Three favorable things I can say about this competent but it's-hard-to-really-care sequel to 2006's The Da Vinci Code: (1) Hanks's ridiculous floppy haircut in the first movie has been replaced by a more sensible, shorter do; (2) at 138 minutes, the film is blessedly 11 minutes shorter than the bloated Code; and (3) as Angels' requisite beautiful female, Zurer (as an Italian scientist) is far more of a live wire than Audrey Tautou was in Code.
Like Code, Angels is based on a bestselling novel by Dan Brown, is directed by Ron Howard and features a plot that is borderline preposterous and excessively baroque. Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon (Hanks, reliably droll) chases after the Illuminati, an ancient secret society which may be behind a threat to blow up the Vatican. Langdon frantically flits around to various churches and historical sites in Rome--the scenery is fabulous--desperate to beat the deadline. While full of much high-minded natter about whether science and religion can manage to coexist, Angels is in the end pure Hollywood-style hokum.
, Steve Zahn, Woody Harrelson | R |
Check the location of the theater exits when you take your seat for Management. You'll want to know exactly where they are, and not just as a fire safety precaution. There's zero payoff for sitting all the way through this misbegotten wisp of a would-be wacky romantic comedy. It follows the painfully bumbling efforts of a clueless handyman (Zahn) to woo a traveling saleswoman (Aniston) staying at the hotel where he works. The film is charmless and meanders self-indulgently for long painful stretches. Aniston, in what is really a supporting role, is at least crisp. Zahn, always welcome in smaller doses as a secondary player, toils too hard at being adorably dim.
Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel Weisz, PG-13 |
It goes on too long and is a tad too smitten with its own cleverness, but there's much to enjoy in this quirky comic drama about conmen brothers (Brody and Ruffalo). First and foremost is an effervescent turn by Weisz as an eccentric heiress. Initially a mark for the siblings, she soon becomes their partner in crime. The daffy enthusiasm with which she enters into their complicated schemes is a joy to behold. Written and directed with singular style by Rian Johnson (Brick), Bloom is really about the pleasures of storytelling. Twists and turns pile up until, like too many layers on a wedding cake, the whole threatens to topple over.
>• A film and TV star in her native Israel, Zurer, 39, goes global as Tom Hanks's scientist sidekick.
ON HER TOUGHEST SCENE Running with my heels on the cobblestones of Rome! But all the women there can do that.
ON TOM HANKS He has wings of good spirit that spread over everybody. He comes to the set in the morning and makes jokes, and the whole mood is lifted.
ON BEING CALLED ISRAEL'S JULIA ROBERTS
What a compliment. That girl has legs like you've never seen!
>TAKEN At the time of wife Natasha Richardson's tragic death following a skiing accident in March, Liam Neeson was enjoying a career high due to the surprise success of this tough-guy thriller, now out on DVD and Blu-Ray. Neeson plays an ex-CIA agent who swings into action-hero mode when his teenage daughter is kidnapped in Paris. Taken was already an international hit when it opened in the U.S. in late January and grossed $144 million. Its popularity has spurred talk of a sequel, but no official word yet. Neeson is juggling future projects, including playing Abraham Lincoln for director Steven Spielberg.
THREE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT STAR TREK'S
CLIFTON COLLINS JR.
• A third-generation star, the versatile character actor transforms into a nasty Romulan (above) in the new Trek.
HE'S ALWAYS UP FOR A FIGHT Tussling with Captain Kirk was his idea. "Hell yeah," says Collins. "I wanted to do some fighting! It was cool, man. I would be lying to you if I said it wasn't."
HE'S A CHAMELEON ON FILM Playing a murderer in Capote or a one-armed shopkeeper in Sunshine Cleaning, Collins is "pretty good at hiding in all my characters," he says. "I can be in a big tent-pole film and still be able to maintain my anonymity."
HIS GRANDFATHER STARRED WITH JOHN WAYNE A favorite of the Duke's, Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez appeared in several of his films, including Rio Bravo. "He's been such an inspiration to me," says Collins. "Grandpa started me tap dancing at age 7. After Capote, he said, 'All right, mijo, I don't have to worry about you.'"
>Suri won't be seeing her mom's next movie until she's much, much older: Katie Holmes
(left) is finalizing plans to star in Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. The chiller, a remake of a 1973 made-for-TV movie, is about a couple and child who discover nasty, otherworldly creatures scampering about their house. Goose pimples expert Guillermo del Toro, director of Hellboy I and II and Pan's Labyrinth, is producing. Holmes will head this summer to Melbourne for the shoot.
Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer, Stellan Skarsgård, Armin Mueller-Stahl | PG-13 |