"Meet Dave", Eddie Murphy's Latest Failure

According to an age-old Hollywood maxim, it's just as hard to make a bad movie as a good one. If true, I guess we can't accuse anyone of slacking off at 20th Century Fox. The box-office jury is still out on "Meet Dave," but the critics have weighed in: The sci-fi comedy -- about an alien spaceship that looks like, well, like Eddie Murphy -- is a stinker.

Eddie Murphy's latest movie, which is a B comedy about an alien ship disguised as... Eddie Murphy, with a captain who is a tiny Eddie Murphy, bombs all the way. Meet Dave is disappointing especially because Eddie Murphy is one of the actors who could indeed put out something valuable, but apparently he doesn't care and is in it totally for the money.

The story line is childish, but that wouldn't be a problem as, after all, we're talking about a Hollywood comedy. Aliens come to Earth to steal our natural resources in order to save their home planet. The alien crew creates Dave Ming Chang who looks like a human being but is just a machine and tries to control his moves so he doesn’t look suspicious. At first, his moves are a little stiff and weird… and somewhat funny, maybe, for those who dig this type of very basic humor.

The small creatures, that come from the Planet Nill to find an orb which will suck the salt water from the oceans in order to be used by Nillians, are very serious at the beginning but, as they get to spend more time on Earth among people, they start to integrate and turn out to be as stupid as we are.

While he tries to be human, the Dave-ship begins to experience some warm feelings regarding Gina Morrison, a single mom played by Elizabeth Banks. The mini- Dave, the captain of the alien crew, also played by Eddie Murphy, is secretly fancied by his cultural officer (Gabrielle Union).

The movie shows Murphy's primary strength, or maybe his real acting passion: physical comedy. There's also his obsession with multiple roles (maybe he liked that scene in Being John Malkovich). The gags are usually lame, managing to produce smiles quite rarely.

Everybody seemed to notice that the Dave-ship performance was probably inspired by Steve Martin wrestling with himself in "All of Me."

The movie is, overall, another waste of talents, not just of Murphy's (we already got used to that) but also of his fellow actors. It's quite appalling that money, time and energy are put to such a waste, when with a little more effort and will, a much better comedy could have emerged. It seems that Murphy and Co. do not care about their reputation and their career, and are just out for a quick buck.

MPAA rating: PG for bawdy and suggestive humor, action and some language.
Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Starring Eddie Murphy, Elizabeth Banks, Gabrielle Union and Scott Caan
Directed by: Brian Robbins
Written by: Rob Greenberg and Bill Corbett
Release Date: 11 July

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Tony Snow Lost Battle To Cancer At 53

Fox News reports that former talk show host, Tony Snow, died earlier this morning from complications related to an ongoing battle with cancer. He was 53.

A syndicated columnist, editor, TV anchor, radio show host and musician, Snow worked in nearly every medium in a career that spanned more than 30 years.

Snow joined FOX in 1996 as the original anchor of FOX News Sunday, and hosted Weekend Live and a radio program, The Tony Snow Show, before departing in 2006. A sometime fill-in host for Rush Limbaugh, Snow said he loved the intimacy of his radio audience.

"It's a tremendous loss for us who knew him, but it's also a loss for the country," Roger Ailes, Chairman of FOX News, said Saturday morning about Snow, calling him a "renaissance man."

As a TV pundit and commentator for FOX News, Snow was often critical of President Bush before he became Bush's third press secretary in 2006, following Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan. He was an instant study in the job, mastering the position — and the White House press corps — with apparent ease.

During a tenure marked by friendly jousting with journalists, Snow often danced around the press corps, occasionally correcting their grammar and speech even as he responded to their questions.

"Tony did his job with more flair than almost any press secretary before him," said William McGurn, Bush's former chief speechwriter. "He loved the give-and-take. But that was possible only because Tony was a man of substance, who had real beliefs and principles that he was more than able to defend."

As he announced Snow as his new press secretary in 2006, President Bush praised him as "a man of courage [and] a man of integrity." Snow presided over some of the toughest fights of Bush's presidency, defending the administration during the Iraq War and the CIA leak investigation.

Robert Anthony Snow was born June 1, 1955, in Berea, Ky., the son of a teacher and nurse. He graduated from Davidson College in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in philosophy, and he taught briefly in Kenya before embarking on his career as a journalist.

Because of his love for writing, Snow took a job as an editorial writer for the Greensboro Record in North Carolina, and went on to run the editorial pages at the Newport News (Virginia) Daily Press, Detroit News and Washington Times. He became a nationally syndicated columnist, and in 1991 he became director of speechwriting for President George H.W. Bush.

Snow had his colon removed and underwent six months of chemotherapy after he was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2005. In 2007, he announced that his cancer had recurred and had spread to his liver. He resigned from the White House weeks later and was replaced by his deputy, Dana Perino.

After taking time off to recuperate, Snow joined CNN as a conservative political correspondent early this year.

Snow is survived by his wife, Jill Ellen Walker, whom he married in 1987, and their son Robbie and their daughters Kendell and Christie.

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AT&T's iPhone Count Down

July 11 is AT&T's D-Day, as the new 3G Apple iPhone will go on sale, drawing hundreds of thousands of shoppers and gawkers to Apple and AT&T stores.

To prepare, AT&T--the exclusive wireless carrier for the iPhone in the U.S.--has created an informational Web site and videos, upgraded its network and hired extra staff. "We are doing everything possible to make customers' purchasing experience quick and convenient," says AT&T spokesman Dan Gugler.

Since many customers are likely to be first-time AT&T subscribers or new to the iPhone, AT&T is trying to educate consumers ahead of the launch. It has posted answers to frequently asked questions, such as whether the phone can be used internationally. It also produced three how-to videos that describe, for instance, how customers who already own iPhones can give their old phones to friends and family if they buy a new one.

On launch day, AT&T stores will open one to two hours early to deal with crowds. Employees will distribute "checklists" outlining the different models, plans and accessories available. "There will be a lot of folks talking to customers, making sure they've thought about what they want to be ordering and what services are best for them," Gugler says. In a nod to the season, employees will also hand out bottled water.

Though Apple kept stores open until midnight last year, AT&T said it hasn't made a decision to extend nighttime hours.

Much has been made over the new iPhone's activation process, which will be done in stores just like other AT&T phones. The previous iPhone could be activated at home by logging on to Apple's iTunes--a system that drastically reduced waiting lines. AT&T hopes the new in-store activations will take between 12 and 15 minutes, on par with its other phones, Gugler says.

Behind the scenes, AT&T has been upgrading its network, in anticipation of an onslaught of new users. Its network currently supports fast, advanced 3G services in 280 markets across the country--a number that will increase to 350 by the year's end and continue to expand in 2009, according to AT&T.

On 3G, content can be downloaded at as fast as 1.7 megabits per second and uploaded at up to 1.2 megabits per second, says Bill Hogg, AT&T's president of wireless network services. AT&T is currently testing software that could increase the speeds up to four times, which the company hopes to make widely available within in the next few months, Hogg says.

The aim is to provide a comparable experience to wi-fi, even for those using bandwidth-heavy applications like interactive gaming or streaming video. "We've gone through and built a profile for what we expect subscribers to use, forecasted that and installed capacity to match," Hogg notes.

If, despite its plans, AT&T sells out of iPhones, as Sprint has with its heavily-publicized iPhone rival, the Samsung Instint, AT&T will let customers pre-pay and put their names on a waiting list.

AT&T confirmed the phone will cost $199 to $299 with two-year contracts, depending on memory capacity. It plans to offer the phones for $599 to $699 without a contract later this year.

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Palestinian Terrorist Resorts To Bulldozer Attack Killing 2

A Palestinian bulldozer driver plowed into a string of vehicles on a busy Jerusalem street Wednesday, killing two people and wounding dozens of others before he was shot dead by an off-duty soldier, authorities said.

The attack wreaked havoc and left a large swath of damage in the heart of downtown Jerusalem. Traffic was halted and hundreds of people fled through the streets in panic as medics treated the wounded.

"I saw the bulldozer smash the car with its shovel. He smashed the guy sitting in the driver's seat," said Yaakov Ashkenazi, an 18-year-old seminary student.

Police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said the bulldozer was driven by an Arab man from east Jerusalem who had a criminal background.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Israeli police referred to the attacker as a terrorist. The attack took place in front of a building housing the offices of The Associated Press and other media outlets. A TV camera captured the enormous bulldozer crushing a vehicle and an off-duty soldier killing the perpetrator by shooting him in the head several times at point-blank range as onlookers screamed.

At the scene of the attack, a half-dozen cars were flattened and a third was overturned by an enormous Caterpillar tractor. A bus also was overturned and another bus was heavily damaged. Israel's national rescue service confirmed two deaths and the two bodies lay motionless on the ground covered in plastic. Local TV was reporting four dead.

A woman sprinkled water over a baby's bloodied face, a rescue worker stroked the hair of a dazed elderly pedestrian and a loved one raised the bleeding leg of a woman sitting outside the overturned bus.

Esther Valencia, a 52-year-old pedestrian said she barely escaped the carnage. "He almost hit me. Someone pushed me out of the way at the last moment. It was a miracle that I got out of there."

Sixteen-year-old Eyal Lang Ben-Hur was in a bus when the driver yelled out, "Get out of the vehicle! Everyone out!" People fled in a panic, he said, and the bus was hit an instant later.

Israel's national rescue service said at 22 people were wounded, with at least 14 people hospitalized.

Injured people sat dazed on the ground amid piles of broken glass and blood stains on the street. A baby had blood all over its face, and the driver of the bulldozer was slumped motionless over the steering wheel.

"Where's the baby? Where's the baby?" said one distraught man as he ran from the overturned bus.

Yosef Spielman, who witnessed the attack, said the bulldozer picked up a car "like a toy."

"I was shocked. I saw a guy going crazy," he said. "All the people were running. They had no chance."

At one point, witnesses said police attacked the perpetrator, after which the witnesses said he slumped over with his eyes closed. Then he suddenly lifted himself back up and continued his rampage, the witnesses said.

Hen Shimon, a 19-year-old solider, said the whole scene was a "nightmare."

"I just got off the bus and I saw the tractor driving and knocking everything down in his path," she said. "Everything he saw he rammed. He had a gun and started shooting at a police officer."

In a statement, police said a "terrorist" had carried out the attack but gave no further details.

The attack occurred in an area where Jerusalem is building a new train system. The project has turned many parts of the into a big construction zone.

During the second Palestinian uprising, which erupted in late 2000, Jerusalem experienced dozens of suicide bombings and other attacks. The city has been largely quiet in the past three years, though sporadic attacks have persisted. In March, a Palestinian gunman entered a Jerusalem seminary and killed eight young students.

In contrast to West Bank Palestinians, Arab residents of Jerusalem have full freedom to work and travel throughout Israel. Many Jerusalem Arabs work in the construction industry, possibly helping the attacker to easily gain control of a bulldozer.

About two-thirds of Jerusalem's 700,000 residents are Jews, and the rest are Palestinians who came under Israeli control when Israel captured their part of the city in 1967. Jerusalem's Arabs are not Israeli citizens but hold Israeli ID cards that allow them freedom of movement in the city and throughout Israel.

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