Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
“I talked to Jeremy on the phone, and he told me that he discovered that he had a very high level of mercury,” Mamet said. “So my understanding is that he is leaving show business to pursue a career as a thermometer.”
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Hugh Jackman- Talent (not just comedic: please see Kate and Leopold; not just musical: please see The Boy from Oz and not just dramatic: please see The Fountain but also of hosting: please see The 59th Tony Awards and no, you're not allowed to think about Viva Laughlin...)- Class: don't he look good in a tux?- Drool-worthy Oscar moments: I mean, isn't he dreamy looking?- Musical medleys! Think Billy Crystal only hotter!- Industry good-will and good timing: Baz Luhrman's Australia will be coming out later this year, and it might make a big splash with AMPAS and X-Men: Origins will be coming out next year; it's perfect timing to get Jackman in the spotlight!- International appeal: he is Australian for god's sake!- Box-office clout. Two words: X-Men.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Directed by Sam Mendes
Starring: Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kathy Bates, Zoe Kazan & Michael Shannon
There are moments in a movie that so perfectly encapsulate the mood, tone, look and rhythm of a film and its performers that you just have to sit back and catch your breath. Revolutionary Road, adapted from the Richard Yates novel of the same name, has many such moments but one in particular still haunts me. April and Frank (Kate and Leo) are at the dinner table joined by the Givings (including their clinically insane son John - an electric Michael Shannon). Lunch is yet to be served, so the conversation steers in an awkward direction when John, seeing past the well polished facade of the Wheelers, hits a couple of nerves with his wildly inappropriate (though for that, no less accurate) remarks about the Wheelers' plans. It's a moment that offers these very gifted actors a well-written and staged scene: Frank loses his temper, Mrs Givings swoops in to avoid a physical confrontation, John cackles an lashes out at the couple; and April... well, she just sits still holding her cigarette looking ahead even when John is raising his voice and uttering one of the most searing lines in the entire film. Winslet - a truly remarkable force in this film, shines in this scene for the amount of emotions she manages to portray in a single look. After the Givings leave, Mendes has a close up of Kate with Leo squirming in the background unable to contain his emotions; but all we're focused on is Kate's face - stern, thoughtful, impossibly at ease.
In a way this scene epitomises what the film is about - in a way it is a battle of wills that echoes Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? but it is also much more introspective (look out for the constant close ups of April as she turns a teary eye into a faked smile; and of Frank as he contracts his face, always so at odds in showing how he claims he feels) and more focused on small moments (the breakfast table, a dance at a party) that spiral into big blown out fight scenes (outside the car, around the house). The Wheelers seem unhappy, and maybe they are, but both are so enraptured by their seemingness that is hard to get at what each really wants - it is not for nothing that Mendes turns again and again to shots of mirrors and reflective surfaces, reminding his audience that what these characters show is almost if not more important than what they are, think and feel. And that in itself is the true tragedy of this suburban couple that so vividly comes to life in the hands of two actors that in a decade of working apart come together to give us another tragically romantic story of a couple at odds with what the world has to offer them.
Mendes and his production team deserve a shout out for making this aching story such a beauty to watch: Roger Deakins' cinematography beautifully plays with sunlit rooms that defy their own promise of warmth and homeliness; Kristi Zea's production design meticulously recreates this mythic landscape of American suburbia; Albert Wolsky's costumes are gorgeous (I fell in love with each of April's dresses, and loved seeing 1950s beach wear) and lastly Thomas Newman (who already won me over with his Wall-E score earlier in the year) here just blew me away with a score that simmers and soars apace with Yates' creations. A
Seriously. I had to do a double take while shopping for my younger cousins when I came across the Ryan HSM3 doll at Target.
Why is it that Disney can be so progressive in tie-ins but not on the silver/small screen?
Also, are we thinking this was from another scene left at the cutting room floor alongside that now infamous Zeffron shower scene? Discuss.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Instead, here's a wishlist (and yes, I am also throwing in TV stuff... so many people forget the HFPA also does TV!):
Kate Winslet double dips for Revolutionary Road and The Reader getting some love and some necessary traction if Camp Winslet wants to nab that Naked Golden Man this year.
Jane Krakowski gets some love for her portayal of kooky, self-obsessed Jenna on 30 Rock (Tina, Alec and the series are pretty much staples by now)
Pushing Daisies grabs noms for Comedy Series, Lead Actor, Lead Actress, Supporting Actor, & Supporting Actress, proving once again that ABC doesn't know quality when it is being baked right in front of its Dancing with the According to Practice's face.
How I Met Your Mother cracks the Comedy lineup and is joined by NPH in the Supporting Actor category.
Brad and Angie get snubbed (Nothing against them but I'd like to see more diversity and less star wattage on the red carpet this year)
Mad Men ladies get to shine with nominations for January Jones, Elisabeth Moss and Christina Hendricks (the Johns - Hamm and Slatery - and the hot hot Series also get some love, of course)
The Dark Knight shows up in the Best Drama Picture.
Unsung (camp/gay icon) performers Michael Urie and Becki Newton get noms for their Mode Magazine duo.
Clint gets snubbed (sorry, but the Clint love is too much sometimes).
Charlie Sheen and his CBS sitcom pals get the shaft.
The Zeffron gets a nom for HSM3 to the public outcry of the older media elite.
Ms Fey double dips for Baby Mama and 30 Rock ending 2008 with a bang.
Sex and the City: The Movie nabs at least 2 nods (Best Comedy and Best Lead Comedy Actress for SJP) showing how much HFPA really adores the Parker vehicle.
We'll see if my foreignness and my inner will manage to make any of these come true.
(Clockwise) Felicity, Penelope, Natalie, Maggie, Emily, Amy, Tina, Bette, Lisa, Nicole, Judi, Alyson, Vivien, Mary, Kristin, Salma, Julia, Kate, Meryl and SMG
And now I need to tag some people:
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
From the very first page I knew I was going to like this comic-book. Actually, I take that back. From the cover, I knew I was going to like this comic book. James Jean never goes wrong. Also, having Scott Allie associated with a project is a plus any day.
So first page: I love Way's "notes from Sir Reginald Hargreeves, a.k.a. The Monocle" they're really funny and offered a good 'intro' to our Academy members. My favourite line:
"00.03 Insufferable, narcissistic creature, but extremely useful.
That said, after reading the first issue I fell in love with everything - the ridiculously crazy plot, the witty dialogue, the super-fun artwork by Gabriel Bá (reminiscent enough of his brother's work on Joss Whedon's Sugarshock but appropriately different to suit Mr Way's tone and story) and of course, the characters. Rumour might just actually have the greatest power I have ever heard of. So simple and yet so 'extremely useful.'Can't wait to see who gets attached to this project. Would Tim Burton be too much of an obvious choice? Would Del Toro be a too lofty an ambition? I just hope Universal stays away from the Brett Ratners and Michael Bay types and sticks to the idiosyncrasies of the comic book. If I have peeked your interest, buy the trade paperback, now available with the first six issues arc (+ all the wonderful covers by James Jean!)
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Christopher Isherwood’s A Single Man accounts for the last day in the life of George: the single man from the title. But we all know that. And what happens that day, while important to the ‘plot’ of the novel, is the least important and (in my mind) less relevant aspect of the story when framed in light of a gay experiment in narrative. The exploration of George as a character that is at once a unified individual and at times a diluted and fragmented subject is one of the most striking aspects of Isherwood’s narrative. The seemingly internalised third person narrator shows us George as a subject that sleeps, drives, teaches and so on, but also at times, gives us the feeling that the character whom we are intimately getting to know can’t be dissociated from a performer: his subjectivity becomes then a creation and can only exist with an audience.George presents himself always framed in a stage-space, always in need of being interpellated by an (imaginary) audience: “George slips his parking card into the slot (thereby offering a piece of circumstancial evidence that he is George)” (Isherwood 43). From the moment he gets up and the narrator conflates being and time in the axiomatic “I am now”, George is being hailed into being by the reader in the act of reading his present tense narration. It is when “he gets out of his car, [when] he feels a surge of energy, of eagerness for the play to begin…He is all actor now – an actor on his way up from the dressing room, hastening through the backstage world of props and lamps and stagehands to make his entrance” (44, emphasis added). While we can take this instance as the initial point where his performative nature begins and take it as an isolated event in the narrative, we should pay attention to the ways in which, for example, George talks of his ‘chauffeur’ and his ‘head talking’ personas as independent from the body/actor subjectivity he feels he has: “George realizes this with the same discomfiture he felt on the freeway, when the chauffeur-figure got them clear downtown…But here in broad daylight, during campus hours, when George should be on-stage every second, in full control of his performance!” (54).But, even when George is not dissociated from his stage persona, his life seems to work as if he was always an actor: he has the part of a ‘single man’ that the title bestows on him; the role of professor that he enjoys playing; the narrative endows him with child-like qualities in response to Kenny’s “nanny-like” behaviour (163), and more poignantly, the last scenes with Kenny portray how Isherwood’s narrative constructs George as always performing a role. The last pages of the book work to (re)create George as role-playing a masochist educator following (if anything) the homosocial order of Classical Greece: Kenny enjoys calling George “sir”, Kenny’s attire “turn[s] itself into a Greek garment, the chlamys worn by a young disciple – the favourite, surely – of some philosopher.” (169); and lastly their relationship as framed in the platonic/symbolic dialogue places them with restricted roles to play: the masochist educator/teacher and sadist disciple/student.When this framework collapses and his fellow actor/audience leaves, it is the reader who is left alone with George and Isherwood’s narrator. And George, as if addressing us, takes it upon himself to change his role: “And I’m about to get much crazier, he announces. Just watch me, all of you!” (180) and “Daytime George may…question the maker of these decisions; but he will not be allowed to remember its answers in the morning” (181). Sadly for George the narrative and the irrepressible force of the past (overflowing with the finality of the preterit) engulfs him and forces him to portray the ultimate role: ‘the cousin of the garbage bag’.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
"There's only two types of people in the world: