Film Review Hotline

ET Returns
Although Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment have always resisted pressure to produce a sequel to ET: The Extraterrestrial, the title character will be appearing exclusively on Stateside television as the star of the 'Buckle Up, America' safety campaign devised by President Bill Clinton. Amblin spokesman Brad Globe said, "We hope ET can become the Smokey the Bear of highway safety." And the great man himself, Steven Spielberg, said, "ET holds a special place in so many hearts. I'm extremely pleased that the values symbolised by ET will be used to aid and address the issues of safe driving."

The Powers That Be
Newcomer Scott Cooper is the latest addition to the cast of New Line Cinema's Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (although it has been trailered as such in the UK). Can't see that subtitle making it here, though. Just watch our hypocritical newspapers refuse to carry the adverts! In the sequel to the 1997 Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Cooper will play Bobby, a guest on a Jerry Springer-like talk show. He joins a cast that includes Mike Myers, Heather Graham (playing Felicity Shagwell), Kristen Johnston (as Ivana Humpalot), Seth Green, Rob Lowe and Robert Wagner

Branagh's List
Once he's finished Love's Labour's Lost, Kenneth Branagh will direct and star in The Betty Schimmel Story, a fact-based drama about love and the Holocaust. The DreamWorks picture revolves around a 1930s Eastern European woman who promised to marry her childhood sweetheart. Separated from him by World War II, and believing he died in the Holocaust, she married another man. Years later the pair were briefly reunited after Schimmel learned that he was alive - and that her husband had been hiding the truth from her. DreamWorks co-founder Steven Spielberg became interested in the project when he first heard the story of Schimmel, who is the mother of American comedian Robert Schimmel. The script was written by Ivan Fila and Greg Poirier and Fila was at one point attached to direct the picture.

Clooney News
What will George Clooney (below) make once he's finished filming the gritty Gulf War picture Three Kings, with Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube, for director David Russell and Warner Bros? Well, it looks like television is calling as there are plans to remake the 1964 Sidney Lumet picture Fail Safe as a CBS TV movie which will be done live and in black & white. Then there's Kilroy, a series project Clooney wrote which is about to be set up at a network. He's also sold to CBS a TV movie based on CBS newsman Edward R Murrow and his decision to rally against the communist witch hunt of Senator Joe McCarthy in the '50s.

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