• The first reviews of "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" are flooding the Internet from Cannes, where the fourth Indy flick had its first official screening today. Happily, the overall reception is good -- the film community seemed to be fearing a repeat of the bashing "The Da Vinci Code" took at the 2006 festival, but people seem to generally enjoy the return of Dr. Jones. One of the blogosphere's most notorious curmudgeons, Jeffrey Wells, even liked it, and he regularly rants about how overrated Steven Spielberg is as a director. Just tread carefully, friends; the spoilers are everywhere. (And also remember that the first reviews of "The Phantom Menace" were pretty positive as well.)
The most important development at the Capitol is word that Matt Damon will be in Springfield this weekend filming for an upcoming movie about the 1990's informant scandal at nearby Decatur-based ADM.
The production crew is looking for extras Sunday through Tuesday, and Tuesday filming is at the Capitol.
This place hasn't been this excited since Reese Witherspoon and the Legally Blonde II crew left town. (The Illinois House chamber subbed for Congress in the critically acclaimed flick).
There've been extensive Damon sightings and interaction over in Decatur during recent filming.
In other movie news ...
Thursday night was the Chicago premier of HBO's new film RECOUNT.
Here's Daily Herald politics and projects reporter Joseph Ryan's red carpet report.
Calling all Tolkien fans: Peter Jackson and Guillermo Del Toro, the masterminds behind the forthcoming films based on "The Hobbit" and various other works by good ol' J.R.R., are hosting an online chat at WETA Workshop's Web site on May 24. You can submit questions in advance and register for your virtual seat in the chat room when the two bearded wonders talk about their new prospective blockbusters.
**UPDATE: Froehlich zinged by GOP** Rejection Thursday at the Capitol (Updated with Senate softball victory speech)
State Rep. Paul Froehlich, the former Schaumburg Republican turned Democrat, got zinged today on the House floor by a former GOP colleague. Froehlich was accusing state Rep. Raymond Poe, a Springfield Republican, of flip-flopping on gambling.
Poe was having none of it, and given his accuser’s party-swapping background quickly fired back, much to the delight of GOP members. Here's a link to the audio. Special thanks to Illinois Public Radio for assistance.
So far this morning, state lawmakers have been busy voting down legislation.
In the winter of 2005, everyone just assumed that "King Kong" would be the king of the box office, and why wouldn't they? Director Peter Jackson had just come off the historic feat of making an epic fantasy trilogy that won the best picture Oscar, the visual effects in the trailers were simply jaw-dropping, and the critical buzz was humming at a pretty high register.
But everyone underestimated "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" -- and overestimated how many people would want to watch a love story between a vaudeville reject and a giant gorilla for three hours -- and Disney's adaptation of the C.S. Lewis novel wound up outclassing "Kong" at the box office into the first month of 2006.
Time is running short on lawmakers’ spring session. But don’t look for a late night tonight.
Tonight is the annual House-Senate softball game.
Here’s what state Sen. Rickey Hendon, a Chicago Democrat, had to say on the Senate floor about the game. To get an accurate feel, try screaming this at the top of your lungs.
“We have lost to the lower chamber the last few years. No fault of our own. The umpires were clearly paid off by the speaker of the House. Every call went against us.
This year my brothers and sisters in the Senate. … We’re going to show those minions in the lower chamber that we are the House of Lords, they are the House of Commons. We will be victorious tonight.