April 20, 2015 |
Most first-time directors - even veteran actors who decide to take a turn behind the camera - opt for something simple, spare, contemporary. No elaborate sets, no period costumes, no exotic locales. Stick to the basics. Russell Crowe, on the other hand, decided that for his inaugural effort he would shoot on two continents, re-create one of the bloodiest, most famous battles of the First World War, have actors riding atop galloping horses, stage fistfights and shoot-outs in a rolling vintage locomotive, and set another firefight in the ancient hilltop ruins of a village on the Aegean coast.
April 24, 2015 |
THE DIRECTOR of "The Water Diviner," it is obvious, did not take the star of the movie aside and suggest that he drop a few pounds. Perhaps because director and star are one in the same: Russell Crowe, who as seen here would have a hard time fitting into his "Gladiator" tunic. But he's not dodging chariots and fighting tigers. He's playing a middle-aged rancher named Connor, lodged in rural Australia, living with an unhappy wife in a house haunted by emptiness. The couple has lost three sons to World War I, killed by Turkish forces at the notorious battle of Gallipoli in 1915 (this is one of several films made to coincide with its 100th anniversary)
November 9, 2003 |
Russell Crowe is discussing his body of work. And his body and his work. There's his right forefinger, gashed by a sword in Gladiator. "I've got the feeling back in it now," he says, raising the digit aloft. "But it took two years to come back. " There's a rib in his back that popped when he fell from a horse while making the 1991 Australian pic Hammers Over the Anvil. It still bothers him off and on, most recently in the pitching swells of the Pacific as he prowled the deck of a frigate called the Rose, a dead-on replica of a 19th-century Royal Navy vessel that Crowe captains in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.
September 24, 2010
RIDLEY SCOTT plus Russell Crowe plus Cate Blanchett plus Robin Hood should have added up to a spectacular movie, but Scott's "Robin Hood" was somewhat less than that. For that reason, it was regarded a failure, but the movie has much to make it recommendable - Crowe's gladiatorial performance, Scott's typically bold vision and attention to detail. You get more of that on the DVD, which arrives as Scott's extended director's cut, with some meaty extras including a substantial making-of documentary recounting the filmmaker's attempts to make something historical from a mythological icon.
December 25, 2012 |
A version of this review appeared in Sunday's Arts + Entertainment section. When last seen, British director Tom Hooper had just overseen a historical biography about a stammering monarch, someone who felt ill-equipped to take the throne, a chap who couldn't get a sentence out without scrunching up in agony. The King's Speech , a runaway success. There is certainly no stammering to be had, or heard, in Les Misérables, Hooper's sweeping adaptation of the Broadway musical, and destined, one suspects, for box-office glory, too. Based on Victor Hugo's hefty classic, and given an operetta treatment that can be soaring and glorious - or, when the lyrics slip into anachronistic vernacular, wincingly lame - this big-budget movie musical summons the mighty forces of CGI to create vast tableaux of castles and monasteries, shipyards and slums, France in the tumultuous first half of the 19th century.
January 18, 2013 |
THE PULPY "Broken City" stars Mark Wahlberg as an ex-cop-turned-private-eye caught up in the power politics of a New York City mayor's race. He plays Billy Taggart, who makes a meager living taking pictures of cheating spouses for divorce proceedings, though he spends most of his time trying to collect from deadbeat clients. So, he's naturally eager when the incumbent mayor (Russell Crowe) offers him $50,000 to produce incriminating photos of his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and the man she's sneaking off to see. A little too eager - anyone who correctly places "Broken City" into its proper neo-noir slot will recognize poor Billy as an expendable middleman whose $50k payday is probably just enough to buy him a one-way ticket to Palookaville.
December 8, 2000 |
Most experts believe movies do not cause violence, but "Proof of Life" could be an exception. I fear that after seeing it, many women will arrange for their husbands to be kidnapped, on the off chance that an insurance company will send a live-in companion and rescue guy who will turn out to be Russell Crowe. This is the fantasy premise of "Proof of Life," and it has considerable appeal, thanks to Crowe's growing popularity as an actor and star. Crowe became a marquee commodity earlier this year with "Gladiator," a movie in which he had to appear with digital lions because the real lions were reportedly afraid to go near him. He's surly, threatening, he's thickly built, he looks like he might smell bad, and yet he's still somehow handsome - all of which sets him apart from dainty boy stars like Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise.
October 27, 2003 |
SEMI-NAKED butt bouncer Beyonce would like to clarify her position on the Madonna-Britney smooch. In the Oct. 15 London Sun, Beyonce said her relationship with God would prohibit her from engaging in any girl-on-girl action (this is not to be confused with her relationship with rapper Jay-Z, which might encourage such a move). "I have standards," she said. "There are things I will not do. " Well, there may be things Beyonce will not do (and if so, we want a list), but the singer says, in this case, the Sun misquoted her. "I have never judged anyone based on his or her sexual orientation," she said.
March 1, 2002 |
WE'VE SAID it once, but we'll say it again: Down Under hunk Russell Crowe is outta control and this time, it's not just hearsay. The actor, Oscar-nominated for his role in "A Beautiful Mind," caused a stir Sunday with his abusive behavior toward the TV producer of the prestigious BAFTA awards ceremony, Brit's version of the Oscar. Crowe, who won that night for best actor, was ticked off that his acceptance speech was cut short in the British televised version, broadcast a few hours later.
June 9, 2005 |
Everybody grows up, right? So, why does Madonna's evolution have to be documented? Over, and over, and over . . . Madonna gave Ladies' Home Journal an exclusive interview for the magazine's July issue. The article, which will be on the stands Tuesday, includes a photo spread shot "exclusively" for the mag in London. The songstress/mommy's fifth children's book, Lotsa de Casha (Callaway, $19.95), has just been released, and she wants parents to know her kiddie tomes are pure.