July 14, 2008

The Akron Beacon Journal, Ohio, Rich Heldenfels Column

By Rich Heldenfels, Akron Beacon Journal, Ohio

Jul. 14--Raising Hellboy. Hellboy II, the comic-book-derived adventure starring Ron Perlman, rode to the top of the weekend box office with a studio-estimated $35.9 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

Hancock, the latest Will Smith movie and last weekend's champ, was second with an estimated $33 million. (Actual totals, which often vary some from the estimates, will be released today.)

Journey to the Center of the Earth, the latest action pic from Brendan Fraser, was in third place with about $20.6 million. Deadline Hollywood Daily said most viewers went to theaters showing the movie in 3-D, with Entertainment Weekly's EW.com noting that many theaters charged more for Journey in 3-D than for the standard version.

Completing the top five: the animated delight WALL-E in fourth and Wanted, with Angelina Jolie, in fifth. And speaking of Jolie. . . .

She's Ready to Open the Baby Gifts. After back-and-forth rumors earlier in the day, it was finally confirmed Saturday that Jolie and partner Brad Pitt added twins to their family: son Knox Leon and daughter Vivienne Marcheline. They are the fifth and sixth children in the Jolie-Pitt clan. According to People.com, Pitt was present for the births and cut the umbilical cords.

Experts figure that publication rights to the first baby pictures will fetch a fortune, said the Associated Press; the price could go as high as $20 million for the snaps.

While the Jolie watch had been especially intense, the babies' arrival was the latest in a string of celebrity births, including children for Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Jamie Lynn Spears and Tori Spelling.--

TV Watch: The Closer. The detective series starring Kyra Sedgwick begins a new season at 9 tonight on TNT, with Brenda Johnson (Sedgwick) trying to put away a known -- but so far unconvicted -- killer for a new murder. Only the case is more complicated than it first looks. Nor is that the only thing that's complicated. Brenda's much anticipated move into a new home with fiance Fritz (Jon Tenney) has hit several bumps.

As is often the case with the series, the season premiere mixes comedy into its dramatic (and grisly) police cases. It's not the best episode the show has ever done, but it's entertaining enough.

TV Watch 2: Saving Grace. At 10 tonight on TNT, Saving Grace begins its second season. At the end of the first season, police detective Grace Hanadarko (Holly Hunter) learned that the priest who had abused her as a child was not dead, as she had thought. And she faced a decision of whether to kill him or not.

The second season picks up in the aftermath of her decision, and with Grace once again wrestling with her guardian angel (Leon Rippy) and how she can both overcome her old pain and find a way to redemption. It's a very effective episode, and Hunter is, as usual, quite affecting as the tough, tortured Grace. I'm not sure where the show will go after tonight's telecast, but I want to find out.

Brawlin' Brolin. Actors Josh Brolin and Jeffrey Wright were among a group arrested Saturday morning in Shreveport, La., after a disturbance at a local bar.

Said the Shreveport Times: "Officers were called to the Stray Cat bar in the 200 block of Travis Street just after 2 a.m. to deal with a rowdy patron. As more officers arrived, several other patrons at the bar, including Brolin and . . . Wright, 42, tried to impede the officers." In all, the report named 10 officers called to the ruckus.

"Brolin, Wright and four other people were charged with interfering with police, a misdemeanor," the newspaper reported.

Brolin and Wright were in the area as part of director Oliver Stone's film W., which stars Brolin as George W. Bush and Wright as Colin Powell.

While it's not unusual for the police to handle bar disturbances, a department rep told the Times this one did have one special quality. "I've heard from National Enquirer, Entertainment Tonight, Extra, the New York Post and a few other national outlets," he said. "Lots of people have called."

Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and in the HeldenFiles Online blog at http://www.ohio.com. He can be reached at 330-996-3582 or [email protected]


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