Thursday, January 31, 2008
If you thought Nip/Tuck had gone over the top before,you ain't seen nothing yet,folks. The current subplot with Sean's agent Colleen(played by Sharon Gless) has officially lit up the Psycho Red Alert boards. At first,she just seemed like another bitter Hollywood hustler with the hots for Sean but it turns out that the lady is clearly not playing with a full deck.
As soon as a CAA agent started to make a bid to represent Sean,Colleen's true crazy colors started to show. She must've went to the Annie Wilkes School of Celebrity Guidance since her "home" office is her actual home,packed with handmade teddy bears and the tools to make them,which she used to literally eliminate her competition. Death by Build-a-Bear,folks. That's a new one on me.
Christian attended Gina's funeral(everyone is more than willing to believe that she killed herself,sparing Christian any legal troubles for the moment)which quickly became a tribute to her sexual prowess by many of her Sexaholics Anonymous mourners.
Gina would've like that,I'm sure,but there was one person who was able to say something good about her that didn't involve an orgasm. A rather touching moment in this whole wacky episode:
There was alot of carnivorous themes running thru this entire show,with Christian encountering Wilbur's pre-school teacher who likes to bite,a young married couple in need of repairs after some emergency cannibalism(something that the wife just couldn't get over her guilt about,which ended up in a gruesome form of amends that backfired)and Crazy Colleen,with her snipes about agents "devouring" people.
I don't know what that's all about but it certainly keeps you on your toes. I just hope Colleen doesn't morph into an L.A. version of the Carver.
Next week,more of Colleen,the teddy bear queen(Sean might want to put that little doctor bear she made for him in his office,to stay on her sane side)and Joan Van Ark has Christian give her a cat face,as in an actual feline set of features. This stuff is almost too bizarre to make up.
While Project Runway is making us wait another week for a new episode,atleast they're letting know what the next challenge will be. The designers will have to create outfits for five of the top WWE Divas,which include Torrie Wilson,Michelle Mc Cool,Candice Michelle and Layla.
It's been awhile since I paid any real attention to pro wrestling but I do miss the days when ladies in that field were given more of a persona to promote. Even Chyna had some pizzazz to her! Well,this should be interesting to say the least:
American Idol continues down the audition trail,hitting Omaha,NE and Miami,Florida to find the few needles of talent amidst the haystack of bad singers.
More of the more flashy bits of stale hay was Johnny Escamilla,who managed to sing "Shout" without actually using the most important word in the whole song. Guess that's a talent of sorts there:
And here's the rest of the best of the worst:
GIFTS ARE NICE BUT MONEY MIGHT'VE BEEN BETTER
IF TRACY FLICK BECAME A SINGER...
HE MAY HAVE BEEN CONFUSED ABOUT WHAT HE WAS TRYING OUT FOR
The Riches: The F/X series about the misadventures of the Malloy family should be starting their second season in March. Thank goodness for channels like F/X and USA,with their mini runs of shows to tide us over during this entertainment drought.
Between this and The Dirt,my TV dance card may be able to fill some of the holes in it. On the other hand,I've been getting alot more of my reading done,so there's some benefit to this ongoing struggle between the writers and the studios. It would be more beneficial to the writers if they got that extra four cents on the dollar tho!
Smallville: Clark and company are back,only it's Bizarro who is running the show while the Soon to Be Man of Steel is in a deep freeze at the Fortress of Solitude. The major headline here,however,is the return of Brainiac(yes, James Marsters is back! Woo to the hoo,y'all!)as he has rebooted his bad self for more conquest of the Earth action:
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
The horror movie remake train is still rolling along and it's next stop is Elm Street,the home of Freddy Kruegar,the Ultimate Night Man. New Line Cinema is working with Platinum Dunes to create a new NOES film that focuses on Freddy's backstory(sounds similar to the approach taken for Rob Zombie's Halloween).
Naturally,they have to wait for the writer's strike to be over before hiring a screen writer but so far,there's no word on whether or not Robert Englund will be part of this revamping of the killer character that's he made famous. It's very possible that they might even dare to cast a new actor as Freddy,which will not go over well with die hard fans of the series.
As a Freddy fan myself,I can attest to the fact that one of the key ingredients to the success of the Nightmare films was Englund's performance. Unlike many of the slasher villains of the eighties,Freddy had personality(and actual dialogue) along with a sick and twisted sense of humor that not only heightened the tension as he stalked his teen prey but added some extra surrealism to the dream sequences.
That sense of humor wound up being overdone and overexposed as the films went on;I'd say it started with Nightmare 4: The Dream Master(a movie that does have some pretty cool scenes,my favorite being the one where Alice is literally pulled into the movie theater screen)and grew even worse by the time Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare was released(I think I have still have the 3D glasses that they gave out at the theaters for the truly bad gimmicky Freddy confrontation in the film).
The hokum decreased the horror of the character,turning Freddy into a commercialized cartoony figure,with toys and games and even a brief TV series where he was the wisecracking Rod Sterling to a horror anthology(in which Freddy was rarely a major player in most of the stories)called Freddy's Nightmares:
Despite the watering down of the Elm Street series,there is plenty of interest amongst moviegoers in Freddy and his nighttime antics. This is not the first attempt at reviving Freddymania-Wes Craven took on that challenge with his New Nightmare awhile ago,which had the original cast and crew of the earlier movies being stalked by the legend they helped to create. That film actually got some good reviews,the best since the first NOES movie came out.
The more recent Freddy flick had him team up with Friday the 13th's Jason,which later to the two of them turning on each other,once in the dream realm and then in the waking world. Ronny Yu directed this gruesomely nostalgic fright fest,with the same darkly humorous vibe that he gave to Bride of Chucky and it would be a good idea to involve him again. The man really has a flair for making the fearsome fun to watch:
Whatever they decide to do with Freddy,the best that both old and new fans can hope for is a return to the terror that the first film invoked. The element that separated the Elm Street series from the rest of the slasher movie pack was the fear of being attacked from within by the worst your imagination had to offer. It would be a welcome relief from the torture porn flicks we've been inundated with lately and a creepy creative way to embrace the dark side:
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
I know that it seems as if the WGA strike has gone on for forever and a day,but despite the onslaught of reality shows and the dwindling amount of fresh material to put on in primetime,this is no time to get mopey,folks.
True,we run the risk of not having an Academy Awards show this year(which will be a relief to some)but the risks being taken by the writers out on the picket lines are so much greater. So,in the interest of keeping hope alive as well as your entertainment levels,here are a few films that celebrate the working man's union in America. If you haven't seen any of these(there are a couple that I haven't but felt they should be given a nod),get them on your Netflix queue or at your local video store.
This movie has a very personal connection to me; my mom was one of the people that helped to get the union in at her job(she still works there and is a delegate today) when I was a kid,and our family used to call her "Norma Rae". That movie was huge at the time and Sally Field's performance as the lady of the title really rang true.
Field's feisty and frustrated textile worker,who reluctantly became involved with the TWA and later one of it's strongest supporters,wasn't some paragon of perfection but a real live person taking on a challenge that seemed to be overwhelming at times. The movie won several Oscars,including one for Field and it even got Best Song. Quite a triumph there:
ON THE WATERFRONT
Known mostly for Marlon Brando's famous "I could've been a contender" speech,this classic film dives into the criminal corruption that swirled around the New York longshoreman's union decades ago. You could make the case that this is not exactly a pro-union picture but the truth is,bad apples need to tossed out of any bunch to keep things honest and clean:
This is one of those union films that I haven't seen,mainly due to the severe lashings it received from the critics( the movie even got a Golden Razzie for Worst Song).
I have to admit that a 19th century newsboys' strike doesn't appear to be the best material for a musical but on the other hand, listening to Christian Bale sing a rally to arms tune in a Brooklyn accent is pretty strong inducement for a viewing:
For a way more serious look at the union situation,there's no better person to turn to than John Sayles. Matewan,his 1987 portrait of the West Virginia coal miners' strike in the 1920s which to violent retribution at the hands of those who insisted on keeping the union out at all costs,is still a powerful film to this day.
One of the things to keep in mind while watching this movie is that sad fact that while many attitudes have changed over the course of time,there are some that still stay the same:
AND FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT...OR IS IT?
While Network has nothing to do with labor unions,it is relevant to this topic since television is the first casualty on the current entertainment front. If you're wondering why in the world has the state of affairs on broadcast TV(and even cable)has gotten to the extreme lower depths of exploitation via reality shows,look no further that Paddy Chayefsky's warning bell to us back in the day.
Remember what I said earlier about some things never changing? Take a good look at the Howard Beale show and look me in the eye as you insist that a rant fest like would never get on the air,or this raving madman wouldn't have his own channel:
Monday, January 28, 2008
The best thing that I can say about last night's PBS showing of Mansfield Park is that it is not as bad as the 1999 Hollywood film version(which is not high praise at all).
This latest take on Jane Austen's most talked about novel doesn't err by adding in elements that have no bearing on the true points of the plot(Sir Thomas as a cruel slave owner,Lady Bertram being an opium addict,eldest son Tom a drunken lout)but instead,screws up by compressing the various threads of the story into a flattened pancake of a plot that apparently only had enough money in the budget to afford one setting place.
An important part of the story has impoverished cousin Fanny being sent back to her family's ramshackle house in Portsmouth,to remind her of the benefits of living at Mansfield(and changing her mind about turning down Henry Crawford's marriage proposal).
However,in this version,Fanny is merely left behind at Mansfield all by herself while the Bertrams go off to visit their grandmother(who,in the book,is probably in her grave). What kind of punishment is that? Gee,can I have an entire manor house to myself if I refuse to marry the first gigolo that comes along? Sounds like a good deal to me!
That's not the only flaw here,I'm sad to say. A number of minor characters are removed,forcing some of the harsher lines into the mouths of those who would not say such things(aloud,anyway)and a major villianess,the dreaded Aunt Norris,is vastly underplayed. Also,an important ball becomes a picnic for no reason that makes any sense and even tho the Lover's Vows portion of the story is not as sleazy as shown in the Rozema film,it is not as amusing and subtly character revealing as it could be:
The real heart of the problem is in how Fanny Price is portrayed. Billie Piper is completely miscast in the role,for which I do not blame her. It seems to me that,except for the mid-eighties BBC miniseries, anyone who adapts Mansfield Park seems to feel that Fanny must be given a makeover in order for an audience to accept her as the heroine of the piece.
I think many of them wish that Mary Crawford was the leading lady here(even Gillian Anderson's intro spent more time talking about Mary than Fanny!)since she's the ideal sort of witty and forward sort of gal who attracts the fellas more easily that a quiet,thoughtful girl like Fanny.
The Fanny that is shown here spends alot of time running around,playing games and being rather lively. This is not the delicate "creepmouse" that Jane Austen created on the page,who may not be the life of the party but has the inner strength of her convictions and the willingness to follow thru on them which her more well to do cousins are sorely lacking in their characters. Maybe if more feminine role models like that were highlighted in the media,we would have less of the Paris Hiltons and Lindsay Lohans for young women to admire.
Thank goodness that there is one decent version of Mansfield Park on film. The 1986 miniseries is not perfect(the hairstyles alone proclaim that)but it is a sterling and faithful adaptation of the book.
Yes,it's main advantage is in being given plenty of time to fully expand the subplots and develop the characters(very much like the lauded P&P miniseries which revived Austenmania)but it also is not afraid of letting the true Fanny Price be seen,in all of her girl geek glory. If you haven't seen this one,it is a must-watch for any Austen fan. It was newly released on DVD over a year ago and should be rentable thru any online dealer. Do watch it,do!
Next Sunday,a biopic of Jane Austen,entitled Miss Austen Regrets,will be shown. Since it focuses on Jane's love life,or the lack thereof,it will be no doubt compared to the recent silver screen JA bio,Becoming Jane.
This version appears to have a much older Jane(played by Olivia Williams,who has also played an Austen character in the Andrew Davies's adaptation of Emma that will be shown later on in the Complete Jane Austen series)than the Hathaway film,so it may be less fanciful and more informative regarding Austen's affairs of the heart. That would be good to see:
Friday, January 25, 2008
This Saturday,TLC will be broadcasting the 2008 Miss America pageant,live from the Planet Hollywood Casino in Las Vegas. Despite the fact that Atlantic City,the former longtime home of the pageant,is just as big of a gambling town as Vegas,it really doesn't feel like the same old pageant that many of us love to hate and hate to love.
Miss America is a basic template for the beauty contest phenomenon that has become one of our nation's biggest feminine pop culture icon. For decades,to dream of becoming a beauty queen was considered a lofty and ambitious goal for young women to aspire to. With many of socio-political changes for women over the years,pageants have turned into proper targets for scorn and ridicule by feminists and snobs alike.
I won't pretend that I haven't engaged in some of this mockery myself-one of the highlights of my youth was watching the Miss America show with my family to hoot and holler at some of the really bad displays of talent. I did also root for certain girls to win(mainly New York or anyone closely representing the East Coast). It's also true that beauty contests can be breeding grounds for low self-esteem and cheesy exploitation. Like most things in this country,it is best to simply accept the fact that beauty pageants are just as much of a reflection upon society as any other creative outlets and should be acknowledged as such,not to be shoved into the back of our cultural closet like a crappy gift from your least favorite aunt.
There's quite a few movies that have taken on the beauty queen mythos with a vengeance. One of the more overlooked ones was Drop Dead Gorgeous,starring Kristen Dunst and Denise Richards as rival contestants in a local pageant dominated by Richards' mother(Kristie Alley). It's an out and out parody,made in a mockumentary style that's actually rather amusing at times.
A good number of the jokes are as subtle as a pie in the face but it does hit the bullseye on such topics as adults reliving their youth thru their children,extreme body image issues,social class snobbery and those gimmicky entertainment portions of the pageant show:
Sandra Bullock did well with the slightly more subdued wink and nudge at pageantry follies in Miss Congeniality(well enough to get a lackluster sequel made). I've only seen parts of this movie on and off recently(it's been featured on the revolving film filler circuit of many basic cable channels lately)but I get why it was such a big hit when it was out in theaters.
Bullock is usually at her best when taking on tomboy roles-she easily slips into the comfy shoes of the gal who plays just as hard as the boys but with the right coaxing,can be turned into a glamorous creature with a few touches of make-up and the right dress. In this movie,she's the perfect Everywoman who walks the line between being more than just a pretty face and enjoying a moment of princesshood in the spotlight:
Little Miss Sunshine focused on children's beauty pageants as the film's Macguffin but even before Olive did her infamous dance number,she was already a stand out. For one thing,she was the only girl entered in the contest who actually looked her age. All of the other girls were more made up and costumed than the usual participants in the Greenwich Village annual Halloween parade.
Movies aren't the only place where we mock and gawk at pageants;if you're willing to include high school beauty competitions,then Julie Brown's dark comic operetta of a questionably tasteful tune is ideal for this discussion:
The only novel that I know of that has a beauty pageant plotline is Fannie Flagg's Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man(aka "Coming Attractions"-why the title was changed is beyond me)which tell the life story of Miss Daisy Fay Harper,who grows up with her ne'do well of a father during the fifties and later competes to be Miss Mississippi.
Even if you have no interest in pageants,the book is great fun to read. Flagg blends the mix of humor and pathos in the pages of Daisy Fay's journal to create a girl who's a true to life character instead of a propped-up caricature. Also,there are tons of laugh out loud scenes(one of my favorites is the Haunted House revenge taken on Daisy's Nellie Olson,Kay Bob Benson)that can really make your sides ache.
I will most likely tune in to Miss America this weekend,to see if the TLC "reality check" approach helps or hinders the contest. Atleast someone out there in TV land is willing to keep the tinseled tradition alive and kicking for another generation of women to accept or reject:
Thursday, January 24, 2008
The challenge on Project Runway this week was sponsored by Levi 501(don't you just love when commerce and art decide to walk together,hand in hand,for one of these TV competitions?)and the designers were given denim jackets and jeans to use as the material to create an "iconic" outfit.
Fortunately,Rami was paying attention to what the judges said last time about him doing the same thing over and over again and made a cute dress with zipper trim that had no draping whatsoever.
Not one of his best designs,but it did look good and it was nice to see Rami step out of his comfort zone there. I do wish he'd stop using the "I wasn't born in America and therefore I have a different perceptive on design" card. Rami,you're a very talented man and there's no need for you to keep explaining yourself here.
I was impressed by the number that Sweet P pulled off. She was going for a wedding dress design at first but after Tim Gunn warned her that she was on the road to Hippy Dippy Town,she shortened the dress. It was really surprising to see her whip out such a high fashion outfit that had Michael Kors swooning about the "voodoo" it had.
I would've chosen Sweet P's dress as the winner since it was the most impressive,to me anyway. Christian's twist on the trucker style of jeans and jacket was very creative and got alot of love from the judges,but not a win this time. Christian was not happy about that,you could see it all over his face.
The win went to Ricky,for his well fitted dress that did not impress me much. The first thing that came to mind when I saw this going down the runway was "All she needs is a whip and a dog collar to make this complete." She looked like a denim dominatrix,with those big black boots on.
Michael Kors went on and on about the supposed "Amy Winehouse" look that the model and the dress seemed to have. Honey,for one thing,that girl is too damn tall and not messy enough to be a Winehouse doppelganger. I won't even into the obvious "no tattoos and a bottle of Tanqueray shoved down her throat,with a crack pipe in her purse" comparisons. It takes more than a beehive to be Amy Winehouse,that's all I'm saying,folks!
Victorya and Jillian were bigtime Repeat-o Girls,the both of them making trench coat numbers that were both brilliant shades of bad taste. Victorya's jacket ensemble was deemed the worst of the two and she was auf'ed away. It did look like she just grabbed a jacket and pinned a lumpy little skirt onto it.
Before we go,I must say a few words about Chris March's dress. The judges were pretty harsh on him,saying it looked "incomplete" and something that Joan Cusack wore in Working Girl. First off,I've seen Working Girl a few times and Joan never had anything like that on(I suspect Kors was confusing her with Melanie Griffith,who did have a few sexy dresses on in the film).
Also, that dress did have a finished look,even with the frayed ends that Chris had left on one side purposely. Kors claimed that it made him want to see the whole dress done that way,but I think he was just looking for an excuse to not like it. It just annoys me that after all the good work Chris March has done since he was brought back into the competition,the only time the judges decided to give him personal feedback is all totally negative(can't count the avant garde challenge,since Christian got all the credit for that). I feel a tad protective about Chris March and want him to have a real fighting chance here.
Congrats,TK and Rachel,for winning the 12th season of the Amazing Race. I was rooting for Ron and Christina(who held the lead for a good long while there) but that final Roadblock threw her off her stride. Atleast the two of them made it to second place and have some nice Team Number One prizes to enjoy. Plus,they really got a chance to cement a stronger family bond between them.
TK and Rachel ran a clean,honest race and as they said,"nice guys can finish first." Their relationship should last quite awhile there. Team Grandpa have plenty to be proud about as well,with Don being the only older generation person who's ever gotten that far in TAR. If you stop and think about it,everyone won something here:
The audition rounds are still continuing on American Idol,taking the judges to San Diego and Charleston,SC,where there are a few good singers hidden amongst the many throngs of the musically deluded. I love it when guys like Joshua insisted that the judges are not able to appreciate their talents,even when he's never had any voice training at all.
The parade of bad singers was quite extensive and yes,there were some who had good voices but let's wait until Hollywood week to focus on them:
THE BIGGEST AI FAN OF THEM ALL
MARIAH CAREY,I THINK NOT!
LEAVE US ALONE!!!!
Nip/Tuck: Of all of the crazy things that I've seen on this show over the years,I never thought I would see Christian kill Gina. Granted,it looks as if it was an accident but the circumstances of their "one for the road" rooftop tryst aren't going to endear Christian to the cops or Julia.
For what it's worth,I don't believe that Christian meant to kill her;the two of them have had a very twisted love-hate relationship that Gina tried to rekindle(using her usual methods of allurement and bitchery)and that Christian only wanted to bitchslap her with that restraining order. Murder or sexed-up fatal accident? You decide:
Dirt: Season two of the fictional gossip rag series begins on March 2. Why this show was renewed,I don't know. Guess Courtney Cox wrangled herself a pretty sweet deal with the network there.
So,will I watch? Well,maybe. If the writers' strike is still on and all of my favorite shows are fresh out of new episodes,I may tune in to see if things are any better this time around:
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
If you're like me,a major league Oscar junkie,you're looking at the list of Best Picture contenders and sighing about the fact that you have not seen one of these films so far(and none of them are available on DVD at the moment). What is a movie lover to do about such a predicament,beside running out to the nearest multiplex that is?
Well,if you're unable to catch any of them,or any of the other potential Oscar winners at a theater near you,the next best thing to do is read the books upon many of them were based on. Fortunately,there is plenty to choose from and with the writers' strike still under way,a great way to spend some of your primetime hours in the evening instead of vegging out during Deal or No Deal and L&O reruns.
A good place to start is with OIL!,the Upton Sinclair novel that Paul Thomas Anderson used to create There Will Be Blood which has several Oscar noms under it's belt,including one for Daniel Day-Lewis for his leading man antics as driven oil tycoon Daniel Plainview.
OIL! might seem like something off of a required reading list but some of the topics touched upon in the plot-capitalism,ambition,the role of religion in modern society-are still very much in play today and may even give us a interesting perspective on what we're going thru right now. I intend to tackle this one myself and will let you know what I make of it in a future review.
I have read Atonement,way before the film version was released,and can strongly recommend it to those who haven't yet had the pleasure. It was the first book of Ian McEwan's that I read and it was actually an impulse buy.
I found it at an airport bookstore in England(still prefer the Brit cover art to the rather bleak blackness of the original US paperback edition)and figured "OK,let me see what all the fuss is about!" One of my better unplanned choices,I have to say.
Not everyone can say that they've read the books on which one of the Best Animated Film nominees is based on-odd bragging rights,to be sure. I did read both the first Persepolis and Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return separately but now,future readers of this lively graphic memoir will be able to have the entire autobiographical saga in one complete volume.
No Country For Old Men is another big contender in the Oscar race,with Javier Bardem pretty much a shoo-in for the Best Supporting Actor win(bad guys in films usually have a better chance at getting the Best Supporting awards,from what I've seen. Kevin Spacey for The Usual Suspects,Benicio Del Toro for Traffic-the only exception I can think of is Denzel Washington for Training Day).
Haven't read the Cormac McCarthy novel on which the movie comes from,but if it's as chilling as The Road was,the book should be one hell of a read.
One of more surprising Best Supporting Actor nods was given to Casey Affleck for The Assassination of the outlaw Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford. Affleck is the hitman of the title and this stirring adaptation of Ron Hansen's imagings of the final days of a notorious American legend was one of this fall's two Western revival films(the other,3:10 To Yuma,picked up a few technical noms).
Affleck also did well in another movie based on a book that could've gotten him a Best Actor nom as well,for Gone Baby Gone,written by Dennis Lehane who just had his amazing novel Mystic River become a major Oscar player a couple of years ago.
Gone Baby Gone did get Affleck's co-star Amy Ryan a Best Supporting Actress nomination(too bad his brother Ben didn't get another screenplay nomination for his co-adaptation work here or a shot at Best Director). Looks like reading helps the Affleck clan out alot in making good decisions about what films to make. A few other Hollywood starlets out there should follow their lead.
You might also want to read up on a few past Oscar winning films. I suspect that many people will either finally get to,or reread,Anne Proulx's Brokeback Mountain(which was robbed of a Best Picture Oscar)as well as watch the breathtakingly beautiful movie version of her tale of unfulfilled love,now that the sad news about the untimely death of Heath Ledger. It's truly a crying shame that such a brilliant talent should be taken just as his star was on the rise.
Brokeback Mountain is a fine film for any actor to have done and a good way to appreciate his cinematic legacy. Ah,Heath,we hardly knew ye:
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Despite doubts that we may not get an Academy Awards show this year(settle the strike,Hollywood! Pay those writers what they deserve!),there was still plenty of excitement over who will and what film would rake in the most Oscar nominations. Kathy Bates was the co-announcer of the noms this morning and perhaps a harbinger of the many surprising names that were read off today.
The selections were very arthouse,with movies like Michael Clayton,There Will Be Blood and No Country For Old Men taking top spots. If you want a full list of the nominees,here it is. Instead of going over each and every one of the contenders,I've broken it down into three basic catagories: The Good,The Bad and Are You Serious?!
Congrats to Ellen Page,Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman for getting some major props for Juno,which is up for Best Picture,Director,Original Screenplay and Best Actress. Some will argue that Juno is simply this year's Little Miss Sunshine but for a young actress like Page(who I haven't seen in this movie but was very impressed by her work in Hard Candy)to be a first time nominee against the likes of Julie Christie,Cate Blanchett(a double nom,she's up for her turn at playing Bob Dylan in I'm Not There in the Best Supporting section)and Laura Linney is quite the life altering event,to say the least.
Enchanted took most of the slots for Best Song(the other two went to Once and August Rush)and out of the three,I think that "So Close" has the best shot at winning. It's the most romantic song of the bunch,which is always a crowd pleaser with the Academy voters:
A major stand-out in the Best Animated Film catagory is Persepolis,the graphic novel adaptation of Marjane Satrapi's life and times in post-Shah Iran. While I haven't seen the film,I did read and was amazed by Satrapi's artistic memoirs and am happy to see her story get such a chance to be honored,even along side the likes of "Surf's Up!"
Usually Oscar nominated films receive a wider release after the announcement,which may help more folks to have a shot at seeing this movie on the big screen. I certainly hope that's the case here:
Not only was Hairspray totally ignored,so was Adrienne Shelly's swan song,Waitress,a true cinematic sin. Come on,guys-bad enough that you couldn't even toss a technical nom to Hairspray for Costumes or Make-up(grrr...I'll get to that later)but to not even acknowledge all of the care and hard work that Shelly as writer/director/ and one of the supporting players,is beyond the pale.
Why not atleast an Original Screenplay nomination? Does Michael Clayton really need that extra feather in their cap? And what is up with all of the love for that damn movie,anyway? No,I didn't see it and I never had any desire to, for two reasons; a)I am so over George Clooney that he's not even a blip on my pop culture radar,and b)if I wanted to be entertained by a sanctimonious "noble lawyer" story,I'd still be reading John Grisham. I'm not alone on this one,folks!
Also snubbed was Keira Knightley and James McAvoy from Atonement(their young co-star Saoirse Ronan managed to snag a Best Supporting Actress nom),Judd Apatow and friends for Knocked Up,Angelina Jolie for A Mighty Heart and Helena Bonham-Carter as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd. Sweeney did get a major nom with Johnny Depp up for Best Actor(which has him up against Daniel Day-Lewis for There Will Be Blood,a strong shoo-in for the win)and some tech ones as well,but it would've been great if Tim Burton had gotten a Best Director slot.
ARE YOU SERIOUS?!!!
Brace yourselves,folks-Norbit has received an Oscar nomination. Yes,it is a contender for Best Make-Up,along with Pirates of the Carribean 3 and La Vie En Rose. One of the most hideously bad films of this or any year,a movie that has nearly tied with Lindsay Lohan's I Know Who Killed Me for the most Razzie nominations will be forever known as an Academy Award nominee.
I actually wound up watching Norbit on cable a couple of weekends ago(if you're ever up too early in the morning and your viewing choices are either Norbit or an infomerical,go with the infomerical. You'll feel way better about yourself afterwards.)and it was even more worse than I imaged. This movie is so bad that they can't even show it on an international flight because it would be a major violation of the Geneva Convention. If Jack Bauer needs to torture someone in the next season of 24,all he has to do in pop this rancid non-laugh fest of a flick in the DVD player and press Play. They'll crack in no time.
A COUPLE OF EARLY PREDICTIONS
Most of the Hollywood savvy are saying that Javier Bardem will definitely take home an Oscar for his work in No Country For Old Men and that Cate Blanchett has a better shot at winning in the Supporting Actress catagory for I'm Not There. I agree with those picks ,and my gut instinct regarding the Best Picture race is for Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood.
I'm not a major PTA fan at all. While I liked certain parts of Boogie Nights,I didn't feel as if the sum added up to the whole towards the end of the movie. Magnolia,I didn't bother with since it seemed to scream "BIG ARTISTIC STATEMENT!" out to all and sundry. However,you should never write anyone off in the arts. When you least expect it,that guy or gal who seemed to be such a poser before can turn around on a dime and gobsmack you with a frickin' brilliant bit of work.
Daniel Day-Lewis is THE front runner in the Best Actor race but he's not the only horse to bet on here. PTA has clearly stepped out of his usual comfort zone and brought to the screen something truly larger than life. Yet another film that I haven't seen but one that I certainly intend to and already am prepared to be awed by. Like the judge once said regarding pornography,when it comes to quality,I know it when I see it:
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