Thursday, 15 February 2007

Best Actress - Judi Dench

Ahh Judi Dench. Just when you thought she was going to sail on with her over abundance of charisma she smacks you in the face with a layered and manically mannered performance.
As Barbara Covett, Dench hones in on this woman’s bitterness at being over looked and forgotten. She is filled with rage and spit and a longing that is almost unbearable to watch. She commands the screen and dances circles around Cate Blanchett whilst doing so. There is not much more I want to add about this feat in acting, except what a shame she has to compete is such a strong category.

Oh by the way....god bless You Tube!!

Thursday - Music I am listening to day. - Cassius

Those French wizards have shot back with a stomper of a record. Why was this not more massive than it was I have no idea!

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Best Actress - Meryl Streep

After re-watching The Devil Wears Prada I have fully realised the extent of Meryl’s accomplishment. This is the scene that clinched it for me.
In this scene her new assistant Andrea (Anne Hathaway) sniggers at the identicality of two belts, only to be hammered down by her boss Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep)
What is amazing about this scene is how much Meryl (yes I feel we are on first name basis) holds back completely.
She doesn’t just snap at and put down Andrea, she completely intimidates her with presence, intelligence, and the blasé delivery of the history of cerulean. Here Streep gives years of back story. Her Miranda has followed and loved fashion for so long that she not only knows the history of colour, but respects the variance to which it is used by the designer/s and the long and winding road it takes to make it to our wardrobe. What to many is only a blue jumper, to Miranda is an intricate history of design, choice and marketing. This is her art and damn anyone who mocks it.
No one else says a word during this monologue, all eyes are on her, and you understand why. They fear her, yet respect her.
Her delivery of the word ‘stuff’ is brilliance. Ssssssstuff, you can feel her restrained anger at her passion being compounded into this one common little word. She has been insulted. A lesson is taught.
The last delivery of this same word used to mock a multi billion dollar industry is turned completely around to mock Andrea for her ignorance.

Check this out!

Stinky Lulu has written a fantastic piece on Abigail Breslin that I want y'all to read. Kind of makes me want to root for her to upset J-Hud (if you know me, you know how shocking that is!)

Read it HERE!

The year of the performances.

I know I am not alone when I say that this year was not the best ever for the film industry as it was in, let’s say, 2001 when we had movies that I consider to be near perfect. We had Moulin Rogue!, Hedwig and the Angry Inch , the first of Peter Jackson's amazing trilogy , the return to form of David Lynch and Robert Altman. Phew! I can honestly say I loved all of those movies, giving them all A grades.
2006 was nowhere near as good as 2001, but what was better was the quality of the performances.
In each category (aside from leads being put in supporting like Blanchett and Hounsou) no one can really argue with the merits of MOST of the performances.
Best Actress is the strongest line up in years, where talent and performance finally out weighed looks, youth and deglamming. Best Actor is strangely weaker, but still merits attention grabbing performances from films that would have other wise gone unnoticed (out of the 5 nominees, 4 hold their films only nomination).
Even the supporting categories (especially Best Supporting Actor ) holds performances that no one would be surprised to see win had front runners not been established so early and so strongly.
So while the films were rather weak, the actors brought it in buckets. This is something to remember, especially when we take at look at the strong movies (on paper) that are coming up for this year.
Lets just hope that films get an earlier release date so the impact can be fully realised come time for voting, and that the studios are smart enough to realise a great performance, and get their bloody screeners out early.

Now lets weep for the great performances that didn’t get a mention.
Toni Collette – Little Miss Sunshine, Steve Carell – Little Miss Sunshine, Hugh Jackman – The Fountain, Sasha Baron Cohen – Borat, Sergi Lopez – Pan’s Labyrinth, Maribel Verdu – Pan’s Labyrinth, Vanessa Redgrave – Venus, Stanley Tucci – The Devil Wears Prada, Maggie Gyllenahall – Sherry Baby, Gretchen Moll – The Notorious Betty Page, Keke Palmer – Akeelah and the Bee, Shareeka Epps – Half Nelson, Ben Affleck – Hollywoodland, Brad Pitt – Babel, Catherine O’Hara – For Your Consideration, Clive Owen – Children of Men, Michael Caine – Children of Men, the cast of Shortbus, James McAvoy – The Last King of Scotland, Leslie Phillips – Venus. Anyone I am missing??

Music Video Backtrack 5 - Voices Carry

This was one of those songs that I just thought was wierd when it came out. Listening to it as I got older it has become a staple on my iPod. One of those songs that still sounds fresh today (if not watching the video). I paired this with another of Aimee Mann's great songs from the film Magnolia - Wise up.

Sunday, 11 February 2007

The BAFTA's announce winners

Best Film: The Queen
Best British Film: The Last King of Scotland
Best Director: Paul Greengrass
Best Actor: Forest Whitaker
Best Actress: Helen Mirren
Best Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin (Yay!!! Good support for LMS)
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Last King of Scotland
Original Screenplay: Little Miss Sunshine (wow!! It beat The Queen!)
Animated: Happy Feet
Editing: United 93
Visual Effects: Pirates 2
Original Score: Babel
Best Sound: Casino Royale
Best Foreign Film: Pan's Labyrinth
Best Makeup: Pan's Labyrinth
Best Costume: Pan's Labyrinth

Interesting - The Departed went home empty handed. (all together) hmmmmmmmm

Mini Review number 9 - The Fountain

The Fountain is an odyssey about one man's thousand-year struggle to save the woman he loves.
His epic journey begins in 16th century Spain, where conquistador Tomas Creo (Hugh Jackman) commences his search for the Tree of Life, the legendary entity believed to grant eternal life to those who drink of its sap.
As modern-day scientist Tommy Creo, he desperately struggles to find a cure for the cancer that is killing his beloved wife Isabel (Rachel Weisz).
Traveling through deep space as a 26th-century astronaut, Tom begins to grasp the mysteries of life that have consumed him for more than a century.

There is not much more I can say about this film without ruining the effect it will have on the viewer. I was profoundly moved by what I was seeing on screen. Thomas the warrior, the scientist, the explorer is so consumed by finding the answers for life, death and rebirth that he forgets to live. His drive is fueled by grief and a race against time over his loves eventual mortality, that every moment is spent in his laboratory trying to find a cure, missing the final days of Izzy’s life.

What transpires on screen is a meditation on love, death and spirituality. Darren Aronofsky is a filmmaker who knows exactly the mood he wants to get across (claustrophobic headache in Pi, the slowed down and sped up world of drugs in Requiem for a dream). In The Fountain he succeeds in portraying the spiritual, the life and the loss. Superbly supported by cinematographer Matthew Libatique, Aronofsky combines the world of a sweeping epic with an intimate study of what it is to truly be reborn.
Clint Mansell delivers a truly sensational score, as he did (and that has been ripped of for every trailer ever) for Requiem for a Dream that serves the film, enhancing the tone of each scene with enough power and beauty that it is not lost amongst the images.

Lastly, why oh why was Hugh Jackman not nominated for ANYTHING? He gave one of the best performances of the year. The way he played the determination, the hope, and the despair broke my heart. In the quieter scenes where the camera pulled up close on his face as he grieved I felt I should look away, like I was watching a private moment in someone’s life that I did not belong to. I honestly did not think he was capable of such truth.

Grade A-

For a selection from the score, click below. This is called 'Together, We Will Live Forever' by Clint Mansell