April 25, 2000 |
A good way to commemorate Earth Day 2000 would have been to skip "Erin Brockovich" and buy a good science textbook instead. Audiences and critics have fallen hard for Julia Roberts' low-cut, high-heeled portrayal of the real-life Brockovich. She's a foul-mouthed file clerk who took on an evil utility company that allegedly poisoned residents in the desert town of Hinkley, Calif. Brockovich scored $2 million in legal bonuses. Roberts made $20 million playing "Pretty Woman" meets "A Civil Action.
March 17, 2000 |
Erin Brockovich, a true-life Cinderella story, is about a plucky blue-collar babe (Julia Roberts) who uses her Wonderbra as a slingshot and fells a utility company that has contaminated groundwater. The film builds up to an epochal showdown between Erin and the Stepmom/Goliath, then denies it to us. Instead, we see Erin's endless legwork (and her endless legs!) as she deploys gams and cleavage in pursuit of evidence against Pacific Gas & Electric, and as she collects each of 634 names needed to bring off a direct-action lawsuit.
August 5, 2000 |
A plane carrying Oscar-winning actor and philanthropist Paul Newman made an unscheduled landing earlier this week after it developed a minor electrical problem. Newman, 75, was flying from the Glens Falls, N.Y., airport late Monday afternoon after visiting a camp for seriously ill children he co-founded called Double H Hole in the Woods camp in Lake Luzerne. The electrical problem forced the pilot to land the private jet about 45 miles to the south at Albany International Airport.
January 17, 2003 |
There comes a turning point in some actors' careers (if they're lucky) that signals the emergence of a major talent. Cary Grant came of age with "The Awful Truth"; Rock Hudson proved he was more than just beefcake in "Giant"; Julia Roberts? "Erin Brockovich. " With his superb performance last year in "About a Boy" (VHS: priced for rental; DVD: $26.99), new this week to video, we can add Hugh Grant's name to the list. The actor - he of the cutesy stammer and seductive grin - gives a gimmick-free performance to create a sympathetic though truthful portrait of a wayward, self-centered ne'er-do-well who quite unexpectedly finds his direction in life.
January 22, 2001 |
They're supposed to say anything at the Golden Globe Awards, which have a reputation as an impromptu, drink-filled, celebrity free-for-all. That's why we watch, after all. But apparently they don't wear just anything. Stars at last night's presentation of the annual entertainment awards were, with few exceptions, drearily tasteful. Black gowns and suits abounded. Jennifer Lopez, in white satin, looked ready to party with Republicans. Even Angelina Jolie, who can usually be counted on to show up in Goth makeup, or rubber, with a leering sibling on her arm, looked as if a Hollywood stylist had finally gotten his mitts on her. Wearing a strapless golden gown, with her dark hair pulled back in a knot, Jolie sported only one accessory that hinted at her usual dangerous look - a "Billy Bob" tattoo on her left arm. Of course, Erin Brockovich - the real Erin Brockovich - wore a tacky blue dress, showing too much cleavage, but that's why Julia Roberts wanted to play her, right?
January 14, 2003 |
When most of the country last saw Erin Brockovich, she was savoring a $3.4 million check, part of a $333 million settlement she'd helped win against corporate polluter Pacific Gas & Electric. Of course, that was not the real Brockovich. Three years after Julia Roberts' Oscar-winning portrayal made the woman a household name, Brockovich is just emerging from another campaign, which began when the dream house she'd bought with her windfall turned out to be infested with toxic mold.
March 13, 2000 |
Julia Roberts is in New York for the release of her latest film, "Erin Brockovich," opening Friday. Dressed in a knit wool purple dress that accentuates every curve of her tall, willowy figure, she's just given an uproarious performance at a press conference. Joking, cursing, referring to questioners as "Hon," speaking straight-forwardly and with intelligence on a variety of topics, Roberts seems like a younger version of Ann Richards, the hugely entertaining former governor of Texas.
April 8, 2000 |
People say the darndest things about feminism. I was reminded of that by the review of Julia Roberts' latest flick, Erin Brockovich, in the New Yorker. You're reading along about what a terrific movie this is when this sentence comes out of nowhere: "At the very least, Erin Brockovich drives the last nail into the coffin of feminist sanctimoniousness. " Feminist sanctimoniousness? In case you haven't seen Erin Brockovich, Roberts plays a poor, very incorrectly dressed and foul-mouthed woman who - well, she vanquishes evil powers and helps the deserving.
March 26, 2001 |
Five entered the Oscar arena, one came out - "Gladiator," a little bloodied, but unbowed. The epic of gladiatorial combat in ancient Rome won Best Picture and four other Academy Awards last night, eking out a victory over "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "Traffic," which scored four Oscars apiece. "Gladiator" producer David Franzoni thanked "gentleman genius Ridley Scott, who transported us back in time so effortlessly and so beautifully" - perhaps small consolation to a director who saw his picture win, but who watched the Best Director prize go to "Traffic" and Steven Soderbergh.
March 29, 2001 |
Is it possible to take a moral inventory of our culture - to see, in a single event, what, if anything, the most influential parts of our culture hold as the good? We take such a moral inventory every year at this time and broadcast it to the entire world: the Academy Awards, in which Hollywood names the films it regards as its best, most important, most uplifting products. For the purposes of this inventory, it does not matter which film wins; it is an honor, as they say, just to be nominated.