Friday, 6 April 2007

I LOVE Madonna.....the end.

Well it is finished, and I did learn alot. For starters writing album reviews is impossible, and my knowledge of her is kind of scary. But it is finished for the time being. Be prepared for it to all flare up again come the end of the year with her new album release. Until then here is the only visual proof she has of my love. Click the image to see it larger, I'm the one with long primate arms.

Happy Good Friday!!!

To all my friends and family who are enjoying the Good Friday celebrations in Bermuda, I miss you and wish I was there flying kites with you (although from all accounts it is raining). For those of you who do not know, on Good Friday in Bermuda we all make kites out of sticks, string and coloured tissue paper, and fly them up to the highest heights. We also have the long standing tradition of eating hot cross buns and cod fish cakes, and usually gather with friends and family and feast and fly. So happy Good Friday to Rachie, Dad, Simon, Carolyn, Spencer, Devon, Hayley, Graham, Aunt Deanna, Tommy, Heidi, P.J., Aunt Sandra, Uncle Jimmy, Alice, Robyn, Sophie, Christopher, Nikki and her new little one, Jen, Uncle Jordy, Aunt Sasha, Uncle Penny, Kim, Ward, Lorna, Tom and anyone who I missed out.

When will Ripley get her dues?

There are many actors and actresses that I wish to see win an Oscar. Most of them are long established and proven actors (Kate Winslet, Peter O’Toole, Toni Collette, Angela Bassett, David Cheadle) but there is one that every time I see her name attached to a movie on IMDB I kneel by my DVD collection and say a little prayer.
“Please, Oh powerful and loved DVD collection, let Sigourney Weaver win her first Oscar this year.”

I guess it all boils down to the Alien movies, and seeing such a strong female character in an action film at such a young age left a huge imprint on how I think about male and female roles. She played the bitch career woman competing in a mans world long before The Devil Wears Prada. She played the very first female action hero . Say the name ‘Ripley’ anywhere, and most people will know who you are talking about.
She was rightly nominated for ‘Aliens’ in 1986 and then double nominated in 1987 for ‘Working Girl’ in supporting, and then ‘Gorilla’s in the Mist’ for lead (loosing both).

However she has paid a price and been obviously snubbed three times.
First in 1994 for her harrowing and powerful performance in Roman Polanski’s ‘Death and the Maiden’. This was mainly due to the controversy surrounding the director, a controversy that he would be forgiven for eight years later.
Her second snub came in 1997 for Ang Lee’s quiet and brilliant ‘The Ice Storm’. Although she won the BAFTA for this performance and received critical raves, the entire film was overlooked come awards time, perhaps it was far too quiet for the Academy. (sorry you have to sit through ‘Perfect Stranger’ before you watch the trailer).
The third is a little tricky. Many felt she was Oscar worthy, but no one saw 1999’s ‘A Map of the World’. Meryl Streep got the nomination instead for ‘Music of the Heart’.

This year, much to my delight she has three award buzz heavy films coming out, hopefully making up her three snubs.
First we have ‘The TV Set’. Advanced word is she is fantastic in this, and will go supporting, which is kinder to comedies. Her major obstacle is the movie may be a let down, and is already being unfavourably compared to ‘Network’.

Next up we have ‘Snowcake’. I personally loved this performance, but I do understand that some will not be impressed. Not everyone is easily convinced by actors playing mentally ill, and this performance will have it’s nay sayers.

So that leaves what could be her crowning achievement of 2007 ‘The Girl in the Park’.
From IMDB ‘Enduringly traumatized by the disappearance of her 3-year-old daughter 15 years ago, Julia Sandburg (Weaver) has cut herself off from anyone once near and dear to her, including her husband Doug and her son Chris, who tried for years to penetrate her wall of isolation and despair, without success. But when Julia meets Louise (Bosworth), a troubled young woman with a checkered past, all Julia's old psychic wounds painfully resurface, as does her illogical and increasingly irrational hope that Louise may be the daughter she lost so long ago.’

Here is hoping she wins a competitive Oscar soon and not some crappy ‘Oops we f*ck up’ honorary one.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Life is a Cabaret

With the disturbing news that Renee Zell...(I can't even finish typing it) was being considered for the remake of Cabaret, I reached for nearest pillow and screamed myself silent.
For starters EWW! YUCK!!, secondly why remake it in the first place? I mean it stll holds up today, and Liza is still as dazzling as she was back then, so why even think about it?

But then I thought about what Nat over at the Film Experience and I could not agree more.

Toni Collette as Sally Bowels. How could it go wrong?

The the rest of the cast....well John Cameron Mitchell as the Master of Ceremonies (how delicious would he be!). Eric Bana as Brian Roberts (because he is sexy, but can to that naive thing with his eyes) and Clive Owen as Maximilian von Heune (Who would not want to see him and Eric kiss on screen!!!)

I TRIPLE-dog-dare ya!

Sad new that Bob Clark, the director of my annual Xmas eve movie 'A Christmas Story' has passed under tragic circumstances. sniff

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

I LOVE Madonna (part 6 section g)

Number 1 – Like A Prayer. Released: March 21st, 1989.

By the time Madonna released 1986’s True Blue, most critics had written her off as pop fluff. Even though she was beginning to expand her musical range with songs like ‘Live to Tell’, ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ and La Isla Bonita’, most of that album was radio light. By the time her forth studio album was released, most of the world was anticipating the same ole, same ole.
With the decline of her marriage to Sean Penn behind her Madonna released what has been called her greatest and most personal record to date. ‘Like A Prayer’ found the singer growing up with a collection of pop confections layered with live instrumentation, sophisticated arrangements, deeply felt lyrics, and a stronger, more assured vocal. This was the beginning of Madonna, the musical adventurer.

The album opens with a clamouring guitar riff that explodes and transcends into the angelic first chords of the title track. “Life is a mystery/Everyone must stand alone/I hear you call my name/And it feels like home.” Go the lyrics in what is arguably Madonna’s best song. A church organist’s fingers dance across the keyboards for the song’s dramatic build to the Andrae Crouch Choir’s (led my Niki Harris) joyful vocal performance, carrying the song to heights no pop song has climbed to before, or since. This is the closest Madonna’s music has ever come to being a religious experience.
From salvation to inspiration, we get lead into a blockbuster of a track. ‘Express Yourself’ sees Madonna demanding a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T, and getting women to demand it to. “Don’t go for second best, Baby/Put your love to the test” go the lyrics that, eighteen years later, are more insightful then what comes out of the majority of pop starlets today. This also saw Madonna at her most vocally powerful and soulful since her early days.
The merging of two musical institutions took place, and the result was ‘Love Song’. Madonna and Prince perform a brave and unconventional duet that takes it’s time to grow on you, but leaves it’s mark once it has. Although it has it’s critics, I love the fact the song sounds at odds with itself, especially with the ‘I’m over you’ lyrics of “Don’t try to tell me what your enemies taught you/I’m gone/But I just want you to know/this is not a love song that I want to sing.” The knife is in and then she twists it.

The compelling, ‘Till Death Do Us Part’ is a song where Madonna, seemingly confronted her own personal demons, pours her heart out about her turbulent first marriage. Madonna neatly glides along the windy, complex music arrangements and manages to sound sorrowful on top of the running upbeat melody as she delivers punch “I think I interrupt your life” after punch “The bruises they will fade away/You hit so hard with the things you say” until the final, heart breaking confession of truth that will ring true to most women in abusive relationships “She's had enough, she says the end/But she'll come back, she knows it then/A chance to start it all again/Till death do us part”. Madonna has never since been so brave in painting her personal life through lyrics.
The heart-wrenching piano-ballad "Promise To Try" touches on the death of her mother, and is sung to her childhood self, perhaps in a way of distancing herself a little from a part of her life she still had yet to come to terms with. “Don't let memory play games with your mind/She's a faded smile frozen in time” go the lyrics that at times are too emotionally honest to bear. Anyone who has experienced the death of a loved one, while young, will relate and understand the inner turmoil one faces in trying to remember what little you can, and using photographs to fill in the blanks.
‘Cherish’ is a delightful confection of radio-friendly pop that returns to her more traditional, earlier sound. The melody is tight and punchy giving it an overly infectious feel whilst Madonna’s tone sounds playful. This joyous little whirl of a song is followed by another in ‘Dear Jessie’. Dedicated to her co-writer, Patrick Leonard’s daughter, this is a Beatles inspired, Sgt. Pepper-esque, slice of magic. Never before or since has Madonna sounded so, well, motherly as she sings about pink elephants and leprechauns in a delightful lullaby of a song.

As ‘Dear Jessie’ ends, the string arrangement turns somber, and leads us into the modulated hook and over dubbed harmonies of ‘Oh Father’. Madonna exercises the demons she held over her father’s behaviour after the death of her mother. Perhaps overly dramatic in the lyrics “Maybe someday/When I look back I'll be able to say/You didn't mean to be cruel/Somebody hurt you too” can be forgiven since it appears she is singing this as her past self without hindsight. In whatever aspect this song is meant, it is still a dark and powerful expression of childhood confusion, and parental grief.
‘Keep It Together’, which evokes Sly & The Family Stone’s ‘Family Affair’ without the use of samples or artless imitation, is another soulful corker of a song. With it’s lyrics of family unity and strength, Madonna seems to be directly addressing the her of ‘Oh Father’. “When I look back on all the misery/And all the heartache that they brought to me/I wouldn't change it for another chance/'Cause blood is thicker than any other circumstance”.
She bravely and elegantly confronts the (in 1989) still taboo issue of AIDS with ‘Spanish Eyes’. With its purring Spanish guitar and atmospheric and reflective lyrics, Madonna moves into social commentary, as she personally deals with friends inflicted with the disease, and who had died while she was a struggling artist on the streets of New York. “I light this candle and watch it throw/Tears on my pillow/And if there is a Christ, he'll come tonight/To pray for Spanish eyes/And if I have nothing left to show/Tears on my pillow/What kind of life is this if God exists/Then help me pray for Spanish eyes.” Madonna was showing great improvement lyrically as she was musically and vocally on ‘Like A Prayer’, but she still retained her wit and humour. On ‘Act Of Contrition she recites the Catholic prayer of forgiveness before death, over a rock riff and the title track’s vocals playing backwards (usually considered a sign of the occult by those crazy fanatics). When she reaches the gates of Heaven the woman who was named after the virgin mother of Jesus is shocked to find that her reservation has been dubiously deleted from the host's computer.

Although the album may not have the musical and lyrical flow of ‘Erotica’ and ‘Ray of Light’, it was the platform from which Madonna, as a musical envelope pusher, jumped off. Translating her pain and her joy into music, she was finally able to move out of the pop trappings, and open herself up, and the world, to the endless ways that popular music can touch. Issues of Religion and Catholicism, Sex, Feminism, Divorce, Death and Family each demand your attention, and are presented with the confidence of woman hitting her stride.
It could be said that each Madonna album takes her, for better or for worse, to the next level in her growth. In that case ‘Like a Prayer’ was the death of a Pop Star and the birth of an Artist.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Alanis Morrisette - You can't be serious?

If she is being serious then oh dear. If she is taking the piss, then double oh dear (oh dear)! Although she has fallen from public popularity, I have always been interested when she comes out with something new. However, if this is what she is doing now with Maverick Records now that Madonna has left, then all I can shout out is FOR SHAME!!!

Of all the songs in the world to cover, why this horrible piece of crap??

Transformers – More than meets the I

I was totally sceptical about this film, especially since Michael Bay has made some pretty bad movies. However he does know a thing or two about an action sequence. I was totally addicted to Transformers as a kid, and sadly I still collect them, but only the special ones. I for one do not care about who does the voice of the robots, or if they are not exact replicas of the original series, let the fan boys and geeks squabble about all of that. I am of the opinion that everything needs to evolve, so as long as the changes look believable and are true to the original ideals of the creators and above all is good, I am firmly on board. Especially after seeing the below pics!
Whatever it ends up like, I will just be excited to see a car transform into a robot. It will be a child hood dream realised.

Monday, 2 April 2007

'Recount' to be made by the brave Sidney Pollock

From Variety.

"HBO Films has greenlit "Recount," a scripted movie about the 2000 presidential election, and has attached Sydney Pollack to direct. Pic will follow the Florida recount from Election Day through the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of George W. Bush five weeks later.

No stars are attached yet.

Pic will place an emphasis on what execs say is the "human drama" that permeated news events.

Movie will be produced by HBO Films in association with Spring Creek/Mirage Prods. Danny Strong, who has had roles in pics including "Seabiscuit" and "Pleasantville," wrote the script. Spring Creek's Paula Weinstein, HBO Films' Len Amato and Pollack are exec producing.

Pic goes into production in spring or summer. It will air on HBO, probably next spring, as the country finds itself in the heat of another presidential election. HBO Films is opting to air "Recount" on the net and not release it via theatrical arm Picturehouse because, execs said, airing it on the pay net will guarantee millions of viewers.

Strong's script was a hot commodity when it first made the rounds. HBO Films topper Colin Callender said the movie would focus on many of the smaller players in the drama. "It boils the story down to individuals, men and women and husbands and wives, caught up in events slightly beyond their control," Callender said.

Activists, strategists, politicians and even voters will figure into the storyline. Weinstein said the movie would elaborate on the recount saga in meaningful ways. Locations haven't been chosen yet, but it's likely production will at least be partially shot in Florida. Project is aiming for the widest possible audience and will steer clear of a partisan point of view, according to execs."

to me this is exciting news, especially since it will be airing during the next election. Although 'The Interpreter' was flawed, it was still a tense drama, as was They Shoot Horses Don't They?' and 'Three Days of the Condor'
Who to play the leads though? My guess is a British actor will get one of the roles (Gore) and a chimp for Bush.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Movie Trailers and Movie News. Oh My!!!

For those of you not as cinematically informed as you would like to be, here are a whole bunch of links to articles and clips of the happenings of the movie making world. Some of it is old, some new, and some disturbing. But all of it made apparently for our entertainment!

First off Trailers.

Those of you who are excited to see the Greengrass/Damon reteaming, check out the trailer for The Bourne Ultimatum. For shame I know, but I have yet to see any of these movies.

Pixar come back with Ratatouille. Expect Shrek the Third to have a run for it’s money come Oscar time.

Curious what Little Miss sunshine’s Abigail Breslin is doing next? Check out the trailer for No Reservations.

Loved the book for Stardust but I have to say the movie is looking like it may be plop.

I am getting very interested about this. Check out a very very rough behind the scenes of The Golden Compass.

Festival favourite Eagle vs Shark.

The Savages sees Tamara Jenkins (‘Slums of Beverly Hills’) directing Laura Linney and Phillip Seymour Hoffman in this Sundance favourite.

Waitress Keri Russell plays a woman trapped in a life in which she dreams of escape. Word of mouth is strong, especially for Russell’s performance.

Michelle Williams and Paul Giamatti team up for The Hawk is Dying

Sarah Polley directs Gordon Pinsent as the husband and Julie Christie as the wife suffering from Alzheimers in Away From Her

Across The Universe just makes me moist with anticipation.

The Nanny Diaries ho hum……I will have to wait and see.

I loved ‘Eve’s Bayou so much, that I am very excited to see director Kasi Lemmons back, this time directing the ever reliable Don Cheadle and Chiwetel Ejiofor in Talk To Me. This looks like it could be a crowd pleaser!

Sigourney Weaver and Alan Rickman break your heart and make you smile in Snowcake If you checked out my MAFFE awards you know what I think about this. I hope it does do well.

So much news out there, but actually I am just not really wanting to report on alot of the stuff. Also Hollywood Reporter has a lovely script sales page that I would love to have a read of, but you have to subscribe. Bastards. Plus I really do not want to report on alot of it because, well, it is rather sad (as in pathetic not boo hoo)

Another X-Files movie? Because the first one was so brilliant??

Why oh why….are there no original screenplays or adaptations out there. WHY would they remake Straw Dogs??!!!!

Wahlberg and Shyamalan ? Looks like it will happen. Lets just hope the Director can direct his way out of the sloppy messes he has been putting out lately.

I am expecting huge things from Aishwarya Rai. Especially since she is going to be co-starring with our Meryl in ‘Chaos’.

Ole Skanky is back doing some wheeling and dealing for that 3rd Oscar.

Fiddy gets a movie! New Line adapting video game Gears of War! Jennifer Connelly, Crispin Glover, Martin Landau, Christopher Plummer, John C. Reilly, and Elijah Wood will provide voices for characters in Focus Features' animated sci-fi feature 9. Emily Blunt to star in The Young Victoria. The Green Hornet comes to life as does Speed Racer. And everyones favourite gay little munchkin get top story and a stunning picture over at Entertainment Weekly!!!

Back to enjoying my Sunday with a lovely greasy FRY UP!!!