Cillian Murphy Sees Ghosts, Fights Robert de Niro in ‘Red Lights’

In the eyes of most skeptics, paranormal psychics are completely full of it, gussied-up hacks who make a living preying on peoples’ lack of confidence and need to believe in something bigger than themselves. There’s a career to be made in calling out these con artists, should you have the stones to take them on in public. In Red Lights, Cillian Murphy does just that, playing a watch dog who seeks to bust so-called psychics with the good ole powers of science and deduction. But when he comes up against celebrity psychic Simon Silver, played by a wily Robert de Niro, he finds out that — uh oh! — ghosts might be real.

From the looks of the trailer, it appears that Silver might actually have some real powers, though you shouldn’t discount the possibility of swamp gas and/or LSD being the eventual explanation. "We all got high as hell, officer, and then the old guy levitated twenty feet in the air." Oh, youth. Red Lights comes courtesy of Rodrigo Cortes, the guy who directed Buried, the movie where Ryan Reynolds gets stuck in a box for a few hours. Sigourney Weaver, who seems to be everywhere these days, plays Murphy’s partner, while Best New Actress Elizabeth Olsen is his girlfriend. There isn’t a specific U.S. release date yet, but it’ll happen soon enough.

‘New Year’s Eve’: Yet Another Star-Studded Holiday-Themed Rom Com

If the trailer is any indication, Garry Marshall’s newest film, New Year’s Eve, is almost exactly the same as his last film, Valentine’s Day, except with a different over-hyped holiday. Despite – or perhaps because of – its long list of incredibly famous actors and numerous romantic story lines, it’s stacking up to be yet another trite, cliched, and ultimately uninspiring smorgasbord of self-regard disguised as self-deprecation. How did the man responsible for The Odd Couple and Happy Days get to this point? Let’s take a trip down celluloid memory lane.

First came Love Actually, the film filled with some famous people and some-not-so famous people, all of whom shared universal love stories that intertwined in subtle yet real ways. It was about sex, love, romance, and best of all, Christmas. Bonus points for all the British accents. We loved it.

Then came Valentine’s Day, the wanna-be Love Actually filled with even more famous people and intertwining love stories. Too many, in fact – it made us a bit dizzy. And because it was centered around one of the most cliched days of the year, it was just too much mush, gush, and teen tonsil honkey. No thanks.

Now comes New Year’s Eve, following directly in the footsteps of Valentine’s Day. New Year’s Eve boasts an impressive cast of everyone who’s anyone in Hollywood. We’ve got Lea Michele, Jon Bon Jovi, Hilary Swank, Jessica Biel, and about a million more. How Marshall locked down Robert De Niro for such a silly movie is a mystery for the ages, but I guess De Niro gave up around the time Analyze That came out.

This film celebrates that one magical night every year when the entire world gets together to celebrate new beginnings, the wonders of alcohol, and the hopes of getting a little midnight action. With Ashton Kutcher’s “I’m depressed and I only wear sweatpants” mood, a random romance between Ludacris and Hilary Swank, and Zac Efron making dreams come true for Michelle Pfeiffer, I just might gouge my eyes out. There is nothing about this film that makes me curious, and I definitely plan on spending my New Year’s Eve doing other things besides watching Sarah Jessica Parker pretend to not have any opportunities to wear pretty dresses.

But who knows? Marshall may well surprise us with a well-crafted tale of love in the city of big dreams. But it’s looking like he’d prefer to squeeze a few more bucks out of a once-endearing idea, and that’s hardly in the spirit of “out with the old, in with the new.”

Lindsay’s Freedom & the Sundance Festival Kick Off January’s Key Events

January 3—Lindsay Lohan is released from rehab, no joke. (Because aren’t Lindsay jokes played out by now?) 5—Cirque Du Soleil hopes to un-stiffen those upper lips when its limber show, Totem, premieres at London’s Royal Albert Hall. 10—Although we wouldn’t really call Matt LeBlanc an actor, he plays one on TV! Showtime’s Episodes premieres tonight, in which Joey portrays a version of himself.

11—The Salvador Dali Museum gets a $35-million new home in St. Petersburg, Florida, where the sun is so hot it could melt a clock. 12—Baltimore MC Rye Rye, apparently the queen of redundancies, celebrates her debut album, Go! Pop! Bang!, released yesterday. 14— Michel Gondry and Seth Rogen release The Green Hornet, a movie about a superhero who erases the memories of chicks in an effort to bang them. 16—At the 68th annual Golden Globe Awards, Robert De Niro receives the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award for his distinguished work in The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, that film with Eddie Murphy, and the other one about the cabbie. 19—The Los Angeles Art Show and London Art Fair both kick off today. They’re essentially the same thing, except Ed Hardy only sponsors one of them. 20—The Sundance Film Festival begins. It’s the only film festival with more snow on the streets than in the bathrooms. 21—Baltimore Restaurant Week begins. It’s like NYC Restaurant Week—without all the great restaurants! 28—Gus Van Sant releases Restless, a documentary about how audiences felt watching Gerry. 29—Sorry, supper fans: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal opens at London’s Mandarin Oriental.

NYC Celebs Who Pack Heat

The next time you spot somebody famous on the streets of New York, don’t make any sudden moves. The Daily News is reporting that while the overall number of handgun permits in the city is going down, the number of celebrities applying for them is going up. “They can get their own security, but with the Internet, it is much easier to find people,” said John Skylar Chambers, a lawyer who specializes in the coveted permits. “They don’t want to find someone on their lawn at 5 in the morning.” So who’s already packing?

Records show that Marc Anthony is licensed to carry a concealed weapon, as are Robert De Niro, Howard Stern, and Donald Trump. But not everybody gets to walk the streets armed and dangerous. Mets third-baseman David Wright is licensed, but only to keep a gun in his penthouse. Others have lobbied for permits and failed, such as Bernie Madoff’s son Andrew. All applicants are obliged prove that they are either subject to legitimate threats, or are routinely in possession of large sums of cash. How Marc Anthony qualifies, I’m not quite sure.

Good Night Mr. Lewis: Richie Notar Doesn’t Sweat the Recession

image[See Part 1 of Steve Lewis’ interview with Richie Notar.] We’ll get out of this recession, and Richie Notar’s Nobu will thrive through it. He believes, as I do, that the high-end joints will survive, while a lot of the wannabes will close their doors. People will eat at a Nobu, or have a cocktail at Rose Bar, even if they’re about to hock the Bentley, if only to show their peers that they’ve still got it. Sure, the cuffs may be shot out to hide the “stainless” Rolex, but those on top always know what time it is, anyway.

I enjoyed my sit-down with Richie. He made me feel like he wanted to always be my friend, like he really was happy to be next to me, having a chat. The cell phone didn’t ring, and no minion came to interrupt us with something “important.” I believe these traits are most important for a person in the hospitality field. I remember when I worked for Steve Rubell, and I would have this weekly meeting, and the phone would be ringing off the hook, the secretary blasting names — “Steve, Liza Minelli on 3, Calvin on 4, Jellybean on 1, Bianca on 6 …” — and he’d just wave them off because we were working. It was an amazing feeling that he would postpone talking to theses giants because he was talking to me. I went through walls for Steve, worked insane hours to prep for those meetings. I’d have every statistic, every angle covered because he felt our time together was that valuable. and I was honored to work for him.

Richie came through that system, and I think, like me, he still puts in the hours, still prepares, still values the time of others. There is no way anyone can describe what Steve Rubell was really like. I can tell you when I was running joints, I looked around my room and always thought to myself, “What would Steve or Andy (Warhol) think if they walked in right now?” Sometimes they did. When those two passed — way too soon — a little bit of that edge was lost. So guys like Richie and I do our best for ourselves, for those memories, and for a public we just can’t get enough love from. I build them now and write about them and I get paid some loot, but I do it for the love, for the action, and I think I see that in Mr. Notar, too. It just feels great when you sit in a room that you created and watch cool people enjoying their lives.

You’re opening a location in Los Angeles; tell me about it. Is this your first one in LA? Yes, we have one in Malibu, but the origin of it, which I’m not involved in, is called Matsuhisa, (which) was Nobu Matsuhisa’s first little restaurant that he opened 22 years ago. De Niro fell in love with the food, and it became his Hollywood canteen. There’s no real design; movie pictures and plastic lobsters on the walls; it would be considered almost kitschy, which is cool, because it’s back-to-basics. But here’s the dilemma for me: That’s the original, it’s a different partnership, but it started from there. How do we not hurt that or compete with that, but create a different persona for the restaurant? I’ve said this before; you can’t throw a rock without hitting a Japanese restaurant in LA, so how can we be different? I’m still trying to get my head around the dining habits of Hollywood. It’s a spoiled city, they want a lot of love. It’s me, me, me, so I’ve tried to do that with them.

You’re all over the world, and LA is coming now, 17 joints later — is it about not understanding LA? I don’t understand LA. Well, I kind of like Malibu. I’m a kid from Queens, so I see a dolphin and some mountains, and it’s a good day, you know? We’ve had the place in Malibu for ten years, and it’s very hippie-ish, and very cool, but LA was a no-go zone because Matsuhisa was there.

So now you’re just now figuring it out? Yeah. First: Does LA need another Japanese restaurant? Probably not. So what we’re focusing on is an experience. I don’t want to compete with the sushi, because if you have well seasoned rice and good fish, our sushi’s not going to be too different from yours; so it’s Nobu’s signature dishes, the bar, the lounge and our outdoor patio that are really groovy. We have a driveway with a fence that’s paparazzi-proof, and turns out that’s a high point in Hollywood, so people like David Beckham and George Clooney love coming in.

Everyone knows we’re in an economic downturn. How’s the Nobu client being affected, and what’s Nobu doing to address this? You try to avoid it, but the reality is everyone’s in denial, and sometimes, it really smacks you in the face. In certain restaurants, like London, it’s really fantastic, but little things like lunches downtown, because it’s so close to the Wall Street area, you could feel it. But places like Las Vegas, it’s very difficult, the food traffic is down. We’re still doing OK compared to other people who’re closing, but in places like LA, we’re going to do something cutesy, like “tightening your belt hour” or “bailout bites.” I was trying to motivate the staff, and I told them this is history; whether it’s the 1920s or Prohibition, or even when 54 started and New York was stagnant, things go in waves.

But you can’t keep people down, certainly not New Yorkers. So I think soon people will digest that they have to change their lifestyle a little bit, and then they’re going to persevere and have “fuck the economy” parties. You’re already seeing them around a little bit — maybe people aren’t going to buy a third home in Palm Beach, but they’re certainly going to go out. And actually, for us, it’s almost a reverse psychology, where people will come to Nobu and they’ll sit at one of the front tables because they want to show people that they’re okay in this economy. We’re involved in a lot of egos in this world, and they want to sit up front and go, “I’m fine.”

You have this great mantra, “In order to have a good dining-out experience, you leave your cellphone at home, surround yourself with people you like, go where you feel comfy, not the expected place, go local if you can, and do not network over food.” I think just like they hang those choking signs, they should hang that in the front of the restaurant. I think the question was “What’s a good time for a night out?” and I think people expected me to say something pretentious. I’ve been around way too long to be impressed by something that’s not meaningful, and I love neighborhood joints. Maybe it’s the Italian in me, but in Italy you dine among friends, and it’s about the conversation in addition to the food being good. It’s this banquet, you’re chatting, and it’s an event. I always try to remember that, especially in the restaurants. We do family style here, and you feel more at ease. This is the type of place that’s user-friendly; you’ll come two or three times even in a week; I’ve had people come for lunch and dinner. If you go to some of the bigger event places, you’ll go for an anniversary or a birthday, and you don’t go back for a year.

Now, one of the things about the recession is that you have Nobu Next Door, downtown. Is that an everywhere thing, or only in New York? There was a space that became available next door, and at the time, we were saying no to more people than we were saying yes. We didn’t want to lose that opportunity to have something, and we thought just like Armani has Black Label, Emporio, and AX, we’ll try to provide something for a different demographic. So I’m going to take a little credit for this. I said, “Why don’t we just call it Next Door?” They loved it, and we just called it Next Door.

How hands-on is Robert De Niro? How often do you talk to him? I talked to him this morning, to be honest with you. He’s an interesting guy because people don’t know what to make of him, he’s very quiet and protective of his private life. But it’s no secret that Bob De Niro was instrumental in putting together Nobu by bringing it to New York, by taking the chance. I didn’t know anything about it — my friends made fun of me when I said I was going to run “this Japanese restaurant”. He’ll add his input, but at the end of the day, he’ll say, “OK, I would probably do A, B, C, D, but you do what you want, or what you need to do.” I value his opinion. Both of his parents were artists, he grew up in the Village, he’s incredibly sensitive, he’s well traveled and has great taste.

And he’s really responsible for holding Tribeca up. When I lived there, he was one of the champions of that neighborhood, and it wasn’t as easy to live there as you think. Years ago it was a ghost town, it was tough.

What’s coming up? We’ve opened up in Dubai, soft, meaning it’s not really a big splashy party. It’s on Palm Island. Dubai is like the Hamptons now — everyone from London and Europe goes there.

So, from dishwasher to Dubai? Yes, no doubt, it’s been a great ride, with so many experiences; we should collaborate on a book. But it’s true, I’ve been really fortunate, because life experiences to me are more valuable than driving around in a Bentley or anything that’s materialistic and comes and goes.

I agree with that, what I take with me from the past — I don’t remember the cars I was driving, but I do remember some of the people that were in them with me. Yeah, you know, sometimes it’s great to stop and reminisce about those times, because when you talk about a bad climate now, people are referring to times that were really just … fun. Hands down. You still go to places in London, and there is a Studio 54 night.

New York: Top 10 Celebrity-Owned Hotspots

Scott Weiland’s Snitch is now Citrine, Tim Robbins is no longer behind the Back Room, De Niro’s Ago was critically panned, cholesterol problems await at Justin Timberlake’s Southern Hospitality, and Arnold Schwarzenegger & co.’s Planet Hollywood is a tourist trap, all’s not lost — here’s a list of celeb-owned spots worth looking into.

10. Bowery Wine Company (Bruce Willis) – “All for wine, wine for all” — it’s their philosophy, and we agree. 9. Angels & Kings (Pete Wentz, Travis McCoy) – Not short on cheap thrills; sex in the bathroom is encouraged. 8. Michael Jordan’s The Steak House NYC (Michael Jordan) – Though business may temporally be cooling, it remains the quintessential rich man’s cafeteria. 7. Nobu (Robert De Niro) – We hear it’s a bargain compared to the Nobu’s London outpost. 6. Santos’ Party House (Andrew WK) – Music aficionados looking to pick up oddball scenesters, look no further. 5. Haven (Bershan Shaw) – Like an old rich man’s study cum cigar bar (minus the cigars, but with the scotch), the dimly lit spot is a welcome relief amidst the midtown beer-guzzler bars. 4. The Box (Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, Josh Lucas on the board) – Love it, hate it, or simply grossed out by it — there’s no experience quite like it. 3. Waverly Inn (Graydon Carter) – Given that you basically have to know the Vanity Fair editor to get a table, may we suggest brushing-up on your networking skills to avoid missing-out on a fireside truffle macaroni and cheese dinner? 2. 40/40 Club (Jay-Z) – Cigars, cognac, swinging leather chairs, 50-plus flatscreens, and VIP rooms aplenty — in other words, the swank hip-hop sports bar has Jay-Z written all over it. 1. Cutting Room (Chris Noth) – Sure, the crowd’s not the hottest, and the space could use a facelift, but catching at least one Joan Rivers performance should be considered a Manhattan must.

Six Characters in Search of A Nobu

Travis Bickle, Jake La Motta, Vito Corleone, Max Cady, and Frankenstein, are all getting into the Japanese-themed condo-hotel business. That’s right, some of the most memorable film characters of the last four decades are uniting under the guise of Robert De Niro to build a Nobu Hotel in the financial district. De Niro was selected by the characters because not only do they share his likeness, but he’s already a partner in the upscale Japanese restaurant chain. “It seemed like the perfect fit,” Frankenstein said as he hid from the townspeople.

The rooms will be zenned out with green tea and sake-equipped minibars, and sushi rolls may replace mints as pillow accessories. The Broad St. enclave will be the second of its kind, with one opening this summer in the Israel beach town of Herzilya. Legendary mobster and Untouchables character Al Capone was said to be very angry for his exclusion in the ventures, but the others reportedly felt his reputation may ruin the hotel’s image. Hey, Corleone was no saint either.

New NYC Restaurants & Bars: Ago, Anthos, Greenwich Grill, Love

In New York, check out new restaurant profiles for Ago (Italian charm in Robert De Niro’s new hotel), Anthos (upscale Midtown Greek), and Greenwich Grill (dual-purpose Japanese); as well as the new lounge profile for Love (small, dark, handsome, and underground). For full New York listings, see our restaurant guide and nightlife guide.