I had the good fortune to meet Nadine Labaki, the director and star of the Lebanese film, Caramel at Sundance last year. She was named one of Variety's 10 women directors to watch. Finally, I watched her debut film today as it had bubbled up on my Netflix queue. (And yes, she's just as gorgeous and delightful in person.)
When you think Lebanese film, you probably are picturing some war-torn landscape and a dramatic film filled with religious and political strife. Nadine Labaki's Caramel is none of that. It's a romantic comedy set in modern Beirut about 5 women who work or visit a beauty shop. The Caramel of the title is what is used for waxing in the Middle East. The opening shot of the film is the caramel being made, sugar, lemon and water cooked to a paste, that you can't help tasting. It's a metaphor for the women's lives as well, something bittersweet, and used for removing things they don't like about themselves.
I thoroughly enjoyed this look into another world. These women live modern lives, and yet there is that tension between East and West, and tradition. One woman is a lesbian, one is having an affair with a married man, and another worries that her fiance will find out she isn't a virgin on their wedding night. The problems of love are universal, but some of their challenges unique. Nadine's character Layale tries to book a hotel room for her and her lover, and is asked over an over for an ID card to prove she is married. The woman who is about to be married, looks to getting surgery to restore her "virginity" for her wedding night. But all through there is plenty of comedy. Another amazing thing about this film is that all but two of the actors had no acting experience, and you'd never know it!
It's just a delightful film, and so refreshing to see these stories told through a woman's eyes. This isn't the formulaic rom coms we're used to. Three and a half stars, and I look forward to seeing what Nadine Labaki gives us next! Caramel was a darling of the festival circuit and has an incredible 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Watch the trailer below to get a bit of the flavor of Caramel:
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Oh, to be a fly on the wall! Right after the Oscars, Hugh Jackman and Baz Luhrmann flew out to Tokyo to promote Australia, and on the same flight were the actors of Twilight, including Robert Pattinson. From Just Jared:
At around 10PM on Wednesday (February 26), Rob joined Australia star Hugh Jackman, director Baz Luhrmann and producer John Palermo at a karaoke bar near their hotel, as first reported by E!. Here’s the connection: On Sunday, Rob presented at the Oscars, Hugh ably hosted the swank event, John created the flashy opening number, Baz choreographed the “Musicals Are Back!” number and everyone wound up taking the same flight to Japan together. A Tokyo journalist confirms to JustJared.com that the foursome (plus friends) sang for a few hours before Rob’s costars Kristen and Taylor joined in on the fun.
The Times has a great interview with Michael Fassbender, fresh off his success at the BAFTAS for Hunger. Hunger comes out on DVD in the UK this month, and will be released at the end of March in the US.
Hunger, he says, as we slip into a nearby café, has “changed things hugely. Now I can get into rooms early when projects are starting up”. In recent months he has been mentioned as Heathcliffe in a new film of Wuthering Heights and in the Dennis Waterman role, opposite Ray Winstone, in a movie version of The Sweeney. But the most exciting is Inglourious Basterds (sic), Tarantino’s Second World War tale of a suicide squad sent to kill as many Nazis as they can.
Filming ended in December and Fassbender had a blast playing a British commando who teams up with Brad Pitt’s homicidal Yanks. His character, Lt Archie Hicox, was based, Tarantino told him, on a young George Sanders. “So I got out all the original Saints and Sanders films. It’s a very particular way of speaking, affected accent and mannerisms. I just really went to town and found quite a lot of humour in it, I hope.” Pitt certainly thought so. “In our first scene together I started doing my character and he started laughing.” He smiles. “He was very supportive.”
Read the rest here.
The name George Sanders didn't immediately bring a voice to mind, but we've all heard him -- he was Shere Kahn the tiger in Jungle Book. I thought Michael might be one of the Germans, which his background, but I'm relieved he'll have a hopefully bigger part as the British commander. Can't wait to see what "going to town with it" means! Here's another example of George Sanders on Youtube.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Now I have officially seen everything. Quincy Jones, Forest Whitaker and Samuel Jackson, okay, but Ron Howard?!! Jake Gyllenhaal?!! WTF?!
This is Michael Fassbender's amazing film Hunger, which has gotten raves on the festival circuit and will finally get released in the U.S. in March. It opens limited on March 20th, and should have a wider release on March 27th. Michael plays Bobby Sands, and lost an incredible amount of weight to show the hunger strike.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
“Azharuddin and Rubina pose with Slumdog director Danny Boyle at the Oscars”
Two of the children in Slumdog Millionaire were cast from the slums of Mumbai. Here are two pictures of their living conditions:
The poverty stricken child stars of Slumdog Millionaire are set to be property tycoons after being promised new homes by the film’s Oscar winning director Danny Boyle and by Mumbai officials.
Read the whole article at the Daily Mail.
Boyle and producer Christian Colson told the Daily Mail that Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail and Rubina Ali and their families will be moved to apartments worth £20,000 each in the coming months. But in an astonishing turn of events, officials from the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority - a Mumbai housing association - have now also said they want to gift the children a new flat each. (The Daily Mail)
Producers said they would work with an NGO to find a suitable social worker to liaise with the families to ensure the children’s wellbeing over the next few years.
Boyle said: ‘It is not about throwing cash at the problem – that doesn’t work. It is about investing in the long term. The key thing is to make sure they stay in school.
‘We want the kids to have more than wealth, we want them to have the skills that will set them up for life.’
Colson and Boyle told the Daily Mail the children and their families are looking at new apartments on the edge of the area where they live.
Boyle told the Daily Mail: ‘These are bricks and mortar flats. They will have electricity, running water and good sanitation. They will still be close to their friends and extended family. Their community is very important to them, and they don’t want to move too far away from them.
‘They have looked at a number of places but like anyone choosing a home, it is taking some time for them to agree on a final one.’
The film company has also agreed to pay for a rickshaw driver to take the children to and from school every day for the next eight years – to ensure they attend.
Hat tip: Awards Daily
Russell Crowe has found a worthy match. The film Nottingham, which is now evidently getting a title change to the more traditional Robin Hood, originally had Sienna Miller attached to play Maid Marian. There were rumors the stick thin Sienna Miller made the presently portly Russell Crowe look even wider and older. I'm not sure Cate Blanchett is any less thin, but she's certainly a better acting match for Russell Crowe, and a stronger personality. Variety has the skinny:
Cate Blanchett will play Maid Marian alongside Russell Crowe's Robin Hood in the Ridley Scott-directed drama for Universal Pictures.
The picture, which had been called "Nottingham" but is undergoing a title change, begins production in early April.
Crowe plays Robin of Loxley in an origin story of Robin Hood that hews close to historical facts of the period. Abandoned as a child, he finds community with the common people of Nottingham. Robin's abandonment and trust issues hamper his ability to fall in love. He meets his match in Marian, a strong, independent woman.
That Hugh Jackman, he's amazing! LOL!
Oliver went on to eviscerate Stewart for laying "two massive turds on that stage" and praise Jackman as: "...charisma stuffed inside a Greek god coated in raw talent, and garnished with what I can only imagine is a spectacular Australian c**k."
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Interesting analysis on Keith Olbermann last night about the sea change in reaction to political speeches at the Oscars:
Hat tip: Awards Daily
Monday, February 23, 2009
What a glorious Oscar ceremony last night! Count me in among those who loved Hugh Jackman as host. I adored the opening number (Craig's List dancers! LOL! "I meant to see The Reader!") I was very moved by each major acting award having five past winners honor each of the nominees. Looking at Anne Hathaway's tear filled eyes hearing her acting being praised, you felt that each nominee could feel like a winner in that moment, even if only one could go home with the statue.
The montages showcased all the films of the year by genre, romance, action, and comedy, etc. since those were certainly not all represented in the nominations. I thought that was a nice change up since most previous years montages have been about the history of films. The pace of the show seemed faster, at least to me. There were several funny moments like Steve Martin telling Tina Fey, "Don't fall in love with me." I about died laughing at Ben Stiller's impression of Joaquin Phoenix from Letterman. He got it exactly, but my guests at my party didn't all know what he was referencing. For those in the know, like everyone in the theater, it was a laugh riot. The gum!
The Judd Appatow film for comedies with James Franco and Seth Rogan really had me in stitches because the interspersed scenes from some of the most serious films of the year like The Reader and Doubt with all the other comedies. What a riot!
At least all the women in my media room agreed, we couldn't wait for Hugh Jackman to appear each time. He was fantastic, and I could have seen more banter with the audience from him. I read that he did quite a bit during the commercial breaks, even passing out cookies to the stars in the theater. I'm not sure the big musical number with Beyonce, Zach Efron and the young stars of Mamma Mia will convince the world that the musical is back. I enjoyed it, and can never get enough of Hugh in a top hat. I chuckled that Zach Efron couldn't keep his hat on for his bow.
I held a contest at my party for the most correct on the ballot, but keep myself out of it. I had been reading everything I could before I made my picks, even if I couldn't manage to see everything. I had a great night, getting 21 out of 24 right. I only missed on Foreign film (which was a stunner for everyone), Art direction and animated short.
It was possibly one of the most predictable Oscars, but it still felt great seeing all those little kids on the stage when Slumdog Millionaire won. I won't soon forget the the two older stars of the film, Dev Patel and Freida Pinto, holding the youngest actors in their arms and bouncing them up and down. Speaking of bouncing, who would have expected Danny Boyle to give a Tigger bounce up to the podium to accept his best director statue!
One of my guests said she thought it was the best award show she's ever seen. It was moving, it was funny, and I think the new producers, from the movie Dreamgirls, did a great job. I liked the changes, and hope they bring back Hugh Jackman again. He's a movie star, and a true showman. Bravo!
Sunday, February 22, 2009
You heard that right. Eclipse, the third installment in the Twilight saga, already has a release date for June 30th, 2010, making it a summer tent pole movie.
New Moon comes out November 20th this year and will be directed by Chris Weitz.
EW reports the latest:
Chris Weitz will not direct the third film in the Twilight series, Eclipse, a source close to the production tells EW.com exclusively. Because New Moon, which Weitz is helming, and Eclipse are due to be released so close together (on Nov. 20, 2009, and June 30, 2010, respectively), Weitz will be in post-production on New Moon at the same time that Eclipse will be shooting. That said, the source confirms a report that the movies will not be shot simultaneously or back-to-back; there will be a brief gap between the production of both films.I hope Summit isn't sacrificing quality in its race to cash in on Twilight's popularity with fickle teens.
I had heard that Funny People, Judd Appatow's next film, would be about stand up comics. This is not the story I was expecting, but I'm intrigued. Love the part mocking Eric Bana's accent! Due out July 31.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Tomorrow is the big day. I've been poring over the blogs, reading the papers, and watched as many of the nominated films as I could. I usually try to see all the best picture nominees, but I had very mixed feelings about the story of The Reader, so I have not seen that one yet. It doesn't matter, as Slumdog Millionaire is a lock to win.
Best Picture and Director
It's Slumdog Millionaire's year and Danny Boyle made an incredible film. It's the little indie film that could, and I've even read that the little children in the film that were cast from the slums of Mumbai are being flown to the Oscars ceremony. Jai Ho!
Kate Winslet has been nominated 5 times previously and always been the bridesmaid and not the bride. She campaigned to be nominated for her performance in Revolutionary Road, but the members of the academy had other ideas. It was a joke on her appearance in Ricky Gervais' Extras that if she wanted to get an Oscar, she needed to act in a holocaust film. Funny how things work out. I will be happy for her, but in my heart know that she will win for two great performances this year, and as career recognition. I just wish it wasn't for The Reader.
This is one of the categories where I'm really not sure what's going to happen. Some say Sean Penn for Milk, and some say Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler. Mickey Rourke has an amazing personal comeback story to match a wrenching performance as Randy the Ram. He's also a wild card giving speeches at awards ceremonies. Just watch this one at the BAFTA's where he thanks Marisa Tomei for taking her clothes off as he enjoyed looking at her! And I bet some academy voters do vote to make the ceremony more interesting. Mickey Rourke was more than worthy, but I can't stop thinking about Sean Penn in Milk. It was such a transformative performance. I usually think of Sean Penn as being so morose, and he smiled and just became Harvey Milk. It was the best I've ever seen him. My heart goes to Sean Penn, but anything could happen. Mickey Rourke won the Independent Spirit award tonight, but Sean won the SAG award.
Anyone who says they know what's going to happen in this category is lying. The odds are on Penelope Cruz for Vicky Christina Barecelona. She was like a hurricane in that film, vulnerable, crazed and a woman you couldn't turn your eyes away from. Viola Davis had only about 12 minutes in Doubt, but she went toe to toe with Meryl Streep and it was a scene I can't stop thinking about. She made quite the impact. If Judi Dench can win for a short performance, why not Viola? Supporting actress is the category where academy voters have given us surprises in the past, so it's anyone's guess.
If anyone but Heath Ledger wins for The Joker, there may be a riot, both in my house and the Kodak theater. Locked.
So the only question is how many awards will Slumdog win? Probably editing, cinematography, adapted screenplay, score, and Jai Ho for song. Benjamin Button should win for visual effects and makeup. I haven't seen any of the documentaries, but everyone was buzzing about Man on Wire at Sundance, so that's the likely win there. Original screenplay will probably be Milk, but could be Wall-E, but I'd be thrilled if it was In Bruges. I loved that movie!
I can't wait to see what Hugh Jackman, Baz, and the new producers of the Oscars have cooked up. Carpetbagger reports that the Oscars opening number will have a marching band:
From the looks of it, the Oscars are going to be more fun than the Rose Parade. Actually, they may look a little like the Rose Parade. One industry hand, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect relations with the Academy, just wandered by the Kodak Theater and found the University of Southern California marching band lining up for show credentials. The kids had their marching band T-shirts, headdresses, the works. “I’m part of the show’s opening number,” one bubbled.Most details of the show have been under wraps. But the mighty Trojans appear to be somehow wrapped up in it. The band sure does like awards shows; it recently performed at the Grammys, backing up Radiohead in its rendition of “15 Step.”
Friday, February 20, 2009
The Academy website has a special Oscar party kit! They've always had a ballot you can print out, but this year they have added a crossword puzzle, and even a bingo game. The 9 Bingo sheets have squares like red dress, mispronounced name, crying and stumble on the way to the stage! They've included recipes from Wolfgang Puck and videos on Oscar party decorating. Fun!
Everyone at my Oscar party gets a ballot, and I give out nominated DVD's for the person with the most right at the end of the night (taking myself out of the contest). The person with the most wrong gets a prize, too -- a gift card to the local cinema because they obviously need to get out to the movies more!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
An article on today's Huffington Post about the trial for the contract killing of Russian Journalist Anna Politkovskaya reminded me that I had not finished out my Sundance summary.
Monday was the last full day we spent at Sundance. We saw Peter Travis' Endgame starring William Hurt, first thing that morning. Peter Travis recently directed Vantage Point, and I didn't realize until I checked him on Imdb later, had directed one of my favorite British mini-series, "The Jury". Endgame tells the story of the last days of Apartheid in South Africa. Johnny Lee Miller plays a PR executive of a gold company who organizes secret talks in England between Mbeki and Willie Esterhusye, a philosophy professor played by William Hurt. It was a fascinating movie, and very well done. I wish there had been a little more insight into each man, maybe with a script by Peter Morgan who wrote The Queen and Frost/Nixon. The film will be shown on BBC4 next month, and I noted in the credits it was also produced by Masterpiece, so it may come to us on PBS soon. It's more suited to TV than the big screen.
We saw Adam next, and I've written about how great that film was in a separate post. As soon as Adam finished, my husband ran out to get in line for Brief Conversations with Hideous Men which was playing in the same Eccles Theater. We did not get as great seats, as you'll see from the pictures.
Brief Conversations with Hideous Men is based on a book of short stories by David Foster Wallace, who committed suicide last year. It's the directorial debut of John Krasinski (The Office) who also stars in the film, because an unnamed lead actor dropped out at the last minute. The device to show all the short stories is that a woman (Julianne Nicholson) is doing interviews for research at a university. John Krasinski obviously called in lots of favors as he got several good character actors to participate like Dominic Cooper, Joey Slotnick, Frankie Faison, Bobby Canavale, Will Arnett, Timothy Hutton and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie. Not every interview works equally well, but most have quite the interesting twist to them. In the Q&A, John Krasinski told us that doing the airport scene from the book in college was what decided him to pursue acting as a career. The problem with the film is that it feels very academic, like something you'd see at a college. I'm not saying the actors didn't show talent, but the whole left me rather cold, and didn't flow as a story, but just a more disjointed set of short story vignettes. One reviewer said it belonged as an off-Broadway play instead of a movie. It wasn't my favorite film, and I had been looking forward to it because of Krasinski. The theater was packed with other fans, but I don't expect to see this movie at your local multi-plex anytime soon. It did have some laughs. You can see three clips from the film, here.
Since we couldn't score tickets to Adventureland, we made reservations for a nice dinner out on Main Street. Checking in at the hostess desk, I realized the John Cleese was sitting at the table near the front window. The way I was seated, I looked his direction all night. Then when I asked where the ladies' room was, I was told that it was in the basement. "There's a private party down there, but just walk all the way to the back." I walked right by Billy Bob Thorton who was sitting at the end of his table. That's Sundance!
The last movie we saw was 211: Anna. It's a documentary about the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya who was murdered in a contract killing. The 211 in the title is because she was the 211th journalist to be killed in Russia. Her reporting on Chechnya and the truth about the way the Russian government handled the terrorist situations at the school in Beslan and the Moscow theater crisis. She was an amazingly brave woman. She had been the victim of intentional poisoning on one of her trips to Chechnya, and nothing would stop her reporting the truth. It got her killed. There was lots of archive footage of Anna, including an interview after the poisoning. She was asked if she would go back to Chechnya, and she just said "Of course!"
What was astonishing to me, was the average Russian citizens who were interviewed for the film who just shrugged at another journalist being murdered for reporting that painted Putin in a bad light. It was a sort of "what do you expect?" kind of attitude. The article from the Guardian today reported that the men accused of her murder had been acquitted. You don't appreciate what we have in our country with the free press until you see something like this.
I couldn't find a clip from 211: Anna, but found a clip from another film that shows Anna speaking about her fears in the first part:
We were walking home to our hotel after 1:00 in the morning after the documentary. In the parking lot of the hotel, we were passed by a tall man. After he passed us, my husband and I looked at each other, "That was Liam Neeson!" We went into the lobby and saw some of our friends, and told them who we just saw. A man with them we hadn't noticed said, "Let me guess, it was Liam Neeson." Our friends had been having beers with Liam and his co-star James Nesbitt after seeing Five Minutes of Heaven. What an end to a Sundance day!
You can see the rest of my pictures from Sundance here on Flickr.
HBO is premiering Taking Chance on Saturday, and here is a great conversation with Mike Strobl, the marine who wrote the story:
Also, Daily Beast has a great interview with Kevin, where he talks about everything from Footloose to Taking Chance.
You’ve played military men many times before (A Few Good Men, Frost/Nixon), though.
I have. And certainly, the time that I spent at Quantico on A Few Good Men was very helpful...I feel really strongly that with the military in general, when you have that haircut, and you’ve got that uniform on, people just sometimes have a hard time seeing past that, through the fact that you have a human being inside there, inside that uniform. And I think there’s a responsibility also to state, even though Mike is a Marine, there’s more to him than that.
Read my review of Taking Chance here. We were lucky to have an extensive conversation with Mike Strobl, and he's an incredible guy.
Moviefone have flown in to rescue those last-minute Oscar bandwagon fans who desperately want to pretend they know all about Frozen River ("It's kind of like 'Maria Full of Grace' meets 'Fargo.'"), Milk ("It's got a positive, uplifting message that anyone -- gay or straight -- can connect with."), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ("It's kind of like 'Forrest Gump' meets 'Cocoon.'"), Slumdog Millionaire ("The dance scene at the end made me want to run out and rent a week's worth of Bollywood movies.") and those other Oscar-nominated movies ... even if they didn't yet have a chance to actually watch them. So head on over to Moviefone to snag some of these fantastic one-liners, then thank us later ... after you impress your friends and woo everyone with your slick, snarky movie knowledge.Read the rest of the tips here!
Hat tip: Cinematical
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
The Oscar producers have been tight lipped about who is doing the presenting at the Oscars this year. They are even going to have some stars not appear on the red carpet to keep up the suspense (to the outcry of the fashionistas.) Evidently, the producers are trying to garner that young audience, bringing on the star power of Edward Cullen.HitFlix reports:
Robert Pattinson will be presenting an award during this year's telecast.
The "Twilight" star had long been rumored to appear on Hollywood's biggest night, but barring any unforeseen last minute conflicts, he'll be giving the franchise's legion of fans something to look forward to on Oscar Sunday.
Still unclear is whether Pattinson's "Twilight" co-star Kristen Stewart will also appear on the telecast and what award he will specifically present. And, obviously, speculation will now run rampant on who Pattinson's date down the red carpet will be.
Hat tip: Perez Hilton
Confessions of a Shopaholic is a movie plagued by bad timing. Jerry Bruckheimer, uber-action movie producer, shepherded this frothy romantic film, and Valentine's weekend probably seemed like the perfect time to release this film. What he couldn't have known is that our economy would go into collapse and excessive shopping would seem, well, excessive. Nearly every reviewer of this film has taken that tack, using a movie review as an excuse to write an essay on the evils of our economy and over consumption, even bringing up films of the Depression as examples.
Well, yes, there were The Grapes of Wrath and so on in the 30's, but there were also films full of tuxedos, silk dresses and beautiful women dripping with diamonds. Fred Astaire or Philadelphia Story, anyone? People in the 30's wanted to escape at the movies, and this weekend, so did I.
I love the chick lit books of Sophie Kinsella. Rebecca Bloomwood is her heroine for a series of Shopaholic books, and this movie is a combination of the first two. Isla Fisher is an amazing comidienne and there is lots of crazy physical slapstick in the movie. People have compared Isla to Lucille Ball, and not just because of the red hair. She is amazing, and you can't help but adore her, as does Luke Brandon played by Hugh Dancy. Dancy doesn't have a ton to do in this movie as her straight man, but yowza, there is one particular dance scene that had me on the floor laughing.
And that's what this movie is all about. I laughed, and laughed out loud hard, not just chuckling silently. It is damned funny, and Rebecca ends up redeeming herself. She gets herself out of her mess, and is not rescued by her parents (John Goodman and Joan Cusack) or Luke.
I saw this movie in one of the largest theaters at my cineplex that had lots of empty seats, and you could tell that Bruckheimer thought this would be a blockbuster. It ended up the 5th movie for the weekend in box office, but if it had come out a year ago, probably would have been much bigger.
As Owen Gleiberman put it in his raving EW Review:
From its talking storewindow mannequins to its sneaky debauched heroine, the movie is romantic-comedy fizz, but it's fizz that bubbles like champagne.
I give Confessions of a Shopaholic 3 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and think Isla Fisher and Hugh Dancy were terrific. Can't wait to see what Isla Fisher does next. She is a comedic gem! All I can tell you is that her baby with Sacha Baron Cohen has quite the comedic genes!
I saw this trailer over the weekend before Confessions of a Shopaholic. I think I vaguely new that Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody were doing a film together, but I didn't know it was a madcap con comedy! Looks very fun!
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Are these films all Oscar worthy? No. But I love them, and would stop and watch them again on cable any day. Not necessarily in order:
14. Down With Love. Ewan McGregor in a frothy musical. What's not to love?! The costumes and sets just make me smile.
13. Moulin Rouge. Ewan McGregor in an angst filled frenetic musical. What's not to love?! And it's Baz!
12. Amelie. A French film filled with whimsy.
11. The Holiday. Jack Black is sweet, but Jude Law redeemed himself to me (somewhat), and that took some doing. He's what we call mommy porn in this movie, and I just try to ignore Cameron Diaz.
10. Far From Heaven. Modeled after the melodramas of the 50's and just beautiful to look at, too.
9. Lost in Translation. Not everyone likes this film, but I adore it. Bill Murray is so great in this, and from someone who knows him, totally himself in it.
8. 40 Year Old Virgin. What could have been just a crass comedy, is actually incredibly sweet. The first of the Judd Appatow dynasty.
7. Pride & Prejudice. Nothing can match Colin Firth's mini-series, but this movie does a great job capturing the essence of the romance in a two hour film.
6. Bridget Jones Diary. Hilarious, and also you have Colin Firth spoofing his own performance as Darcy from the Pride and Prejudice mini-series.
Bridget: Wait a minute... nice boys don't kiss like that.5. Twilight. Swoon! An excellent film version of the novel.
Mark Darcy: Oh, yes, they f**king do.
4. Once. A simply magical little film. The two musicians in the film became lovers in real life, although I heard they just broke up.
3. Brokeback Mountain. If Heath Ledger wins the Oscar for playing the Joker this year, it will partly for being robbed for his amazing portrayal of Ennis. I dare you not to cry when he clutches those two shirts, one inside the other.
2. Kate & Leopold. I absolutely adore Hugh Jackman in this movie as the Duke. It's my favorite film of his, and it tickles me pink that he and Liev Shreiber are reuniting in Wolverine, where Liev will play Sabretooth.
Leopold: I warn you scoundrel, I was trained at the King's Academy and schooled in weaponry by the palace guard. You stand no chance. When you run, I shall ride, when you stop, the steel of this strap shall be lodged in your brain.Love Actually. I remember seeing this movie in the theater with a friend, and the first thing she said when it ended was, "I want to see it again!" There are so many great moments in this movie (Hugh Grant dancing!), but I love Colin Firth and his maid who only speaks Portuguese. He learns enough to come back and propose to her:
[bag snatcher throws down the bag an flees, onlookers applaud]
Jamie: Beautiful Aurelia, I've come here with a view of asking you to marriage me. I know I seems an insane person - because I hardly knows you - but sometimes things are so transparency, they don't need evidential proof. And I will inhabit here, or you can inhabit with me in England.
From EW Pop Watch:
OMG! Okay, maybe it's not THE Robert Pattinson, but whoever it is tweeting as FakerPattz is close enough to the real thing, if not better (he even writes back!). Recent tweets include:Seriously, you must check out the Twilight Makeover Game, because it is a riot!
"Day 127 of not washing my hair."
"I love showing up at Twilight premiers. Now if only hot girls my age would throw me panties instead of scary Twimoms."
It turns out Rob Pattinson is all over the Twittersphere: A quick search turned up a slew of streams, many by folks claiming to be the pastey-faced thesp, but most content to offer minute-by-minute updates of breaking Rob news. All are required reading for Twihards. Here are some of our favorites:
Rob_Pattinson turned us onto the Twilight Makeover Game, which allows young girls (and underemployed adults) to cut and style Rob's hair, change his clothes and apply tasteful amounts of foundation, mascara, and lipstick.
RobPattzNews features links to paparazzi shots, gossip, and even EW's excerpt from Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight diary.
Friday, February 13, 2009
I needed a break last night, so I went to see Underworld 3: Rise of the Lycans by myself. My friend Darling Diva's comment about the HOT sex scene had me intrigued, shall we say, to see more than Michael Sheen shirtless. The scene did not disappoint, and I had to search it out on the internet last night after I came home to watch it again, because I my reaction was"did I just SEE that" at the movie theater! Let's just say there are no cliffs in Chicagoland for my hubby and I to reenact it! LOL! I was also amused that the editing of the scene was so derivative of the sex scene in 300 (but the cliff edge is new, I'll grant ya.)
Underworld 3 is a mashup of Romeo and Juliet and Spartacus. It is a prequel to the other two Underworld films, telling the tale of the origins of the war between the vampires and the lycans (werewolves). Lucian, played by Michael Sheen, is almost Bill Nighy's Viktor's favorite pet, and the lycans are slaves to the vampires for most of the film. What Viktor doesn't know is that Lucian has been having a secret love affair with Sonja, his daughter. We'd seen flashbacks of Sonja's death in the first Underworld, so we know where this tragic story is going, but it was a fun ride to get there. Lucian leads a revolt of the lycan slaves against their vampire masters.
Just look at these two pictures of Michael. The left one is from the premiere, and the right is in costume as Lucian.
Michael is a great actor. We know that. He's been in Oscar nominated films, including this year's Frost/Nixon, and it is just wild to see him transform from his curly mop and sh*t eating grin, to bad ass sexy werewolf! I couldn't find a picture of him shirtless from the film, but ladies let me just tell you that he is for most of it. The marketing is all skewed! I found tons of pictures of Sonja, but not so many of Lucian and it's his bloody story for cripes sake. We fangirls do exist, thank you very much.
So the movie is just sheer fun, lots of bloody sword battles and crossbow hits and so on. Bill Nighy and Michael Sheen spend the movie hissing at each other, and Michael's performance is quite impressive and passionate -- on the battlefield, too. You could definitely believe all the werewolves would obey him as their leader. It was much better than the second film, for me, at least. (Michael wasn't really in the second, so that may have something to do with it.) Two and a half to Three stars, and recommended if you love a good vampire/werewolf battle. Worth a rental at least. Read about my first encounter with Michael as Lucian here.
Watch the trailer below to see Michael shirtless since I couldn't find a pic for you:
In the graphic novel Watchmen, there is a story-within-a-story called The Curse of the Black Freighter about a pirate. Zack Snyder wanted to film it for the movie, but it would make the movie too long, so he made an agreement that he could make a DVD to be released at about the same time Watchmen hits theaters. The animated Black Freighter, voiced by Gerard Butler (he found a way to keep his 300 star involved!) will be released on BluRay and DVD on March 24th.
Hat tip: GB.net
My kids wanted to see Coraline last weekend, and my husband said he'd heard it had great reviews. I went to it knowing nothing about it (unusual for my normal movie-going!) I LOVED it!
Coraline is based on a book by Neil Gaiman who just won the Newberry award for his book The Graveyard Book, about a boy who grows up in a cemetery raised by ghosts and werewolves. This guy knows from creepy! After seeing the film, I looked up Gaiman on Imdb, and saw that he also wrote Stardust, an underappreciated fantasy film that I really enjoyed. Neil Gaiman doesn't just write for kids. He has several adult novels and has written comics as well.
Coraline is directed by Henry Selick who directed Tim Burton's on Nightmare before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach. It has a similar stop motion style, but Coraline is a magical world all of its own. It's in 3D but unlike in some other 3D films, I didn't feel like it detracted from the story, but enhanced some of the visual effects of Coraline's world.
Coraline is voice by Dakota Fanning and I love that she isn't saccharine sweet. She's slightly annoying and has spunk. Coraline's real mother and the "Other Mother" in the alternate universe behind a small door in the wall are voiced by Teri Hatcher. She is terrifyingly creepy as the Other Mother. Coraline's real mother is too distracted to pay much attention to her, but the Other Mother makes her wonderful dinners and tucks her in at night. She also wants to make Coraline into a sort of Stepford daughter and sew buttons in her eyes!
Teri Hatcher has an 11 year old daughter and invited some her friends and their parents to a screening
“My house is known as Camp Hatcher. Kids come over and bake cookies and do creative things. After the screening, one kid said, ‘Well, no more sleepovers at Hatcher’s house.' ”There are other very colorful characters. Ian McShane from Deadwood voices Mr. Bobinsky, a circus performer, and there are two little old ladies living in the basement of the apartment house that it's hinted have a past in the adult entertainment industry!
This is an excellent film and not just for kids. There were two men sitting next to me in the theater full of families, and they had no kids with them. They looked to be in their 20's and were probably fans of animation and Henry Selick's work. I would caution about bringing very young children, as I am not kidding about the creepy story. You don't have to have a slasher film like Saw to be creepy! My sons are 8 and 12 and it was perfect for them, and they loved it. Three and a half stars and highly recommended.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Hat tip: Huffington Post
It’s one of those nights where it seems the whole world takes the night off and enjoys the show. What I was most excited about was, and I don’t want to give anything away, but there’s a twist this year. I feel like I’m part of something new, part of a new initiative, a new era. It feels like [Oscarcast producers Laurence Mark and Bill Condon] are guiding me in a way that will make the show fun and quicker.
We say “host” here, but in my country we would call it an “emcee” or a “master of ceremonies.” Your job is to ensure that everyone has the best time possible and has a great night. I don’t feel the show should be about the host. My role is to keep the night flowing, fun, to keep it inclusive. I have a game plan, I have a number of stuff written and things like that but at the same time I think it’s also important as the host to be ready to go with whatever happens. I think my experience in theater is no matter what you’re doing, you want to give people that sense that anything can happen, and let’s face it, at the Oscars, anything can.
Watch the whole thing here!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
You may think I'm going to slam Salma, but I actually think this is an amazing video, and very beautiful. I used to be a La Leche League leader and breastfed my kids. Weaning your kids means extra milk, and I think she just acted from her heart to feed this poor hungry newborn whose mother didn't have milk. Salma Hayek proves breastfeeding is beautiful!
I'm still playing catchup from my Sundance Trip, and I'm finally to Monday, our last full day at the festival. We saw four movies that day, and I want to highlight Adam in its own post because it was probably the movie I enjoyed the most at Sundance. I was certainly looking forward to it the most, and pestered my husband about how we had to get there early to get a good place in the ticket line. We even had a strategy and split up when they opened the doors so that we might have a better chance to get seats in front of the podium. At the Eccles theater, the front left section is reserved for the cast and crew of the movie, but the first three rows are free. If you see all the reserved signs, you might just turn back, but I ran up front and scored seats in the third row right in front, perfect for the Q&A. Hugh Dancy and Rose Byrne were seated four rows directly behind me during the screening! I was close enough to see the tears in director Max Mayer's eyes when the audience rose in a spontaneous standing ovation after the film. No other film we saw at Sundance had that kind of audience reaction.
Adam is a very sweet romance with a twist - the main character has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. Adam can mostly take care of himself, but he has problems in social situations and can't read the social cues that the rest of us can. He wants to connect, but it is very difficult for him. Max Mayer, the first time feature director, introduced the film by talking about how making a romantic movie is hard in modern times. What can keep the couple apart?
Rose Byrne plays Beth, a young woman who moves into a new apartment in New York. She's attracted to the cute guy in the apartment downstairs, but he's a little odd. He doesn't seem to notice when she's laden down with groceries, and he seems to avoid eye contact. After a very awkward exchange when he asks if she was sexually excited when they were at the park, he admits to her that he has Asperger's. She doesn't give up on him, and a touching romance develops. There's a side plot where Beth's father, played by Peter Gallagher of The O.C. is on trial for embezzlement. Amy Irving plays Beth's mother, and it was great to see her acting again. Frankie Faison plays Adam's friend.
Hugh Dancy is just excellent in this film. Dancy's Adam is sweet but not too sappy. "Aspies", as Adam calls them, can be very high functioning, but you can just see how lonely Adam is. He wants so badly to reach out to Beth, and he just doesn't know how. Beth and Adam's story seems very honest and real to me. One audience member got very emotional during the Q&A. Her grandson has Asperger's and she felt the movie was very true to what it's like, and she started crying she was so grateful for the way this was made.
Hugh Dancy has always been an emotional actor, and I think his portrayal of Adam is some of his best work ever. There was even buzz in some of the online reviews I read of this film speculating that he might get nominated for an Oscar next year. Fox Searchlight picked up the film right away, and hopefully it should get a fall release. This movie should work very well with mainstream audiences. Three and a half stars. Loved it.
We took tons of pictures at the Q&A, and you can view them here on Flickr.
There's no trailer yet, but I found three clips:
Adam, I'm having lunch:
Were you excited?:
Adam meets the parents:
Monday, February 9, 2009
MSN UK has a funny article about how Robert Pattinson bored his own stalker!
Robert said: "I had a stalker while filming a movie in Spain last year. She stood outside of my apartment every day for weeks - all day every day. I was so bored and lonely that I went out and had dinner with her.
"I just complained about everything in my life and she never came back.
"People get bored of me in, like, two minutes."
Somehow, I don't think this story is going to keep his stalkers away, especially once filming begins for New Moon in the coming weeks.
My husband and I saw Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler this weekend and it is one of the best films of the year. Owen Glieberman from EW named it his top film of 2008. Mickey Rourke has been winning awards for his portrayal of Randy "The Ram", and deservedly so. He may walk away with the Oscar for Best Actor in a couple of weeks. Has there ever been a more perfect match up of an actor and his own personal life and a script and a part like this?
Mickey Rourke was the golden boy back in the 80's. I remember him being just gorgeous and having unbelievable talent. He threw it all away, and became nearly an untouchable in the industry. Look at his face. It has been battered from his lark being a professional boxer, and ravaged from God knows what drugs and failed plastic surgery. He looks just awful, and that's perfect for this part, playing a professional wrestler who was really big in the 80's, and now is scraping by playing American Legion halls. Nicholas Cage turned away from this part, and Darren Aronofsky gave Mickey Rourke the part of a lifetime.
My husband said that the film felt like a "Sundance" film. It's shot in a documentary style, with lots of hand held camera work following Randy around in his dead end job at grocery store, and his brief recapturing of glory emerging from some back room to chanting fans in a high school gymnasium.
Randy has screwed up his personal life, and has a daughter who wants nothing to do with him. He tries for a relationship with Pam, a stripper played by Marisa Tomei, but she keeps turning him away, saying she can't do that with a customer. Marisa Tomei is also nominated for a supporting Oscar for her very brave work in this film.
The Wrestler is simply amazing, but it is very heavy. My husband was depressed after watching the film, but Randy knows no other way to live his life. He knows how to do one thing, and he does it well. The feuds in the ring may be fake, but the blood and bruises are real. Four stars. It's also criminal that Bruce Springstein's Golden Globe winning song from the film didn't score an Oscar nomination.
Watch The Wrestler trailer here.