Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania on October 24, 2002 · Page 11
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Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania · Page 11

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Thursday, October 24, 2002
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Thursday, October 24, 2002 ENTERTAINMENT Page 11 Actor lives well playing wiseguy on'Sopranos' Actor Joe Pantoliano portrays Ralphie Cifaretto in HBO's "The Sopranos." (AP photo) By FRAZIER MOORE AP Television Writer NEW YORK —What a sweetheart, Ralphie Cifaretto. lie's the wiseguy on HBO's "The Sopranos" who ordered a hit on the son of the woman he was living with — then solemnly escorted Cable TV the grieving mother to the funeral. He viciously beat to death his pregnant stripper-girlfriend, then shrugged off the deed with a sneering "it was an accident!" He made a joke about the obese wife of another family's underboss that almost got him (and the underboss) whacked — just another example of his inflammatory outbursts voiced with no concern for mob protocoi, or even his own health. "They're gonna find this piece of (dirt) in a trunk someday," grumbles one of Ralphie's associates to another. Even his boss, Tony Soprano, depises him. Good thing Ralphie proved to be a top earner for the family. "He loves his job!" declares Joe Pantoliano, who plays Ralphie with leering, maniacal abandon. ("The Sopranos" airs Sunday at 9 p.m.) During mis recent interview, Pantoliano looks jaunty in jeans and an Ivy Leaguish wool blazer. What remains of his graying hair is closely shaved, in striking contrast to Ralphie's unruly red hairpiece. "Raiphie needs pain in his life in order to thrive," Pantoliano continues. "He pushes people to a violent reaction and then he gets permission to be violent back at them." Now a grin. "I play a character you love to hate, so I have to defend mat character as lohnnie Cochran would defend some clients he's had in a court of law." As "Sopranos" viewers know, it's a persuasive performance by the veteran actor who, at age 52, has had more than 70 movie roles, beginning with Guido the Killer Pimp in the movie "Risky Business" and, more recendy, "Midnight Run," "The Fugitive," "The Matrix" and "Memento." He has also written a just-published memoir, "Who's Sorry Now: The True Story of a Stand-up Guy," which takes readers back to his old neighborhood in Hoboken, N.J. — a world that Ralphie Cifaretto might recognize. Pantoliano (who early on acquired the nickname "Joey Pants") grew up on Hoboken's mean streets in a hurly-burly household where his mother was a bookie, his fa- ther was a gambler who worked in a funeral home and his stepfather spent much of his life in prison. "You're 12 years old and you're sneaking out of the apartment at 2 o'clock in the morning 'cause you can't pay your (darn) rent. And your mother tells you your father's not your father anymore, that her cousin is your stepfather. And he's a gangster, but he's also the mentor who saves your life! It all takes a toll on you." It's not like he's complaining. Joey Pants tells a colorful, often funny tale that even comes with a happy ending — after all, he made it across the river to Manhattan and the acting career he saw as his way out. These days he iives comfortably with his second wife and three daughters in suburban Connecticut. He also keeps a place in Hoboken, and laughs that, rather than those personal appearances at Barnes & Noble superstores, he would feel more like himself selling copies of his book from the trunk of his car. It was early last season that Pantoliano joined "The Sopranos," introducing a character reminiscent of Jimmy Murtha, the excitable young mobster he played in 1996-97 on the splendid but short-lived CBS drama "EZ Streets." Disenchanted with the failure of "EZ Streets" to draw an audience, he had turned down an inquiry from "Sopranos" creator David Chase before the series premiered. "1 said, 'Not interested, it won't work. Television is not ready for this kind of show, and I've got "EZ Streets" to prove it.'" Events would prove otherwise, and when Chase asked him again, Pantoliano changed his tune: "Absolutely! Whattaya got?" As with everyone in the huge "Sopranos" ensemble other than James Gandolfini, who plays Tony, Pantoliano is seen much more some weeks than others. "Gandolfini is the sun and we are the planets that revolve around him," explains Pantoliano. "Sometimes you're Pluto, and sometimes you're Mars, you know what I mean?" But even when Ralphie is absent from a scene, or a whole episode, his presence is felt: Wily and divisive, he's turning the family against itself. Meanwhile, he offers viewers a new slant on things, exposing his fellow mobsters for what they are: like him. Says Pantoliano with clear satisfaction, "I mink David Chase created Ralphie because the audience was starling to love all those other guys too much." Sneak peek: Details on the new 'Harry Potter' film By BOB LONGINO Cox News Service NEW YORK — Harry Potter's go I a zit. At least it sure looks like one, buried under a heap of makeup on young actor Daniel Radcliffe in Harry's first screen-hogging closeup in the opening minutes of "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets." The apparent blemish, a blirik- and-you'11-miss-it dot lodged on Radcliffe's mug in the lower left por- tion of the movie screen, is a mere blip in a film that lasts well over two hours. What young moviegoers will certainly be talking about after "Secrets" debuts Nov. 15 are the film's prolific, high-powered special effects, including a fast-and-furiqus Quidditch game with action that extends beyond the version in J.K. Rowling's book. Warner Bros. Pictures previewed "Secrets" for the press earlier this week at an AMC megaplex on West 42nd Street. The film, the sequel to last year's top money-maker, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (it pulled in nearly $1 billion worldwide), is expected to battle the next "The Lord of the Rings" installment, "The Two Towers," for this season's box-office honors. Here's an early peek at some of what "Secrets" holds: Dobby. The mysterious, self-punishing house-elf, who warns Harry of danger ahead, is completely com- puter-generated with expressive eyes and large floppy ears. His body movements are convincing (especially when he kneels on a chair), but he never quite matches the fluidity of Yoda in the latest "Star Wars" flick. More special effects. The magic spells just don't stop, and many viewers likely will think the visual quality exceeds that of the first movie. The filmmakers have added drama to the magical car flight to Hogwarts. The red "howler" note that Mrs. Weasley (Julie Wallers) sends by owl to her son is an intricate, floating paper and envelope that turns into an agitated jabberrrusiith. The film's main monster, a huge slithering serpent, sports a mouthful of poisonous fangs. The plot. It follows the book as closely as "Sorcerer's Stone" did. Young addicts of everything "Potter," however, will notice plenty of minor differences. For instance, the "deathday parly" for ghost Nearly Headless Nick (John Cleese) is eliminated. And in the movie, Professor Minerva McGonagall (Maggie Smith) reveals the tale of the chamber of secrets to the kids, not boring Professor Binn. Actor Rupert Grint. Just like in the book, his character, Ron Weasley, has almost as much lo do as Harry. Of all the child actors, Grint gains a performance edge as he infuses his role with a healthy mixture ofhumor and charm. Advance tickets sell quick as Quidditch By GREG HERNANDEZ Los Angeles Daily News Warner Bros.' "Harry Potier and the Chamber of Secrets" won't hit theaters for three more weeks, but the latest movie about the adventures of a boy wizard already has a head start toward becoming one of the highest- grossing films of 2002. Santa Monica-based Fandango Inc. took the unprecedented step of starting advance ticket sales a full month before the film's Nov. 15 release date, and "Potter" is already proving to be more popular with customers than current hits "Red Dragon" and "Sweet Home Alabama." It accounted for 21 percent of all tickets purchased through Fandango last weekend. "It's clearly the No. ] for Fandango and will clearly continue to be the No. 1 for the next period of time," said Art Levitt, president and CEO of Fandango Inc. "People want to be at the movie opening weekend. They know the popularity of the movie and want the assurance of knowing they will get into the showing they want at the theater they want." For a service fee of about $1, I-'an- dango and similar services MovieT- ickets.com and AOL Moviefone provide movie fans the opportunity to purchase their film tickeis in advance either online or by telephone. PORK TENDERLOIN & SAUERKRAUT Octoberfest Menu! Sunday, Oct. 27 11 am-3 pm INDIANA VFW OPEN To THE PUBLIC '8.95 Adults, '4.95 Children FREE - Under 5 All You Can Eat - Home Slyle Cooking UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT Fish Fries - every Friday 4:30 - 8:00 p.m. Sunday Buffets -11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. They are able to reserve a seat at their preferred time, and are spared the hassle of waiting in long ticket lines and the possibility of a sell-out. It was a year ago that "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" put online ticket services on the map in a major way. Not surprisingly, huge advance stiles are eilso expected for the upcoming "Potter" film, which is also based on the popular books of J.K. Rowling. "Even though we are selling more than 30 days in advance, we are seeing more of a demand than for the first 'Potter' movie when we started selling 27 days in advance," Levitt said. Mitchell Rubcnstcin, co-President of Florida-based MovicTickels.com, Downtown Indiana Theater 637 Philadelphia St. 724-464-01 16 MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING (PGI Mon., Oct. 21 thru Thurs., Oct. 24 7:00 & 9:00 pm ADMISSION: siw.-.s (fort start lieicxc 4pm aio '3 OnclutJcs drink and popccm vensojf shwfcs<ire '5 for aduti< includes <i free drink), 1 3 lor I UP siu&tils wlh nn kard anil '3 (ci chifiiren ur-der 12. A BINGO Every Friday BLACKLICK FIREHALL Doors Open 5:00 pm Early Birds 6:30 pm HILL CARD JACKPOT S6# 500 PTS. ROUND ROBIN: U#, 800 PTS LUCKY SEVEN: 19#, 350 PTS. KEY NUMBER 0+ Air Cond. Food Available Non-Smoking Section SCHOOL NEWS PAGES IN FRIDAY'S PAPER agreed. "We expect success similar to or greater than last year's 'Harry Potter' film," Rubensteiri said, "We have been extremely successful with advance ticket sales since the first 'Potter.'" Fandango experienced its first $1 million week in November 2001 due largely to the strength of "Potter," which sold $3.5 million in advanced movie tickets during a then-record opening-weekend gross of $90.3 million. Then barely a month later, massive advance sales for "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" confirmed that savvy fans had embraced the online option. Lcvitl said that since the first "Potter" film, Fandango's business has in- I GIFT CERTIFICATES AVAILABLE AT www.carmike.com \ 4 465-8800 IVI/VI_L OUST sap 9) tuts] snrrsRMT 7.10, us SKn ME DUMIH (PS-13) TO* 7:90, MO 5JC » SM. 1:10, Wt, 7JO, MO ABANDON (FG-13) (Ofl 7:15. 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