Saturday, 24 October 2009

Is it wrong.....

to look at the male alien and think "Yeah, I would."?

Mini Reviews - Very Mini

'State of Play'

Not even close as the brilliant mini series, but still a extremely entertaining film.
Helen Mirren phones it in and Ben Affleck is once again wooden, but Russell Crowe shines.
The best he has been in a while.

Grade - B-



'Drag Me to Hell'

A very fun romp in gross out horror.
Many times the eyes were averted from the screen in this schlock fest.
Props go out to Lorna Raver for a disgustingly frightening performance. Scenery chewing at its best

Grade - B

Yet another great poster campaign.

I really gotta see this movie.




Friday, 23 October 2009

HAPPY FRIDAY!!

THIS WOMAN IS DA BOMB. Andra will love her!

Five things that made me happy this week.

That I have yet to post about in the world of entertainment. of course.

5
I finally saw ‘Drag me to Hell’ and thought it was great fun.
Old school gross out horror at its best and spurred gypsy story swapping between me and my bf (we have a few).
He lost £20.00 out of fear, and I lost £1, but there was another time I had no money on me and she began to curse me I saw a £ coin on the floor, gave it swiftly to her and got my sprig of lavender.
Divine intervention.

4
‘Glee’ because it is just so out there. I do not even mind the very bad lip synching simply because it is all so joyful. I am a Gleek. Added to that this news, and I am in HEAVEN!

3
Madonna’s ‘Everybody’.
Still sounds fresh as can be and makes the commute into work toe tapping, body swaying bliss.

2
‘Life of Pi’ is still listed as “In Development” on IMDB and still under director Ang Lee’s coming work.
This is one of those books that I really adored and I can see Lee doing an amazing job, and could perhaps be his master piece.
It is a perfect fit of director and project.
If anyone can tell a story that is mainly set at sea with the only cast member being an Indian boy, a tiger, an orangutan, a hyena and a zebra with a broken leg it is this man.
PLEASE DON’T LET THIS DISAPPEAR!! – It has done so far to many times.

1
I am going to see Paloma Faith in a few weeks!!
The woman put on one hell of a show apparently and I am a sucker for a singer in hats.



'Everybody's Fine' Poster

People may be saying he is a contender for a Best Actor Oscar this year for his role in ‘Everybody’s Fine’ but judging by this cheap poster he has his work cut out for him.

To quote Clairee Belcher: "They all look like they've been carved out of cream cheese."

And so it begins.

A month ago I talked about which film would be the subject to the annual backlash in the run up to awards season.
Every year it is the same old story, one film always gets picked on. This usually happens to a possible front runner, or a film that has broken out bigger than expected (‘Slumdog Millionaire’, ‘Juno’, ‘Little Miss Sunshine’) and the commentators can tend to get really really nasty.

This year we are hardly into the awards season and it has begun. Sadly this time on, as predicted, ‘Precious’ a film that has been on the awards radar since Sundance, and whose buzz has only grown in the nine months since then.

This is also a film that has not even opened to the general public.

Regardless of whether I have seen the film, I do think it is unfair that this has started already. It reeks of white superiority, or perhaps that is just me.

There are pieces trying to damage Mo’Nique saying she refused to promote the film or go to any public appearance without a pay-cheque first (likely from the same publications that proclaimed their surprise that an over the top comic could act in a drama so well – like that never gets old)
Sure if she went out and schmoozed with the Academy they would most likely hand her the award, as the woman has charisma.

But to write articles about her alleged diva behaviour just draws attention away from the film.
Who cares what she does, or why she does it?
People to love to rip people apart - pick up any tabloid or (sadly) newspaper and see if I am wrong.
But what does the eyelash have to do with the butt crack?
I know it is totally na├»ve to think, but shouldn’t these awards in question be handed out because of the talent of a single performance, not because of who the person is, what they do, or where they come from.

Perhaps this is the point Mo’Nique is making.
If reviews and word of mouth is anything to go by, she has given the best performance by a supporting actress this year, so if she is not nominated or does not win, it will be nothing to do with the performance, it will be because she did not go out and kiss the collective asses of the Academy………and everyone will know it.
It may cost her awards, but the uproar will be remembered.

Then there are pieces saying it was shut out the Gotham Awards because of the Opera effect. (I personally believe these awards are a bunch of critics wanting to be seen as far from Oscar as possible. It is as much to do with films merit, as it is to do with not going with the general awards flow).

I think Oprah and Tyler Perry jumping on board has everything to do with getting people to see the film and hopefully educate them. I do not believe is has anything to do with getting the film to win awards.

There are many arguments, all of which can be read over here (pretty wonderful articles) at Ropes of Silicon, and over at Gold Derby

I agree with Brad Brevet when he says:
”Yes, I think there are people carrying torches and pitchforks when it comes to Precious, but the Winfrey and Perry connection is of little concern. Their involvement is going to benefit the film's box-office but it won't move the Oscar dial one bit. Instead, I think the film will be overlooked based on the fact it is a black film, set in Harlem and dealing with some tough, tough issues. To top it off it features two outstanding performances from black actresses that don't fit the Halle Berry mold.”
You could argue neither did Oprah or Whoopie when they were nominated for ‘The Color Purple’, but that was a film directed by Steven Spielberg, from a Pulitzer prize winning novel. The adaptation was high profile from when it was announced it was going into production, and easier to digest as it was a black film adapted by a book written by a black author, but with a white popular voice with director duties – yet that film won nothing.
And that was in 1985.
Since then the beauty standard has gotten so out of reach that the only way to obtain it is to go for major surgery.

Another argument is that apparently ‘Precious’ does not have much in the way of sentimentality.
I have heard the words “bleak” and “tough” constantly, mixed in with “glimmers of hope” which gives the film a sense of reality.
There is no huge sweeping emotional climax, and no fun dance number at the end to lift spirits.
Who wants to be reminded about the people they spend most of their lives trying to forget exist, especially when they have their popcorn and diet soda, sitting down in £8 to £15 seats, waiting to be entertained.
We have not paid this money to be told that the lives we constantly complain about are really not that bad in comparison to others who have it so much worse and who do not win the lottery and get the girl at the end.
I am more concerned with friends, family, my boyfriend or movies most of the time, and let’s be honest…we are all like that to some extent.

Perhaps I should comment on all of this after I see the film (this Sunday – no more peeps from me about it until then).
Who knows I may hate the film, but that will not change the reviews that are out there, the Audience Awards or the general love and respect the film and performances have received.

In the many many reviews and articles and comments I have read, I have seen the ugly side of people come out. From people saying the film is too black, to people saying fat people make them hurl. And those are the reasons people have given for not seeing the movie.

Read this very entertaining article from The New York Times Magazine where director Lee Daniels mentions some of the problems people have with his film, even within the black community.

In the end this backlash is just plain ugly, and I honestly believe hides a deep rooted racism/sexism/size-ism in people, all people, of all races.

I for one and still hoping it does well in the Awards race, but I am resigning myself that a growing smear campaign and peoples prejudices will do its damage. All I can really hope for it that this movie is seen by as many people as possible – which, for those of us who loved the film, would then have to thank Oprah and Tyler Perry for.

‘Invictus’ poster

‘Invictus’ poster

I had no idea that Nelson Mandela was such a huge Matt Damon fan.
I love Madonna but I would totally draw the line at having her image screen printed on the back of my blazer.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Faithless are back


The new track 'Sun to Me' has dropped and it is a stormer.

I do not usually post about music this late in the week, but with news this good you kind of have to. Get you dancing and ready for the weekend. Whoooo hooooo!!

Viola the great.

To be filed in ‘It is about time’, Viola Davis has landed roles in Focus Features’ "It’s Kind of a Funny Story," opposite Zach Galifianakis, and the David Schwimmer-helmed (yes…. I know) drama "Trust" for Millennium Films.

Although not the lead, it could give those unfamiliar with her amazing talent a stronger impression that could lead to the lead role she so clearly deserves.

"Funny Story" centers on a clinically depressed 15-year-old who checks himself into an adult psychiatric ward where he gains a new lease on life. Viola will play the psychiatrist who is assigned to him and helps him understand himself and provides the foundations for recovery - could be juicy and I am sure she knows how to work her way around a weak script.

‘Trust’ seems to be more of the same. It is the story of a young teenager who is sexually abused by and adult who gained her trust on the web – kind of Hard Candy like, but without the castration. The main focus revolves around the family (Clive Owen and Catherine Keener ) who must deal with the ramifications after their 14-year-old daughter is victimized by an adult who gained her trust posing as a teenager on a chat room. Again Davis will don a white coat to play the counselor assigned to the girl’s case.
Not sure how large either role will be, but it would be good to see Viola offered other roles then scientists and doctors.

I recently watched ‘State of Play (very enjoyable) and loved Davis’s cameo but could not help but wonder how brilliant she would have been in the Helen Mirren role – oh hindsight, you bitter tasting devil.

As much as I would love to see Viola working in bigger roles, there are some actors who thrive being the support, and I think she may be one of those. Not to say she doesn’t have the chops for a lead role, but this is Hollywood. How many films are made with strong lead roles for black women?
Please keep her in mind when making an Obama film. She would do a wonderful Michelle.

In the mean time Viola, you go and steal every scene you are in. WIPE THE FLOOR WITH THEM!

P.S. Cannot wait to see what you do in season two of ‘The United States of Tara’.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Gabby

I know I wasn’t going to do any more posts on ‘Precious’ until I have seen it on Sunday. However this is more about the actress Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe who was recently interviewed for The New Yorker.

There were loads of great quotes from her in the article, and others I have read, but this has got to be the best:
“They try to paint the picture that I was this downtrodden, ugly girl who was unpopular in school and in life, and then I got this role and now I’m awesome. But the truth is that I’ve been awesome, and then I got this role.”
I think I may be in love with her.
She also, in another interview on the Mariah Connection when asked about what she has learned since filming 'Precious' says:
”I’ve learned not to count myself out, because I didn’t see doing myself anything beyond being a receptionist. I didn’t. I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter what I look like. My talent cannot be diminished by my looks.”
Something everyone needs to remember, but so easily forget.

She will have a chance to prove herself again, this time in 'Yelling to the Sky" which is already filming and will be out in 2010. In this film she plays a bully, so at least she is already breaking the type casting and is getting out there and acting. Let's hope those people who think she won't have a career in film aside from 'Precious' are wrong.

'The Whistleblower' cast grows.

Telling the true story of Kathryn Bolkovac (Rachel Weisz), a UN International Police Force monitor hired by the US company DynCorp in Bosnia on a UN related contract.

Bolkovac risked her own safety when she learned of and reported on a sex trafficking ring within the company, which was contracted to hire and train police officers. Several Dyncorp employees were forced to resign, but were immune from prosecution in Bosnia.
Bolkovac lost her job, but then later sued.
First time director, Larysa Kondracki will helm the project.
It will be great to see Weisz in another political/thriller role. She was wonderful in ‘A Constant Gardener’ and highly deserved her Oscar….in the lead category mind you.
Coming on board is a very interesting cast indeed. Oscar nominee David Strathairn, international beauty – Monica Belluci and Grande Dame of theater and film, Vanessa Redgrave.
This will automatically be one of those films to watch out for next year.

The Heat is On in Saigon

Although far from being my favourite musical (I didn’t really like the music that much) I do remember sitting watching it years ago thinking, ‘Miss Saigon’ would work so much better on the big screen.
It is epic is scope and a lot of the subtext of a woman's plight in Vietnam during the war was lost the further back you sat.
Plus the Helicopter scene would work so much better.

Well it looks like it is going to be made into a war movie musical extravaganza of very expensive proportions.

Tom Cruise’s former producing partner Paula Wagner is producing it with the original show producer, the legendary Cameron Mackintosh.

If that is not your thing, then the news that ‘Precious’ director Lee Daniels may be directing this, which shows that people believe he is more than a one trick pony.
He has not said yes, but it would be a great project for him.

Given that a few people have said he should direct a musical, solely based on the fantasy sequences in ‘Precious’, this may be cause for celebration. Also, given his ability with women, this could be made to be even stronger than the stage show especially if told mainly from Kim’s perspective.

The story is tragic and horrible and really sends home the atrocities that happened in Vietnam, especially to the local women.
The musical, a reworking of the opera Madame Butterfly set during the Vietnam War, sees a young G.I. called Chris fall in love with bargirl Kim in 1975 Saigon. The two are in love, but Chris is about to head home to the US and with the evacuation of the US embassy in Saigon they are ripped apart.
I would love to see the original Kim take to the stage, but Lea Salonga may be too old, as would Naoko Mori who played Kim in London when she was 17.
It would, however, be great to find a Vietnamese singer/actress to play the part, none of this ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ bullshit please. I am sure most of the world wouldn't care, but some of us do (Salonga was Philippine and Mori was Japanese)

This could be a very exciting production. Should Daniels take the job, he could be in a position to create a very honest and perhaps brutal portrayal of life for women in Vientman, and hopefully without jazz hands.

9 reasons to see 'Nine'

Or nine reasons why you should film in black and white.











What I love is how the majority of the screen time for the rehearsal montage was given to Penelope.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

'Nine' rehearsal montage

Just looks wonderful. No other words

The UK music charts are listen-able!


I was taking a listen to the BBC Radio 1 chart show (something I hardly ever do) and was pleasantly surprised at the quality of songs that were charting. Most of them are pop but they are pop with a little edge.

Editors – ‘Papillon’

Editors are a British indie rock band based in Birmingham, who formed in 2002. They are know for their dark indie rock. This song is currently a new entry at number 23.




Mini Viva – ‘Left my Heart in Tokyo’

Mini Viva are an English pop group formed in 2008 by UK pop songwriting production house Xenomania, managed by Simon Fuller and signed to the newly reformed Geffen Records UK. The band consists of Frankee Connolly and Britt Love – and I doubt they will stick around, however this song is just pop cheesiness at it’s best. It is down to number 38, but did peak at number 7.



Alexandra Burke – ‘Bad Boys’

The winner of X-Factor 5 is the new UK number 1 with this r-n-b 80’s pop throw back. I dare you not to sing along.




The Temper Trap – ‘Sweet Disposition’

The Temper Trap are a rock band from Melbourne, Australia and they are brilliant. Atmospheric sounds and pulsating rhythms about on their wonderful album (but it now). This single is currently at number 11, but peaked at number 6.




Mumford and Sons – ‘Little Lion Man’

Mumford & Sons are an indie folk band from London who formed in 2007. Their first single ‘Little Lion Man’ peaked at number 24, but has been hanging about for a while now.



Do yourselves a favour. Take some time and give these artists a listen.

Natalie Imbruglia – ‘Want’

My wonderful man was playing a remix of this non stop the other day, much to my enjoyment.
When I enquired who it was and he said Natalie Imbruglia my jaw dropped.
I haven’t heard her stuff in years (despite still working) and am loving her change of direction.

Sure people may say she is jumping on the disco/dance band wagon, but honestly, there is not enough of it for my liking. I could listen to good dance/pop all day every day - and I do!
I also forgot how beautiful she is.
Seriously, I have to look away when watching this.
I am afraid she will blind me with perfection.


Monday, 19 October 2009

How do you solve a problem like Amelia

When it comes to predicting the film and its players.
I say go with your gut.
Mine said it would not amount to much in the end.
However, The Hollywood Reporter has given ‘Amelia’ a rave, and the word from the London Film Fest is very positive. It is supposed to be a great old school bio pic, however as the Academy gets younger will they be impressed.

Apparently Swank is great says Ray Bennett:
”Freckle-faced, prairie-voiced and fiercely independent, Hilary Swank's depiction of aviator Amelia Earhart in Mira Nair's biographical film "Amelia" is of a high order. It ranks with recent real-life portrayals of Ray Charles by Jamie Foxx and Truman Capote by Philip Seymour Hoffman and could be similarly awards-bound.”
However one review can not a front runner make.

Things could still go horribly wrong.

Justin Chang of Variety says:
”To say that "Amelia" never gets off the ground would be an understatement; it barely makes it out of the hangar. Handsomely mounted yet dismayingly superficial, Mira Nair's film offers snazzy aerial photography and inspirational platitudes in lieu of insight into Amelia Earhart's storied life and high-flying career. Prestigious packaging, led by Hilary Swank's gussied-up performance as the iconic aviatrix, portends friendly commercial skies for the Fox Searchlight release, at least initially. But critical disdain is unlikely to be countered by much audience enthusiasm, even among admirers of this kind of old-fashioned, star-powered bio-mush.”
he he. Bad reviews are fun to read.
He goes on to say of Swank:”
But it's Swank who must shoulder the heaviest thesping burden, and her Amelia remains earthbound. An actress who does her best work in plain-spoken, contempo working-class roles, Swank is a decent physical match for her subject, and her slightly androgynous appearance here underscores Earhart's standing as a woman among men. But the character's passion hasn't been sufficiently dramatized (this Amelia likes to fly planes because the script says so), and every effort to transform Swank -- the close-cropped blonde hair, the '30s costumes designed by Kasia Walicka Maimone, the actress' wobbly Kansas accent -- ends up feeling like one fussy affectation on top of another.
”We will have to wait in see what the rest of the pack say before dismissing, however it does not look promising - although best actress is famous for nominating ok roles is not loved films.

The main shame is for Mira Nair who would be a wonderful addition to the women vying for a Best Director Oscar nom. One day her day will come. She seems to have difficulty tackling large ambitious projects stateside and aside from ‘Hysterical Blindness’, I like her better doing home grown projects.