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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

global eye

A Flighty Bird


"Tell Lizzie if she wants to fly to Balmoral, she can bloody well start flapping her arms, 'cause she ain't getting a new whirlybird! You savvy?"


Thus (in so many words) Gordon Brown, Tony Blair's battlin' chancellor of the exchequer, to Her Richly Royal Filthy-With-The-Stuffness, Queen Elizabeth II. A veritable Rambo of the budget bureaucracy, Brown shot down a helicopter -- $6 million of fine metal feathers -- which the Ministry of Defense had ordered for the Queen.


Brown was already in a bit of foul mood about having to use one-half of the budget reserve to make up shortfalls in health and education spending, said the Daily Telegraph. In his Tory-like zeal for trimming fat, he has zeroed in on the MoD as the "worst offender" at the public trough -- thus their plan for the glitzy new chopper did not exactly go down a treat.


Especially coming as it did hard on the heels of now-scrapped plans to lay out $90 million of taxpayer money on a shiny new boat for the Royal-type personages. No, with those grim, beastly Roundheads now in power, the poor little lass will just have to make do with the two helicopters she already has.





Perk Up


But if the thrice-glorious robes of royal privilege are looking a bit threadbare these days, the perks of pop stardom are more regal than ever, reports The Times.


Paychecks big enough to float a royal yacht aren't sufficient to satisfy our film faves' pressing need -- nay, their God-given right -- to be exquisitely cosseted. For instance, there's rubbery comedian manque Jim Carrey, currently drawing a paltry $20 million per, who demanded and got a special cook to prepare meals for his pet iguana on the set. Aging sex-puppy John Travolta had his family cook flown from California to Paris, on the company dime, to make that special down-home cannoli the jowly actor craves. Julia Roberts, rebounding from years of flops with the recent success of "My Best Friend's Wedding," charged a studio $841,000 to feed and board her entourage of lawyer, trainer, taxman, guru, hairdresser, nailclipper, and carrier of the moist towelettes.


But he who proves most royal amongst those high on the Hollywood hog is that stogie-chomping, stubble-bearing restaurateur, Bruce Willis (also known in the biz these days as "The Hitless Wonder," "Stinkerino," and "Mr. Heap Big Box Office Poison"). In addition to the usual king's ransom of a salary, the macho man demands a Queenish two helicopters on call to ferry him home to wife Demi Moore (who, with her Gandhi-like asceticism, demands little more than that her hair always be washed with fresh Evian water on the set).


But with the grace, the veritable noblesse oblige that comes with wealth and privilege, Willis took the critical razzing of his latest failure, "The Fifth Element," in good part. "Nobody pays any attention to reviews," he said of the reviews he'd been paying attention to. "Most of the written word has gone the way of the dinosaur."





Fossil Feud


But which way was the way of the dinosaur, exactly? Not Steven Spielberg's way, it seems, according to a top expert in the field who worked with the director on his two monstrously successful dino-flicks, "Jurassic Park" and "The Lost World."


Jack Horner, the renowned Montana State professor who was the model for "Jurassic's" fictional hero, told The Times (which is clearly a bit star-struck these days) that Spielberg's latest reptile-rouser had abandoned scientific reality for "ignorant fantasy."


"There really was a lot of science in 'Jurassic Park' but in 'The Lost World' there is no science," Horner said. (There was also no hero based on a renowned Montana State professor, either, as it happens.) "It's just dinosaurs eating people."


It probably would have been a bit boring the other way around, of course, but still, Horner objected to Spielberg's comic-book portrayal of T-Rexes maddened with mother-love, attacking scientists who were tending to an injured T-tot, of barely mobile stegosaurs deftly using their armor-plated tails to whomp moving Jeeps, and of the T-Rexes' wild fluctuations in size: in one scene not much taller than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but towering three stories high in the next.


Another reputed expert, Swedish dinosaurologist Bo Joyce, told the Global Eye he had noticed yet another scientific lapse in the film. "They didn't show Bruce Willis being eaten by a dinosaur," he reportedly said. "I mean, if anyone was going to be eaten by a dinosaur, shouldn't it be Bruce Willis?"





Bug Off


Oh, leave Bruce Willis alone already. Doesn't the poor guy have enough on him as it is, with that male-pattern-baldness thing? Besides, what's so bad about his extravagant demands? In Hollywood, even the bugs get pampered.


Director Barry Sonnenfeld told The New Yorker this week that the mass of cockroaches he used for his tongue-in-cheek space-alien film, "Men in Black," were protected by on-site security muscle from the American Humane Association.


When hero Will Smith is shown in one scene stomping a few of the insects (who are the minions of the film's main villain, a big old bug from outer space), the director had to resort to stunt doubles made of mustard packs. "You're allowed to step on mustard packs because at the moment there's no mustard-defamation league," said Sonnenfeld.


The bug guardians made Sonnenfeld account for each and every multi-legged thespian he used in a scene. "If we had 80 roaches coming out of a dumpster they would actually count -- 'We're still missing three, guys' -- and we'd be shooting at $10,000 an hour, looking for three roaches," the director told the magazine's David Shenk.


But when day was done, so, apparently, was the institutional instinct for insect intervention. "In case any roaches did get lost, at the end of the shooting day we were allowed to fumigate the stage," said Sonnenfeld.


Strange, we hear they did the same thing each day on the set of "The Fifth Element."