Saturday, 10 October 2009

'Precious' International Trailer

A little more powerful than the first (a shame Tyler Perry and Oprah had to stick their heads in it) and shows a little more of what we can expect from Sibide's performance.

Check the exclusive trailer here. Also check out the site for some great video and pics.

I will keep going on and on about this, everyone else can go ga ga over Carey Mulligan with their 'A Star is Born' pieces - but at the end of the day only time will tell.

Perhaps I should do a piece of her but call it 'Potential is Born!'

Friday, 9 October 2009


Since today is my Birthday I figured I would blog about my favorite subject.

Madonna (bet y'all are shocked)

Madonna has said many times that she never looks back. I find that amazing because when I look back at her career I am dumb struck with amazement for this icon. How she started, where she has gone, and how after all these years, her songs still stand up to today’s music (if not surpass it)

This is why I was slightly disappointed with her latest ‘greatest hits’ collection ‘Celebration’.

My first gripe:

I honestly feel, for a greatest hits collection, you should include all songs that have reached the top 20 (either in the US or UK) or songs that are considered classics/become more appreciated since release.

So this would include a staggering list of songs. Perhaps 3 CD's:
‘Everybody’, ‘Burning Up’, ‘Holiday’, ‘Borderline’, ‘Lucky Star’, ‘Like a Virgin’, ‘Material Girl’, ‘Crazy for You’, ‘Angel’, ‘Into the Groove’, ‘Dress You Up’, ‘Gambler’, ‘Live to Tell’, ‘Papa Don’t Preach’, ‘True Blue’, ‘Open Your Heart’, ‘La Isla Bonita’, ‘Who’s That Girl’, ‘Causing a Commotion’, ‘Like a Prayer’, ‘Express Yourself’, ‘Cherish’, ‘Oh Father’, ‘Keep it Together’, ‘Vogue’, ‘Hanky Panky’, ‘Justify My Love’, ‘Rescue Me’, ‘This Used to Be My Playground’, ‘Erotica’, ‘Deeper and Deeper’, ‘Bad Girl’, ‘Rain’, ‘I’ll Remember’, ‘Secret’, ‘Take a Bow’, ‘Bedtime Story’, ‘You’ll See’, ‘Don’t Cry for Me Argentina’, ‘Frozen’, ‘Ray of Light’, ‘Drowned World/Substitute for Love’, ‘The Power of Goodbye’, ‘Beautiful Stranger’, ‘Music’, ‘Don’t Tell Me’, ‘What It Feels Like for a Girl’, ‘Die Another Day’, ‘American Life’, ‘Hollywood’, ‘Hung Up’, ‘Sorry’, ‘Get Together’, ‘4 Minutes’, ‘Give It 2 Me’.
Of course a bit of re-mastery would not go amiss, but don’t f*ck about too much with it.

My second gripe: Leave it in Chronological order as much as possible. One of the joys of that is to be able to listen to how she has evolved as an artist. The minute I up load it to my iPod it will be on permanent shuffle anyway – so don’t do it for me.
I love to hear the progression. How ‘La Isla Bonita’ paved the way for ‘Who’s That Girl’. How ‘Live to Tell’ led to the confessional ‘Like a Prayer’ album.
How the hardness of the ‘Erotica’ album led to the softness of ‘Bedtime Stories’ and how the track ‘Bedtime Story’ was a preview for what was coming on ‘Ray of Light’. Musically, hers is a story to be told in order. Do not ‘La Vie En Rose’ her discography for me.

Third gripe:

When many people (mainly fans) think of her greatest songs, many of us think about album tracks and some of her b-sides. Something she has never done is to give these largely forgotten songs a chance to shine on their own.

I would love to hear such songs that many people are not familiar with:
‘Ain’t No Big Deal’, ‘Revenge’, ‘Let Down Your Guard’, History’, ‘Triggering’, ‘Your Honesty’, ‘Gone Gone Gone’, ‘Supernatural’, ‘Goodbye to Innocence’, ‘Love Won’t Wait’, ‘Be Careful’, ‘The Game’ and ‘Super Pop’.
These would be great mixed along side some of her album tracks that are much loved :
‘Physical Attraction’, ‘Stay’, ‘White Heat’, ‘Where’s a Party’, ‘Look of Love’, ‘Till Death Do Us Part’, ‘Spanish Eyes’, ‘Secret Garden’, ‘Waiting’, ‘Thief of Heart’, ‘Inside of Me’, ‘Sanctuary’, ‘Candy Perfume Girl’, ‘Skin’, ‘Mer Girl’, ‘Impressive Instant’ ‘Nobody’s Perfect’, ‘Paradise (not for me)’, ‘Gone’, ‘Nothing Fails’, ‘X-Static Process’, ‘Mother and Father’, ‘Forbidden Love’, ‘Future Lovers’, ‘Let it Will Be’ .
Perhaps get together all b-sides and rarities and then have an online poll for fan favorite album tracks (like Bjork did) to mix in with them.

Fourth gripe:

Madonna has had forty number one dance tracks on Billboards charts.
It is about time for another dance anthology honey. If one thing can be assured, the dance remixes are going to kill on almost any single she releases.

She is known for dancing, and dance music. She constantly goes back to the music that made her, and I for one think it is about time that Madonna and dancing is celebrated.

Get a host of top line DJ’s and let them pick the tracks they want to remix, then once that is done, re-hire Stuart Price to blend them seamlessly into one long mother f*cking dance-a-thon.
She should ‘Celebrate’ the fact that although she may not have the same success on the Billboard hot 100 charts these days, she is still just as relevant in the night clubs of the world and only the really cool kids dance.

She could include:
‘Everybody’, ‘Holiday’, ‘Lucky Star’, ‘Into the Groove’, ‘Open Your Heart’, ‘Causing a Commotion’, ‘Spotlight’, ‘Like a Prayer’, ‘Express Yourself’, ‘Keep it Together’, ‘Vogue’, ‘Rescue Me’, ‘Erotica’, ‘Deeper and Deeper’, ‘Fever’, ‘Bye Bye Baby’, ‘Secret’, ‘Human Nature’, ‘Bedtime Story’, ‘Frozen’, ‘Ray of Light’, ‘Nothing Really Matters’, ‘Sky Fits Heaven’, ‘Beautiful Stranger’, ‘American Pie’, ‘Music’, ‘Don’t Tell Me’, ‘What It Feels Like for a Girl’, ‘Die Another Day’, ‘Impressive Instant’, ‘American Life’, ‘Hollywood’, ‘Nothing Fails’, ‘Love Profusion’, ‘Nobody Knows Me’, ‘Mother and Father’, ‘Hung Up’, ‘Sorry’, ‘Get Together’, ‘Jump’, ‘4 Minutes’, ‘Give It 2 Me’.

Last gripe:

She has been with Warner ever since she burst into Seymour Stein’s hospital room with her demo tape in 1982.
27 years later she is leaving them.
Give them a big thank you.

P.S. A video collection should include every single one EVER!

Regardless of what I think of 'Celebration' doesn't matter. What has mattered is that in my disappointment I have gone back and listened to her music and rediscovered over 25 years of pure magic and that is what we all need to remember.
"So much controversy has swirled around my career in this past decade that very little attention ever gets paid to my music. The songs are all but forgotten" - Madonna - Something to Remember liner note 1995

Thursday, 8 October 2009

‘Me and Orson Welles’ trailer

Now I am not posting this because I am a Zac Efron fan (I think it would look better if he spelled it with a ‘ph’) it is because after doing some research on reviews I noticed that every one who has reviewed the film say that Christian McKay gives a brilliant performance as Orson Welles, and you know how playing a respected actor can do well with award bodies. He is an unknown (States side) theater actor but if reviews are good enough, he may been seen as a contender.

I am sure the late November release date is to try and get some Awards traction - although I think a small film like this needs some more time to build up buzz.

Greedy Little Piggies

Why is it when times are hard, and cuts have to be made it is always artistry that is placed on the sacrificial fire first.
Schools never cut sports, usually art and music suffer first, leaving our youth having to seek out anything different or unique in books, television of movies.

Well it seems that the list is being cut down.

Universal Studios has been re-organized.

The book keepers have stated that recent movies, films that manage to have some adult complexity (‘Duplicity’, ‘Funny People’, ‘State of Play’ and Oscar hopeful ‘Public Enemies’) have under performed at the box office.
Judging by the numbers I think that world wide most of said films made their money back.... could be wrong though - who knows how much Russell Crowe charged for anger management class.

Now NBC Universal head Jeff Zucker has stated “The mandate is to get back to making commercial pictures with a degree of responsibility.” Translation: ‘The Wolfman’ on a budget’.

Still going ahead are ‘The Wolfman’ and the Russell Crowe ‘Robin Hood’ projects.

I am sure this will mean that Universal will be spewing out lots of horror remakes and dumb gross out comedies to ensure an audience.

And not taking chances on scripts that are intelligent and/or ambitious just because they MAY not make money.

The only good thing about this is that the company may end up no longer being a factor in the yearly awards race (except the MTV movie awards and People’s Choice) and loose credibility.

When art is sacrificed for money, you loose the ability to have a creative outlet, which Universal seems to be saying is a luxury we can do without.

Mmmm Ryan

Consider Ryan Reynolds.
The man has been in a lot lately, and been carving out a nice little niche in the action pic and the rom-com pic.

Now he has the ‘Wolverine’ spin-off ‘Deadpool just announced as well as ‘The Green Lantern in preproduction.

Also just announced is ‘Motorcade’ which was set to star Tom Cruise, it seems Dreamworks is chasing Reynolds to star. The film is about a disgraced Secret Service agent who happens to be in the right place at the right time to help when the US President is kidnapped in New York. It is being directed by ‘24’ director Jon Cassar.

This is all well and good, just as long as he does not stop challenging himself like he did two years ago in ‘The Nines’ which he did a stellar job in playing three very different roles. He has the looks to go far, but more importantly, he also has the talent to be great.

I am extremely curious about is 2010 project ‘Buried’ where he plays Paul Conroy a U.S. contractor working in Iraq. After an attack by a group of Iraqis he wakes to find he is buried alive inside a coffin.
This could be an acting showcase for him, or it could be another ‘Phone Booth’ (which I found disappointing when it quickly turned a TAD over blown).
It is certainly a challenging part, depending on how well it is written and could do well as long as it keeps the claustrophobia in tack and doesn’t turn into another ridiculous action thriller. (Images of him bursting out of his coffin, grabbing the nearest machine gun while doing a back flip and taking out 30 Iraqis – regardless of if they are the ‘bad’ guys – before his scantily clad lover runs into his arms)
I guess I can over look that if his shirt is off.

I am happy for the action Ryan, but please keep on with the challenging work.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

'The Messenger' Trailer

Never count out Samantha Morton. Plus there was a day when the Academy loved Woody Harrelson, and he is having a good year. Also up and comer Ben Foster is said to be brilliant.
War films have not done well of late (especially dealing with the current war) but if a performance is praised loud enough any of these guys could be in for a shot.

I loves Harpo

People love to slag off Oprah. I mean they really do, even Madonna made a cutting remark way back in 1991 – on film no less.

Whatever anyone thinks of her, I kind of love her. She bought Sophia to life in ‘The Color Purple’ and that is enough for my ever lasting devotion.

I love the fact she has put her name behind ‘Precious’. This means that more people will see the film which is a good thing. Independent film needs any champion it can get.

Her film company, Harpo Films has picked up the rights to ‘Will You Be My Black Friend?’ which is based on a GQ article written by Devin Friedman about his attempts to add some flavor into his circle of friend.

This is a very interesting idea and although the aim will be humorous, there is a very serious point. People find it difficult to step outside of their own social demographic and seek the comfort of the similar. Races, sexualities, religions, castes and class all tend to stick together and when we do branch out it tends to be with someone who shares a common demographic.

The film is being planned as a star vehicle for Chris Rock, who (if he reigns it in a tad) could make for a very funny yet socially conscious film about race relations - I am still waiting to see his documentary 'Good Hair'.

I just hope it is not going to be a ‘lets make white people dumb’ type of film because that will do nothing to improve interracial relations in the world – something Oprah I am sure will make sure of.

Bad Reviews

"In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so."
So Ed Gonzalez slated ‘Precious’ but then the man seems to slate most things I hold dear.

He really does not like ‘Awards’ films at all by looking at his review roster – his taste is all over the place and VERY different from mine and that is a good thing. Variety is after all not just a entertainment industry magazine, it is also the spice of life.

But there are so many critics out there giving their two cents on everything they can.

And we need critics, for they give us a platform from which to debate and their points are often very valid.
However everyone these days is a critic and the difficulty is filtering those with something valid to say against those who want to rant or worse yet, have an agenda.
What is the saying about critics?
Those who can’t' criticise those who can.

I read his review last night and felt deflated, but what was I expecting, 100% unanimous good reviews?

Of course people are going to hate it. There are going to be those critics who go in wanting to hate it just as there will be those who go in wanting to love it. And in both cases they will look for things to help their argument.

I mean I did not watch ‘Changeling’ objectively, and loved picking it apart. Fair? Not at all, but it is what we do. Our criticisms come from a personal place. Our entire lives will affect how we view everything.

So maybe when a critic slates film i love (or are wanting to love) I should make up a reason for this person reacting this soften the blow.

Although I loved this part of his review:
“So, between Precious and An Education, Lone Scherfig's horrid BBC Afterschool Special, we now have the official theme of the upcoming Oscar season: the uplift of the races and sexes through higher learning.”
Wow. That is just..... sounds so ........ UGH ......... sexis......... racis........

Never mind.

I shall not criticise......... and when I do, I shall be honest and have no agenda (previous reviews do not count - hee he). If I do not like 'Precious' I will eat humble pie.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Imelda Slim

What does Queen of all things footwear, Imelda Marcos and Fatboy Slim have in common?
Well a lot as of very recently.

Norman Cook (aka Fatboy Slim) is working with Talking Heads lead David Byrne on a concept album about the life of the former first lady of the Philippines.

According to Cook: “Each track is sung by a different singer and there's some very interesting guests on there” which is very exciting when you consider some of the artists rumoured to be taking part.

Although unconfirmed it looks like we will be having Candie, Sharon Jones, Santigold, Tori Amos, Martha Wainwright and Cyndi Lauper.

Can you imagine what will happen with all that talent on one album? I am hoping the results will be as orgasmic as the line up of singer with the talent of Cook.

It will be dance based, but will tell the story of Marcos, ala ‘Evita’.
Apparently it is not just about shoes.
Now that would be a challenge. An album all about shoes.

Don't Worry, Don't Panic

Basement Jaxx have been around for roughly 15 years. They started in Brixton, London and began a night club. Ten years ago they released their first album, and since then have been releasing some of the best dance music. One could only imagine if Madonna were to ever seek out their production skills.

Just listen to what they have been capable of over the years.

‘Red Alert’ – 1999

‘Jump N’ Shout’ – 1999

‘Romeo’ – 2000

‘Where’s Your Head At?’ – 2001

‘Do Your Thing’ – 2002

‘Good Luck’ – 2003

‘Oh My Gosh’ – 2005

And now their latest, from an album that is nothing short of amazing, please lend your ears to ‘Raindrops’ – and go out and buy their album.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Discriminating Oscar

“Nice white kids
Who like to lead the way
And once a month
We have our "negro day!"

I was reading this piece over at Awards Daily and began to get really mad. Seriously, “it flamed, flames on the side of my face” kind of mad.

It seems the anti Semitists of the world are causing a wee bit of a rukus due to the Polanski case. And of course the focus is on film, him being a director and all.

Of course this will not affect the awards race in any serious way. Polanski won an Oscar and any film dealing with the holocaust is awards fodder.

What it did get me thinking about is the other films out there about ‘minorities’ that this type of thing could happen to.

‘A Single Man’ has some very strong reviews in its favor, however its Best Picture chances are hindered by the subject matter. It will be considered a gay film – a terminology I hate, but it is something we use. The general public needs that distinction in case they wander into it thinking they are seeing the latest Coen brothers film. Imagine their disappointment at realizing they have paid admission to a gay film.

A gay film.

I mean is that label there specifically to slot it into a category of specialist cinema – out of reach for the general public? Like foreign, documentary errrr snuff (actually they sick way the world is going a snuff film would get more of an audience).

Sure ‘Brokeback Mountain’ crossed over but it had the added heft of being directed by a very respected STRAIGHT director.
Tom Ford is gay and this is his very first film as director.

Last night my BF wanted to watch ‘I Love You, Man’ and my reaction was: “But it’s a straight movie!” – so I am just as bad, but I argue it is about time tables were turned.
I mean my lovely gay dollar/pink pound goes out to supporting more straight aimed films than even I can imagine, and what do I get for thanks? Black Sunday that’s what!

And speaking of that movie, it was technically a race drama, but no, all non white film in Academy history has ever won Best Picture Oscar until last year with 'Slumdog Millionaire' which was directed by a white man.

How does this affect the chances of ‘Precious’?
Firstly will the film be nominated? Most people say it is a foregone conclusion that the film, director Lee Daniels, and actresses Mo’Nique and Gabourey Sibide will all be nominated.
How likely is this?
The film is supposed to be powerful stuff, and that can go a long way. It is a very difficult novel to read and even after the 4th time reading it I could not see how this movie could be made – and that is just for the abuse depicted.
So well done firstly for making the film, and secondly for it getting the overwhelming reaction it has received.

Will that reaction be enough in the end? It is difficult enough for a black film to get a nomination when directed by a white guy. Since 1970 I count ‘Sounder’, ‘A Soldiers Story’, ‘The Color Purple’ and ‘Ray’ and that is it people. Only four films.

‘Precious’ is winning festival awards and scoring extremely high with critics. Could it be that finally the mental melting pot is catching up with the physical?
Last year ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ was the champ of the season which shows that popular and affecting story telling can help erase the lines that race has drawn.
Can ‘Precious’ do that even further?

A Funny Year

It is a funny year for Best Picture. Firstly the Academy’s choice to have 10 Best Picture nominees seems a little ‘broad’ to me. It is as though they are trying to get the public at large thinking they are relevant again after snubbing ‘The Dark Knight’ last year.
However if you look at all the predictors on the web, no-one is actually predicting two of the most popular films of the year, both summer block busters.

‘District 9’ and ‘Star Trek’ are no-where on peoples radar, and that is a shame because they were two extremely well received big budget and popular films with critical support.
‘District 9’ is, out of the two, definitely the film that could surprise.
With its message of unity and humanities ugliness so current today, it will speak to people on many levels (human drama, political, action adventure, sci-fi .......and more).
This is a summer blockbuster that could still be in with a shot, but it is a long one unless its Oscar campaign is as creative as its advertising campaign then anything goes.
It could end up being the only Peter Jackson film in the mix.

Could it be that Academy’s idea of increasing the nominee pool will allow more variance back fire a little? Variety is not something that us predictors are even thinking about or seriously considering.
With the exception of ‘Up’ there no other unconventional genre being thrown about. No documentaries, no foreign films, just more of the same – drama’s, serious comedies and musicals.

Genre aside, there is an interesting mix of films being considered – none of which were on anyone’s radar at the beginning of the year. The only conventional ‘Oscar’ films are ‘Bright Star’, ‘Nine’ and ‘Invictus’. Right now it seems that any of those could make it in, or left out – who knows?

No-one knows anything about Peter Jacksons emotional special effects extravaganza ‘The Lovely Bones’. It is one of those films that seems like it could easily fail – and this is not wishful thinking – I want it to be great.

‘Inglourious Basterds’ is a movie that was initially dismissed, but it seems to have this magical growing buzz. People are still going to see it and there is very strong support for it. It does seem likely that the film could make it in.

Also we have ‘A Single Man’ about a gay man grieving for the loss of his lover. Not Oscar fare, but the ole boy has been getting a little more open minded as the years go on, so you could see the love for the film translate here.

The four films that seem the most likely is the Iraq war film that plays like a summer blockbuster ‘The Hurt Locker’. The festival fav about a corporate down-sizer ‘Up in the Air’. A story about an English teenager growing up too fast in ‘An Education’ and finally the film that is the least likely on paper to get a nomination – ‘Precious’ – about an overweight black illiterate teenage girl who is pregnant for the second time by her father.
I do not think I have seen anyone predicting this film for a win, but why not? ‘The Color Purple’ guilt may factor, as may Obama, as may the growing black members of the Academy.

Whatever the reasons for the lines in which people are predicting, we can all agree that it is a strange year.
There is nothing that screams WINNER yet for Best Picture. Best Actress is a stronger category than Best Actor, and the same for the supporting categories.

And this is the reason no one can get the heads wrapped around predicting what will happen.
In such a strange movie year, with new nomination rules, what we thought to be straight-forward is all of a sudden very perplexing.
Small films, who did well on the festival circuit, are being considered front runners, and unknowns are giving amazing performances.

Madness I tell you!!

What will be wonderful and hysterical is if, come nomination morning, we see a flux of films no one could bother to predict because they did not fit what the Academy usually likes.
We have always wondered just what would come in 6th, 7th or 8th.
Now we will find out!

Getting my calendar ready

20 days until I see ‘Precious’

Surprise you it may not, but it is raining today in London.
Considering we have had a pretty long spell of rather sunny warm weather, this is the first proper sign that winter is indeed upon us.
Aside from the few panics I have had of late, finding a cat sitter for when I go home over Christmas, it is a rather exciting time – winters come, and I forgot my mittens.

Firstly, we have said holiday which just brings out the very best in me. I love the holiday. Spending time with friends, cooking, baking, listening to Christmas songs (the B.F. is not a fan of the season……I am determined to make the Grinch’s heart break the heart measuring machine).

Then you have the fun and frolics of New Years.

However this is the season of the Oscar film. Suddenly the cinemas will be filled with high brow films for adults (as well as a few silly holiday family films) and we will all have a clearer picture of how the awards race will shape up (although here in the UK opening times are so f*cked up – sure BAFTA members get their screeners, but the public usually have to wait until February)
We also have the top ten lists for the year, and the various critic awards will announce, hopefully throwing in some names that were thought of down for the count to shake up the race.

Here are some dates to look forward to:
Dec. 1
• Gotham Awards
• Indie Spirit Award nominations announced

Dec. 3
• National Board of Review honorees announced
Dec. 1
• L.A. Film Critics voting
Dec. 14
• New York Film Critics Circle voting
Dec. 15
• Golden Globe nominations announced, 5:00 AM
Dec. 17
• SAG Award nominations announced
Jan. 3
• National Society of Film Critics
Jan. 5
• PGA Awards nominees announced; final polls open
Jan. 6
• NAACP Image Award nominations (date tentative)
Jan. 7
• DGA Awards feature film nominees announced; final ballots mailed
Jan. 11
• WGA awards screen nominees announced
Jan. 12
• National Board of Review gala
Jan. 15
• Critics Choice Awards
Jan. 17
• 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards
Jan. 23
• 16th Annual SAG Awards
Jan. 24
• Producers Guild Awards
Jan. 30
• 62nd Annual Directors Guild Awards
Feb. 2
• Academy Award nominations announced
This doesn’t even count in Boston Film Critics and Chicago who do also count (not as much as N.Y. and L.A. though)

More often then not most of the precursors will try and emulate what they think Oscar is going to do. In terms of the acting nominations, the Golden Globes and SAG’s are the best precursors for Oscar, although the naked golden man does like to do his own thing from time to time.
This is the thing, you can never accurately predict what is going on in the minds of the Academy at large.
It is a clique.
They have no problem voting for an outsider as a nominee, but do they really want them to be part of the winners circle?
I liken the Academy to a Fraternity or Sorority or a Soraternity. They make you jump through hoops before they feel you are ready.
Sometimes you can get in as a fluke (or a weak year) but this is a popularity contest and largely winning one has less to do with talent then it does with who they like, they really really like.

And yes, talk shows and campaigning goes a long way, but in the end it is up to each individual and who they want to see walk up that podium.

I am still holding out hope for Gabby Sidibe. I mean can you think of a more emotional moment?

Anywho, we have the various awards coming up, and they will give us a better idea of what is happening. For all the pre Oscar awards, which are your favourites?

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Roisin is back!

A highly-pregnant Roisin Murphy performed two brand-new tracks, "Royality" and "Demon Lover," the other night at Viktor & Rolf Spring/Summer 2010 show in Paris.

This is mainly to preview some of her new tracks.