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Eastwood And Freeman Get On-Set Doctor

3 Mar

NEW YORK : Producers of Clint Eastwood’s new movie “The Human Factor” have hired a private doctor to look after the director and the film’s veteran star Morgan Freeman on the set of their latest movie.

A doctor has been flown out to the African set to monitor Freeman who plays Nelson Mandela alongside Matt Damon in the upcoming drama. Movie bosses also want to make sure 78-year-old Eastwood is looked after during filming.

Producers are especially concerned about the health of Freeman due to his serious car accident last August that left him with a broken arm and shoulder and a paralysed hand. The passenger travelling with Freeman when his car left the road in Mississippi last August recently revealed that she is suing the actor for negligence following the crash.

“There’s a huge budget for the film at stake,” a source told the New York Daily News newspaper. “These guys are getting up there in age. Sure, they had physicals before leaving; everyone has to. But the private doctor was just an agreed upon decision on all sides of the table.”

Eastwood recently acknowledged he is getting old, but said his passion for films keeps him young at heart.

“I like taking it easy, I like golf and I like Budweiser. All that stuff is fine, but the main thing is I still like working, I think working keeps you young, I think it keeps your mind active. It’s like exercising your body – exercising your brain. Both of them are synonymous.”

– CNA/ap

Channel News Asia

Morgan Freeman Sued Over Car Crash

26 Feb

LOS ANGELES : A female passenger who was seated beside Morgan Freeman when his car crashed last August has sued the Oscar-winning actor for negligence and wants to clear her name from claims that she was his mistress.

Demaris Meyer stated that she was not in a romantic relationship with Freeman and had met the actor at a country club where they dined with mutual friends on the night of the accident.

Meyer explained that she was riding with Freeman because they were going to his ranch, since it was closer to her work than a friend’s home where she originally planned to stay. She added that the actor assured her she would not only have her own bedroom at the ranch, but “her own house”

“I have been labelled as the ‘other woman’ and have been accused of having caused the breakup of Mr Freeman’s marriage. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Meyer said at a news conference in Los Angeles.

The crash happened on the night of August 3 in Charleston Mississippi when the actor lost control of his Nissan Maxima and struck a ditch and rolled over.

The lawsuit which Meyer filed also accuses Freeman of driving under the influence but he has not been charged him by Mississippi authorities.

Freeman suffered from a broken arm and elbow from the crash while Meyer, who was airlifted to a hospital, suffered numerous injuries, including a blow to the head resulting in cognitive difficulties and short-term memory loss.

In the lawsuit, she is seeking compensation to cover medical expenses and her permanent disability.

“We are confident this will all be resolved. We have no further comment on the current litigation,” said Freeman’s spokesman Ken Sunshine.

The 71-year-old actor who won an Oscar in 2005 for his supporting role in Clint Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby” was separated from his wife of 24 years and was in the midst of a divorce at the time of crash.

– CNA/km

Channel News Asia

Redford, Crowe Join Stars Against Actors' Strike

19 Dec

LOS ANGELES: Hollywood icon Robert Redford and Oscar-winner Russell Crowe have joined the growing ranks of stars opposed to a possible strike by the top actors union, it was reported on Thursday.

Redford and Crowe and other stars including Julianne Moore and Hilary Duff have added their names to a petition urging the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) board not to hold a strike ballot, Daily Variety reported.

The petition calls for SAG leaders to quickly accept a deal tabled by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), suggesting the union regroup and hammer out a stronger contract in three years’ time.

“As hard as it may be to wait those three years under an imperfect agreement, we believe this is what we must do,” the letter from petition organisers to SAG chiefs said.

“We think that a public statement should be made by SAG recognising that although this is not a deal we want, it is simply not a time when our union wants to have any part in creating more economic hardship while so many people are already suffering.”

On Monday, more than 130 stars including George Clooney, Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman and Tom Hanks called on SAG union not to authorise a walkout.

SAG leaders announced last week they would hold a ballot of the union’s 120,000 members on January 2 to obtain authorisation required to call a strike following failed negotiations with Hollywood studios.

Although union leaders have said they want to avoid a stoppage, they said a vote giving them authorisation to call a strike will give them greater leverage at the bargaining table.

The actors union has been in a stand-off with AMPTP since a previous contract expired in June. Fresh attempts to broker a deal foundered in November.

The actors’ union is holding out for a greater share of royalties from sales and showings of work screened on the Internet.

The AMPTP said the actors’ demands are unreasonable and have refused to improve a final offer made in June, similar to other agreements reached with writers, directors and a smaller actors union.

– AFP/so

Channel News Asia

More Than 130 A-List Actors Oppose Strike Vote

17 Dec

LOS ANGELES: Dozens of film industry’s biggest stars including Oscar winners George Clooney, Charlize Theron, Morgan Freeman and Tom Hanks have joined a last-ditch attempt to prevent an actors’ strike from crippling the Hollywood awards season for the second consecutive year.

The A-list performers registered their opposition in a letter that circulated on the Internet as union leaders, including Screen Actors Guild (SAG) President Alan Rosenberg met in New York City to seek support for a strike authorization.

The letter, sent to guild board members and staff is the latest sign of unhappiness with the leadership of the 120,000-strong union.

“We support our union and we support the issues we’re fighting for, but we do not believe now is the time to be putting people out of work,” said the letter, adding that a strike would create “economic hardship” for workers at every level of the movie business.

“We don’t think that an authorization can be looked at as merely a bargaining tool,” said the letter, signed by “Desperate Housewives” actress Eva Longoria Parker, “Spider-Man” star Tobey Maguire, among others. “It must be looked at as what it is – an agreement to strike if negotiations fail.”

Negotiations between SAG and the studios stalled earlier this year, and the actors have been working without a contract since the previous one expired June 30.

A federal mediator intervened last month, but broke off talks after two days, triggering SAG’s recent move to call for a strike-authorization vote.

The guild wants terms that are better than the deals accepted by directors, writers, stagehands and another actors union earlier in the year.

It is seeking union coverage for all Internet-only productions regardless of budget, residual payments for Internet productions replayed in ad-supported platforms online, and continued actor benefits during work stoppages, including those caused by strikes by other unions.

Any strike would plunge the entertainment industry into chaos, and could threaten award shows such as the Oscars, which takes place on February 22.

Last year, a 100-day walkout by screenwriters created havoc and up to US$2 billion in losses, according to some estimates.

– CNA/jk

Channel News Asia

Clint Eastwood Hangs Up His Acting Hat

24 Nov

LOS ANGELES : Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood is retiring from acting after a career that has spanned over 50 years. But fans will still be able to enjoy his work as he has no plans to stop directing.

Eastwood’s last film “Gran Torino” in which he stars and directs, has already been tipped as worthy of an Oscar. It is set to hit Singapore next year.

“That will probably do it for me as far as acting is concerned,” said the 78-year-old.

“You always want to quit while you are ahead,” he said. “You don’t want to be like a fighter who stays too long in the ring until you’re not performing at your best.”

However a friend of Eastwood said he would never rule out an acting comeback for the veteran star.

“If something comes along that attracts his attention or demands his involvement and he is still able to consider acting in a picture then who knows? Gran Torino was such a movie,” the friend said.

Eastwood worked as a petrol pump attendant, a bar-room piano player and a lumberjack before becoming an actor in the 1950s. His 1959 western TV series “Rawhide” turned him into a household name and is best known for his role in the 1971 classic “Dirty Harry” in which he played hard-edged police inspector Harry Callahan.

Eastwood extended his career to directing and has even earned himself two Academy Awards for this work in “Unforgiven” and “Million Dollar Baby”.

In the year ahead, he will direct “The Human Factor”, a movie about the 1955 Rugby World Cup hosted by South Africa, with actor Morgan Freeman starring as Nelson Mandela.

– CNA/km

Channel News Asia

Cinema: Only If You Dig Myers

28 Aug

Hurrah! This bad comedy is over!
Hurrah! This bad comedy is over!

NOW SHOWING

THE LOVE GURU
Directed by Marco Schnabel
Starring Mike Myers, Ben Kingsley, Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake, Romany Malco, Meagan Good, Omid Djalili

Kingsley as Guru Tugginmypuddha in The Love Guru.
Kingsley as Guru Tugginmypuddha in The Love Guru.

THE biggest joke in this movie is not that Mike Myers makes fun of the New Age self-help field but that Ben Kingsley stars as his crossed-eye Guru Tugginmypuddha who encourages his ashram students in India to fight using urine-soaked mops!

Kingsley, of course, is well-known for his Academy Award-winning performance as India’s greatest spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi in Richard Attenborough’s 1982 movie.

I thought playing Gandhi and spoofing a spiritual teacher borders on being insulting. Maybe that’s because I have always revered Kingsley in Gandhi. But elsewhere, people seem to accept Myers’s brand of crude comedy.

The movie has Val Kilmer and Jessica Simpson attending one of the Guru’s talks. Even Deepak Chopra makes an appearance as himself.
Morgan Freeman lends his voice on the voice-over machine and Canadian ice hockey player Rob Blake appears as himself.

Mariska Hargitay (who plays Olivia Benson in Law and Order: Special Victims Unit) has her name turned into a greeting.

In less than two hours, the movie packs jokes that are mostly crass, vulgar and are, in most parts, about private parts.

The humour doesn’t deviate from that of Austin Powers, in which Myers also starred in, making his latest outing just like watching the groovy secret agent in a different uniform and location. The jokes are the same.

Vulgar jokes aside, Myers antics are at times rib-tickling. I love the mobile cushion that Pitka (Myers) moves on, with a control on its side and a reverse parking alarm. It’s absolutely silly and it’s hilarious.

In The Love Guru, Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba), who owns the Toronto Maple Leafs ice hockey team, hires Pitka to help her star player Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco) get back his wife Prudence (Megan Good) and his concentration in the game.

Prudence is now dating L.A King’s legendary goalie, Jacques “Le Coq” Grande (Justin Timberlake).

There is even a Bollywood dance routine between Myers and Alba and while we may not find it very funny, having been exposed to Bollywood films that seem to have endless dancing, the Western market might just find the dancing routine new.

The two even sing in Hindi with English subtitles crawling on the screen.

Myers, like Adam Sandler and Eddie Murphy, may have fallen into that deep comedy trap of creating and re-creating films of the same flavour, hoping for an audience who would watch them once.

I guess one watch is fine, if you have time to burn and if you have had a very bad day and desperately need a laugh. The jokes won’t be so funny the second time around.

New Straits Times

See: Dreadful Ride

8 Aug

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JOYRIDE

Directed by John Dahl
Starring Steve Zahn, Paul Walker, Leelee Sobieski, Jessica Bowman, Stuart Stone and Basil Wallace.
Distributed by Movie Magic Sdn Bhd

This is not even a ride but a slow and stale movie about a joke gone wrong. It’s a thriller, one that is supposed to glue you to your seat and make you breathless whenever the villain appears. But I nearly fell asleep.

The story is about two siblings who take a road trip and play a practical joke on an anonymous trucker. Expectedly, the trucker doesn’t find the joke funny and decides to track down the boys and make them pay for the humiliation he suffered.

The villain, known only as Rusty Nail, didn’t appear terrifying enough. The other characters are flat too. The brothers argue most of the time. And the side plot which has Fuller (Zahn) liking his brother’s girlfriend Venna (Sobieski) is so stunted it might as well not be there.

In a nutshell, it’s a two-dimensional movie that is more tedious than fun. The DVD sleeve mentions that there are “special features”. How misleading. There is nothing special about interactive menus, scene access and multiple language subtitles as they are basic DVD features. – SL

Rating: H

THE BUCKET LIST

Directed by Rob Reiner
Starring Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, Sean Hayes, Beverly Todd, Rob Morrow, Alfonso Freeman and Rowena King.
Distributed by Movie Magic Sdn Bhd

IT’S a difficult lesson to master, but dying can teach us how to live. Morris Schwartz taught us that, in Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays With Morrie. Randy Pausch’s uplifting The Last Lecture at Carnegie Mellon University also spoke in the same tone.

The Bucket List is a more hilarious, yet profound take on dying, as seen from the eyes of two cancer wardmates who came up with a list of things to do before cancer gets the best of them.

So billionaire Edward Cole (Nicholson) and scholarly mechanic Carter Chambers (Freeman) set out to do what they haven’t done – skydiving, car racing, viewing the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China and the Egyptian pyramids.

Nicholson and Freeman have an amazing on-screen chemistry as two strangers who share the last months of their lives together and the story they weave out of that is just superb and humbling.

Not many actors can bring out that level of madness and sadness hand-in-hand but these seasoned and talented actors do it with complete ease.

Too bad that the special feature is only a music video by John Mayer. If there are commentaries and even examples of others who wring out the most of their lives in their last few months, it would have given the story added impact.

This is a fantastic movie not about dying and leaving, but about living and loving. A drama/comedy that will one day be a classic. – SL

Rating: HHHH

HOT FUZZ

Directed by Edgar Wright
Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Jim Broadbent
Distributed by Berjaya HVN Sdn. Bhd

Puzzling title? “Fuzz” is actually a slang word for police in England. And this is a very British film – it is set in an apparently idyllic, pastoral English country town and possesses that quirky, offbeat British humour.

In this cop thriller/black comedy for lack of a better way to describe it, the humour comes at several different levels, in your face, very dry, sometimes almost subliminal and sometimes in questionable taste.

It is the story of a dedicated, brilliant, highly-decorated and completely humourless London cop, who after being wounded in action, is posted from London to a quiet country town; actually because his success in London makes his colleagues look bad.

However, mysterious “accidental” deaths which the police and civic leaders of the town dismiss lightly, trouble the “super cop”. All is not as it appears in this rural paradise. The town harbours dark secrets, nothing is quite as it appears, and soon blood is flowing freely.

Our hero with his partner and admirer, set to restore law and order.

This is a bloodthirsty comedy thriller, which you will either love or not be too amused with. There’s an excellent cast of quality British TV actors and even a guest appearance by Cate Blanchett in disguise (I only discovered this when listening to the excellent commentary in the Bonus Features section). – JH

Rating: HHHH

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 2

Directed by Kenny Ortega
Starring Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale and Lucas Grabeel
Distributed by Berjaya HVN Sdn. Bhd

Very much an American film. It’s the summer holidays and the kids from the famous high school are all off to the Lava Springs Country Club. Most of them take on a summer job whilst a few rich kids are there to lounge around.

And so the song and dance routines begin in this somewhat vacuous feel-good musical movie which I assume will appeal to middle class American teenagers.

The plot will not tax the intellect. A rich girl (a Paris Hilton look alike) wants a talented boy to perform with her to win the “midsummer night talent show”. Will the boy sell out his buddies and girlfriend working in the club kitchen, to join the rich set?

You can guess the answer. The movie is really about the song and dance routines, which are competent but not exactly inspiring. One set piece where the hero danced and sang his way across a verdant green golf fairway, with lofty mountains in the background was pure Bollywood!

The special features section offers Karaoke versions of all the songs with some music videos using materials from the film but featuring international artistes. Look out for one song performed by Malaysia’s Vince Chong and Jaclyn Victor.

A movie for those who are into wholesome, American high school pop song and dance, but not much for the rest of us though. – JH

Rating: HH

 

New Straits Times