Hollywood Playbook: Wednesday's Top 5 News Items

Hollywood Playbook: Wednesday's Top 5 News Items

People Are Mad I Said Chelsea Handler Looks ‘Used Up’

A few commenters slammed me in yesterday’s Top 5 for my observation that E!’s Chelsea Handler looks a “little used up.”

I was actually trying to be nice.

She really looks all used up.

 Tell me she doesn’t:

I wouldn’t say she looks all used up if she were looking for a career at Walmart or as a real estate agent in South Bend, Indiana. But she wants to be on television, and reality is reality and Handler looks like a hard-charging party girl pushing 40 whose lifestyle suddenly caught up with her.

This happens to guys all the time, but they move into character roles.

If Handler were looking to move into the Real Housewives-of-something, I wouldn’t say anything. Godspeed.

Handler, however, wants to continue to be the edgy, young and pretty party chick hosting the Late Night show. She wants to continue on as though she still looks like a college cheerleader.

Sorry, but a genetic switch flipped and she’s now closer to Baby Jane than a co-ed.

This happens to women in Hollywood all the time. It happened to Ava Gardner and Veronica Lake and Clair Trevor.

The switch flips.

You can either wake up to that reality and adjust your career accordingly or become Norma Desmond.

That is as nice as I know how to put it.


Sandra Bullock’s ‘Gravity’ Hit With Serious Lawsuit

Almost every hit movie is hit with some kind of lawsuit from someone who believes or claims to believe their ideas were in some way stolen. Sadly, that is one of the costs of producing a hit film. This “Gravity” lawsuit filed by author Tess Gerritsen is something different.

At first Gerritsen said that director Alfonso Cuaron’s blockbuster “Gravity” had nothing to do with her 1999 book of the same name, which is also about a female astronaut marooned in space and looking for a way home.

Since then, Gerritsen says she has learned that for a time Cuaron (who co-wrote the screenplay with his son) was attached to the film version of her book. While her film was in development, Gerritsen also delivered rewrites that included a sequence where the International Space Station is hit with space debris. In Gerritsen’s original story a space virus was the primary threat to the heroine. The film would use lethal space debris.

Deadline writes, and I agree, that when someone with Gerritsen’s credits (prolific author, including “Rizzoli and Isles”) files this kind of a lawsuit, it is a big deal. She is not going to risk what is already a lucrative relationship with Hollywood over a frivolous lawsuit.


Actor Bob Hoskins Dead at 71


Seventy-one is young nowadays. In a just world Hoskins had at least another decade of character roles to gift the world with. Hoskins is probably best known for his roles in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “The Long Good Friday,” “Mona Lisa,” “Hook” and “Mermaids.”

 Here are three of his lesser-known roles that are well worth seeking out:

1. Enemy at the Gates (2001)

Hoskins plays Nikita Kruschev, the future leader of the Soviet Union, during the critical (to the world) WWII battle for Stalingrad. Hoskins epitomizes the “mad dwarf” in this under-appreciated war film. Part of you is horrified with his actions while the other part understands.

As the man overseeing a pivotal WWII battle, in just a few scenes, Hoskin’s reminds us that it took an amoral madman to defeat an amoral madman.

2. Last Orders (2001)

Hoskins talent and screen presence was such that even co-stars like The Mighty Michael Caine, Helen Mirren, Ray Winstone, and David Hemmings did nothing to diminish Hoskin’s fine character work as gentle professional gambler with a secret love.

What range this man had. “Last Orders” is a fabulous ensemble film you should move mountains to watch.

3. The Inner Circle (1991)

Hoskin’s plays Lavrentiy Beria, Stalin’s real-life pig of an enforcer who as head of the Secret Police (NKVD)  enjoyed unbridled power and abused it with abandon to prowl the Moscow streets in his black limousine hunting for pretty young women.  Those he took a fancy to could choose between being raped or tossed into the certain death of a Gulag.

“The Inner Circle” is one of the very films to take an honest, unblinking look at Stalin’s Terror and the cult of personality that made it possible. As someone fascinated by the Soviet era, I was dazzled by how well Hoskins captured Beria’s monstrous and menacing charm in just a few scenes.



‘Godzilla’ and Other Trailers That Make Seeing the Movie Mandatory

‘Godzilla’ Finally Reveals Godzilla

Who can watch that trailer and not want to see the movie?

The trailer just works — hits all the summer sweet spots.

Over the years there have been two holy shit trailers that stand out like no others:  

“Godzilla’s” director is Gareth Edwards. This is only his second feature film after the independent film “Monsters” (2010), which was apparently good enough for Warner Bros. to say, “Here, take this pile of money.”

“Monsters” is streaming on Netflix. According to Jeff Wells, nobody saw it but it was made for peanuts and wowed all the right people. The trailer is embedded below:

Director Sam Mendes will Return in ‘James Bond 24’

Sam Mendes directed “Skyfall,” which was easily the best of the three-and-counting Daniel Craig Bond flicks. I was especially thrilled with it because it made James Bond James Bond again.

Bond seems to have finally worked though his backstory traumas: Nifty.

The “Skyfall” villain had a lair: Niftier.

Judi Dench is **SPOILER WARNING** dead: Niftiest.

Hopefully it is now time to get back to hot chicks, gadgets, memorable henchmen, volcano lairs, and a whole lot of license-to-killing….

I’m not looking for Jaws and invisible cars; just a return to ThunderballForYourEyesOnlySpyWhoLovedMeLicenseToKill Bond.

Enough with the angst.

Time for a little side-boob, a lotta violence, villains with flair, and pure escapism.

Mendes sees the next film as a sequel of sorts that will put the finishing touches on where he left us with “Skyfall”:

I started a number of stories that were incomplete. I cast a new M, I cast a new Moneypenny, I cast a new Q, I cast a new Tanner. There was a missing piece now. I felt like there was a way to create the second part of a two-part story. And then I started to get really interested again, when they agreed to wait a little longer and not go immediately and not go with two movies but with one, which I felt very strongly about.


Quick Hits

Fox Drama ‘Almost Human’ Cancelled

Focus on the Family Presents ‘Irreplaceable’ – Once Night Theatrical Event May 6

‘Sorcerer’ Bluray Review: Discover William Friedkin’s Other Masterpiece

‘She’s a Bitch With Zits’

James Franco, Ellen DeGeneres to Produce Shows for AOL


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Follow  John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC