Saturday, June 30, 2007

And Jennifer, Jennifer, Jennifer... is Going to Love Jennifer

I know every blog on the planet has already posted this but who am I to deny divas their due? Plus I wanna talk about it... "And I am Telling You" was and always will be a show queen classic. It wins its vessels TONYs and Oscars. One could make a case for it as the greatest of all showoff showtunes. Witness the Jennifers, Holiday & Hudson

Holiday has been singing the song too long so now instead of flourishes she's just chewing on it. She's actually eating the song and laughing at her own freaky mastication "ha HA!". To keep up JHud will have to let her own rendition go berserk. This encourages the most brazen display of overacting that I've seen since... well... Jennifer Hudson and Beyoncé battled it out at the Oscars or if we're talking films: since Glenn Close did Cruella, Faye Dunaway was Mommie Dearest or Billy Bob made Halle Berry feeeeellll goood!

What I love most about this song as a diva duet is that it totally subverts the meaning. It's no longer a desperate sexist 'I'm nothing without my man' plea. Now it's a lezzztastic girl brawl. By the end of the number, the Jennifers have forgotten all about the audience and it's all about Jennifer lovin' Jennifer and vice versa. Hilarious. And heavenly if you love the Divas Gone Wild subgenre of entertainment. And who among you doesn't?

Now I'm off to dream of future pairings...

Halfway Point: Best Actress (So Far)

2007 is halfway over. Time to recalibrate those Oscar predictions... But first: A few thoughts on where we've been this year and the women who took us there. If I voted today my Best Actress shortlist would probably feature......though it's possible I'd substitute Christina Ricci for Black Snake Moan or Angelina Jolie for A Mighty Heart in there (I would take more time comparing the work if it was for real). That said I missed The Lovely Laura Linney in Jindabyne and Carice van Houten in Black Book and wish I hadn't.

If the Oscar voters had to perform a similar January to June balloting, I don't think there'd be much question about the results. The studios don't offer a wide array of possiblities early on. If the year ended now your Oscar Best Actress shortlist would read exactly so:
  • Julie Christie -Away From Her (the legend)
  • Marion Cotillard -La Vie En Rose (the biopic)
  • Katherine Heigl -Knocked Up (zeitgeist choice)
  • Angelina Jolie -A Mighty Heart (the red carpet factor)
  • Ashley Judd -Bug (the deglam / the comeback)
...with Jessica Alba's 'Invisible Woman' as the distant sixth. I kid! It'd be Keri Russell's Waitress in the justmiss sore spot prompting her to make a "I Hate the Academy of Movies As Much I Hated the Academy of TV Who Dissed Me For Felicity" pie.

If you're talking real and eventual Oscar nods, you can safely remove two of the five theoreticals. Heigl will be a force for the Globe Comedy nomination but Knocked Up is not enough of a performance piece to break through AMPAS natural aversion to comedy. Judd made a difficult role work in Bug but it's just not the Academy's cuppa and it wasn't enough of a hit to break through their natural aversion to horror.

Though this Oscar category is kinder to early birds than the other races, the early contenders are often less typically baity (Streep in Prada, Zellweger in Bridget Jones, etc...) and get to the big show by the way of hit status and popularity. So it's surprising to see three viable and typical candidates so early. Cotillard, Christie and Jolie feel like prestige season ladies: baity topics, Oscar hooks (addiction! alzheimers! mimicry!), and starpower. All three will not make it. So who fades by year's end?

You ready to do the heavy lifting in the comments? This is tough to deduce.
[A lot more handicapping on this race at the updated Oscar Page]

Friday, June 29, 2007

8 (½) Things Meme

So... I wasn't going to do any more non-movie memes but I got tagged twice for this 8 things meme --which I'm rechristening 8 ½ just to amuse myself with something cinematic -- by two people that warm and wow me with their wit and unshared enthusiasms (that is to say: both are obsessed with different things than me. My basic rule of thumb is someone is definitely worth reading if you find those obsessions you don't share suddenly involving despite your previous lack of interest)
  • All right, here are the rules.
  • We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
  • Players start with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
  • People who are tagged write their own blog about their 8 things and post these rules.
  • At the end of your blog, you need to choose 8 people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

01 I am terrified of kangaroos. Weird but true. This is why I've never been to Australia. Well, that and the money. If someone wants to fly me out I'll come and carouse but please do not let me see one of them hoppers. K Thx!

02 In grade school whenever a teacher thought a student was cheating I always felt guilty even though I was never the one cheating. I had an overactive guilt mechanism.

03 I've always wished I was less uptight.

04 I played tennis regularly in high school. It's the only sport I'm good at.

05 I've been to LA only twice. The first time I was there I bought one of those star maps and drove with friends to Olivia Newton-John's estate. Once we got there I spoke into the security cameras at the gate and said something completely fannish and obnoxious. Later I felt guilty (see #2) since I know Olivia is scared of obsessive fans having been stalked by someone in the early 80s who claimed he was going to "marry her to God" ...creepy.

06 Remember that improbable scene in A Chorus Line where the teenage boy is so ridiculously naive that he mistakes his nocturnal emission for the "milky white discharge" of gonorrhea.
who have you been with my son?
no one.
than how can you have gonorrhea?
That exact same thing happened to me. I was h-o-r-r-i-f-i-e-d when I saw A Chorus Line for the first time. Let us never speak of it again.

07 I wanted a stripper for my 30th birthday party (held on a rooftop with a gaggle of friends) so two of my buddies arranged it. The stripper cancelled the day of the event so one of them improvised and did the stripping himself much to the surprise and inebriated delight of all of our mutual friends. There are pictures. And no, you can't see them.

08 I have a pierced belly button (see #07, well actually... the night before)

½ In the middle of sentences I sometimes completely zone out and...

[Tag you're it: Cinephilia , Low Resolution , Thomas & Co , novaslim , And Your Little Blog, Too , Anything But Poetry , I Don't Like Renée Zellweger, and Artifacts]

Finish the Sentence

Daniel Craig is to 2007 as __________ is to _______

Halfway Point: Best Actor (So Far)

2007 is halfway over. Time to recalibrate those Oscar predictions... But first, a few thoughts on where we've been and 2007's lead actors to date. If I voted today on my film bitch awards, my shortlist would probably read like so..
And if the Oscar voters themselves had to pick five leading men with only January to June slim pickings available? I'm assuming the lucky guys would be
  • Chris Cooper -Breach (former winner and anything to avoid acclaimed but off the wall fare like the performances in Bug or Black Snake Moan)
  • Glen Hansard -Once (already beloved by a tiny pocket of moviegoers)
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt -The Lookout (a nod to the future)
  • Seth Rogen-Knocked Up (comedic spot & hit film)
  • Adam Sandler -Reign Over Me (they like sad clowns)
...though they aren't so lucky since none of them are likely red carpet walkers at the end of the year (unless you're talking Golden Globe comedy/musical or People's Choice festivities. I'd like to stay hopeful on Once's end of year possibilities. It's a marvelous film, it sinks into your heart and stays there (I still remember it vividly and it's been weeks) but I fear it's too grimy and low key for awards hype. You will hear the title constantly come the annual parade of critical top ten lists in December so get thee to the theater post haste if you haven't seen it yet.

Who is your choice for best so far? [My updated Oscar predix]

Now Playing (06/29)


Falling The new film from Austrian director Barbara Albert (Free Radicals) about thirtysomething former girlfriends who are unexpectedly reunited.
Ghosts of Cité Soleil
"this ain't no Hollywood movie" an acclaimed documentary on gang leaders in Haiti.
One to Another [NSFW] Randy French youth. Pierre is very close to his sister Lucie and three male friends, too. They're all very intimate. Naturally real death and not just 'little death' to follow.
Vitus Switzerland's Oscar entry last year. (Yes a lot of these have been surfacing. This will continue for another 19 months or so as 2/3rds of the the entries eventually stumble across the Atlantic or Pacific ponds. Nothing like striking while the iron is hot!)


Evening Starry cast. Unilluminating movie. my review
Live Free or Die Hard Bruce is back
Ratatouille A rat wants to be a top chef in Paris. The teaser and trailer were lovely... which is a funny thing to say about a rat movie but there you go. No matter what my feelings about Cars may have been (dull, overlong) Pixar has never really made a bad movie. Their output is generally good to great. So the question is always "how good will it be?" Rather than "is it any good?" and isn't that a wonderful trade off of questions? Long live Pixar.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Famousr Frightens Me

It will come as no surprise to anyone paying any degree of attention that fame is unfair (else why would a certain spoiled heiress who contributes not much of anything to anybody be one of the most famous people in the world?) More distressing for cinephiles is that this truth also applies to the movies. Fameocracy is non-merit based and difficult to fathom. It's one of the reasons that you can waste so much time at Famousr. It's a dizzying time eater.

I’ve been meaning to talk about Famousr for awhile, but it I've been too disturbed by it. The first time I went I just wanted to see how it worked. It pits actor against actor and you either guess random pairings or you look up face offs of your choice. Before long a whole hour had passed. I started by trying to guess a few rounds of “who is more famous?” and it wasn’t long before I was entirely aghast

It just kept reminding me that even if you're a bonafide legend, prone to making all time lists and the like, you can still be bested by people who are still seen on TV or magazines whose careers are wobbly or comparatively minor. Few people know toss all about movies that existed before they were say, 12.

If you've never entered that strange inquiring land of "who is more famous" approach with caution. Your mind may be blown. Even if you've accepted the bitter pill of fame's randomness, it's still really hard to wrap your mind around certain things:
  • No one is more famous than Tom Cruise.
  • Modern flashes in the pan are more famous than legends (the hippocampus is a cruel master --or maybe it's our nownownow pop culture that is the cruel mistress)
  • Sandra Bullock is still inexplicably mega famous. She doesn’t have a particularly scandalous tabloid life. Her filmography is mostly crap. She’s never been nominated for an Oscar. She doesn’t make “all time movie star” lists. She isn’t that much more bankable than her rivals. And yet… And yet…

People will see me and cry

Hairspray @ Pride

This past weekend Adam Shankman, Hairspray's director and choreographer, introduced Nikki Blonsky at San Francisco's Gay Pride and she performed "Good Morning Baltimore" for the crowd. I'm sure it was a highlight of the day and I'm also sure that the west coast gays can't get that song out of their head this week (that song is so damn sticky)

Speaking of sticky. This photo op. Oh the levels...

The out gay director of a very gay project that's under threat of ban by some pockets of the gay community takes his young starlet to Gay Pride. So far it makes total sense. But they brought along cutouts of their two closeted *ahem. allegedly closeted, sorry, movie stars with them? To Pride (!) ??? What was the impulse? I'm not sure whether to giggle, get snarky, or feel slightly embarassed for all. I mean couldn't the cutouts have been someone less mixed messagey? Pfeiffer, Walken, that boy who performs in high school musicals... no, wait.

(As for those wondering what I thought of Hairspray... I'll review soon but in short: a ton of fun)

The Linked One

six things ohmygod, it's back!
Just Jared Claire Danes & Hugh Dancy. Celebrities are just like us: they wear an outfit more than once. Imagine it. (I should note that I was gonna feature Dancy as yesterday's HDH. I figured he deserved it since I barely noticed Patrick Wilson in Evening --I know! but blah blah blah... you don't need my excuses.)
<--- look. it's
The Brave One poster
Focus Features a better quality preview reel than we saw before. The studio system is long gone --and with it those clear studio identities but there's something special about Focus for the most part, don't you think? [thx]

ONTD Dafoe and Hawke as bloodsuckers in Daybreakers. Ewww and, um, OK. See you there.
Flick Filosopher
savors the worst dialogue of 2007.
Go Fug Yourself a shocking "well played" -Bai Ling?
look, the Margot @ poster --->
ModFab crazy ass price tag shock for those hoping to see Young Frankenstein on Broadway. This makes me sick. Mel Brooks is such a greedy problem for me.
Sam Raimi is losing it. Wants yet more villains for Spidey 4. Remember when one was enough in Spider-Man 2 and it was the best superhero film. Those were the days...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Halfway Point: Supporting Actor (So Far)

2007 is (almost) halfway over. Time to recalibrate those Oscar predictions... But first, a few thoughts on where we've been and the supporting men we've noticed in our travels. If I voted today on my film bitch awards, the five Supporting Actors would be drawn from this group o' eight...

And if the Oscar voters themselves had to pick five men for the supporting actor category from the first half of this year, I think they'd go like so....
  • Don Cheadle -Reign Over Me (they love a co-lead)
  • Hugh Dancy -Evening (alcholic)
  • Michael Murphy -Away From Her (mental impairment = Oscar crack)
  • Gordon Pinsent -Away From Her (another lead)
  • Paul Rudd -Knocked Up (comedic spot & hit film)
If Zodiac had done better with audiences you might have seen that intricate and populated film heading for a revival in the winter with various elements in tow for an Oscar campaign, but I doubt it. Of the candidates so far I suspect that Hugh Dancy will win fans amongst Evening's viewers and could have even had campaign hopes if his movie were any good (it's not). He's quite easily 'best in show.' But at this point only Gordon Pinsent poses any sort of threat for end of year accolades in this category. It'd be fraudulent (he has the most screentime) but if Julie Christie's Actress bid heats up in the winter, he could be swept into a nomination. Which wouldn't be terrible (apart from the category) since it's a fine performance.

Do you have a favorite 2007 supporting actor yet? Make a case for someone in the comments --or help determine who was strongest in Zodiac.... that movie I swear [My updated Oscar predix]

A Cold Shower for Actressexuals

So far I've failed in my attempt to get "actressexual" into the vernacular or the new edition of Websters. Only my readers and sympatico pockets of the blogosphere have adopted the awesomely useful word.

So as the spokesperson for this word that needed to be invented decades ago, I feel I must warn all my fellow actressexuals: Evening may sound like an orgiastic turn-on -- "Streep. Danes. Close. Redgrave. Collette. Richardson" admit it: you're hot just hearing the names pressed so tightly together -- but it's a cold shower of a disappointment. My review is up @ Zoom In

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tuesday Top Ten: PTA Performances

Paul Thomas Anderson makes me feel so unaccomplished. He’s 37 and I haven’t directed four great films at this age! Argh. Hate him. But I love his movies. From Hard Eight (also known as Sydney) to Boogie Nights to Magnolia to Punch-Drunk Love, they’re all really something. As are the performances inside of them. While we're anxiously awaiting There Will Be Blood, let's look at the performances in his fine filmography.

PTA is often compared to Robert Altman and though I think the comparison is a little simplistic, he invites it too. He’s often cited Altman as an influence and he even helped out with A Prairie Home Companion (Altman needed a standby auteur should his health prevent completion –thankfully it didn’t)

Top 10 Performances in Paul Thomas Anderson Films

10 Fiona Apple in numerous music videos.
I’m cheating here because there were too many performances to choose from (these are huge consistenly excellent ensembles) plus I’m Apple obsessed and still miffed about that breakup. I love all the videos he made with her including "Limp", "Fast As You Can", "Paper Bag" and "Across the Universe"

09 April Grace as “Gwenovier” in Magnolia
Her enemy combatant interview with Cruise is a marvel –my second or third favorite scene in the movie. No matter what one thinks of Tom Cruise as an actor, it’s hard to match his intensity in any given scene. Gwenovier is so formidable a scene partner (without doing much) that doesn’t it feel like even Frank TJ Mackey has to overreach to fight her off? And can someone get Grace more movie roles?

08 Mary Lynn Rajskub as “Elizabeth” in Punch-Drunk Love
I still thrill to the way she comically rampages into every scene. There’s just no brake fluid in her system. That anger problem runs in the family.

07 Philip Baker Hall as “Sydney” in Hard Eight.
I’ll admit that I don’t remember this movie, PTA’s first that well. I sought it out after being stunned by Boogie Nights and Magnolia and I recall immediately understanding what PTA always saw in this character actor mainstay. Gwyneth Paltrow is also quite good in this film.

06 Heather Graham as “Rollergirl” in Boogie Nights
What a gift this role was. It’s perfectly suited to Graham’s considerable yet slightly vacant charisma. It’s a great role as written but it’s also the best performance of her career: engaging, well judged, and more than a little raw once it needs to be.

05 Tom Cruise as “Frank TJ Mackey” in Magnolia
This sexist self-help monster role needed either a charismatic movie star or an intense but "off" actor to serve it. It was lucky enough to be channeled through both.

04 Julianne Moore as “Linda Partridge” in Magnolia
Possibly the most divisive performance on the list but I love that it doesn’t feel like other Moore performances. It’s large, stylized and forceful... Moore at her bravest as an aging trophy wife carrying tons of weight in guilt. I still remember the New Yorker review which deemed her work both nonsensical and mesmerizing.

03 Burt Reynolds as “Jack Horner” in Boogie Nights
It always alarms me when I hear about the actors who turned this role down. Reynolds almost didn’t take it himself. Insanity

02 Mark Wahlberg as “Dirk Diggler” in Boogie Nights
When this film premiered this star turn felt like a leap forward for a young actor and the promise of great things to come. Now it feels like the realization of promise. It's so right for both the demands of the film and the truth of the character that I'm doubtful Wahlberg can top it. A hilarious, sweet and sad take on a guy who is in over his head especially once his pants are down.

01 Julianne Moore as “Amber Waves” in Boogie Nights
Not just the best performance in PTA's fine filmography but one of the best of the past couple of decades. It deserves at least a 1000 words, not just a few sentences. too many things (to say)... too many things.

Agree? disagree?
Light a firecracker, collect some pudding, or throw some frogs around in the comments...

DVD Releases

pick of the litter
Black Snake Moan Ricci writhes, Jackson lectures and Timberlake cries. One of the most interesting films of 2007. I'm not sure it has enough ideas for its provocative collisions but it least it has ideas --more than most movies can say. And Christina Ricci shows signs that she's finally getting her groove back (surely worth tentative rejoicing) whilst diving into character for this sweaty druggy vulgar hellion
La Jetee / Sans Soleil Criterion Collection release of Chris Marker's influential films. I have been meaning to see La Jetee forever ...

the rest
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon Smart horror fans seem to love this - like our buddy MNPP
Peaceful Warrior A gymnast has an accident and meets a stranger (Nick Nolte) who helps him heal. Would you want Nolte as your spiritual guide --hasn't this kid seen those mug shots?
Pride Terrence Howard & the swim team. This comment is nothing particularly directed at this movie (I haven't seen it) but I'm getting the sense that someone needs to warn Howard about saying yes to every offer. It's very Michael Caine / Gene Hackman / Samuel L Jackson in their 'can't say no' workaholic mode. Struggling actors have to do this. Established types... why? Overspending? Delusional "I'll never work again" actorly panic?
Mark Wahlberg in action hero mode. I was just watching I Heart Huckabees the other day and damn he is awesome in that movie. Wahlberg's gift is clearly comedy or at least comedic beats fused into dramatic characterization. See also: Boogie Nights and The Departed
Standing Still For all of you who've wondered whatever happened to the film careers of yesterdays up & comers: James Van Der Beek, Mena Suvari, Xander Berkeley, Ethan Embry, Adam Garcia, Jon Abrahams, Lauren German and Melissa Sagemiller. Meerkat-loving Amy Adams is also in this post-college wedding drama. (She, too, has the Terrence Howard problem but hopefully that'll level itself off once the pre Junebug contracts are over)

Wedding Wars The only reason I even list this is because I tried to watch it
and feared my eyes would fall out --the worst thing about being gay, he says jokingly, is all the bad movies you have to endure to see glbt topics. John Stamos plays a gay wedding planner who goes on strike for gay marriage during the buildup to his brothers wedding. Stamos is still a Dorian Gray cutie but he hasn't risen above his sitcom acting origins. You're glad there are movies like this being made but you don't need to watch all of them! (I'm lecturing myself... the rest of you can just move along)
Dead Silence
Another horror about dolls/dummies. Vasts swaths of people must have had really traumatic childhoods for this subgenre to stay popular. A 21% RT rating. Ouch

Monday, June 25, 2007


Just Jared Our man Brad in cellphone throwing mode
QTA wishes the amazing Larry Kramer a happy 72nd
Variety Betting on quality with Pixar. God, I love Pixar. Disney don't deserve... Now let's just pray those awful direct to DVD Disney sequels really do go the way of the dinosaur
Tarzan won't be a Broadway swinger for much longer
Coming Soon More problems for Tom Cruise (Re: Bryan Singer's Valkyrie) though I kinda wish people would start leaving him alone now. Religious crazies get even loonier when they feel they're being persecuted. Cruise don't need no more crazy!
.......speaking of crazy, NY Mag has a fine interview with the awesome auteur Werner Herzog

Monday Monologue: "Roy Batty"

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the best film of 1982, Blade Runner. It's one of the most influential movies ever made. I've lost track of the times I've seen people steal from it, particularly in the art direction/ production design world (the world that spawned auteur Ridley Scott, don'cha know?). Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), the leader of a freethinking band of androids known as "replicants" is the best character in the movie. He's scary yet soulful and sympathetic... like a 21st century Frankenstein monster. His last line in the film is very famous but before that, and throughout this final battle, he's the only one that talks. Hauer crafts an iconic villain throughout the course of the movie providing yet another reminder that great performances can be given in any genre of film, no matter how rarely those types of star turns garner statuettes of any sort (I'd rank this performance piece above most of the Oscar nominees that year).

Despite the frequent narration in Blade Runner by Deckard (Harrison Ford), the "hero" --or anti-hero depending on how you view it -- he isn't much of a gabber. The replicants do most of the gabbing. In this scene Deckard only grunts and screams while Roy Batty chatters away. I've lifted the dialogue from this online script but I don't have the movie handy --where is that damn thing? --so, it could differ from the actual spoken dialogue a bit. Page to screen transfers being so unpredictable and all.
Not very sporting to fire on an unarmed opponent. I thought you were supposed to be good. Aren't you the good man? Come on Deckard. Show me what you're made of. Proud of yourself, little man? This is for Zhora. This is for Pris.
Come on, Deckard, I'm right here, but you've got to shoot straight.
Deckard misses on account of his hand being kinda crushed by Batty. That'll throw off your aim any day. Batty is just cruelly taunting him.

Straight doesn't seem to be good enough. Now it's my turn. I'm gonna give you a few seconds before I come. One, Two. Three, Four. -- Pris... [Roy begins howling like a wolf] (singing) I'm coming. -- Four, five. How to stay alive. -- I can see you! -- Not yet. Not... [puts spike through his hand, screaming] Deckard-- Yes... [puts head through wall.] You better get it up, or I'm gonna have to kill ya! Unless you're alive, you can't play, and if you don't play... Six, seven. Go to hell, go to heaven.
I had completely forgotten that Catwoman's awesome final breakdown in Batman Returns pays homage to this performance. The best villian of the 90s references the best of the 80s. Nice touch.

At this point Deckard finally gets a blow in. Deckard with the lead pipe on the rooftop.
Good, that's the spirit. That hurt. That was irrational. Not to mention, unsportsman-like. Ha ha ha. Where are you going?

Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave.

Deckard falls from the roof but Roy catches him with one hand, saving him and the fight abruptly ends. Rutger Hauer locks Roy's place up in the cinematic rogues gallery hall of fame with his sudden expiration.
I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the darkness at Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain.

Time to die.
Time to watch this again. It's always a thrill to experience Rutger Hauer and science fiction filmmaking hitting their prime together.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Halfway Point: Best Supporting Actress (So Far)

2007 is (almost) halfway over. Time to recalibrate those Oscar predictions...
But first, a few thoughts on where we've been and the sidelined women who helped us get there. If I voted today on my film bitch awards, the five Supporting Actresses would be drawn from this group of eleven. Evening pulls into harbor very soon with about that many actresses in tow. But I don't feel like waiting...

Those eleven turns skew towards comedic and genre work but they're all good stuff. If the Oscar voters had to choose from this year's slim pickings in January ~ June I'm guessing (it's always guesswork) that you'd see these women as the shortlisters
  • Dukakis -Away From Her (former winner)
  • Fonda -Georgia Rule (legend. they'd demote her to support)
  • Mann -Knocked Up (comedic spot & hit film)
  • Thomson -Away From Her (empathetic ... and to avoid the genre perfs)
  • Weaver -The TV Set (comedic spot & celebrity)
I'm guessing (perhaps näively) that they'd avoid Felicity Huffman (Georgia Rule) even though she's got the baitest supporting role yet this year as an alcoholic mother -- only Dukakis's longsuffering spouse rivals her for bait --on account of the suck factor. Boy was she bad in that movie. I hope she's working the steps in Overactors Anonymous even as I type.

But let's be real. The AMPAS voters don't vote halfway through the year and none of these women will survive to make the Oscar cut come January. The fates of supporting performers are very dependent on the overall reception of the picture they appear in and the lead performances they enhance. We haven't seen one of our Best Pictures yet.

Do you have a favorite 2007 supporting actress yet? If so sing her praises in the comments. Make your case. [My updated Oscar predictions]

P.S. StinkyLulu & gang are also talking supporting actress (albeit for 1978). It's a real sibilant spectacle: Stinky's Seventies Smackdown: Streep. Stapleton. Smith. Check it out. I hope to return to that smackdowning party next month.

Day of Rest

Shhhhhh Jonathan Rhys-Meyers needs his beauty sleep. That's a lot of beauty to maintain. He must sleep 18-19 hours a day. Like a cat.

It's Gay Pride in NYC today hence the selection of this image. Not that Brian Slade and Curt Wild are flag wavers or even all that gay -- though they're queer fer sure. But this is actually how I feel about the gay pride parade zzzzz You can only see so many floats filled with muscle boys alternating with floats filled with drag queens in your lifetime before you become very sleepy. NYC's parade is so long (I'm talking hours) that you can actually store up the float visions from one single Pride Day to drink for years afterwards. Like a camel.

Next @ the Film Experience: Oscar Predix Updates (The Year So Far), Blade Runner, All That Jazz, and maybe even a little ABBA (whaaa...?)

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Come on now Marvel, at least try! Marvel is becoming like the American Idol of movies, so ragingly arrogant that they expect everyone to beg for seconds while they're serving up crap (product placement as actual content) and filler (remember what just happened? Let's talk about it!) Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is crap and the filmmaking is so lazy and the screenplay so simple that it feels padded even at a merciful 92 minutes.

The best thing about the first FF was Chris Evans as Johnny Storm but he's phoning it in here. Newsflash Evans: it's too early in your career to coast. Jessica Alba meanwhile makes Berry's Catwoman star turn seem rangey and nuanced (I just threw up). Alba was never a strong actress but she's getting worse. You're supposed to get better with practice... Jessica Alba: dyslexic with talent. Yeah, yeah, the Silver Surfer looks great but there's more than one effect in this movie. D

P.S. I realize I'm a week late seeing this and it's so disposable that everyone has already moved on. I put it off hoping to quell the child within who was just so desperate to see Norrin Rad on that intergalactic surf board. Once I was myself again I went in with exceedingly low expectations and it still managed to disappoint. That's Marvels new superpower.

A rough view of Marvel's track record (I skipped Blade sequels, The Punisher & Ghost Rider)
"A"s Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man
"B"s X-2: X-Men United, Hulk, X-Men
"C"s Spider-Man 3, Blade, X-Men: The Last Stand
"D"s Fantastic Four, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
"F"s Daredevil, Elektra
Good luck Iron Man. You'll need it

Links Episode #301

The Hairspray Blog isn't interesting or anything... just press updates. That's a pity because they could've gone in a million creative directions with it. Think of it: Dance lessons with Tracy, fashions from Edna's youth, Wilbur's gizmos... (c'mon New Line. Hire some writers: like me! Care a little) a gazillion things they could've done, sigh. But though it is dreadful dull it does offer up shots of Pfeiffer at a press conference. Mmmm, Pfeiffer.

and now, zeeee links
Sunset Gun top 10 trilogies -cool but where is Baz' 'Red Curtain'?
WOW Rufus Wainwright's "Rules & Regulations" video
Michelangleo Signorile Travolta / Hairspray queer scientology controversy
Kenneth in the (212) drools on Daniel Craig's Interview shots
ONTD Kate Winslet's new ads for Lancôme
Crumb by Crumb offers Ewan Macgregor the best 3 words of advice ever

Friday, June 22, 2007

Actress Psychic ~ Point Updates

For those 100+ brave souls who joined that ridiculously early Best Actress Psychic Oscar Contest months ago I've updated the point totals here. Manuel and Gerard are tied for the lead currently. Every contestant has at least one point.

Since we last spoke in late April, the following women have gained points: Molly Shannon hosted SNL (+2), Julie Christie, Angelina Jolie & Marion Cotillard's Oscar bids for Away From Her, A Mighty Heart and La Vie En Rose have opened (+1 each) and so far, given the reviews they've all got something to work with for their Oscar campaigns. Jane Fonda, Lindsay Lohan, Ashley Judd, and Keri Russell also opened their films and nabbed a box office point (+2 each). Unfortunately the Cannes festival gave no candidate any points and we've yet to have point-giving magazine covers for any of your picks. Three months down, seven left to go.

Remember, we're only talking about those that were predicted to be Oscar nominated next January by at least one of our
participants --thus no points for Katherine Heigl (Knocked Up) since no one predicted her. Once again the current totals.

Now Playing (06/22/07)


Black Sheep Horror comedy
Broken English It's hard to trust pre-release PR hype but word has it that Parker Posey delivers with a "startling and mature performance" (not sure if that's Coming Soon's own words or a PR summary) although anyone who doubts Posey's ability to render complete characterizations instead of just seizing big laughs musta missed Personal Velocity. This indie also stars Gena Rowlands, Melvil Poupaud, and Drea DeMatteo.
Klimt John Malkovich plays the artist in this biopic

White Palms This gymnastics drama (pictured right) was Hungary's entry in last year's Oscar race for Best Foreign Film
NY is getting Michael Moore's latest a week early. Can't wait to see it but I don't have health insurance right now so I know it's going to upset me. And I also really wonder about the people attacking Michael Moore left and right. You mean you don't want people to talk about how f***ed up America's healthcare is? Yes, let's bury our head in the sand on account of our petty vendetta's against a loudmouth. Smart move, talking heads, smart move.
You Kill Me is a comedy from John Dahl (Joy Ride, Red Rock West) about a hitman (Ben Kingsley) trying to quit drinking. I wonder when Gandhi will go back to playing good guys? And I wonder why the hit man is such an enduring character for movies -- certainly one of the most glamourized or ubiquitous screen professions. Weird, right?


1408 John Cusack enters a haunted room dreamed up by Stephen King, famously talented horror novelist yet inexplicably awful Entertainment Weekly columnist. But if you're looking for psychological horror why haven't you seen Bug yet? Go before it leaves the cinemas.
Evan Almighty Steve Carell collects two of every beast and builds an ark. I think the trailer is quite possibly the worst I've seen in years, utterly killing any previous desire I had to see it. And yes I once had said desire. I'm not sure what's wrong with me either, don't ask.
A Mighty Heart Angelina Jolie's Oscar bid. She plays the wife of slain journalist Daniel Pearl. Best Actress Updates coming real soon people. Patience.


Just found this great site "Steven Hill's Movie Titles Screen Page" which offers up a plethora of title cards. Maybe this site is common knowledge but it was news to me. And I love screen titles. What's especially fun is that it's not limited to any particular genre or time period. A huge collection worth checking out. I found it while searching for images I didn't end up using for today's Zoom-In piece which is my contribution to the filmmusic blog-a-thon which is building like Pachelbel's Canon right now. Unfortunately I don't have time for the other 'thon, the ambitious failure ... but I'll be reading.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Big Dollhouse

What are John Travolta and Nikki Blonsky doing here exactly?

a) rehearsing their Hairspray lines
b) making fun of Marissa Jaret Winokur & Harvey Fierstein
c) undergoing couples counselling...with props
d) auditioning for Todd Haynes next feature
e) none of the above (explain in the comments)

Judge Jenny

Is Jennifer Hudson qualified to judge the art of acting? I have to ask.

She is among the newest invitees to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (The Oscar voters) which means somewhere down the road, Jennifer Hudson will help determine if the next challenging virtuoso turn (like Naomi Watts's in Mulholland Dr or Isabelle Huppert's in The Piano Teacher) is shunned or honored. She'll judge whether or not Meryl deserves her third Oscar or Kate Winslet her first.... and both of those women will undoubtedly have tough competition in future races. They'll certainly be up against some media friendly babes frumping it up for attention: the "Jessica"s are only five to seven years away from seeking out those "deglam" opportunities... mark my words.

I don't mean to rag on JHud. I love her I do. She's my favorite person to ever emerge from the otherwise bar lowering entertainment phenom known as... never mind. I'm sick of saying the name. I can't wait to buy her first CD. She's certainly a better choice as an Oscar winner than several before her. But I think it's worth discussing: Is she qualified to know who is and isn't crafting delicately nuanced portraits or boldly stylizing their star turns?

[I'm playing devil's advocate here --we all feel qualified to do this or else there wouldn't be so much discussion about who is or isn't deserving. But shouldn't the Academy have to be more qualified ;) ]

Does she know the difference between a performance that just underlines the script or one that elevates the material? I have to ask because she has almost no experience. (Note: They did not invite Michelle Williams or Rinko Kikuchi, recent nominees who have been acting a lot longer.) Yes, Jenny just won the Oscar ... it makes Academy sense. But I'm just saying.

She might excel at the job. She's risen up to other tasks. But, to me, Hudson's co-nominee Adriana Barraza (the nanny in Babel), who was also invited to join the ranks, makes more sense as a voting member. I hope she accepts their invite. She's a well regarded acting teacher when she isn't onscreen. My guess is she has practice discerning the success of various components within any given performance. If she doesn't her former students should ask for their money back.

In other invitation news... The rest of the AMPAS newbie list reads like their usual mix of apologies (sorry Daniel Craig! we love you we do), celebrity worship (Jennifer Aniston --an Academy member? WHY??? Seriously. What would the reason be?), people you thought were already members (Christopher Plummer), head scratchers (Peter Berg in the directors branch after only a few pictures and only one of them, Friday Night Lights, gets talked about. J.J. Abrams in the writing branch when his chief claim to fame is Lost --a television series. There's another Academy for that, people. Geez) and extremely random if not unpleasant names (William Fichtner, Maribel Verdu).

You can see the whole list at Awards Daily. It's fun to see these lists but it sure does make you wonder about the Hollywood networking game...

AFI: The New Top 100 List

The Revised Greatest American Films List
I'm happy to see Blade Runner, Nashville, and Cabaret added. They all hold high rank in my own favorites listing. What say ye about this new lineup? (To be helpful I've added their previous AFI ranking to the right --big changes in bold)

1. "Citizen Kane" (1941) same
2. "The Godfather" (1972) 3
3. "Casablanca" (1942) 2
4. "Raging Bull" (1980) 24
5. "Singin' in the Rain" (1952) 10
6. "Gone With the Wind" (1939) 4
7. "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962) 5
8. "Schindler's List" (1993) 9
9. "Vertigo" (1958) 61
10. "The Wizard of Oz" (1939) 6

11. "City Lights" (1931) 76
12. "The Searchers" (1956) 96
13. "Star Wars" (1977) 15
14. "Psycho" (1960) 18
15. "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968) 22
16. "Sunset Boulevard" (1950) 12
17. "The Graduate" (1967) 7
18. "The General" (1927) new
19. "On the Waterfront" (1954) 8
20. "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946) 11

21. "Chinatown" (1974) 19
22. "Some Like It Hot" (1959) 14
23. "The Grapes of Wrath" (1940) 21
24. "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" (1982) 25
25. "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1962) 34
26. "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939) 29
27. "High Noon" (1952) 33
28. "All About Eve" (1950) 16
29. "Double Indemnity" (1944) 38
30. "Apocalypse Now" (1979) 28

31. "The Maltese Falcon" (1941) 23
32. "The Godfather, Part II" (1974) same
33. "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975) 20
34. "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937) 49
35. "Annie Hall" (1977) 31
36. "The Bridge on the River Kwai" (1957) 13
37. "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946) same
38. "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948) 30
39. "Dr. Strangelove" (1964) 26
40. "The Sound of Music" (1965) 55

41. "King Kong" (1933) 43
42. "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967) 27
43. "Midnight Cowboy" (1969) 36
44. "The Philadelphia Story" (1940) 51
45. "Shane" (1953) 69
46. "It Happened One Night" (1934) 35
47. "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951) 45
48. "Rear Window" (1954) 42
49. "Intolerance" (1916) new
50. "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (2001) new

51. "West Side Story" (1961) 41
52. "Taxi Driver" (1976) 47
53. "The Deer Hunter" (1978) 79
54. "M*A*S*H" (1970) 56
55. "North by Northwest" (1959) 40
56. "Jaws" (1975) 48
57. "Rocky" (1976) 78
58. "The Gold Rush" (1925) 74
59. "Nashville" (1975) new
60. "Duck Soup" (1933) 85

61. "Sullivan's Travels" (1941) new
62. "American Graffiti" (1973) 77
63. "Cabaret" (1972) new
64. "Network" (1976) 66
65. "The African Queen" (1951) 17
66. "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981) 60
67. "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966) new
68. "Unforgiven" (1992) 98
69. "Tootsie" (1982) 62
70. "A Clockwork Orange" (1971) 46 (i still don't understand how this one qualifies as American)

71. "Saving Private Ryan" (1998) new
72. "The Shawshank Redemption" (1994) new
73. "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969) 50
74. "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991) 65
75. "In the Heat of the Night" (1967) new
76. "Forrest Gump" (1994) 71
77. "All the President's Men" (1976) new
78. "Modern Times" (1936) 81
79. "The Wild Bunch" (1969) 80
80. "The Apartment" (1960) 93

81. "Spartacus" (1960) new
82. "Sunrise" (1927) new
83. "Titanic" (1997) new
84. "Easy Rider" (1969) 88
85. "A Night at the Opera" (1935) new
86. "Platoon" (1986) 83
87. "12 Angry Men" (1957) new
88. "Bringing Up Baby" (1938) 97
89. "The Sixth Sense" (1999) new
90. "Swing Time" (1936) new

91. "Sophie's Choice" (1982) new
92. "Goodfellas" (1990) 94
93. "The French Connection" (1971) 70
94. "Pulp Fiction" (1994) 95
95. "The Last Picture Show" (1971) new
96. "Do the Right Thing" (1989) new
97. "Blade Runner" (1982) new
98. "Yankee Doodle Dandy" (1942) 100
99. "Toy Story" (1995) new
100. "Ben-Hur" (1959) 72

<---they're tearing him apart: James Dean lost BOTH his spots on the top 100. And Monty Clift too. Argh. The films that fell out were...Doctor Zhivago #39, North by Northwest #40, Birth of a Nation #44, From Here To Eternity #52, Amadeus #53, All Quiet on the Western Front #54, The Third Man #57, Fantasia #58, Rebel Without a Cause #59, Stagecoach #63, Close Encounters of the Third Kind #64, The Manchurian Candidate #67, An American in Paris #68, Wuthering Heights #73, Dances With Wolves #75, Giant #82, Fargo #84, Mutiny on the Bounty #86, Frankenstein #87, Patton #89, The Jazz Singer #90, My Fair Lady #91, A Place in the Sun #92, Guess Who's Coming To Dinner #99

weirdest entry: Sophie's Choice... almost never listed in any "best of", apart from Meryl Streep's astonishing performance, is in the top 100 --They collectively name it the 6th best of the entire 80s decade. Whaaaa?

lesson learned: nothing below the top 30 is ever safe. It all depends on who they poll and which way the winds blow.