Saturday, 15 March 2008

Madonna - 'Hard Candy'


So I have listened to a few tracks off of Madonna's 'Hard Candy' album.

I am at a cross roads.

I feel as though my mother (rest her soul) has just come back to me as a born again, bible thumping Bush voter.
ie: I am really disappointed.

I know she is trying to get played on U.S. radio again, but for me it is the musical equivalent of middle aged man buying a race car to impress a 18 year old girl.

I am also aware of my see-sawing on my opinion of her at this point in her career. I loves me my Madge, but I have never really been let down by her music (not since 'Ray of Light' anyway)

Go back to experimenting honey, and quick. As your departing album with Warner music I would hope you would go out with a bang...then again it could be one of the best selling albums of your career...who knows. Financial bang over artistic this time.

However there is that part of be saying I should hold out hope.

'Bedtime Stories' is my least favourite album of hers but there are tracks on there I adore. Anyone who knows that album was blown away by the genius of "Bedtime Stories" the track.
This is when she worked with popular, but still on the edge people. Bjork and Nellie Hooper helped her craft a sensual and electric track that gave us all a preview of things to come (hello 'Ray of Light').

So I will probably buy the new album (of course I will) and listen to it 20 times, before putting it away and getting out 'Music' and share in the joy of an artist having a blast experimenting with sounds. Or perhaps I will get out 'American Life' and remembering when she seemed to not care about airplay and made music for her.

MAFFE Awards 2008!! The Screenplays

John Orloff
"A Mighty Heart"

Shows immense restraint and respect in adapting this horrific true life story.

Never clumsy, never sentimental and always smart as well as incredible tense.

Christopher Hampton

Never once falters in keeping alive the very complex and beautiful original material.

You are always aware of it's literary source

Sean Penn
"Into the Wild"

Always stays neutral in his opinion of the main character, letting the audience feel what they will.

This is what make the film so strong and work so well.

The Coen Brothers
"No Country for Old Men"

Sets up character and pace instantaneously. The viewer is gripped.

Very little dialogue is need to tell the story, but when it is used, it is perfect.

Vincent Paronnaud & Marjane Satrapi

She writes the screenplay to the book about her own life and keeps the humor, intellegence and heart brimming over.

However she never skims of the political and social elements.

Ronald Harwood
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"

The adapted the impossible.


There is nothing more to say with this

Cristian Mungiu
"4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days"

The tension builds out of no where.

Masterful storytelling.

Todd Haynes & Oren Moverman
"I'm Not There"

Difficult, challenging but still completely engaging.

The different story thread must have been a struggle.

Diablo Cody

An amazing debut.

Never letting the heroine get away with being too smart for her own good.

Tony Gilroy
"Michael Clayton"

Creating a good old fashioned legal caper yet making it fresh.

Never once do you feel it is preposterous.

Brad Bird & Jan Pinkava

A rat in the kitchen would usually turn stomachs.

They made it poetic.

Tamara Jenkins
"The Savage"

Brothers and sisters have never been so flawed, funny and real.

MAFFE Awards 2008!! The Artistic

And here are my selections.

Ian Bailie - "Atonement"

The affluence of the manor, the simpleness of the cottage and the jaw dropping detail of Dunkirk.

Stuart Craig - "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"
The Epic scale, the attention to detail and the sly humor in these set pieces is stunning.

Steve Saklad - "Juno"
How every home/space is a visual representation of that person inhabiting it was very very clever.

Harley Jessup - Ratatouille
For the realistic details between the kitchen and the restaurant alone. Amazing work.

Mark Tildesley - "Sunshine"
How every room was different and had personality within this vast ship. The Green room alone! WOW

Jack Fisk - "There Will Be Blood"
Epically simplistic work.

Jacqueline Durran - "Atonement"
That green dress is already an iconic piece of fashion.

Alexandra Byrne - "Elizabeth: The Golden Age"

Totally not accurate, but so over the top you cannot ignore them.

Rite Ryack - "Hairspray"
So much fun and colour. It was like watching candy dance. plus they were made so they could move...a tough thing to do.

Sarah Edwards - "Michael Clayton"

If ever costume ever defined character this is it. Her work with forming Karen Crowders outer persona is amazing.

Colleen Atwood - "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"

Grim, character based and oh so sexy.

Patricia Norris - "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"

The level of detail in these western germents took my breath away.

Marco Beltrami - "3:10 to Yuma"
Absolutely stunning listen

Dario Marianelli - "Atonement"
Elegant and an original way of merging music and story. This one stays with you. listen

James Newton Howard - "Michael Clayton"
Dark, sparse and completely effective. listen

Michael Giacchino - "Ratatouille"

Fun, exciting and oh so Paris. listen

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis - "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"
Beautiful, melodic and haunting. listen

Jonny Greenwood - "There WIll Be Blood"

Unsettling and utterly original. listen

Reading left to right (like a book).

Come So Far (So Far To Go) - "Hairspray"
So I like my songs hummable and perky...sue me!

Falling Slowly - "Once"
The most effective use of song in a film this year!

Guaranteed - "Into The Wild"
Compliments the film and story perfectly

Happy Working Song - "Enchanted"
Hysterically silly. The perfect set up.

Lyra - "The Golden Compass"

Basically anything Kate Bush does is brilliant.

Rule the World - "Stardust"

I love me a big cheesy ballad.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Looking Ahead. Best Actress 2009

Boy are there ALOT of women vying for a spot. Yes there are the usual names, but also some new comers which is always welcome.

Meryl Streep – “Doubt”
Probably the baitiest of the bunch. Meryl has fourteen nominations and has not won an Oscar for 26 years! I say that it is about time that the greatest living actress wins another and she very well could with this very delectable role. Just a shame it may come at the cost of a win for Kate the Great.

Laura Linney - "The Other Man"
Ruchard Eyre has a great track record when it comes to getting his cast Oscar noms. Laura Linney could be in receipt of one as a woman possibly having an affair. Plus she is due.

Sigourney Weaver – “The Girl in the Park”
This looked like it was going to open last year, but now it is 2008. Some people have raved about her performance….others have not. Most people have always been this divisive with Weaver, is it time for her to be embraced by the Academy again?

Evan Rachel Wood & Rebecca Hall – “Bronte”
Who will go lead, and who will go supporting in this tale about the two sisters Emily and Anne. My guess is Wood goes lead as she is the bigger star.

Tilda Swinton – “Come Like Shadows”
Tilda takes on Lady MacBeth and boy oh boy is it a corker of a role! Director John Maybury has two high profile actress pieces this year. Can Tilda hit it out of the park?

Gabourey ‘Gabby’ Sidibe” – “Push”
Stole this from Nathaniels page. Nothing is really known about this film about an overweight, illiterate teen who, pregnant with her second child, is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction. It does sound like a break out role though and the film is supposed to be inspirational.

Salma Hayek – “Keep Coming Back”
Hayek plays an alcoholic stripper probably with a heart of gold in this film directed by William H. Macy.

Ashley Judd – “Helen”
She has not had any luck with the Academy. This film about a clinically depressed professor sounds juicy, but these type of film can go horribly wrong under bad direction.

Keira Knightley – “The Dutchess” and Keira Knightley – “The Edge of Love”
The first is about the Pricess Diana of her day Georgiana, The Dutchess of Devonshire. The second is about a woman in three way relationship with a poet. I expect the latter of the films will be the true test to Knightley and I am sure she can pull it off.

Emily Blunt – “The Young Victoria”
Everyone loves this actress. I just do not see it, and I have a sneaky feeling that love will be tested with her first starring dramatic role. She could dazzle in this, or she could be way in over her head, but most likely the Academy may be sick of the Royal Family.

Jessica Lange – “Grey Gardens”
This sounds like a walk in the park for her on paper in the film based on the life stories of the eccentric aunt and first cousin of Jackie Kennedy. She could walk away with it, ot her co-star could, or it could be a complete disaster.

Anna Paquin – “Margaret”
Delayed from 2006, this story of a witness to a bus crash disaster has gotten raves from the few who have seen it. It is about time Paquin made a come back, and this looks like the film to do so.

Susan Sarandon – “Middle of Nowhere”
Susan plays a no good mom. Sounds like it could be juicy, but she disappointed so much with “Enchanted” that I wonder if she has lost her mojo.

Emily Watson – “Within the Whirlwind”
Drama about Russian poet Evgenia Ginzburg, who survived the Gulag thanks to her belief in poetry. Sounds baity as hell, and Watson is a brilliant actress, but this could easily disappear.

Angelina Jolie – “Changeling”
Directed by Clint Eastwood sounds like a instant Oscar nomination for any actress. The man has a great track record with actors, but something does not quite feel right with this just yet. If she could not get a nomination for "A Mighty Heart" she would have to blow the screen apart to get in for this.

Jill Scott – “The No 1. Ladies Detective Agency”
What you say! But hear me out. She has charisma to spare, and she is directed by Anthony Minghella in a wonderful role from the best selling novel. If she can do what I think she can do with this role I expect it to be one of the loved performances of the year.

Kate Winslet – “The Reader” or “Revolutionary Road”
Kate the great has so busy this year. If “The Reader” goes supporting she could easily be in with a double nomination. Out of both of these I think the latter is the juicier part, but the former she would age and sport an accent. Choices choices.

Kerry Washington – “Lakeview Terrace” or “Mama Black Widow”
These are both long shots, but the actress sports a huge talent. I would not be surprised to see at least one of these garner her some buzz.

Charlize Theron – “The Burning Plains”
A mother daughter drama (mother played by Kim Basinger) looks like it could be powerful or slushy. Never underestimate Theron though, she could be back.

Sally Hawkins – “Happy-Go-Lucky”
Mike Leigh is hugely successful with his actress’s. This looks like a fun role which she already won the Golden Bear for. If the films goes down well, she could well be in.

Emma Thompson – “Last Chance Harvey” or “Brideshead Revisited”
The first a romantic comedy with Dustin Hoffman, the second needs no introduction. It would be grand to see Emma back in the mix, and it looks like she will be memorable in the lead role.

Rosamund Pike – “An Education”
I loved her in “Pride and Prejudice” and I hope she continues to get good roles. This story of a teenage girl in 1960’s London sounds like it could be one to watch.

Ziyi Zhang – “Mei Lanfang”
Could be the first Asain actress nominated for an Oscar…EVER!! (for shame). This bio pic of the famous Chinese Opera singer could be eye popping, and a wonderful technical achievement. Zhang has been proving herself a better actress with every outing.

Rachel McAdams – “The Time Travelers Wife”
I hold out little hope this movie will be any where near as wonderful as the book. However Rachel has loads of talent.

Nicole Kidman – “Australia”
If only……The woman challenges herself and never ever seems to get the recognition she deserves. Lets hope this is at least a commercial hit for her.

Samantha Morton – “Flying into Love” or “The Daisy Chain”
The first a film about the JFK assassination The second an Omen-esque thriller. Either could bomb, but never count the woman out. She has surprised before.

Audrey Tautou – “Coco avant Chanel”
On paper this looks like a hell of a lot of fun, and a chance for Tautou to remind us why we fell in love with her in the first place. Playing Coco Chanel cannot hurt as the Academy is embracing foreign actresses more and more, especially in a bio-pic.

Felicity Huffman – “The Politician’s Wife”
I have no idea where this could go. It does sound like a good baity role for her.

Michelle Pfeiffer – “Cheri” or “Chasing Montana” or “Personal Effects”
I have never been a huge fan, but there are those out there who are rampant. Two if the three could easily get pushed to 2009. Out of them “Cheri” sounds like the best bet, but “Chasing Montana” could be “On Golden Pond” esque

Franka Potente – “La Traque”
Based on the true story of the Klarsfelds, a Franco-German couple who devoted themselves to bringing Nazi war criminals to justice. Never ever bet against the Holocaust.

Halle Berry – “Tulia” or “Who Is Doris Payne?” or “Class Act”
The first is about an attorney who works on behalf of a group of local black men who are wrongly convicted of their involvement in a drug ring.
The second is the story based on the life of 75 year old international jewel thief, Doris Payne, whose career spanned over five decades.
The third is about a Nevada school teacher who enlists the help of her sixth-grade students in her congressional campaign. Based on a true story of Tierney Cahill.

Julianne Moore – “Blindness” or “Savage Grace”
Jules has had a tough time of it. Now it looks like she may be back on track with two very very exciting roles.
In “Blindness” she plays a doctor's wife who becomes the only person with the ability to see in a town where everyone is struck with a mysterious case of sudden blindness. “Grace” is the true story of the beautiful and charismatic Barbara Daly, who married above her class to Brooks Baekeland, heir to the Bakelite plastics fortune. Either film could win her raves, but I think it will be “Grace” that tops for the year.

Gwyneth Paltrow – “Two Lovers”
The film is a Brooklyn-set romantic drama about a bachelor torn between the family friend his parents wish he would marry and his beautiful but volatile new neighbor. No word on which role is Gwynies but me thinks volatile gets noticed more.

Drew Barrymore – “Grey Gardens”
I actually think this could happen. I have always hoped she would find her acting talent. Sure she over flows with charisma, but does she have dramatic chops? Here is hoping she can finally leave Drew behind.

Natalie Portman – “Brothers”
I still think she is far too young for this role.

Dakota Fanning – “The Secret Life of Bees”
The book is wonderful, and she is the perfect age, although I am not sure how dramatic a role it is. From remembering the book I think the supporting players have a lot more work.

Queen Latifah – “The Secret Life of Bees”
Which is where she comes in. I seem to remember this role being very big and very central. Here is hoping Latifah can bring some of that “Life Support” drama to this role.

Sophie Okonedo – “Skin”
Based on the true story of a black girl who was born to two white Afrikaner parents in South Africa during the apartheid era. Sounds great on paper, and she is a wonderful actress, but how

Maria Bello – “Downloading Nancy”
Not the hit it was supposed to be at Sundance, and there were a few who questioned the performance. Bound to be controversial, but is it good enough for Oscar to see it?

Kate Beckinsale – “Nothing But the Truth”
She plays a female reporter faces a possible jail sentence for outing a CIA agent and refusing to reveal her source. I like her, but have never once thought of her as a great actress. I would love for her to prove me wrong.

Julia Roberts – “Fireflies in the Garden”
A family drama so do not yet know how 'lead' she is yet.

Julie Delpy – “The Countess”
If bathing in the blood of virgins doesn’t get you nominated, I do not know what will! She plays the famous Erzebet Bathory in this sure to be attention grabbing film, plus she wrote and directed it. It could easily be pushed to 2009.

Penelope Cruz – “Elegy”
She is amazing in her own language, now can she translate that to English. She plays a woman being obsessed by Ben Kingsley. Is this supporting?

Anne Hathaway – “Dancing With Shiva”
In this she play an ex-model who has been in and out from rehab for the past 10 years returns home for the weekend for her sister's wedding. Can Jonathan Demme direct another woman to Oscar?

If you had to twist my arm to pick right now I would have the hardest time. So I am going to try and think of the performances that could surprise and end up being remembered no matter how odd they look now.

Meryl Streep – “Doubt”
Keira Knightley – “The Edge of Love”
Anna Paquin – “Margaret”
Ziyi Zhang – “Mei Lanfang”
Jill Scott – “The No 1. Ladies Detective Agency”