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Talking dogs and handheld horror beat star power at the US box office over the weekend as Body of Lies, a Ridley Scott CIA spy thriller starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Russell Crowe disappointed commercially, opening in third place with $12.7 million.

The film follows Di Caprio as an undercover CIA operative and his attempts to expose a terrorist master plan in the Middle East. Expectations were high considering the calibre of talent involved but the combination of a so-so trailer campaign and audience apathy towards fictional dramas that have previously dealt with conflict in the Middle East seems to have proved decisive and Lies award prospects seem to be dead in the water as an awards contender even at this early stage.

Beverley Hills Chihuahua was number one for the second week in a row. Yes, Beverly Hills Chihuahua was number one for the second week in a row. This actually happened. A fun frolic for all the family about the titular mutts and their no doubt hilarious adventures earned $17.5 million.

In second place was Quarantine, a remake of Spanish horror film Rec with $14.2 million. Eagle Eye and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, a hipster romance starring Michael Cera from Juno rounded out the top five with $11 and $6.5 million each.

City of Ember, a kids fantasy shot in Northern Ireland with Bill Murray and The Express, a true life American football drama were both stillborn , earning $3.2 million and $4.7 million respectively.

Irish acting trio Colin Farrell, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Brendan Gleeson are to honoured by the US-Ireland Alliance, a non -profit organization founded to foster ties between the US and Ireland and designed to bring together leaders in the Irish and American film, music and entertainment industries.

‘Oscar Wilde: Honouring the Irish in film’ is the title of the ceremony which seems to hint at a possible post-death appearance by Mr Wilde as he wows the crowd and Tudors star Rhys-Myers with his corpulent wit. However, we can only dream of such nonsense.

The event is being billed as the US-Ireland Alliances Fourth Annual Pre-Academy Awards party and takes place in Los Angeles on February 19th 2009.

Gillaume Depardieu, the troubled actor and son of French acting legend Gerard Depardieu has died at the age of just 37. The actor passed away in a Paris hospital after being struck down with a severe case of pneumonia.

He had a notoriously fractious relationship with his famous father and they fell out on numerous occasions with Gerard accusing his father of neglecting him as a child and stating in his autobiography that ‘ i love him and i detest him for the same reasons..for his way of fleeing life and fighting against it at the same time.’

By the time he made his grown up acting debut in Tous Les Matins Les Monde playing the 17th century French composer Marin Marais (his father played the elder Marais in the same film, he was 20 and had served time in jail for drug offences. In 1996, he won a Cesar award for Best Newcomer for Les Apprentis. Just before the release he was involved in a motorcycle accident . He contracted a viral infection whilst in hospital and after numerous operations on his knee was forced to undergo amputation on his right leg.

Guillaume eventually emerged from his fathers shadow to become highly regarded actor in his own right . Some of his most acclaimed roles were in Leos Caraxs’ Pola X (1999), an adaptation of Herman Melville’s novel ‘Pierre, or the ambiguities’ as a tortured writer and in the recent Jacques Rivette film Don’t Touch the Axe’ in which he plays a French general involved in an obsessive love affair with the Duchess of Langeais in 18th century France.

Maverick New York film-maker Abel Ferrara has never been one afraid to express his opinions. The director of such of uncompromising independent films such as Driller Killer, MS. 45, King of New York and Bad Lieutenant is a fearless truth seeker who’s portraits of characters living on the edge of sanity and society have brought him acclaim, abuse and controversy over the years.

In the last decade, Ferrara has found it increasingly difficult to get his projects financed and distributed in the United States and he has been forced to go abroad for funding. His last film to receive theatrical distribution in his own country was The Funeral back in 1997. His 2005 film, Mary received several awards at the Venice Film Festival that year but despite a cast including Oscar winners Forest Whitaker, Juliette Binoche and Marion Cotillard, American distributors shunned the movie. Mary is finally being given a limited New York release and Ferrara has been giving several interviews to talk about the film and his eventful career.

One of the subjects being inevitably brought surrounds the Nicholas Cage/Werner Herzog remake of Bad Lieutenant, one of Ferraras most intensely personal works. The Bronx born director has bluntly stated his disgust at this development in the recent past. Just in case is feelings haven’t been made clear, he states in a Q&A interview with Filmmaker magazine ‘He (Herzog) can die in hell. I hate these people..they suck. On the producer Ed Pressman, who also produced the original version starring Harvey Keitel, he states ‘ Ed Pressman can suck c**k in hell, period. You can print that.’

It appears that Ferrara was screwed over and Pressman sold the rights to Israeli producer Avi Lerner ( 88 Minutes) without consulting the director or Keitel and offered Ferrara a pittance as compensation. Apparently, Herzog’s film set in New Orleans is an extremely loose remake and won’t even follow the plot of the original and will retain the name only which just begs the question why? It’s hard not to sympathize with Ferrara in this case and with bad karma circling around the project, it will be a miracle if turns out to be anything less than a fiasco, especially with Cage’s recent track record.

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