…you know.

Lyra Belacqua (Dakota Blue Richards) is an orphan who lives happily in Jordan College, Oxford, playing with local boys and terrorizing professors. However, when she overhears a frightening plot against her uncle, Lord Asriel (Craig), her curiosity is roused, and she soon is in over her head as she uncovers a whole new world of possibilities. (Kidman plays the villainous and glamorous Mrs. Coulter.)

That synopsis doesn’t offer much, does it? I think you’d be better off watching the trailer, which you can do here.