Jack Nicholson Rejuvenated Michael Caine’s Career

Sir Michael Caine credits Jack Nicholson with reinvigorating his career - insisting he was ready to give up on acting before working with the Hollywood hellraiser in 1996.

The veteran British actor, 77, had grown disillusioned with the parts he was being offered as he grew older, and was considering turning his back on the movie industry by the mid-1990s and began to pen his first autobiography instead.

But after starring with Nicholson in 1996's Blood and Wine, Caine admits he began to relish his work again - and threw himself into another two decades of back-to-back film roles.

He tells Britain's Sunday Mirror, “I did write a first part of an ­autobiography when I thought my life was over. Then I did a movie with Jack called Blood and Wine in 1996. Jack and I had been friends for a long time but never worked together.

"I’d got fed up with making movies. I’d made a few crummy ones and I wasn’t getting any good scripts. Then I worked with Jack and the whole thing was so wonderful. I went back to work and I’ve had another ­wonderful 20 years of work.

"Jack is fabulous... love him, because he’s one of the best actors I’ve worked with, one of the best people, and one of the best movie stars, which is an incredibly unique combination because there are some weird movie stars, believe me.”

A Review Of The Film Daybreakers

There has been a considerable push in recent years for vampire media in different modes to be brought to light, no pun intended. The interesting thing, is that this might be the most frenzied people have ever been about vampire stories and programming. While this is all the case, it had become difficult for storytellers to give us something new and unique that was unlike something that was heard before. The film "Daybreakers" was able to do this.

This is a film that has taken an age old tale about vampires and put a spin on it unlike anything that has been seen in vampire cinema to date. Through the course of this article, you will get a brief plot synopsis as well as what makes this particular movie so unique from some of the other alternatives that are out there to view.

You should learn what makes this particular film unique in its own right first before it breaks into any plot synopsis. The reason this film is unique, is that it takes a perspective of humans being the minority in a world that has been overtaken by vampires. When vampires bite humans and they don't die, they become vampires as well. Several years of doing this has made the human race as we know it relatively extinct.

This synopsis might contain spoilers for those that have not seen the film, so beware of this if you are trying to find a very non-descript synopsis, this is not it. The film itself opens on the knowledge that the world is 95 percent vampire. With this knowledge, a team of people have been placed together to develop synthetic blood to sustain the population, as humans are becoming scarce.

Edward Dalton is one of the head minds behind the blood creating project, and is also very unhappy with being a vampire. He does not drink human blood, and he never wanted to be a vampire in the first place. However, if he cannot come up with a solution to the current blood conundrum, he along with millions of other vampires will die horribly gruesome deaths relative to starvation.

Dalton runs into some humans and he decides to help them stay alive. He is given some valuable information from Willem DaFoe's character, Elvis. He is a human that is leading the group and he was at one point a vampire. Through a freak accident, he was able to learn the secret to becoming human again.

Dalton had never wanted to be a vampire in the first place, and relishes the chance to become human again and sees to it that he orchestrates a similar situation to what Elvis described. After a couple of failed attempts, Dalton is returned to being a human with a beating heart and pumping blood. Now its time to tell his former company about the cure.

"Daybreakers" reaches its climax as Edward Dalton is to have another encounter with his former boss, Charles Bromley (Sam Neill). By this point, the audience has learned that humans who used to be vampires have different blood. This blood will turn a vampire back into being a human as well. So for every vampire that attempts to feed on one of these humans, also becomes a human capable of turning other vampires.

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NBC’s ‘Outlaw’ with Jimmy Smits stops production

NBC has stopped production on its frosh Jimmy Smits drama "Outlaw."

Series starring Smits as a Supreme Court justice who returns to the private sector as a crusading defense attorney will continue to air in the Friday 10 p.m. slot for at least the next few weeks. NBC has five completed episodes in the can, on top of the three that have already aired. Peacock said Wednesday it was taking a production hiatus on the show starting Thursday and would evaluate its perf over the next few weeks.

While the final verdict is still out, the show's long-term prospects look grim barring a big turnaround. "Outlaw" in its most recent outing last week averaged 4.7 million viewers and a 1.0 rating/4 share in the adults 18-49 demo.

"Outlaw" is the first of NBC's frosh fall crop to halt production. Series, from Universal Media Studios and Conan O'Brien's Conaco banner, was created by John Eisendrath, who exec produces with Russell Schwartz and David Kissinger.

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Helen Mirren Based Tough Film Character On Martha Stewart

Helen Mirren based her retired assassin character in new film Red on lifestyle queen Martha Stewart.

The Oscar winner reveals the idea of "becoming Martha" for the film came to her in a "flash of inspiration" and she instructed the hair and make-up department heads on the set to make her look like Stewart to help her nail the tough character.

Mirren tells WENN, "I thought, 'She's Martha Stewart,' so from that point on I based everything on Martha Stewart. The hair was Martha Stewart's hair, the colour, the cut; the clothes were Martha Stewart. I loved my white dress which was made for me and my snow camouflage outfit which I didn't realise existed but apparently it does.

"I thought Martha Stewart combines this perfect combination of sweetness and kindness and gentleness with unbelievable efficiency with this kind of laser-like ability to concentrate and get the job done. I thought that's a perfect thing for my character Victoria."

And the lifestyle mogul offered Mirren daily inspiration - thanks to a photo the actress hung in her trailer: "I had a picture of Martha up in my trailer and in the make-up room, so every day I could look at her and be inspired.

"I watch her show and I'm always sitting there with note paper saying, 'Oh, that's how you clean windows,' or, 'That's what you should do with your washing-up gloves after you're finished with them; you've got to turn them inside out.' She's absolutely amazing with a font of domestic information which I love.

Lost Boys Filmmakers Plan Second Trilogy

The Lost Boys vampire movie series is to suck yet more blood out of the box office - studio bosses are considering a second trilogy of films.

The Lost Boys: The Thirst, the second straight-to-dvd sequel, is set for release in October and star Corey Feldman reveals another three undead adventures are in the pipeline, as well as a TV spin-off.

Feldman, who plays vampire hunter Edgar Frog in the franchise, says, "If (The Thirst) performs as it seems it's going to, we're open to not only another sequel, but we're talking three more films, a second trilogy. We've plotted out three more films that could bring back more original characters. We're also talking a television series."

Michelle Yeoh returns to martial arts film genre (AP)

HONG KONG – A decade after "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," Michelle Yeoh has returned to the martial arts genre with dramatic acting skills to match her formidable swordplay and fight moves.

The 48-year-old former Bond girl plays a retired assassin haunted by her past life in the kung fu thriller "Reign of Assassins," which opens in Asia on Thursday. Producer John Woo crafted the role in the $14 million picture for his longtime friend when both Hong Kong transplants were developing their Hollywood careers in Los Angeles.

Yeoh has focused on her career in the West since the global success of "Crouching Tiger," appearing in a range of works including "Memoirs of a Geisha," the third installment of "The Mummy" franchise and Oscar winner Danny Boyle's sci-fi thriller "Sunshine." Many of these parts were dramatic roles.

The extended absence might have some fans wondering if the ballerina-turned-action star has lost her touch for the more physical screen performances she is known for in Asia.

A former Miss Malaysia, Yeoh parlayed her beauty pageant credentials into a full-fledged acting career in Hong Kong in the 1980s and 1990s, where she earned a reputation as a gritty daredevil who could hold her own against — and even outshine — the likes of Jackie Chan and Jet Li in complicated kung fu and stunt sequences. Hollywood came beckoning in 1997 with a costarring role alongside Pierce Brosnan in the James Bond film "Tomorrow Never Dies."

Yeoh told a news conference in Hong Kong recently that she, too, had initial doubts about the role, noting it required challenging swordplay that drew her close to her fellow actors.

"I was a little worried initially. I had not shot a kung fu movie since 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.' I put that skill set aside for a long time," she said.

But her years of experience in action film quickly showed, especially when it came to fight sequences where the actors were suspended by wires.

"Your timing has to be very accurate. I've done a lot of wire work before. I can see that experience makes a big difference," Yeoh said.

Woo, whose Lion Rock Productions made "Reign of Assassins," said Yeoh's action prowess has not waned. The veteran actress performed 90 percent of her own moves and stunts, he said.

"Her kung fu moves are still so clean, so powerful. She still has great rhythm. She still looks great," Woo told The Associated Press. "Michelle Yeoh is the same."

Director Su Chao-pin said he was impressed by Yeoh's routine of waking up three hours before 7 a.m. shoots for stretching and running.

"Her level of fitness is the product of tremendous self-discipline," Su told the AP.

Woo said he was also struck by Yeoh's ability to tackle the emotional journey of her character, who's determined to forge a new life as an unknown fabric seller with her new husband (South Korea's Jung Woo-sung), only to be tracked down by accomplices from her past. Her husband, a courier, also harbors a secret identity.

"It's completely different from her previous characters where she is an action star or plays someone who is a strong fighter. In this movie, not only does she fight well, she acts well too. She shows her real emotion," the "Mission: Impossible II" director said.

Perhaps due to Yeoh's growing international profile, Woo said "Reign of Assassins" has drawn more interest from distributors in Europe and North America than "Red Cliff," his recent historical epic that marked his return to Chinese film.

"To be honest, I'm a little jealous," Woo joked.



“Secretariat” a winning take on inspirational tale (Reuters)

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Mayhem Pictures and its producer/partners Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray have successfully hit upon a formula for making inspiring sports movies, and "Secretariat," the story of the world's greatest racehorse, is no exception.

Written by Mike Rich, who wrote "The Rookie" and "Miracle" for Mayhem, the film manages to find a way around the seeming disadvantage of making a movie about a horse likely to win every race. Rich and director Randall Wallace do so by focusing not on its eponymous hero but on his female owner. The film thus takes on a feminist tone as a Denver housewife (well played by Diane Lane) goes up against the old boys who dominate horse racing.

Consequently, "Secretariat" might be one sports movie that draws a significant share of female viewers. The film, opening Friday (October 8) looks primed for a decent theatrical payoff for Disney, especially with older viewers and the "faith-based" audience Disney has courted online. The film should be a solid performer on all TV platforms and home video.

In a career spanning only 16 months, Secretariat became a true legend. Altogether, the deep-chested, muscular, chestnut stallion won 16 of his 21 career races, taking second place three times and third once, for in-the-money finishes in 20 of 21 starts. So this movie definitely is not about an improbable underdog like "Seabiscuit" was.

The thrill here for audiences is akin to going up against criminal baddies with Dirty Harry on your side or entering the boxing ring with Muhammad Ali. If you know anything about horse-race history, you can't wait until you see how the movie stages the famous 1973 Belmont Stakes.

The movie seeks its dramatic conflict between races in the battles of the stallion's owner and true believer, Penny Chenery Tweedy (Lane), who takes over the Virginia-based Meadow Stables from her ailing dad (Scott Glenn). She inherits a stud farm deeply in debt and, upon her father's death, owes hefty estate taxes.

Nonetheless, her unshakable faith in this miracle horse extends even to before his birth. A 1969 coin toss, originally agreed to by her father, determines which of two foals sired by Bold Ruler, one of the most important stallions of that day, will go to the winner. Ogden Phipps (James Cromwell), a wealthy breeder and owner, wins the toss and makes his selection. Penny whispers that she actually got her wish: She wants the unborn foal of Somethingroyal.

She guessed right.

Aligned against Penny and her horse, whom everyone calls Big Red, are a wall of sexist men starting with a corrupt trainer she immediately fires. Then there's Penny's tradition-minded husband (Dylan Walsh), who wants her back home minding the stove and washing machine; her economist brother (Dylan Baker), who wants the horse sold to pay the estate taxes; and a belligerent owner (Nestor Serrano) of Secretariat's only racetrack rival, Sham. Misogynistic remarks and slights fail to deter Penny, who runs roughshod over the male world of racing. And she can because she has the best horse.

Her team is nearly all-male as well: Veteran trainer and all-around eccentric Lucien Laurin (John Malkovich, reining in his usual exuberance only slightly), who gives the movie its needed color by dressing, as one character puts it, "like Superfly"; tough-as-nails jockey Ron Turcotte (excellently played by real-life jockey Otto Thorwarth); and groom Eddie Sweat (Nelsan Ellis), who believes he knows what horses think. Penny's one female assistant is Miss Ham (a motherly Margo Martindale).

The film's other prominent speaking roles are barely necessary. As Penny's daughter Kate, Disney recording star AJ Michalka gets a chance to sing and, when Kate turns into something of a hippie, to trivialize the whole counterculture/antiwar movement of that era. Kevin Connolly and Eric Lange play two cartoonish reporters who never venture into the press box.

Lane, in a series of wigs to portray the blond Penny Tweedy, holds the film together with a sturdy performance that suggests, in moments, a mystical connection between horse and owner. Malkovich gives the film its comic relief as the French-Canadian trainer who after a long career has a winner to make up for all those painful big losses.

The races are well shot, with five horses needed to play the one superhorse in all his glory.

(please visit our entertainment blog via www.reuters.com or on http://blogs.reuters.com/fanfare/)

Hilary Swank’s newest role: a woman driven by conviction (AP)

BRISTOL, R.I. – There's an early scene in Tony Goldwyn's "Conviction" when law student Betty Anne Waters offers a textbook definition of "contract" for her classmates.

It foretells the contract the real-life Waters had with her brother Kenny Waters: He would keep himself alive in prison, where he spent 18 years on a murder conviction, in exchange for his sister laboring through law school with the singular goal of establishing his innocence.

When she finally — and improbably — did, it wasn't long before Hollywood saw a movie in the story.

The result is "Conviction," with Hilary Swank in the role of Waters — a Rhode Island woman who put herself through college and then law school before using DNA evidence from the murder scene to exonerate her brother and win his release in 2001.

"The truth — you couldn't make it up," Goldwyn says of the Waters' story.

The Fox Searchlight film, shot in Michigan and New England on a $12.5 million budget, premiered last month at the Toronto International Film Festival and opens nationwide on Oct. 15.

Swank, who won two best actress Academy Awards for 1999's "Boys Don't Cry" and 2004's "Million Dollar Baby," was given the script while training for the latter film. She said she was inspired by Waters' devotion to her brother but also horrified that an innocent man had spent nearly half his life in prison for a crime he didn't commit.

"There's a part of you that has to be like, 'This could never happen'" to an innocent person, she said in an interview from Los Angeles. "And then you realize that it is happening."

Betty Anne Waters was a young mother in 1982 when her older brother was arrested and charged in the brutal slaying and robbery of his neighbor, Katharina Brow, in Ayer, Mass., two years earlier.

Despite an alibi that placed him at a diner and in court on the morning of the killing, a jury convicted him of murder, largely on the strength of witnesses — including an ex-girlfriend — who later recanted their testimonies. Bloody fingerprints found at the scene were never presented as evidence at the trial, nor was his time card from work.

Kenny Waters (portrayed by Sam Rockwell) was a fun-loving rabble-rouser with a hair-trigger temper, capable of cursing at cops, dancing nude in goofy sunglasses and knocking out a man in a bar fight and then offering him a splash of Wild Turkey.

"The truth is, he was volatile," Rockwell said in an interview. "He had a temper, but he also was a very charming guy and from what I heard, he was very childlike. He was a complicated guy."

Facing a life sentence following his 1983 conviction, Kenny Waters attempted suicide. His appeals exhausted, he told his sister the only way he could sustain hope, the only path for him to remain alive, was if she could somehow become a lawyer and exonerate him.

Never mind that his sister had no money and only a GED at the time, and that he had little trust in a legal system he felt had wronged him.

"Kenny had more faith in me than I could ever have in myself — ever — all my life," Betty Anne Waters said in an interview at Aidan's, an Irish pub in Bristol, R.I., that she continues to co-manage. "It wasn't the first time he thought, 'Betty Anne can do anything.' He always thought I could do anything."

She took community college courses and then earned a degree at Rhode Island College before enrolling in law school at Roger Williams University in Bristol and graduating in 1998 — an education she just finished paying off two years ago.

She earned extra cash through her work at Aidan's, and even as she slogged through traditional law school classes for which she had no practical use, she focused on her brother's case and grew fascinated by the still-emerging field of DNA testing.

After law school, she discovered a box of forgotten evidence at the courthouse. She worked with the Innocence Project, which operates to free wrongfully convicted prisoners, and attorney Barry Scheck to preserve the evidence and have the blood tested against Kenny's DNA.

The results didn't match, Kenny Waters was released and prosecutors vacated the conviction in 2001. Last year, the town of Ayer and several insurers reached a multimillion-dollar settlement over the handling of the case, which remains unsolved.

Despite her legal fame, the 56-year-old Betty Anne Waters does not actively practice law, but still works on cases with the Innocence Project.

Goldwyn said he learned about the case from his wife, who told him excitedly about a TV special she had seen. He was moved by Waters' perseverance, but also wondered what would have happened had she been wrong. What if her brother turned out to have been guilty or what if, despite her best efforts, she couldn't spring him from prison? Would her crusade have been somehow futile?

"To me, the answer was no, because this bond she had with her brother — to me — is what life is all about," said Goldwyn.

The film, written by Pamela Gray, is largely factual but takes some liberties in the chronology of events. It suggests Kenny Waters languished behind bars well after the DNA results came back, though he walked out of prison just two weeks after being ruled out as the killer.

The movie also omits his death at age 48 of head injuries from a fall, six months after his release. Goldwyn said he considered including the death, but decided it didn't fit.

Betty Anne Waters was ambivalent about the attention, but her brother was thrilled with the nonstop calls they received after news got out of his release from prison.

"'I'm answering it — it's probably Hollywood calling again,'" Betty Anne said of Kenny's reaction. "He loved it, and he's like, 'Betty Anne, you have to do this movie.'"

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