“A CAT is more intelligent than most people think, and can be taught any crime,” said Mark Twain.
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WHO COULD have expected that Antonio Banderas would sail into the middle of his career in the shape of a libidinous orange tabby? And that, as the voice of this wicked little feline in the “Shrek” movies and now the blockbuster “Puss in Boots,” he would enjoy his greatest success as a box-office star? And even as a ladies’ man?
“Puss in Boots” walloped the competition for a second week in a row, pulling in a healthy 33 million, and enjoying one of the least drastic second week slides ever, for this type of movie. I’m happy for Banderas, who has always been a wonderful actor and from what I have heard, a genuinely nice, understanding and sensitive man. He adores his wife, Melanie Griffith, and for all his sultry good looks (improved and refined by maturity!) he has never given her a moment’s reason to doubt his fidelity. Though she has been famously jealous at times.
Well, perhaps this is easy to understand. Antonio left his first wife, Ana Leza, for Melanie, quite a few years back, so most women in Griffith’s position wonder if the tables will eventually turn. They haven’t. Antonio has his standards. Does anybody remember the great sequence in Madonna’s “Truth or Dare” documentary? She attends a party in Europe with the stated intention to seduce him, but finds out to her displeasure that he is married and the wife (wisely) has accompanied her hubby. Madonna retreats to the ladies room with her girlfriends to moan over the situation and tries to figure out “who else can I flirt with tonight?” (Yes, they are just like us, these super-confident mega-stars.)
In the end, she persuades Antonio to guide her to her car through a mass of fans and paparazzi, and makes him promise to call her. He does not.
They did work together seven years later on “Evita.” But by that time, Miss Griffith was Mrs. Banderas and Madonna was pregnant with her first child. The moment — such as it was — had passed.
Banderas is also great this year in the critically acclaimed “The Skin I Live In,” directed by Pedro Almodovar, his old mentor. Pedro guided Antonio to fame in 1982’s “Labyrinth of Passion.”
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I WAS wrong. I thought Lindsay Lohan would spend five days behind bars, on her latest 30-day jail sentence. Actually, she spent a whopping five hours. Not that I think any jail sentence would reasonably set her right, but these lightning fast in and outs are absurd.
Oh, her devoted and excellent mother, Dina assures her public — that’s me I guess — that Lindsay’s Playboy pictorial will be “tasteful.”
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SPEAKING OF good taste, I suppose we are being encouraged to think Kim Kardashian has any, because she supposedly visited the parents of her dumped-without-a-backward-glance-hubby, Kris Humphries to “apologize” for all the icky publicity. Sorry, Kim. As Jennifer Aniston famously remarked about Brad Pitt — Kim seems to be missing a “sensitivity chip.”
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I TOLD you the other day that the James Bond franchise was geared up to continue, with Daniel Craig again, in a 007 adventure titled “Skyfall.”
British reporter Mark Monahan expanded on the Bond genre recently, explaining how it has kept pace through the decades, various styles and real-life global issues while retaining interest and humor. And of course, all the different James Bonds. Monahan writes:
“The chief variant is 007 himself. Regenerating with a new actor every few years … he is simultaneously the most dependable element and the one that allows each generation to claim Bond as their own. Everyone ‘knows’ that they’re right about who the best James Bond is, and it is usually the first one they encountered in the cinema. I will defend to the death the eyebrow-raised authority of Roger Moore (especially in his first four outings) but tell this to someone from the Connery era and they’ll look at you as if you’re demented.”
Still, the writer concedes that Daniel Craig is “superb” as the new, more brutal 007, and might carry the series for a few more years. As I said when it looked like James Bond had fought his last villain, it would be a far less entertaining movie landscape without 007. Even the films and leading men that misfire have become part of the fun, the cult of the franchise.
“Skyfall” will be released next fall.
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AMY WINEHOUSE fans shouldn’t expect too much from her coming “new” last album. Titled “Lioness: Hidden Treasures” it is a compilation of unreleased originals, covers, alternative tracks and two demos of songs she intended for the album she did not live to record.
Still, this is a new world of unearthing everything a singer ever recorded, including chats with musicians, incomplete takes and material that is just plain bad. So, Amy’s final CD is typical. Apparently the two demos are good but would hardly have been considered album-ready. However, quality and what Amy herself might have wanted, be damned, “Lioness” is expected to be a smash upon release.
P.S. The mania for putting out all of an artists’ material often does them a disservice. I’m thinking specifically of Judy Garland here. Why even the most devoted fans would want to hear some of Judy’s last recordings is beyond me. On the other hand, historians have recently dug up a treasure trove of rare live performances on radio and in concert, from Garland’s heyday, often singing songs she never again performed or recorded. (Want to hear “My Ship” at its most poignant? Find Judy’s live radio version.)
So, you can ignore the bad, and revel in the glorious if you choose.