By Brian D. Johnson - Tuesday, December 25, 2012 - 0 Comments
Newsmakers 2012: From Hollywood marriages to business dealings
Green Lantern’s Silver Lining
Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds and Gossip Girl star Blake Lively, who co-starred in the 2011 movie Green Lantern, tied the knot, proving a box office disaster can have an upside. Reynolds, 35, was engaged to Canadian singer Alanis Morissette, then married for two years to actress Scarlett Johansson. People’s former sexiest man alive has previously been linked to Oscar winner Charlize Theron. Lively, 25, has dated Gossip Girl co-star Penn Badgley, Titanic heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio—and another Canadian actor who shares her hubby’s first name, Ryan Gosling.
Toronto stage impresario David Mirvish offered to demolish his most opulent venue, the Princess of Wales Theatre, to build a trio of monumental skycrapers on King Street designed by hometown architect Frank Gehry. Mirvish, a major art collector, teamed up with Gehry to propose 85-storey condo towers that would house public galleries and extend the OCAD University campus. Don’t call these towers condos, said Mirvish—“I’m building three sculptures that people can live in.” If the project is approved, congestion may turn traffic into a sculpture people can live in.
Dion, Deli Diva
Her heart will go on, and so will Schwartz’s Deli. Quebec superstar Céline Dion and manager-husband, René Angélil, bought the iconic 84-year-old Montreal restaurant with local restaurateur Paul Nakis. Dion and Angélil, who already own Quebec’s Nickels Restaurant and Bar chain, allayed fears they would turn the smoked-meat shrine into a franchise operation. “I have so many great memories of being there with the guys, and with Céline and our families,” said Angélil. Even before the deal, Dion’s photo was on the wall. Continue…
By Jonathon Gatehouse - Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 4:20 PM - 0 Comments
Sept. 6-13, 2012: Blake and Ryan get hitched, Philip Roth takes on Wikipedia, and pro football tackles gay marriage
Moving on up
Famous dress wearer Pippa Middleton may—or may not—be moving to New York City. But either way, the tabloids and gossip sites are all atwitter. Paparazzi shots of the 29-year-old entering an expensive Manhattan apartment building last week, in the company of a woman “rumoured to be a realtor,” set off the frenzy. Middleton has been enjoying some R&R in the Big Apple, taking in tennis at the U.S. Open and New York Fashion Week. If only she’d find a nice boy and settle down like her sister.
Hunky Canuck Ryan Reynolds married Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively in a South Carolina plantation this week. The hush-hush nuptials, which came after a year-long courtship, involved just 70 guests—all of whom checked their cellphones at the door. Lively, 25, walked down the aisle in a gown by Chanel, while the 35-year-old Reynolds—who was previously married to Scarlett Johansson—wore a tuxedo by Hugo Boss. Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine, a close friend of Lively’s, performed three songs for the newlyweds, who co-starred in last summer’s Green Lantern film.
By Brian D. Johnson - Friday, February 10, 2012 at 9:29 AM - 0 Comments
There are few Hollywood stars who appear to be as genuine, innocent, and downright likable as Canadian actors Ryan Reynolds and Rachel McAdams. Both have movies opening this week, his-and-her titles that present a fatal date-night choice of gonzo male action versus chick-flick romance. Reynolds co-stars with Denzel Washington as a CIA man relentlessly on the run in the hellbent thriller Safe House. And McAdams co-stars with Channing Tatum as an an amnesia victim who loses all memory of her husband after a car crash in The Vow. Both of them do a decent job, but their respective talents are squandered in stories that go through motions of Hollywood formula.
The Vow is soft-headed romance and Safe House is gritty action, but both are disingenuous confections that don’t add up. Which is not to say they don’t provide some pleasures. McAdams has never looked more adorable, and Reynolds bulls his way through the bloody gauntlet of Safe House like that steed tearing through the barbed wire in War Horse. Men all over North America will be dragged to The Vow. It’s the designated date movie for Valentine’s Day, while Safe House pays fleeting lip service to romance with a token girlfriend who’s abandoned for a frantic marathon of gunplay, chase scenes, and torture.
Rachel McAdams cruises merrily through The Vow as if she’s humouring her co-star, the script and the audience. Don’t get me wrong. I love Rachel McAdams. Who doesn’t? Not just because she has the beauty, warmth and candour of a true movie star, but because she can act: she seems incapable of a false note. So what is she doing in a phony valentine like The Vow? As Canada’s sweetheart racks up another Hollywood romance, threatening to become the Meg Ryan of her generation, she should be holding out for movies worthy of her potential. She has, in fact, wrapped a new film directed by Tree of Life director Terrence Mallick, which is exciting. But in the meantime she deserves better than The Vow‘s shlock. She deserves a more substantial suitor than an expression-challenged Tatum Channing, Hollywood’s hunk du jour. And finally, if she’s going to shoot a movie in her hometown, it should look more authentic than The Vow‘s lame attempt to pass off Toronto as Chicago. But then, everything about this romance seems inauthentic. Continue…
By Colby Cosh, Jaime J. Weinman, and Richard Warnica - Monday, October 3, 2011 at 10:00 AM - 0 Comments
Miley gets political, the Pope gets stung and Julian Assange gets an autobiography he doesn’t want
No, they didn’t walk home
Two American hikers convicted of espionage in Iran were released after the sultan of Oman posted US$930,000 bail for them. Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, 29-year-old pro-Palestine activists and former Berkeley classmates, were seized along with a female friend while on holiday in 2009; Iran claims they illegally crossed their border on foot. The woman, Sarah Shourd, Bauer’s fiancée, was freed last fall on medical grounds. Bauer and Fattal’s release, with both in apparent good health, is seen as a political victory for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over hardline clerics in the Islamic republic.
Only in France is having it and not flaunting it a crime. Last week, a court outside Paris fined two women for refusing to show their faces in public. Hind Ahmas and Najate Nait Ali were the ﬁrst Frenchwomen charged under a law that bans full facial coverings outside the home. Passed last spring, the ban was aimed, rather transparently, at France’s substantial Muslim minority. It may also have been an attempt by President Nicolas Sarkozy to shore up his vulnerable right flank. But if anything, the law has galvanized supporters of the niqab. Ahmas told reporters she intends to challenge her fine in the European Court of Human Rights—while Kenza Drider, who also wears the niqab, now says she intends to run against Sarkozy in the presidential election. “When a woman wants to maintain her freedom she must be bold,” Drider told the Associated Press.
By Scott Feschuk - Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at 9:45 AM - 0 Comments
Scott Feschuk on how Ryan Reynolds can salvage his term as the Sexiest Man Alive
There’s a big fuss every November when People magazine names its Sexiest Man Alive. Then the hype fades. No one bothers to monitor how His Sexcellency is coping under the pressure of this illustrious yet challenging office. No one except me, that is. Warning: intrepid journalism ahead.
We are past the midway point of Ryan Reynolds’s term as Sexiest Man Alive. What began amid such promise—with speeches filled with words like “hope,” “change” and “buttocks off which you could bounce a nickel”—now lies in sexy, sexy tatters.
Sensing weakness, rival contenders are already massing for this fall’s gruelling sexiness primaries—raising funds, filming attack ads (“Reynolds: soft on camouflage fleece!”) and putting on their shirts, so as to be better able to sexily remove them.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, July 1, 2011 at 1:50 PM - 13 Comments
The royal couple, newish icons of the iconic notion of nobility, descended upon the escalator of the grandly named Museum of Civilization. Behind them came the Governor General and his wife and behind them Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. Below sat 25 candidates for citizenship, waiting to partake of the final formality before they can officially take patriotic pride in Ryan Reynolds’ present reign as the Sexiest Man Alive.
The Duke wore navy blue. The Duchess wore white, with red heels and a reasonably elaborate red hat featuring maple leaves. He looked serious and charming and upstanding. She looked the same, but with fabulous hair as well. Continue…
By Brian D. Johnson - Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 11:22 PM - 3 Comments
It’s the battle of the Canucks. I’m not talking about Vancouver’s ill-fated hockey team, but about Ryan Reynolds and Jim Carrey, two Hollywood Canadians butting heads at the box office this weekend as stars of studio blockbusters: Green Lantern and Mr. Popper’s Penguins, respectively. Both give charming performances in ridiculous movies. Just in time for Father’s Day, both Reynolds and Carrey play heroes whose destiny is cast by the legacy of a dead dad. Neither movie is as bad as I expected it would be from the trailer. But I can’t heartily recommend either of them—unless you’re too young to be reading this, in which case the pooping penguins might strike you as the funniest thing you’ve ever seen. If you’re a grown-up, however, and don’t feel a need to escape into a computer-generated fantasy world, there’s a superb and mature alternative—Beginners, which also happens to explore father-son issues and feature a Canadian, Christopher Plummer. (Unlike the two blockbusters, it opens in Toronto only this week, with Montreal and Vancouver to follow June 24.)
Wednesday night’s preview of Green Lantern overlapped with the first period of the Stanley Cup’s Game 7. Having seen the trailer, which looked abysmal, I swore to myself that if the movie clearly sucked after an hour, I would bolt to watch the game—rationalizing that Ryan Reynolds, its Vancouver-born star, would probably do the same. But I ended up staying for the whole damn thing, which doesn’t mean that the film was so good that I couldn’t tear myself away. On the contrary, it was more like not being able tear myself away from a train wreck—a movie so exotically misconceived that it became strangely fascinating. I had to see how the carnage would play out. And I felt for the film, which seemed almost sheepishly aware of its own shortcomings. Continue…
By Brian D. Johnson - Thursday, June 18, 2009 at 2:07 PM - 3 Comments
Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds seem oddly cut out for each other. Both occupy the lower echelon of Hollywood’s A-list. Neither is a superstar, and both are viewed more as celebrities than as serious actors, forever stuck in the kind of mediocre studio pictures that vanish from memory long before the awards season. It’s hard to say who is the bigger star. Bullock is 12 years older than Reynolds, and at 44, she’s precariously close to the expiry date for Hollywood actresses who are not Meryl Streep. Reynolds, a Canadian famous for being Mr. Scarlett Johansson, may be in his prime, but he has the perennial posture of a young actor still looking for his big break.
Every high-concept romantic comedy is a kind of arranged marriage, not just between the characters but between the actors—a sham romance that has to turn into a real one. And no matter how derivative the formula, it requires a crucial element of novelty, something haven’t seen before. The Proposal is literally about a sham marriage, between a high-powered bitch of a book publisher named Margaret (Bullock) and her slavishly devoted executive assistant, Andrew (Reynolds). You can almost see the story writing itself on a cocktail napkin: let’s take the Meryl Streep character in The Devil Wears Prada, give her a male executive assistant, then contrive a romance that forces him to be the boss. Continue…
By Brian D. Johnson - Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 7:53 AM - 8 Comments
If you’re a massive fan of X-Men, or happen to worship the ground that Hugh Jackman walks, claws, growls, sings and dances on, you might want to stop reading right now. I’ve never taken more than a distant interest in this franchise, and never really understood its appeal. I realize that Jackman has his charms, and he vanquished a lot of skepticism (mine included) by proving to be an entertaining Oscar host. He’s quite the showman. But I still find his personality lacks the dimensional definition of his physique. As an actor, he’s a solid technician, able to muster brooding intensity and malevolent rage as if pumping emotional iron without breaking a sweat. But there’s no there there. Jackman’s like a 21st-century male beefcake version of Raquel Welch. He wears his body like a costume. And any actress who bared her breasts on film as consistently as he flashes his pecs would never get taken seriously.
But he does seem to be the closest thing to a movie star in this franchise of mutant superheroes. And with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the multi-taloned Hugh Scissorhands really gets to strut his stuff. Not only that, he gets to be a Canadian lumberjack.
The story spins a Cain-and-Abel saga of two feral brothers, Logan/Wolverine (Jackman) and Victor/Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber), who slash their way through history with retractable claws. Even before the opening credits have finished, they’ve gouged a bloody trail through the American Civil War, the Second World War and Vietnam. Led by Stryker (Danny Huston), a sinister colonel, they’re on a covert U.S. mission in Nigeria when Logan finally loses his taste for mutant special ops. Leaving behind the bloodthirsty Victor, he tries to make a new life as a lumberjack in the Canadian Rockies, where he shacks up with a vaguely aboriginal babe (Texan Lynn Collins) and tries to keep his claws retracted while wielding a chain saw and and axe—until the bad guys, led by Stryker and Sabretooth, track him down and force him back into the fray. Which prompts an exchange that’s sure to get a laugh from local audiences:
“Your country needs you,” says the colonel.
“I’m a Canadian,” replies Logan. Continue…