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John Wayne in 3-D Glory

Tuesday, 20 Nov 2007 12:14 AM

By James Hirsen

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Can 3-D and a Nude Angelina Jolie Save Hollywood?
2. John Wayne in 3-D Glory
3. Will Smith Defends Tom Cruise’s Scientology
4. Hollywood Celebrities Duck ‘R’ Label
5. ‘Redacted’ Gives Onscreen Aid and Comfort to the Enemy

 

1. Can 3-D and a Nude Angelina Jolie Save Hollywood?

It’s a formula that might be able to give the Hollywood box-office an assist — Angelina Jolie sans clothes, computer generated animation, and 3-D effects.

The Robert Zemeckis-directed film “Beowulf” hit No. 1 this week despite Jolie’s use of the same old Transylvania accent she wielded in “A Mighty Heart” and “Alexander.”

In his latest film, Zemeckis uses performance-capture technology to render lifelike images of stars Ray Winstone and Jolie. In Jolie’s case, the realistic imaging just happens to have lots of skin showing.

Jeffrey Katzenberg, who is involved with the film via the DreamWorks/Paramount venture, apparently sees 3-D movies as potential overall box-office saviors.

The DreamWorks Animation exec told the New York Post, “I think this becomes something that so differentiates what you get in your home versus what you get in a movie theater, it becomes a real driver to keep people excited about the movie going experience.”

“Beowulf” took in $28.1 million in its opening weekend, and 40 percent of the cash came from 3-D showings in regular theaters and on Imax screens. (Twenty percent of the screens brought in 40 percent of the gross.)


2. John Wayne in 3-D Glory

On another three-dimensional note, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recently screened a digital print of “Hondo,” a classic 1950s western starring the “Duke” himself, John Wayne.

Amazingly, the film was shot in 3-D.

Gretchen Wayne, the Duke’s daughter-in-law and widow of his son Michael, wants to restore the movie and release it in theaters again, this time in 3-D.

She told the Hollywood Reporter, “I would love to get this film [restoration] as good as possible and take it out for a theatrical release ... The digital world is constantly evolving, and as it does we are able to do more and more with this very old 3-D version of Hondo.”

Not only does Ms. Wayne have impeccable timing, she’ll be introducing a whole new generation to a genuine American icon who long before digital effects arrived on the scene was truly larger than life.


3. Will Smith Defends Tom Cruise’s Scientology

There have been a lot of pictures and stories that have focused on the close friendship between Will Smith and Tom Cruise.

Will and wife Jada were guests at the intimate Scientology wedding ceremony when Cruise and Katie Holmes tied the knot.

It was even widely reported that Cruise was attempting to bring Smith into the Church of Scientology.

Smith, who was raised Baptist, supposedly decided not to sign onto Scientology because his “grandmother would get up out of her casket.”

But now Smith is publicly defending Cruise’s faith.

In an upcoming issue of Vogue, Smith explains, “I've studied Buddhism and Hinduism, and I've studied Scientology through Tom. And nobody's saying anything different! ... I don't think that because the word someone uses for 'spirit' is 'thetan' that the definition becomes any different.”

Buddhists and Hindus would likely disagree with Smith. One thing is for certain though, the American notion of freedom to worship the way one chooses means that Cruise has the right to pick whatever kind of religion enriches his life, even if the majority disagree.


4. Hollywood Celebrities Duck ‘R’ Label

A recent incident involving Teri Hatcher has once again put the dirty little secret about one of Tinseltown’s oppressed minorities in the spotlight.

Apparently concerned that the “Desperate Housewives” star might possibly be labeled with the “scarlet R,” in a letter to the Washington Times Hatcher’s attorney included the following: “Please be advised that Ms. Hatcher is not a Republican.”

This is all strangely reminiscent of something I reported on back in 2004, when, in the political sense, Details magazine “outed” Mandy Moore.

The response from Moore’s publicist at the time said it all. It stated: “Mandy is not, nor has she ever been, a Republican.”

The truth of the matter is Hollywood folks like Sean Penn, Barbra Streisand, and Robert Redford can shout their ultra-liberal views to the rafters while right-of-center stars must whisper, or better yet, cork it altogether.

In Hollywood, being branded a Republican may not only be hazardous to your social calendar, it can put the kibosh on your career.

Even those who in the past may merely have been supportive of Republican candidates must sometimes dodge the “R” ball. Bruce Willis and Tom Selleck’s representatives have indicated that both prefer to be known as independents, while Kurt Russell and Drew Carey favor the libertarian label.

“The Price Is Right” host Carey said, “It automatically hurts me if I said that I supported the war in Iraq and I support the troops.”

Patricia Heaton, star of the new hit “Back to You,” remembers having dinner with Hollywood friends and being met with stony silence after she let it be known that she was voting for now-President Bush. “You'd think I'd cr***ed in the middle of the table," Heaton said.

Multiple Emmy nominee Ron Silver explained, “Since speaking in support of George Bush I’ve become increasingly disadmired by members of my profession.”

In a place where connections are indispensable to success, you live liberal or die. And you wait for John Wayne to ride back into Hollywood.


5. ‘Redacted’ Gives Onscreen Aid and Comfort to the Enemy

OK, so he’s a billionaire, owns the Dallas Mavericks, heads a film company and TV channel and recently lasted a few rounds on “Dancing with the Stars.” But Mark Cuban apparently doesn’t understand the responsibility that comes with a media megaphone.

Neither does movie director Brian De Palma.

When there’s a war blazing and our bravest are in harm’s way, it’s irresponsible at a minimum to produce and distribute material that endangers our troops and their mission.

Cuban and De Palma have done just that with their deplorable film “Redacted.”

The movie focuses on real-life atrocities committed by soldiers. It presents one-dimensional villains dressed up in U.S. military uniforms. A brutal rape and murder scene is the centerpiece of the movie.

To punctuate the propaganda for the enemy, the film ends with a gruesome montage called “Collateral Damage,” in which pictures of dead Iraqis are projected on the screen and whose identities have been “blacked out” apparently due to legal concerns.

The film recklessly communicates that this kind of brutality by members of the American military is the norm and that the U.S. administration is engaged in a cover-up.

Omitted from the film is the fact that all five of those involved in the actual incident were arrested and charged for the crime. Three have been sentenced to prison for the rest of their lives. And the ringleader was ejected from the Army before the crime was ever reported.

That soldier will face the death penalty in a Kentucky federal court.

De Palma has hit the rape theme before, in a 1980s anti-Vietnam War movie called “Casualties of War.” The director explained that “the premise for both wars [Vietnam and Iraq] is essentially the same, and that's why this particular atrocity has occurred twice.”

“The rape case in ‘Casualties of War’ was a very dramatic metaphor for our involvement over there, in which we raped a country and then left,” De Palma said.

How people who have been given so much can commit onscreen libel of the military is despicable. How they can do so at a time of war is unconscionable. How they can sleep at night is a mystery.

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