Saturday, 16 June 2007

New Madonna Video and me being preachy.

So, Madonna released her Live Earth single to help save the environment, and she is headlining the concert. While I was not a fan of the song at all (a little trite and cheesy and ..well..the earth deserved better). I am glad she is taking this route. With this and her Raising Malawi charity, she is making a difference on a global scale. How many of us can be bothered?
Sure we watch the documentaries and well up over the animals struggling for survival, but aside from a few measly dollars or promises we make that never see fruition, what do we do?

You can:

Plant a garden, or a potted plant for your windowsill if you do not have a garden.
Adopt a endangered animal (thank you honey for Nanuk!!!) It is a wonderful gift and it does help!
Change all your light bulbs to energy efficient.
When giving presents be Earth aware. When asking for presents, don’t be so selfish.
If you see a bottle or can on the street, pick it up and stick it in your recycling.
Conserve water (that will be the next thing after oil to run out).
Car pool, or buy a environmentally friendly car.
Care enough to demand that something be done.
And finally get educated! If you are reading this, take the time to look over the links provided. They actually have a lot of helpful and insightful information.

Just do it now, don't think about doing it.

Here is the video…some of the imagery actually upset me.

There Will Be Blood TRAILER!!

For all of you (including me) wetting themselves about this one here it is. Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Thomas Anderson in a story about family, greed, religion, and oil, centered around a turn-of-the-century Texas prospector in the early days of the business.

Trailers Alert!

August Rush” with Kerri Russell, Freddie Highmore and Robin Williams as well as my honeys wet dream Jonathan Rhys-Meyers.
” August Rush tells the story of a charismatic young Irish guitarist (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and a sheltered young cellist (Keri Russell) who have a chance encounter one magical night above New York's Washington Square, but are soon torn apart, leaving in their wake an infant, August Rush, orphaned by circumstance. Now performing on the streets of New York and cared for by a mysterious stranger (Robin Williams), August (Freddie Highmore) uses his remarkable musical talent to seek the parents from whom he was separated at birth.”
All together…..awwww. Looks soppy and I will probably shed a tear.

"3:10 to Yuma": A small-time rancher agrees to hold a captured outlaw who's awaiting a train to go to court in Yuma. A battle of wills ensues as the outlaw tries to psych out the rancher. Russell Crowe (DUCK!!!), Chrisitian Bale, Peter Fonda and Gretchen Moll star while James Mangold directs. Looks like a good shoot-em-up. Too bad I am not a huge fan-of-em.

"No Country for Old Men": Looks Incredible. With the cast alone I am excited. The Buzz from Cannes was deafening indicating a big ole return to form for the Coen brothers. I myself am hoping my darling little Kelly MacDonald dazzles in this (reports are that she does). The trailer is beautiful, and I am calling the Oscar for Roger Deakins. The plot is simple: Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon some dead bodies, a stash of heroin and more than $2 million in cash near the Rio Grande.

And finally "Wall-E": All I can really is say is I AM SO THERE!! This looks stunning, and the tiny little scene we see actually may my eyes water (or it was hay fever mixed with the hang over). This looks like it is going to be one of Pixars best works, and the trailer is so well done. Yippee Yippee Yay Yay!! Even the plot is simple and touching: A robot looks for a home in space. Lets bookend with another....Awwww

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Stardom, and the price on acting.

Ok, the general Conesus is that Madonna cannot act. Every time she has attempted to on screen/stage she has been laughed at, with a brave few who give her praise. Don’t get me wrong, “Shanghi Surprise”, “Four Rooms”, “Body of Evidence”, “The Next Best Thing” and “Die Another Day” were all fairly wooden and lack luster performances.
But I will argue this:
Bloodhounds of Broadway (crap clip…sorry)”, and “ Shadows and Fog” were not bad, she was believable and got the job done well. She made me laugh and was a lot of fun with Rosie in “A League of Their Own”, ditto the fun for “Dick Tracy”. She actually really impressed me with “ A Dangerous Game ” . And, even though the movie was awful, she was played screwball and silly to perfection in “ Who’s That Girl (again…crap clip…sorry)” something that no one gave her credit for.
(As for “ Evita ” I will only say this, in her scenes where she sang live she was AMAZING, and had she done that for the whole film, she would have been Oscar nominated)
The problem is no matter what she does, the audience will always see Madonna. Her image will always be bigger than anything else.

The reason I was thinking about this is because I was reading a lot of the reviews for “A Mighty Heart” and most said the same thing. You know it is Angelina Jolie. The serious subject matter of the true life story of Mariane Pearl is let down because the star in the lead is just too media saturated to get lost in the role in the viewers mind.

What happens when your star is too bright for the roles you play? Does the media’s current obsession with celebrity over world crisis add to this? Will Lindsey Lohan ever be able to live down her snatch flashing, drinking binges and time in rehab to be taken seriously?

Will the same fate happen to Halle Berry. Will she be able to rise above the controversy and her own sex siren image to deliver, and get lost in, a true performance? (I hear no one crying "foul" over the fact she was cast as Tierney Cahill - a white woman - in “Class Act", or is that too politically incorrect??)

Take Julia Roberts. I love this woman, she has charisma to spare, but we all know that when she acts, she is always Julia Roberts acting….no matter how good it is. I remember watching her in “ Closer ” and “Erin Brockovich” and thinking “Oh My God…Julia has a potty mouth!”. Even I could not differentiate the star from the performance, which is sad for her because the performances were good.

True, actresses cannot all be the Meryl Streep’s, Toni Collette’s, Laura Linney’s, Helen Mirren’s, Samantha Morton’s, Kate Winslet’s (and SO MANY MORE) of the acting-world. Not all want private lives. Not all want to avoid media attention by not becoming fashionista glamazons.
This is because with newspapers and magazines comes some good roles and, more importantly, celebrity. And sometimes if you are blessed with conventional beauty, you will use it to gain the advantage.

Whenever I hear a role as being ‘Oscar bait’ I switch off. The true great performances of the years usually come from those films that did not have the acting buzz.

I do kind of wish that the good roles in smaller films, the juicy ones with substance, were left for those with tremendous talent who are lower on the casting list. Those, who have that rare talent to become the person, and make you forget the actor.

Joshua trailer

I loved "The Bad Seed" and "The Good Son", even "The Omen" had it's moments.
This one looks like it could be very very good!

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Sing Jenny Boo SING!!!

Praise be to the Gods above! Someone heard my prayer and has answered it. At least in the developmental stage. and who would have thought it would come from Rachel Green herself. Jennifer Aniston currently working her
fingers to the bone on a period musical at DreamWorks titled "Goree Girls."
From what I understand she is planning to produce and, if the singing lessons go well, may even star.

From the Hollywood Reporter:

"The project is based on a true story about a group of eight women serving time in Texas' Goree Prison during the 1940s who formed one of the first all-female country and western acts in the country and captured the hearts of millions of fans in the process.
Aniston and her producing partner Kristin Hahn optioned Skip Hollandsworth's May 2003 article in Texas Monthly titled "O Sister Where Art Thou," which recounted the story of the women, who eventually were pardoned.
Margaret Nagle, who wrote Brad Silberling's upcoming "The Lost Boys of the Sudan," is adapting. The studio is out to directors.

Hmm.....give me a moment to think about that. Prison, Women, Musical, Period, in need of a resurgence. Why not get ole Alan Parker? He has a knack for the period musicals, and would be great to see him in a genre he likes. Just think of it as Prisoner Cell Block 'H' with high kicks!

I have total faith in my Jenny-Boo being able to pull this off. Yes I like her and I am a fan, and she can coast on her charisma as long as she wants.
We all know that underneath there is a very talented actress waiting to emerge, perhaps this will be the film to uncover it.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007


I have decided to take part in Nat's ACTION HEROINE BLOG-A-THON over at The Film Experience.
Before I get immersed in my memories, should you want to view the pictures more clearly, just click on them (to open in a new window) the originals are much larger.

Now this is a tough choice. I was thinking about who to write about for the longest time. I wanted my choice to be original as I am 100% sure others will be waxing lyrical about Ripley, The Bride , Buffy Anne Summers, Wonder Woman, Cat Woman, Mystique and of course the one I really wanted to do Yu Shu Lien.
I even considered stretching it to do Madonna in Who’s That Girl (movie aside – great performance and funny!!) or take the ‘action route another way and do Bridget Gregory/Wendy Kroy in The Last Seduction. These were both in the works, but I decided to cast my mind back to the first (non animated) female in an action role that left an indelible impression on my young mind.

The first lady who popped into my head was the lovely, scary, and desperate replicant Pris from Ridley Scotts 1982 classic Blade Runner. In the capable hands of Daryl Hannah, Pris became more to me in her all too brief screen time, than the "basic pleasure model” one note sex-bot.

Pris, as you well know, is a replicant. A man-made replica of a human, but made to be a slave and in Pris’s case a whore. Replicants had been used for dangerous and degrading work in Earth's "off-world colonies." After a violent revolt that takes place "off world," replicants are declared illegal on Earth, leading to the killing or ‘retirement’ of them if found.
Pris is also the girlfriend of fellow replicant, Rutger Hauer’s Roy Batty. They and two others have returned to Earth to find a way to extend their lifespan. You see, they are programmed to shut down after four years, and they are none too happy about it.

Roy uses her to gain access to J. F. Sebastian, a genetic designer who works for the Tyrell Corporation that made the replicants.
She sets up the meet - poor street girl lost and looking for a place to stay - and Sebastian, who until then only had friends that he had made himself, takes the beautiful girl in out of the kindness of his heart and his own inherent loneliness.

He knows she is just an advanced version of the ‘friends’ he creates, but the difference is she has chosen him, and the reason does not matter.

Pris is trying to survive, to live longer than her four year life span will allow.
She is a woman in love and will do anything to stay alive and Sebastian is the key, he may have the knowledge to extend her life.
She needs him.

Pris shows Sebastian kindness and cares for him. He has taken her in, in full knowledge of what she is, and the risk harbouring this machine will cause him. Unrequited kindness from humans is something she has hardly experienced. When she tells Sebastian that he is her only friend, it (in it’s childlike sincerity) is meant.
Pris is also desperate.
She is being hunted.
Harrison Fords, Rick Deckard is the bounty hunter hired to ‘retire’ the replicants.
Time is of the essence for her, and even though she cares for Sebastian, she knows that Roy will most likely have to kill him. Trading his life for their continued existence.
Yet she is also aware that she and Roy’s chance for survival are extremely slim.
When in grief Roy tells her of the ‘retirement’ of their two replicant friends, Pris responds with matter-of-fact child like honesty, “Then we are stupid, and we will die”. She does not seem defeated by this, as though she has resigned herself to this fate.

When Rick shows up at J.F. Sebastians building while he and Roy are paying a hopeless visit to the Tyrell Corporation, Pris waits.
With cyber shock blonde hair, eyes painted across with black spray, a skin tight cat suit and a fine netting draped over her, she waits, still, in a room full of J.F. Sebastians friends of toys and moving mannequins.
This is probably one of the most visually stunning images I can remember as a child.
There she sits still, as Rick stares at her, unsure.
My breath holds for I know the outcome will not be good, but I pray for her survival.
The netting is pulled off slowly, and there she stays, still, unmoving.
He looks closer.

Then suddenly, like a wild cat released from it’s cage, she sets out flying at her hunter. Screaming with a possessed valkyric warrior wail she throws him to the floor and with a gymnast flip, lands on his shoulders as he gets back on his feet. She tries to break his neck with her thighs, she cannot and instead turns him around so he is facing her crotch.
She then, with a series of animalistic grunts, beats his head holding his neck in a vice grip between her thighs.

Then, as he hangs on the brink of consciousness, she looks at him, sorrowful, almost with regret. She does not appear to like the violence and pain she is forced to inflict and wants him to know this. She just wants to live to see another day, and to be with her Roy.

Suddenly, as quick as a cheerleader at a frat party, Pris opens her legs and drops him to the floor.
The closest she will ever get to giving birth.
She quickly breaks away and runs to the other room, the light out-lining her perfect feminine figure. She turns and front flips back to her hunter shrieking like a banshee and he pulls the gun and shoots.

Like a tortured animal being butchered she screeches with pain and anguish while violently writhing with spasms on the floor, like some demon child having a tantrum.
The hysterically manic howls are what get you. So primal and fiercely intense that your hair stands up and the spine tingles.
Desperately trying to live her last moments with fury she kicks and screams before Rick Deckard shoots again, ending her suffering.
Pris is retired.

There is something so sad about the replicants plight. They are supposed to be the villains of the film, yet they show the most emotion.
Pris and the others did not ask to be created, they did not ask to be slaves to mankind but, like the Cylons from Battlestar Galactica, they evolved and asked questions and decided they didn’t like the answers. Now they are at the mercy of time and humanity and the instinct for survival as well as their urgency drives them to violence.

I understand Pris does not fall into the pre-conceived notion of an ‘Action Herione” but let me explain my logic.
For starters she does have one fantastic and memorable action scene, the only major one a woman in this movie had, so that takes care of the action part.
The heroine part for me is easy in my mind (and my argument will be dramatic).
Others may not see it.
As I have said Pris is dying and wants to live. She wants to live for fear of death, for love of Roy and more importantly for love of life. She is a kind being, showing the socially inept Sebastian love and kindness as well as her Roy. She does front walk overs around Sebastian’s home for the pure joy of it, just as a child would.
In terms of years, Pris is only four, there is so much she wants to see and she is tired of being on the run. Pris just wants to be accepted and live and cartwheel into her future with all its possibilities. You see, Pris was built for the pleasure of man, but has dared to dream of a different life.

When she faces death down the barrel of Deckard’s gun, that is when she switches into survival mode. She screams, not because she is an animalistic machine, but to give her the courage to fight, to build the adrenaline she needs to kill in order that she can live. Having a expiration date has instilled appreciation for life in her. During her fight with Deckard, there is that moment where she looks at him with remorse, something I doubt the humans did when executing the replicants that dwelled on Earth.

When you create life, you play God. You take away the rights of a race of beings you have created, because they no longer fit your needs, you play God. When you try to wipe them out in an act of genocide, because they rebel against their treatment by you, you play God.

Their makers/Gods want them destroyed yet they fight back in order that they can continue on in a world they have grown to love. They fight to be left alone to love in peace. And they fight to the last man standing to live. Is this the action of a coward?

To me the answer is of course no.

There is nothing more heroic than the respect for life and love and the fight to be a part of it.

Michael out.

From the remake darkness comes light.

It is forever night in the City of Ember . In the sky there are no moon or stars. There is light for 12 hours of the normal day, but that comes from floodlamps that cast a amber glow over the streets of the city. In all directions beyond are the pitch-black ‘Unknown Regions’, which have never been explored because an understanding of fire and electricity has gone from the memory, and with it the idea of a portable light.

They think they are alone in the world and they have all forgotten their past as well as any sense of direction for the furture. Vast store rooms have kept them living and surviving for the past 250 year, but now there are more and more empty shelves--and more and more times when the lights flicker and go out, leaving them in terrifying blackness for long minutes.
What will happen when it all runs out?

Twelve-year-olds Doon Harrow and Lina Mayfleet seem to be the only people who are worried. They have been assigned their life jobs--Lina as a messenger, which leads her to knowledge of some unsettling secrets, and Doon as a Pipeworker, repairing the plumbing in the tunnels under the city where a river roars through the darkness. But when Lina finds a very old paper with enigmatic "Instructions for Egress," they use the advantages of their jobs to begin to puzzle out the frightening and dangerous way to the city of light of which Lina has dreamed.

Lo and behold an original idea, being adapted from Jeanne DuPrau's young adult novel. This sounds like a story that could be really stunning in the visual department. The tem young adult worries me as most of the time movies aimed at kids/teens tend to treat them like they are morons. Maybe most of them are, but from personal experience, I always preferred to watch the adult movies when I was a teen. Films aimed at my generation seemed to childish, but the adult movies made me feel all grown up, regardless of the rating.

This would really benefit from being approached as an adult film starring teenagers, like “Pan’s Labyrinth” was. Forget your audience and market it for adults and slap it with a PG-13 rating.

I am a little worried with the casting of Bill Murray as the city's corrupt mayor. It just really screams unneccessary hamming as only he can do.
Toby Jones and Saoirse Ronan will also star. Gil Kenan will direct (phew) and Caroline Thompson will adapt the book, and she has a pretty great resume.

Monday, 11 June 2007

Box - Love my box

Today on my box I am going to feature those actresses who have made the transition from acting to music.

First up is Kylie's little sister Danni Minogue with “Put The Needle on it”. Always in her lovely sister shadow, Danni has had big success in her home of Australia and my home of the United Kingdom. She has consistently released good pop/dance music, and this is by far my favourite, even though her mash up of "Don't Wanna Loose This Feeling" with Madonna is great too. A coin toss.

Next we have Milla Jovovich. Actually to be fair she was a model, then singer, then actress. I was one of the few who bought her album and I LOVED it. It became a staple of my college years and was shared around my halls of residence. This was her debut single that aired quite a bit on VH1 – “The Gentleman Who Fell”

Finally the acting hope of her generation. She stumbled badly but seems to have found her ground. She proved her singing chaps in “Happy Feet”. Before that though she had a top 10 success in the UK with her sexy vocal work with Paul Oakenfold. Here we have Brittany Murphy with “Faster Kill Pussycat”

Siobhan Donaghy - So You Say

So the critics are biting hard for her, yet the public are not. Must be kind of crushing for her as her ex Sugababes member Mutya Buena is scoring better for music half as good.

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Please give Anna Faris something worthy

Fred Wolf (writer for Saturday Night Live and Dicky Roberts:Child Star – oh dear on the latter) has signed on to direct the untitled Anna Faris project for Columbia Pictures. He will helm the comedy from a screenplay written by "Legally Blonde" scribes Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith.

The project, which had been in development at Paramount Pictures before it was put in turnaround, centers on a Playboy bunny (Faris) who gets kicked out of the Playboy mansion and becomes the house mother to the lamest sorority on campus.

This does sound dreadful, and I wish Hollywood has the fore-sight to cast Faris in something matching her talents. Apparently she is sensational in “Smiley Face”. However I should not judge right now as it may be more “School Of Rock” than “Troop Beverley Hills”. Well here is hoping she gets a real attention getting role soon.

Toni Collette and The Finish - Look Up

I must make it a priority to get this album. Anything I can do to support my Toni!
Bonus - It is pretty damn good.