Monday, September 28, 2009

Sandra Varner’s Celebrity Profiles - Special to the Insider News

Ruben Santiago-Hudson in “The Invention of Lying”

The Invention of Lying

“Clever and Funny”

The loser guy gets the beautiful girl; isn’t this the fantasy that most dream of?

Add to that premise the skillful wry wit of Ricky Gervais (“Night at the Museum”), the Brit who is taking America on an exciting roller coaster ride --and you get the clever and funny new film-- “The Invention of Lying,” opening in theaters on Oct. 2.

The filmmakers (Gervais and Matthew Robinson) set up the story as a parallel universe where only the truth is told and when not, they allow us to assume the consequences, sending your mind to hover in the possibilities of a world that dreams are made of.

Gervais’ Mark Bellison, a less-than-impressive screenwriter at a film company that specializes in historical documentaries is no one to write home about. Average-looking at best, Mark finds himself in pursuit of the hottest babe he’s ever dated; Anna McDoogles (JenniferGarner) who is brutally honest with him from their first date. She informs him he will never get to first base with her; no way, no how.

Adding insult to injury, Mark is fired. Desperate to salvage what little cachet he thinks he has, he tells his first “lie” to save his job and is re-hired. From this point forward, the lies told only get better and so does his life. So much so, he not only gets the girl but also gets fame and fortune untold.

Oh the magic of movie-making.

Where similar films such a “Liar, Liar” and “Yes, Man” veer off in other directions, “Lying” provides plausible possibilities of thought-provoking consequences that race through your own rationale and give this story a more realistic arc.

Too, the filmmakers take chances and stretch the boundaries of thought which actually are more appealing than some of the scenes. All said the combined efforts of a well-placed cast with several delightfully surprising cameos flesh out this entertaining little ditty.

The cast includes: Edward Norton (“The Incredible Hulk”), Philip Seymour Hoffman (“Capote”), Jeffrey Tambor (“The Hangover”), Christopher Guest (“Best in Show”), Jason Bateman (“Hancock”), Tina Fey (“Baby Mama”), Louis C.K. (“Role Models”), Rob Lowe (“Austin Powers”) and Ruben Santiago-Hudson (HBO’s Lackawanna Blues) among others.

Very little is untouched in the barrel of lies that are told, including religion. A confessed atheist, Gervais is non-discriminating and was careful to point out Garner’s Christian beliefs during a press conference in Toronto to discuss the film. Affirming Gervais’ embrace of her values, Garner stated, “…religion is something worth examining; your faith is something worth questioning and talking about so I think if this movie asks that of people, that’s not a bad thing. That’s part of what art should be there for. And yes, I do believe in God.”

Robinson, the film’s co-writer intoned, “We’re not out to offend anyone. My father is a very religious man and he loved the script --its all good fun-- it’s all done in the spirit of asking questions and starting conversations.”

Gervais concluded, “Mahatma Gandhi said there was no higher God than truth and he was religious.”

BET Rolls Out new drama series

“First IN”

debuts Sept. 30th

Tyrese Narrates

Tyrese Gibson

“First In” is the new 10-episode, half-hour series from Black Entertainment Television that launches Wednesday, Sept 30th at 10pm.

Narrated by singer, model and actor Tyrese Gibson, FIRST IN takes viewers inside the lives of Compton, Los Angeles’ firefighters and paramedics. Emotions run high as these men and women risk their lives to save the lives of others in an area where there are at least 75 active gangs operating.

Each day these rescue personnel face gunshot wounds, dead bodies and mangled cars in an area that maintains one of the highest crime rates in the country.

Gibson, grew up just a few short miles from Compton, where the series if filmed, is the executive producer and narrator of the series. The firefighters featured in the series have compelling stories -- Marcel Melanson is a third generation firefighter that has risen through the ranks very quickly to become the youngest Battalion Chief in the country; his body art, and success despite his tattoos; his car. Marcus Wilson has triumph over obstacles of childhood abuse to become what he is today.

Though Compton only has a population of about 100,000 people, there are a reported 75 active gangs operating within the area, making it a unique environment for the city’s emergency teams. With one of the highest crime rates in the country, gunshot wounds, gang related violence, and mangled cars, these are ongoing occurrences of another day on the job for these highly trained professionals.

Day after day, all the drama is caught on tape as the team –an ambulance operator, multiple firefighters, an intern and one of the youngest Battalion Chiefs in the country, Melanson, of the Compton Fire Department – fight battles both at home and on the job.

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