Thursday, September 30, 2010

"You're face is familiar."

"It's possible you've seen it in the newspapers or magazines. Erm, Vanity Fair?"

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Gratuitous Actress Lusting. Jayma Mays.

You can criticise Glee all you want. It is not deserving of half the praise thrown its direction but never diss Emma Pillsbury. She is magnificent. And is now, in Season 2, a more independent personality. I don't think I have ever seen a creature as adorable as this woman. I am in love.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A quick tickle of Tangled.

Ever since its first trailer, I have been less than excited about Tangled. And that is quite rare when it comes to anything Disney...who I love unconditionally. It all just seems a bit too Pixar or worse, DreamWorks. Flynn Rider, the cockey leading man who shares more with Prince Charming of Shrek 2 than any Disney creation, is detestable. And there was no sign of any villain...until this newly released 'Making Of'. Now we can all welcome Mother Grothel...

I'm already sensing a fabulous creation that will make us all forget the disappointing Dr. Facilier from the otherwise terrific The Princess and the Frog. Pretending to be the mother of Rapunzel, she holds her captive in the tower so that she can battle age by some magical power exuded from the her pseudo daughters hair. Sounds terrifically traditional to me, and I love my Disney in a traditional mode. Will she have her own musical number? How will she try (and fail) to prevent Rapunzel from freedom? The film suddenly seems filled with potential greatness.

Still, Flynn Rider seems like a detrimentally tedious characterisation. Yes we enjoyed this post-modern take on the fairytale prince...but that was back when it was subversive, not now when it is standard. The presence of a promising villain does force me to view him in a more optimist light however. Could he perform a transformation similar to characters nearest his ilk? Prince Naveen of The Princess and the Frog and Emperor Kuzco from The Emperor's New Groove are characters whose initial vanity gives way to deeper personalities through their relationship with the emerging characters, Tiana and Pacha, respectively. This will most likely be the case. I hope.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

An irresistible question...from Michael Stuhlbarg.

"Is the cat dead or is it not dead?"

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Wait for the crème."

There are many joys within the films of Quentin Tarantino but none can compare to the above presentation of Shosanna Dreysus' (Melanie Laurent) preparation to murder the leaders of the Nazi party. I am obsessed with the notion of make-up as female weaponry, and this perfectly adapts this notion into the world of Tarantino.

Shosanna meditatively stares onto the anticipation of the premiere below her, this is the last chance she will have to contemplate her fate. The long shot of Shosanna dissolves into a medium shot, that then dissolving into a closer shot and so on until we are given an extreme close-up of her piercing eyes. A series of quick cuts show Shosanna applying her make-up as if preparing for battle. All to the glorious sound of David Bowie's 'Cat People (Putting Out the Fire)'. I have never been so excited during a Tarantino film...and with the passing of Sally Menkes, the editor on all of his films to date, I'm not certain I will ever be. The magic exuded from their relationship will not be easily achieved. But there is no reason to be greedy when they have given us so much already. Still, Menkes will be missed.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

An irresistible question...from Gloria Stuart.

"Do you want to hear this story or not, Mr. Lovett?"

At the tender age of 11 Titanic was an event that excited me beyond measurement. There is only one word that sum up my reaction to its existence: obsession. Key to this obsession was the presence of Gloria Stuart as the 101 year old Rose whose route to self discovery drives the narrative of Titanic. This sassy, independent creation presents the woman that Kate Winslet's desperate young Rose will become...and we cannot help but root for this transformation, all thanks to the wonderful performance by Stuart.

Though I regretfully have little knowledge of her work elsewhere, this performance will be forever celebrated by me. And I'm sure I won't be the only one.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A letter to...Kylie Minogue.

Dear Miss Kylie Minogue,

As a devoted fan I have too many suggestions for your upcoming tour to promote your recent album, 'Aphrodite'. As you have stated that the 'Le Folies' tour "promises to be an absolute landmark", I thought the following could help in realising this statement...
  • The handful of cinematic references in your 'For You For Me' American tour worked wonderfully. Especially this montage of melodramatic quotations. Could this possibly fit into the world of Aphrodite? (Please say yes).
  • No cheerleader outfits. Or any outfits that should only belong to a girl and not a woman.
  • As I have a particular fondness of Jason Beitel, it would be wonderful if you present him in compromising positions, such as in the shower. Yum!
  • The following songs must be performed: 'Step Back In Time', 'Better the Devil You Know', 'Dreams', 'Spinning Around', 'Your Disco Needs You', 'Please Stay', 'In Your Eyes', '2 Hearts', 'Like A Drug' and 'The One'.
  • Although 'Aphrodite' has impressed the majority, there are a handful of tracks I'm not pushed about. 'Put Your Hands Up', 'Everything Is Beautiful', 'Illusion', 'Looking For An Angel', and 'Can't Beat the Feeling' need not be performed when you have such a solid selection to choose from.
  • Please(!) don't invite Dannii Minogue to join you on stage again. That first time still lingers in my memory. However, if Hurts are available...BOOK THEM!
  • If you are going to aim to replicate or, dare I say it, surpass any tour then please let it be Madonna's 'Confessions' tour. I have adored every one of your shows but none have been as spectacular as this...indeed nothing I have witnessed can compare to it, not even Madonna's later 'Sticky and Sweet' tour. Let your imagination run wild...
  • ...which brings me to the celebration of water. Though I could not spend £250 on a 'Splash' ticket, I am still excited to see what sort of splash will take place. You once joked about having a sea of bubbles for a performance of 'I Should Be So Lucky', are you making this a reality? And can we please have lots of attractive dancers soaked?
Please choose to ignore this advice...but it comes with love from a very dedicated fan.

Yours lovingly,

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Who's that girl?

I will be spending tomorrow evening in the company of Caroline O'Connor, who I will forever adore for threatening the happiness of Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge! as well as leading one of the most glorious musical numbers in the history of film. I am very excited to see her unleash 'The Showgirl Within'.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Smile. Darling.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Subtitled wisdom. The Counterfeiters.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Confessions of a KST-aholic.

"You've so much to learn", the young Kristin Scott Thomas tells her yummy bit-on-the-side Rupert Graves (who is impossible not to fawn over). Though this was her first film as the leading lady, Thomas shines in a role of discontent wife that she would later perfect in The English Patient, Gosford Park, Keeping Mum and Leaving. But there is something delicious about seeing KST within this very British world of upper class England. Her ability to portray her character subtly makes her the ideal performer for this world of repressed emotions and protocol. I so wish she would return to this world that seems to have disappeared within British film...if only it were possible for Merchant Ivory to return and bring back something as glorious as A Room With a View, Howard's End or The Remains of the Day with KST as their leading lady. (How fascinating it would have been to see her take on Emma Thompson's Margaret Schlegal or Miss Kenton.)

The film, though otherwise disengaging, is devastating as this beautiful creature abandons the luxurious lifestyle that accompanies her discontent to discover a harsh world of disappointment. Her actions have warranted such a change in circumstance yet it is to KST's credit that we cannot accept this. As Graves becomes disinterested in the poor KST, there is something unapologetically tragic about the ideals of a woman who is so superficially accomplished leading to her downfall. As in Leaving, this seemingly perfect wife and mother has nothing to boast of but her family yet sacrifices this for more...the effects of this decision thwarting any potential she had in achieving any such ambition. This theme, also explored in The Private Lives of Pippa Lee and I Am Love, is fascinating as the 'more' desired by these women is never defined or identified; they simply want to find themselves.

Interestingly, Hollywood offers their take on this theme with Eat Love Pray. Unsurprisingly it fails to summon any answers of note. Instead we're shown Julia Roberts whining about her imperfect perfect life with the romcom version of Yoda whilst she meets a string of accomplished actors (James Franco, Viola Davis, Richard Jenkins, Javier Bardem) who also enjoy whining. Disappointing.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Top of the class. Disney characters.

1. Meg, Hercules.
A cynical piece of sass who gradually melts into the arms of her leading man. Yes!

2. Gaston, Beauty and the Beast.
Vanity is always a delicious catalyst for a villain, but none have been as gloriously blinded by it as Gaston.

3. Merryweather, Sleeping Beauty.
This busybody fairy whose stubbornness in the face of the evil Maleficent epitomises her general attitude to life; if she doesn't get her way she'll be sure to rain on your parade. In a good way.

4. Charlotte LaBouff, The Princess and the Frog.
What do you get when you transfer Written on the Wind's Marylee Hadley (Dorothy Malone) into the realm of Disney? This maneating Southern belle with a heart of gold. She is awesome.

5. Kronk, The Emperor's New Groove.
6. Yzma, The Emperor's New Groove.
The best duo of Disney are incapable of performing any mundane task, and that is what makes them so enjoyable. The more dastardly the plans of Yzma become, the more distracted Kronk is. They are a blissful combination.

7. Scar, The Lion King.
Scar is the only Disney villain to succeed in defeating the hero, ensuring Simba flees the kingdom by convincing him of his father's death. This is, arguably, the nastiest act performed by any Disney villain and what makes him so appealing is that his enjoyment is so visible.

8. Belle, Beauty and the Beast.
The first 'independent' leading lady in Disney refuses to fall into the pitfalls of her ilk by not jumping at her first opportunity of marriage, and saving her father rather than disobeying him. Love.

9. Georgette, Oliver & Company.
Bette Midler voices a dog with the solo number describing how perfect she is. Enough said.

10. Jafar, Aladdin.
Like Scar, Jafar relishes any opportunity to perform his evil deeds. And it is delicious. He also has the most fun costume of any Disney character - I have always wanted his cobra staff.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A quick celebration. The Secrets in Their Eyes.

It is unfortunately rare that a film truly astounds you, despite what the general hype that attaches itself to one film or another at a given moment. My recent reflection on the films of 2010 and even my list of top films of 2009 did not contain any films that truly wowed me. Sure there are some gems (so many!) but I have been enamoured by a film since I've Loved You So Long. That film rocked my world. Enter The Secret in Their Eyes, a film that has occupied my mind ever since I was lucky enough to lay my eyes on it.

In an astonishing way, quite similar to the equally terrific The Lives of Others, the film is layered so richly with a wide range of themes and subplots that have left an array of questions through its conclusion, though seemingly unambiguous. The images from the final revelation will haunt me forever, is this cruelty or justice? The same question can be applied to all of the events within the film. The central relationship of Benjamin (Ricardo Darin) and Irene (Soledad Villamil), whose repression of romance in the face of the latter's engagement is at once justified yet cruel to them, the audience and, one can presume, their spouses/family. The accidental murder of Benjamin's colleague can suggest redemption for the character, but is this deserved? To continue would be to spoil the events of a film so rich, so powerful that it demands to be seen.

Well, I demand you see it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A quick celebration. The Magician of The Illusionist.

There is no magician...or so the hand-drawn Jacques Tati wants Alice, his impressionable young sidekick, to believe at the end of The Illusionist. Yet neither Alice nor the audience doubt this existence, he has opened our eyes to a world fueled by it. The tragedy, however, lies within the disinterest of the everyman whose interest lies within popular musicians, fashion fads and cinematic forays not the quaint performance of magic. This bittersweet juxtaposition of social activities creates a nostalgic desire for the past, where we too would be interested in such a performance in reality and not projected onto our screens in a decidedly more flamboyant fashion. But, regardless of the actual performance of magic, who wouldn't want Tati to enter their lives and brighten their day? His innate ability to transform situations, objects and people into stuff of wonder is magic. And it is glorious to spend time in this world.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

10 thoughts on...this clip of 'Rabbit Hole'.

  1. So I usually avoid such snippets from upcoming movies, especially when I am excited about them. I find them irritating - context is lost, performances are associated with the actors' previous creations, and, crucially, I don't like to spoil my first experience in the cinema. The Kids Are Alright, Another Year, Never Let Me Go and The King's Speech are all films that I am dying to see and have released clips...and I have not watched one second of them. Then suddenly I found myself with this 'teaser'. It was an instinctive reaction, one that was no doubt encouraged by my excitement of its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival yesterday evening. I am going to take it as a sign that I am destined to adore this film. The director of Hedwig and the Angry Inch (superb!) and Shortbus (wonderful!), John Cameron Mitchell, teamed with my favourite supporting actress (Dianne Wiest) and my favourite leading lady a leading lady who deserves a comeback (Nicole Kidman) in a text that reeks of themes I adore (loss, hope, acceptance) - what could do wrong?
  2. You can answer the question above with two words: Nicole Kidman. There is a lot of dissatisfaction with her output of late and, although I am an avid fan of most (Australia, Margot At the Wedding), there is a clear decrease in the enthusiasm she injects into her choice of film roles. Once upon a time her upcoming schedule looked like this: Eyes Wide Shut, Moulin Rouge!, The Others, Birthday Girl, The Hours, Dogville. Now it reads like this: Just Go With It to Trespass. Starring alongside Jennifer Aniston/Nicolas Cage in a film directed by Dennis Dugan/Joel Schumacher would not have been on her slate back in the early noughties. Can Rabbit Hole restore audiences' faith in an actor who was once the most impressive of her generation? I think so, although this will be effortlessly undone within months.
  3. Dianne Wiest finally has a role deserving of her talents. Her attempt at comforting her stubborn daughter is heartbreaking. Rather than improving the situation, as is her hope, she causes the frustration of her daughter to manifest into a bitter condemnation of said attempt. It is a beautifully executed moment.
  4. I like the colour palette a lot...lifelessly colourful. This combined with the use of handheld camera (will this be used for the whole film?) should provide the film with an effortless intimacy that worked so well in previous films such as Rachel Getting Married.
  5. The reaction of Nicole Kidman to Sandra Oh's 'welcome' to the support group is magical. Especially when she lets out her signature laugh. It is bitingly delicious. Can I have some more?
  6. Sandra Oh has an incredibly distracting face.
  7. If this is a success (critical or commercial), will John Cameron Mitchell be destined for Hollywood projects? Or will he return to the less costly (and endlessly fascinating) worlds of his debut films? I can't see this being a huge success (and, crucially, I can see no Oscars) but a critical darling, a la Hedwig and the Angry Inch, so maybe there won't even be an opportunity for Hollywood to welcome is too early to tell.
  8. Aaron Eckhart looks sinister. I'm not too sure about his casting here, although the reviews are incredibly impressed by his performance. He has always left me underwhelmed.
  9. I hope Dianne Wiest replaces Lauren Bacall as Nicole Kidman's regular iconic (and Weist IS iconic) co-star. Perhaps they should both under the direction of Lars von Trier for the third film of his proposed US trilogy? That would be wonderful.
  10. I need to see this film.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

How do you describe a feeling?

"You were supposed to take care of us. You promised. I'll eat you!"

Friday, September 03, 2010