Saturday, 3 November 2007

Box, I Love My Box

Last night I met up with my friend Eric and we had a discussion about the new upcoming Madonna album. Apparently “The Beat Goes On” is a finished single for the album and well….it is less than stellar (the ‘It’s Britney Bitch’ sh*t is better). Since she has pushed back the release date, me is thinking ole Mads has taken time to pause from the publics negative reaction to the leeks. Frustrating for me as a fan as I feel she has been doing some of her best work in recent years.

This got me thinking about what other female artist evoke this feeling of frustration in me. It was a long list and I had to whittle it down to just four for my box.

When Sophie B. Hawkins burst on the scene with “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” I was so happy.
One of the first (and only?) lesbian love songs to go top 10 on the Billboard top 100 gave me hope for the years to come. I loved her first album as well as her less successful second album “Whaler”.
Subsequent albums have left me disappointed. The woman can write her way around a song, but they seem to see saw between treacly pop fluff and just strange, yet boring.
There are glimpses of the brilliance I know she has, but nothing like this track off of “Whaler” called “I Need Nothing Else”.

”And when I cry the deepest hurting, cleans my soul, relieves my burden. In you I find a way to lose myself. Thrill me baby, I need nothing else”

Roisin Murphy has always frustrated me.
I know she is brimming with talent, and it shows with her albums.
What I find frustrating is her tendency to put out this kooky image, as a cold self styled advertisement of her individuality.
She reminds me of Grace Jone's perfume in "Boomerang" called "Steel Vagina".
We have Bjork for that, and she has been doing it for YEARS, warmly!
Roisin can paint a complex musical landscape though and she has one of those voices that can truly be used as an instrument. So many different sounds come out of it, you wonder if she is human.
I will be getting her new album “Overpowered” as it is (upon listening on iTunes) sounding FLAWLESS. Here is “Primitive”

”I need to get you out of your cave man. I need to let you out of your cage and set you free. If tonight's the night, I'm gonna show you I ain't got no game plan”

Another cause of Frustration for me is my beloved Sinead O’Connor. This crazy lesbian priest has tried to do it all. She is very political, outspoken and brilliant. Yet musically she meanders around between un-listenable and genius.
Her 2000 album “Faith and Courage” is one of my all time favourite albums. She sung about Jesus and God, which would usually puts me off, but she did so, so beautifully.
Intermixed with her new found faith were songs about the Irish Potato Famine and pure joyous love songs. If you have not gotten this album I urge you to seek it out.
Sinead at her best!
Here is the song that makes me smile and dance like a rock star. Back to the rocky Sinead, it is “Daddy I’m Fine”

”I stand up tall with my pride upright, and I feel real hot when the makeup's nice. I get sexy underneath them lights, like i wanna fuck every man in sight”

Please bear with me and try not to hate on me too much. Nelly Furtado totally sold out with “Loose”. It was uninspired with only moments of the brilliance she showed before. Her sophomore album “Folklore” was a masterpiece.
It must have been frustrating to pour all your creative heart and soul into an album, only for it to flop upon release.
No wonder she called up Timberland for an easy hit album.
Folklore was an amazing album from brilliant orchestral start to church organ lullaby finish. To hear an artist who is more than a promiscuous girl, please buy this album.
The strongest thing on this album is the song writing, so assured and mature. The instrumentation is wonderful as well ( I think she used every instrument she could find). Hear “Childhood Dreams” on my box, and relax. I BEG YOU TOO!!!

” I am not used to being carried, or being able to carry a pretty song. I have been bruised by my many trails (sometimes my skin's so thick it's frail)
I just need to be ignored 'til I wake up to the beauty that is yours”

Bye Bye Birdie

All over the blog-o-sphere there is the debate on whether they should remake the classic (and my favourite) Hitchcock movie “The Birds”.
There is no really clear answer. I for one would love to see the film, as it is not, but cleaned up with more realistic effects. I do not mean evil beaked creatures from hell flying around, but a version that makes the attacks that more real.

This film is going ahead whether we cry and stamp our feet about it or not. If it is going to be tweaked for a modern audience then get a really good and respectful team behind you.

Daphne Du Maurier wrote the original story about birds terrorizing a town for no obvious reason. The story was very well written. There was no explanation for the attacks, it just was.

Naomi Watts has already been cast in the Tippi Hendren role, and this is a fine choice, in fact a little hope springs within me.
Martin Campbell is set to direct (he breathed new life into Bond) which could be a good thing. Or if like me you look at his filmography and see nothing but action films, your heart sinks. “The Birds” is not an action film.

However the script in not finished, they have hired Paul Harris Boardman and Scott Derrickson(“The Exorcism of Emily Rose” and, um, erm “Urban Ledgends: Final Cut”) to scribe the film.

Hear that?

That is the sound of my heart breaking.

This film is not a priority for Universal and may have to wait until the impending writers/actors strike is finished. Hopefully someone will save the day. However, if it is crap(all probability points that way), it will just once again serve as a spotlight to the genius of Hitchcock.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Pasties a Whirling

Ever wandered what would happen in you put “Cabaret” and “Moulin Rouge!” in a blender, added the prospect of crap, and the possibility of greatness? Wow…so have I!
Well is seems Steve Antin will do just that, you know, that guy who co-created the show responsible for female empowerment and the new turn in the feminist movement “The Pussycat Dolls: Search for the Next Doll”.

The film is “Burlesque” and David Geffens ex boyfriend will be directing. The story is about a woman (probably post-pubescent girl) who tries to escape a “hollow past” (isn’t that the same as no past?) and ends up working in a “neo-burleque” club in L.A. (from hollow to shallow)

Antin wrote the script ……........................................………. (cricket chirps) …....................................… (more cricket chirps)

However Diablo ‘I am writing EVERTHING now’ Cody has been busy doing rewrites. If she has any sense she will chuck in snappy one liners and bitchy insults so we at least get another “Showgirls” cult masterpiece.
"Neo-burlesque is a contemporary take on the traditional burlesque that derived from vaudeville, with singing, dancing, comedy and more tease than striptease," Antin told Variety. Screen Gems studio president Clint Culpepper (and the Best Name in Showbiz Award goes to...), who's been trying to get a burlesque film going since he saw his first show a few years back, said that the film will be "a sexy, music-filled film set in a provocative and artistic world."

Me thinks this will just be an excuse to strategically glue feathers and sequins to some poor struggling starlets tits and minge.

(note: Pic of Dita Von Teese is intentional)

Thursday, 1 November 2007

The most EXCITING news all year!!!

Go HERE to have a mini orgasm!!

Meryl to the Lambs

Just a quick gander at the below list you will see that Meryl Streep has had an illustrious career.

This is not the reason for my post however.

What I was thinking about is our Meryl has had three high profile movies out this year, yet no one is thinking she will get a nomination. “Rendition” and “Evening” sunk both critically and at the box office, however when was the last time our Meryl had three films out in one year yet did not secure an Oscar nomination (or at least a Golden Globe or SAG)?
The answer is NEVER!
Even when she has had two movies out she get nominated for something. Just looky!

I have broken them up into years.
. Lions for Lambs (2007)
. Rendition (2007)
. Evening (2007)
. Dark Matter (2007)
. The Devil Wears Prada (2006) Oscar, Golden Globe, SAG
. The Music of Regret (2006)
. A Prairie Home Companion (2006)
. Prime (2005)
. Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
. The Manchurian Candidate (2004) , Golden Globe

. The Hours (2002) , Golden Globe
. Adaptation. (2002) Oscar, Golden Globe
. Music of the Heart (1999) Oscar, Golden Globe, SAG
. One True Thing (1998) Oscar, Golden Globe
. Dancing at Lughnasa (1998)
. Marvin's Room (1996) Golden Globe
. Before and After (1996)
. The Bridges of Madison County (1995) Oscar, Golden Globe, SAG
. The River Wild (1994) Golden Globe, SAG
. The House of the Spirits (1993)
. Death Becomes Her (1992) Oscar, Golden Globe
. Defending Your Life (1991)
. Postcards from the Edge (1990) Oscar, Golden Globe
. She-Devil (1989) Golden Globe
. A Cry in the Dark (1988) Oscar
. Ironweed (1987) Oscar
. Heartburn (1986)
. Out of Africa (1985) Oscar, Golden Globe
. Plenty (1985)
. Falling in Love (1984)
. Silkwood (1983) Oscar, Golden Globe
. Sophie's Choice (1982) Oscar, Golden Globe
. Still of the Night (1982)
. The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981) Oscar, Golden Globe
. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) Oscar, Golden Globe
. Manhattan (1979)
. The Deer Hunter (1978) Oscar, Golden Globe

With “Lions for Lambs” getting decent advance buzz, I think we can look for our Meryl to be a contender in the Supporting Actress race. I mean they LOVE LOVE LOVE her and all, plus she is being singled out as being great in the role. She has also been said to be the viewers conscience...that could go a long way in the minds of the voters.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

FYC part 1

Every year Entertainment Weekly does a wonderful Oscar prediction edition. My favourite part of this is the “For Your Consideration” part, where they outline contenders many may have forgotten about as the year end squabbling for nominations reaches a fever pitch. Sometimes the people/films mentioned make it through, often times they do not. Still it must be wonderful to know such a popular circulation has honoured you.

I thought I would add my two cents in for this and host my own. Starting now, I would do each category (except the shorts), sometimes twice if I feel passionately enough.

Before the big reveal I will just like to show you some of the reviews this performer got for the role in questions:

”Beautifully played by the terrific ………., who exudes creepy charm and steely determination…..” Mark Adams – Sunday Mirror

”…… is marvellous” Peter Bradshaw – The Guardian

”…… was the perfect choice for the part and unsurprisingly emerges as one of the film's greatest pleasures.” Todd McCarthy - Variety

”….. is perfect here as the Teacher From Hell.” Roger Ebert – Chicago Sun Times

I guess by now you all know who I am talking about. So without further adieu, for your consideration for Best Supporting Actress I give you……

………Imelda Staunton in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix!

Sure many of you will think of this performance as a fun little characterization in a silly kids movie. But no! This is more, so much more.
Her Dolores Umbridge is all perfection and sunny disposition.
She wears immaculately tailored and accessorized pink suits and dresses, like a perfect little gift of candy and love. She looks like those good women who volunteer for church socials, smell like powder and pinch you cheek while giving you a nice warm cookies fresh from the over.
In other words, she is harmless.

But Dolores has a hunger. She wants to succeed in the bigger picture of The Ministry of Magic, so she becomes the Ministries right and left hands by enforcing rules prohibiting cross-gender contact, the practicing of spells and virtually anything else that even vaguely resembles fun, or how she and her co-horts see it, an uprising against the Ministry.

Staunton does all of this very cleverly. As she begins to become more tyrannical and power hungry, the audience begins to see the volcano of sadism bubbling underneath the perfectly powdered and blushed surface. She does this with her eyes, they stop sparkling and become lifeless all the while the smile stays frozen on her face.
Like a volcano, she shakes when she is angered, she practically erupts so much so she seems to shock herself. All flustered when trying to compose her pretty outer package from the rage that almost took over.

Most actresses would have play her over the top during these temperamental scenes, and ruined the whole effect, Staunton does not. She knows that in order to strike fear into the audience she needs to play up the nice, and keep the nasty thick with murky realism.

We all had that teacher at school who was all sunny disposition, and when they were finally pushed over the edge by us, they became evil itself, and we all held onto our desks in white sweaty fear.

Imelda Staunton became that teacher for me. I never ever questioned any choice she made as an actress in this. For me, she deserves a place in the top five of the year.

I will leave with a great write up from The Daily Mail in the UK

”Umbridge, however, is the real threat - a smiling nightmare in a pink cardigan, ousting Potter's beloved Professor Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) and enforcing rules prohibiting cross-gender contact, the practising of spells and virtually anything else that even vaguely resembles fun.
Staunton is a refreshing addition to the Potter cast - not just because she is possibly the last quality British character-actor not to have appeared in it, but also because she can creep malevolently on to the screen without eliciting a tedious reaction of: "Look! It's that woman! From other films and stuff!"
By choosing to pitch Umbridge halfway between Margaret Thatcher and Hyacinth Bucket, she has found something that will probably work its way under the skin of pre-adolescents even more successfully than Timothy Spall's rat-man, Peter Pettigrew.
The moment where we enter her office, full of purring cats imprisoned in hideous engraved crockery, is the only time in any Potter film that I have been genuinely scared.
After this, even a man possessing only a quarter of a nose isn't going to prove sufficient in the fear stakes.
Voldemort tries manfully to match Umbridge's terror, but even when he starts getting Harry all riled with some family talk in the manner of The Empire Strikes Back, it doesn't quite hit the spot.”
Tom Cox

A-Men Tom...A-Men.

Some scary Mary for Halloween

I would love to see this as a fun!

What about Mary Cherry?

I always had a soft spot for that under-rated and quickly cancelled TV show “Popular”. Now it seems that Hollywood has finally gotten round to looking at this show and harvesting the talent involved.

Leslie Bibb, after bagging a couple of supporting roles in high-profile movies, has bagged a lead role in the soon-to-shoot indie comedy, “Miss Nobody”.

Bibb will play a mild-mannered secretary who rises fast up the corporate ladder after she discovers a taste for murder. From spending a brief time in the corporate world, I have to say that this appeals to me on so many levels, and Bibb has a knack for comedy.

“Popular” was one of those completely over the top high school comedies that always made me laugh. The cast involved have all gone on to other success, but it was mainly the women who dominated the show.

Sarah Rue made the biggest splash with her own sitcom “Less Than Perfect” and she was singled out by many critics. Tammy Lynn Michaels gained notoriety as being Melissa Etheridge’s lover, but also had roles in “The L Word” as Lacey, and “Committed”. Christopher Gorham is now riding high with “Ugly Betty” as Henry

Carly Pope hasn’t made the splash her talent and her looks deserve, and lastly what about Leslie Grossman.
She was the reason I tuned in every week. Her Mary Cherry is just plain hysterical, over the top and grotesque. I, for one, am surprised she has not gone on to bigger and better things.

How gay is Wentworth Miller in this?????!!!???!!! Total give away.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Mini Review - The Savages

Wendy Savage (Laura Linney) and her brother John (Philip Seymour Hoffman) are both single, on either side of 40, and both playwrights.
The difference is that John is a theater professor at a Buffalo, N.Y., college, while Wendy works temp jobs in Manhattan and applies for one playwright fellowship after another. John has a girlfriend of three years whom he has avoided marrying; while Wendy sleeps with a married man who lives in her building. These two are going nowhere.
When their estranged father (played with wonderfully and tragic confusion and humiliation by Philip Bosco) starts to lose his mind they have to go an pick up the pieces. He's been living with a widow in Sun City, Ariz., and she has just passed away. The early signs of dementia have set in and Dad needs to move into a nursing home, and Wendy and John must figure out what to do.

Linney and Hoffman and wonderful in these roles, and their chemistry as sister and brother is perfect. The comfort the show, and the sideways glances speak volumes about the years these two broken people have been crumpling away together. Linney, always going for truth than awards friendly show boating, is perfect as Wendy, a woman far too intelligent for where she is, but far to immature to really go places. Hoffman, again is playing frumpy brilliantly. He is just as childish as Wendy but is more grounded in reality and far more bitter than his sister ever is. It is almost as though her and his fathers presence is interrupting his own demise.

Tamara Jenkins achieves some real poignance, too, as her characters face the imminent death of their father. With the end of his life, it is time for them to ask themselves” What have we done with ours?

Although the dismal New York setting is in stark contrast to Sun Cities gaudy colours, achieving a melancholy effect, it is the humor that will stay with you.
Jenkins has delivered a script full of laughs, but smart ones that are never out of place. The dialogue is perfectly delivered by the cast with impeccable timing. And a slightly sunny and hopeful yet open ended finale will ensure you leave the cinema smiling.

I was lucky enough to see this at the London Film Festival and stand next to Laura Linney (she is much more stunning in person). I stayed for the Q&A and was stunned that even with the stars that were attched, Jenkins had a hell of a time getting funding for this film. Such a tragedy that such a smart and precise script has such a hard time, but “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” does not.

As for awards potential, the strongest possibilities would be for Linney in Best Actress and Jenkins in Best Original Screenplay. Out side shots for Hoffman (he has “Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead” as an awards magnet) and Bosco (supporting actor is so crowded, yet it could happen, especially the plane scene)

An Actor I cannot look at, in movies I want to see!

A few minutes after it was announced that he'd be playing a wrestler in “The Wrestler”, it's been announced that Nicolas Cage is also planning to search for someone who's vanished in, “The Vanished”
(really, come on now ‘title’ people, a little imagination. Imagine if you thought up all movie titles! We would have “The Little Person with the Evil Ring”, “Gay Cowboys” and “The German Almost Trans-Gendered Lead Singer of a Band”

Anyway Cage's character is a father who goes searching for his college-aged son, "American born Muslim son" who's missing overseas.

We're thinking that the use of that phrase above means that this is, in essence, the story of someone not a million miles from John Walker Lindh, the American college student who went to live in Afghanistan and fight alongside the Taliban.

The film marks the English-language directorial debut of Hany Abu-Assad, the Palestinian-born director of the really wonderful "Paradise Now".

It's set to shoot in April, as soon as Cage finishes The Wrestler for Darren Aronofsky.

I just wanted to put this out there. Both of these films I really want to see, “The Vanished” because it sounds like a very good premise, and “The Wrestler” because I love Aronofsky. But I am f*cking pissed I have to go and watch Nicolas Cage’s face in these.
He is one of those actors that I find it hard to watch. He does so much sh*t that it tarnishes any good project he does. I find him unwatchable…I couldn’t even post a picture – hence the pic of the two leads in “Paradise Now”. If you haven’t seen the film, I urge you to!

Monday, 29 October 2007

The Screenplay updates

Well I finally updated the screenplay predictions. The one in need of the biggest over haul was Best Original Screenplay as I had not even included “Juno”. There seem to be a lot of comedies this year, and I actually hate to leave any off, but feel that there needs to be a drama in there some where.

Best Adapted Screenplay was pretty much the same, although there was a huge shift in the lower ranks. Screenplays is one of the most exciting categories for me, as it rewards creativity more so than any other category.

If you look at movies that have been nominated here over the years, you will begin to see what I mean:

“The Crying Game”, “Passion Fish”, “Babe”, “Trainspotting”, “Sling Blade”, “The Sweet Hereafter”, “Election”, “Gods and Monsters”, “Wonder Boys”, “Ghost World”, “Adaptation”, “American Speldor”, “Metropolitan”, “Boyz in the Hood”, “Heavenly Creatures”, “Toy Story”, “Red”, “The Usual Suspects”, “Secrets and Lies”, “Boogie Nights”, “The Truman Show”, “Being John Malkovich”, “Magnolia”, “You Can Count on Me”, “Amelie”, “Gosford Park”, “Memento”, “The Royal Tenenbaums”, “Talk to Her”, “Far From Heaven”, “Y Tu Mama Tambien”, “Lost in Translation”, “City of God”, “Before Sunset”, Sideways”, “Dirty Pretty Things”, “The Barbarian Invasions”, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, “Brokeback Mountian”, “A History of Violence”, “The Incredibles”, “Vera Drake”, “The Squid and the Whale”, “Children of Men”, “Borat” and “Pan’s Labyrinth”.

What a great category.

Come out, come out where ever you are!

In looking at the list of potential Oscar nominees this year, I am stricken by two obvious and very sad facts.
The first is, aside from Javier Bardem, Denzel Washington and Halle Berry there are not many non-white actors vying for spots (Javier seems like the only sure bet right now).

The second is typical, but still sad. There are no real gay characters this year. Sure Edith Piaf was hinted as having a lesbian relationship, as was Queen Elizabeth but still this is a stretch. Past years have proven very gay friendly.
2005 we had Truman Capote, Ennis Del Mar, Bree Osbourne and Jack Twist. 2006 saw us drop off, but we still had Barbara Covett. This year, there is nothing. Not even any good gay movies. Nada.

This brings me to this wonderful and insightful article by Adam B. Vary over at Entertainment Weekly, where he looks at why, post “Brokeback” there are no major gay themed films being made.

I also thought I would draw attention to another E.W. article about J.K. Rowlings outing of Dumbledore. Many people have asked why now? The books are finished and it doesn’t matter. They argue it would have had more impact had it been announced he was gay from the beginning.

This article disagrees, and the best point it makes it that this is a book read by children. These children may not have been allowed to read the books had there been a major gay character, but can now judge the situation and see him for the hero he was. When you think of the possible positive influence this may have on the amount of children who read it, well the numbers are staggering. These are the kids who will make the important decisions tomorrow, and the future voters.

Well done J.K. and thank you E.W.

The more I look at this, the more excited I get!

A brilliant re-imagining...nice they are going for realism again.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Prediction updates

So, I have finally decided to update the predictions page. I am leaving the screenplays till later in the week. Not much has changed in the Best Picture race, but there have been a few significant shifts.
Best Actress is another thing. This is such a week year, and there are hardly any contenders. This is, sadly, not a new trend.
Best Actor on the other hand is choc-a-bloc with talent, and the actors are going to struggle. Whatever the top five is, there will be disappointment.
The same cannot be said for Best Supporting Actress. Like the lead category it is weak and sparse. Boo to Hollywood!
Best Supporting Actor again is full. There are just too many contenders. The next couple of weeks will separate the men from the boys. Could one of the children in “The Kite Runner” make it in? they are said to be superb!

Family reunions

This is exciting news.
Sometimes when families work together it can be a complete disaster (Sophia Coppola in daddies third parter comes to mind)

But this is something that looks to be a wonderful showcase of a very talented family who have been successful when working together.

We all remember when Laura Dern and Diane Ladd (pictured) work together, it can be wonderful. Ladd got Oscar nom’d for her work with her daughter in “Wild at Heart” and when they both worked together a few years later they were both nominated for 1992’s ““Rambling Rose””.
Sadly Laura only has the one nomination to her credit, while Ladd has three. Ther will staring in “Hart’s Location”, an indie drama about a woman (Dern) trying to gain custody of her son while also looking for her estranged father who she has not seen or heard from since she was three.
What is even more interesting is the actor playing her father and directing the picture is non other that Bruce Dern, Laura’s dad and Ladd’s ex.

This will be the first time all three have appeared on film together. Bruce appeared in Mrs Munck, which Ladd directed. And Laura has appeared with her mother in Rambling Rose, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore and Wild At Heart.

We all know just how the Academy love to keep it in the family (to deviate slightly, but in keeping with the theme of this post: "you hear that Drew…stop f*cking about and wow us!!") so watch this space.