Terminator 3: A Terminal Case?

Terminator 3 | Mariah Carey | Mick Jones | Hepburn's Legacy

A Terminal Case?

Arnold Schwarzenegger may not be back again if the whispers I'm hearing are true. The tongues of movie industry insiders are wagging about this Wednesday's release of Terminator 3.

The movie, which cost over $100 million to make, has been screened for press on a very limited basis. Tonight is the premiere of the film in Los Angeles (no press), followed by a "sneak preview night" Tuesday night, and a big 3,000-plus screen rollout on Wednesday.

This kind of ambush attack by Warner Bros. is nothing new. When a film isn't good, the studio tries to minimize the damage by giving it limited advance exposure.

Not much has been made of the movie in the general press either. Over the weekend, star Schwarzenegger did a guest stint on E! News Daily on the robustly publicist-friendly E! channel --not exactly an inquiry by Mike Wallace or Dan Rather.

Not too much is known about T3, although some who saw it last week in the Warner's screening room were unenthusiastic about its prospects. Uniformly cited was a lack of plot or storyline. Some other armchair critics from the Ain't It Cool News Web site, having seen the film in England, criticized Schwarzenegger's joking approach to his role. The same thoughts were echoed in the New York screening.

What the movie does introduce -- for a T4 -- is a Terminatrix female character and two new human leads in the form of Clare Danes and Nick Stahl.

Meanwhile, another familiar name pops up in the T3 credits: Christopher Lawford, son of the late, great Peter Lawford and first cousin of Schwarzenegger's wife, Maria Shriver. Lawford has a small part in the film, but don't fret that this is total nepotism. He's been acting professionally for years, most notably during a popular run on ABC's All My Children.

If T3 turns out to be less than what the studio expected, it will follow The Hulk and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle into the record books under Summer Blockbuster Bluster. It will also severely question the future for Schwarzenegger in these kinds of roles. On E! News Live he looked washed out and unfocused, not the usual sharp-as-a-tack Ah-nuld.

Mariah's a Hit With the Japanese

Mariah Carey lost her shoe on stage Saturday night, but that's the only mistake so far in her Asian concert tour.

I spoke to Mariah on Sunday morning around 9:15 a.m., which was either yesterday or today. I'm not sure because I hadn't had my coffee. But Mariah had just finished her show in Fukuoka and was glowing from the experience.

"The only problem was, I lost my shoe on stage during 'Honey,'" she reported. "I couldn't find it, so we just covered until I got off stage."

Other than missing shoes, Carey says the Japanese tour is going great guns. Fans are singing along with her hits, too.

"They're singing along in Japanese and in English," she says. Carey's sales in the U.S. have been subpar of late, but in the Far East she is still an enormous sensation.

Next up for the cleavage-obsessed diva is a three-night run at Tokyo's famous Budokan, plus several more shows in the country. She heads to her regular getaway on the Isle of Capri once she's done, then returns to the U.S. for a short tour of smaller theatres. Her first stop is Caesars Palace on July 26.

Mick Jones No Foreigner to Downtown

Foreigner founder and lead guy Mick Jones paid an unexpected visit to a downtown club Saturday night.

Jones was a guest at legendary singer -- and Brooklyn hero -- Garland Jeffreys' big birthday bash and show at the Village Underground in Manhattan. Jones not only jammed with Jeffreys and his Coney Island Playboys on "96 Tears," but also brought along his estranged wife, Ann Dexter Jones. The popular couple separated a few months ago after many years as a prominent New York twosome. Here's hoping that this "date" is the first of many.

As for Jeffreys, who also hosted guest Willie Nile, his show was impeccable as usual, a real tour de force. He performed many of his cult hits like "Wild in the Streets" and "35 Millimeter Dreams" to perfection. I love listening to Garland's voice. It's like butterscotch topping on a sundae. You can't get enough of it. His music covers a range of reggae, rock, salsa and pop, all mixed together. The Coney Island Playboys are also a terrific, tight band featuring Steve Goulding, long ago the drummer for Graham Parker and the Rumour.

Next up for Jeffreys is a two-night gig in October at Joe's Pub. No more Village Underground as Steve Weitzman, the impresario who's booked the club for three years since his beloved Tramps closed, has been shown the door. Instead of having intelligent and bold rock, soul and folk shows, the Underground has opted for ... disco night instead! Weitzman is one of the great unsung heroes of the New York club scene. I've no doubt he will turn up somewhere new when he is ready.

Jeffreys, by the way, passed out a single he's made of Bruce Springsteen's "Streets of Philadelphia." I don't want to say it's better than the original, but Jeffreys makes it his own. In the process he shows that a Springsteen song written for a specific project (the movie Philadelphia) stands on its own a decade later.

Hepburn's Legacy

Much will be written and talked about Katharine Hepburn today. She passed away yesterday at age 96.

Perhaps the most interesting part of her very interesting life is the story of how she remade her career in 1940. Not doing too well in films -- and going through an unpopular moment in her career -- she got Philip Barry to write a Broadway play for her. The Philadelphia Story was a huge hit, and Hepburn wound up owning the film rights thanks to Howard Hughes' generosity. The movie version became her trademark role for a long time. It still stands up, more than ever, as a ferociously witty work. Hepburn's performance is indelible. I'd like to find an actress today who could tackle that smart dialogue.