Las Vegas Sun

October 1, 2014

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LOOKING IN ON: ENTERTAINMENT

"Resurrecting the Champ" starts out as a heavyweight but ends up a featherweight.

The story revolves around a "down and almost 50 percent out" boxer, played by Samuel L. Jackson, and Josh Hartnett, an ambitious reporter.

To paraphrase Terry Malloy, Marlon Brando 's character in "On the Waterfront," this one could have been a contender.

It's a great story and some of the best actors in the business are on the screen. Jackson is at his finest.

But rather than focus on the gritty side of the sport and how it affects the fighters and those around them, the film seems determined to pound the audience with its message - honesty is the best policy.

Hartnett's character is unlikable from the beginning, no matter how hard the writers try to make him sympathetic. It would have been infinitely more interesting to spend more time with Jackson's character.

The film is a fictionalization of a 1997 magazine article by former Los Angeles Times writer J.R. Moehringer about an ex-boxer from Chicago living on the streets of L .A .

If the writers had stuck to that story, the film could have won by a knockout.

'Phenomenon' auditions

Magicians and mentalists auditioning for the upcoming NBC series "Phenomenon " should take their best three tricks to the tryouts Sunday.

The open call will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Luxor's Egyptian A room.

Producers are looking for the best contestants to compete in the series that stars magician Criss Angel and mentalist Uri Geller.

Senior casting producer Alicia Good says contestants should download the application from the NBC Web site, nbc.com/casting and bring the application along with any performance DVD or digital tapes to the audition. For more information, e-mail Good at [email protected]

Gotta have Heart

The Las Vegas Hilton has a lot of Heart, or soon will have.

The popular '70s rock group comes to town next weekend. Ann and Nancy Wilson have sold more than 30 million records and have had more than 21 top 40 hits, such as "Crazy on You," "Magic Man," "Barracuda," "Straight On," "Even It Up" and "Kick It Out." On Sept. 11 Ann will release her first solo album, "Hope & Glory," featuring guest appearances by Elton John, Alison Krauss, Nancy Wilson, k.d. lang, Wynonna, Gretchen Wilson, Rufus Wainwright, Shawn Colvin and Deana Carter.

Nancy stays busy scoring films for her writer-director-producer husband, Cameron Crowe, including the Academy Award-winning "Jerry Maguire."

Details: 8 p.m. Sept. 1-2; Las Vegas Hilton; $60-$85; 732-5755

Don't cry for Carlini

Las Vegas Elvis tribute artist Trent Carlini, who portrays Elvis Presley in "The Musical History of the King" at the Sahara, fell just short of his second crown last week.

He placed second in the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist of 2007 competition in Memphis, Tenn., during Elvis Week. The annual celebration commemorates the singer's death on Aug. 16, 1977.

Don't feel sorry for Carlini. He's still basking in the glow of winning ABC's "The Next Best Thing," a show that featured tribute artists competing against each other.

Third place last week in Memphis went to another Las Vegas resident, Donny Edwards.

The winner was Shawn Klush, of Pittston, Pa. Klush has performed in a number of Elvis tribute shows, including filling in on occasion with the "Legends in Concert" production in Las Vegas.

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