In the 1980s, Hollywood’s cautionary tale for middle-aged men with wandering eyes was Fatal Attraction and its notorious boiled bunny. In the new millennium, however, the consequences are even higher. The stylish What Lies Beneath, starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer as the unfaithful husband and his hapless wife, adds a horror element to its thriller frame. This time the threat to the besieged couple is no mere scorned woman gone mad but a water-logged ghost.
Ford plays Norman Spencer, a brilliant genetics professor with a beautiful but vulnerable wife, Claire (Pfeiffer), and a seemingly perfect life. But soon after their only child leaves home for college, Claire starts to see and hear a
supernatural presence in the centuries-old family home. The beginning of the movie makes much of Claire’s empty-nest syndrome, and a freak car accident also acts as a broad hint of emotional fragility. So Norman is quick to dismiss his wife’s experiences as signs of mental distress, and assigns her to the care of a psychiatrist. But after a first hour that noticeably drags, the film slowly—very slowly—reveals the truth of Claire’s terrifying visions of Norman and the gorgeous co-ed (played by supermodel Amber Valletta) who mysteriously disappeared while the two were having an affair the previous year.
Despite being riddled with clichés beyond even the studio norm, What Lies Beneath provides truly creepy viewing, far more frightening than conventional blood-and-gore horror films. The hysterical Pfeiffer and Ford’s bullying philanderer—his first non-hero turn in a quarter-century of leading roles—are both often tedious. But subtle visual effects and slick camera moves that recall Alfred Hitchcock’s sophisticated thrillers easily make up for the movie’s sins.
The rest of Canada may be far from sharing Toronto’s belief that it is the centre of the universe, but two young entrepreneurs are betting other Canadians will want a vicarious taste of life in Hogtown. The Web site www.BlackholeTV.com-tagged as “TV that swallows”-features video clips from parties and sporting events, and from such slice-of-life scenes as a visit to the tattoo artist. The company, which aims to turn a profit from advertising, was launched on July 20 by software developers Jay Litkey, 26, and Jon Martin, 25, and employs 28 people who hope to spin their lives into a living.TV that swallows whole.
The latest sure
Another week, another hot Survivor rumour. The last man standing on CBS’s hit summer show will be youth basketball coach Gervase Peterson—at least according to a 22-year-old Canadian computer hacker. Corrie Sloot claimed that CBS Web designers had stored, for later use, images of the other 15 contestants—all marked with a red X. Measured by a surge of pro-Gervase wagering at
www.Lntertops.com, bettors are buying in, seemingly undiscouraged by the failure of previous rock-solid certainties. Those would include the widely predicted triumph of Gretchen Cordy, voted off the island on the July 12 episode.
The new rumour appeared at the same time as publisher TV Books released edited excerpts of Survivor, the show’s official companion guide. Set to
be released in September, well after the winner is revealed on Aug. 23, the book comes with a mystery of its own. Will anybody still care? “That’s a good question,” admits Shona Cook, a publicist with HarperCollins, Survivor’s distributor in Canada. “But the book has the whole story, including some very interesting insights drawn from the preproduction psychological profiles. I think the interest will be there.”
A royal tour
The queen of childrens literature is coming to Canada, in a style reminiscent of a rock ’n roll tour. After a year of entreaty by her fans,
J. K. Rowling, who penned the four phenomenally selling Harry Potter novels, will visit Vancouver and Toronto. Vancouver International Writers Festival organizers have booked the 3,000-seat Queen Elizabeth Theatre for a reading on Oct. 25, with tickets going for up to $15. The day before, however, Toronto’s International Festival of Authors will pull out all the stops. 1 Rowling will read in the city’s cavernous SkyDome, announced festival artis° tic director Greg Gatenby at a raucus media conference attended by 50 chil¡ dren dressed as characters in her books. Up to 60,000 fans will be able to ¡ squeeze into the stadium, home to the city’s Blue Jays baseball team, at prices “ ranging from $5 to $200. “Rowling just has no idea how big she is in North America,” Gatenby says. “But we hope to show her.”
Seven years after her 133-day stint as Canada's first female prime min ister ended, Kim Campbell is return-
ing to the spotlight. Currently Cana dian consul-general in Los Angeles, where she lives with Montreal born musician Hershey Felder, Campbell will appear onstage with Felder in Toronto on July 30 during the annual Brott Summer Music
Festival. Felder, the 31-year-old star of the one-man Broad way show George Gershwin Alonewill join Boris Brott's National Academy Orchestra in per-
forming the composers works, while Campbell, 53, will relate anecdotes about Gershwin's life. The orches tra will also play selections from Noah'sArk, a musical with ly~cs co authored by Campbell and Felder. The start of a lasting career?
Dancer Kimberly Glasco's 19-month battle with the National Ballet of Canada ended last week with a final parting of the ways. Both ballerina and company claimed vindication, but it was the National that paid Glasco an undisclosed sum
(sources placed it in the high six fig ares). In December, 1998, National artistic director James Kudelka told the principal dancer that her skills had
declined and her contract would not be renewed. Glasco, maintaining she had been fired for ques tioning Kudelka's spend ing plans, sued. In June an arbitrator ordered the National to cast Glasco in fall-season roles. That put the company under Se-
vere pressure, considering that Kudelka had told the arbitrator that "I'd rather kill myself" than do so. Artistic temperament, like artistic talent, doesn't come cheap.
A death foretold
Two years after publishing The Day Diana Died, Christopher Andersen is back with a similar biography about the Princess of Wales’ American counterpart. The Day John Died (HarperCollins) profiles the life of John Kennedy Jr. and details the events leading up to the July 16,
1999 airplane crash that killed him, his wife Carolyn Bessette and her sister Lauren.
The author claims to have the inside story on Kennedy’s political ambitions, and his pre-marital romances with Madonna, Daryl Hannah and others. What sticks out most, however, is Kennedy’s risk-taking nature. He had had several earlier brushes with disaster before his death at 38, including an illadvised paragliding flight in high winds in May, 1999, from which he escaped with only a broken ankle.
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