It might seem odd, holding the press conference for one of the summer’s most highly anticipated blockbusters in the shoe department of New York’s Bergdorf Goodman. But where better to promote Sex and the City 2, which opens today, than here, in the fashion capital of the world, surrounded by the handsome, high-priced high heels so near and dear to Carrie Bradshaw’s heart?
Bradshaw, of course, is the fictional, fashion-crazed Upper East Sider, based loosely on creator Candace Bushnell and played by Sarah Jessica Parker, whose romantic misadventures were chronicled, down to the most intimate details, in 2008’s Sex and the City.
Nobody is going to confuse Survival of the Dead, George Romero’s sixth entry in his ongoing saga about animated corpses scouring the land for living flesh, with the director’s most polished or insightful work. As a satirist, he’s covering familiar ground, reinforcing the notion first broached in the original Night of the Living Dead (1968) that zombies and their human prey are equally dangerous predators. Yet his gift for storytelling remains undiminished.
Let’s get one thing straight: George Romero, the legendary director of Night of the Living Dead whose nightmarish vision of zombies rising from the grave to prey upon the living has spawned countless imitations and remakes, never wanted to take a break from the franchise that has become his most celebrated legacy.
“After I made Monkey Shines in 1988, I started developing a bunch of big movies for Hollywood studios, projects like Goosebumps and The Mummy, and I made more money then than I ever have before or since,” says Romero, 70. “We were rewriting movies for big stars – you know, let’s make this for Sharon Stone or Alec Baldwin. Then the next week, we’d be rewriting the same movie again for Eddie Murphy.
If you’ve never heard of Josh Harris, the Internet pioneer whose brazen empire-building and lavishly constructed social experiments inspired Ondi Timoner’s new documentary We Live in Public, you’re not alone. Neither had MySpace founder Chris DeWolfe, until Harris arrived at the website’s corporate headquarters years after his withdrawal from public life to pitch his latest project, a web-casting network already boasting thousands of users.
That, perhaps, is the most striking irony of his story – that the man whose reckless exhibitionism made him an online celebrity has been largely forgotten, except by the people who knew him.
Eighteen years to the day after the final episode of MacGyver aired on ABC comes comedian Will Forte’s belated parody MacGruber, expanded to 89 agonizing minutes from a recurring Saturday Night Live sketch. Despite a handful of early reviews that proclaimed it “the best SNL movie since Wayne’s World” – hardly high praise, but misleading all the same – MacGruber was withheld from most critics until hours before its release. Now we know why.
Time has been less than kind to Shrek, the endearingly ornery ogre from the land of Far, Far Way, where the villagers who once feared his quick temper now see him as a cuddly tourist attraction.
In Shrek Forever After – billed as the fourth and final installment of a franchise that has earned more than $1.5 billion in the U.S. alone – he is mired in the malaise of monotonous routine, both as a diaper-changing father of three and as a monster who’s tired of being Mr. Nice Guy.
Don’t look to Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood for men in tights, or the preponderance of swashbuckling heroics seen in previous incarnations of the populist daredevil’s story.
Here, a brooding Robin, played by a somber Russell Crowe, is a valiant opportunist driven to greatness by a birthright he inherits well into adulthood. He’s an expert archer, of course, but as a guerrilla warrior, he is closer to Rambo than to the dashing adventurer portrayed most famously by Errol Flynn and Sean Connery.
Even a cursory glance at his résumé should tell you that four-time Oscar nominee Ed Harris, 59, has never hesitated to take chances, as he did when he made his directorial debut with Pollock (2000), a startlingly intense portrait of the tortured American painter. But this is pushing it.
Approached backstage at the Castro Theatre in 2006 by identical twins Logan and Noah Miller, who identified themselves only as “the independent filmmakers,” Harris did what few stars of his stature would: He listened to their feverish pitch for Touching Home, the new drama about two baseball-obsessed brothers struggling to reconnect with an alcoholic father.
Kate Beckinsale is rarely acknowledged as an action star whose credentials in the genre rival Sigourney Weaver’s, but she should be.
She held off wolves, vampires and assorted snarling lowlifes in Underworld (2003) and its underrated sequel, Evolution (2006). She forcefully avoided becoming the star of Frank Whaley’s next snuff film in the scrappy thriller Vacancy (2007). And early in Whiteout, long before she’s called on to tame a masked killer, she gamely hops in the shower, dutifully pandering to her male demographic.
Tony Stark may be self-obsessed and troubled by mortal thoughts – rightly so, considering the mechanical heart that’s keeping him alive is slowly polluting his body with lethal toxins – but he’s no Bruce Wayne. As played by Robert Downey Jr., he combines a sly sense of humor with natural showmanship. He enjoys being a superhero, and soaks up the spotlight with a narcissist’s glee.
It’s refreshing. Stark has a dark side, well-watered with cocktails, but he is hardly morose. He is intoxicated by the adoration of his fans, and tickled by the trappings of fame and obscene wealth. And he’s not afraid to toot his own horn. As he brags to a less-than-smitten Senate committee, “I have successfully privatized world peace.”