Tags: Valkyrie | Plagued

Tom Cruise's 'Valkyrie' Plagued With Problems

Tuesday, 25 Nov 2008 01:25 AM

By James Hirsen

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Tom Cruise’s ‘Valkyrie' Plagued With Problems
2. Rosie O’Donnell and Barbara Walters Duke It Out
3. Dustin Hoffman Narrowly Escapes Bombing by Bill Ayers' Group
4. ‘Twilight’ a Smash Hit Without Sex or Violence
5. ‘South Park’ and Facebook Foment Redhead Hate Crimes
 

1. Tom Cruise’s ‘Valkyrie' Plagued With Problems

Tom Cruise is on a quest for prestige.

The mega-star has already achieved financial success as an actor, but his upcoming Oscar chasing film, “Valkyrie,” may be in a bit of trouble.

The movie has been tagged by key marketing and distribution execs in Hollywood with the nickname “The Eye Patch Movie.”

Sources have been whispering concerns about how audiences are going to react to the images of Cruise in trailers and posters.

Unlike the “Mission Impossible” roles Cruise has been associated with, in “Valkyrie,” the actor is depicted wearing a Nazi uniform and donning an eye patch.

Bryan Singer, who directed “The Usual Suspects” and “X-Men,” has had his hands full with controversies.

The German government initially turned down a film shoot request because of Cruise's devotion to Scientology; the movie has been plagued with release date delays; and United Artists has altered publicity for the project from a war flick to a thriller.

The film’s premise, however, is intriguing in that it tells the true story of a group of officers who planned the assassination of Adolf Hitler.

Its Oscar-qualifying release date is set for Dec. 26.


2. Rosie O’Donnell and Barbara Walters Duke It Out

The rumors were true after all.

Rosie O’Donnell will be the executive producer and host of a variety-special pilot for NBC called “Rosie Live.”

Could it be that O’Donnell is craftily promoting her show by picking a fight with former “View” boss Barbara Walters?

If so, Walters has played right into O’Donnell’s hands. Through her Rosie.com Web site, and via press statements and appearances, O’Donnell has been pushing her new project hard.

She recently told the press, “I didn’t want to be paid to fight. When I started and took that job it was with the idea of speaking for the millions of mothers whose voices weren’t heard on television.”

She added that after leaving “The View” in 2007, Walters “wanted everyone to believe and think and act” as if everyone on the show got along with one another and were “really good friends. And you know, that's just not the reality.”

In an apparent attempt to counter Rosie, shortly after the O’Donnell comment, Walters took co-hosts Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg to a highly visible dinner at the Le Cirque restaurant. She also used the opening of “The View” to grumble about “some people who have done this show” and then have disparaged it after they left.

“I resent it,” Walters said, referring to O’Donnell’s comments. “So if the shoe fits, lady, get on with your life.”

Rosie responded to Barbara with a new video on her blog titled “Lady,” which opens with a photo of O’Donnell posing with Walters. “I do not know what Star Jones and Debbie Matenopoulos did, but oooooh, lady . . . she is pissed off!” Rosie says in the video post.

O’Donnell went on to appear on “Late Night” with Conan O'Brien where she said that she experienced “post-traumatic stress disorder” from her time co-hosting on “The View.”

The end result of all the fuss has been gobs of free publicity for O’Donnell and her new TV program.

Coincidentally, the debut of her new variety show just happens to be right around the corner.


3. Dustin Hoffman Narrowly Escapes Bombing by Bill Ayers' Group

Dustin Hoffman recently revealed that he nearly lost his life in 1970 when a bomb was accidentally detonated next door to his home.

The same radical group that the infamous Bill Ayers co-founded, the Weather Underground, was responsible for the explosion.

Hoffman had been living in an apartment immediately adjacent to the radical group’s makeshift bomb factory in New York’s Greenwich Village.

The perilous blast occurred at 18 West 11th Street. Fortunately for Hoffman, he was away from home for a few hours, just at the time that the Weather Underground was setting off the explosives.

The bombing resulted in the deaths of three people and destroyed the three-story structure where the explosives were housed.


4. ‘Twilight’ a Smash Hit Without Sex or Violence

Once again Hollywood and the mainstream film critics are getting slapped upside the head.

With over $70 million in box office receipts, the No. 1 movie in North America is Summit Entertainment’s teen vampire flick, “Twilight.” Among other things, it’s the biggest opening ever for a female director (Catherine Hardwicke).

Mainstream critics gave the film mixed reviews, with many horrified at the lack of big-screen sex and violence.

In a piece titled “The Love That Dare Not Bare Its Fangs,” The New York Times displayed trademark snarky disdain for the film. Critic Manohla Dargis went after Stephenie Meyer (a Mormon who penned the book from which “Twilight” was adapted) with condescending sarcasm.

“If Ms. Meyer has made the vampire story safe for her readers (and their parents) — the sole real menace comes from a half-baked subplot involving some swaggering vampires who like their steak saignant and human — it’s only because she suggests that there actually is something worse than death, especially for teenagers: sex,” the Times critic sneered.

“Twilight” is a box office phenomenon in spite of the critics. On the day of the movie’s release, the Fandango Web site reported sales of five tickets per second.

Summit has already signaled the birth of a new franchise and announced a sequel called “New Moon.”

It’s a clean little secret: A movie with a compelling story and interesting characters minus the sex and violence can still be a hit with teens.


5. ‘South Park’ and Facebook Foment Redhead Hate Crimes

It all began with an episode of the cartoon “South Park,” in which the outspoken animated character known as Cartman characterized those with red hair as being evil and soulless.

Then, a teenage member of the social site, Facebook, created a group called “Kick a Ginger,” which advocated giving the bottom of the foot to redheads.

Almost 5,000 people joined the group, which touted an online campaign that prompted members to “get them steel toes ready” for a particular day when the assault on redheaded victims would occur.

But now, the 14-year-old who set up the Facebook group is being investigated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Those involved could face criminal prosecution because of reports of attacks on redheaded children.

Scores of Facebook members posted messages claiming to have carried out assaults on the prescribed day.

The Vancouver boy who founded the group issued an apology and explained that it was intended to be a joke.

Facebook appears to have pulled the group from its Web pages.

Interestingly, a host of anti-“Kick a Ginger” groups have sprung up.

“We do treat this sort of thing seriously,” a police spokeswoman told the Vancouver Sun. “This is sort of inciting hate. It's a hate crime, really.”

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