Update Saturday, March 17, 2018 - March 23, 2018
Film Review: Plummer rescues ‘All the Money’ from the dustbin
shows Christopher Plummer in a scene from “All the Money in the World.”
(Giles Keyte/Sony Pictures via AP)
New York (AP) —
Should Ridley Scott’s “All the Money in the World” be measured by the usual
critical apparatus or with a stopwatch?
If the latter, Scott’s
movie wins the race, hands down. “All the Money in the World”, with
remarkably few signs of haste, accomplished its unenviable task of recasting
Kevin Spacey’s role with Christopher Plummer. Plummer parachuted in at short
notice to shoot his nine days of work, and Scott toiled around the clock to
recut and remake his own movie. Like a bank thief covering tracks and
wiping fingerprints, Scott erased all trace of Spacey.
That alone makes “All
the Money in the World” a fascinating footnote in the larger ongoing drama
of the “Me Too” reckoning. And considering the way things are going,
Plummer should keep his bags packed. We may need his services again.
But was it worth the
trouble? “All the Money in the World,” about the 1973 kidnapping of the
grandson of billionaire oil tycoon John Paul Getty (Plummer), is, for better
and worse, every bit a Scott production: a solidly built, no-nonsense drama,
largely without surprise. But its saving grace isn’t Plummer. It’s
She plays Gail Harris,
the distraught mother of the kidnapped 16-year-old “little Paul” (Charlie
Plummer, no relation). When Getty refuses to pay the kidnappers’ demands of
$17 million, she’s left virtually alone in seeking his release, aside from
the inattentive help of Getty’s overconfident, former-CIA fixer, Fletcher
Case (Mark Wahlberg). As a woman locked inside an oppressively male world,
Williams’ performance — gripping and glamorous — slides in comfortably with
Scott’s best female protagonists (Ripley, Thelma, Louise).
Based on John Pearson’s
1995 book, “Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortune and Misfortunes of the
Heirs of J. Paul Getty,” David Scarpa’s script doesn’t attempt to show the
larger soap opera of the younger Getty generations, many of whom suffered
through drugs, depression and worse because of their father’s hostility and
inattention. Getty married five times and young Paul was one of 14
grandchildren. When he was taken, Getty, then one of the richest men in the
world, told reporters: “If I pay one penny now, I’ll have 14 kidnapped
“All the Money in the
World” ought to have aimed more ambitiously for the complete tragedy of the
Gettys, or stuck more resolutely to Gail’s perspective. Instead, it bounces
erratically between its main players and loses steam every time Williams
leaves the screen. At times it’s preoccupied with studying the astonishing
greed of its penny-pinching Scrooge, at others with trailing the thrilling
plot of Gail’s pursuit of Paul. It doesn’t necessarily follow any one
character. It follows the money.
Opening with a
black-and-white sequence of the kidnapping in Rome, Scott’s movie
continuously cuts to Paul’s travails as the prisoner of Calabrian bandits.
Expecting a quick payday, they settle in the mountains of Southern Italy for
months, growing increasingly impatient.
Seesawing between the
mafia-controlled hills of Italy and the mammoth English estate of the
Getty’s, “All the Money in the World” seeks for a larger portrait of people
prioritizing money over basic human decency — of putting the art of the deal
above all else, you might say. When first told of the kidnapping, Getty
doesn’t even look up from the stock ticker.
It’s hard not to spend
some of the film’s running time wondering what Spacey might have brought to
the movie. I suspect his performance would have been icier, and perhaps
smacked of stunt. (Spacey donned copious makeup and prosthetics to age him
into the role.) Plummer, on the other hand, quite naturally feasts on the
part, fully embodying Getty’s privilege and power.
At 88, Plummer has
spent much of his superlative late period playing King Lears presiding over
the ends of their empires. Give him a mansion and a backstory, and he’ll go
to town (just as he did in the World War II thriller “The Exception”). But
the miserly Getty of “All the Money in the World,” so totally focused on his
fortune, makes the Grinch look like a philanthropist.
Aside from the
audaciousness of its last-minute face-lift, “All the Money in the World” is
fairly routine. If Scott was replacing stars, he might as well have yanked
Wahlberg while he was at it. The story doesn’t suit the action star’s
considerable gifts, and he’s out of place from the start.
Still, the extreme
measures taken by Scott are fitting. The restless director is driven by an
obsession for work not so different than Getty’s. Only when a crisis took
his movie hostage, Scott immediately intervened at an estimated cost of $8
million. The lesson holds: Just pay the ransom.
“All the Money in the
World,” a Sony Pictures release, is rated R by the Motion Picture
Association of America for “language, some violence, disturbing images and
brief drug content.” Running time: 132 minutes. Two and a half stars out of
Andrew Lloyd Webber, turning 70,
looks back and forward
Andrew Lloyd Webber is shown in this Jan. 28,
2018 file photo. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
New York (AP) —
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 70th birthday is coming up on March 22 and it turns
out there is something the composer really wants on his special day. More
The man behind such
blockbuster shows as “Cats,” ‘’The Phantom of the Opera” and “Evita” has
shows in London’s West End, Broadway and on tour, but he’d like to be
composing another one.
“The biggest birthday
present to me would be to know that I’ve found another subject. Genuinely,
that’s what I would most want for my 70th birthday: To know I’m writing,” he
Lloyd Webber may
actually be close to another musical subject but doesn’t want to jinx it by
revealing details. “Knowing me, I’ll find some speed bump along the line,”
It’s typical of this
restless, self-described perfectionist that he’s looking forward as his past
is being celebrated in words, performances and music.
“Unmasked,” is being released this month, along with a massive, four-CD
collection of his songs, performed by the likes of Barbra Streisand, Lana
Del Rey and Madonna.
The book, which he
jokingly refers to as a “medium sized doorstop,” covers the years from his
birth to the birth of “The Phantom of the Opera.” It’s honest and very
“I just hope it shows a
little more about me to people who perhaps don’t know me,” he said in his
apartment overlooking Central Park. “I just hope I’ve told some of the
funniest stores and they’re not too boring for people.”
One of the book’s most
fascinating sections involves the troubled creation of “Cats,” which became
a global phenomenon. Lloyd Webber had to put his own money into the show
and watched its progression nervously.
“We were asking people
to believe that human beings were cats. It appeared to have no story-line,”
Lloyd Webber said. “There was not one ingredient that anybody could see was
anything other than a recipe for the worst disaster that had ever happened
in the history of musical theater.”
Lloyd Webber is
positive he’d be unable to get backing for a show like that on Broadway
today, though he cheers the imagination of current hits like “Hamilton,”
‘’Dear Evan Hansen,” ‘’Come From Away” and “The Band’s Visit.” None seem
safe bets: “Every single one of those four would be considered to be written
by somebody who is terminally insane,” he said, laughing.
autobiography ends in 1986 with “Phantom”: “I resembled a jelly about to
enter a pizza oven.” But he doubts he’ll write a second volume. By the end
of the first, several key relationships have frayed and betrayal is felt.
“On the way down
sometimes is when you see peoples’ true colors. I don’t want to write about
that. I never want to write about the bad side of people or things,” he
The CD collection of 71
songs proves Lloyd Webber’s range, including a song he wrote for Elvis
Presley, orchestral suites, and tunes performed by everyone from Donny
Osmond to Beyonce. Lana Del Rey performs “You Must Love Me” and Nicole
Scherzinger does “Memory.”
unfashionable now because I’m not sure that melody is as fashionable as it
was,” he says. “But what I do is melody and I still believe there’s a place
Universal launches plans
for third ‘Jurassic World’ film
shows a scene from the upcoming “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”. (Universal
Pictures via AP)
New York (AP) -
Four months before “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” hits theaters, Universal
Pictures has announced plans for a third installment in the rebooted
“Jurassic World 3” will land in June 2021. The film is to be written by
Emily Carmichael and Colin Trevorrow, the director of 2015’s “Jurassic
World.” Carmichael co-wrote the upcoming sci-fi adventure “Pacific Rim
“Jurassic World” ranks
among the biggest box-office hits. It launched with a $208.8 million
opening weekend and finished with $1.7 billion worldwide in ticket sales.
Trevorrow and Steven
Spielberg are executive producing each new “Jurassic World” film.
Directed by J.A.
Bayona, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” starring Chris Pratt and Bryce
Dallas Howard, opens June 22.
Update Saturday, March 10, 2018 - March 16, 2018
Ed Sheeran is world’s best-selling recording artist of 2017
Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is shown arriving at the 68th edition of the
International Film Festival Berlin, Berlinale, in Berlin, Germany, Friday,
Feb. 23. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
London (AP) — If you think
there’s no escape from the songs of Ed Sheeran, you may be right.
A global music industry group says the
British singer-songwriter is officially the best-selling recording artist of
The International Federation of the
Phonographic Industry says Sheeran had the world’s top-selling album last
year with “Divide,” as well as the best-selling single, “Shape of You.”
The group’s chief executive, Frances
Moore, said that Sheeran’s success “is astonishing and testament to his
ability to write and perform songs that connect with a truly global fan
The IFPI’s Global Recording Artist of
the Year Award measures sales in both digital and physical music formats.
The 2016 winner, Drake, came second in
2017. Rounding out the top five were Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar and
Pitt, DiCaprio set to star in Tarantino’s Manson film
Los Angeles (AP) — Brad Pitt and
Leonardo DiCaprio are set to star in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time
Sony Pictures says that the film has been dated for a
theatrical release on Aug. 9, 2019.
Set in 1969 Los Angeles, the project has become widely
known as Tarantino’s Charles Manson film.
Neither DiCaprio nor Pitt will be playing Manson
however. Tarantino says they will play a pair of struggling actors. DiCaprio
will appear as a former Western TV series star and Pitt as his stunt double.
Their characters live next door to Sharon Tate.
A longtime resident of Los Angeles, Tarantino has been
working on the script for five years. It will mark his ninth feature.
Update Saturday, February 3, 2018 - February 9, 2018
Film Review: ‘Phantom Thread’ spins a rich showcase for Day-Lewis
image Vicky Krieps (left) and Daniel Day-Lewis appear in a scene from
“Phantom Thread.” (Laurie Sparham/Focus Features via AP)
Los Angeles (AP) - With echoes
of “Rebecca” and lavish Max Ophuls productions, writer and director Paul
Thomas Anderson spins the tale of an obsessive fashion designer and his muse
into a suspenseful and often funny parlor drama with all the trimmings in
Anderson is revered for his grand stage
meditations on the American man (“Boogie Nights,” 3There Will Be Blood,”
3The Master”). But here, and perhaps to the dismay of some of his fans, he
both narrows and redirects his gaze elsewhere to a single couture house in
1950s London and the very particular man behind the designs, Reynolds
The great Daniel Day-Lewis, in what may
be his final film performance, plays Reynolds as a soft-spoken dandy whose
precise rules and polished look thinly veil his volatile artist’s
temperament. We’ve certainly seen this kind of thing before — a celebrated
artist who literally cannot stomach anything outside of his routine from
ugliness to general unpleasantries and everything in between — but it is
something special and distinct in the hands of Day-Lewis, who is perhaps the
only working actor perfect and exacting enough to play someone so perfect
Reynolds’ nature is just one of the
reasons why he’s sailed past middle age and has not only never married but
also will proudly tell a woman on a first date that he is a “confirmed” and
“incurable” bachelor. The audience sees Reynolds and his sister Cyril
(Lesley Manville), who runs the business side of the House of Woodcock,
dispose of a pretty woman early on for the crime of wanting his attention
(and disrupting breakfast by offering him an unwanted pastry).
Thus we’re not expecting anything very
different when he takes a shine to Alma (Vicky Krieps), a waitress at a
restaurant in the country whom he teases and flirts with by ordering an
excessively large breakfast spread for just himself and grinning widely at
his next prey. Alma, who seems shy and awkward in her lanky body, bumping
into chairs and blushing at the sight of Reynolds, smiles and plays along
and gladly accepts his dinner invitation, and, soon one to come back to
London to model for him.
But this is not “Funny Face” or “My
Fair Lady” or “Pretty Woman” or any number of “ugly” duckling turns to swan
with the help of a hairbrush/expensive clothes/great man stories. It’s not
even really about fashion (although Mark Bridges costumes are indeed
sumptuous). It’s a story of relationships and power.
Alma, we come to discover, is not like
the other girls even if she fits the mold (Cyril tells her plainly that she
has the perfect shape — “he likes them with a little belly”). She has a bite
and will push back on some things and concede on others. “He’s too fussy,”
she says defiantly after a disastrous breakfast where Reynolds storms off
because she’s buttering her toast too loudly, only later to succumb to the
library silence he prefers in the morning. Ultimately, it seems, Alma is
testing the waters in hopes of carving out her own unique relationship with
Why Alma loves this petulant genius is
something the film doesn’t really make any effort to explain. It’s just a
fact, and an occasionally infuriating one. This takes a somewhat surreal
twist halfway through, but it’s intriguing enough to carry you to the end of
Even in the unusually confined setting,
Anderson gives moments and characters room to breathe in this silky smooth
film that lulls you in before taking you on the unexpected ride of the third
act. Giving one of the most beautifully subtle performances of the year,
Krieps more than holds her own against Day-Lewis, and in some cases even
goes so far as to outshine him — a fitting parallel to her character.
Manville, too, is superb as Cyril — a Mrs. Danvers-type, without the
Like all of Anderson’s efforts,
“Phantom Thread” is beautiful and intriguing, but it’s also a film that is
not unlike its central character: easy to respect and admire, and nearly
impossible to fully love.
“Phantom Thread,” a Focus Features
release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for
“language.” Running time: 130 minutes. Three stars out of four.
Brit Awards give top honors to Dua Lipa, Stormzy
Singer Dua Lipa poses for photographers upon
arrival at the Brit Awards 2018 in London, Wednesday, Feb. 21. (Photo by
Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)
London (AP) — Hometown
London stars Dua Lipa and Stormzy were both double winners last week at
the U.K. music industry’s Brit Awards, where many guests wore white
roses to symbolize the fight against sexual harassment and assault.
Stormzy, who has helped propel the
grime genre of rap into the commercial mainstream, was named best male
British solo artist, and also won album of the year, for his debut “Gang
Signs and Prayer.”
Taking the stage, he thanked God,
his mother, his family his team and south London, where he grew up.
Stormzy said the album was “the
hardest thing, I’ve never worked on something like this in my life.
I’ve never given my entire being, I didn’t have anything left after...
we made something I feel that is undeniable, that I can stand by today,”
Stormzy also energized a show that
bordered on bland. In an electric closing performance, he put Britain’s
prime minister on the spot, singing “Theresa May, where’s the money for
Grenfell” in reference to last year’s deadly London tower block blaze.
Lipa, whose self-titled debut was
one of 2017’s breakout albums, was named British female solo artist and
British breakthrough artist.
Lipa dedicated her solo artist
trophy to all the female musicians who “have allowed us to dream this
“Here’s to more women on these
stages, more women winning awards and more women taking over the world,”
said Lipa, who topped U.K. charts with her catchy breakup anthem “New
Following up on gestures at the
Golden Globes, Grammys and British film awards, guests at Britain’s
biggest music awards show were given flowers or white rose pins to wear
in solidarity with the Time’s Up movement.
Calls for change have swept through
the entertainment industry since women began coming forward to accuse
Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein last year.
The white rose symbol made an
appearance at the Grammys in January. At the Globes and British Academy
Film Awards women wore black to oppose sexual misconduct and bullying.
Performers at the show at London’s
O2 Arena, hosted by comedian Jack Whitehall, included Justin Timberlake,
Rita Ora, Sam Smith, Foo Fighters and Kendrick Lamar.
International winners included Foo
Fighters in the group category, female solo artist Lorde and male solo
artist Kendrick Lamar.
Soulful singer Rag’n’Bone Man took
the trophy for best British single for “Human.”
Ubiquitous singer-songwriter Ed
Sheeran won the global success award, which goes to the year’s
best-selling British artist. His album “Divide” has sold more than 12
million copies around the world.
In what felt like a symbolic
handover between generations, Sheeran’s prize was introduced by a video
message from Elton John. He was given his trophy by Rolling Stone Ronnie
Wood, who called Sheeran “a lovely young guy.”
Ariana Grande had been due to
perform, but was forced to pull out because of illness, organizers
said. She had been due to make a surprise appearance in tribute to 22
people killed when a bomber blew himself up at a Grande concert in
Manchester in May.
Manchester-born Liam Gallagher
stepped in instead, performing the Oasis classic “Live Forever.”
Most winners at the Brits are
chosen by a ballot of music-industry members, with several selected by
public vote, including video of the year, decided by public ballot
during the show. For years that prize was invariably won by One
Direction; this year it went to a member of that band, Harry Styles.
French customs officials find stolen Degas in luggage on bus
This photo provided by French Customs shows
a stolen painting by French painter Edgar Degas. (Marc Bonodot/French
Customs via AP)
Paris (AP) - French customs
officers have found an impressionist painting by Edgar Degas stowed on a
bus, more than eight years after it was reported stolen.
The French Culture Ministry said
that customs agents in Marne-la-Vallee were surprised to find a work of
art bearing the signature “Degas” inside a suitcase in the bus’ luggage
compartment. The ministry says none of the passengers claimed the
suitcase during the Feb. 16 search.
Experts verified the artwork as
Degas’ “Les Choristes” (“The Chorus Singers”), which depicts a scene
from Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni.”
The painting was stolen from a
Marseille museum in 2009 while on loan from Paris’ Musee d’Orsay.
French Culture Minister Francoise
Nyssen said she was delighted by the recovery of a work “whose
disappearance represented a heavy loss for the French impressionist