Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fanboys Trailer(HD)


Oh, this looks funny. Harry Knowles from Ain't It Cool, too!

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies features the original text of Jane Austen’s beloved novel with all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie action. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Complete with 20 illustrations in the style of C. E. Brock (the original illustrator of Pride and Prejudice), this insanely funny expanded edition will introduce Jane Austen’s classic novel to new legions of fans.

Who wouldn't want to read the new and improved version? You just can't have enough zombies, I've always said. lol

Who is this Lucian the Lycan?

I have recently installed Sitemeter for this blog, and I can see the search words that bring people to my blog. Because I wrote about the new photos of Robert Downey Jr. Shirtless as Sherlock Holmes, and also because of this Hurray for Chest Hair post, I have had some interesting search combos bring people to my site, including several "Name of actor" shirtless. Recently, it's been "Michael Sheen Shirtless." Having just seen Michael Sheen in Frost/Nixon, and loving him in that, and also loving him as Tony Blair in The Queen, I admire the actor, but was puzzled. Yeah, he's kind of handsome, I thought, but what is up with this rash of searches for images of Michael shirtless?

You see, I had never seen Underworld. I looked Michael up on Imdb after I saw Michael in Frost/Nixon because it was bugging me that he had been in another movie in the past, and I couldn't think of it. The movie was Timeline, where he plays the villain. But in those IMDB credits were the three Underworld films. So, out of curiosity, I rented the first Underworld from Netflix. The movie disk was infuriatingly skipping on me, but I was arrested by the first shot of Michael Sheen as the Lycan (werewolf) Lucian. Holy crap. THIS was Michael Sheen who played David Frost?! This bad ass?!

I adore English actors because they will take any work, from Shakespeare to Horror. Bill Nighy plays the king of the vampires, so it's a kick ass movie with great actors who it is just a ball to see chew up the scenery. I loved Underworld. Since the movie was skipping and freezing so badly, I had to abandon the DVD, and some kind soul had posted the whole thing on YouTube. Michael's character Lucian at the beginning is the bad guy, but you find out something about him in the movie, which changes your mind about him. His look is just so arresting with the hair extensions, and the gaping open shirt (he's quite fit, as the Brits would say). Wow. One of his first lines is to one of his werewolf minion, "Must I do everything myself?!" Classic!

I got caught up in Underworld's story of vampires and werewolves. It's an interesting world, and the movie was more entertaining than I expected. A nice break from the heavy Oscar fare. The romance between Kate Beckinsale's character and Scott Speedman's Michael is the main story, but I was loving Michael Sheen as king of the lycans and Bill Nighy as king of the vampires.

I have Underworld Evolution as my next movie to be mailed to me on my queue now, and the third movie, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, is a prequel telling the story of the beginning of the war between Lucian's Lycans and Bill Nighy's vampires and is out in theaters now. Michael's character Lucian in the first was an important supporting one, but interest in his back story obviously grew, since they made the third all about his character. It's probably really bad, but at this point, I don't care. I hear there's a Michael Sheen love scene in it. And he's quite fit, and maybe even shirtless. ;)

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Ultimate British Man

With Hugh Grant's floppy mane and Daniel Craig's famous piercing blue eyes, this is the face of the ultimate British man.

The Notting Hill star and Quantum of Solace actor both feature in a new computer-generated composite which represents the average male's most wanted celebrity features.

More than 40 per cent of men surveyed liked the nose of Pirates of the Caribbean star Orlando Bloom, who is currently dating Victoria's Secret model Miranda Kerr.

And while he may be most famous for his sporting prowess, English rugby union player Jonny Wilkinson’s pout also won legions of fans in the survey.

Almost half voted for Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton's skin while Ewan McGregor's chiselled jaw rounded out the list.

Check out The Mail Online to see the pics used for the composite.

David Beckham's new Armani Ads

You're welcome!

Funny Graffiti of the Day

Check out List of the Day blog for more!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dawn Treader finds a home!

Hurray! Twentieth Century Fox has picked up The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, third in the Narnia movies. Disney had dumped it, and Fox has reduced the budget considerably. Ben Barnes is back as our Prince Caspian. Huzzah!

I just caught the beginning of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe at my son's orthodontist office. So cute seeing James McAvoy trounce around on those fawn hooves!

The WTF Blanket

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hugh Jackman proposed reenacting shower scene for Oscars

In a funny exchange with EW's Missy Schwartz, Jackman joked about what he has has planned for Oscar audiences;

EW: How will you do that?
H: Nudity. I'm planning on getting nude for a lot of it.

EW: Well, I know some people who wouldn't mind if you reenacted the shower scene from Australia.
H: You've given me a great idea! No words, nothing, just me having a shower.

To read the entire Entertainment Weekly interview with Hugh Jackman click here.

The Bird and the Bee - Don't Stop the Music

Wow. This is an unbelievable cover. It totally changes Rihanna's song, but it's fantastic!!

Fantasia - covers Lady Marmalade (HQ)

At a tribute to Patti Labelle, Fantasia brings down the HOUSE!

Hat tip: EW

Her Morning Elegance / Oren Lavie

Now this is cool!

Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan

New Film for Michael Fassbender

Fassie Fans rejoice! Michael Fassbender has signed on for what looks to be a very cool new movie.

Michael Fassbender, Dominic West and Bond girl Olga Kurylenko are girding their loins for Neil Marshall's Britain-set sword-and-sandals thriller "Centurion," for "Slumdog Millionaire" producer Christian Colson of Celador Films.

The movie, billed as a thriller set during the Roman invasion of Britain in A.D. 117, tells the story of Quintus Dias, sole survivor of a Pictish raid on a Roman frontier fort, who marches north with General Virilus' legendary Ninth Legion, under orders to wipe the Picts from the face of the Earth and destroy their leader, Gorlacon.

Wonder if they kept their sandals from '300'?

The Super Bowl Shuffle:The Bears

Ah, memories of Superbowls past -- and The Fridge!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Daniel Craig the villain

Jamie Bell (all grown up!) from Billy Elliot will be Tintin and Daniel Craig will be his co-star as the dastardly pirate Red Rackham.
From the BBC:

British actor Daniel Craig, best known for playing secret agent James Bond, has signed up to play the villain in the new Tintin movie.

The 40-year-old has landed the role of Red Rackham opposite Billy Elliot star Jamie Bell, who will play the intrepid young reporter Tintin.

Filming for The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn, directed by Steven Spielberg, has already begun.

It is thought the Tintin movie, planned for released in 2011, will be the first of two or three movies.

Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, who is co-producing the project with Spielberg, has been lined up to direct the sequel.

Confused by what Tintin is all about? Read this article on the European cult of Tintin.

Dirty Harry - great interview with Daniel Radcliffe

I just read a fantastic new interview with Daniel Radcliffe on the Daily Beast, as Daniel is finishing his last weeks doing Equus on Broadway. It's really worthwhile reading the whole thing, but here's a great bit where Daniel discusses Robert Pattinson's ability to "smolder" which he says he can't do:

Have you contacted your co-star in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix—Robert Pattinson—to give him any advice about his own sudden fame because of the Twilight films? He was once quoted as saying that if given a choice between himself and you, that girls would choose you every time.

I don’t have his number, so haven’t spoken to him. But I can safely say that his insisting that girls would choose me over him that they would not. That they do not. He is the much prettier and can be much more charming. And he can do that thing of being sultry and sexy.

You’re sexy, Daniel. Come on. Own it.

I can’t!

Yet in Equus you have a nude scene eight times a week. You’re flashing around your Elder Wand for all the world to see.

But I don’t know how to be sexy. Rob can just sort of stand there and look at something and start to smolder. And I just can’t do that. I’m a natural fidget.
Also, it includes a clip where Daniel does a kick line with his Equus horses for the Gypsy of the Year contest on Broadway:

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Golden Girls as Rocker Dudes!

The band Pistol Youth has made the video for their song In My Eyes by superimposing their faces over clips from The Golden Girls. This is one way to get some attention! You have to watch this.

Hat tip: EW

The tale of the Hot Handyman

Colin Farrell as a Keira's hot handyman? Could be fun!

Keira Knightley and Colin Farrell will star in the movie adaption of the Ken Bruen novel London Boulevard. According to Variety, "Farrell will play a South London criminal who, after release from prison, tries to give up the gangster life by becoming a handyman for a reclusive young actress."
[The] crime drama marks the directing debut of "The Departed" scribe William Monahan. Monahan adapted the Ken Bruen novel.

Hat tip: EW

Dakota Fanning confirms Twilight talks

Somehow, while I wasn't looking, Dakota Fanning turned into a lovely young woman. Over the weekend in an interview, Dakota confirmed that she is in talks to play Jane in the Twilight sequel, New Moon. I haven't heard anything more about the other Volturi.

Says Fanning, "I really hope that works out. I think it's too soon to tell right now, but it'd be really fun. I'm a huge fan."

Hat tip: Perez Hilton

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Gerard Butler to Play Robert Burns

Finally! I whooped and hollered when I read this news this morning. A biopic of Scotland's most famous poet Robert Burns has been talked about for years, and is a passion project for Scottish actor Gerard Butler. It seems the project may actually happen, and was announced today, the 250th anniversary of Burns' birth:

A biopic of Robert Burns, starring the Scots actor Gerard Butler, will begin shooting in Scotland this year.

The £5m production, which has been beset with financial difficulties, will begin filming following the launch of a government-backed campaign to raise funding.

Glasgow-born Butler, 39, has starred in blockbusters including The Phantom of the Opera and 300. The script has been written by Greenock-born Alan Sharp, who penned Rob Roy, the 1995 blockbuster starring Liam Neeson.

The film, which will be directed by Vadim Jean, a French film-maker, and produced by James Cosmo, a Scots actor, will be shot on location in Edinburgh and Burns’s native Ayrshire.

Most of the budget, which includes investment from Scottish Screen, is already in place. The remainder will be raised by signing up 250 “subscribers” to the project.

Each will commit a sum to the project in the same way that investors backed the publication in 1786 of the famous Kilmarnock Edition of Burns’s poetry. The success of the collection convinced Burns to stay in Scotland rather than emigrate to Jamaica, as he had planned.

Alex Salmond, the first minister, will host a dinner at Edinburgh Castle in May to help raise funds.

The film, titled Burns, will be the first big-screen biopic of the poet since the 1930s. It will focus on his love affairs with his wife Jean Armour and Agnes McLehose, also known as Clarinda, an Edinburgh society hostess.

“Robert Burns is rightly regarded as Scotland’s favourite son,” said Salmond.

“It would be great for Scotland if Burns could be immortalised in modern film, particularly as we mark the 250th anniversary of his birth this year and celebrate his genius through Scotland’s Year of Homecoming.”

Robert Burns' life is full of drama, and is a story that needs to be told on the big screen. This is one of the great things about being a movie star, being able to do a worthy passion project like this and bring it to fruition. Hurray!!

Julia Stiles had been attached to the film, but it's unknown if she is still involved. Hopefully, we'll hear more soon.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cadbury Eyebrows (official version)

Love those Brit ads!

Hat tip: Perez Hilton

Nick Frost and Simon Pegg in new comedy "Paul"

I had not heard about this movie before today, and the description alone has me howling. I adore Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and their Hot Fuzz is one of my all-time favorites.

‘Paul’ is about two British geeks who make their way over to America to hit up the biggest geek fest of them all… Comic-Con. From There they decide to take a road trip to Area 51, where they have a close encounter with a small alien named Paul who asks the two geeks to help him find his way home.

Paul is being directed by Greg Motolla who directed Superbad, and the new Adventureland with Kristen Stewart which darn it all I could not get tickets to see at Sundance. The alien may be 75% CGI. I cannot wait for this one! It starts filming this spring, and will be out in 2010.

Basically, these two guys could read the phone book and I'd probably crack up laughing.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Barack Obama spoof of Single Ladies

The spanks had me on the floor. This is the same guy that did a dead on Obama impression around the time of the debates with McCain.

Hat tip: Perez Hilton

Echoes from the documentary film Reporter

This morning was strange. I was dozing through my alarm clock blasting NPR and my husband said, "Listen to this! It's that guy from the movie!" Rebel leader Laurent Nkunda had been arrested near the Congo Rwanda border. A week ago that name would have had no meaning for me, and I would have had no interest in that region. I was pyschically numbed hearing about stories from Africa. But Sunday at Sundance Ranch, I saw the documentary Reporter about the New York Times Pulitzer Prize winning reporter and op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof. It was an excellent film and very moving.

The documentary is mostly about a trip that Kristof took to Rwanda and Congo with two young people. He felt that he was getting desensitized to these tragic stories, and held a contest to bring a young person with him to Africa. A young medical student and a teacher came with him and blogged about their experiences on the NY Times website. During the trip, they had a terrifying visit with Nkunda at his base in the jungle. The strange thing is that Nkunda was so charming, even though thousands of people have been killed or raped because of his men. It was like Last King of Scotland and Whitaker's portrayal of Idi Amin. That same charm of the sociopath. Nkunda even had grace said before their meal, and called himself a pastor. It was surreal, and you were afraid as Kristof dared to ask him questions like "Why do you think people call you a war lord?" And what do you do when a war lord invites you to stay for dinner?

Nicholas Kristof almost single handedly brought the genocide in Darfur to our attention. Mia Farrow became involved in the Darfur crisis because of Kristof's columns. He tries to tell the story of one individual in his columns to make you care about what is happening in these far away places. Kristof in the film talked about the research that shows if you are shown a picture of one African suffering child you will be more likely to donate more than if you are shown a picture with 2 children. It only decreases the more suffering children you see in the picture. Humans are wired to become psychically numb when the numbers become statistics. Kristof tries to break through that in his columns, and so does Eric Daniel Metzgar, the director of this documentary. After the screening, the producer and director even handed out buttons that were the red circle and line through the words "Psychic Numbing".

Metzgar filmed this himself in Congo following Kristof on his journey. He edited the film, as well. It is amazingly brave film making, and a film I urge everyone to see. Ben Affleck is an executive producer, and the film will be seen on HBO later this summer, I believe.

I was certainly changed by this film. I read this article this morning about Nkunda's arrest with new eyes, and heard the NPR report with new ears. I can't wait to read what Kristof has to say about what it means. I am no longer pyschically numbed.

Update: Kristof is running another contest to win a trip with him for American students over 18.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Star Wars - as told by someone who's never seen it

Star Wars: Retold (by someone who hasn't seen it) from Joe Nicolosi on Vimeo.

Hans! LOL!

The Curious Case of Forrest Gump

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button won 13 Oscar nominations this morning, putting it in the rarefied echelon of an elite class of films. Titanic had 14. I admire Benjamin Button, but I didn't love it.

Wow. It's really something when you see these films side by side like this. I didn't realize that Eric Roth wrote both films until I saw this video on Daily Dish:

Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Taking Chance - Mini-review

My husband and I attended Sundance as part of a package, and one of the films they picked for us was Taking Chance with Kevin Bacon. I read the description, and frankly I wasn't looking forward to it because I just didn't want to see another movie about the Iraq war. This film ended up being the film that moved me the most out of all 12 films we saw at the festival. This is a movie that everyone should see.

Taking Chance is based on the true story of Lt. Col. Mike Strobl, who volunteered to escort the body of Marine Chance Phelps who died in Iraq. You'd think this would be the most depressing film, but seeing all the kindnesses along the way was so heartwarming. The military have not allowed any pictures of the flag draped coffins, and the public has no idea all the care each fallen soldier is given, and how they are escorted every step of the way home to their families. At least I didn't know, and I was very glad to learn about it.

You don't see the Chance Phelp's face until the very end when they show home video of him. That's when I really lost it. I had been tearing up before, but I started sobbing then. It was cathartic. I feel like I have been numbed by all the reports from Iraq: another roadside bomb, the casualty totals, a constant drip, drip of bad news that ceased to catch my attention. This film made me face the human cost. The director Ross Katz said that he wanted Chance Phelps to be like the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier -- he is every life lost over there.

We got to talk to Lt. Col. Strobl (maroon sweater on right) after the film, and he told us how it came to be that HBO approached him about making the film. He had to write a report when he returned from his escort duty. He thought some of his fellow Marines might be interested in what it was like, so he emailed it to 8 friends. They then emailed it to 10 of their friends and it became a viral sensation on the internet. He realized how far it had gone when people started sending it back to him! Someone at HBO saw the email story, and approached him about making a film out of the story.

Kevin Bacon just has that carriage of a Marine. This is the third one he's played, including his role in the recent Frost/Nixon. He's not given much dialog and he's just fantastic, as he usually is. We were lucky that he came to the Q&A at our screening. Ross Katz has been a producer on films like Lost in Translation and Marie Antoinette, and Taking Chance is his directorial debut, and he co-wrote the screenplay with Mike Strobl. HBO will air this film starting Feb. 21st. Trust me. You need to see this film. Three and a half stars and a very strong recommendation. I went up and thanked the director and Mike Strobl for making this film as it's a true tribute to Chance Phelps and every other fallen soldier.

An Animated Twilight Spoof

Hat tip: Flux
I agree with you Flux, love that they are bunnies. "Your fur is so cold!" LOL!!

Owning Mr. Darcy

From The Times

Today, a handful of die-hard fans were engaged in a bitter bidding war to own a piece of the smouldering aristocrat who won the hearts of millions in the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice.

A portrait of Firth as Mr Darcy, which hung in the character’s fictional mansion in the 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel, was finally auctioned for £12,000 at Bonhams today, double its estimated price. The oil painting, which shows the actor gazing soulfully through the canvas in full period costume, featured in the fourth episode of the drama in which Elizabeth visits Darcy’s ravishing country estate, Pemberley.

It was accompanied at auction by a signed letter from Firth, who sent women nationwide into a collective swoon when he emerged from a lake tousled and dripping in a wet shirt during the same episode.

The actor wrote: “The painting was basically a bit part player in episode four of the BBC’s 1995 production of Pride and Prejudice.

“Looking at him now I would say he has weathered better than most of us. In fact, he is the only character you can meet in person who looks precisely as he did the day he was filmed.

“Whatever you think of him today, you can consider yourselves fortunate to have been spared his earliest incarnation. Mr Darcy Mark 1 came across as a shabby, insubstantial, derelict-looking actor.”

The so called “wet shirt scene”, which comes just after Elizabeth is shown gazing dreamily at the portrait hanging in Pemberley’s Great Hall, is credited with being one of the most unforgettable moments in British TV history.

The painting sold for twice the estimated amount, and proceeds were donated to charity.

You can see the $16,500 portrait in my friend Sooth's Pride and Prejudice fan video set to the song Eden. One of my all time favorites that I love to watch on my iPod.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I watched the inauguration through Obama's speech in Park City at our hotel in the little cafe. The cook came out from the kitchen to watch with other employees. I teared up at the swearing in, and again during the speech. Finally, the moment has come.

As soon as the speech finished, we had to run to catch our ride to the airport. I'm so glad I saw it live!

More on my Sundance adventures tomorrow!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Two good films from Sundance

Overall, I've not been super excited by the films I've seen at Sundance, until yesterday when we saw two excellent films.

After Antione Fuqua's (Training Day) Brooklyn's Finest in the morning, which was relentlessly dark, it was a breath of fresh air to see the documentary It Might Get Loud. The documentary is directed by Davis Guggenheim, who also directed An Inconvenient Truth.

It Might Get Loud is an ode to the electric guitar and three masters of it: Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, The Edge of U2 and Jack White of The White Stripes. There was a stir right before the film, and Jack White came in for the screening. This documentary brings all three together for two days and they talk and jam together. The film also explores each musician's life -- how they got into music, buying their first guitar, and how they write songs. It was just awesome. It will be out in theaters probably in August of this year. Watch for it as it's not to be missed!

I'll tell you about Taking Chance in my next post, but I've got to run to another screening. Taking Chance may be the best film I've seen here, and certainly the most moving.

Scenes from Main Street at Sundance

Wesley Snipes, here for Brooklyn's Finest (which isn't the greatest film).

Main Street, Park City

The Carpet Bagger's take on a changed Sundance

Can't embed this unfortunately, but if you want a taste of how this Sundance film festival is different than those in the past, watch the NY Times Carbetbagger.

This was all filmed on Thursday, and we did see more people in town on Saturday when we walked around Main Street. But still, it feels different than last year, more toned down, and fewer stars that I've seen.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Deal for Watchmen!!

Variety Reports the great news:

Warner Bros. and Fox have settled their very public battle over "Watchmen." A deal has been hammered out that that gives WB some face-saving points, but which gives Fox the equivalent of a movie star�s gross participation.

Warner Bros. gets the right to open its superhero pic on March 6 as planned, and Fox's logo will not be on the film, sources said.

Fox, on the other hand, will emerge with an upfront cash payment that sources pegged between $5 million and $10 million, covering reimbursement of $1.4 million the studio invested in development fees, and also millions of dollars in legal fees incurred during the case.

More importantly, Fox will get a gross participation in "Watchmen" that scales between 5% and 8.5%, depending on the film�s worldwide revenues. Fox also participates as a gross player in any sequels and spinoffs, sources said.

Hurray!!! It will still come out on March 6. Only a few more weeks to wait.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Greetings from Sundance!

Robert Redford opened the 25th Sundance Film Festival with a celebration of the changes coming next week in our country. The beret's a nice look.

Mary and Max, a claymation animated film from Australia, was the opening film of the festival. The star wattage was way down from last year, which had Colin Farrell's In Bruges as the first film. The only recognizable star we saw was Kevin Sorbo (Hercules, Hercules!) a couple rows back from us. None of the voice actors came to the showing of the film (Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Toni Colette and Eric Bana).

We'll see what tomorrow brings. We got most of the films I wanted for Monday except for Kristen Stewart's new film Adventureland, which was sold out.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Headed to Sundance

I'm headed to Park City, Utah tomorrow and the 25th Sundance Film Festival. I hope to be able to post while I'm there, some via cellphone. We're scheduled to see Mary and Max, which opens the festival, No Impact Man, I Love You Phillip Morris, The September Issue, Taking Chance, The Reporter and have requests in for more.

Park City will be warmer than the weather I'm leaving in Chicago!

Behind the Scenes of The Shining

Stanley Kubrick's 17 year old daughter, Vivian, filmed a documentary of behind the scenes footage during the filming of The Shining. This is some amazing footage.

Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Taylor Lautner shows off his Jacob Black abs!

Taylor Lautner tells Access Hollywood about the 26 pounds he's put on to play Jacob Black in New Moon. He says he has agreed to add 4 more. Damn, boy, those are some guns and abs!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Street Art: Joshua Allen Harris' Inflatable Bag Monsters

Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan

"Is This Really Happpening?" - Kate Winslet wins

Mark Wahlberg amuses in the ad lib, and then in case you missed it, the shock and surprise of Kate Winslet winning a second Golden Globe. Love the "Oh, God, who's the other one -- Angelina!" "Is this really happening?!"

Later, she said those papers in her hand were not a speech but blotting papers for face shine. Pretty good speech off the cuff.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Golden Globes Reaction

I was thrilled that Colin Farrell won for Best Actor Comedy for In Bruges. I adored that film, and thought he was possibly his best ever in it. He seemed genuinely surprised. It was a huge night for Slumdog Millionaire with 4 wins. Heath Ledger's posthumous win for The Dark Knight was expected, but Kate Winslet nabbing TWO statuettes was a stunner. She seemed totally shocked to win the second, the Best Actress for Revolutionary Road. I haven't seen either of her films yet, but they've just come to my local multi-plex. Still hoping The Wrestler will come out to the 'burbs, too, as Mickey Rourke won Best Actor, Drama.

A huge night for HBO, too, with multiple wins for John Adams, Laura Dern for Recount (yeah!), Gabriel Byrne for In Treatment (double yeah!) and shocker Anna Paquin for True Blood! Squee! Fun night!

Milk - Mini-review

Got Milk yet? If not, you should. You've seen the commercials where Sean Penn as Harvey Milk shouts to the crowd, "I'm Harvey Milk, and I'm here to recruit you!" Well, I'm Movie Maven, and I'm here to recruit you to see a fantastic film, and one of the best performances I've ever seen of Sean Penn.

We all know how the story ends, with the assassination of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official. The movie begins with the news footage of the real Diane Feinstein reporting that he and the mayor of San Francisco have been shot. The movie is then told in a series of flashbacks interspersed with Harvey Milk taping his story into an audio tape recorder "in case of my assassination." It's an incredible story, and even knowing the ending, I wept at the end when it happens.

I have never seen Sean Penn better than he is in this film. Usually he's so dour and morose, and as Harvey Milk he practically vibrates with joie de vivre and passion with that infectious smile. His romance with James Franco is so affecting. Their scenes together, especially their "meet cute" in the subway are possibly the most romantic I saw all year. Josh Brolin as Dan White, the man who kills Harvey Milk, is also excellent, and will like earn a supporting nomination this year.

I just adore this film. You'd think it would be depressing, but it is so uplifting how Milk fights for gay rights. It's particularly poignant given the Prop. 8 debacle in California. Highly recommended, four stars. Consider yourself recruited!

Are the People On TV Drunk Yet?

We're only in the first hour of watching the Golden Globes. We started watching during a late dinner with the kids. They complained, and asked WHY we were watching this show. I amused my teenager by telling him that this award show is one where the actors sit at dinner tables and drink throughout the evening, and that the speeches only get more interesting as the night goes on. That earned a smirk.

20 minutes later, my 8 year old came in the room and asked, "Are the people on TV drunk yet?"


Richard Armitage Cold Feet fan video

Yum fest for the day from my friend Sooth. Such steamy looks!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Frost/Nixon - Mini-review

'Tis Oscar season, and all the heavy hitters come out in December. The holiday
season for me was a chance to catch up on all the fantastic movies released just in time to beat the Oscar deadline.

Frost/Nixon stars Frank Langella as Richard Nixon, and Michael Sheen as interviewer David Frost. I just love these mano a mano acting films. These two actors also played the same roles in the play in London and on Broadway. Frank Lingella won a Tony for his amazing portrayal as Nixon, and he's likely to get an Oscar nomination as well. Ron Howard made it a condition that both original actors from the play be in the movie. There are some other great actors, too == Oliver Platt, Sam Rockwell, and Kevin Bacon.

I heard David Frost interviewed on NPR, and he says that the play and the movie exaggerate his underdog status to make for heightened drama. It is true that he had to put his own money on the line to make this interview happen.

Michael Sheen is an accomplished theater actor, but is best known to American audiences for playing Tony Blair in The Queen. I've heard a rumor that he might play Tony Blair again in an upcoming film. I just saw a commercial for the third Underworld film, and had no idea that he's had a major role in that action vampire series since the first one. I'll have to add those to my Netflix queue, especially since Bill Nighy is in them, too. It was bugging me that he had been in something else familiar, and I hit my forehead, D'oh!, when I read on IMDB that he was Lord Oliver, one of the bad guys in Timeline, one of my favorite films.

Frank Langella is a character actor, recently playing Perry White in Superman Returns. It's so great to see him get the chance to play such a big role on film. He's had an accomplished stage career, winning three Tony awards on Broadway.

This is a fantastic movie and it is just so fun to watch these great actors take each other on. Another one for the Best Picture list, and probably another Director Oscar nod for Ron Howard. Four stars, and one of the best films of the year.

Slumdog Millionaire - Mini-Review

Slumdog Millionaire is the little movie that could. It seemed to come out of nowhere and has ended at the top of several critics' top 10 lists, and was named best film of the year by the National Board of Review. Danny Boyle, director of Trainspotting, has made an incredible film and may go all the way to an Best Picture Oscar.

This film is the improbable story of a kid from the slums of Mumbai (Bombay) who works at one of those infamous call centers. It's a love story - he doesn't care about the money except as a way to win the freedom of his childhood sweetheart. We see the story through flashbacks to explain how this kid can answer all the questions correctly on India's version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

How can Jamal, a kid from the slums of Mumbai, know the answer to who is on the American $100 bill? One of the flashbacks shows how Jamal and his brother hustle as tour guides at the Taj Mahal, to tourists from all over the world, and especially gullible Americans.

This is a wonder of a film. A true gem. I don't want to spoil much more of the plot. This a film you should see and experience yourself. You will see it among the best picture nominees, and it may go all the way. I cannot recommend it highly enough to you. Four stars.

Rachel Getting Married - Review

I love Anne Hathaway. She is a comedic talent, but we saw her first dramatic role as Jake Gyllenhaal's wife in Brokeback Mountain. She surprised people in that small role. In Rachel Getting Married she stars as Kym, fresh out of rehab to attend her sister's wedding. She is raw, and unafraid to show us a character that we don't really like, but we can't look away as Kym trys to get her family's attention and love.

Jonathon Demme directed this movie with a hand held documentary style. You feel like you are a guest at this wedding weekend. The extras in them movie who play wedding guests weren't always told what was going to happen, and you share the stunned looks on their faces as you witness the uncomfortable family moments. Weddings bring up all sorts of family issues.

James McAvoy, Anne's co-star in Becoming Jane, wrote about her amazing performance in Variety:

The character of Kym is a challenge both for the actor and the audience. She is clearly our protagonist and our "way in" to the film. We want to, and, indeed, have to identify with her for the story to work. Yet, she is so destructive, at times her actions so repellent, that it strains the audience/protagonist relationship -- all of which makes that relationship very interesting. I was so compelled to watch -- sometimes through my fingers -- because Anne Hathaway has that indefinable quality of making an audience identify with the character she is playing.

At her sister's wedding, Kym constantly behaves like the most important person in the room. It would be so easy to dislike Kym, but Anne makes you feel that her character is perhaps in another room -- both mentally and socially, albeit not physically, and therefore her calamitous outburst and limelight stealing seem like an ill-conceived attempt to connect. And in an extended post-wedding party scene, Kym dances with the group. This moved me to tears as I realized that her flailing arms and "look at me" gusto were the result of a self-conscious and forced attempt to fit in. In the end we see her dancing with her eyes closed among a hundred or so people and she is completely alone. That is a lot of empathy and understanding to garner from one shot, but Anne gives a performance so open and raw that I could not help but connect with Kym, even if her family was not able to do so.

I also enjoyed seeing Debra Winger in this film. God, it's good to see her act again. How ironic that the actress known for playing the daughter in Terms of Endearment, one of the best mother daughter films, is here playing the emotionally distant mother in Rachel Getting Married.

The screenplay for Rachel Getting Married was written by Jenny Lumet, daughter of director Sidney Lumet, and granddaughter of Lena Horne. The dishwasher contest in the movie is based on a night Bob Fosse had dinner at her parents' home:
I was 11 or so and we’re at dinner with Bob Fosse. My dad’s loading the dishwasher and Bob Fosse is next to him with a cigarette and he says, “You know, Sidney, if you put the salad bowl and the containers in the top level, you’ll have 10% more space in the dishwasher.” And my Dad says, “Bobby, go fuck yourself.”

You’d think these titans would have something better to talk about or do! My Dad says the forks go up and Bob tells him that it’s so amateur. I can’t say that at 11 I knew I should use this in art, but it stuck with me because it was psychotic behavior.

There may have been a slip up on the Golden Globes website which briefly showed a star next to Anne Hathaway's name for Best Actress for Rachel Getting Married. Tomorrow night we'll find out if she beat the likes of Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet.

I give Rachel Getting Married 4 stars. It's an amazing film, and a fantastic raw performance by Anne Hathaway that I won't soon forget.

Jeff Bridges' Cool Photography

Like Variety's H.A.L. blogger, I too miss Jeff Bridges' set photography from the now defunct Premiere magazine. He's posting it now to his very interesting website. Check out his photographs from Iron Man!

Hat tip: Variety's H.A.L.

John Waters' advice for Obama

Director John Waters gives advice to Barack Obama. Unfortunately, couldn't embed.

Hat tip: Variety's H.A.L.

Trouble in Nottingham?

Page Six reports:

RUSSELL Crowe is throwing his considerable weight around the pre-production of "Nottingham," telling producers to get a new director, demanding script rewrites and, now, forcing Sienna Miller out of the flick.

Miller, who was to play Maid Marian, left the movie yesterday after being "put on hold" while shooting was pushed back from February to April.

An insider said, "It is a mess. Russell never lost the weight he put on for 'Body of Evidence' - and so the love scenes between him and Sienna would have been laughable. He's so old and fat and she's so young and gorgeous. It's just . . . gross."

Word in Hollywood is that producers are "looking for an older, plumper actress to play the role so [Crowe] doesn't look like a paunchy grandpa. Someone in her late 30s or early 40s." A rep for Miller - who's said to be "fine" and "about to sign onto two other movies" - declined to comment.

Crowe, who plays both the Sheriff of Nottingham and Robin Hood, is trying to lose the lard. One producer who said Crowe has to shed 35 pounds cracked, "We can't have Robin Hood looking more like Friar Tuck."

The Oscar-winner has demanded serious script rewrites. "Originally the movie was about a love triangle between Maid Marian, Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham," our tipster said. "It is now all about Russell's Robin Hood. Literally, 40 pages of script were redone and now are just devoted to him and his massive ego. It's amazing."

Despite studio denials, we hear Crowe is trying to get director Ridley Scott fired. Calls were made to several prominent directors over the holidays to find a replacement. "All of this was done behind Ridley's back," the insider said. "He has no idea."

A studio rep acknowledged that Miller was "released" but flatly denied "these rumors" and said, " 'Nottingham' is moving ahead with Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott."