Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Welcome to Brainerd.

"So that was Mrs. Lundegaard on the floor in there. And I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper. And those three dead people in Brainerd. And for what? For a little bit of money. There's more to life than a little money, you know. Don'tcha know that? And here ya are, and it's a beautiful day. Well. I just don't understand it."

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"Stuff I'm going to do"...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


How the mighty have fallen. This time last year I was in love with Pedro Almodovar and Lars Von Trier. They could do no wrong...that was until Broken Embraces and Antichrist, respectively. And a second viewing - despite my hopes - did not ease this disappointment. You enjoyed the melodramatic tendencies of their previous work? Well then sit back and enjoy the reign-free celebration of the grand (i.e. camp) tradition from two of cinema's great masters.

Antichrist may top my list of the most unintentionally funny films and, as such, it is quite enjoyable. It would seem as if this is simply a cinematic re-telling of those relationships Von Trier had with his leading ladies - those walks in the woods with Nicole Kidman on Dogville, the escalating arguments with Bjork on Dancer in the Dark. With a talking fox thrown in for good measure. None of it is particularly exciting and the greatest challenge for audiences is not the gore but the struggle to maintain interest. Boo! I'm hoping (for once) that right-wing criticisms were right, and this was just a joke of Von Trier's.

More problematic is Broken Embraces. Yes Penelope Cruz is wonderful as the centre piece to this tediously predictable puzzle, but why the hell this story? It contains of his most (and arguably only) absurdly simple narratives, hidden behind a veil of 'noir' that parodies those films he once created love letters for. The overtly camp nature of Almodovar's filmmaking invested this parodic element with poor taste, rather than the unintentionally humorous tone it creates in Antichrist. Blanca Portillo and Jose Luis Gomez create the two of most stereotypcial representations of women and homosexuality, respectively. Where was the subversion that usually elevates such creations in a given Almodovar film? And where the hell is the fun that invades every moment of his filmography?!? Perhaps he suffered, as his protagonist, and his film was mangled in some uncontrollable manner. Hopefully?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sooner or later...

...we're gonna be hers? Don't ask me why but I am almost certain Madonna's W.E. will be a success. So she can take that look of rebellious disgust of her face. Can't you see it? Madonna conquering the film world. I feel its going to happen. She had the good sense to relegate herself to directing duties so why not give her the benefit of the doubt that'll she actually knows a) what she wants, and b) how to do it. Are you with me? Or are you put off by her cinematic track record, the easily misguided cast (Vera Farmiga, Abbie Cornish, Ewan McGregor) and the general defeated attitude the media is approaching the project? I'm not a huge Madonna fan (especially when it comes to film), but I do love a good underdog story. Even if the underdog is one the most successful personalities in existence.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Blind Side is poison?

Or is it cancer? Read an interesting take on apology for enjoying the film here.

I don't like or dislike the film; it is an motivational piece of drama that has touched a huge demographic, granted Sandra Bullock an Oscar yet is undermined with its misconstrued portrayal of race relations in suburban America. Still, it did little to deserve the label of "poison".

Monday, March 29, 2010

How do you describe a feeling?

This is how stressed I am. a very loose metaphorical sense. In fact this uneven comparison has made me feel significantly less stressed. Hoorah!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Our NEW! Fair Lady.

Remember how excited I was when I heard that Keira Knightley was going to be Eliza Doolittle for Emma Thomphson's scripted remake? Well that excitement has just exploded with the news that Carey Mulligan will instead take the lead. I am so chuffed that I wouldn't mind if the less impressive Hugh Grant was cast as Henry Higgins.

And yes, that is a picture of Mulligan with a koala. She is the epitome of cute!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tickling Boys Don't Cry that film I really want to forget.

There are two reactions when viewing this film I want to forget. Guilt and/or discomfort. It feels like an extended PA that abusing "queers" ("fags", "trannies", etc. take your pick!) is wrong. Of course it is, and it is wonderful that the issue was recognised so widely but why do people with such an "identity crisis" need to always suffer to succeed in Hollywood? I'm sure the industry felt they committed a good deed by delivering the film's victim an Oscar; washing their hands of any prejudice they themselves have expressed. Just as they did when they delivered Tom Hank one for his portrayal of a homosexual AIDs victim in Philadelphia. But this was never going to be a film made for me. This is queer orientated cinema aimed at a heterosexual audience after all, so let it function as planned and perform as cathartic ritual for dominant society. And then be grateful that such films are now more likely to be relegated to daytime trashy television movies than Oscar winners.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Confessions of a KST-aholic.

How could I not feast on this obsession of mine after too long a fast from film? I think I love Kristin Scott Thomas as much as her character does in Chromophobia, but not as much as that film is in love with itself. I'm sure it all sounded wonderful on paper, but it is anything but. There is a personal thrill to see Thomas deliver a performance that not only anchors the film but outshines her prolific ensemble, including Penelope Cruz (back in the day when the desperation of her characters was overshadowed by her desperation to be considered an 'actor'), Ralph Fiennes and Rhy Ifans. Her performance deserves a better movie.

Much more fun is Keeping Mum, a film I cannot stop fawning over. How it was not a greater success is beyond me. Maggie Smith in angelic grandmother a serial killer? How is that alone not enough for audiences? And that is just the tip of this joyful iceberg! I particularly enjoy Thomas's stoic housewife's reaction to Smith's murdering past...just watch as her characteristic stiff upper lip fails only to return with a bite. Wonderful! Have a peak below...

Now go check it out!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tickling The Fish Child.

How could I make amends for my sacrilegious lack of film screenings last week? By spending time with women who leave me in awe of course! Enter The Fish Child.

Lucia Puenzo already stunned me with her debut XXY. A brave, beautiful film that combines a traditional narrative of coming-of-age with the tale of an intersexual adolescent. It is one of the most moving and refreshing films I have seen. And it only improves on repeated viewings. Not an easy film to trump yet The Fish Child maintains her mature, sensual style that creates an arena for challenging responses without demanding for such. I wish Hollywood would take note. It also presents her progression in its incredibly complex narrative structure that succeeds in the films expansive time period in an original, faultless manner. Hoorah!

It is a shame then that the film poignancy of the film is undone by a conclusion that seems to break free of Puenzo's reigns and gives the audience a by-numbers 'happy ending' that requires a greater suspension of belief than its realisation deserves. This, however, could not taint the film as a whole, a film which further highlights Puenzo as a filmmaker of note. And I love her.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Forgive me Father...

...for I have sinned, it has been one week since my last film viewing. That is right. Seven days without a single film. This may be the first time in many years that this has happened. Please forgive me.

Your unfaithful servant,


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I luff you.


ALVIN SINGER holds ANNIE HALL's arms as they stand, almost in silhouette.

You know what? You know, I like you, I really...I really do like you.

Yeh but do you love me?

Do I love you?

That's the key question.

Yeah, you know?

I know you've only known me a short while.

Well, I think...I think that's sort of...Yeah, yeah...Yeah. Do you love me?

I - uh, love is, uh, too weak a word for the way I feel...I love you. I luuurve you, you know I loave you, I luff you, with two F's. Yes I-I have to invent...Of course I love you.


Don't you think I do?

I don't know.

Alvy puts his arms around Annie's neck. They kiss.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Introduce people with thoughtful details.

Mark is a prematurely middle-aged prick with a cruel raced ex-wife.

Perpetua is a fat-ass old bag who spends her time bossing me around.

Bridget works in a publishing house and she used to play around naked in my paddling pool.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Smile. Glee.

My life would suck without you...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A quick celebration.

How I love Björk. Especially film Björk. And now is (supposedly) teaming with one of the most interesting directors about Michel Gondry for a return to cinema...of some form anyway. Who cares how it will be delivered?! Together they have created some truly great music-videos (see my personal favourite) and any collaboration between them should be celebrated in my world. Hoorah!

Read more here...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The trick to falling asleep is trying to stay is that?

"Well, when my mother was an intern, she used to work late through the night... sleep through the day. So the only time we'd ever get to talk about anything is when she'd get home. So what I... I used to do, I used to lie in my bed and try to stay awake as long as I could, but it never worked 'cause... 'cause the harder I'd try, the faster I'd fall asleep...The only thing is sometimes she'd come home early, I'd pretend to be asleep...She'd stand in the doorway looking at me. I'd just keep my eyes shut. And I knew she just wanted to find out about my day, if she came home early, just to talk to me. I still wouldn't move, I'd still pretend to just be asleep. I don't know why I did that."

Happy Mother's Day.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

What a wonderful world.

What is this?!? Julianne Moore stealing the attention Tom Ford from his Oscar co-presenter Sarah Jessica Parker?!? What a sly fox...I love it. Poor Matthew Broderick looks like he wants in!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

"You should tell me about falls well within my purview!"

"Within your 'purview'? Where do you think you are, some fucking regency costume drama? This is a government department, not some fucking Jane fucking Austen novel! Allow me to pop a jaunty little bonnet on your purview and ram it up your shitter with a lubricated horse cock!"

Friday, March 12, 2010

A quick reaction to Alice In Wonderland.

Mechanical. Beautiful. Boring. Indulgent. Clunky. These all sum up my feelings about Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland. It ticks all the criteria of Burton and popular fantasy films without ever expressing much enthusiasm. It would seem that Burton fell into the mindset of Danny Elfman and felt filmmaking was best done on autopilot. This is a film that should be rich with wonder yet seems to aim for mild admiration. And, at least, this much is achieved. Disappointing.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"My friends call me Meg. At least they would if I had any friends."

Once I had published my post on Disney's Mean Girls, I knew I had made a huge mistake. How could I forget the wonderful Meg of Hercules, who is unquestionably my favourite woman in the land of Disney. She is Disney's answer to the femme fatale whose angular curves point a smitten Hercules in her direction despite her own reluctance, "I'm a damsel, I'm in distress, I can handle this". This neurosis counteracts the ingrained representation of Disney women needing a) the heroics of men and b) love, and its presence heightens the eventual realisation of romance between them while never jeopardising her departure from the traditional mode of Disney heroine; she becomes the hero saving the damsel in distress, Hercules, who, in turn, saves Greece. I love strong women, reluctant romantics and sassy one-liners and Meg contains all that. And since have Disney characters been given a romantic history unrelated to their current love interest? Now I'm I will stop and let you have a glimpse of this creation yourself!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cabaret x4

On the 26th of April at 8.40PM, I will be sitting in a cinema with Cabaret on the screen ahead of me. I've seen it countless times (on the small screen) with my adoration of it only increasing. Now I will see it in its full glory.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Smile. Before Sunset.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dammit Janet!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tickling XXY.

"In all vertebrates, including the human being, the female sex is dominant in an evolutionary and embryological sense."

This the type of statement you would expect from an aggressive feminist, a defiance against the male centered culture of ours. This, however, resonates in much more complex, conflicting manner within the context of its protagonist, Alex.

XXY tells the story of an intersexual whose unwillingness to specify his/her gender discomforts her parents, particularly her mother who invites family friends (one of whom is a doctor) to visit in the hope that Alex will undergo surgery to "correct" him/her. To state the obvious, this is unusual fare for cinema in its entirety but, to the credit of its writer/director, Lucia Puenzo, and leading actress, Ines Efron, it engages on a surprisingly human level that will also question your own perception of gender and sexuality.

The style, themes, music and characters are akin to the worlds of Sofia Coppola. Perhaps there is something about having a parent with rich directorial blood as Puenzo is the daughter of The Official Story's (Argentina's first Oscar winner for Foreign-Language Film, one you must check out!) Luis Puenzo? I demand that Quentin Tarantino, Pedro Almodovar and Lars von Trier have girls now! (If only they could have one together!). Focus! This is as poignant as any coming-of-age tale I've seen and by the closing credits, you cannot help but root for a resolution you may have first ranked unthinkable. How often can you say that about a film? And how often does film truly question our preconceived notion of gender? Orlando is the only one that springs to mind and that was science-fiction dressed up as a period film, not infused with the contemporary 'reality'.

Kudos to Puenzo (of the Lucia kind) for realising such a brave film. Here's hoping it spurs an interest in a topic that continually causes the film industry to shy away.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Once upon a girl world.

John Lasseter may want to consider this project of Disney's Mean Girls. It has our favourite Disney heroines just meaner!

A quick note (I couldn't help myself!), I would have replaced Belle with Snow White for Gretchen Weiner with the simple reason that Snow White's personality as a 'traditional' Disney heroine would compliment the other 'plastics' (Aurora as Regina George and Cinderella as Karen Smith) more than the independent-thinking, 'new age' heroine of Belle. But then there'd be no Belle. And she's my favourite of the Disney women. Ignore this criticism Lasseter!

Oh and thank you Spherical Notions for bringing it to my attention.

Monday, March 08, 2010

10 thoughts on...the Oscars 2010.

  1. This may be the first time where the red carpet was a source of genuine entertainment. In recent years the Academy Awards have been quite dull when it has come to fashion but this year everyone seemed to having...dare I say!! Even Sarah Jessica Parker dared to venture out of her Carrie Bradshaw prescribed garb for something more interesting (an appropriate word for a gown I hated it then I grew to love before falling into a state of confusion!). Just look at the five women - maybe ignore Anna Kendrick's pale choice - below, this is what Oscar is all about; glamour!

  2. It is a shame then, that the stage was so unforgiving to the more elaborate of dresses. Zoe Saldana, Kristen Stewart, Jennifer Lopez, Sandra Bullock and Barbara Streisand all struggled from one platform to another. Most memorable was Kathryn Bigelow's difficulty whilst returning for her Best Picture win. Adorable as ever.

  3. The only true surprise of the evening was a delight (for me, anyway). Precious deserved the recognition of Adapted Screenplay to compliment its assured win for Mo'Nique. It was so much more than that wonderful performance, and this second win should ensure it'll be remembered as such. Plus Geoffrey Fletcher (the recipient) gave us the most genuinely appreciative speech of the night and was genuinely moved. It is a shame then that despite Mo'Nique's statement that Oscar saw beyond the poltics of race, the camera would focus solely on African American actors whilst Precious was under discussion. It would seem segregation is still supported by the Academy, albeit in a limited form.

  4. The award for best presenters of the night would have to go to Carey Mulligan and Zoe Saldana. I so want these two to have the careers their talents (and they have that in spades) deserve. How cute they were!...

  5. ...Unlike Sandy Powell who dedicated her third Oscar (for Costume Design) to those designers who work in genres of film that are not considered 'worthy' by the Academy. A completely justified complaint that will only fall onto deaf ears. Still, it is always good to have a cynic in the group.

  6. The ceremony seemed to strive for old fashioned Hollywood glamour yet it rarely distinguished itself from its fellow prize givings. Until this moment...the silhouettes of Tom Ford and Sarah Jessica Parker shrowded by the might of Hollywood, lights beaming from all angels - this is the Oscars; a theatrical celebration of those we idolize (for now anyway).

  7. Why refuse performances of the nominated Original Songs when you're going to bore us all with some ghetto dancing to the Original Score nominees? This was the biggest mistep of a relatively enjoyable show. Well that and Neil Patrick Harris's opening 'showstopper' - unnecessary and dull.

  8. My biggest joy of the evening was discovering Vera Farmiga, Michelle Pfeiffer and - my one and only - Julianne Moore honouring George Clooney, Jeff Bridges and Colin Firth, respecitvely, during the presentation of Best Actor. How Oscar teases me so! These three women should be Oscar winners by now!

  9. Back before it was fashionable, I mused over Sandra Bullock's chance at Oscar glory. It remains rather shocking that she is an Oscar nominee, let alone an Oscar winner. And yet I could never begrudge her this crowning. Especially as her acceptance speech was one of the most graceful I have ever seen (when has a winner been so celebratory of their fellow nominees?).

  10. I like The Hurt Locker, it's a wonderful film that deserves its recignition yet I cannot help but feel that a future viewing will be tainted by the repeated dedication of its wins to soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan, etc. My adoration for this film stemmed out of its focus on America's pointless need for war, so the promotion of it as an ingrained part of American culture seems inappropriate. Although compared to her sentimental mention of firemen ("they are here for us and we are there for them"), it seems apt.