Friday, December 28, 2012


This Means of the worst

  It's that time of year again.....time for the annual year's end round-up of the best news stories, books, TV shows, movies etc. etc.

But what about the year's worst?

  There have been some stinkers at the movie theatres this year, so here's a list of the year's ten worst movies, as judged by Time magazine.

10. One for the Money----"Katherine Heigl wanders through a graveyard of bad accents and Jersey stereotypes, looking for a guy who skipped out on her in high school and has now skipped out on bail. It’s about as exciting as watching a woman search her purse for her car keys."

  9.  The Odd Life of Timothy Green---"a saccharine weepie."

  8. What to Expect When You're Expecting---"Of all the weirdly conceived, cash-grabbing cinematic projects of 2012  this took the cake."

  7. Alex Cross---Starring Tyler Perry. -----"No discernible detecting takes place; there’s just a mad dash from one crisis to another, and the casual treatment of tortured women represents misogyny at its most dunderheaded."

 6. The Lorax---"just too painful to watch such a meaningful classic about environmental destruction turned into something so crass."

 5. This Means War. Starring Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy---"This garishly shot agony is a study in all that Hollywood is doing wrong with the romantic comedy: overworking the stunts and visuals while putting next to no energy in the emotional content."

4.  Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter---"Turns out the undead are the minds behind the slave trade and use their human chattel as fast food; without vamps, there wouldn’t have been a Civil War. This sounds like comedy, but the movie takes itself very seriously."

3.  Hyde Park on Hudson---"the most tasteless movie of the year."

2.  John Carter ---" portentous conversations and long but passionless battles. John Carter (Taylor Kitsch, embodying Lorenzo Lamas circa 1982) and his princess (Lynn Collins) seemed born not to love each other so much as to mud-wrestle each other."
The very worst!

1:  Cloud Atlas---"there’s no emotional hook in this bloated fantasia of special effects and makeup wizardry;  Co-directors Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer flit across centuries and genres in a whirlwind of bloody violence and cross-dressing, ethnicity-shifting performances, but there’s as much opportunity to get attached to characters as there would be watching people go by on a roller coaster."

Thursday, December 27, 2012


  It sounds weird but Kate Winslet is now officially Mrs. RocknRoll.
image: Kate Winslet is shown with Ned Rocknroll in Hong Kong in December 9, 2012.
Kate Winslet and Ned RocknRoll
  The 37-year-old Oscar winner has married 34-year-old Ned RocknRoll, nephew of Richard Branson,  in NewYork.
  Apparently the two met on Necker Island, Branson's private island in the Caribbean in August 2011 and have been engaged since the  summer. Winslet’s Titanic co-star, Leonardo DiCaprio, gave the bride away.   Born Ned Abel Smith, the bridegroom legally changed his name to RocknRoll and, of course, works for his uncle at Virgin Galactic.
  It is Winslet’s third marriage after her former marriages to director Sam Mendes and assistant director Jim Threapleton. It is Rocknroll’s second marriage after his previous marriage to British socialite Eliza Pearson


Piers Morgan

   Seems that CNN talk show host Piers Morgan is no longer welcome either at home or abroad judging by rival petitions going the rounds. One is demanding his deportation back to his native Britain and the other, circulating in the U.K, is insisting that America keep him.
   The American petition calling for his deportation was created following his repeated calls for increased U.S gun controls in the wake of the Newtown shootings and has attracted 75,000 signatures so far. It  has been sent to the White House which has yet to respond. The U.K. "Keep Piers Morgan in the USA" petition, which states "No one in the U.K wants him back",  has yet to reach 1,000 signatures. 
  Knowing Piers---and I have known him since he became editor of the Daily Mirror some years ago---he is likely to be highly amused by the furore he has created. Indeed, on Christmas Day he tweeted: "Merry Christmas! Even to those who want me deported." 

Sunday, December 23, 2012


  Even if she wanted to, Kristen Stewart won't get the chance to re-kindle her brief romance with director Rupert Sanders on the set of the Snow White and the Huntsman sequel.
  Because Sanders, who had a fling with Kristen while they were filming the first movie, hasn't been asked back to direct the next one. Sources say Universal bosses had to choose between Stewart and Sanders and didn't take long to decide that the star was more important than the director.
   It seems the married father of two didn't want the job anyway because, a friend told RadarOnline, "he is desperately still trying to save his marriage."
   Kristen, however, definitely wants to return to her Snow White persona. "I'm so excited about it it's crazy," enthused the actress, who has reunited with her boyfriend Robert Pattinson."It's gonna be f---ing amazing!"
    No word yet on who the new director will be and if Stewart knows she's not saying. ""I'm totally not allowed to talk about it," she says. 
   Whoever the new director is he will be expected to at least equal if not top the success of orignal, which amazingly grossed almost $400 million worldwide.

Friday, December 21, 2012


Cruise as Jack Reacher
  Jack Reacher, according to author Lee Child who created him, is a 6ft. 6in. blonde-haired ex-soldier who is "built like the side of a house....his hands, giant battered mitts that bunch into fists the size of footballs."
   Tom Cruise, who is portraying him in the action thriller Jack Reacher, is dark-haired, 5ft 7in tall with a baby face and small, soft hands. 
  A problem? Very probably. The speculation on social media sites has been so negative that research firm Fizziology reported the buzz was the worst it had ever seen surrounding a particular actor in an upcoming picture. 
   One commentator on the website of the film magazine Empire wrote: "Jack Reacher is a sledge hammer, Tom Cruise is an underwear dancing sissy."
   Paramount, the studio that put up $60 million to make the picture, is banking on Cruise's star power to make the movie a success.  
   And so is Cruise-----he has bought the rights to all 17 Jack Reacher books, hoping to turn them into a Mission: Impossible-type franchise. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Picture: Theo Kingma
Gerard Butler looks as if he is praying for a hit movie---because he certainly needs one
 The Scottish actor, who made his feature film debut in 1997 playing an unnamed seaman in the James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies, has survived a series of flops that would probably have ended the career of most other actors. 
  He has certainly been given more chances than most. From his title role in Phantom of the Opera onwards, he has been handed starring roles in a succession of Hollywood movies that instead of being the hits the studios expected, turned out to be major flops. 
  His only legitimate hit was 300 back in 2006. Since then his movies have included Gamer, The Ugly Truth, The Bounty Hunter, P.S. I Love You, Machine Gun Preacher, Coriolanus and two movies released almost simultaneously in the last few months, Playing for Keeps and Chasing Mavericks ---all of which bombed at the box office.  

   As one Los Angeles radio host commented, an actor like Gerard Butler should at least be able to open a film with a gross higher than the value of his home.
   Is it the fault of the actor, his agents or the studios marketing the movies?
   Maybe his screen fortunes will turn around in the coming year. After all, he has two new movies already in the can awaiting release and four more in production. 
   Surely, he seems to be praying, one of them will be a hit.

Friday, December 14, 2012


The two Djangos----Jamie Foxx and Franco Nero
  Quentin Tarantino is well known for paying tribute in his movies to classics of the past that have inspired him and from which he has borrowed. His latest, the outrageous Django Unchained, is no exception.
 Franco Nero, 71, who starred in the 1966 spaghetti western Django makes an appearance in Tarantino's very different but equally violent Django Unchained. His character asks Jamie Foxx's Django how he spells his name. Fox tells him and adds: "The D is silent."
  "I know," replies Nero's character.  

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Martin Freeman chatting in New York
   Martin Freeman is known to TV viewers as the likeable Tim in the British version of The Office. But his life is about to change dramatically when The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of three films based on J.R.R. Tolkien's slim 1937 novel is released.

   He stars in all three films as Bilbo Baggins, the hobbit of the title, and will be the focus of  fan fever from fantasy followers around the world.  
 He has already been on a promotional visit to Japan and I caught up with him in New York where he was slightly bemused to find billboards and posters of himself looking down at him from nearly every corner.

Martin Freeman; a portrait
 “The Bilboboards? Yes, it’s kind of weird when everywhere you go there are pictures of you,” he told me. “It’s certainly unusual for any film I’ve ever done.”
   Then he added with a grin: “But it’s a good picture of me and at least I’m happy with it because if it was a picture I hated I wouldn’t go out.”

  Martin was the only actor director Peter Jackson considered for the role of the Hobbit, but problems arose when filming was delayed because of financial problems and Martin instead took the role of Dr. Watson in the Sherlock TV series.

  He could not spend 18 months in New Zealand because of his Sherlock commitments so Jackson took the practically unheard of step of closing down production for two months so Martin could return to the U.K to film Sherlock. 

  He is relatively unperturbed at the prospect of becoming world famous as the Hobbit.   “Until it actually happens it’s all an intellectual exercise,” he says. “What if everyone hates it? I try not to count my chickens.
 “I try to treat it as a nice adventure rather than a huge pressure.”

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


  Leo DiCaprio is hitting the New York nightspots while he is in town filming his new movie The Wolf of Wall Street and also doing promotional duties for Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, in which he uncharacteristically plays an evil slave owner.
  Leo, who recently broke up with his Victoria's Secret model girlfriend Erin Heatherton, has been out on the town with another Victoria Secret's beauty Miranda Kerr, who was with him at his 38th birthday party at the Darby Downstairs, a few days later at the ABC Kitchen and then at the opening of Rosewood on E. 19th Street.
 Gossips' tongues have been wagging because Miranda is married to Orlando Bloom, who is currently filming Zulu in South Africa.
 But for once Leo does not have romantic designs on the girl on his arm---because Orlando is one of his best pals.  
 Instead, Leo told me when we chatted this week he is looking forward to giving the nightlife a rest for a while and retreating into a quiet private life for a while.
  "I've done three movies back to back--Great Gatsby, Django and the Wolf---and now I'm going to take a break," he says. "I've got nothing on the slate for next year at all."


Truffles in mid jump

  Truffles the daredevil guinea pig has reclaimed his place in the Guinness Book of Records with a gravity-defying jump of 48cm.
  The rodent, from Rosyth in Fife, added a massive 18cm to his previous benchmark set earlier this year.
  Truffles became an international superstar in March after setting an initial record of 30 cm for the longest guinea pig jump. But a guinea pig rival in Peru beat it so Truffles changed his diet from cucumber to kale, went back into training and added a massive 18 cm to his previous benchmark, reclaiming the world record.  Truffles will now put his paws up for retirement at the age of four, confident that his 48cm mark will finally prove too much for his competition around the world.


  It's always a pleasure seeing Nicole Kidman, whom I first met 21 years ago on Batman Forever. A lot of water under the bridge si...